The Hunter Becomes The Hunted In Star Wars: Darth Vader 11

by Mark Mitchell

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

In the modern Star Wars era, Darth Vader is like the Freddy Krueger of the greater universe — ostensibly a villain, but really the one everyone is rooting for. Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s Darth Vader 11 leans into Vader’s anti-hero persona by reversing the usual Vader story and turning him into the prey.

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An Unwelcoming Welcome in Curse Words 11

By Patrick Ehlers

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

Curse Words 11 ends with a welcome letter from writer Charles Soule. Is the end of the issue maybe kind of a weird place to welcome his readers? Well, that’s the trick — it’s not particularly welcoming, and neither is the rest of the issue. You’ve got a weird issue of a weird series in your hands, and if the rapid expansion of cast and the mythology is making your head spin, then you’re feeling exactly what Soule and artist Ryan Browne want to you feel. This is Curse Words in all of its cold, unwelcoming glory: which of course means that it’s impossibly fun. Continue reading

Star Wars: Poe Dameron 24: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Patrick Ehlers 

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

Taylor: Star Wars fans of a certain age remember a time when new Star Wars movies weren’t something to be expected like the changing of the seasons. For these fans, the original trilogy was sacred canon, spawning innumerable subtexts which, because there were no movies to look forward to, were anticipated greatly. In particular, the X-Wing series stands out as being a fun permutation of the early Star Wars novels because it supplied fans with the flair of space battles and the familiarity of well-loved, if obscure, characters like Wedge Antilles. More than anything, though, these novels were fun because they were a journey into the unknown where anything could happen. That’s not the case with Poe Dameron, since we all know how the comic ends. The limitations this places on the series is apparent, and no more so than in issue 24. Continue reading

Kingpin’s Trumpocracy in Daredevil 598

by Michael DeLaney

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

Nick Spencer had his take on Trump’s America in Secret Empire and now Charles Soule holds the mirror up to our current national nightmare in Daredevil 598. Wilson Fisk is the mayor of New York City and like Trump, he’s planning on making America great again…for the bad guys. Continue reading

Villains Done In By Their Own Mistakes in Star Wars: Poe Dameron 23

by Michael DeLaney 

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

In the battle of good vs. evil, two things are usually true about the bad guys: they are stupid and they are crazy. In Star Wars: Poe Dameron 23, writer Charles Soule gives us some examples of both of these in the First Order agents Malarus and Terex.  Continue reading

Fisk Keeps His Enemies Closer in Daredevil 597

by Drew Baumgartner

Daredevil 597

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

What rock did these morally pure creatures crawl out from under and, more important, how do you go from innocent millipede to White House staffer without becoming soiled or disillusioned by the dirty realities of politics along the way?

Heather Havrilesky, “Will The West Wing go south?”

There are a lot of things to nitpick about The West Wing, between its heavy-handed Sorkin-isms and its penchant for too-saccharine resolutions, but the one criticism that I can’t stand is that it isn’t realistic enough. Of course it isn’t — it’s fiction. No, these aren’t how actual White House staffers would talk about issues, because how they actually talk would be totally impenetrable to the audience the show is actually made for. Tone-deaf critics would dismiss this as dumbing-down, but the alternative is a highly accurate but totally unwatchable bore. Policy wonks may lament that there’s no television truly tailored to their niche interests, but the rest of us want something, you know, entertaining. Moreover, we understand that in order to generate drama, characters in fiction may need to speak and act in ways that real people wouldn’t (hint: real people don’t only sit on one half of a dining room table or speak in iambic pentameter). Which means the hero sometimes has to be naive in their hopes and dreams — if they know they’re going to crash on the rocks, they might just call the whole adventure off, which doesn’t leave us with much of a story. Such is the case with Matt’s attempt to keep a watchful eye on Fisk. Continue reading

Star Wars: Darth Vader 10: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

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

Spencer: If knowledge is power, than so is wisdom. Both are talked up as some of the greatest traits of the Jedi Order, but so often we think of Jedis as warriors first and foremost, their victories physical ones rather than mental. It’s a mindset Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli are clearly looking to challenge in Star Wars: Darth Vader 10. Jocasta Nu, Jedi librarian, isn’t much of a warrior (at least in comparison to Darth Vader), but she achieves a vital victory over Vader anyway, simply by using her wits and knowledge. Most importantly, she has the wisdom to recognize that achieving such a victory will require sacrifice, and the will to go through with it nonetheless. Continue reading

Resurrection Breeds Suspicion in Astonishing X-Men 7

by Taylor Anderson

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

Charles Xavier has been dead for some time now and while that’s not new ground for a comic book character, it is notable just how long he’s been departed. It was way back in the quaint year of 2012 when Charles was killed by a Phoenix-possessed Scott Summers. Since then, his spirit has been wandering around various spirit realms. Now, however, Charles is back in the world of the living, having possessed the body of Fantomex. While the rebirth of Charles Xavier sounds like a good thing, it’s also important to remember that rarely does someone coming back from the dead a work out for the best. Continue reading

Curse Words Holiday Special 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin

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

“No hugging, no learning.”

-Larry David

Patrick: It’s maybe not fair to say that Seinfeld was a show about nothing. The show was about cynicism, it was about flawed people trapped in their familiar patterns, it was about manners and modern etiquette. But it was mostly a vehicle for observational jokes about the weird ways human beings behave. So while there are virtually no sincere lessons learned in the whole series, the show illustrates an awful lot about human nature. The only way it ever drills down into that fundamental human truth is by straying aggressively true to itself — no hugging, no learning. The same is true of Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s Curse Words, which gets to the heart of a nearly impenetrable relationship by being just as gross, just as crazy, and just as heartless as it possibly can be in Curse Words Holiday Special 1. Continue reading

A Thrilling Heist Propels Star Wars: Poe Dameron 22

by Mark Mitchell

Star Wars Poe Dameron 22

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

I’m a sucker for a good heist story, and one of the fundamental elements that separates good heist tales from bad is clearly defining the roles of each team member. Knowing exactly what part every person plays orients the audience, and communicates the stakes of each individual moment. In a heist film, the heist is usually painstakingly laid out early in the movie, with the point man taking the players, and the audience, through every piece of the plan. But comic books don’t have the luxury of time afforded a two hour movie, and so it’s doubly impressive that Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta’s Poe Dameron 22 manages to create such a thrilling heist, with clear roles and interesting stakes, in the limited confines of a single comic book issue. Continue reading