Secret Wars Round-Up: Issues released 6/3/15

secret wars roundup3Today, Drew, Patrick and Spencer discuss Secret Wars 3, Giant-Sized Little Marvel AvX 1, Future Imperfect 1, Years of Future Past 1, and Secret Wars Battleworld 2.

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Drew: There’s nothing like comics continuity — and I mean that quite literally. Virtually no other narratives feature the same kinds of questions about whether something happened, how so and so exists if that didn’t happen, whether or not characters remember events that did happen before they didn’t, or if all of the events we’re reading will somehow be undone in the future. I’ve never been particularly interested in what is and isn’t canon (as far as I’m concerned, the only stories that “count” in comics are the ones that I’ve read), but it’s certainly interesting to see how the Big Two twist themselves up in knots to explain things. Marvel has long touted its continuity as being unbroken (a few retcons notwithstanding), in contrast to DC’s system of periodically “resetting” their universe with a massive crisis, but Secret Wars began with proudly proclaiming the death of the Marvel Universe as we know it. Indeed, this week finds writers not just defending that break, but reveling in it. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 1

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Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 1, originally released June 3rd, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, check back tomorrow for our Secret Wars Round-Up!

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Spencer: Becoming a parent requires a serious reshuffling of priorities. Unlike what a lot of movies will try to convince you, it doesn’t mean that a new parent has to drop every activity they ever loved, but it does mean that those activities — and literally everything else in the world — takes a back seat to the duty they have to raise and protect their new child. It’s a staggering responsibility, even to someone like Peter Parker, who, as Spider-Man, has devoted most of his life to shouldering great responsibility. What happens when Peter puts his family before his duties as Spider-Man? That’s the question at the heart of The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 1, and the answer is rather startling. Continue reading

Secret Wars Round-Up: Issues released 5/27/15

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Today, Patrick and Drew discuss Old Man Logan 1, Where Monsters Dwell 1, Infinity Gauntlet 1, M.O.D.O.K. Assassin 1, Secret Wars 2099 1, X-Men ’92 Infinite Comic 1, Inhumans: Attilan Rising 1 and Secret Wars Journal 1.
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“So… isn’t that just Convergence?”

Comic Fan, Traditional

Patrick: The slug line for DC and Marvel’s big events couldn’t be much more similar: characters and concepts from the greatest stories in the publishers’ legacies are forced to physically live on the same planet. Conflict ensues. In Convergence, that conflict was prescribed by the villain that brought those worlds together. Telos made the characters fight each other for survival in a sort of superhero Hunger Games. Many of the tie-in issues found other narrative avenues to explore, but the set-up was tortuously samey (including a broadcast monologue I had to read 41 times). The issues springing out of Secret Wars, on the other hand, seem to have their own agendas: themes, ideas and values that drive the narrative forward — the patchwork planet is simply set dressing. Continue reading

Convergence: Justice Society of America 2

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Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Convergence: Justice Society of America 2, originally released May 27th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Mark: “With great power comes great responsibility” is one of the most iconic phrases in comic book pop culture. Most often associated with Spider-Man, it also seems to be a guiding storytelling principle for a lot of modern comics and (most pointedly) DC’s Batman and Superman films as of late. The idea that being a superhero is a huge burden is an easy storytelling device. It quickly humanizes and “grounds” an otherwise fantastical character. It’s also a plot machination that can drive me crazy. Part of my intolerance is absolutely a sense of envy. How can a character be dissatisfied with life when they have super powers? Super powers! Continue reading

Secret Wars Round-Up: Issues released 5/20/15

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Today, Drew and Patrick discuss Ultimate End 1, Battleworld 1, Planet Hulk 1, Spider-Verse 1, and Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars 1.
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I have no idea what Secret Wars is going to be.

Retcon Punch, Traditional

Drew: Seriously, though: what is Secret Wars? Is it an excuse to revisit popular stories from Marvel’s history? Is it a means to merge the 616 Universe with the most popular elements of the Ultimate Universe? Is it an open field for creators to try out goofy ideas? Is it a stupid summer crossover event designed to sell comics? Offering the first real taste of what the tie-in issues, this week’s offerings suggest that the answer to all of our questions is “yes.” Continue reading

Convergence: The Flash 2

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Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Convergence: The Flash 2, originally released May 20th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence this week, click here.

