Ethan: When I was starting college, I knew – objectively – that I would at some point no longer be a student; I’d graduate, get a job, do the adulthood thing. But at the time, steeped in the day-to-day evasion of and frantic return to schoolwork, hanging out with friends, sleeping as little as possible, the thought if college actually ending rarely crossed my mind. And then BAM it was time to get up to go to the early-morning rehearsal for the graduation ceremony. College was finished, I was moving into a new apartmen and starting a new job. That sense of disconnect – when something long awaited feels as though it happens and is shoved into the past before we have the chance to actually experience – is the same feeling I’ve gotten during most of the turning points in the Infinity event, and the same is true of its finale. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Mighty Avengers 3, originally released November 6th, 2013.
…and this whole justice league — Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman. You mean to tell me Superman can’t cover everything? For crying out loud, he’s Superman!
Drew: It’s hard to resist the synergy of a superhero team-up. Batman and Superman have megawatt star-power alone, but combine them, and you can draw an even bigger audience. As easy as it is to justify those team-ups from a business perspective, it can actually be quite difficult to justify them narratively. Writers often resort to improbably massive threats or absurd contrivances to bring their heroes together, but the biggest problem with team-ups is much more fundamental than plotting. The appeal of superheroes — the appeal of the idea of The Hero in general — is that they alone bear the power to succeed in their journey. If you put several of them in a story together, their narrative purposes are at odds, dividing any victories between them in a way that is ultimately less satisfying. But what if a team isn’t made up of such heavy-hitters? What if they were presented with a problem that the members couldn’t possibly cover on their own? Mighty Avengers 3 zeroes in on exactly what strength can be found, as its team becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Continue reading →
Drew: The ubiquity of three-act structures often makes the form of a story predictable. We know what’s supposed to happen in a second act — even if we don’t know the specifics of a given story — but what happens when a narrative breaks that structure? Infinity takes the form of a six-part miniseries, with primary crossovers into ten other issues. To further complicate things, the series has long followed an A/B structure as the avengers face two very different threats in very different locations, and the event itself could be described as the third (or second and third) act(s) of narratives started in Avengers and New Avengers. What do we expect of the fifth issue of Infinity (itself the twelfth issue of the event)? What it supposed to happen? Unfortunately, writer Jonathan Hickman doesn’t offer a particularly compelling answer in the issue itself. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Mighty Avengers 2, originally released October 2nd, 2013.
Ethan: Push the envelope. Stand on the shoulders of giants. Rules are made to be broken. Going boldly where no one has gone before. Put 110% of your effort towards your goals. Ours goes to eleven. Etc etc. Our culture has gotten a pretty good handle on this concept, as evidenced by how many ways we’ve come up with codifying it into our tropes – the idea of taking everything that came before, acknowledging it, and then moving past it. Comic books – and fiction at large – LOVE this concept. Mighty Avengers #2 is no exception, and the one-upping writer Al Ewing packs into this issue is fun, if also a little bit silly by the end. Continue reading →
Spencer: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading New Avengers, it’s that the Illuminati are not friends. While close bonds or even romance often sprout between teammates in other books, the Illuminati seem to think of each other as resources rather than people. This may just prove to be their greatest weakness; the Illuminati may actually have the ability to take down Thanos, but their secrets, grudges, and disinterest in (or downright hatred for) one another are all building towards some deadly consequences. Continue reading →
Drew: The US is lucky to have never fought a modern war on its own soil. Wartime always divides our attention between the warfront and the home front. Of course, governing a country can be a handful even in peace, so one of these often gets put on the back-burner. During World War II, it seemed that the emphasis was on the war, with resources being reallocated such that almost every American was consciously aware of the war effort. It was this kind of attitude that made George Orwell see war as an effective means of controlling the populations of Oceania in 1984 — war acts as both an explanation for a shitty situation AND a rousing source of patriotism. More recently, however, it’s been the war front that people push to the back of their minds, at times all but forgetting we’ve been at war for over a decade. That very well could have been the attitude on Earth as the Avengers rode off to face the Builders, an abstract threat that no earthling has ever even seen (hell, it’s likely that the public doesn’t even know about the threat), but they sure start to feel it in New Avengers 9. Continue reading →