This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Spencer: Despite not making a single appearance, the Teen Titans loomed large over the first five issues of Super Sons. The Titans were Damian’s trump card, the cool older friends he could taunt Jon with whenever Jon gained the upper-hand against him. Amazingly, Jon never seemed all that affected by Damian’s bluster, at one point even telling Damian off for bringing the Titans up so much. This all changes as Peter Tomasi and Jorge Jimenez bring the Titans into the fold in Super Sons 6, adding some interesting new wrinkles to these two boys’ relationship. Continue reading →
Scott: This comic is called Animal Man, but it’s hardly about Buddy Baker at this point. Sure, Animal Man and Swamp Thing are the focal points of the RotWorld crossover event, but their personal objectives and motivations are overshadowed by RotWorld itself. There are so many characters fighting against the rot that it’s tough to consider Animal Man the main character in this issue, and even more difficult to think of his personal motivation — to save Maxine — as the emotional center of the story. Throw in the fact that this issue truly is a crossover with Swamp Thing, and it’s harder yet to think of this as Animal Man’s story. Not that that’s a bad thing. Animal Man is part of an awesome team fighting against the Rot, and the collective inventiveness they display here makes Animal Man 17 a thoroughly fun and often jaw-droppingly cool experience.
Patrick: The End of the World. Pretty bleak subject matter, right? But we can go bleaker. Let’s kill as many superheroes as possible, and then use their grotesquely reanimated corpses to attack our protagonists. Also, no one’s safe, so those protagonists themselves can get picked off at a moment’s notice. Still not grim enough? Then let’s keep flashing back to the putrid death of our hero’s family. These are the principal building blocks of Rotworld. So if I’m using the adjectives “grim,” “grotesque” and “bleak” so much, why is this issue so much fun?
Shelby: Last month, Drew talked about Jeff Lemire thwarting our expectations to surprise us in the best way. This month is no different, as he sprinkles some obvious and not-so-obvious surprises throughout the issue. And really, he’s made it easy for us to be surprised; with Rotworld, Lemire has turned the DCU into a place where literally anything can happen. Kill all the heroes and leave the world a rotting shell? Sure! Turn characters we all know into horrifying monsters who want little more than to tear our protagonist limb from limb? Why not! In a universe where all the rules have been broken, even our wildest guesses fall short of the mark. Continue reading →
Drew: Last month, I couldn’t get over how openly writer Jeff Lemire was playing to our expectations in Animal Man. More specifically, he was setting up expectations with the express purpose of implying he was going to meet them at face value — all with an unblinking swagger that was kind of thrilling. Animal Man 14 finds him switching gears to the kinds of thwarted expectations we expect from (good) superhero comics, but that change actually makes the surprises even more surprising. Continue reading →
Drew: Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder are confident that they can surprise readers. They have every right to be — Swamp Thing 12 (which they co-wrote) saw the shocking reveal that Rotworld is not a place but a time — and that confidence lends their writing an assured sense of purpose. Their ability to surprise has made both Animal Man and Swamp Thing thrilling reads in their first year, and has leant the crossover a sense that anything could happen. Sure enough, Animal Man 13 is rich in surprises, but it also paints Lemire into a difficult narrative corner — to such a degree that I can’t help but see it as a cocksure statement that he can write his way out of anything. It would be annoying if I didn’t have every bit of confidence that he can. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Zach Kastner are discussing Ravagers 0, originally released September 12, 2012. Ravagers 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Patrick: There are some story types that are fundamentally more compelling than others. Storytellers know these tropes well and trot them out whenever a) they’re also trying something new or b) they don’t have any better ideas. This is why most cop and detective shows put a child in danger in the first episode. We can all get on board with that: save the child – there’s no way not engage with that story. The trope on display in Ravagers 0 (and I suspect through most of the Culling story line) is a newer one: teenagers forced to fight each other to the death. Oh Hunger Games/Battle Royale/Ravagers, you do have one hell of an interesting concept. But while something like Hunger Games really finds itself in the details, Ravagers couldn’t be bothered with anything other than the broadest possible strokes.