Mikyzptlk: Event comics are…strange. As Drew mentioned in his previous coverage of Trinity War, event comics like these can be hard to pin down. There’s usually a ton of damage and more colorfully clad heroes than you can shake a superpowered stick at. At the same time though, with so much going on, it can be hard to get to any meaningful characterization. It’s not impossible, but there’s just usually not that much of it. Another thing that event comics like Trinity War are known for is the idea that “Things Will Never Be The Same” after the events of said comics. In the end, what we normally get in event comics are shallow, action packed adventures that drastically change the playing field for our heroes. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, in fact, I think it’s kind of necessary. The ever-changing playing field helps to keep these decades old characters fresh, and help to prime our heroes for those character-rich solo stories we all love so much. While Trinity War has given us some interesting moments, I can’t help but feel impatient for the drastic changes it will bring. The penultimate chapter of the tale helps to reinforce that feeling. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Constantine 4, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Patrick: For all it’s crude early-90s wordplay and carefully constructed explorations of popular culture, the greatest strength of the movie Clerks is Dante’s refrain “I’m not even supposed to be here today.” The indignity of living his life is made all the worse when we realize there’s no escape for the poor guy, even on his day off. It’s like the universe is only happy when Dante’s stuck behind the register at the Quick Stop. Just as the DC Universe is only happy when John Constantine is up to his neck in charms, angry wizards and grifter-assassins. It turns out magic doesn’t take a holiday, even when Johnny needs it so badly. 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, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 17, originally released February 27th, 2013.
Patrick: Have you ever been introduced to a group of new people with a specific adjective? Someone says “this is my funny friend Patrick” or “you’ll be working with Patrick, he’s really smart.” Suddenly, it doesn’t matter how you view yourself, it becomes your singular goal to live up to that defining adjective. It’s stressful, but having your friends state their expectations of you right upfront increases that likelihood that you will be the thing they say you are. So what do you say about someone to turn them into your hero?
Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Justice League Dark 16, originally released January 30th, 2013.
Shelby: I loved magic when I was a kid. Stories about fairies, dragons, unicorns: I ate that shit up. I always wanted so badly for those sorts of things to be real. Even as an adult, I still wish for real magic in the world. Embarrassing confession time: I saw the first Chronicles of Narnia movie in the theater with my family. It came out in 2005, so I was 21 years old, and leaving the movie I was bummed out that I couldn’t actually go to Narnia. Nearly a real adult, and I just wanted to be whisked away to a dreamworld of magic. It’s really no surprise I like Justice League Dark as much as I do; Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes have crafted a world where that magic exists and is in danger of being eradicated. Obviously you know which side I’m rooting for. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Justice League Dark 15, originally released January 2nd, 2013.
Shelby: Science and magic. In the broadest of terms, they are the two sources of meta-humans’ powers in the DCU. Superman? He’s an alien being powered up by the particular wavelength of light from our sun: that’s science. Wonder Woman? She’s a demi-god, pure and simple: that’s magic. Green Lantern? Trick question, it’s will-power harnessed and weaponized: I’m calling it magic refined by science. Lantern Corps aside, there’s usually a pretty clear line between science (far-fetched and ridiculous though it may be) and magic in the comic book universe. Often times the two sides face off, refusing to see that they are kind of two sides of the same coin, but every so often science and magic team up and we get something extra special. Luckily for us, Justice League Dark gives us both options in one action-packed issue. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Justice League Dark 14, originally released November 28th, 2012.
Drew: Chekhov’s gun — the principle that a writer should not introduce a story element in the first act unless it comes into play by the third — is meant to keep stories simple and efficient. Details that don’t matter can clutter a story needlessly, making for a flabby, muddy narrative. On the other hand, when handled obviously, knowing that every element introduced must come into play can ruin an otherwise good surprise. In Justice League Dark 14, we find Jeff Lemire applying Chekhov’s principle to the House of Mysteries, delivering a kind of comedic interlude in the midst of Zatana and Tim Hunter’s disappearance. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Justice League Dark Annual 1, originally released October 31st, 2012.
Taylor: Go big or go home. I don’t really know where this phrase came from or even what it really means. I suppose it probably means a person should come prepared to give everything they have to whatever situation they are about to encounter. I guess that’s “going big.” There is perhaps some virtue in that; I can admire anyone who can totally devote themselves to a cause or an idea. But with the election finally (finally) winding down, I also have to question if perhaps there is more merit in playing your cards close to the chest. I question how anyone can fully support one candidate or the other when eventually they will do something to piss you off, or almost certainly break a promise they blatantly made on the campaign trail. The ability to hold back, reserve judgment and always keep a little something extra for yourself, whether in politics or comic books, is a trait that should be applauded. John Constantine has this virtue (if he really can be said to have any such thing) and normally Justice League Dark does as well. But in the first annual edition of this title the creators do just the opposite, they go big and it pays off.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 13, originally released October 24th, 2012.
Mikyzptlk: In my 9 to 5 work life I find that it’s important to remember to have a little fun from time to time in order to get through the day. If you neglect to reward yourself with a little fun in your work life, you might not be able to handle the stress that the average work day may present you. Issue 13 of Justice League Dark could have felt like just another stressful day of work, but because series writer Jeff Lemire made sure to infuse the issue with a sense of fun, he made it more than what is essentially just a lead up to the big conclusion taking place in the upcoming Annual. Continue reading →
Today, Peter and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 12, originally released August 22nd, 2012.
Peter: Justice League Dark is an interesting book. In a DC universe that is really finicky about magic, it takes it all in. It is full of small context clues, as well as small parts of mystical DC history. It may be lost on some, but with a little time and commitment, it is a fantastic book filled with relatable characters and interesting plotting. The team dynamic may seem like a stretch at first, but when a team of miscreants, dead people, con men, vampires, stage magicians, and government agents come together, it just somehow works.