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.
Max Robinson is reading…
Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #3
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Jesus Merino
Inked by Andy Owens with Jeremiah Skipper
Colored by Alex Sinclair
Lettered by Rob Leigh
“Awww, is the Big Bad Belle Reve too much for you?! Welcome to our wonderful world of incarceration!”
It’s been a good little while since DC had a really enjoyable event book. Forever Evil was fun in its Johnsian weirdness, but Justice League vs. Suicide Squad feels like the publisher’s most successful stab at a big crazy crossover in some time. JL vs. SS is a decidedly old school-style “they meet, they fight, they team up” sort of deal, and the simplicity of the premise is why it works so well.
Three issues in, the story’s largely Williamson strategically placing his action figures in the build up to a big crazy fight, but it never feels boring thanks to some inspired character interactions. In this issue alone we get Katana casually remarking on Rick Flagg’s refusal to question Amanda Waller’s orders, The Flash messing with Captain Boomerang and—best of all—a touching scene of Killer Frost revealing to a captive Superman that he was the reason she stayed in college. It’s not reinventing the wheel and it doesn’t need to: this is just a good, well-crafted superhero story.
Artist Jesus Merino is something of a step down from Jason Fabok’s more polished work on the first two issues, but he really shines in his depiction of Harley Quinn as hyper-expressive, super cartoonish mega-brat. This is the kind of comic where characters need to stand in one place and look cool, Merino definitely fits the bill here. If Big Two cape comics are fast food, Justice League vs. Suicide Squad is a hits-just-the-right-spot greasy bacon cheeseburger you crave after a hangover.
Joe Stando is reading…
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Paco Medina (pencils), Juan Vlasco (inks) and Jesus Aburtov (colors)
Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos
“And for all this country may hate us, or fear us, or hurt us—I have to believe we can fight for it.”
I’m not going to mince words: it’s a scary time for America. Every day there’s a new threat of corruption or oppression, and it feels overwhelming. In the midst of this, USAvengers, a star-spangled Marvel Universe take on G.I. JOE-style special ops action, might seem out of place. Do you really want to read a comic about how great America is these days?
Yes, dear reader, you do. USAvengers is Ewing, Medina, Vlasco, and Aburtov’s love letter to America, and all the people in it, especially those who might be vilified and targeted. It cuts between big, bombastic action and confessional-style interludes, with characters talking about what America means to them. Many of them are immigrants, or first-generation citizens, and there’s an unapologetic vulnerability to the writing. Ewing knows that we live in a very different America than we did when this book was pitched, and he doesn’t shy away from it.
The villains of USAvengers #1 are an unnamed army of imperialists who talk about how the truth doesn’t matter anymore. In the final pages, we’re introduced to Golden Skull, a gaudy, greedy leader who pushes selfishness above all else. It’s not a subtle book. But it is the perfect evolution of the stories Ewing has been telling all along with these characters, about the difference between good and evil. The trappings and team roster have changed, but it’s the same relevant themes wrapped in fun, explosive character designs and set pieces.
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!