Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries 8: Shredder, originally released December 4th, 2013.Taylor: For many things, the magic is in the mystery. Not knowing how a magician sawed that lady in half makes the trick something more than it really is. We all know that the magician isn’t actually cutting a living person in two and putting them back together again. However, we don’t know exactly how they created that illusion and are left to wonder how exactly the trick (or illusion) was pulled off. This blurs the line between reality and perception and lets the imagination fill in the gaps. Anything is possible in this space and therein lies the beauty of a magic show. Just so, the circumstances surrounding Oroku Saki’s death and rebirth have, up to this point, been shrouded in mystery. It’s been fun speculating just how the turtle’s age old enemy has defied death, but in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries 8: Shredder, we get some definite answers. With the illusion of his rebirth dispelled, it seems that the TMNT universe has lost a little magic of its own.
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, Taylor and Spencer are discussing All New X-Men 19, Talon 13, Superior Spider-Man 22, All-Star Western 25, Wolverine and the X-Men Annual 1, Aquaman 25, and Indestructible Hulk 16.
Taylor: It’s always a little jarring when you pop open one of your favorite monthlies and are suddenly confronted with the work of a new artist. Even though you may have already known about the artist change from reading the cover or by giving the cover more than a simple glance, it’s strange to see the characters in a new light. The thing is, even if the new artist is just as good as the previous, sometimes we find ourselves rejecting the new. Humans just aren’t good with change I guess. So when I read All New X-Men 19this past weekit took me a bit to cope with the change of artist on this title. Making things more difficult is my love of Stuart Immonen’s work on this title. I feel like his art the perfect balance of photo realism and cartoonism for this title as it reflects the tone Brian Michael Bendis’ writing quite well. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 28, originally released November 27th, 2013.
Don’t it always seem to go/that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
-Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi
Drew: It’s easy to take things for granted. In our never-ending quest for the better, we often overlook the value of what we already have — especially if we’ve always had it. “Youth is wasted on the young,” as they say, which I’ve always taken to mean that you can only truly appreciate a carefree existence once you’ve lived a careful existence. Because kids have never lived in a world where their parents weren’t always there for them, they can’t really understand what it is their parents do for them in the first place. I’ve long felt the same way about Leonardo. He’s the leader because he’s always been the leader — I’ve never really understood what it is he brings to that role on the team (you know, besides having any of the more distinctive quirks of his brothers). City Fall has long featured some exploration of what life without Leo looks like, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 28 shows just how well the turtles work without him. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Red Sonja 5, originally released November 20th, 2013.
Time makes fools of us all.
-Eric Temple Bell
Drew: I’ve seen this E.T. Bell quote thrown around quite a bit, but it becomes less alluring with its often-omitted second half: “Our only comfort is that greater shall come after us.” It’s clear that Bell is taking a historical perspective — our ideas and actions will someday be looked upon with the same bemusement that we have for the Salem witch trials — but I’ve always been more intrigued by how this plays out in my own lifetime. Time has a history of making us eat our own words, whether it’s doing something we swore we’d never do, giving up something we swore we’d always love, or just making us embarrassed about the people we used to be. A recent piece in the New York Times explained that we’re terrible at anticipating those kinds of changes — we simply can’t fathom that we’ll ever change, even though we always do. I found myself thinking about this quite a bit as I read Red Sonja 5, which finds two former friends battling on the very grounds they swore they would never return to. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Scott are discussing Zero 3, originally released November 20th, 2013.
Taylor: Tell you what, reading a Cormac McCarthy novel is a chore. This is by no means a criticism, merely an observation. I think anyone who has read any book by McCarthy would agree with me – the guy writes some pretty bleak stuff. Despite that, his writing is some of the most important to grace the written page in the past fifty years. He’s a master at his craft and his style and voice are so unique that one could argue they have become iconic. Still, reading the likes of Blood Meridian or The Road is far from a pleasant way to pass the time. These books are beautiful in their own way, but they are equally violent and incredibly depressing. Given this, it seems fitting that the afterward of Zero 3 quotes a passage from Blood Meridian. Like McCarthy’s work, Zero is bloody and disturbing, but also like McCarthy’s work it is thought provoking and occasionally beautiful.
