Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 7


Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 7, originally released October 26th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Have you ever gotten into an argument with a long-time friend? With that much history between you, it’s far too easy for whatever sparked that particular conflict to fall to the wayside as your argument instead becomes about every slight the two of you have ever inflicted upon each other. That’s exactly what happens in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 7. Hal and Sinestro’s grand battle for control of the universe is more of a grudge match between these former friends and rivals; the actual stakes matter less to Hal and Sinestro than themselves finally proving their methods and emotion of choice superior to the other’s. Continue reading

The Vision 12


Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Vision 12, originally released October 26th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: I run payroll at the office I work in. No accounting experience, trusted with cutting paychecks for a dozen employees. I was intimidated at first — that’s the livelihood of my friends and co-workers I’m handling — but I was soon numbed by the inevitable monotony of the task. Something recently kicked me out of that stupor: a co-worker got married, and so the rate at which we withheld income tax changed. I’d been used to cutting this check for about the same amount twice a month, so I noticed that it looked like she was suddenly bringing home about 7% more than she had been before she got married. As a non-married dude in a committed relationship, I started to jealously ask “what the fuck?” The fuck, it turns out, is that the US government subsidizes marriage. I had always known there were tax benefits to getting married, but I’d never internalized what that really means. It means that marriage, and by extension family, are so integral to the platonic ideal of the American experience that the government is morally obligated financially encourage it. The Vision has always been about the fallacy of the domestic American dream, and issue 12 brings that fallacy back to the relationship from which that fantasy stems: husband and wife.

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Superman 9


Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Superman 9, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Issues 8 and 9 of Superman read like an entire season of LOST. I’m only partially saying that because the action takes place on a mysterious, temporally displaced, impossible-to-escape island populated by monsters. The comparison is actually more apt in the way both LOST and Superman treat their central mysteries. By the end of issue 9, Clark and Jon’s adventure on the island may appear to be over, but readers are left with a host of lingering questions. In lieu of answers, storytellers Patrick Gleason and Peter Tomasi revel in the charming and illuminating details of the mystery itself, letting the mysterious, the symbolic, and the evocative beats speak for themselves. Continue reading

The Mighty Thor 12


Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing The Mighty Thor 12, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: Even though it’s easy to recognize a fairy tale or myth, it’s hard to explain what sets them apart and makes them so recognizable compared to other forms of storytelling. True, there are the usual suspects that jump out to tell us that what makes a story a myth is a moral, an explanation of how things came to be, or supernatural creatures. More than these, however, there’s something about the structure of a myth or fairy tale that makes it instantly recognizable as such, something intrinsic and deep down that on some level defies explanation. So, even though it’s hard to say exactly what makes these stories work the way they do, they simply cannot be misunderstood for anything else. And in just this way, there’s no denying that The Mighty Thor 12 is a myth in all the best ways possible.

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Dark Knight III: The Master Race 6


Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Dark Knight III: The Master Race 6, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: What do you think of when you hear the word “sequel”? Do you imagine a story that deepens the themes established in the original (a la The Dark Knight or The Godfather Part II) or do you imagine a story that returns to the well more out of obligation than any artistic impetus (a la The Dark Knight Rises or The Godfather Part III)? Do you imagine a continuation of the original narrative, taking the characters in bold new directions, or do you imagine a barely disguised repetition of the original narrative, taking the characters in safe, predictable directions? While I try to keep an open mind, I’ve been around the block enough times to recognize that most sequels tend to rely heavily on nostalgia, carefully recreating situations to replicate the thrills of the original. Unfortunately, that phenomenon means even my disappointment in The Dark Knight III: The Master Race 6 all too familiar. Continue reading

Hadrian’s Wall 2


Today, Spencer and Ryan D. are discussing Hadrian’s Wall 2, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.


Spencer: When discussing the first issue of Hadrian’s Wall, we were pleased to report that the series was more about the fallout of Simon and Annabelle’s former relationship than about sci-fi tropes, or even the actual murder mystery. With Simon’s very specific scenario now thoroughly established, though, Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis are free to use issue two to dive more into the mystery, and specifically, into introducing the list of suspects. Even in the middle of all this very necessary groundwork, though, the creative team never loses sight of Simon, his past, or what makes him tick. Continue reading

Mockingbird 8

Today, Ryan M. and Spencer are discussing Mockingbird 8, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan M.: When the cover of an issue includes the eponymous heroine wearing an “Ask me about my feminist agenda” t-shirt, you have no choice but to examine the work therein with a feminist lens. I will admit that going into the issue, I expected it to contend with Bobbi’s reactions to her rapist stalker and how she deals with being a trauma survivor, possibly with irreverent jokes about corgis and effortless flirting with Hunter. Instead Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk deliver those corgi jokes and Hunter-flirting as they reveal the feeble heart of the patriarchy and use the Phantom Rider to skewer it.

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Infamous Iron Man 1

Alternating Currents: Infamous Iron Man 1, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Infamous Iron Man 1, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: I tend not to sweat spoilers — frankly, the notion that a story could be “spoiled” by knowing the plot ahead of time so disregards the importance of every other aspect of storytelling that I believe it misses the point of stories entirely. BUT, I do get how annoying it is to have the ending of a story blurted out when I wasn’t suspecting it. I may not mind clicking on articles I know contain spoilers, but I’d at least like to know what narratives those spoilers pertain to. Which is why Infamous Iron Man 1 seems to warrant a special spoiler warning: one for readers of Civil War II. Certain events in this issue fall out directly from events of Civil War II that haven’t happened yet, making it all but impossible to talk about the issue without spoilers. Consider yourself warned. Continue reading

Green Lanterns 9


Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Green Lanterns 9, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Is today gonna be the second day in a row I write about what makes a good supervillain? I think today’s gonna be the second day in a row I write about what makes a good supervillain. Green Lanterns 9 is true to its name in that it features multiple wielders of Willpower, but mainly it focuses on a man who is posed to be Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz’s new foe. Continue reading

Kill Or Be Killed 3


Today, Drew and Ryan D. are discussing Kill Or Be Killed 3, originally released October 12th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: Narrative modes in comics are a particular fascination of mine, as the visual “narrator” isn’t necessarily tied to any of the modes we understand in prose — indeed, while comics may have an explicit narrator in the text, the visual storytelling isn’t necessarily tied to the perspective of that narrator. Film may be a better analogue, because the visual storytelling can similarly be divorced from, say, voiceover narration, but I’d argue that such explicit narration is FAR more common in comics than film. Point is: narrative modes are complicated in comics, yet are rarely remarked upon. Unless, of course, we’re talking about a comic by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, in which case, I struggle to talk about anything but the narration. I’ve never really been able to put my finger on why their use of narration draws my attention in this way, but Kill Or Be Killed 3 reveals that the idiosyncrasy may be more with their visual narration than their textual one. Continue reading