Batman/Superman 31

Alternating Currents: Batman Superman 31, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Batman/Superman 31, originally released April 13th, 2016.

Drew: What is a comic book series? That sounds like a simple question, but it’s one of those definitions that falls apart under close scrutiny. Peter Tomasi understands how strange our notion of a series can get, as he piloted Batman and Robin through the better part of a year without Robin. In that case, it wasn’t the cast, but the creative team that allowed us to group those issues as part of Batman and Robin. But if we take that definition of a “series” as something to do with a serialized narrative told by the same person (or team of people), what do we make of “Super Legion,” Tomasi’s new eight-part crossover that cycles through four different titles? Does it function like its own miniseries, or do its constituent issues maintain enough of their series’ identity to keep them distinct? The answer lies somewhere in between, which makes Batman/Superman 31 one of the most fascinating, if troubled, individual issues I’ve read in quite some time. Continue reading

DC Round-Up Comics Released 7/15/15

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Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Michael, Shane, Patrick and Mark discuss Black Canary 2, Green Lantern The Lost Army 2, Martian Manhunter 2, Secret Six 4 and Superman/Wonder Woman 19.

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Michael: We’re in the second month of DC’s soft reboot of “DC YOU.” Though the name is so very stupid, the shakeup of DC’s monthly offerings has been a welcome change of pace thus far. We’re dealing with characters and concepts that have been in rotation for at the very least a couple of decades; so it’s nice to look at them from a different, less New 52-ish lens. I think that this particular selection for our DC round-up presents iterations of villains and do-gooders that may be different but don’t stray too far from the core of their character. You finally seem to be on the right path DC. (Hopefully.)

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Justice League 35

Justice League 35Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Justice League 35, originally released October 15, 2014. 

Spencer: Lex Luthor has basically been the main character of Justice League ever since Forever Evil ended, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. It’s inevitable that Lex will go back to being a full-time villain at some point (unless writer Geoff Johns manages to pull off the biggest reformation in DC history and make it stick), but I’m not sure how much that should influence my reading of Luthor’s intentions. There are two things I do know for certain, though: 1. Luthor’s presence has finally made the rest of the Justice League the competent, inspirational team we’ve been hoping they’d become since the New 52 began, and 2. even if Luthor’s reformation is somehow 100% legit, he still has plenty of misdeeds in his past to face up to. Continue reading

Justice League 29

justice league 29

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Justice League 29, originally released April 16th, 2014.

Patrick: Here’s a little bit of a confession: I don’t know why we make fun of people who use Internet Explorer. I think most of us use Chrome or Safari to navigate the internet, and I know a lot of smart, young, web-savvy types that will also use Firefox in a pinch. But IE? You might as well be my grandmother at that point. The browser is so closely associated with disinterested or novice internet use that it’s sorta become shorthand for “the person using this product doesn’t know anything about technology.” I’m sure that’s unfair, and I’d be willing to wager that most of the bugs and clumsy UIs that drove us all away from IE in the first place have been worked out and it’s a totally serviceable browser. Still though. Fucking n00bs, right? As Geoff Johns decides that technology vs. humanity has always been a theme of Forever Evil, the solutions feel less logical and reasoned and more magical. If the story is trying to convince me that it’s in anyway tech savvy, Justice League 29 is not putting forth the most compelling argument. Continue reading

Justice League of America 7

Alternating Currents: Justice League of America 7, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Justice League of America 7 originally released August 14th, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divDrew: Determining a level of focus is perhaps the most important step in evaluating a work of art. These foci are specific to the style at hand — harmonic analysis is likely going to tell you very little about a rap song, just as an examination of brush strokes wouldn’t add much to a discussion of da Vinci. Intriguingly, these styles often begin to resemble each other as you zoom in and out — abstract paintings may share concepts of form, color, or composition with those of the Rennaisance masters, for example — further increasing the importance focus in an analysis. Geoff Johns has always written “big” — he’s been at the helm (or at least sharing the helm) of some of DC’s most important events over the past decade — and his writing has often chafed at the analyses of his critics. Justice League of America 7 actually avoids many of the pitfalls Johns is often cited for (a lot of stuff actually happens here), but it still has me wondering if we’re simply using the wrong tool for the job of evaluating a giant, Geoff Johns-penned event. Continue reading

