Convergence: Speed Force 1

speed force 1 convToday, Spencer and Michael are discussing Convergence: Speed Force 1, originally released April 8th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence this week, click here.

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Spencer: How do you decide what comics you buy? When I first started reading monthly comics (gasp, almost ten years ago!), I chose my books based almost solely on what characters appeared in them — which, at the time, meant I bought a lot of books starring the Teen Titans and the Flash. It took a year or two before I really started recognizing the names and talents of the creative teams, and a few more before word of mouth started turning me onto new series and new horizons. While today I’m more likely to follow creators I know will deliver strong stories, there’s still a part of me willing to take a chance and pick up a comic solely because a favorite character makes an appearance, and that’s precisely what led me to check out Convergence: Speed Force 1, which stars my favorite character in all of comics, Wally West. It turns out that my reasons for liking the issue are just as personal as my reasons for buying it in the first place — it’s not a perfect issue by any means, but man is it good to see Wally again. Continue reading

Nameless 3

Alternating Currents: Nameless 3, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Nameless 3, originally released April 8th, 2015.

It’s like the goddamn “Exorcist” meets “Apollo 13″!

Grant Morrison, Nameless

Drew: One day, I’d like to write an essay defending allusions as the defining artistic device of our time. That’s not to say allusions haven’t been used well throughout history, or that allusions are ubiquitous in all contemporary art, but it’s hard to deny the prevalence of allusions in modern pop-culture, from sampling in hip-hop to the naked homages of Quentin Tarantino. It makes sense; allusions are the natural, artistic extension of the hyperlinks we’ve come to expect throughout our daily reading. In that way, remixes and pastiches are the distillation of our time, simulating the experience of living in an overstimulating world, combining countless inputs into one meta-narrative we might call our lives. Nobody does this kind of remix better than Grant Morrison, whose career is as much defined by his ability to reconcile unwieldy continuity as it is by his affinity for impenetrable density. Nameless 3 showcases both of those sides, meditating on a whole host of sci-fi inspirations before spinning into a wickedly self-aware web of confusion. Continue reading

Deadpool 45

deadpool 45

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Deadpool 45, originally released April 8th, 2015.

Taylor: At the risk of sounding trite, a funeral is an event where people come together to celebrate the life of someone who has passed on. Even though most funerals are more somber than celebratory, the very nature of the event is to recognize someone who has died and to give those who remain closure. The much heralded Deadpool 45 is the issue where Deadpool dies and in many ways it acts like a funeral for Deadpool, even before the man himself has died. It offers closure to those who have read the series the past couple years and also reminds us just how much we ware going to miss the Merc With the Mouth, even if we know he won’t be gone for long. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 4/1/15

round up

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, Drew, Spencer, and Patrick are discussing Uncanny Inhumans 0, Arkham Manor: Endgame 1, Batman Superman Annual 2, Ufology 1, The Woods 12, and Kanan: The Last Padawan 1.

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Drew:  Jonathan Hickman’s dueling runs of Avengers and New Avengers has at many times served as an extended exploration of what Neitzsche called “master morality.” Specifically, those titles have examined how the morals of rulers might be at odds with what we understand to be moral in our everyday lives. Charles Soule tweaks this notion slightly in Uncanny Inhumans 0, examining how Black Bolt’s Kingly duties — especially dealing with the end of the world — conflicts with his familial ones. Continue reading

Gotham Academy Endgame 1

Alternating Currents: Gotham Academy Endgame 1, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Gotham Academy Endgame 1, originally released April 1st, 2015.

Drew: Ah, the framing story. What else provides such instant meta-text? It’s what turns The Princess Bride into a story about bedtime stories, or Don Quixote into a story about adventure stories. Of course, it also adds a layer of distance, reminding us that we’re consuming a story, just in case we might have forgotten. At its most cynical, that distance can provide plausible deniability of the events of the story (like so many hand-waving sitcom episodes based on A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life), but at its most sincere, it allows a single narrative to celebrate the act of storytelling. In the case of Gotham Academy Endgame 1, it also allows for stories that otherwise wouldn’t fit in the narrative, revealing the depth and breadth to the world of the series while also showcasing some fantastic talent. Continue reading

Batman and Robin Annual 3

Alternating Currents: Batman and Robin Annual 3, Michael and Shane

Today, Michael and Shane are discussing Batman and Robin Annual 3, originally released April 1, 2015.

