Plastic Man 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Michael DeLaney 

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

Spencer: The first JLA comic I ever read was an issue from Joe Kelly’s early 2000s run. The story found Martian Manhunter corrupted and turned against a hopelessly outmatched League. The only hero who could stand up to him was, surprisingly, Plastic Man, whose shapeshifting skills were on par with J’onn’s and whose elastic brain resisted his telepathy entirely. Plastic Man was also an interesting contrast to the rest of the uber-serious League, a walking visual gag who cracked wise even as he fought the most powerful being on Earth one-on-one. That issue impressed on me the value of Plastic Man and the unique charm he adds to the DC universe. Gail Simone and Adriana Melo clearly understand the character’s appeal, and it’s ultimately Plastic Man’s charisma that carries Plastic Man 1 in its shakier moments. Continue reading

Luck vs. Skill in Domino 2

by Drew Baumgartner

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This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Is privilege just luck that we don’t recognize as luck? The failure to recognize the benefits afforded by our race, gender, class, nationality, or any other number of inborn factors in our lives? That is, a privileged person is a lucky person, but specifically one that misattributes their luck as merit or skill. This helps protect Domino from coming off as too privileged — she absolutely recognizes how lucky she is — though Gail Simone and David Baladeón take pains to make it clear that she’s not that lucky, and that much of her success is ultimately attributable to her skills, too. Continue reading

Dialogue and Internal Monologue as an Introduction in Domino 1

by Spencer Irwin

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

First issues have an almost impossible amount of work to do. They have to introduce (or reintroduce) the lead character, their supporting cast, their unique perspective, the series’ premise, and they have to do it all within 20 pages. Every creative team has their own unique approach to this task, and for Gail Simone and David Baldeon in Domino 1, that approach largely comes down to dialogue and internal monologue. Continue reading

Crosswind 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

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

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Spencer: “Boys will be boys.” I can’t think of another phrase that seems so innocent, yet is in actuality so malicious. It does nobody any favors. It teaches men (and yes, for some reason this phrase is just as often — if not more often — applied to teenagers or grown men as it is children) that they have no control over their impulses and actions, while it simultaneously teaches women that they should just accept whatever men throw their way because men can’t help themselves, can’t be taught or trained or reasoned with. What started as a reminder of little boys’ natural boundless energy has become an excuse for misogyny, abuse — sometimes even murder. This phrase is also the only thing connecting the otherwise entirely disparate lives of Cason Ray Bennett and Juniper Elanore Blue, the dual protagonists of Cat Staggs and Gail Simone’s Crosswind. 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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Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle 1

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Today, Mark and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle 1, originally released April 8th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Mark: It’s been about four years since DC’s controversial reboot into the New 52, and now that it’s come to a nominal end, I think it’s fair to say it was a success. Yes, I miss old, family-man Superman (and man was it great to see him again last week) but going back is also an illustration as to why the New 52 was necessary. Having that 30 years of history (counting from Crisis on Infinite Earths) was both a blessing and a curse. These characters were fully formed over decades of discovery. They were adults with families and complicated relationships. They carried the weights of their decisions with them. The problem is that eventually the weight of all that continuity became overwhelming, the stories you’re able to tell are limited by the past. Continue reading

Secret Six 2

Alternating Currents: Secret Six 2, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Secret Six 2, originally released February 11th, 2015.

Drew: At what point is it fair to form an opinion about a work of art? The conventional wisdom warns us not to judge a book by its cover, but at what point is it fair to judge? I’ve been told that the first chapter is enough, but I’ve seen others advocate for just the first page. I tend to be a bit more charitable than most — I’ve never walked out of a movie, but then again, I would probably not see a sequel of a movie I didn’t like. So, how do comics fit in to that? Is the first issue the first page of a story? The first chapter? The first movie? Single issues rarely give a complete story (at least nowadays), but also offer a convenient point to stop and reflect. After two issues, we may not have a great idea of what Secret Six will actually be like, but maybe we have enough to form an opinion about it. Continue reading

Retcon Punch is for Lovers; Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14th is about three things: socks with hearts on them, discount chocolates on the 15th, and corny Valentines cards for your friends. We can’t really share the first two with you, our loyal readers, but boy can we share the third! A couple years ago we made a bunch of corny Valentine’s Day cards, and we had so much fun we did it again last year. Because we’re once, twice, three times a lady, we’ve done it again and made a new batch of Valentines for you all. Feel free to print and pass them out to the nerds you love the most, just keep our name on them, huh? More after the break.

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Batgirl 38

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Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Batgirl 38, originally released January 14th, 2015.

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Michael: Sometimes you just get sick of being yourself. What I mean by that is we all have a point where we say “Why me?” “Why do I have to suffer?” “Can’t things just be easy for once?” If life is a story, then we might not always like the role that we’re cast in. Being a “supporting character” gets old; everyone wants to be the star eventually. Batgirl 38 finds the creative team and Barbara herself asking these types of questions of identity. Can’t a Batgirl just fight crime and enjoy herself in the process? Not quite, it would seem. Continue reading

Secret Six 1

secret six 1Today, Spencer and Suzanne are discussing Secret Six 1, originally released December 3rd, 2014.
Spencer: It’s no secret: Gail Simone’s first, Pre-New 52 run on Secret Six is still the best work of her career, but that fact has likely created some heightened expectations for this week’s Secret Six relaunch. There’s no escaping the hype completely, but Simone manages to mitigate much of it by showing from the very beginning how different this volume is from what came before. Much like Catman himself, readers are thrown blindly into the middle of a still-unfolding mystery — it’s a thrilling way to kick off a new series, but some frustratingly inconsistent art threatens to derail the entire experience. Continue reading