Deadshirt Is Reading… is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt’s staff, contributing writers, and friends-of-the-site offer their thoughts on Big Two cape titles, creator-owned books, webcomics and more.
Joe Stando is reading…
Ultimates 2 #1
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Travel Foreman and Dan Brown (colors)
Lettered by Joe Sabino
“You’d be fighting for me. In the only fight that matters. Welcome to the Ultimates.”
While I enjoyed it, I felt that The Ultimates was the weakest of Ewing’s three post-Secret Wars books. I appreciated the lofty ideals of the book, but it lacked the spark and levity of New Avengers or Contest of Champions. On a more fundamental level, the team dynamic itself was a little bland. America Chavez was the closest the book had to a wild card, and the friction between team members that leads to the best stories was missing. Ultimates worked best as a spotlight on characters like Blue Marvel, and significantly less well as an ensemble.
Ironically, Civil War II may have fixed this problem. In Ultimates 2, the team is scattered. Captain Marvel feels betrayed by Black Panther, and Blue Marvel has secluded himself to his work. This broken team has more spark and potential than the “let’s all be friends” dynamic of the previous incarnation. It’s just like Ewing to make lemonade out of the lemons he’s handed by crossovers, and the mandates of CWII may have actually provided the missing ingredient to make this book really sing.
On top of that, Foreman’s art is gorgeous, especially the takes on Connor Sims and Galactus’ new design. Brown’s colors are the right blend of trippy and grounded this book needs. To top it all off, we’re actually, finally getting the “Team Galactus” dynamic implied by the earliest teaser images, and a solid leap forward in the “Eternity is chained” threads that have been in the background of Ewing and a couple other creators’ books. I’ve got a good feeling about this one.
Kayleigh Hearn is reading…
Written by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Art by Leslie Hung
Colors by Mickey Quinn
Letters by Mare Odomo
“I’m a mess. Will I be a mess forever? Is this it?”
After last issue’s big splash, when fashion blogger Lottie Person pushed her stalker into a pool, Snotgirl #4 feels like it’s treading water. One big mystery is seemingly answered in the opening pages, but most of the characters remain fuzzy and vague when they should be coming into sharper focus. Perhaps it’s the growing pains of a writer adjusting to the challenges of an ongoing series instead of completed, polished graphic novels, and Bryan Lee O’Malley is still figuring out who his characters are and how they fit together.
Most confounding is Lottie’s ex, the hunky, improbably named Sunny Day, who takes selfies with Lottie one instant and then darkly warns her not to post it to social media the next. Should we care about Sunny, and his odd behavior around his ex? Should we take him seriously as a love interest, especially when the handsome cop John Cho (no, not that one) has just entered Lottie’s life? It’s hard to care, because he’s nothing but a pretty cipher. Of course the vacuity is part of the point, but the supporting cast needs to become much more substantial to keep me interested in Lottie’s world.
Oh, but it’s a gorgeous world, though. Leslie Hung’s artwork makes this a comic worth compulsively flipping through, from that beautiful cover (I ship Lottie/Coolgirl, okay??) all the way to the final page, where Lottie’s shocked face is shaded a sickly green. Every month, this comic makes me wish I gave a damn about fashion, as every character—even the creepy doctor!—is impossibly chic and well-coiffed. Snotgirl is the book to read if you want to see modern fashion in comics. If only the characters weren’t one-dimensional paper dolls.
Thanks for reading about what we’re reading! We’ll be back next week with a slew of suggestions from across the comics spectrum. In the meantime, what are you reading? Tell us in the comments section, on Twitter or on our Facebook Page!