The Green Lantern 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: Given the state of, well, everything (recently I’ve found myself answering “How are you?” with “Good…well, other than, y’know, the world“), lately I’ve been finding it harder and harder to deal with “cop stories,” or even the role of cops within non-cop stories I read. I struggle to reconcile the fact that some sort of law enforcement is necessary to deal with murderers, rapists, and those who prey on the innocent with the fact that the police, as an institution, have been infiltrated by white supremacists, abusers, and racists, are filling for-profit prisons with non-violent offenders and killing unarmed children in the street, and have generally been rendered so corrupt so as to be more harmful to the public than helpful. With that in mind, it’s interesting to look at how Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp approach the intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps in The Green Lantern 1. What kind of cop story is it? I’m honestly not sure yet. Continue reading

The Inevitability of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 49

by Michael DeLaney

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

If you couldn’t tell from the title Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, the series places a lot of emphasis on one Harold “Hal” Jordan. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 49 continues that trend, underlining the importance and inevitability that is Hal Jordan. Continue reading

Superman Fails to Find a Better Way in Man of Steel 6

by Drew Baumgartner

Man of Steel 6

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

Superman always finds a better way.

Superman purist, Traditional

I’m paraphrasing pretty heavily here, triangulating a sentiment from the dozens of arguments I read (and participated in) in the wake of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, but the idea that Superman can always come up with a solution that doesn’t involve murder is a ubiquitous one in Superman fandom. And I agree with that idea as it applies to that film — Superman certainly could have at least attempted something else (or the movie could have done a better job convincing us that he had exhausted his options) — but something about “always finding a better way” doesn’t quite feel like Superman to me. His moral compass true, and he’ll never fail to aim for a solution that satisfies his sense of what’s right and wrong, but the thought that he always comes up with a solution would rob those morals of any real consequence. While some Superman stories might resemble Sherlock Holmes in that “seeing how he solves it is the fun” kind of way, one of the most interesting things about Superman having such a strong morality is that it might be tested or bear some emotional cost. That’s a point Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Fabok leverage twice in Man of Steel 6, as Superman fails to “find a better way” in both his superheroing and family lives. Continue reading

The Man of Steel 5 Lets Superman Define the Symbol

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Early in this issue, Superman catches a glimpse of a symbol on Rogol Zaar’s chest, and while he gets a good look at it, he can’t quite make out what it’s supposed to mean. The symbol is one that writer Brian Michael Bendis and his collaborators have been playing with from the very first pages of Man of Steel — a perfect circle with something interrupting that perfection. Bendis’ various collaborators have cast a number of different circles and spheres to play the role of this symbol: sometimes it’s a collapsing Krypton, or a quiet Earth, or the reflection of Rogol in Superman’s eye. My favorite circle actually appears in this issue, as Rogol’s eye peering into the opening of the bottled city of Kandor. Bendis has been teasing meaning in this shape for so long that when Superman finally decides he is interested in divining that meaning, the character and the reader are united in purpose. Continue reading

Corruption Within the Corps in Green Lanterns 49

by Spencer Irwin

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

Over the past few years, as police injustices have been brought more and more into the open and it’s become harder and harder to justify supporting them (or often even tolerating them) as an organization, it’s become harder for me to fully buy into the idea of the Green Lantern Corps as well. It’s not the characters that give me pause — I adore Jessica, Simon, Kyle, and Guy — but their space cop routine. I don’t know, maybe that’s the point — so many Green Lantern stories in the past decade have positioned the Corps’ own leadership as their greatest enemies — but it’s certainly a thought that ran through my mind in Green Lanterns 49, where the biggest threat to Jessica Cruz isn’t the crime-lord who helped frame her, but the leaders within the Corps who already had it out for her before that even happened. Continue reading

The Restraint and the Rage of The Man of Steel 4

by Michael DeLaney

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

Outside of certain movies, Superman is not a creature of rage. He does not fly blindly into a situation without tying to think of its ramifications. And most important of all: he does everything possible to ensure the safety of innocent bystanders. The Man of Steel 3 ended with an enraged Superman attacking Rogol Zaar in a rare instance of blind rage. In The Man of Steel 4 Superman quickly comes to his senses, as he regains that trademark composure, restraint and presence of thought. Continue reading

