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…
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #7
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Greg Smallwood
Lettered by Cory Petit
“Sensitive to what? Lights? Wizardry?”
We’re only seven issues into Gerry Duggan’s run on this title and it’s already shaping up to be my favorite iteration. The modern Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t really exist as a team like this until Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning launched the title in 2008 out of the aftermath of the Annihilation: Conquest event and Keith Giffen’s work with Star-Lord and Drax. The characters quickly struck a new path, one furthered by both James Gunn’s two movies and Brian Michael Bendis’s extended run, to the point where they began to become defined by it—but characters like Gamora and Drax have a rich history from long before that run that’s been largely contorted into the streamlined versions of the characters from the movies.
Well, no longer.
Duggan’s run has been interestingly paced—shorter arcs and oneshots with rotating creative teams, and here Greg Smallwood (previously of Moon Knight and before that, uh, Moon Knight) does an excellent job with this one-shot that promises to finally start merging the trippy, weird, Jim Starlin-era, Art Douglas Drax the Destroyer with the merciless streamlined neuroatypical killing machine (with a heart!) he’s become in the public consciousness.
It’s structured and feels like a classic EC thriller, a concise short story that provides a pivotal point for the character of Drax and his development while tying into the larger tapestry that Duggan is creating. Smallwood’s art is excellent and perfectly matched for the tone of the story; it’s both fantastical and grounded, with intimate character acting and a few really cleverly laid out pages on lush alien backgrounds. If you enjoyed his work on Moon Knight, it’s very much in the same vein, albeit with more weird-ass shroom trees and fucked-up aliens. And the most indelibly soulful rendering of Drax you’re likely to see this side of Jim Starlin.
I’ve been cutting down on a lot of Marvel books recently for price-related reasons, but I never even considered dropping this one—it’s the best these characters have ever been, in my opinion, and I’m really excited to see the journeys Duggan has in store for them after a few years of being relatively static.
Mike Mastropietro is reading…
The New Gods Special #1
Written by Shane David
Art by Shane Davis
Coloured by Alex Sinclair
Inked by Michelle Delecki
Lettered by A Larger World’s Dave and Troy
Teeth of the Sea “A Tale of Young Orion”
Written by Walter Simonson
Art by Walter Simonson
Coloured by Laura Martin
Lettered by John Workman
Kicking off a series of six one-shot specials to commemorate the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby, The New Gods Special, a showcase for Kirby’s most well known DC property, would theoretically be the place to launch your strongest opening salvo.
Instead we got Shane Davis. Davis seems like an odd pick for this project, where the majority of creators are either beloved old pros or have a strong personal connection with Kirby’s work. But Davis has clearly put in the work here and created a story that’s not only a poor fit for an anniversary project, but would stand out as boring and ill placed in ANY comic.
The story is a forgettable Orion/Kalibak tale that is a more predictable and far less exciting version of New Gods #11, a 45 year old comic. But what perplexes the most is the art. It’s the DC House style with few layout flourishes and then at the last minute, several pages of blood soaked bone snapping that you’d flinch at in an R-rated movie. Every part of this story serves to alienate audience expectations.
As for the backup by the legendary Walter Simonson, well…it looks great, but it is only six pages. It felt exactly like one of the “Tales of the New Gods” backups in Simonson’s ’90s Orion series. But those backups worked for the most part, aside from guest artist novelty, by highlighting and deepening characters or concepts that were in the main series. But here, it’s just a nice fast yarn that mixes with the main story like oil and water.
There is also a reprint in the back. The Lonar story that I think I’ve bought at least four times now.
Lastly, it should be noted that this book is $5 USD. The price of a bad lunch or an okay beer. My advice is to pick either of those things over this book.
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!