Dialogue and Internal Monologue as an Introduction in Domino 1

by Spencer Irwin

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

First issues have an almost impossible amount of work to do. They have to introduce (or reintroduce) the lead character, their supporting cast, their unique perspective, the series’ premise, and they have to do it all within 20 pages. Every creative team has their own unique approach to this task, and for Gail Simone and David Baldeon in Domino 1, that approach largely comes down to dialogue and internal monologue. Continue reading

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Things Get Serious in Super Sons 15

by Spencer Irwin

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

Even though they’re child heroes, writer Peter Tomasi has never hesitated to put his young protagonists, Robin and Superboy, into dangerous, even life-threatening situations. Still, even when facing down killer androids, navigating alternate dimensions, or racing to save the life of Jon’s mother, Tomasi has always managed to keep Super Sons’ tone light and playful. That’s not the case in issue 15, an adventure that feels that much more weighty and dangerous for the sudden change in tone. Continue reading

Fun With Familiar Ideas in The Amazing Spider-Man 799

by Spencer Irwin

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

The end of a creative team’s run often finds the team building to a story that spans their entire tenure on the title, bringing together all their loose ends into one grand climax. Dan Slott, though, has simply been writing The Amazing Spider-Man too long to realistically do that; in fact, he’s tied up most of his long-running plots over the last few storylines, instead using much of his final arc to return Peter Parker to a kinda-sorta classic status quo for future creators to play with. Slott, though, has always found quite a bit to mine from classic status quos, from familiar plots and the immutable core of his characters. Even stories as well-known as “Norman Osborn returns to terrorize Peter and Harry” and “Spider-Man and Goblin fight” find a new life under Slott’s pen, and that’s no different in The Amazing Spider-Man 799, which finds Slott and Stuart Immonen tackling these familiar stories from new angles, from different perspectives, with a few surprises hiding up their sleeves. Continue reading

Losing (and Taking) Control in Eternity Girl 2

By Spencer Irwin

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

Caroline Sharp isn’t quite all there. I don’t mean that to be a dig at her mental health — she’s literally never just in one place at one time, but rather, being pulled in several directions at once, her consciousness torn between past and present, fantasy and reality, the planet Earth and the far reaches of space. I don’t think it’s the more far-out aspects of this situation that bothers Caroline — it’s the fact that she can’t control it. Continue reading

Sacrifice and the Long Fight in Darth Vader 14

by Spencer Irwin

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

Given how pervasive politics are in our current landscape, it’s no surprise that so much of the media being created nowadays contains political allusions and allegories. Both the allusions and especially the politics themselves can be exhausting at times, but given how dangerous so many political groups are today, getting involved and taking a stand seems absolutely necessary, no matter what the cost. That’s certainly the theme that runs throughout Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s Darth Vader 14, a clear allegory for our fraught modern political times that argues that great sacrifices must be made to fight oppression wherever it rears its face. Continue reading

The Trap of Guilt in Green Arrow 39

by Spencer Irwin

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

Spencer: For the first few decades of his existence, Green Arrow was just Batman with a bow and arrows. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when Oliver Queen lost his fortune and gained a social consciousness, that the character became something unique and important. In today’s divisive times, I appreciate Green Arrow’s status as a “social justice warrior” more than ever, but honestly, the fact that Ollie is often pretty bad at this aspect of his job is probably just as important. That Ollie often needs to be educated allows creators to explain unfamiliar concepts to the audience, but it also means confronting the kind of guilt and privilege that often plagues even the most well-meaning of activists. Continue reading

(Not) Learning from Experience in Runaways 8

By Spencer Irwin

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

“My advice is: stand firm for what you believe in, until and unless logic and experience prove you wrong.”

Daria, Is It College Yet?

One major advantage of growing up and getting older is experience. Being young means screwing up (a lot), but every screw up teaches you something new, hopefully helping you avoid similar mistakes in the future. That’s only if you take those screw-ups to heart, though. That seems to be a problem for the Runaways (and even for the visiting Julie Powers) in Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s Runaways 8 — they’re so busy holding on to what they once were that they can’t see how badly they need to grow. They can’t learn from their own mistakes. Continue reading

Secrets as a Weapon in The Wicked + The Divine 35

by Spencer Irwin

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

It should be no surprise that almost every character in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine are hiding major secrets, nor that, as the series enters its final year, more and more of those secrets are coming to light. What might be a bit surprising, though, is how well the cast leverages these secrets — both their own and others’ — in order to get what they want. Secrets can be a liability, but in the world of WicDiv, they’re just as often an asset, a weapon just waiting to be fired. Continue reading

Isola 1: 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: The older I get, the more I realize how vital communication is to just about every single facet of life. So many problems and conflicts, be they in business or our personal lives, are caused by simple miscommunications, and the inability to communicate with someone makes it almost impossible to do anything with them or have any sort of meaningful relationship. Communication is a central theme of Isola, the new Image series from former Gotham Academy collaborators Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, and Msassyk. Not only does Isola 1 explore the difficulties that arise when two parties are unable to communicate, but the methods the creative team use to communicate information with the readers are second-to-none. This is one smartly-told comic book. Continue reading

Using Our Voices to Help, Not Hurt in Black Panther 171

By Spencer Irwin

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

Our voices make us powerful. They allow us to make bonds and forge connections with one another, they allow us to speak out against oppression and injustice, they allow us to express our innermost desires and emotions, to be heard. Unfortunately, some voices are louder than others. Voices of men, voices of white people, they have a platform that women or people of color are so often denied access to, a platform that amplifies their voice, not only giving their words too much power, but drowning out the voices of others. This is first and foremost a problem for those whose voices are being drowned out, of course, but it’s also a problem for those doing the speaking; they’re so busy talking that they’re not listening, and that means they’re missing out on a lot of vital information. Continue reading