History With Comics: While the X-Men will always hold a special place in her heart, Shelby’s first love was Batman. Between Michael Keaton and Kevin Conroy, she fell hard. Like many, her first graphic novel was The Watchmen in college, followed by a handful of the Batman must-reads. Fast forward to last year: Shelby discovered the awesomeness of the DC universe through Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern Rebirth and Blackest Night. She once again fell in love with a comic book character, but this time it was Neil Gaiman’s Morpheus from his Sandman series, and now all her thoughts are translated into 8 or 9 panels per page with the occasional 2-page spread.
New 52 Favorites: Batgirl, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Batman
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Trillium 7, originally released March 9th, 2014.
Time has stopped before us / The sky cannot ignore us / No one can separate us / For we are all that is left
The Beginning is the End is the Beginning, Smashing Pumpkins
Shelby: While the execution is a little more angsty than I might prefer at my advanced age of 29, the lyrics to The Beginning is the End is the Beginning from the soundtrack of The Movie Which Shall Not Be Named very well match Jeff Lemire’s penultimate issue of Trillium. More than anything else, the song’s title (as well as its partner, The End is the Beginning is the End) seem to capture Lemire’s whole approach to time and the relationship of William and Nika. It’s an interesting love story that finds its beginning at the end of the universe, possibly at the end of time itself. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing She-Hulk 2, originally released March 5th, 2014.
Shelby: There is something fascinating about the regular lives of celebrities. They can be doing the same, boring stuff I do every day, and I’m still going to be interested in it. In fact; it’s better if they’re doing regular stuff like me; it de-mystifies them, taking them down from the pedestal we’ve put them on. Celebrities are people, too, after all. I have a similar fascination with the regular lives of comic book characters. I love seeing the balance between their super lives and their regular lives. It’s extra intriguing when we’re dealing with a super who can’t look like an ordinary civilian; Scott Lang can blend into a crowd pretty well, but Ben Grimm is going to stand out no matter what he does. It’s really no wonder I like Charles Soule’s take on She-Hulk so much; it’s more about Jennifer Walters trying to live her life around She-Hulk, instead of She-Hulk smashing things. There is still some smashing, though; it wouldn’t be a [fill-in-the-blank] Hulk book without it.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Swamp Thing 29, originally released March 5th, 2014.
Drew: Ah, the learning curve. It’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit that there are things that everyone simply sucks at when they start. Some stick with it and get better, others don’t, but the fact that so many people are out there parallel parking or whatever just goes to show what we’re capable of when we put our minds to it. Of course, a good teacher helps, and the learning curve has a funny way of exaggerating the type of help we get. At our noblest, humans are capable of providing age-old (or even personal) wisdom to n00bs, but we’re just as capable as having a few yuks at the expense of the new guy. As much as I enjoy a good larf, I’ll never fully understand the inclination to let the new guy muddle through the same mistakes everyone else has made. Sure, maybe he needs to experience those mistakes firsthand, but how are we to know if nobody’s ever bothered to help anyone avoid it? At best, it’s negligent, and at worst, it’s malicious, but it always leaves the new guy worse off. Unfortunately, Alec is still in the early stages of learning the ropes as the Avatar, and every one of his mentors seems more content to watch him fuck up than offer any kind of help. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Serenity: Leaves on the Wind 2, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Taylor: Rebooting a series is seldom a wise idea. With the rise of the internet, fans of cancelled or obscure media suddenly able to connect with each other like they never had before. This meant that those pining for the reboot of a beloved yet cancelled comic or show suddenly had someone to voice their opinion to. They found strength in their numbers and, surprisingly, studios began to listen. When Firefly was cancelled few seemed to care. But as more and more people fell in love with the show, it eventually gained a cult following, the strength of which is rivaled by few. Firefly got its reboot in the form of a movie, which by most accounts put an end to the story of Malcolm Reynolds and his motley crew. But the fans continued to clamor and now we have a comic book devoted to continuing the story. While this revival may stir feelings of sweet nostalgia the wisdom of its creation is still a question floating in space.
