Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 6/7/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Cannibal 6, Extremity 4, Injection 13, and Outcast 28. Also, we discussed Faith 12 on Thursday and will be discussing Star Wars: Darth Vader 1 and Paper Girls 15 on Tuesday, so check back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 4/19/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Star Wars Poe Dameron 13, Black 5, Curse Words 4, Descender 21, and Injection 12. Also, we’re discussing World Reader 1 and Archie 19 on Tuesday and Sex Criminals 18 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

Injection 11

Alternating Currents: Injection 11, Ryan D. and Drew

Today, Ryan D. and Drew are discussing Injection 11, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: Returning after the Viv-centric Van Der Zee mystery arc, the inciting incident in Injection 11 — the discovery of a ring of stones in Cornwall featuring a flensed corpse at the center — is one of the seven unusual world events which Viv learned of at the end of issue ten, all of which sport the Injection’s dirty, complicated fingerprints. The last arc culminated with a large, almost full-cast denouement, and writer Warren Ellis focuses the start of this tale with the spotlight on the Irish lass and tech genius Brigid Roth. While I miss the rest of the team already — we’ve only seen Maria Kilbride via video chat and heard passing reference to Cunning Man/Breaker of Britain, Robert Morel — I think that the isolation of this chapter might play as a valuable counterpoint to the last’s ensemble sleuthiness. Continue reading

Batman Annual 1

Alternating Currents: Batman Annual 1, Drew and Michael

Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Batman Annual 1, originally released November 30th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: A few years ago, fellow Retcon Puncher Patrick Ehlers suggested that deconstruction had become so commonplace in Batman stories that they had come to become inseparable from the character. That is, deconstructing the character had become as essential to the telling of Batman stories as Batmobiles and gimmicky villains have become essential to the stories themselves. It’s a compelling argument — especially when you consider the fact that modern interpretations of the character are all informed by Frank Miller’s famous deconstructions of the character — but I maintain that it’s largely incidental to his existence. To me, the key fact is that Batman has been around (and beloved) for 75+ years, so of course creators that grew up with the character are going to relish playing with that history. I can expound on why I think that negates Patrick’s point in the comments, but for now, it’s enough to say that I think the deconstructions have more to do with nostalgia than anything intrinsic to the character. Nostalgia is certainly a central theme in Batman Annual 1, an anthology issue that brings together some of Batman’s most famous stewards, past and present, for a walk down memory lane. Continue reading

All-Star Batman 4

all-star-batman-4

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing All-Star Batman 4, originally released November 9th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: One of the tenets of Batman story is perception: the difference of worldview between Batman, his allies, and his villains. There’s the more popular battling ideologies of vigilantism vs traditional legitimate law enforcement or Joker’s anarchy vs Batman’s order, but All-Star Batman’s battle of ideologies is based on the age-old question of “is man inherently good or inherently evil?” Continue reading

Injection 7

Alternating Currents: Injection 7, Ryan and Drew

Today, Ryan D. and Drew are discussing Injection 7, originally released February 10th, 2016.

Ryan D: The iconic novel Moby-Dick is peculiar in two specific ways. Firstly, for such an important example of turn-of-the-century literature which spawned many films based off of it and sits as a part of our literary lexicon, a surprising amount of people have not read it, which I attribute to its length (927 pages in the first edition, 635 in the US release) and the abundance of dry non-narrative chapters dedicated to things like an exhaustive cataloging of ships. Secondly, and more relevant to this review, is the idea that though the presence of the eponymous white whale is felt constantly, it does not actually appear until the last three chapters. I would hazard that the influence of this affects much of our modern media, happily adopted by horror films, especially; we never get a full view of the shark in Jaws until the climax, and the same can be said about the organism from Alien. This same feeling of looming danger and presence pervades Injection 7, and this feeling of tension makes this arc wonderful to read. Continue reading

Injection 5

Alternating Currents: Injection 5, Ryan and Drew

Today, Ryan D. and Drew are discussing Injection 5, originally released September 9th, 2015.

Ryan: Who is the main character in this comic? At first glance, I fancied Maria Kilbride to be our lead. Her character arc seems to be one of the most vivid; every issues’ flashback scenes show her as the bright-eyed genius responsible for tying together the Cultural Cross-Contamination Unit, full of piss and vision. Seeing how cheerful she was in this issue when Brigid suggested they all get matching tattoos stands in stark contrast to the gaunt, hollowed lone-wolf who tackles a Cornish spriggan infestation head-on. Though her foe here be mystical, Kilbride is haunted more closely by the Injection, which finally reveals itself plainly. The fingerprints of the Injection are stamped on every curious happenstance which has taken place over the past five issues, making a compelling case to call this creation the main character. Its character journey has taken place predominately off-page, with the bulk of its exposition in the dialogue of its “parents”, the remnants of the CCCU. It now rears its invisible head to Maria, and in doing so shows that it is responsible for the previously anonymous, seemingly omnipotent yellow narrative text littering each issue. Continue reading

Injection 2

Alternating Currents: Injection 2, Ryan and Drew

Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Injection 2, originally released June 10th, 2015.

Ryan: The sophomore issue of proves the series of Injection to be one of shifts and contrasts. Before, we saw sweeping establishing panoramas, and now we see tight, personal framing. The locales change from an everyman’s pub to austere Manhattan penthouse and a Parisian embassy. Mysticism drenched number one; technology informs number two. The focus shifts from character and settings to a burst of intense action. This action shows that there is a surprising amount of moving parts to follow. Luckily for us, Warren Ellis and Declan Shavley imbue each of these wheels within wheels with interesting distinctiveness, and make all of these choices very intentionally. Continue reading

Injection 1

Alternating Currents: Injection 1, Drew and Ryan

Today, Drew and Ryan are discussing Injection 1, originally released May 13th, 2015.

Drew: The conventional wisdom on writing is that you must hook your audience from the very first sentence. “Don’t give the reader a chance to put it down,” my old professor used to say. It’s logical advice, but I always chaffed at how prescribed it felt. The complexity of ideas you can convey in a sentence or two is necessarily limited, and it seems silly to deny ourselves access to more complex ideas for fear of a fickle audience. Maybe it’s because my background is in classical music, where the audience is necessarily more captive, but it always seemed a tad alarmist to presume the audience is constantly looking to stop reading. If we allow that hook come later than the first sentence or two, it’s less tied to a single image, idea, or quote — it can become more about characters, atmosphere, even pacing. This is exactly the kind of approach Warren Ellis, Declan Shavley, and Jordie Bellaire take in their new series, drawing us in as much by what they don’t show us as what they do. Continue reading

Best of 2014: Best Artist

Best of 2014: Best ArtistWithout artists, all of your favorite characters, scenes, costumes, and locations would just be words on a page. In short, they’re the ones that make comics comics. That’s a lot of responsibility, yet the best artists manage to juggle all of those tasks and inject some meaningful art and style into the proceedings. Whether its a subtle expression or a jaw-dropping action sequence, our favorite artists add the requisite magic to make their worlds and characters real. These are our top 14 artists of 2014.
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