Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special 1

superior spider-man teamup 1Today, Greg and Taylor are discussing Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special 1, originally released October 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the three-part Arms of the Octopus story.

Greg: Towards the end of Mike Costa’s swiftly engaging issue, Cyclops asks Bruce Banner a grim yet oddly understandable question: since the Hulk causes so much wanton, uncontrollable violence and destruction, why doesn’t Banner just kill himself and save the world the headache? Banner responds with a simple, poignant mantra he lives his life by: “Hulk smashes, Banner builds.” By performing humanitarian efforts like a water purification system, Banner seeks to provide tip the scales in favor of life, of constructive rather than destructive efforts. This issue, the conclusion to the Arms Of The Octopus trilogy, follows this line of thinking in its narrative construction. We see each faction come up with logical solutions to each problem they face (it’s telling that Octavius-as-Spider-Man’s plan to “pummel” Dr. Jude “with all my strength until he falls down” is met with a striking blow to the face), with one final Hulk smash to tighten the screw and save the day. Continue reading

Indestructible Hulk Special 1

hulk special 1Today, Greg and Taylor are discussing Indestructible Hulk Special 1, originally released October 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the three-part Arms of the Octopus story.

Greg: A friend of mine asked me the other night, “If a guy teleported in front of you, told you he was a time traveler, and asked what year it was, how would you respond?” We’re both comedy folks, so I imagine he was looking to start riffing. Yet rather than fire off any number of instinctual punchlines (“What year is it? Why, it’s Christmas Year, sir!” is one of the many perfect ideas I had), I decided to pause, think, and mull over what I, Greg Smith, human being, would actually do if that actually happened.

“I would probably try to ask him who he was, stammer out panicked words, and then fall over.” And that truth, over any dumb joke I could’ve invented, made him laugh.
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All-New X-Men Special 1

all new x-men special

Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing All-New X-Men Special 1, originally released October 2nd, 2013. This issue is part of the three-part Arms of the Octopus story.

Patrick: No matter how well superheroes puncture the zeitgeist, there’s always going to be a stigma around actually reading comic books. Both the medium and the genre have a ton of idiosyncratic problems, and even those of us willing to suspend our disbelief to read stories about muscly warriors putting on pajamas to punch each other in the face — a suspension which is largely worth it — struggle with the way stories are distributed. Extreme serialization leads to long epic, emotionally fulfilling stories, but it also means you get entire months where nothing really happens. On the flipside, extreme episodism leads to easily digestible stories that leave little lasting impact on the reader. Mike Costa’s Arms of the Octopus seems to have its sites set somewhere in the middle, combining the fun escapism of something like A+X, with the more meaningful stories from the series it borrows its titles from. Continue reading