The Power of Friendship (and smoke) in Daredevil 24

by Michael DeLaney

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

How long can you stay mad at your best friend? In the case of Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, it took about 20+ issues. In Daredevil 24 Charles Soule and Alec Morgan finally begin to mend their broken relationship as Matt continues his grand quest to “legalize superheroing.” That, and pick on poor Tombstone. Continue reading

Stiff Acting Stilts Star Wars: Poe Dameron 17

by Mark Mitchell

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

A resistance movement concerned with growing apathy among the people, dangerous and corrupt leadership in power propped up by a legislative body too power-hungry to care, journalists as heroes despite being considered untrustworthy by many — the many  parallels between the current political situation in the United States and the state of the galaxy are the driving forces of Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta’s Star Wars: Poe Dameron 17. Continue reading

The Banality of Magic in Curse Words 6

by Drew Baumgartner

Curse Words 6

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

There are countless diagnoses for the success of Harry Potter, but I have to think at least part of the appeal is that the stories embraced both the pleasant and unpleasant extremes of fictional magic. On the one hand, there are enchanting magical novelties — everything from candies to sports to boarding schools — and on the other, there are evil characters that practice corrupted magic in order to kill their adversaries and gain power. While plenty of fiction has embraced one or the other of those extremes in their depiction of magic, few took on the whole spectrum, treating the world of magic as if it were every bit as messy and nuanced as the real world. Curse Words has gladly taken up that cause, and indeed takes it several steps further, exchanging Harry’s naive wonderment for more mundane complacency, emphasizing how commonplace and banal magical acts are in Hole World. Continue reading

Astonishing X-Men 1: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson & Patrick Ehlers

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

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Taylor: About a month ago, the Golden State Warriors won the NBA  championship with ease. So easy was their win, in fact, that many pundits are calling them a super team that practically has the next several championships already won. It’s tempting to think that building such a dominant team is the result of careful planning and deep pockets. In actuality, what brought so many talented players together was a series of fluke accidents and coincidental timing that amount to little more than dumb luck. In much the same way, another super team is also being built, albeit this one on the pages of Astonishing X-Men. That might sound like a haphazard way to build a team — maybe it is — but it’s also a refreshing take on the typical team-up concept.  Continue reading

Unknowability is a Strength in Star Wars: Darth Vader 3

by Mark Mitchell

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

Last month when discussing Darth Vader 2, I counted the fact that Darth Vader largely remains a cipher in his own series as a core weakness in Charles Soule’s story, but with Darth Vader 3 I think I have it all wrong. It’s still true that readers looking for a deep, complex shading of Darth Vader won’t find it here, but really, who wants that in the first place? The Prequels were predicated on the audiences’ interest in “understanding” Darth Vader, and those were terrible. The world already has enough context for Vader’s actions thanks to years and years of pop culture indoctrination. Darth Vader as a mostly silent, imposing villain is optimal Darth Vader. It’s the difference between original Halloween Michael Meyers and reinvented Rob Zombie-era Halloween Michael Meyers. Continue reading

Proceeding(s) Forward in Daredevil 23

by Ryan Desaulniers

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

A good villain pulls a particular thread of a hero’s core fabric; a great villain can challenge a hero on multiple levels — as Wilson Fisk so often has for Matt Murdock over the years. The Kingpin’s inclusion in the current DD arc, “Supreme,” struck me as a solid idea when it was dangled as last issue’s final reveal, but this issue shows that this great villain brings with him a multi-pronged approach to opposing Murdock which helps to progress this story on many levels. Continue reading

Action is Let Down by Low Stakes in Star Wars: Poe Dameron 16

by Michael DeLaney

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

The Phantom Menace probably had more lightsaber action than any of the original Star Wars entries, but it was all predicated on the titillating minutia of trade disputes. Unfortunately,Star Wars: Poe Dameron 16 has more in common with The Phantom Menace than it does with other successful Charles Soule Star Wars outings. Instead of trade disputes, the impetus behind the latest arc of Poe Dameron is…a fuel shipment. Continue reading

Matt Looks to the Law to End Crime in Daredevil 22

by Spencer Irwin

Daredevil 22

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

As much as I admire superheroes and the aspirational messages they’re designed to send, it is occasionally troubling that they solve 95% of their problems with violence. There are other ways, often better ways, to help people, and that’s something Matt Murdock has always understood. It only makes sense, then, that the big plan to “end crime” in NYC writer Charles Soule (a lawyer himself) has been teasing for the past few issues has nothing to do with super-powered spectacle, and everything to do with setting a legal precedent.  Continue reading

A Post-Order 66 Universe is Fleshed Out in Star Wars: Darth Vader 2

by Mark Mitchell

Darth Vader 2

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

I’m not quite sure what to make of this new Darth Vader series yet, especially after an issue like Star Wars: Darth Vader 2, which indicates very little interest in the titular character himself. Like the first issue and its reveal of some previously un-seen optical lens settings in Vader’s helmet, it’s the details around the main Vader story that make reading worthwhile — albeit heavily dependent on your interest in the minutia of the Star Wars universe. Continue reading

Star Wars: Darth Vader 1: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Patrick Ehlers

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

Michael: The transition from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader in the Star Wars prequels was anything but seamless. By the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin sure looks and sounds like Darth Vader but it’s clear that he’s still the irrational Hayden Christensen manchild underneath that black armor. With their new Darth Vader series, Charles Soule and Guiseppe Camuncoli hope to give us a more satisfying bridge between Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader than the prequels. Continue reading