Mythological Omnivorism in Cosmic Ghost Rider 1

by Patrick Ehlers

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

I aways struggle to identify with the Punisher. The straight line from Army vet to man suffering from personal loss and PTSD to gun wielding maniac only ever plays as tragedy for me. Like… where’s the fantasy? Where’s the escapism? Writer Donny Cates and artist Dylan Burnett address this dissonance by taking the two most sadistic parts of Frank Castle’s origin — military service and a mind set on vengeance — and mythically amplifying them both in uniquely Marvel ways. The result is, and I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Frank Castle story, tons of fun. Continue reading

Serviceable is Not Enough in Avengers 3

by Spencer Irwin

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

I’ve been reading, collecting, and following weekly American comics for well over a decade now, and I’ve watched not only the industry grow, but my own tastes as well; the type of standard, “heroes beat villain and saves the world” stories that were once exciting have become a bit routine. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for these kind of stories within the industry, but they need a little something special to stand out and really feel worth investing in, and unfortunately, I haven’t found that spark yet in Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness’ run on Avengers. Continue reading

Delayed Gratification in Avengers 2

by Mark Mitchell

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

Avengers 2 finds writer Jason Aaron and artist Ed McGuinness still trying to explain just what their Avengers book is going to be. Like the premiere issue, Avengers 2 is incredibly chatty, stuffed to the gills with narration, banter, quips, and inner-monologue that try to help explain the presence (and absence) of various Avengers. There’s a delayed gratification aspect at play, and seeing the entire team finally all together (whenever that happens) will no doubt be cathartic, but spending so much ink explaining why this team-up book doesn’t yet have a team is a sometimes frustrating choice. Continue reading

Avengers 1: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Drew Baumgartner

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

Taylor: In middle school, my favorite book was a archaeology tome titles Ancient Mysteries. The book is exactly what you would think — a survey of all the unsolved mysteries archaeologists have studied such as how the inhabitants of Easter Island made their statues and the relevancy of the Atlantis story. I was entranced by these mysteries because they suggested a history of Earth that was far bigger and far stranger than anything I had imagined up to that point. This was exciting at the time, and to this day my interest is still piqued by random archaeology articles on the BBC. It’s maybe for this reason that Avengers 1 intrigues me so much. It points to a deep, weird history of Earth I want to know more about. Continue reading

Doctor Strange: Damnation 4: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

Doctor Strange Damnation 4

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

Spencer: Big comic book events and crossovers aren’t exactly known for intimate, character-based storytelling — instead we read these stories to see dozens (sometimes hundreds) of characters all hanging out and mixing together in ways they never would at any other time. Damnation has been an interesting event because it’s the exact opposite — Donny Cates, Nick Spencer, and Rod Reis’ story works best when the scope remains small, and becomes weaker and weaker the more it tries to be an “event.” Continue reading

Doctor Strange Damnation 3 is Cool

By Patrick Ehlers

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

“Okay, sounds cool.”

-Blade, Doctor Strange Damnation 3

There’s a lot of heady framework supporting Doctor Strange Damnation. Writers Nick Spencer and Donny Cates are playing with some of the most amoral and immoral heroes in the Marvel Universe as they navigate the fallout of the biggest heel turn in comics history. Plus the goddamn devil is there collecting the wages of sin. So, y’know: a lot of loose morality to sort through. Issue three of this miniseries lets all of that set-up take a back seat. For 20 glorious pages, Spencer, Cates and artist Szymon Kudranski just let cool shit happen. Continue reading

Ghost Rider 1

ghost-rider-1

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Ghost Rider 1, originally released November 30th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

Patrick: I’m not great with first impressions. I’ve got so many nerdy and niche interests, and I never want to unload all of that alienating garbage on someone when we first meet. That usually leads me to under-share, but on the odd occasion I give myself green lights, things get weird fast. Striking the balance between being withholding and being an emotional exhibitionist is hard, but it’s exactly what’s required of a good first impression. Felipe Smith and Danilo S. Beyruth give themselves all green lights with Ghost Rider 1, and while the result reveals an awful lot about what this series is going to be, it is frustratingly unfocused, bursting from overstuffed plots from the very first issue. Continue reading

Thunderbolts 27

thunderbolts 27Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Thunderbolts 26, originally released May 28th, 2014.

Shelby: It’s really hard to write about a new creative team on a title; how do you manage to discuss the book as a stand-alone piece without comparing it to the previous issues? It’s even harder when you liked the title before the change, because now you have to make sure you stay objective. If there are things I dislike about the new team, is it because I genuinely dislike it, or is it just because it’s different from how it used to be? I’m faced with this dilemma now as I consider the first issue of Thunderbolts without Charles Soule at the helm, and some of the decisions Ben Acker and Ben Blacker have made with this book definitely have me scratching my head.

Continue reading

Thunderbolts 26

thunderbolts 26

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Thunderbolts 26, originally released May 28th, 2014.

Patrick: Every time you meet an enemy of the Hulk, you gotta ask yourself: this guy’s not really a bad guy, right? Thaddeus Ross — in his platonic, Hulk-huntin’ phase — is a totally rational individual. Who wouldn’t want to find a way to stomp out the big green guy? Oh sure, he’s more or less learned to control himself now, but Ross’ goal is fundamentally noble. That’s part of the reason the anti-hero label never stuck to him all that well in Thunderbolts. He’s not like the rest of these guys – they’re all amoral killers only looking out for their own selfish ends. But should that make them any more expendable than anyone else? With his final issue on Thunderbolts, Charles Soule reinforces that Ross’ view of his teammates, past and present, is precisely what makes him worthy of their company. But like most of the darker revelations in this series, its tinged with eventual sweetness, and we’re allowed to love these monsters all the same. Continue reading

All-New Ghost Rider 3

ghost rider 3

Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing All-New Ghost Rider 3, originally released May 14th, 2014

Shelby: I’ve only been reading monthly comics for a couple years: basically since the New 52 launched. Even with that relatively short history with comics, I feel pretty jaded when it comes to origin stories. If I don’t already know it backwards and forwards, I’ve seen enough origins to get the gist of it. Tragically lost parents at a young age, science experiment gone wrong, coming-of-age gaining of powers (be they magical or otherwise) — it’s easy to roll your eyes at a new origin story because you think you’ve already seen it. Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore have embraced that origin spirit with their All-New Ghost Rider, but have somehow managed to do so in a way that feels new and relevant. It doesn’t hurt that it’s completely gorgeous to look at, either.  Continue reading