Wonder Woman 21

Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Wonder Woman 21, originally released April 26th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: Wonder Woman 21 is a showcase for the whole of Wonder Woman — from her physical strength to her compassion for those in need — that continues Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, and company’s holistic rehabilitation of the character. And after Diana has taken the backseat in the past few even-numbered issues, it feels appropriate to have her front-and-center as the narrative loop begins to close. Continue reading

The Mighty Thor 18

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing The Mighty Thor 18, originally released April 26th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.

Anton Chekov

Drew: In general, audiences are more consciously concerned with what happens in a story than how the story is told. That is, if you ask someone to describe their favorite movie or book, you’re more likely to get a plot summary than a thoughtful description of style. That’s not to say style doesn’t contribute to their appreciation of the work, just that it does so in ways that they may not be actively aware of. As someone who values considered analysis of art, this phenomenon is nothing short of tragic, which is why I so value narratives that aim to utterly thwart any emphasis on plotting. That’s exactly what Jason Arron and Russell Dauterman give us in The Mighty Thor 18, using every opportunity to spoil the would-be reveal of its villain.

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Super Sons 3

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Super Sons 3, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Super Sons 3 picks up where we last left our boy wonders: Robin vs. Superman and Superboy vs. Batman. The pair quickly discover that they are not fighting their superdads, but instead robot duplicates. Despite their best efforts and hero poses, they prove unsuccessful in taking down their robodads without the help of Sara Duffy — you know, of the short-lived Super Duffys. After the events of Justice League’s “The Amazo Virus,” the Duffys were one of the three percent of the population that kept their superpowers. Following a brief stint of an Incredibles-esque family super team, Sara’s brother Reggie aka “Kid Amazo” went nuts and made his family the hostages we saw in previous issues of Super Sons. Continue reading

Sex Criminals 18

Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Sex Criminals 18, originally released April 19, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

There is no intimacy without vulnerability.

Brené Brown

Ryan: I try to be a very honest person. I’m essentially George Washington with the cherry tree. Though, of course, I have to caveat that with admitting that I know the cherry tree thing is a myth. Sometimes facts are the enemies of fun. While I am truthful and people in my life find that both helpful and annoying, there is a deeper truth. I started this paragraph intending to say something and we are now at about seventy seven words, so I’ll come out with it. Vulnerability is something I struggle with every day. It’s not enough to refrain from lies, be nice to people, make sure that they are okay and carry on. You aren’t really present in a relationship until you are being truly honest about what you need, sharing your moments of shame, and peeling back the surface to reveal the parts of yourself that you aren’t sure will be accepted. In Sex Criminals 18, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky explore the struggle to be emotionally honest.

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Archie 19

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Archie 19, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: I’m not really sure how to classify Jughead as a character. He’s like some kind of invincible, infallible spirit, far enough removed from the drama to not be overwhelmed by it, but still incredibly perceptive. I’d be tempted to call it a narrative cheat, but he stands as a necessary foil to Archie’s aching sincerity. It turns out that Jughead’s sprightly insights can cut through more than just the complicated knots of teenage romance. Archie 19 finds Veronica in need of the same kind of detached, magical advice, but this time to free herself from machinations of her own father. And in so doing, Juggy might just open himself up to feel something of his own. Continue reading

World Reader 1

Today, Ryan D and Michael are discussing World Reader 1, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: The history of storytelling has always fascinated me. The beginnings are a bit fuzzy, of course, because people told stories well before writing developed, but I think of those people charged with telling the stories gathering crowds around fires, reciting tales to make the darkness just a bit more bearable and less scary. Bards, shapers, soothsayers, priests of all kinds, judges, and rulers used stories to specific ends, or to keep a finger on the proud pulse of their specific peoples’ traditions. Nowadays, when I’m struggling to learn a two-minute monologue, I think of those storytellers who used dramatic conventions like stock epithet and repetition to recall epic tales which took days to tell. The tradition of the storyteller, thus places a great burden on the one who takes up the mantle. Smudge a detail and an entire history is skewed, forget a line and a whole era of tradition could be lost. World Reader 1 deals with this heavy sentence which the storyteller bears, and in itself begins telling a very tightly composed story. Continue reading

Silk 19

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Silk 19, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: Often, when we talk about the qualities of a hero, the conversation revolves around their bravery in the face of danger.  Silk has taken the opposite road, however. Rather than an exploration of what makes Cindy Moon brave, the series has focused on what makes her afraid. In doing so, the series has tended to focus more on Cindy’s mental state instead of her heroics. Now, at the end of its run, it is apparent Silk stands unique among superhero comics because it has dared to focus on Cindy’s fear rather than her bravery. That choice matters in the final issue, and serves to remind us that good story telling, more than anything else, needs great character development. Continue reading

Batman 21

Alternating Currents: Batman 21, Drew and Mark

Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Batman 21, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: I was late getting into comics, so by the time I first read Watchmen, its cynical tone and psychologically nuanced characters weren’t the subversive breath of fresh air they were in 1986. Indeed, in the wake of Watchmen‘s success, publishers pumped out plenty of imitators over the past 30 years, but mostly by replicating the tone and approach to characters (honestly, I’ve read so many deconstructions of superheroes at this point, I’m not sure I have any ideas about them left to deconstruct). For this reason, the tone and characters of Watchmen have always struck me as well-done, but largely unremarkable — and before you sound off in the comments, I can assure you I understand how ahistorical this perspective is, but it’s how I feel. But I still love Watchmen deeply because of its formal perfection. While its idiosyncratic aesthetic may make declaring “perfection” highly subjective (or at least qualifies it with some serious “apples and oranges” hedging), I’m still in awe of its disciplined layouts, masterful pacing, and rich details. Continue reading

Secret Empire 0

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Secret Empire 0, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: It can be incredibly dangerous to put too much faith in one person, especially if it means neglecting other connections and relationships. While this can be true on a personal level, it’s far more important to remember on a political level, where not even the most well-meaning politician can be trusted with too much power — not even Captain America himself. Continue reading

Black Panther & The Crew 1

Today, Spencer and Ryan D. are discussing Black Panther & The Crew 1, originally released April 12th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Creating any sort of real societal change can be next to impossible, not only because of the difficulty of enacting new laws or changing old ones, but because of how difficult it can be to convince people of the need for change at all. We all have our opinions and confirmation biases, and many people simply don’t want to believe they’re wrong, even when faced with compelling, truthful evidence. Such is the case for Misty Knight, who may be a bit too devoted to her fellow police to understand the damage they’re causing. Continue reading