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…
Power Man and Iron Fist #14
Written by David Walker
Art by Sanford Greene
Colored by Lee Loughridge
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
“A drugs that possesses your soul? This just keeps getting worse and worse.”
As PM/IF heads towards a scheduled conclusion (and the launch of a David Walker-written Luke Cage solo book), the comic’s Harlem gang war mega arc has shifted into it’s final act. Walker and Greene remain a solid, hyper-compatible team and while most of this issue is moving pieces around the chessboard, the duo gives us plenty to chew on as Luke and Danny keep hitting dead ends in their two man war on back-from-the-dead Runaways villain turned would-be street magic lord Alex Wilder. Pitting Luke Cage and Iron Fist against a big magical foe does a nice job of putting them in the scrappy underdog spot those characters thrive in, and Walker’s script does a nice job building off the B-list villain relationships (and tragic friendships) he’s slowly established over the last year.
Greene’s art would maybe feel out of place on, say, Iron Man but he continues to give this book a much needed and very specific visual flair, with a loose and breezy aesthetic that lends itself well to bargain basement street magicians and tentacle monsters from Hell. While this issue’s sole “big moment” doesn’t come until the last page, the look and feel of Greene’s Harlem has enough little tactile details to keep you invested in the page. From a craft standpoint, Power Man and Iron Fist is one of Marvel’s few quiet successes right now and I’ll be sad to see it wrap up in the coming months.
David Lebovitz is reading…
Grass Kings #1
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated by Tyler Jenkins
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Cover by Tyler Jenkins
Variant/Exclusive covers by Fiona Staples, Tyler Jenkins, and Matt Kindt
Designed by Scott Newman
Edited by Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn
“Ain’t no law says I can’t be here.” “There’s written laws. And then there’s other kind.”
Grass Kings follows the residents of the titular Grass Kingdom, a trailer park empire of sorts, secluded from the rest of the world by choice and by force. They live on a lake in a spot with a history of violence, and they fight to protect it. The story in this issue follows police officer Bruce, and briefly introduces half the town—most notably Robert, Bruce’s brother and the leader of the Grass Kingdom, a morose alcoholic haunted by losing his daughter many years ago. Radiating in the background is a story about a possible serial killer living amongst them, who has never been found.
The comic may be thirty pages, but almost all of it is pure exposition. The vast majority of it is Bruce bringing an intruder named Lo out of the Grass Kingdom and warning him not to come back, lest he get shot. He must have taken the scenic route out, because on the way he manages to stop by every major landmark of the Grass Kingdom, point it out, and interact with the citizen working at it.
The art is absolutely beautiful. Jenkins’s watercolors can tell full stories without any text. Towards the beginning of the issue, we see the centuries-long history of the Grass Kingdom up to the current day, and the conflicts and battles that pepper its history. Jenkins paints splash page landscapes with the same ability as cramped quarters and quiet small town streets.
The series advertises itself as ready to appeal to fans of True Detective Season 1. The fact that they have to specify the correct season of True Detective is hilarious, but it’s not entirely unearned, especially with the last panel, which sprouts from a seed planted earlier in the issue and sets up a compelling story with a lot of potential. There’s an undeniable darkness lurking underneath the soothing colors and this first issue did a good enough job convincing me to come back next month to discover it. Even if not much happened, enough occurred to keep my interest.
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!