How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing All-Star Batman 8, Batman 19, Batwoman 1, Superman 19, Trinity 7 and Wild Storm 2. Also, we’ll be discussing Green Lanterns 19 on Monday and Green Arrow 19 on Tuesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 25, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.
Spencer: As Aunt May herself points out this week, Peter Parker’s always been a busy guy. Add running a major international company to his already impressive pile of responsibilities and it’s almost guaranteed that something will start to give. The massive Amazing Spider-Man 25 digs into that dilemma from all angles, reminding readers of every task Peter’s got on his plate and what’s at risk if he fails at any one of them. It’s an almost overwhelming issue, a trait that effectively puts readers in Peter’s overstressed shoes. Continue reading
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, we discuss Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 8, Green Valley 6, and The Wicked + The Divine 27. Also, we discussed Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 5 on Friday, so check that out! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading
Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Batman: Europa 3 originally released December 30th, 2015.
Joel: There is another character that was just as important as the two of us: New York City.
Karen: So New York City is like another character?
They Came Together
Drew: Everyone has heard the old “setting as a character” cliche from some exhausted press tour interview, but filmmakers rarely acknowledge that cities aren’t fully fictional. That is, calling Chicago a character in The Fugitive is a bit like calling John F. Kennedy a character in Forrest Gump — these are real things (albeit fictionalized versions of them) that our fictional characters just happen to be interacting with. Moreover, if we accept the “setting as a character” cliche, it only ever reveals the setting to be a supremely boring character, undergoing no change over the course of the story. Indeed, because stories that tend to feature “settings as a character” tend to stay in just one city (I’m looking at you, New York), it’s impossible to separate the “character” of the setting from the general tone and mood of the narrative. Batman: Europa sets out to do the opposite, a kind of city character study — or perhaps “travel guide” is more accurate — by way of a superhero adventure. Continue reading
Spencer: If you’re reading a Spider-Man book, then you know his deal: “With great power must also come great responsibility.” For Peter Parker, his “power” has always been the superhuman abilities granted him by a bite from a radioactive spider, but are these abilities truly his greatest asset? It’s a question Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli tackle head-on in the newest Amazing Spider-Man 1. Skipping ahead eight months from the conclusion of Secret Wars, Slott and Camuncoli present us with a version of Peter Parker who’s found a way to honor his Uncle Ben without even needing to put on a mask; in fact, Spider-Man now exists mainly to protect and support Peter. It’s a take both radical and faithful in a way only Dan Slott could pull off. Continue reading
Patrick: If The Superior Spider-Man had us all asking what it means to be a hero (and, by extension, what it means to be a villain), then The Amazing Spider-Man seems poised to ask the question of what it means to be Spider-Man. It is a surprisingly wide question, with seemingly hundreds of discrete answers. What’s it mean to be Spider-Man? Kaine will tell you one thing, Miguel O’Hara will tell you another thing, Peter Parker will tell you something else, and Doc Ock (may he rest in peace) probably wouldn’t dignify the question with a response. Y’see, there are a lot of Spiders out there, and even more Spider-fans; what we want and what we expect from Spider-Man is so varied that even an issue designed to celebrate the hero can’t pick a tone and stick to it. It’s a fascinating, if uneven (and possibly even fascinatingly uneven), exploration of Spider-Man. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 31, originally released April 16th, 2014.
Shelby: If I learned anything from watching countless episodes of M*A*S*H* as a child, it’s that the first step of dealing with any disaster is triage. You need to assess the situation and make some quick decisions to prioritize your next steps. Usually this means letting some people in pain suffer a little while longer so you can tend to the immediately life-threatening issues. It’s only after you’ve stopped the bleeding and patched up the worse off can you step back and consider the situation as a whole; that’s the point you can begin to make some decisions about long-term fixes and really start cleaning up your mess.
Patrick: There’s a persistent tension inherent to any narrative based on a lie or secret between its characters. Writer Dan Slott has been successful enough at fleshing out who exactly Otto is in the body of Peter Parker, so the issue of “will anyone find out what’s really going on?” often takes a back seat to Otto’s superheroic machinations. And yet, that tension is still there: that’s not Peter Parker, and the truth is going to infuriate people. Secret-based stories basically have two options if they’re to last — 1) reveal the mystery and let the characters deal with the ramifications of that revelation (as in Mad Men or Breaking Bad) or 2) string the mystery out ridiculously straining credibility (as in Dexter). With an end-date to the Superior franchise in sight, Slott breathlessly catapults Otto toward option one. It’s an invigorating thrill ride as all of Otto’s chickens come home to roost.
Spencer: One of the most enjoyable aspects of a writer having a long run on a title is watching elements from earlier issues resurface in surprising ways later on down the line. I think perhaps my favorite example of this is in Jon Rogers’ pre-reboot Blue Beetle run, where Jaime Reyes managed to bring back weapons, plans, and allies from nearly every one of his earlier adventures to use in his epic endgame against the Reach. It brought a nice sense of closure and finality to the proceedings, not to mention made for a thrilling game of “catch-the-reference.” I got a similar feeling from this week’s Superior Spider-Man, where plot points writer Dan Slott has been seeding for the past 27 issues begin coming back en masse, both to Otto’s relief and to his detriment. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 21, originally released November 13th, 2013.
Patrick: Any time I join a new social group, I like to think that I’m starting over in terms of my identity. Like, I get to use all the skills and stuff I picked up over my lifetime, but I can newly define myself with a whole new set of activities and goals and values. All the previous versions of me inform this, of course, but it’s too simplistic to say that their sum is my new persona. Current Patrick isn’t Orchestra Dork + Magic: The Gathering + Ska Bands + Drama Club + RA + all the other things I’ve been. Sometimes that means letting go of things that used to seem the most important (I haven’t played a game of Magic in over a decade, and yes it feels like I’m in AA when I say that). I’m not saying I know exactly what Otto is going through, but I know, exactly, what Otto is going through. Continue reading