A New and Exciting Adventure for R2-D2 in Star Wars 36

by Mark Mitchell

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

One of the reasons The Simpsons has endured for so many years is its deep bench of characters that can be called up to shoulder the heavy lifting of any particular episode. The Star Wars universe has a similarly diverse and beloved cast, and the Star Wars comic is at its best when it sloughs off any need to be connected to a larger continuity and just concerns itself with featuring the characters we love in new and exciting adventures. Continue reading

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The Art Fails the Cast of New Super-Man 15

by Mark Mitchell

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

Gene Luen Yang hasn’t shown much interest in subtlety throughout the run of New Super-Man, but even by those standards New Super-Man 15 is remarkably direct. Multiple times during the action, characters directly address the differences between the West and China. These differences — language, cultural, and especially political — come into literal conflict when the Justice League of China brawls with the Suicide Squad. It’s not subtle, but it is exciting. All of the action, plus the Kong family’s domestic drama continuing to build, makes for the most thrilling issue of New Super-Man to date. Continue reading

Action Comics 987: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Michael DeLaney  

Action Comics 987

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

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Mark: Modern comic books are built on tropes. After nearly a century of storytelling in the medium, the particulars of what makes a Superman story different from a Batman story are so deeply engrained that creators have a binary choice when sitting down to craft a tale: embrace the tropes or react against them. And while longtime comic book readers tend to seek out and reward stories that are willing to subvert and contort their expectations, either choice can be successful if executed well. Continue reading

Diana Stays Political in Wonder Woman 29

by Mark Mitchell

Wonder Woman 29

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

It’s heartening that after Greg Rucka concluded his run on Wonder Woman — a run that found its greatest success when focusing on Diana of Themyscira as a reflection of real life issues — Shea Fontana doesn’t shy away from keeping the book political during these troubling times in America. In Wonder Woman 29, Diana lingers by the US Capitol Building as she considers the purpose of her powers. She wants to do good, to help others and ease their burden, but as she stands on the dome of the Capitol, she realizes there are no higher authorities she can appeal to for assistance; the power lies with her to affect change. Continue reading

Nightwing: The New Order 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Ryan Desaulniers 

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

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Mark: Dick Grayson is know for his perfection; the best ass in comics, the most suave personality, the most kickass combatant — generally the coolest guy in the universe. It’s an impressive feat, then, that writer Kyle Higgins and artist Trevor McCarthy (with colors by Dean White) are able to so thoroughly undermine Nightwing’s image of perfection in Nightwing: The New Order 1 without making us completely turn on the character. Continue reading

Black Krrsantan’s Past Is Finally Revealed in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Annual 1

by Mark Mitchell

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

Doctor Aphra is a book built around taking familiar characters from the Star Wars universe and remixing them by removing their moral compasses. Chelli Aphra is the Han Solo who would have taken his reward at the end of A New Hope and never looked back as the Rebels attacked the Death Star. Her robot compatriots, BeeTee and Triple-Zero, are the lovable C-3PO and R2D2, but also they’re always looking for opportunities to murder. And Black Krrsantan? He’s always been a bit of a mystery, but Doctor Aphra Annual 1 revels in finally letting the audience in on his past. Continue reading

Love, Survival, and Loss in Cloudia and Rex 2

by Mark Mitchell 

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

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In our discussion of Cloudia and Rex 1, I praised creators Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, and Daniel Irizarri for their honest portrayal of a grieving family in extraordinary circumstances, and their work continues to sing in this second act. I’m especially taken with their ability to deftly inject humor into the darker moments of the issue, like when Death sends Cloudia a text message posing as a boy she likes that reads, “Hello, would you mind engaging in a phone speak?” The fine line they walk between making Cloudia an honest-sounding selfish, reluctant teenager, but still relatable and likable is, frankly, remarkable. Continue reading

Dark Nights: Metal 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!

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Patrick: Throughout Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman, the creative team valued invention over archeology. The character of Batman has been around for so long that deconstruction of the character is practically in his DNA, and while Snyder and Capullo found ways to riff on Batman’s history, their stories were always new. New threats, new allies, new secret identity. With Metal, the latest DC event, Snyder and Capullo turn inward, to explore, refine, and recontextualize the mythology and iconography that is already part of their multiverse. There’s a premium on re-arranging existing pieces into an entirely new whole. Continue reading

Facing Horror with Virtue in Superman 29

by Mark Mitchell

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

Rarely does Superman venture into horror territory, and rarer still does it do so as successfully as in Keith Champagne and Doug Mahnke’s Superman 29. The duo take a story featuring child abduction, possession, and a generally dour and oppressive atmosphere — things I generally would find anathema to a good Superman story — and make them work by never compromising Superman as a character. In fact, while Superman is brave and dependable as always, Champagne and Mahnke dial up his virtue to exaggerated heights, the better to combat the strange darkness of the material. Continue reading

Elsewhere 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Ryan Desaulniers 

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

Mark: I’m unsure how exactly to begin unpacking Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin’s Elsewhere 1. It’s an issue that’s pregnant with ideas, yet surprisingly without depth. It moves incredibly fast, but when it ends there’s the feeling that nothing has happened. Like buying cotton candy at a carnival, it looks like there’s a lot of substance, but once you’ve consumed it all, you’re still left feeling unsatisfied. But if Elsewhere 1’s ideas are interesting, how come the issue never really takes off? Continue reading