Taking Control of Your Own Story in The Wicked + The Divine 39

by Spencer Irwin

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

See, I refuse to think of rock and roll as my career
Tell me all my opportunities, ask me if I care
The rock star lifestyle ain’t for me
I quit
Got somewhere else I’d rather be
So I quit
I quit, I quit

“I Quit” — Descendents

Fame isn’t for everyone; hell, fame isn’t for most people. But fame is also a trap, and something that takes a lot of work and luck to achieve, so I admire the hell out of anyone who’s willing to give it up, whether it be to broaden into less lucrative aspects of their medium or to get out of show business altogether. It takes a lot of clarity and guts to make that decision, and in The Wicked + The Divine 39, Laura Wilson — no longer Persephone — has both in droves. Continue reading

Subjectivity in Symbols and Characters in The Seeds 2

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Ann Nocenti and David Aja’s Seeds is, on the surface, about a race of aliens that comes to earth to document, or possibly expedite, the extinction of the human race. But even from the end of the first issue, this tidy sci fi premise has already been upset: one of these aliens has feelings for a human woman. Those are clearly defined roles for the humans and the aliens, right? And even that little twist falls into the dramatically convenient theme of love blossoming on the battlefield. Issue 2 of Seeds more thoroughly explores the difference between what is expected of an actor and how they actually act. Continue reading

The Mercenary Gamers of Leviathan 2

by Michael DeLaney

Leviathan 2

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

There is a not-so-subtle “might makes right” mentality that is associated with America. Our overprotectiveness of the Second Amendment, the immense firepower of our military, and just the general “America Fuck Yeah” of it all often makes us look arrogant and overconfident. In John Layman and Nick Pitarra’s Leviathan 2, we see that arrogance and overconfidence of the American military-industrial complex in action. Continue reading

Time Travel is a Threat, Not a Savior in Paper Girls 24

By Spencer Irwin

Paper Girls 24

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

The cast of Paper Girls continually look to time travel for salvation, as a cure-all to whatever ails them. The problem is that time travel caused almost all of their problems in the first place, and only threatens to cause more in the future. Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, and Matthew Wilson make this clearer than ever in Paper Girls 24, an issue that paints time travel as something that’s actively destructive and malicious. Continue reading

The Ruin of Structure of Days of Hate 7

by Patrick Ehlers

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

The very first image in Days of Hate 7 is New York City at at night from a distance with the text “Seven Weeks Later.” While the apocalypse-in-motion setting for this series will sometimes lean in to ruined urban landscapes–and there is plenty of that later in the issue–for the this introductory moment, the city skyline seems relatively intact. This skyline is the exception; the sterling faux-beacon for civilization in a world where all other structures, be they physical, societal, social or psychological, have collapsed. Continue reading

The “How” of the Reveal in The Wicked + The Divine 38

by Spencer Irwin

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

One of the things I appreciate the most about Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s collaborations is the way they handle big twists and reveals. Gillen and McKelvie rarely trade in big showy twists (and when they do — such as in the “I Am Ananke” moment — they tend to raise more questions than they answer); instead, major pieces of information are revealed with such subtlety that one could almost miss them, and usually have plenty of evidence pointing their way long before the theories are finally confirmed, rewarding loyal, eagle-eyed readers. The Wicked + The Divine 38 clarifies several major pieces of information this way, furthering the plot, deepening its characters, and taking advantage of this arc’s unique structure in the process. Continue reading

Surprising Shifts in Perspective in Saga 54

by Spencer Irwin

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

As its title would suggest, Saga is a series with an ambitious scope and a sprawling cast, one where the perspective often shifts between various groups of characters, even though we can count on Marko and Alana’s family to be at the center of events at any given time. It’s also a series where nothing stays the same for long, allowing for any number of shocking betrayals, alliances, deaths, and shifts in the status quo. This all comes heavily into play in Saga 54, an issue that upends the series’ world in ways we’ve never seen before, ways most of us probably were not prepared for. Continue reading

Moonshine 12: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Patrick Ehlers

Moonshine 12

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

The moment. Be in it.

Lou Pirlo

Drew: I have a theory that teens are such popular subjects of drama because they are so famously terrible at anticipating the repercussions of their actions. We accept impulsive behavior from Romeo and Juliet because they’re basically kids, but that same impulsivity needs explanation for adult characters. Maybe they’re prideful or hubristic or jealous or afraid; whatever it is, the drama is driven by a flaw in the characters that keeps them from acting rationally. Lou Pirlo has plenty of flaws that might explain his impulsivity — he’s both an alcoholic and a werewolf, after all — but with Moonshine 12, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso suggest that impulsivity might be baked into his very core. The result is refreshingly free of the dramatic irony that characterizes other drama; we might recognize the decisions here as impulsive or ill-thought-through, but we have no idea what their repercussions might be. Continue reading

Love Doesn’t Conquer All in Descender 32

by Spencer Irwin

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

Much like our own, the world of Descender is full of prejudice, hatred, and war. These various traits all fuel each other in some sort of endless, infinite loop — the only way to break the cycle is to come together, to learn from each other, to empathize with each other, to love instead of hate. Like in so many stories — and, again, perhaps like our own world as well — love is the answer, but it’s not a solution that comes easily. In Descender 32, the final issue of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s saga, love may be the answer, but love doesn’t conquer all. Continue reading

Parallels, Dramatic Irony, and Time in The New World 1

by Drew Baumgartner

New World 1

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

My wife is itinerantly averse to spoilers, to the point that she refuses to watch trailers for movies. It’s an attitude I can sympathize with (many trailers seem more like hyper-condensed edits of the entire film than teasers), but can’t fully understand — how could she possibly know if a movie appeals to her if she doesn’t know anything about it? To me, some foreknowledge of the genre and basic premise of a narrative is essential to my interest in it. Of course, in serialized media — especially ones with particularly high-concept premises — the first chapter might just cover the “basic premise,” effectively spoiling its own plot. But the thing I’ve always resented about “spoiler” talk is the way it privileges plotting (and especially surprise twists in plotting) over every other narrative element. There are real, unique pleasures to be mined from having more perspective than the characters within the narrative, and a well-told story will use those tools as effectively as any narrative twist. Aleš Kot and Tradd Moore demonstrate the value of those tools on both the micro and macro level in The New World 1. Continue reading