Doom’s Secret Origin in Marvel Two-In-One Annual 1

By Drew Baumgartner

Marvel Two-in-One Annual 1

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

Each is described as being the strongest man in the world and each as battling against “evil and injustice.”

Judge Augustus Hand (writing for the majority)
Detective Comics, Inc. v. Bruns Publications, Inc.

Augustus Hand served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1928 to his death in 1953, and just might be the most quoted judge when it comes to the definition of the superhero, owing to the decision he wrote when the Second Circuit ruled that Wonder Man did indeed constitute copyright infringement on Superman. His decision provided a revealing definition for the genre, insisting not just on superpowers, but a selfless, pro-social mission. Indeed, it’s not until after that decision that you see superheroes whose superpowers and pro-social mission are seen as separate things, with perhaps separate origins. That is, while Superman fought crime because he could, and Batman became a superhero specifically to fight crime, Spider-Man only picked up his pro-social mission after Uncle Ben died, well after he’d been using his powers for decidedly less selfless purposes. In that way, we might understand Marvel Two-In-One Annual 1 as a key part of Victor Von Doom’s superhero origin; it’s the story of how he became a good guy. Continue reading

Despicable Deadpool 300: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner & Patrick Ehlers

Despicable Deadpool 300

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


Drew: Five years into this run, pointing out that Deadpool is a Sad Clown would be lazy analysis — not only has that point been well established, but the series itself has managed to explore it so thoroughly, reducing the character’s emotional journey to a two-word summary couldn’t possibly do it justice. And yet, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to begin this piece than embedding Smokey Robinson’s “Tears of a Clown,” not because of a shallow similarity between the content of these two works, but because of some profound similarities in how they treat that content. The lyrics describe a narrator who puts on a good face in spite of his profound sadness, but the music doesn’t betray that sadness for a second — it sounds like any other Motown hit (though that bouncy bassoon that maybe hints that this song is about a clown). By this point in the story, Wade Wilson has completely dropped that fascade of silliness, but just like the instruments in “Tears of a Clown,” the series itself maintains that clownish exterior. Continue reading

The End of Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 5 Isn’t About Her

By Patrick Ehlers

Deadpool vs Old Man Logan 5

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

The damsel in distress is creaky, well-worn trope. It’s an obvious and immediate call to action, and an easy way to assert both the heroism and the masculinity of our heroes. But, like, it doesn’t really really explain the motivation of our adventurers, does it? Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan presents the recurring issues of two immortal warriors as a kind of “we need to rescue / we need to deal with Maddie” quest. But whatever her deal is, and whatever she really needs, is totally secondary to how Wade and Logan deal with the problems that keep cropping up in their lives. It’s a depressing reminder of how stuck both of these guys are. Continue reading

Those Brutal Claws in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 4

By Patrick Ehlers

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

Omega level mutants — always a problem, right? They have such power, but so little control over it. What’s a government to do? Let the ticking time bomb walk around free? Hook them up with a mutant training academy? Or maybe it’s in the public interest to take ’em out. Education seems like the most humane option, but Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 4 reminds the reader just how fucking deadly two non-Omega level mutants can be when they understand how to use their powers. Continue reading

Best of 2017: Best Covers

Best Covers of 2017

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

The Specificity of Allusions in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 3

by Drew Baumgartner

Deadpool vs Old Man Logan 3

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

Back in high school english class, I was daunted by the idea that every work of literature alludes to earlier, more foundational works. How could I ever understand the meaning of a novel if I haven’t also read the novels it references, and the novels those reference and so on and so on. I’m still fascinated by the notion that every work of art has an ever-branching family tree of influences, but I’m less concerned about missing them — a work lives or dies on its own merits, so if I don’t “get it,” I’m happy to pin that on the work itself. I have a largely similar attitude to comics, where general familiarity with the character and the world might be a safe assumption, but a given issue can’t take for granted that we’ve read any other comic, let alone one from years ago. And yet, comics also has this rich, ever-growing continuity that can (and some might argue should) inform every character’s identity. Such is the case with Deadpool Vs. Old Man Logan 3, which draws upon writer Declan Shalvey’s own personal history with Wade Wilson in one of the most rewarding ways I’ve seen in years. Continue reading

Cliches and Cutlery in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 2

by Michael DeLaney

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

Story models repeat themselves, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For me, Deadpool vs Old Man Logan isn’t trying to be anything new or groundbreaking — but then again every comic book is someone’s first. Deadpool vs Old Man Logan 2 uses the X-Men staple of a military organization hunting “the chosen one” while the two mutant former weapons trade quips and shed blood. Continue reading

Embracing the Strange in Injection 15

by Spencer Irwin

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

The Injection’s original purpose was to add some mystery and magic to a boring, mundane world. One could argue whether that’s a good or bad thing all day, but what can’t be denied is that it worked — the world of Injection is far stranger than it was before our protagonists’ original efforts. It takes a special kind of person to not only appreciate that, but to face it head on, and Brigid’s assistant Emma is certainly one of those people. Continue reading

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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


Michael: A common criticism of a piece of fiction is “nothing really happened.” The meaning of that blanket statement can vary depending on who the critic is and more specifically what they’re expecting. A great example of this is the Season 3 Breaking Bad episode “The Fly.” Critics praised the bottle episode as a brilliant character study while it left many audiences unimpressed with the fact that “nothing really happened.” While I try to appreciate the deeper meaning of a piece of work, I must say that in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1…nothing really happens. Continue reading

Emphasizing Theme in Injection 14

by Drew Baumgartner

Injection 14

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

Sandwiches are important.

Brigid Roth

When do you know something in a given narrative is important? Is it someone in the story saying as much? Is it that that element keeps coming back? Or is it some subtler means of emphasis that can make even the first appearance of an idea feel meaningful? Ultimately, these methods aren’t mutually exclusive, but I do see them as existing on a kind of continuum of obviousness, with someone stating the importance of something as “impossible to miss,” and those subtler methods covering a wide range from “clear” to “ambiguous” (the scale theoretically continues into “unclear” and “impossible to detect,” though those will obviously be difficult to notice from a reader’s perspective). Then again, those elements can be used in ways beyond their perceived meaning. That is, a character could say something was important in order to mislead the audience, or, in the case of Injection 14, to draw our attention to what really matters. Continue reading