Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Manhattan Projects 12, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Oh my God. Oh my God! Oh my God! The whole time? The whole time, you were – THE WHOLE TIME?!
-Sally Field as Miranda Hillard Mrs. Doubtfire
Drew: I love a good twist. Nothing is better than being surprised by a narrative — especially with something that fundamentally shifts the paradigm of the story. Of course, it’s possible to go too big with a twist — if you change the foundation too much, you run the risk of invalidating the emotional connections based on that foundation. Obviously, it’s difficult to bring up examples without spoiling some big twists, which hopefully explains the epigraph — by the climax of Mrs. Doubtfire Sally Field’s character is basically the only person that doesn’t know Robin Williams is her nanny, but that doesn’t negate her growing sense of betrayal as she realizes that this was the case THE WHOLE TIME. I had a similar reaction as Manhattan Projects 12 reveals that Fermi isn’t the character we think he is. When Harry reveals that he knows Fermi is an alien at the end of Manhattan Projects 11, Patrick and I were touched — we saw their friendship as the sweet story of two outsiders who found each other. In issue 12, Jonathan Hickman rips that still-beating heart out through our eye-holes, and lets us know that it was all a lie, anyway. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Green Lantern Corps 21, originally released June 11th, 2013.
Patrick: Any comic series you’re going to read from the Big Two publishers is going to be something of a Frankenstein monster. In an editor-driven system, even the most auteur creators have to construct their stories by committee. And that’s great: there’s no way a single mind would have the time or patience to construct all these stories on their own. Plus, collaboration yields kick-ass art, and the one-man comic creation is the incredibly rare exception. The latest incarnation of Green Lantern Corps has a tall family tree, with prestigious branches like Peter Tomasi and Alan Moore, but it also has a confusing mishmash of fathers — after Josh Fialkov walked off the series, Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti (he’s credited as “co-pilot”) constructed a story for which Van Jensen wrote the script. It’s no wonder that first issue for the new creative team is a jumble of interesting ideas and characters, impossibly focused on both embracing and escaping the past. It’s a mess, but sort of a charming one. Continue reading →
Between the commercial success of a near-constant stream of Marvel Studios Avengers movies and the critical success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, there are impossible expectations for Man of Steel. Expectations like reigniting the public’s love for Superman; expectations like launching a blockbuster film franchise; expectations like being any good in its own right. Zach Snyder’s Superman slug-fest has a lot to accomplish. Does it achieve any of that? Welcome to the Chat Cave.
Drew: Like many comics fans, I was incredibly excited by the teaser trailer for this movie. In spite of the trailer’s own prominent reminder that Zach Snyder directed both Watchmen and 300, it felt like this movie got Superman. Indeed, the trailer trades in Snyder’s standard embarrassing music cues and slow-motion punches for meditative statements about Superman’s power as a symbol. Between story credits by Dark Knight Trilogy scribe David S. Goyer and director Christopher Nolan, I dared hope that Man of Steel might be to Superman what The Dark Knight films were to Batman: an operatic drama that understands the defining nature of the hero.
Today, Scott and Spencer are discussing Nightwing 21, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Scott: Obsession can be a very dangerous thing. For Superheroes, letting emotions dictate the decisions they make often muddles the line between justice and personal satisfaction. Dick Grayson is obsessed with Tony Zucco, a man he rightly feels deserves punishment for murdering Dick’s parents. But Dick has shown that he will go to any lengths to get to Tony, even if it means compromising many of the things Nightwing stands for.Nightwing 21 finds Dick Grayson venturing further into the realm of moral ambiguity, with implications as fascinating as they are frightening. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Deadpool 11, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Ethan: Stories have to follow a lot of formulas — rising action, tension, struggle, resolution. Comics are often even more constrained — extraordinary people, powers, and villains combine to make extraordinarily predictable outcomes. Familiarity sells. But while you could say a lot of horrible things about Deadpool — and they’d all be true — if there’s one thing that he is NOT, it’s conventional. Maybe it’s because his superpower has more to do with the basic act of survival rather than leaping a building in a single bound; maybe it’s because he’s just a bastard of a guy who lucked out with the world’s most impressive healing factor. Maybe it’s because he’s Canadian. I dunno. Either way, he’s up to his eyeballs in demonic intrigue right now, so perhaps the standard operating procedures wouldn’t be the best fit anyway. As he continues his contract with Vetis, hunting and killing superpowered humans who sold their souls for their abilities, writers Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan continue to entertain while Wade Wilson continues to backstab his way to freedom.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Suicide Squad 21, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Ales Kot completely blew me away with issue 20 of Suicide Squad, giving fans of the original series a taste of what made it so great, while completely reinvigorating the New 52 version of the book. With issue 21, Mr. Kot has blown me away again (along with a few security guards) and has delivered another absolutely thrilling entry. Best of all, Kot manages to continue his course correction of the character Harley Quinn by brilliantly using her to fix yet another troubled character of the New 52: Amanda Waller.
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Constantine 4, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Patrick: For all it’s crude early-90s wordplay and carefully constructed explorations of popular culture, the greatest strength of the movie Clerks is Dante’s refrain “I’m not even supposed to be here today.” The indignity of living his life is made all the worse when we realize there’s no escape for the poor guy, even on his day off. It’s like the universe is only happy when Dante’s stuck behind the register at the Quick Stop. Just as the DC Universe is only happy when John Constantine is up to his neck in charms, angry wizards and grifter-assassins. It turns out magic doesn’t take a holiday, even when Johnny needs it so badly. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Batman 21, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Spencer: Two gunshots ring out in a dark alley. A string of pearls falls to the ground. Sound familiar? It should — Batman’s origin story is one of the best-known and most beloved in comic book history. It’s been told and retold countless times, and while many of these stories are flat-out classics – Year One, Batman Begins, Mask of the Phantasm – one still wonders: Is another Batman origin story really necessary? Can Batman’s origin still be retold in a fresh way that doesn’t rehash or invalidate those earlier stories? The jury’s still out on the first question, but in Batman 21, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo prove that they’re capable of telling a Batman origin story the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Superman Unchained 1, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Drew: When DC began its New 52 experiment in 2011, they made a point of putting their best foot forward. The first issue (and ostensibly their flagship title), Justice League 1, featured one of comicdom’s most popular writers paired with one of its most popular artists. It’s a bit strange that they would repeat the same big guns formula (even going so far as to tap Jim Lee again) for an entirely new title in Superman Unchained. Of course, the way the title features the standard Superman logo with “unchained” incongruously typeset below suggests that this isn’t so much a new title as it is the Superman DC wishes it could publish if it weren’t tied (chained, if you will) to Scott Lobdell. But here I am reading between the lines on the cover. What about what’s inside? Continue reading →