Star Wars 50: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Taylor Anderson

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

Patrick: With the conclusion of the “Mutiny on Mon Cala” story arc, things are looking up for our heroes. And why wouldn’t they? One of the features of Marvel’s interquel Star Wars series is that we know an awful lot about both the past and future of these characters. There’s a dramatic irony baked into the entire concept of this series. Any time Luke, Han, and Leia are in mortal danger, we can override our fears for their safety by simply remembering that they all live to fight another day. But that’s only half of it, right? We also know that the Rebels are on the run by The Empire Strikes Back. Writer Kieron Gillen and artists Salvador Larroca and Giuseppe Camuncoli use the oversized issue 50 to pivot from inevitable safety to inevitable danger. Continue reading

Themes and Team Make for a Dream in Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel 1

By Taylor Anderson

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

On paper, the team-up of Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel makes too much sense for it not to happen. Both heroes are young protagonists. Both are second tier Marvel heroes next to the headliner Avengers. And perhaps most importantly, both of their series are strikingly modern and fun. But just because a team-up makes sense in theory doesn’t mean it will really work in practice. Artistic differences and such often derail the best laid team-up issues. Baring this in mind, does Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel 1 strike gold or strike out? Continue reading

They Said What? in Doctor Strange 3

by Taylor Anderson

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

If you’ve ever had the fortune (or misfortune as it might be) of being an English major, you’ve likely entertained the idea of being a writer at some point in time — probably college. So you penned a couple stories that were mediocre at best and realized along the way that writing is actually quite difficult. Specifically, writing dialogue is a hard part of the process, if for no other reason than it is difficult to make it sound natural. This being so, I don’t blame Mark Waid for having hard time writing conversation in Doctor Strange 3, but his difficulty in writing it sure makes this issue hard to enjoy. Continue reading

Saga 53: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

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

Spencer: In recent months our Saga coverage has focused quite a bit on how Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan have been taking their time, luxuriating in a slower pace and revealing more and more about their characters as they move pieces into place, setting up for a no doubt explosive finale. That said, no matter how much build up they have, grand confrontations don’t work the same way in Saga as they do in many other similar pieces of media; there’s no monologue-and-metaphor-filled matches of will, no intricately choreographed fight scenes, no thirty episode long battles as Namek slowly burns in the background. Instead, Saga’s finales reflect real life violence. They’re quick, brutal, often random, and care very little about the events that have led up to them or who’s right or wrong.  Continue reading

Thor 1: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Patrick Ehlers

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

Taylor: When I’m teaching my students about tone and mood in class, my go-to lesson involves a Marry Poppins trailer. First I show them the original trailer for the movie and then I show them a trailer that Christopher Rule cut together, which makes the classic film look like a horror movie. It’s a great way of showing the kids that the same content can have a drastically different tone and mood based on how the artist presents the story. I was thinking of this as I read Thor 1, because the issue shares the same characters, settings, and even the same writer as the Mighty Thor, but it feels drastically different. It’s a textbook example of how a skilled writer can shift the tone of a story, and in this case, that shift is a refreshing change of direction for the Thor series. Continue reading

The Tantalization of Other Timelines in Peter Parker: the Spectacular Spider-Man 305

by Taylor Anderson

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

Every time I read a news story about a tweet our current commander in chief sends out, I can’t help but think how his predecessor or opponent in the election wouldn’t debase themselves in such a way. This inevitably leads me to wonder what an alternate timeline might look like where the current president didn’t win the election. What would the country look like? Would the oval office still be dignified and one that engenders respect and appreciation? I have some ideas about that, but I can never be sure exactly what that timeline holds. This idea, of other timelines, is tantalizing and one all people think about, and as such, it dominates the narrative of the Spectacular Spider-Man 305. Continue reading

Star Wars 49: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Taylor Anderson

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

Patrick: If there’s one part of the Star Wars formula I’ve had the hardest time connecting to on a personal level, it’d have to be the huge battles between spaceships.  Don’t get me wrong: I think the ships look cool, and the Millennium Falcon is so near and dear to my heart that I almost cried during its reveal in The Force Awakens. But there’s something about two factions of cold, gray, lifeless ships zipping through space and shooting blasters at each other that feels remarkably impersonal. With Star Wars 49, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca set out to stage the mother of all space battles at the birth of the Rebel Armada. By linking the ships to the characters, the creators create a sense of emotional continuity that makes this one of the best space ship battles I’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Science and Magic Reconciled in Doctor Strange 1

by Taylor Anderson

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

For some, there is a fine line to be drawn between the science fiction and fantasy genres. The former often focuses on technology and space travel while the latter often takes place on Earth-like planets and features magic, and it’s easy to see why the twain should never mix. While these differences are stark, many have come to recognize that enough similarities exist between the two for them to be clumped into one genre called “speculative fiction.” The Marvel Universe, with its huge amount of both space-age technology and mystical powers, certainly belongs in this classification. While this hasn’t hasn’t always been an easy mixing, in Doctor Strange 1 it not only works, but is explained elegantly. Continue reading

Marvel Two-In-One 6: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Drew Baumgartner

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

Taylor: Sometimes I’ll come home after work and my wife will ask me how my day was. Usually, I have something interesting to tell her, but occasionally there simply isn’t anything all that remarkable to say. In these cases, my response to her query is that is was “just a day.” See, the thing is, if you do anything enough times it’s bound to become rote every now and then. This same idea certainly holds true with monthly comics, with most series producing “just an issue” that isn’t all that remarkable. Such is the case with Marvel Two-In-One 6, which notable only for how generic it feels.

Continue reading

It’s OK to Keep Secrets in Ms. Marvel 30

by Taylor Anderson

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

In any relationship, romantic or otherwise, there are bound to be secrets. For a long time, there was belief that prevailed which said your partner was entitled to know everything about you, which basically meant no secrets were kept. However, times have changed, and people have begun to accept that it’s healthy and natural to not tell your partner everything. That’s not being duplicitous, that’s just being human and respectful. This is healthy turn of events, but as with all things, it’s more complicated if you’re a superhero, just as Kamala find out in Ms. Marvel 30. Continue reading