Black Panther & The Crew 1

Today, Spencer and Ryan D. are discussing Black Panther & The Crew 1, originally released April 12th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Creating any sort of real societal change can be next to impossible, not only because of the difficulty of enacting new laws or changing old ones, but because of how difficult it can be to convince people of the need for change at all. We all have our opinions and confirmation biases, and many people simply don’t want to believe they’re wrong, even when faced with compelling, truthful evidence. Such is the case for Misty Knight, who may be a bit too devoted to her fellow police to understand the damage they’re causing. Continue reading

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Archangel 1

archangel 1

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Archangel 1, originally released May 18th, 2016.

Michael: Over the course of recent pop culture history, it has become more and more well-known that time travel stories are difficult to pull off successfully. It’s become such a universal truth that there’s typically an in-story joke about how complicated and confusing time travel is. Likewise, we as an audience inevitably find ourselves questioning the “logic” of the time travel narrative – Grandfather Paradoxes, timeline alterations and basic logistical functions of the time machine in question. However, I think that we can suspend our disbelief for time travel the same way we can for the last son of Krypton – if there’s a worthwhile story at least. Continue reading

Avengers Assemble 15AU

Today, Ethan and Taylor are discussing Avengers Assemble 15AU, originally released May 8th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Ethan: It’s always tempting to poke fun at other cultures. Humans seem evolutionarily predisposed to draw lines between Us and Them, and in the present, enlightened point in the development of our species, we like to use humor to act on that where our paleo-ancestors might have used a nice, big stick. Humor’s got more uses than pushing others away though; sometimes it’s a good way to navigate the gap between the familiar and the different, and to draw people together. All of this is a bit overblown for introducing this issue. What I’m really trying to say is that writer Al Ewing really went to town on those silly Brits in this issue. Continue reading

Avengers Assemble 14AU

Alternating Currents: Avengers Assemble 14AU, Drew and Ethan

Today, Drew and Ethan are discussing Avengers Assemble 14AU, originally released April 10th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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…it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.

-Rachel Dawes, Batman Begins

Drew: I remember laughing out loud when I first heard Rachel’s lecture to Bruce in Batman Begins. It’s not that the scene was poorly acted, or even that the sentiment was that offensive, but that its underlying “who you are on the inside doesn’t count for much, after all” message flew in the face of essentially every 90s movie, from Beauty and the Beast to She’s All That. Of course, the message here is about action vs. sentiment — talk is cheap, if you will — rather than about superficiality, which makes it a more appropriate, if sensitive, topic for comics. It’s sensitive because we care about who our heroes are underneath. Does Superman’s moral strength come from never failing to want the right thing, or from never failing to do the right thing? Many fans may balk at finding out Superman has immoral thoughts, while others may find a squeaky-clean mind entirely unrelatable, making the very act of pulling back the curtain a precarious one. You might expect this discomfort to be smaller with more down-to-earth human characters, but as Al Ewing demonstrates in Avengers Assemble 14AU, the opposite might be true. Continue reading

Thor: God of Thunder 7

thor 7

Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Lorenzo are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 7, originally released April 10th, 2013.

Patrick: We like our superheroes powerful. Even someone like Batman, who we like to think of as human — and therefore vulnerable — but even Bruce Wayne has a secret power: he always wins. So, like, what can any writer possibly throw at these characters to actually challenge them? End of the world? Piece of cake! Thor: God of Thunder has constructed a villain whose sole purpose is to Kill All The Gods. Even that’s not enough, so the God Butcher also has the ability to travel indiscriminately throughout time, simultaneously purposing resources from the past and attacking heroes while they were vulnerable. Fortunately, the deck is also stacked in the opposite direction as Thor teams up with himself for some hilariously grandiose heroics.

Continue reading

Thor: God of Thunder 6

Alternating Currents: Thor 6, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 6, originally released March 13th, 2013.

Drew:  As a child, it seemed impossibly unfair to me that we’re more or less born into our religious beliefs — if there was one right way, how could so many people be consigned to hell simply by luck of birth? As a precocious skeptic, this just confirmed that religion was nothing more than an arbitrary (but comforting) tradition, practiced differently by everyone — like the way your family prepares stuffing on Thanksgiving, or the particular Monopoly house rules you grew up with. Of course, the wrinkle in that attitude comes when somebody does reject their parents’ religious beliefs (or stuffing recipes, house rules, political practices, etc), actively replacing them with something they deem superior. That wrinkle gets even wrinklier when that generation has their own kids — do the parents teach their beliefs as gospel, or foster the sense of skepticism that led to them changing their beliefs in the first place? It’s a daunting, complex subject, but it’s exactly where Jason Aaron sets his sights as he explores Gorr’s origin in Thor 6. Continue reading