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 The Superior Spider-Man 31, originally released April 16th, 2014.
Shelby: If I learned anything from watching countless episodes of M*A*S*H* as a child, it’s that the first step of dealing with any disaster is triage. You need to assess the situation and make some quick decisions to prioritize your next steps. Usually this means letting some people in pain suffer a little while longer so you can tend to the immediately life-threatening issues. It’s only after you’ve stopped the bleeding and patched up the worse off can you step back and consider the situation as a whole; that’s the point you can begin to make some decisions about long-term fixes and really start cleaning up your mess.
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Thunderbolts 24, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Spencer: It’s rough to start picking up a new comic in the middle of a storyline. If I can’t buy a book starting with issue one, I try to wait for a new storyline to begin, and I’m far from the only person with this strategy. Charles Soule wisely takes advantage of this in his and Paco Diaz’s Thunderbolts 24; while much of the issue is devoted to establishing the new storyline to come, there’s enough focus on the characters and team dynamic to make this the perfect first issue for any Thunderbolts-newbie. If you aren’t already picking this book up, now’s the time to give it a try! Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Captain Marvel 2, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Shelby: Mistaken identities and their resulting confusion have got to be one of the more commonly used plot devices out there. I think just about every play I did in high school drama involved people being mistaken for someone else and a lot of hiding in closets/multiple door antics. It’s commonly used because it’s one small moment that can quickly telescope into an entire story; each person’s unexpected reaction based on the mistake triggers another unexpected reaction, and so on and so forth. It’s so easy when we’re outside observers to see that if everyone would just calm down and think for a second, everything would make sense. As Carol Danvers is about to learn, however, sometimes mistakes happen so fast, you don’t even have a second to spare to think about it. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing All-New X-Men 25, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Taylor: They, the ever shifting and nebulous authority that knows more than us, is always saying that hindsight is 20/20. Once events have played out, we know exactly what we should have done in a given situation to obtain our desired results. It’s a damned feeling; there’s nothing you can do about it but you kick yourself for not doing the right thing. This feeling is often so frustrating that it can keep us up at night, pondering the grand “what if?” While that can be crushing, just imagine what the feeling would be like if perhaps you could change the past, if only you thought about it hard enough. Hank McCoy (the one in his proper time) knows this feeling and All-New X-Men 25 shows us just how deep and dark that hole can be.
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 7, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Shelby: I’m pretty bad at talking about my feelings. I’ve gotten better, because I have realized the value in just stating how I feel or what I want plainly, but I still sometimes have a hard time with it. Talking to dreamy men is still my biggest challenge; there’s just something about the simple phrase, “You are cute and cool, want to grab a drink?” that causes my brain to just completely melt down. I recognize it’s pretty silly, but am at the same time powerless to stop it. Maybe it’s an extreme fear of rejection? Or maybe I’m worried I’ll end up in a awkward situation like Clark and Diana, who have an unspoken, “I love you, too” hanging between them (not to mention nuclear fallout).
Marvel continues to grow its movie universe with its second installment of our favorite super soldier in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Naturally, we all want to talk about it. Probable spoilers after the break: welcome to the Chat Cave. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 3, originally released April 2, 2014.
Patrick: I remember seeing a featurette on Kill Bill, Vol. 1 in anticipation of Vol. 2. In it, Quentin Tarantino mentioned a few of the storytelling accomplishments of the first movie. For the most part, Vol. 1 is an emotionally satisfying episode in and of itself: an emotionally and physically devastated woman finds the means, the will and strength to fight back. But Tarantino points out the importance of establishing the mythology of a Hattori Hanzo sword. By the time the second flick rolls around, they’re legendary, and their legacy adds an almost supernatural element to the fight between The Bride and Elle. I mean, it’s Hanzo Sword vs. Hanzo Sword for crying out loud! The thing is, the only way to communicate how powerful these blades are is to tell us stories about them. Al Ewing continues to explore the power of myth by having his antagonist craft his own mythical sword, not by forging the blade, but by forging the story of the blade. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Green Arrow 30, originally released April 2nd, 2014.
Shelby: Because I like to stay on top of pop culture trends, I recently discovered the TV series Legend of the Seeker. It’s a pretty straight-forward magic-based fantasy, based on Terry Goodkind’s series The Sword of Truth. You know, right up my alley. Anyway, there are two groups of magical women in this universe: Confessors and Mord-Sith. The Confessors’ power is based on love and truth; they can see when someone is lying, and as a last resort force them to tell the truth by causing people to fall desperately in love with them. The Mord-Sith, however, get their power from hate; all love, kindness, and compassion is burned out of them from youth until all they know is how to cause pain and hatred. While neither situation is ideal, it’s made clear that the love for a Confessor can elicit positive change in a person, whereas “training” from a Mord-Sith can only breed more hate. So, what do you get when someone is motivated by both love AND hate? By quiet dignity and unbelievable cruelty? Maybe we should ask Green Arrow.
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Trillium 8, originally released April 2nd, 2014.
Spencer:A good ending can make or break a story. While there are many stories that are beloved due to endings that managed to respect its themes, satisfactorily tie-up loose ends, or even just provide a thought-provoking twist, there are just as many rotten endings that manage to ruin everything that came before; look at the controversy over the recent finale of How I Met Your Mother?, for example. Going into the final issue of Jeff Lemire’s Trillum, we’re left with more questions than ever and almost no idea how things might wrap up or what a satisfying ending to this series would even entail; will the ending make or break Trillium?
Alright, I won’t keep you in suspense: it makes it. This is one of the best finales I’ve ever experienced. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Inhuman 1, originally released April 2nd, 2014
Shelby: I have always been somewhat baffled by racism. I can’t understand the reasoning behind looking at another human being and deciding that they are inferior because of the color of their skin. I understand that racism exists, I’m certainly not trying to deny it, I just don’t understand the logic (such as it is) behind it. How can any one human be inherently better than another? And what could skin color possibly have to do with it? As Charles Soule kicks off Inhuman1, he presents us with a situation where there IS a branch of humanity which is measurably superior. The Inhumans are stronger and more powerful than the rest of us mere mortals, and some are not afraid to show it. The real question is, once these inferior humans start instantly transforming into superior beings, what are all those racist Inhumans going to do about it?