Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 11/12/14

round upLook, 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 Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier 2, Captain Marvel 9, Silver Surfer 7, Nova 23, Justice League United 6, Batman Eternal 32, Outcast 5, Django/Zorro 1, and Hawkeye vs. Deadpool 2 .

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Drew: To say that Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier is a dense read is a bit of an understatment. Indeed, we couldn’t even agree on what the events of the first issue were, let alone how we interpret them. Issue 2 manages to up the ante, taking Marco Rudy’s already trippy art on a literal drug trip, and ensconcing the already difficult-to-follow narrative in a series of Loki illusions. The effect is mesmerizingly like watching a movie half-asleep — you catch the rough outline of the plot, but the actual details are utterly lost — but frustrates any sense of narrative flow. I never like to dismiss a work for my own failure to understand it, but I’ll be damned if I got anything out of this issue other than that Bucky’s sights are now set on Mer-z-bow (though I’d love it if somebody would like to explain it in further detail in the comments). Continue reading

Batgirl 36

Alternating Currents: Batgirl 36, Shane and DrewToday, Shane and Drew are discussing Batgirl 36, originally released November 12th, 2014. 

slim-bannerShane: When you’re working with some of fiction’s most iconic characters, there’s a lot of baggage to handle. Even DC’s New 52 initiative, designed to jettison most of that excess material, is several years old at this point: there’s history, and relationships, and these characters have already gone through a number of personal journeys. Continuity can be messy, so a fresh start can be appealing, but how does one attempt that without alienating the previous audience? And even if you manage to successfully jumpstart an ailing franchise with new energy, launching a first issue that exceeds expectations and captures interest, is it always so simple to maintain that momentum? Continue reading

She-Hulk 10

she hulk 10Today, Spencer and Suzanne are discussing She-Hulk 10, originally released November 12th, 2014. 

slim-bannerSpencer: At first glance, there are hardly any similarities between being a writer and being a lawyer, but ultimately, both professions owe a lot to the power of words. Writers use words to bring life to worlds and characters, while lawyers use them to argue and persuade, and sometimes even to tell stories of their own. The case between Jen Walters and Matt Murdock over the fate of Steve Rogers, as presented in Charles Soule and Javier Pulido’s She-Hulk 10, is just one of those situations; everything comes down to the two lawyers each telling their own version of the truth and leaving the jury to decide which story they believe. As a look into the criminal justice system, it’s a bit unnerving, but as a showcase of the kind of power storytellers hold, it’s absolutely fascinating. Continue reading

All-New Captain America 1

Alternating Currents: All-New Captain America 1, Drew and TaylorToday, Drew and Taylor are discussing All-New Captain America 1, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Drew: Am I the only one who sees Captain America as an unlikely legacy hero? I understand that the precedent was set back when Bucky first took up the mantle, but Captain America has always struck me as a character more defined by his personality than his power-set. I think that tends to be true of Marvel’s heroes in general — Iron Man is less the adventures of a guy with a metal suit, and more the adventures of Tony Stark, for example — which makes the thought of separating the hero from the alter-ego seem almost impossible. If you take Steve Rogers out of the equation, what is Captain America other than a good fighter with a patriotic outfit? That question seems to be at the center of Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen’s All-New Captain America, and while the first issue only addresses it glancingly, it’s clear they have a compelling answer. Continue reading

Superior Iron Man 1

superior iron man 1Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Superior Iron Man 1, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Patrick: Let’s talk about Office Space. It’s a modern comedy classic, and while that Superman-3-inspired conflict is introduced far to late to be in any way meaningful, there are so many great gags and characters that buoy the movie. Plus, it introduced so many phrases into the lexicon — how would we even express ourselves in 2014 without “pieces of flare” or “no talent ass-clown?” But I’ve always had one gripe with Office Space: I always hated that Peter’s attitude change stemmed from something as ridiculous as a hypnotherapy mishap. Rather than giving Peter to agency over his own inciting action, the movie absolves him of any responsibility for what follows. Think about how much more meaningful it would be if Peter decided “fuck it, I don’t care any more” on his own. I find myself wishing the same was true of Superior Iron Man, which throws a bunch of interesting ideas at the wall but refused to let Tony Stark actually be responsible for his own actions. Continue reading

