Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Justice League 19, originally released April 17, 2013.
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 →
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?
Today, Shelby and guest writer Mogo are discussing Justice League 17, originally released February 20th, 2013, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.
Shelby: When I was in drama club in high school, we put on a lot of older comedies with the entire plot revolving around one basic misunderstanding. That one misunderstanding would compound exponentially (as misunderstandings are wont to do), and before you know it, you’d have a wacky, 2-hour situation involving mistaken identities and hiding in closets. At the end of the show, everyone would reveal themselves, and, with a good chuckle, the guy would get the girl, the plucky sidekick friends would hook up, and everyone lived happily ever after. In ComicBookLand, where two superheroes can’t bump into each other on the sidewalk without getting into a fight and destroying a city block, misunderstandings are never so innocently comedic. Justice League 17, the finale of the Throne of Atlantis, is no exception. Continue reading →
Mikyzptlk: Ah, the Ticking Clock. This dramatic device has been used countless times in probably every story telling medium imaginable. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s fairly simple. If you are a writer and want to add a bit more tension or urgency to your story, just introduce a countdown or time bomb element of some kind. The H’el on Earth event has been using this particular device since the Star Chamber threatening Earth was introduced. Superboy 17 introduces yet another ticking clock, and, as it turns out, it’s fairly effective.
Patrick: You know that knock-knock joke that goes “Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Banana?” Of course you do, we were all kids once. It’s a simple exercise in tension and release: when you hear “orange,” you get a visceral little rush knowing the “orange you glad I didn’t say banana” is mere moments away. The Justice League’s assault on the Fortress of Solitude has been one long Banana Knock-Knock joke. But when we finally get the “orange,” the door we’re knocking on teleports somewhere else, making me wonder why the fuck we’ve been putting up with this jokester saying “banana” for so long.
Today, Drew and guest writer Zach Kastner are discussing Justice League 16, originally released January 23rd, 2013, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.
Drew: “What if there was a problem so big, Superman couldn’t solve it?” is the question the Justice League was designed to answer. This was something Johns managed quite well in this series’ first arc, justifying the League’s formation with a truly global threat. This issue effectively voids that answer by asking “yeah, but what if there was a problem so big even the Justice League couldn’t solve it?” Continue reading →
Patrick: Drew had to fight pretty hard to find some meaning in last month’s issue of Superboy. I’m not saying his assertions are wrong, but they certainly meet Tom DeFalco more than half-way. Shelby was not so kind. This issue, by comparison, brings some strong characterization of Superboy, non-stop action and an interesting theme (with clever call-backs). This issue isn’t going to start any Superboy-revolution, but it is a tonally consistent, exciting story. Maybe I’m setting the Superbar pretty low at this point…
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Justice League 15, originally released December 26th, 2012, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.
Drew: Sitcoms and comics are notorious for featuring one- and two-dimensional characters. This isn’t the result of laziness on the writers’ parts — actually, it’s their desire to work indefinitely. Narratives that don’t go on indefinitely are free to give their characters actual character-defining arcs — that’s kind of the point — but those that have no defined endpoint must more or less tread water to avoid ending. This is why we know the status quo will always be restored. Sure, Bruce might stop brooding for a bit, or Hal might lose his ring, or Superman might die, but as long as people are willing to see their further adventures (and pay for them), they’re bound to return to their resting state. Individual titles focusing on those characters are free to bend the rules a bit, but cameos in other titles kind of rely on the platonic form of the heroes. Because Justice League essentially acts as a series of cameos, it is particularly invested in not giving these characters any sense of emotional arcs. Of course, that doesn’t stop Johns from trying to shoehorn those in from time to time, too.