The Amazing Spider-Man 2

spider-man 2Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 2, originally released May 21st, 2014.

Spencer: I’m a pretty big fan of Doctor Who, and one of my favorite aspects of the show is that its premise has infinite possibilities; the writers can literally take the Doctor to any location or time-period they can imagine. The only problem is that the network created a rule that every episode has to feature a monster of some sort. This isn’t a huge deal — monsters are an essential part of the Doctor Who mythos — but it becomes rather frustrating when there’s an episode that doesn’t need a monster, but has one shoehorned in anyway; at its best it’s distracting, but at its worst it can derail episodes completely. Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos’ The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffers from a similar problem; while the scenes about Peter are quite enjoyable, everything about Electro’s inclusion feels shoehorned, and it threatens to derail the entire issue. Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man 26

superior spider-man 26Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 26, originally released January 29th, 2014.

Spencer: The Superior Spider-Man 26 is unique in that it features three different stories—each illustrated by a different artist, no less—that do not intersect or connect at all throughout the issue. All three plots are building up to the sure-to-be-epic conclusion of Superior, but each also ruminates about identity, whether it be something as superhero-esque as secret identities or something more complex, like how memories help form a person’s core identity. You’ll find it all in The Superior Spider-Man 26, folks! Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man 25

superior spider-man 25Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 25, originally released January 15th, 2014.

Spencer: SPOILER ALERT: Peter Parker’s coming back.

Of course, anybody who has been keeping up with comic news in even the slightest already knows this. With news of Peter’s upcoming return in mind, it’s hard to look at The Superior Spider-Man 25 without focusing on just how exactly his return will play out and what it will mean for Otto. Fortunately, writer Dan Slott (assisted on this issue by Christos Gage) is ramping up the intrigue as this book nears its end. I have no idea how this series will resolve itself, but I do know one of the things I’m going to miss most about it: the expansive world and cast of supporting characters Slott has built up around Otto. Continue reading

Infinity 6

infinity 6-INFINITY

Today, Ethan and Spencer are discussing Infinity 6, originally released November 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity divider

Ethan: When I was starting college, I knew – objectively – that I would at some point no longer be a student; I’d graduate, get a job, do the adulthood thing. But at the time, steeped in the day-to-day evasion of and frantic return to schoolwork, hanging out with friends, sleeping as little as possible, the thought if college actually ending rarely crossed my mind. And then BAM it was time to get up to go to the early-morning rehearsal for the graduation ceremony. College was finished, I was moving into a new apartmen and starting a new job. That sense of disconnect – when something long awaited feels as though it happens and is shoved into the past before we have the chance to actually experience – is the same feeling I’ve gotten during most of the turning points in the Infinity event, and the same is true of its finale. Continue reading

Infinity 5

Alternating Currents: Infinity 5, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Infinity 5, originally released October 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity divider

Drew: The ubiquity of three-act structures often makes the form of a story predictable. We know what’s supposed to happen in a second act — even if we don’t know the specifics of a given story — but what happens when a narrative breaks that structure? Infinity takes the form of a six-part miniseries, with primary crossovers into ten other issues. To further complicate things, the series has long followed an A/B structure as the avengers face two very different threats in very different locations, and the event itself could be described as the third (or second and third) act(s) of narratives started in Avengers and New Avengers. What do we expect of the fifth issue of Infinity (itself the twelfth issue of the event)? What it supposed to happen? Unfortunately, writer Jonathan Hickman doesn’t offer a particularly compelling answer in the issue itself. Continue reading

New Avengers 11

new avenger 11 infinityToday, Spencer and Patrick are discussing New Avengers 11, originally released October 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity divider

Spencer: When Infinity was first announced, we knew very little about it besides the fact that it would be vaguely connected to writer Jonathan Hickman’s two Avengers books and that Thanos was involved; once the first issue dropped, I declared that it was “the story if what happens when two different universe-ending threats hit at the same time, leaving the Earth absolutely helpless.” We’re over two-thirds of the way through the crossover and those words are still mostly holding true, but New Avengers 11 takes this concept to a place I would have never expected when Infinity began — yet a place that makes perfect sense — by tying the space-bound and Earth-bound threats together. Continue reading

Infinity 4

infinity 4-INFINITYToday, Spencer and Ethan are discussing Infinity 4, originally released October 9th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity divider

Spencer: As children, most of us swear we won’t grow up to be our parents. Maybe we just hate the way they nag us, or maybe there’s a more serious fault of theirs we’re trying to avoid; either way, while it’s possible to avoid our parents’ faults, more often than not we end up repeating those exact same mistakes we once declared we’d never make. Poor Thane—the half-Inhuman son of Thanos—has more reason than most to endeavor to never become his father, but unfortunately, it turns out he may be more like the Mad Titan than he ever feared. Continue reading

Avengers Assemble 19

avengers assemble 19 infinityToday, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Avengers Assemble 19, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity dividerPatrick: The Avengers is a fairly masculine construct. I recognize that most superhero teams are, but this one in particular makes you really look for the contributing female members. On a team that just recently exploded to include over 20 members, there are five women in group, two of which are bizarrely abstract concepts (Abyss, the Universe). They don’t perceive the world or act like human beings, let alone as human women. That leaves Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Spider-Woman – none of whom have gotten much attention in the main Infinity series or either of the flagship tie-ins. Kelly Sue DeConnick has been tasked with injecting a little feminine energy into the saga. Unfortunately, she’s made to retread the same events endlessly, and ground the same emotional beats into a fine paste for easy digestion. Well, Infinity fans, open up: we’ve got a piping hot serving of emotional paste for you… I just can’t promise that it’s fresh.

Continue reading

Infinity 3

infinity 3-INFINITY

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Infinity 3, originally released September 18th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity divider

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.

Continue reading

Infinity 2

infinity 2-INFINITY

Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Infinity 2, originally released September 4th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity divider

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.

Continue reading