Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 7/6/16

roundup18Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss The Fix 4, Future Quest 2, The Woods 24, and Paper Girls 7.

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The Fix 4

the fixSpencer: Nick Spencer has such a knack for writing charming characters that, if not kept in check, sometimes even his most evil, villainous creations can gain our sympathies. That’s not always a bad thing — complex villains are great! — but it’s clearly not Spencer’s intention in The Fix. Spencer and Steve Lieber’s cast are certainly complex, but they’re also some of the most morally reprehensible characters in all of comics right now. Spencer still lays on the charm, but undercuts it with heaping helpings of evil and brutality; in fact, Spencer seems to relish the seeming contradiction. The more kind and verbose a character in The Fix is, the more evil they are — take Joshua, who brings Mac a healthy lunch at work and chats about his rescue dogs while also terrorizing him, running a crime ring, and threatening to kill a dog, or Joshua’s new partner, who spends 12 full panels horrifically threatening a man’s family without ever dropping his serene smile. His victim, or even characters like Mac or his girlfriend, are assholes, but in the world of The Fix, they’re the closest things we’ve got to heroes.

The exception, as we discussed way back in issue one, is Pretzels the dog. At the time, I attributed Pretzels’ saintly status to his being an animal (or, more pointedly, not human), but Spencer and Lieber even blow that theory up right in my face this month.

animals are assholes

Yup, in The Fix, even the animals are assholes. Pretzels is our Earth-3 Lex Luthor, the lone force of virtue in a world of evil; it’s no wonder Mac “fell in love” with him. As a character just looking for love and acceptance, of course he’d latch onto the first creature he’d ever met even capable of such a thing. Now I suppose the question is: is there some small part of Mac that can be redeemed? Is there hope for any character in The Fix, or is this world truly as grim as it appears to be? I’m almost scared to find out.

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Future Quest 2

Future Quest 2Patrick: I find the very nature of Future Quest fascinating. Writer Jeff Parker is playing with a cast of characters that are somehow immediately identifiable and immediately alien, and I’m sure I can’t be the only reader straining to remember if I recognize all these characters or if they’re just the kinds of characters I should remember. Take the heroic Herculoids, for example, I sorta remember the dino-tank-thing (“Tundro,” though I wouldn’t have remembered that) and that boy-and-his-blob motherfucker rings a bell (“Gloop,” which I suppose makes sense), but who the rest of the team members are, and what any of them are capable of occupies a nebulous space in my memory. That’s about 60% fading memory and 40% ill-defined source material. Hanna Barbera cartoons of the 60s, 70s and 80s were notoriously sugary, with solutions to episode-long problems falling out of nowhere. You didn’t need to know how Space Ghost was shooting stronger rays out of his arm bands, he just, y’know, did.

That kind of storytelling doesn’t fly anymore, and Jeff Parker and Doc Shaner do a great job of divorcing the source material from the notion that everything will unexplainably turn out okay in the end. There’s a process on display here – you can see it in the way Blip’s ability to turn invisible is quietly seeded before Zin’s goons stumble on an invisible and unconscious Jace. Even Race Bannon’s smooth moves are gracefully tracked from one side of the page to the next.

Race zig-zag

Artist Ron Randall uses the lines of Race’s body to direct the reader’s eye – first in the direction we naturally read (right and down) and then back to the left for the right hook and that insert of Bandit biting the guy. It’s clear, and immanently followable. It’s no coincidence that the creature Space Ghost et. al is battling in the first 10 pages is a formless mess, and their approach to making the whole thing more manageable is to literally split it in half. That’s what Shaner’s done by splitting the narrative between Planet Azmot and Earth. That may prove to be the biggest test this series has to face: making sense of a mess.

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The Woods 24

The Woods 24Spencer: The end of The Woods’ first year brought with it the shocking death of a main character, but it also brought expectations about how the second year would end. Knowing that, James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas craft an entirely different — yet just as emotionally painful — kind of death in The Woods 24. Clues both subtle (Calder’s general character arc over the past few issues) and blunt (the cover) make Calder’s death obvious from the get-go, allowing Tynion and Dialynas to skip any attempts at even trying to surprise their readers and instead to focus on giving Calder a fitting, emotionally satisfying exit.

