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.
David Uzumeri is reading…
Written by Priest
Penciled by Diogenes Neves
Inked by Jason Paz
Colored by Jeromy Cox
Lettered by Willie Schubert
“Slade has had some kind of… religious experience.”
This book kicks off with a six-page action sequence that is completely unrelated to the rest of the issue at first glance, and I’d call that a drawback if this was coming from anyone other than Priest, who’s earned a great amount of trust for his byzantine plotting brilliantly playing off on books like Quantum & Woody and Black Panther. But here, it’s paired with a high concept so fucking bizarre it has to work: Deathstroke—yeah, that Deathstroke—has had a religious experience after coming into contact with the Speed Force in the Lazarus Contract crossover, and now he’s forming his own team of superpowered kids to try to make the world a better place.
The thing is, Slade Wilson is still a grade-A piece of shit who is incapable of showing affection for his children or ex-wife without undercutting them and their self-worth at every turn. He’s really trying, but he’s still a manipulative chessmaster even on the side of the angels, and watching him earnestly attempt to do good while still being, well, Slade Wilson, is a huge amount of fun. Priest’s run has centered on what an absolute shitshow the entire Wilson family is, and this new direction doesn’t lose that at all, building on everything that’s happened so far while also charting a whole new direction for the book.
However, I’m not as sure about Priest’s new creative partner, oncoming penciller Diogenes Neves. I remember he did great work with Zeb Wells on New Mutants, and with Paul Cornell on Demon Knights, but he’s kept a low profile for the past year or so and the art here feels like a step down from his previous work. Whether that’s due to a regression or a bad pairing with inker Jason Paz, I’m not sure, but he just doesn’t seem as simpatico with Priest as, say, previous penciller Joe Bennett.
I mean, that said, it’s a book where Deathstroke earnestly tries to wrangle a group of teens into altruistic superheroes but just can’t stop being Deathstroke. I never thought I’d be this into a Deathstroke title, but it’s just an absolute blast.
Kayleigh Hearn is reading…
Written by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Art by Leslie Hung
Colored by Rachael Cohen
Lettered by Mare Odomo
“Yes, it’s me! Bonnie…your identical twin sister!”
It’s a special kind of sadism to come back from a hiatus with a six-month time skip, especially when last issue’s cliffhanger was literally someone being pushed over a cliff. O’Malley and Hung’s Snotgirl picks up with green-haired fashion blogger Lottie Person months after her former intern/maybe stalker Charlene seemingly met her doom, and we’re left dangling a bit (Sorry, Charlene) as the issue focuses on friends and family.
Cutegirl’s sister Bonnie is our first real look at a woman outside of Lottie’s Instagrammable world of queen bees and wannabes; stable, married, and taking care of her flaky sister’s dog, Bonnie is one example of the life Lottie could have if she walked away from her shallow, surface-obsessed existence. Another example is Caroline, who since splitting with Lottie has become bitter and withdrawn, shadowed by her “I bet this guy watches a lot of anime” brother Virgil who cleans up all her messes. Including possibly…*spins around dramatically in swivel chair* murder?!
The plot, per se, remains tantalizingly elusive—what is Detective Cho’s deal, and what really happened the night Caroline had that accident?—but some elements are coming into sharper focus. (Sorry, your favorite “Caroline was Lottie’s drug-induced hallucination all along” fan theory just got dunked.) Snotgirl is like a colorful cross between a soap opera and a spy drama, where secret twins abound and no one is exactly who they say they are. Leslie Hung’s sumptuous art is good enough to eat, and made even more vibrant thanks to new colorist Rachael Cohen. The book’s new bimonthly schedule will be a bit of an adjustment, but in the meantime, I can’t smash that “like” button hard enough.
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!