Hulk Plays Scientist in The Immortal Hulk 8

by Michael DeLaney

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

I am about to make a wildly audacious claim here: I think years from now we are going to look back on Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s work on The Immortal Hulk as some of the most influential, game-changing work on the character. The Immortal Hulk 8 continues to push the limits of what we understand about the not-so-jolly green giant. This time around we see that Hulk is as much of a scientist as Bruce Banner is. Continue reading

Coping With a Post-Truth Society in X-Men Red 10

by Spencer Irwin

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

Tom Taylor and Roge Antonio open X-Men Red 10 with a single, three-word sentence that packs so much power that it takes up an entire page’s worth of real estate.

This image has so much power because it runs counter to everything we as the audience know about Jean Grey as a character. Ultimately, though, we’re responding to it based off our pre-determined opinions and biases, deciding that it’s fake, that it clearly isn’t Jean despite no real evidence backing us up. That’s exactly how the citizens of the Marvel Universe react to this broadcast as well, and those various knee-jerk reactions provide a startlingly prescient parallel to real life politics that make X-Men Red 10 an eerie, unsettling read. Continue reading

Don’t Sweat the Name in Star Wars Han Solo Imperial Cadet 1

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Let the record show: I really liked Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s a fun, well-shot flick with some charming performances and cool character designs. Plus, I absolutely love that the revolutionary L7 becomes the brain of the Millennium Falcon – that’s a bit of mythology that feels genuinely additive to every other move that the Falcon has appeared in. But there is one place where the movie gets rightfully slagged, and that’s in the prequel’s need to label every thing. It answers questions no one would ever need to ask, like “Why is Han Solo’s last name Solo?” or “Why does Han call Chewbacca ‘Chewie?”” or “Why doesn’t Lando pronounce Han’s name incorrectly?” I actually find that last one kind of charming, but it is weird how much that flick seems focused on explaining why people use the names they use. Robbie Thompson and Leonard Kirk’s Star Wars Han Solo Imperial Cadet 1 revisits some of these naming moments and ultimately convinces the reader that what we call him doesn’t matter: Han Solo is always gonna Han Solo. Continue reading

Death of the Inhumans 5: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Drew Baumgartner

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

Patrick: I’m not sure I “get” Black Bolt. Like, as a character, his perspective is borderline impenetrable. He’s a centuries-old king, with the power to demolish a city with his voice, and one hell of a prophecy hanging over him. He is also, famously, silent. So maybe my inability to get to the heart of his motivations is built right into the character’s DNA. In the finale of Donny Cates and Ariel Olivetti’s Death of the Inhumans, Blackagar’s motivations are just as clouded as they’ve ever been. Sure, he saves some Inhumans, but why and how largely remains a mystery not revealed to the reader. Continue reading

Daredevil 610: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Patrick Ehlers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Spencer: “Why is Elektra here?” It’s a question Charles Soule and Phil Noto introduce as their cliffhanger at the end of Daredevil 609, then promptly dismiss on the very first page of Daredevil 610, never to be addressed again.

Elektra ends up being a rather minor part of the ongoing stories (both Matt’s “death” and his crusade against Mayor Fisk) even as she plays a prominent role in this single issue, appearing on all but one page. It’d be easy to chalk Elektra’s story up to Soule wanting to play with the character, an integral bit of the Daredevil mythos, a bit before bringing his run to an end, but I don’t think it’s that simple. Despite Elektra’s (non)answer, there are enough hints, inconsistencies, and strange coincidences surrounding her arrival to raise anyone’s suspicions. “Why is Elektra here?” is an answer practically begging to be answered. Continue reading

Marvel Two-in-One 11: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Drew Baumgartner

Marvel 2-in-1 11

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

Three weeks, Lex: I challenge you. All those things you always said you would have done to benefit humanity if I hadn’t been in your way. It’s not too late to put that brilliant mind to work.

Superman, All-Star Superman 10

Michael: I cannot help but think of this quote when I read Marvel Two-in-One 11. Overall the Superman/Lex Luthor dynamic isn’t a perfect analogue for that of Mr. Fantastic/Dr. Doom, except maybe in this instance. It’s the nature of causality: would Victor Von Doom be a good man if not for Reed Richards? Chip Zdarsky explores that idea in issue 11. Continue reading

Deals With The Devil in Tony Stark: Iron Man 5

by Michael DeLaney

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

In modern storytelling it’s usually pretty obvious who the bad guy is going to be – often times it’s practically written on their face. Prior to reading Tony Stark: Iron Man 5 I had next to no knowledge of Tony’s elder brother Arno Stark, but just looking at Alexander Lozano’s menacing cover it seemed clear to me that Arno was more likely foe than friend. With that in mind. Tony Stark: Iron Man 5 could be considered a piece of a villainous origin story. Continue reading

Projection and Toxic Masculinity in West Coast Avengers 3

by Spencer Irwin

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

When discussing West Coast Avengers 2, we went into significant detail about how B.R.O.D.O.K. represented the worst traits of toxic masculinity, of entitled, deluded men who think of women as objects or prizes rather than real people with their own needs, personalities, and desires. With issue 3, Kelly Thompson and Stefano Caselli continue to explore this topic, but come at it from a slightly different angle. This time, their attention is focused less on the delusions that drive B.R.O.D.O.K. and more on how his actions effect the women around him. Spoiler alert: things don’t go well for them. Continue reading

Extermination 4: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Spencer Irwin

Extermination 4

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

There’s no time to explain!

Evasive Characters, Traditional

Drew: There comes a point in any mystery where the effort of maintaining the secret is obviously more trouble for the characters than simply admitting the truth. Writers may delay the inevitable by interrupting much-needed explanations, or adding some urgency that makes such explanations impossible, but inevitably, just taking a moment to put everyone on the same page is better for everyone. That is, “There’s no time to explain,” almost invariably causes more confusion and delays, taking more time than actually explaining what’s going on, and any character who is truly concerned about time would recognize that. Case in point: young Cable’s cause, when he finally gets around to explaining it in Extermination 4, is so compelling that virtually everyone who hears it is immediately on board with his plan. It would have saved him a ton of time sneaking around and fighting if he had any confidence in the necessity and righteousness of his mission. Fortunately, writer Ed Brisson has written in a remarkably effective explanation for young Cable’s illogical behavior: he’s a teenager. Continue reading

What Aphra Deserves in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 25

By Michael DeLaney

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

Every time I read an issue of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra I come away thinking Aphra is a pretty despicable character. After reading Doctor Aphra 25 I found myself wondering if writer Simon Spurrier feels the same. Maybe that’s why, in the final issue of “The Catastrophe Con”, Spurrier provides a of bevy of even-more-despicable characters to favorably compare our girl to. Continue reading