Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Serenity: Leaves on the Wind 2, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Taylor: Rebooting a series is seldom a wise idea. With the rise of the internet, fans of cancelled or obscure media suddenly able to connect with each other like they never had before. This meant that those pining for the reboot of a beloved yet cancelled comic or show suddenly had someone to voice their opinion to. They found strength in their numbers and, surprisingly, studios began to listen. When Firefly was cancelled few seemed to care. But as more and more people fell in love with the show, it eventually gained a cult following, the strength of which is rivaled by few. Firefly got its reboot in the form of a movie, which by most accounts put an end to the story of Malcolm Reynolds and his motley crew. But the fans continued to clamor and now we have a comic book devoted to continuing the story. While this revival may stir feelings of sweet nostalgia the wisdom of its creation is still a question floating in space.
Today, Greg and guest writer Shane are discussing Superman: Lois Lane 1, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Greg: When I was a little kid, I dealt with some pretty heavy duty separation anxiety. Going to first grade was a nightmarish ordeal on a daily level. I would do and try anything to get out of it — faked stomach aches, insistence on a high temperature, temper tantrums like nothing else. And if my parents did manage to get me to school, I was still a wreck — crying over nothing, lashing out at teachers and latchkey supervisors, generally weirding out my classmates. Eventually an attempt at a solution was posed: go to school, but bring a photograph of my family at home that I could look at whenever I wanted. I only had to try this once to know immediately that the pain this caused wasn’t worth it. Rather than soothe my anxieties, it stoked their fires. Looking at this photo and knowing I couldn’t be there evoked a cutting sense of nostalgia, the meaning of which comes from, as Lois Lane reminds us, the clash between the desire to return home and the pain of knowing you can’t. Superman: Lois Lane deals with these evocative themes like separation, reunion, melancholy, yearning, and family with aplomb, showcasing mature and heartwarming storytelling even amidst plot-busy coverups and set pieces.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 28, originally released February 26, 2014.
Patrick: There’s a persistent tension inherent to any narrative based on a lie or secret between its characters. Writer Dan Slott has been successful enough at fleshing out who exactly Otto is in the body of Peter Parker, so the issue of “will anyone find out what’s really going on?” often takes a back seat to Otto’s superheroic machinations. And yet, that tension is still there: that’s not Peter Parker, and the truth is going to infuriate people. Secret-based stories basically have two options if they’re to last — 1) reveal the mystery and let the characters deal with the ramifications of that revelation (as in Mad Men or Breaking Bad) or 2) string the mystery out ridiculously straining credibility (as in Dexter). With an end-date to the Superior franchise in sight, Slott breathlessly catapults Otto toward option one. It’s an invigorating thrill ride as all of Otto’s chickens come home to roost.
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Indestructible Hulk 19, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Spencer: Our heroes’ greatest enemies are often their polar opposites: While Batman is a dark, brooding creature fighting for justice, his nemesis is a silly-looking clown obsessed with evil; while Superman is the most human alien around, Lex Luthor has foresaken his humanity to stroke his ego; while the Flash always looks forward, the Reverse Flash is caught up in his own past. In Indestructible Hulk 19 writer Mark Waid and his expansive team of artists provide the Hulk with an opposite of his own: while the Hulk is fueled by his rage, Jessup gains power from stealing other people’s anger. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing The Wake 6, originally released February 26th, 2014.
I’ll always be talking to you, Parker. Always. You just have to listen, honey. You keep listening. You hear me? You keep listening.
Dr. Lee Archer, The Wake 5
Shelby: When faced with the thought of losing a loved one, there’s a lot of comfort to be found in the idea that they will always be there, always watching over you. The knowledge that you are still carrying a part of that person with you, and will always carry it with you, can help you move on. But what if you don’t move on? What if you just instilled that faith in someone watching over you in your children, and they in their children? You’ve basically created a mini religion, where the vague belief that there’s something out there, something more, and maybe if you just keep listening you’ll find it.
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Hawkeye 15, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Spencer: Why do we love Clint Barton so much? I could probably devote my entire word count to the reasons, but the one that sticks in my head is that he’s heroic, but still endearingly flawed. Clint screws up a lot, but he’s always trying to do the right thing, no matter how badly he goes about it. Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye 15 reveals that Clint’s attempts to save his building are less than legal and have only pushed the Tracksuits to more desperate measures. But despite it all, I can’t help but like the guy even more; his heart’s in the right place. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Empire of the Dead 2, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Drew: What is it that makes us human? Is it the capacity for emotion? Reason? Is it the ability to recognize that other people might have perspectives and motivations that are different from our own? These are some of the most fundamental questions of philosophy and psychology– perhaps too big to hope to tackle in a discussion of a horror comic book — but I’d like to suggest that humanity, however we define it, is the detail that separates Zombies and Vampires. Sure, there are the obvious cosmetic differences (illustrated beautifully by Alex Maleev on this month’s cover), but they’re ultimately quite similar: both are undead, both feed on humans, and both have the power to convert their victims into more monsters. The fundamental difference between the two — and what makes each so scary — is the question of their humanity: vampires have all of those qualities I mentioned up front, but zombies don’t at all. Or, at least they usually don’t – Empire of the Dead 2 reveals that its zombies may be more human than it may seem. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 31, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Patrick: How do we heal? Whether the wounds are physical or emotional, there’s almost never a good answer to that question — certainly never an easy answer. When I look back on the biggest hurts I’ve recovered from, I know that I did heal, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you how. I remember at the time feeling like there would be no relief — from a broken heart, or a broken bone. I was always afraid that I’d never get better, that I would only ever forget what “better” feels like and accept broken as my new emotional base. It’s unsatisfying and it’s messy and it’s prone to regression. The biggest fuck of it all is that there are no shortcuts. All of the Turtles (and their friends) are in need of healing, and it’s been such a slow beautiful process, I can’t help but feel unnerved when April introduces a magic healing goo. Fortunately, the tension between the quick fix and honest healing is right at the front of yet another fantastic issue of TMNT. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Thunderbolts 22, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Shelby: Kids love “…and they lived happily ever after.” It’s an uncomplicated and rewarding end to a story; the good guys are rewarded, the bad guys punished, the boy gets the girl, and the plucky sidekicks probably got some action as well. It’s not until you get older that the everything-worked-in-the-end approach grows stale. It’s too neat and clean; we want our stories to reflect the complexities of every day life, not tie everything up in a nicely resolved bow. Personally, I find a too-happy ending where everything works out to be insincere and frankly a little boring. It might be surprising, then, that I love Charles Soule’s latest issue of Thunderbolts. Leave it to Soule to deliver an end to the recent Thunderbolts arc that gives the “good” guys exactly what they want and leaves the bad (by comparison) guy with a mess to deal with, without once appearing insincere.
Today, Scott and Drew are discussing The Flash 28, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Scott: As a kid, I didn’t enjoy ghost stories very much. I did my best to avoid them, but sometimes, late at night at a slumber party or around a campfire, it was impossible. I endured; listening wasn’t the hard part. In the moment, whatever shock or gore the stories contained didn’t affect me much. It was the aftermath, the lingering psychological torment — the fear, however irrational, that maybe the deranged killers they told these stories about might actually exist. In The Flash 28, Barry Allen is confronted with my greatest fear: the murderous monster from his childhood ghost story is real. A ghost story combined with a detective story, this issue is as fun as you can imagine, even though all of the elements don’t mix together quite right. Continue reading →