Godzilla in Hell 5

godzilla in hell 5

Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Godzilla in Hell 5, originally released November 18th, 2015.

Spencer: Godzilla in Hell is one of the most unusual series I’ve had the pleasure of reading in quite a while. There’s little in terms of backstory or continuity between issues, and almost no dialogue or copy of any kind, making each issue a spotlight for the artist and their take on Godzilla’s afterlife. About the only thing tying each story together is the idea that, even in Hell, Godzilla is nigh unstoppable, tearing through every challenge Hell can throw his way through sheer stubborn force of will alone. It only makes sense, then, that Godzilla in Hell‘s conclusion would turn even this trope on its head, creating a scenario where Godzilla’s only chance at victory is to surrender. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 51

tmnt 51

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 51, originally released October 28th, 2015.

Taylor: One of my favorite places to eat at here in Chicago is called Cozy Noodles and Rice. It’s a little Thai place that’s cheap and has robots hanging on the wall. It also has a BYOB policy so it’s not uncommon for my friends and I to bring some beer or wine to enjoy with our meal. Thai food is really flavorful and spicy, however, so often I find that the taste of the alcohol I’m drinking clashes with the taste of the Thai. Separate, they are both delicious. But when combined they just don’t mix well. The lesson I’ve learned from this is the need to cleanse the palate after a heavy meal or thick drink. TMNT 51 is the first issue after the momentous issue 50, and in many ways it acts as a swig of water between two distinct tastes. It prepares us for a brand new turtle adventure while still letting us savor the events which proceeded it.

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Back to the Future 1

back to the future 1

Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Back to the Future 1, originally released October 21st, 2015.

Spencer: Back to the Future is my family’s favorite movie. Every member of my family has, at one point or another, mentioned how they can watch that movie over and over without ever getting tired of it. Parts II and III are also great films — if not as effortlessly perfect as the first — and together they create a rather complete, fulfilling story. Despite my profuse love for the franchise, I’ve never once clamored for more because, well, what would more Back to the Future even look like? It’s a question that even the trilogy’s writer Bob Gale asked himself when first approached to work on IDW’s Back to the Future mini-series. Ultimately, he chose to use the series to answer fan questions about the characters and explore new aspects of their backstories. Given the book’s audience, it’s probably the right move. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 50

tmnt 50

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 50, originally released October 10th, 2015.

Taylor: They say that time heals all wounds. Everyone knows that this saying has both a literal and metaphorical meaning. For only time can take the sting away from hurt feelings and only time can mend a broken body. However, time also causes things to fester and decay. Eventually, time kills or destroys all. While the truth of these statements can’t be denied, I think whether a person views time as a destroyer or a healer says a lot about their viewpoint on the world. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 50, a clash of these two viewpoints takes place, and the head-to-head encounter leaves one dead and the other walking into new territory. The result is an issue focused on the past, the future, and the passage of time.

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The Infinite Loop 6

infinite loop 6

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Infinite Loop 6, originally released September 30th, 2015.

“They’ll put a gun into your hand and call you weak until you’re violent
Don’t believe it
They’re hateful because they’re empty
We’ve got a chance to break the cycle
We could be the heroes that we always said we’d be.”

I Wanted So Badly To Be Brave,” The Wonder Years

Spencer: The first time I listened to that song I cried, and while it still gets me more than a bit emotional, it also lights a fire within me. Yeah I wanna break the cycle — of course I wanna be a hero! Sign me up! It’s a call to action, and an incredibly effective one; so is The Infinite Loop. While Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier’s mini-series is ostensibly a sci-fi action/romance story — and a rather fine one at that — at its core it exists to preach a message, spark a movement, incite readers to action. If there exists a more thorough call to action than The Infinite Loop 6, I don’t think I want to see it. Continue reading

Jem and the Holograms 7

jem and the holograms 7

Today, Patrick and Ryan M. are discussing Jem and the Holograms 7, originally released September 16th, 2015.