And really, it is fitting that the creative team was so up-front about Calder’s death, because that’s all Calder really ever wanted in his life: to be able to be up-front and honest, to be able to be himself and not an act. Karen’s ability to see through his act was why he liked her so much, but it’s not something Calder found anywhere else; as Calder points out, the only reason he even ended up a part of this adventure in the first place was because even the great Adrian Roth, of all people, bought fully into his persona.

Ultimately, even Calder’s death is defined by this dilemma. He died, not as a sacrifice or for revenge, but simply because his enemies view this entire war as a game, but don’t even consider Calder a player — to them, he was only a distraction to their actual target, Karen. Yet, Karen is again able to see through it all — the “game” garbage, Calder’s bravado — and thus knows exactly what to say to Calder as he lies dying, because she understands who he actually is, not who he claims to be. Because she actually cares about him as a person when so few others actually have.

dignity

Thanks to Karen, Calder can finally find some dignity in death, and while that’s certainly not how he’d have wanted to achieve it, in the end, maybe some dignity’s all he really ever wanted.

(In the meantime, Karen’s grief — not to mention that of Casey, who may finally be showing some humanity beneath his monstrous veneer — should provide a powerful start to Year Three. Bring it on.)

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Paper Girls 7

Paper Girls 7Ryan M.: One of the most appealing things about Paper Girls is the way that Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang balance the weird with the grounded. In Paper Girls 7, there are two moments that merit full page illustrations, each with no dialogue. The first is the reveal of an unnamed carnivorous monster that towers over buildings and has a gas mask mouth.  It’s both a surprising moment and feels in line with the kind of strangeness that the series often serves up. The Erin-lookalike urges a stranger for a ride, using overly formal language while trying to explain the behavior of the two huge monsters fighting in the harbor behind her. There is a level of insanity to the moment, but Chiang’s art is so well observed and the world feels so real that even when a pink alien sea monster is taking a bloody bite out of a blue one, the Uber driver’s sense of confusion and the reassurances of the time-traveler with Erin’s face maintain primary focus.

The 2016 of the story is strongly rooted in our world and, unlike some of the more superficial observations in the last issue, this time, Vaughan digs deeper into more specific cultural notes. The issue opens with a young girl hanging out alone on the dock wearing a “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” shirt. It’s not commented upon in the dialogue but this girl’s political concerns are somewhat echoed by Tiffany’s relief in finding out that the threats of her time haven’t wiped out society. I love reading a book that acknowledges that kids are clued into the world around them. The main crew of this book are neither naive children in a state of ignorant bliss or world-weary mini adults. They live in a middle space. A space where they are quick to call out what they see as unfair, but without the power or autonomy to actively change the system.

That said, it wasn’t the monster battle or the political commentary that was most riveting to me. It was the second of the splash pages. 2016 Erin’s embrace of her younger self was such a sweet moment between characters who have mostly treated each other with wariness and distrust. Younger Erin is able to lift a burden from her future self by validating her life choices and reminding her about their core values. It’s what anyone would want from their twelve-year-old self that traveled to the future. Hear that, 1995 Ryan? 

hug yourrself

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The conversation doesn’t stop there, because you certainly read something that we didn’t. What do you wanna talk about from this week?

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22 comments on “Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 7/6/16

  1. The Fix: Despite my usual strategy of tradewaiting, I actually had the chance to read the first four issues of the Fix. So, so good.

    It is easy to talk about the evilness of the characters, but I’m honestly more interested about heroism. Mac seems to find something this issue. The issue opens with ‘we all just want to be loved’, but Mac seems to find the exact opposite. He gets something out of working with Pretzels to stop the smuggler (even as he let’s Josh’s friend go through).

    The Fix’s basic idea seems to be about exposing how normal people are not necessarily what they appear on the surface. Cops that are actually crooks, yuppies who are psychos. In the Fix, being ordinary doesn’t make you good. Instead, to be good, you must be extraordinary. You must be someone who actually commits to helping others, instead of just living life like everyone else (and you must be honest, and not pretending). But what happens when that ordinary person, like Mac, actually gets the chance to do good? Do things that make him feel proud? I’m interested to see where Mac develops from here

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    Paper Girls: Haven’t read this yet (as I said, I tradewait. But can’t wait), but I have to say, from what I read here, I love bringing up both today’s political issues and how the 80s political issues are resolved. There is a real clever, real inspiring message there. Reminds me of the Nice Guys, one of the best movies this year, that did a similar message.

