Hawkeye 19

hawkeye 19

Today, Spencer and Courtney are discussing Hawkeye 19, originally released July 30th, 2014.

Spencer: My best friend is an artist, and he constantly complains that I read my comics too fast, that I don’t pay enough attention to the art. I’ll admit it, he has a point; I’m so eager to read the story that I often devour my comics, and miss things in the art I don’t catch until my second or third time through a book. There was no way I could do that with Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye 19, though. This issue demands that you slow down and pay attention to every detail. It’s a challenging read in many ways, but it’s a challenge that’s absolutely worth attempting. Continue reading

The Wake 10

wake 10Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Wake 10 originally released July 30th, 2014.

They are our witness. Our memory. Our reflection staring back at us from the surface of the water. Challenging us to be unafraid, to take whatever leap we can.

Dr. Lee Archer, The Wake 10

Patrick: I let a lot of creative projects marinate in my imagination for long time before I ever express them to anyone. As a result, most of these projects never ever ever see the light of day. Half-formed ideas wither and die in my mind on a daily basis — exciting worlds, interesting characters, heartbreak, adventures, mysteries revealed. I know that ever single idea I’ve ever had would benefit from a second imagination’s scrutiny, so why would I let so many concepts suffocate inside my own skull? Because expression is scary. Admitting that you think an idea you have is cool is impossibly risky: literally no one else has ever weighed in on the idea before you. Actually expressing an original story you want to tell (or an original painting you want to paint or an original song you want to sing), requires the artist to be a narcissist and a champion of the unknown at the same time. That’s an incredibly naked position to be in, and that’s how Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy cast the whole of humanity in the final issue of The Wake. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 7/23/14

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, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Afterlife with Archie 6, Original Sin: Thor & Loki 2, Amazing Spider-Man 4, Original Sins 4, Deadpool 32, Velvet 6, Storm 1, Batman and Robin 33, Batman Eternal 16, Batman Beyond Universe 12, and The Flash 33 .

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Patrick: Quick Retcon Punch history lesson: we take our name from an action taken by Superboy Prime that physically damaged reality and thus altered a handful of character histories. It’s a silly moment — about as comic-booky as you can get — but the reason we gravitated to it so strongly was that the term was invented by the fan community. It’s simultaneously derisive and celebratory, which perfectly encapsulates superhero comic fans’ relationship to their favorite medium. But the more I read comics, the more I realize that medium lends itself so easily to revealing secret histories that it’s only a matter of time before every piece of past is written and re-written over and over again. This can be frustrating as hell, but when applied well, it can also blow out a world into something much more engaging and complex than you could have possibly imagined. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 33

wonder woman 33Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 33, originally released July 23rd, 2014

Patrick: Friday night, I was at a bar with some friends and — after the second round — the topic of conversation turned to “panty raids.” None of us had even participated in one nor had any of us been victim of one, but we all had these half-formed ideas from 80s college movies (and anything parodying 80s college movies). We all understood the same broad strokes: a group of men, probably a fraternity, steals underpants from a group of girls, probably a sorority. The purpose of a panty raid was still sort of elusive, and even among our small group, our perceptions of the gender and sexuality politics involved were all over the map. Is it a harmless prank? An anarchic expression of teenage sexuality? A skeezy male sexual power fantasy? That last thought hung with me through the weekend: no matter how panty raids were intended, the end result is at least a little rapey. Even something as stupid and frivolous as a panty raid has overtones of rape. Modern feminism has an awful lot to say about this prevalent rape culture, especially as a particularly glaring example of how far we really are from gender equality. As DC’s de facto symbol of feminism, Wonder Woman was bound to address the issue eventually, and the subtlety and grace of the conclusion to Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s masterpiece was the perfect place for it to happen. Continue reading

Daredevil 6

daredevil 6Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Daredevil 6, originally released July 23rd, 2014. 

Spencer: This new volume of Daredevil has largely revolved around Matt Murdock’s move to San Francisco and how his unfamiliarity with that city has affected his skills as a crime fighter. Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez’s Daredevil 6 finds Matt returning to New York City (seemingly only so he can get mixed-up with Original Sin), but despite being back in his old stomping grounds, things don’t get any easier for Matt. Waid spends this entire issue showing us just how unprepared Matt is now that all his secrets are out in the open; the way Waid piles tragedy atop tragedy atop tragedy is horrifically beautiful. Continue reading

Trees 3

trees 3Today, Greg and Spencer are discussing Trees 3, originally released July 23rd, 2014.

