Betty & Veronica 1

betty and veronica 1

Today, Patrick and Ryan M. are discussing Betty & Veronica 1, originally released July 20th, 2016.

“Whoever wins, we lose.”

Tagline, Alien Vs. Predator

Patrick: There’s something comforting about the premise of a horror movie mash-up. Like, what the hell else would you expect when you put Freddie and Jason in the same room? They’re gonna try to kill each other, duh. Same deal with the Alien and the Predator. They fight and die and it’s awesome. Until, inevitably, it isn’t. At some point, the kids are going to team up with Jason or a Predator is going to befriend a scientist or something dumb like that. As long as the monsters are true to themselves, any “Versus” scenario can be a ton of fun. Adam Hughes’ Betty & Veronica is a “Versus” story in everything but name, so any assessment of the first issue comes down to the question: does he stay true to the fundamental nature of his monsters? Depends on what you think that nature is. Continue reading

Vision 9

vision 9

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Vision 9, originally released July 13, 2016.

Patrick: Last month, Ryan lead off her discussion with the weird relationships uncles have with their families. Uncles have a way of bringing the outside world in to an insular little unit. I’m an uncle myself, and I know that when I walk into my sister’s house, she and her husband and their two children are going to be exposed to whatever weirdness I might inject into their routine. They all tolerate (or celebrate, depending on how open they’re feeling) my weirdness precisely because we’re family. But I always harbor a secret fear that my uncle-y eccentricities will reveal themselves to be uncle-y weaknesses in the eyes of a completely put-together family. Of course, I’m projecting. Just because there’s a pair of kids and two well-employed parents doesn’t mean that something isn’t lacking. But it’s hard not to view your own shortcomings as catastrophic in the face of such idyllic perfection. Vision 9 exposes Victor’s biggest uncle-y weaknesses – he’s a drifter and an addict and spent his whole life fighting. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 2

wonder woman 2

Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman 2, originally released July 13, 2016 

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Michael: Wonder Woman was a unique entry of The New 52 and the same can be said of the Wonder Woman of DC Rebirth. After a “bad breakup” Greg Rucka returns to DC fueled by his passion for everyone’s favorite Amazon. In a lot of ways, Rucka is having his cake and eating it too. Continue reading

Moon Knight 4

moon knight 4

Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Moon Knight 4, originally released July 6, 2016 

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Spencer: In a solo superhero title, it’s usually a given that the book will focus on the title character. They generally drive the action, and thanks to internal monologues, we often know what they’re thinking as well. In many ways, the audience views the story through that title character’s point of view, but in Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood, and Jordie Bellaire’s Moon Knight, that statement is far more literal — we see the world just as Moon Knight himself sees it, and like our Mr. Knight, we have no way of telling what’s real and what isn’t, nor any way to control how we perceive this world. Just as the creative team dictates the reader’s experience, the people around Marc Spektor seem to have complete control of the world he inhabits, and that goes for friend and foe alike. Continue reading

Spider-Man/Deadpool 6

Today, Ryan and Patrick are discussing Spider-Man/Deadpool 6, originally released June 29, 2016 

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Ryan: Meta-narratives come in varying levels of sophistication. On one end of the spectrum is the simple cultural reference. With the tact of a name-drop, a creator can acknowledge that she is aware of and potentially influenced by other pieces of art. The next step up in complexity involves a character being aware of art and having opinions that directly reflect back upon the source work. This character can directly address the form of his own story or invite the audience to have a relationship with the work that mirrors a character’s. When the fourth wall has begun to break down, a creator can be even more explicit with commentary. A character like Deadpool can act as a mouthpiece because his self-awareness lends itself toward dark humor at the expense of the tropes of his world. In Spider-Man Deadpool 6, Scott Aukerman exploits Deadpool’s meta tendencies and ends up with more meta than narrative.

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Dark Knight III: The Master Race 5

dark knight 5

Today, Mark and Ryan are discussing Dark Knight III: The Master Race 5, originally released June 29th, 2016.