    The Nice Guys is a classic noir where you can’t win because the enemy is too big. In fact, in the end, the victory that the leads get isn’t from bringing down the bad guys, but the confidence that they have set the best possible example for Holly, Holland’s daughter. Raising Holly right is their victory.

    And ultimately, it pays off. The Nice Guys is about a world full of crises, and yet every single crisis brought up is now no longer an issue. And while we have issues today (Paper Girls seems to make that explicit with the Tamir Rice shirt), we’ve won each time. Just because we can’t win today doesn’t mean that we are doomed.

    An important and inspiring message, and I hope that Paper Girls does more with that theme. At the moment, I’m really looking forward to reading it

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    Wytches: Whatever happened to Wytches? Snyder wrote it, it was a massive success (apparently Snyder was making more money from Wytches than Batman) and he and Jock had plans for a second arc. I did a reread of it, and damn does the book hit me hard.

    There is a real horror in Charlie Rook’s story. He feels like a failure, because of Sailor’s anxiety, despite the fact that there is nothing he can do. But he can’t help but feel that because he knows he has failed before – he became an alcoholic. And it is this fear that makes the book so scary. Even as Snyder and Jock have created a truly scary monster in the Wytches (both their alien look and the ‘only come after you if you are pledged’ aspect that makes their monstrous scarily human), it is this fear that runs through everything. And leads to the climax, where Charlie has to let go and realise that despite his failures, Sailor is healthy and doesn’t need him.

    It is an intensely personal book, and I love it every time I read it

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    Hack/Slash: I still have no idea why I first picked up the Omnibus of this, such a long time ago. The basic idea of a Final Girl hunting slashers is a great one, and Cassie Hack as the alternative to Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn’t a bad idea. But so much of what you see is so fanservicy.

    And yet, once I got round to reading it, I was surprised at just how good it was. This was where I first read stuff from Tim Seeley, and it is impressive how great of a job he did. Especially as I believe Hack/Slash was one of his first comics as a writer instead of an artist.

    Despite the fanservice, what makes it work is the focus on the actual psychology of Cassie Hack. Seeley wants her to be an actual character, and you get a real sense of a teenage girl who can’t function in the real world and makes the choice to escape it instead. Travelling the country killing slashers is easier than trying to have an ordinary life, and so she does it. Surprisingly, despite all the fanservice, some of the best stuff is done with respect to sexuality. Unlike similar characters, like Star Lord, who enjoy sleeping their way around the world/galaxy, Cassie is someone who wants to run away from that stuff. Her self confidence and issues with herself is such that relationships and sex are some of the stuff she’s trying to escape. Seeing her deal with her own problems around being sexual creates some of the most powerful stuff of the first omnibus (and it helps that the story that focuses on this the most, Girls Gone Dead, is the one that actually is the least fanservicey, at least with respect to Cassie). Combined with the other aspects focusing on Cassie’s PTSD etc, she is someone that has a real psychology and is a real character under the goth fanservice. And that made me enjoy Hack/Slash despite being put off by the fanservice.

    Never finished Hack/Slash, though, because the first ongoing is hard to find. So since I finished Demon Knights, I thought I’d get round to it. Hopefully, I can track down the first ongoing, but if not, I’ll focus just on the Image stuff, before returning to some classic DC

    Seeley begun his Image work with an origin story, My First Slasher (which quite thankfully means that if I find the first ongoing, I wouldn’t have read any story that spoils previous stories). It doesn’t give us much more info on the origin, origin. Instead, it tells the story of Cassie’s first monsterhunt, a completely unprepared girl who has no idea what she’s doing and realises that instead of finding a monster, she may have found something scarier – a fresh start and a chance to be actually be an ordinary school student.

    Seeley combines that effort into the personal that made the first stories be more than fanservice with that fantastic premise. Cassie doesn’t find herself top of the school totem poll or anything. But she finds things she never had before. She has actual friends, and a pretty decent life. Not perfect, she has to work a crappy job, but afterwards she gets to go to parties and hang out with friends – something she could never do before.

