Today, Taylor and Scott are discussing Magneto 1, originally released March 5th, 2014.
Taylor: I’ve always been intrigued by villains. From an early age I remember being bored with the rudimentary morals most heroes possess. Instead, I gravitated to the other side to the spectrum, choosing to root for the bad guys. I found Cobra Commander fantastic, Megatron enviable, and Darth Vader the most impressive person I had ever seen. Something about their ruthlessness always drew me to them. These aren’t simple men — they have agendas and were willing to do anything to see them carried out. Yet each character also possesses a certain cerebral quality that sets them apart from your average thug. It’s this quality that draws me to these characters and it also happens to be the same quality that draws me to Magneto. He’s smart, ruthless, and devoted. But can an entire series based on this metal-bending character be sustained by these qualities alone?
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, Patrick and Taylor are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 31, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Patrick: How do we heal? Whether the wounds are physical or emotional, there’s almost never a good answer to that question — certainly never an easy answer. When I look back on the biggest hurts I’ve recovered from, I know that I did heal, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you how. I remember at the time feeling like there would be no relief — from a broken heart, or a broken bone. I was always afraid that I’d never get better, that I would only ever forget what “better” feels like and accept broken as my new emotional base. It’s unsatisfying and it’s messy and it’s prone to regression. The biggest fuck of it all is that there are no shortcuts. All of the Turtles (and their friends) are in need of healing, and it’s been such a slow beautiful process, I can’t help but feel unnerved when April introduces a magic healing goo. Fortunately, the tension between the quick fix and honest healing is right at the front of yet another fantastic issue of TMNT. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Uncanny X-Men 17, originally released February 19th, 2014.
Drew: What would you do if you found yourself lost in the wilderness? It’s the kind of thought experiment that captured my mind as a child. I’m sure the survival skills I cobbled together from movies and second-hand stories from friends wouldn’t have gotten me very far, but I liked to imagine that I would be cool and in control. I still find myself mentally preparing for similarly absurd hypotheticals (where would I go if there was a zombie apocalypse?), but experience has made it clear that decision-making tends to be impaired by the heat of the moment. That is, you may know you’re supposed to turn into the skid, but there’s a pretty big gap between what you know and what you’re actually capable of when in a state of panic. The only way to practice working under pressure is to actually be under pressure, which is exactly what Uncanny X-Men 17 is all about. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and (guest writer) Aaron are discussing X-Files Conspiracy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, originally released February 19th, 2014.
Taylor: The crossover is deadly move in basketball. The quick change in direction shakes up the defender and often creates unique scoring opportunities for whoever employs it. Outside of the basketball court, however, the crossover enjoys a more dubious reputation. Countless times have two entertainment franchises created a crossover event to help generate buzz for each property, and countless times has this resulted in a complete and utter mess. I can’t blame publishers and studios for doing this though; it seems like a logical thing to do at first glance. Just take two things people like and mash ‘em together to create double interest! However, jamming two distinct franchises together is actually pretty hard, especially when each has its own distinct universe set up. That being said: what in the world can we expect from a crossover between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the X-Files?
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Manifest Destiny 4, originally released February 12th, 2014.
I’m busier than you.
Drew: I don’t know if it is true everywhere, but when I was in college, scheduling a meeting or asking someone to help with something was basically made impossible by everyone’s knee-jerk insistence that they were SO busy. I absolutely understand the importance of saying “no” when you really are busy, but the implication that someone was unwilling to make time for whatever group project that everyone else was making time for always drove me nuts. It was known around campus as the “I’m busier than you” game, which found its practitioners preemptively complaining about how busy they were in hopes of avoiding being asked to do anything. The best response I ever saw to these kinds of complaints was a friend insisting that he had just run a marathon with knives embedded in both thighs — something so over-the-top to (hopefully) give everyone a little perspective on how silly it is to complain about term papers or whatever. Of course, nothing we could come up with was quite as extreme as single-handedly fighting off a band of monsters WHILE PREGNANT, which is to say, Sacagawea (or at least the version of her that appears in Manifest Destiny 4) would have easily won the “I’m busier than you” game. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 5, originally released February 12th, 2014.
Taylor: When I first moved to Chicago a little over six years ago I was desperate for cash and ended up applying for a job at a local tea and coffee and chain. My roommate at the time, and current Retcon Punch editor Patrick, was in the same straights as I, so he applied as well. We both got jobs but we were told we couldn’t work at the same location because we were roommates. The best we could figure it, the company was worried about our personal life bleeding over into our work life. At the time it seemed silly to us, but in retrospect it’s maybe a good policy for the company to adopt. After all, you never want a friendship or relationship getting in the way of your job. This proves especially true for romantic relationships and it only seems natural that Superman/Wonder Woman would eventually get around to the exploring this idea. In issue five, Clark and Diana are forced to confront this issue head on while also dealing with some invaders from Krypton’s past.
Today, Taylor and Greg are discussing The Superior Foes of Spider-Man 8, originally released February 5th, 2014.
Taylor: Since the dawn of pop-culture, antiheroes have been those ill behaving scallywags we love despite their flaws. They may not act right all the time, but we love them despite, if not explicitly for, their flaws. In the annals of American culture, the antihero has frequently eclipsed their more traditionally heroic counterparts — just look at Han Solo or Walter White. This trend has naturally extended to comic books and while many protagonists of comics are antiheroes, few are outright villains. In case you couldn’t tell by its title, The Superior Foes of Spider Man focuses on a villain, who by virtue of his narrative is an antihero. And while we all enjoy a good antihero, it is a perilous line they walk, and issue eight displays how precarious their position is. It begs the question, just how shitty can a protagonist be before we’ve had enough?
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Black Widow 3, originally released February 5th, 2014.
Taylor: Home is a powerful concept for most people. It engenders ideas of safety, retreat, relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s a place to hang up your coat at the end of the day and somewhere where you’re allowed to live exactly how you want. In short, home is that place you go where you just feel good. However, if you’re Black Window, the concept of home can be a bit more complicated. Having lived a life that is defined by violence, the ideas of safety and retreat aren’t exactly well known to Natasha and with that comes an unusual view on the idea of home. In Issue 3 of Black Widow, Natasha ruminates on the idea of home and in the process learns a little something about herself along the way. With the spectacular artwork of Phil Noto accompanying the story, how could this issue be anything but great?
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing East of West 9, originally released January 29th, 2013.
Taylor: When successfully writing a story about a fictional world, there is one thing the author must do if they want their work to be believable. It’s not necessarily high-flown concepts or a strong thesis, though those certainly help. Instead, it’s important for the author to create a world that follows its own rules and mythologies. The author must not break away from these or else the world he or she so deliberately built will come crashing down. In the land of comics where fantasy worlds become reality on a regular basis, Jonathan Hickman has established himself as a skilled observer of this rule with such titles as The Manhattan Project and of course East of West. In the latter, Hickman has created a bleak landscape where death roams the world, both literally and figuratively. The world Death inhabits, along with its inhabitants, is fascinating and dark, and learning more about it is part of the joy of reading East of West. Issue 9, like issue 8 before it, indulges the reader with world building which is both a delight and a little frustrating at the same time. Continue reading →