Loki: Agent of Asgard 12

loki 12Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 12, originally released March 18th, 2015. 

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“It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.”

Rachel Dawes, Batman Begins

Spencer: If there’s one character who’s taken these words to heart even more than Batman, it’s Loki. From its very first issue, Loki: Agent of Asgard has been about Loki attempting to change his destiny by erasing the sins of his past and replacing them with noble missions. If nobody could remember his crimes, then surely that would make him a good person, right? On that same wavelength, King Loki poses a threat because his actions threaten to trap his young counterpart in the role of “villain” for all of eternity. It’s this idea of a narrative defining a character, established over 12 issues, that makes King Loki’s big twist hit so hard: actions mean nothing. Loki is Loki, and nothing can change that. Continue reading

Silk 2

Alternating Currents: Silk 2, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Silk 2, originally released March 18th, 2015.

That’s gonna be a…you know, a…fascinating transition.

Walter Bankston, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Drew: And just like that, Silk‘s story of a girl trying to make it in New York after spending several years in a bunker has entered the zeitgeist…as the logline of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Two narratives having similar premises and release dates is a common phenomenon in Hollywood, from A Bug’s Life and Antz to The Prestige and The Illusionist, and while the similarities are often superficial, the perceived sameness can rob both narratives of their sense of originality. Silk has the benefit of being released first (with its title character’s origin introduced back in Amazing Spider-Man 4), but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has managed to get more of its story out quicker. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve already watched every episode of Kimmy Schmidt (which may explain why I’m picking up on the similarities so strongly), so I’m decidedly biased in terms of who owns the narrative, but the overlap actually lends Silk 2 the familiar charm of a series that has been around much, much longer. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 44

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Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 44, originally released March 18th, 2015.

Patrick: I think we all make a lot of assumptions about invulnerability. Especially living, as we do, in the 21st century, with so many medical and technological advances, meaningful loss is an uncommon occurrence. That assumption is lie we tell ourselves, but perhaps it’s a necessary lie. If we had to seriously consider our own human fragility before starting our days tomorrow, how many of us could even scrape up the gumption to drive to work? The human body so such a fragile carrier for these personalities which seem so indestructible. The idea that Drew’s personality could be snuffed out by something terrible happening to his body is ludicrous, but it’s also completely true. Tucked into the closing acts of the Attack on the Technodrome, Tom Waltz, Cory Smith, and the creative team on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles explores this vulnerability. Continue reading

Howard the Duck 1

howard the duck 1

Today, Patrick and Ryan are discussing Howard the Duck 1, originally released March 9th, 2015.

Patrick: Why do you take a chance on buying a brand new issue of a brand new comic book series the day it comes out? When you think about it, you’re taking a pretty big risk regarding the quality of the thing you’re about to read. I suppose the worst thing that can happen is that you’re out four bucks and about eighteen minutes. But there are so many damn comics, and I know I’m always looking for place to cut my pull. Number ones, though? I roll the dice on those several times a week. But for every number one I do read, there are like 80 I don’t. So what’s the alchemy that made me pick up Howard the Duck 1 over, I don’t know, Spawn Resurrection 1? The character? The publisher? The artist? The writer? That’s a question the issue itself poses: how did you come to Howard the Duck? Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 3/12/15

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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, Spencer and Drew discuss Amazing Spider-Man Special 1, Amazing Spider-Man 16, Spider-Gwen 2, Captain Marvel 13, Ms. Marvel 13, All-New X-Men 37, Thor 6, Deadpool 43, New Avengers 31, Guardians Team-Up 2, Southern Cross 1, Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return 1, and Batman Eternal 49.

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Spencer: The Inhumans are all over the place lately. With their upcoming movie of course Marvel wants to promote them, and what better way to do so than to team them up with established, popular heroes? That seems to be the strategy behind The Amazing Spider-Man Special 1, a story that finds the Inhumans crossing over with Peter Parker’s Spider-Man, the quintessential Marvel team-up character. Continue reading

The Surface 1

Alternating Currents: The Surface 1, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Surface 1, originally released March 11th, 2015.

Writing becomes not easier, but more difficult for me. Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.

