Superman 50

superman 50

Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Superman 50, originally released March 16th, 2016.

Michael: Mark, I’ve had a problem lately — the impending arrival of whatever DC Rebirth shapes up to be has been coloring my read of nearly every DC book. The creative behind-the-scenes shuffle that must be going on fascinates me — creators rushing their stories to conclusions earlier than they anticipated, etc. Superman 50 is the conclusion of Gene Luen Yang’s run on the book. And while it is an awkward, frantic, and deflated conclusion, it kind of seems like that’s what Yang intended all along? Continue reading

Batman/Superman 22

batman superman 22

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Batman/Superman 22, originally released July 8th, 2015.

Michael: Any given issue of Batman/Superman is a coin toss. The relatively young incarnation of this relatively old idea is more of a companion piece to writer Greg Pak’s other Superman series, Action Comics. It’s an exploration of different avenues for Superman while being grounded by Batman as the constant. What happens when both the constant and the variable of this story-telling formula are changed? Is it the same book?


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Batman and Robin Annual 2

batman and robin annual 2

Today, Greg and Mikyzptlk are discussing Batman and Robin Annual 2, originally released January 29th 2014.

Greg: My friends often make fun of me for liking everything, and they have a good point. If one of them asks me for a movie recommendation, I’ll give twenty, and get at least one “I heard that was terrible” in response. If someone rags on the recently cancelled and critically reviled Sean Saves The World, I’ll pipe in and counter that it was actually one of the best new comedies of the season, prematurely put down. The new Paramore album? On repeat, in my car stereo, no apologies. Sometimes I’ve been criticized as not having enough cultural taste or filtration. My counterargument is that the consumption of media and storytelling fundamentally stems from love and positivity. It behooves a consumer to like things, because of the positive feelings you get. So, whenever I do genuinely, fully, through-and-through dislike something, not only do I mean it, but it pains me to say it out loud. It blots out my blinding sun of naive media love. I’ll put it frankly, no matter how much it hurts me to say: Batman and Robin deserve better than this issue.
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Batgirl 21

batgirl 21Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Batgirl 18, originally released March 13th, 2013.

Patrick: I used to live in an apartment in Uptown Chicago with Taylor and our friend Andrew. This is right out of college and none of us really knew what we were doing in that town – just that we had some friends in the area and where else were we going to find jobs? The later part of that equation proved more taxing that we had originally expected (hooray for economic downturns!), and living there eventually became an endurance match against the city. You’d spend the morning sleeping, the afternoon looking for jobs, the evenings trying to figure out what the fuck you’re doing with your life, and the nights drinking. It’s a vicious little cycle, and every phone call to your folks to ask for a couple bucks so you could cover rent, every email from faraway friends, piled up into this feeling of helplessness – like you were stuck in a make-believe life that bore to similarities to the life you knew before. Oddly, it was getting jobs that we all hated that grounded us – provided structure to our lives. It’s just when Batgirl feels that her old life has totally slipped away from her that regains her structure the old fashioned way: doing her job and punching a villain in the face. Continue reading

Batgirl 18

batgirl 18

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Batgirl 18, originally released March 13th, 2013.

Patrick: You know how NBC does a week of environmentally themed shows for the week of Earth Day? (Maybe they even call it Earth Week, who knows?) It’s a network-wide mandate and there’s a persistent green peacock in the lower right corner of the screen to remind us of this fact. How individual shows deal with this mandate is sorta flexible — The Office will relegate their green message to the cold open, and 30 Rock will have Al Gore on again. Everybody tows the line because to not do it would be monstrous. You don’t want to be the only sitcom that doesn’t care about global warming, right? Batgirl 18 finds itself in a similar predicament: how to participate in this REQUIEM without derailing the series’ forward momentum. Ray Fawkes eschews convention by trading in themes rather than plot points. The results are mixed.   Continue reading

Green Lantern 18

green lantern 18 wrath

Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Green Lantern 18, originally released March 6th, 2013. This issue is part of the Wrath of the First Lantern crossover event. Click here for our First Lantern coverage. 

Mikyzptlk: One of my favorite movies of all time is The Shawshank Redeption where Andy Dufresne is convicted of murders he did not commit. He spends twenty years in prison suffering one horrible thing after another until he decides he’s had enough. He no longer wants to suffer but knows that the only way to escape said suffering is to endure even more of it. He ends up crawling through the sewage pipe to escape, but on the other side finds freedom and a new life. I couldn’t help but think about Andy while reading the conclusion to Green Lantern 18 as Hal finds himself in similar situation. While Hal may not have to crawl through a river of shit to escape, his path to freedom may be even worse.

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Batgirl 17

batgirl 17

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Batgirl 17, originally released February 13th, 2013.

Patrick: Like 20 minutes into the movie Fight Club, Ed Norton’s character meets Brad Pitt’s character for the first time. [I’m about to spoil Fight Club – heads up.] Prior to this point, there’s almost non-stop voice over from Norton’s character, prattling on about life, work, commercialism, phonies, etc. But the second Pitt’s Tyler Durden is introduced, the voice over goes away and the two men have a conversation — the irony, of course, being that they’re the same person, so he’s kinda still talking to himself. But the effect of losing that trusty, comfortable narration is jarring, setting up this scene as a Scene That Matters. Batgirl 17 robs us of a similar comfort as it delves deeper into the broken Gordon family. Continue reading

Batman and Robin Annual 1

Alternating Currents: Batman and Robin Annual 1, Drew and Shelby

Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batman and Robin Annual 1, originally released January 30th 2013.

Drew: At its best, Batman and Robin is a very straightforward father and son story. Sure, the father is Batman, and the son has homicidal tendencies, but the sense of love and obligation is universal. The strictures of crossover events often force writer Peter Tomasi to contort the story in odd ways to stay true to this theme (which miraculously happens more often than not), but when those distractions fall away, this series can be a moving study of Bruce and Damian’s relationship. Tomasi smartly seizes upon the annual to return Batman and Robin to it’s resting position, delivering a clever, subtly moving story about both Bruce and Damian. Continue reading

Best of 2012: Best Titles

best titlesWe generally avoid quantifying our enthusiasm around here — we’ll gladly praise or condemn comics as our tastes dictate, but turning that into a grade or a score makes us uncomfortable. As there are in our pull-list, there are holes in this ‘Best of’ list. Mea culpa. We’ve had some great experiences with comics this year, and these are the series that were consistently fun, thoughtful and beautiful. Too subjective for a year-end list? Ignore the rankings. Any way you slice it, these are fantastic series that deserve the scrutiny we heap on everything. Each is a rewarding read and well worth your attention. Our picks for the top 12 series of 2012:

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Red Lanterns 0

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Red Lanterns 0, originally released September 26th, 2012. Red Lanterns 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Shelby: The worst thing about grief is not the pain, not the loss, not the sadness; it’s how easy it is to hold on to. Grief is the gateway drug of emotions; it leads you to harder stuff, like sorry, despair, or rage. Grief is a passive, wallowing place, but rage is an emotion of action. A man who’s rage is so intense it burns away the grief which spawned it (as well as all other emotion) is a man who can accomplish terrible things.

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