Border Town 2: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin

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

PatrickBorder Town hinges on an obviously loaded concept: the membrane between the monster world and the human world lies along the border between the US and Mexico. All the xenophobia, all the paranoia, and all the actual danger is exaggerated. But there’s another component of the traditional border dispute narrative that’s cranked up to ten — culture. Writer Eric M. Esquivel and artist Ramon Villalobos take care to bask in the cultural specifics of our heroes, while only hinting at the implied culture of the monstrous villains. It’s a fascinating look at what humanizes people on either side of either border. Continue reading

Being an Ally in Green Arrow 40

by Spencer Irwin

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

Spencer: One of the biggest challenges for many people — but especially for straight, white, cis-gendered males — is realizing that not every story is your story. We don’t always need to be the center of attention, our opinions don’t always need to be voiced, our methods and plans aren’t always right, much less the best ones for everyone else involved. That’s certainly what Oliver Queen was reminded of in last month’s Green Arrow 39 as his attempt to help out the war-torn country of Rhapastan backfired on him. He never should have gotten involved at all, right?

Wrong. Ollie’s conscious is his best feature — his mistake wasn’t getting involved, but charging head-first into a strange land without truly understanding the problem and working with the locals to address the root causes. The people of Rhapastan didn’t need a savior — they needed an ally, and that’s exactly what Ollie becomes in Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, and Marcio Takara’s Green Arrow 40. Continue reading

The Trap of Guilt in Green Arrow 39

by Spencer Irwin

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

Spencer: For the first few decades of his existence, Green Arrow was just Batman with a bow and arrows. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when Oliver Queen lost his fortune and gained a social consciousness, that the character became something unique and important. In today’s divisive times, I appreciate Green Arrow’s status as a “social justice warrior” more than ever, but honestly, the fact that Ollie is often pretty bad at this aspect of his job is probably just as important. That Ollie often needs to be educated allows creators to explain unfamiliar concepts to the audience, but it also means confronting the kind of guilt and privilege that often plagues even the most well-meaning of activists. Continue reading

Memories Leave their Mark in Batgirl 20

By Drew Baumgartner

Batgirl 20

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

Batgirl’s eidetic memory has long been one of her most valuable assets as a crime fighter. Remembering crime scenes in intricate detail or the face of every suspect she encounters makes detective work almost a natural extension of her being. Indeed, her eidetic memory has proven so essential to her detective work, it’s easy to forget that it has dramatic possibilities beyond that. Or, at least, other creative teams have made it easy to forget — not so with Hope Larson’s run, which has found countless inventive ways to use Batgirl’s eidetic memory. With issue 20, Larson finds yet another great use for it, as Batgirl takes a drive down some literal memory lanes. Continue reading

Camp, Parody, and Political Edge in Batgirl 19

By Mark Mitchell

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

Last July, I wrote at length about Batgirl 13’s full-armed embrace of the campy spirit emblematic of the Batman TV show of the 1960’s, and with Batgirl 19 Hope Larson, Chris Wildgoose, and Jose Marzan Jr. continue to lean into that care-free aesthetic. Continue reading

Batman and The Signal 1: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Taylor Anderson 

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

Michael: “Do I fit in?” If you are a human being, then you have likely asked yourself this question at least once in your lifetime. We all want to be a part of something; to be a member of a group, team, or soul-costing cult. And if you’ve been reading Scott Snyder’s Batman run for the past few years, another question has been on your mind: “What the hell is the plan for Duke?” Batman and the Signal 1 finally begins to answer that. Continue reading

Embracing Camp in Batgirl 13

by Mark Mitchell

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

At what point does something become appreciated for its camp value? Tango and Cash is a terrible late-80’s buddy cop comedy starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell that was released to terrible reviews, but watching it now, one can’t help but appreciate just how surgically terrible it is — a concentrated dose of the cliches of the era, heightened to impossible extremes. A flop when it released in 1989, time has transformed it into an endlessly watchable cheesefest. Continue reading

Batgirl 9

Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Batgirl 9, originally released March 22nd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: Of the recent Batgirl iterations, Hope Larson’s take on the character has been the most successful at embracing the many disparate aspects of Barbara Gordon’s life. As a young woman, Barbara is juggling her job, her schoolwork, her volunteer work, her friends, and dating all at once. That her job is vigilante heroism and not Starbucks barista undoubtedly separates her from her peers, but in most other respects she’s dealing with a lot of the same issues anyone who lives a busy life will face. But Batgirl embracing the work-life balance struggles of a young superhero is one thing, and making that dichotomy into a satisfying narrative is another. Continue reading

Batwoman Rebirth 1

batwoman-rebirth-1

Today, Mark and Ryan M. are discussing Batwoman Rebirth 1, originally released February 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: One of the benefits of comic books as a visually-driven medium is that sometimes fantastic art can help make up for an otherwise competent but unremarkable issue. Such is the case with Steve Epting and Jeromy Cox’s work on Batwoman Rebirth 1, whose art uses the opportunity of Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV’s Kate Kane history lesson to deliver page after page of remarkable, poster-worthy splash pages. Continue reading

Batman 6

batman-6

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Batman 6, originally released September 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Comic book fans are extremely protective over their favorite superheroes, a fact that has probably been exacerbated by the internet. We debate on Batman’s actions as if he were a living, breathing person because he’s important to us. It’s the same way of asking the question “What’s the best Batman story of all time?” Art is subjective and comic books are no different. We may agree on many of the same things, but my Batman is different from your Batman. It’s why stories continue to roll out 75+ years after his creation. Continue reading