Political Parallels and Horny Droids Star Wars: Poe Dameron 20

by Michael DeLaney

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

Apart from the obvious comparisons to the structure of A New Hope, one thing in particular that bothered me about The Force Awakens was The First Order. How did this massive evil military force mobilize so quickly with yet another Death Star? By drawing parallels to our current political nightmare, Poe Dameron 20 attempts to explain. Continue reading

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Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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

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Michael: A common criticism of a piece of fiction is “nothing really happened.” The meaning of that blanket statement can vary depending on who the critic is and more specifically what they’re expecting. A great example of this is the Season 3 Breaking Bad episode “The Fly.” Critics praised the bottle episode as a brilliant character study while it left many audiences unimpressed with the fact that “nothing really happened.” While I try to appreciate the deeper meaning of a piece of work, I must say that in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1…nothing really happens. Continue reading

The Wild Storm 8 and the Power of the Mid-Page Scene Transition

by Drew Baumgartner

The Wild Storm 8

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

Every time I talk about this series, the first thing I want to bring up is clarity. Writer Warren Ellis and artist Jon Davis-Hunt have struck such an alluring balance of crystal clear in-the-moment actions and emotions while keeping the larger motivations and machinations in a shroud of mystery, I can’t help it. While I’m sure there’s fun to be had speculating on the unclear elements, I’m most excited by the ways Ellis and Davis-Hunt cultivate their clarity. Beyond being fun to talk about, the clarity is deployed with such deftness, each issue serves as a masterclass in comics storytelling, allowing our discussions to zero in on details like fight choreography or procedural elements. This issue affords us a closer look at another idiosyncratic element of comics storytelling: the mid-page scene transition. Continue reading

The Art Makes the Issue in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 12

By Taylor Anderson

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

Going to a comic convention can be a dangerous thing. No, I’m not talking about the festering cesspool that is the men’s bathrooms at C2E2 — I’m talking about artist alleys at present at all cons. With so many talented artists in one place, it’s easy to spot at least twelve pieces of art that catch your eye, which are a feast for the senses but a pain for your wallet. The thing is , it’s just hard to say no when you see a piece of artwork that appeals to you. Luckily, sometimes a monthly roles around that’s as easy on the wallet as it is on the eyes, as is the case with Guardians of the Galaxy 12. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 15: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Patrick Ehlers

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 15

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

Drew: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have always been the perfect outcasts in a medium made for outcasts. Well, saying that comics were “made” for outcasts isn’t entirely accurate, but it certainly had become a medium for outcasts — at least in the US — by the time the turtles were invented in the 1980s. We don’t really need to get into the causality of why comics fandom was perceived as a weird thing — the point is that it was. And in the age before the internet, someone with a “weird” hobby or enthusiasm for some obscure piece of pop culture might not know anyone else like themselves. While the rest of the world could connect over their religion, political party, or even local sports team, the average comics reader in 1984 might not have had anyone they knew who shared their interest. I don’t bring this up to pity the lot of the poor comics fan — heaven knows plenty of people were more isolated and actively persecuted — just to say that themes of not fitting in have always been an essential part of the TMNT makeup. This is a point that Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell clearly understand, as their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe finds several characters seeking their place in the world. Continue reading

Killing Hope in Daredevil 27

by Drew Baumgartner

Daredevil 27

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

When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back.
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track.
If you walk with Jesus
He’s gonna save your soul.
You gotta keep the devil
Way down in the hole.

Tom Waits, Way Down in the Hole

There are plenty of great morals to learn from The Wire, but one that left the biggest impression on me is the thought that many Americans simply don’t have access to the American Dream. Each successive series does a great job of detailing why both policing and education fail to end the drug trade, why politics fail to fix the police or the schools, and why the press fails to fix politics. It’s a disheartening lesson to learn, for sure, but it’s one we must reconcile with before we can mount any meaningful solutions. Unfortunately, many American’s are still too enamored of the old narrative of the American Dream — the kind represented by Matt Murdock’s “orphaned fighter’s son to high-powered attorney” origin — to accept that not everyone has access to that dream. Continue reading

Rhetoric Paints the Picture in Rocket 6

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Rocket is an amazing series. Adam Gorham’s artwork is evocative, gritty and ambitious in a way that is simultaneously grounded and totally off the wall. There’s also the novelty of the persistent gutter narration, lending the whole thing a literary noire vibe that seldom makes its way into such a strongly visual medium. One aspect of this series I’ve seldom found an opportunity to praise is the rhetorical strength of Al Ewing’s writing. The story itself is compelling, but I’m referring to the moment-to-moment use of language and how Ewing uses tonal shifts, word play, and rhetorical flourishes to illustrate Rocket’s emotional journey. And this issue takes us on one hell of a journey. Continue reading

Jor-El and Superman Can’t Back Down From Their Convictions in Action Comics 989

by Spencer Irwin

 

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

For simplicity’s sake, comics tend to paint large groups or alien races with a broad cultural brush (“On Tamaran we all follow our hearts and live by our emotions!”), but in reality, entire races or civilizations can’t be that simply summed up. In all honesty, Superman claiming that humanity are better than their base instincts is just as ridiculous as Jor-El saying that humanity are no better than their base instincts — both are trying to sum up six billion people with one easy label that will never be applicable to them all. Both have made a choice to see humanity in a way that reaffirms their worldview.  Continue reading

Mister Miracle 3: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Michael DeLaney

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

Mark: How I feel about Mister Miracle 3 will ultimately depend on how the remaining 9 issues pan out, and if Tom King and Mitch Gerads are able to stick their landing. In isolation, I’m grossed out by King invoking the Holocaust and the genocide of more than 6 millions Jews in Nazi Germany not once, but twice, in this issue. The Holocaust is one of the modern era’s most visceral examples of mankind’s cruelty towards mankind, and as such it has become shorthand in media for “A Very Bad Thing.” Comparing fictional events to the Holocaust is cheap and easy, and doing so runs the risk of devaluing the real-life horrors experienced by real people and perpetrated by their fellow men.

Continue reading

The Futility of Action in The Wicked + The Divine 32

by Spencer Irwin

The Wicked + The Divine 32

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

Something Amateratsu said way back in the first issue of The Wicked + The Divine has always stuck with me — she said that the Pantheon exist to inspire. This implies that their direct ability to change the world, for better or for worse, is limited; like most creators and performers, their true strength is (or at least should be) their ability to move others through their art. This seems an especially significant point to keep in mind while reading issue 32, which finds the futility in all of its characters’ attempts at grand gestures or plans — but especially Dionysus’. Continue reading