Convergence Round-Up: Week Three

convergence roundup3Today, Spencer leads a discussion about Convergence 3, Adventure of Superman 1, Batman & the Outsiders 1, Flash 1, Green Lantern Corps 1, Hawkman 1, Justice League of America 1, Superboy & The Legion 1, and Wonder Woman 1.

convergence divSpencer: With over 30 issues of Convergence under our belts, the formula’s become pretty clear — every issue covers the same beats, including the effects of living under a dome for a year and Telos’ infuriating speech when the dome finally drops (although to be honest, I stopped reading the speech sometime in the middle of Week 2). While Week 3 can’t help but to follow these same patterns, it’s also by far the most experimental week of Convergence yet. Several issues focus on stories that could have easily been told with these characters outside of the dome, while others are more interested in exploring the Crisis on Infinite Earths backdrop. Whatever the case, this week’s batch of tie-ins is a refreshing change of pace from a pattern that was already starting to grow old.

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Star Wars 4

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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

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

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 4/15/15

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Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Patrick, Drew and Spencer discuss Ms. Marvel 14, Nova 29, Loki: Agent of Asgard 13, Secret Identities 3, and the Kitchen 6.

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Patrick: Heading in to Secret Wars means counting down to the endings for a lot of characters and series. This week saw us reaching conclusions for Loki and Nova, but the headstrong Kamala Kahn keeps barreling forward with her teenage / superhero drama like she couldn’t even be bothered with something like Secret Wars. It’s an exciting meta statement of purpose for the Ms. Marvel: she’s got her own shit going and, and isn’t about to let a little thing like the end of the world(s) get in the way of that. 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

Convergence Round-Up: Week Two

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Today, Shane leads a discussion about Convergence 1, Aquaman 1, Batman: Shadow of the Bat 1, Justice League International 1, Supergirl Matrix 1 and Superman: Man of Steel 1.

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“Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”

-Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation.

Shane: Success comes from committing wholeheartedly to a goal, and that’s true in everything — even comic books. If the first week of Convergence focused on setting up the event with slow-moving exposition, the second week lurches startlingly forward, throwing the story in multiple directions. But even as the main event strives for greatness, its sister titles stumble along, burdened by continuity errors and contradictions between stories, almost as if the writers sped through their research. If Convergence was designed to celebrate specific eras of years past, what does it say that half the books seem to betray that history? And that begs the follow-up question…if the stories are good enough, does it even matter?

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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2

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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

The Fade Out 5

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Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Fade Out 5, originally released April 15th, 2015.

One of the most dangerous of literary ventures is the little, shy, unimportant heroine whom none of the other characters value. The danger is that your readers may agree with the other characters.

C.S. Lewis

Drew: I’ve been quick to praise Charlie Parish as the ideal audience surrogate, a virtually featureless cypher we’re free to project all of our emotions on to. Part of that falls out of his role as the protagonist, no more or less aware of the mystery at the heart of The Fade Out, but writer Ed Brubaker has carefully cultivated a character who’s conflicted about just about everything — he supports multiple readings so well because he’s feeling multiple things at any one moment. It’s a remarkable feat, but his openness also makes him a waifish anchor for the series. I’ve often seen that as more of a feature than a bug, allowing the series’ tone to vary widely based on the influence of the supporting cast, but as the cast begins asserting their opinions in issue 5, they run the risk of running away with the story entirely. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 4/8/15

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Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Patrick, Drew and Spencer discuss The Surface 2, ODY-C 4, Descender 2, Darth Vader 4, Spider-Woman 6, and Ant-Man 4.

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Drew: I couldn’t tell you why, but in 5th grade, my teacher had the class watch Phase IV, a ’70s sci-fi film where a team of scientists battles a hive of sentient ants. I’m sure I watched plenty of movies that year that I can’t remember, but something about the images of Phase IV have stuck with me — a testament to director Saul Bass’s background in graphic design. Then again, I think I’m also intrigued at the melding of sci-fi and bugs, these tiny aliens that move unnoticed beneath our feet. That combination — sci-fi and bugs — are exactly what this Round-Up is all about. Continue reading

All-New Hawkeye 2

Alternating Currents: All-New Hawkeye 2, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing All-New Hawkeye 2, originally released April 8th, 2015.

Drew: I’m sure many folks have forgotten Cursed, the one-season NBC sitcom about a man cursed with bad luck in its pilot episode, but I’ll never forget it. Not because it was particularly good — I’ve actually forgotten almost everything about it — but because of its abrupt title change. Suddenly, Cursed, the high-concept sitcom about bad luck had become The Weber Show, a series so generic, its most distinctive characteristic was apparently the presence of former Wings star Steven Weber. That was my first lesson in the dangers of a narrative tying itself to a limiting premise, a problem I’ve found to be relatively ubiquitous in modern culture. All-New Hawkeye is far from the disaster that Cursed was, but as issue 2 strains against the flashback structure that worked so beautifully in issue 1, I find myself wondering if that structure is more of a prison than a springboard. Continue reading