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.
Andrew Niemann is reading…
Dark Knights: Metal #4
Written by Scott Snyder
Penciled by Greg Capullo
Inked by Jonathan Glapion
Colored by FCO Plascencia
“Hahaha! I’m back, losers!”
There’s a lot to be said this year on the nature of failure as expressed in the media. From Logan to The Disaster Artist to the recent Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we’ve seen good guys lose and bad guys win, a sad but true reflection of what’s happening in political and social circles all over.
Scott Snyder reflects this in Dark Knights: Metal #4, an issue where the heroes lose. When last we saw Superman and Batman, they were sent to the Dark Multiverse by the cosmically powerful Barbatos. The issue begins with a shockingly light comic touch, considering the circumstances. In the nightmarish Dark Multiverse, Bruce calls upon a gauntlet made up of different kryptonites to punch a parade of overpowered versions of Superman (including one that’s dressed in the armor from BvS) calling it is his “five finger death punch.” Eventually, Bruce is able to summon Dream Daniel who whisks them away from danger.
There’s nothing in this book that hasn’t been covered in Sandman, but it’s remarkable how Daniel feels like an integral part of the story while at the same time being self-aware that he’s in one. There’s a particularly beautiful spread where Daniel explains the genesis of the Monitors and their Dark Multiverse counterparts that would fit right at home in a Sandman book.
Other plots in this book range from light and comedic to showstopping. GL and Mr. Terrific have a visit to Thanagar, where they meet a trash-talking Starro who, as many folks pointed out, sounds like it could be voiced by Jason Mantzoukas. Wonder Woman encounters a sticky situation where her companions are corrupted by none other than an evil Lady Blackhawk (!) and Black Adam (!!). It’s a packed issue filled with amazing moments, but I dare not spoil the last page, which is something they have been teasing since the first issue.
The art by Greg Capullo is, as always, stunning. I especially love his use of extreme close-ups to signify tension. The cover to the issue is masterful and reminds me of art from the post-Silver Age era of comics, which perfectly suits the book. Dark Knights: Metal shows us that even when things look grim, the power of stories can save us. And, for that, it’s absolutely worth your time.
David Uzumeri is reading…
Spider-Men II #5
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencilled by Sara Pichelli & Mark Bagley
Inked by Sara Pichelli, Elisabetta D’Amico & John Dell
Colored by Justin Ponsor
Lettered by Cory Petit
“I love that I get to show her something new. That’s the best.”
When Spider-Men II kicked off earlier this year, I sort of wrote it off after the first issue, which seemed part rehash, part unsatisfying answer to a years-old mystery: who is the Miles Morales of the main Marvel Universe? I made the decision to drop the title, and I’m very glad I decided to catch up before this finale, because this is one of the best Spider-Man stories Bendis has told in his career.
The premise — that there’s a Miles Morales in the Marvel Universe who’s a retired made man searching the multiverse for his lost love — is hard to pull off, since the point of this isn’t a “road not taken” story. Other Miles may have a criminal past, but he’s never held up as a dark mirror to the heroic Miles. He’s presented without judgment, and in an unsurprising twist, Bendis is still very good at writing organized crime drama. The use of Kingpin as other Miles’s Ganke figure is especially inspired, and it’s fun to see Wilson Fisk as a devoted friend.
Instead, he exists as an inspiration to Miles to work out his relationship with Peter Parker and his place in Spider-Man’s legacy, building on a lot of recent work Bendis has been doing in the solo title. Bendis appears as conflicted as the fanbase as to whether Miles is better off operating with Spider-Man’s name and iconography or if it’s time to become his own man, and he’s honest and introspective on the page in wrestling with the dilemma.
Sara Pichelli is fantastic as always; it’s appropriate that Miles’s original creative team brings him to this major turning point, and Pichelli has leveled up a great deal since she debuted. It’s solid, crystal-clear superhero comics art, character-focused with great acting. Bagley comes in for a few pages for a very clear reason I won’t spoil, but it’s incredibly satisfying in capping off a major period in Bendis’s career. We’ve still got a few issues of his four ongoings left, but it’s fascinating to watch him make his final statements on the Marvel Universe, and this issue provides a satisfying mic drop.
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!