The Flash 0

Today,  Patrick and Drew are discussing The Flash 0, originally released September 26, 2012. The Flash 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Patrick: This issue is essentially the two discrete pieces of Barry Allen origin story that you might already be familiar with. DISCRETE PORTION A: Barry’s mother was murdered when he was a child. His father was arrested for the crime and Barry became a forensic scientist in the hope of catching the real killer and clearing his father’s name. DISCRETE PORTION B: Barry is struck with lightning and doused with chemicals, transforming him into the Fastest Man Alive. Previously, Geoff Johns’ The Flash: Rebirth attempted to dovetail these discrete story points mythologically — and that’s the best tool in his tool box, so I can’t fault him for using it. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, revisit these moments and connect them emotionally. It is a story at once more sensible, more compact and more powerful. Continue reading

Before Watchmen – Ozymandias 3

Alternating Currents: Ozymandias 3, Drew and Shelby B4WToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Ozymandias 3, originally released September 26th, 2012. Ozymandias is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Drew: Part of what made me so resistant to the idea of a Watchmen prequel series is my immense respect for the  original series. Not that it was a sacred cow — though, arguably, it is — but that anything that failed to meet that very high level of respect for the material would feel inherently disrespectful. I understood that maintaining that level of respect would be incredibly burdensome to creators, narrowing narrative possibilities to a knife’s edge. To my surprise, many titles have not only matched my respect for Watchmen, but have exceeded what I thought would be possible while doing so. Other titles have not fared as well, failing to justify their own existence, or — worse yet — failing to hold the source material in the proper esteem. Ozymandias has managed two issues without falling firmly into either category, and while issue 3 falters a bit, I’m still unsure if it is a success or a failure. Continue reading

Aquaman 0

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Aquaman 0, originally released September 26th, 2012. Aquaman 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Shelby: Geoff Johns is a big picture kind of guy. When he gets an idea, it’s a big idea. This plays out well in trade paperback collections of his story arcs, when you can read them in great big chunks. It doesn’t always work so well in the monthly issues; when a huge story is dragged out over months, the pace slows and it’s hard to keep that big picture in your mind. I think Johns found a solution to the problem: just write an issue with a story so big it spans all the oceans, treat it like the opening scenes of a movie, and give your artists plenty of elbow room.

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Batman Incorporated 0

Alternating Currents: Batman, Inc 0, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batman Incorporated 0, originally released September 26th, 2012. Batman Incorporated 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Drew: Up until the relaunch of Batman Incorporated, I had read the entirety of Grant Morrison’s Batman Epic in trades. At the time, I lacked the resources of a comprehensive guide to the entire run, so I didn’t exactly read the whole thing in order. I’d start in the middle and work my way in either direction; I’d hop to another trade and need to close the gap between the two. That non-intuitive reading order only exacerbated Morrison’s famous obliqueness, leading to some incredibly disorienting reading experiences. Since then, I’ve re-read everything in proper order, allowing me to understand the current run with surprising ease. I was happy to be conversant in what Morrison was doing, but a little part of me missed that sense of suspended animation, waiting for things to click into place. I was a little happy, then, to find a few fleeting moments of that confusion in this issue, though I suspect not everyone will be.

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Green Lantern: New Guardians 0

Alternating Currents: New Guardians 0, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Green Lantern: New Guardians 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Green Lantern: New Guardians 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Drew: Green Lantern subverted our expectations for zero month, delivering an origin story for a brand new Green Lantern, but one that cleverly fits within the overall narrative of the series. As DC’s Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns likely played a key role in determining if and when the event took place, so it’s understandable that he would come up with something that was largely an exception to the rule, both in terms of narrative elegance and the concept of a “before issue #1″ story. What’s brilliant about Green Lantern 0 is that it really couldn’t have been any other story — Johns killed the hero in the previous issue, eliminating much narrative interest in returning to his past. Green Lantern: New Guardians 0 pulls a very similar trick, but as a team title, it doesn’t need to go through the trouble of “killing” the hero — simply dissolving the team will do just fine. Continue reading

Catwoman 0

Today, Shelby and (guest writer) Heath Gordon are discussing Catwoman 0, originally released September 19th, 2012. Catwoman 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Shelby: I really want to like Catwoman. I’ve always been intrigued by the “villain of convenience,” that one character who does what he wants; sometimes his goals line up with the hero’s, sometimes they don’t. Every encounter reveals a new motive that can land anywhere on the villain/hero scale. We never really know where this character’s loyalties lie. Ultimately, it all adds up to interesting and engaging reading. This is what I want Catwoman to be: a kick-ass thief with a unique take on what’s right and wrong. I was disappointed with Judd Winick’s vapid, selfish, recklesly stupid Selina Kyle, and had high hopes for Ann Nocenti’e origin story. Looks like I’m going to have to stay disappointed.

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Batwoman 0

Alternating Currents: Batwoman 0, Courtney and DrewToday, (guest writer) Courtney Ehlers and Drew are discussing Batwoman 0, originally released September 19th, 2012. Batwoman 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Courtney: I don’t much care for plot in fiction. There is enough cause-and-effect to parse out in real life, and I would rather just trust fiction-writers to operate within their own made-up rules and make all the numbers add up on their own. I want to stare out the window of the car and appreciate the landscape without worrying about whether we missed our exit, and Batwoman 0 allows me to do exactly that. Continue reading

Sword of Sorcery 0

Today, Shelby and (guest writer) Selene Gill are discussing Sword of Sorcery 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Sword of Sorcery 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Shelby: We take comic books pretty seriously here at Retcon Punch. We firmly believe in applying our liberal arts educations to the medium and offering up intelligent and thought-provoking discourse. We recognize that comic books are both a form of literature AND art, and we want to do everything in our power to take that critical eye we honed in Freshman Studies and apply it to the issues in front of us. But, we also know that there is nothing wrong with reading something that’s a fun bit of fluff; sometimes you just want to be entertained. It’s only the first issue, but I suspect that Sword of Sorcery might turn out to be that fluffy bit of nothing, and I think I like it.

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DC Universe Presents 0

Today, Patrick (guest writer) Bryan Coratti are discussing DC Universe Presents 0, originally released September 19, 2012. DC Universe Presents 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

There are five separate stories within DC Universe Presents 0, each one from series that were cancelled back in April. Generally, these stories serve as excellent reminders of why those series were shit-canned in the first place. Patrick and Bryan tackle these stories one-by-one.

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Blue Beetle 0

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Blue Beetle 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Blue Beetle 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Patrick: The Blue Beetle series is unique among DC Comics for a lot of different reasons. Jaime Reyes is a normal teenager, who comes from the most convincing (and traditionally complete, I might add) family I’ve read since Animal Man. Most teenage heroes don’t sweat being on their own, but Jaime’s decision to leave home to protect his friends and family is appropriately difficult. He doesn’t know how to use his powers, but mostly he just doesn’t know how to live on his own. His life is scary in ways both totally relateable and completely unimaginable. Jaime’s also one of the only Chicano characters I’m reading – and unlike other half-assed attempts at integrating other cultures into comics, Jaime’s culture actually has a bearing on the thrust of the story: characters speak Spanglish, they attend Quinceañeras, their families are large and close. But the zero issue leaves most of that behind to explore the history of the Scarab on Jaime’s back – this is the story of Khaji-Da.

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