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Spencer: For the several decades that fell between Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Flash: Rebirth, Barry Allen was DC’s greatest hero. He was also dead, mind you, but that’s the exact reason why Barry became so legendary. The Flash sacrificed his life to save the entire multiverse, and by martyring himself he became this almost mythic figure, inspiring the entire DC universe — fans were even known to call him “Saint Barry.” But when Barry returned to life, he was overwhelmed by the praise. Fame was never something he wanted, and he knew he was far from perfect. Every action he took as the Flash, from stopping a mugger to sacrificing his life to save the universe, was taken with only one thought in mind — helping others. This dichotomy between how others view Barry and how he views himself is one of the central themes of Dan Abnett and Federico Dallocchio’s Convergence: The Flash 2. Continue reading

Convergence: Superboy 2

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Today, Shane and Spencer are discussing Convergence: Superboy 2, originally released May 13th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Shane: Once upon a time, I wanted to be an actor when I grew up. There wasn’t anything in particular driving this dream, I just knew that I wanted to be an actor, and I made that pretty well known to anyone around me. My parents, to their credit, did what they could to further that dream, enrolling me in acting clubs, community plays, and the like. This passion helped define me as a child, expressing itself in a general sense of theatricality that still, in some ways, exists in my personality. In a similar (albeit more extreme) vein, Superboy’s desire to become Superman that defines him, instilled in him from “birth” as his sole purpose in life. A driving force in virtually every Superboy story, it remains prominent in this Convergence miniseries set so early in his life. As he goes up against heroes from the Kingdom Come universe, he battles with all of his power, even against all odds. Continue reading

Convergence: Superman 2

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Today, Mark and Drew are discussing Convergence: Superman 2, originally released May 6th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Mark: I really dislike Zack Snyder’s 2013 Man of Steel. It feels like the filmmakers fundamentally do not understand what makes Superman special. Strip away his Kryptonian background and all of his super powers, at the end of the day what makes Superman super is that he stands as an example for good. And while New 52 Superman wasn’t bad, there’s just no comparing to pre-Flashpoint Superman. This is a lived-in Superman, an older Superman. Perhaps overpowered by the end, but the emotional connections he had with other characters, especially Lois Lane, were rich. All of that history may have driven to narrative dead ends, but as a character this Superman is basically the best, and having Dan Jurgens back for a proper send off makes Convergence: Superman 2 one of the few highlights of Convergence last week. Continue reading

Convergence: Speed Force 2

speed force 2 convToday, Spencer and Michael are discussing Convergence: Speed Force 2, originally released May 6th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence this week, click here.

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Spencer: What does it mean to be a family? It’s a broad question with probably millions of valid answers, but at their best (and at my most idealistic), I think families exist as a sort of support system. Spouses support each other through thick and thin; parents protect their children and teach them the skills they need to be self-sufficient adults, but also act as a safety net for when they fail; children eventually return the favor and usher their parents through old age. In an ideal family no one member is carrying all the weight — everybody has something to contribute. That’s a lesson the Flash, Wally West, needs to be reminded of in Tony Bedard and Tom Grummett’s Convergence: Speed Force 2, an issue that reestablishes the importance of the familial bonds between Wally and his kids and as well as their roles in the family without Linda. Continue reading

Convergence: The Question 2

Alternating Currents: The Question 2, Michael and Shane

Today, Michael and Shane are discussing Convergence: The Question 2 originally released May 6th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Michael: Gotham is a terrible place and everyone knows it — real and fictional. It’s a city full of human heroes whose days will all come to an end eventually; lending itself to tales about struggling for what’s right no matter what. Despite that, Greg Rucka has put Renee Montoya through high-stakes, supernatural apocalypses before. Convergence: The Question 2 is not an “end of the world” story in that sense, however, but the stakes and the message make it feel just as important. Continue reading