The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 4

squirrel girl 4

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 4, originally released January 27th, 2016.

Spencer: What does it mean to be “unbeatable?” When Squirrel Girl was mainly a joke character, it meant that she could take down any opponent in combat, albeit always off-panel. While Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s take on Doreen still has extraordinary physical prowess, her victories under their pens have instead come from a place of compassion, understanding, and compromise; Squirrel Girl’s “unbeatable” because she always finds a way to appeal to and appease the humanity of any opponent she faces. It makes sense, then, that Doctor Doom is the first enemy to truly flummox Doreen. How is she supposed to defeat someone with no humanity to appeal to? Continue reading

East of West 24

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Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing East of West 24, originally released January 29th, 2015.

Taylor: Anyone who has ever regularly practiced cardio exercise can tell you about the importance of pacing. I myself ride my bike to work whenever possible, and while I’m in the saddle, I definitely fall into my usual rhythm. There’s something about finding the proper pace to your workout, race, or commute that is incredibly important to helping it run smoothly. Pace is similarly important with story telling, the only difference being that instead of a steady pace, you want one that varies and excites you. Comic books are interesting when you consider the pacing of a story. Does each issue need a varying pace or should the series as a whole vary its pace as needed regardless of individual issues. East of West is a series that seems to fall into the latter and while this is cause of equal parts frustration and excitement. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 1/20/16

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Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Batman and Robin Eternal 16, Robin: Son of Batman 8, American Monster 1, Wolf 5, Star Wars 15, and Judge Dredd 2.
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Astonishing Ant-Man 4

astonishing antman 4

Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Astonishing Ant-Man originally released January 20, 2016.

Michael: At what point do you stop blaming the world around you for your problems and start taking responsibility for your own life? Life is undoubtedly full of poorly-timed coincidences, but there is also a lot to say about the power of free will. Astonishing Ant-Man 4 focuses on Scott Lang’s ignored responsibilities smacking him right in the face.

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Lumberjanes 22

lumberjanes 22

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Lumberjanes 22, originally released January 20th, 2016. 

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Taylor: Freshness is key. Tell this to any chef and they’ll certainly agree with you. Fresh things just taste better, that’s just common sense. If you were to ask a critic the same question, they would almost certainly have the same reaction. It’s important for media to have a certain modern and unique feel to it. Certainly there are timeless classics that transcend the need to be fresh, but those are the types of media that come along once in a blue moon. Looking at the average comic book issue, freshness is hard thing to achieve constantly. The monthly demands and deadlines of a creative endeavor can be trying on the most talented of creative teams. Considering this, it’s interesting to read Lumberjanes 22. On its surface the comic is unique and fresh. That being the case, why then do I like it’s beginning to turn? Continue reading

The Mighty Thor 3

mighty thor 3

Today, Taylor and Andy Spencer are discussing The Mighty Thor 3, originally released January 13th, 2016.

Taylor: I recently learned that I have a reputation for being a strict teacher at my school. This revelation came as a bit of a surprise to me since I feel like I’m not any more strict than my fellow teachers. I’m not bothered by having this reputation but I do find it interesting that I had no idea this is how I was viewed by my students. But I guess that’s ultimately the thing about a person’s reputation; no matter how hard you work to craft it or understand it, you ultimately have no control over what it is. For most of us this isn’t a huge issue, we move on with our lives no matter how others view us. If you’re Loki, however, and the fate of the ten realms rests on your actions and how others see you, it’s a completely different story. Continue reading

Silk 3

Alternating Currents: Silk 3, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Silk 3, originally released January 13th, 2016.

Drew: Superhero comics are full of tropes, from character types to specific situations our heroes find themselves in. There are a number of ways that a savvy creative team can avoid those tropes, but over a long enough publishing history, even the most innovative series will come upon ideas that have been done a million times before. Without characters and situations to distinguish one series from another, tone ends up being the signature of most superhero comics. Batman is darker than Superman, Deadpool is sillier than Spider-Man, and while those tones can change with creative teams and time, they tend to stay in the ballpark precisely because its the tone that separates one book from another.

I might make the same argument for sitcoms — any number of shows might have similar storylines or characters, but Seinfeld will never get you invested in character relationships the way How I Met Your Mother might. The notable exception is the “very special episode” — particularly common in family sitcoms in the ’90s — where shows would often jettison their tone wholesale in order to address a “serious” subject. These tend to be few and far between, but M*A*S*H is famous for slowly turning into a “very special episode” factory, eschewing the silliness of the early seasons in favor of earnest (though often heavy-handed) anti-war messages. That change wasn’t necessarily seen as a negative — indeed, M*A*S*H‘s final episode is still the most watched finale of any television series — but it must have been an odd transition for those who tuned in for irreverent fun. I find myself in a similar situation with this volume of Silk, where the tone seems to be shifting rather deliberately from the whiz-bang fun of Silk’s earlier adventures. Continue reading

DC Round-Up Comics Released 1/13/16

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How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Batman and Robin Eternal 15, Batman / Superman 28, Constantine The Hellblazer 8, Gotham Academy 14 and Starfire 8.

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A-Force 1

a-force 1

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing A-Force 1, originally released January 6th, 2016.

Spencer: As comic book fans, we’re all used to the idea of alternate realities. They pop up with surprising frequency, but whether we spend just a few scant pages exploring them or several months immersed within their worlds, we’re always aware that they aren’t the “main” continuity, simply fun “what-if’s.” That isn’t true of the characters living within these alternate realities, though — for them it’s their home, their entire world, everything they know and love. That holds especially true for Singularity, the main protagonist of G. Willow Wilson and Jorge Molina’s A-Force 1 — hailing from God Doom’s Battleworld, Singularity’s entire life spans just the five issues of the first volume of A-Force, so for her the return of Earth-616 isn’t the triumphant homecoming it is for readers, but a strange, scary new reality that she knows nothing about. Continue reading