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.
Max Robinson is reading…
Green Arrow: Rebirth #1
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Otto Schmidt
Lettered by Nate Piekos
“How can you fight The Man…if you are The Man?”
Blame JT Krul’s massively unreadable run or the bleedover influence of CW’s Arrow, but let’s face it: it’s been about a decade since we’ve gotten a Green Arrow comic that really felt like a Green Arrow comic. Green Arrow: Rebirth isn’t just one of the many superhero titles covered under DC’s line wide course correcting/apology tour, it’s a long overdue recalibration of one of DC’s flagship characters. With this issue, newcomers Percy and Schmidt deliver a very enjoyable Green Arrow comic that wears its influences on its sleeves.
Pretty much from the get-go, Percy positions Oliver Queen as a very literal Social Justice Warrior in his old stomping grounds of Seattle. Is that corny? Absolutely. Is that 100% on-brand for Green Arrow? You bet. In press for the book, Percy cited the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow as an influence, and scenes like Black Canary comparing our hero’s negligent care of Seattle to his pisspoor guardianship of “that heroin-addicted partner you had” are exactly that kind of bombastic comic book melodrama. If GL/GA was centered on calling out Hal Jordan’s strawman ’70s white dude politics, then Rebirth recenters its sights on the woke rich guy hypocrisy of Green Arrow himself. After years of dour stories of Green Arrow as “Batman with arrows,” it’s refreshing to have a story that positions Oliver Queen as a wisecracking loudmouth trying to do right by Seattle’s most vulnerable with the guilt that maybe he isn’t doing enough. While the story itself—a done-in-one of Green Arrow and Black Canary taking down a human trafficking ring—isn’t anything to write home about, Percy’s ease with these two characters and how they interact forgives a lot.
Otto Schmidt’s art here is outstanding, very reminiscent of Sean Murphy’s work on books like Batman while very distinctly his own style. I really dug how much character he gives Seattle and his use of color here is subtle but really pops. In particular, the pages set in “The Jungle” (a deep woods homeless camp) is just a beautiful sequence set in cool blues and greens. DC’s Emerald Archer is reborn, and he’s never looked better.
Andrew Niemann is reading…
Batman: Rebirth #1
Written by Scott Snyder & Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin
Colored by June Chung
Lettered by Deron Bennet
“You’re crazy. You know that, right?”
Batman: Rebirth accomplishes three daunting tasks in just one issue. First, it sets up the major characters and plot threads for both King’s Batman and Snyder’s All-Star Batman later this year. Calendar Man, an underused Batman rogue, is coming back in a major way and given a new power set (I think) in the process. I’ve always found Calendar Man to be creepy anyway, so making him a horrifying version of the old folks from Cocoon successfully reframes the character for me. The addition of Duke from We Are Robin as Batman’s new partner is also a nice touch, and I’m curious to see what his namesake will be based on in his new costume.
Additionally, this collaborative story between Snyder and King is a successful passing of the torch. As a fan of King’s spy thriller Grayson, I certainly was thrilled by the image of a sweat-glistening Bruce Wayne dangling from a skyscraper helipad. I’m definitely going to miss Capullo on art, but Janin does a stellar job, inserting some much-needed color in Gotham’s often dreary landscapes.
Finally, I think this one-shot successfully returns to what makes Batman work. Due to Calendar Man’s weather machine, Gotham experiences all four seasons in one week and, in turn, we experience all the seasons of Bruce Wayne. This Bruce is still a brooder but also seems happier and more youthful somehow, and honestly it’s a good fit for him. He’s “trying something new,” but in doing so he’s still the Bruce Wayne we love and admire.
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!