Justice League of America 6

JLA 6 trinity

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Justice League of America 6 originally released July 17th, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divPatrick: Did any of you guys ever play Warhammer? If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a table top war game where you assemble an army from your race of choice and battle against your friends’ armies. It’s the least pick-up-and-play game you could ever imagine – understanding the basic rules means reading a 100+ page manual, and keeping a cheat sheet with charts and tables with you at all times. And then there’s understanding your own army, for which you need yet other book completely dedicated to that race. Then you need the little metal figures to represent the members of your army (sold separately), and if you’re really hardcore you can paint them. Then you need a surface large enough to play on – one time my friends and I took a door off its hinges and used that when we were denied the dining room table. Ideally, this surface will be populated with trees and terrain and stuff like that. Setting up the Trinity War has felt an awful lot like setting up a Warhammer game. Everyone’s been reading extra books they don’t really want to read just so they can play in the big game. Now the event is actually here and I can’t believe I’m surprised that all the characters feel like pieces in a game. Continue reading

Chat Cave: September is Villains Month

DC has staked their claim on the month of September. Two years ago saw the relaunch of the entire publishing line, and last year saw special “zero” issues for every series. This year, DC is releasing 52 issues featuring villains, old and new, from the DC Universe. There’s no one-for-one correspondence to existing series, and DC hasn’t been the most forthcoming with information about what exactly they’re putting out. There’s a lot to sort through here and no easy answers for what’s going to be worth our time and money. Welcome to the Chat Cave.
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Justice League of America 4

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Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Justice League of America 4, originally released May 29th, 2013.

Spencer: I’ll be honest: from the very start, Justice League of America has seemed more concerned with putting pieces in place for the upcoming “Trinity War” than it has with telling a compelling story. Unfortunately, for a story so focused on getting its players from Point A to Point B, the way writer Geoff Johns does so strains credibility. He makes several attempts to keep this issue engaging, but its biggest failing is simply that the heroes come across as really, really dumb.

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Green Lantern 20

green lantern 20 wrath

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Green Lantern 20, originally released May 22nd, 2013. This issue is part of the Wrath of the First Lantern crossover event. Click here for our First Lantern coverage. 

Patrick: Geoff Johns’ final issue of Green Lantern is framed with a narrative device I was first introduced to in the movie The Princess Bride: the old man reading the story to a young man. The flick is an adaptation of novel, and the novel proports to be a rediscovered classic, heavily annotated by the “editor,” William Goldman (who actually just wrote the whole thing). All three of these example serve to elevate the story itself – you don’t need to look to the real world to find a captive audience, there’s one right there in front of you. This issue takes the entirety of Johns’ run and gives it a reverent audience, promoting the nine years since Green Lantern: Rebirth to mythic stature. I’ve been following the entirety of that run, so I’m part of that audience, and I’m moved and affected in very real ways reading this issue. But the bright lights and decades-old mythology groan under the weight of so much self-congratulation. This is a victory lap – mileage will vary.

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Green Lantern 17

green lantern 17 wrath

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Green Lantern 17, originally released February 20th, 2013. This issue is part of the Wrath of the First Lantern crossover event. Click here for our First Lantern coverage. 

Patrick: The end of an era is nigh: Geoff Johns and crew are stepping down as shepherds of the Green Lanterns. Wrath of the First Lantern is the grand finale, but it’s already showing signs that it’s really more of a victory lap. With concepts as grandiose as the creation of the universe and altering the past in play, the entire Green Lantern Universe — past, present and future — is exposed and vulnerable. I haven’t been this excited about Green Lantern in years.

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