Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Animal Man 28, originally released February 19, 2014.
I’m sorry I was late, baby. I had to go to space.
Buddy Baker, Animal Man 28
Shelby: I feel like this quote from the latest issue of Animal Man perfectly sums up my experience with Buddy Baker in the hands of Jeff Lemire. Buddy’s defining characteristic has, for me, always been his connection to his family. Nowhere else have we seen someone forced to balance a spouse and family with being a superhero, occasionally having to go to space, etc. Mostly, Buddy’s balancing act has brought a lot of suffering to the Baker clan, so it’s nice to see our favorite family man finally get a real win.
Today, Mike and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 28, originally released February 5th, 2014.
Mike: I took the opportunity to reread Jeff Lemire’s run so far on Green Arrow from #17 on and man is this a well-executed series. I remember reading it for the first time and being as uncertain as to what was really going on as Oliver himself was. When The Magus popped up and told Oliver that “you were never supposed to leave the island!” I immediately thought of Lost, for the obvious “island” premise as well as the intriguingly vague cliffhangers the show was known for. An early episode of Lost was called “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues” – absent fathers being a recurring theme on the show. It’s also a title which is very appropriate for Green Arrow, a character with his own daddy issues that have now been taken to a different level entirely with the revelation of Robert Queen being alive. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Trillium 6, originally released February 5th, 2014.Shelby: I’ve lived alone for about 3 years. It’s not always the easiest thing to do; sometimes you want more than anything to have some other person around. It doesn’t have to be someone you talk to, or even know. There’s just something about the presence of another person that is comforting. Now, luckily, I have dear friends who live pretty close, so whenever I get that urge to talk to someone other than a houseplant, I can do something about it. Not everyone is so lucky; there are some who, for reasons physical or mental, have no choice but to be alone. Jeff Lemire takes a look at what it is to be alone in his latest installment of Trillium. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Animal Man 27, originally released January 22nd, 2014.
But as a Go game progresses, the possibilities become smaller and smaller. The board does take on order. Soon, all moves are predictable.
Maximillian Cohen, Pi
Drew: Do you ever find yourself wondering exactly how apt an analogy is? Or that it might be more apt than we realize. One of my favorite moments from Darren Aronofsky’s Pi finds Sol positing that the unlimited possibilities of a game of Go reflects the chaos of life, and Max not quite refuting his point with the quote above. Maybe life simply becomes more predictable as we move through it. That’s certainly true of narratives — what starts as a completely open field often falls into a well-worn pattern as it winds to a close. Take Animal Man: as a series, it has been as original and unpredictable as they come, but as Jeff Lemire sets up his endgame in issue 27, some of the beats feel a bit more familiar. In fact, this issue seems to employ just about every tension-goosing tool in the box, building to what promises to be a pretty spectacular two-part finale. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 27, originally released January 8th, 2014.
Patrick: The mystery is an amazingly compelling form of storytelling. It’s also pretty straightforward: there’s a piece of information we don’t have and the author assures us that the reward of experiencing the story will be having the mystery solved before our very eyes. But there’s one big drawback, principally that the subject of a mystery takes places in the past. Sure, a detective might stop a killer from killing a second time, but they’re working to figure out a thing that already happened. The mysteries of the Green Arrow universe are vast, but even the most stunning revelations play out in the past. That might leave us with an interesting present, but it’s hard not to feel like we’re a little late to the party. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Drew are discussing Animal Man 26, originally released December 18th, 2013.
Scott: If you could board a space shuttle and take off on a one-way trip towards the other end of the universe, would you do it? Could you leave behind the life you know forever in exchange for a unique human experience, a first look at the beauty and wonder of the cosmos? It’s a question many people would at least consider. Now, instead, imagine you woke up tomorrow and you were already on that ship, zipping past the asteroid belt, never to return home. Would you feel the same way about the experience if you didn’t get to make the choice? Would it be easier or harder to accept that your life would never be the same? Buddy Baker now finds himself in a situation where his life will soon be completely and eternally changed, and by no choice of his own (it also happens to an outer-space-related change). It’s a crazy curveball from writer Jeff Lemire. Continue reading →
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 →