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…
Super Sons #1
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Jorge Jimenez
Colored by Alejandro Sanchez
“Rest assured, you will never find me piggybacking on your narrow shoulders”
The wacky ever-shifting status quo of Big Two comics means, for instance, that the New 52 incarnation of Superman is dead and replaced by pre-reboot continuity Kal-El, who’s still married to Lois and raising son Jon while hiding in America’s heartland. For casual fans, this is probably pretty confusing, but the good news is that Super Sons is an extremely cute, extremely enjoyable comic you could hand to new or longtime fans.
Teaming up the new Superboy with Batman’s sociopathic ninja son/wayward Grant Morrison creation Damian is an inspired conceit that pays homage to one of DC’s stranger 70’s concepts, and the banter Tomasi writes for them is very fun to read. It’s admittedly only one issue in, but Tomasi and Jimenez do a nice job of balancing a story that feels like it’s for younger readers with a reasonable amount of pathos. When a bully slips a rock into an otherwise light-hearted snowball fight, you wince. Tomasi’s tone is really served well by Jimenez’s art here, which evokes some of the better winter strips of Calvin and Hobbes in spots.
The actual story here isn’t especially advanced—including a somewhat tired “throw our heroes into some kind of crazy danger then cut back to two weeks before” opener—but the first issue of Super Sons serves as a nice character intro, emphasizing Damian’s restless insolence and Jon’s unsteady attempts to be a hero like his father. It’s a comic that may be served better by waiting for the trade (or a ComiXology sale) but it’s nevertheless some quality Superhero Comics.
David Uzumeri is reading…
Sex Criminals #16
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Chip Zdarsky
“All I wanted him to know was that I cared about him and he was worth it.”
Man, it’s good to have this thing back.
Sex Criminals has been on hiatus for ten damn months, which literally means people have probably met someone, fucked, freaked out about the pregnancy, and carried a baby to term while waiting for the next damn issue of Sex Criminals. It starts off with an extended recap, which is good, because it’s been forever since an issue came out and the cast has expanded a lot since the first story arc, and also because Fraction and Zdarsky are really good at making wall-of-text stuff readable by seeming as bored as the reader.
It’s a strong return issue, and the time off seems to have done the book a lot of good. It was commented on a lot when the book came out that nobody expected the book to hit issue six, nevermind issue sixteen; what began as a promising but largely contained concept has spiraled out into an epic urban fantasy, complete with its own bizarre rules and regulations and power struggles, taking place under the veneer of our own
It’s like the world-building of John Wick, but with less gold coins and more dildos and anime jizz. But through it all, the main thrust (heh) of the story—Jon and Suzie’s developing relationship—is the real point, and it’s kind of a fascinating parallel to the book itself. Just like our protagonists are dealing with developing plans for an unexpectedly successful relationship, Fraction and Zdarsky are having to develop plans for their unexpectedly successful comic book. Weird meta shit has always been where Fraction does his best work, Zdarsky is clearly continuing to have a ball drawing all kinds of weird sex and coming up with puns for fave porn movies, and I find myself continuing to care about the characters. Not a lot of books close the distance between me and the characters as well as this one does; a lot of comics tease my brain, but this one really hits me in the heart, too. It’s been a bitch of a refractory period, but I’m happy to see these Sex Criminals come again.
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!