Your Deadshirt New Comics Shopping List for: March 4th, 2015

It’s Wednesday and that means new comics. Let Deadshirt steer your wallet in the right direction with reviews (and preview pages) of titles out today from Image, Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM! Studios, Archie, MonkeyBrain, Oni, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Action Lab, and more!

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Descender #1

Written by Jeff Lemire

Art by Dustin Nguyen

Lettered by Steve Wands



Two top quality names in comics team up to deliver some beautifully executed original science fiction. Descender explores familiar futuristic tropes, such as the dark speculation surrounding artificial intelligence, but the story remains fresh with Dustin Nguyen’s incredible art direction. In this universe, the future is peaceful and shiny—planets are aligned, cars fly, and robot companions are the norm. That is, until some Galactus-sized robot “Harvesters” attack each of the Core Worlds of the United Galactic Council, killing around half of the non-robot population and causing a rift between man and machine. Ten years later, the mystery of the Harvesters may finally be unraveled by a down and out roboticist and the curious lone survivor of a decimated mining colony.

Nguyen’s art is incredibly organic with its visible paper textures, and it’s almost surprising how successfully it compliments this technologically advanced cosmic story. The watercolors soften the hard sci-fi edges, but still deliver some spectacular splash pages with incredibly detailed spaceships floating above the curvature of a planet. The harmonious mash-up of vast futurism and traditional painting techniques creates a fairytale-esque feeling, especially when it’s condensed down into the character design of Tim-21, a robotic child companion who appears human until he breaks apart to reveal his mechanical insides.

This is a well-rounded first installment that manages to build a world and then destroy it while simultaneously introducing fully realized concepts and characters. The publisher’s summary calls this book a “rip-roaring” adventure, but after that epic first act, this issue is eerily quiet and grim. The final panel, however, promises some space mercenary action involving the remarkable robot boy (and his robot dog that goes “:3” when you pet it). Wherever this comic plans to take us next, be it an operatic space race, a Pinocchio retelling, the end of the world, or all of the above, I’m on for the ride.

– Sarah Register 

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Monster Motors: The Curse of Minivan Helsing #1

Written by Bryan Lynch

Art by Nick Roche

Colored by Leonard O’Grady

Lettered by Tom B. Long



This comic, you guys. This comic is unbelievable. I’m honestly stymied for what to write here. This is all good, by the way. I don’t think I’ve loved a first issue like this since Rumble, and Monster Motors might even edge that out for best debut I can remember. It’s a must-read.

The basic premise of Monster Motors is that over time, supernatural creatures evolved into living automobiles, armed with various gadgets and weapons. To keep up, monster hunter Abraham Van Helsing had his soul transferred to an indestructible war machine minivan, and now he and his daughter fight these Monster Motors with the help of conscripts Wheelwolf and Lagoon Buggy. They end up in a fight with greaser teen Victor Frankenstein and his Monster Motor, Frankenride, and then all hell breaks loose.

Every page of this comic is the best page of this comic. From snappy dialogue and good puns to hilarious, stylish artwork (making Frankenride a cab-over semi is inspired), it’s bursting with laughs and nice bits of action or design. It’s billed as a two-issue story, but I want more than that. I want an ongoing series, and a cartoon, and a video game, and those ice cream bars of the characters’ faces where the eyes are gumballs. This is seriously the most I’ve enjoyed a comic in a long time.

– Joe Stando 

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Nameless #2

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Chris Burnham

Colored by Nathan Fairbarn

Lettered by Simon Bowland

Logo and Design by Riah Hughes @ Device



The second issue of Nameless moves the story from supernatural mystery to full-on science fiction. A massive asteroid is on its way to destroy the Earth, and only a small team of experts can possibly stop it. The asteroid isn’t merely a hunk of rock; there is an alien intelligence at work guiding it. However, it may be something even more disturbing. A transmission from the rock has already driven one scientist on the moon murderously insane, and it’s up to Nameless, the mission’s occult expert, to translate it. Once he puzzles it out it’s difficult for anyone on the mission to believe him, and it may have already infected others on the base.

Morrison and Burnham are working big here: weapons of mass destruction leftover from a war in heaven are coming to destroy the planet, and the only people in it way mostly don’t believe in what it is. “It’s like the goddamn Exorcist meets Apollo 13!” says one character, and at a few times it’s like Morrison is taking the piss out of his own comic, laughing at how ridiculous it is. It’s shown in the book that either whoever is riding the asteroid (or the transmission that is emanating from it) has the ability to alter people’s perceptions, so it might be that larger parts of this comic are a fantasy the characters are inside.

Burnham doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to cut loose here, as most of the action takes place on a decades-old Russian moonbase that’s all dingy utilitarian hallways and cramped meeting rooms. However, he still has a few pages in which he uses some really cool panel layouts, moving away from standard rectangles with circular and capsule-shaped panels, though I’m still trying to figure out why he uses that effect on specific pages.

The comic hits on some of Morrison’s usual key themes, like old gods coming to cleanse the Earth and a small group of heroes who are the only ones who know The Truth that can stop them, but mixing sci-fi and magic here gives it a different flavor than Annihilator or The Multiversity. It’s fascinating to see a creator putting out three concurrently running series based on a similar theme while coming at it in different ways.

–Jason Urbanciz

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The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #38

Written by James Roberts

Art by Alex Milne

Colored by Joana Lafuente

Lettered by Tom B. Long



This issue is the conclusion to the epic “Elegant Chaos” arc, which started back in #35. As such, it’s not exactly a “new readers” story. It is a brilliant conclusion to possibly the best story James Roberts has ever written, and more unexpectedly, it takes on the task of wrapping up all of the extant plotlines and mysteries that have been seeded into MtMtE since its first issue in January 2012.

Considering that ambition, it is a little overstuffed, heavy on action and shuffling things around. But Roberts knows that readers are here for the characters, not the running and jumping. Several fans have correctly guessed certain elements of the ending, but no one has guessed exactly how and why it all happens. Once you read it, though, it seems impossible for it to have happened any other way.

“Elegant Chaos” is a Back to the Future-style story in which the crew of the Lost Light pursues one of their own through various events that led up to the Great War of the Autobots and Decepticons. As they proceed through various adventures, they find themselves questioning the motives of their quarry, as well as whether they are changing the past they know…or ensuring it.

While it seems redundant to call attention to Alex Milne’s brilliance once again, it did not escape my attention how he handles the story’s antagonist, who can seem either a bottomless well of menace or an innocent soul, despite being one of the robots with severely limited facial expression. And of course, Chromosome and Rewind—two ‘bots with only visors and faceplates—are the emotional beating heart of this series. There are many successful Transformers artists and writers, but once again the collaboration of Roberts and Milne has proved capable of unique pathos.

No MtMtE would be complete without meta-humor, and when all is said and done it’s used to leaven the intensity and irony of the climax. Roberts and Milne will make you cry over your childhood toys, but they’ll have you laughing out loud a few panels later, with a gracefulness and attention to the rhythm of the experience. This story arc purports to explain the entire history and purpose of the war between the Transformers, in all possible timelines, yet it still finds time to depict friends enjoying a movie together.

– Patrick Stinson

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Be sure to let us know what you picked up this week in the comments below, on Twitter or on our Facebook Page!

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