Deadshirt is Reading… is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt’s staff offer brief recommendations for a diverse array of comics, from name-brand cape titles to creator-owned books to webcomics.
Dominic Griffin is reading…
All New Marvel NOW! Point One
Written by Al Ewing, Dan Slott, James Robinson, Nathan Edmondson, G. Willow Wilson and Nick Spencer
Art by Lee Garbett, Michael Allred, Steve Pugh, Phil Noto, Adrian Alphona and Rags Morales
This whole charging $6 bucks for a book of previews shtick Marvel has been doing for a couple of years now is frustrating in terms of pricing versus actual content, but I’ve always enjoyed the way they curate their little primer of upcoming titles to get excited for. This year’s lacks some of the zing and zest that Uatu Heist framing piece had in the last Point One, but there’s a lot to like. Ewing & Garbett’s fun new take on Loki as a sort of overtly lovable anti-hero in a spy comic has some of the texture of Kieron Gillen’s “Vertigo Comics in Marvel Universe” tone from Journey Into Mystery, so I imagine it will take off well with Hiddleston fans and Kid Loki lovers alike. The soon to be loss of Fraction’s FF title won’t be a burning void in your heart for long with Slott & Allred’s Silver Surfer series, a masterful blend of pop art visuals, Slott’s shameless love of 70s funny books and what feels like a subtle undercurrent of tragedy.
I can’t say the new Invaders story herein piqued my interest at all, but that largely has to do with my inability to connect to nearly anything James Robinson does anymore, and I’ll leave Christina to tell you all about Edmondson and Noto’s Black Widow solo book, which seems to be following in Kelly Sue DeConnick’s “stick to what worked in the Avengers movie” dynamic. I think the real fun was in Nick Spencer’s little Avengers story, featuring some much welcome art from DC mainstay Rags Morales, who I would love to see tackling a monthly title at Marvel. Spencer smartly and quickly sets up the premise for Avengers World, the new title he’s scribing with Jonathan Hickman, in a way that doesn’t feel like an incomplete preview, but a self contained one-shot that teases the series in an economic way. Stoked for next year’s All New Mighty Morphin’ Mondo Mega Marvel Point One!
Christina is Reading…
Black Widow #1
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Phil Noto
I heard about this book back during New York Comic Con this past October and I’ve been pretty psyched about it ever since. Billed as a Hawkeye-esque book in which we follow Natasha Romanoff doing what she does when she isn’t an Avenger, Black Widow has a ton of potential and now that I’ve read the first issue I can confirm that it does, indeed, have potential.
Edmondson concisely sets up the premise for us: that Nat is trying to redeem herself for some unknown crimes she’s committed in the past and is working as a freelance mercenary to do so. Black Widow performs several spy-like feats and succeeds in coming off like a badass. But that’s basically it. There are weird voiceovers that go a little too far in telling the audience what Natasha’s motivations are and the whole “I’m never going to tell you about my past, so don’t even bother asking” element feels overdone, especially for this character. The one real highlight is the artwork by Noto. Phil Noto is one of my favorite artists in the comics game right now. The level of acting in his work, as well as his fantastic expressions and faces, really makes this book shine. So while the content itself is nothing too special, the artwork is just a knockout.
All this being said, I’m still going to give this book a chance to really hook me. I’m desperate for a comic book about a fierce and strong female character that allows that character to be vulnerable, to show weakness, to show humanity. Right now, Black Widow isn’t doing that. It’s relying too hard on the qualities of the character that are stoic and efficient in her violence, qualities that we already know. But what else is there to this character? I’m really hoping Edmondson and Noto decide to show us.
Max Robinson is reading…
King’s Watch #3
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Marc Laming
Parker and Laming’s fresh take on the old Defenders Of The Earth cartoon continues to read like a significantly better version of the first Nu-52 Justice League arc, with this issue introducing their version of Ming The Merciless. The book’s grizzled, gun-toting, horse-riding The Phantom is my jam and Laming’s new character designs for Ming and his army are very cool.
Sex Criminals #1 (Fourth printing)
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Chip Zdarsky
I just wanted an excuse to show this cover.
Sex Criminals #4
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Chip Zdarsky
1. Fraction’s taking the art of the PREVIOUSLY page to the next level.
2. Suze and John’s plan falls apart.
3. Now that we’re caught up to the Sex Police flashbacks, looks like the book will pick up the pace abit (the flashbacks have been fun, pace has been glacial)
4. Speaking of the Sex Police, I love how their uniforms are blindingly “semen white”.
5. Zdarsky loads the backgrounds with some really incredible gags, especially whenever a given page is set at CUMWORLD. I really appreciate that as a reader!
David Lebovitz is reading…
The Twilight Zone #1
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Guiu Vilanova
The Twilight Zone is next in Dynamite’s series of comics reviving classic franchises. JMS is a pretty divisive figure in comics, and his taking the helm on this project is exciting to some and upsetting to others. In this case, I found his writing works pretty well. Nothing will ever match Rod Serling’s original TV series – for my money, some of the best TV writing of all time – but this book does provide a modern plot worthy of the name. The story centers around a corrupt business man who pays a strange firm to give him a new identity – and even a new face – but the cost is higher than he anticipated. I was disappointed that this story will be an arc rather than a standalone comic, but this issue intrigued me enough that I’ll reserve judgement on that aspect.
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 or on our Facebook Page.