Today, Patrick are discussing Age of Ultron 8, originally released May 15th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Patrick: A few weeks ago, I noted that I wasn’t having very much fun with the whole Age of Ultron concept – issue after issue of pure, relentless destruction and doom was getting to me. But that started to feel like the point: Brian Michael Bendis was taking my comic-book-fan apocalypse-lust and rubbing my nose in it. When the heroes decided they had to take drastic action and travel through time to fight Ultron on his inventor on different chronal fronts, I cheered the initiative. Anything to stop the suffer-slog through devastated cityscapes. But as the series moves further and further away from what’s familiar in the Marvel Universe, the harder it is to get a grasp on the story. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Age of Ultron 7, originally released May 1st 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Drew: I wanted to start this writeup with the clip from Back to the Future part II where Doc explains the notion of “alternate 1985″ — the idea that changing something while time traveling to the past can create a timeline different from the one you know. It’s a common notion (and plot device) in most time-travel stories, but Doc explains it quite clearly in a simple chalkboard diagram. When I went hunting for that clip, however, I was bemused to discover that most of the discussion of that scene hinges on how the rest of the movie doesn’t really adhere to its rules (how does Biff of 2015 return to the “original” timeline — which needs to happen in order for Marty and Doc to use the delorean to return to 1985 — if he is coming back from creating the “alternate” timeline?) which illustrates the larger problem of time-travel stories: they can’t ever make any sense. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Ethan are discussing Age of Ultron 6, originally released April 17th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Mikyzptlk: Age of Ultron has taken us to some pretty extreme places. We’ve seen cities destroyed, deaths of countless civilians, and heroes taken out left and right. In a series that’s all about going to dark places, this issue really manages to go to some darker places. Essentially, it asks us if the ends justifies the means. More importantly, it asks us what we would do to protect the ones we love. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Superior Spider-Man 8, originally released April 17rd, 2013.
Patrick: How do we measure the “good” a superhero does? By how many supervillains they fight or alien worlds they protect? Or maybe by how many times they save the world? Those are some impossible benchmarks to understand — no matter what kind of life you lead, you’re never going to meet someone who achieves victory on the scale of an Avenger. That level of “good” is alien. Real life heroes address much more personal issues — hunger, disease, poverty, crime. Y’know, like a doctor. Hey, wait, Dr. Octavius is a doctor. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and guest writer Gino Killiko are discussing Superior Spider-Man 7, originally released April 3rd, 2013.
Shelby: What exactly does it mean to be “good?” Does it it mean always following the rules to the letter, or is there some leeway when it comes to breaking rules in order to do good unto others? That raises the question of how one determines if the good they are doing is worth the rules they are breaking; stealing food is bad, but what about stealing food to feed hungry children? What if you’re stealing from someone who has so much food they’ll never even notice it’s gone? Technically, you’re breaking the law, but so much good is accomplished from your actions, where do you draw the line? We’ve been dancing around this ethical morass ever since Otto took over as Spider-Man, and this issue Dan Slott decides to address it head on. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Age of Ultron 4, originally released April 3rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Patrick: One of the things I’ve absolutely loved about picking up monthly comics is that I’ve had the opportunity to get know the work of a ton of great writers and artists. It pains me a little to think of how few people will ever read a funny exchange written by Jeff Lemire, and how few people will never see Adam Hughes masterful acting simply because they don’t read comics. Drew, Shelby and myself have been at this for over a year — I like to think we’re in the club now — and I have this brand new skill of identifying someone by their work. Brian Michael Bendis, the writer behind Age of Ultron is notorious for his massively decompressed stories, and between this series, Guardians of the Galaxy, and his X-Men books, I feel like I can spot his handiwork a mile away. But Age of Ultron is a special case, and its glacial pace allows almost every issue to be a Bryan Hitch vanity project. This makes it kind of tough to discuss in the same way we discuss other comics, but it’s clear now that this is the series’ identity – the problematic obsessions with character development and plot and theme are mine and not Ultron’s. Retcon Punch needs a new way to talk about comics. Alright, let’s see what we got. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Age of Ultron 3, originally released March 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Mikyzptlk: In any post-apocalyptic scenario, you can either give in to the destruction that surrounds you or you can find that one last sliver of hope to hang on to. The first two issues of this event have mostly centered on a group of defeated heroes who are on the verge of giving up hope. The resistance, if you could even call it that, was rudderless and quickly losing its steam. It was all quite depressing, if not in a fascinating kind of way. The latest issue of Age of Ultron reveals that perhaps not all hope is lost and, armed with a shiny new plan, our heroes start on a path that can hopefully lead them to victory.
Today, Courtney and Drew are discussing Hawkeye 8, originally released February 27th, 2013.
Courtney:Once, in high school, I attempted to make an 800-mile cross-country road trip in secret over spring break, not because I really wanted to, exactly, but because a girl I really liked had demanded it, and at seventeen, that was enough to get me to agree to what I knew was perfectly stupid. (I was saved, incidentally, by the sage intervention of my less-stupid, less-seventeen brother, who later went on to found Retcon Punch.) I like to think we all grow out of that by the time we start making regular car payments, but this month’s Hawkeye raises some unsettling questions. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Courtney are discussing Hawkeye 7, originally released January 30th, 2012.
Patrick: Last time we were hanging out in fuzzy pants as discussing Hawkeye, we were reflecting on the Christmas issue (complete with Clint in a Santa hat). This month, we’ve got in our hands another Very Special Issue of Hawkeye, one that should feel a little less celebratory. Yes, it’s the end of October 2012 on the eastern seaboard, and the subject of our latest Hawkeye adventure is Super Storm Sandy. Never one to rest on a gimmick, Matt Fraction builds two tales for two Hawkeyes, one fun and the other touching, while staying emotionally and factually true to the event that inspired him. Clint and Katie are always easy to identify with, and their reactions to the storm echo our own in a dazzling display of artistic empathy.
Today, Courtney and Shelby are discussing Hawkeye 6, originally released December 19th, 2012.
Courtney: Do you remember the moment you realized that Kill Bill: Volume 2 had only one fight scene? I think I watched it at least three times before I realized that it was about 80% less violent than its famously gory predecessor, because somehow the two films were so beautifully of a set. In some way like that, Hawkeye 6 features almost no action at all, yet it is decidedly cut from the same cloth as every issue in which Clint crashes out of a tenth-story window. The difference, though, is that in this case, the order is flipped. It is the mundane, domestic story of Clint trying to learn how to take a few days off and enjoy the holidays which more nakedly exposes the question that all of the smash-smash-punch episodes have been driving at, ie, “What if this super-hero really were just a pretty cool person?” Continue reading →