Secret Wars 1

secret wars 1

Today, Ryan and Patrick are discussing Secret Wars 1, originally released May 6th, 2015. 

“Oh, best war ever…”

-General Nick Fury, Secret Wars 1

Ryan: Secret Wars grabs the baton from Jon Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers beloved/despised/confusing “Time Runs Out” saga chronicling the futile struggle of Earth-616 against the collapse of the multiverse. Hickman dives in by tipping his hat to the concluding plot thread of Doom vs. The Beyonders, the significance of which — aside from helping to shrink the amount of surviving universes down to a baker’s dozen minus a bunch — is still a bit lost on me. The narration of the issue is provided by Reed Richards, and the first installment of this event belongs to him.

Continue reading

Avengers 44/New Avengers 33

avengers 44

Today, Spencer and Ryan are discussing Avengers 44 and New Avengers 33, originally released April 29th, 2015. 

Spencer: Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers saga has gone through three different phases. The first, which lasted from the series’ debut through the end of Infinity, found Avengers exploring the forced evolution of the planet Earth via Ex Nihilo’s Origin Bombs while New Avengers established the threat of the Incursions and the drastic measures the Illuminati would have to take to combat them. The second phase found Avengers essentially spinning its wheels, waiting for the Illuminati in New Avengers to reach their limit and, ultimately, fail. Then the books skipped ahead in time eight months, and both lost a bit of their former identities as they became swallowed up in the Incursions storyline. New Avengers has spent most of phase three explaining the mechanics of everything that came before, while Avengers explored the personal fall-out between the members of all these various teams. While the Incursion storyline is continuing into Hickman’s upcoming Secret Wars, the final issues of Avengers and New Avengers focus on wrapping up the ideas they’ve been exploring since phase three began. One is decidedly more engaging than the other. Continue reading

Avengers 43

avengers 43

Today, Ryan and Mark are discussing Avengers 43, originally released April 1st, 2015. 

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown

William Shakespeare, Henry IV

Ryan: It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and history remembers figures like this with no small sense of disdain. However, what of those leaders who came to reign under the most noble of intentions, who yet were forced to make decisions universally agreed upon as damnable? Jonathan Hickman and Stephano Caselli have taken readers on a convoluted and bumpy road in Avengers, and along the way have raised some sticky questions in regards to morals under duress. In this penultimate issue, we see how the crown of an empire and the Damoclean burden of genius can incite or deter an extinction. Continue reading

Avengers 21

avengers 21 infinityToday, Ethan and Drew are discussing Avengers 21, originally released October 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity dividerEthan: The Infinity arc has been many things: ambitious, epic, nail-biting, repetitive, crowded. The adjective that perhaps best describes the current bit of the story — Avengers #21 — is “compressed.” We’ve groused a bit about the many angles through which we were forced to watch the events of Starbrand wiping out a Builder fleet and an Avenger strike team freeing their teammates, so maybe this issue is a welcome departure from the exhaustive coverage of the previous battles. Yet I’d almost welcome an alternate perspective / re-hashing of the events of this issue, because it was anything but drawn-out. We get the meditations of supercomputers, hand-to-hand fighting across 6 different planets, absurdly dangerous decisions made by a handful of commanders far from the fighting. The brink of despair, total salvation, all in a couple dozen pages.

Continue reading

Avengers 20

avengers 20 infinityToday, Spencer and Drew are discussing Avengers 20, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity divider

Spencer: Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver; the Avengers have a long history of welcoming reformed villains into their ranks. Ex Nihilo and Abyss are the latest Avengers to take advantage of this, but after serving as the villains of the first storyline of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers — and after spring boarding the series’ central conflict — their reformation has felt just a little too easy. They basically became Avengers just because Captain Universe said so. I’m sure she knows best (well, kinda sure), but while I had no problem believing that these two were no longer threats to the Earth, I had a much harder time believing that they could reliably serve as Avengers. Now Ex Nihilo and Abyss are faced with their creators, their brothers and sisters…how will they react? Are they heroes, or villains?

Continue reading

Captain Marvel 15-16

capt marvel 15-16 infinity

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.

infinity divider

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

Avengers 19

avengers 19 infinityToday, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Avengers 19, originally released September 11th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity divider

Spencer: What’s so special about Earth? It’s funny; in comics, human beings are usually portrayed as a weak, technologically backwards race, yet Earth is constantly under attack for some reason, constantly finding itself in the center of some of the most significant events the Universe will ever experience. So why is the Earth so darn special? Jonathan Hickman hasn’t given us any answers yet, but in Avengers 19 he does show us just how surprisingly significant the planet Earth has become in the grand scheme of things; for better or worse, the Builders have taken notice of Earth and want it gone. Good thing it’s an Avengers World.

Continue reading

Infinity 2

infinity 2-INFINITY

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.

infinity divider

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.

Continue reading

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

infinity 1-INFINITY

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.

infinity divider

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.

Continue reading