Nightwing 13

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Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Nightwing 13, originally released January 18th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: There’s a moment in Nightwing 13 that clearly encapsulates the little, niggling issues in this current arc of Tim Seeley and Marcus To’s Nightwing that prevent me from really embracing the book like I want to. It’s a small moment, to be sure, and it’s easy to gloss over thanks to the stronger WHAM-BAM-BOOM elements in the issue. But the devil is in the details, and the difference between a good book and a great book is usually mere inches. Continue reading

Invincible Iron Man 3

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Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Invincible Iron Man 3, originally released January 18th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: Brian Michael Bendis is a polarizing figure in comics. I know plenty of people who consider him to be one of the best writers working today, but I know just as many who find his writing to be aimless and self-indulgent. I tend to think that he’s a very good writer with some very bad habits — I think he writes charming dialogue, but tends to write too much of it, for example — but I had been impressed at how well Bendis had curbed those habits in Invincible Iron Man, keeping scenes tight and efficient, and staying very close to the perspective of his protagonist, Riri Williams. That last piece really played to Bendis’ strengths, keeping the focus on his charming and well-written lead, avoiding the kind of wandering perspective that so often bogs his narratives down. Unfortunately, issue 3 loses some of that momentum, opening with a corporate power play between characters Riri has never met. Continue reading

Kill Or Be Killed 5

kill-or-be-killed-5Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Kill Or Be Killed 5, originally released January 18th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

A bad workman always blames his tools.

Traditional

Drew: People don’t like to accept responsibility for their failures. If there’s anything else that can take the blame, it probably will. Of course, there’s always something that can take the blame — even absent tools, we can blame vague forces like “office politics” for holding us back. Indeed, when there are no more tangible forces to pin our failures on, we’ll will sooner make up concepts like fate than hold ourselves accountable. As with any tool blaming, that equation is flipped when things are going well — our successes aren’t the result of outside forces or inanimate objects, but our own effort and ingenuity. Taken to the extreme, that illusion can utterly disorient our ability to judge our own actions; if we can effectively do no wrong the very notion of “wrong” loses all meaning. This is the precipice Dylan finds himself on in Kill Or Be Killed 5, as he attempts to reconcile his actions with his own sense of morality. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 6

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Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 6, originally released January 18th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: It must be a pretty good time for creative types who were born in the late 70s and early 80s. While many of us bemoan yet another Transformers movie, those who grew up watching the original cartoon and who also ended up working on the set have to be pretty jazzed. After all, how often do people actually get to publish publish stories about the icons and toys they grew up with? The chance to work on a such a series must be exhilarating and this is apparent in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 6, when artist and writer Nick Pittara and John Lees write a story that could just as easily been written by professional comic book artists or a kid playing with their action figures at home.

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Daredevil 15

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Today, Ryan D. and Michael are discussing Daredevil 15, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: Sometimes I forget a simple fact about Matt Murdock: he is a tricky dude. Seeing as he does not have quite as spectacular of a power set as many of our better-known Marvel heroes, Murdock relies a great deal on trickery and misdirection to best many of his foes. Off the top of my head, I recall times when he has faked his own and Foggy’s death, had Danny Rand dress up as Daredevil to help keep his own identity secret, become the Kingpin and leader of the Hand, and even become a drifter in Upstate New York. Matt has something new up his sleeve in the new arc of Charles Soule’s Daredevil, featuring a slightly different tone and art than the recent arcs of this run. The question is: did the Man without Fear bite off more than he can chew with this scheme? Continue reading

Jughead 12

Today, Ryan M. and Spencer are discussing Jughead 12, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan M: Cliques get a bad rap. The term itself conjures groups of snotty teens keeping out the riffraff and wearing coordinated charm bracelets. But, really, a clique is just a group of friends with shared interests that hang out consistently. The chemistry of clique is essential. I can think of a few times that a friend group went through a few permutations before settling into a regular crew or times that I floated in and out of a group’s orbit without getting pulled in. Even when a friend group (see how concise and useful the word clique is?) is steady and cemented, you can still wonder why it hangs together at all. Ryan North explores the group dynamics of the Archie gang in Jughead 12 by focusing on the two characters least likely to get along: Jughead and Reggie. Continue reading

Moonshine 4

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Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Moonshine 4, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d?”

Alexander Pope, “Eloisa to Abelard”

Patrick: Context is an important part of the modern conception of identity. When you meet someone, you ask what they do, where they’re from, who their family is. You’re not so much asking them to look within in themselves for definition, but outward to the relationships and roles shape them. But that is a frustratingly limited definition of identity, and one that leaves the identifier out of the equation entirely. Pope’s poem quoted above meditates on the serenity granted to the person that is courageous enough to both forget and be forgotten by the outside world. Only stripped of context can we ever hope to discover who our character truly is. That’s the situation that Lou Pirlo finds himself in — his stuttering past holding him back from realizing his true potential. What he sees as “holes” waiting to be filled are actually blissfully empty memories. Continue reading

Gotham Academy: Second Semester 5

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Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Gotham Academy: Second Semester 5, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: Recently, a friend suggested I watch the Sci-Fi series The Magicians. Like Gotham Academy, it’s about a group of students at a strange school who must deal with the mysterious and dangerous quirks of their institution. As I watched the first two episodes, because that was all I could stomach, it was surprising how little the show did to introduce me to its main characters, let alone make me sympathize with them. Gotham Academy, on the other hand, goes to great lengths to develop its characters because, at heart, that is the engine that makes the series go. But in Second Semester 5, this trademark character development goes out the window and with it so does the magic of the series, making it look more like The Magicians than any good comic would want.

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Star Wars: Poe Dameron 10

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Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Star Wars: Poe Dameron 10, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Michael: In the beginning there was Star Wars and it was good. Then came The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and eventually what would be known as “The Expanded Universe.” The original Star Wars films are classic stories of good vs. evil that served as the groundwork for the countless novels, comic books and video games that The Expanded Universe built on. Marvel has made it very clear that EU no longer exists within their Star Wars realm. But the current Poe Dameron arc “The Gathering Storm” has a lot of that EU spirit – specifically in the series’ antagonist, Agent Terex. Continue reading

Deadpool 24

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Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 24, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Spencer: What lengths would you go to to save your family? What sacrifices and compromises would you be willing to make? That’s a question we quite often ask of our heroes (comic book or otherwise), but that question usually implies that a character has some sort of ethics, values, or morals they’d have to struggle about breaking or abandoning in the first place. Deadpool doesn’t really have any of those things, though; what he has to give up to save his family is something far different, but just as important to him. Continue reading