History With Comics: Drew grew up with Superman pajamas. His best days were when he never had to change out of them. He fell in love with Batman the Animated Series when he was 5. He had never read a comic in his life, but started reading Batman trades when he was in high school. He continued to pick up trades and one-offs throughout the 00’s, but never got into the monthly swing. After almost a decade of being an outsider looking in, Drew seized upon DC’s relaunch to start picking up monthlies.
New 52 Favorites: Batman, Wonder Woman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 10, originally released January 21st, 2015.
Spencer: “I’m sorry” is an incredibly powerful and versatile statement, capable of mending anything from minor transgressions to grand betrayals if used properly, but it’s not a cure-all. The wronged party has no obligation to accept an apology, and there are some rare occasions when an apology alone just isn’t enough — and sometimes an apology can even be selfish, such as if the guilty party apologizes simply to ease their own conscience rather than to make it up to their victim. In his long, infamous career Loki has tried out every kind of apology possible, and Al Ewing and Lee Garbett’s Loki: Agent of Asgard 10 finds the God of Mischief at his most sincere, but also apologizing for what might truly be an unforgivable offense. Has Loki used up the last of his goodwill? Does he even deserve to be forgiven? Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 42, originally released January 21st, 2015.
Taylor: Politics are a funny thing. Essentially, those who enter the forum are knowingly entering a profession where they will lie and be lied to basically every day of their professional lives. I don’t mean this to condemn — political strategy dictates that one must look out for their own interests at all costs, often times even at the expense of any sort of code of honor. In this way politics mirrors the natural world, for in both cases it’s truly a survival of the fittest endeavor. Given its beastly leanings, it therefore should be no surprise to any of us that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would eventually try its hand at a political thriller. Sure, the players in this case are mutants, ninjas, and alien brains, but let there be no mistake: issue 42 is a political thriller of the highest order. Continue reading →
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, Drew, Spencer and Patrick discuss Astro City 19, Batman Eternal 41, Justice League United 8, Superman Wonder Woman 15, Spider-Verse 2, Avengers 34.2, S.H.I.E.L.D. 2, Silver Surfer 8, and All New Captain America 3.
Drew: The deeper psychology of superheroes has been de rigueur in comics for the past three decades, but few writers do it as well as Kurt Busiek. Astro City 19 follows the life and times of Quarrel, tracking her sense of duty and loyalty back to her absent father. The daddy issues get freudian as Busiek also track’s Quarrel’s volatile romance with Crackerjack, revealing both the positive and negative sides of their relationship. As the second chapter of a four-part story, we don’t get a conclusion here, but Busiek plants enough seeds to get the psychology good and messy before pulling back out to allow time to heal at least some of the wounds. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Avengers 40, originally released January 14th, 2015.
The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Drew: I think it would be fair to say that Dostoevsky’s polyphonic style — one built upon the perspectives of an array of characters — is antithetical to the notion of the hero’s journey. Indeed, Dostoyevsky’s philosophies (as articulated in the quote above) suggest that there’s an active tension between caring about an individual and caring about humanity at large. I’ve always been partial to the depth of understanding achieved by sticking with one protagonist — especially when it comes to comics — which has made me wary of the kind of expansive, Dostoyevskian scope of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers. In my mind, a tight focus on a single character more accurately reflects how we experience the world, but with Avengers 40, Hickman makes a compelling case for how his dense interconnectednessreflects how the world actually is. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Jupiter’s Legacy 5, originally released January 14th, 2015.
Ryan: When George Lucas was writing a little thing called Star Wars, he visited one Dr. Joseph Campbell for mentorship and guidance. Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, developed a monomythical model on the Hero’s Journey taken from many of history’s prototypical protagonists. With this in mind, Lucas crafted perhaps the most iconic modern heroes in Luke Skywalker. In Jupiter’s Legacy, Mark Millar continues to ask big questions about what it means to be a hero. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Lazarus 14, originally released January 14th, 2015.
