Drew: Barry Allen is a man of contradictions. As a police scientist, he is beholden to rigorously examining every scrap of evidence before coming to a conclusion. As a speed-powered superhero, he is all about decisive action. I’ve always found the tension between those two extremes particularly relatable — who among us doesn’t vacillate between those poles? — even when the series itself has been heavier on the action. The scrutiny half of this equation has always come across in the subtext, as writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have hidden details throughout their runs that reward only the most vigilantly close readings. In The Flash 20, they graduate Barry’s detecting skills from subtext to text, but the results are decidedly mixed. Continue reading
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Nightwing 19-20, originally released April 17th and May 15th, 2013, respectively.
Scott: Moving to a new city is hard. Finding the right place to live, learning your way around town, making friends, it all takes time. Unfortunately, Dick Grayson doesn’t have much chance to settle into his newfound home in Chicago. He’s in the Windy City with a purpose- to find the man who killed his parents- and he’s hardly welcomed with open arms. Nightwing 19 and 20 serve as a beginning to a new chapter for Dick, away from the torpedo of death and depression that Gotham has come to represent for him. New life is breathed into Nightwing, courtesy of a gust of wind off of Lake Michigan, and it is something to behold.
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Wonder Woman 20, originally released May 15th, 2013.
I said, war, huh
Good God, y’all
What is it good for
Say it again
– Edwin Starr
Drew: War is ugly. There’s death, there’s destruction, there’s misery, but I think the ugliest thing about war is that we’ll never be free of it — it’s in our nature. Things quickly escalate from the desire to protect the people and things we care about, to a “the best defense is a good offense” mentality, to tit-for-tat reciprocity. It’s all too easy to see how vast groups of people — motivated only to do what is right for their loved ones — could be compelled to all-out war. In his Wonder Woman run, Brian Azzarello has traced this trajectory with grim fascination, simmering the tension along as the situation slowly escalates. This month finds that tension boiling over with three factions engaged in war — with the added complication that War itself is also a character. Continue reading
Today, Scott and Ethan are discussing Deadpool 9, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Scott: Moral ambiguity is an important theme in Deadpool. Wade Wilson doesn’t kill people unless he has to, but he doesn’t have to enjoy doing it so much either. In Deadpool 9, the actual necessity of such violence, as well as Wade’s willingness to commit it, becomes blurred, forcing Wade to make tough decisions. It’s the kind of situation you might see depicted with a miniature angel and devil propped on each of his shoulders, but writers Brian Posehn and Gary Duggan would never revert to such a trite story device unless they were mocking it, right? Well, take the moral-righteousness of a recently-dead government agent who lives inside Wade’s head and put it up against the deplorable, power-hungry demon forcing Wade to do his dirty work and you get Posehn and Duggan’s version of a conscience-battle. They are a creative team, in every sense.
Today, Spencer and Scott are discussing Batman 20, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Spencer: As a kid, Clayface was always one of my favorite Batman villains. Some of that has to do with the fact that he starred in one of the first cartoons that ever made me cry (Batman: The Animated Series’ excellent final season episode “Growing Pains”), but mostly it was just my young self finding this giant shapeshifting puddle of mud that could sprout blades out of his chest to be totally wicked awesome. I won’t even try to hide it, I still find those facets of the character just as fun as an adult, but I’ve come to realize that, beyond the standard shapeshifter tricks, there isn’t much to Clayface’s personality; usually he’s just treated as a device to serve some other villain’s master plan. Scott Snyder manages to wring a surprising amount of personality out of Clayface, but if the walking mud puddle isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry: there’s plenty of other stuff going on too.
Today, Scott and Drew are discussing Animal man 20, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Scott: I guess Animal Man readers better have good memories. If you were caught off guard by “Tights: Part Two”, try to recall how you reacted to Part One, way back in Animal Man 6. At that point, the story of Chaz Grant bore little resemblance to the life of Buddy Baker, who had considerable power as Animal Man and good standing as a husband and father. Since then, however, Buddy’s life has fallen to pieces: he’s lost his son, his relationship with his family is in disrepair and he’s been cut off from The Red. Buddy’s life at the start of Animal Man 20 is eerily similar to that of his character in “Tights” midway through the film. The second half of the movie effectively shows us that there might still be hope for Buddy Baker, while even more effectively showing us that there might not.
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Swamp Thing 20 originally released May 1st, 2013.
Patrick: What’s your greatest fear? It’s something that could happen to you, right? Your worst fear isn’t that you’re living the life you’re living right now. But that’s the case for Alec Holland – everything he had to lose, he lost. Can you imagine what a bummer it’d be to realize your worst fear was that you’d live your life as you had? Christ, that’s depressing. It’s regret at its most primal level, and it’s exactly what we’re dealing with in Swamp Thing 20. Continue reading
Today, Scott and guest writer Greg Smith are discussing Deadpool 8, originally released April 24th, 2013.
Scott: And we’re back. After the glorious detour into the Bronze Age that was Deadpool 7, writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn are picking up where they left off in Deadpool 6- with Agent Preston living inside Wade Wilson’s head. It must be hard for a writing team to follow up an issue like Deadpool 7- the consensus best of the series thus far, but one that seemingly takes place outside of the series’ continuity. With expectations higher than ever and questions abound, Duggan and Posehn prove that things aren’t always as they seem, deftly weaving the events of Deadpool 7 into the lingering storylines from the first six issues in a surprisingly logical way.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Scott are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 0.1 – 2, originally released February, March, and April 24th, 2013, respectively.
Mikyzptlk: The Green Lantern books have engendered in me a healthy love of space-opera that Marvel properties have generally not been able to do quite as successfully. I’ve known about Guardians of the Galaxy for a few years now, but I’ve never given it a shot up until now. News of the upcoming movie has piqued my interest, however, and with that it seems that now may be the right time to start paying attention to this rag-tag team of space-faring weirdos. Brian Michael Bendis is clearly aware of all the hype this series is starting to get as well as he delivers something that features small and personal moments mixed with high-octane, blockbuster entertainment. Continue reading
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Justice League 19, originally released April 17, 2013.
Scott: Much like nations at political odds, the relationships between superheroes can be delicate. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Justice League 19, which finds our heroes causing a ruckus in the Middle East while also tending to some interpersonal matters. Writer Geoff Johns packs a surprising amount of story into this issue, which continues prior plotlines involving new Justice League inductees and the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman while introducing an intriguing new mystery. It skirts close to melodrama at one point, but the result is a satisfying mix of new questions and answers, a creatively packaged, fast-paced thriller. Continue reading