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…
All-Star Batman #6
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock and Matt Hollingsworth (colors), and Francesco Francavilla (backup)
Lettered by Steve Wands
“Cure her, cure myself, cure all of us. So we might live again, be made warm and soft and reenter this life!”
All-Star Batman’s title is kind of a pun. On one level, it refers to the extensive cast of villains and supporting characters we’ve seen so far, the classic rogue’s gallery that Snyder was pretty hands off with during his Batman run. But it also refers to Snyder’s collaborators, who are at the top of their game and work together to create an incredible book.
This month’s issue, the first of a series of loosely connected one-shots, is such an example. This is a package that plays to its creative team’s strengths from start to finish, on a level rarely seen. The issue, which brings Batman to the Arctic Circle to stop a doomsday plot by Mister Freeze, is written in a style that blends prose and comic. There’s a ton of narration, overlaid with dialogue in large passages jarringly spaced throughout the page. Wands is a wizard, deftly placing lines of text in gutters, in off-center blocks, in thin strips directly onto artwork. It’s a gorgeous cacophony.
Jock’s take on Freeze, outside of his suit and nakedly homicidal on a mass scale, is stark and frightening. Other stories have played with the idea of Freeze as essentially undead, but never before has he felt as alien. He and his acolytes are reminiscent of 30 Days of Night or The Strain. They’re a mob of pale nightmares, intrusive in the page the way the bitter cold is.
All-Star Batman #6 is an essential Freeze story, painting him as a once-good man who’s broken beyond repair. It’s a darkly evocative issue that’s a must-read.
David Uzumeri is reading…
The Mighty Thor #15
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Russell Dauterman
Colored by Matthew Wilson
Lettered by Joe Sabino
“Never let it be said that I am not a generous god, Jane Foster. You have until the end of the week to rid yourself of this…pesky cancer.”
Jason Aaron’s run on Thor is over four years old now and, amazingly, he doesn’t seem to be anywhere near running out of ideas. This is the first big issue in this year’s iteration of the “Marvel NOW!” campaign, signifying a jumping-on point, and it does a pretty good job of setting up the status quo: Jane Foster is an interdimensional politician and cancer patient who moonlights as the God of Thunder; Asgard is run by dicks; and the Shi’ar (in a clever reversal of the Incredible Hercules arc “God Squad” in which Hercules put together a posse of deities to go fuck up the Skrull Gods when the Skrulls invaded Earth) taking orders from the Shi’ar gods to cause some explosive mischief in Thor’s home realm. Thus the arc title, “The Asgard/Shi’ar War.”
He’s joined by the regular art team of Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson, and the book looks as good as ever: clear, expressive, detailed cartooning and storytelling. Hyper-detailed architecture, both intact and beaten to shit, is pretty much everywhere; I’d never really realized how good Dauterman is at drawing rubble and flying concrete until this issue. His character acting, including a great multi-page staredown between Jane Foster and Cul (the God of Fear introduced in 2011’s Fear Itself event), shines as well, and Wilson is as excellent as ever.
It’s also a joy to see Aaron returning to characters—like Kid Gladiator and Warbird—that he introduced way back in his Wolverine & The X-Men run, characters he never really got to give third acts to after leaving that book for scheduling reasons. It’s big, colorful, cosmic Marvel fun very much in that vein, and as we enter this run’s fifth year it’s great to see there’s no signs of slowing down or petering out yet.
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!