DC Speechless is a series of stories that really does what it says on the tin, it really allows the art to do the talking with absolutely no dialogue.
Bizarro (2015) artist Gustavo Duarte writes, pencils and inks the charming little series and the Brazilian illustrator with a cartoonist flare sets a new DC character every issue on an 11-paged, pantomime adventure. The third issue, released last week, stars Superman.
With the pacing of a newspaper comic, tone of a MAD magazine, and style of a cartoon, Duarte takes the Man of Steel on a comedic adventure of dirty laundry and Kaiju-sized bugs. The story, appropriately titled “Bugs” Superman takes on a mutated bug at a Lexcorp lab. With great ease honestly, Duarte really nails the action scenes here in a charming minimalist way, even without onomatopoeias. He dirties his suit in the process and that opens a whole other can of worms (pun intended).
Like most of Duarte’s “written” works, DC Speechless #3 doesn’t rely on written words at all. For him, the storytelling is all in the expressions, body language, and classic comic book action. Cartoon art styles allow for greater expression and emotional exaggeration. Duarte’s illustrations are a charming mix of Bill Watterson and Riley Rossmo and not only does he get Superman cartoonishly right, but he also does a fair share of casual Clark Kent.
The story itself is brief with not too many visual gags like you may expect, but Duarte’s art carries it through. The previous issues with Harley Quinn and Cyborg were more amusing, but Superman has always been the straight man in nearly every comedic scenario.
DC Speechless #3 is a fun little story which shows a comedic and cartoonistic side to Superman. It’s available on DC Universe Infinite as a digital exclusive right now and will be released in physical print later this year.