You know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean you can’t judge the cover on its own merit. This year found us marveling at covers that weren’t just carefully designed and lushly colored, but that actually did a great deal of storytelling, cramming all of the drama, excitement and emotion of the whole issue into one succinct image. Some did it literally, some did it metaphorically, but all moved us in some way beyond simply broadcasting which of our favorite characters would appear in the issue. These are our top 10 covers of 2017.Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing All-New Wolverine 3, originally released December 30th, 2015.
Michael: Tom Taylor and Laura Kinney’s first Wolverine adventures continue in All-New Wolverine 3. The story begins with the Wolverine/Taskmaster fight promised at the end of last issue. After Wolverine bests Taskmaster with a surprise foot SNIKT, she regroups with her clone sisters who survived Taskmaster’s attack via body armor. Moving from one action piece to another, the sisters cruise around New York and get into a tank battle with the soldier boys from Alchemax. Laura discovers that her clone sisters Gabby, Zelda and Bellona are prematurely dying and trying to take Alchemax with them on their way out. Laura doesn’t want to accept this however and offers to help the sisters by visiting the Sanctum Sanctorum and enlisting Doctor Stephen Strange. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Captain Marvel 12, originally released February 11th, 2015.
Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!
Super Mario Bros.
Drew: Ah, the MacGuffin hunt; is there a more straightforward objective in all of fiction? Sure, that may also make it one of the most common objectives in all of fiction, but that hasn’t stopped it from generating some truly great stories. It’s just a clean, simple way to motivate characters to action. “We need the thing for reasons” is the general gist, but there’s actually a cleaner, simpler motivation if the MacGuffin was stolen from the hero. Now the “reasons” don’t need to be mired in mythology about the significance of the “thing” — getting back what is rightly theirs is more than enough justification for action. This is exactly the scenario Carol finds herself in in Captain Marvel 12, jettisoning any need for exposition in favor of high-flying space action. Continue reading →
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 →
Today, Suzanne and Spencer are discussing Captain Marvel 4, originally released June 11, 2014.
Suzanne: Have you ever turned on Fox News or MSNBC and listened to the political pundits’ commentary? You’d hear them prescribe the cure for deep-seated political issues like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a five-minute sound bite. But can they really appreciate the complexity of these conflicts from an outside perspective? That’s not even considering the emotion, levels of tragedy and loss the people involved experience. In the last issue of Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers walked into an entrenched political situation wrapped into a public health crisis. The people of Torfa live on a poison planet; people are getting sick and dying and will continue to do so unless they leave. Yet Carol manages to check her assumptions (thanks to Madame Eleanides) and learn from the people of Torfa. And by learning I mean going to other planets and stealing from intergalactic pirates. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Captain Marvel 3, originally released May 14th, 2014.
Yes, but what does it mean?
Drew: We tend to talk a lot about the meaning of a given comic around here, but we’re rarely explicit in what we think “meaning” means. Or, more specifically, whose meaning we think we’re describing. Many folks are interested in authorial intent — who, after all would be better to speak to the meaning of a work of art than its creator? — but I’m personally more interested in the idea that meaning is created by the audience upon consuming a work of art. There may be objective truths about an art, but there are only subjective reactions. Of course, that doesn’t make me immune to the allure of monolithic readings of certain artworks — Virginia Woolf’s work is somehow inherently feminist, or Ernest Hemmingway’s work is somehow inherently macho. We like these readings both because they’re logical (they certainly reflect the character of the author), but more importantly, because they yield meaningful insights. But what about readings that buck those stereotypes? What about interpretations that strain against those meta-narrative to reveal something more meaningful? I suppose notions of “more meaningful” illustrate my point about subjectivity, but I firmly believe that Captain Marvel 3 gains a great deal by being very unlike what we’ve come to expect of this series.
Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Captain Marvel 2, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Shelby: Mistaken identities and their resulting confusion have got to be one of the more commonly used plot devices out there. I think just about every play I did in high school drama involved people being mistaken for someone else and a lot of hiding in closets/multiple door antics. It’s commonly used because it’s one small moment that can quickly telescope into an entire story; each person’s unexpected reaction based on the mistake triggers another unexpected reaction, and so on and so forth. It’s so easy when we’re outside observers to see that if everyone would just calm down and think for a second, everything would make sense. As Carol Danvers is about to learn, however, sometimes mistakes happen so fast, you don’t even have a second to spare to think about it. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and guest writer Suzanne are discussing Captain Marvel 1, originally released March 12th, 2013.
All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.
Drew: The notion that art reveals something about the artist is a popular one, and I think is at least part of the reason artists are such alluring figures in our society — who wouldn’t want to be closer to the mind that whose autobiography is the sistine chapel or the brandenburg concerti? What a work of art says about its creator is a fascinating line of inquiry, but I’ve personally always been more interested in what a work of art says about its audience. It’s this other autobiography that is often ignored when discussing (and dare I say creating) a work of art, but I personally think it’s much more important its success. Could I relate to this work? Could I empathize with its characters? Could I understand their sorrows and joys? As a woman holding her own in a male-dominated field, it’s easy to see Kelly Sue DeConnick’s autobiography in Captain Marvel 1, but as ever, this series is really about the fans. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Drew are discussing A + X 4, originally released January 23th, 2013.
Scott:A + X makes me feel like a kid again, playing with my action figures after school. I would create worlds where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Wars heroes could coexist, Han Solo and Donatello teaming up to defeat… well, something, I’m sure. It was never really the end result that interested me, but rather the excitement of combining these two things that I loved individually. What it created was an especially fleeting sort of fun, where the initial idea was the best part and it grew harder to sustain the longer it went on. I feel the same way about A +X, which is why splitting the issue into two stories is such a good idea — the novelty wears off much less over just ten pages. A + X 4 pairs Avengers and X-Men characters who compliment each other in interesting ways: first, two who have a lot in common, then two who could hardly be more different.