The Illusion of Control in James Bond: The Body 4

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

We all know what happens when James Bond meets a beautiful woman. It’s one of the most (in?)famous aspects of the franchise, and it’s an assumption creators Ales Kot and Eoin Marron clearly lean into when their injured Bond runs into a woman named Moira early in James Bond: The Body 4. Even Bond himself, if only momentarily, thinks he knows exactly how things are going to play out.

It never happens. Moira isn’t a conquest; she’s a complicated woman with her own desires and internal life that Bond can barely begin to fathom. That’s really the idea behind this entire issue: James Bond is a professional who thinks he understands how the world works, but control is far more elusive than he ever truly realized. Continue reading

Racism, Homophobia and Hypocrisy in James Bond: The Body 3

By Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

James Bond is an agent of the state. His actions seldom need to be motivated beyond “for Queen and Country.” We can infer some other values that the character holds from his choice of career. For example: he believes that violence can (and should) be used to bring about justice. He’s pro sex, but possibly in a way that devalues his relationships with his sexual partners. Issue three of James Bond: The Bond reveals another of Bond’s values — he hates white supremacy.

Or… is that it? The thing that seems to really get Bond going is the hypocrisy inherent in white supremacy. His appetite for sweet, violent, humiliating revenge seems to be fueled less by his desire to stamp out intolerance and more to do with people and organizations neither understanding nor practicing what they preach. Continue reading

Bob’s Burgers 2

bobs burgers 2Today, Greg and Drew are discussing Bob’s Burgers 2, originally released September 24th, 2014.

Greg: It’s interesting to see how longform installment-based storytelling, like comics or TV, has transitioned from being primarily self-contained stories that one can jump into at anytime to telling one long, overarching story that one must view from beginning to end using individual units simply as content demarcators. Obviously I’m way the heck oversimplifying and generalizing, but comedies in particular have a storytelling hurdle to jump: to keep laughing at characters’ fundamental behaviors, their behaviors must remain fundamentally the same, yet in this new vanguard of serialized storytelling where folks binge lots of content in a row, we kind of demand characters to change. Slightly paradoxical, I am thus unsurprised, if just a tad disappointed, that in its second issue Bob’s Burgers seems to be going purely episodic, settling into a formula that shows just how rigidly defined this title will be. And yet, the issue is just so damn funny that I have trouble complaining too much.

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Bob’s Burgers 1

bobs burgers 1Today, Greg and Spencer are discussing Bob’s Burgers 1, originally released August 27th, 2014.

Greg: Imagination, particularly as a kid, is a powerful, revealing thing. It’s your subconscious untethered, playing make-believe and laying out your attitudes and ideals in surprisingly intimate detail. When I was a kid, my friends were keen on playing the most violent versions of Dragon Ball Z and Star Wars possible — all fighting, all the time. I was more concerned with making sure the good guys stayed good and the bad guys — only if they really deserved it — got beat up and, ideally, learned their lesson. In this first issue, we get a glimpse into the fantasies and insecurities of Tina, Louise, and Gene Belcher, as Bob’s Burgers lays out three stories of imagination.

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Creator Interview: Gail Simone

interview_gail simoneGail Simone is a busy writer, but even her writing responsibilities on three different titles for three different publishers couldn’t possibly compare to her obligations at conventions. She’s in incredibly high demand, but we managed to pull her away for quick chat about how Batgirl has changed, having an effect on Lara Croft’s legacy and the freedom Red Sonja grants her.

Retcon Punch: It seems like you’re just a huge rock star around here. Has that gotten weirder?

Gail Simone: (laughs) No, it’s just amazing to see the diversity of the people coming through the line, which I think is incredible. All three projects that I’m working on right now — Red Sonja, Batgirl, and Tomb Raider — well, other than Red Sonja, the other two have a pretty wide age range of people that are coming through. Not too many real young kids are coming through here for Red Sonja Continue reading

Red Sonja 7

red sonja 7

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Red Sonja 7, originally released February 19th, 2014.

