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…
Batman/Elmer Fudd #1
Written by Tom King
Main story art and cover color by Lee Weeks
Back up story art by Byron Vaughns
Colored by Lovern Kindzierski (main story) and Carrie Strachan
Lettered by Deron Bennett
Published by DC Comics
“Everywyone catches it, Bugs. It ain’t youwr fault. There’s a buwitt at the end of all owur stowies.”
There’s a new Tom King-written, Lee Weeks-drawn Batman story this week and you better believe it’s about Elmer fucking Fudd trying to murder Batman. The DC/Looney Tunes crossover one-shots have been surprisingly solid, and Batman/Elmer Fudd continues that trend with a stupid-clever Sin City riff where Elmer Fudd is basically a mumble-mouthed Marv. It’s essentially a pretty straightforward Batman comic but with a barrage of hyper-winking Looney Tunes gags. Scummy bar patrons who happen to resemble certain famous cartoon characters? Check. A thematic device that revolves around “Rabbit Season/Duck Season”? Check. A straight-up reveal where Silver St. Cloud stands in for Bugs Bunny’s classic beautiful lady disguise? That’s there too, bud. Props to King for committing wholeheartedly to insanely broad, dumb schtick for an entire script.
Even if jokes about Batman punching a biker Yosemite Sam in face or yelling at a human Taz aren’t your bag, Lee Weeks’ art in the main story is stunning and definitely some career-best work. Sequences like the aforementioned Porky’s bar brawl or Batman’s close quarters dodging of a shotgun blast are kinetic and breathtaking. It’s a genuinely excellent looking Batman comic that just happens to be about a sleazy Bugs Bunny framing Bruce Wayne for “mwurder”.
While the more classically Looney Tuney backup is pretty disposable, watching King and Weeks do one big beautiful spit take of a Batman comic is well worth the price of admission.
Kayleigh Hearn is reading…
Jean Grey #3
Written by Dennis Hopeless
Art by Victor Ibanez and Al Barrionuevo
Colored by Jay David Ramos and Dono Sanchez-Almara
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham
“But the Phoenix…it burned you just the same.”
The Phoenix is coming! The Phoenix is coming! And the teenage, time-traveling Jean Grey will do everything in her power to stay out of that big space chicken’s cosmic claws. Jean Grey #3 continues Jean’s search for guidance from all the world’s living Phoenix hosts, and takes her under the sea (cue The Little Mermaid soundtrack) to team up with Namor The Sub-Mariner.
Namor and Jean make great foils for one another, and the issue gets a lot of mileage out of contrasting Namor’s smug, imperial attitude with Jean’s idealistic enthusiasm. Of course, the comic’s very premise is an awkward reminder of how bloated the Phoenix’s mythos has become over the years—Namor, the underwater fish guy, getting cosmic fire bird powers will always be funny to me—and the characterization of the Phoenix as almost a supernatural horror movie villain feels reductive. While I’m usually in favor of Dennis Hopeless’s characterization of Jean, her inner voice skates into “generic quippy teen” territory. (“Would Jean really make a Conan the Destroyer reference?” is my totally pedantic comic reader thought of the day.) Still, the underwater setting is a fun new environment, and I’m endlessly glad to read a young Jean Grey story that doesn’t revolve around half the baby X-Men having crushes on her.
Jean Grey #3 is a stunningly engaging comic to read, thanks to art by Victor Ibanez and layouts by Al Barrionuevo. They excel at portraying the ocean depths as a hostile, even alien environment filled with kaiju-esque sea beasts, and the book is full of visual treats like Jean telekinetically punching a kraken and cute details like the Xs on her canary yellow flippers. Jean Grey is one of the best looking X-books on the stands right now, and even if it feels like Marvel Team-Up Featuring Jean Grey (next issue: Odinson!) it features plenty of spectacle and adventure.
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!