Today, Ethan and Taylor are discussing All-New X-Men 18, originally released November 13th, 2013.
Ethan: The best part of being in a relationship is that you get to spend so much time with the one you love. The worst part of being in a relationship is that you get to spend so much time with the one you love. For the X-Men, isolated from the world by that tricky little accident of being born with the X-gene, their ties to each other are incredibly strong. It’s no surprise that they so often find passionate love and lifelong friendship inside their circle. Just like any family or couple, though, they often drive each other completely crazy. Breathing room is hard to find when you’re all stuck in the same space, whether it’s a mansion or a mountain bunker, and All-New X-Men #18 explores how they fight, how they cope, and how they move forward.
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing The Manhattan Projects 16, originally released November 13th, 2013.
Taylor: You know that one picture of Einstein, the one where he’s looking at the camera and playfully sticking his tongue out at the camera? Of course you do — of all the hundreds of pictures of Einstein that exist, that particular portrait sticks out in our collective consciousness. There are probably several reasons for that, but perhaps one of the most powerful is that the picture portrays the author of the general theory of relativity in the way we would like to think he existed. With his frizzy white hair and iconic mustache, Einstein cuts a figure that is both endearing and intelligent. We like to think of Einstein, the grand scientist, as having a playful and childlike streak because it makes him lovable and human, rather than untouchable and superhuman. In this way, we all liken ourselves to Einstein. If that zany dude can revolutionize the world, why not me? However, this disregards the real Einstein, who was often angry and frustrated with himself and the science he devoted his life to. But which of these pictures of Einstein is more accurate and, more importantly, does it matter?
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing The Star Wars 3, originally released November 6th, 2013.
Patrick: When my friends and I first discovered that soda fountains existed, we became obsessed with creating new concoctions by combining sodas. I think this is a phase that we all go through: while the specific recipes and names change from friend-group to friend-group, we’ve all heard of ‘The Suicide” – an unholy mixing of all the options at once! (Even Diet? YES EVEN DIET.) Appropriately enough, my buddy Pete and I had both a Luke Skywalker and a Darth Vader in our recipe rolodexes. The Luke Skywalker was basically just the light sodas — Seven Up, Mountain Dew, Orange Crush — and the Darth Vader was basically just the dark sodas — Coke, Cherry, Dr. Pepper and Root Beer — and we loved coming up with those drinks based on our favorite Star Wars characters. But, as everyone eventually learns, this is silly: those individual sodas are delicious because they have strong individual identities, and the joy is lost when you just pile everything together and hope for the best. Darkhorse’s The Star Wars reveals the experimentation behind the original script to Star Wars. It’s a big nasty pile-up, but it makes me all the more happy we ever got the simplicity of the original trilogy. Continue reading →
Taylor: So sings David Byrne in describing his vision of paradise. Whatever your beliefs or disbeliefs of heaven may be, there’s no denying the power of the imagery the word or thought evokes. For some, it may be a rosy paradise full of angels strumming on harps. For others it may be a state of mind that represents tranquility. And for others still it may mean a bed full of Doritos being fed to you while Arnold Schwarzenegger movies play endlessly on repeat (or is that hell?). But what would heaven look like to a member of the X-Men? A danger room set to beyond-lethal difficulty? A utopia where humans and mutants get along? A place free of the burden of having augmented powers? In Amazing X-Men 1, we get our answer and fans are reintroduced to a member of the X-Men who they have surely been missing.
Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries Villains 7: Bebop and Rocksteady originally released October 30th, 2013.
Ethan: If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise were a film, it would be a little tricky to say what role Bebop and Rocksteady play. Not quite supporting actors, but more than extras, they fill an interesting niche in that world. They were originally conceived as a way to pack more mutants into the cast in order to sell action figures, but they’ve grown a bit past that, especially now in their own TMNT issue Villain Microseries 7: Bebop and Rocksteady. The story and art by Dustin Weaver and Ben Bates gives us a fresh take on their origins and follows their antics and induction into the Foot Clan, taking us right up to the events of TMNT #27, building out the characters into more than just the comic relief cardboard cutouts we saw in the cartoon series and somehow making them both easier and harder to relate to as we see their friendship and violence enhanced in step. Continue reading →