Star Wars Round-Up: Star Wars 8 and Kanan – The Last Padawan 5

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Today, Patrick, Michael and Spencer discuss Star Wars 8, and Kanan – The Last Padawan 5.
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Patrick: One Star Wars series wraps up a story arc while the other kicks off a fresh one! They’re interesting points of comparison: Kanan 5, being the end of something, delivers information and catharsis, with a clean thematic unity, while Star Wars 8 more tepidly tests the waters, both in terms of theme and plot. Luckily, both issues are emotionally honest, and brimming with personality.

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Secret Wars Round-Up: Issues released 8/19/15

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Retcon Punch is on Summer Hours, which means we’re going to be writing fewer in-depth pieces for the month of August. But we’re addicts at this point, so we need a place for our thoughts on all those comics we can’t stop reading. Today, we’re discussing House of M 1, Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows 4, Spider-Verse 4, Secret Wars Secret Love 1, 1872 2, Weirdworld 3, Runaways 3, Howard the Human 1, and Loki Agent of Asgard 17.

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Lando 2

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Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Andy are discussing Lando 2, originally released August 12, 2015.

Patrick: When you think about Lando’s role in the original trilogy, it’s hard to see him as an active player in the drama. His pivotal turn in The Empire Strikes Back boils down to him sending Lobot a text. Think about his role freeing Han from Jabba’s Palace – he infiltrates Jabba’s guard and then… does what? The man is a maestro at seizing opportunity, just so long as that “seizing” doesn’t really look like anything. But damn it all: be basically thwarts the will of the Emperor to Darth Vader’s face and lives to tell the tale. Charles Soule and Alex Maleev translate that effective inaction to the comic book page in Lando 2, using trappings two separate genres to their advantage, and then punctuate the whole thing with Lando’s opposite: an agent that never stops being active. Nearly every single element of this issue, from the pacing, to the coloring, to the dialogue, to the antagonist, serve to highlight what exactly makes Lando so damn special.
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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 8

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Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 8, originally released August 12th, 2015.

Taylor: I recently watched a video of a man who walked, without any safety harness, across a rope suspended 1,000 feet in the air. It’s an impressive feat, if not in bravery, then at least in balance. One wrong move, too much weight to one side, and that guy becomes a smear on the ground. In this case balance is obviously important, but for me it highlights how balance is important in almost everything do. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 8 similarly reminds that balance is important in a different way. Keeping in perfect equilibrium the nuttiness of Squirrel Girl and the gravitas of Thor, this issue expertly walks a fine line between comedy and adventure. And while it might not be nearly as breathtaking as slack-lining, it’s every bit as impressive.

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Secret Wars Round-Up: Issues released 8/11/15

secret wars roundup13Retcon Punch is on Summer Hours, which means we’re going to be writing fewer in-depth pieces for the month of August. But we’re addicts at this point, so we need a place for our thoughts on all those comics we can’t stop reading. Today, we’re discussing Secret Wars 5, A-Force 3, Ghost Racers 3, Inhumans Attilan Rising 4, Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos 3, Planet Hulk 4, Secret Wars Battleworld 4, Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde 2, and Years of Future Past 4.

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Secret Wars Round-Up: Issues released 8/4/15

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Retcon Punch is on Summer Hours, which means we’re going to be writing fewer in-depth pieces for the month of August. But we’re addicts at this point, so we need a place for our thoughts on all those comics we can’t stop reading. Today, we’re discussing Ms. Marvel 17, Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows 3, Civil War 2, Infinity Gauntlet 3, Giant Sized Little Marvel AvX 3, and Red Skull 2

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Darth Vader 8

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Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader, originally released August 5th, 2015.

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Michael: At my old age of 27, I must admit that I have gotten a little curmudgeonly – especially where pop culture is concerned. I’ve seen so many different iterations of ideas and tropes that sometimes it’s hard to tell if something is cliché or if I’ve just put myself in a position to see the same story 10 billion times. Darth Vader 8 took all of my predictions and suppositions and knocked them flat on their ass. And this pleases me. Continue reading

Secret Wars Round-Up: Issues released 7/29/15

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Today, Patrick, Drew, and Spencer discuss Thors 2, M.O.D.O.K. Assassin 3, Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars 3, and Black Widow 20.

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Patrick: It’s kind of a goofy week for Secret Wars: between Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars — which may have just delivered its own punchline — and M.O.D.O.K. Assassin  — which is nothing but punchlines — and the deadpan homage to cop shows that is Thors, there’s a lot to make us smile. It’s not all shits and giggles: perhaps it’s fitting that series stuck telling stories of heroes’ Last Days would skew so dark, and issues like Black Widow 20 provide a necessary tonal balance when looking at the week in aggregate.
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Star Wars 7

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Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Elliott are discussing Star Wars 7, originally released July 29th, 2015.

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Patrick: Comic books are the go-to medium for fleshing out stories and characters set up in movies, TV shows and video games. There’s always going to be a Firefly comic or something featuring Lara Croft – and 90% of the time, those series are filling in gaps in the narratives. And those gaps — those times before or after or during the main stories are usually filled with precisely that: more narrative. That’s not fair to comic books as a medium, which move in their own rhythms and will always be compared to the storytelling prowess of the original. We’ve had a ton of conversations on this site about what we even want from these things: Star Wars isn’t just a set of aliens and some colloquialisms about the Kessel Run, it’s the music, the motion, the sound effects, the light, the performances. Star Wars 7 is an interesting issue; it fills in gaps in the narrative we’re already reading, which in and of itself is filling in gaps in a different narrative altogether. But rather than letting the necessarily weak plot drive the issue, writer Jason Aaron imagines what Obi-Wan Kenobi must have felt during his years on Tatooine, and builds a story out from there. Continue reading

Guardians Team-Up 8

guardians team up 8Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Guardians Team-Up 8, originally released July 29th, 2015.

Spencer: The best writers know when to step aside and let their artist tell as much of the story as possible — “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” right? Of course, to do this, a writer must have trust in their artist to properly convey their story, and in the chaotic world of mainstream superhero comics, where there are sometimes fill-in artists or multiple artists on a single title, that kind of trust can often be a rare commodity. In light of that point, Guardians Team-Up 8 is even more impressive — Ray Fawkes and Bengal tell their one-off story without any words (until the last page), putting Bengal in charge of all the issue’s storytelling. While this issue isn’t without its faults, I’d call it a largely successful gambit. Continue reading