Today, Patrick are discussing Age of Ultron 8, originally released May 15th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Patrick: A few weeks ago, I noted that I wasn’t having very much fun with the whole Age of Ultron concept – issue after issue of pure, relentless destruction and doom was getting to me. But that started to feel like the point: Brian Michael Bendis was taking my comic-book-fan apocalypse-lust and rubbing my nose in it. When the heroes decided they had to take drastic action and travel through time to fight Ultron on his inventor on different chronal fronts, I cheered the initiative. Anything to stop the suffer-slog through devastated cityscapes. But as the series moves further and further away from what’s familiar in the Marvel Universe, the harder it is to get a grasp on the story. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Ethan are discussing Deadpool 9, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Scott: Moral ambiguity is an important theme in Deadpool. Wade Wilson doesn’t kill people unless he has to, but he doesn’t have to enjoy doing it so much either. In Deadpool 9, the actual necessity of such violence, as well as Wade’s willingness to commit it, becomes blurred, forcing Wade to make tough decisions. It’s the kind of situation you might see depicted with a miniature angel and devil propped on each of his shoulders, but writers Brian Posehn and Gary Duggan would never revert to such a trite story device unless they were mocking it, right? Well, take the moral-righteousness of a recently-dead government agent who lives inside Wade’s head and put it up against the deplorable, power-hungry demon forcing Wade to do his dirty work and you get Posehn and Duggan’s version of a conscience-battle. They are a creative team, in every sense.
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Fearless Defenders 1-4, originally released February 6th, March 13th, April 10th and May 8th, 2013.
Patrick: The premise of first four issues of Fearless Defenders is simple: Valkyrie was tasked with recruiting eight female warriors from Earth to serve as Shield Maidens of Odin, but she put off making the decision for so long that a handful of undead Doom Maidens have risen to take their place. Now no longer a matter of selecting who would make the best — or most cohesive — unit of Shield Maidens, Valkyrie ends up assembling a crew who can best be described as motley – composed entirely of women. This ends up being the series’ greatest strengths: no top-tier characters, no common theme connecting the cast and no expectations as to what this team is capable of or responsible for. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Avengers 11, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Drew: Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run has been all about mystery. Issue 10 found the Avengers vowing to keep some mysterious secret, but all along, there have been more questions than answers. Ancient alien races, disturbing, otherworldly biotech, and other insane sci-fi concepts have given Hickman full control over just what we understand, and when. It’s thrilling if you’re along for the ride, but can be incredibly frustrating — even off-puting — if you don’t have faith in Hickman to explain everything. In issue 11, Hickman offers proof that he can do answers as well as questions, turning his meticulously cultivated confusion into straight-up intrigue, as the Avengers go into spy movie mode (with a little Kung Fu thrown in, for good measure). The result is a breezy, fun story, that any fans can point to as proof positive that Hickman can handle character-based stories as well as his sci-fi weirdness. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Taylor are discussing Avengers Assemble 15AU, originally released May 8th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Ethan: It’s always tempting to poke fun at other cultures. Humans seem evolutionarily predisposed to draw lines between Us and Them, and in the present, enlightened point in the development of our species, we like to use humor to act on that where our paleo-ancestors might have used a nice, big stick. Humor’s got more uses than pushing others away though; sometimes it’s a good way to navigate the gap between the familiar and the different, and to draw people together. All of this is a bit overblown for introducing this issue. What I’m really trying to say is that writer Al Ewing really went to town on those silly Brits in this issue. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 8, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Patrick: I’ve got a story I like to tell about the end of my tequilla renaissance. Shelby and Taylor were there, they can tell you that I made some bad decisions that evening where booze was concerned. I’ll spare you all the theatricality of it, but highlights include: leading my friends in an incoherent late-night jam of Mario Bros. music in our apartment building; crying naked in the bathroom; and vomiting in the bed. What can I say – I’m a classy guy. If only I’d been accompanied by two more-experienced versions of myself-from-the-future, maybe I could have made less impulsive decisions that night. Maybe. Let’s see how that same line of thinking applies to Thor. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Hawkeye 10, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Shelby: There are two sides to every story, even stories wherein our favorite, loveable auxiliary character is shot in the head by a new bad guy for seemingly no reason. Even though we’re all still a little sad about the loss of Grills last issue (Matt Fraction included, as indicated on the title page of this month’s issue), we have to remember it was a man who pulled the trigger, a man with his own story to tell. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Pete Pfarr are discussing Iron Man 9, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Patrick: Expectations are a bitch. Sometimes we perceive quality based solely on the similarity a work of art has to what qualities we were expecting it to have. Expectations make us say things like “Fantastic Four is supposed to be fun!” or “Evil Dead is supposed to be campy!” Thanks to the cinematic juggernaut that is the Iron Man film series, there are an awful lot of “supposed to”s for Tony Stark. As Kieron Gillen starts a new story arc for Iron Man, he lays all our precious expectations out on the table and then shakes his finger sternly. Whatever we’re getting here, it ain’t what we expect. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and guest writer Charles Cress are discussing All-New X-Men 11, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Drew: Superhero comics have a strange line to walk when it comes to serialization. We want a sense of forward movement — we want the characters to grow and change — but we also want to read stories with them forever. In essence, we want the excitement of serialization (your LOSTs or your Breaking Bads) with the comfort of a more episodic structure (your Seinfelds or your Law and Orders). The problem with that is when something we expect to move forward doesn’t, we notice it. “Wheel spinning.” This is strictly a problem with expectations — nobody would ever accuse an episodic series of spinning its wheels — but Brian Michael Bendis has done such a stellar job at telling a propulsive story in All-New X-Men, it’s a little jarring when issue 11 retraces its steps.
Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing A + X 7, originally released April 24th, 2013.
Spencer: We live in an era of comics where six-month storylines are the norm and accusations of decompressed storytelling abound. Some stories are worth the space, but others just feel like they’re grasping for ways to fill out a trade paperback. Regardless, I’ve found myself greatly appreciating shorter storylines as a result, and as a writer who often struggles in vain to be concise, I admire a creative team that can fit a complete story into a small amount of space and not have it feel lacking. This month’s A+X not only tells two such stories, it even manages to throw in a twist ending; color me impressed!