Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 54

tmnt 54

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 54, originally released January 27th, 2016.

black and white

Spencer: Telling someone they see things in black and white is practically tantamount to calling them childish. The general idea is that as people grow up, the world and the decisions they have to make in it become more ethically gray, and trying to hold onto clear definitions of “good” and “evil” in the light of that is futile. Of course, when confronted with that line of reasoning many respond just as Calvin did in the strip above — they claim that sometimes things really are that simple! In essence, this is the argument that dominates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 54, where the Mutanimals nearly splinter over the discovery of Old Hob and Hun’s alliance. Continue reading

Best of 2015: Best Series

best series 2015
We all love a good one-off or anthology, but it’s the thrill of a series that keeps us coming back to our comic shop week-in, week-out. Whether it’s a brand new creator-owned series or a staple of the big two, serialized storytelling allows for bigger casts, bigger worlds, and bigger adventures. That bigness was on full display this year, as series made grand statement after grand statement about what they were all about. These are our top 10 series of 2015.
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Best of 2015: Best Mini-Series

best mini-series 2015More self-contained than an ongoing series (which may build on decades of backstory), but capable of more depth than a one-off, the mini-series may stand as the truest analog to novels that monthly comics can provide. 2015 was a banner year for mini-series, with both of the big two switching to minis almost entirely during their respective crossover events, and many more stellar minis coming from other publishers. These our our top 10 mini-series of 2015.
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Best of 2015: Best Issues

best issues 2015
Episodic storytelling is the name of the game in monthly comics. Month- or even multi-year-long arcs are fine, but a series lives and dies by its individual chapters. From self-contained one-offs to issues that recontextualize their respective series, this year had a ton of great issues. Whittling down those issues to a list was no easy task (and we look forward to hearing how your lists differ in the comments), but we would gladly recommend any (and all) of these issues without hesitation. These are our top 10 issues of 2015. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 53

tmnt 53

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 53, originally released December 23rd, 2015.

Taylor: One of the quintessential experiences of growing up is undergoing the trial of being picked for a team. Often times this happens on the playground at recess or even in gym class. Two captains (usually the biggest kids in class) are chosen to head teams and tasked with choosing which classmates they want to join their side. The captains take turns choosing from the class, each taking his or her turn and selecting the students who are best at sports first and the kids who are worst last. Being the last kid chosen for a team was a special sort of shame. You are branded in front of everyone as being inferior and essentially a cast-off. Almost everyone has experienced this minor trauma at some point, and for that reason, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 53  resonates with me. It explores what it means to be a cast-off, and in the process also asks what it means to be accepted by others. Continue reading

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