    The tragedy of the story is that she gets everything she wanted, but it has to collapse because of the decision she made too early to be a monster hunter. All she needed was a fresh start, but she got that fresh start at a place specifically chosen because there was a slasher there. And so, it all burns down, confirms her prejudices and galvanises her into following that original path.

    Seeley has long been a secret weapon in DC’s arsenal. And ultimately, it comes down to a lot of stuff from Hack/Slash. Seeley knows how to make the best version of what he is doing, no matter how poor the foundation. Revival has a fantastic foundation, but the Eternal books didn’t. And neither does Hack/Slash’s fanservice foundation. But Seeley knows how to find the best possible version of the story, giving us the great moments.

    I should hate Hack/Slash, but I love it. Seeley uses his great talents to turn the book into something fun and where character shines brightly through, giving us a strong characters and not ignoring the all important lesson that stabbing monsters in the face doesn’t have to be at the expense of great characters. Looking forward to reading more

    • I’m interested that you say The Nice Guys is such a good movie. My finace and I both enjoy well made noir and we just (re)watched Chinatown and saw for the first time The Long Goodbye in the past month, but most modern movies fail as noir stories in that they feel the need to move so fast. They need big explosions and big reveals and big chases, and that just isn’t the case in most good noir films. I think the closest thing was the adaption of Block’s Walk Among the Tombstones last year, which was fine but not great, but nearly ignored by critics and the public.

      Anyway, the previews (which can be misleading) didn’t give me that vibe. It felt screwball buddy cop to me, but again, just saw the previews. It’s been on our list for a while to see, and we’re not always current in film (we finally saw The Big Short).

      I also know that our tastes in movies differ, because I found Mad Max boring and relatively enjoyed Superman v Batman. (And I’m not a superhero fanboy – I loathed the new X-Men movie. (But enjoyed the new Fantastic Four on many levels))

      • I also loved The Nice Guys (saw it twice in theatres). For being as cynical as it is, there’s a lot of optimism to the film’s attitude about setting up priorities and values. It’s about being open to learn from each other and accepting victories in whatever form you encounter them. There’s a great great great visual gag about a hand tattoo that champions such a positivity that borders on absurd, but it feels so good in the moment, it’s kind of impossible to fault it.

        Also, I tried watching Fantastic Four on HBO a dew weeks ago and couldn’t get through it. I was expecting bad and boring, but I had also assumed that some of those performances would be good (I like all of those actors). But there’s just no chemistry between them and I can’t remember when I found Miles Teller less compelling.

        • The idea that they went to the negative zone because Reed was drunk really turned me off. I thought the Ben Grimm story was interesting.

          I thought it showed what delinquent genius could be, and was slightly wondering if they were going to make Reed go full heel eventually like he did in the Ultimate Universe. But overall, I found it relatively engaging. I thought there were more misses than hits, but it wasn’t awful to me as I found things to latch on to, which was more than what I thought I’d get from the reviews.

          It was long enough ago that I don’t remember enough of it to adequately talk about it, but I agree that Miles Teller was completely wasted in the movie as it was a weakly written Reed Richards. Actually, Richards has been pretty terribly written in all three FF movies. It wasn’t good. It just wasn’t as terrible as I thought it’d be and I really liked the Thing.

          Do you go see many movies in the theater twice? I said I’d go see Civil War twice (SPIDEY!@!!@#!), but haven’t yet. I almost never do. I saw the first Jurassic Park multiple times at the theater back in ’93/’94, but I can’t think of too many others. Maybe Pulp Fiction. I think I saw that at a regular theater and then a theater with beer.

        • I do not see many movies twice. In fact, I’m not super great about seeing all the movies I want to see in the theatre the one time, let alone making it back for a second visit. I caught The Nice Guys while my ladyfriend was out of town. I guess I didn’t shut up about that movie for the next couple weeks, so eventually she was like “can we just go see this thing?” and I was happy to oblige.

          If I’m seeing a movie multiple times in the theatre, it is almost exclusively for social reasons. I saw Age of Ultron twice, but only because Drew was in town and I had to see it once with him and a few days earlier with Mark. I remember very specifically that I saw Phantom Menace in theatres SEVEN TIMES because I had to make sure I saw it with all the right people (once with Liz, once with Pete, once with my sister, etc., etc., I don’t know how it gets to 7…). I think it’d be weird to see the same movie with the same people a second time, but getting some new viewing-mates in there makes it a fresh enough experience that I don’t mind the second lap.

