Your Deadshirt New Comics Shopping List for: June 10th, 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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X-O Manowar: Valiant 25th Anniversary Special #1

Written by Robert Vendetti

Art by Cafu

Colored by Brian Reber

Lettered by  Dave Sharpe

Cover Art by Cary Nord & Cafu



Fleeing from a war-torn planet, a man and his young daughter escape to the vastness of space. While she sleeps in stasis, he searches the galaxy for a planet where they can find peace. After decades of slumber, he awakens his daughter before they land on her new planet, one where she will finally know peace, but she will know it alone.

To celebrate their 25th anniversary, Valiant is finally telling the origin of Shanhara, the armor worn by the barbarian warrior X-O. The armor is the melding of plant, machine, and person, and was deposited on a planet where it could not meld with the inhabitants, thinking then it would be at peace. Unfortunately, the inhabitants saw its presence differently, and worshipped it as a god, conquering worlds in its name. Eventually, they took slaves from ancient Earth, one of whom was compatible with Shanhara, meaning doom for the empire.

Cafu’s art isn’t flashy, but it’s clean and effective. For a text-heavy comic, the script still gives him a lot of opportunity to tell the story through the art. Looking at it again, a good portion of the story could be wordless and still be told just as effectively. I particularly love how he opens his panel layouts up a few times in the book to better show the quick passage of time, giving the story a frenetic, kinetic style for those few pages.

I’ve been keeping up with X-O since Valiant’s relaunch a few years ago, and this special is an interesting look back into some of the unexplained history of the series. For people who haven’t been keeping up, it’s an interesting introduction into the world of that book, and indeed the entire Valiant Universe.

– Jason Urbanciz

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Starve #1

Written by Brian Wood

Art by Danijel Zezelj

Colored by Dave Stewart

Lettered by Clayton Cowles



If you’re like me and have an unhealthy addiction to binge watching The Food Network, you’re bound to find satisfaction in Brian Wood’s extreme cooking show, Starve. The comic’s creative team delivers a dark, dirty, and cluttered dystopia where the world has frankly gone to shit and the disparity between the ever-growing masses of the poor and the select one-percenters is even more exaggerated than our present reality. In years past, renowned chef Gavin Cruikshanks hosted a travelogue show where he sampled food and cooking techniques around the world. Since his departure, the Network (yes, just “The Network”) has bastardized his vision into a smash hit reality show that pits chef against chef in a competition to see who can craft the foods of the poverty-stricken (the “common meat”) into five star dishes even the wealthy elite would salivate over. It turns out that Gavin is still under contract, and the Network execs come to collect and throw the ex-chef back in the ring.

Despite that theme of preparing mouth-watering food, there’s nothing appetizing about the art in this comic, and I mean that in a good way. The grimey look of the comic directly contradicts the image of sterile fine cooking, giving an overall sense of distaste and feeding into the elements of this dystopian world. People and their environment are heavily lined and shaded; the colors are drab and dark, as if the sun can’t even shine through the grit and smog. Likewise, Gavin is gaunt and looks like he could use a shower, ironic for a guy who cooks for a living, but fitting for his current alcoholic-saturated and bitter state of being. Honestly, the only pretty thing in the comic is Gavin’s smiling daughter, Angie, who becomes her father’s image of hope, but her beauty and symbolism don’t bode well for her well-being.

So far, this extreme cooking show concept still feels like, well, a regular cooking show. The main difference, in this case, is the society that consumes it. It’s not yet clear what the stakes will be if Gavin wins or loses, but surely it will have an impact on the poor masses of people who watch him compete. It’s difficult to take this comic too seriously, especially with Gavin’s heavy-handed, almost noir inner monologuing, but I think a little bit of levity is a nice touch. After all, this is basically Chopped meets The Hunger Games. It’s junk food in the guise of high brow comic book writing, and that’s exactly why it works.

– Sarah Register

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Harrow County #2

Written by Cullen Bunn

Art and Lettering by Tyler Crook

Dark Horse


Harrow County #2 picks up right where the first issue left off, and continues to be a thrilling, macabre story of fate and fear. Emmy continues to demonstrate both a worrisome inclination towards haints and supernatural powers and a caring, thoughtful demeanor. Her dream, another grotesque Technicolor nightmare, draws an even bolder line between motherhood and witches, while hinting at her true parentage and origin. I had expected a somewhat slower build to the main conflict, to be honest, with a little more of the seemingly slow and amicable Harrow County life. But Bunn and Crook make the most of the downtime they have left in this issue, with plenty of gorgeous, ominous backgrounds overlaid with vivid prose.

There’s honestly not a lot else to say about Harrow County, except that it continues to be both and elegantly thoughtful musing on fear and our baser instincts and understandings of the world, as well as a vibrant piece of rural backwoods horror. I’m glad to see it remains strong and have high expectations for the rest of the arc.

– Joe Stando

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Nameless #4

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Chris Burnham

Colored by Nathan Fairbairn

Lettered by Simon Bowland

Logo and Design by Rian Hughes



This month’s installment of space horror comic Nameless continues the fucked up In-The-Space-Mountains-of-Madness rollercoaster ride kicked off at the end of last issue. Our nameless protagonist and mission leader Sofia are seemingly the sole survivors of their shuttle’s crash into the haunted asteroid of Xibalba. Or maybe they survived the mission and it’s all a dream. Or maybe they’re dead and their souls are being pissed on in Hell by grotesque demons. It’s not completely clear what’s happening, and that’s the fun part. Morrison and Burnham have arrived at the haunted house portion of their horror story, and they’re hitting us with everything they’ve got. Maggots with a woman’s face pouring out of that same woman’s head? Floating, possessed astronauts? Morrison’s penchant for challenging storytelling really works here because, just as the characters can’t trust what we’re seeing, neither can we.

Nameless has really felt like a vehicle for Burnham’s artwork and he really lets loose here. This is a comic that manages to perfectly shuffle a dynamic space disaster sequence, trippy trans-dimensional horror interludes, and intricately designed tarot cards in 32 pages, like one of those huge sandwiches Scooby-Doo eats. Burnham’s visuals hang together beautifully thanks to his use of dynamic panel construction which evolves throughout the issue. As nightmares go, Nameless #4 is an especially spooky one.

– Max Robinson

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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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