Star Wars 4

star wars 4

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Star Wars 4, originally released April 22nd, 2015.

Taylor: There’s a been a lot of Star Wars news lately thanks to the release of the second trailer for the upcoming The Force Awakens. Aiding the hype of this trailer has been a number of costumes and props that recently went on display at the “Star Wars Celebration. Additionally, there’s a new Star Wars Battlefront game that’s about to be released, the first in a number of years, which has gamers truly excited. Lost among all of this fanfare has been the teaser trailer for the spin-off Star Wars movie, Rogue One. Like the Star Wars comic, this movie takes place between famous episodes of the primary trilogies and like the the comics it offers a behind the scenes, gritty look at the rebellion. This aspect, more than anything else, is what makes the comic interesting and what makes issue four of the series so fun to read. Continue reading

Velvet 10

velvet 10

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Velvet 10, originally released April 22nd, 2015.

Patrick: Aren’t spies just the coolest? They’re up there with ninjas as some of the most fascinating types of heroes. Part of what makes them both so damn irresistible is their impossible levels of competency. It’s the same reason we love Sherlock Holmes – we can’t fathom a scenario that he can’t clever his way out of. That makes their day-to-day lives the stuff of fascinating stories, even if we have every confidence going in that they’re going to come out victorious. But then, why’s it so satisfying to watch these infallible heroes scramble? There are few moments as narratively disarming as the odd beats when James Bond or Sherlock Holmes or Ethan Hunt are caught off guard. It’s like a violation, seeing the most capable people out-matched. Velvet 10 shows our already on-the-run hero set even further back, and the scope of the story broadens rapidly, mutating so quickly that we barely have time to understand one development before the next steamrolls everything that came before. It’s dizzying, disorienting, and leaves the breathless reader just as lost as our hero. Continue reading

Convergence: Swamp Thing 1

Alternating Currents: Swamp Thing 1: Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Swamp Thing 1, originally released April 22nd, 2015.

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Drew: When Steve Carell left The Office, series writer BJ Novak tweeted a series of Michael Scott story ideas that would never be told. Some of those pitches seemed hilarious, but what actually stuck with me about them is that the opportunity to make them had simply stopped. They couldn’t ever become episodes of The Office because Michael Scott was no longer on the show. That kind of context-specific storytelling is constantly turning over in comics, where the monthly grind of continuity requires that no one situation can last too long. You’ve got a great Superior Spider-Man pitch? You’ve missed the boat. A Dick-as-Batman idea? Not gonna happen. A JSA arc? Too late. Convergence has offered one last hurrah for characters from very specific moments in their history, but that “one last hurrah” has often felt more like a eulogy than a celebration. With Convergence: Swamp Thing 1, Len Wein and Kelley Jones take that sense of mourning a step further, as Pre-Crisis Swamp Thing barely clings to life. Continue reading

Convergence: Superboy 1

superboy 1 conv

Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Convergence: Superboy 1, originally released April 15th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Spencer: If there’s one flaw to this second week of Convergence tie-ins that wasn’t present in the first, it’s the fact that these characters can’t really change or evolve. Since week one took place at the end of the Post-Crisis DC Universe, the creative teams could examine what an “ending” for their protagonists may look like (before cruelly snatching those endings away), but this week’s books have to keep their stars in a sort of suspended animation — unable to evolve or drift too far from their established fate, they’re more than ever defined by their most basic conflicts and character traits. This isn’t always a bad thing (it works out better for Parallax than, say, Azrael), but it is a bit of a tricky hurdle to leap. Do Fabian Nicieza and Karl Moline manage to succeed in crafting a compelling story for Superboy despite the limitations of the format? I’d say yes, but despite this impressive success, they do falter just a bit on some of the smaller details. Continue reading

Chrononauts 2

Alternating Currents, Chrononauts 2, Drew and Ryan

Today, Drew and Ryan are discussing Chrononauts 2, originally released April 15th, 2015.

Homer: Sorry but this is a highly sophistimacated doo-whackey. If you don’t use it responsibly… Kablammo!
Lisa: Ow! Someone just punched me in the face!
Homer: It was your mother!

