Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Star Wars 1, originally released January 14th, 2015.
Drew: I was eight years old when Michael Crichton’s The Lost World was published. I hadn’t read Jurassic Park (reminder: I was eight), but I LOVED the movie. Nothing, not even my reading level, could stop me from consuming this new tale of genetically resurrected dinos, so I convinced my parents to get me the book on tape. When the film adaptation came out in 1997, it was my first experience seeing a movie based on a text I was already familiar with. There were substantial changes to the plot, but I didn’t care — the draw for me was dinosaurs, and the movie definitely delivered. I was similarly undaunted by the streamlining of the plot in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations — the draw here was a heroes journey set in a lushly detailed fantasy world.
It wasn’t until Zack Snyder’s Watchmen that I was first apprehensive about a film adaptation — the draw for me was no longer the plot or specific characters, but the medium of the story itself. A film couldn’t hope to capture the formal elements specific to comics that makes Watchmen such an achievement. I find myself confronted with these questions as I think about Marvel’s new Star Wars series (my first foray into any non-film explorations of the universe) — what is the draw for Star Wars? Is it the space operatics? The characters? The actors that play them? The thrilling John Williams score? It turns out, my answer may be “all of the above,” but that doesn’t stop this issue from being a largely successful translation of the Star Wars universe onto the page. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Star Wars Rebel Heist 1, originally released April 30th, 2014.
Taylor: Recently the cast for Star Wars Episode VII was announced. As long rumored, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, and Harrison Ford will be reprising their roles as Luke, Leia, and Han in this installment, which is cause for mixed bag of emotions. I appreciate that the new Star Wars movies will attempt to link themselves to the original trilogy, but I also want the thing I loved preserved. George Lucas has given us ample reason to fear further Star Wars movies, and I worry that casting original actors in the new movie will somehow taint what came before it. At the same time, I’m also aware that my beloved characters have been taken out for a spin by multiple writers in the past. This hasn’t ruined my love of the original trilogy in the slightest, so maybe I just need to relax. With these ideas fresh in my mind, it’s interesting to pick up Star Wars Rebel Heist 1. Can it assert that use of beloved characters in new stories is okay? Or will it show they are best left to our memory? Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing The Star Wars 3, originally released November 6th, 2013.
Patrick: When my friends and I first discovered that soda fountains existed, we became obsessed with creating new concoctions by combining sodas. I think this is a phase that we all go through: while the specific recipes and names change from friend-group to friend-group, we’ve all heard of ‘The Suicide” – an unholy mixing of all the options at once! (Even Diet? YES EVEN DIET.) Appropriately enough, my buddy Pete and I had both a Luke Skywalker and a Darth Vader in our recipe rolodexes. The Luke Skywalker was basically just the light sodas — Seven Up, Mountain Dew, Orange Crush — and the Darth Vader was basically just the dark sodas — Coke, Cherry, Dr. Pepper and Root Beer — and we loved coming up with those drinks based on our favorite Star Wars characters. But, as everyone eventually learns, this is silly: those individual sodas are delicious because they have strong individual identities, and the joy is lost when you just pile everything together and hope for the best. Darkhorse’s The Star Wars reveals the experimentation behind the original script to Star Wars. It’s a big nasty pile-up, but it makes me all the more happy we ever got the simplicity of the original trilogy. Continue reading →
Spencer: Infinity and its tie-ins have been dripping with ego and machismo. Between the Builders, the Illuminati, Thanos, J-Son, the Galactic Council, and even some of the Avengers, there have been a lot of big words and threats thrown around, and almost all of them are strong enough to back up their words with actions (except for J-Son, of course). This isn’t necessarily a complaint; some of the coolest moments of Infinity (such as the spree of sick burns in last week’s Avengers or the Skrulls’ touching suicide mission) have sprung from this kind of machismo. It’s exciting, but in this week’s issue, writer Jonathan Hickman flips our perspective a bit, reminding us of why we probably started reading comics in the first place: its always more fun to root for the underdog.
Ethan: Space operas tend to share a few common traits. The first is that they usually happen in space (surprise!). Next, they make some assumptions about technology, concerning themselves with the adventures that take place between the stars rather than the history of how their characters came to be able to travel across the galaxy. Some involve enormous space battles, and many feature a tightly knit band or bands of characters fighting back against monolithic forces of evil. I’m still trying to decide if the Infinity arc fits the bill of a space opera rather than just a standard sci-fi story, but Infinity #2 certainly provides a lot more evidence towards the former than the previous issue did. The heroic attempt by the galactic alliance of good-guys to halt the Builder onslaught didn’t pan out so well, so now they’re licking their wounds and trying to find a new way to survive.
Spencer: “So…what is Infinity actually about?!” It’s a question that, in one form or another, has been tossed around Retcon Punch quite a bit the past few months. Up until now, my answer has always been, “Um…Thanos?,” and even the Preludes over in Avengers and New Avengers did little to clarify things. Thankfully, now that the first issue has dropped, I can finally give a clear answer: “Infinity is the story of what happens when two different universe-ending threats—each capable of supporting a summer crossover all on their own—hit at the same time, leaving the Earth absolutely helpless.” Pretty cool, huh? Now I only hope that the series can live up to the massive threats it’s spent its first issue establishing.
Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 13, originally released July 17th, 2013.
Ethan: Back in issue #7 of Deadpool, the writers and artists took us on a timewarp with a faux, never-before-printed “inventory special”. The issue was allegedly produced in the late 70s/early 80s giving the team an excuse to indulge in 10 times the saturation of pop culture references in the already saturated title. It was an entertaining issue in its own right and a nice break after the Zombie Presidents arc. Now that Vetis is taken care of, writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn and artists Scott Koblish and Val Staples are back to their tricks with another trip back to the era of disco. And if you think the bell bottoms and dated catch-phrases were flying thick and fast last time, you might want to sit down and hold onto something before you open #13. The hair is longer, the polyester is louder, and the racism is, if far from accurately depicted, at least touched on.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Secret History of the Foot Clan 3, originally released February 27th, 2013.
Taylor: It’s weird to consider the effect that our legacies have on us. Who are family is and was, where we have lived and what we have done all impact us greatly when it comes to crafting our current identity. For some, a legacy is a source of strength and pride, while for others it may be the cause of embarrassment and pain. But speaking in the context of just a single lifetime, a person’s legacy can greatly influence their future actions. For a fun example, let’s take George Lucas. The man who created a classic and beloved franchise was so enamored with his legacy that he refused to listen to others when it came time to create his ill-fated prequels. Perhaps he was enamored with his own legacy as a genius myth-maker or perhaps he simply let pride get in the way. Nonetheless, his past influenced his actions, the resulting in a set of films that many felt betrayed his previous endeavors. It’s interesting to consider the role of legacies at play in the Secret History of the Foot Clan both — narratively and creatively — because they cannot be ignored in either instance. In this case, is the legacy a source of strength or a source of weakness?