Delayed Gratification in Avengers 2

by Mark Mitchell

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

Avengers 2 finds writer Jason Aaron and artist Ed McGuinness still trying to explain just what their Avengers book is going to be. Like the premiere issue, Avengers 2 is incredibly chatty, stuffed to the gills with narration, banter, quips, and inner-monologue that try to help explain the presence (and absence) of various Avengers. There’s a delayed gratification aspect at play, and seeing the entire team finally all together (whenever that happens) will no doubt be cathartic, but spending so much ink explaining why this team-up book doesn’t yet have a team is a sometimes frustrating choice. Continue reading

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Heroes We Can All Relate To in Green Lanterns 47

By Mark Mitchell

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

I really misjudged Green Lanterns 45. In my write up of that issue I figured Tim Seeley’s story to be primarily interested in teasing out the mystery surrounding the indentity of the murderers who killed Jessica Cruz’s friends, but in truth, the larger “Ghosts of the Past” arc has much more on its mind.

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Plot, Without Thematics to Match, in New Super-Man and the Justice League of China 23

by Mark Mitchell

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

It’s taken me twenty-three issues, but I am finally coming to terms with the kind of book New Super-Man is, versus the book I want it to be. What it is is a plot-driven book that smooths over its rough patches with sheer momentum and the clever mash-up of Chinese folklore with DC mythos. What it is not is interested in meditating on the themes it employs to drive its plot. Continue reading

Death or Glory 1: Discussion

By Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

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

Spencer: A few weeks ago I covered Isola 1, a comic I praised for its subtlety and its trust and respect for its readers’ intelligence; there was very little hand-holding, exposition, or lore, and the issue was all the stronger for it. Rick Remender and Bengal are attempting something similar in the debut of their new Image series, Death or Glory, but it unfortunately doesn’t work quite as well. By the end of the issue — and especially on a second read — the story and structure, the characters and their relationships, they all snap together in a satisfying way, but I spent much of my first read puzzled; moreover, there’s still a few elements that don’t mesh even on that second time around. Continue reading

Conscience as a Bug and as a Feature in Coda 1

by Mark Mitchell

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

There’s little point in being nice to people unless the act of being kind itself brings you happiness. Rude people are not unhappy — not categorically, anyway — because they don’t care that they’re rude, and there’s an undeniable freedom in not caring. Having a conscience is arguably a bug as well as a feature, since it’s easier to achieve your goals if you don’t care about the people you hurt in your pursuit of them.

In Simon Spurrier and Matias Bergara’s Coda 1, former bard Hum is determined to rescue his wife from a clan of savage orc-like creatures at the cost of everything and everyone else; as the issue closes he’s willing to potentially sacrifice the population of an entire city if it gets him one step closer to her. But it’s clear that Hum’s selfishness can’t last, and Coda is poised to be a series about one man in a terrible situation learning to put others above himself. Continue reading

Elusive and Scattered Narratives in Mata Hari 3

by Mark Mitchell

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

Mata Hari continues to be an interesting but ultimately elusive book in its third of five installments. Margaretha Zelle’s life is clearly worthy of examination, but the book itself is hamstrung by the extremely limiting nature of this mini-series’ run. Continue reading

The Worst Hunting Trip in the World in Green Lanterns 45

By Mark Mitchell

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

With Green Lanterns 45, Tim Seeley and Ronan Cliquet begin to dive into Jessica Cruz’s past with the goal of explaining why The Ring of Volthoom was drawn to her trauma in the first place — the worst hunting trip in the world. Continue reading

Star Wars: Poe Dameron 26: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Mark Mitchell

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Michael: Marvel’s Star Wars line of comics were launched on the idea that what happens between the movies behind the scenes are stories worth telling. Surprisingly, many of these stories have been deep, creative chapters in the lives of the characters we know and love, building upon their respective character philosophies. Not every aspect of these characters’ lives shares that amount of depth or insight, however. We spend a lot of our lives sitting around, not doing anything consequential. Unfortunately, the same is true for the heroes of Star Wars: Poe Dameron 26. Continue reading

Don’t Trust Authority in New Super-Man and the Justice League of China 22

by Mark Mitchell

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

Ahn Kwang-Jo, aka the Aqua-Man of North Korea, aka Dragonson, is so conditioned by his life under the authoritarian regime of North Korea to accept the word of authority figures as truth that when the old sea dragon bones responsible for his powers commands him to generate a flood large enough to kill millions of his countrymen, Kwang-Jo feels compelled to obey. He’s briefly conflicted, but his resistance is met with anger by his “true father”, and Kwang-Jo quickly acquiesces.

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Exiles 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Ryan Desaulniers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Mark: The best teams are made up of strong, diverse personalities that bring out the best in each other. This is especially true in fiction. The individual members don’t need to always get along, conflict drives any story, but a certain baseline level of respect is necessary. One of the most impressive feats of team building in recent history has to be 2012’s The Avengers. Looking back with full knowledge of the incredible success Marvel Films has achieved almost unblemished since Iron Man ten years ago, it’s easy to take for granted the fact that The Avengers worked at all, but at the time it was incredibly risky. Going back and watching The Avengers now, the first two-thirds of the movie drag quite a bit as writer and director Joss Whedon works to establish the team dynamics, but that groundwork was necessary not just for the first movie, but for the Marvel Films team-ups to come. Again, we take for granted now that all of these characters can seamlessly interact with each other, but that’s only because the hard work was done by that essential first Avengers film. In Exiles 1, Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, and Alvaro Lopez begin the work of building their own superhero team, and, like The Avengers, their patience in this premier issue sets them up for long term success. Continue reading