Justice League 23.3: Dial E

Alternating Currents: Justice League 23.3: Dial E, Taylor and Drew

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Justice League 23.3: Dial E, originally released September 18th, 2013. This issue is part of DC’s Villain Month. Click here for our coverage of Villain Month.

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TaylorThe encore of a show is always a little awkward. With most shows you attend nowadays an encore is almost expected. Gone are the days of the earned encore, where and artist actually had to earn the audience’s appreciation and rewarded them with a few extra bits of music.  This has been replaced with instances where artists look a trifle bored with an encore, seemingly wishing that they could just retire to their bus or greenroom. The situation has become so problematic that some artists have gone so far as to state they won’t be doing an encore no matter how much the audience claps or yells. It’s hard to determine precisely what brought us to this point, but the fact remains that the encore has become not the exception, but the expected. Given this state of affairs, I was curious to see how the issue 23.3 of the The Justice League: Dial E (part of the Villains month event) would be treated by writer China Mieville. Would this be an artist merely pandering to the crowd or an artist excited by the chance to once again share his art with his fans? Continue reading

Swamp Thing 23

swamp thing 23

Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Swamp Thing 23, originally released August 7th, 2013.

Patrick: Alcohol is weird. It’s dulls our senses, it shortens our lives, it gets us into trouble – and yet we engage with it time and time (and time) again. Why? Because it’s fun. Because when we dial back our inhibitions a little bit, we find the casual courage to do something we’ve always wanted to do. All of that freedom is great, until you cross that line. YOU KNOW THE ONE I MEAN. The moment in the evening where you don’t make decisions with your complete mental faculty. I’ve always had people tell me that drinking brings out who someone really is, but that’s faulty. If anything, booze dulls the prowess of the super-ego, allowing the baser urges of ego and id to take priority. But the id isn’t a person’s “true self” – the psyche isn’t a list of three psychic apparatuses, but the relationship between the three. What you are can more accurately be defined by how you deny the more destructive urges deep in your Freudian well. That’s the kind of thematic material Charles Soule mines in his story about a magician, a plant-man and a booze-tree. Continue reading

A + X 9

a+x 9

Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing A + X 9, originally released June 19th, 2013.

Shelby: I grew up watching TGIF on ABC every Friday night. Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, Boy Meets World, the Peterson household was all over it. So too I am quite familiar with the family sitcom format that delivers a bite-sized portion of morals every episode. I gobbled that up as a kid, but now the 20-minutes-from-conflict-to-lesson-learned setup generally isn’t enough for me. I want more complexity in my story-telling. That lighter fare can still certainly be fun, but lay on the morals to thick, and it becomes a lesson you’re trying to force down my throat instead of fun and mindless entertainment. A+X usually falls on the “fun and mindless” end of the spectrum, but this issues seems to be trying to teach me a lesson, and it’s bogging things down.

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Dial H 7

dial h 7

Today, Taylor and Mikyzptlk are discussing Dial H 7, originally released December 5th, 2012.

Taylor: Imagination enjoys an awkward place in our modern day society. While most people and institutions are quick to praise the use of imagination it is far more rare to find those who actually appreciate it. Seldom are we, as an audience, treated to something that is truly unique – whether it be in a movie, music, a book, or any other medium. While the complexities of this relationship with creativity are of too much detail to go into here, it will be said that a fair amount of imaginative endeavors are rebuffed due to the general population’s resistance to anything that diverges too far from their expectations. Many inventive music artists aren’t signed to major labels because their music isn’t traditional pop; many writers have to rewrite parts of their book so they will appeal to a larger base audience; and many TV shows craft generic characters and plots so that they will be liked by many, but perhaps loved by few. However, the comic book industry has always managed to buck this trend in many ways since its very inception, which itself was a departure from accepted norms. Whether this is due to the type of reader the comic book attracts or the type of artist it employs for its creation, I can’t say, but it seems like comic books have always been more willing to take imaginative chances than their counterparts in other media. Dial H is a perfect example of this daring and the seventh issue of this title is an excellent example of its imaginative prowess.

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