Crazy Twists Bring the Fun in Green Lanterns 27

by Mark Mitchell

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

I’m a sucker for a big, sci-fi twist. I love the ending of Tim Burton’s misguided 2001 Planet of the Apes reboot with Mark Whalberg’s Leo Davidson crashing back to “Earth” in front of the Lincoln Memorial… which Burton then reveals to actually be Ape-raham Lincoln. It’s a twist that makes exactly zero sense when considered for even a passing moment, but it’s capital “F” Fun and that’s good enough for me. Continue reading

Stiff Acting Stilts Star Wars: Poe Dameron 17

by Mark Mitchell

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

A resistance movement concerned with growing apathy among the people, dangerous and corrupt leadership in power propped up by a legislative body too power-hungry to care, journalists as heroes despite being considered untrustworthy by many — the many  parallels between the current political situation in the United States and the state of the galaxy are the driving forces of Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta’s Star Wars: Poe Dameron 17. Continue reading

Super Sons 6: 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: Despite not making a single appearance, the Teen Titans loomed large over the first five issues of Super Sons. The Titans were Damian’s trump card, the cool older friends he could taunt Jon with whenever Jon gained the upper-hand against him. Amazingly, Jon never seemed all that affected by Damian’s bluster, at one point even telling Damian off for bringing the Titans up so much. This all changes as Peter Tomasi and Jorge Jimenez bring the Titans into the fold in Super Sons 6, adding some interesting new wrinkles to these two boys’ relationship. Continue reading

Dark Days: The Casting: Discussion

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

Bruce. We need you to explain what’s going on here.

Hal Jordan

Michael: Recently I watched the entirety of HBO’s “The Leftovers,” which I enjoyed immensely. One of the show’s theme songs is Iris DeMent’s “Let the Mystery Be,” which means exactly what it sounds like: don’t try to find the explanation in everything, just enjoy the ride that the unknown provides. Mainstream comic book readers don’t subscribe to this philosophy when it comes to the capes and tights crowd, myself included. Dark Days: The Casting is a dense issue that will likely have our kind baffled as to what we just read. Continue reading

Unknowability is a Strength in Star Wars: Darth Vader 3

by Mark Mitchell

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

Last month when discussing Darth Vader 2, I counted the fact that Darth Vader largely remains a cipher in his own series as a core weakness in Charles Soule’s story, but with Darth Vader 3 I think I have it all wrong. It’s still true that readers looking for a deep, complex shading of Darth Vader won’t find it here, but really, who wants that in the first place? The Prequels were predicated on the audiences’ interest in “understanding” Darth Vader, and those were terrible. The world already has enough context for Vader’s actions thanks to years and years of pop culture indoctrination. Darth Vader as a mostly silent, imposing villain is optimal Darth Vader. It’s the difference between original Halloween Michael Meyers and reinvented Rob Zombie-era Halloween Michael Meyers. Continue reading

We Return to Volthoom’s Past in Green Lanterns 26

by Mark Mitchell

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

In isolation, Green Lanterns 26 is a cogent re-telling of the power rings’ origins, elaborating on the painful relationship of Volthoom and Rami that was hinted at in Green Lanterns 25. For readers already familiar with Green Lantern lore, Sam Humphries adds a new wrinkle to the story with the reveal that Volthoom destroyed his own home world, but otherwise this is a bit of a painful diversion for anyone hoping to see Simon and Jessica’s story continue. Continue reading

Cloudia and Rex 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell & Ryan Desaulniers

Cloudia and Rex 1

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

slim-banner

Mark: Everyone in Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, and Daniel Irizarri’s beautiful Cloudia and Rex 1 is just trying to survive. For the deities like Death, Hypnos, and Ala, the threat to their existence is very literal; their entire plane of existence is under attack from Seraphim sent by the High Waveform as it looks to consolidate power and become the one, true God. For 13 year-old Cloudia, her younger sister Rex, and her mom, the threat is more existential. A close knit family, their ties are beginning to fray in the aftermath of Cloudia’s father’s death. Continue reading

Desperation and Inevitability in Extremity 5

by Mark Mitchell

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

Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, pitched his TV show as one man’s journey from Mr. Chips to Scarface. But at what point does Walter White turn from mild mannered high school chemistry teacher to ruthless murderer/drug lord? When is the precise moment that the switch is flipped? Jerome has done some terrible things over the course of Extremity‘s first few issues, but Extremity 5 is the first time his actions cross the line into unjustifiable cruelty — or rather, murdering Jessica is the first time felt him crossing the line. Continue reading

Thawne Has a Point in the Flash 25

by Mark Mitchell

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

The danger in discussing a single issue of a serialized comic book is that a moment or character beat that doesn’t work in isolation might end up folding in nicely once more of the story is laid out to see. Since comic books are designed to tell their stories episodically, the fact that irrational behavior might be explained in the future doesn’t forgive the initial irritation, but it does help calm it. Such is the case in Joshua Williamson’s The Flash 25, where my profound annoyance in the previous two issues (especially The Flash 23) at Barry being so unaware of how selfish and dangerous he’s been by not telling Iris about his secret identity is resolved simply by having Barry acknowledge his foolishness. Continue reading

Failure to World-Build in I Am Groot 2

by Mark Mitchell

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

World building is delicate business. Finding the right balance between teasing the audiences’ imagination and leaving them impatient for answers can trip up even the most skilled artist. My go-to example for successful world building is 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Director George Miller immediately throws the audience into the thick of an alien, hostile world, but it’s never confusing. Miller avoids confusion in two ways: first, he uses classic archetypes when constructing characters — Max Rockatansky is the silent hero, Immortan Joe is a mad king, the War Boys are his soldiers, etc. These archetypes are well-worn in fiction and require no further justification. Second, if something or someone is introduced that directly affects the plot and its utility in the world can’t be intuited by the audience, he explains it. Providing this concrete framework for the necessary elements of the film means many other details, like the infamous Crow Fishers, can go unexplained, teasing the audience and allowing their imaginations to run wild, without causing confusion. Continue reading