Avengers Assemble 19

avengers assemble 19 infinityToday, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Avengers Assemble 19, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity dividerPatrick: The Avengers is a fairly masculine construct. I recognize that most superhero teams are, but this one in particular makes you really look for the contributing female members. On a team that just recently exploded to include over 20 members, there are five women in group, two of which are bizarrely abstract concepts (Abyss, the Universe). They don’t perceive the world or act like human beings, let alone as human women. That leaves Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Spider-Woman – none of whom have gotten much attention in the main Infinity series or either of the flagship tie-ins. Kelly Sue DeConnick has been tasked with injecting a little feminine energy into the saga. Unfortunately, she’s made to retread the same events endlessly, and ground the same emotional beats into a fine paste for easy digestion. Well, Infinity fans, open up: we’ve got a piping hot serving of emotional paste for you… I just can’t promise that it’s fresh.

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Captain Marvel 15-16

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Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Captain Marvel 15-16, originally released August 21st and September 18th, 2013, respectively. These issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Options >> Preferences >> Fog of War: Off

Warcraft II, Traditional.

Patrick: I used to play a lot of Warcraft II, and by most accounts, I was very good at the game. I played both the campaigns, all the expansion packs, even played on-line before that was really a thing. But no matter how much I wanted to challenge myself, I would always, always, always go in to Options, Preferences, and then turn “Fog of War” off. The Fog of War feature would gray-out areas on the map that you had explored but in which you didn’t have any units — you could still make out the terrain but enemy activity would be totally invisible to you. I always wanted to see what was going on. Besides, the metaphorical fog of war would set in anyway — with so much activity it became impossible to focus on all of it. Ironically, if I had just let Fog of War stay on, I could have zeroed in on my own army and really understood what they needed to become stronger. Infinity has been playing the game with Fog of War off, and the spectacle of seeing the whole board lit up at once has been astounding, but the Captain Marvel tie-ins relish the Fog, finding focus and purpose and a very specific time and a very specific place. Continue reading

Fearless Defenders 9

Alternating Currents: Fearless Defenders 9, Taylor and Drew

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Fearless Defenders 9, originally released September 11th, 2013.

Taylor: Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Bros before hoes, sisters before misters. Men and women are two different species. Such platitudes have been woven into the fabric of society since the dawn of civilization. Given their age, you might find yourself uttering such phrases during awkward conversations in the lunch room at work because you know they will be accepted with little umbrage. However, that doesn’t make these seemingly innocuous phrases any less offensive or misinformed. While men and women are different in many respects, the truth is they share far more similarities than differences. Some might call this a progressive view, but in reality it’s just a logical one. With that being said, you would think Fearless Defenders, a title which seemingly strives to show that female superheroes are just the same as male superheroes, would champion the similarities between the sexes rather than exaggerate them. But is issue nine, which examines this idea, up to the task?

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Infinity 2

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Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Infinity 2, originally released September 4th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Ethan: Space operas tend to share a few common traits. The first is that they usually happen in space (surprise!). Next, they make some assumptions about technology, concerning themselves with the adventures that take place between the stars rather than the history of how their characters came to be able to travel across the galaxy. Some involve enormous space battles, and many feature a tightly knit band or bands of characters fighting back against monolithic forces of evil. I’m still trying to decide if the Infinity arc fits the bill of a space opera rather than just a standard sci-fi story, but Infinity #2 certainly provides a lot more evidence towards the former than the previous issue did. The heroic attempt by the galactic alliance of good-guys to halt the Builder onslaught didn’t pan out so well, so now they’re licking their wounds and trying to find a new way to survive.

