Doctor Strange 384: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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

Michael: This is the second week in a row that I get to name-drop the Sentry! I think I may be in the minority when I say that I like the Sentry, the Dr. Jekyll Superman analogue with a Mr. Hyde counterpart called The Void. I don’t think that he should be headlining his own book, but I do like him as a co-star or part of an ensemble. Donny Cates makes excellent use out of the Sentry in Doctor Strange 384. Continue reading

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America’s Joy Defines America 11

by Spencer Irwin

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

America‘s often breathless pace works to its favor in issue 11, a transition issue that manages to serve as an epilogue to the previous storyline while also diving head-first into the next, mixing heartfelt character moments with genuine thrills and actions, with none feeling out of place or poorly paced. For the moment, America Chavez is in a good place, and her joy shines through in this issue loud and clear. Continue reading

Different Kinds of Strength in She-Hulk 161

by Spencer Irwin

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

Mariko Tamaki’s been taking Jennifer Walters on a long, singular journey towards recovery ever since taking over Hulk/She-Hulk, and the antagonists Jen has faced along the way have been specifically chosen to reflect different challenges of that journey, often by turning them into mirror images of Jen’s greatest fears. What does it mean, then, that She-Hulk 161 has two villains for Jen to face down? And what do these two foes have to say about where Jen’s head is right now? Continue reading

Gwen Faces the End in The Unbelievable Gwenpool 24

by Spencer Irwin

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

The first monthly comic book I ever followed was Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans in the early 2000s — it was the book that got me into comic shops every week, buying single issues and learning and following creative teams. Johns’ eventual departure from the title was also the first time I ever dealt with the end of a beloved run, and I didn’t handle it well; it felt like a friend had died. I should note that the series wasn’t even cancelled — it went on for over 50 more issues with several different creative teams — but the end of that particular take on the property that I loved so dearly was devastating nonetheless. The Unbelievable Gwenpool 24 finds Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru digging into a similar kind of loss as Gwen mourns the cancellation of her own comic book, only for her, the loss is far more real. Continue reading

Star Wars: Darth Vader 10: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

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

Spencer: If knowledge is power, than so is wisdom. Both are talked up as some of the greatest traits of the Jedi Order, but so often we think of Jedis as warriors first and foremost, their victories physical ones rather than mental. It’s a mindset Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli are clearly looking to challenge in Star Wars: Darth Vader 10. Jocasta Nu, Jedi librarian, isn’t much of a warrior (at least in comparison to Darth Vader), but she achieves a vital victory over Vader anyway, simply by using her wits and knowledge. Most importantly, she has the wisdom to recognize that achieving such a victory will require sacrifice, and the will to go through with it nonetheless. Continue reading

A Bad Dad Provides Clarity in Action Comics 995

by Spencer Irwin

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

The past few issues of Action Comics have featured Superman at his worst. His determination to go back in time to watch Krypton’s destruction (all in hopes of proving that Mr. Oz wasn’t actually Jor-El) has practically made him the bad guy of this story, as his stubborn refusal to heed Booster Gold’s warnings to stop meddling in time have endangered all of history. Even at his best moments in this story, though, he’s come across as a bit shortsighted and condescending. It takes a revelation about Booster’s father to help Superman gain some much-needed clarity. Continue reading

An Attack on Steve’s Morality in Captain America 697

by Spencer Irwin

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

Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s take on Captain America is already drastically different from Nick Spencer’s that preceded it, doling out mostly episodic adventures in comparison to the one long story Spencer told, and focusing less on actual politics and more on the idea of Steve Rogers being a good and righteous man, and trying to inspire others to be the same. The return to simpler, more swashbuckling tales has been a nice palate cleanser, especially as readers reacquaint themselves to the original, non-Hydra version of Cap, but I’m hoping we get something a little more substantial sooner rather than later. Continue reading

Uncertain Uncertainties in Batman: White Knight 4

by Spencer Irwin

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

Despite the series being at its halfway point, I honestly don’t quite know what to make of Batman: White Knight. I still believe that Sean Murphy is a tremendous artist, but other than that, my feelings about this series are mired in uncertainty. It seems that some of that uncertainty is purposeful, inherent to the premise, but some of it feels very unintentional and frustrating. I wish it was easier to tell the difference. Continue reading

Secret Weapons 0: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin

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

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Patrick: Discovering oneself is an inherently lonely pursuit. In high school, I was discovering my own sexuality, and had left my then-girlfriend to pursue a relationship with this dude from my theatre class. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I ending up nuking that relationship as well, effectively alienating everyone from all social groups I could have ever claimed to be a part of. Looking back on the events, I was surrounded by people who cared deeply about me, but I couldn’t really see them at the time. I saw me, and only me. This was a time that should have been social and should have been about finding my place in a much more interesting world. But that was so hard to see from the perspective of a 17 year old kid who couldn’t stop wrestling with the question “am I gay?” Secret Weapons 0 presents the intense loneliness of self-discovery as an origin story unlike any I’ve ever read. Nikki finds the answers to so many personal questions, but ends up losing just about everything outside of herself. Continue reading

Star Wars: Storms of Crait 1 Is More Than Just Trivia

by Spencer Irwin

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

Thanks to decades of supplemental material, there’s almost nothing that’s gone unexplained in the Star Wars universe — even the most minor, insignificant of characters tend to end up with extensive backstories. This can be fun trivia, but I often find myself rolling my eyes whenever I see another story that exists just to explain something that didn’t really need explaining. At first, Star Wars: Storms of Crait appears to be just that kind of story, but thankfully, it transcends those origins to become something far more entertaining. Continue reading