Expressive Lettering Fills in the Gaps in Despicable Deadpool 298

by Patrick Ehlers

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

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“All that people care about is the look. There’s figures on this: 70% of what people react to is the look, 20% is how you sound, and only 10% is what you say.”

-Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill

Here’s something that’s true about comics: it’s a medium full of speaking characters that we will never actually hear speaking. By Izzard’s math, that means there’s a full fifth of a character’s essence we’re never really going to get through images and words on the page. As Deadpool pulls out all the stops to finally achieve suicide-by-mercenary, so too does the creative team pull out all the stops to express the height of his desperation. All the usual gears are spinning perfectly: Gerry Duggan’s writing is as simultaneously tight and chaotic as ever, and Mike Hawthorne’s impeccable layouts convey an almost grueling understanding of the setting of this issue-long brawl. But I want to focus on that elusive final 20% — “how you sound” — with Joe Sabino’s excellent lettering in this issue. Continue reading

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Three Interrogation Scenes in Old Man Hawkeye 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Old Man Hawkeye 2

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

The conventional wisdom in improv is that transaction scenes — like those between a customer and a storekeeper — are inherently uninteresting. The relationship between the two characters is impersonal and perfunctory, and the transaction is void of any tension. Any of those elements can be changed to rescue a transaction scene, but beginners are encouraged to avoid those setups altogether in favor of those that have relationships and tension built in to the premise. (At least, this is my understanding, though I’m prepared to have our improv contingent correct me in the comments.) Interrogation scenes definitely have that tension built in, as one person wants information the other is reluctant to share, but the relationships are often still impersonal. Moreover, they’re scenes we’ve seen a million times, whether they’re taking place in a police station or as Batman dangles a crook from some rooftop. Which is to say, the tension isn’t quite enough to carry those scenes. Like a transaction scene, an interrogation can be rescued if complications are added in the right places. Unfortunately, those complications are largely absent from Old Man Hawkeye 2, leaving two of its its three interrogations feeling pretty limp. Continue reading

A Different Set of Stakes in Old Man Hawkeye 1

by Drew Baumgartner

Old Man Hawkeye 1

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

There are plenty of valid critiques of individual prequels, but I’ll never understand the argument that prequels are robbed of stakes because we know who survives the story. This ties into my wariness of spoiler concerns that privilege plot over all other aspects of consuming a story, but with the added twist of fetishizing death as the only stakes a story could possibly have. It falls apart under even the slightest scrutiny — the protagonist’s survival can be assumed for the vast majority of stories, and I reject the notion that this fact inherently makes those stories inferior. We know Vito must survive the flashback story in The Godfather Part II, but it is also regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time — held in higher esteem than virtually all movies where the protagonist might maybe die in the third act. Not all stories are life-and-death stories, and not all life-and-death stories require us to actually believe that the character might die. Such is the case with Old Man Hawkeye, which tells the story of Clint Barton before he went on that fateful road trip in Old Man Logan. (So, you know, heads up about spoilers for that series after the jump.)  Continue reading

Generations: Hawkeye and Hawkeye 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

Generations Hawkey and Hawkeye 1

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

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Spencer: Other than a codename and skills with a bow and arrow, what do the two Hawkeyes have in common? Captain America first gifted Kate her codename because “she’s the only Avenger other than Clint ever to stand up to him,” but ever since Matt Fraction’s run, writers have been downplaying Clint’s brash outspokenness in favor of emphasizing what a total human disaster he is — and though not to the same degree, Kate’s characterization has followed suit. In Generations: Hawkeye and Hawkeye 1, Kelly Thompson and Stefano Raffaele find something else the two Hawkeyes have in common: crappy mentors. Continue reading

Daredevil 15

daredevil-15

Today, Ryan D. and Michael are discussing Daredevil 15, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: Sometimes I forget a simple fact about Matt Murdock: he is a tricky dude. Seeing as he does not have quite as spectacular of a power set as many of our better-known Marvel heroes, Murdock relies a great deal on trickery and misdirection to best many of his foes. Off the top of my head, I recall times when he has faked his own and Foggy’s death, had Danny Rand dress up as Daredevil to help keep his own identity secret, become the Kingpin and leader of the Hand, and even become a drifter in Upstate New York. Matt has something new up his sleeve in the new arc of Charles Soule’s Daredevil, featuring a slightly different tone and art than the recent arcs of this run. The question is: did the Man without Fear bite off more than he can chew with this scheme? Continue reading

1872 3

1872 3

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing 1872 3, originally released September 23rd, 2015.

