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. For more of our thoughts on this week’s new comics, take a look at Wednesday’s Deadshirt Comics Shopping List.
Jason Urbanciz is reading…
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Moritat, Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund, Will Conrad, Steve Lightle, Stephen Thompson & Mark Irwin, Ron Frenz & Scott Hanna, Brett Booth & Norm Rapmund
Colored by John Kalisz
Letters by Taylor Espisito
“What the–? Where the hell am I?”
DC’s multiverse seems to be coming back in a big way lately, between Grant Morrison’s long-formulating The Multiversity, an appearance at the end of the recent Superman: Doomed event and now this one-shot tying into DC’s 5 years later event month. Booster Gold, not the New 52 version, is bouncing through different universes and timelines trying to figure out what is happening that he can’t control his jumps. Meanwhile, the New 52 Booster Gold, not seen since his abduction in the last issue of Justice League International two years ago, is being tortured for the whereabouts of his base, Vanishing Point. Basically, this issue serves as a quick tour through DC’s various universes, stopping briefly in the 1800’s of the Gotham By Gaslight-verse, the Legion of Superheroes’ 30th century, Kirby’s post-Great Disaster world of Kamandi, and the Pre-Crisis Charleton Earth. All of this for one Booster to be joined by the other and then a cliffhanger throwing the reader back to the main Futures End weekly series.
This is a fun, if very light run through some eras of DC Comics we haven’t seen in the main continuity in a while, and getting a pretty good roster of artists helps give the book what little weight it has. Particularly good are Steve Lightle’s two pages of old-school Captain Atom and Stephen Thompson & Mark Irwin’s Kirby-esque stop with Kamandi. It’s good to see hints that the pre-Flashpoint DC continuity is still out there, but that’s basically what this book is, a hint you “should” be buying Futures End if you want the full story, and I’m not really convinced.
Kayleigh Hearn is reading…
Written by Wendy and Richard Pini
Art by Wendy Pini
Colors by Sonny Strait
Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot
“Though we see no blood, you’ve been wounded for certain, cub.”
I suppose it’s a good thing that a story still being told after thirty-five years can still surprise its readers, even if that surprise makes you groan aloud. ElfQuest: The Final Quest #5 begins with Cutter, chief of the Wolfriders, traveling across space and time to rescue his daughter Ember and her own splinter tribe of elves from bloodthirsty humans. A clear parallel is drawn to Cutter rescuing Redlance all the way back in ElfQuest #1, suggesting that some tragedies of the past are destined to be repeated as long as fear and prejudice exist. But ElfQuest is also about love and family, and those are the powers that win the day.
Family is also what brings us to the groan-worthy surprise. The true parentage of Ember’s lover Teir has been shrouded in mystery for years; it was finally confirmed that his mother was the warrior chieftess Kahvi, and in this issue we learn that his father is another familiar face. I won’t spoil the reveal—this isn’t Maury—but the answer makes it clear that Teir’s past was better left mysterious. After decades of storytelling, certain branches on the elfin family tree have become ridiculously knotty (“Wait, is Teir older than his grandmother?” is a thought I had while reading the issue) and rival anything in Scott Summers’ personal life.
ElfQuest: The Final Quest is a rewarding read if you’re a longtime fan. Wendy and Richard Pini are still clearly devoted to their characters and their ever-expanding world, and Wendy Pini’s art, such as the sequence where Kahvi’s spirit gives a very un-motherly pep talk to the drowning Teir, still has the power to impress. But, if you’re a reader who doesn’t already have a deeply invested interest in ElfQuest and its multiple generations of elves, it has much less to give.
Joe Stando is reading…
Written by Dustin Weaver
Art by Dustin Weaver
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
“Alone, I stand against the rising tide, and as I live, all evil shall fall.”
Edge of Spider-Verse #3 is one of the most divergent stories the series has given us yet, with no direct ties to Peter Parker or any iteration of the classic Spider-Man story. Instead, we have a futuristic New York City protected by Aaron Aikman, whose Spider-Man persona is halfway between a classic look and an Iron Man suit. He grapples with the mystery of Naamurah and her series of mysterious kidnappings, while also trying to reconcile with his boss/ex-girlfriend.
This issue is Dustin Weaver’s Marvel writing debut, and it’s a delight. Everything is filtered through a 90s-style web of backstory, power specs and other details. The first third or so of the issue is almost entirely block narration and exposition, with profiles of villains mixed in in the style of old Handbooks. Weaver not only creates a new Spider-Man, he implies a whole different Marvel Universe, with fictional issue numbers and citations. It’s a very fun way to set this story apart from the myriad other future stories, including the one focusing on the Superior Spider-Man or the various 2099 issues.
Weaver is also writing to his artistic strengths. Aikman, the villains, and the supporting cast all have a look that’s recognizably “90s Spider-Man” while still being its own thing. There’s a strong John Romita Jr. influence, which I mean as high praise. Tons of small Easter eggs suggest a full world, one that hopefully Weaver will have a chance to explore more fully later in the event.
As a one-shot, this issue was pretty great. The ending draws a clearer connection to the overall event than last week’s Spider-Gwen issue, but I’m not sure how prominent Aikman’s Spider-Man will be in Spider-Verse as a whole. Regardless, Edge of Spider-Verse #3 is a fun romp through the future, with a lot of nice nostalgic touches.
Sarah Register is reading…
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Ryan Stegman
Color by Marte Garcia
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
“I know your story, child. Your life is done. Medusa is your only hope for a life worth living.”
If you’re not already reading Inhuman, it’s time to remedy that. This series has managed to create a fully developed diverse young cast with interesting powers and even more interesting secrets. These rookie Inhumans face struggles reminiscent of young mutants, only instead of attending a school for gifted youngsters, these “Nuhumans” are dropped into a broken kingdom facing a war; they’re recruits, not students, unlocked by Black Bolt’s Terrigen mist bomb fulfilling a destiny that’s not even their own.
While the illustrations and color are vivid and eye-catching, the art has the most fun with character design. This issue reveals more about Naja, a flying reptilian girl with chameleon-like powers, who teams up with Dante and Jason without question to save their new domain. Next to Naja and half-rock boy, Jason, you’d almost expect Dante’s somewhat typical fire powers to be no biggie, but the art has flames spilling out of his eyes and steaming out of his mouth in a way that feels fresh and very cool. Panels alternate between opposite shades on the color wheel, giving every action scene a palpable fast-paced feel.
This book wraps up the storyline of New Attilan’s first shaky days in the New York Harbor but has opened a can of worms for all kinds of stuff to go down in the upcoming issues. There are still some pretty interesting Inhumans out there, like Reader, who have yet to cross paths with the main trio, and I’m really looking forward to when they do.
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!