The Desperation of Dead Rabbit 2

by Michael DeLaney

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

Pop culture has taught me that there are two types of robbers: those who do it for fun and those who do it out of necessity. The gang from Ocean’s Eleven get involved in wacky overcomplicated capers because George Clooney’s character wants to stick it to Andy Garcia’s. More often however – and more realistically – people turn to this particular life of crime out of desperation. Dead Rabbit 2 is a prime example of this desperation. Continue reading

Smash-cuts Break Up the Storytelling in Outer Darkness 1

by Drew Baumgartner

Outer Darkness 1

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

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!

Star Trek

Not a lot of fiction gives you a mission statement quite as clearly as Star Trek. In just a few sentences (and fragments), the opening credits establish the where, what, and why of what of an entire universe, providing fuel for decades of new iterations and reimaginings. The mission statement for Outer Darkness is a bit more complicated, building on what writer John Layman calls “dramas set on spaceships” (in the grand tradition of Star Trek), while also folding in “outer space sci-fi horror,” for which he has charmingly few examples. The result is something obviously more difficult to pin down than that clear logline of Star Trek, but while this issue doesn’t quite cover its entire mission, it absolutely articulates its storytelling sensibilities, as Layman and artist Afu Chan make some distinctive choices to broadcast their tone. Continue reading

Futility in Days of Hate 9

by Patrick Ehlers

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

“All we do is sit in rooms and wait.”

Arvid, Days of Hate 9

The scariest thing about the rise of fascism in the United States is the immeasurable apathy it has been met with. While people on the left have donated and volunteered and campaigned and protested, there’s nothing that won’t send us back to our couches like a little tongue-clucking about civility. We still expect the old tools work, but leverage and hypocrisy and blackmail only work if your opponent lets it work. In Days of Hate 9, writer Ales Kōt and artist Danijel Žeželj show the futility of protest, blackmail, and scheming against the unstoppable juggernaut of cruelty that is Agent Freeman. Continue reading

The Mutability of Truth in East of West 39

by Patrick Ehlers

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

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apocrypha: apoc·ry·pha | \ə-ˈpä-krə-fə

  1. writings or statements of dubious authenticity
  2. capitalized
    1. books included in the Septuagnint and Vulgate but excluded from the Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament
    2. early Christian writings not included in the New Testament.

Why, in any discipline, can one work be canon while another is disregarded? This is one of those petulant questions I used to spit back at my confirmation teachers in high school. How can anyone be expected to believe a text over their experience of the world if there’s any room to believe the text could be false? Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin’s East of West 39 finds all of its characters in various states of deciding what to believe, sometimes even in spite of what they see. Continue reading

Finding the Emotion Behind the Audacious Premise in Murder Falcon 1

by Spencer Irwin

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

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Friday’s Image Comics spotlight panel at New York Comic Con. The panel was a chance for about seven or eight creators to talk about their new or upcoming series, and while every creator there had an excellent pitch (and I want to read all their books), it was Daniel Warren Johnson who seemed to win the crowd fastest, with just two words: “Murder Falcon.” Murder Falcon has the kind of wonderfully insane concept — metalhead’s guitar playing allows him to fight monsters via an absolutely ripped bird named Murder Falcon — that just screams for attention, but for a book to keep readers, it needs more than just an audacious premise. Thankfully, Johnson is well aware of this, and thus Murder Falcon 1 finds the heart beneath all the (wonderful) silliness, and highlights the real emotional power of its premise. Continue reading

Man-Eaters 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Drew Baumgartner

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

Spencer: There’s quite a bit to unpack in the high concept behind Man-Eaters, and I don’t just mean its metaphors and allegories. Despite the fact that it takes place in a world similar to ours in most ways, the one new element Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk introduce — menstruation-triggered transformations into murderous big cats — opens up a bevy of new questions that beg to be answered. Thankfully, Cain and Niemczyk answer them with grace, simultaneously building both world and character effortlessly and never falling into the dangers of rote exposition. Continue reading

Guilt As A Weapon in The Wicked + The Divine 1373AD

by Spencer Irwin

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

For the most part, emotions aren’t inherently good or bad — their effect ultimately depends on how you process them. Too much of a “good” emotion can be overwhelming, while traditionally negative emotions like fear, pain, sadness, and even guilt have their lessons to teach us. Growing up religious, I’ve seen guilt successfully steer people towards better choices (or away from poor ones), but I’ve also seen guilt consume people down to their very soul. In the wrong hands guilt can be a powerful and dangerous weapon, a tool to wield against others, to manipulate them and tear them down. Ananke, of course, has never met a weapon she hasn’t wanted to give a try, and in The Wicked + The Divine 1373AD guilt proves to be a potent addition to her arsenal. Continue reading

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