The Flash 16

flash 16

Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing the Flash 16, originally released January 30th, 2013.

Patrick: We expect our heroes to bravely sacrifice themselves for the greater good. If we’re blessed with complex characters, we can even expect this of our anti-heroes. But what about our ancillary characters? With the smoke-screen of a superheroic battle for the fate of city, real-world sacrifices tend to go unnoticed. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato deliver plenty of that bombastic hero action, but bury under it the sad, frustrated story of Iris West.  Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man 2

Alternating Currents: The Superior Spider-Man 2, Drew and Shelby

Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 2, originally released January 30th 2013.

Drew: Comics are about big conflicts — right vs. wrong, good vs. evil — but it’s rare to see them tackle the more complex subject of nature vs. nurture. Part of that may simply be that it would muddle the simple, primary color notion of good guys fighting bad guys, but I think the larger reason is that it’s a difficult conflict to dramatize. For adults, the root cause of their evil behavior generally isn’t as bad as stopping it, but even when writers take pains to explore the forces of nurture through flashbacks, there’s no real way to demonstrate nature. It’s a microcosm of the debate as a whole — how can you ever eliminate either as a variable? — but can lead to fascinating questions. With issue 2, Dan Slott has poised The Superior Spider-Man as the perfect place to explore those questions further. Continue reading

Superboy Annual 1

superboy annual 1

Today, Shelby and guest Freakin’ Animal Man are discussing Superboy Annual 1, originally released January 23rd, 2013. This issue is part of the H’el on Earth crossover event. Click here for complete H’el on Earth coverage.

Shelby: I’m usually pretty excited for annuals. They’re an extra opportunity to spend time with the books I’m reading; about twice as long, and often separate from the main continuity, for me annuals are a fun, special thing to read. Lately, however, my streak with annuals has not been so great. I hated the New Guardians annual, because it was so removed from main continuity as to be an intro to a new book. Moreover, DC led me to believe otherwise by showing me a cover featuring Kyle, and then changing the coloring slightly to have the cover actually feature Jedidiah Caul of Threshold. I’ve got a similar complaint here with the Superboy annual; DC promised me Rose Wilson, daughter of Slade Wilson a.k.a. Deathstroke, and gave me a regular issue stretched out to annual length by repeating the same terrible dialogue and character posturing over and over again. Continue reading

Red Hood and the Outlaws 16

red hood 16 DoF

Today, Mikyzptlk and guest writer Pivitor are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 16, originally released January 23rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Mikyzptlk: As we all know, there are A LOT of comics out there competing for our dollars. Books like Scott Snyder’s Batman or Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman attempt to push the boundaries of reader expectation and deliver tales that are legitimately astonishing to behold. I’ve given two examples from one publisher from barely over one year of publishing, but there are even more possibilities just as astounding from publishers such as Marvel, Image, Vertigo, IDW, Oni Press, Archaia, and more! That said, not every comic is great, and with so much out there to consume, it’s getting harder to convince myself to continue to spend the $2.99 a month on a book that lacks the quality of its competitors.

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Justice League 16

Alternating Currents: Justice League 16: Drew and ZachToday, Drew and guest writer Zach Kastner are discussing Justice League 16, originally released January 23rd, 2013, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.

throne div

Drew: “What if there was a problem so big, Superman couldn’t solve it?” is the question the Justice League was designed to answer. This was something Johns managed quite well in this series’ first arc, justifying the League’s formation with a truly global threat. This issue effectively voids that answer by asking “yeah, but what if there was a problem so big even the Justice League couldn’t solve it?” Continue reading

Blue Beetle 15-16

blue beetle 15-16Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Blue Beetle 15 and 16, originally released December 19th, 2012 and January 23rd, 2013.

Patrick: There’s a point in issue 16 where Moonrunner refers to being stuck in The Hunted as “a fate worse than death.” It’s a hyperbolic cliche — one that gets trotted out whenever a writer wants to artificially heighten the stakes. The phrase caries an added significance here in the final pages of Blue Beetle. If the Jaime Reyes dies here, then his story ends, and the bittersweet message he recorded for his family serves as a poignant farewell to the emotional origins of this character. But if Jaime Reyes survives this series, he’ll be put into the reality / game show “The Hunted,” which means he will linger on lifelessly in the pages of the largely abysmal Threshold. For anyone attached to the Blue Beetle, seeing him languish in another series (just as this one was starting to feel real again) is a fate worse than the character’s death.

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Before Watchmen – Minutemen 6

minutemen 6 B4W

Today, Shelby and Michael are discussing Minutemen 6, originally released January 23rd, 2013. Minutemen is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Shelby: You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. When it comes to delicious, delicious cake, you can either have it in your hands or eat it so it’s gone forever. Sometimes, your only options are mutually exclusive of each other, and you just have to decide which option you value more. Unless you are Darwyn Cooke: then you will manage to find a way to satisfactorily appease every concern I have regarding the conclusion of Minutemen, even when the answers I want seem to contradict each other.
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Sword of Sorcery 4


Today, Taylor and Nate are discussing Sword of Sorcery 4, originally released January 23rd, 2012.

Taylor: Corporations have had it hard lately — at least as far as PR goes. With the rise of the Occupy Movement, people became more sensitive and informed when it comes to the doings of some of the mega-businesses that manage our economic future. Never before in history have these companies been scrutinized with such skepticism on their ability to create a fair and profitable world. The CEOs and chairmen who run these cash cows similarly have a problem when it comes to how they are perceived. When most people envision a CEO they picture a greedy W.A.S.P. sitting atop his sky scraper, caring only about the bottom line. Whether warranted or not, powerful businessmen have been demonized by the public at large and in all likelihood will continue to be as long as they exist. But what if those who run these companies were actually actively involved with the very demons we make them out to be? Sword of Sorcery 4 explores this question and since demons are involved you know an appearance by John Constantine is required.

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A + X 4

a+x 4

Today, Scott and Drew are discussing A + X 4, originally released January 23th, 2013.

Scott: A + X makes me feel like a kid again, playing with my action figures after school. I would create worlds where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Wars heroes could coexist, Han Solo and Donatello teaming up to defeat… well, something, I’m sure. It was never really the end result that interested me, but rather the excitement of combining these two things that I loved individually. What it created was an especially fleeting sort of fun, where the initial idea was the best part and it grew harder to sustain the longer it went on. I feel the same way about A +X, which is why splitting the issue into two stories is such a good idea — the novelty wears off much less over just ten pages. A + X 4 pairs Avengers and X-Men characters who compliment each other in interesting ways: first, two who have a lot in common, then two who could hardly be more different.

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Deadpool 4

deadpool 4Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Deadpool 4, originally released January 23rd, 2013.

Patrick: There’s a weird impulse when writing about Deadpool, to address the character directly. Whenever Wade Wilson turns to the reader and shares a fun little inside joke that we share, somehow one level or artifice is stripped away just as the other is being amplified. With each joke and wink, I’m tricked into thinking that I’m connecting with Deadpool himself and not with the myriad of writers and artists that bring him to life. (Incidentally, I think this is why we – as a culture – like the Muppets so much.) Plus, I’m a pushover for anyone — fictional or otherwise — that can adhere to the Always Leave ‘Em Laughing rule.

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