Descender 23: Discussion

by Ryan Desaulniers and Spencer Irwin

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

Ryan D: After last issue‘s cliffhanger, the audience wondered whether or not the self-serving Quon would risk his neck by leaving the relative safety of the ship into the deep waters in which Captain Telsa currently languished, lifelessly. Well, he did, and the sequence of Quon retrieving Telsa looks beautiful. Continue reading

Accepting or Rejecting our Personal Identities in Godshaper 5

by Spencer Irwin

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

Our race, sexuality, or gender are usually major parts of our personal identities, but because of the prejudiced society we live in, they can also end up as impediments in life if we’re non-white, queer, or non-cis/non-male — essentially, if we don’t meet the status quo. In Simon Spurrier and Jonas Goonface’s Godshaper, being a shaper has always worked as a metaphor for all these “other” identities, which makes Ennay’s reaction to an offer of a god of his own — which would free him from the stigma of being a shaper — all the more interesting. Continue reading

Gwen Tries Her Hand at Creating Stories in The Unbelievable Gwenpool 19

by Spencer Irwin

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

Last month I theorized that Gwenpool’s newfound cosmic awareness essentially made her a god, but within the world of comics, is there really that much of a difference between a god and a writer or artist? (After all, when the Fantastic Four met their god, he was Jack Kirby). That’s something I couldn’t help but wonder about throughout Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru’s The Unbelievable Gwenpool 19, especially once Miles finally reveals Gwen’s dark future. The hell she puts Miles through should feel familiar to anyone who’s ever read a comic before. Continue reading

Choosing a Side in Batman 29

by Spencer Irwin

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

Marvel’s various takes on their Civil War franchise have all urged readers to “choose a side.” That’s not an approach Tom King and Mikel Janin can really take with “The War of Jokes and Riddles” though, because who wants to support either side of a war waged by sadistic supervillains? Yet, that’s exactly where Batman finds himself in Batman 29 — forced to pick between supporting either the Joker or the Riddler if he wants to end this war once and for all. Continue reading

Secret Empire 8: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Ryan Mogge

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

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Spencer: I’m writing this piece in the aftermath of one of the more horrific weekends in recent memory (Charlottesville), which arrives at the tail-end of one of the most horrific ten months or so of my lifetime. I don’t exactly feel an overabundance of hope right now, a sentiment shared by those trapped in Trump’s America and in the Hydra-Controlled America of the Marvel Universe alike. In Secret Empire 8, Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuna, Rod Reis, Sean Izaaske and Java Tartaglia finally bring the light of hope to their story, but I don’t know how well their methods translate to real life. Continue reading

A Toxic Relationship Smorgasbord in The Wicked + The Divine 30

by Spencer Irwin

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

My best friend has a particularly notorious habit of falling for the absolute worst women. The poorer of a match they are for him, the more he’s attracted to them. He’s shrugged off our warnings with “well, you can’t help who you’re attracted to,” to which I would inevitably respond “Just because you’re attracted to someone doesn’t mean you need to always go for them!” It’s a statement that wouldn’t stop going through my head as I read Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine 30, an issue chock full of dysfunctional, toxic relationships and characters who know how screwed up their love lives are, yet leap head-first into them anyway, as if they never had a choice. Continue reading

Self-Pity as a Weapon in The Flash 28

by Spencer Irwin

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

Barry Allen’s greatest weakness is that he gets caught up inside his own head. When Barry’s upset about something it’s all he can think about, making him late, making him oblivious to the needs of those around him, making him oblivious to the damage his own obliviousness is causing. It’s a vicious cycle; Barry feels bad about himself and retreats into his own head, leading him to make more, similar mistakes, leading him to feel worse about himself, leading him to make more mistakes, on and on and on. Continue reading

“People” are the Detail that Matters Most in Green Arrow 28

by Spencer Irwin

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

At one point in Green Arrow 28 Lex Luthor compares himself to Sherlock Holmes, priding himself in his ability to be 12 steps ahead of everyone else, and proving it by (rather accurately) analyzing Arrow’s current situation based off of a few small clues in a most Cumberbatchian fashion. Yet for all his genius and detective prowess, there’s one small detail Luthor is rather blind to: people, especially the people who have helped make his company great. Continue reading

There’s Beauty in Letting Go in Hadrian’s Wall 8

by Spencer Irwin

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

Letting go — of grudges, of hatred, of resentment — is one of the hardest things a human being can do. It feels good to nurse a grudge, yet it can feel even better to finally let go — there’s beauty, there’s true catharsis in it. With the incomparable Rod Reis on art, it’s impossible for Hadrian’s Wall 8 not to find the literal beauty in letting go, even as writers Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel emphasize how truly difficult this action is for their characters. Continue reading

Superman 28: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Michael DeLaney

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

Spencer: I’ve never considered myself very patriotic. I appreciate the freedoms and privileges I enjoy as an American citizen, of course, as well as the sacrifices so many have made in order to ensure them, but it’s hard for me to fully support a country built on slavery and genocide, a country that’s struggled to properly care for minorities and the poor, a country that effortlessly and thoughtlessly kills foreign innocents in their own homes. I’m not comfortable putting my faith in an organization whose agendas so often shift (or can so easily be bought); I’d rather put my faith in individual people.

On paper, then, I probably shouldn’t like Superman 28, the conclusion of Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Scott Godlewski’s brief “Declaration” storyline. In many ways Clark, Lois, and Jon’s road trip is patriotism at its finest, yet what endears me to this story is the focus the creative team puts on people; on the people who sacrificed so much to fight for their beliefs, and on the very human cost of America’s many wars. That’s a thesis I can get behind. Continue reading