Action Comics 958

Alternating Currents: Action Comics 958, Drew and Mark

Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Action Comics 958, originally released June 22nd, 2016.

Drew: What kind of themes do you expect of a Superman story? Morality? Alienation? Hope? Love? Over his 75+ year history, Superman has come to represent many ideas beyond that handful of suggestions, but those might serve as a reasonable starting point for the character, describing at least the ballpark he tends to play in. With Action Comics 958 — an issue by its very numbering necessarily recalls a good chunk of Superman stories — Dan Jurgens and Patrick Zircher make a compelling case for voyeurism as a key element of the Superman mythos. Continue reading

Superman: Rebirth 1

superman rebirth 1

Today, Shane and Michael are discussing Superman Rebirth 1, originally released June 1st, 2015.

Shane: It can be incredibly difficult to lose a hero. This year has seen a lot of notable role models pass — David Bowie, Prince, Mohammed Ali, and others. To be entirely honest, though? I know that they meant a lot to a lot of people — many close friends were crushed with Bowie’s passing, as an example — but although I appreciate them all, they weren’t as influential to my own life. In fact, I have a hard time thinking of any real-life famous figure who notably inspired me…but Superman? He was my hero. Reading his adventures during my formative years genuinely helped impart a true sense of right and wrong, to try to not just take the easy route, to genuinely do better and make a difference if possible. Continue reading

Convergence: The New Teen Titans 1

teen titans 1 conv

Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Convergence: The New Teen Titans 1, originally released April 22th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Spencer: I think most of us take on certain comfortable roles when we’re among our friends. Sometimes, though, things change, and those roles no longer suit us, but they’re so firmly entrenched among the group dynamic that they can be impossible to escape. Marv Wolfman and Nicola Scott’s Convergence: The New Teen Titans finds this happening to the Teen Titans. After a year spent under the dome, the Titans are attempting to take their relationships to new places, but find themselves caught up in the same old roles and conflicts that have always defined them. Continue reading

Superman/Wonder Woman 9

superman wonder woman 9Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 9, originally released June 11th, 2014.

Patrick: When all’s said and done, ‘Doomed’ will have made its way through four different series: Superman (before Johns takes it over next month), Action Comics, Batman / Superman (both of which are written by Greg Pak), and this series, Superman/Wonder Woman. The supporting casts featured in each chapter of this event vary a bit depending on the series — naturally, Wonder Woman and her supporting cast will feature more heavily here, just as Batman plays a bigger role in the series that bears his name. The slightly less visible connections come from what our authors are familiar with, or excited about writing about. Superman 31 found Super Doom trading blows with the Teen Titans, but only because they share a common writer: Scott Lobdell. Even Pak — who seems to be leading the charge here — has focused his issues on the Phantom Zone and Ghost Soldier and Mongul, all spun out of his own titles. The same things happens in this issue, as Super Doom gets a chance to beat down Soule’s other babies — Guy Gardner and the Red Lanterns. All of these developments are strange, and you can almost hear Lobdell, Pak and Soule glancing around the room, muttering “what else, what else, what else?” This reinforces their sadly generic vision for Man of Tomorrow. Continue reading

Action Comics 32

action comics 32 Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Action Comics 32, originally released June 4th, 2014.

Drew: How do you beat the unbeatable man? Normally, Superman writers struggle with this question in trying to create any real tension — the conventions of comics dictate that Superman is the most powerful being on Earth and that the good guy always wins, so how do you manage to wring a compelling story out of that? “Doomed” solves this problem by turning it on its head: what if Superman was the bad guy? Then the fact that he’s the most powerful being on Earth lies in direct conflict with the fact that the good guys always win, making the question of how to beat Superman no longer a trivial detail, but a key to the resolution of the conflict. Of course, years of the other kind of conflict have given writers an arsenal of weapons to use against Superman — they’ve never quite worked on their own, but maybe they can get the job done together. Action Comics 32 explores this idea in earnest, but reminds us that for all the ways we have to beat Superman, he was always our only solution to beating Doomsday. Continue reading

Superman 31

superman 31Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Superman 31, originally released May 28th, 2014.

