Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Hawkeye 10, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Shelby: There are two sides to every story, even stories wherein our favorite, loveable auxiliary character is shot in the head by a new bad guy for seemingly no reason. Even though we’re all still a little sad about the loss of Grills last issue (Matt Fraction included, as indicated on the title page of this month’s issue), we have to remember it was a man who pulled the trigger, a man with his own story to tell. Continue reading →
Today, Courtney and Shelby are discussing Hawkeye 9, originally released April 10, 2013.
Courtney:Oh, poor, dear boy, Clint, what will we do with you? Getting mixed up with shady ladies, pissing off cops and criminals alike, dirtying the name of the Avengers by living in the morally gray, breaking hearts, and, always, always getting hit in the face. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Age of Ultron 4, originally released April 3rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Patrick: One of the things I’ve absolutely loved about picking up monthly comics is that I’ve had the opportunity to get know the work of a ton of great writers and artists. It pains me a little to think of how few people will ever read a funny exchange written by Jeff Lemire, and how few people will never see Adam Hughes masterful acting simply because they don’t read comics. Drew, Shelby and myself have been at this for over a year — I like to think we’re in the club now — and I have this brand new skill of identifying someone by their work. Brian Michael Bendis, the writer behind Age of Ultron is notorious for his massively decompressed stories, and between this series, Guardians of the Galaxy, and his X-Men books, I feel like I can spot his handiwork a mile away. But Age of Ultron is a special case, and its glacial pace allows almost every issue to be a Bryan Hitch vanity project. This makes it kind of tough to discuss in the same way we discuss other comics, but it’s clear now that this is the series’ identity – the problematic obsessions with character development and plot and theme are mine and not Ultron’s. Retcon Punch needs a new way to talk about comics. Alright, let’s see what we got. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Superior Spider-Man 6AU, originally released March 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Ethan: Familiarity is a funny thing. The exposure we have to a thing or activity, the more hard-wiring space our brains devote to it. That’s great when you need to do something quickly — like recognize and react to a baseball flying at your head — or when you do something the same way over and over — like driving a route to work every day. That hard-wiring can save you from injury, or save on processing power that could be put to other use. Automatic responses aren’t always helpful though; sometimes your conditioning assigns a label and to situation too quickly and funnels you into a course of action that almost always works, but not this time. In the Age of Ultron crossover Superior Spider-Man #6, writer Christos Gage and artist Dexter Soy demonstrate the folly of this kind of snap judgement as Otto Octavius (in the body of Spider-Man Peter Parker) faces off against the malicious artificial intelligence. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Age of Ultron 3, originally released March 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Mikyzptlk: In any post-apocalyptic scenario, you can either give in to the destruction that surrounds you or you can find that one last sliver of hope to hang on to. The first two issues of this event have mostly centered on a group of defeated heroes who are on the verge of giving up hope. The resistance, if you could even call it that, was rudderless and quickly losing its steam. It was all quite depressing, if not in a fascinating kind of way. The latest issue of Age of Ultron reveals that perhaps not all hope is lost and, armed with a shiny new plan, our heroes start on a path that can hopefully lead them to victory.
Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Age of Ultron 2, originally released March 13th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Ethan: In recent years, after the financial markets fell screaming into their perennial nosedive, the city of Detroit hasn’t done so well. Workers who had spent their lives with a company were laid off, branches were closed, businesses died, buildings were abandoned. Over time, the violence of the changes and departures faded as the temperatures, wind, and microorganisms went to work. Materials that we associate with longevity — brick, stone, even plastics — took on a distinctly alien appearance of decay. The effect even got a name — “ruin porn” — and photographers from across the country flocked to capture the scenes. Reading through the second issue of Age of Ultron evokes the same mix of wonder and horror, albeit the decay is in much fresher stage, and the characters are fictional. Bryan Hitch continues to deliver impressive vistas of metropolis in its death throes, and writer Brian Michael Bendis fills these images with sparks of life as the heroes try to find their place in the new world.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Age of Ultron 1, originally released March 6th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Patrick: Y’all remember Battlestar Galactica? Until the show’s premise became too complicated to be expressed in a few simple sentence fragments, each episode would begin with the following titles projected across the screen:
The Cylons were created by man. They evolved. They rebelled. There are many copies. And they have a plan.
It’s exactly enough information to tease the world of the series. Yeah, there’s a lot more to it than that — this description makes no mention of the last scraps of humanity drifting through space in outdated battleships, or God or gods or Starbuck or Frak. It doesn’t have to: the purity of the threat represented by Cylons is so elemental and to render the rest beautiful, beautiful set-dressing to this central conflict. Battlestar would go on to tell a hundred compelling stories based of that clean slug-line, replete with rich themes and psychologically complex characters. Brian Michael Bendis’ Age of Ultron looks like it will have a great deal in common with BSG, the first such indication is a straightforward and agonizingly clean premise: “Hank Pym of the Avengers created an artificial intelligence known as Ultron. It hates humanity… and it has returned.” Game on.
Today, Courtney and Drew are discussing Hawkeye 8, originally released February 27th, 2013.
Courtney:Once, in high school, I attempted to make an 800-mile cross-country road trip in secret over spring break, not because I really wanted to, exactly, but because a girl I really liked had demanded it, and at seventeen, that was enough to get me to agree to what I knew was perfectly stupid. (I was saved, incidentally, by the sage intervention of my less-stupid, less-seventeen brother, who later went on to found Retcon Punch.) I like to think we all grow out of that by the time we start making regular car payments, but this month’s Hawkeye raises some unsettling questions. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Courtney are discussing Hawkeye 7, originally released January 30th, 2012.
Patrick: Last time we were hanging out in fuzzy pants as discussing Hawkeye, we were reflecting on the Christmas issue (complete with Clint in a Santa hat). This month, we’ve got in our hands another Very Special Issue of Hawkeye, one that should feel a little less celebratory. Yes, it’s the end of October 2012 on the eastern seaboard, and the subject of our latest Hawkeye adventure is Super Storm Sandy. Never one to rest on a gimmick, Matt Fraction builds two tales for two Hawkeyes, one fun and the other touching, while staying emotionally and factually true to the event that inspired him. Clint and Katie are always easy to identify with, and their reactions to the storm echo our own in a dazzling display of artistic empathy.
Today, Courtney and Shelby are discussing Hawkeye 6, originally released December 19th, 2012.
Courtney: Do you remember the moment you realized that Kill Bill: Volume 2 had only one fight scene? I think I watched it at least three times before I realized that it was about 80% less violent than its famously gory predecessor, because somehow the two films were so beautifully of a set. In some way like that, Hawkeye 6 features almost no action at all, yet it is decidedly cut from the same cloth as every issue in which Clint crashes out of a tenth-story window. The difference, though, is that in this case, the order is flipped. It is the mundane, domestic story of Clint trying to learn how to take a few days off and enjoy the holidays which more nakedly exposes the question that all of the smash-smash-punch episodes have been driving at, ie, “What if this super-hero really were just a pretty cool person?” Continue reading →