Mikyzptlk: I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I didn’t exactly have a lot of self confidence. High school was especially rough, as it seemed that everything I did was strange or off-kilter in some way. In other words, I felt like a freak. This feeling got worse before it got better, but damn it, it did get better. Eventually, I came to realize that not only was I strange and off-kilter, but everyone else was too. When I realized that I was on the same playing field as everyone else, things got a whole lot easier. Greg Pak’s Action Comics features a Superman struggling with his own “freakishness,” but he may have just found someone to find consolation in. Continue reading
Today, Scott and Mikyzptlk are discussing The Flash 25, originally released November 27, 2013.
Scott: Have you ever said goodbye to someone outside a restaurant and then proceeded to walk down the street in the same direction as them? It’s weird. That’s what I was expecting out of The Flash 25, since writer/artists Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are back one last time after penning what felt an awful lot like their farewell issue a month ago. But rather than an awkwardly silent side-by-side walk to adjacently parked cars, this issue feels like a wake-up call. Manapul and Buccellato illustrate (I mean, literally illustrate) the reasons why I’m going to miss them. The issue is merely a tie-in with little significance to Flash as a series, but when these guys are doing the art (as they are for only a portion of this issue), they don’t need much story to turn out something great.
Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick discuss Batwoman 25, Red Hood and the Outlaws 25, Birds of Prey 25, Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 2, Green Lantern New Guardians 25 and Fables 135
Mikyzptlk: Hey y’all, let’s kick things off with Birds of Prey 25, shall we? Many years ago, Sensei Desmond found a young Dinah Lance in a hungry and homeless state. He gave her a home, taught her how to fight, and, after his death, his dojo. During the Zero Year, Dinah gets mixed up in an affair involving government agents and ninja assassins, but she is able to help said agents track down important intel that could lead them to Riddler. The lead agent John Lynch, then asks her to join his team. Continue reading
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Animal Man 25, originally released November 20th, 2013.
Scott: As a writer, it’s my perpetual fear that whatever idea I’ve just come up with has already been done. Even if I believe an idea to be entirely my own, I’m always a little afraid someone out there will find a similarity to some other work, and I’ll be branded an idea thief. Writers and artists accused of stealing or copying material are ridiculed to no end on internet forums. Think of the hit Dane Cook’s reputation took when he was accused of stealing material from Louis C.K. Of course, it’s entirely possible for two creative people to independently come up with the same thought. That makes it all the harder to judge two concurrent works that share strong similarities. It’s impossible to know which creator had the idea first, and unfair to blame either one for sharing what is, to them, an original concept. Animal Man writer Jeff Lemire is fighting the perception that his story is too similar to semi-sister comic Swamp Thing. Fair or not, an otherwise strong issue of Animal Man suffers from feeling a little too familiar. Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 25, originally released November 20th, 2013
Mikyzptlk: Strife. We’ve all felt it at one point or another. It has a way of seeping into us whether we want it to or not. No matter how patient or level-headed we try to be, we all succumb to the effects of strife every now and then. Dealing with Gods of “stuff,” Brian Azzarello has been able to use his divine characters to push his story forward in a number of ways. As you might have guessed, Azzarello uses issue 25 of Wonder Woman to place a particularly heavy focus on the character of Strife and her manipulative plans. Little does she know, Azzarello and Wonder Woman may just have plans of their own.
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Harley Quinn 0, originally released November 20th, 2013
Patrick: My buddy Andrew and I once went halfsies on a copy of the game Catherine. If you’ve never played it, the game is half puzzle game, half infidelity simulator. You’re barely even in control of the main character as he blushes his way through an affair with a blonde sex nymph. Those portions of the game when you’re sitting in the bar, trying to non-suspiciously excuse yourself to the bathroom so you can read the sexy tests your new lady is sending you are novel as shit. I don’t know that it was an engaging gameplay experience, but it was addictive and unique – an “experience” devoid of any qualifiers like “game” or “storytelling.” Harley Quinn 0 manages the same feat, simultaneously throwing out and embracing everything you’ve ever known about visual storytelling. The result is a manic experience. Continue reading
Spencer: They say disaster brings out people’s true colors; some perfectly normal people turn on their neighbors for petty reasons, while others will risk their own lives to rescue total strangers. For Barbara Gordon—at this point still a few years shy of “Batgirl” status—the disaster of the Zero Year brings out her heroic side for perhaps the first time ever. While some of the other Zero Year tie-ins have felt a tad superfluous, this story feels like a first essential step in the heroic legacy of Barbara Gordon. Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Batman 25, originally released November 13th, 2013
Mikyzptlk: From the moment that Zero Year was first announced, it has been shrouded in mystery. What exactly was the “Zero Year” and how would it change the origin of Batman that we’ve been familiar with for so long? We are now five issues into the story, and while some of the mysteries are becoming clear, there seems to be tons of new ones cropping up left and right. Issue 25 of Batman is no exception. At the same time, we are introduced to a brand new/really old Batman villain that may just be revealing more about our hero than he is about himself at this point. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 2, originally released November 13th, 2013
Shelby: I know I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series for quite some time. Since it was not unusual for more than a year to pass between books, when a new volume was released I would frequently re-read a book or two that had come before to remember where the story was. I noticed that each new book would have to devote a solid chunk of pages to re-hashing basic concepts, presumably to familiarize new readers with way this world worked, just in case someone decided to jump right in at book 7, I guess. I’m sure there was an element of reminding the long-time readers as well, but I always skim through those parts with some annoyance. I understand the purpose and the necessity of the quick recap (hell, we do it here), but if I don’t need it I just want to skip it and get to the meat of the story. Charles Soule finds himself with a similar situation on his hands; he’s got to find a way to tie together the disparate worlds of Superman and Wonder Woman, using the existing New 52 framework, while telling his own story of these two characters. A Herculean task, to be sure.
Today, Scott and Mikyzptlk are discussing Swamp Thing 25, originally released November 6th, 2013.
Scott: Realistically, there are only so many emotional peaks and valleys you can hit in a single, 20-page comic book. A hero can only claim victory and suffer defeat so many times over the course of one battle. Right? Apparently Charles Soule never got the memo. Swamp Thing 25 is a true roller coaster ride, a microcosm of what the series has been like under Soule’s watch. He’s adept at painting himself into a corner with dramatic twists and turns, and then walking right through the wet paint like a total badass. Frankly, he has no time to wait around. If this issue proves anything, it’s that Soule is a man with a plan, and that plan involves shaking things up for good.