Patrick: One of the things I find most invigorating and fascinating about serialized fiction is the series’ need to evolve beyond its initial premise. And I’m using “premise” in the broadest possible sense of the word, to include things like patterns of storytelling, linguistic ticks, artistic vocabulary. If had stopped reading Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman after a dozen issues, I never would have known that the series and its creative team was capable of telling beautifully colored stories, or if I had given up on LOST after two years, I never would have known that there’s a time-travel component to the story. These developments to both the narrative and how the narrative is expressed arise organically and only over time. As Jem and the Holograms begins a new story arc with artist Emma Vieceli stepping in for Sophie Campbell, the new DNA of the series reveals itself, promising a richer experience to come. Continue reading

Jem and the Holograms 6

Alternating Currents: Jem and the Holograms 6, Drew and Ryan M.

Today, Drew and Ryan Mogge are discussing Jem and the Holograms 6, originally released September 2nd, 2015.

Drew: I think we all know the feeling of showing a movie (or even a youtube video) we love to somebody for the first time: it’s mostly excitement, but also a little fear that maybe they won’t find it as funny or smart or touching or whatever as you do. That feeling actually has an even more tense relative that may not be quite as universal: showing a tv show you love to somebody. This was particularly tense in the pre-DVR, pre-Netflix age, when your only resource was whatever episode was on next — in the case of a current series, an episode that you had never seen before. That was particularly anxiety-provoking because a show is greater than the sum of its parts — any one episode can’t hope to be as engaging as the series as a whole. Unless, of course, the that episode was a perfect microcosm of what makes the series great, like Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell’s Jem and the Holograms 6, which serves as a perfect introduction to the series, distilling everything special about it into one tight little issue. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49

tmnt 49

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, originally released August 19th, 2015.

“Let’s get ready to rumble!”

-Michael Buffer, Ring Announcer

Patrick: Michael Buffer started using his signature phrase in 1984. It’s short, it’s sweet, and belted out in Buffer’s distinct tenor, it can bring a crowd to their feet. The dude trademarked the phrase in 1992, and since then, he’s gotten paid for every single time it’s used. It’s estimated that the phrase is worth $400 million – that’s $80,000,000 per word. Why should a single sentence — no matter how powerful — ever be worth that kind of money? Because the pageantry involved in the pre-fight ritual ends up being more important that the fight itself. Hype is an art form. No one calls out “let’s get ready to rumble!” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, but the issue is so singularly obsessed with hyping one specific rumble that it’d be easy to forgive the creative team for invoking Buffer’s cash cow. And even though they haven’t: I’m ready.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48

tmnt 48

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48, originally released July 29th, 2015.

Taylor: Time is hard concept to understand. On the one hand, it’s totally an invention of humankind and wouldn’t exist without us. On the other hand, it does seem like things more or less move temporally in some fashion independent of human thought. That’s basically the second law of thermodynamics. The point is, time is a complicated concept. It should be no surprise then that time can be difficult to illustrate in comics. It’s such an abstract concept that it’s not always easy to show readers. However, one of the things comic book artists are experts at is showing the movement of time in and between panels. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48, artist Cory Smith puts on a clinic on how to show the passage of time. Subsequently, this issue is beautiful to read.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 2

tmnt casey & april 2

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 2, originally released July 22nd, 2015.

Taylor: Last summer’s Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie met with lukewarm reviews. There were a lot of reasons cited by critics for the movie not being great, but the one thing that was almost universally harped upon was the confusing nature of the action sequences. Bay aficionados, however, were not surprised by this: chaos is one of his trademarks. What this goes to show is that clarity is incredibly important when crafting a story. It makes sense – if the audience can’t understand what’s going on, how are they supposed to take anything from it? Casey and April 2 is an interesting study in clarity: how it succeeds, how it fails, and how it succeeds despite its failings.

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