Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 42

tmnt 42

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

Deadpool 40

deadpool 40

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 40, originally released January 14th, 2015.

Taylor: The old saying goes “art imitates life.” we here at Retcon Punch believe comics to be art, so that means these funny little picture-books imitate life the same as your Van Goghs and Shakespeares of the world. Being things that are published every month, comics are perhaps better suited than other art forms at reflecting life since they can comment on real life situations almost as soon as they happen. Given this, we shouldn’t be at all surprised that a title like Deadpool would find time to comment on life, especially considering it’s unique ability to break the fourth wall and speak directly to readers. But who would have ever guessed that the comic would tackle such a loaded topic as environmental policy? Always surprising, Deadpool once again takes a unique approach to story telling in issue 40 and in so doing, enters a major environmental debate. Continue reading

Star Wars 1

Alternating Currents: Star Wars 1, Drew and Taylor

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

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 1

Alternating Currents: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 1, Spencer and Taylor

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 1, originally released January 7th, 2015.

Spencer: Before reading Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 1, I always thought of Squirrel Girl as more of a meme than a character: she was the girl with silly powers who routinely (and often inexplicably) defeated the most powerful players in the Marvel Universe without breaking a sweat, and while that’s awfully funny the first few times, it never seemed like a concept that could support a character in the long-term. Fortunately, North and Henderson’s take on Doreen Green eases any worries I may have had in this regard, giving us an instantly likable character who is far more than just an easy joke, and ultimately declaring that it doesn’t matter if Doreen always wins — what’s interesting is seeing how. Continue reading

Ant-Man 1

ant-man 1

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Ant-Man 1, originally released January 7th, 2015.

Taylor: As long as stories have been told, people have enjoyed hearing about clever heroes. Perhaps the prototype of the clever character in western literature is Odysseus — a man who more than made up for physical shortcomings with the power of his mind. And while many people nowadays might not feel a close kinship to Odysseus, they still appreciate a clever hero — and a clever story. Marvel, as a publisher, has taken this love of cleverness and has essentially turned it into a multimillion dollar business. While the Marvel movies embody this philosophy to their core, there are a number of comic series which also are banking on this appreciation for wit. The reboot of Ant-Man is no exception to this formula, but does it have anything all that clever to say? Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 3

Today, Taylor are Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 3, originally released December 24th, 2014.

Taylor: One of the most fun parts about comics is seeing characters team up with each other. In some cases this is more a novelty than anything and in others its the entire onus behind a series. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters falls each fall into the latter category. While each team certainly has a memorable cast of characters, the comics and stories are really at their best when we see the teams interacting. Given this, it’s interesting to see the two series mashed together because it raises so many questions about how the chemistry from both teams will mix. In issue three of TMNT/Ghostbusters, things are getting more dire for our heroes, forcing them to work together more than ever before. But do these two close-knit teams work together well?

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Ms. Marvel 10

ms marvel 10Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Ms. Marvel 10, originally released December 17th, 2014.
slim-bannerSpencer: Ms. Marvel is a revolutionary book in many ways. A title starring a Muslim young woman — and written by a Muslim woman as well — is remarkable enough in its own right, but it’s also notable how writer G. Willow Wilson has used the book, and the character of Kamala Khan, to address issues of identity in a way that any reader could relate to. That said, over the past few issues we here at Retcon Punch have often felt like Kamala’s primary foe, the Inventor, has been strangely unrelated to the themes that seem most important to the book. Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona fix that minor problem in Ms. Marvel 10 by positioning the Inventor as a stand-in for adults who prey on children or make them feel worthless, giving Kamala a new role as a defender of youth culture in the process. Continue reading

All-New X-Men 34

all new x men 34Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing All-New X-Men 34, originally released December 17th, 2014.
Taylor: It’s a thing that happens in most time and dimensional travel stories. The inevitable meeting (or in some cases near meeting) between a character and a different versions of themselves. It’s interesting to think about why this trope even exists. One possible explanation could be that since we enjoy reading about our heroes, it would be even better to have a double dose. However, seeing our beloved characters act in different ways or in different situations also is entertaining. And then there is the thought that we all wish we could meet different versions of ourselves, to see what we would be like if x happened instead of y. Whatever the reason, All-New X-Men 34 once again finds our heroes meeting different versions of themselves, but is there anything new left to say about this situation? Continue reading

Thor 3

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Thor 3, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Taylor: Despite what you may think of them, the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies are amazing for one thing in particular. No, I’m not talking about the infinite pools of blue that are Orlando Bloom’s eyes, I’m talking about the insane amount of detail present in each installment. From swords wielded by extras on down to the authentic briar used to create Gandalf’s pipe, it all is produced with detail and realism in mind. And while Thor may not be known for its realism, the series does possess a staggering amount of detail which I find positively delightful. Thor 3 is an exemplar of this and is another solid installment in this run. Continue reading

Escape from New York 1

Today, Taylor and Ryan are discussing Escape From New York 1, originally released December 3rd, 2014.

Taylor: A lot has been written about the Millennial generation and the good and bad (but mostly the bad) habits that make us unique. A common complaint is that Millennials suffer from a prolonged spell of adolescence, or at the very least. a desire to shirk responsibility and the traditional trappings of adulthood. Authors have suggested many reasons for this, but one that has always struck me as catching goes like this: because we live in times of relative upheaval, Millennials have begun to look to the past for comfort (think of our fascinations with the ’80s). With that in mind, is the latest comic based on John Carpenter’s Escape From New York simply a cashing in on Millennial nostalgia or something more?

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