        • I see movies multiple times in theaters more often than I’d like to admit. Sometimes it is for social reasons — friends really want to films after I’ve already seen it alone because I couldn’t wait, or different groups of friends all wanna see it — but often enough it’s just because I really want to see a movie and am really hyped up about it.

          I saw Scott Pilgrim in theaters 3 times, Avengers 4 times, Winter Soldier twice, Civil War 3 times, Age of Ultron 3 times too I think, Force Awakens 3 times, and in all those situations there were at least one, but sometimes more, occasions where I went alone because I just really, really liked the movie, and wanted the experience of seeing it on the big screen again.

          I actually saw Scott Pilgrim in theaters by myself two days in a row, and probably would’ve gone every day it was in theaters if I was rich.

        • After the 3rd time, it became meditative. I was no longer seeing the movie, but simply becoming awash in the sights and sounds of Star Wars. That’s a terrible movie, but I’ll never be able to hate it because I’m just so damn comfortable in it.

          Also, I was 16. Maybe I was just excited I had somewhere to drive to that wasn’t school.

        • I need to watch more movies in the theatre multiple times. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy, LEGO Movie, Mad Max, Age of Ultron, Force Awakens and Civil War multiple times (I think I saw World’s End twice, but can’t remember. I wish I saw Scott Pilgrim in the cinemas, but my idiot brother said it was bad), but there are so many things like the Nice Guys that deserved to be seen again in a cinema. But there are so much coming out, that I want to also see the new stuff. Oftentimes, I only rewatch movies int he cinemas because I’m going out with friends. I really wish I had more opportunities to rewatch stuff while it is on the big screen. And I wish I rewatched mroe great stuff. As much as I enjoy superhero movies, movies like the Big Short are the ones I love (though Guardians of the Galaxy, Lego Movie and Mad Max were all in my Top 5 movies of their years).

          I honestly think that the new X-Men is worse than Batman v Superman, as Batman v Superman is at least interesting in how wrong headed it is. Never saw Fantastic Four, as it sounded like it got so cut up and butchered be the execs that it wasn’t even worth seeing on a ‘learn from its mistakes’ level.

        • I finally saw The Big Short, which I liked, but bothered me. I am leery of cinema that is “based on a true story.” I also am leery of stories that confess their lies, because I know how effective that is to hide other lies. I’m leery of stories with an obvious point and also obviously points to the bad guys in the real world and reinforces beliefs I already had AND does all of that behind a story that’s entertaining that makes me laugh and be happy.

          Because all of that isn’t fiction, it’s propaganda. And it’s cool propaganda telling me something I already know, which unfortunately is the WORST propaganda.

          In the end, I left the movie (as much as I could leave a movie sitting on my couch) feeling dirty. I don’t trust people who tell me how right I am, especially when those people are Hollywood.

          I’m not denying the truth of their stories. I get very scared when fiction is presented as fact, and no matter how true some of it is, those little lies are hidden inside, and I’m an egoist that lives in a white tower and I know what I can see through, but I know parts of it I can’t and it affects my beliefs, and fuck that, I don’t like that. I’m cautious in my beliefs and I think I’ve mostly nailed down how to react to ‘real’ fiction, but I’m not convinced the masses can (because I look down on most of the masses from my white tower) and …

          well, in the end, I’d rather see a real documentary or a movie that is fiction and has elves or Maxes or Iron Men or something. Because I liked it a lot, which means it was too effective as what it didn’t advertise itself as, which is propaganda.

        • I would argue a documentary about the same topic would be just as much propaganda as the Big Short. At the end of the day, both a movie and a documentary have been written by writers to express their point of view. Adam McKay made the Big SHort to be an indictment on the entire Financial Industry, and it would have been an indictment regardless of if he made a movie or a documentary. Both are full of ‘little lies’. And honestly, so are your stories about elves and Mad Maxes and Iron Men. I’ve made a point of calling those at often in my discussions, like how the new Captain America book equated white supremacist terrorism with Islamic terrorism, when they actually manifest in very different ways (white terrorism is mass shootings, not a suicide bomber). You should always do your own research, and do everything to make sure you have an informed opinion, instead of trusting a single source.

