Ghost Rider 1

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Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Ghost Rider 1, originally released November 30th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

Patrick: I’m not great with first impressions. I’ve got so many nerdy and niche interests, and I never want to unload all of that alienating garbage on someone when we first meet. That usually leads me to under-share, but on the odd occasion I give myself green lights, things get weird fast. Striking the balance between being withholding and being an emotional exhibitionist is hard, but it’s exactly what’s required of a good first impression. Felipe Smith and Danilo S. Beyruth give themselves all green lights with Ghost Rider 1, and while the result reveals an awful lot about what this series is going to be, it is frustratingly unfocused, bursting from overstuffed plots from the very first issue. Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 11/30/16

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We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Ms. Marvel 13, Old Man Logan 14 and Uncanny Inhumans 16. And come back on Friday for our discussion of Ghost Rider 1, on Monday for our discussion of Black Widow 8 and on Wednesday for our discussion of IvX 0! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Death of X 4

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Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Death of X 4, originally released November 23rd, 2015.

Patrick: At the risk of making a statement that’s been made a million times already: 2016 has been a hell of a year for high-profile deaths. Calling them “celebrity deaths” would be underselling it — figures like Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro and Prince virtually changed the fabric of reality simply by existing in it. But for all their earth-shifting influence, their deaths were all quiet, ultimately meaningless affairs. These revolutionaries did not die they way they lived, which is to say, their deaths made no specific statement. Bucking the trend, was David Bowie, who had released an eerie, melancholy record in the final weeks of his life. Bowie knew that his life was performance – it was challenging and honest – and that his death should be the same. In Death of X 4 Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule close the book on the life of Scott Summers, insisting that he die the way he lived, a revolutionary, even if that’s a performance he was never putting on.

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Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 11/23/16

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We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Cage 2, Civil War II 7, Empress 7, Mighty Thor 13, and Spider-Gwen 14. We discussed Ultimates 2 1 on Monday, so check that out. Also, we’re discussing Death of X 4 on Wednesday so come back for that! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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The Ultimates 2 1

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Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Ultimates 2 1, originally released November 23rd, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: It’s odd that we have a concept of ideas that are “ahead of their time” — that is, it’s odd that ideas are so often rejected only to be later praised that we have a phrase to describe the phenomenon. Optimistically, the fact that those ideas can be reappraised suggests that you can’t keep a good idea down, but the other side of that coin reveals how common it is to reject good ideas in the moment. Indeed, the very fact that those ideas can later be proven to have value illustrates that the initial problem wasn’t with the idea, but the people involved in implementing it. Maybe it comes down to personalities involved or the politics surrounding an idea, but good ideas can be rejected for reasons totally unrelated to the quality of those ideas. Those mistakes may be corrected by history, but often over the course of generations. To me, the best way to speed up that process, unlocking the value of good ideas sooner, is to constantly reevaluate our decisions, never defaulting to the assumption that the “best” idea always wins. Such is the case with the idea of the Ultimates — the politics and personalities involved may have prevented that idea from reaching its fruition the first time around, but that doesn’t mean it should be discarded completely. Continue reading

Thanos 1

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Today, Drew and Ryan D are discussing Thanos 1, originally released November 16th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

Traditional

Drew: This line is often used to sell a given story as some kind of ultimate showdown, but it always strikes me as thoroughly self-defeating: either one or both of those adjectives simply prove to be false. That is, the answer can’t be as interesting as the question suggests, since the answer necessarily reveals that the question was built on a false premise. Or, if you’re feeling more diplomatic, you might take Superman’s answer to this question from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman: “they surrender.” It’s an elegant solution, but is ultimately far less entertaining than the premise suggests — “they surrender” isn’t exactly the white-knuckle conclusion the question implies, and again, betrays the falsehood of those adjectives.

Such is often the case in superhero comics, where villains are routinely trotted out as unstoppable, only for our hero to miraculously give lie to that claim. It’s enough to make anyone doubt the increasingly hyperbolic claims made of villains. This becomes especially true of big name villains, who continue to be heralded as some kind of ultimate threat, in spite of the fact that they’ve been beaten in virtually every appearance. Thanos is a prime example of this — the seriousness of his threat diminishes with each subsequent return (especially after that time Squirrel Girl defeated him) — leading to even more hyperbolic claims made next time. Cleverly breaking that pattern, Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato’s Thanos 1 sidesteps the Worf Effect by lampshading the inevitable conclusion in the first issue. Continue reading

Silk 14

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Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Silk 14, originally released November 16th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: As if it weren’t apparent already, humans are walking studies in contradictions. One minute we may say or feel one thing and the next end up saying the exact opposite. Often this isn’t the result of bad intentions – few people want to be so wishy-washy – but it’s hard for people to predict how they will feel about something in the future compared to how they are thinking about it in the present. If there is anything that defines Cindy Moon from other flawed superheroes, this is the feature. Despite her best efforts, Cindy is constantly in a state of flux, desiring something one minute and dismissing it the next. While this could make her unlikable as a character, I find it makes her all the more interesting because it is something that makes her truly human.

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Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 11/16/16

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We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing All-New Wolverine 14, Amazing Spider-Man 21, Black Panther 8, Captain America Sam Wilson 15, Deadpool 22, Doctor Strange 14, Jessica Jones 2, Old Man Logan 13, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat 12, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 14 and Uncanny Inhumans 15. And come back on Tuesday for our discussion of Silk 14, and on Wednesday for our discussion of Thanos 1As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Avengers 1.1

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Today, Spencer and Ryan M. are discussing Avengers 1.1, originally released November 9th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Take 2014’s Amazing Spider-Man 1.1-1.6 (which told a previously untold story set in Peter Parker’s first few months as a hero) and mix it together with Mark Waid and Barry Kitson’s JLA Year One (which retold the Justice League’s post-Crisis origin in a modern setting) and you’ll get something resembling The Avengers 1.1. Waid and Kitson take their trademark stylistic combination of classic storytelling set in the modern day (which Waid has also been employing in his modern-day Avengers stories) and use it to tell an “untold” tale of the Avengers’ past. If you have any experience with the aforementioned stories or creative teams, then the result is probably exactly what you were expecting. Continue reading

Black Panther World of Wakanda 1


world-of-wakanda-1Today, Ryan D. and Patrick are discussing
Black Panther: World of Wakanda 1, originally released November 9th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: Max Landis wised me up to “narrative potential” in a video from a while ago, but ever since then I can’t help but notice when a topic just screams with possibilities. This is the gift which is being presented to the collaborators of the new series Black Panther:World of Wakanda. Spinning directly off of Ta’Nehisi Coates’s current, ambitious run with the titular character, this series promises to flesh out the vibrant, complicated African nation in a way that will supplement the overarching story being told. While Wakanda may be the world’s most developed and advanced society — at once reaching forward as a progressive power-house and at the same time sitting comfortably in its heritage — it is also a nation recoiling from siege and tragedy. The opening chapter of World of Wakanda shows us two different glimpses into the prelude which lead to the current Wakanda read in the comics, one of a particular volatility, and thus far I think one of these two narrative paths is a much more gratifying path to follow.

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