Jupiter’s Legacy 5

Alternating Currents: Jupiters Legacy 5, Ryan and Drew

Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Jupiter’s Legacy 5, originally released January 14th, 2015.

Ryan: When George Lucas was writing a little thing called Star Wars, he visited one Dr. Joseph Campbell for mentorship and guidance. Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, developed a monomythical model on the Hero’s Journey taken from many of history’s prototypical protagonists. With this in mind, Lucas crafted perhaps the most iconic modern heroes in Luke Skywalker. In Jupiter’s Legacy, Mark Millar continues to ask big questions about what it means to be a hero. Continue reading

Deadpool 40

deadpool 40

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 40, originally released January 14th, 2015.

Taylor: The old saying goes “art imitates life.” we here at Retcon Punch believe comics to be art, so that means these funny little picture-books imitate life the same as your Van Goghs and Shakespeares of the world. Being things that are published every month, comics are perhaps better suited than other art forms at reflecting life since they can comment on real life situations almost as soon as they happen. Given this, we shouldn’t be at all surprised that a title like Deadpool would find time to comment on life, especially considering it’s unique ability to break the fourth wall and speak directly to readers. But who would have ever guessed that the comic would tackle such a loaded topic as environmental policy? Always surprising, Deadpool once again takes a unique approach to story telling in issue 40 and in so doing, enters a major environmental debate. Continue reading

Lazarus 14

lazarus 14

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Lazarus 14, originally released January 14th, 2015.

Spencer: It takes more than blood to make a family. I have great aunts and uncles I barely know, a few cousins I’ve never even met — they may be my relatives, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re not my family. No, family is forged in many different ways, but almost all of them involve either large quantities of time spent together or a unique shared understanding of life. Forever has never received either of these things from the rest of the Carlyles, which makes it all the more strange that her first real familial connection amongst them is made with Jonah, the brother who tried to kill her. Yet, that’s exactly what happens in Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus 14, and the consequences of their newfound connection looks like it will only make Forever’s life even tougher in the future. Continue reading

Batgirl 38

batgirl 38

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Batgirl 38, originally released January 14th, 2015.

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Michael: Sometimes you just get sick of being yourself. What I mean by that is we all have a point where we say “Why me?” “Why do I have to suffer?” “Can’t things just be easy for once?” If life is a story, then we might not always like the role that we’re cast in. Being a “supporting character” gets old; everyone wants to be the star eventually. Batgirl 38 finds the creative team and Barbara herself asking these types of questions of identity. Can’t a Batgirl just fight crime and enjoy herself in the process? Not quite, it would seem. Continue reading

Captain Marvel 11

captain marvel 11

Today, Drew and Suzanne are discussing Captain Marvel 11, originally released January 14th, 2015.

Drew: It’s no secret that I don’t have a lot of patience for tropes. Predictable situations, reactions, or patterns are crutches for serialized storytellers, which is only made more apparent by those writers who manage to avoid them. Still, I do understand that certain tropes can be comforting — and perhaps even important to the identity of the work of art in question. I’m willing to forgive The Twilight Zone having the most obvious twist endings, because that’s kind of the point. That willingness to forgive certain tropes varies from person to person, as can be seen in the varied reactions to Christmas movies, albums, and episodes. Are they cheap cash-grabs? Charming acknowledgements of the season? Unfortunate acquiescences to the Christo-normativity of America? Christmas stories aren’t my favorite (I swear, if I see another reimagining of A Christmas Carol, I’m going to lose it), but I’ve seen enough pulled off well that I’m willing to at least have an open mind. Unless, of course, I’m consuming that story three weeks after Christmas, in which case, my patience for Christmas tropes dwindles right back down to zero. Continue reading

Grayson 6

grayson 6
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Grayson 6, originally released January 14th, 2015.

Your nifty hypnos tech trick may make it so I can’t see Spyral agents’ faces, but I’d know that ass anywhere. Grayson.

