Star Wars: Poe Dameron 26: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Mark Mitchell

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

Michael: Marvel’s Star Wars line of comics were launched on the idea that what happens between the movies behind the scenes are stories worth telling. Surprisingly, many of these stories have been deep, creative chapters in the lives of the characters we know and love, building upon their respective character philosophies. Not every aspect of these characters’ lives shares that amount of depth or insight, however. We spend a lot of our lives sitting around, not doing anything consequential. Unfortunately, the same is true for the heroes of Star Wars: Poe Dameron 26. Continue reading

Advertisements

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 81: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Taylor Anderson

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 81

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

Drew: Homicidal mutants. Power-hungry ninja clan leaders. Aliens bent on world domination. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has had a ton of villains over the years, but they all tend to share one thing in common: obvious evilness. IDW’s incarnation has done a great deal to complicate and question the morals and perspectives of those familiar villains, but never so much to make the Turtles frame the choices of their adversaries as “misguided.” Which is precisely why Splinter’s slow heel turn has added so much depth to the series. It’s fine for the Turtles to be battling an evil, cackling warmonger when they’re appearing on a Saturday morning cartoon, but in this age where people seem to believe there are “very good people on both sides” of every argument, we may need more nuanced depictions of evil. The road to Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions, which is all anyone seems to have in this series at the moment. You know, besides the Rat King. Continue reading

Batman 44: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Taylor Anderson

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

Mark: Comic book characters locked into perpetual monthly stories can never really change; someone like Batman is an archtype unto himself, and if you mess with that alchemy too much, you threaten to change what Batman is. I used to think of this limitation as a bug in serialized comic storytelling, that the lack of permanent change in a character somehow devalued the overall impact any specific authorial choices could have, but I’m beginning to see it as a huge advantage. Continue reading

Isola 1: Discussion

By Spencer Irwin and Michael DeLaney

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

Spencer: The older I get, the more I realize how vital communication is to just about every single facet of life. So many problems and conflicts, be they in business or our personal lives, are caused by simple miscommunications, and the inability to communicate with someone makes it almost impossible to do anything with them or have any sort of meaningful relationship. Communication is a central theme of Isola, the new Image series from former Gotham Academy collaborators Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, and Msassyk. Not only does Isola 1 explore the difficulties that arise when two parties are unable to communicate, but the methods the creative team use to communicate information with the readers are second-to-none. This is one smartly-told comic book. Continue reading

Analog 1: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Drew Baumgartner

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

Patrick: I listen to a lot of Slate’s Trumpcast. Y’know, because the president has me in a nearly constant state of low-key panic, and I feel utterly powerless to stop our democracy from crumbling, so like, might as well listen to a podcast about it. One of the things that comes up on the show pretty often is the idea that we need to let go of the idea that there is one smoking gun that will implicate the administration and the president himself in collusion with the Russian government. There is no evidence so ironclad that it would force impeachment. Further, impeachment and removal from office would not address the systemic problems with corruption, bigotry, and foreign interference. There’s no “one solution” because there is no “one problem.” Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan’s Analog 1 takes a very specific speculative high-concept pitch, and gradually reminds the reader of everything else that is intriguing and terrifying about their world — there is no “one problem.” Continue reading

Kill or be Killed 17: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Ryan Desaulniers

Kill or be Killed 17

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

Don’t bury the lede.

Journalism, Traditional

Drew: Is journalism the opposite of storytelling? Maybe these terms are too sticky to parse, but it’s interesting to me that one of the cardinal rules of journalism — putting the most dramatic part of the story at the start of the article — is essentially the opposite of the basic narrative structure, where the climax arrives very close to the end of a story. Actually, the difference may lie less in where the “climax” (for lack of a better word) occurs as where it’s allowed to occur. While narratives tend to have the climax in their final act, it is by no means as hard-and-fast a rule as “don’t bury the lede,” and precisely where the climax fits in that final act is decidedly more flexible than absolutely, positively occurring in the first paragraph. It’s a simple matter of the purposes of these art forms — the kinds of tricks storytellers use to surprise us or keep us in suspense are totally inappropriate in a newspaper article designed to inform us of what happened where. And it’s those wrinkles in form, unique to storytelling, that make Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Kill or be Killed 17 such a delight. Continue reading

Dark Nights: Metal 6: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell 

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

slim-banner

Spencer: Now that the series has come to an end, I can safely say that I have very mixed feelings about Dark Nights: Metal as a whole. So much of this event has been about embracing gonzo, bonkers, throwback action, but much of that fun is buried under attempts to overexplain every aspect of the (often impossible to follow) plot. The stakes of the event never fully sank in for me, as aside from artist Greg Capullo’s hellish landscapes, most of the nightmarish aspects of the Dark Multiverse were buried away in tie-in issues, while the main series focused on fun, but straightforward action beats. That said, there were a few areas where this series shined, and Dark Nights: Metal 6 exemplifies them all. It’s a strong metaphor for embracing hope and community over nihilism and isolation, a powerful reminder of stories’ ability to inspire, and an ode to the past (and future) of the DC Universe. Continue reading

Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden 1

by Patrick Ehlers & Michael DeLaney

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

Patrick: I saw the new Wes Anderson movie, Isle of Dogs, this weekend. It’s cute, moody and starkly graphic — it fulfills the promise made by the phrase “Directed by Wes Anderson.” But the film also has a weird relationship with its setting: the Japanese language and and culture represent the alien in its own country. The dogs that we follow around, who are the heroes of this story, are all voiced, speaking English, by white American actors. A note tells us early on that barks and translated into English, but Japanese will remain untranslated (unless when done diegetically). For whatever argument you can make for Anderson’s reverence of the language and the culture (to say nothing of employing a bunch of Japanese actors and film folk), there’s no denying that the Japanese-ness of Isle of Dogs is meant to be novel and out of the ordinary. Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden 1 takes the exact opposite route, making damn sure that the East is familiar and the West is exotic. Continue reading

Mighty Thor 705: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Ryan Mogge

Mighty Thor 705

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

Spencer: Jane Foster is willing to do what must be done, no matter how hard or dangerous, no matter what the consequences might be, even when nobody else can or will. It’s what makes her a hero, what makes her worthy; it’s also what brings about her downfall. The Mighty Thor 705 is the swan song our beloved Jane deserves, a beautiful, action-packed, heartbreaking issue that highlights everything that made Jane’s Thor an inspiration, everything that made her important both in-universe and out. Continue reading

Star Wars 45: Discussion

By Taylor Anderson and Mark Mitchell

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

Taylor: Being a Star Wars fan who grew up with, and only with, the original trilogy, I would consider myself fairly protective of the movies which have spawned a pop-culture empire. This being the case, you might expect that I would hold the new movies to a high standard of excellence since I wouldn’t want their history besmirched. It turns out that the opposite is true. I’ve come to accept that nothing’s going to replicate my love of the original trilogy and that’s OK. That being said, as long as a Star Wars story is decent, I’m pretty happy just to get to spend more time in a galaxy far, far away. Sadly, this can’t be said for all Star Wars stories, which is the case in Star Wars 45.

Continue reading