Today, Scott and Drew are discussing Animal man 20, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Scott: I guess Animal Man readers better have good memories. If you were caught off guard by “Tights: Part Two”, try to recall how you reacted to Part One, way back in Animal Man 6. At that point, the story of Chaz Grant bore little resemblance to the life of Buddy Baker, who had considerable power as Animal Man and good standing as a husband and father. Since then, however, Buddy’s life has fallen to pieces: he’s lost his son, his relationship with his family is in disrepair and he’s been cut off from The Red. Buddy’s life at the start of Animal Man 20 is eerily similar to that of his character in “Tights” midway through the film. The second half of the movie effectively shows us that there might still be hope for Buddy Baker, while even more effectively showing us that there might not.
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 20, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Spencer: They say a hero is only as interesting at the villains he fights. That’s true, but I’m going to take that theory one step further: A hero is only as interesting as the world he lives in. World building is often overlooked, but Green Arrow writer Jeff Lemire clearly understands its importance, and he’s worked overtime to provide Oliver Queen’s world with a tangible sense of history. Magus only knows how that past will come to shape Ollie’s future.
Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 19, originally released April 24, 2013.
Taylor: There’s nothing like having a little time to yourself. This proves to be especially true after you’ve completed a large project or gone through an important life event that required a lot of your time or energy. Having just completed a stint as a student teacher, I understand how nice it is to regain a little bit of time for yourself. Suddenly, I have ample time to pursue my own interests, to take care of things I’ve been putting off for too long, and to generally dedicate myself to laziness and slobbery. Comic book writers and artists, along with the characters they give life to, similarly get to enjoy these moments of re-centering when they come to an end of a story arch. Without the obligations of having to progress a plot or defeat absolute evil, comic creators have the chance to spend a little more time on their characters and enjoy their company. Additionally, this is a chance for writers to reassess where they would like the focus of their series to fall and on whom. Justice League Dark, having wrapped up the Timothy Hunter arc, is enjoying one of these precious moments and in issue 19 it’s a pleasure to see what effect that has on the series.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Constantine 2, originally released April 10th, 2013.
Taylor: John Constantine is an addict. If you look at anything that chronicles the life of an addict, you’ll find a chapter or two that speaks of the magnificent high times — even though stark reality later sets in. These high times suggest that addiction is more worthwhile than any reasonable person would believe. With the exception of movies like Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream or shows like A&E’s Intervention, there have been relatively few realistic portrayals of addiction and the effect it has on both its users and those who love them.So it’s odd that a story about magic and the occult would have much insight to offer when it comes to the subject of addiction. Constantine 2 does exactly that while deepening our understanding of what drives the titular hero. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Green Arrow 19, originally released April 3rd, 2013.
Shelby: You may not know this, but I studied art in college. My focus was photography, specifically black and white, silver gelatin prints; as much as I love taking photos, processing film and developing prints, my world exploded when I discovered some of the great photographers of history. There’s something about the process of reducing the world to shades of gray that is magical to me; it adds this richness, this luxe texture and depth to the image. It’s something I find very inspirational, so it’s really no surprise I like this title (especially the art) as much as I do.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Scott are discussing Animal man 19, originally released April 3rd, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: In the modern world of superhero comics, it’s become the norm to inject “real world” elements into the story to make the fantastic characters more relatable to readers by bringing them down to earth. Most superheroes have a secret identity or some kind of life outside of the never-ending battle that keeps them grounded, but Buddy Baker has always had an entire family to help keep him in check. As much as he’s been the Animal Man, he’s also been the family man as writers have often chosen to focus not just on Buddy, but his wife and children as well. In the aftermath of Rotworld, Jeff Lemire explores what happens when the fantastic elements of the life of our hero ends up taking away everything else. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 18, originally released March 27th, 2013.
Taylor: Magic versus Science is an old trope. This theme has presented itself in books uncountable, in roughly half of all the Star Trek TNG episodes ever made, and in 67% of the movies filmed between 1985 and 2011. Hell, this battle is even present in music. If we accept that magic is essentially a stand-in for things of the past while science stands for those of the future it becomes clear how this relation works. Just take a look at any of your friend’s iTunes list and you’ll see a large portion of it is devoted to neo-folk while another large portion is made up of electronic or club music. I suppose it is a testament to mankind’s preoccupation with this theme that it exists in so many aspects of our daily life. However, I’m surprised that as a society we haven’t gotten tired of this conversation. While we all certainly long for the past in some way or another, we also all enjoy innovation and exploration. Perhaps there is some deep explanation for why this subject fascinates us all and perhaps that is the reason why the recent events in Justice League Dark are so entertaining. Or maybe, just maybe, the reason why it’s so compelling in JLD is because the story telling is just so damn good, as exemplified in the most recent issue.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Constantine 1, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Shelby: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a price, and everyone has to pay it eventually. It might be nice to try to live your life like that isn’t true: to give of yourself freely and expect nothing in return. While I believe the world would be a better place if everyone were less selfish, if we all helped each other out with a no-strings-attached free lunch every now and again, I know that there will always be people who will take advantage of that system. People like John Constantine. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Green Arrow 18, originally released March 6th, 2013.
Patrick: I love a good narrative twist. I think we all get a thrill of adrenaline when the facts, as we knew them, are turned on their heads, and we’re forced to re-examine our characters, our priorities. There’s also that split second where you, as a reader or audience member, need to decide whether you’re on-board with the changes that are presented in the twist — can you accept this new reality? Continue reading →
Drew: Many fans were dismayed when DC spoiled the end of Batman Incorporated 8, but it really wasn’t just that they had made those spoilers available — it was that they made them unavoidable, popping up when you accessed their website with no way of avoiding the information. Sure, you could argue that the cover to that issue (which had, unfortunately, already been leaked) gave the ending away, but it’s not exactly like comic book covers have to be representing actual events in the issue. Case in point: Batman R.I.P., which — contrary to what the title suggests — [SPOILER] doesn’t feature the death of Batman. In fact, the well-known hyperbolic nature of comic book covers is precisely what made me so skeptical that Animal Man 18 would actually feature “the most TRAGIC DAY in the life of BUDDY BAKER!” (Spoilers after the jump) Continue reading →