Appearance Affects Identity in Runaways 11

By Spencer Irwin

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

Our appearance and how we present ourselves to the world are vital parts of our personal identities, especially as teenagers. The way we look can be used to rebel or conform, to highlight and emphasize our strengths or conceal our flaws and insecurities. Sometimes our appearance perfectly reflects who we want to be, while at other times it just reminds us of everything we hate about ourselves. Our appearance can even have an affect on others, for better or for worse. All of these various facets of appearance and identity play vital, central roles in Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s Runaways 11. Continue reading

Impossible Decisions at Impossible Ages in Runaways 10

By Spencer Irwin

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

Teacher: Daria, what about your goal?
Daria: Uhmmm, I don’t have any.
Teacher: Oh come, Daria! You must have some goal.
Daria: My goal is not to wake up at forty with the bitter realization that I’ve wasted my life in a job I hate, because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens.

Daria, Gifted

Society asks a lot of teenagers, especially when it comes to big decisions. These same children who aren’t allowed to drink, vote, or often even have a say in how they present themselves to the world are expected to commit to a career path, often burying themselves in debt to do it; it’s a daunting decision for anyone, but especially for young people who aren’t quite sure who they really are and what they want out of life yet. None of the young heroes (or “villains”) of Runaways 10 are contemplating college at the moment, but they’re nonetheless faced with similarly difficult, life-altering decisions that they simply just aren’t ready, or even qualified, to make yet. Continue reading

All-New Wolverine 35: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

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

Spencer: I think I may have missed the mark a bit when discussing last month’s installment of All-New Wolverine. I claimed that “Old Woman Laura” was a story about redeeming Bellona and defeating Doctor Doom, the last tyrant left in a world that’s otherwise an utopia, but Tom Taylor and Ramon Rosanas have proven me wrong in All-New Wolverine 35, the series’ finale. Those are a part of this adventure, to be sure, but only a small part. What this story is about — what it’s always been about — is giving Laura Kinney the happy ending she deserves.  Continue reading

How Not to Communicate in Runaways 9

By Spencer Irwin

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

Miscommunication has always been a major threat in superhero comics: after all, one of the most famous tropes of the medium is the idea of pitting heroes against each other simply because they didn’t take the time to talk and explain themselves first. Of course, the Runaways have never really been superheroes, so the miscommunication that plagues their team is a more subdued, realistic one. Don’t let that fool you, though: it’s easily the greatest threat the team faces right now. Continue reading

(Not) Learning from Experience in Runaways 8

By Spencer Irwin

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

“My advice is: stand firm for what you believe in, until and unless logic and experience prove you wrong.”

Daria, Is It College Yet?

One major advantage of growing up and getting older is experience. Being young means screwing up (a lot), but every screw up teaches you something new, hopefully helping you avoid similar mistakes in the future. That’s only if you take those screw-ups to heart, though. That seems to be a problem for the Runaways (and even for the visiting Julie Powers) in Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s Runaways 8 — they’re so busy holding on to what they once were that they can’t see how badly they need to grow. They can’t learn from their own mistakes. Continue reading

With Issue 25 The Unbelievable Gwenpool Never Ends

by Patrick Ehlers

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

A couple months ago, I went to Disney Land for the first time. I’d been to Disney World in Orlando a bunch as a kid, but despite living in Southern California for the last seven years, I’d just not gotten around to visiting the Land. I went with my girlfriend, my best friend from back home and his wife. We had one day, but it was a nostalgia-fueled tornado of a good time. We were there until after the park closed, and in that last half hour or so, we got on more rides and ran around that park more than we had in the previous 5 hours. You do anything to make the most of those last precious minutes. As The Unbelievable Gwenpool comes to a close, Gwen finds herself doing very much the same. Continue reading

Gwen is Armed with Head Canon in The Unbelievable Gwenpool 22

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Gwen Poole reads comic books; she’s a Marvel fan. This means that she’s held all the conflicting ideas that Marvel fans have been wrestling with for decades — including a bizarre mix of love and hate that comes from a feeling of ownership so many fans carry. In issue 21, Gwenpool proved that she had mastered the medium of comics, but was losing her edge in terms of up-to-the-minute Marvel continuity. Issue 22 furthers that journey, doubling down on her medium mastery powers, while emphasizing the failings of her regressive fandom. Continue reading

Gwenpool Trades Genre for Medium in Gwenpool 21

by Patrick Ehlers

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

This may be the first time in my life where I’m reading a superhero who is as obsessed with the gutter as I am. Since discovering that she can manipulate the physical space of the comic book page, Gwen no longer needs to rely on her knowledge of story tropes to defeat her enemies. Gwen is on something of a fan’s journey here, discovering that her real power (read: her real fandom) lies not in the genre but in the medium. Gwen’s no longer a fan of superhero stories, but a fan of of comics. Continue reading

Infamous Iron Man 1

Alternating Currents: Infamous Iron Man 1, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Infamous Iron Man 1, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: I tend not to sweat spoilers — frankly, the notion that a story could be “spoiled” by knowing the plot ahead of time so disregards the importance of every other aspect of storytelling that I believe it misses the point of stories entirely. BUT, I do get how annoying it is to have the ending of a story blurted out when I wasn’t suspecting it. I may not mind clicking on articles I know contain spoilers, but I’d at least like to know what narratives those spoilers pertain to. Which is why Infamous Iron Man 1 seems to warrant a special spoiler warning: one for readers of Civil War II. Certain events in this issue fall out directly from events of Civil War II that haven’t happened yet, making it all but impossible to talk about the issue without spoilers. Consider yourself warned. Continue reading

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 5

unbeatable squirrel girl 5

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 5, originally released February 24th, 2016.

Spencer: I grew up on shonen anime, so “the power of friendship” has been a beloved trope in my life for as long as I can remember. It’s nice, then, to find an American comic so willing to embrace the idea; the power of friendship is so engrained into The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl‘s DNA that sometimes that friendship even comes in the form of Squirrel Girl’s time-displaced counterparts! Yeah, this issue is a zany romp full of complicated time travel shenanigans, but its heart beats with the same moral that has come to define this series: that victory is achieved, not through violence, but by reaching out to, and learning from, others. Continue reading