History as a Weapon (and a Motivation) in America 8

by Spencer Irwin

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

When I was first introduced to America Chavez in the pages of Young Avengers, she was a bad-ass, taciturn woman of mystery. As time has passed, though, we’ve come to learn far more about her personality, her methods, and — especially within the pages of Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones’ America — her history. She still has the qualities that made me fall in love with her in the first place, but she’s also become more predictable and easier to sum-up.

For example, I took one look at this panel — of America explicitly breaking the rules the moment they’re announced — and thought ‘Yup, that’s America in a nutshell.’ Oubliette the Exterminatrix — the evil who’s been recently stalking America, and who finally makes her move in America 8 — has been paying as much attention to America’s history as readers have, and it gives her just the ammunition she needs to take America down. Continue reading

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A History and a Destiny Revealed in America 7

by Spencer Irwin

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

America Chavez is a self-made hero. She chose to follow in her mothers’ heroic footsteps instead of staying safe in utopia forever, and likewise chose her goals and domain very carefully. With the entire multiverse at her fingertips, she’s chosen to call Earth-616 her home, originally to watch over Billy Kaplan, but now because it’s where her friends are, where she’s laid down roots. This DIY image is a stark contrast to her grandmother Madrimar, who has devoted her life to following the will of the spirits and watching over her home planet, and seems to believe that it’s America’s destiny to do the same. Continue reading

Different Kinds of Love in America 6

by Spencer Irwin

America 6

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

There are many kinds of love, so it’s always frustrated me that society places such importance on romantic love as the be all, end all of adult life. Romance is great, but the love of friends and family can be just as fulfilling and vital, if not more so. America 6 finds Gabby Rivera, Kelly Thompson, and Ramon Villalobos exploring the role each of these kinds of love plays in America’s life, and interestingly enough, it looks like they might just agree with me when it comes to their importance. Continue reading

The Strength — and Risks — of Intimacy in America 5

by Spencer Irwin

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

Fear of intimacy is one of those tropes that’s so common it’s practically become cliché (Friends was on at the gym the other day, and I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes at Chandler trying to run away from his wedding), yet its based on very real, very understandable fears. Without intimacy one would lead a very lonely life, yet opening yourself up to another person is, ultimately, a risk that takes a surprising amount of courage to do. That’s something America Chavez has already discovered in America 5, an issue that shows the benefits of her emotional intimacy even as this same quality places her in grave danger. Continue reading

Being a Mentor is the Ultimate Strength in America 4

by Spencer Irwin

America 4

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

Nobody can make it through life alone — not even someone as powerful and independent as America Chavez. There have been many inspirational figures in America’s life, but no direct mentor figures. That’s something Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, and Ming Doyle aim to fix in America 4, where they not only give America Chavez her very own mentor, but show why it’s important for her to have one in the first place. Continue reading

America 1

america-1

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing America 1, originally released March 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: I’ll never forget a piece of advice a friend once gave me: “You’ve learned everything you can from this job. It’s time to move on.” That statement has always stood out to me because, up until that moment, I had never considered the challenge provided when looking at a potential job; I’d grown up thinking of a job only as a means to an end, a way to get money to survive and pursue more meaningful hobbies. Now though, while I recognize that there’s a certain amount of privilege involved in that advice, I also recognize the truth in it. I think that statement is certainly going through America Chavez’s mind in America 1 as well, as the hyper-competent Ultimate embarks on a new stage of her career: college. Continue reading

The Ultimates 2 4

ultimates-2-4

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Ultimates 2 4, originally released February 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible. […]

Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. […]

Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question.

Aristotle, “Rhetoric”

Drew: I’ve never studied philosophy, or even public speaking, but even I’ve heard of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, the three modes of persuasion Aristotle describes in the excerpts above. Obviously, “heard of” is a pretty far cry from understanding, but to my lay mind, Logos — the mode that relies on logic — is often held up as the purest form of persuasion, as it hinges on facts rather than our emotions or faith in whoever is making the argument. But, of course, it’s difficult to truly ignore the impact of Ethos and Pathos — we’re emotional, social beings — so it’s possible for something to feel like Logos when, in fact, it isn’t (a phenomenon we call “truthiness”). Moreover, dubious Logos may shore up its logicalness by being distractingly lacking in Ethos and Pathos (a phenomenon we might call “fuck your feelings”). This is all very messy, and is threatening to turn into an essay on political discourse, but I brought it up to address the appeals characters make to one another in Ultimates 2 4 — all modes are on display, including a “logical” argument built on such shaky ground that its arguer feels compelled to call itself “Logos.” Continue reading

The Ultimates 2 1

ultimates-2-1

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

Young Avengers 15

young avengers 15

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Young Avengers 15, originally released January 8th, 2014. 

slim-bannerShelby: New Year’s Eve is a night of…well, generally heavy drinking, but it’s also a night of contemplation and renewal. The last year, with it’s good and bad, is over; whether you liked it or not, it’s over, and it’s time to prepare for a fresh start in the new year. I definitely understood that this year, since I moved to a new apartment December 29th. It was a short move, just a block away, but having lived in my last place for 3 years made it a really big change. There’s the “out with the old” as you throw out a bunch of crap you can’t believe you kept for so long, and the “in with the new” as you figure out a new way to arrange your home. Like New Year’s Eve, it’s a bittersweet thing, and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (with a little help from their friends) capture it perfectly at the end of their run on Young Avengers. Nothing but spoilers and revelations ahead, folks.
Continue reading

Young Avengers 13

young avengers 13Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Young Avengers 13, originally released December 4th, 2013. 

slim-bannerPatrick: I like starting off an article off with a little epigram. It’s a fun, pithy way to get things jump-started, and usually it makes me look smarter than I actually am. Young Avengers has always had romance running through its veins, but the final issue of the Mother Parasite arc focuses in love — its power, its uncertainty, its sheer insanity. I thought to myself “oh, I’m got the perfect quote to kick off this piece,” but in attempting to access a beautiful, articulate saying about love, I was subjected to a deluge of insightful comments, heart-breaking one-liners, and hopeful true-isms. It turns out that we are all obsessed with love, and we all want to be in the mix for saying the most beautiful thing ever about it. Kieron Gillen has put his characters through the paces, and across countless nightmare worlds, and in the end, it’s love that keeps all of reality from collapsing.  Continue reading