Midnighter, Grayson 6

Patrick: Do you have any idea how many times Sherlock Holmes has been adapted? From George C. Scott to Benedict Cumberbatch, from VeggieTales to The Great Mouse Detective, there’s virtually no end to the twists and variations writers, actors and filmmakers can apply to this character. But no matter how the story is dressed up, the personality of Holmes himself always shines through. Dick Grayson, as it turns out, is very much the same way; whatever the genre, whatever the story, whatever the supertechnology trying to disguise him, we’re always going to recognize Grayson. Continue reading

Star Wars 1

Alternating Currents: Star Wars 1, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Star Wars 1, originally released January 14th, 2015.

Drew: I was eight years old when Michael Crichton’s The Lost World was published. I hadn’t read Jurassic Park (reminder: I was eight), but I LOVED the movie. Nothing, not even my reading level, could stop me from consuming this new tale of genetically resurrected dinos, so I convinced my parents to get me the book on tape. When the film adaptation came out in 1997, it was my first experience seeing a movie based on a text I was already familiar with. There were substantial changes to the plot, but I didn’t care — the draw for me was dinosaurs, and the movie definitely delivered. I was similarly undaunted by the streamlining of the plot in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations — the draw here was a heroes journey set in a lushly detailed fantasy world.

It wasn’t until Zack Snyder’s Watchmen that I was first apprehensive about a film adaptation — the draw for me was no longer the plot or specific characters, but the medium of the story itself. A film couldn’t hope to capture the formal elements specific to comics that makes Watchmen such an achievement. I find myself confronted with these questions as I think about Marvel’s new Star Wars series (my first foray into any non-film explorations of the universe) — what is the draw for Star Wars? Is it the space operatics? The characters? The actors that play them? The thrilling John Williams score? It turns out, my answer may be “all of the above,” but that doesn’t stop this issue from being a largely successful translation of the Star Wars universe onto the page. Continue reading

Daredevil 12

daredevil 12

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Daredevil 12, originally released January 14th, 2015.

Spencer: In my mind, I always equate action with fight scenes. Call it a remnant of my high school obsession with Dragonball Z, or even my growing up on Adam West’s Batman series (which featured a gigantic fight scene as the centerpiece of each episode), but I often forget that there are other, equally thrilling definitions of action. Fortunately, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee aren’t as forgetful as I am; Daredevil 12 is filled with action of all sorts, be it high-flying stunts or heart-pounding car chases, and there couldn’t possibly be a better artistic team than Samnee and colorist Matthew Wilson to bring that action to life.  Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 1/7/15

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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 and Spencer discuss Batman Eternal 40, Detective Comics 38, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin 2, Hawkeye vs. Deadpool 4, Legendary Star-Lord 7, X-Men 23, Operation S.I.N. 1, Spider-Man 2099 7, and The Woods 9.

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Drew: A lot has been made of the epic scope of Batman Eternal — it’s still growing after 40 issues — but what really impressed me this week was the focus on character motivations. With a cast this large, it’s all to easy for characters’ actions to serve the plot, rather than the characters themselves, but the writing team here makes a point of giving everyone a believable motivation. Most of the rogues are power-hungry, Selina is hoping to direct that ambition towards a less destructive plan, and Nygma is fearing for his life. This issue is definitely setting up some big stories (it ends with armed villains running amok in Gotham, and puts Selina on a collision course with Stephanie Brown), but still manages to feel like its own payoff, a feat this series has struggled with in the past. Throw in some striking art from Davide Furnó and Paolo Armitano, and you’ve got a great little issue. Continue reading

Green Lantern 38

green lantern 38

Today, Mark and Patrick are discussing Green Lantern 38, originally released January 7th, 2015.

Mark: My least favorite part of any story that follows the traditional hero’s journey is when we get to the Reluctant Hero. You know, the part when, after being given an incredible power like, say, a ring that allows you to construct anything with your mind using only willpower, the hero complains about how much responsibility they have and how difficult their life is. It’s like listening to a teenager complain about their feelings: “My life is so bogus. No one understands but me. You guys are so phony!”

Comics can be a lot of things, but I don’t feel like it’s going too far to say that traditional superhero comic books are generally a form of escapism and wish fulfillment. We read these books for the same reason we watch movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark: fundamentally we want to be Indiana Jones. We want to be the Green Lantern. Continue reading