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Indestructible Hulk 19, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Spencer: Our heroes’ greatest enemies are often their polar opposites: While Batman is a dark, brooding creature fighting for justice, his nemesis is a silly-looking clown obsessed with evil; while Superman is the most human alien around, Lex Luthor has foresaken his humanity to stroke his ego; while the Flash always looks forward, the Reverse Flash is caught up in his own past. In Indestructible Hulk 19 writer Mark Waid and his expansive team of artists provide the Hulk with an opposite of his own: while the Hulk is fueled by his rage, Jessup gains power from stealing other people’s anger. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing The Wake 6, originally released February 26th, 2014.
I’ll always be talking to you, Parker. Always. You just have to listen, honey. You keep listening. You hear me? You keep listening.
Dr. Lee Archer, The Wake 5
Shelby: When faced with the thought of losing a loved one, there’s a lot of comfort to be found in the idea that they will always be there, always watching over you. The knowledge that you are still carrying a part of that person with you, and will always carry it with you, can help you move on. But what if you don’t move on? What if you just instilled that faith in someone watching over you in your children, and they in their children? You’ve basically created a mini religion, where the vague belief that there’s something out there, something more, and maybe if you just keep listening you’ll find it.
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Thunderbolts 22, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Shelby: Kids love “…and they lived happily ever after.” It’s an uncomplicated and rewarding end to a story; the good guys are rewarded, the bad guys punished, the boy gets the girl, and the plucky sidekicks probably got some action as well. It’s not until you get older that the everything-worked-in-the-end approach grows stale. It’s too neat and clean; we want our stories to reflect the complexities of every day life, not tie everything up in a nicely resolved bow. Personally, I find a too-happy ending where everything works out to be insincere and frankly a little boring. It might be surprising, then, that I love Charles Soule’s latest issue of Thunderbolts. Leave it to Soule to deliver an end to the recent Thunderbolts arc that gives the “good” guys exactly what they want and leaves the bad (by comparison) guy with a mess to deal with, without once appearing insincere.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Animal Man 28, originally released February 19, 2014.
I’m sorry I was late, baby. I had to go to space.
Buddy Baker, Animal Man 28
Shelby: I feel like this quote from the latest issue of Animal Man perfectly sums up my experience with Buddy Baker in the hands of Jeff Lemire. Buddy’s defining characteristic has, for me, always been his connection to his family. Nowhere else have we seen someone forced to balance a spouse and family with being a superhero, occasionally having to go to space, etc. Mostly, Buddy’s balancing act has brought a lot of suffering to the Baker clan, so it’s nice to see our favorite family man finally get a real win.
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Wonder Woman 28, originally released February 19, 2014.
Scott: What works out for one person often effects someone else negatively. Recently, I was getting ready to go on a long trip, so I lined up a subletter to stay in my apartment. It was going to be perfect. Until, that is, she got an offer to house-sit somewhere else and backed out of our deal. It worked out well for her, but it left me scrambling. What I’m trying to say is, never celebrate a plan until it’s complete, because it can always be derailed by someone else’s plan. I’m not trying to advocate Murphy’s Law or anything, but as Wonder Woman 28 teaches us, most plans are foiled, and even when your goal is within grasp it can still blow up in your face. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Red Sonja 7, originally released February 19th, 2014.
Shelby: I’m going to be real with you guys for a second. We’ve all had days where nothing seems to go right, and, speaking as a lady of grace and refinement, sometimes all you want to do is eat, drink, and get laid. Sustenance, a little booze to take the edge off, and a warm body to keep you company those cold Chicago nights can really do wonders for a shitty mood. As Gail Simone and artist Walter Geovani kick off a new arc in Red Sonja, our favorite devil warrior finds herself working a job she hates just for the paycheck, and looking for some creature comforts to get her through to the weekend. I think that’s something we can all relate to.