Star Wars: Darth Vader 1: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Patrick Ehlers

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

Michael: The transition from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader in the Star Wars prequels was anything but seamless. By the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin sure looks and sounds like Darth Vader but it’s clear that he’s still the irrational Hayden Christensen manchild underneath that black armor. With their new Darth Vader series, Charles Soule and Guiseppe Camuncoli hope to give us a more satisfying bridge between Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader than the prequels. Continue reading

Green Valley 9: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner & Michael DeLaney

Green Valley 9

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

slim-banner

Drew: The first time travel story I remember experiencing is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. Its time-travel mechanic was as logical as it needed to be to satisfy six-year-old me, but it left me with some weird assumptions about how time worked. Specifically, the way the movie intercuts between its present-day and feudal Japan scenes convinced me that the past is playing out in parallel with the present. That is, even though time travel is possible, if I travel to the past, wait five minutes, then return to the present, I can only arrive five minutes after I left. It makes no logical sense, but continues to be a popular feature of time travel stories in order to allow them to follow separate storylines in separate time periods simultaneously. Indeed, it’s a technique employed judiciously in Green Valley 9, as Max Landis and Giuseppe Camuncoli delight in touching upon just about every time travel trope as they draw the series to a close. Continue reading

DC Round-Up: Comics Released 3/15/17


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.

slim-banner4 Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 25

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

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 3/8/17

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

Batman: Europa 3

Batman europa 3

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?
Molly: Yeah.

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

The Amazing Spider-Man 1

amazing spider-man 1Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 1, originally released October 7th, 2015.

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

The Amazing Spider-Man 1

amazing spider-man 1Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 1, originally released April 30th, 2014.

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

The Superior Spider-Man 31

superior spider-man 31

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.

Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man 28

superior spider-man 28Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 28, originally released February 26, 2014.

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.

Continue reading