This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
“Let’s make America great again / by making racists ashamed again.
Let’s make compassion in fashion again; / let’s make America great again.”
“Make America Great Again,” Frank Turner
In isolation, the words “make America great again” shouldn’t elicit a strong negative biological/emotional response. But this fairly innocuous phrase has been twisted beyond recognition by white nationalism, isolationism, and just general shitheadery. On Frank Turner’s newest record, Be More Kind, he attempts to overwrite the listener’s associations with those four little words on track five, boldly titled “Make America Great Again.” The song is big, joyful and rebellious at the same time, like all of Turner’s best tunes. I like it a lot, but I still flinch when chorus comes around. Some words and some symbols are just too thoroughly corrupted to be reformed. Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis’ Man of Steel 1 has a similar hurdle to overcome: attempting to return Superman to the platonic ideal that maybe only exists in the imaginations of Kal El’s biggest fans. The results are miraculous. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing All-Star Batman 5, originally released December 28th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS!
Patrick: From the outset, Batman seems like a pretty simple concept: an orphaned billionaire who grew with a grudge against the criminal element that took his childhood away from him. Plus, y’know – gadgets and punching dudes. But nearly 80 years of publishing history have done a number on what the character “means.” A holistic view of Batman is nearly impossible, and it usually takes a savant like Grant Morrison to synthesize it all into one character. With their “My Own Worst Enemy” story arc, Scott Snyder and John Romita, Jr. make a case for the existence of multiple takes on Batman, and by extension multiple takes on heroes, villains, and humanity in general. It’s an exercise in not pinning anything down, which makes for a genuinely exciting, if often unsettling, narrative. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing All-Star Batman 1, originally released August 3rd, 2016.
Patrick: It’s hard to think of a creator at DC comics that has had a more lasting, meaningful, and marketable impression on a character in the last five years than writer Scott Snyder. His run with Greg Capullo on Batman (coupled with his role running the rooms for both Batman Eternal and Batman and Robin Eternal) makes Snyder the mental and emotional authority on Gotham’s Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne may be the “Batman” in the title, but Snyder himself is the “All-Star.” The first issue moves with such breathless confidence, willfully tossing out repulsive imagery, C-tier villains, and disorienting chronology with such abandon, it’s like the blockbuster creative team is daring us to stay away. But for every “22 minutes earlier,” for every appearance of Firefly, for every horrifying account of people subtly slashed to death, All-Star Batman 1 is an amazingly good time. It’s a remarkable change from Batman, which while obviously excellent, often wasn’t “a good time.” But it’s like Batman reiterates a couple times in this issue: “I’m trying something new.” Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Serenity: Leaves on the Wind 2, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Taylor: Rebooting a series is seldom a wise idea. With the rise of the internet, fans of cancelled or obscure media suddenly able to connect with each other like they never had before. This meant that those pining for the reboot of a beloved yet cancelled comic or show suddenly had someone to voice their opinion to. They found strength in their numbers and, surprisingly, studios began to listen. When Firefly was cancelled few seemed to care. But as more and more people fell in love with the show, it eventually gained a cult following, the strength of which is rivaled by few. Firefly got its reboot in the form of a movie, which by most accounts put an end to the story of Malcolm Reynolds and his motley crew. But the fans continued to clamor and now we have a comic book devoted to continuing the story. While this revival may stir feelings of sweet nostalgia the wisdom of its creation is still a question floating in space.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Serenity: Leaves on the Wind 1, originally released January 29th, 2014.
Shelby: I recently finished the final book of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it here before; it’s a fantasy series I have been reading for 20 years, and I just finished the last book after re-reading the whole series. The ending was amazing, I cried like a baby: a hungry, angry baby. It’s not that it was sad, I cried because it was so perfect, and because it was over. This epic saga that I had read for so long was finished; it left a little book-shaped hole in my heart, a hole that not even my Wheel of Time tattoo could fill. Fans of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and subsequent movie Serenity know exactly what I’m talking about. As satisfying as it was to see Malcom Reynold’s ragtag crew of space cowboys aim to misbehave and deliver a crushing blow to the Alliance, there’s always been a little Firefly class-shaped hole in my heart since it’s been over. When I heard there was a new miniseries coming, written by Joss’ brother Zack Whedon, that takes place immediately after the movie, I knew there was no power in the ‘verse could stop me from reading it. Also, obviously, we’ve got major spoilers below, for the series and movie. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Scott are discussing Nightwing Annual 1, originally released October 30th, 2013.
Spencer: Will they or won’t they? Television romances love to milk the idea of two characters who are obviously into each other, but for whatever reason, simply can’t spit it out, or if they can, will be kept apart by circumstances beyond their control. Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon are one of DC’s ultimate “will they or won’t they?” couples, and in the Nightwing annual, writer Kyle Higgins decides to further explore their relationship. If these two are so perfect for each other, why can’t they be together? It takes a superpowered arsonist for them to discover the answer. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Peter are discussing Deathstroke 8, originally released April 11th 2012.
Shelby: Of all the titles of the New 52 I’m reading, I think the one that surprised me the most was Deathstroke. I started reading it at the recommendation of my comic shop; all I expected was a story with some hardcore, kickass action. What I got was an introduction to a character I like a lot, not only for his total badassedness, but also for the depth Kyle Higgins brought to the character. Peter and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Kyle at C2E2 this weekend, and we all shed a single tear at his leaving Deathstroke.