Patrick Ehlers, Co-Editor-In-Chief
Location: Los Angeles
History With Comics: Patrick came late to the comics game. After enjoying adaptations of Batman, Superman and the Justice League, he was finally tricked into picking up a set of graphic novels after seeing Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City. Naturally, this lead to further exploration of Frank Miller’s work, specifically with Batman. But it was not until an unexplainable desire to read Blackest Night that Patrick began purchasing the trades of Geoff Johns’ run Green Lantern. With a convenient new entry point and a handful of friends to follow him into the madness, Patrick began reading monthlies with the New 52’s Justice League #1.
New 52 Favorites: The Flash, Swamp Thing, Batwoman
Other Favorite Comics: Usagi Yojimbo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Saga
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, Michael, Spencer and Patrick discuss Batgirl 42, Gotham By Midnight Annual 1, Lobo Annual 1 and The Flash Annual 4.
Michael: Have you ever noticed how the fifth Wednesday of a month always brings an odd grab bag of titles from DC? It’s typically full of books that are behind schedule and trying to catch up and the occasional Annual issue. So I guess it’s no surprise that this week’s DC offering is full of five Annuals in total. Let’s cover a few of them, shall we?
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Guardians Team-Up 8, originally released July 29th, 2015.
Spencer: The best writers know when to step aside and let their artist tell as much of the story as possible — “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” right? Of course, to do this, a writer must have trust in their artist to properly convey their story, and in the chaotic world of mainstream superhero comics, where there are sometimes fill-in artists or multiple artists on a single title, that kind of trust can often be a rare commodity. In light of that point, Guardians Team-Up 8 is even more impressive — Ray Fawkes and Bengal tell their one-off story without any words (until the last page), putting Bengal in charge of all the issue’s storytelling. While this issue isn’t without its faults, I’d call it a largely successful gambit. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Manhattan Projects: The Sun Beyond the Stars 2, originally released July 29th, 2015.
Patrick: The original The Manhattan Projects series built its mystique by taking figures and events from history and slightly distorting, exaggerating and recontextualizing them into a bizarrely compelling science fiction story. It’s a masterclass in having fun with the concept of an alternate history, and writer Jonathan Hickman seemed singularly focused on what was fun about his alternate history. Occasionally, dates and lifespans and discoveries wouldn’t exactly line up, but the series really didn’t need petty adherence to logic: the loose framework provided by those historical figures was enough to ground some absolutely bonkers storytelling. Now that we’re Beyond the Stars, that framework has morphed from historical figures to science fiction conventions, and even still, Hickman is as unpredictable and unprecious as ever. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Uncanny X-Men 35, originally released July 22nd, 2015.
Patrick: Mutants are among the more malleable allegories in comics. As a class of people persecuted for something they can’t control, they’ve acted as stand ins for racial minorities, religious minorities, disabled peoples, homosexuals – anyone with any kind of outsider status. But they’re also useful for other political debate: gun control, freedom vs. safety, etc. In one of his final issues writing the X-Men, Brian Michael Bendis employs a rarely-tapped metaphor and uses one of his own Mutants to tackle a topic that is decidedly apolitical, and casts an unlikely X-Man as the furthest thing from “outsider” you could imagine. It’s a delightfully simple slugline: what if Goldballs became famous? 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, Spencer, Drew, Patrick and Michael discuss Spider-Woman 9, Kanan: The Last Padawan 4, All-New Hawkeye 4, Sons of the Devil 3, Archie vs. Predator 4, Archie vs. Sharknado 1, Effigy 7, and The Infinite Loop 4.
Spencer: With more and more great books hitting the stands each week, we’ve recently taken to splitting our Weekly Round-Up into several installments so as to make each one easier to digest. Now that we have Round-Ups specifically covering DC and Secret Wars, it could be tempting to think of the books we cover in this Round-Up to be the leftovers. I just want to emphasize to you all that this is absolutely not the case. Every book we cover this week features unique concepts, or even unique takes on familiar ones, and almost all of them are high quality to boot. It’s an eclectic line-up of comics, but one that’s just as worth your attention as anything else we’ve written about this week. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Cyborg 1, originally released July 22nd, 2015.
Michael: Words are an interesting thing, are they not? In one of those “Woah, its crazy how humans work” moments, the assemblage of letters, words, sentences, punctuations and so on is impressive. Memorable moments in pop culture can often be whittled down to a few buzzworthy quotes – especially with our 2015 short attention span. This particular mindset heavily influenced my reading experience of Cyborg 1; and that’s not really a good thing. 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, Mark, Spencer, Patrick, Shane, and Michael discuss The Flash 42, Gotham by Midnight 7, Prez 2, and We Are Robin 2.
Mark: It’s a motley crop in this week’s DC YOU round-up. With nary a mainline Superman or Batman title in sight, some of DC’s smaller, up-and-coming, or perhaps lesser loved titles take center stage. Weird that in a world where The Flash can have quite the renaissance in one medium this year, The Flash the comic book can feel like such an afterthought. But here we are!
Today, Patrick, Drew, Mark and Michael discuss Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde 1, Weirdworld 2, Old Man Logan 3, E is for Extinction 2, Loki, Agent of Asgard 16 and Marvel Zombies 2.
Patrick: We can argue about the merits of “Battleworld” as an engine for compelling narratives until we are blue in the collective face. (I assume we keep that face on Reddit, and its has seen some shit.) This week’s crop demonstrates that, no matter what stories are coming out of Marvel these days, the pages themselves are looking absolutely gorgeous. Andrea Sorrentino, Ramon Villalobos, Michael del Mundo, Kev Walker and Lee Garbett all in one week? Plus, relative new-comer Alti Firmansyah rounds out a beautiful line-up. Maybe there’s something about the freedom that Secret Wars offers that attracts this kind of amazing talent. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 2, originally released July 22nd, 2015.
Taylor: Last summer’s Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie met with lukewarm reviews. There were a lot of reasons cited by critics for the movie not being great, but the one thing that was almost universally harped upon was the confusing nature of the action sequences. Bay aficionados, however, were not surprised by this: chaos is one of his trademarks. What this goes to show is that clarity is incredibly important when crafting a story. It makes sense – if the audience can’t understand what’s going on, how are they supposed to take anything from it? Casey and April 2 is an interesting study in clarity: how it succeeds, how it fails, and how it succeeds despite its failings.
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, Spencer, and Drew discuss Godzilla in Hell 1, Dead Drop 3, Silver Surfer 13, and Astro City 25.
“It can do two things! Why shouldn’t it?”
Professor Farnsworth, Futurama
Patrick: In the season four episode of Futurama, “Leela’s Homeworld,” the script originally called for two separate sci-fi machines – one to instigate a problem and the other to solve a problem. According to the DVD commentary track, the writers eventually just made the same machine capable of performing two tasks, and put their rationale in the mouth of the grumpiest character in the cast. And they’re totally right: for storytelling purposes, who cares if the magical machines are the same or different. But stories themselves are often strongest when sticking to a single focus. We find ourselves this week with a short round up, one where every issue is single-minded, and as a result, all are wonderfully clear and successful. Continue reading →