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
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
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Batgirl 28, originally released February 12th, 2014.
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.
Today, 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.
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
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 11, originally released January 29th, 2014.
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
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
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.
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
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.
“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.
Patrick: Did y’all see Crazy Heart? Part of that movie hinges on the fact that Jeff Bridges’ character quietly and gradually writes a song so good that he can retire on it. I love imagining the moment in the script where the screenwriter must have written: “Then he writes the best song ever” and then goes back to describing a bar bathroom or something. Luckily, the people tasked with actually demonstrating this skill were up to the task. Geoff Johns has a habit of writing himself into similar corners, but always leaves it to himself to bail himself out. The result is an oddly self-contradictory narrative, one that comes so very close to acknowledging its own absurdity before doubling down on it.
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing New Avengers 12, originally released November 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.
Spencer: Unsurprisingly for a group that claims to rule the world in secret, the Illuminati functions much like a government. Both are made up of various individuals each supposedly dedicated to bettering the world (or their country, whatever), but who are also devoted to personal causes of their own which quite often cause major conflicts of interest. In the past, we’ve worried that these conflicts could tear the Illuminati apart, but New Avengers 12 flips that situation by showing the Illuminati putting aside their differences (if only temporarily); their actions keep the world safe, but do serious damage to their personal lives. Continue reading