          But that doesn’t change the fact that the Big Short is exceptionally well done. It powerfully dramatises its point of view, creating an imaginative, powerful exploration of the GFC and actually making a strong attempt to explain to ordinary people at least some of what happened (regardless of the little lies, this is still a movie that goes out of the way to explain what a Credit Default Swap is). It is stuff like that that makes me love the movie, even as I am aware that there is always more to the story

        • Matt,

          I think documentaries have an obligation to show the truth, even if they sometimes don’t and are (always) colored by the creator’s opinions and purpose.

          I think fiction has NO obligation to truth, even fiction that is based on a true story.

          I think fiction can show truths, but they don’t necessarily even need to be what the story is about. I also believe, and I’m probably in a minority here at this blog, that fiction’s first purpose is story, not truth. There are fictional truths, consistencies in the fictional world that must be maintained, and many of them are based on our non-fiction truth (the need to breathe, the inability to fly or teleport, etc.), but just because they are in the fiction doesn’t mean they reflect reality and there can be gross untruths that distort reality that can (and sometimes must, even if distasteful) be present in fiction.

          That was a wordy way of saying that just because a fiction story tells us that they are telling the truth, that doesn’t mean they are, yet the masses believe it. And that alarms me.

          Documentaries tend to at least be first person accounts of events. They might not always be honest (exhibit 1, Michael Moore, who would be so much better of a propaganda peddler if he’d lay off the propaganda a little bit), but I can accept their ‘truths’ being believed by the masses a little bit easier, even if the filmmaker is lying.

          In the end, I liked The Big Short, but will have a hard time with any based on a true story with a clear and advertised message that I already agree with. I don’t trust people who explain obvious truths to me.

          ——–

          Complete related segue. I just went house shopping in a market that is slightly crazy, Portland, OR. If you put up a house for sale in a reasonable neighborhood for a reasonable price, it will sell within a couple of days. The asking price is the bottom of negotiations, not the top (as in any other sane market). yes, that’s true. If a house is offered for $300k, if you offer $290k you will be laughed at and someoen will have probably paid $340 for it. It’s nuts.

          Because of this craziness, you don’t have to be talented, smart, or honest to sell a house here. They sell themselves. We encountered incompetence, stupidity and dishonesty on a scale that was unbelievable while shopping here. It was reminiscent of the half-wit realtors in the movie – however, we also encountered a ton of smart and talented people working through the housing market as well.

          Which is my final point. These halfwits were rampant in the housing boom. If you dove in at the right time, you could get paid and paid a lot. The movie showed that and made sure to show it repeatedly to a gross degree. What they didn’t do was show that while you didn’t *need* to be honest and smart to work in the industry, that was still part of the industry. But the movie didn’t show that, because that didn’t make for good fiction. They showed victims and contrasted them with big business criminals and incompetent real estate bros getting rich, which was a huge part of it, but that wasn’t ALL of it. And they acted like it was, because it made a better fictional story and audiences got to laugh and sneer at the bros in the looking for work lines because that was better movies.

          And I guess I just don’t like that part of ‘based on a true story’. But that’s me. I still liked the movie, I just thought part of it was gross.

        • I think all art, fiction or nonfiction, has an obligation to show the truth. But I don’t think truth is as simple as just facts. It is much more encompassing than that. Truth is about speaking accurately something, whether it is an event, an emotion or a perspective. And when it comes to documentaries, that idea about a truthful perspective is important. As you said, many documentaries, like Michael Moore’s stuff, have very strong perspectives.

          Also, I don’t agree with the fact that you can believe the first person accounts in a documentary. The famous line goes ‘every cut is a lie’ for a reason. It is very easy to select your footage of the masses in such a way to lie about the masses opinions, and it is easy to cut an interview in such a way to change the meaning of a line by removing context. I had a friend doing a film course, who, as an assignment, was given a bunch of B-roll of a politician visiting a school and had to edit it to make it look like the politician was corrupt and being caught doing something suspicious.
          Ultimately, everything you see is in a documentary is filtered through the perspective of the person making the documentary. The documentary has been edited in such a way to present a particular perspective. So any claims to truth in the documentary comes down to the question of ‘how truthful is that perspective’.

