Virginity and Values in Betrothed 2

By Patrick Ehlers

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

Last month, Mark likened Betrothed to a manga series, citing a number aesthetic and thematic similarities. That observation is astute, but perhaps incomplete. Writer Sean Lewis and artist Steve Uy aren’t just playing the greatest hits of the manga medium, they’ve got the sheet music for The Hero’s Journey on the stand in front of them, and are dutifully playing every note Maestro Campbell wrote. The second step on this journey is the Refusal of the Call to Adventure, so that is precisely what Kieron and Tamara do in the second issue of Betrothed. Continue reading

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The Non-Quixotic Quest in The Old Guard 5

by Drew Baumgartner

The Old Guard 5

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

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

Joe Darion, “The Impossible Dream”

Is Andy the anti-Don Quixote? Her world-weary cynicism is certainly the opposite of his delusions of chivalry; her bitter pragmatism the opposite of his flights of fancy. But the thing that strikes me most is that Andy is the unbeatable foe, the kind of mythical being Quixote could only dream of. Of course, this gives them different priorities — while he’s focused on those imaginary beings, she’s utterly undaunted by the mortal tilting at her. Sure, the mortal can get in a few good licks, but is more of an annoyance than a nemesis. Indeed, it turns out the only thing worthy of an unbeatable foe’s attention is another unbeatable foe. Continue reading

The Old Guard 4

Alternating Currents: The Old Guard 4, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Old Guard 4, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: “The grass is always greener on the other side” is a remarkably ambiguous idiom. Is it about the subjectivity of our perspective (that is, things simply look better from a distance), or perhaps about some kind of psychological phenomenon that makes whatever it is we don’t have more appealing? Whatever the cause, the analogy works only insofar as we can flatten our value system to some kind of parallel for “greenness” — there’s no real acknowledgement of either side having pros and cons, or the choice between the two representing a compromise. Still, the phenomenon of the grass being greener on the other side still pervades our culture, reflecting a superficial, one-dimensional understanding of real-world choices we too often adopt. Such is the case with both Steve Merrick and Andy, two characters who might gladly trade sides for each other’s greener pastures. Continue reading

The Old Guard 3

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing The Old Guard 3, originally released April 26th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Stories about immortal characters tend to skew cynical. And why not? On a long enough timeline, the sheer volume of atrocities a character would witness would have to obliterate any naiveté we mortals cling to. That goes double when your undying characters are also warriors. In the first two issues of The Old Guard, the perspective sticks pretty close to our narrator and protagonist, Andy. She’s maybe even too bored to be classified as cleanly as “cynical,” but she fits into that “I’ve been alive so long, nothing really matters to me anymore” mold. Issue 3 broadens that scope to both extremes, proving there is more than one way to live a life that doesn’t end.

Continue reading