Summer Hours

summer hours

“Vacation / All I ever wanted / Vacation / Had to get away.”

Vacation, The Go-Go’s

The number one reason we do Retcon Punch is because it’s fun. We like comics, and we like writing about comics, and that’s basically all that goes on here. “Fun” has been my driving force on all of this from day one. Whenever we approached a new challenge, the first question out of my mouth was always “okay, how do we have fun with this?” Putting together our daily discussions is also a lot of work. Like a lot. The Summer time brings a lot of changes to people’s schedules and priorities, and we’re in a place right now where the work-to-fun ratio isn’t playing about quite how we’d like it.

With that in mind, I’d like to announce that we’re transitioning into Summer Hours, which will mean significantly less coverage than usual. In fact, we’ve whittled down the next two months of releases to a list of absolute cannot-miss comics, and those are the only issues that we’ll be doing in-depth Alternating Currents for. We’re hoping to re-introduce weekly round-ups, so the breadth of coverage should still be there too, just not quite in the same way as it has been.

I want to thank all of our readers for sticking around with us during this time. July is Retcon Punch’s 30th month, and Drew and I have never taken any time off from the site. I’ve known people to get degrees in less time. Degrees! My hope is that we can all rally around the pieces that we will be posting and can keep an active dialogue there. If you’re reading this piece right here, that means that you are important to us. So thank you for your understanding, and your patience, and for talking about comics with us for however long you’ve been reading.

Also, just because we’re dialing down for a bit doesn’t mean that we’re not coming back. We’re going to be returning to a regular schedule after Labor Day, with more writers and a renewed sense of purpose. In the meantime, thanks for sticking with us, and here’s a list of the comics we’ll be talking about over the next two months:

Batman 33, Wonder Woman 33, Sex Criminals 7, Daredevil 6, Saga 21, Trees 3, Zero 10, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles In Time 2, Hawkeye 19, Outcast 2, Trees 4, Moon Knight 6, The Multiversity 1, Wonder Woman 34, Sex Criminals 8, Daredevil 7, Saga 22 and Original Sin 8

Comic release schedules being what they are, you can always check out Pull List to get more specific dates on when we’re posting about what.

Patrick Ehlers, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy’s Most Wanted 1 / Legendary Star-Lord 1

galaxy's most wanted 1Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy’s Most Wanted 1 and Legendary Star-Lord 1, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

Last week, we noted that the great Marvel Hype Machine has kicked into full gear where the Guardians of the Galaxy are concerned. Let’s be honest: while there’s a lot of non-specific good will built up towards Marvel Studio Movies, this is a completely untested property. That means fans of the comics are going to have to be amazing ambassadors, and to move these five characters up to the forefront of our minds, Marvel has kicked off three new series: one of which was Rocket Raccoon  — a high-profile release by a rock-star creator and featuring the prescribed breakout character from the movie. What about the other two?

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East of West 13

east of west 13

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing East of West 13, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

Shelby: It’s no secret ’round these parts how much I dislike the trope of “Two Heroes Meet For The First Time And Punch Each Other.” It’s such a transparent trick to introduce conflict to an issue, and is so often completely avoidable. I just feel like shaking these characters sometimes, and telling them if they just took two seconds to talk it out, the fake conflict would be gone and we could get back to the story. It’s rare for that sort of conflict to play out in a way that makes sense in the context of the issue; so rare, in fact, that when Jonathan Hickman uses it in the latest issue of East of West I didn’t even realize it.

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Moon Knight 5

Alternating Currents: Moon Knight 5, Drew and ShelbyToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Moon Knight 5, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

For most people, the shot’s stunning aspects will go unnoticed. And for the rest of us — at least for me, at any rate — they’re a distraction.

Mike D’Angelo on Children of Men

Drew: It’s funny to think about now, but I can remember a point in high school when I thought literary analysis was such a huge waste of time. Allusion, foreshadowing, symbolism, and any other literary devices were distractions that cluttered the actual enjoyment of the piece. It was years before I understood how ignorant that attitude was. In fact, it took hearing that same attitude from a peer that shook me into appreciating how much more depth of meaning we have access to thanks to analysis. Can being more aware of analysis pervert how we experience it? Maybe, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. That is, unless you allow your knowledge of analysis turn you into a total snob.

