Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands 2 Settles Into Itself

by Drew Baumgartner

Black Lightning Cold Dead Hands 2

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

For as many superhero comics there are out there, it’s remarkable how little diversity there is — both in terms of representation and narrative variety. Those are both points that have been made to death, but are rarely mentioned in the same breath. But with Black Lighting: Cold Dead Hands 2, Tony Isabella and Clayton Henry make a strong case that they might be related — or more precisely, that the solution to both can be the same thing: Jefferson Pierce’s blackness lends the character to stories totally unlike the reheated adventures of other superhero faire. It demonstrates the storytelling potential of diverse characters, emphasizing perspectives, obstacles, and motivations that otherwise might never come up at the Big 2. Continue reading

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Reconciling Black Bolt in Black Bolt 9

by Patrick Ehlers

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

After surviving every possible kind of of mythological encounter in the ancient world, Odysseus returns home to find his quiet domesticity in shambles. His home has become a campground for suitors intent on stealing his wife away from him. Odysseus isn’t much for subtlety by this point in his journey, so his solution is to slaughter the lot of them and forcibly reclaim the seat he was forced to vacate so long ago. Black Bolt is also returning from an unexpected journey and is forced to reconcile his time away with his desire to return. Unlike Homer, writer Saladin Ahmed does not allow his hero to slay his way back to normalcy.  Continue reading

Everybody Wants to be Venom in the Amazing Spider-Man & Venom: Venom Inc. Alpha

by Spencer Irwin

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

Legacy heroes (and villains!) always present a bit of a conundrum. The inheritors of the mantles tend to bring much needed diversity and fresh perspectives to their stories and quickly amass fanbases, but of course the original characters have lifelong fans who aren’t happy to see their beloved heroes pushed aside, even temporarily. To me, the obvious solution has always been to have multiple characters share names and roles: why not have two Captains America or two Hawkeyes, four Flashes or a million Green Lanterns?

Both this conflict and this solution seem to be the core of Dan Slott, Mike Costa, and Ryan Stegman’s new crossover event, Venom Inc. It’s a story that finds the various men who have been Venom fighting over their right to symbiote, and which, at least for the moment, seems to be finding great joy in including as many Venoms as possible. Continue reading

The Power of Faith and Trust in Superman 36

by Spencer Irwin

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

Fans and creators alike often complain that it’s hard to find a proper challenge for Superman when the character is so unfathomably powerful. But as far as I’m concerned, the best Superman stories aren’t the ones that challenge him physically, but the ones that test his morals and ideals, his methods and resolve. Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s run on Superman has excelled in this respect, and issue 36 continues this streak, further defining Superman’s greatest strengths by showing what happens when he doesn’t live up to his own lofty standards. Continue reading

Sith Versus a Killer Granny in Darth Vader 9

by Mark Mitchell

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

Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s revisiting of Jocasta Nu in Darth Vader 9 is what the Star Wars Expanded Universe has always excelled at — taking a throwaway character from the films and broadening the world around them. Continue reading

The Mother of All Betrayals in Green Arrow 35

by Michael DeLaney

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

A common criticism of Green Arrow is that he’s Batman by another name: he’s rich, handy with the ladies, and, as a non-powered superhero, he’s got an arsenal of crime fighting tech. The biggest difference between The Dark Knight and The Emerald Archer? Batman thinks with his head and Green Arrow think with his heart. Continue reading

Beyond Homage in Hawkeye 13

By Drew Baumgartner

Hawkeye 13

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

When it comes to franchised characters in comics, virtually every creative team owes a huge debt to those who came before. I think this might be particularly true for Kate Bishop, who was characterized so iconically (and recently) in two beloved series — Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers — that her past interpretations are all but inescapable. I don’t mean to sell short the contributions of Kelly Thompson and her collaborators on this series, but they clearly understand the importance of reconciling Kate with her past, which is arguably why “Kate’s past” has made for such a satisfying narrative motif. But issue 13 finds Thompson and Leonardo Romero fully addressing Kate’s metatextual past, crashing a bumbling Clint Barton back into Kate’s life. Continue reading

Fandom’s Power to Connect in Faith’s Winter Wonderland Special 1

by Spencer Irwin

Faith's Winter Wonderland Special

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

Fandom can be a pretty horrifying thing sometimes. A shared passion is often an excuse to harass or belittle others fans, or sometimes even creators, over differences in taste, which is inexcusable, yet practically inescapable. This is far from the way things should be, and that’s something Marguerite Sauvage, Francis Portela, and MJ Kim reminded me of in Faith’s Winter Wonderland Special. Though it’s only a small thread in the issue, the ability of fandom and pop culture to help Faith make meaningful connections is by far the part of this story that resonated the strongest with me. Continue reading

Batman: White Knight 3

by Mark Mitchell

Batman White Knight 3

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

The primary mystery of Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight (with an assist from Matt Hollingsworth on colors) is determining what exactly Jack Napier’s intentions are. How much of his stance against Batman on moral grounds is part of a longer con? And even if Napier is truly free of the Joker, he’s certainly willing to indulge in a little villainy if the ends justify the means. But then, the same can be said of Murphy’s Batman, and it’s the murky morality of most all the major players in Batman: White Knight 3 that makes this book so compelling. Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy 148: Discussion

By Michael DeLaney and Taylor Anderson

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

Michael: There are a couple of ways to react when you’ve been caught in a lie. The most obvious option is to come clean and tell the 100% truth. The other, more likely way is to tell some of the truth but mitigate it with another smaller lie. This essentially comes down to self-preservation: you’ve been caught for one thing but not necessarily everything. It’s all about saving face, a truth that even applies to fictional space police.

The recent arc of Guardians of the Galaxy could be described as to “liars lying to sniff out other liars.” In Guardians of the Galaxy 148, the Guardians continue their undercover work with the Nova Corps to root out Shi’Ar spies. It’s getting difficult for the respective Guardians to maintain their covers and remember who’s in on their secret. Meanwhile some of the team starts to keep secrets from one another. Continue reading