Justice League 5

Originally Published January 27, 2012

may nobody question our nerddom againDC Comics recently relaunched their entire series, giving curious but uninitiated nerds a convenient entry point.  Fellow blogger Patrick Ehlers and I are two such nerds, and we’ve decided to jump in with a handful of monthly titles.  We really wanted to pull out all the nerd stops, so we’re also going to be writing about them here and on Patrick’s Blog (which you should all be reading anyway) every Friday.  This week, I’m hosting the discussion of Justice League, while Patrick is hosting the discussion of The Flash.

Drew: Last month, we talked a lot about our own expectations for the Justice League, and how they might be leading us to judge the title unfairly. After that discussion, I felt I had successfully re-calibrated my expectations for an action title with an ensemble cast, and was even looking forward to seeing the team come together against Darkseid this month. Overall, I’d say that I did enjoy this issue a bit more than the previous four, but it also put a finer point on what’s been bothering me about the title, as well as taking what I consider to be one huge character misstep.

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The Flash 5

Originally Published January 27, 2012

DC Comics recently relaunched their entire series, giving curious but uninitiated nerds a convenient entry point.  Fellow blogger Drew Baumgartner and I are two such nerds, and we’ve decided to jump in with a handful of monthly titles.  We really wanted to pull out all the nerd stops, so we’re also going to be writing about them here and on Drew’s blog (which you should all be reading anyway) every Friday.  This week, I’m hosting the discussion of The Flash while Drew is hosting the discussion of Justice League.

Patrick: More than just about any other series we’re reading, I believe that The Flash is excited about being part of a “relaunch.”  Everything about the character seems so new and unexpected, which is remarkable considering versions of the Flash have been around since the Golden Age.  Barry can do some incredible stuff by tapping into the Speed Force, but he’s constantly learning the limits and consequences of using this amazing powers.  Both Iris and Patty are active players in Barry’s life, but neither has settled into the roll of “The Flash’s Girl.”  There are frequent teases of obscure villains (like The Folded Man, Girder and Tar Pit), terrifying assertions of old villains’ power (Captain Cold laid Iron Heights to waste), and still the most sinister moment belongs to the brand new villain invented for this run.  It’s like there are limitless possibilities in all directions when it comes to this run of The Flash. Continue reading

Swamp Thing 1-5

Originally Published January 24, 2012

When fellow blogger Drew Baumgartner and I decided to drive head first into DC Comics’ New 52, we didn’t count on there being so many series that we’d like – never mind this many series that we loved.  To make up for lost time, here is a special Tuesday BONUS Edition of Patrick and Drew and the New 52.  I’m hosting the discussion of Swamp Thing while Drew is hosting the discussion of Batwoman.

Patrick: So frequently when we do these write-ups, I want to give my perception of the character before reading comics about them.  It’s sort of a way of communicating my base understanding to make sure the reader and I are on the same page, and it usually allows me to draw some parallel between what I expected of superheroes as a kid and what I expect of them now.  I have yet to determine if this approach is welcoming or narcissistic.  Certainly, it’s no more narcissistic than wasting a paragraph writing about my writing process Continue reading

Batwoman 1-5

Originally Published January 24, 2011

BONUSWhen fellow blogger Parick Ehlers and I decided to drive head first into DC Comics’ New 52, we didn’t count on there being so many series that we’d like – never mind this many series that we loved.  To make up for lost time, here is a special Tuesday BONUS Edition of Patrick and Drew and the New 52.  I’m hosting the discussion of Batwoman while Patrick is hosting the discussion of Swamp Thing.

Drew: It’s a blessing and a curse that Batwoman’s origin story (or at least part of it) won’t be able to stand the test of time. Sure, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a big step towards the equality and acceptance of gays in America, but it also dates Kate Kane in a way that I’m sure will require a revision in a few year’s time, just to keep her from seeming too old. This is truly lamentable, as Kate’s origin — both why she devoted herself to fighting international crime and the circumstances that forced her to don a mask to do so — is one of the most compelling of any superhero. In spite of it’s complexity, her origin story is actually summarized quite succinctly by the origin copy that runs the title page:

Kate Kane survived a brutal kidnapping by terrorists that left her mother dead and her twin sister lost. Following in her father’s footsteps, she vowed to serve her country and attended West Point until she was expelled under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Now she is many things: estranged daughter, grieving sister, proud lesbian, brave soldier, determined hero. She is Batwoman. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 5

Originally Published January 20, 2012

DC Comics recently relaunched their entire series, giving curious but uninitiated nerds a convenient entry point.  Fellow blogger Drew Baumgartner and I are two such nerds, and we’ve decided to jump in with a handful of monthly titles.  We really wanted to pull out all the nerd stops, so we’re also going to be writing about them here and on Drew’s blog (which you should all be reading anyway) every Friday.  This week, I’m hosting the discussion of Wonder Woman while Drew is hosting the discussion of Batman.

