Sins of George’s Past Arise Once More in Star Wars 40

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

George Lucas has many sins to atone for. Jar-Jar Binks, Episode II, and of course the “special edition” of the original trilogy. Of this last sin, perhaps what makes it the most grievous is that it has taken that which was perfect and smeared crap all over it. While there’s a lot to complain about with the re-releases, nothing gets me more worked up than the added scene in Episode where Han encounters Jabba outside of the Millennium Falcon. The CGI in this scene is just awful and it’s clear that Harrison Ford is not actually talking to a giant slug, but simply an overweight man, as Jabba appeared in the original scene. With such sins as its burden, I though Star Wars would be careful not to repeat anything of that nature. And so it was, until Star Wars issue 40.

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Differences Unite, But Also Divide, in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 34

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There’s no point in having a team book if all the characters are exactly the same. Differences create tension and provide variety — the differences in opinion and methods between the various Green Lanterns, especially the four core Earth Lanterns, is the engine that makes Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps run. They’re especially prevalent in issue 34, an installment that doesn’t just dive into the differences that define Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle, but that divide the Guardians and the Controllers as well. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine Christmas Annual 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Drew Baumgartner

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Spencer: One of the most common complaints about prequels is that everyone “already knows the ending,” but sometimes that inevitability can be an asset. Take The Wicked + The Divine Christmas Annual 1, for example. Writer Kieron Gillen and a bevy of talented guest artists fill the special with tales from the early days of the Pantheon. Most are fairly sweet and upbeat in isolation, but when viewed in context with the events that follow, suddenly become much more bittersweet. The inevitable history these characters must someday face creates extra layers of meaning for each story, making the special as a whole that much richer. Continue reading

An Odd but Lovable Couple in Despicable Deadpool 290

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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Odd couples are almost always a great recipe for entertainment, if done right. For example, Independence Day‘s odd couple of Captain Steven Hiller and David Levinson (played by Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum respectively) is so dynamic that it can carry a movie that is otherwise too dumb to succeed (or is that the point?). The same point can be made about the recent arc in Despicable Deadpool, which features the unlikely partnership between Deadpool and Cable. While it was fun to see these two beat the shit out of each other for a couple issues, it’s even more fun to see them work together as an odd couple in issue 290. Continue reading

It’s Kirby vs. Lee in Mister Miracle 5

by Drew Baumgartner

Mister Miracle 5

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

Charlie: I’ve written myself into my screenplay.

Donald: That’s kind of weird, huh?

Adaptation

To call Adaptation “kind of weird” would be putting it mildly — ostensibly about Charlie Kaufman’s attempt to adapt Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, the movie is ultimately about itself, but becomes this weird fictionalized version of itself, as Kaufman invents a twin brother to introduce hackneyed thriller elements to the film’s closing acts. It’s much, much weirder than someone simply writing themself into their own screenplay. Heck, the actual script is credited to both Charlie and Donald Kaufman, and both were nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay even though Donald is a fictional character (or, arguably, a manifestation of Charlie’s most commercial writing instincts). But I think Mister Miracle 5 might just top it for meta weirdness, serving as a kind of final word on comics’ own Charlie and Donald Kaufman — Jack Kirby and Funky Flashman. Continue reading

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands 2 Settles Into Itself

by Drew Baumgartner

Black Lightning Cold Dead Hands 2

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

For as many superhero comics there are out there, it’s remarkable how little diversity there is — both in terms of representation and narrative variety. Those are both points that have been made to death, but are rarely mentioned in the same breath. But with Black Lighting: Cold Dead Hands 2, Tony Isabella and Clayton Henry make a strong case that they might be related — or more precisely, that the solution to both can be the same thing: Jefferson Pierce’s blackness lends the character to stories totally unlike the reheated adventures of other superhero faire. It demonstrates the storytelling potential of diverse characters, emphasizing perspectives, obstacles, and motivations that otherwise might never come up at the Big 2. Continue reading

Reconciling Black Bolt in Black Bolt 9

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

After surviving every possible kind of of mythological encounter in the ancient world, Odysseus returns home to find his quiet domesticity in shambles. His home has become a campground for suitors intent on stealing his wife away from him. Odysseus isn’t much for subtlety by this point in his journey, so his solution is to slaughter the lot of them and forcibly reclaim the seat he was forced to vacate so long ago. Black Bolt is also returning from an unexpected journey and is forced to reconcile his time away with his desire to return. Unlike Homer, writer Saladin Ahmed does not allow his hero to slay his way back to normalcy.  Continue reading

Everybody Wants to be Venom in the Amazing Spider-Man & Venom: Venom Inc. Alpha

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Legacy heroes (and villains!) always present a bit of a conundrum. The inheritors of the mantles tend to bring much needed diversity and fresh perspectives to their stories and quickly amass fanbases, but of course the original characters have lifelong fans who aren’t happy to see their beloved heroes pushed aside, even temporarily. To me, the obvious solution has always been to have multiple characters share names and roles: why not have two Captains America or two Hawkeyes, four Flashes or a million Green Lanterns?

Both this conflict and this solution seem to be the core of Dan Slott, Mike Costa, and Ryan Stegman’s new crossover event, Venom Inc. It’s a story that finds the various men who have been Venom fighting over their right to symbiote, and which, at least for the moment, seems to be finding great joy in including as many Venoms as possible. Continue reading

The Power of Faith and Trust in Superman 36

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

Fans and creators alike often complain that it’s hard to find a proper challenge for Superman when the character is so unfathomably powerful. But as far as I’m concerned, the best Superman stories aren’t the ones that challenge him physically, but the ones that test his morals and ideals, his methods and resolve. Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s run on Superman has excelled in this respect, and issue 36 continues this streak, further defining Superman’s greatest strengths by showing what happens when he doesn’t live up to his own lofty standards. Continue reading

Sith Versus a Killer Granny in Darth Vader 9

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s revisiting of Jocasta Nu in Darth Vader 9 is what the Star Wars Expanded Universe has always excelled at — taking a throwaway character from the films and broadening the world around them. Continue reading