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.
Andrew Niemann is reading…
Steven Universe #1
Written by Melanie Gillman
Art by Katy Farina
Colored by Whitney Cogar
Lettered by Mike Fiorentino
“I’m a princess!”
Steven Universe is easily one of the best shows on television, and I’m excited for this new ongoing series from As the Crow Flies scribe Melanie Gillman and artist Katy Farina. There have already been a few enjoyable miniseries based on the beloved cartoon, but this promises to be a more episodic continuation tied into the show. The inaugural issue is set sometime during the middle of Season 3 when Lapis Lazuli and Peridot live together in a barn. It’s a sweet episode where Steven, Lapis, and Peridot find and raise a baby bird to adulthood.
Much of the show’s humor is retained due to Gillman’s grasp of the characters, specifically Peridot. Steven’s anxiety at trying to raise a baby bird clashes with Peridot’s determination to raise the bird into a weapon—with hilarious results. But it’s really Lapis who steals the show with her reassurance to Steven that loving something means eventually letting it go. Lapis is an underutilized character in the show and I love this non-moody aspect of her rarely seen. The art of course is evocative of the cartoon’s art design without aping it directly. I’m looking forward to more outings with the Crystal Gems or perhaps the other denizens of Beach City while waiting for that next Steven Bomb on Cartoon Network.
David Uzumeri is reading…
East of West #31
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Dragotta
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by Rus Wooton
“My desperation was convincing because it was real.”
We’re thirty-one issues into East of West, and while it hasn’t dropped in quality, it hasn’t exactly fit in the easy-to-digest six-issue-arc Saga mold, either. It’s an ensemble book with epic scope, but rather than juggling a large cast every issue, it does single-issue deep dives into an event, or a confrontation, or maybe a meditation on a common theme between two parallel narratives. This latest issue is no exception (and eerily timed considering the current real-world political state), cutting between the Oval Office of a tyrannical President and a freedom fighter cell hijacking a supply convoy.
It’s an opportunity for Dragotta and Martin to choreograph a high-octane train heist in the sky, which is a huge joy; Dragotta and Martin have always been hugely talented on their own, and over the course of the past few years they’ve developed the kind of symbiosis that basically means they’re willing to try, and capable of doing, pretty much anything. Sky-train heists obviously aren’t an exception.
It’s always weird checking in on a series like this, in the middle of its run, when it’s been so consistent: when creative teams have been on a certain rhythm for a long time, there’s a tendency to start taking it for granted. East of West is one of those books, and it’s nice to get such satisfying single issues at the point in an extended run where things are usually in danger of juggling so many plot threads each individual issue is unsatisfying. East of West: 31 issues and a guidebook later, it’s still really damn good comics.
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!