Patrick: I gotta say, I’m more than a little bummed out about the artist change for this month’s issue of Wonder Woman.  Tony Atkins by no means does a bad job with penciling this issue, but I was already so attached to Cliff Chiang’s versions of the characters that the switch is unsettling.  Aktin’s style embraces some of the cartoony qualities of the first four issues, but lacks the brutal charm Chiang milks out of his simple, more angular designs.  The issue gets by well enough, but the visuals in the earlier issues could have carried whatever material Brian Azzerello wrote, instead of dragging it down, as it does here. Continue reading

Batman 5

Originally Published January 20, 2012

may nobody question our nerddom againDC Comics recently relaunched their entire series, giving curious but uninitiated nerds a convenient entry point.  Fellow blogger Patrick Ehlers and I are two such nerds, and we’ve decided to jump in with a handful of monthly titles.  We really wanted to pull out all the nerd stops, so we’re also going to be writing about them here and on Patrick’s Blog (which you should all be reading anyway) every Friday.  This week, I’m hosting the discussion of Batman, while Patrick is hosting the discussion of Wonder Woman.

Drew:  I recently made a claim on my blog that, for me anyway, it is impossible to “spoil” a work of art by giving away the narrative. Part of this claim comes from the general predictability in the plotting of most stories, and part of this comes from the fact that I’m much more interested in how the story is told than the details of the story itself. What I hadn’t considered is that there could be benefit in not knowing how a story is going to be told; that the methods of the storytelling could be spoiled. It’s understandable that this hadn’t occurred to me — very few art forms feature methods that could have the kind of surprise visceral impact I’m talking about here — but after reading Batman #5, I’m going to be much wearier of spoilers in comics. Continue reading

Green Lantern 5

Originally Published January 13, 2011

may nobody question our nerddom againDC Comics recently relaunched their entire series, giving curious but uninitiated nerds a convenient entry point.  Fellow blogger Patrick Ehlers and I are two such nerds, and we’ve decided to jump in with a handful of monthly titles.  We really wanted to pull out all the nerd stops, so we’re also going to be writing about them here and on Patrick’s Blog (which you should all be reading anyway) every Friday.  This week, I’m hosting the discussion of Green Lantern, while Patrick is hosting the discussion of Batgirl.

Drew:  Sinestro is the worst. Which is to say, he’s the best, but he’s such a dick about it that you can’t help hoping he loses, or resenting the hell out of him when he wins. He’s always ahead of the curve, and is always a smug asshole about it. His manipulations run so long and deep that you can’t help but be surprised when you finally realize you’ve played exactly into his hand, which is always revealed with an attitude that takes the “ain’t I a stinker?” grin to a whole new level. He’s the worst. Continue reading

Batgirl 5

Originally Published January 13, 2012

DC Comics recently relaunched their entire series, giving curious but uninitiated nerds a convenient entry point.  Fellow blogger Drew Baumgartner and I are two such nerds, and we’ve decided to jump in with a handful of monthly titles.  We really wanted to pull out all the nerd stops, so we’re also going to be writing about them here and on Drew’s blog (which you should all be reading anyway) every Friday.  This week, I’m hosting the discussion of Batgirl while Drew is hosting the discussion of Green Lantern.

Patrick: DC loves to populate their version of the United States with invented cities.  Superman hails from Smallville and stomps around Metropolis.  The Flash protects Central City and it’s sister city Keystone.  Green Lantern calls Coast City home and has been personally responsible for both destroying it and rebuilding it (maybe a couple times by now).  Most of these cities act as generic New Yorks that can be scattered all over the country, and are generally unremarkable urban backdrops for our heroes’ great adventures.  But then there’s the wholly unique case of Gotham City. Continue reading

Nightwing 4

Originally Published January 6, 2011

may nobody question our nerddom againDC Comics recently relaunched their entire series, giving curious but uninitiated nerds a convenient entry point.  Fellow blogger Patrick Ehlers and I are two such nerds, and we’ve decided to jump in with a handful of monthly titles.  We really wanted to pull out all the nerd stops, so we’re also going to be writing about them here and on Patrick’s Blog (which you should all be reading anyway) every Friday.  This week, I’m hosting the discussion of Nightiwng, while Patrick is hosting the discussion of Aquaman.

Drew:  The biggest problem I’m having with the New 52 is that whatever title I’ve just read is always my favorite. Don’t get me wrong — if I could have any problem with the relaunch, this would be it — but it does occasionally make me insecure as a critic. Is my love for comics in general getting in the way of my ability to view them objectively? This isn’t really an issue I want to get into here, so I guess this is just a way of saying that, like Animal Man, Batman, Batgirl, The Flash, and Wonder Woman, I’m enjoying the hell out of Nightwing. Continue reading

Aquaman 4

Originally Published January 6, 2011

DC Comics recently relaunched their entire series, giving curious but uninitiated nerds a convenient entry point.  Fellow blogger Drew Baumgartner and I are two such nerds, and we’ve decided to jump in with a handful of monthly titles.  We really wanted to pull out all the nerd stops, so we’re also going to be writing about them here and on Drew’s blog (which you should all be reading anyway) every Friday.  This week, I’m hosting the discussion of Aquaman while Drew is hosting the discussion of Nightwing.

Patrick: Aquaman is poised to make a comeback.  Stacked, even.  Writer Geoff Johns and artist Ivan Reis know what everyone thinks of the character and they’re making a very specific effort to make him one of the great heroes in DC’s stables.  And these titans of the industry attempt to accomplish this by making Aquaman out to be a mighty force for good, a nearly invincible warrior that saves a seaside village from gang of roving fish-monsters. Continue reading