          You say you don’t trust people explaining obvious truths to you, so what difference is there when they tell it to you as a movie instead of a documentary. Also, what does the fact that the Big Short isn’t fiction, and is instead adapted from a non fiction book, mean with respect to that? If someone is telling the truth, why does the format the truth is presented in matter? Ultimately, when it comes to truth, isn’t the real important question on whether they are true? That regardless of who is saying it and whether or not it is an ‘obvious truth’, you should put the effort into verifying it? And if it is true, it is true?

          Also, I think you misinterpreted the Florida stuff in the Big Short. Those idiots weren’t Realtors. They were the people who provided the subprime loans. These people’s job descriptions were to sell loans to people who couldn’t afford them. And they were part of an investigation into the subprime mortgages. We can talk about whether or not they were that buffonish, but the scene was about how their was a highly lucrative, risk-free industry based entirely around selling subprime mortgages to people who could never afford them.

        • “reality in fiction”: I don’t believe that fiction must show reality. However, all fiction has some reality in it – we need it as some basis for communicating the story. Each little fact must not be explained: It would be a tough story indeed if we had to redescribe common realities in the fictional world and our world. However, things can be different without being explained – There was a comic reviewed on here a while ago that I hardly remember – it was about war or terrorism or something – and it incorrectly assumed or assigned blame to a group of people. Some had a hard time with that because it wasn’t true. I just take that as a reality of the world I’m reading.

          Also, I creator intent in first person accounts in documentaries. I know how easy it is to abuse editing (watch the current news cycle about the Dem/Rep conventions). However, I believe that it at least offers something more than an actor recreating it based on a fiction writer’s idea of what a real person said and a fiction director and editor’s interpretation of it.

          Last: Yes, realtor wasn’t the right word. However, there is a symbiotic relationship between realtors selling houses, realtors helping people buy houses, and the mortgage companies. Don’t have/know a company to get your mortgage from? Your realtor can help you with that! I was just too lazy to actually type out the exact detailed explanation of it, and even in modern times, mortgage brokers are still… You know, I’ll stop there. I have so many terrible stories about a couple of mortgage brokers (I guess it’s not that hard of a phrase to type…) that you might think I’m biased or a psychopath.

          Honestly, my distaste for “Based on a true story” started with A Beautiful Mind. As a mathematician and statistician and professional gambler and multiple night guest of mental health facilities (multiple times in multiple states) who had to go to court to fight for his right to go against his doctor’s orders and not get ECT and who has more than a passing knowledge of game theory and Nash and his contributions and life, I was disturbed by the portrayals of a LOT in that movie that were accepted as biographical by the masses that were very, very fictional. It was personal and colored my views on other BoaTS (new acronym) movies.

          So yes, I get suspicious when a BoaTS movie uses hyperbolic comedy to show a point that I already knew was true. That’s all.

        • Ah, I see your problem.

          Based on a True Story is something that has been abused and abused by Hollywood as a marketing phrase to draw people’s interest even when the actual story is completely and utterly made up. It is used as an easy phrase to make a movie meaningful.

          However, there are two different types of ‘Based on a True Story’ movies. There are those like A Beautiful Mind, Imitation Game or the Revenant that basically cheat and lie, using Based on a True Story to give their story meaning it doesn’t deserve.

          But there are also things like the Big Short or The People v OJ Simpson that actually are about being true. They aren’t perfect recreations (no level of research would allow that) and there may be some changes (the Big Short changes the names of characters), and some things that aren’t shown (the Big Short doesn’t explore the macroeconomic conditions that led to both the bubble and the belief that it would never collapse, and instead focuses on the fact that Wall Street was blind to the bubble). But they are also about an attempt to reflect what really happened, unlike A Beautiful Mind.

          Yeah, there are a lot of stuff like a Beautiful Mind out there. But if you know how to look, it is usually really obvious to tell the difference (being a biopic is usually a good sign). Leave the scorn to the movies that deserve it

    • Matt, killer take on The Fix there, I really enjoyed that. Spot-on.

      As for Wytches, I’ve seen Snyder mention several times on his twitter that a second arc is in the works, I guess they’re just taking their time. They’re probably not soliciting until the entire arc is completed — I know a few other Image books (Jay Faerber’s Copperhead) are doing the same thing.

