Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing FF 14, originally released December 2nd, 2013.
Patrick: “The eve of battle” is an experience most of us will never literally experience – simply by virtue of the fact that so few of us will ever experience “battle.” The phenomenon, however, is immediately recognizable. People get introspective and honest and fearless the night before Something Big happens. That’s why people hook up the last day of camp, that’s why you stay up too late the night before finals watching Lord of the Rings with your friends. There’s something about the Bigness of the next day that makes every flight of fancy seem relevant. As the FF find themselves staring down the barrel of a battle royale with Doctor Doom, the Allreds chase down every impulse and curiosity, revealing a beautiful mosaic as quirky and particular as the team itself. Continue reading →
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 →
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Deadpool Annual 2013, originally released November 27th, 2013.
Homer: Next, I’ll tell you the origin of Maggie’s pacifier.
Marge: What origin? We get ‘em for $1.95 down at the Safeway.
The Simpsons, “Lisa’s Sax”
Patrick: “Whys?” are important. At least, we want them to be. The Simpsons episode “Lisa’s Sax” explores the origins of — you guessed it — Lisa’s saxophone. The story features Bart’s disenchantment with the education system, the Simpsons’ poverty and the cold swirling mystery of raising a child. It’s insightful and heartfelt and honest: we learn about a crucial piece of the show’s mythology and just how much it informs, and is informed by, the series’ cast. It makes the saxophone Important in a way it hadn’t been before. But the episode is tagged with the exchange above, which readily admits that not all origins can be so fulfilling, no matter how integral a piece of mythology is. The Deadpool Annual explores both the origin, and subsequent termination, of Deadpool’s white voice over boxes. Is this a saxophone story or a pacifier story? Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Hawkeye 14, originally released November 27th, 2013.
Shelby: There’s a very idealistic romance to being young and on your own. It’s easy for me, at the ripe old age of 29, to see younger people’s enthusiasm and just roll my eyes. I’m just jaded enough to have very little patience for that sort of thing. As Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye continues with the adventures of Hawkeye (not Hawkguy) Kate Bishop in L.A., we get a heavy dose of romance, both of the idealistic-youth type and the couple-in-love type. Is Fraction laying it on thick to crack through my jaded, exterior shell? Continue reading →
Ethan: When I was starting college, I knew – objectively – that I would at some point no longer be a student; I’d graduate, get a job, do the adulthood thing. But at the time, steeped in the day-to-day evasion of and frantic return to schoolwork, hanging out with friends, sleeping as little as possible, the thought if college actually ending rarely crossed my mind. And then BAM it was time to get up to go to the early-morning rehearsal for the graduation ceremony. College was finished, I was moving into a new apartmen and starting a new job. That sense of disconnect – when something long awaited feels as though it happens and is shoved into the past before we have the chance to actually experience – is the same feeling I’ve gotten during most of the turning points in the Infinity event, and the same is true of its finale. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 33, originally released November 22nd, 2013.
Drew: “The man without fear” is kind of a strange title for a superhero — between absurd power levels and unmatchable competence, most superheroes have nothing to fear in the first place. Heck, the Avengers just repelled an unstoppable force of universal destruction and one of them just shoots arrows. This prompts supervillain inflation, where each bad guy needs to be bigger than the last in order to draw any drama from the situation — at least, that’s usually the solution for most writers. Mark Waid, on the other hand, has taken Matt Murdock’s title to heart, and has set out to explore the kinds of horrors that have nothing to do with the size of the guy Daredevil has to punch. The result is incredibly relatable and human, but also extremely rare in modern comics. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Indestructible Hulk 15, originally released November 20th, 2013.
Shelby: Games have rules for a reason. Everyone has to know how to play (and how to win), and rules lay that out. A game without rules is chaos, which for a game like Calvinball is precisely the point. The only rule of Calvinball is you can’t play the game the same way twice: essentially, the only rule is whatever rules are made are to be broken. When there are no rules, you can do whatever you want. Worried about consequences? Why bother, there’s no rule that says there will be any! While it might be kind of freeing to play a game with no rules, when you’re dealing with time, history, and your very existence, rules are pretty damn important. So when Bruce Banner finds himself facing his own past, an irradiated Hulk, a potentially Hulk-less future, and a timestream so broken it can be shaped like clay, he knows he needs to act fast before it’s too late, if it isn’t already. Continue reading →
Spencer: Guys, I’m just gonna be frank with you; I’m getting kind of tired of Infinity. I thought it started out great, with immense threats, exciting action, a fun war-story vibe and a colorful cast of alien supporting characters who were fleshed out just enough so that the scenes featuring them weren’t boring, but Infinity never really broke away from or added any depth to that formula, and after over ten issues of it, I’m thoroughly tired of this interstellar war-story. Maybe writer Jonathan Hickman is too; it would explain why this issue of Avengers feels so pointless. Or maybe he just thinks that the infiltration of the Peak is important enough to devote two whole issues to; unfortunately for us, it’s not. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 15, originally released November 13th, 2013.
Shelby: I am no stranger to drinking with my coworkers. It happens less now, but back when I started with company I’ve been with for the past six years, we used to go out all the time. Drinking with coworkers is strange; you have the weird anxiety about introducing these people to your true, non-work self. If you’re lucky enough like I am to work at a pretty casual place, the difference between work-you and real-you isn’t that extreme. Casual workplace or no, afterhours outings can definitely bring the group together. Sure, things are probably going to be awkward the next day, with everyone exchanging stories, gossiping about who hooked up with whom, but the shared experience of the evening brings people together and makes the team tighter. It helps, too, when the boss picks up the tab. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Taylor are discussing All-New X-Men 18, originally released November 13th, 2013.
Ethan: The best part of being in a relationship is that you get to spend so much time with the one you love. The worst part of being in a relationship is that you get to spend so much time with the one you love. For the X-Men, isolated from the world by that tricky little accident of being born with the X-gene, their ties to each other are incredibly strong. It’s no surprise that they so often find passionate love and lifelong friendship inside their circle. Just like any family or couple, though, they often drive each other completely crazy. Breathing room is hard to find when you’re all stuck in the same space, whether it’s a mansion or a mountain bunker, and All-New X-Men #18 explores how they fight, how they cope, and how they move forward.