Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Trillium 5, originally released December 4th, 2013.Shelby: Like all the issues of Trillium before it, this one has a trick to it. Again, like we’ve seen before, there’s a separation between Nika’s story and William’s; Nika’s story runs along the top half of the page, with a note to “…read upper section of report first.” At the end of the issue, you flip the book upside down, and read back along the bottom to get William’s story. Nika’s end is his beginning, his beginning her end. That in and of itself is beautiful, but being the stubborn fool that I am, I read the whole thing straight through first, flipping the book over and over. Between my correct and incorrect readings of Jeff Lemire’s sci fi/apocalypse/time travel/romance, a beautifully balanced set of parallel stories emerged. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Animal Man 25, originally released November 20th, 2013.
Scott: As a writer, it’s my perpetual fear that whatever idea I’ve just come up with has already been done. Even if I believe an idea to be entirely my own, I’m always a little afraid someone out there will find a similarity to some other work, and I’ll be branded an idea thief. Writers and artists accused of stealing or copying material are ridiculed to no end on internet forums. Think of the hit Dane Cook’s reputation took when he was accused of stealing material from Louis C.K. Of course, it’s entirely possible for two creative people to independently come up with the same thought. That makes it all the harder to judge two concurrent works that share strong similarities. It’s impossible to know which creator had the idea first, and unfair to blame either one for sharing what is, to them, an original concept. Animal Man writer Jeff Lemire is fighting the perception that his story is too similar to semi-sister comic Swamp Thing. Fair or not, an otherwise strong issue of Animal Man suffers from feeling a little too familiar. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Greg are discussing Trillium 4, originally released November 6th, 2013.Shelby: There are a lot of things happening in Jeff Lemire’s Trillium. The end of the human race, some sort of super-virus, travel through both time and space, and aliens. With all the science fiction action unfolding, it can be easy to forget this story is, at its heart, a love story. The mysterious temples and potential end of the human race suck me into the story, but the relationship building (Or possibly already built? It’s unclear.) between Nika and William is what sets the hook in my heart and keeps me coming back. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 25, originally released November 6th, 2013.
Spencer: Much like Wonder Woman or Batwoman, Jeff Lemire’s run on Green Arrow has been steadily building its own mythology that feels completely removed from anything else going on in the DC Universe. Despite that, Lemire’s still managed to make Ollie’s connections to the Justice League of America and Roy Harper work within the context of his larger saga, but he isn’t so fortunate with this month’s Zero Year story. The tie-in feels pointless, and it’s only the new character of John Diggle that anchors things to the book’s ongoing plot at all. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Animal Man 24, originally released October 16th, 2013.
Todd, of course, is nominated tonight for Best Actor for his chilling portrayal of a psychic FBI agent who falls in love with a beautiful, deaf dolphin trainer in the amazing film Sea of Echoes.
-Animal Man 24
Patrick: DC has since abandoned the following nomenclature, but Animal Man used to fall under the line of “Dark” comics. This distinction generally just meant supernatural: we weren’t dealing with alien supermen or gadgety crime fighters, but Swamp Things and Magicians and Vampires. These stories also veered more into the horror genre, and there are few series that took that “dark” label to heart more literally than Animal Man. Buddy’s enemies are grotesque, his powers distort his body and mind and the bad guys routinely target his family. Hell, agents of the Rot killed his son. Writer Jeff Lemire is always careful to keep his eye on the tone, and keeps the series from becoming a slog. He’s able to lighten the mood here by pointing to his own work, and that of new series artist Rafael Albuquerque, and remind us that it might all be sorta silly. It’s a healthy reminder, and one that makes all the surrounding darkness go down a little smoother. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Green Arrow 24, originally released October 2nd, 2013.
Spencer: Perspective is an amazing thing. Things that look small or large from far away end up being the exact opposite. Some items, when viewed from another angle, reveal surprising secrets. Even as a more metaphorical idea, perspective is pretty great; when I have trouble writing these reviews, sometimes I need to take a step back from the issue at hand, look at it from an entirely new perspective, and then I’ll find the angle I need. In Green Arrow 24, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino play with both forms of perspective as Shado takes on Richard Dragon and Ollie faces down Count Vertigo. Continue reading →
Today, Greg and Patrick are discussing Batman Black & White 2, originally released October 2nd, 2013
“Does it have a happy ending?”
Greg’s Dad, traditional
Greg: Whenever I recommend a movie to my dad, or tell him I’m working on a new project, this is his first question. He’s a high school assistant principal and deals with a lot of heavy stuff. At family dinners, when my mom would ask him how his day was, he would often just sigh. He wants his entertainment to provide respite and closure he doesn’t often get in real life. He’s a man who, at the end of Inception, stood up in his seat and yelled at the screen, “What?!”
I’d like to think I’m more open to the darker stuff than him. Yet while reading this black and white anthology series, I felt my gut stiffen and sour. I felt like I was being shown evil things for evil things’ sake. I wanted to stand up in my seat and yell at my comic book, “What?!”
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Trillium 3, originally released October 2nd, 2013.Drew: I like to think that most people want to know how magic tricks are done, but every so often, I’ll encounter someone who swears they don’t — they don’t want to ruin the illusion. But let’s be honest: we all know there’s a trick — it’s not like anyone is under the impression that the coin actually disappeared, or that the lady was actually sawn in half — we can fully appreciate the effect, but we know that there’s some secret to how it was achieved. It’s only natural to want to know a secret you know you don’t know. I get a similar thrill out of thinking about how illusions in art are created, from film editing techniques to harmonic analysis to pacing and form. Those last two have been a centerpiece of Jeff Lemire’s Trillium from the start, and issue 3 offers a beautiful study of their effects. Continue reading →
Taylor: The encore of a show is always a little awkward. With most shows you attend nowadays an encore is almost expected. Gone are the days of the earned encore, where and artist actually had to earn the audience’s appreciation and rewarded them with a few extra bits of music. This has been replaced with instances where artists look a trifle bored with an encore, seemingly wishing that they could just retire to their bus or greenroom. The situation has become so problematic that some artists have gone so far as to state they won’t be doing an encore no matter how much the audience claps or yells. It’s hard to determine precisely what brought us to this point, but the fact remains that the encore has become not the exception, but the expected. Given this state of affairs, I was curious to see how the issue 23.3 of the The Justice League:Dial E (part of the Villains month event)would be treated by writer China Mieville. Would this be an artist merely pandering to the crowd or an artist excited by the chance to once again share his art with his fans? Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Trillium 2, originally released September 4th, 2013.
Scott: We’ve all heard hundreds of love stories. One message that seems to be consistent throughout just about all of them is that love can overcome any obstacle. Differences in culture, race, age, none of these things matter in the face of love. Some stories even explore more unorthodox impediments- love that only exists in dreams, love separated by different time periods. Love always seems to prevail. Well, Jeff Lemire seems intent on providing the most obstacle-laden love story any of us have ever seen. In Trilium 1 he presented two characters who are very far apart (~2000 years, different planets). The second issue shows us how a love could be born, while giving us a better idea of just how much it will have to overcome.