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 (guest writer) Ben are discussing The Private Eye 2, originally released May 7th, 2013.
Patrick: I don’t like the board game Clue. However, there are some things that are supremely satisfying about it: that setting is incredible; those characters are iconic; pulling the cards out at the end to see if you had guessed everything correctly – that’s all good. But 98% of that game is simply gathering information, which ends up being far less engaging than if you were actually a detective solving Mr. Body’s murder in a creepy old mansion. If you were actually there, you’d get to know the suspects, form attachments with them, get a feel for the rooms, investigate the weapons. Clue lacks emotional investment – that’s my point. Now that The Private Eye’s central mystery has been established, Brian K. Vaughan eschews the information-gather phase in favor of a deeper look at his characters. Instead of answering questions about what happened, he answers the question of why the P.I. should care. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Scott are discussing Batman 20, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Spencer: As a kid, Clayface was always one of my favorite Batman villains. Some of that has to do with the fact that he starred in one of the first cartoons that ever made me cry (Batman: The Animated Series’ excellent final season episode “Growing Pains”), but mostly it was just my young self finding this giant shapeshifting puddle of mud that could sprout blades out of his chest to be totally wicked awesome. I won’t even try to hide it, I still find those facets of the character just as fun as an adult, but I’ve come to realize that, beyond the standard shapeshifter tricks, there isn’t much to Clayface’s personality; usually he’s just treated as a device to serve some other villain’s master plan. Scott Snyder manages to wring a surprising amount of personality out of Clayface, but if the walking mud puddle isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry: there’s plenty of other stuff going on too.
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 Drew are discussing Suicide Squad 20, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Shelby: You all know how much I love a good anti-hero. That character that walks the line between good guy and bad, who’s only looking out for himself and will help you out if your ideals happen to line up with his. He’s got a moral compass, it just doesn’t point north all the time. I love the anti-hero because he is so much more complex than your strictly good/bad guy. Suicide Squad takes the idea of the anti-hero and asks, “what if they were all supervillains forced to be ‘good guys’?” The result is either an interesting look at the dynamics of good and bad or an exercise in masochism, both for the characters and the reader. Honestly, I’m not quite sure which is more accurate.
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Constantine 3, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Taylor: We all have that friend or know that guy. You know the one, the one who for whatever reason is lucky as all hell. Fate, in its ever fickle nature, has determined that fortune always favors this person whether they are deserving of it or not. While we don’t hate this person necessarily, we do begrudge them. Why should they get all the luck while we seemingly get none? Things become more frustrating when the fortunate person in question seems to do relatively little to achieve their luck. Whether they’re stupid, lazy, mean or any other disparaging adjective you can think of, it just seems like they don’t deserve the fortune that has fallen in their laps. Is John Constantine one of these people? Is he unreasonably lucky or is he actually deserving of his laurels? Is he actually the cause of his success or is something else? In the third issue of Constantine we ponder this question as well as experiencing London in ways few would expect.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Justice League of America 3, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Justice League of Americais a series starring the “world’s most dangerous” superheroes. However, since the start of this title, these dangerous heroes have mostly been sitting around, talking to one another. Some, like myself, didn’t mind this all too much, while others didn’t exactly feel the same way. Regardless, the last issue promised us some good old fashioned fisticuffs. This issue delivers on that promise, but it spends the rest of the issue in a virtual standstill as far as the overall plot goes. There have been some developments as far as the team itself is concerned, but is that enough to excuse the lack of significant plot progression? Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Brandon are discussing Aquaman 19, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: The game of Tetris is one of the most popular videogames of all time. To this day, people still enjoy that particular puzzle game, making sure that the many pieces fit together just right to get the best score. Similarly (just go with me on this), there’s been quite a few moving pieces in Aquaman during the fallout of Throne of Atlantis. Geoff Johns has been busy pushing his story elements and its characters forward, and I’m (mostly) interested in where this story is going. However, while there are certainly pieces of this puzzle I’m fascinated by, this issue may suffer from paying too much attention to getting all pieces to fit in the right place, and not enough to the titular hero. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Drew are discussing Animal man 20, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Scott: I guess Animal Man readers better have good memories. If you were caught off guard by “Tights: Part Two”, try to recall how you reacted to Part One, way back in Animal Man 6. At that point, the story of Chaz Grant bore little resemblance to the life of Buddy Baker, who had considerable power as Animal Man and good standing as a husband and father. Since then, however, Buddy’s life has fallen to pieces: he’s lost his son, his relationship with his family is in disrepair and he’s been cut off from The Red. Buddy’s life at the start of Animal Man 20 is eerily similar to that of his character in “Tights” midway through the film. The second half of the movie effectively shows us that there might still be hope for Buddy Baker, while even more effectively showing us that there might not.
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 →