Taylor: We just can’t seem to leave the Wild West, can we? Throughout the entire 20th century and well into the 21st the Western has endured in books, movies, TV shows, and of course comics. I guess there’s just something appealing about a world where there is no law except for the gun you hold in your hand. We all know for the most part these portrayals of the Old West are pretty inaccurate. It was neither as exciting or dangerous as one would have you believe. However, that hasn’t stopped artists from visiting a world we just can’t get enough of. Now into its third issue, I think it’s fair to judge whether 1872 is a version of the West we want to visit again and again, or one we let hit the ol’ dusty trail.

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Daredevil 9

daredevil 9Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Daredevil 9, originally released October 15th, 2014. 

Patrick: Have you ever watched a video of a baby eating a lemon for the first time? There are hundreds of these videos up on YouTube, and while it always strikes me as a little mean-spirited, it’s fascinating to see the purity of these babies’ reaction to the sourness of the lemon. There aren’t any videos of adults eating lemons, because: who cares? Adults have filters and modesty and the knowledge that they can make that sour taste stop. The baby, meanwhile, just has to stew in this unpleasant, unfamiliar experience. The same is true of emotions — adults have enough perspective to realize that their emotions are temporary or irrational or perhaps just resultant from a changeable attitude, but children are largely at the mercy of their emotions. Basically, adults can will themselves to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but as far as a child knows, the tunnel is all there is. The Marvel villain the Purple Man is a scary presence, with his ability to impose his will on others, but the Purple Children introduced last issue are something much more terrifying: the entire slate of childhood emotion projected outward. Continue reading

Elektra 3

elektra 3
Today, Patrick and Shelby discussing Elektra 3, originally released on June 18th, 2014.

Patrick: I probably bring up the Matrix movies more than I ought to when discussing comics. For all the hullabaloo that surrounded their release, the original Matrix was more of a cultural anomaly, and not the flashpoint for a vibrant new franchise. One of the biggest reasons that first film worked at all is that the Wachowskis melded arresting visuals with some rudimentary philosophy. Like, it’s just intellectual enough to engage the thinky portion of your brain, and then it switches tracks to engage the adrenaline-junky in all of us. The second and third movies got this mixture all wrong, agonizing over bare philosophy for far too long, never dressing it up as anything more abstract. And then there’s the matter of the spectacle, which got a lot less compelling with each new installment. Elektra has also toed this line, exploring how death has shaped the lives of Elektra and Bloody Lips against the backdrop of Michael Del Mundo’s glorious artwork. Issue three escalates both its spectacle and philosophy to dizzying heights, setting the stage for one hell of a heady ending to the opening arc.

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Elektra 2

elektra 2 Today, Patrick and Spencer discussing Elektra 2, originally released on May 21st, 2014.

Patrick: Last time, we discussed the lengths Elektra goes through to not be defined by the actions taken against her (or even those taken on her behalf). The obvious point of comparison is the bounty hunter Bloody Lips, introduced to us in that issue, but left off our heroine’s radar. Bloody Lips gains skills and perspectives by eating the flesh of his enemies. Rather than having traits forced upon him, his borrowed abilities are elective. It’s hard to distinguish between the morality of these two characters: both are mercenaries willing to kill in order to get closer to their goal. The second issue starts to delineate hero from villain as Bloody Lips is propelled forward by instinct and Elektra is held back by compassion. Continue reading

Elektra 1

elektra 1

Today, Suzanne and Patrick are discussing Elektra 1, originally released on April 23, 2014.

Suzanne: By her own admission, Elektra has a bad habit of identifying herself through relationships to the men in her life. Her father, Matt Murdock, Kingpin, Bullseye…they all contribute to Elektra’s history in powerful ways. My first exposure to the character was Jennifer Garner’s appearance in Daredevil. Despite having a powerful skill set as an assassin, I didn’t leave the cinema wanting to kick butt like Elektra. Maybe this is a bit unfair, but my overall impression was that things happened to her and that element of passivity was unattractive. Continue reading