Crosswind 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

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

slim-banner

Spencer: “Boys will be boys.” I can’t think of another phrase that seems so innocent, yet is in actuality so malicious. It does nobody any favors. It teaches men (and yes, for some reason this phrase is just as often — if not more often — applied to teenagers or grown men as it is children) that they have no control over their impulses and actions, while it simultaneously teaches women that they should just accept whatever men throw their way because men can’t help themselves, can’t be taught or trained or reasoned with. What started as a reminder of little boys’ natural boundless energy has become an excuse for misogyny, abuse — sometimes even murder. This phrase is also the only thing connecting the otherwise entirely disparate lives of Cason Ray Bennett and Juniper Elanore Blue, the dual protagonists of Cat Staggs and Gail Simone’s Crosswind. Continue reading

“The War of Jokes and Riddles” Gives Batman Another Opportunity to Feel Guilty in Batman 25

by Spencer Irwin

Batman 25

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

It takes quite a bit of hubris to think you can singlehandedly end crime, even in just one city. I’ve never been a fan of the interpretations that paint Batman as insane or as the genesis of his own enemies, but I do think there’s some merit to examining the negative effects his crusade on crime may create. That’s exactly what Tom King and Mikel Janin seem ready to do in “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” a storyline pitting the Joker and the Riddler against each other in a city-wide gang war that, of course, Batman blames himself for. Continue reading

A Post-Order 66 Universe is Fleshed Out in Star Wars: Darth Vader 2

by Mark Mitchell

Darth Vader 2

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

I’m not quite sure what to make of this new Darth Vader series yet, especially after an issue like Star Wars: Darth Vader 2, which indicates very little interest in the titular character himself. Like the first issue and its reveal of some previously un-seen optical lens settings in Vader’s helmet, it’s the details around the main Vader story that make reading worthwhile — albeit heavily dependent on your interest in the minutia of the Star Wars universe. Continue reading

Economic Disparity and a Glimpse of Things to Come in Green Arrow 25

by Michael DeLaney

Green Arrow 25

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

Michael: Nick Spencer has thrown the entire nation into a tyrannical nightmare in Secret Empire. In Green Arrow Benjamin Percy focuses on political corruption and the American class system on the city level – which definitely vibes with the grassroots, personal touch often associated with the Emerald Archer. In Green Arrow 25 Percy uses the establishment of Star City as the most heightened allegory for the disparity between the 1% and the majority of Americans. Continue reading

Splitting the World into Pre and Post Tragedy in Archie 21

by Ryan Mogge

Archie 21

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

When something awful happens, priorities immediately change. Trivial pursuits are rendered meaningless when real loss is pending. Memories can be categorized as “before” and “after.” In Archie 21, Mark Waid and Pete Woods build toward one such loss by showing several characters in their “before” mode. Continue reading

Silver Sufer 12: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Patrick Ehlers

Silver Surfer 12

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

Drew: To say that Dan Slott, Michael Allred, and Laura Allred delight in the formal aspects of comics would be a profound understatement. The most indicative example must be issue 11 of the previous volume, which featured a kind of Möbius strip that readers had to consciously break out of. It’s the kind of innovation that might feel gimmicky to the passerby, but on closer inspection is so closely tied to the content of the story, it’s almost impossible to imagine it being handled any other way. In that case, Norrin and Dawn were stuck in a time loop, so the closed loop of the layout was essential to making that point literal. This issue finds Dawn stuck in time in a very different way, and the creative team manages to find a different technique to capture her stasis. Continue reading

Alfred’s Past Shines a New Light on His Relationship with Bruce in All-Star Batman 11

by Spencer Irwin

All-Star Batman 11

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

Alfred fills a peculiar role in Batman’s world. He’s Bruce’s father figure, but also his servant; he’s the Dark Knight’s staunchest ally, but also his greatest critic. The one thing these disparate titles have in common is that they cast Alfred as a supporting player — indeed, it’s often easy to forget that Alfred Pennyworth is a man with his own life and history, not just someone who cleans up after Batman. That’s something Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque are out to change in “The First Ally,” a storyline that dives into Alfred’s past and uses his history with his father to shine a new light on his relationship with Bruce. Continue reading

The Non-Quixotic Quest in The Old Guard 5

by Drew Baumgartner

The Old Guard 5

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

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

Joe Darion, “The Impossible Dream”

Is Andy the anti-Don Quixote? Her world-weary cynicism is certainly the opposite of his delusions of chivalry; her bitter pragmatism the opposite of his flights of fancy. But the thing that strikes me most is that Andy is the unbeatable foe, the kind of mythical being Quixote could only dream of. Of course, this gives them different priorities — while he’s focused on those imaginary beings, she’s utterly undaunted by the mortal tilting at her. Sure, the mortal can get in a few good licks, but is more of an annoyance than a nemesis. Indeed, it turns out the only thing worthy of an unbeatable foe’s attention is another unbeatable foe. Continue reading

No More Mr. Nice Dictator in Captain America: Steve Rogers 18

by Michael DeLaney

Captain America Steve Rogers 18

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

Michael: It’s kind of been a kick for me to watch Steve Rogers slowly enact his devious Hydra takeover, but in Captain America: Steve Rogers 18 the kid gloves have come off. As he faces The United Nations, Steve is devoid of any of his hunky charm and goes full-on authoritarian. Steve demands allegiance from the UN and threatens grave consequences if any nation crosses Hydra. Continue reading

Speed Thrills and Powers Kill in Accell 1

by Ryan Desaulniers

Accell 1

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

If you’ve read a superhero title, than you have almost certainly encountered a speedster on the pages. While their basic premise may be simple (they’re really, really fast), creators have played with the scope and scale of this speed to the point that characters have broken the time barrier and even out-run death itself. With this huge lore of speedsters existing, it must be a daunting task to write a new superpowered character with this skill set. The creative team — almost entirely composed of veterans in the industry such as Joe Casey — tackle this challenge in  Accell 1, delivering a fun romp if one can suspend their sense of disbelief, notable mostly for their choice in lead character. Continue reading