Grayson 11

grayson 11

Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Grayson 11, originally released August 26, 2015.

Mark: Grayson has always been a series towing the line between following genre tropes and undermining those tropes at the same time. It’s a remarkable case of having cake and being able to eat it too, and the fact that Tom King and Tim Seeley have been able to pull it off consistently for a year is remarkable. The threads they’ve been able to tie together time and time again, while at the same time keeping each issue fresh, is impressive, and Grayson 11 continues that trend. Continue reading

Batgirl Annual 3

batgirl annual 3

Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Batgirl Annual 3, originally released July 29th, 2015.

Michael: I don’t know if the concept of “Annual” comic book really has a true characterization. Sometimes it’s just a giant-sized issue of an ongoing story. Other times it’s a semi-audition for up and coming writers to get their feet wet. Then there are annuals like to jam-pack the issue with as much muchness as possible. Batgirl Annual 3 is the much muchness example. Continue reading

Grayson 10

grayson 10

Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Grayson 10, originally released July 22nd, 2015.

Spencer: Once, way back when Wally West was the Flash, he ran so fast that he merged with the Speed Force, a fate from which no speedster had ever returned. Wally did return, though, all because of the love of his life, Linda Park. Wally called Linda his “lightning rod” — no matter what weird shenanigans he had to deal with, Linda’s love always kept him grounded in reality. I think most of us have a “lightning rod” of one sort or the other, some person or thing that acts as a constant in our life, that keeps us tethered to our old lives even as everything else around us changes. Dick Grayson has gone through more changes than most ever since his “death” in Forever Evil, but even as an agent of Spyral, he had both his mentor Batman and his faith in his own abilities acting to keep him grounded. With Grayson 10, though, Tim Seeley, Tom King, and Mikel Janin strip those last familiar comforts from Dick, leaving him with nobody he can trust — not even himself. Continue reading

Earth 2 Society 2

earth 2 society 2

Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Earth 2 Society 2, originally released July 8th, 2015.

Patrick: For the vast majority of DC’s line, Convergence didn’t really effect that much. And honestly, how could we possibly expect that convoluted mythology pile-up to effect anything even remotely grounded in reality? I don’t think this is a bad thing: I love having stories I can take seriously and follow ravenously from week-to-week and month-to-month, but I also enjoyed the two-month goof-off session that Convergence afforded us. Because the wackiness of that event was always going to be self contained, we got crazy major character deaths and radical shifts in status quo and all kinds of world-ending stuff you’d never be able to get away with “in continuity.” Of course, that story was part of DC’s continuity: specifically the Earth-2 part. Earth 2 Society 2 deals with those insanely elevated stakes gleefully, hilariously putting the FATE OF THE PLANET in danger. Again. Continue reading

Grayson 9

grayson 9

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Grayson 9, originally released June 24th, 2015.

Michael: I think the majority of comic-book-dom would agree that Dick Grayson is awesome. I mean, I love Dick Grayson but some people loooooooove Dick Grayson. There is something inexplicable about certain corners of fandom and their obsession with the former boy wonder. There is the fact that he is the first (some would argue best) Robin, holding the role for over 40 years. But it’s not just that – Dick Grayson has become something of a sex symbol in the Bat-fan community. Dick Grayson fans are very vocal about this fact, using social media to express their interest to see more “butt shots” of Mr. Grayson to various writers including Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins and current Grayson writer Tom King. There is of course the easy/stupid pun involved in his name – which I will ignore – but fans of all genders and sexualities are all about Dick Grayson. With Grayson – issue 9 especially – Tom King has not been afraid to give the people what they want. Continue reading

Batman 40

batman 40

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Batman 40, originally released April 29th, 2015.

Spencer: Batman 40 is a dense issue. I’ve lingered over this issue in a way I haven’t lingered over a comic in quite a while. Every page is rich with meaning, both in the writing and the art, and it would take far more space than Patrick and I have allotted here to fully unpack it. Let me assure you all, though, that doing so is more than worth the time and effort. Batman 40 is a masterpiece that can be enjoyed on numerous levels, and I think it’s an issue we’re going to be dissecting for a long time to come. So let’s get to it. Continue reading

Convergence: The New Teen Titans 1

teen titans 1 conv

Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Convergence: The New Teen Titans 1, originally released April 22th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

convergence div

Spencer: I think most of us take on certain comfortable roles when we’re among our friends. Sometimes, though, things change, and those roles no longer suit us, but they’re so firmly entrenched among the group dynamic that they can be impossible to escape. Marv Wolfman and Nicola Scott’s Convergence: The New Teen Titans finds this happening to the Teen Titans. After a year spent under the dome, the Titans are attempting to take their relationships to new places, but find themselves caught up in the same old roles and conflicts that have always defined them. Continue reading

Convergence: Superboy 1

superboy 1 conv

Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Convergence: Superboy 1, originally released April 15th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Spencer: If there’s one flaw to this second week of Convergence tie-ins that wasn’t present in the first, it’s the fact that these characters can’t really change or evolve. Since week one took place at the end of the Post-Crisis DC Universe, the creative teams could examine what an “ending” for their protagonists may look like (before cruelly snatching those endings away), but this week’s books have to keep their stars in a sort of suspended animation — unable to evolve or drift too far from their established fate, they’re more than ever defined by their most basic conflicts and character traits. This isn’t always a bad thing (it works out better for Parallax than, say, Azrael), but it is a bit of a tricky hurdle to leap. Do Fabian Nicieza and Karl Moline manage to succeed in crafting a compelling story for Superboy despite the limitations of the format? I’d say yes, but despite this impressive success, they do falter just a bit on some of the smaller details. Continue reading

Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle 1

nightwing oracle 1 conv

Today, Mark and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle 1, originally released April 8th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

convergence div

Mark: It’s been about four years since DC’s controversial reboot into the New 52, and now that it’s come to a nominal end, I think it’s fair to say it was a success. Yes, I miss old, family-man Superman (and man was it great to see him again last week) but going back is also an illustration as to why the New 52 was necessary. Having that 30 years of history (counting from Crisis on Infinite Earths) was both a blessing and a curse. These characters were fully formed over decades of discovery. They were adults with families and complicated relationships. They carried the weights of their decisions with them. The problem is that eventually the weight of all that continuity became overwhelming, the stories you’re able to tell are limited by the past. Continue reading

Grayson 8

Alternating Currents: Grayson 8, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Grayson 8, originally released March 4th, 2015.

Drew: I like to read into titles. We tend to boil down the difference between Superman and Action Comics to the creative teams involved, but I think the focus of every story is informed by its title. Luke Skywalker may feature prominently in Star Wars, but not in quite the same way he would if the movies were titled Luke Skywalker. In that same vein, when a story’s title is the protagonist’s name, we understand that story to necessarily be about that character. Oliver Twist may deal with poverty and exploitation, but the story is ultimately about a single orphan. In the month-to-month grind of comics, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Spider-Man is actually about Spider-Man (and not the criminal-of-the-month), but the best writers manage to keep the focus on the heroes, even as they’re put up against an endless lineup of threats. Tom King and Tim Seeley have never lost sight of Dick as the center of Grayson, but issue 8 reasserts that focus so strongly, we never feel lost — even as they yank the rug out from under us. Continue reading