The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror VIII”

Drew: I’m endlessly amused by the notion of using sci-fi technology for mundane personal uses. Homer using his teleporter to grab a beer without getting up, or to avoid having to climb the stairs feels like an abuse of the technology, but it’s also a compelling estimation of how it would be used in the hands of an everyday person. As much as we might claim to want to use a time-machine to avert a world war or warn people of impending disaster, we’re probably more likely to use it to ace a history presentation, meddle with the affairs of our family, or just bring the younger versions of our friend group to the present in hopes of winning an argument. Doctors Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly find even less noble uses for their chronosuits in Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy’s Chrononauts 2, and it proves to be an absolute blast. Continue reading

Uncanny X-Men 33

uncanny xmen 33

Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Uncanny X-Men 33, originally released April 15th, 2015.

Taylor: When watching any of the Star Trek series you quickly become aware that every episode centers primarily on one character. Depending on how important the character to the series, they’ll have more episodes than others. For example, Picard generally gets about five to six focus episodes each TNG season while Troy gets two to three. Generally, this means you know if an episode is going to be good or not. Picard episode? Yes! Geordi episode? No. With as cast that numbers somewhere in the thirties (at least) it comes as no surprise that Brian Michael Bendis would try this technique with Uncanny X-Men. This way, every character gets a taste of the limelight and most readers leave satisfied. The question though, is does this doom the series to a Star Trek-like cycle where some issues are great and others are not solely based on stars in them? Continue reading

The Fox 1

fox 1

Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing The Fox 1, originally released April 15th, 2015.

So the seasons change
and the storefronts change,
everything else stays the same.
The wind don’t blow
and the grass don’t grow:
you’re never leaving Silver Street.

Ben Folds “Silver Street”

Patrick: There’s a sweet mystique to the idea of the Home Town. For me, Kenosha, Wisconsin, will always be trapped in the 1990s — a place frozen in time. I know that’s not actually the case: the years pass in Wisconsin much as they do everywhere else (if a few degrees cooler), and any qualities of being fixed in time are being selfishly imposed by me. It’s easier if I can image a place that will forever house my childhood enthusiasms and explorations. It’s a shock to my system every time I go home and discover that something has changed. Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid explore these concepts of change and timelessness as Paul Patton Jr. — aka, The Fox — takes a trip down memory lane and finds it blocked by both the passing of time and time’s refusal to pass. Continue reading

Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax 1

green lantern parallax 1 conv

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax 1, originally released April 15th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Michael: With the leak of the trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice this past week, I’ve been thinking about Man of Steel a lot lately. And while I could write a book on why I didn’t like that movie, it really boils down to the fact that I found most of the things that Superman did in Man of Steel to be very out of character for the hero that I know. In the realm of comic books, characters go through many changes — I mean, you’ve gotta keep things interesting. But the changes that work are typically those that essentially feel true to those characters. Tony Bedard has been handing in some very solid Convergence tie-ins so far; they’re not perfect but he really has the core of these characters down, no matter what point in time they’re in. Continue reading

Thor 7

thor 7

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Thor 7, originally released April 15th, 2015.

Taylor: Recently I visited a friend who I’ve known for a long time. As we tend to do, we watched bad action movies, with the features this time being Commando and the more recent John Wick. Both movies feature a ridiculously high body count, the cause of which is a thin plot filled in with a lot of action scenes. Generally, audiences tend to love action, but after John Wick killed what was probably his 42nd mobster, I found the action scenes growing stale. And therein lies the rub with an action sequence whether it be on film or in a comic book: too much of a good thing makes it bad. Thor 7 is an issue that is basically all action and despite the dangers of too much action, it’s a great issue. Why you may ask? The answer is the astounding art of Russell Dauterman. Continue reading

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2

sabrina 2

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2, originally released April 15, 2015.

“[Horror movies] urge us to put away our more civilized and adult penchant for analysis and to become children again, seeing things in pure blacks and whites. It may be that horror movies provide physic relief on this level because this invitation to lapse into simplicity, irrationality and even outright madness is extended so rarely. We are told we may allow our emotions free rein… or no rein at all.”

Stephen King, ‘Why We Crave Horror Movies’

Patrick: I’ve always found it hard to explain the appeal of a scary movie — even to myself. Generally speaking, I don’t consider myself a fan of horror. Why add to the anxiety in my life, right? But I have to admit that most of my most memorable moments watching movies have been forged during flicks that scared the shit out of me. Sixth grade super camp — outdoor screening of The Birds. Eighth grade, all-night movie fest, my first viewing of The Exorcist. My reactions to these movies transcend logic, appealing directly to my baser impulses. But fear is not the only thing human beings feel deep down past their rational cores; sex appeal is equally illogical. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2 plays with the concepts of sex and horror and takes advantage of the reader’s lizard brain reaction to both. Continue reading