Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Fearless Defenders 12, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Lisa: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Bart: Not if you called ‘em stench blossoms. Homer: Or crapweeds. Marge: I’d sure hate to get a dozen crapweeds for Valentine’s Day. I’d rather have candy. Homer: Not if they were called scumdrops.
The Simpsons, The Principal and the Pauper
Patrick:Fearless Defenders spends an awful lot of its time collecting. Characters, Maidens (both Doom and Shield) and — of course — Defenders. But with so much time spent fretting about who’s agreed to be called what, the series finds very little energy left over to focus on the individual characters. Issue 12 takes that ball and runs it in for a cold, distant touchdown. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and guest writer Dan Jones are discussing Avengers Annual 2013, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Drew: Superheroes are a lonely bunch. They’re generally unlucky-in-love. Many of them are orphans (or had other close loved ones die). They also have isolating responsibilities and power-sets that can make them difficult to relate to. Unless, of course, they’re trying to relate to other superheroes. Characters like Iron Man and Captain America seem peerless when surrounded by everyday schmucks, but they act as serviceable peers to one another. That emotional support can be lost in stories that attempt to justify their team-ups with ever-bigger baddies to punch (coughInfinitycough), but can be a goldmine for savvy writers. Kathryn Immonen goes a step further in the Avengers Annual 2013, making the subtext of superhero loneliness the text, and giving the Avengers a reason to team up besides a giant bad-guy. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Velvet 2, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Shelby: I do so enjoy a good spy thriller. There’s something about the James Bonds, the Jason Bournes, the Ethan Hunts that is just impossibly cool. They’ve got the neatest gadgets and the most impressive skills. The life of a spy is built on lies, no one can really be trusted. The story is intrigue layered on mysteries, usually layered on top of betrayal. That’s why I think the mole-hunt/double agent story is my favorite kind of spy thriller; it transforms the necessity of the secrets and lies into a liability. Who better to hide from spies than another spy? Who could take down a secret agency other than one of its own? How is an agency supposed to find a mole when all its own tricks are being used against it? Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting take on these questions in their spy thriller Velvet, and it is exactly as fun as you would think. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Taylor are discussing Black Bat 7, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Scott: I like failure. Wait, I should clarify that a little; I like it when superheroes fail. It sucks for them, sure, but at least it’s exciting. When you read a lot of comics, you get used to seeing the heroes being, well, heroic. It’s nice to see one screw the pooch once in a while. So I can’t think of a better place for us to dive into Brian Buccellato’s The Black Bat. You see, The Black Bat just messed up real bad. I’m talking scores-of-people-are-now-dead-because-of-him bad. It’s a tough situation for anyone to rebound from, but if this issue teaches us one thing, it’s that Black Bat bounces back from failure with a vengeance. And if it teaches us a second thing, it’s that Buccellato isn’t afraid to move through plot points quickly. A little too quickly, I’d go so far to say. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Mikyzptlk are discussing Green Lantern 26, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Drew: Any 8th-grade social studies student can tell you that colonialism is a sticky subject. Many decry the loss of indigenous cultures, but how do you weigh that against the boon of western medicine? Are we morally obligated to preserve human culture at the cost of human life, or vice versa? That question only gets stickier when you take those other cultures into account — perhaps they value these things differently than their would-be colonizers. These are questions that have tormented philosophers for centuries — exactly the kind of thing Hal Jordan might blunder into unwittingly. Green Lantern 26 finds Hal struggling to impose his rule on Dekann and while he succeeds, his victory suggests a disturbing new status quo within the Green Lantern universe. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Young Avengers 13, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Patrick: I like starting off an article off with a little epigram. It’s a fun, pithy way to get things jump-started, and usually it makes me look smarter than I actually am. Young Avengers has always had romance running through its veins, but the final issue of the Mother Parasite arc focuses in love — its power, its uncertainty, its sheer insanity. I thought to myself “oh, I’m got the perfect quote to kick off this piece,” but in attempting to access a beautiful, articulate saying about love, I was subjected to a deluge of insightful comments, heart-breaking one-liners, and hopeful true-isms. It turns out that we are all obsessed with love, and we all want to be in the mix for saying the most beautiful thing ever about it. Kieron Gillen has put his characters through the paces, and across countless nightmare worlds, and in the end, it’s love that keeps all of reality from collapsing. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Swamp Thing 26, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Drew: I always get awkward when meeting new people: between my own anxiety over making a good impression and trying to size them up myself, genuine interactions often get squeezed out. These problems are only exacerbated when it comes to meeting new coworkers, where there are actual stakes that you get along, and the specter of “professionalism” adds pressure to the situation. I should mention here that I have a great relationship with my coworkers, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel super awkward on my first day, and probably postured more than necessary to make them like me. Jason Woodrue faces similar awkwardness as the new Avatar of the Green, and works way too hard to impress his new bosses. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Scott are discussing Action Comics 26, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I didn’t exactly have a lot of self confidence. High school was especially rough, as it seemed that everything I did was strange or off-kilter in some way. In other words, I felt like a freak. This feeling got worse before it got better, but damn it, it did get better. Eventually, I came to realize that not only was I strange and off-kilter, but everyone else was too. When I realized that I was on the same playing field as everyone else, things got a whole lot easier. Greg Pak’s Action Comics features a Superman struggling with his own “freakishness,” but he may have just found someone to find consolation in. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries 8: Shredder, originally released December 4th, 2013.Taylor: For many things, the magic is in the mystery. Not knowing how a magician sawed that lady in half makes the trick something more than it really is. We all know that the magician isn’t actually cutting a living person in two and putting them back together again. However, we don’t know exactly how they created that illusion and are left to wonder how exactly the trick (or illusion) was pulled off. This blurs the line between reality and perception and lets the imagination fill in the gaps. Anything is possible in this space and therein lies the beauty of a magic show. Just so, the circumstances surrounding Oroku Saki’s death and rebirth have, up to this point, been shrouded in mystery. It’s been fun speculating just how the turtle’s age old enemy has defied death, but in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries 8: Shredder, we get some definite answers. With the illusion of his rebirth dispelled, it seems that the TMNT universe has lost a little magic of its own.
Today, Patrick and Greg are discussing Deadpool 20, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Patrick: There’s no single person or institution that’s introduced me to more media than The Simpsons. I didn’t know that it was happening at the time, but my 10 year old mind was being educated in the works of Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling, Francis Ford Copola, Stanley Kubric, Martin Scorsesse, Tennessee Williams, and on and on. But the film that seems to have cropped up the most was Citizen Kane. I can’t possibly convey what my first experience of watching Citizen Kane was like: by that point in my life, I’d seen the same scenes and camera angles and transitions and themes and characters reconstituted a hundred different ways on The Simpsons. It was invigorating and shocking to see everything in its original context, granting new meaning to my favorite old Simpsons episodes, but also imbuing Citizen Kane with a kind of pre-loaded meaning. Deadpool has never shied away from referential humor, but writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn and artist Scott Koblish narrow their focus in the third inventory issue, and convinces us that Jack Kirby’s work is the Citizen Kane of comic books. Continue reading →