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…
Generations: The Unworthy Thor & The Mighty Thor #1
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Mahmud Asrar
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino
“No hammer. No Midgard. No mead. The old one-eyed bastard is ruining all my fun.”
Marvel’s Generations mini-event (classic and legacy versions of major heroes team up thanks to time travel!) is a series of one shots that seems to be designed to satiate alienated long time fans as well as newer readers in the hopes that we’ll all politely ignore the seemingly neverending slog that is Secret Empire.
Aaron, no stranger to writing comics that feature multiple Thors, takes this publisher-mandated premise and really runs with it. The arrogant, not-worthy-of-Mjolnir-yet take on the Odinson that’s been around since the start of Aaron’s Thor run is a fun character and acts as a nice mirror for the doubts and questions of current rookie Thor Jane Foster when they buddy up to kick ass in ancient Egypt. Aaron’s script really leans on a classic, almost Claremont or Mantlo storytelling style that favors speech bubbles and purple prose narration. It’s really effective given how deliberately silly the one-shot is (spoiler: vikings steal the Sphinx’s nose as war booty and the issue ends with a failed “you up?” between two cosmic deities as set up for ANOTHER Aaron comic) and feels appropriate given the nostalgia appeal of Generations.
Mahmud Asrar (All-New X-Men, Totally Awesome Hulk) is the kind of extremely capable house artist you’d expect to see on a Marvel one-shot like this. There isn’t anything especially flashy here—nor does there need to be—but he draws the hell out of two Thors fighting an Egyptian army or a towering, heavily-shadowed Apocalypse wrecking vikings. I particularly dug Jordie Bellaire’s muted coloring choices here, which make the metal of the Thors’ helmets and the cracka-jacka lightning really pop on the page.
Generations’ Thor/Thor team up doesn’t reinvent the wheel (or hammer) but it’s a solidly entertaining done-in-one comic, the Mountain Dew Throwback of 2017 cape comics.
Michael Mastropietro is reading…
Rom vs Transformers: Shining Armor #2
Written by John Barber & Christos Gage
Art by Alex Milne
Colours by Josh Perez
Lettered by Tom B. Long
“Dirge, if witlessness could kill Autobots…”
It must be a daunting task to return a franchise to its most recognizable setting, using some of its most visible characters, and to then make it feel fresh. Especially when you’re a creative team that is almost exclusively recognized for their work with the franchise.
Alex Milne and Josh Perez, the artistic team behind the fan-favorite Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye, add a new dimension to their usual formula that you wouldn’t expect to be new in Transformers—namely, action. After spending the last five years with talking heads, it’s fun to see the team work on a book that feels like there’s an explosion on every page. Milne’s real strength in this issue shines through his layouts. It’s a chaotic book with a lot of dialogue and a lot of characters, but Milne manages to create a large eye-drawing focal point of action for each page and build several smaller events and reactions around it. Bircham’s clear bold colors also help what could easily be a cluttered page be legible.
While last issue served as charmingly framed exposition which set up the central conflict, this one focuses on known Transformers characters at the height of their iconic war. Barber and Gage’s choice of Starscream, Bumblebee and Ultra Magnus works for older readers as all three have drastically changed within the IDW books in recent years. But even for new readers, this miniseries presents a very simple plot which serves to let large, fun personalities clash and bounce off one another. The new character Stardrive’s heartwrenchingly adorable antics (being a Transformer raised by alien cops who hate Transformers) provide a springboard for the established characters to bounce off. The contrasts in these reactions are used to quickly and succinctly define the personalities of all the major players and keeps a tight theme to the story.
ROM vs. The Transformers strives to have heart and charm while blowing things up, and if the ball isn’t dropped in the coming issues, it can end up being among the best self-contained Transformers stories.
Oh, and ROM’s in it.
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!