Saga 21

saga 21

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Saga 21, originally released July 23rd, 2014.

Shelby: it’s hard to watch something you love fall apart. Even if that something is a work of fiction, it can still break your heart just as fast (if not faster) than real life. I get very invested in the media I consume; anyone who’s watched a movie with me can attest to the fact I am frequently, literally on the edge of my seat at the climax of the movie. That’s how I find myself as we build toward the end of each arc in Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga: on the edge of my seat.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Time 2

tmnt in time 2Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Time 2, originally released July 23rd, 2014.

Drew: Last month, Patrick laid out the difference between time travel narratives that amount to fish-out-of-water stories and those that are actually about time travel — that is, those where the actions and repercussions of time travel are the point of the story. Turtles in Time 1 fell squarely into the first category, basically giving the Turtles an excuse to run around with dinosaurs for a while. It’s certainly a noble endeavor (and darn successful — we loved the heck out of that issue), but for a mini-series titled Turtles in Time, it seems only natural that the focus should shift back to the time travel itself, bringing all the concerns of causation and the space-time continuum to the fore as the Turtles encounter themselves pre-reincarnation in feudal Japan. Continue reading

Zero 9

zero 9Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Zero 9, originally released July 23rd, 2014.

Patrick: Violence. Abuse. Torture. Slavery. I just named, like, the four worst things in the world. They’re all awful on their own, but each act becomes unfathomably detestable the second you add the descriptor “sexual.” Sexual violence is so horrible, we don’t really know how to process it and we sure as shit don’t know how to talk about it. As a result, so much sexual assault gets swept out of our field of vision, even when we know full-well that it’s going on. The numbers vary wildly, but every study on reporting rape statistics suggests that a shocking number of sexual assaults go unreported. Studies also show that sexual assault, especially toward children, can trigger psychosis and schizophrenia later in life. It’s simply too much for brains to handle, which is why we tend to freak out whenever rape shows up in our pop entertainments. Ales Kot and Tonči Zonjić boldly express our inability to process these moments of pure, unadulterated horror in a breathtaking new installment of Zero. (spoilers for Zero 9 after the jump). Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 7/16/14

round upLook, 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, Patrick, Drew and Shelby discuss Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego 1, Batman Eternal 15, Robin Rises: Omega 1, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 36, Original Sin: Hulk vs. Iron Man 2, Elektra 4, Original Sin 6, Uncanny X-Men 23, Ms. Marvel 6, Nova 19, Silver Surfer 4, She-Hulk 6, Rat Queens 7 and The Wicked + The Divine 2.

slim-banner4Spencer: As many of you probably know (due to my extremely in-depth coverage), I recently attended my first Comic-Con. With that experience still fresh in mind, I have to say that Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego 1 feels like an uncannily accurate representation of the Comic-Con experience. I mean, sure, Wizard World is nowhere near as large as SDCC, and I am nowhere near as manic as Harley Quinn (I hope), but I can still relate to Harley’s various quests to meet creators, as well as to the suffocating crowds (which probably necessitated the eight different artists who contributed to this thing).  Continue reading

The Last Fall 1

last fall 1

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Last Fall 1, originally released July 16th, 2014.

Patrick: You know what’s wrong with the narrative in the Star Wars prequels? I mean, beyond “everything” — if you had to pin-point what’s so awful about the story itself, what overarching storytelling philosophy leads that series astray? I’m sure everyone has their own answer to this, but for me, the biggest culprit is Lucas’ refusal to make the interstellar conflict personal. All the motivating factors for going to war are tariffs and alliances — which could be effective if only our characters had some sort of relationship to how futile and trivial their efforts are. That’s a damn shame: there’s a lot of compelling mileage to mine from the futility of war. Tom Waltz and Casey Malone’s The Last Fall is set to explore just that thematic territory.

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Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 7/9/14

round upLook, 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 Drew discuss Grayson 1, Batgirl 33, Batman Eternal 14, Detective Comics 33, Superman Wonder Woman 10, Justice League United 3, Daredevil 5, Captain Marvel 5, All-New X-Men 29, Deadpool 31, Original Sins 3, Avengers 32, and Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm 1.

slim-banner4Spencer: I was recently discussing Grayson 1 with a friend of mine, a deeply devoted Nightwing fan who was worried about what DC had been doing with the character and especially about the decision to jettison his superheroic identity and turn Dick into a secret agent. My counterargument was that this book has so far been quite respectful of who Dick Grayson is, and I stand by that. Tim Seeley and Tom King depict Dick as compassionate, intelligent, humorous, and skilled, and pitting him against the Midnighter — an obvious stand-in for Dick’s mentor, Batman — is an excellent way to display just how competent Dick actually is. There’s been a lot of fuss about Dick using a gun, but Seeley and King actually use that same gun to reinforce that Dick’s morality is as solid as ever. Continue reading

Summer Hours

summer hours

“Vacation / All I ever wanted / Vacation / Had to get away.”