Shelby: I hate being in the way. Like, to the point of anxiety: if I’m with people, trying to help, but just getting in the way, I have a really hard time with it. It’s frustrating on two levels; not only am I not helping like I want to be, I’m probably making things harder by being in the way. Apparently, I’m just like Superman; he’s infected with Doomsday spores, and while all he wants to do is, you know, help save the world over and over, he’s stuck being in the way. And by the way, I mean threatening everyone and everything around him. Heads up, I’m not reading Superman OR Doomed, so I am definitely approaching this from an outsider’s viewpoint.

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Superman/Wonder Woman 8

superman wonder woman 8Today, Scott and Taylor are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 8, originally released May 14th, 2014.

Scott: I just finished watching the first season of Broad City on Comedy Central, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s about two girls navigating life in their twenties in New York. Not a groundbreaking premise by any means, but executed better than most. For a series with two main characters, it strikes a rare balance where both stars carry the same amount of comedic and emotional responsibilities. The co-leads, Abby and Ilana, are equally compelling and equally frustrating as they deal with issues like finding a new apartment or fitting in at a restaurant that is decidedly fancier than they are. Yes, they talk about men, too, but relationship struggles do not define these characters or fuel the season’s story arc. It’s a refreshing look at two independent characters, who are women, leading equally important lives. When reading Superman/Wonder Woman, another series with co-leads, I can’t help but feel it lacks that distribution of importance. This issue further illustrates that Superman is the dominant figure in the series, while hinting that writer Charles Soule maybe wishes that weren’t the case.

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Superman/Wonder Woman 7

superman wonder woman 7

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 7, originally released April 9th, 2014.

Shelby:  I’m pretty bad at talking about my feelings. I’ve gotten better, because I have realized the value in just stating how I feel or what I want plainly, but I still sometimes have a hard time with it. Talking to dreamy men is still my biggest challenge; there’s just something about the simple phrase, “You are cute and cool, want to grab a drink?” that causes my brain to just completely melt down. I recognize it’s pretty silly, but am at the same time powerless to stop it. Maybe it’s an extreme fear of rejection? Or maybe I’m worried I’ll end up in a awkward situation like Clark and Diana, who have an unspoken, “I love you, too” hanging between them (not to mention nuclear fallout).

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Superman/Wonder Woman 6

superman wonder woman 6Today, Scott and Taylor are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 6, originally released March 12th, 2014.

Scott: Why are Superman and Wonder Woman together? Anyone remotely tuned in to the DC Universe has wondered this at some point in the past several months. On the surface, it seems perhaps too convenient, or little more than an attention-grabbing ploy. Realistically though, doesn’t the relationship make perfect sense? People date the people they spend the most time with. A 20 year old college student is most likely to date another 20 year old who goes to the same college. So, in a time when Justice League duties seem to be dominating many heroes’ lives, it’s only appropriate that Clark and Diana, the two most similar Justice Leaguers, would get together. The real question is, what does their relationship have to offer us as readers? If Clark and Diana are going to be spending a lot of time together just by the nature of their jobs, does a romantic relationship add anything to the story? With Superman/Wonder Woman 6, Charles Soule sets the record straight — the relationship and, thus, this book, is more than the sum of it’s parts.

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Superman/Wonder Woman 5

superman wonder woman 5

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 5, originally released February 12th, 2014.

Taylor: When I first moved to Chicago a little over six years ago I was desperate for cash and ended up applying for a job at a local tea and coffee and chain. My roommate at the time, and current Retcon Punch editor Patrick, was in the same straights as I, so he applied as well. We both got jobs but we were told we couldn’t work at the same location because we were roommates. The best we could figure it, the company was worried about our personal life bleeding over into our work life. At the time it seemed silly to us, but in retrospect it’s maybe a good policy for the company to adopt. After all, you never want a friendship or relationship getting in the way of your job. This proves especially true for romantic relationships and it only seems natural that Superman/Wonder Woman would eventually get around to the exploring this idea. In issue five, Clark and Diana are forced to confront this issue head on while also dealing with some invaders from Krypton’s past.

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