The Flash 23

Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing The Flash 23, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: I’ve never liked Barry Allen’s “new” origin story. It’s always struck me as an attempt to make the character — a likable, yet bland presence in his Silver Age heyday — more palatable to modern audiences by loading him with unnecessary angst, angst which tends to consume and overwhelm both Barry and his title. I’d be curious to see if current Flash writer Joshua Williamson agrees with me on that front or not. Flash 23 does indeed find Barry becoming consumed by angst, but not only do Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico present a rather compelling reason for it (in the form of Eobard Thawne), they also present it as being a rather glaring flaw on Barry’s part. Continue reading

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Captain America: Sam Wilson 22

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Captain America: Sam Wilson 22, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Thinking about the problems the United States faces on global and federal levels is daunting as hell. We’re inundated with concerns about the stability of our global leadership, about the viability of of our political system, the longevity of healthcare and other programs put in place to protect individuals. And what can you do? Call your representatives? Donate to the ACLU? Volunteer? Run for office? They’re all drops in a bucket — important drops, but drops nonetheless. In the face of a country that rejected him, Sam Wilson is forced to come up with his own answer to this question, and in so doing, brings Cap back to the vulnerable citizens that need him. Continue reading

Saga 43

Today, Ryan M. and Spencer are discussing Saga 43, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan M: Part of what makes Saga such a great story is that it operates on both the most literal and metaphorical levels. We are seeing the story of a nuclear family with relationships that are immediately recognizable. Marko and Alana’s romance is not a merely a vessel for a message about the power of love to transcend the boundaries created by heritage. They are two characters that have both the universal and specific complexities of each of us. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples deliver on both premises in Saga 43 as the crew regroups after Alana’s miscarriage and fights some dung people. Continue reading

Doctor Strange 21

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Doctor Strange 21, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Taylor: Here are Retcon-Punch, we read a lot of comics. This is great in so many ways, but primarily because at no other time in history has their been so many quality options for monthly reads. However, the deluge of great comics can take its toll. Given too much of something good, even great comics, a person quickly becomes numb to their pleasures. Reading so many wonderful series means that it becomes easy, on occasion, to overlook just how amazing and unique some issues really are. It’s for this reason that Doctor Strange 21 stands out to me. Not only is it an excellent issue on its own, but it reminds me why comics are some of the most innovative mediums going today. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 10

Today, Spencer and Ryan M. are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 10, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: We live in a world with more distractions than ever. It’s easy to see why — in a world as tumultuous, unjust, and downright screwed up as the one we’re all stuck with today, people need distractions (be they media, parties, sports, etc.) in order to retain their sanity. Too many distractions, though, can have the opposite effect, clouding our judgment and obscuring who we truly are. Some even use these distractions as a form of self-medication, trying to run from problems that are only going to get worse if not faced. Sophie Campbell, Bobby Curnow, and Pablo Tunica’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 10 explores both those situations, helping its heroes find strength in what’s real, not glamorous, excessive distractions. Continue reading

Captain America: Steve Rogers 17

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Steve Rogers: Captain America 17, originally released March 25, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Secret Empire has, thus far, been an intensely relevant crossover event. Exhaustingly so. If there’s anything that allows the reader a little distance between the democratic crisis within the pages of the Marvel Universe and our own, it’s that we can recognize the supernatural cogs at turning in Hydra’s machine. Cosmic Cubes, inter-planetary defense shields, the motherfucking Darkforce dimension — these are all superhero specifics that grant us some much needed distance from the tyranny of Steve Rogers. Captain America Steve Rogers 17 mercilessly grounds Rogers’ fascist techniques through the vehicle of reporter Sally Floyd, who is manipulated, bullied and ultimately imprisoned in an issue much more rooted in reality than fantasy. It’s enough to break my heart in real life.
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East of West 33

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing East of West 33, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: I recently finished watching the second season of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, and can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Why exactly I like the show could be an essay unto itself, but suffice it to say that Dev, Ansari’s character, is so damn likable it makes it hard to dislike the show by extension. The reason I bring this up is to illustrate how important likable and relatable characters are to any story. Master of None is by no means perfect, but the characters are so lovable that they more than make up for any of the show’s shortcomings. East of West, by comparison, has a dearth of likable and relatable characters despite its large cast, and this often is too the detriment of the series. Issue 33, however, bucks this trend, and in so doing makes the apocalypse more engaging than it’s been in a long while.

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I Am Groot 1

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing I Am Groot 1, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: When I first discovered that Baby Groot would feature in Guardians of the Galaxy v.2 I was taken by surprise, since in the comics Groot can regenerate from the kind of injury he suffered in the first film almost instantly. Of course, in the movies, James Gunn is free to make whatever changes he wants to the characters; the comics have since brought in Baby Groot as well, but that requires a bit more explanation. While the “whys” of Groot’s predicament are playing out over in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s fallen on Christopher Hastings, Flaviano, and Marcio Menyz’s I Am Groot 1 to explore the effect Groot’s new form is having on the team, and on Groot himself. Continue reading

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 21

Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 21, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: One area where Robert Venditti has excelled in this team-up Green Lantern book is differentiating each of the four Earth-based Green Lanterns and incorporating their unique perspectives into the larger narrative. Like the never-ending debate between Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans over who was the best host of that show, Joel, Mike, and now even Jonah, everyone has their favorite Green Lantern, and you’ll be hard pressed to convince a John Stewart fan of Hal Jordan’s merits. So while the book’s title prominently features the most recognizable of the Green Lanterns, there’s a lot of fun to be had in Venditti’s team-up, each Lantern bringing their best to the game, adding more fuel to the ever-burning debate. Continue reading

The Old Guard 4

Alternating Currents: The Old Guard 4, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Old Guard 4, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: “The grass is always greener on the other side” is a remarkably ambiguous idiom. Is it about the subjectivity of our perspective (that is, things simply look better from a distance), or perhaps about some kind of psychological phenomenon that makes whatever it is we don’t have more appealing? Whatever the cause, the analogy works only insofar as we can flatten our value system to some kind of parallel for “greenness” — there’s no real acknowledgement of either side having pros and cons, or the choice between the two representing a compromise. Still, the phenomenon of the grass being greener on the other side still pervades our culture, reflecting a superficial, one-dimensional understanding of real-world choices we too often adopt. Such is the case with both Steve Merrick and Andy, two characters who might gladly trade sides for each other’s greener pastures. Continue reading