Justice and Symbolism in Justice League 1

By Drew Baumgartner

Justice League 1

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

There was no word for justice on my planet. The closest was the symbol on this table. It meant going beyond what was supposed to be possible, the natural laws. Imposing on the universe a higher standard. An ideal.

Martian Manhunter, Justice League 1

Our conceptions of justice hinge on fairness and impartiality — the notion that we are all held to the same standards of behavior (and face the same punishment for flaunting those standards). We understand how that can break down in practice (humans aren’t great at partiality), but we can imagine justice as a kind of platonic ideal we can strive towards. And that may be the best way to think about it, but closer inspection reminds us that, if it’s a platonic ideal, it’s one that varies from society to society and changes over time. We might reflect on the “justice” of the past (or of other cultures) and find it to be decidedly unjust, but that’s not how justice works — it’s not an objective monolith, but a deeply subjective, dynamic concept. That is, justice is a moral construct that only makes sense in light of the values of the society that construct it. Martian Manhunter’s approximation of justice reflects that idea, adding no moral spin to the “ideal” he mentions — in J’onn’s estimation, any ideologically motivated action “beyond what was supposed to be possible” is justice. In short, J’onn’s brief for the Justice League works just as well for the Legion of Doom. Continue reading

Batman 39: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Mark Mitchell

Batman 39

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

Drew: Hey, so what is fidelity? I think we all understand the general concept, but the exact borders of the definition are not entirely well defined. If your significant other dies, for example, very few people would classify moving on to another relationship as “cheating,” so we might fairly define “death” as one of the hard edges of fidelity. But what if they’re just presumed dead — say, on a desert island for years and years? Do we consider Helen Hunt’s marriage in Cast Away to be cheating on Tom Hanks? What if it had been Tom Hanks who forged the new relationship (on the island, somehow) — he knows he’s not dead (and could reasonably assume Helen Hunt isn’t), but do the rules of fidelity extend to seemingly hopeless circumstances of languishing in a remote corner of the world? These are certainly unlikely hypotheticals, but unlikely hypotheticals are what superhero comics are all about, and exactly what Batman 39 needs in order to maybe-kinda-sorta justify Batman and Wonder Woman hooking up. Continue reading

Despair in the Denouement in Wonder Woman 24

by Ryan Mogge

Wonder Woman 24

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

In a classical Greek tragedy, no matter whether they achieve their goals, the protagonists of a story end up worse off than they started. In Wonder Woman 24, everyone is at once successful and miserable. Greg Rucka focus on three women living in pain even after reaching their objectives.

After seeing her mother and being only a step away from Themyscria, Diana is distraught when she returns. Rucka indicates that Diana is not her usual self in the way that she carelessly leaves Cheetah behind. It wouldn’t necessarily be careless if a regular person did it, but Wonder Woman has set standards of empathy and kindness that even she cannot always live up to. When Etta calls her out, it only takes a moment before Diana is ready to take action. Even in her guilt, she is committed to making things right. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 9

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Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Wonder Woman 9, originally released October 26th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

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Mark: I find the romantic entanglements of superheroes to be deeply uninteresting territory. For every Lois Lane—in her best portrayals an ambitious, go-getting reporter for The Daily Planet— there’s a dozen Gwen Stacy-types, a character known primarily for two things: the color of her hair and her untimely death.

After the explosive climax of Wonder Woman 7, Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp take a breather with Wonder Woman 9. Focused more on the private life of Diana Prince, the issue features the most Steve Trevor we’ve seen in the run thus far and, not coincidentally, drags the most when he’s around. Continue reading

Trinity 1

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Today, Michael and Drew are discussing Trinity 1, originally released September 21st, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Michael: This might be considered controversial but I like my superheroes to be friends. Superheroes fighting each other is a time-honored tradition dating back to the golden age, but we have taken that to the extreme in the modern day. The past year has given us Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War on the big screen and Marvel’s Civil War II is still on the shelves at comic shops. When characters have lived side by side with one another for 50+ years however, their personal relationships are far more interesting than their super smash battles. Enter Francis Manapul’s Trinity, whose purpose seems to be reuniting the three greatest heroes that DC has to offer and once again make them the greatest friends that DC has to offer as well. Continue reading

Wonder Woman: Rebirth 1

wonder woman rebirth 1

Today, Mark and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman: Rebirth 1, originally released June 8th, 2016.

Mark: Who is Wonder Woman? What defines her?

Of DC’s key Trinity, Wonder Woman is the character most in need of a Rebirth. The New 52 Batman was able to essentially cruise along same as he ever was (which, of course he did – he’s Batman), and while some of us yearned for New 52 Superman to be more like his pre-Flashpoint counterpart there’s no argument either icon suffered as hard or as long at the hands of ineffectual creative decisions as Wonder Woman. This isn’t dismissing Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run on the book, but Meredith and David Finch’s Wonder Woman was, frankly, awful – almost immediately and so poisoned the water that DC needed to dig a whole new well. Like so many New 52 books, Wonder Woman went out of this world with a sad, wet fart. Continue reading

Superman/Wonder Woman 1

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Today, Mikyzptlk and Taylor are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 1, originally released October 11th, 2013

Mikyzptlk: Superman and Wonder Woman have been an item for a little while now. I was as surprised as anyone to hear the news about their romantic union, and I was a bit worried as well. For whatever reason, the news just didn’t sit right with me, and I felt I needed some convincing as to whether these two characters were right for each other. Although Wondy and Supes have been seen together in a handful of stories since they’ve started shacking up, I still haven’t been convinced as to why these two characters would want to be with one another, besides the fact that they are both super strong and super hot. Superman/Wonder Woman is primed and ready to explore the relationship of these two iconic characters, and while I still may not be convinced that they should be together, the first issue of this series does a good job at making me consider the merits of their entanglement. Continue reading