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Thunderbolts 14

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Today, you and Patrick are discussing Thunderbolts 14, originally released August 21st, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Patrick: You might have guessed this from the name, but “Infinity” is a pretty big story. Not just in terms of page count (though, it should be pretty astonishing in that regard), but in terms of scope. It’s already taken two dozen Avengers into deep space for some interstellar warfare, and there’s still the yet-unexplored threat of Thanos invading Earth. Jonathan Hickman was said to have been setting up Infinity in his Avengers and New Avengers series – which he…. sorta did. Most of what those series accomplish — in terms of setting up this event — is that they introduce the relevant superhero teams. Each team battles its own cataclysmic threats, only to be cut short when the main aggressors of Infinity entered the fray. Issue 14 of Thunderbolts is this concept in miniature: complete with team introductions and a mission cut short by alien invaders.

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Avengers Assemble 18

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Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Avengers Assemble 18, originally released August 21st, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Ethan: Ever since the birth of the film industry, it’s been a race for the technology and craft to keep suspending our disbelief as we become desensitized to each decade’s best special effects. Every once in a while, a filmmaker pulls off an innovation that jumps way ahead of our expectations, and the medium feels special again. And even while fancy visuals can surprise us, if the movie forgets that it’s supposed to have a plot and just chucks those visuals at our eyeballs for two hours without going anywhere, it feels like a waste. We talked about the long build-up to the Infinity arc, and then the first issue felt like a much more violent version of the grand finale at a fireworks show. With so many pyrotechnics and most of the characters strapped in to acceleration harnesses, it would have been easy to become distracted by the spaceships and forget the people inside of them. To balance out our view of that battle, Avengers Assemble 18 rewinds all the way back to the pre-launch scene and tells the story all over again from the perspective of one character: Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman.

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Avengers 18

avengers 18 infinityToday, Spencer and Drew are discussing Avengers 18, originally released August 21st, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Spencer: I’m not a huge fan of the genre, so this might be a complete oversimplification, but in my mind most war stories seem to be divided into two categories: the stories that are about glory, honor, and the beauty of warfare (which I’m not fond of), and the stories about the people who sacrifice themselves to protect others (which I appreciate more). Avengers 18, an Infinity tie-in, takes the form of a war story as the team joins a massive Anti-Builder Armada, and while it largely falls into that second category, a few early scenes even manage to make aspects of the first compelling to me.

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Cram Session: Avengers 1-17 – World Builders and World Breakers

It can be hard to keep up with all the comics you love. But it’s damn near impossible to keep up with all the comics you’re interested in.

Retcon Punch got you covered.

Infinity is already looking to be an insane exercise in more, MORE, MORE. If you missed out on Hickman’s run on Avengers, you’ve missed out on that precedent. “Bigger” is the name of the game, and it’s in that spirit that we cram 17 issues into one six-minute video. Enjoy!

Infinity 1

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Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Infinity 1, originally released August 14th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Spencer: “So…what is Infinity actually about?!” It’s a question that, in one form or another, has been tossed around Retcon Punch quite a bit the past few months. Up until now, my answer has always been, “Um…Thanos?,” and even the Preludes over in Avengers and New Avengers did little to clarify things. Thankfully, now that the first issue has dropped, I can finally give a clear answer: “Infinity is the story of what happens when two different universe-ending threats—each capable of supporting a summer crossover all on their own—hit at the same time, leaving the Earth absolutely helpless.” Pretty cool, huh? Now I only hope that the series can live up to the massive threats it’s spent its first issue establishing.

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Avengers 17

Alternating Currents: Avengers 17, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Avengers 17, originally released August 7th, 2013. 

“Bigger?” Look, it’s not for one of the new guys to say, but — feeling kinda crowded around here already.

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Drew: In our discussion of Avengers 16, I complained that the bloated story and cast was collapsing under its own weight — far from making me excited, the sheer scope of the story was preventing me from fully engaging with any subset of elements. It’s a feat that writer Jonathan Hickman can keep all of these plates spinning (and these are only half of the plates he’s writing in this event), but that triumph of multi-tasking unfortunately precludes any real emotional connections. That is to say, the story here is already too big, but as this issue concludes into Infinity proper, we pile on even more Avengers, and widen the scope even further. And there are still only, like, two showers. Continue reading