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 Kathryn Immonen
Art by Rich Ellis
Colored by Rachel Rosenberg
Lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino
“How many times can we be tested?”
With September being the 50th birthday of super-spy organization SHIELD, Marvel is putting out weekly one-shots focusing on some of the group’s most well-known characters. This week it’s Agent Peggy Carter. Wisely bringing in the creative team of Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis from the Peggy Carter-centric Original Sin tie-in Operation: S.I.N., Agent Carter is a fun comic book that leaves you wanting more. Peggy Carter is out of the spy game, but Dum Dum Dugan asks her up to the helicarrier to do him a favor. He has a prospective agent he’d like her to hang out with and let him know if she’s up to snuff. The new “agent” turns out to be the Asgardian goddess Sif (who Immonen previously wrote in Journey Into Mystery). Soon the helicarrier is exploding, Peggy and Sif are running for their lives and trying to figure out who is behind it all. Peggy and Sif make a great pair of buddy agents. This far in the past, Sif is very naive to the ways of Earth, which the creators mine for some light comedy. One problem with the comic is that it shifts tone rapidly towards the end, with Peggy having a crisis of self-doubt and getting kind of maudlin. It feels like this comic is two issues where they pulled out some of the middle pages to shorten it to a one-shot. It’s a shame, too, because this would be a great ongoing: the secret agent and her seven foot-tall goddess partner. Rich Ellis is a great choice to draw this book. His style feels animation-influenced, with a lot of Kirby in there, too. There’s a lot of conversation in the opening of the book, but he keeps it moving (aided by Immonen’s whip-smart dialog). He does some great work with sound effects; they meld seamlessly with the action happening around them, you don’t so much as read them but hear them in your mind. It’s great to see Marvel giving Peggy Carter more chances to shine in comics. With the second season of her television show hitting early next year, it’d be awesome for them to have even more on the stands for people to read if they want it. This comic is great fun and works well as a proof of concept that she can carry her own series (and more than just a one-shot).
Joe Stando is reading…
Written by Mike Costa
Art by Andre Araujo
Colored by Rachelle Rosenberg
Lettered by Joe Caramagna
“Who wants their butt kicked?!”
As someone who owns (I think) EVERY issue related to the “Spider-Verse” event, this book has been sort of odd for me. I’m glad we’re getting followup not only with Gwen but with Pavitr, Spider-UK and the rest, but tonally and visually, it’s a very different experience from the blockbuster event. This comic is sort of more jokey and lower-stakes than I’m used to, and spends much more time talking than fighting. That isn’t bad, per se, but it took some getting used to, and now that I’ve got a taste for the book, I’m sad it has to go so soon. Spider-Verse also wraps up in a way that’s a little too common among these tie-ins, which is that the heroes defeat the villains, tyranny falls, and the leads live whatever time they have left before Battleworld falls apart in relative happiness. This isn’t a bad ending, but it’s been done to death, and considering that all of these stories are going to be wiped away in a month or two anyway, I’d like to see a little more boldness. Let the villains win here and there! Require a great cost for victory! Granted, this is more general fatigue at the event (say it ain’t so!) than a criticism of this book, whose cast is slated to have their own ongoing post-Secret Wars anyway. But as it is, Spider-Verse had a satisfying enough finale and was a solid introduction to Araujo as an artist. I can’t really pin the blame for general fatigue on this book, which was a solid spotlight on Gwen and featured plenty of great villain designs (Scorpion especially). I’m excited to see where the characters go this fall, after the god damn Secret Wars are finally over.
Written by Tyson Hesse
Art by Tyson Hesse
Colored by Mariel Cartwright
Lettered by Jim Campbell
“Let’s put some sky behind us!”
Tyson Hesse’s Diesel, out from BOOM!’s Box imprint, is something special. An all-ages book that feels this lively and developed doesn’t come out every day, and I can’t stop singing its praises. Diesel follows Dee Diesel, a feisty engineer on the eve of her eighteenth birthday. Once Dee becomes an adult, she’ll inherit control of Peacetowne, the enormous flying island on which she and the rest of her town resides. Dee is much more focused on bossing people around and her plans to get rid of the current captain, Cap, than any actual ideas for ownership of the island, but her reverie is shaken when Peacetowne is attacked by a rogue airship. Dee is an incredibly likeable character. While she’s immature and can be bratty, it’s in a fun, endearing way. The “destiny” trope isn’t pushed too hard, and even the reveal of a special ability at the end of the issue doesn’t feel like standard YA fare. Visually, the book is stunning. Hesse’s art has always had an attractive, elastic sensibility about it, and the world he’s built here plays to his personal visual styles well. Peacetowne is reminiscent in some ways of a Miyazaki locale, but maintains a stronger weight. Characters and contraptions are bold and stocky, from Dee’s robot sidekick Rickets to her ill-fated “mouse trap” invention. It’s a style that lends itself well to exaggeration but can still carry subtler moments of emotion or big, explosive action.