Samuel Beckett

Drew: It’s not often that we scrutinize whether a work of art “justifies its own existence.” Indeed, it’s a focus we tend to reserve for sequels, re-masterings, new editions, or other works that might be accused of returning to a specific well, but it’s curious that we’re not equally dubious of ALL art. I suspect it’s because we don’t actually care. Why a work of art exists may be an easy target when we dislike it, but ultimately, the only thing that matters is how it exists. There may be creator-side issues that explain why the nuts and bolts of a work of art are the way we are, but on the audience side, we can really only evaluate whether or not those nuts and bolts work. As a guiding principle, that philosophy has kept me happy, allowing me to both separate art from the artists that make it and remain blissfully ignorant of whatever business considerations might go on behind the scenes. But with that happiness came a kind of complacency, forgetting that there might be works of art that might actually be about their own existence. The Surface 1 is one such work, focusing so self-consciously on its own existence that I can’t help but feel a little insecure about justifying a written discussion of it — not because it’s bad, but because that self-consciousness is kind of infectious. Continue reading

Detective Comics Endgame 1

Alternating Currents: Detective Comics Endgame, Michael and Drew

Today, Michael and Drew are discussing Detective Comics Endgame 1, originally released March 11th, 2015.

Michael: If there is one thing that the big two comics publishers suffer from it’s the excessive reliance on crossovers. DC especially has pimped out every major Batman storyline that Scott Snyder has produced thus far, hijacking the narratives of books like Batgirl and the like to show the goings on of Owls/Jokers/Zero Years from the other Bat-perspectives. It seems that DC has gotten hip to their overreliance on these types of stories, and instead gives us a series of one-shots that tie into the events of Batman’s current “Endgame” arc. So, does Detective Comics Endgame 1 add much to Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul’s Detective Comics and/or Scott Snyder’s “Endgame?” Not so much. Continue reading

Ant-Man 3

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Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Ant-Man 3, originally released March 9th, 2015.

Taylor: Before I became a teacher, I was working in a job I cared nothing about. While that sounds kind of miserable — which it was at points — I did enjoy that my work was something I could leave at the office. Weekends and evenings were basically all mine during this period and I did whatever I pleased with that time. Now, working at a job I care about, I find the divide between work and my home-life has blurred. Work comes home often now and weekends are spent mostly preparing for the coming week. Basically, my situation was a trade off. Work at a boring job and be free at home. Work at a job that you care about, and never stop working. Ant-Man 3, despite it’s humorous overtones, meditates on this aspect of life in a way that is both insightful and entertaining. Continue reading

Action Comics 40

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Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Action Comics 40, originally released March 14th, 2015.

Spencer: In preparation for the premiere of its final season next month, I’m currently in the process of rewatching Mad Men from beginning to end. Meanwhile, my best friend just got into House of Cards, and has shown me a few episodes in hopes of getting me to watch it as well. I guess it worked — the first episode hooked me right away — but I already know that there’s no way I’ll be able to go straight from Mad Men‘s unending cycles of dysfunction to House of Cards‘ cynical wheeling and dealing; it’s simply too much darkness back-to-back. I need some sort of comedy as a palette-cleanser between the two series, and I get the feeling that Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder were dealing with a similar dilemma when they came up with the idea behind Action Comics 40. After the angst of the massive “Doomed” crossover and the horror-centric Ultra-Humanite story, the title was in dire need of a fun, goofy story to lighten the mood, and Bizarro’s story here certainly succeeds in doing just that. Continue reading

Silver Surfer 10

silver surfer 10

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Silver Surfer 10, originally released March 12th, 2015.

“You never truly know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”

Traditional

Spencer: The Silver Surfer may not wear shoes — at least not when he’s “silvered up” — but that doesn’t make this old adage any less true for him. The citizens of Newhaven have every right to be mad at the Surfer, who, in many ways, is directly responsible for the destruction of their various homeworlds at the hand of his former master, Galactus, but it isn’t until they’re faced with the same horrific choice as he once was that they can truly begin to understand him. What happens once they do is one of the most inspiring, heroic comic book moments I’ve read in quite a while. Continue reading