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…
Dark Days: The Forge #1
Written by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder
Art by Andy Kubert, John Romita Jr. and Jim Lee
Inked by Klaus Janson, Scott Williams and Danny Miki
Colored by Alex Sinclair with Jeremiah Skipper
Published by DC Comics
“There’s more spooky crap in this place every time I visit”
WHAT IS….THE DARK MULTIVERSE? What soul-shattering secret has Batman been hiding from the rest of the DCU? Dark Days: The Forge doesn’t really answer these questions, but what we do get is reasonably intriguing. While Marvel continues to lean hard on big line-wide events, DC has pulled back and stuck with smaller crossovers (like the recently wrapped “The Button” storyline in Batman and The Flash), Dark Days is meant to lead into a Snyder and Capullo’s self-contained six issue Metal limited series, plus a small host of connected spin-off titles. Not much happens in this one-shot, but as far table setting in superhero epics go, it’s quite fun.
The fun of The Forge—which finds Batman, Green Lantern and others investigating the presence of an extradimensional metal from outside reality—lies in how Snyder and Tynion are throwing classic DC characters out of their usual element (no pun intended). Neither writer is a stranger to writing Batman, but this Batman, who rescues scientists in big lava-proof mechs and actually apologizes to Superman, is genuinely afraid of what may lurk on the other end of a vast interdimensional conspiracy. Similarly, Green Lantern (Hal, for this story) is surprised to find that the secret off-the-books mission the Guardians of the Universe have dispatched him on leads to a *secret Batcave* within the Batcave. The audacious high concept mysteries introduced here are along the lines of an episode of Lost, up to and including the hilariously dramatic reveal of a long lost Justice Leaguer. Everything about The Forge feels, appropriately, very big and Summer Blockbuster in scale even if it’s just a taste of a bigger story yet to come.
The Forge is a jam between three of DC’s best and biggest artists and, overall, the transitions between them aren’t too jarring. John Romita Jr. really shines here, with particular visual panache in his depictions of Bruce’s pitch black Black Ops Batcave and a seemingly cavernous Fortress of Solitude (with special credit to Sinclair and Skipper for the use of color in the “lighting” of these sequences). Lee draws a wonderful kick in the face that reminds you, oh yeah, this guy made his name on fight scenes, while Kubert walks in his dad’s footsteps on some very memorable Hawkman-centric pages.
I’m not sure where The Forge or Metal is going or if the setup painstaking laid down in this issue will measure up to the inevitable answers we get. But the crew behind The Forge seem to get that a cosmic superhero mystery like this needs to go big or go home. And that’s definitely that’s a good thing.
David Uzumeri is reading….
All-New Wolverine #21
Written by Tom Taylor
Penciled by Leonard Kirk
Inked by Cory Hamscher and Terry Pallot
Colored by Michael Garland
Lettered by Cory Petit
“Because my body looks like the wax figures of Churchill and Hitler melted together into a perfectly fused artistic representation of their animosity.”
All-New Wolverine has been a really fun, funny and sometimes very affecting comic, with likeable characters, a solid high concept, and art that’s always emphasized character acting and storytelling over flash and style. It’s probably been my favorite Marvel book for the past year or so, a genuine joy to read every issue. But this is probably the book’s best.
It’s a simple high concept: due to plot machinations that were interesting in earlier issues but don’t really have any effect on the present narrative, Wolverine’s stuck on Roosevelt Island and the entire population is infected with a virus that only her healing factor—through skin contact—can cure. It’s a pretty basic messiah-heals-the-sick narrative, except for the fact that here, the messiah is a clawed angel of death, and that ironic imagery goes a long way as the entire extended Wolverine family joins in to help heal the sick like a troupe of trendy murder Jesuses.
Leonard Kirk sells it in the art: Wolverine and company go from healthy to haggard, and it’s taking a clear physical and emotional strain on them. However, they’re going on and remaining hopeful and, most remarkably, humorous, even if it’s gallows humor. I’m making this sound like a real downer of an issue, but while it’s affecting it’s also incredibly goddamn funny, and I think Tom Taylor proves his Deadpool chops pretty thoroughly in these pages—Duggan’s current run is fantastic, but I think he’d be great at picking up that up afterwards.
Much like the entire run to date, this issue is on that exact razor’s edge between twee humor comic and overly poetic drama that very very very few books can pull off and make look organic. It’s a fantastic summation of the themes of a great run to date, and ends on an exciting cliffhanger that leaves me hyped as hell for what’s to come.
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!