Vacation, The Go-Go’s

The number one reason we do Retcon Punch is because it’s fun. We like comics, and we like writing about comics, and that’s basically all that goes on here. “Fun” has been my driving force on all of this from day one. Whenever we approached a new challenge, the first question out of my mouth was always “okay, how do we have fun with this?” Putting together our daily discussions is also a lot of work. Like a lot. The Summer time brings a lot of changes to people’s schedules and priorities, and we’re in a place right now where the work-to-fun ratio isn’t playing about quite how we’d like it.

With that in mind, I’d like to announce that we’re transitioning into Summer Hours, which will mean significantly less coverage than usual. In fact, we’ve whittled down the next two months of releases to a list of absolute cannot-miss comics, and those are the only issues that we’ll be doing in-depth Alternating Currents for. We’re hoping to re-introduce weekly round-ups, so the breadth of coverage should still be there too, just not quite in the same way as it has been.

I want to thank all of our readers for sticking around with us during this time. July is Retcon Punch’s 30th month, and Drew and I have never taken any time off from the site. I’ve known people to get degrees in less time. Degrees! My hope is that we can all rally around the pieces that we will be posting and can keep an active dialogue there. If you’re reading this piece right here, that means that you are important to us. So thank you for your understanding, and your patience, and for talking about comics with us for however long you’ve been reading.

Also, just because we’re dialing down for a bit doesn’t mean that we’re not coming back. We’re going to be returning to a regular schedule after Labor Day, with more writers and a renewed sense of purpose. In the meantime, thanks for sticking with us, and here’s a list of the comics we’ll be talking about over the next two months:

Batman 33, Wonder Woman 33, Sex Criminals 7, Daredevil 6, Saga 21, Trees 3, Zero 10, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles In Time 2, Hawkeye 19, Outcast 2, Trees 4, Moon Knight 6, The Multiversity 1, Wonder Woman 34, Sex Criminals 8, Daredevil 7, Saga 22 and Original Sin 8

Comic release schedules being what they are, you can always check out Pull List to get more specific dates on when we’re posting about what.

Patrick Ehlers, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy’s Most Wanted 1 / Legendary Star-Lord 1

galaxy's most wanted 1Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy’s Most Wanted 1 and Legendary Star-Lord 1, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

Last week, we noted that the great Marvel Hype Machine has kicked into full gear where the Guardians of the Galaxy are concerned. Let’s be honest: while there’s a lot of non-specific good will built up towards Marvel Studio Movies, this is a completely untested property. That means fans of the comics are going to have to be amazing ambassadors, and to move these five characters up to the forefront of our minds, Marvel has kicked off three new series: one of which was Rocket Raccoon  — a high-profile release by a rock-star creator and featuring the prescribed breakout character from the movie. What about the other two?

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East of West 13

east of west 13

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing East of West 13, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

Shelby: It’s no secret ’round these parts how much I dislike the trope of “Two Heroes Meet For The First Time And Punch Each Other.” It’s such a transparent trick to introduce conflict to an issue, and is so often completely avoidable. I just feel like shaking these characters sometimes, and telling them if they just took two seconds to talk it out, the fake conflict would be gone and we could get back to the story. It’s rare for that sort of conflict to play out in a way that makes sense in the context of the issue; so rare, in fact, that when Jonathan Hickman uses it in the latest issue of East of West I didn’t even realize it.

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Moon Knight 5

Alternating Currents: Moon Knight 5, Drew and ShelbyToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Moon Knight 5, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

For most people, the shot’s stunning aspects will go unnoticed. And for the rest of us — at least for me, at any rate — they’re a distraction.

Mike D’Angelo on Children of Men

Drew: It’s funny to think about now, but I can remember a point in high school when I thought literary analysis was such a huge waste of time. Allusion, foreshadowing, symbolism, and any other literary devices were distractions that cluttered the actual enjoyment of the piece. It was years before I understood how ignorant that attitude was. In fact, it took hearing that same attitude from a peer that shook me into appreciating how much more depth of meaning we have access to thanks to analysis. Can being more aware of analysis pervert how we experience it? Maybe, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. That is, unless you allow your knowledge of analysis turn you into a total snob.

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