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.
Kayleigh Hearn is Reading…
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mahmud Asrar
“I hope you like sea bass. I am Victor van Damme.”
Who is the worst X-Man of all time? Maggott? Adam-X? How about Iceman? Okay, relax, I’m being a hyperbolic X-Men comic reviewer for Halloween. But Iceman’s scenes in All-New X-Men #33 highlight a problem the character has had for decades: namely, he really hasn’t had much development for a character with a fifty-year history. Iceman’s changed the least of the original five X-Men, and as a result, All-New X-Men really doesn’t know what to do with Bobby Drake. This issue begins with Iceman tussling with Ultimate Mole Man, and, inspired by his future self, Iceman creates ice golems to fight his way to safety. It’s the most character development he’s had since the series launched, but still feels like the same “Iceman could be one of the most powerful mutants alive, if only he’d stop clowning around” arc that Iceman’s been through since at least the nineties.
As for the other characters, Bendis moves the X-Men across the chessboard that is the Ultimate Universe. Angel and X-23 find each other (perhaps too easily) and discover the horrible secret of mutantkind in this world. Jean Grey enlists Spider-Man’s help in finding her friends, but finds new (or familiar?) faces instead. There are some really entertaining details sprinkled throughout the issue, like Jean driving a car with her mind, and the writing pauses long enough to let the X-Men breathe and reassess the strange, disorienting situation they’re in. Mahmud Asrar’s art remains stunning, and he’s an excellent match for the book’s cast of vibrant, expressive characters. He knows how to nail a dramatic cliffhanger, and the last page of #33 really kicks the storyline into high gear. The All-New X-Men are in a fantastically drawn new world, even if the characterization feels old.
Sarah Register is reading….
Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Scott Kolins
Colored by Veronica Gandini
Lettered by Joe Sabino
“Not bad, old-timer! Nobody is gonna get on your lawn with those reflexes.”
Wolverine has finally met his end, and it’s up to his teammates to pick up all the pieces he left behind. And, oh boy, are there a lot of pieces, specifically ones with Logan’s DNA on them. Deadpool and Captain America come together for the most endearing team up this side of Marvel NOW! to gather and destroy what’s left of their old pal so no creepy government-type organization can use his blood for any nefarious purposes. Along the way, the boys find plenty of time to bond and misunderstand each other’s references while kicking ass but not killing anyone because, hey, we’re with senior citizen Captain America here.
While the dialogue between Deadpool and Captain America is both quippy and heartfelt, it’s the art that seems to bring the full emotional scale behind the speech bubbles. There are some fun moments, such as Deadpool stealing a guard’s hat while Cap ties him up, and we get an amusing glimpse of the two through an x-ray scanner as they discuss what Wade got in Logan’s will. Likewise, the part that tugged at my heart strings the hardest was a single, silent image of Logan’s face peeking out in between panels. This issue includes quite a few flashback scenes as Deadpool and Cap reminisce about their friend, and Kolins manages to incorporate his own style and wrinkled, wavy textures while nodding at the artwork from those original stories.
This comic offers another eulogy among so many others that will probably be more successful when released together in trade. However, I didn’t realize the connection between Captain America and Deadpool (except that Deadpool is the go-to guy for a team up and Cap is, well, adorable right now) until the preface points out that, like Wolverine, they had also been turned into weapons by a secret government program. Protecting Wolverine’s legacy and the fate of whatever bastardized creature some lab pulls out of his DNA isn’t just in the interest of a friend, it’s personal for the Merc with a Mouth and the former Sentinel of Liberty.
Julian Ames is reading…
Written by Ian Flynn
Pencils by Evan Stanley
Inked by Rick Bryant
Colored by Matt Herms
Lettered by Jack Morelli
“You know what they say tho’ — the bigger they are… the faster I run… the higher I jump… the harder I hit!”
As a kid, the Archie Sonic The Hedgehog comic was my introduction to the world of serialized comic books. The characters were familiar from my favorite (and only) video game at the time, but it also provided more adventures, atmosphere, and personality that the games of that time couldn’t. Now after twenty-something years, that comic is still going strong and Archie has added several new Sonic titles, including the newest entry, Sonic Boom. Intended as a tie-in with Sega’s new multi-media campaign of the same name, the Sonic Boom comic is to be to this new generation as the old Sonic The Hedgehog comic was to the was to the the Sega Genesis games. Although, how much extra backstory and character development is needed for something that has two modern games and a TV show remains to be seen.
Since the games and show are still a few weeks away from release, writer Ian Flynn and artist Evan Stanley have the task of introducing us to this new world called Big Boom. The characters, most of whom have been part of Sonic lore for a while now, sport new looks and personality traits to go with them. The most drastic changes are to Amy Rose and Knuckles. Now instead of simply being a pink hedgehog with a big hammer and massive fanatical crush on Sonic, Rose is a smart, sarcastic tactician with a big hammer; we get to see this early on as she organizes the gang in order to take down a giant Eggman robot. Knuckles, on the other hand, is now way more physically imposing, taller and bulkier and standing out from the other characters’ slender frames. As a trade-off he’s been dumbed way, way way down, to the point of aggressive stupidity.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is a comic for children. Some of the jokes that fall a little flat for me that might be better received by a ten-year-old. There’s one fourth wall joke dealing with character introductions and lettering that is made several times to the point where it loses effectiveness. There’s also a pretty inexplicable NSA wiretapping joke that still baffles me. The art, on the other hand, can be enjoyed by all, particularly the faces. Whether it’s a closeup or in the background, the characters are always emoting and reacting with very good detail. In one sequence that particularly struck me, you can see Knuckles’ face go from innocent shock to pure hatred after being berated by Amy for his stupidity. Of course, being a Sonic comic, the Blue Blur’s speed is pretty important to capture, and Evan Stanley does a good job of it. He doesn’t get to do much (some of Sonic’s action takes a back seat to accommodate the other characters) but you get to see him bouncing around an Eggman robot or speeding through the torso of a rock golem and it all looks very fast. And in the end, with Sonic, fast is all that matters.
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!