Astonishing Ant-Man 11

Alternating Currents: Astonishing Ant-Man 11, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Astonishing Ant-Man 11, originally released August 31, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: When I was 13 or 14, a group of older kids vandalized our high school. They broke in after hours, threw a bunch of furniture off of the roof, and dug a bad word into the grass of the school courtyard. It got a lot of attention, but the vandals were smart enough not to leave any incriminating evidence. Until, that is, they were caught vandalizing a billboard on the other side of town. Being caught red-handed is generally only a sure indicator of guilt for the crime you’re caught doing, but these idiots also happened to have a video camera with them. Oh, right: in the decades before everyone carried a video recording device in their pocket, these knuckleheads went out of their way to create incriminating evidence, bringing along a camcorder to immortalize their crimes. But, you know, not being made out of videotapes, one tape might cover many nights of escapades. Which is to say, the police caught them with a video confession of sorts for the high school vandalism.

It was a remarkable story at the time, but in the years since, as cameraphones proliferated, stories of idiot criminals (usually teens [but not always]) caught with footage of their own criminal acts became more and more common. Sure as selfies and reality tv made navel gazing a way of life, they also created a new kind of criminal: one with the self-directed airtight case against themselves. That’s almost the situation Scott Lang finds himself in, though in his defense, he didn’t know he was being recorded and broadcast around the country. Still, how do you talk your way out of a conviction when there’s video footage of you planning and committing the crime in question? That remains to be seen, but there’s little doubt that Jennifer Walters is the one lawyer who might be able to pull it off. Continue reading

Astonishing Ant-Man 8

ant-man 8

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Astonishing Ant-Man 8, originally released May 18th, 2016.

Taylor: Recently, the Music Box Theater in Chicago hosted an event called Is It Still Funny? The purpose of this event was to determine why various movies of the past and present are or aren’t funny anymore. Regardless of what people came away thinking, the very idea behind the event is an intriguing one. Humor is such a contemporary thing; what was funny last year is stale today. Creating something funny that stands the test of time is incredibly difficult, but you wouldn’t guess that when reading Astonishing Ant-Man. Writer Nick Spencer makes this humor look criminally easy. After all, it takes talent to return to what is essentially the same joke issue after issue but continue to spin it in a way that is both entertaining and funny.

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Astonishing Ant-Man 4

astonishing antman 4

Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Astonishing Ant-Man originally released January 20, 2016.

Michael: At what point do you stop blaming the world around you for your problems and start taking responsibility for your own life? Life is undoubtedly full of poorly-timed coincidences, but there is also a lot to say about the power of free will. Astonishing Ant-Man 4 focuses on Scott Lang’s ignored responsibilities smacking him right in the face.

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Ant-Man Annual 1

ant-man annual 1

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Ant-Man Annual 1, originally released July 15, 2015.

Taylor: Mentorship is an ancient practice. Any of us who have had the pleasure of reading Plato’s Republic (or were assigned to read it for class) know that the practice of an elder teaching a younger the ropes is something present in almost all societies. It’s natural then that we see this same master-apprentice relationship present in comic books. Batman, the Ninja Turtles, Wolverine, Jean Grey – they’ve all had someone there to mentor them and help them become heroes who save the day. We generally like to think of those mentors knowing it all, often forgetting that they are still human and far from perfect. Ant-Man Annual 1 examines what it’s like to find this out in typical witty fashion.

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Ant-Man 5

ant-man 5

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Ant-Man 5, originally released May 6th, 2015.

Taylor: If you’ve ridden public transportation with any regularity, you are aware that there are some people who clearly don’t follow the unstated rules of the bus or train. Don’t bring cooked food into the vehicle; don’t have loud conversations; don’t listen to music loudly or without headphones; and always do your best to make room for others. Those who fail to follow the rules must suffer the passive aggressive wrath of those around them, yet remarkably, few seem to care. These individuals are either entirely brazen (a definite possibility) or perhaps they just lack a self-awareness that informs them that their actions are burden on others. In Ant-Man 5, we see if Scott Lang is one of these individuals and the result is an issue with unexpected emotional depth. Continue reading

Ant-Man 3

ant-man 3

Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Ant-Man 3, originally released March 9th, 2015.

Taylor: Before I became a teacher, I was working in a job I cared nothing about. While that sounds kind of miserable — which it was at points — I did enjoy that my work was something I could leave at the office. Weekends and evenings were basically all mine during this period and I did whatever I pleased with that time. Now, working at a job I care about, I find the divide between work and my home-life has blurred. Work comes home often now and weekends are spent mostly preparing for the coming week. Basically, my situation was a trade off. Work at a boring job and be free at home. Work at a job that you care about, and never stop working. Ant-Man 3, despite it’s humorous overtones, meditates on this aspect of life in a way that is both insightful and entertaining. Continue reading

Ant-Man 1

ant-man 1

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Ant-Man 1, originally released January 7th, 2015.

Taylor: As long as stories have been told, people have enjoyed hearing about clever heroes. Perhaps the prototype of the clever character in western literature is Odysseus — a man who more than made up for physical shortcomings with the power of his mind. And while many people nowadays might not feel a close kinship to Odysseus, they still appreciate a clever hero — and a clever story. Marvel, as a publisher, has taken this love of cleverness and has essentially turned it into a multimillion dollar business. While the Marvel movies embody this philosophy to their core, there are a number of comic series which also are banking on this appreciation for wit. The reboot of Ant-Man is no exception to this formula, but does it have anything all that clever to say? Continue reading

Original Sin 2

original sin 2Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Original Sin 2, originally released May 21st, 2014.

Shelby: Last issue, we discussed the merits of a superhero murder mystery. Patrick mentioned that the fluidity of the rules of the superhero world make for a much more fast and loose sort of mystery. It raises the question of how such a mystery can even exist; when you’ve got Emma Frost and Doctor Strange running around, how can you possibly know the answer to anything? I suppose that is was the Watcher’s function; despite the number of characters who have the capability of knowing everything, Uatu was the only one who actually did. The entity for whom there was no mystery is now the subject of a murder mystery of epic proportions. That fact is not lost on writer Jason Aaron, who decides to further upend the concept of the murder mystery by telling us who did it in the second chapter.

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Original Sin 1

original sin 1

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Original Sin 1, originally released May 7th, 2014.

Do we… check for a pulse or… did he even have a pulse? Do we know?

Captain America, Original Sin 1

Patrick: Superhero murder mysteries are a trip. In a traditional murder mystery, the audience should all have the same basic understanding of the rules of the game. That way, we’re able to play along as detectives in our own right. Half of the fun in watching a fictional detective solve a crime is feeling like you’re one step behind, just a shade less insightful than hero of our story. But superheroes live in a different universe, with scores of different rules that change and contradict each other throughout the course of history. The abilities and motives of the murder suspects could be…literally anything — you know how many of these characters can alter reality? The first proper issue of Original Sin sets a wildly complicated stage, and while I don’t think I have a chance in hell of reaching the conclusion before our heroes do, I do have a sense of what’s at stake for our lead detective: the original Nick Fury.

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FF 16

ff 16

Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing FF 16, originally released January 22nd, 2013.

Ethan: With the arrival of FF 16 Scott Lang’s campaign to end Doom is itself at an end. Even though Doom was the cause of the crusade, it’s always been more about Scott — this finale is no different. As Scott confronts the mortal enemy of the Fantastic Four and the man who killed his daughter, there’s never going to be a better time to prove who or what the latest incarnation of Ant-Man has become. Unsurprisingly, Matt Fraction and Lee Allred do not disappoint.

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