Deadpool 41

deadpool 41

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Deadpool 41, originally released January 28th, 2015.

Taylor: When someone mentions Deadpool to you, what’s the first word that comes to mind? Is it lunatic? Madman? Goof-off? Ask a fan to describe the titular character of the most recent run of Deadpool and you might get some of these same answers, but a few might throw in descriptors such as melancholy, complex, and heartwarming asshole. Wade Wilson is many things, and depending on how you read the series, he could be any of the things listed above. However, even though we’ve known Wade for a long time now, can any of us really say we know him? Taking into consideration that the man hardly knows himself, this question becomes even more confounding. Continue reading

Effigy 1

effigy 1

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Effigy 1, originally released January 28th, 2015.

Patrick: How many different police procedurals are on TV right now? Like a billion. (Don’t check my facts on that.) They’re all basically the same, and you can usually determine whodunnit by the order the characters are introduced (or by who’s the most prestigious guest star), so what’s the difference between them really? Perhaps intuitively, it’s the detectives themselves that make or break a detective show. The light sci-fi premise of The X-Files might have sold the series, but it’s the personalities of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully that give the series staying power. Tim Seely’s new series, Effigy, works extra hard to give us a clear and unique vision of our detective, so by the time the mystery finally hits, we’re already invested.  Continue reading

Batman 38

Alternating Currents: Batman 38, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batman 38 originally released on January 28th, 2015.

Drew: Fiction has a complex relationship with expectations. We want fiction to meet some expectations — that it should feature the conflicts and conceits pitched on the back cover, that it meets whatever network of expectations that might make it “believable” — but we also want it to defy others. The story of a farm girl suffering a concussion during a tornado may be believable, but it doesn’t capture our imaginations in the same way as the adventures she has when she thinks she’s whisked off to the magical land over the rainbow. Exactly how a story balances meeting and subverting our expectations varies from genre to genre, writer to writer, even moment to moment, but most stories seem to get the most mileage out of meeting our expectations just long enough to really surprise us when the unexpected hits. After three epic arcs of defying expectations, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman has an even more complex relationship with the expected, creating a situation where the surprises may very well be the expected norm to be subverted. Continue reading

Fables 148

fables 148
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Fables 148, originally released January 21st, 2015.

Once upon a time…

Traditional

Drew: Where would you say your story begins? Your first memory? Your birth? Your conception? Your parents’ first date? Their births? It’s easy enough to trace that back ad infinitum, as the circumstances that allowed you to become the person you are were set in motion at the very dawn of time. The same could be said of when your story ends. Is it your death? The death of the last person who knew you? Perhaps your mere existence influences events until the very end of time. Obviously, the scope of an individual story tends to be a bit narrower — infinite context is rarely necessary or informative — but what about the scope of all stories? The folklore origins of Fables have always given the characters a certain vintage of origin, and the modern-day setting gives them a certain end-date, but issue 148 finds important context stretching further in both directions, effectively widening the scope of the series to the narrative arc of the entire universe. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 1/21/15

round up

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Spencer and Patrick discuss Batman Superman 18, Batman Eternal 42, The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw 3, Spider-Woman 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 13, Scarlet Spiders 3, Elektra 10, The Legendary Star-Lord 8, Rocket Raccoon 7, and Guardians of the Galaxy 23.

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Spencer: Remember all those times Batman was paranoid and over-prepared, even going as far as to devise contingency plans to use against his friends and teammates? Greg Pak does, and in Batman Superman 18 he portrays them in a decidedly more positive light, not only using the Kryptonite embedded in Batman’s armor to uncover a major clue about “Superman’s Joker,” but also allowing Superman to be understanding, even a bit blase about the whole thing. Could that be because Batman is indeed the person Clark confides in the most, and who understands him the best? Pak makes a strong argument for it, rooting the issue in the bond between these two characters that once defined this title but also shining a light on Clark’s relationships with Supergirl and Lois Lane. Superman’s been fortunate enough to have had a number of excellent creators working on his titles lately (Snyder and Johns, among others), but for my money, Pak’s the one with the best handle on what makes the character, and especially his supporting cast, so compelling. Continue reading

Batman and Robin 38

batman and robin 38
Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Batman and Robin 38, originally released January 21st, 2015.

