Compassion vs. Selfishness in Green Arrow Annual 1

by Spencer Irwin

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

Spencer: Early in Green Arrow Annual 1, Oliver says that “on Christmas everything turns out exactly as it should.” It’s a nice sentiment, but that’s exactly what it is — sentiment. The world doesn’t magically change just because it’s a holiday, and holidays can, in fact, be very depressing times for many people. If Christmas is a special time, it’s because people make it that way, and the desire to do so is the clear line that divides Green Arrow and Count Vertigo. Continue reading

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Captain Marvel 11

captain marvel 11

Today, Drew and Suzanne are discussing Captain Marvel 11, originally released January 14th, 2015.

Drew: It’s no secret that I don’t have a lot of patience for tropes. Predictable situations, reactions, or patterns are crutches for serialized storytellers, which is only made more apparent by those writers who manage to avoid them. Still, I do understand that certain tropes can be comforting — and perhaps even important to the identity of the work of art in question. I’m willing to forgive The Twilight Zone having the most obvious twist endings, because that’s kind of the point. That willingness to forgive certain tropes varies from person to person, as can be seen in the varied reactions to Christmas movies, albums, and episodes. Are they cheap cash-grabs? Charming acknowledgements of the season? Unfortunate acquiescences to the Christo-normativity of America? Christmas stories aren’t my favorite (I swear, if I see another reimagining of A Christmas Carol, I’m going to lose it), but I’ve seen enough pulled off well that I’m willing to at least have an open mind. Unless, of course, I’m consuming that story three weeks after Christmas, in which case, my patience for Christmas tropes dwindles right back down to zero. Continue reading

Detective Comics 37

Alternating Currents: Detective Comics 37, Mark and DrewToday, Mark and Drew are discussing Detective Comics 37, originally released December 3rd, 2014.
Mark: Of all the Batman movies, Batman Returns remains my favorite. It’s probably the darkest Batman film yet made (I mean, it opens with parents throwing their baby in the sewer. Opens!), but it also has a sense of humor and style that the oppressively serious Christopher Nolan adaptations lack. One of the things that makes the movie pop is the decision to set the action at Christmastime. Even all lit up for the holidays there’s no place as terrible as Gotham City, and that contrast adds a dark mirth to the proceedings. With the holiday season once again upon us, it’s the perfect time to revisit Gotham at Christmas. After a two month airport diversion, creative team Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul are back and Detective Comics 37 jumps us right into the thick of Gotham on Christmas Eve. Guess what? Things are not great. Continue reading

Batman: The Dark Knight 26

dark knight 26

Today, Shelby and Greg are discussing Batman: The Dark Knight 26, originally released December 31st, 2013.

Shelby: Whenever I think of a “silent episode” of something, my first thought is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Hush from season 4. The Gentlemen come to Sunnydale and steal everyone’s voices, then proceed to cut people’s hearts out and no one can scream. It’s delightfully scary. Anyway, even as a dumbass high schooler, I was really impressed by that episode, and not just because it scared the bejesus out of me. I was impressed  by how much the actors could convey without dialogue, by how much tension could be built in the silence. Silent comics can do the same, can show the same range and build the same tension, and that’s what Greg Hurwitz and Alberto Ponticelli give us in this issue appropriately titled, “Voiceless.”
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Hawkeye 7

hawkeye 7a

Today, Patrick and Courtney are discussing Hawkeye 7, originally released January 30th, 2012.

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Patrick: Last time we were hanging out in fuzzy pants as discussing Hawkeye, we were reflecting on the Christmas issue (complete with Clint in a Santa hat). This month, we’ve got in our hands another Very Special Issue of Hawkeye, one that should feel a little less celebratory. Yes, it’s the end of October 2012 on the eastern seaboard, and the subject of our latest Hawkeye adventure is Super Storm Sandy. Never one to rest on a gimmick, Matt Fraction builds two tales for two Hawkeyes, one fun and the other touching, while staying emotionally and factually true to the event that inspired him. Clint and Katie are always easy to identify with, and their reactions to the storm echo our own in a dazzling display of artistic empathy.

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Hawkeye 6

hawkeye 6

Today, Courtney and Shelby are discussing Hawkeye 6, originally released December 19th, 2012.

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Courtney: Do you remember the moment you realized that Kill Bill: Volume 2 had only one fight scene? I think I watched it at least three times before I realized that it was about 80% less violent than its famously gory predecessor, because somehow the two films were so beautifully of a set. In some way like that, Hawkeye 6 features almost no action at all, yet it is decidedly cut from the same cloth as every issue in which Clint crashes out of a tenth-story window. The difference, though, is that in this case, the order is flipped.  It is the mundane, domestic story of Clint trying to learn how to take a few days off and enjoy the holidays which more nakedly exposes the question that all of the smash-smash-punch episodes have been driving at, ie, “What if this super-hero really were just a pretty cool person?” Continue reading