Spencer: One of the biggest issues I’ve had with Forever Evil has been trying to figure out just how, exactly, its interpretation of Earth-3 works. Before the reboot Earth-3 was a world of opposites, where all evil characters were good guys and all the good guys were villains, and villains always won, but ever since the Crime Syndicate forced their way onto our world at the end of “Trinity War” writer Geoff Johns has largely shown Earth-3 as a world where everybody is evil, which I haven’t quite been able to wrap my head around up to this point. Johns and David Finch’s Forever Evil 6 has finally helped put things in perspective for me, though, by unmasking the Syndicate’s prisoner and showing us exactly what a hero looks like on Earth-3. Continue reading
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, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Justice League 24, a Forever Evil tie-in, originally released October 23rd, 2013.
Taylor: What makes someone evil? The term is thrown around a lot in the media and it’s gotten to the point where it seems its meaning has become lost, just as we lose our sense of what good beer tastes like after a few or five drinks. We call certain dictators evil and the same goes for terrorists. In the stories we tell one another we talk about super villains and often these individuals are motivated by hate or revenge or the lust for power. We call these people evil and in both cases this is rightly so. But of course, considering someone evil is all a matter of perspective. One man’s terrorist is another man’s martyr; one’s hero is another’s villain. But suppose for a second we existed in a universe where this yin-yang balance didn’t exist. What would it be like? Justice League 24, a tie-in with Forever Evil, attempts to give us this answer and in doing so shows us some really deplorable characters.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Aquaman 24, originally released October 23rd, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Families can be tough to deal with. Sometimes, you want nothing more than to make sure that everyone is happy, even if that means doing what is expected of you. Other times, maybe even most of the time, you just want to head for the hills and do your own thing. Aquaman has it infinitely worse because he has a royal family to deal with. For years, Aquaman was planted firmly in the hills doing his own thing until he made the choice to become the king of Atlantis. It’s a bit of a bummer though, because Aquaman 24 reveals that he was never meant to be king in the first place and that he might just be the villain of this piece…or at least the descendant of one. Continue reading
Today, Drew and Mikyzptlk are discussing Justice League of America 7.4: Black Adam, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.
Oh, you mean…Black Debbie
Whoa whoa whoa whoa, why is she “Black” Debbie?
No, not in a BAAAD way. It’s just to tell them apart because she’s…black!
Stormy and Sparks, “No Names (Black Debbie)”
Drew: A child, orphaned by crime, vows to strike fear in the hearts of criminals. The last survivor of a race of superpowered aliens is raised in small town Kansas. A regular guy is given super-speed when he is struck by lightening and doused with chemicals. Our favorite superheroes have simple, iconic origins, which make them easy to introduce in film or television, and easy to reintroduce when relaunching an entire comics line. That simplicity is a big selling point for a lot of these characters, but what of those whose history is a bit more complicated? Black Adam has always been a dark reflection of Shazam, but exactly how dark has varied widely over the years, and has offered a great deal more interest than its simple villain-turned-antihero scaffold might suggest. Unfortunately, the New 52 steamrolled all of that history, turning Black Adam back into a straightforward villain. With Justice League of America 7.4: Black Adam, writers Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates work to re-complicate Adam’s story — making him more than just “Black Shazam” — but may go for too much, too soon. Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Justice League 23.4: Secret Society, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.
Mikyzptlk: Villain’s Month has been letting the creators of DC Comics “unleash” its many baddies across the many corners of the DC Universe. Now, “unleash” can mean many things, and it’s clear that the storytellers at DC are having fun with the format. For the most part, the one-shots have been straight-up origin stories. Kind of like the “Zero Month” for the villains. Other one-shots, while still mainly origins, have tried to give us a peek into the current status of the featured villain now that Earth has been taken over. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get from Secret Society, other than a story about the Secret Society, but what I got wasn’t quite that. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, but in the end, this issue leaves me feeling just a tad misdirected. Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Forever Evil 1, originally released September 4th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: “Evil is Relative” was the tagline used to hype the Forever Evil event that has just started to sweep the DCU. Trinity War has succeeded in tearing down the accepted norms of the DCU. Forever Evil is primed to explore what happens when the heroes are nowhere to be found, and the villains are the only ones left to defend the world. 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 Drew are discussing Green Lantern 23, originally released August 7th, 2013.
Patrick: I moved out to Los Angeles because I wanted to be a television writer. If you want to be a lumberjack, you move to the forest, right? I don’t have much in the way of family on the West Coast, and I knew that distance from those that I loved was just going to be part of this bargain I was striking. The idea of giving up family for my art was romantic — I could live an idealized life of creativity and yeah I’d suffer for it, but I’d be suffering for a reason. When my older sister had her second kid, however, I was on a plane to Atlanta: I wasn’t going to miss out on meeting my nephew. It’s love, and it’s a primal motivator. No matter how much you will it away, love can dictate your actions. It’s the sort of thing that will make Hal Jordan drop the fight that he’s right in the middle of to check on the girlfriend he swore off to defend the corps. Continue reading