Drew: Barry Allen is a man of contradictions. As a police scientist, he is beholden to rigorously examining every scrap of evidence before coming to a conclusion. As a speed-powered superhero, he is all about decisive action. I’ve always found the tension between those two extremes particularly relatable — who among us doesn’t vacillate between those poles? — even when the series itself has been heavier on the action. The scrutiny half of this equation has always come across in the subtext, as writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have hidden details throughout their runs that reward only the most vigilantly close readings. In The Flash 20, they graduate Barry’s detecting skills from subtext to text, but the results are decidedly mixed. Continue reading
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, Ethan and Taylor are discussing Dial H 11, originally released April 3rd, 2013.
Ethan: China Mieville has a gift with world-building. Whether you’re following quirks and characters of the world of Perdido Street Station or reading Dial H, he takes you somewhere original. Like with his novels, it’s so fun to immerse yourself in Dial H because of the terrific pacing as he gradually develops both the people and the universe. Every time he drops some new, fantastical aspect of the world onto his reader, there’s an equal portion of insight into the characters moving around in it. Dial H 11 is no exception: just as the growing partnership between Nelson and Roxie is coming to a head, it’s all taking place, not only in a world of dials and Operators, but also a more familiar world of DC heroes. This time around, Mieville matches a dramatic incorporation of known parts of the DC universe with new hints about the dial to keep this already engaging series pulling you to the edge of your seat. Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Superboy 17, originally released February 13, 2013. This issue is part of the H’el on Earth crossover event. Click here for complete H’el on Earth coverage.
Mikyzptlk: Ah, the Ticking Clock. This dramatic device has been used countless times in probably every story telling medium imaginable. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s fairly simple. If you are a writer and want to add a bit more tension or urgency to your story, just introduce a countdown or time bomb element of some kind. The H’el on Earth event has been using this particular device since the Star Chamber threatening Earth was introduced. Superboy 17 introduces yet another ticking clock, and, as it turns out, it’s fairly effective.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Justice League 14, originally released November 21st, 2012,
Mikyzptlk: My complaint with the first 12 issues of Justice League was that there was too much emphasis placed on the action and not enough on the characters. Being a fan of Geoff Johns for many years, I’ve seen what he can do with characters big and small and have read many tales of his that were rich with deep characterization. As year 2 of Justice League is starting to rev up, I’m happy to see Johns starting to focus more on his characterization. Even though this issue isn’t perfect, I’m glad to say that it’s less a Jerry Bruckheimer summer blockbuster and more of a return to what I come to expect from Johns.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Green Lantern 14, originally released November 7th, 2012. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage.
Mikyzptlk: Simon Baz is so fucking real I JUST LOVE IT. He just seems like such an authentic character to me. I barely just met the guy but I’m already convinced of his motivations and his heroism. Much of this has to do with how well Baz’s background has been set up by the series writer, Geoff Johns.
Today, Shelby and Courtney are discussing Earth-2 5, originally released October 3rd, 2012.
Shelby: Reintroducing old heroes to old audiences is not easy. The whole New 52 relaunch has been about juggling continuity and fresh stories to keep both new and old readers satisfied. I’ve seen it as a great opportunity to learn more about characters new to me. I don’t feel so attached to old continuity, and instead like to discuss the differences between the old and the new, and what they mean for the story as a whole. I don’t know how I’m supposed to have a meaningful discussion, however, when I’m distracted by poor writing and cluttered art.
It can be hard to keep up with all the comics you love. But it’s damn near impossible to keep up with all the comics you’re interested in.
Retcon Punch got you covered.
This is one we’ve wanted to put together for a long time. If you only read one or two of these series and you want to get the skinny on what else happened – we’ve got the video for you. Here’s the whole Night of the Owls presented chronologically.
The Retcon Punchers spend an awful lot of time looking for ways to celebrate our nerdy obsessions. This means a lot of time sunk into scouring Etsy, Deviant Art, Think Geek or whatever. Sometimes we see things so great we just have to share them… and then clutch them fiercely to our collective chest. Throw it in The Vault.
Who Would Love This: Geeky, well-dressed men, geeky women who love geeky, well-dressed men
We’ve kind of fallen off the wagon for The Vault, so I decided to find a special geeky object to bring us back on track. So, what’s so special about a Flash tie clip? Duh, look at it; clearly it’s what you need when your tie is traveling at tremendous speeds. There are a number of clips to choose from, as well as belt buckles, hair bows, and other assorted jewelry. This Etsy store is extra special to me, because the gal who makes this stuff lives in Chicago, and I do love supporting local nerds. On top of that, I already own a piece of jewelry from here; alert reader Taylor got me this awesome Wonder Woman necklace for my birthday. Now, instead of just thinking about comics all the time without anyone else the wiser, I can advertise to the world that even my jewelry is nerdy.
We’ve all this conversation before: “If you could have any one super power, what would it be?” That’s a fun exercise in an of itself, but the answers too frequently default to flight and/or invisibility. Given the assets and liabilities of the various superpower sources in the DC Universe (magic, speed force, being a God, whatever), which one is the most personally appealing to you? Welcome to the Chat Cave.
Patrick: I love Batman. I love all the Bat-allies. But I could never ever ever be a Gotham City gadget-based hero for one reason: Batman seems like a terrible boss. He may keep you well-funded and impeccably trained, but the man’s expectations are essentially psychotic. Can you imagine fighting crime all night and then still having to go and help him out of a jam from time to time? Plus, you have to keep up a secret identity, and all without the aid of proper staff. Batman only has Lucius and Alfred on payroll – that’s not a proper support staff. Continue reading