Guardians of the Galaxy 13

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Today, Scott and Taylor are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 13, originally released March 26th, 2014.

jean gray divI’m not sure this was worth it.

Gamora

Scott: It always amuses me when a character voices my same feelings towards an in-story event. It can be so tragically ironic. In this case, Gamora wondering if the Guardians’ involvement in rescuing Jean Grey is worth the heat it’s going to draw from the Shi-ar echoed the feelings I’ve had towards their role in ‘The Trial of Jean Grey’. The finale to this six-part event hits some emotional beats, but like the previous installments, the personal moments tend to revolve around the X-Men, leaving this series’ protagonists feeling left out. Ultimately, it’s an awkward goodbye to a crossover that never quite gelled and, frankly, probably wasn’t worth three issues the Guardians’ time. Oh, and Groot gets weird with some trees.

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Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 6

rogues rebellion 6Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 6, originally released March 26th, 2014.

Spencer: Villains aren’t exactly known for their teamwork. Sure, they team up all the time, but it rarely lasts and never ends well; egos get wounded, agendas clash, and varying levels of morality get in the way. Just look at the Crime Syndicate over in Forever Evil proper; they’ve been keeping secrets and plotting against each other from the moment they reached our Earth, likely even longer. The only group of villains who have stuck it out for the long haul are the Rogues of Central City. What makes them different? Brian Buccellato and Scott Hepburn’s Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 6 implies that it may just be because the Rogues understand the way the world works better than most villains.

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Forever Evil 6

forever evil 6Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Forever Evil 6, originally released March 5th, 2014. 

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Spencer: One of the biggest issues I’ve had with Forever Evil has been trying to figure out just how, exactly, its interpretation of Earth-3 works. Before the reboot Earth-3 was a world of opposites, where all evil characters were good guys and all the good guys were villains, and villains always won, but ever since the Crime Syndicate forced their way onto our world at the end of “Trinity War” writer Geoff Johns has largely shown Earth-3 as a world where everybody is evil, which I haven’t quite been able to wrap my head around up to this point. Johns and David Finch’s Forever Evil 6 has finally helped put things in perspective for me, though, by unmasking the Syndicate’s prisoner and showing us exactly what a hero looks like on Earth-3. Continue reading

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 5

rogues rebellion 5Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 5, originally released February 12th, 2014.

Patrick: Let’s talk a little bit about the need for, and the necessity of, spectacle in superhero comics. At first blush, it seems absolutely crucial, right? If our characters aren’t using their powers and punching each other in the face and teleporting and zapping each other with lightning, then like, what’s the point of making them superheroes in the first place? There’s something about the non-stop, out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire pacing of Rogues’ Rebellion that feels like superhero comics stripped down past the concepts of good and evil and great responsibility all that stuff. It’s pure adrenaline-powered action, with only a modicum of scheming to slow things down. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that these are Flash’s baddies — and that we even get some time with Johnny Quick — as the plot ramps up to a fever pitch heading to the conclusion. Continue reading

Batgirl 28

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Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Batgirl 28, originally released February 12th, 2014. 

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Shelby: Not that long ago, we had a glut of vampires in popular culture. Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood: we were inundated. It didn’t seem that unusual to me, though; my high school into college experience featured a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Hellsing (the anime, not the awful movie), so “Vampires did it!” isn’t really that strange of a story for me. Outside of Legenderry and the occasional Halloween issue, though, vampires are not something I expect to see in the comics I’m reading. Needless to say, I was intrigued by the cover of this month’s Batgirl.

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Detective Comics 28

detective comics 28 gothToday, Spencer and Mikyzptlk are discussing Detective Comics 28, originally released February 5th, 2014. This issue is part of the Gothtopia event. We talked with John Layman about Gothtopia, you can find that interview here.

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Spencer: Back in the summer of 2010 I was obsessed with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comics, and eagerly awaited the release of their movie adaptation. I spent the weeks leading up to it reading and rereading the comics and preparing myself for the awesomeness I knew the movie would surely be. After I actually saw the movie, though, I was oddly disappointed by the many changes made between it and the comics. It took me quite a while to reconcile the two versions, but once I did, I ended up seeing it twice more in theaters and it quickly became my favorite movie. I had a similar experience reading Detective Comics 28 this week. After last month’s introduction to the “Gothtopia” storyline I was expecting a lot out of this issue—specifically, more exploration of this new Gotham utopia—but the story ended up veering in another direction entirely. I was disappointed at first, but fortunately, the story I got instead ended up being pretty enjoyable in its own right. Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy 11

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Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 11, originally released January 29th, 2014.

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Scott: The call-and-response nature of crossover events can grow a bit tiresome. We all know it. Guardians of the Galaxy 11, the series’ entree into “The Trial of Jean Grey”, is only tasked with answering one question: why did the Shi’ar kidnap Jean Grey? While Brian Michael Bendis ably resolves that question, the rest of the issue winds up feeling rather pointless. Bendis handicaps himself by not allowing this issue to advance the story any further than that, insisting instead on keeping pace with the other half of the crossover, All-New X-Men. Guardians 11 is a necessary issue, to be sure, but also a very flat one. So while “The Trial of Jean Grey” isn’t the Lifetime movie its title suggests, it is off to a slow start. Continue reading

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 4

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Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 4, originally released January 15th, 2014.

Mikyzptlk: While Batman and Spider-Man’s rogues are most likely considered to be the deadliest of them all, I’ve long found The Rogues to be the most interesting of the various superhero rogues galleries. As far as I know, they are the only villainous group who follow a code of honor. They are all about the take, and they go out of their way to refrain from hurting anyone unless they absolutely have to. Their code of honor is why this very miniseries exists. In a world run by villains, The Rogues don’t really look so bad, and they are now suffering for that fact. The intent behind this series seems to be to explore what makes The Rogues so different from all of the other villains of the world. In issue 4, Brian Buccellato continues his examination of The Rogues in a serviceable, if not entirely mind-blowing fashion.  Continue reading

Creator Interview: John Layman – Gothtopia

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John Layman’s run on Detective Comics is coming to a close in March, but he’s got one last spectacular trick up his sleeve – the what-if-Gotham-was-a-happy-place? story of Gothtopia. This is the first time in the New 52 that a Bat Family crossover wasn’t lead by Scott Snyder’s Batman. We traded emails with Layman to dig into what makes both Detective Comics and Gothtopia different from what readers might expect. For more information on Gothtopia, head on over to our Gothtopia event page or check out our conversations about Detective Comics 27 and Batgirl 27.

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Retcon Punch: First, congrats on Detective Comics 27 - it’s a huge issue and people really seem to be responding positively to it. Did you know that your first Gothtopia story was going to appear beside so many other “imaginary” stories? Did that change your approach to it at all?

John Layman: It didn’t really change my story, but I communicated with all the other creative teams, so they knew what I was doing, and I knew what they were doing. To make sure everything meshed, and every book complimented the other while being unique. Continue reading

Batgirl 27

batgirl 27 gothtopia

Today, Shelby and Mikyzptlk are discussing Batgirl 27, originally released January 15th, 2014. This issue is part of the Gothtopia event. We talked with John Layman about Gothtopia, you can find that interview here.

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Shelby: 

“It was a disaster. No one would accept the program…I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream your primitive cerebrum kept trying to awake from.”

Agent Smith, The Matrix

There’s some truth to ol’ Agent Smith’s theory. Humans do in part define their reality through suffering, because without suffering how would we know joy? In order to recognize and truly appreciate the good in life, you have to know the bad, which is the problem Batgirl is running into as she tries to understand her stay in Gothtopia.
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