The Green Team 1

green team 1

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing The Green Team 1, originally released May 22nd, 2013.

Patrick: Ethan and I both live in LA, but since I live in Hollywood and he lives in Culver City, we don’t make the cross-city trek very often to see each other. To compensate for this totally-surmountable distance between us, we’ll send texts to each other that basically mirror the kind of nonsense conversations he and I will have in the comment sections of our articles. He sent me this link last Friday to a great Wondermark comic about Batman. (Totally worth the click, FYI.) Basically, the strip pokes fun at Bruce Wayne’s application of his vast fortune to fight crime through superheroics, and not through research and philanthropy and politics and charity. It’s not a totally fair assessment of how Bruce spends his money — he does invest a lot of money into Gotham infrastructure — but the point is crystal clear: aren’t there better uses of fortunes than outfitting a Batman? Art Baltazar and Franco’s The Green Team looks like it’s going to address this question head on, but then veers into dully familiar superhero territory.
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Blue Beetle 14

Alternating Currents: Blue Beetle 14, Drew and ShelbyToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Blue Beetle 14, originally released November 21st, 2012.

Drew: Last month, Patrick accused Blue Beetle of pulling a Million Dollar Baby — that is, getting you emotionally invested in the narrative, only to dramatically switch the story it is telling in the final act. I can totally understand being frustrated with Million Dollar Baby for tricking us into watching a heavy-handed morality play, but I actually appreciate that it did something more interesting with its scrappy, up-and-coming boxer (win or lose, Rocky has already been there). It suddenly became much harder to summarize, wading into heady ideas in lieu of simple events, and found something besides simple pride to mine from the relationship formed between Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank’s characters. With that more specific definition — that Million Dollar Baby switches from a rote, event-driven story to a character-driven meditation on family — I would actually classify Blue Beetle‘s recent tonal change as a reverse-Million Dollar Baby. Continue reading

Blue Beetle 13

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Blue Beetle 13, originally released October 17th, 2012.

Patrick: Did you guys see Million Dollar Baby? I’m going to spoil it right here, so fair warning. The first two-thirds of the movie is a rousing sports movie: Hilary Swank plays  a lady-boxer and Clint Eastwood plays her curmudgeonly coach/manager. During one of the big bouts, Hilary Swank falls and breaks her neck. She breaks her neck. The final 45 minutes of the movie become a morality play exploring Clint Eastwood’s decision to take his paralyzed pupil off life-support. The plot, the tone, the pacing — it all turns on a dime. Suddenly you’re watching a different movie with the same characters. I hated this shift, partially because I felt the message of the later third was heavy-handed, but mostly because I liked the boxing movie. Million Dollar Baby lured me into its world with something I found genuinely attractive and then took it away from me. Blue Beetle, why you gotta Million Dollar Baby me?

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Blue Beetle 0

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Blue Beetle 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Blue Beetle 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Patrick: The Blue Beetle series is unique among DC Comics for a lot of different reasons. Jaime Reyes is a normal teenager, who comes from the most convincing (and traditionally complete, I might add) family I’ve read since Animal Man. Most teenage heroes don’t sweat being on their own, but Jaime’s decision to leave home to protect his friends and family is appropriately difficult. He doesn’t know how to use his powers, but mostly he just doesn’t know how to live on his own. His life is scary in ways both totally relateable and completely unimaginable. Jaime’s also one of the only Chicano characters I’m reading – and unlike other half-assed attempts at integrating other cultures into comics, Jaime’s culture actually has a bearing on the thrust of the story: characters speak Spanglish, they attend Quinceañeras, their families are large and close. But the zero issue leaves most of that behind to explore the history of the Scarab on Jaime’s back – this is the story of Khaji-Da.

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Red Hood and the Outlaws 0

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Red Hood and the Outlaws 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Drew: Back when we started reading this title, Patrick and I couldn’t believe how much we liked it. We were wary of this title, famous for it’s leering depiction of Starfire, but Scott Lobdell’s charming characters and Kenneth Rocafort’s distinctive art won us over. The title was a blast, and we couldn’t understand all the ire that was directed at Lobdell — he seemed like a great writer to us. Our love affair started to wane a bit as Rocafort left, and branching out into Lobdell’s other titles left us unimpressed, leading us to question Lobdell’s prowess as a writer (perhaps unfairly). Is Lobdell the clever writer we thought, or the hack so many were making him out to be? In Red Hood and the Outlaws 0, Lobdell seems to address that question head-on, counting on our writing him off as pedestrian in order to better shock us with a earth-shifting twist in the epilogue. Continue reading