Michael: Convergence has already begun, whose end will signify the sort-of-new direction for DC’s entire line. While Batman and Robin 40 was Patrick Gleason’s final issue on the series, Batman and Robin Annual 3 marks the quiet death of the Batman and Robin series that Gleason and Pete Tomasi re-launched back in 2011. So prepare yourselves for Batman and Robin IN SPAAAAAAACE!

Batman and Robin Annual 03-008 Continue reading

Avengers 43

avengers 43

Today, Ryan and Mark are discussing Avengers 43, originally released April 1st, 2015. 

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown

William Shakespeare, Henry IV

Ryan: It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and history remembers figures like this with no small sense of disdain. However, what of those leaders who came to reign under the most noble of intentions, who yet were forced to make decisions universally agreed upon as damnable? Jonathan Hickman and Stephano Caselli have taken readers on a convoluted and bumpy road in Avengers, and along the way have raised some sticky questions in regards to morals under duress. In this penultimate issue, we see how the crown of an empire and the Damoclean burden of genius can incite or deter an extinction. Continue reading

Spider-Gwen 3

spider-gwen 3

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Spider-Gwen 3, originally released April 1st, 2015.

Patrick: Last week, Drew and I posited that Amazing Spider-Man 17 was about Peter Parking being a bad grown-up. So much of Peter’s identity is tied up in childish — specifically teenage — tropes, that the character has very little sense of agency. He’s reactive more than active. Peter doesn’t have a plan for when he arrives three hours late to his Aunt Mae’s birthday party because he was out fighting the Green Goblin, he just yammers and stammers until he’s ostracized everyone he loves. ASM 17 saw a push away from that attitude with the help of Peter’s sorta-girl-friend-but-not-really (look, Spider-Man got complicated for a while there), but no matter how many opportunities for growth our Spider-Man has enjoyed over his 50 year history, fresh Spider-Man analogues have to start back at square one. Of course, teenage drama might look a little different with the genders reversed. Spider-Gwen 3 ends up being a frustrating exploration of navigating the tough decisions as a teenage Spider-Woman. Continue reading

Batman Eternal 52

batman eternal 52Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Batman Eternal 52, originally released April 1, 2015.

People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.

Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins

Spencer: Throughout all of the many different storylines in Batman Eternal, one theme has steadily built under the title’s surface: the idea of Batman’s legacy. While it was never something addressed all that directly (at least until R’as al Ghul flat out asked “Is Batman eternal?” a few weeks ago), the creative bullpen has steadily been building up Batman’s team of allies and investigating just what effect Batman’s presence has had on Gotham City. With this massive weekly series finally coming to an end, Batman Eternal 52 aims to show exactly the power of that symbol on Batman’s chest, and it does so in spectacular fashion, pulling together nearly all the threads that have been cast throughout the last 52 issues into one show-stopping finale. Continue reading

Rocket Raccoon 10

rocket raccoon 10

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Rocket Raccoon 10, originally released April 1st, 2015.

Spencer: Every comic character has a certain formula inherent to their stories. That’s not to say that every Batman or Superman story is the same, but think about how often you used to see Batman entangled in a death trap, or nowadays see him facing the destruction of his city, or Superman duking it out with a heavy-hitter over Metropolis. There’s more than enough variations on these stories to stop them from all being rehashes, but my point is that I can often just glance at a plot synopsis and immediately tell, “Oh yeah, that’s a Superman story” or “Oh yeah, that’s a Batman story. ” Skottie Young and Jake Parker’s Rocket Raccoon 10 is one of those issues that fits every requirement for a Rocket Raccoon story to a “t.” It’s very much a “standard” Rocket Raccoon story, but in achieving that status, it’s lost any sort of identity of its own. Instead of standing out, it blends in, to the point where I feel like I’ve read this story before. Continue reading