Joy and Frustration in New Super-Man 17

by Mark Mitchell

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

There’s a lot of joy in the opening pages of Gene Luen Yang and Joe Lalich’s New Super-Man 17 as Kenan Kong and his Justice League of China friends get to meet their older, more experienced OG idols. Super-Man and Superman already met a few issues back, and Avery and the Flash are already buds, but this is the first time Bat-Man gets to meet Batman, and Wonder-Woman gets to meet Wonder Woman, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Continue reading

Advertisements

New Super-Man 16 Drags Historic Racism into the Present

by Mark Mitchell

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

Recently on my morning commute, I’ve been catching up on the Washington Post‘s new(ish) podcast, Constitutional. The podcast’s third episode, “Nationality,” traces the story of Wong Kim Ark, a man born in San Francisco to Chinese parents whose Supreme Court case determined that being born in America made you an American citizen. And while that brief summary makes it sound like his story is a victory for the foundational ideals of America, the details paint a much less satisfying picture. It’s no secret that America is historically a deeply racist country, and that efforts to make forward progress are continually contested making victories hard-won. New Super-Man 16 reminds us how casually pervasive racism used to be, but also provides a measure for some of the progress that has been made. Continue reading

The Art Fails the Cast of New Super-Man 15

by Mark Mitchell

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

Gene Luen Yang hasn’t shown much interest in subtlety throughout the run of New Super-Man, but even by those standards New Super-Man 15 is remarkably direct. Multiple times during the action, characters directly address the differences between the West and China. These differences — language, cultural, and especially political — come into literal conflict when the Justice League of China brawls with the Suicide Squad. It’s not subtle, but it is exciting. All of the action, plus the Kong family’s domestic drama continuing to build, makes for the most thrilling issue of New Super-Man to date. Continue reading

The Flash 29 Is An Issue Divided

by Spencer Irwin

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

The bi-weekly shipping schedule DC’s implemented for some of its top books has been a benefit to the speed of the narrative, but it’s been more problematic when it comes to the artwork. While some titles have found elegant solutions to this problem, others have worked their way through fill-in artists almost haphazardly. The Flash, unfortunately, is one of the latter, and issue 29 is especially egregious in that regard. Continue reading

Self-Pity as a Weapon in The Flash 28

by Spencer Irwin

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

Barry Allen’s greatest weakness is that he gets caught up inside his own head. When Barry’s upset about something it’s all he can think about, making him late, making him oblivious to the needs of those around him, making him oblivious to the damage his own obliviousness is causing. It’s a vicious cycle; Barry feels bad about himself and retreats into his own head, leading him to make more, similar mistakes, leading him to feel worse about himself, leading him to make more mistakes, on and on and on. Continue reading

Crazy Twists Bring the Fun in Green Lanterns 27

by Mark Mitchell

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

I’m a sucker for a big, sci-fi twist. I love the ending of Tim Burton’s misguided 2001 Planet of the Apes reboot with Mark Whalberg’s Leo Davidson crashing back to “Earth” in front of the Lincoln Memorial… which Burton then reveals to actually be Ape-raham Lincoln. It’s a twist that makes exactly zero sense when considered for even a passing moment, but it’s capital “F” Fun and that’s good enough for me. Continue reading

It’s One Step Forward and Two Steps Back for Barry in The Flash 26

by Spencer Irwin

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

Guilt alone is not usually enough to help somebody change for the better. It’s an important first step, of course, but unless it leads to self-reflection, guilt can often do more harm than good. That’s certainly true for Barry Allen throughout Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter’s The Flash 26, where Barry’s overwhelming guilt leads him to make yet another stupid decision, despite the best of intentions. Continue reading

Thawne Has a Point in the Flash 25

by Mark Mitchell

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

The danger in discussing a single issue of a serialized comic book is that a moment or character beat that doesn’t work in isolation might end up folding in nicely once more of the story is laid out to see. Since comic books are designed to tell their stories episodically, the fact that irrational behavior might be explained in the future doesn’t forgive the initial irritation, but it does help calm it. Such is the case in Joshua Williamson’s The Flash 25, where my profound annoyance in the previous two issues (especially The Flash 23) at Barry being so unaware of how selfish and dangerous he’s been by not telling Iris about his secret identity is resolved simply by having Barry acknowledge his foolishness. Continue reading

Super Sons 5: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Michael DeLaney

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

slim-banner

Mark: When I was about twelve years old, some friends and I got it in our heads that we deserved to go to a Six Flags theme park located two hours away from our city. We had just wrapped up a school assignment and were feeling pretty good about it; going to Six Flags was, to our minds, a reasonable reward for a job well done. My parents, for what I now recognize to be completely legitimate reasons, were quick to kibosh the idea — they weren’t interested in driving a Suburban full of sweaty pre-teens two hours to a theme park, driving two hours home, and then doing it all again later that night in order to pick us up. Plus, since I was twelve and had no money of my own to pay for park admission or food once I got in, they would basically be paying me $100 for the pleasure. All because me and my friends felt like we should be rewarded for completing our homework. I was furious.

Dealing with pre-teens and teenagers can be infuriating. They are, after all, categorically terrible; self-absorption coupled with crippling insecurity is a toxic combination. But it’s not their fault nature made them that way. Kids are constantly confronted with situations and decisions they are ill-prepared to face, lacking both the context and emotional experience to properly process and asses the situation. But that doesn’t make it any less irritating to be around them. Continue reading

Knowledge is the Key to Victory in the Flash 24

by Spencer Irwin

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

Knowledge is power. Yeah, it’s cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less true; it’s especially true throughout Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, and Pop Mhan’s The Flash 24, where the power dynamics between each character are defined almost solely by how much they know. Not only does the Flash’s victory over Multiplex come, not from brute strength, but from using his CSI skills to learn about his opponent, but Reverse Flash’s utter domination of all who face him is largely powered by his knowledge of the time before the New 52. Continue reading