Failure to World-Build in I Am Groot 2

by Mark Mitchell

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

World building is delicate business. Finding the right balance between teasing the audiences’ imagination and leaving them impatient for answers can trip up even the most skilled artist. My go-to example for successful world building is 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Director George Miller immediately throws the audience into the thick of an alien, hostile world, but it’s never confusing. Miller avoids confusion in two ways: first, he uses classic archetypes when constructing characters — Max Rockatansky is the silent hero, Immortan Joe is a mad king, the War Boys are his soldiers, etc. These archetypes are well-worn in fiction and require no further justification. Second, if something or someone is introduced that directly affects the plot and its utility in the world can’t be intuited by the audience, he explains it. Providing this concrete framework for the necessary elements of the film means many other details, like the infamous Crow Fishers, can go unexplained, teasing the audience and allowing their imaginations to run wild, without causing confusion. Continue reading

Fan, Creator and Hero are United by Expertise in The Unbelievable Gwenpool 17

by Patrick Ehlers

Unbelievable Gwenpool 17

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

What do Batman, his creators and his fans have in common? We’re all experts. Or at least, we all fancy ourselves experts. Comics in particular have always had this interactive component to their fandom; requiring readers to visit specialty stores, travel to cons, keep track of unwieldy pull lists. Just keeping up with Marvel comics requires a nearly insane amount of time and energy tracking character and release, and the comic fan reaches their 10,000 hours of practice with the medium early. Gwen Poole is an expert at comics — but is she an expert fan? Expert creator? Expert hero? Continue reading

I Am Groot 1

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing I Am Groot 1, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: When I first discovered that Baby Groot would feature in Guardians of the Galaxy v.2 I was taken by surprise, since in the comics Groot can regenerate from the kind of injury he suffered in the first film almost instantly. Of course, in the movies, James Gunn is free to make whatever changes he wants to the characters; the comics have since brought in Baby Groot as well, but that requires a bit more explanation. While the “whys” of Groot’s predicament are playing out over in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s fallen on Christopher Hastings, Flaviano, and Marcio Menyz’s I Am Groot 1 to explore the effect Groot’s new form is having on the team, and on Groot himself. Continue reading

Unbelievable Gwenpool 14

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Unbelievable Gwenpool 14, originally released April 12th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: When you read an issue of Deadpool you know what you’re in for. Violence, cursing, and most of all, irreverent humor. Gwenpool falls much in the same line as the character that inspired her creation. Being a character who once read the comics about the other characters she’s interacting with, she can’t but be the living embodiment of meta-humor. This type of humor lends itself to the same kind of irreverence that we’re used to seeing in Deadpool but that doesn’t mean it is by any means easy to create. In Gwenpool 14 these types of laughs are present, but show the first signs that perhaps they are growing a bit stale as well.

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Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 1/18/17

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We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Amazing Spider-Man 23, Cage 4, Captain America: Sam Wilson 18, Clone Conspiracy 4, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat 14, Star-Lord 2, Ultimates 2 3, Unbelievable Gwenpool 10 and Uncanny Inhumans 18. Also, we will be discussing Invincible Iron Man 3 on Monday, Deadpool the Duck 2 on Tuesday, and Black Widow 10 on Wednesdayso come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Vote Loki 1

vote loki 1

Today, Ryan D. and Spencer are discussing Vote Loki 1, originally released June 15th, 2016

Ryan D: This story is as much about Loki as “The Great Gatsby” is about Gatsby; it’s a narrative told through the lens of Nisa Contreras, our Nick Carraway of the story, a former Daily Bugle reporter whose Lower East-Side block was devastated by an Avengers clash with Loki back in the Golden Age. Nisa distrusts the Trickster God implicitly, and her skepticism makes sense in this comic, with her pragmatics being a decidedly grounding force to a fairly outlandish idea. I wish that writer Christopher Hastings gave the audience a bit more characterization from Nisa, who at the moment is defined by her tenacity and care for the corrupt political election system, but I am sure further issues will allow her voice to be refined and heard. Continue reading

The Unbelievable Gwenpool 2

gwenpool 2

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing The Unbelievable Gwenpool 2, originally released May 11th, 2016.

Spencer: When asked what fictional universe I would like to live in (which happens more often than you’d think, thanks to weird Tumblr memes), I never give the DC or Marvel universes as my answer, despite them being my favorite fictional universes. I think the reason why is pretty clear: actually living in one of these universes would be utter hell. These worlds run our favorite heroes through the wringer for the sake of a good story, and the lives of their civilians are even more fraught and chaotic. That’s a point Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru make early — and hilariously — in The Unbelievable Gwenpool 2.

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The dangers of Earth-616 are only compounded for our titular hero, Gwen Poole, who is actually a young woman from our world who has achieved her dream of traveling to her favorite fictional universe. Gwen’s adventures in her Howard the Duck back-ups focused on the joy of this transition, but now that she’s become the star of her own title, the true consequences of her situation have finally hit home. Continue reading

Deadpool Annual 2

Alternating Currents: Deadpool Annual 2, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Deadpool Annual 2, originally released May 21st, 2014

Drew: Humor — and especially jokes — are defined by our expectations. A set-up literally sets up a framework that the punchline carefully subverts. “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” only makes sense if there was ever an expectation that the joke-teller was going to say “banana”. The point is, those expectations are absolutely crucial to the success of a joke, which makes a jokey comic book character like Deadpool a bit of an anomaly. He exists in a world filled with superpowered mutants, aliens, robots, and gods — it’s hard to have a concrete set of expectations when anything is possible, anyway. So, how do you keep Deadpool from disappearing up his own butt? With the Deadpool Annual 2, writer Christopher Hastings chooses to mine the expectations we have for Spider-Man, resulting in a substantive deconstruction of Spidey, but revealing little about Wade himself.

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