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…
Dark Nights: Metal #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo
Inked by Jonathan Glapion
Colored by FCO Plascencia
Lettered by Steve Wands
“Wagon. The root of the name…’Wayne.’ Batman. The one who will let him in.”
After a two-issue prequel and practically a year of hype, the first issue of Snyder and Capullo’s Metal is finally here. Re-teaming the writer and artist after the conclusion of their popular Batman run, Metal is both a very natural continuation of that story and a deliberately bonkers comic in its own right.
After an extremely amusing in media res opener that pits the Justice League against the Vince McMahon of the DC Universe, Mongul, the rest of the issue delves further into the titular extradimensional Nth metal and the fact that Batman may be the unwitting key to ushering in a doomsday scenario pre-ordained in ancient history. The big thing with Metal (and its two issue prologue) is that it feels genuinely big and fun in a way superhero crossovers haven’t felt in a while. This is a comic where the JLA fight robots in a gladiator pit, Cyborg cracks wise about Aquaman’s old hook hand and Green Lantern dunks on Batman for insisting on riding in the cockpit of a ring construct plane, pages before Batman escapes a mountain lair on a dinosaur.
While there have been other comics that pick up on the threads laid down by Grant Morrison’s Multiversity, Snyder boldly “yes and”-s Morrison’s groundwork by establishing that—oh yeah hey—there’s an entire EVIL multiverse outside the 52 worlds we know and it may have something to do with a giant bat monster that exists outside of space and time. It’s silly, very over the top and vaguely smirky. In other words, the perfect DC Comics crossover idea. Not much happens in this issue but it does a nice job of re-introducing misused or dormant DC luminaries like the Challengers of the Unknown and Red Tornado. Consider it a quick tour of the hotel room that is the new DC Universe status quo before Snyder and Capullo presumably pound malt liquor and trash it over the next few issues.
Capullo’s artwork here shines with Plascencia’s color choices, which go heavy on contrast in a way that’s a tad more visually rich than what we tend to get in big superhero crossover books. Case in point: The black of Batman’s cowl against a hot pink raptor as he’s fleeing Blackhawk Island or the faded texture of the portraits hanging in Challengers Mountain. Capullo can put down anything from a prehistoric lizard scurrying across sand to a giant rampaging Justice League mech and it crackles with genuine energy and excitement.
If Multiversity was a high minded sampler platter of new concepts and character ideas, Metal is the comics equivalent of a high schooler’s spiral notebook with a drawing of Batman cutting the Iron Maiden mascot in half with a sword (that is also a gun) on the cover. Here’s hoping it only gets wilder from here.
David Uzumeri is reading…
Generations: Wolverine & All-New Wolverine
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Ramon Rosanas
Colored by Nolan Woodard
Lettered by Cory Petit
“You didn’t need to protect me.” “It was instinct.” “No, it wasn’t.”
Tom Taylor’s run on All-New Wolverine has been an absolute delight since it launched, but one thing it really hasn’t dealt with very much at all is, well, the original Wolverine. Laura’s place in Logan’s shadow is almost more implied than stated, and that’s more than fair—it’s not Logan’s book; dude had over 50 years of stories, some of which have been some of the best in the medium, some of them the worst. But especially in the aftermath of this spring’s devastating Logan, it’s not a bad idea to revisit the relationship between the two—or lack thereof, really, which is a lot of what this issue addresses.
I’m not reading the other Generations one-shots, but I assume that there’s some kind of dumb reason why everyone’s having a wacky adventure in the past with their predecessor at a comparable point in their career, and I’m completely okay with that vague jumping-off point considering the latitude it gives the creative team. Ramon Rosanas seems to switch up his style a little bit here for this Wolverine-in-Japan (don’t roll your eyes, it’s not a boring rehash, I swear) adventure, bringing in elements of Howard Chaykin or Richard Corben’s gritty inking for that pulpy mid-’80s feel to match the story’s setting. He’s always looked good, and that doesn’t stop here.
As for the story, if you’ve been reading Laura’s solo ongoing (and I highly recommend you do), this seems to take place after the current arc and really shows a lot of how Laura’s grown as a protector and tactician over the course of Tom Taylor’s excellent run, as well as her own greatly evolving emotional awareness and maturity. The borderline-feral X-23 has evolved into a fully assured and competent operator defined, much like her father, by more than just her trauma—although she can tend to forget that.
Overall, it’s an emotional, creative, funny action romp in Tokyo and my only major complaint about it is that it’s five entire dollars, although it is a solid 30 pages of story material. (And while DC’s generally been better about it, the first issue of Metal is five bucks for only 28 pages of story material, although the price is dropping with subsequent issues and you get a ridiculous ‘90s-ass cover for your money). But as someone who recently dropped a bunch of Marvel books exactly for that pricing reason, I don’t regret for a second sticking with this one.
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!