A Generation Defined in Generation Gone 1

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Aleš Kot and André Lima Araújo’s Generation Gone is arrestingly open about its central theme: the existential peril of disaffected youth. Hell, the name of the series gives it away. Kot is seemingly not content with even that level of obviousness, as he starts to reveal the stunted social lives of his main characters right on the cover of the issue, before we know who they are or even what they look like. Comics are a visual medium, and 999 times out of a thousand, the first thing we know about a character is what they look like. These kids are hackers — their skills, personalities, values and identities most likely forged online where text invariably acts as the vanguard for a digital persona. We’re meeting these people the same way you would in a forum: expressing something deeply vulnerable and hurtful, with no faces to associate with their comments. Continue reading

Women Become Commodities in Bitch Planet Triple Feature 2

by Spencer Irwin

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

One of the primary causes of the discrimination and harassment women face is the attitude that women are objects. Many men only see women as a commodity, as something that cleans their house and makes their food and gives them children, as something to ogle, as a source of pleasure and nothing else. It’s an indescribably harmful concept, and one society enforces in practically uncountable ways. The patriarchal dystopia of Bitch Planet, of course, takes this concept to the extreme, quite literally turning its women into commodities to be bought, sold, and used however men please. Continue reading

Kill Or Be Killed 10: Discussion

By Ryan Desaulniers and Drew Baumgartner

Kill or Be Killed 10

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

Ryan D: Maybe you were one of those people, like I was, who trudged through all six seasons of the TV series LOST, debating what was really going on underneath the framework narrative, listening to countless fan theories and devising your own. Perhaps the most popular of these theories was that the characters in the show were all in Purgatory, which show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse refuted until they were blue in the face. The tricky thing about fan theories, though, is that when the finale of the series did include a narrative reveal revolving around a state of limbo, many audience members felt disappointed and off-put. They had assumed and hoped that the creators would have devised a finish more surprising than what every Joe and Jill had guessed back in season one, and that the clues given to support this ending were feints and decoys, not the actual resolution. In a similar way, the creative team of Kill or Be Killed, in its tenth issue, confronts the fan theory which has been on everyone’s mind since the first issue: the demonic force which serves as a catalyst for Dylan’s violent turn might by a by-product of a mental condition. While some readers might be anxious about exploring the most obvious of possible explanations of Dylan’s actions, the deftness of writer Ed Brubaker and his visual team of Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser keeps this pseudo-reveal exciting and the narrative fascinating. Continue reading

Reconstructing the Superhero Mythos in Jupiter’s Legacy Volume 2 5

by Drew Baumgartner

Jupiter's Legacy Vol 2 5

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

There have been some truly great deconstructions of the superhero genre. Watchmen set the bar in that particular corner of superherodom, but there have been countless imitators in the decades since. Indeed, there’d be enough to think that the very idea of deconstructing a superhero story has lost all meaning — but of course, in comics, any issue might be someone’s first, so any deconstruction might feel subversive to newcomers, even if the rest of us have seen it a million times. That was more or less my assessment of Jupiter’s Legacy when it started back in 2013; this was an attractive, well-observed series that ultimately felt decidedly familiar. But, of course, that was its starting point, not its raison d’être. The fifth and final issue of volume two clarifies that this series was about taking superhero mythology from that tired deconstructed wasteland and reconstructing its original spirit of optimism. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 29 Continues to Ask “What Comes Next?”

by Spencer Irwin

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

The first part of the “Imperial Phase” storyline was all about answering the question “what comes next?” — all about the Pantheon figuring out how to proceed after Ananke’s death, and generally doing so in the most self-indulgent manner possible. In The Wicked + The Divine 29, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson kick off the second part of “Imperial Phase” by asking the same exact question, only this time in the aftermath of Sakhmet’s deadly attack on her followers. The Pantheon’s answers to that question don’t appear to have changed much. Continue reading

Desperation and Inevitability in Extremity 5

by Mark Mitchell

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

Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, pitched his TV show as one man’s journey from Mr. Chips to Scarface. But at what point does Walter White turn from mild mannered high school chemistry teacher to ruthless murderer/drug lord? When is the precise moment that the switch is flipped? Jerome has done some terrible things over the course of Extremity‘s first few issues, but Extremity 5 is the first time his actions cross the line into unjustifiable cruelty — or rather, murdering Jessica is the first time felt him crossing the line. Continue reading

Secret Weapons 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!

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Patrick: Thwip! Bamf! Snikt! You know those sound effects: respectively, they mean a) Spider-Man shooting some web fluid, b) Nightcrawler teleporting away, and c) Wolverine deploying his claws. It is perhaps illustrative of the predictability of their superpowers that there are immutable sound effects that accompany them. You know exactly what it sounds like when Wolvie pops his claws, but you also know exactly what he can do with them. These powers are used in unsurprising ways to save the day, but what happens when the superheroes have powers that aren’t so easy to understand? Well, then you’ve got the residents of The Willow and the cast of Secret Weapons. Continue reading

Definition by Contrast in Saga 44

by Ryan Mogge

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

When you are a kid, your family creates your idea of normal. It’s only when you go to a friend’s house and things are done just a little differently, that you can really define what makes your family unique. In Saga 44, Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan reinforce what we know about Marko, Alana, and Hazel by giving us a fun-house mirror version of their family.

Continue reading

Finding a Balance in The Black Monday Murders 6

by Ryan Desaulniers

Black Monday Murders 6

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

If you know Jonathan Hickman’s past work, you know he can get…complicated. Reading The Black Monday Murders 1-5 to catch up for last month’s full conversation proved a deep dive into an intricate world full of ancient conspiracy theories, old money, the occult, convoluted machinations, epistolary inserts, and shadow-soaked boardroom conversations. This issue returns to show some of the fallout of the recent occurrences and again displays Hickman and artist Tomm Coker’s tightrope walk approach to action, exposition, and reaction. Continue reading

Crosswind 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

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

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Spencer: “Boys will be boys.” I can’t think of another phrase that seems so innocent, yet is in actuality so malicious. It does nobody any favors. It teaches men (and yes, for some reason this phrase is just as often — if not more often — applied to teenagers or grown men as it is children) that they have no control over their impulses and actions, while it simultaneously teaches women that they should just accept whatever men throw their way because men can’t help themselves, can’t be taught or trained or reasoned with. What started as a reminder of little boys’ natural boundless energy has become an excuse for misogyny, abuse — sometimes even murder. This phrase is also the only thing connecting the otherwise entirely disparate lives of Cason Ray Bennett and Juniper Elanore Blue, the dual protagonists of Cat Staggs and Gail Simone’s Crosswind. Continue reading