Magna Tolvan is Lovable, to a Distracting Degree, in Doctor Aphra 14

by Taylor Anderson

Doctor Aphra 14

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

The great thing about Star Wars comics is that we’re introduced to characters from the extended universe we would never meet otherwise. I mean, Han, Luke, Leia, and Darth are all pretty compelling characters, but forty years worth of stories surrounding them means there isn’t a whole lot left to say about them. Dr. Aphra, then, is a great series in this regard. Aphra herself is a compelling character, but the title is made so much better by the rich cast of characters that surrounds her. However, if these characters lose their charm or act in ways that don’t make sense then there’s not a whole lot for an issue to fall back on save for space battles and explosions.

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An Apokoliptian Mess in Superman 35

by Michael DeLaney

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

Superman 35 is the third chapter of the “Imperius Lex” arc, where Lex Luthor is trying to rescind his status as Lord of Apokolips. The Kent family has been separated across Apokolips, each dealing with the best of what Darkseid’s planet has to offer. It’s hard not to think of the last time Pete Tomasi and Patrick Gleason sent us to Apokolips in the pages of Batman and Robin. Unfortunately, this is light years away from that bombastic Bat-tale. Continue reading

Peter Gets a New Set of Great Responsibilities in The Amazing Spider-Man 791

by Drew Baumgartner

Amazing Spider-Man 791

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

“With great power must also come great responsibility.” Every Spider-Man fan knows these words as well as Peter Parker himself, so you’d think we’d have a good handle on what it means. And we do, to some degree — Peter’s superhuman powers demand that he take on superhuman responsibilities — but much of the tension comes from how all that superheroing clashes with the other responsibilities in his life. Writer Dan Slott has always kept that aspect of Spider-Man in mind, giving Peter more personal and professional responsibilities than he can really keep track of. It’s a juggling act we’re all familiar with in our own lives, and Amazing Spider-Man 791 finds Slott adding one more that clearly means a lot to him: publishing deadlines. Continue reading

Creating Stakes in Mighty Thor 701

by Patrick Ehlers

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

700 issues in, the gods of Asgard have faced annihilation numerous times. But they have always pulled through, because that’s how decades-long serialized mythologies work. Every threat must be bested in order to perpetuate the franchise. This isn’t something that bothers me: the “what happens” never concerns me as much as the “how it happens.” But for anyone demanding meaningful, lasting, concrete consequences in their storytelling should welcome the rise of Mangog. Mangog is here to kill the gods, and by the end of issue 701, he’s already got a definitive Win in his column. Continue reading

Batman Who Laughs 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers & Mark Mitchell

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

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Patrick: Outside of dance-able club hits, which state their desire to make you dance, very few works of art tell you what effect they intend to have on you. Batman Who Laughs has one purpose and one purpose only: to shock longtime Batman fans with a violent, evil twist on the Dark Knights’ mythos. And the book cockily asserts that it is going to surprise its readers, by having the titular laughing Batman address the camera directly and saying as much. “You really thought you had it all figured out. That you knew every combination in the deck.” The work assumes the reader is skeptical of its goal from page one — the remainder of the issue is spent trying to prove that this is the darkest, most twisted Batman story ever told. Continue reading

Help Drew Fund His Comics Anthology: MASKS

MASKS: An Anthology

Hi all! Drew here, interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a special announcement about a comics anthology I’ve spent the past several months putting together. It’s called MASKS: An Anthology, and it collects comics and essays about comics, all dealing with the theme of masks. It features writers and artists from all over the world, including our very own Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin, who are both contributing essays. Patrick is also writing and drawing his first ever comic, which you’re not going to want to miss. It’s up on kickstarter now, where digital and physical copies are available alongside a number of other exciting rewards. I’m obviously a bit biased, but I think this is a project that will appeal to most of our readers, as it features innovative and varied comics alongside in-depth analyses. It’s a project I’m very proud of, and hope you’ll consider supporting. The kickstarter ends on November 22nd, so be sure to act fast! (Check out a few samples from the book after the break!) Continue reading

Cliches and Cutlery in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 2

by Michael DeLaney

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

Story models repeat themselves, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For me, Deadpool vs Old Man Logan isn’t trying to be anything new or groundbreaking — but then again every comic book is someone’s first. Deadpool vs Old Man Logan 2 uses the X-Men staple of a military organization hunting “the chosen one” while the two mutant former weapons trade quips and shed blood. Continue reading

A New Path Emerges in Generation Gone 5

by Drew Baumgartner

Generation Gone 5

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

Generation Gone, Aleš Kot and André Lima Araújo have consistently set up competing ideologies — Akio vs. General West, People vs. Government, Idealism vs. Realism, Generation vs. Generation — but the most important (and most nuanced) has probably been those of Elena and Nick. She’s a put-upon optimist, willing and able to take on the abuse of the world in order to Get Shit Done, while he’s a self-pitying, privileged nihilist who sees no future beyond destroying what little of the world he can before he dies. In many ways, they represent the poles we might set for the spectrum of attitudes of Millenials: either cooperate with a system designed to exploit you (and potentially make incremental changes from the inside), or try to blow it to pieces. Those are the extremes, but in increasingly divided times, it’s important to bear in mind that neither one is necessarily “correct.” Indeed, as Elena (and Generation Gone) rejects Nick’s “fuck the world” strategy, Baldwin seems to emerge with another. Continue reading

Peter Parker Sacrifices Action in Spectacular Spider-Man 297

by Patrick Ehlers

Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man 297

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

Peter spends the majority of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 297 out-smarting, out-punching, and out-maneuvering both the NYPD and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Mintz. And he does it all while being underpowered and trying to keep his identity a secret. It’s the kind of Spider-Man story that wordlessly plays in the fantasies of Spider-Man fans — scrape after scrape, close-call after close-call, until he finally escapes. It’s thrilling, wonderful stuff. Writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Adam Kubert use this issue to set up these thrilling heroics as the stakes of this arc, rather than the actual substance thereof. Continue reading

New Roadblocks to a Burgeoning Friendship in Super Sons 10

by Spencer Irwin

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

Super Sons 10 is a bit of a breather issue and a “move things into place” issue, neither of which tend to be the most popular installments of any comic series. Personally, though, I feel like this is the mode in which Super Sons operates best — I don’t follow this series because of the plot, I follow it because I love seeing Damian and Jon’s personalities bounce off each other, and that’s 95% of this issue. Peter Tomasi and Jose Luis actually couldn’t have timed this better — with Jon and Damian growing closer and becoming more amicable, it was time to introduce some new challenges for them to overcome and to add a few more hurdles to their burgeoning friendship. Continue reading