Rise of the Black Panther 1: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Ryan Desaulniers

Rise of the Black Panther 1

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

“Spinoff!” Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?

Troy McClure, “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase”

Drew: That epigraph might seem a bit glib, but while I understand the criticisms spinoffs get for being uninspired or safe, I’d never dismiss a spinoff as a matter of course. Case in point: The Simpsons is technically a spinoff from The Tracey Ullman Show, but that didn’t stop it from becoming arguably the greatest sitcom of all time. And actually, the discrete nature of The Tracey Ullman Show might just have been part of what makes The Simpsons so successful — there isn’t the temptation to feature cameos from the original show, the way Frasier might with Cheers, for example. That is, The Simpsons could operate in its own world, untethered to the sensibilities of its origin. Unfortunately, despite the decades that separate The Rise of the Black Panther from its main series, it never really manages to form its own identity. Continue reading

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International Iron Man 2

internat'l iron man2

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing International Iron Man 2, originally released April 27th, 2016.

Patrick: We hear a lot of grumbling about the ubiquity of original stories in superhero fiction. Hell, I do a bunch of it myself. Aside from the fact that we’ve basically seen them all before, one of the reasons these stories feel so unsatisfying is because there’s a huge leap in logic from traumatizing inciting event to costumed superheroics. A young Bruce Wayne sees his parents gunned down, and the only gaps between that and Batman that we ever need filled in are those that answer how he become such a physical bad-ass. But obsessions, passions and pathologies don’t develop in an instant — they grow over a lifetime. International Iron Man 2 explores more of what makes Tony Stark tick in those small, measured moments between dramatic reveals, even as Tony himself searches for answer he knows will be unsatisfying. Continue reading

Iron Man 11

iron man 11

Today, Shelby and guest writer Pete Pfarr are discussing Iron Man 11, originally released June 5th, 2013.

Shelby: What makes us the people we are? Is it our environment, our peers, our experiences that shape us, or is our “personness” innate, something coded into our very genes? It’s pretty safe to say that who we are is influenced by both internal and external factors; we’re such complicated creatures that there’s no way to point to one factor, internally or externally, and claim that’s what made us. Unless you’re Tony Stark of course: unsurprisingly, he has a robot to thank/blame for everything that makes him the man he is.
Continue reading

Iron Man 10

Alternating Currents: Iron Man 10, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Iron Man 10, originally released May 15th, 2013.

Drew: Steven Soderberg’s Ocean’s 11 had a lot going for it: lavish, exciting locations, an all-star cast playing colorful characters, and a crackerjack heist story that kept the audience guessing until the end, just to name a few. Of course, none of those things were particularly original — the film was a remake, after all — but it was unlike anything that was being made at the time. Two sequels and countless copycats later, those ideas don’t feel nearly as fresh, which unfortunately leaves Iron Man 10 (or should I call it “Stark’s 7”?) dead on arrival. Continue reading

Iron Man 9

iron man 9

Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Pete Pfarr are discussing Iron Man 9, originally released May 1st, 2013.

Patrick: Expectations are a bitch. Sometimes we perceive quality based solely on the similarity a work of art has to what qualities we were expecting it to have. Expectations make us say things like “Fantastic Four is supposed to be fun!” or “Evil Dead is supposed to be campy!” Thanks to the cinematic juggernaut that is the Iron Man film series, there are an awful lot of “supposed to”s for Tony Stark. As Kieron Gillen starts a new story arc for Iron Man, he lays all our precious expectations out on the table and then shakes his finger sternly. Whatever we’re getting here, it ain’t what we expect. Continue reading