Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 1: Discussion

by Ryan Mogge and Ryan Desaulniers

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

Ryan M.: How much background do you need to enjoy a single issue of an on-going serial? There is an argument that the answer is none. Most of us start out by just diving in, checking things out and then heading to Wikipedia or a very knowledgeable friend to help fill in the cracks. The serialized narrative is a moving train, you catch it when you can, and see what it has to offer. This can be one of the format’s strengths, giving the reader a feeling of discovery by entering a rich established world. You may have questions that aren’t answered or relationship dynamics you can’t understand, but you are seeing into a fictional world that is fully realized. It’s one of the reasons that origin stories can feel plodding. They are explaining why things are rather than showing what they become. In Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider Man 1, Chip Zdarsky balances out that sense of history by giving the story a day-in-the-life feel with a few big turns that make it clear that a bigger story is evolving. Continue reading

Choice is a Privilege in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 11

by Ryan Mogge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 11

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

Choice is a privilege. It’s easy to take that for granted when facing horrible options, but self-determination is worth something. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 11, Rich Douek and Aaron Conley explore this idea through the characters of Ray and Dreadmon. Continue reading

Being a Mentor is the Ultimate Strength in America 4

by Spencer Irwin

America 4

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

Nobody can make it through life alone — not even someone as powerful and independent as America Chavez. There have been many inspirational figures in America’s life, but no direct mentor figures. That’s something Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, and Ming Doyle aim to fix in America 4, where they not only give America Chavez her very own mentor, but show why it’s important for her to have one in the first place. Continue reading

Finding a Balance in The Black Monday Murders 6

by Ryan Desaulniers

Black Monday Murders 6

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

If you know Jonathan Hickman’s past work, you know he can get…complicated. Reading The Black Monday Murders 1-5 to catch up for last month’s full conversation proved a deep dive into an intricate world full of ancient conspiracy theories, old money, the occult, convoluted machinations, epistolary inserts, and shadow-soaked boardroom conversations. This issue returns to show some of the fallout of the recent occurrences and again displays Hickman and artist Tomm Coker’s tightrope walk approach to action, exposition, and reaction. Continue reading

Super Sons 5: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Michael DeLaney

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

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Mark: When I was about twelve years old, some friends and I got it in our heads that we deserved to go to a Six Flags theme park located two hours away from our city. We had just wrapped up a school assignment and were feeling pretty good about it; going to Six Flags was, to our minds, a reasonable reward for a job well done. My parents, for what I now recognize to be completely legitimate reasons, were quick to kibosh the idea — they weren’t interested in driving a Suburban full of sweaty pre-teens two hours to a theme park, driving two hours home, and then doing it all again later that night in order to pick us up. Plus, since I was twelve and had no money of my own to pay for park admission or food once I got in, they would basically be paying me $100 for the pleasure. All because me and my friends felt like we should be rewarded for completing our homework. I was furious.

Dealing with pre-teens and teenagers can be infuriating. They are, after all, categorically terrible; self-absorption coupled with crippling insecurity is a toxic combination. But it’s not their fault nature made them that way. Kids are constantly confronted with situations and decisions they are ill-prepared to face, lacking both the context and emotional experience to properly process and asses the situation. But that doesn’t make it any less irritating to be around them. Continue reading

Matt Looks to the Law to End Crime in Daredevil 22

by Spencer Irwin

Daredevil 22

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

As much as I admire superheroes and the aspirational messages they’re designed to send, it is occasionally troubling that they solve 95% of their problems with violence. There are other ways, often better ways, to help people, and that’s something Matt Murdock has always understood. It only makes sense, then, that the big plan to “end crime” in NYC writer Charles Soule (a lawyer himself) has been teasing for the past few issues has nothing to do with super-powered spectacle, and everything to do with setting a legal precedent.  Continue reading

You’re A Hero or You’re Nothing in Mighty Thor 20

by Taylor Anderson

Mighty Thor 20

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

The conflict between a superhero’s alter-ego and their heroic identity is well chronicled. For some, like Black Widow, balancing two identities is cakewalk. For others, like Batman, one identity takes over completely. However, even though the Dark Knight identifies more as Batman than Bruce Wayne, he can still vacillate between his two identities as he pleases. Jane Foster, on the other hand, doesn’t have this luxury. Soon the stage 4 breast cancer that is infecting her body will take her life. If she wants to live, she has only one choice – become Thor forever. Continue reading

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!

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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