Wytches 2

wytches 2Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Wytches 2, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Shelby: Speaking broadly to make my point, I’ve found there are two types of people in the world: people who like horror and people who don’t. I (probably unsurprisingly) fall in the former category. I’m a big wuss about scary movies, even though I really appreciate them, and at Six Flags’ Fright Fest this year my friend Selene had to hold my hand when we went through the haunted houses (no joke: I am 30 years old), but I still get and like the thrill of being scared. Horror novels have always been my jam; I started on Goosebumps as a kid, graduated to Fear Street in middle school, and straight on to Stephen King in high school. It’s no surprise, then, that I am loving Scott Snyder’s Wytches. Again, no joke, I am writing this with all the lights off, wrapped in a blanket, listening to an album of horror movie music. After all, pledged is pledged. Continue reading

Thor 2

thor 2Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Thor 2, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Taylor: One of the best (and if I’m being totally honest with myself, the very best) parts of visiting a comic book convention is seeing the costumes donned by the attendees. It’s rare that you get to see grown men and women enthusiastically dressed in costumes which reference their pastimes. In particular, I’ve always enjoyed the gender-swapped costumes which many an industrious con-goer has crafted. It speaks to a reader’s dedication when they take the time to craft a costume that is at once recognizable as being the character in question, but also bold enough to envision that character as a different gender. The reboot of Thor, with a lady acting as the titular character, seems to have taken ques from the bold women who have gender swapped heroes in the past. In similar fashion, this She-Thor doesn’t take guff from anyone and is at once assured and powerful. Continue reading

Batman 36

batman 36Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batman 36 originally released on November 12, 2014.

Patrick: Joker is one of those characters that resists definition. In fact, we often use that lack of definition as a defining trait. I’m going to do a disservice to whoever made this observation — because I can’t remember where I first encountered it — but the most terrifying thing about Joker is that you never know whether he’s going to murder a child or throw a pie in Batman’s face. Arguably, the only thing that motivates the character is the desire to be a good Batman villain. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have played with this idea before — the Death of the Family even had Joker buying into the importance of their “relationship” — but this latest arc in Batman seems poised to establish Joker as something else entirely. He’s not a instrument of random, but intriguing, chaos, and he’s not in love with Batman. No: he’s Batman’s nemesis, and that means that he’s a sort of anti-detective, setting up mysteries that Batman cannot solve, corrupting superheroes and putting everyone’s lives in danger in the process. Continue reading

Spider-Verse 1

Alternating Currents: Spider-Verse 1, Drew and SpencerToday, Drew and Spencer are discussing Spider-Verse 1, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Drew: I tend to jump to conclusions about media before I’ve ever consumed it. I know that seems problematic for someone who reviews media, but with so many movies, shows, and comic books out there, it’s impossible to try them all, so I tend to gravitate towards the ones I think I’ll like. Of course, it’s an imperfect system, meaning I sometimes bet on a dud, or miss something truly great, but without any other way to pre-filter content, I continue to defer to my gut. After weeks and weeks of buildup to Spider-Verse, which seemed to pimp the event as a high-stakes affirmation of Spider-Man’s necessity in not just our universe, but ALL universes, my gut was telling me that this event was not for me, but I decided to give it a fair shot. Fortunately, my gut turned out to be wrong, with Spider-Verse 1 serving not as a herald of doom and gloom, but as a celebration of what makes the idea of Spider-Man so fun in the first place. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 11/5/14

round upLook, 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, Spencer, Drew, and Shane discuss The Woods 7, Batman Eternal 31, Spider-Verse Team-Up 1, The Legendary Star-Lord 5, Swamp Thing 36, and Tooth and Claw 1.

slim-banner4Spencer: The last few issues of James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas’ The Woods have been character studies, combining flashbacks with the kids’ adventures on the distant moon in order to further flesh out its cast, and while this method has had much success, the story was starting to lose some of its forward momentum in the process. Fortunately, issue 7 fixes that by combining another successful character study with some pretty massive revelations, and it may just be the best issue yet. Continue reading