Patrick: Did y’all see Crazy Heart? Part of that movie hinges on the fact that Jeff Bridges’ character quietly and gradually writes a song so good that he can retire on it. I love imagining the moment in the script where the screenwriter must have written: “Then he writes the best song ever” and then goes back to describing a bar bathroom or something. Luckily, the people tasked with actually demonstrating this skill were up to the task. Geoff Johns has a habit of writing himself into similar corners, but always leaves it to himself to bail himself out. The result is an oddly self-contradictory narrative, one that comes so very close to acknowledging its own absurdity before doubling down on it.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Forever Evil 2, originally released October 2nd, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Last month, the first issue of Forever Evil left me feeling relatively good about the start of DC’s first line-wide crossover since the inception of the New 52. Most of the heroes were gone, the Crime Syndicate was established, and Lex Luthor finally got a glance something that may just be worse than a bunch of costumed do-gooders. Ultimately, Forever Evil is about villains being forced into a position to fight a greater evil. I think that issue 1 gave us a pretty good starting point for that. Looking at issue 2, while I feel that there was some interesting developments, I can’t help but feel the entire issue suffered from structural issues, and that it was ultimately about getting Luthor to say one damn line. Continue reading
Today, Spencer and Mikyzptlk are discussing Justice League 23 originally released August 28th, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.
Spencer: One of my favorite hobbies is explaining comic book storylines to people who don’t read comics (“Hey guys, did you know that the Justice League once fought a giant floating psychic island that shoots dinosaurs?!”). It’s always fun to watch their expressions, but it’s also an interesting reminder that comics, at their core, are goofy as hell. Personally, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m glad comics are finally being respected as an art form, and I wouldn’t be writing here if I didn’t love poring through comics and discussing their depths, but sometimes it’s just fun to turn off my brain and embrace the goofiness, and no story’s been better for that lately than Trinity War. It’s so much fun that I don’t even mind that big fat “to be continued” at the end—well, I don’t mind it that much…
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Justice League of America 7 originally released August 14th, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.
Drew: Determining a level of focus is perhaps the most important step in evaluating a work of art. These foci are specific to the style at hand — harmonic analysis is likely going to tell you very little about a rap song, just as an examination of brush strokes wouldn’t add much to a discussion of da Vinci. Intriguingly, these styles often begin to resemble each other as you zoom in and out — abstract paintings may share concepts of form, color, or composition with those of the Rennaisance masters, for example — further increasing the importance focus in an analysis. Geoff Johns has always written “big” — he’s been at the helm (or at least sharing the helm) of some of DC’s most important events over the past decade — and his writing has often chafed at the analyses of his critics. Justice League of America 7 actually avoids many of the pitfalls Johns is often cited for (a lot of stuff actually happens here), but it still has me wondering if we’re simply using the wrong tool for the job of evaluating a giant, Geoff Johns-penned event. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Justice League of America 6 originally released July 17th, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.
Patrick: Did any of you guys ever play Warhammer? If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a table top war game where you assemble an army from your race of choice and battle against your friends’ armies. It’s the least pick-up-and-play game you could ever imagine – understanding the basic rules means reading a 100+ page manual, and keeping a cheat sheet with charts and tables with you at all times. And then there’s understanding your own army, for which you need yet other book completely dedicated to that race. Then you need the little metal figures to represent the members of your army (sold separately), and if you’re really hardcore you can paint them. Then you need a surface large enough to play on – one time my friends and I took a door off its hinges and used that when we were denied the dining room table. Ideally, this surface will be populated with trees and terrain and stuff like that. Setting up the Trinity War has felt an awful lot like setting up a Warhammer game. Everyone’s been reading extra books they don’t really want to read just so they can play in the big game. Now the event is actually here and I can’t believe I’m surprised that all the characters feel like pieces in a game. Continue reading
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Justice League 20, originally released May 22, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.
Scott: What is the greatest threat to the Justice League? For a group with the power to make neutralizing powerful villains and preventing catastrophic events seem routine, maybe they should be looking at one another as possible threats. It’s hard for the Justice Leaguers to believe that one of their friends could let power get to his or her head or, worse yet, actively be working against them, but that’s a reality they must face. Justice League 20 explores different types of threats to the Justice League, those present, pending, and merely theoretical.
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Justice League 19, originally released April 17, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.
Scott: Much like nations at political odds, the relationships between superheroes can be delicate. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Justice League 19, which finds our heroes causing a ruckus in the Middle East while also tending to some interpersonal matters. Writer Geoff Johns packs a surprising amount of story into this issue, which continues prior plotlines involving new Justice League inductees and the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman while introducing an intriguing new mystery. It skirts close to melodrama at one point, but the result is a satisfying mix of new questions and answers, a creatively packaged, fast-paced thriller. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Evan are discussing Justice League 18, originally released March 20, 2013.
Patrick: I’m always missing something when I read a DC or Marvel comic. The companies and the characters have been around too long and there’s just too much material for me to be well-versed in all of it. That’s not an apology or an admission of any kind – I think we should all accept that readers have a infinite amount of time and money and memory and interest. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone stares at me, mouth agape and says “Oh my God, I can’t believe you haven’t read blank.” Justice League 18 digs deep into the DC archives but also embraces brand new creation and mixes vigorously. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter what you’ve read before. Continue reading
Today, Drew and Mikyzptlk are discussing Superman 17, originally released March 6th, 2013. This issue is part of the H’el on Earth crossover event. Click here for complete H’el on Earth coverage.
Drew: Last month, Patrick compared Superman 16 to a joke with an aborted punchline — the entire issue was spent building towards a payoff that simply evaporated when we finally arrived. Superman himself has a very similar experience in Superman 17, when he comes face to face with the Oracle, who shows Superman a confusing series of images, but disappears before giving any explanation. It’s a frustrating experience for Clark, one that very pointedly reflects my reactions to both this issue, and the H’el on Earth event as a whole. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Aquaman 17, originally released February 27th, 2013.
Patrick: When I originally got my friend Taylor into comic books, I suggested Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing series. Taylor was intrigued, saying that the idea of a Captain Planet made of Plants seemed like a really fun book to read. Of course, Snyder’s Swamp Thing has more to do with elaborate mythologies and alternate futures and cool stuff like that, but that idea stuck with me. We read so few comic books about superheroes that stand for anything. Our heroes are driven by revenge or obligation or circumstance to fight crime, but none of them end up championing any causes – they just keep fighting whatever supervillains pop up to challenge them. After the events of Throne of Atlantis, Aquaman finds himself wedged uncomfortably between the roles of superhero and supervillain. What other choice does he have than to enact his own values and forge his own path?