Recurrent Lyrics and Actions Empower Scott in Mister Miracle 8

By Patrick Ehlers

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

A lot of Mister Miracle stands on the foundation of process and repetition. The nine-panel grid is established early and repeated on every page. All nine panels will be committed to a single action. Then the next nine panels are committed to a different action. This repetition leads to the feeling of being trapped, both for Scott Free and for the reader. But issue 8 finds writer Tom King introducing a sort of rosetta stone for how to find joy and contentment in the inescapable repetition. “Hush, Little Baby.” Continue reading

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The Personal Mythology of Batman: Creature of Night 3

by Michael DeLaney

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

Whether we realize it or not, Americans like to mythologize our lives. Exposure to different forms of fiction and historical accounts feed into our egos, ascribing significance and meaning where otherwise there is none. Kurt Busiek and John Paul Leon’s Batman: Creature of Night 3 mythologizes it’s protagonist’s life literally and figuratively. Continue reading

Action Comics 1000: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner, Michael DeLaney, Patrick Ehlers, and Spencer Irwin

Action Comics 1000

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

“From the City that Has Everything”

Drew: Superman changed the world. That’s obvious enough in-universe, but it’s just as true of our world. Action Comics 1 created (or at least codified) the superhero genre, a genre that came to define both the 20th and 21st centuries, and is still growing as Action Comics rings in its 1000th issue. It’s a singular achievement, but celebrating it as such might not be in the spirit of Superman, for whom humbleness is as much a part of his character as heroism. He’s not one to take compliments easily, let alone brag, so any efforts to do so on his behalf run the risk of feeling crass. Most of the stories in this issue opted to ignore lionizing Superman outright, aiming instead to illustrate what it is that makes him so laudable, but in the issue’s opening chapter, Dan Jurgens came up with a way to address the issue with Superman himself, providing a commentary on the whole exercise of a huge anniversary issue, and offering a justification that even Superman can get behind. Continue reading

The Worst Hunting Trip in the World in Green Lanterns 45

By Mark Mitchell

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

With Green Lanterns 45, Tim Seeley and Ronan Cliquet begin to dive into Jessica Cruz’s past with the goal of explaining why The Ring of Volthoom was drawn to her trauma in the first place — the worst hunting trip in the world. Continue reading

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

The Timeline Skews in Batman 45

By Drew Baumgartner

Batman 45

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

Here’s the present, 1985, the future, and the past. Prior to this point in time, somewhere in the past…the time line skewed into this tangent…creating an alternate 1985. Alternate to you, me, and Einstein…but reality for everyone else.

Doc Brown, Back to the Future Part II

We’re all familiar enough with the notion of alternate timelines and the butterfly effect by this point that any reasonable time-traveler would have to fear ever changing past events — indeed, it’s a sci-fi concept so ubiquitous, even Abe Simpson thought to offer Homer a warning about it on his wedding day. And yet, we still like to imagine “what if” scenarios about making different decisions in only our own pasts, but those of fictional characters. The most well-known “what if” story in superhero comics might well be “For the Man Who Has Everything,” Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s clever parable about fantasy wish fulfillment. Superman’s fantasy necessarily focuses on his own experiences on a non-exploded Krypton, but the absence of Superman would obviously have profound effects back on Earth. That is, there are butterfly effects in that fantasy timeline we never see, that a Krypton-based Kal-El wouldn’t even know about. Cleverly, Tom King and Tony Daniel open on the butterfly effects of their alternate timeline in Batman 45 before circling back to explain how and why this alternate timeline was created in the first place. Continue reading

Don’t Trust Authority in New Super-Man and the Justice League of China 22

by Mark Mitchell

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

Ahn Kwang-Jo, aka the Aqua-Man of North Korea, aka Dragonson, is so conditioned by his life under the authoritarian regime of North Korea to accept the word of authority figures as truth that when the old sea dragon bones responsible for his powers commands him to generate a flood large enough to kill millions of his countrymen, Kwang-Jo feels compelled to obey. He’s briefly conflicted, but his resistance is met with anger by his “true father”, and Kwang-Jo quickly acquiesces.

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

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

Jack and Batman Come Clean in Batman: White Knight 7

By Michael DeLaney

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

As Batman: White Knight races towards its finale, Batman and Jack Napier come face to face with their own egos and shortcomings. After spending the majority of the series as an aggressive bully, Sean Murphy finally gives Batman the opportunity to be heroic again in Batman: White Knight 7. Continue reading