Mark: Be careful what you wish for.

When Dark Knight III was initially announced—with the subtitle The Master Race, for God’s sake—I feared the worst. Al-Qaeda’s terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 pushed Frank Miller over the edge and into a world of hate. I don’t fault anyone who lived through the mindless death and destruction in New York City for being affected by it, but Miller became unhinged, his work borderline unreadable. Lows seldom get lower than 2011’s Holy Terror. Still, The Dark Knight is a name that’ll sell, and DC hasn’t exactly been lighting up the charts, so a resurrection of Miller’s most famous book was inevitable. My hope at the time of the announcement was that having trusted DC talent Brian Azzarello attached to the project as co-author would perhaps temper some of Miller’s more…flamboyant flourishes.

Now, five issues into Dark Knight III, I find myself wishing for a bit more of that Frank Miller lunacy. Continue reading

Summer Hours

summer hours

Bart: Oh man, I’m gonna miss the whole summer.

Homer: Don’t worry boy, when you get a job — like me — you’ll miss every summer.

The thing about summer is that you can never really “miss” it. Summer can only ever pop up as another thing that demands your time and attention. The Retcon Punchers are a busy lot – we act, we play music, we write, we go to school, we travel, we have full-time jobs… oh and we also write in-depth conversations about comics books (but you already knew that last part). Throw in an extra BBQ or a trip to the beach, and the week is practically bursting! In order to make way for a Summer which refuses to be missed, we’ll be cutting back to “Summer Hours” here on the site. Continue reading

Archie 9

Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Archie 9, originally released June 22nd, 2016.

Ryan: This last week, I helped my mother clean out her garage. To be fair, most of my help came in the form of going through boxes of my childhood things and deciding what was to go to Goodwill. There was an Archie Comics digest in almost every box. At this point, I’ve probably read more pages of Archie than any other book. I also found a Burger King Toy with Veronica in a convertible and my Gumby-style Betty doll. There was no Archie figurine in my things. That’s for a simple reason; I think he’s kind of a jerk. It’s not that he’s a bad guy, but he has never been my favorite. I love the rivalry/friendship between Betty and Veronica, but the love triangle element was never that interesting to me. Mainly because his unwillingness to choose between Betty and Veronica made him a compassion-free cad and turned them into doormats. Mark Waid and Veronica Fish present my favorite version of Archie, because they treat him and every other character in the story with empathy and humanity. In Archie 9, both the central conflict and the love triangle develop in a world where everyone is doing their best and there are no villains. Continue reading

Sam Wilson: Captain America 10

capt america sam wilson 10Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Sam Wilson: Captain America 10, originally released June 22nd, 2016.

Spencer: People have certain aspects of themselves that bind them together into larger groups. Some of those qualities we choose for ourselves — our hobbies, religion, who we marry — but others we have no choice in. Our family, race and nationality, and sexuality bind us to like individuals. That doesn’t mean every member of, say, the same religion or race are alike, nor that they’re all friends, nor that they’ll even agree on anything. What it does mean is that they’ve all got one thing in common that no other group understands, and that makes them part of a community. In Sam Wilson: Captain America 10, writer Nick Spencer explores Sam Wilson and James Rhodes’ community, mining unexpected riches from the concept.

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The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw 11

autumnlands 11

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw 11, originally released June 22nd, 2016.

Patrick: Writer Kurt Busiek is one of the strongest world-builders working in comics today. Astro City weaves so much lore, both borrowed and invented, into its narratives that the series feels like a meditation on decades of character — and publisher — history. That amount of history (implied or otherwise) is sort of part ‘n’ parcel with the genre; superhero comics are increasingly reliant on a history shared by the readers, the creators, and the characters. There’s a slightly different approach in the fantasy genre, and worlds like Middle Earth and Westeros have evident history, even if it’s impossible for us to seek out back-issues showing it. The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw takes kind of a third track, implying a great history while also relying on the reader’s assumptions about genre and mythology to make us fill in the gaps, slowly and uncertainly, on our own. Continue reading