Dark Nights: Metal 6: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell 

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

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Spencer: Now that the series has come to an end, I can safely say that I have very mixed feelings about Dark Nights: Metal as a whole. So much of this event has been about embracing gonzo, bonkers, throwback action, but much of that fun is buried under attempts to overexplain every aspect of the (often impossible to follow) plot. The stakes of the event never fully sank in for me, as aside from artist Greg Capullo’s hellish landscapes, most of the nightmarish aspects of the Dark Multiverse were buried away in tie-in issues, while the main series focused on fun, but straightforward action beats. That said, there were a few areas where this series shined, and Dark Nights: Metal 6 exemplifies them all. It’s a strong metaphor for embracing hope and community over nihilism and isolation, a powerful reminder of stories’ ability to inspire, and an ode to the past (and future) of the DC Universe. Continue reading

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Apologies in Batman 40

By Patrick Ehlers

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

Batman: This is new, but I’m trying.
Catwoman: Yes, well, try harder.

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How do we admit our failings? The #MeToo movement is bringing a lot of stories of abuse to light, which means there have also been scores of written apologies. Some don’t use the word “sorry,” some make excuses, some try to deflect with their own surprise admissions. No matter how carefully crafted these statements are, they are all bound to fuck up and fall short. Words do no erase actions. Batman 40 sees creator and creation in similar roles, trying to explain they way they botched handling Wonder Woman. It’s messy, it’s riddled with mistakes, and it’s a genuine expression of how it feels to put your foot in your mouth. Continue reading

Dark Nights: Metal 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Mark Mitchell 

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

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Patrick: Throughout Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman, the creative team valued invention over archeology. The character of Batman has been around for so long that deconstruction of the character is practically in his DNA, and while Snyder and Capullo found ways to riff on Batman’s history, their stories were always new. New threats, new allies, new secret identity. With Metal, the latest DC event, Snyder and Capullo turn inward, to explore, refine, and recontextualize the mythology and iconography that is already part of their multiverse. There’s a premium on re-arranging existing pieces into an entirely new whole. Continue reading

Purpose and Sacrifice in Wonder Woman 26

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Servitude is a crucial part of the soldier’s identity. They don’t just fight for abstract concepts like truth, and justice and the American way, but so the people they serve can experience those abstractions. There’s a virtue in that sacrifice, but it remains a sacrifice. Perhaps more than most superheroes, Wonder Woman is a traditional soldier, trained in both the art and etiquette of war, but her sacrifice has always been a bit ill-defined. She gives up paradise, but only so her fellow Amazons can continue to experience it. Writer Shea Fontana finds a new angle on Wonder Woman’s sacrifice in Wonder Woman 26: Diana’s childhood. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 21

Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Wonder Woman 21, originally released April 26th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: Wonder Woman 21 is a showcase for the whole of Wonder Woman — from her physical strength to her compassion for those in need — that continues Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, and company’s holistic rehabilitation of the character. And after Diana has taken the backseat in the past few even-numbered issues, it feels appropriate to have her front-and-center as the narrative loop begins to close. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 18

Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Wonder Woman 18, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: One of the most compelling features of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman is its willingness to incorporate into real issues facing society, as we come to terms with our systematically poor treatment of women and grapple with how to resolve it. Like a proclamation of intent, the earliest arc in the book, “The Lies,” features Cheetah dealing with the devastation caused by abuse, rape, and victim-blaming. These are issues deeply entrenched in American culture made palatable to general audiences because the villains manifest themselves as mystical beasts and gods. But not all of the methods Rucka and his collaborators use to convey their message (for lack of a better term) are quite so foregrounded. For instance, every position of authority in Wonder Woman so far is held by a woman. This is a story about women, featuring women, that is in no way lacking because its pages aren’t filled with more dudes. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 16

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Today, Taylor and Mark are discussing Wonder Woman 16, originally released February 8th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: When you look at where the genre of superhero comics comes from, it’s unwise to overlook the influence of pulp fiction. Pulp fictions were serialized stories printed on crappy paper that told stories ranging from the bizarre to the terrible. While it’s easy to dismiss these stories and their authors, they had an undeniable influence on generations of writers to come. While the quality of pulp fiction may be suspect, there’s no denying the stories were innovative and daring. And even though the monthlies we read nowadays are printed on better paper, it’s always fun to look back and pay homage to these stories that influenced so much of our modern pop culture, just as is done in Wonder Woman 16. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 12

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Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Wonder Woman 12, originally released December 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: There was a lot of emotions on both sides of the recent U.N. decision to drop Wonder Woman as an honorary ambassador. Detractors believed that the fictional character was “the epitome of a pin-up girl,” while lifelong fans see her as a figure of peace and equality. Regardless of your personal feelings, when you step back and look at the whole thing, it’s just another example of us defining what Wonder Woman – and women in general – are allowed to be. In both “Year One” and “The Lies,” Greg Rucka has been exploring how we have historically defined Wonder Woman, while building towards what she is today. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 7

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Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Wonder Woman 7, originally released September 28th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

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Patrick: When the odd-numbered issues of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman kicked off a story arc called “The Lies,” we all thought we had figured out what the titular lies were. Presumably, these are lies about Wonder Woman’s origins – a kind of meta-reading of the dozen or so conflicting origin stories that have been put forth for Diana of Themyscria. Is she the God of War? A champion of submission? The Justice League secretary? Diana’s voice over in issue #1 supports this read, but as we move throughout the series, it becomes more clear that the lies Rucka is exploring have more to do with the roles women play and less to do with the roles Wonder Woman plays. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 2

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Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman 2, originally released July 13, 2016 

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Michael: Wonder Woman was a unique entry of The New 52 and the same can be said of the Wonder Woman of DC Rebirth. After a “bad breakup” Greg Rucka returns to DC fueled by his passion for everyone’s favorite Amazon. In a lot of ways, Rucka is having his cake and eating it too. Continue reading