The Hunter Becomes The Hunted In Star Wars: Darth Vader 11

by Mark Mitchell

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

In the modern Star Wars era, Darth Vader is like the Freddy Krueger of the greater universe — ostensibly a villain, but really the one everyone is rooting for. Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s Darth Vader 11 leans into Vader’s anti-hero persona by reversing the usual Vader story and turning him into the prey.

Continue reading

Advertisements

New Super-Man and the Justice League of China 20: 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: There’s a common belief that kids raised in sheltered, restrictive environments will go absolutely wild at their very first taste of freedom. I don’t know if the truth is that extreme — I was about as sheltered as they came as a child, and all my rebellions have been rather tame — but there is a lot of truth to the idea that needless restrictions and censorship just hurt people, regressing emotions and hindering growth and in many cases leading to actual physical punishment for meaningless offenses. New Super-Man and the Justice League of China 20 taps into the latter when it introduces its new “Aquaman,” Ahn Kwang-Jo. Continue reading

Bridging the Gap Between the Old and the New in Star Wars 43

by Mark Mitchell

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

I’ve always considered Marvel’s Star Wars comic to be an extension of the Original Trilogy — a way to continue telling stories with the characters and within the framework that most fans are familiar with — but Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s Star Wars 43 surprises by also acting as a satisfying coda to 2016’s Rogue One. From closing the book (for now) on Jedha to calling back to Princess Leia’s final line in the film, Star Wars 43 neatly bridges the gap between “old” Star Wars and “new” Star Wars in way that fulfills the promise of post-George Lucas single canon Star Wars cross-media world-building.

And as sterile and filled with corporate buzzwords as that all sounds, it’s effective when it works.

Continue reading

Green Lanterns 40: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Mark Mitchell

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

Michael: Tim Seeley’s Green Lanterns has the DC logo on the cover, but it feels like a very Marvel series, particularly The Amazing Spider-Man. In the heyday of the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko era, ASM had socially relevant messages, long-running narratives, and, of course, the down-on-his-luck protagonist. The modern Amazing Spider-Man tales try that same type of storytelling with an occasional social media flair — to varying success. With ties to prior issues and the constant personal problems of our heroes, and a superhero dating app, Green Lanterns 40 fits right in with that ASM mold. Continue reading

Not Quite a Moral Challenge in Superman 40

By Mark Mitchell

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

While Superman’s abilities to punch hard, fly fast, and jump high are the sizzle to his steak, the real meat (pardon the tortured metaphor) of Clark Kent as a character is his strong moral center. Comic books are lousy with characters possessing superpowers, but only a precious few represent truth and goodness like the man from Krypton. That’s why the Superman stories that really stick with us are the ones that find ways to challenge his moral certitude — and by challenging it, ultimately end up amplifying it even more. At multiple points, James Robinson and Doug Mahnke’s Superman 40 is on the precipice of testing the Man of Steel’s philosophical strength in interesting ways, but never shows any interest in doing so.

Continue reading

Doctor Aphra 16 Finally Lets Aphra’s Queer Flag Fly

by Mark Mitchell

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

Hey, what’dya know, actual queer people in Star Wars. Continue reading

Motherlands 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Spencer Irwin

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

slim-banner

Mark: I grew up in a fairly regimented househould. That’s not a complaint, it instilled a lot of (to my mind) positive values in me, but it did definitely affect my worldview. My parents are deeply religious, and accordingly, their religion guides them to seek out things that have redeeming value. Growing up, this translated into strong feelings on what is and is not appropriate. To give you an example of where the line lay: The Simpsons? Not appropriate. When I reached a more rebellious age I began to watch, when I could, things I knew my parents didn’t approve of, but usually with one hand on the channel changer in case they happened to walk into the room. Of course, as I’ve grown older, I’ve determined for myself where the boundaries of good taste are tread, but from birth, a sense of good old fashioned Puritanical Shame has been instilled in me, and occasionally my palms still get a little sweaty when reading a smutty comic, like my parents are going to walk in on me at any moment.

Simon Spurrier and Rachael Stott’s Motherlands 1 is smut — it’s shrill and pornographic and grotesquely violent — but it’s principled smut. Continue reading

Abbott 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Mark Mitchell

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

Patrick: I love the moment in every episode of X-Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer where whatever otherworldly threat our heroes are facing reveals itself to be alarmingly similar to some current societal ill. Sometimes it comes late to the story, and it’s not until two episodes into a three-episode arc that you realize these demons are riffing on toxic masculinity. I suppose that’s been the M.O. for science- and genre-fiction forever: lure the reader in with the hook and then gradually reel them in to the message. Writer Saladin Ahmed and illustrator Sami Kivelä work that formula in reverse in Abbott 1. The setting, a racially divided Detroit in 1972, and the supernatural mystery are slowly collapsed into one cohesive experience. Continue reading

Camp, Parody, and Political Edge in Batgirl 19

By Mark Mitchell

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

Last July, I wrote at length about Batgirl 13’s full-armed embrace of the campy spirit emblematic of the Batman TV show of the 1960’s, and with Batgirl 19 Hope Larson, Chris Wildgoose, and Jose Marzan Jr. continue to lean into that care-free aesthetic. Continue reading

Angelic 5 Reveals the Origins of the Universe

by Mark Mitchell


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

There’s a unique gut-punch to finding out you’ve been lied to, a pit-in-the-stomach loss of faith in the person or institution that betrayed you. After four issues of laying the groundwork, Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard reveal the origins of Angelic’s world in Angelic 5. There have been enough hints throughout the previous issues that nothing here comes as too much of a surprise to readers, but watching Qora and Complainer learn the truth about their origin is still hard. Continue reading