Father and Son Bonding Time in East of West 35

by Taylor Anderson

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

Father and son stories have been written since the beginning of time, literally. Many myths focus on this relationship and still today there are movies, books, tv shows, and comics written about this foundational familial connection. It’s obvious to see why. The father-son relationship is…complicated…so it promises an endless well of commentary and creative ideas. And while this is true, I can’t recall ever seeing a father and son story where one member is a horseman of the Apocalypse and the other is promised to destroy the world, but in East of West this is what we have. Even though this may seem bizarre, Jonathan Hickman still finds a way to make Death and Babylon’s relationship meaningful.

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A Surprise Backstory Reveals the Depth of Curse Words 10

by Drew Baumgartner

Curse Words 10

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

What is Curse Words to you? As a series that wears its sense of humor on its sleeve, it’s easy to pigeonhole it as an irreverent romp, complete with magical beards and a talking animal sidekick. “Pigeonhole” makes it sound like a negative, so I want to make it clear that 1) goofy, fun stories are worthy of our collective attention, and 2) Curse Words worked beautifully as a goofy, fun story. But I suppose we always knew there was something lurking beneath that slick facade, whether it was some piece of Wizord’s backstory or the suspicious nature of his new magic-stealing powers. With this issue, Charles Soule and Ryan Browne take that several steps further, establishing some devastating emotional stakes that are so surprising, they can’t help but force us to question everything about this series. Continue reading

It’s the Old vs. the Young in The Wicked + The Divine 33

by Spencer Irwin

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

The Wicked + The Divine 33 is an absolute gamechanger of an issue (I know we put a spoiler warning before every article, but I just want to reiterate — you do not want this issue spoiled), one that made me rethink everything I thought I knew about the series, and which has me eager to go back and reread it from the beginning. Writer Kieron Gillen addresses this in his letter that closes the issue, stating that he and artist Jamie McKelvie have been unable to even disclose one of the three major themes of the series before because it would have spoiled issue 33’s big reveals. With so much out in the open now, though, I think I have a solid idea what that theme might be. Continue reading

A New Path Emerges in Generation Gone 5

by Drew Baumgartner

Generation Gone 5

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

Generation Gone, Aleš Kot and André Lima Araújo have consistently set up competing ideologies — Akio vs. General West, People vs. Government, Idealism vs. Realism, Generation vs. Generation — but the most important (and most nuanced) has probably been those of Elena and Nick. She’s a put-upon optimist, willing and able to take on the abuse of the world in order to Get Shit Done, while he’s a self-pitying, privileged nihilist who sees no future beyond destroying what little of the world he can before he dies. In many ways, they represent the poles we might set for the spectrum of attitudes of Millenials: either cooperate with a system designed to exploit you (and potentially make incremental changes from the inside), or try to blow it to pieces. Those are the extremes, but in increasingly divided times, it’s important to bear in mind that neither one is necessarily “correct.” Indeed, as Elena (and Generation Gone) rejects Nick’s “fuck the world” strategy, Baldwin seems to emerge with another. Continue reading

Embracing the Strange in Injection 15

by Spencer Irwin

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

The Injection’s original purpose was to add some mystery and magic to a boring, mundane world. One could argue whether that’s a good or bad thing all day, but what can’t be denied is that it worked — the world of Injection is far stranger than it was before our protagonists’ original efforts. It takes a special kind of person to not only appreciate that, but to face it head on, and Brigid’s assistant Emma is certainly one of those people. Continue reading

There’s Strength in Allies in Lazarus X+66 4

by Spencer Irwin

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

Alliances between families have been a major part of the strategies and warfare filling the last few months of Lazarus, but those alliances are always tenuous. Each family has no real loyalty except to themselves and to their own interests, making alliances fickle and betrayals commonplace. In Lazarus X+66 4, Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann, and Alitha Martinez show how teamwork is vital to winning battles, and why the families’ self-interest isn’t always in their best interest. Continue reading

Gravediggers Union 1 and the Art of the Cold Open

by Drew Baumgartner

Gravediggers Union 1

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

My name is Walter Hartwell White. I live at Albuquerque, New Mexico. To all law enforcement entitles, this is not an admission of guilt. I am speaking to my family now. Skyler you are the love of my life. I hope you know that. Walter, Junior you’re my big man. There are going to be some things things that you’ll come to learn about me in the next few days. I just want you to know that no no matter how it may look, I only had you in my heart. Good-bye.

Walter White, Breaking Bad

What’s your favorite cold-open? Breaking Bad had some doozies, to be sure, but the most memorable almost all fall into the category of “flash forward,” usually dropping us into the climax (or aftermath) of the episode in question before winding back to explain how we got there. It’s an approach that’s understandably popular — why not open with the most exciting moment of the story? — but is far from the only option when kicking off a story. I personally am a bit more partial to the 2001: A Space Odyssey cold open, taking place millions of years ago, connected to the plot of the movie proper only by the thematic connections we can draw between them. That opening clearly appeals to Wes Craig, who kicks off Gravediggers Union 1 in a remarkably similar fashion. Continue reading

Paper Girls 17: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner & Patrick Ehlers

Paper Girls 17

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

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Drew: Brian K. Vaughan series are hard to pin down, generically. I mean, they obviously fall into big capital-G genres like “sci-fi” or “space opera,” but the list of specific influences — which Vaughan often name-checks — can shift from issue to issue. Case in point, Paper Girls has sprinted through dozens of generic touchstones in its 17 issues. And yet, I’ve been holding onto its starting point in the Spielberg/Columbus-style suburbia of the late ’80s as some kind of essential component of its DNA, even as the series hasn’t been in that setting since its very first arc. While some of the girls may still be in that head-space (Mac sure seems to be), they’re traversing worlds that have entirely different points of reference (both for the people who live in those worlds, and the stories we tell about them), which seems to be leaving an impression on them. Continue reading

Glitterbomb – The Fame Game 2: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers & Drew Baumgartner

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

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Patrick: What are we doing here? I mean, here, reading (or in my case, writing) a piece critical of a work of art? The art itself, issue two of Glitterbomb The Fame Game, is an exploration of emotional voyeurism, and is openly critical of the people profiting off the vulnerability of others. The risk associated with saying anything about this issue is always going to pale in comparison to the risk the creators take in actually expressing the story therein. Writer Jim Zub and artists Djibril Morissette-Phan and K. Michael Russell lay their own fears of fame out on the page in naked, sometimes groaningly obvious, ways. I can point this out and say “look how obvious this is”, but this is always going to be a weaker product than the story that actually says something. Continue reading

The Missing Angels of Angelic 2

by Mark Mitchell

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

Once again, the cuddly appearance of the characters in Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard’s Angelic 2 belie their darker, more manipulative intentions. When we met the Mans at the end of the first issue, they seemed like friendly potential allies to young Qora. But like everyone else Qora has encountered, the Mans have ulterior motives — they think Qora holds the secrets to fully reviving their god, Ay, and they manipulate her into entering the toxic mists in hopes of learning more. Yes, they pair her with one of their own, but it’s one they find useless to their own society. The Mans have low expectations that Qora will find success, but what’s a dead Monk to them? Continue reading