Greg: At my high school, marching band was a huge deal. It had all the emotions, pressures, and big personalities of a championship football team.  I played in the pit upfront (marimbas, vibraphones, xylophones) my entire high school career. My freshman year was the long-running, much-loved band director’s swan song — he also happened to be my dad, which definitely didn’t help with the pressure thing. We won state championships for the first time that year, meaning my sophomore year definitely didn’t help with the pressure thing. Certain instructors and students started treating it like a military outfit, and it was too much for me. I took to my LiveJournal and posted an obscenities-and-hormones fueled diatribe on the people who I felt were taking it too far. My parents immediately found out. My dad, no longer the band director but now the assistant principal, ordered me to face the new band director in a one-on-one. I went in expecting to be eviscerated, but was surprised to find the director met me with patience, understanding, and forgiveness. I was primed and ready for battle, but instead had a deep, insightful, mutually respectful conversation. This sense of narrative rise-and-hard-left-turn happens in Trees 3 as well, and left me feeling similarly satisfied.

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Batman 33

Alternating Currents: Batman 33, Drew and ShelbyToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batman 33, originally released July 23rd, 2014.

Drew: The Riddler may not have seemed like the most intuitive choice for a retelling of Batman’s origin — he’s in no man’s land, much more specific threat than those posed by organized crime in Year One, but he’s also not Batman’s biggest villain. Of course, that ignores the specific nature of this origin story, one that openly acknowledges how well-known the story is — or at least how well we think we know the story. That is, in order to not be a total retread, it requires the type of surprise ending we typically associate with riddles. It’s the kind of ending that recontextualizes the three-part story we’ve been reading as one emotional arc with a focus on something we may not have been expecting: Bruce’s relationship to Alfred. Continue reading

Saga 21

saga 21

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Saga 21, originally released July 23rd, 2014.

Shelby: it’s hard to watch something you love fall apart. Even if that something is a work of fiction, it can still break your heart just as fast (if not faster) than real life. I get very invested in the media I consume; anyone who’s watched a movie with me can attest to the fact I am frequently, literally on the edge of my seat at the climax of the movie. That’s how I find myself as we build toward the end of each arc in Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga: on the edge of my seat.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Time 2

tmnt in time 2Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Time 2, originally released July 23rd, 2014.

Drew: Last month, Patrick laid out the difference between time travel narratives that amount to fish-out-of-water stories and those that are actually about time travel — that is, those where the actions and repercussions of time travel are the point of the story. Turtles in Time 1 fell squarely into the first category, basically giving the Turtles an excuse to run around with dinosaurs for a while. It’s certainly a noble endeavor (and darn successful — we loved the heck out of that issue), but for a mini-series titled Turtles in Time, it seems only natural that the focus should shift back to the time travel itself, bringing all the concerns of causation and the space-time continuum to the fore as the Turtles encounter themselves pre-reincarnation in feudal Japan. Continue reading

Zero 9

zero 9Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Zero 9, originally released July 23rd, 2014.

Patrick: Violence. Abuse. Torture. Slavery. I just named, like, the four worst things in the world. They’re all awful on their own, but each act becomes unfathomably detestable the second you add the descriptor “sexual.” Sexual violence is so horrible, we don’t really know how to process it and we sure as shit don’t know how to talk about it. As a result, so much sexual assault gets swept out of our field of vision, even when we know full-well that it’s going on. The numbers vary wildly, but every study on reporting rape statistics suggests that a shocking number of sexual assaults go unreported. Studies also show that sexual assault, especially toward children, can trigger psychosis and schizophrenia later in life. It’s simply too much for brains to handle, which is why we tend to freak out whenever rape shows up in our pop entertainments. Ales Kot and Tonči Zonjić boldly express our inability to process these moments of pure, unadulterated horror in a breathtaking new installment of Zero. (spoilers for Zero 9 after the jump). Continue reading