Spencer: Unsurprisingly for a group that claims to rule the world in secret, the Illuminati functions much like a government. Both are made up of various individuals each supposedly dedicated to bettering the world (or their country, whatever), but who are also devoted to personal causes of their own which quite often cause major conflicts of interest. In the past, we’ve worried that these conflicts could tear the Illuminati apart, but New Avengers 12 flips that situation by showing the Illuminati putting aside their differences (if only temporarily); their actions keep the world safe, but do serious damage to their personal lives. Continue reading →
Ethan: When I was starting college, I knew – objectively – that I would at some point no longer be a student; I’d graduate, get a job, do the adulthood thing. But at the time, steeped in the day-to-day evasion of and frantic return to schoolwork, hanging out with friends, sleeping as little as possible, the thought if college actually ending rarely crossed my mind. And then BAM it was time to get up to go to the early-morning rehearsal for the graduation ceremony. College was finished, I was moving into a new apartmen and starting a new job. That sense of disconnect – when something long awaited feels as though it happens and is shoved into the past before we have the chance to actually experience – is the same feeling I’ve gotten during most of the turning points in the Infinity event, and the same is true of its finale. Continue reading →
Spencer: Guys, I’m just gonna be frank with you; I’m getting kind of tired of Infinity. I thought it started out great, with immense threats, exciting action, a fun war-story vibe and a colorful cast of alien supporting characters who were fleshed out just enough so that the scenes featuring them weren’t boring, but Infinity never really broke away from or added any depth to that formula, and after over ten issues of it, I’m thoroughly tired of this interstellar war-story. Maybe writer Jonathan Hickman is too; it would explain why this issue of Avengers feels so pointless. Or maybe he just thinks that the infiltration of the Peak is important enough to devote two whole issues to; unfortunately for us, it’s not. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Mighty Avengers 3, originally released November 6th, 2013.
…and this whole justice league — Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman. You mean to tell me Superman can’t cover everything? For crying out loud, he’s Superman!
Drew: It’s hard to resist the synergy of a superhero team-up. Batman and Superman have megawatt star-power alone, but combine them, and you can draw an even bigger audience. As easy as it is to justify those team-ups from a business perspective, it can actually be quite difficult to justify them narratively. Writers often resort to improbably massive threats or absurd contrivances to bring their heroes together, but the biggest problem with team-ups is much more fundamental than plotting. The appeal of superheroes — the appeal of the idea of The Hero in general — is that they alone bear the power to succeed in their journey. If you put several of them in a story together, their narrative purposes are at odds, dividing any victories between them in a way that is ultimately less satisfying. But what if a team isn’t made up of such heavy-hitters? What if they were presented with a problem that the members couldn’t possibly cover on their own? Mighty Avengers 3 zeroes in on exactly what strength can be found, as its team becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 8, originally released October 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage. Scott: I always know I like a comic when it stops feeling “new”. There comes a point in every series where I’m no longer reading because it has potential to be good, but because it actually has become good (either that, or it never realizes that potential and I stop reading altogether). Eight issues in, and I feel like Guardians of the Galaxy is no longer getting by on merely being new. Without Iron Man to buoy it any longer, this is something of a sink or swim moment for this series, and it doesn’t miss a beat. Everything is clicking- the writing, the characters, the humor and the art. Especially the art. This is the issue that moves Guardians from my “Intriguing New Titles” column to my “Must Read!” column. Continue reading →
Mikyzptlk: Infinity has been, well, infinite in is ability to dish out issue after issue of Epic Space Battles and a slew of intergalactic threats. For the most part though, I’ve been a bit let down by the lack of the smaller character moments that I love to see in my superhero funnies. Jonathan Hickman seems poised to give me exactly what I want in Avengers 22, while gearing up for his conclusion to the Infinity event. Continue reading →
Drew: The ubiquity of three-act structures often makes the form of a story predictable. We know what’s supposed to happen in a second act — even if we don’t know the specifics of a given story — but what happens when a narrative breaks that structure? Infinity takes the form of a six-part miniseries, with primary crossovers into ten other issues. To further complicate things, the series has long followed an A/B structure as the avengers face two very different threats in very different locations, and the event itself could be described as the third (or second and third) act(s) of narratives started in Avengers and New Avengers. What do we expect of the fifth issue of Infinity (itself the twelfth issue of the event)? What it supposed to happen? Unfortunately, writer Jonathan Hickman doesn’t offer a particularly compelling answer in the issue itself. Continue reading →
Patrick: We’re used to seeing clues pop up in detective stories. Even when those stories are as farcical as Clue, we always try to sort through the bits the matter and those that don’t. Any piece of information that doesn’t pay off can be referred to as a “red herring” – a literary device so well-known, the characters within the story will be able to point them out. It’s superfluous information, dressed up as the key to understanding the mystery. Charles Soule has accomplished something quite the opposite with his Thunderbolts Infinity crossover: we’re told repeatedly that the alien invasion and the resultant war between the Avengers and Thanos’ army are of little concern to our trusty Thunderbolts – particularly Punisher, Venom and Elektra. But just as it seems like Punisher’s myopic obsession with taking out the Paguro family is about to payoff, Infinity intrudes on his plans in a way he just can’t ignore. Turns out that red herring was worth paying attention to in the first place.
Spencer: When Infinity was first announced, we knew very little about it besides the fact that it would be vaguely connected to writer Jonathan Hickman’s two Avengers books and that Thanos was involved; once the first issue dropped, I declared that it was “the story if what happens when two different universe-ending threats hit at the same time, leaving the Earth absolutely helpless.” We’re over two-thirds of the way through the crossover and those words are still mostly holding true, but New Avengers 11 takes this concept to a place I would have never expected when Infinity began — yet a place that makes perfect sense — by tying the space-bound and Earth-bound threats together. Continue reading →
Ethan: The Infinity arc has been many things: ambitious, epic, nail-biting, repetitive, crowded. The adjective that perhaps best describes the current bit of the story — Avengers #21 — is “compressed.” We’ve groused a bit about the many angles through which we were forced to watch the events of Starbrand wiping out a Builder fleet and an Avenger strike team freeing their teammates, so maybe this issue is a welcome departure from the exhaustive coverage of the previous battles. Yet I’d almost welcome an alternate perspective / re-hashing of the events of this issue, because it was anything but drawn-out. We get the meditations of supercomputers, hand-to-hand fighting across 6 different planets, absurdly dangerous decisions made by a handful of commanders far from the fighting. The brink of despair, total salvation, all in a couple dozen pages.