The Unworthy Thor 5

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing The Unworthy Thor 5, originally released March 22nd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: Over two years ago the Odinson lost his most powerful asset and was deemed unworthy to wield Mjolnir. The circumstances that made the Odinson shamed in the eyes of his hammer were shrouded in mystery. The only thing readers knew was that, as he lay dying on the moon, Nick Fury whispered something into Thor’s ear which changed everything. What those words were have been debated across the fandom but now the patience of Thor fans has been rewarded. In the fifth issue of the Unworthy Thor, we learn what makes the Odinson undeserving of the universe’s most powerful mallet, but is the reason given worthy or unworthy in the eyes of the reader? Continue reading

Deadpool the Duck 5

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Deadpool the Duck 5, originally released March 15, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

“Batman’s superpower is that he always wins.”

-Comic Professional, Traditional

Patrick: At this point, it might be difficult to trace this sentiment back to a singular source. So many creators and fans and critics have cited this as one of the defining characteristics of Batman. Whether by preparedness or wealth or training or his friends or sheer luck, Batman always wins. Leave it to Howard the Duck to present the antithesis of kind of magical thinking. Howard may, in fact, be the cynical scribe’s Batman, and his cheeky superpower is that he always loses. As Howard the Duck 5 clearly illustrates, nothing can stand in his way — not even victory. He’s always destined to lose. Continue reading

Injection 11

Alternating Currents: Injection 11, Ryan D. and Drew

Today, Ryan D. and Drew are discussing Injection 11, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: Returning after the Viv-centric Van Der Zee mystery arc, the inciting incident in Injection 11 — the discovery of a ring of stones in Cornwall featuring a flensed corpse at the center — is one of the seven unusual world events which Viv learned of at the end of issue ten, all of which sport the Injection’s dirty, complicated fingerprints. The last arc culminated with a large, almost full-cast denouement, and writer Warren Ellis focuses the start of this tale with the spotlight on the Irish lass and tech genius Brigid Roth. While I miss the rest of the team already — we’ve only seen Maria Kilbride via video chat and heard passing reference to Cunning Man/Breaker of Britain, Robert Morel — I think that the isolation of this chapter might play as a valuable counterpoint to the last’s ensemble sleuthiness. Continue reading

American Gods 1

Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing American Gods 1, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Shelby: I love the power of pagan mythology. The magics of these stories seem more raw, more chaotic, more basely elemental than what you find in newer, monotheistic religions: like a no-holds-barred Old Testament. And I’m not even talking Greek and Roman pantheons, here; I’m talking ancient Egypt, Norse, Slavic. This is the unfiltered magic that shapes the earth, sea, and skies around us. This is the kind of mystic power Neil Gaiman taps into in his novel American Gods; Gaiman imagines an America populated with these ancient beings, brought here by our immigrant forefathers and forgotten, left to fend for themselves as the world changes around them. I’m sure it will come as no great surprise to you, gentle readers, that I am a big, big fan of this book (and all things Gaiman), and am already enjoying the comic book adaptation with writer P. Craig Russell and artist Scott Hampton. Some NSFW images to follow, so consider yourselves warned.  Continue reading

Green Arrow 19

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Green Arrow 19, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Putting aside your differences and working together towards a common goal is such a simple idea to grasp, but not always as easy to enact. As human beings, we are complicated and fragile things and easily allow our emotions to stand in the way of progress. Sometimes it helps to have a third party tell us to get our heads out of our asses and just do the work. Continue reading

Archie 18

Today, Taylor and Ryan M. are discussing Archie 18, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: There is an art to making conversation. If you deny this then you clearly have never tried to talk to me over the phone. When I attempt a conversation over the ol’ horn I feel like one of those poor dogs forced into booties. It feels unnatural and stilted and it’s not uncommon to endure long, awkward periods of silence. In person I’m better, but still not great, so I’ve come to appreciate those people who can make conversation. My experiences have taught me that talking truly is an art form where flow is supremely important. The same can be said for comics, where conversations and narratives alike need to flow easily. Archie 18 is a lesson on the importance of conversational and narrative flow, just perhaps not in the way it intended.

Continue reading

Green Lanterns 19

Alternating Currents: Green Lanterns 19, Drew and Mark

Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Green Lanterns 19, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

What do you do?

Traditional

Drew: I know a few people who love answering this question, but the majority of my acquaintances hate it — they resent the implication that they’ll be defined by whatever it is they do to pay their rent. I suspect (or hope, anyway) that those attitudes might change as we settle into more satisfying careers, but for many young people, their job is just a responsibility they take on to facilitate the rest of their lives. The odd thing about responsibility, though, is that it has a way of giving us tunnel vision, focusing all our energy on the responsibility rather than the reason we take it on in the first place. It’s the classic modern tragedy (or O. Henry short story, depending on how extreme the sacrifice), where the salaryman sacrifices the life he wants in order to afford that life. Something similar is at work in Green Lanterns 19, as both our heroes and our villain grapple with the responsibilities that have reshaped their lives. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 25

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 25, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Spencer: As Aunt May herself points out this week, Peter Parker’s always been a busy guy. Add running a major international company to his already impressive pile of responsibilities and it’s almost guaranteed that something will start to give. The massive Amazing Spider-Man 25 digs into that dilemma from all angles, reminding readers of every task Peter’s got on his plate and what’s at risk if he fails at any one of them. It’s an almost overwhelming issue, a trait that effectively puts readers in Peter’s overstressed shoes. Continue reading

Silver Surfer 9

Alternating Currents: Silver Surfer 9, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Silver Surfer 9, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: In this day and age, episodic storytelling isn’t particularly well-respected — particularly when the episodes might follow some kind of prescribed formula — but I think there’s a lot more value in formula than we tend to give credit. For one, long-gestating stories or deep character growth might not be the point of every story; sometimes you just want to see what new shenanigans Lucille Ball gets up to this week. But I think the bigger virtue of those episodic formulas is that they reflect the cycles in our everyday lives. Sure, audiences may not arrest a new criminal or annoy their spouse or teach an important life lesson to their kids every week, but the patterns are familiar enough (and cyclical enough) to reflect their lived experiences. I don’t mean to suggest that serialized stories can’t achieve this (honestly, I can’t think of a single example that doesn’t sit somewhere in between the abstract extremes of “episodic” and “serialized”), just that there are virtues to episodic storytelling that are often overlooked. Case in point: the formula of Silver Surfer 9 is undoubtedly familiar to longtime readers of this series, but with the formula as charming as it is, it’s hard to see that as a downside. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 18

Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Wonder Woman 18, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: One of the most compelling features of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman is its willingness to incorporate into real issues facing society, as we come to terms with our systematically poor treatment of women and grapple with how to resolve it. Like a proclamation of intent, the earliest arc in the book, “The Lies,” features Cheetah dealing with the devastation caused by abuse, rape, and victim-blaming. These are issues deeply entrenched in American culture made palatable to general audiences because the villains manifest themselves as mystical beasts and gods. But not all of the methods Rucka and his collaborators use to convey their message (for lack of a better term) are quite so foregrounded. For instance, every position of authority in Wonder Woman so far is held by a woman. This is a story about women, featuring women, that is in no way lacking because its pages aren’t filled with more dudes. Continue reading