Compassion vs. Accountability in Green Lanterns 48

by Patrick Ehlers

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

One of my coworkers was really upset about Kanye West a couple weeks ago. No shit, right? Her problem wasn’t that West was tweeting racist things about slavery probably being a choice, or even his support of Trump (who she also loathes), but that the entire would was holding a mentally ill man on a psychotic break accountable for his actions. Her argument goes that someone in West’s condition isn’t being themselves — they are literally being their illness. I began to stammer back with some feeble counterargument, something about the illness being made manifest by that person, so while we can practice compassion, we do still have to hold them accountable. “So you think he… put his own spin on mental illness?” she exhaled back at me. Shit. No. What the hell point was I trying to make? All I can really say is that I want anyone who does something wrong to face consequences, but is a mentally ill person really the one “doing” it? We are bad at talking about, dealing with, and even understanding mental illness. Aaron Gillespie and Ronan Cliquet’s Green Lanterns 48 takes our capacity for compassion and places it squarely against law and order. Continue reading

Man of Steel 2: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Drew Baumgartner

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

Michael: Batman is a subject that frequents many pages of my sketchbooks and I assume everyone else’s.  Unlike the versatile Batman, I find that Superman is a harder character to draw, especially in his facial features. The face of Superman has to simultaneously convey strength, joy and a decent amount of charm. Thus far, I am enjoying Brian Michael Bendis’ depiction of Superman, and in Man of Steel 2, he is joined by 3 artists who tap into that Clark Kent Charm. Continue reading

Justice League: No Justice 4: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Spencer Irwin

Justice League No Justice 4

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

Everything changes here!

Comics solicit, traditional

Drew: Okay, that epigraph is maybe too cute by half, but seriously, what does it mean for “everything” to change? The closest parallel I can draw to real life is the conventional wisdom that “a baby changes everything,” but even then, we understand “everything” to be decidedly limited in its scope. Certain events might be life-changing, but only for those with some connection to said events. And yet: comics. Big crossover events are promoted with the promise that the events with change “everything,” and while we might understand “everything” to be limited to the folks involved (in the same way that it is for a birth), there’s also tons of details we might assume exempt from “everything,” from the laws of physics to the peculiarities of english grammar — some things never change. Even so: some comics events are bigger than others, so there’s a range of just what “everything” means. Maybe it’s interpersonal dynamics of the superheroes involved, maybe it’s the principles of the universe as we know it. In its finale, Justice League: No Justice reveals that it falls almost entirely into that latter category, sending the DC Universe into decidedly uncharted territory. Continue reading

The Timeline Skews in Batman 45

By Drew Baumgartner

Batman 45

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

Here’s the present, 1985, the future, and the past. Prior to this point in time, somewhere in the past…the time line skewed into this tangent…creating an alternate 1985. Alternate to you, me, and Einstein…but reality for everyone else.

Doc Brown, Back to the Future Part II

We’re all familiar enough with the notion of alternate timelines and the butterfly effect by this point that any reasonable time-traveler would have to fear ever changing past events — indeed, it’s a sci-fi concept so ubiquitous, even Abe Simpson thought to offer Homer a warning about it on his wedding day. And yet, we still like to imagine “what if” scenarios about making different decisions in only our own pasts, but those of fictional characters. The most well-known “what if” story in superhero comics might well be “For the Man Who Has Everything,” Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s clever parable about fantasy wish fulfillment. Superman’s fantasy necessarily focuses on his own experiences on a non-exploded Krypton, but the absence of Superman would obviously have profound effects back on Earth. That is, there are butterfly effects in that fantasy timeline we never see, that a Krypton-based Kal-El wouldn’t even know about. Cleverly, Tom King and Tony Daniel open on the butterfly effects of their alternate timeline in Batman 45 before circling back to explain how and why this alternate timeline was created in the first place. Continue reading