Focus is a Strength in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 14

by Ryan Mogge

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

In real life, people who exhibit single-mindedness can be a bore. In fiction, that same behavior can work as a backdrop for more entertaining action. Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell present two storylines in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 14, each with a woman at the center who provides the story’s drive if not its color. This is not a negative thing, Karai and Natsu both demonstrate a sense of purpose and commitment that pushes the story forward while also challenging the world around them to make room. Continue reading

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Loneliness Kills in Deadpool 36

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Despite writer Gerry Duggan’s insistence on filling out the supporting cast of Deadpool over the last five years, Wade Winston Wilson is a solitary creature. He’s his own worst enemy and his own best friend. Issue 36 shows a Deadpool at the end of his rope, pushed to an unfathomable level of isolation. This is where artist Matteo Lolli truly shines, showing Deadpool as a man apart from those he once called friend and family. Continue reading

Dark Nights: Metal 2 Learns to Stop Worrying and Love the Weird

by Michael DeLaney

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

Over the past 50 years, relaunches like The New 52 have favored comic book “realism” — whatever that may be. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve found that comic books are at their best when they embrace the silly, high-concept ideas that ran without question for the first 50 odd years of comic book history. Dark Nights: Metal 2 is the type of book that blends the modern “realism” with the whacky fearlessness of the books of old. Continue reading

A New and Exciting Adventure for R2-D2 in Star Wars 36

by Mark Mitchell

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

One of the reasons The Simpsons has endured for so many years is its deep bench of characters that can be called up to shoulder the heavy lifting of any particular episode. The Star Wars universe has a similarly diverse and beloved cast, and the Star Wars comic is at its best when it sloughs off any need to be connected to a larger continuity and just concerns itself with featuring the characters we love in new and exciting adventures. Continue reading

A Loss of Focus Drains the Drama from All-New Wolverine 24

by Drew Baumgartner

All-New Wolverine 24

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

There has been plenty to love about Tom Taylor’s run on All-New Wolverine, from its adventurous cameos to its wry sense of humor, but I’d have to say my favorite aspect has always been its emotional intensity. Each storyline has been distinguished by its intense personal connection to Laura, whether it was battling (or teaming up with) her clone sisters, or settling a score from her earliest days. Every one seemed to leave a meaningful impact on Laura, ending or beginning new chapters in her life. It’s a breathless feat to keep that amount of emotional weight moving for that long, which is why I’m almost willing to forgive issue 24 for being the complete antithesis of that kind of importance. Continue reading

Runaways 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!

Spencer: Runaways 1 has to be one of the most unusual first issues I’ve ever read, especially for a team book and especially for a book from the Big 2. While I’ve read plenty of good, sometimes even great, first issues, there’s certain objectives most first issues have to achieve — introducing the series’ cast, premise, and villain, for example — that can lead to them all feeling like they’re cut from the same template. Runaways 1, though, shatters that template completely; Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka, and Matthew Wilson essentially skip to what would probably be issue 4 of any other series, immediately immersing readers deep in a tense, life-or-death scenario. It’s a marvelous decision. Continue reading

Fear as a Motivator in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 12

by Michael DeLaney

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

Fear is a powerful motivator, especially in the Star Wars universe. After all, Anakin Skywalker’s (misguided) fear of losing his wife transformed him into Darth Vader. In Doctor Aphra 12, the “good” doctor makes a lot of desperate moves in order to avoid one of her great fears: Darth Vader himself. Continue reading

The Art Fails the Cast of New Super-Man 15

by Mark Mitchell

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

Gene Luen Yang hasn’t shown much interest in subtlety throughout the run of New Super-Man, but even by those standards New Super-Man 15 is remarkably direct. Multiple times during the action, characters directly address the differences between the West and China. These differences — language, cultural, and especially political — come into literal conflict when the Justice League of China brawls with the Suicide Squad. It’s not subtle, but it is exciting. All of the action, plus the Kong family’s domestic drama continuing to build, makes for the most thrilling issue of New Super-Man to date. Continue reading

A Pity Party vs. a Victim Complex in The Flash 30

by Spencer Irwin

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

Ramsey the coroner, a.k.a. Bloodwork a.k.a. the villain of The Flash 30, never wants to be a victim again after a sheltered childhood hiding from hemophilia, and has only hurt or killed others in order to protect himself. That doesn’t absolve him, of course — the only real risk he’s facing is his own crimes being exposed, and he has zero remorse for any of his actions — but it does explain why he wants to hurt the Flash. Not only is Flash a personal threat to Bloodwork, but Ramsey also views him as a threat to all of Central City, something Barry, in his current self-pitying, Negative Speed Force addled state, would definitely agree with. Continue reading

The Evasiveness of Identity in Mister Miracle 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Mister Miracle 2

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

You are what you think all day long.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identity is a frustratingly slippery thing. We all have one, but most of us would be hard pressed to describe what it actually is — what it is that actually makes us who we are. Is it our life experiences? Our relationships? Our interests? The information we absorb? It’s both none of and all of those things (and more). It’s the messiness of that notion that makes characters like Scott Free so compelling; born of New Genesis, raised on Apokolips, he has two families that are now locked in war with one another. The question of who he sides with slips into the messy details of who he is, an issue already strained by the questions he has regarding the very nature of his reality. To extrapolate from Emerson: who are you if you don’t know what to think? Continue reading