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…
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Aaron Kuder
Published by Marvel Comics
“I dunno. Everything’s just different now.”
The solicit for All-New GotG’s first issue should just read “Alright listen kids Uncle Daddy Marvel’s got a superhero movie in theaters this week so we’re gonna need a spicy new #1 issue to pull in the casual readers and enough issues to fill a TBP we can move once the Blu-Ray hits.” We all know the deal by now, and corporate synergy means you need to have a Marvel comic on the stands that resembles the new live action adaptation that’s out now, assuming it’s not an X-Men thing. Such is All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1, a perfectly entertaining comic that looks, acts and smells like the new James Gunn/Chris Pratt/CG baby Groot film epic.
Script-wise, the issue is largely table setting, but it opens strong on a particularly good gag-heavy heist that’s too fun to spoil here. The comics versions of the Guardians crew have been pretty in-sync with their big screen counterparts for a while now but it is sort of interesting watching Duggan have to explain why Groot’s tiny or what’s thrown them in the middle of a cold war between The Collector and The Grandmaster. It’s no great shakes as a story but it’s charming enough and definitely tailor-made to appeal to new readers.
Aaron Kuder is the real draw here, coming off of Greg Pak’s massively underrated run on Action Comics. His pages of a sprawling hyper-secure city or a giant cosmic fish swallowing the Milano are the kind of high-concepts that you really need in a Guardians of the Galaxy story. There’s a strong Mobius-kind of feel to Kuder’s work here that makes it feel very different from the usual Marvel fare and it’s refreshing that, even as essentially a movie-tie in, the book is leaning on a style that’s distinct enough to stand on its own.
David Uzumeri is reading…
Black Bolt #1
Written by Saladin Ahmed
Art by Christian Ward
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
“Name your crimes! Repent your crimes!”
The unexpectedly compelling Inhumans line refresh continues with the first issue of Black Bolt from Christian Ward (ODY-C, Infinite Vacation) and Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon, Twitter). This is Ward’s first big project since ODY-C (he did some gorgeous work on a couple issues of Ultimates and a Suicide Squad backup), and Ahmed’s first comic work ever as far as I can tell, so this tale of Black Bolt in Space Prison certainly could have gone either way.
Well, it’s really fucking good.
The first five pages really drive that in: first off, Ward’s work is immediately engaging, carrying over all the loose cosmic insanity from ODY-C but in a way that feels more controlled and restrained: the structure and panel layouts are more defined, the storytelling more linear and even, maybe, traditional. Meanwhile, Ahmed makes use of the medium a lot better than a lot of first-time comics writers, especially coming from prose: the first five pages are a rhythmic build-up, with repetition and consonance/assonance, building on each other to a crescendo. Ahmed’s a talented writer, but he wisely doesn’t try to beat us over the head with wordsmithery. This is a comic book, and it’s written like one.
I know I mentioned Ward’s art earlier, but it really bears repeating just how strong he is here. He plays with layouts, but it’s not as overwhelming as it was in ODY-C or even his Ultimates issues; he displays a gift for facial acting and talking-heads scenes here I haven’t noticed before, while still absolutely bringing it when it’s time for massive Kirbytech machines and cosmic explosions.
It’s a bit early to say this is Marvel’s new Vision, but I certainly see why the claims are starting to fly around. It’s a really strong debut from a very strong creative team on a character who’d never really pulled off a hit solo series, and while everyone’s known Christian Ward rocks ass for a while, if this issue is anything to go by, I’m definitely very excited to read Ahmed’s further comics work.
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!