Failure Defeated by Pure Action in Daredevil 601

By Patrick Ehlers

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

Daredevil is a punching bag. I know all superheroes suffer — conflict is the engine of story, and masked dudes with superpowers have to really be put through the ringer for a desensitized audience to feel anything. But Matt Murdock is a special case: his default state seems to be “just got beat up.” I mean, look at the cover to this issue. No one’s going to ask “oh no, is Matt gonna be okay?” Yeah, sure — he’ll be fine. He always bleeds from the face when he’s working on a plan. So part of what makes Daredevil 601 feel so unsettling is how smoothly everything goes for the Mayor Without Fear. Continue reading

Daredevil 600: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Ryan Desaulniers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Patrick: Where does power come from? I’ve been seriously grappling with this one since Trump was elected to the White House, but this question obviously extends waaaay beyond that fucking monster. Does power ultimately come from money? From social connections? From one’s willingness to sacrifice their friendships? From violence? From non-violence? As the battle between Wilson Fisk and Daredevil reaches a fever pitch, questions of where either of them gets their power are posed right alongside the question of where Daredevil 600 gets its power. This is a six-hundredth issue, after all — so what makes this one special? Continue reading

Defenders 1: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Ryan Desaulniers

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

Taylor: When you think of the job comic book writers are tasked with, it’s damn near impossible to not stand in awe at what they accomplish. When writing for monthlies, authors not only have to come up with an engaging story, but something that stands out as unique. This is no easy task. Monthly comics have been around for the better part of a century, and many of the heroes who have titles today have participated in literally hundreds of story arcs. With that in mind, it’s impressive to consider the career of a writer as prolific as Brian Michael Bendis. Arguably the most recognizable name in comic book writing today, Bendis has written countless stories in his career, so at some point it becomes reasonable to question if he’ll ever cease to come up with new, entertaining stories. While it would be hyperbole to say Defenders 1 signals the beginning of the end for Bendis’s creativity, it’s hard to argue the lack of originality and inspiration in this first issue. Continue reading

Iron Fist 1

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Iron Fist 1, originally released March 22, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

“Chose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

Confucius

Patrick: I’ve always been fascinated by this idea that one can recognize their own state of perfect happiness and fulfillment when they encounter it. How can you follow this ancient wisdom, and chose a job you love, if you can’t identify “a job you love”? After all, we engage in all kinds of activities in our day-to-day lives that may bring fleeting happinesses or that may dull the pain of the mundane world, but that’s a far cry from something we love. Iron Fist 1 opens on a Danny Rand who is very much mistaking one for the other, trying to find oneness in fights with petty criminals. That should fit the bill, right? Nah — Danny doesn’t love fighting, he loves the fight. Continue reading

Power Man and Iron Fist Annual 1

Alternating Currents: Power Man and Iron Fist Sweet Christmas Annual 1, Taylor and Drew

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Power Man and Iron Fist Sweet Christmas Annual 1, originally released December 21st, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: At some point during the Christmas holiday I looked up from my cell phone and realized a number of my family (including myself) weren’t talking to each other. Instead, we were hypnotized by the small, glowing screen in each of our hands. Something about this felt wrong and I felt a stab of guilt in realizing that this wasn’t the best way to spend time with my family. Resolved to do better, I put my phone in my pocket and got ready to make some conversation because at the end of the day, isn’t that what the holidays are really about? Connecting with people? Most would say yes and can count on the first annual issue of Power Man and Iron Fist to back up their opinion.

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Deadpool 13

deadpool 13

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Deadpool 13, originally released June 1, 2016 

slim-banner

Patrick: Hey, do you think we’re too comfortable with Deadpool? We know he’s a bastard that plays fast and loose with the value of human life, but there’s a jeu de vivre to the character that makes him immanently lovable. But what do readers and fans stand to gain from looking past Wade’s uglier qualities? He’s supposed to be chaotic, he’s supposed to be subversive — those are the Deadpool qualities that we celebrate. But readers sorta need to employ their own fan-canon in order to reconcile that chaos, with the often-adorable, infinitely accepting, ultimately heroic Deadpool we have in our minds. It’s that second version of Deadpool that writer Gerry Duggan has tapped for the better part of the last three years to build up Deadpool’s cast of friends, employees and even family. Recent issues have seen those relationships strained, or even destroyed, leaving Wade Wilson to be reflected upon and defined by people outside his inner circle in issue 13. Cleverly, issue 13 is also kind of an issue of Daredevil and kind of an issue of Power Man & Iron Fist, meaning the opinions we’re getting aren’t just from characters outside of Deadpool, but creators outside of Deadpool. The consensus? Wade Wilson kinda sucks.

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Power Man and Iron Fist 4

power man iron fist 4

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Power Man and Iron Fist 4, originally released May 18th, 2016.

Spencer: The beating heart at the center of David Walker, Sanford Greene, and Lee Loughridge’s Power Man and Iron Fist is the friendship between its titular heroes. It should’ve been obvious, then, that the primary theme of this series would be “the power of friendship,” but that’s actually an idea that didn’t come fully into focus until this month’s issue four, the finale of the series’ first storyline. Even more interestingly, the true strength of friendship (and its advantages over other kinds of power) isn’t driven home by Luke and Danny, but by the villains, Jennie Royce and Black Mariah. In fact, it’s their friendship that makes Danny and especially Luke reprioritize their own friendship. Continue reading

Deadpool 14

deadpool 14

Today, Scott and Ethan are discussing Deadpool 14, originally released August 14th, 2013.

Scott: Nothing is more satisfying to me than making a good joke. As an aspiring writer/comedian, sometimes it’s impossible for me to get out of “joke mode”. Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you, it gets annoying. For every good laugh I provide, there are many groaners and bad puns to endure. For me, it’s worth it, as long as I get some good hearty chuckles. I’m thinking Deadpool writers Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan are after something similar. Like me, they seem willing to sacrifice introspection for a witty one-liner, deep thoughts for goofy non sequiturs. They tend to have a lot more hits than misses, so it’s easy to forgive any shortcomings in their writing, but Deadpool 14, more than maybe any other issue, begs the question: is it worth reading a comic that exists solely for the purpose of humor? In an issue where the plot rehashes points that have already been made, the jokes are just about the only things making it feel fresh.

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Deadpool 13

deadpool 13

Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 13, originally released July 17th, 2013.

Ethan: Back in issue #7 of Deadpool, the writers and artists took us on a timewarp with a faux, never-before-printed “inventory special”. The issue was allegedly produced in the late 70s/early 80s giving the team an excuse to indulge in 10 times the saturation of pop culture references in the already saturated title. It was an entertaining  issue in its own right and a nice break after the Zombie Presidents arc. Now that Vetis is taken care of, writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn and artists Scott Koblish and Val Staples are back to their tricks with another trip back to the era of disco. And if you think the bell bottoms and dated catch-phrases were flying thick and fast last time, you might want to sit down and hold onto something before you open #13. The hair is longer, the polyester is louder, and the racism is, if far from accurately depicted, at least touched on.

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