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.
David Uzumeri is reading…
Written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Penciled by Doug Mahnke
Inked by Jaime Mendoza and Christian Alamy
Colored by Wil Quintana
Lettered by Rob Leigh
“I’d prefer if you went inside and took cover with any other family members in a basement if available.”
I slept on the Superman books at first, and for quite a while, after Rebirth. I judged it by Tomasi and Gleason’s far more maudlin work on Batman and Robin (without giving Gleason enough credit as a co-writer after his pretty damn good work on Robin: Son of Batman), and forgot about the excellent work he’d always done with Superman as a guest character in the old DC Universe—which is actually the version of the character he’s writing here. I neglected to realize how much damn fun Superman could be as a straightforward family man.
Not so much Clark Kent anymore—his secret identity is that of Clark White now, and even that’s basically only for neighbors and PTA meetings. Fatherhood has replaced journalism as the prime outlet for his energies and endeavors of his human alter ego, and it turns out that watching Superman and Lois be parents to a precocious, good-hearted kid is an absolute blast, especially with Lois as the unambiguous breadwinner, which is how this issue starts off. Lois has (and obviously kills) a job interview before motherfucking Frankenstein shows up and wrecks shit for 20 pages drawn by Doug Mahnke, the co-creator of the DC Universe iteration of the character. The actual Frankenstein’s Monster, but as a Byronic hero with a poet’s soul, showing up in a sleepy rural town to make an almost hilariously resourceful Lois Lane drive a flying car into her husband in one of the funniest panels I’ve seen this year.
It’s completely ridiculous comic-book fun with heart and soul, and I’m kicking myself for sleeping on it until a couple of issues ago. If “Doug Mahnke draws Frankenstein again, and fights Superman, and Lois Lane does a bunch of badass shit” holds interest to you as a concept, then I think you’ll be pretty happy with this issue of Superman, and, honestly, with this run as a whole. The book hasn’t been this all-out fun in years.
Max Robinson is reading…
Doctor Aphra #1
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Kev Walker
Colored by Antonio Fabela
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
“DOCTOR Aphra. But that’s a pretty good threatening one-liner.”
I’ll be upfront and say that, as much as I dug Gillen and Larocca’s take on Vader himself in the recently wrapped Darth Vader ongoing, I found Doctor Aphra and her homicidal droids kind of eyerolling. Inventing original characters that can stand alongside, say, Han Solo or Princess Leia isn’t an enviable task, but giving the taciturn lord of the Sith a quippy genius sidekick and some Earth-3 versions of R2 and Threepio felt very self-indulgent. So with that said, Doctor Aphra #1 is an extremely fun comic that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe.
Maybe it’s by virtue of the fact that Gillen lets his creations have their own adventure pretty divorced from what we’ve seen in the original movies, but everything here just gels a little better than in Vader. Aphra herself is a significantly more interesting character as a lead than as a second banana, an unsavory Indiana Jones riff not so much interested in cultural preservation as much as self-preservation. This is a breezy comic: There’s some decent jokes, Aphra gets some choice dialogue while talking down a local gangster and a wookie fights something. I’ve dug Kev Walker’s art since his days on Thunderbolts and he’s a great choice for this sort of book, which (like Thunderbolts) is full of the lowlifes and big crazy monsters he’s so great at drawing.
While continuity adherence limits the kind of stories most of Marvel’s Star Wars books can explore, Doctor Aphra’s cast of created-for-the-comic nasties has the potential to give us a story set in the long time ago/far far away galaxy with some big surprises. I take it all back if Boba Fett shows up in issue #2.
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!