Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Spider-Woman 10, originally released August 26th, 2015.
Spencer: I’m a suburban kid at heart, but I also really enjoy the city. That makes me a bit of an outlier amongst my extended family, which is filled with farmers and country folk. I dunno, I just enjoy having people and places close to my home — the quiet and sparseness of the country creeps me out big time. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall on, though, it’s obvious that there’s a drastic difference between the city and the country. In Dennis Hopeless and Natacha Bustos’ Spider-Woman 10, those differences have come to represent Jessica Drew’s dual lives. The city — New York City, to be exact — is Jessica’s old life as an Avenger, a complicated life full of chaos, while the strange simplicity of her new life as a P.I. is perfectly — and quite literally — represented by the American Midwest. It’s crystal clear which of those lives Jess prefers, but with the end of the world approaching, she doesn’t really have a choice as to which one she must live. Continue reading →
Retcon Punch is on Summer Hours, which means we’re going to be writing fewer in-depth pieces for the month of August. But we’re addicts at this point, so we need a place for our thoughts on all those comics we can’t stop reading. Today, we’re discussing Batgirl 43, Justice League of America 3, Gotham by Midnight 8, Cyborg 2, Flash 43, and Superman 43
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Dead Drop 4, originally released August 26th, 2015.
Drew: Endings always take a bit of finesse, but Ales Kot set his ending to hard mode in Dead Drop 4. He had to do all of the regular ending things — wrapping up the plot, landing on a resonant theme, giving every character a satisfying final beat — but he also had to introduce a new agent to do it; not only to maintain the pattern established in the first three issues, but because all of his other agents had been incapacitated. That’s no easy task, but Kot cleverly uses that need to his advantage, bringing in a character that is as much about tying up loose ends as this issue needed to be. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Grayson 11, originally released August 26, 2015.
Mark: Grayson has always been a series towing the line between following genre tropes and undermining those tropes at the same time. It’s a remarkable case of having cake and being able to eat it too, and the fact that Tom King and Tim Seeley have been able to pull it off consistently for a year is remarkable. The threads they’ve been able to tie together time and time again, while at the same time keeping each issue fresh, is impressive, and Grayson 11 continues that trend. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Ryan are discussing Trees 12, originally released August 19th, 2015.
noun noun: hero; plural noun: heroes
a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
the chief male character in a book, play, or movie, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize.
Drew: I think I’ve always thought of those two definitions as functionally identical — we acknowledge heroes in real life for the same qualities we admire them in fiction — but a closer look reveals a rather profound difference in how much agency is required to satisfy these two definitions. That is, the first definition is about deeds performed by the would-be hero, whereas the second definition is more about the heroes place in the narrative; no agency is actually required. It’s no surprise to me that the morally grey characters of Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Trees don’t satisfy the “noble qualities” clause of the first definition, but I was a bit more surprised to discover how passive they all have been. The biggest turning points in this series find the characters completely passive, from Professor Bongiorno’s acceptance of his own murder to Marsh’s decision to not sound the alarm about the Svalbard poppies. Issue 12 still features plenty of characters boxed in by their circumstances, but also gives Creasy the opportunity to actually do something. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and (Guest Writer) Ryan Mogge are discussing Archie 2, originally released August 19th, 2015.
Spencer: First issues are meant to sell a title to new readers. The creative team is putting their finest foot forward, introducing their characters, world, and the conflicts and themes they wish to explore, but the one thing first issues aren’t great at is showing how the creative team is going to tell their story from month to month. It often takes a few issues for readers to start to get a handle on a series’ format, and that’s very much the case with Archie. Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’ first issue wow-ed readers with its gorgeous, modern reinterpretation of Riverdale, but it’s issue 2 that gives us a clearer picture of just what kind of stories we can expect each month. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, originally released August 19th, 2015.
“Let’s get ready to rumble!”
-Michael Buffer, Ring Announcer
Patrick: Michael Buffer started using his signature phrase in 1984. It’s short, it’s sweet, and belted out in Buffer’s distinct tenor, it can bring a crowd to their feet. The dude trademarked the phrase in 1992, and since then, he’s gotten paid for every single time it’s used. It’s estimated that the phrase is worth $400 million – that’s $80,000,000 per word. Why should a single sentence — no matter how powerful — ever be worth that kind of money? Because the pageantry involved in the pre-fight ritual ends up being more important that the fight itself. Hype is an art form. No one calls out “let’s get ready to rumble!” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, but the issue is so singularly obsessed with hyping one specific rumble that it’d be easy to forgive the creative team for invoking Buffer’s cash cow. And even though they haven’t: I’m ready.
Retcon Punch is on Summer Hours, which means we’re going to be writing fewer in-depth pieces for the month of August. But we’re addicts at this point, so we need a place for our thoughts on all those comics we can’t stop reading. Today, we’re discussing Green Arrow 43, Gotham Academy 9, Batman Superman 23, Action Comics 43, Constantine The Hellblazer 3, and Starfire 3
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Andy are discussing Lando 2, originally released August 12, 2015.
Patrick: When you think about Lando’s role in the original trilogy, it’s hard to see him as an active player in the drama. His pivotal turn in The Empire Strikes Back boils down to him sending Lobot a text. Think about his role freeing Han from Jabba’s Palace – he infiltrates Jabba’s guard and then… does what? The man is a maestro at seizing opportunity, just so long as that “seizing” doesn’t really look like anything. But damn it all: be basically thwarts the will of the Emperor to Darth Vader’s face and lives to tell the tale. Charles Soule and Alex Maleev translate that effective inaction to the comic book page in Lando 2, using trappings two separate genres to their advantage, and then punctuate the whole thing with Lando’s opposite: an agent that never stops being active. Nearly every single element of this issue, from the pacing, to the coloring, to the dialogue, to the antagonist, serve to highlight what exactly makes Lando so damn special. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 8, originally released August 12th, 2015.
Taylor: I recently watched a video of a man who walked, without any safety harness, across a rope suspended 1,000 feet in the air. It’s an impressive feat, if not in bravery, then at least in balance. One wrong move, too much weight to one side, and that guy becomes a smear on the ground. In this case balance is obviously important, but for me it highlights how balance is important in almost everything do. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 8 similarly reminds that balance is important in a different way. Keeping in perfect equilibrium the nuttiness of Squirrel Girl and the gravitas of Thor, this issue expertly walks a fine line between comedy and adventure. And while it might not be nearly as breathtaking as slack-lining, it’s every bit as impressive.