All-New Wolverine 23 Subverts a Familiar Setup

by Drew Baumgartner

All-New Wolverine 23

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

Get away from her you bitch!

Ellen Ripley, Aliens

As action movie quips go, Ripley’s command to the Alien Queen is far from inventive, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the most iconic. Indeed, on repeat viewings, the the tension of Ripley’s descent into the Alien nest is more or less subsumed by my anticipation of that scene. Indeed, once you know the showdown between Ripley and the Queen is inevitable, everything leading up to it feels like unnecessary padding. The Queen exists for the sole purpose of Ripley defeating her, so the movie is really just ticking boxes once she has Newt. In All-New Wolverine 23, Tom Taylor and Leonard Kirk reproduce that setup with uncanny accuracy, teasing us with the promise of Laura facing down the Brood Queen only to snatch that possibility away at the last second. Continue reading

Irony vs. Sincerity in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 6

by Patrick Ehlers

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

There’s a little bit of a disconnect between the crew of the Milano. On one hand, you’ve got Gamora and Drax, honor-bound warriors who are deeply entrenched in the galactic mythology that shapes the universe around them. On the other, you’ve got Star-Lord and Rocket, both of whom would happily throw sarcastic scare quotes up around “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s a tension of values — irony vs. sincerity — that eventually melts away in Guardians of the Galaxy 6. Continue reading

Shifting Tone in All-New Wolverine 22

by Drew Baumgartner

All-New Wolverine 22

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

The tonal range of Tom Taylor’s All New Wolverine is truly remarkable. We’ve seen issues of high drama and irreverent fun, all of which gives this series a depth of emotional experience that at least approaches real life. Moreover, the range allows Taylor to wield tone with a nuance that is rare in superhero comics, juxtaposing and combining them within issues to evoke ever more specific emotions. The surprising tonal twist in issue 22 is far from the most subtle Taylor has ever pulled, but I’ll be darned if it isn’t effective. Continue reading

Secrets, Surprises and Criminality in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 4

by Patrick Ehlers

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 4

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

Liars. Thieves. Con men. They’ve all got secrets. It’s no wonder that the Galaxy’s rascally Guardians, who are more criminals than they are heroes, have a whole host of surprises and secrets up their collective sleeve. Writer Gerry Duggan and artist Aaron Kuder keep the reader in the role of the mark, setting us up to be as surprised as everyone else in their story. It’s a little frustrating to be kept at such a distance, but it is perfectly in-line with what it must be like to know these guys. Continue reading

I Am Groot 1

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing I Am Groot 1, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: When I first discovered that Baby Groot would feature in Guardians of the Galaxy v.2 I was taken by surprise, since in the comics Groot can regenerate from the kind of injury he suffered in the first film almost instantly. Of course, in the movies, James Gunn is free to make whatever changes he wants to the characters; the comics have since brought in Baby Groot as well, but that requires a bit more explanation. While the “whys” of Groot’s predicament are playing out over in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s fallen on Christopher Hastings, Flaviano, and Marcio Menyz’s I Am Groot 1 to explore the effect Groot’s new form is having on the team, and on Groot himself. Continue reading

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 1

Today, Ryan M. and Taylor are discussing All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 1, originally released May 3rd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan: The Guardians of the Galaxy are taking up a decent chunk of my brain right now. I am mentally unpacking the movie and all five (!!) post-credit sequences, so I can’t say that I came into All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 1 clean. That said, the timing of the release is not coincidental, so I know I’m not the only one with at least two takes on these characters rattling around in my head. Luckily, this is a first issue, so Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder offer a balance of fresh moments and necessary set up. Continue reading

Guardians of Knowhere 1

Alternating Currents: Guardians of Knowhere 1, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Guardians of Knowhere 1, originally released July 15th, 2015.

Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girl.

Traditional

Drew: I’ve never seen any codified theories to this effect, but I strongly believe that every narrative has an ideal length. The Old Man and the Sea couldn’t be longer without losing its essence, just as War and Peace couldn’t be shorter. I can’t claim to understand all of the factors that determine the ideal length for a story, but it’s obvious enough when the length isn’t ideal. The epigraph may functionally describe a lot of stories we’re familiar with, but it’s too short to be a satisfying story — we have no empathetic connection to “boy,” no investment in his relationship to “girl,” no context for their eventual reunion. Conversely, Brian Michael Bendis is often criticized for making his stories too long to be satisfying, with each plot point dragged out for too many issues for us to be invested in the bigger picture. Of course, one of the big mitigating factors in the world of comics is the quality of the art — a dazzling action sequence may not require much of a plot, and indeed may be better off without many distractions. Nobody does “dazzling” better than Mike Deodato Jr., which makes him an ideal pairing for Bendis’ decompressed style. So does Guardians of Knowhere 1 live up to that “match made in heaven” expectation? Continue reading

Secret Wars 1

secret wars 1

Today, Ryan and Patrick are discussing Secret Wars 1, originally released May 6th, 2015. 

“Oh, best war ever…”

-General Nick Fury, Secret Wars 1

Ryan: Secret Wars grabs the baton from Jon Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers beloved/despised/confusing “Time Runs Out” saga chronicling the futile struggle of Earth-616 against the collapse of the multiverse. Hickman dives in by tipping his hat to the concluding plot thread of Doom vs. The Beyonders, the significance of which — aside from helping to shrink the amount of surviving universes down to a baker’s dozen minus a bunch — is still a bit lost on me. The narration of the issue is provided by Reed Richards, and the first installment of this event belongs to him.

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Guardians of the Galaxy 20

guardians of the galaxy 20Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 20, originally released October 29th, 2014.

Spencer: The first couple of times I read through Guardians of the Galaxy 20 I found myself utterly unable to figure out how to approach writing about it. To be honest, I’m still a little flummoxed; there’s plenty of moments within the issue I think are quite well done, but I don’t know if any of them ever coalesce into a cohesive whole. Is this an issue about Nova’s heroic sacrifice, or an issue about how his death has affected the Guardians? Writer Brian Michael Bendis is clearly trying to make it about both, but in the process, I’m not sure he gives either thread the full attention it requires. Continue reading

Chat Cave: The Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy is the first movie in the series to turn the franchise focus toward the Cosmic end of the Marvel Universe. As pretty big Guardians fans ourselves, we just had to talk about the movie. Probable spoilers after the break: welcome to the Chat Cave.
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