Spencer: It takes more than blood to make a family. I have great aunts and uncles I barely know, a few cousins I’ve never even met — they may be my relatives, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re not my family. No, family is forged in many different ways, but almost all of them involve either large quantities of time spent together or a unique shared understanding of life. Forever has never received either of these things from the rest of the Carlyles, which makes it all the more strange that her first real familial connection amongst them is made with Jonah, the brother who tried to kill her. Yet, that’s exactly what happens in Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus 14, and the consequences of their newfound connection looks like it will only make Forever’s life even tougher in the future. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Suzanne are discussing Captain Marvel 11, originally released January 14th, 2015.
Drew: It’s no secret that I don’t have a lot of patience for tropes. Predictable situations, reactions, or patterns are crutches for serialized storytellers, which is only made more apparent by those writers who manage to avoid them. Still, I do understand that certain tropes can be comforting — and perhaps even important to the identity of the work of art in question. I’m willing to forgive The Twilight Zone having the most obvious twist endings, because that’s kind of the point. That willingness to forgive certain tropes varies from person to person, as can be seen in the varied reactions to Christmas movies, albums, and episodes. Are they cheap cash-grabs? Charming acknowledgements of the season? Unfortunate acquiescences to the Christo-normativity of America? Christmas stories aren’t my favorite (I swear, if I see another reimagining of A Christmas Carol, I’m going to lose it), but I’ve seen enough pulled off well that I’m willing to at least have an open mind. Unless, of course, I’m consuming that story three weeks after Christmas, in which case, my patience for Christmas tropes dwindles right back down to zero. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Star Wars 1, originally released January 14th, 2015.
Drew: I was eight years old when Michael Crichton’s The Lost World was published. I hadn’t read Jurassic Park (reminder: I was eight), but I LOVED the movie. Nothing, not even my reading level, could stop me from consuming this new tale of genetically resurrected dinos, so I convinced my parents to get me the book on tape. When the film adaptation came out in 1997, it was my first experience seeing a movie based on a text I was already familiar with. There were substantial changes to the plot, but I didn’t care — the draw for me was dinosaurs, and the movie definitely delivered. I was similarly undaunted by the streamlining of the plot in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations — the draw here was a heroes journey set in a lushly detailed fantasy world.
It wasn’t until Zack Snyder’s Watchmen that I was first apprehensive about a film adaptation — the draw for me was no longer the plot or specific characters, but the medium of the story itself. A film couldn’t hope to capture the formal elements specific to comics that makes Watchmen such an achievement. I find myself confronted with these questions as I think about Marvel’s new Star Wars series (my first foray into any non-film explorations of the universe) — what is the draw for Star Wars? Is it the space operatics? The characters? The actors that play them? The thrilling John Williams score? It turns out, my answer may be “all of the above,” but that doesn’t stop this issue from being a largely successful translation of the Star Wars universe onto the page. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Daredevil 12, originally released January 14th, 2015.
Spencer: In my mind, I always equate action with fight scenes. Call it a remnant of my high school obsession with Dragonball Z, or even my growing up on Adam West’s Batman series (which featured a gigantic fight scene as the centerpiece of each episode), but I often forget that there are other, equally thrilling definitions of action. Fortunately, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee aren’t as forgetful as I am; Daredevil 12 is filled with action of all sorts, be it high-flying stunts or heart-pounding car chases, and there couldn’t possibly be a better artistic team than Samnee and colorist Matthew Wilson to bring that action to life. Continue reading →
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, Drew and Spencer discuss Batman Eternal 40, Detective Comics 38, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin 2, Hawkeye vs. Deadpool 4, Legendary Star-Lord 7, X-Men 23, Operation S.I.N. 1, Spider-Man 2099 7, and The Woods 9.
Drew: A lot has been made of the epic scope of Batman Eternal — it’s still growing after 40 issues — but what really impressed me this week was the focus on character motivations. With a cast this large, it’s all to easy for characters’ actions to serve the plot, rather than the characters themselves, but the writing team here makes a point of giving everyone a believable motivation. Most of the rogues are power-hungry, Selina is hoping to direct that ambition towards a less destructive plan, and Nygma is fearing for his life. This issue is definitely setting up some big stories (it ends with armed villains running amok in Gotham, and puts Selina on a collision course with Stephanie Brown), but still manages to feel like its own payoff, a feat this series has struggled with in the past. Throw in some striking art from Davide Furnó and Paolo Armitano, and you’ve got a great little issue. Continue reading →