Gwenpool 20 Stays Sincere in a Landscape of Cynicism

by Patrick Ehlers

Unbelievable Gwenpool 20

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

This arc of Gwenpool appears to be taking a lot of its cues from the recently concluded Secret Empire. While not retreading any of the same thematic ideas, the narrative structure of one moral-extreme version of a character over-writing the history of the opposite-moral-extreme version of that same character features in both. For Captain America, this is a battle over the national zeitgeist, a startling reflection of the persistence of racism and white nationalism, but for Gwenpool, the stakes are more personal. Secret Empire Omega 1 just chillingly illustrated how definitive, national change is virtually impossible, but Gwenpool 20 offers a more hopeful path for the individual and — more importantly — for the comic fan. Continue reading

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Out of Order is the Right Order in Rocket 5

by Spencer Irwin

Rocket 5

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

I’ve never been a big fan of the in media res opening (and I just won’t shut up about it!), but I’ve always thought Rocket has used them excellently nonetheless — when paired with the sidebar narration it feels natural to open a story at its end, rather than a cheap crutch. Al Ewing and Adam Gorham take this skill to the next level in Rocket 5, opening the issue with not one, but four in media res openings! Amazingly, it works better than ever. Continue reading

Time-Weirdness in Lumberjanes 42

by Taylor Anderson

Lumberjanes 42

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

Time-travel has infatuated people for what seems like ages now. Back to the Future, Bill and Ted’s, and Edge of Tomorrow are just some of the many movies that have explored this subject. The fascination with time-travel probably speaks to our own insecurity about being unable to stop the inevitable march of time and its seemingly one-directional nature. Basically, that’s all just a fancy way of saying I totally empathize with Molly when she tried to slow down time in the last issue of Lumberjanes, but am also unsurprised that her actions now have ramifications in this month’s issue. Continue reading

Action Comics 987: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Michael DeLaney  

Action Comics 987

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

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Mark: Modern comic books are built on tropes. After nearly a century of storytelling in the medium, the particulars of what makes a Superman story different from a Batman story are so deeply engrained that creators have a binary choice when sitting down to craft a tale: embrace the tropes or react against them. And while longtime comic book readers tend to seek out and reward stories that are willing to subvert and contort their expectations, either choice can be successful if executed well. Continue reading

An Off-Color Kate in Hawkeye 10

By Spencer Irwin

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

When I first opened Hawkeye 10 I did a double-take, and had to go back to recheck the credits. I would have sworn it was Francesco Francavilla illustrating the issue, but instead, it was regular colorist and artist Jordie Bellaire and Leonardo Romero doing their best impression, bathing those first few pages in the deep, rich shades of red that have come to be Francavilla’s trademark. It’s our first sign that something is seriously wrong with Kate, and not just because thinking of Francavilla brings to mind the villain spotlight issue of Fraction’s Hawkeye; it’s because red is not Kate’s color. Continue reading

Secret Empire: Omega 1: Discussion

By Ryan Mogge and Drew Baumgartner

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

Ryan: Every event in your memory left some sort of mark. When it comes to trauma, those marks are more like deep grooves. No matter how much you heal, or how much better off you are, you are changed by what has happened to you. In the wake of a rebellion against a group of fascists bent on world domination with the face of the most trusted man alive, you certainly can’t expect to move forward without being changed. In Secret Empire: Omega 1, Nick Spencer and Andrea Sorrentino offer a mixture of back-to-normal plot points and artful rumination that operate quite differently but still offer the same themes of trauma and the scars left behind. Continue reading

Jagged Panelling Cues Evil in Curse Words 8

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Charles Soule and Ryan Browne haven’t been shy about Wizord’s twisted morality. The very first issue of Curse Words tells the tale of an interdimensional wizard sent to destroy the Earth, but who is charmed by New York City. Lest we think Wizord a pure soul, we’re quickly reminded of his origins when he shrinks a packed baseball stadium and exiles hundreds of thousands of people to a hell dimension, just to sweep his misdeeds under the rug. That’s a weirdly easy thing to forget — out of sight, out of mind, right? Wizord’s a monster, and while Soule’s script may insist on making him relatable, Browne’s paneling has an agenda of its own. Those cool chevron panels don’t just say “Wizord,” they say “evil.” Continue reading

Diana Faces a Familiar, Puzzling Foe in Wonder Woman 30

by Taylor Anderson

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

Collectively, superheroes have always freaked the government out, and it’s not hard to see why. With their augmented abilities and their penchant for vigilantism, it’s easy to understand why they threaten institutions which claim to uphold order and society. This being the case, the conflict between heroes and governments has been explored in comics in hundreds, if not thousands, of stories. Wonder Woman 30 does the same, but the question is, does it have anything new to add to the conversation? Continue reading

Osborn Can’t Get Out Of His Own Way in The Amazing Spider-Man 32

by Spencer Irwin

Amazing Spider-Man 32

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

Spider-Man and the Green Goblin are arch-enemies, right? While both men have faced many opponents in their lives, nobody gets in their way, nobody riles them up more than the other. It makes sense, then, that when faced with the prospect of fighting his “own personal demon,” ol’ Norman Osborn would immediately assume that this refers to Spider-Man. In Amazing Spider-Man 32, though, Dan Slott and Greg Smallwood seem to be insinuating something entirely different: that Norman’s own personal demon may just be himself. Continue reading

A Heartbreaking Loss of Innocence in Ms. Marvel 22

by Drew Baumgartner

Ms. Marvel 22

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

The song I’d like to do for you is a song that I had the pleasure of doing when I was 15 years old…it’s a song that will last, unfortunately, for a long, long time. And when I say “unfortunately,” I’m talking about the fact that it will always be relevant to something that is going on in this world of ours.

Stevie Wonder, introducing “Blowin’ in the Wind”

Love, loss, betrayal, greed. There are a number of timeless themes we might trace back to the earliest stories we can find. But there are other themes, just as timeless, that have not always been featured in our stories in this same way — themes kept so out-of-sight that some people refuse to acknowledge that they exist at all. Of course, for the people actually affected by those timeless truth of oppression, it is simply a part of life. If we are any more aware of those themes in this day and age, it is only through listening to the people who actually experience them. As ever, G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel presents a frank account of what life is like for a young muslim woman in America, bringing hard truths to those of us who might not see them, otherwise. Continue reading