  2. Only one to seriously talk about this week. Dreaming Eagles, part 6 of 6, by Garth Ennis. It’s a simple construct: A black father in 1966 talks to his son about the dangers of protesting racism. The backdrop of the story is that dad was part of the Tuskegee Airmen. This book feels prescient considering the events of the past week.

    Pick up the trade when it comes out (I have no idea how Aftershock is doing trades, if it will be out in the next week or two like Image or if it will be out in the next decade, like DC). It’s going to easily be in my top 10 series this year. Garth Ennis is known for his over the top stylings in The Boys and Preacher (and even The Punisher), but he’s one of the best at WW2 historical fiction.

  3. Did the first arc of The Fix end with issue 4? I bought the first three issues and dropped it (the idea of bad people doing bad things to other bad people isn’t that appealing to me, even when well done), but if four is the end (I see there is a 2 month haitus until issue 5) of this arc, I might get it to complete the arc and then trade wait. (or ignore)

    • I don’t really feel like the Fix HAS arcs. Like, there’s the ongoing story of using Pretzels to slip drugs past customs for Joshua, but Spencer and Lieber are taking their time getting there. Issue 1 introduce the premise and issue 2 set up some of the mechanics of getting our character to Pretzels, but Issues 3 and 4 have been much more episodic — 3 was a standalone story that, for now, has nothing to do with the Pretzels plot (likely changing eventually), and issue 4 moved that plot forward a bit, but was mostly a character study on Mac.

      I guess what I’m saying is, this isn’t the book I’d look to for clean arcs or whatever. I didn’t know there was a hiatus coming up, but it probably has more to do with one of the creators being behind on deadlines. The end of this issue doesn’t feel like a natural resting place.

  4. Actually, one other comic of note this week.

    Peanuts: Friends Forever 2016 Special. The first two stories were fine, Peppermint Patty fighting the dress code at school (which actually was pretty good), and a mediocre story about Sally giving a report on why reading is important. But the last story, the bulk of the oversized comic, was about the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm being scheduled to be demolished and replaced by the Daisy Hill Shopping Mall and Convention Center. As I’m sure you know, Daisy Hill Puppy Farm is where Charlie Brown adopted Snoopy. The whole story was about Snoopy trying to stop the development (with Charlie Brown’s help) and most people being interested in whether the mall would have good frozen yogurt. Even all of Snoopy’s brothers and sisters are too busy to help. So Charlie Brown and Snoopy go to the old abandoned puppy farm to say good bye to find out that they were too late.

    “You stupid people! You’re parking on my memories!” is a pretty great line from a Snoopy comic. The conclusion of Charlie Brown and Snoopy sitting on a hill sharing a frozen yogurt from the mall is. . . I don’t know, it was just a really nice story that was funny and clever and really well constructed. Even weirder (to me) was the first two stories were reprints of old Charles Schulz stories, while the Daisy Hill story was by Jason Cooper, a writer for Peanuts Studio.

    I tried reading some new Donald Duck and Disney comics that started coming out in the past couple of years. I wasn’t a fan at all, they felt really flat to me. I’m glad that Peanuts Studio is putting out quality stuff.

    (oh, and read Dreaming Eagles. Seriously)

  5. You know, this week was the close of the 26th Walking Dead arc, and I loved it. This story with Negan is fucked up and cool and it’s kind of like what reading Loki *should* feel like.

  6. I just realised I forgot about Sheriff of Babylon. I just keep forgetting about it because there is no other DC book I’m interested in. Which is a shame, as Tom King is still amazing

    The latest issue is a fantastic example of twisting what the reader thinks, built upon the understanding that at the end of the day, everyone good and everyone evil in Iraq share a home in Iraq. And King uses this simple truth to make the reader squirm. THere is a fantastic sequence – a sequence that almost looks like Omega Men with its 9 panel grid, where you see a single character on a phone for 4 pages. Every panel of the page is the same character’s face as she is on the phone. But it is a visual marvel because of just how expressive the faces are as a dialogue, in that truly amazing way, forces you to squirm and second guess. King’s work has always been visually inventive, due to great artistic collaborations, but I always love how subtle they are in Sheriff. So good, and I need to make sure I don’t forget about this book

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