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Green Arrow 33

green arrow 33Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 33, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

Spencer: Despite being the title character, throughout Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s run on Green Arrow Oliver Queen has largely been a pawn, pushed back and forth by businessmen, various factions of the mysterious Outsiders, and even members of his own family (or sometimes all three!), all trying to use him for their own means. After declaring his independence from the Outsiders, though, Oliver Queen has moved to the front-and-center of his book — as Richard Dragon says, they’re both kings now. There’s still a massive focus on the supporting cast, of course, but now Lemire is using the supporting cast to teach us more about Ollie. I don’t necessarily understand every revelation, but it’s still a refreshing change of pace. Continue reading

The Woods 3

woods 3Today, Greg and Spencer are discussing The Woods 3, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

Greg: There was a constant problem in the percussion section of my high school band. Whenever we had concerts, it meant lugging lots of heavy equipment from our band room to our auditorium; the tympani, in particular, were awkward beasts of burden. Thus, when the concerts ended and us student musicians were worn out and ready to leave, it was too easy to duck out immediately, leaving the percussion in the auditorium without putting it back. This infuriated my band teacher, as he vowed to punish those who left early (in a full tux, no less). My response, as a habitual people-pleaser, was to take on the task myself, tirelessly hauling equipment to and fro, until the status quo was kept normalized. If it was that easy for me to seriously fall in line over something as silly as “moving percussion equipment”, The Woods 3 shows that I would’ve been a person of concern if monsters ever came to town.

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Rocket Raccoon 1

rocket raccoon 1

Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Rocket Raccoon 1, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

Scott: I have something of a sidekick complex. As the youngest of three brothers, I typically wound up as the Robin to someone else’s Batman (often literally). As a kid, my favorite athlete was Scottie Pippen, perhaps the most famous ‘sidekick’ in sports history. (I liked his name.) There was one other Scott in my high school class, and he was the prom king, so for the most part I was the other Scott (which probably makes me more of a second-fiddle than a sidekick, but hey, I needed a third example to solidify my argument, so play along). Of course, we’re each the main character of our own life, so being the overly sentimental kid I was, I often wondered how it made the various sidekicks feel to be relegated to a secondary role in everyone else’s eyes. Chewbacca, Mr. Smithers, Gromit — these are great characters, and they deserve their share of the spotlight. The Guardians of the Galaxy are a team, so Rocket Raccoon might not be a sidekick in a strict sense, but he’s never had a strong story of his own to carry in Brian Michael Bendis’ title. Honestly, this story by Skottie Young (I like his name!) probably could have been chopped in to smaller pieces and told as a B-story in Guardians, but I’m all for the little guy getting his shot at the big time. Continue reading

Batman Eternal 13

batman eternal 13

Today, Patrick leads a discussion on Batman Eternal 13, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

Patrick: One of the bigger driving forces within Batman Eternal is Carmine Falcone’s desire to rid Gotham of “freaks” like the Penguin and Professor Pyg. In effect, Falcone is trying to drive all the fantastical elements out of Gotham City — whether they’re heroes or villains doesn’t seem to matter much to him. He’s even gone so far as pit the police directly against the Bat Family, furthering the absoluteness of this idea of fantasy vs. reality. But there’s a point that Falcone is missing — or willfully ignoring: everyone engages in a little bit of fantasy to get what they want. What Jim Gordon experienced in the train station – was that fantasy or reality? Covering up a gang war: fantasy or reality? Issue 13 brings that dichotomy into stark relief, showing how embracing fantasy can be equal parts advantageous and horrifying. Continue reading

Original Sin 5

original sin 5

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Original Sin 5, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

The Butler did it!

Traditional

Drew: As far as board game adaptations go, Clue actually does a pretty fantastic job of mimicking the experience of playing the game (it’s certainly closer than Battleship, and don’t even get me started on Twister). By the end of the movie, it really could be anyone, and the multiple endings play with that idea brilliantly. Of course, what’s truly clever is the way that those endings play with our expectations of parlor murder mysteries in general. Of course it could be anyone — that’s the whole point. Ultimately, the who, where, and what of the murder doesn’t matter so much as the why and how, which tend to be pulled out at the very last minute, anyway. Original Sin 5 subverts those explanations by showing us why Nick Fury killed all of those monsters and planets, but stopping just short of telling us who killed the Watcher. But hey, maybe it doesn’t matter! Continue reading

Superman Unchained 7

superman unchained 7Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Superman Unchained 7, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

Shelby: On the surface, the phrase “fight fire with fire” doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. I mean, what are you going to do, set the fire on fire? That’s not going to get you anywhere. While it’s come to mean “taking extreme measures in the face of extreme threat,” its origin is actually fairly logical. As an early fire-fighting method, people would set small, controlled fires to burn up potential fuel and prevent larger, far more damaging fires from spreading. It’s logical until you consider how easy it is for a controlled fire to turn on you, however. In the end, no matter how you use the phrase, ultimately you’re just going to end up getting burned, a lesson learned by General Lane and Wraith in the latest installment of Superman Unchained.

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