Shelby: I’m going to be real with you guys for a second. We’ve all had days where nothing seems to go right, and, speaking as a lady of grace and refinement, sometimes all you want to do is eat, drink, and get laid. Sustenance, a little booze to take the edge off, and a warm body to keep you company those cold Chicago nights can really do wonders for a shitty mood. As Gail Simone and artist Walter Geovani kick off a new arc in Red Sonja, our favorite devil warrior finds herself working a job she hates just for the paycheck, and looking for some creature comforts to get her through to the weekend. I think that’s something we can all relate to.

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Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure 1

legenderry 1

Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure 1, originally released December 31st, 2013.

Shelby:

We’ve got a steampunk revolution/We’re tired of all your so-called evolution
We’ve darted back to 1886/Don’t ask us why; that’s how we get our kicks

Out with the new/In with the old

Abney Park, Steampunk Revolution

It’s really no surprise Taylor and I get to write about this first issue of Legenderry, as we are both rabid fans of the steampunk subculture. I think we both not-so-secretly desire to walk around every day in bowlers and bowties for him, corsets and granny boots for me, and goggles for everyone. I’ve never really thought about why I like the genre so much, though. I’ve taken the same approach as the steampunk band Abney Park; I don’t know why I like it, I just know I like it. Maybe my “out with the new, in with the old” attitude deserves a closer look as we embark on this steampunk adventure.

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Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives 1

Alternating Currents: Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives 1, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives 1, originally released December 11th, 2013.

“Spinoff!” Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?

Troy McClure, “The Simpsons Spinoff Showcase”

Drew: Spinoffs are a strange beast. They’re designed to cash-in on the success of another series, giving them a fine line to walk, creatively. They can’t be the same as the parent series, or things will get stale quickly, but they also can’t be too different, or they’ll risk losing that borrowed audience. This can obviously fluctuate over time — series might drift away from their spinoff origins as they find their footing, or might rely on cameos from the parent series when things start to go south — but my experience dictates that, while a carbon copy may result in flash-in-the-pan success, changing things up dramatically is the recipe for longevity. Unfortunately, Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives 1, may rely too heavily on it’s miniseries aspirations, delivering up a Holmes story minus the Holmes. Continue reading

Black Bat 7

black bat 7

Today, Scott and Taylor are discussing Black Bat 7, originally released December 4th, 2013.

Scott: I like failure. Wait, I should clarify that a little; I like it when superheroes fail. It sucks for them, sure, but at least it’s exciting. When you read a lot of comics, you get used to seeing the heroes being, well, heroic. It’s nice to see one screw the pooch once in a while. So I can’t think of a better place for us to dive into Brian Buccellato’s The Black Bat. You see, The Black Bat just messed up real bad. I’m talking scores-of-people-are-now-dead-because-of-him bad. It’s a tough situation for anyone to rebound from, but if this issue teaches us one thing, it’s that Black Bat bounces back from failure with a vengeance. And if it teaches us a second thing, it’s that Buccellato isn’t afraid to move through plot points quickly. A little too quickly, I’d go so far to say.
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Red Sonja 5

Alternating Currents: Red Sonja 5, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Red Sonja 5, originally released November 20th, 2013.

Time makes fools of us all.

-Eric Temple Bell

Drew: I’ve seen this E.T. Bell quote thrown around quite a bit, but it becomes less alluring with its often-omitted second half: “Our only comfort is that greater shall come after us.” It’s clear that Bell is taking a historical perspective — our ideas and actions will someday be looked upon with the same bemusement that we have for the Salem witch trials — but I’ve always been more intrigued by how this plays out in my own lifetime. Time has a history of making us eat our own words, whether it’s doing something we swore we’d never do, giving up something we swore we’d always love, or just making us embarrassed about the people we used to be. A recent piece in the New York Times explained that we’re terrible at anticipating those kinds of changes — we simply can’t fathom that we’ll ever change, even though we always do. I found myself thinking about this quite a bit as I read Red Sonja 5, which finds two former friends battling on the very grounds they swore they would never return to. Continue reading