Mark: One of the complaints leveled at comic books is that nothing ever sticks. A character dies, only to be brought back at the next best opportunity. Damian was dead, but now he’s back. Reborn Damian has super powers, but it’s probably only a matter of time before he’s de-powered. Does the inevitability detract from what’s happening now? As a reader, that’s not something that’s ever bothered me. My only expectation/hope when reading a series is that individual arcs will be satisfying. Comic books are mini-rebooting between arcs all the time. If a good arc is followed by a bad arc, it doesn’t diminish what came before. 

Batman has had a lot of surrogate children over the years (it seems like recently we’re having a Robin graduation every year or so), but there’s obviously something unique about his relationship with Damian. It’s been a long journey to Damian’s resurrection, and finally seeing the Dynamic Duo back in action is a lot of fun. Still in the end, as much as this is sold as a new beginning, this issue is more of a concluding chapter to the Robin Rises saga. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 7

Alternating Currents: The Wicked and The Divine 7, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 7, originally released January 21st, 2015.

Drew: Religion is such a weird thing in comics. Both of the Big Two feature actual gods in their publishing line, which opens up a whole host of ontological questions — Did these gods play a role in the creation of the universe? How did they come to exist? — but these characters largely aren’t designed to answer religious questions. Just like Superman isn’t really about the existential questions raised by alien societies, the likes of Thor and Wonder Woman aren’t really about mythology — goddom is just another avenue to explain why your characters would have superpowers. It was easy for me to confuse The Wicked + The Divine with this type of story — neither is ultimately interested in the religious implications of having gods up and walking around — but as the series’ themes continue to solidify, it’s become ever more apparent that the powers don’t matter, either. “God” is just an exaggerated stand-in for “teen idol,” and given the way our society treats celebrities, it’s not that much of an exaggeration. Continue reading

Justice League 38

justice league 38

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Justice League 38, originally released January 21st, 2015.

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Michael: No one is 100% honest 100% of the time. We often present each other with “versions of the truth.” In Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi told Luke Skywalker that Darth Vader had murdered his father. After Luke figured out that Vader was the daddy, Obi-Wan justified his actions as telling the truth “from a certain point of view.” People withhold information from one another for a lot of reasons, but typically it’s to protect someone else or to protect yourself. Continue reading

Spider-Verse Team Up 3

spider-verse team-up 3
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Spider-Verse Team-Up 3, originally released January 21st, 2015.

Patrick: We’ve gotten to understand the rhythms of Spider-Verse pretty well at this point. Meet some Spiders; have some fun with them; there’s some meta-commentary; maybe someone dies; repeat until you’re no longer having fun. Spider-Verse Team-Up 3 subverts that trend, turning thematic patterns on their head and insisting that Spider-Verse is more nuanced and interesting than it ever let on. But is what we sacrifice in fun worth the extra depth? Continue reading

Loki: Agent of Asgard 10

loki 10

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 10, originally released January 21st, 2015. 

slim-bannerSpencer: “I’m sorry” is an incredibly powerful and versatile statement, capable of mending anything from minor transgressions to grand betrayals if used properly, but it’s not a cure-all. The wronged party has no obligation to accept an apology, and there are some rare occasions when an apology alone just isn’t enough — and sometimes an apology can even be selfish, such as if the guilty party apologizes simply to ease their own conscience rather than to make it up to their victim. In his long, infamous career Loki has tried out every kind of apology possible, and Al Ewing and Lee Garbett’s Loki: Agent of Asgard 10 finds the God of Mischief at his most sincere, but also apologizing for what might truly be an unforgivable offense. Has Loki used up the last of his goodwill? Does he even deserve to be forgiven? Continue reading