Baltimore ComicCon 2016

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Spencer: Sitting in a prominent position on my desk is a copy of Saves the Day’s self-titled album, signed by all four members of the band. It’s one of my most cherished possessions, not because “oh man, it’s my favorite band’s autograph!,” but because it’s a physical reminder of my first meeting them, of my role in getting that album created, and of some of the best shows of my life. I think that’s the true power of autographs (or selfies with celebrities, which are quickly replacing them); they’re more than just scribbles on paper, they’re a permanent reminder of celebrity encounters and of all the reasons why those encounters mean so much to us in the first place.

I had a lot of time to ponder the significance of autographs while at Baltimore ComicCon this past Sunday, mainly because I got a lot of them. Baltimore ComicCon is an intensely creator-focused con, to the point where I couldn’t even fit all the comics I wanted to get signed into one bag, and had to skip a few creators because I just couldn’t carry any more books. I’m not complaining, though: every one of these autographs will remind me of cherished memories for years to come. Continue reading

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Grayson 18

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Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Grayson 18, originally released March 23th, 2016.

Mark: I came into Grayson 18 unaware of the creative change-up behind the scenes, but it’s immediately apparent that this is a different team than the one that has guided Grayson through the past year and a half. Yes, Tom King, Tim Seeley, and Mikel Janin have departed in preparation for Rebirth, leaving new writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly to wrap up the last three issues with the help of artists Roge Antonio and Geraldo Borges. And while Grayson 18 definitely reads like a lesser issue, Lanzing and Kelly do well enough in beginning to bring Grayson‘s many disparate threads together.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Antonio and Borges. Continue reading

Grayson 16

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Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Grayson 16, originally released January 27th, 2016.

Mark: You know when you over indulge in something that you love? When you love Nerds candy so much you buy a movie theatre box-sized pack of them and eat them in bed, only to wake up the next morning with multi-colored sugar nuggets stuck to your chest and a raging sugar headache? Grayson 16 is the comic book equivalent of that. Dick Grayson is so Dick Grayson this issue, it has to be a knowing parody right? Not to say that the sugar wave isn’t a blast while you’re riding it. It’s hard to blame Seeley and King for giving the people what they want. After the end of its first spectacular arc, Grayson has come down to Earth a little bit, working overtime for a few issues to expound an increasingly complex mythology. Grayson 16 is pretty back-to-basics, but turns everything you loved about early Grayson up to insane levels. Continue reading

Robin War 2

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Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Robin War 2, originally released January 13, 2016.

Spencer: Have you ever watched or read something that you could tell was good, but something about it just didn’t work for you? Maybe there was just one small plot point that rang false, but the failure of that one moment led to the rest of the narrative collapsing around it? That’s the way I feel about Robin War 2. There’s quite a bit about this issue that I like, but there’s one flaw in its very premise that kinda ruins the entire event: writer Tom King never explains why the Court of Owls wants to reclaim Dick Grayson so badly. Continue reading

Midnighter 8

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Today, Michael and Ryan are discussing Midnighter 8, originally released January 6, 2016.

Michael: After the intense Prometheus/Midnighter showdown last issue, Midnighter 8 takes a break from the super serious and opts for the wackier corners of the DCU. Midnighter partakes in a good ol’ fashioned superhero team-up with Dominic Mndawe AKA Freedom Beast – the less racist version of B’wana Beast introduced in Grant Morrison’s Animal Man. Mndawe fills Midnighter in on his ability to create hybrid “chimeras” of different animals. An illegal hunting club called “The Sportsman’s Ambition” has abused Mndawe’s powers in order to create deadly chimeras for them to hunt. The majority of the issue deals with the two heroes taking down the aforementioned Sportsmen, while the end shows the release of Marina Lucas (from Midnighter 2) and Helena Bertinelli’s offer for Midnighter to join Spyral. This is all setting up the next arc: Midnighter vs. The Suicide Squad. Continue reading

Robin War Round-Up 12/9/15

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The police don’t trust the Robins! The people don’t trust the Robins! The Robins don’t trust the other Robins! And the Owls? They’re just straight-up bad news! Welcome to our coverage of the Robin War tie-in issues released December 9th, 2015. Patrick, Michael, Mark and Spencer discuss Grayson 15, Detective Comics 47, Red Hood and Arsenal 7 and Gotham Academy 13. Continue reading

DC Round-Up Comics Released 8/4/15

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Retcon Punch is on Summer Hours, which means we’re going to be writing fewer in-depth pieces for the month of August. But we’re addicts at this point, so we need a place for our thoughts on all those comics we can’t stop reading. Today, we’re discussing Midnighter 3, Detective Comics 43, Batman Beyond 3 and Green Lantern 43.

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Continue reading

Batgirl Annual 3

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Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Batgirl Annual 3, originally released July 29th, 2015.

Michael: I don’t know if the concept of “Annual” comic book really has a true characterization. Sometimes it’s just a giant-sized issue of an ongoing story. Other times it’s a semi-audition for up and coming writers to get their feet wet. Then there are annuals like to jam-pack the issue with as much muchness as possible. Batgirl Annual 3 is the much muchness example. Continue reading

Grayson 10

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Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Grayson 10, originally released July 22nd, 2015.

Spencer: Once, way back when Wally West was the Flash, he ran so fast that he merged with the Speed Force, a fate from which no speedster had ever returned. Wally did return, though, all because of the love of his life, Linda Park. Wally called Linda his “lightning rod” — no matter what weird shenanigans he had to deal with, Linda’s love always kept him grounded in reality. I think most of us have a “lightning rod” of one sort or the other, some person or thing that acts as a constant in our life, that keeps us tethered to our old lives even as everything else around us changes. Dick Grayson has gone through more changes than most ever since his “death” in Forever Evil, but even as an agent of Spyral, he had both his mentor Batman and his faith in his own abilities acting to keep him grounded. With Grayson 10, though, Tim Seeley, Tom King, and Mikel Janin strip those last familiar comforts from Dick, leaving him with nobody he can trust — not even himself. Continue reading

Grayson 8

Alternating Currents: Grayson 8, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Grayson 8, originally released March 4th, 2015.

Drew: I like to read into titles. We tend to boil down the difference between Superman and Action Comics to the creative teams involved, but I think the focus of every story is informed by its title. Luke Skywalker may feature prominently in Star Wars, but not in quite the same way he would if the movies were titled Luke Skywalker. In that same vein, when a story’s title is the protagonist’s name, we understand that story to necessarily be about that character. Oliver Twist may deal with poverty and exploitation, but the story is ultimately about a single orphan. In the month-to-month grind of comics, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Spider-Man is actually about Spider-Man (and not the criminal-of-the-month), but the best writers manage to keep the focus on the heroes, even as they’re put up against an endless lineup of threats. Tom King and Tim Seeley have never lost sight of Dick as the center of Grayson, but issue 8 reasserts that focus so strongly, we never feel lost — even as they yank the rug out from under us. Continue reading