Spencer: If you’re reading a Spider-Man book, then you know his deal: “With great power must also come great responsibility.” For Peter Parker, his “power” has always been the superhuman abilities granted him by a bite from a radioactive spider, but are these abilities truly his greatest asset? It’s a question Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli tackle head-on in the newest Amazing Spider-Man 1. Skipping ahead eight months from the conclusion of Secret Wars, Slott and Camuncoli present us with a version of Peter Parker who’s found a way to honor his Uncle Ben without even needing to put on a mask; in fact, Spider-Man now exists mainly to protect and support Peter. It’s a take both radical and faithful in a way only Dan Slott could pull off. Continue reading
Taylor: They say that time heals all wounds. Everyone knows that this saying has both a literal and metaphorical meaning. For only time can take the sting away from hurt feelings and only time can mend a broken body. However, time also causes things to fester and decay. Eventually, time kills or destroys all. While the truth of these statements can’t be denied, I think whether a person views time as a destroyer or a healer says a lot about their viewpoint on the world. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 50, a clash of these two viewpoints takes place, and the head-to-head encounter leaves one dead and the other walking into new territory. The result is an issue focused on the past, the future, and the passage of time.
Today, Andy and Spencer are discussing Justice League 44, originally released September 30th, 2015.
Andy: Justice League stories usually come in one of two shapes: seismic clashes between legions of good and evil that change the universe forever, or workplace procedurals driven by quirky-character team ups. Justice League 44 sits firmly in the first category, as Darkseid and Darkseid-wannabe Anti-Monitor punch each other to decide the true big baddie of the DC universe. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Michael are discussing the The Sandman Overture 6, originally released September 30th, 2015.
Shelby: I’m a big fan of Rick and Morty, that cartoon on Adult Swim that’s basically Back to the Future on crack. Spoiler Alert: if you haven’t seen season one of Rick and Morty, you’re best off just skipping past the break to the rest of the post. Anyway, there’s an episode where Rick, the mad scientist grandpa, basically ruins the whole world, mutates everyone into a Cronenberg-esque monster. You think he’s going to have a clever idea to save everybody, but instead he finds a version of the world in a parallel dimension where he solved the mutation problem but he and Morty died. Rick and Morty merely take their places, and go on living in this new dimension. It’s a mind-blowing episode, one of those special moments when you realize a show is much more than a show. Now imagine that, but instead of having to find a new universe, Rick had to create a new multiverse completely from scratch, and you’ve got the end of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Overture. Continue reading
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing E is for Extinction 4, originally released September 30th, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, check out our Secret Wars Round-Up!
Drew: Do you ever hate movies for ruining a good premise? Like, not just for failing to live up to the potential they had, but for poisoning that premise for anyone else. You might have an interesting story where plants conspire to wipe out humanity, but the only thing anyone will see when they look at it is The Happening. A similar phenomenon can happen with smaller details, from memorable character names to meet-cutes to death scenes, that, for one reason or another, are so strongly associated with a crummy piece of art that it’s difficult to repeat. X-Men: The Last Stand is one such piece of crummy art, yet E is for Extinction 4 aims to reclaim many of the moments it had soiled. That’s an unexpected windmill to tilt at, but the more surprising fact is that the issue largely succeeds in winning those moments back. Continue reading
Ryan: Batman has been happening for quite some time, both in the real world and in the oft rebooted DC Universe. Fans of the series remember his numerous encounters with his rogues gallery throughout the years, as villains escape time after time from the doldrums of Arkham Asylum to once again terrorize the city of Gotham. The formula for Batman may even be seen as a little tiresome: villain arrives, terrorizes Batman, Batman wins, villain returns again, eventually — maybe teaming with another foe, something messed up happens to Bruce Wayne’s personal life, his family rescues him, rinse, repeat. So what is it that draws us back into Batman narratives when the conceit can seem formulaic? Much of its appeal, I would argue, comes from the long-standing history which the reader shares with the character, one which can make jumping into a title so compounded with spin-offs and mini-series and event tie-ins intimidating for some. Batman Annual 4 offers an easy jumping-in point as Bruce Wayne undergoes yet another identity crisis, catching a casual or first-time reader up while showing the audience why a protagonist mired in the past can be so fascinating.
Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Superman 44 originally released September 30th, 2015.
Michael: Modern superhero tales have a troubled history with placing too much emphasis on the “how.” How did they get their powers? How did they become a superhero? How would this actually work in the real world? As always, there are exceptions to the rule, but many creators often spend too much time focusing on the “how” instead of placing the emphasis on what happens next. Case in point: Gene Luen Yang and John Romita Jr.’s Superman 44. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Ryan M. are discussing Archie 3, originally released September 30th, 2015.
Patrick: David Fincher’s adaptation of Fight Club surpasses the original Chuck Palahniuk novel in a lot of ways — chief among them is Fincher’s stylish filmmaking. Fincher is so cool behind the camera, and the gulf between the drudgery of the narrator’s everyday existence and the idyllic (if chaotic) world that Tyler Durden offers is wide enough to made Durden’s obviously bad ideas sound like great ones. That’s a tool that Palahniuk didn’t really have at his disposal — Tyler’s ideas seem much more ridiculous on the page without that veneer of cool to legitimize them. My favorite way that Fincher improves on Palahniuk’s story is in the meeting between the narrator and Tyler — up until this point, the audience is inundated with Edward Norton’s voice over, and an almost oppressive score from the Chemical Brothers. The film is also largely an extended montage until we meet Tyler, and the pacing of the scenes quicken right up to the point that they wind up next to each other on a plane. But the action, the narration, and the score all come to a screeching halt the second Tyler opens his mouth. He represents freedom from all the neurosis the narrator has been filling our head with since the moment the movie started. Tyler — both in the life of the narrator and in the film — is the ultimate disruptor. Archie 3 pulls a very similar trick, but who has the force of personality to be Archie’s Tyler Durden? Why, Veronica Lodge, of course. Continue reading
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Captain America: White 2, originally released September 30th, 2015.
Taylor: For some reason, when I think about World War II, it doesn’t seem like it happened all that long ago. Maybe this is because the war shares many of the same things we see in warfare today like airplanes and tanks and machine guns. Or perhaps the reason it seems fresh is that WWII was a substantially photographed and filmed war, making it an frequent topic of documentaries. Still more, WWII has been the backdrop for much of the pop-culture that has pervaded the 20th and 21st centuries, and with each new story set between the years 1939 and 1945 the war comes alive once again. But WWII ended 70 years ago and few still live who actually saw or took part in its events. It’s a weird dichotomy, this difference between perceived and actual length of time, and if nothing else, Captain America: White 2 has me considering this subject deeply.
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Infinite Loop 6, originally released September 30th, 2015.
“They’ll put a gun into your hand and call you weak until you’re violent
Don’t believe it
They’re hateful because they’re empty
We’ve got a chance to break the cycle
We could be the heroes that we always said we’d be.”
“I Wanted So Badly To Be Brave,” The Wonder Years
Spencer: The first time I listened to that song I cried, and while it still gets me more than a bit emotional, it also lights a fire within me. Yeah I wanna break the cycle — of course I wanna be a hero! Sign me up! It’s a call to action, and an incredibly effective one; so is The Infinite Loop. While Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier’s mini-series is ostensibly a sci-fi action/romance story — and a rather fine one at that — at its core it exists to preach a message, spark a movement, incite readers to action. If there exists a more thorough call to action than The Infinite Loop 6, I don’t think I want to see it. Continue reading