Heroes and Villains Alike Assemble Their Armies in Amazing Spider-Man 793

by Spencer Irwin

Amazing Spider-Man 793

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

By the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 793 — the fourth installment of Dan Slott, Mike Costa, and Ryan Stegman’s “Venom Inc.” crossover — the many various players that have filled out this story have essentially grouped into two opposing sides. What’s interesting is the way these factions differ from each other. Continue reading

Middle-Chapter Blues in Amazing Spider-Man 792

by Spencer Irwin

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

The middle chapters of multi-issue storylines sometimes suffer a bit. They’re not a beginning, they’re not an ending — sometimes all they can do is move a few plot points forward, hopefully in the most entertaining manner possible. The Amazing Spider-Man 792, the second installment of Dan Slott, Mike Costa, and Ryan Stegman’s “Venom Inc” crossover, is decidedly one of those middle chapters, but even in comparison to other middle chapters it suffers a bit. Continue reading

Everybody Wants to be Venom in the Amazing Spider-Man & Venom: Venom Inc. Alpha

by Spencer Irwin

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

Legacy heroes (and villains!) always present a bit of a conundrum. The inheritors of the mantles tend to bring much needed diversity and fresh perspectives to their stories and quickly amass fanbases, but of course the original characters have lifelong fans who aren’t happy to see their beloved heroes pushed aside, even temporarily. To me, the obvious solution has always been to have multiple characters share names and roles: why not have two Captains America or two Hawkeyes, four Flashes or a million Green Lanterns?

Both this conflict and this solution seem to be the core of Dan Slott, Mike Costa, and Ryan Stegman’s new crossover event, Venom Inc. It’s a story that finds the various men who have been Venom fighting over their right to symbiote, and which, at least for the moment, seems to be finding great joy in including as many Venoms as possible. Continue reading

A + X 3

Alternating Currents: A + X 3, Drew and Shelby

Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing A + X 3, originally released December 19th, 2012.

Drew: Size can dictate a lot about a narrative, to the type of tone it can sustain to the very form it’s hung on. We currently seem to be in an era fetishizing ever longer dramatic narratives, hailing television shows with season-long arcs (or longer), and pouring out in droves to see stories broken into multiple epic-length films (coughTheHobbitcough). At the same time, Adult Swim has found success with very short-form comedies, and youtube clips of cats saying “no” have racked up millions of hits. It seems we’ve decided that very short stories are better at supporting comedy, while very long ones are better for drama. A + X, as a kind of clearing house for extremely short-form stories, has largely borne-out this notion, mining a series of absurd scenarios for their comedic potential. A + X 3 carries on this trend in its latter half, but opens with on much more serious (but still fun) note.

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Batwing 7

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batwing 7, originally released March 7th, 2012.

Drew: At the end of issue 6, I had mixed feelings about this title. I liked the stylized art, particularly Brian Reber’s atmospheric, almost dusty colors, and I appreciated the idea of distilling the idea of Batman down to it’s essence and seeing how it plays in different cultures. At the same time, I wasn’t sure I actually liked the approach writer Judd Winick had applied to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I complained that the title was exploitative, but it really isn’t guilty of doing anything any frank (or, more importantly, action-focused) depiction of subsaharan Africa wouldn’t do. I’m still not convinced that this title isn’t exploitative, but this month’s issue comes a long way in making me more comfortable with the world David Zavimbe inhabits. Continue reading

Batwing 1-6


Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batwing 1-6, originally released September 7th, 2011, October 5th, 2011, November 2nd, 2011, December 7th, 2011, January 4th, 2012, and February 1st, 2012.

Patrick: David and Isaac Zavimbe  were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS. They were kidnapped from the orphanage by Warlord Keita, who transformed them both into monstrous child-soldiers. As the Zavimbe brothers were impossibly good at killing in the name of the warlord, Keita took them on as his own sons – calling them his Dragonflies. The more atrocities they committed for Keita, the more he trusted them. When Isaac defied and order and refused to murder children, Warlord Keita gutted him with a machete in front of his brother. By way of revenge, David left Keita defenseless in an enemy village and vowed to never kill again. David grows  up to become a police officer in the Republic of Congo by day and superhero Batwing by night. This is canvas upon which the Batwing saga is painted.

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