Pastoral Horror in Cosmic Ghost Rider 4

by Patrick Ehlers

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

The entirety of Donny Cates and Dylan Burnett’s Cosmic Ghost Rider has been about enthusiastically mashing up disparate elements of the Marvel Universe to create singularly compelling ideas. Our hero, if we wanna call him that, is a mix between Punisher, Ghost Rider and Silver Surfer. He spent the whole last issue battling teams of What-If cross-over mash-up characters until grown-up Punisher-Thanos came back in time from the future to rescue him. But the fourth issue finds the creative team juxtaposing disparate qualities that are far more elemental and aesthetic. Instead of a Juggernaut that is also a Duck, Cosmic Ghost Rider 4 give us a pastoral fantasy that is also a post apocalyptic nightmare. Continue reading

Razing Mash-Up City in Cosmic Ghost Rider 3

by Patrick Ehlers

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

The very concept of “Cosmic Ghost Rider” is a great example of Writer Donny Cates  using disparate ideas from all around the Marvel universe as the building blocks for something wholly new and exciting. In my write-up of issue #1, I called it “Mythological Omnivorism”, a turn of phrase that I like, but which feels a least a little dishonest. Cates and artist Dylan Burnett weren’t consuming this mythology so much as they were shuffling, repackaging, and repurposing it. Issue three is where the consumption begins – and all of those jumbled-up building blocks are devoured to sate the gluttonous reader’s appetite. Continue reading

Mythological Omnivorism in Cosmic Ghost Rider 1

by Patrick Ehlers

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

I aways struggle to identify with the Punisher. The straight line from Army vet to man suffering from personal loss and PTSD to gun wielding maniac only ever plays as tragedy for me. Like… where’s the fantasy? Where’s the escapism? Writer Donny Cates and artist Dylan Burnett address this dissonance by taking the two most sadistic parts of Frank Castle’s origin — military service and a mind set on vengeance — and mythically amplifying them both in uniquely Marvel ways. The result is, and I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Frank Castle story, tons of fun. Continue reading

The Joy of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 10 is the Supporting Cast

by Mark Mitchell

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

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but Kieron Gillen and Kev Walker’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 10 once again illustrates that the joys of these Star Wars comics are frequently not in their ostensible stars. Chelli Aphra as a character is interesting enough to do no harm, but the real highlights of the issue are the supporting cast; Toov and his Iron Lung of The Future, the Ezaraa and their delusions of grandeur, BeeTee and Triple-Zero’s turning their boredom into dangerous tinkering, each is much more interesting than the mechanizations of the plot. Continue reading

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 1

doctor-aphra-1

Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Dr. Aphra 1, originally released December 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor:  Last month the outstanding Darth Vader series penned by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca wrapped up after 25 stellar issues. In its short run Darth Vader skillfully contributed to the myth of its titular character in a way that previous Star Wars titles couldn’t quite pull off. But for all the fantastic work done on the character of Vader, what really stands out about the series is the creation of so many interesting and fully realized ancillary characters. Of these, Vader’s hired accomplice Doctor Aphra stands out as one of the most interesting, and so she is getting a chance to lead her own series. With the always entertaining Triple-Zero and Beetee in tow can this series possibly live up to the story that spawned it?

Continue reading

Loki: Agent of Asgard 14

loki 14 swToday, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 14, originally released May 20th, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, click here.

secret wars div

Patrick: Secret Wars isn’t something that’s happening to the Marvel Universe. Secret Wars is the result of specific planning and action from an entire team of editors, publishers, writers and artists. It exists by sheer force of will and accomplishment, about as intentional of a thing as can happen in comics. Loki: Agent of Asgard 14, bearing the “Last Days of” banner, explores the idea of the agency of the storyteller, even if that storyteller happens to be a character from within the story. Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man 21

superior spider-man 21

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 21, originally released November 13th, 2013.

Patrick: Any time I join a new social group, I like to think that I’m starting over in terms of my identity. Like, I get to use all the skills and stuff I picked up over my lifetime, but I can newly define myself with a whole new set of activities and goals and values. All the previous versions of me inform this, of course, but it’s too simplistic to say that their sum is my new persona. Current Patrick isn’t Orchestra Dork + Magic: The Gathering + Ska Bands + Drama Club + RA + all the other things I’ve been. Sometimes that means letting go of things that used to seem the most important (I haven’t played a game of Magic in over a decade, and yes it feels like I’m in AA when I say that). I’m not saying I know exactly what Otto is going through, but I know, exactly, what Otto is going through. Continue reading