Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 6/22/16

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We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Doctor Strange 9, Gwenpool 3, Ms. Marvel 8, Power Man and Iron Fist 5, Rocket Raccoon and Groot 6, and The Ultimates 8.

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Deadpool 13

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Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Deadpool 13, originally released June 1, 2016 

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Patrick: Hey, do you think we’re too comfortable with Deadpool? We know he’s a bastard that plays fast and loose with the value of human life, but there’s a jeu de vivre to the character that makes him immanently lovable. But what do readers and fans stand to gain from looking past Wade’s uglier qualities? He’s supposed to be chaotic, he’s supposed to be subversive — those are the Deadpool qualities that we celebrate. But readers sorta need to employ their own fan-canon in order to reconcile that chaos, with the often-adorable, infinitely accepting, ultimately heroic Deadpool we have in our minds. It’s that second version of Deadpool that writer Gerry Duggan has tapped for the better part of the last three years to build up Deadpool’s cast of friends, employees and even family. Recent issues have seen those relationships strained, or even destroyed, leaving Wade Wilson to be reflected upon and defined by people outside his inner circle in issue 13. Cleverly, issue 13 is also kind of an issue of Daredevil and kind of an issue of Power Man & Iron Fist, meaning the opinions we’re getting aren’t just from characters outside of Deadpool, but creators outside of Deadpool. The consensus? Wade Wilson kinda sucks.

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Power Man and Iron Fist 4

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Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Power Man and Iron Fist 4, originally released May 18th, 2016.

Spencer: The beating heart at the center of David Walker, Sanford Greene, and Lee Loughridge’s Power Man and Iron Fist is the friendship between its titular heroes. It should’ve been obvious, then, that the primary theme of this series would be “the power of friendship,” but that’s actually an idea that didn’t come fully into focus until this month’s issue four, the finale of the series’ first storyline. Even more interestingly, the true strength of friendship (and its advantages over other kinds of power) isn’t driven home by Luke and Danny, but by the villains, Jennie Royce and Black Mariah. In fact, it’s their friendship that makes Danny and especially Luke reprioritize their own friendship. Continue reading

Iron Fist: the Living Weapon 2

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Iron Fist: the Living Weapon 2, originally released May 7th, 2014.

Taylor: What is it that makes ninjas so dang appealing? There’s something about the stealthy assassins that has captured the imagination of both America and Japan. Is it their black garb, the shuriken, or the ability to penetrate the most secure locations? We know that in reality ninjas weren’t exactly all that sexy, but we can’t help but romanticize that which has a touch of the foreign and a taste of the myth. From kung fu movies to the Dragonball Z, the idea of the ninja has become such cultural touchstone that few blink when one makes its appearance on the page or screen. Sadly, that also means their overused. Not all ninja stories are good and despite the allure of the shinobi, I find even myself weary of many ninja-themed narratives. Fortunately, Iron Fist is not one of the narratives. In a brilliant and beautiful second issue we are treated to a story that reminds us all just why we fell in love with ninjas in the first place.

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Chat Cave: Marvel + Netflix = Defenders

Last week, Marvel Studios announced that it would be producing four original, live-action series for Netflix — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist — and a Defenders mini-series that would theoretically tie them all together. Marvel Studios proved they were capable of conquering the well-established medium of feature-length films, and Agents of S.H.IE.L.D. is already a monster hit for ABC, can they accomplish the same in the untested waters of the Netflix Originals market? What’s in it for them? What’s in it for us? Hell, do  you even have room in your heart to love FIVE NEW SERIES? Welcome to the Chat Cave.
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Fearless Defenders 9

Alternating Currents: Fearless Defenders 9, Taylor and Drew

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Fearless Defenders 9, originally released September 11th, 2013.

Taylor: Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Bros before hoes, sisters before misters. Men and women are two different species. Such platitudes have been woven into the fabric of society since the dawn of civilization. Given their age, you might find yourself uttering such phrases during awkward conversations in the lunch room at work because you know they will be accepted with little umbrage. However, that doesn’t make these seemingly innocuous phrases any less offensive or misinformed. While men and women are different in many respects, the truth is they share far more similarities than differences. Some might call this a progressive view, but in reality it’s just a logical one. With that being said, you would think Fearless Defenders, a title which seemingly strives to show that female superheroes are just the same as male superheroes, would champion the similarities between the sexes rather than exaggerate them. But is issue nine, which examines this idea, up to the task?

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Deadpool 14

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Today, Scott and Ethan are discussing Deadpool 14, originally released August 14th, 2013.

Scott: Nothing is more satisfying to me than making a good joke. As an aspiring writer/comedian, sometimes it’s impossible for me to get out of “joke mode”. Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you, it gets annoying. For every good laugh I provide, there are many groaners and bad puns to endure. For me, it’s worth it, as long as I get some good hearty chuckles. I’m thinking Deadpool writers Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan are after something similar. Like me, they seem willing to sacrifice introspection for a witty one-liner, deep thoughts for goofy non sequiturs. They tend to have a lot more hits than misses, so it’s easy to forgive any shortcomings in their writing, but Deadpool 14, more than maybe any other issue, begs the question: is it worth reading a comic that exists solely for the purpose of humor? In an issue where the plot rehashes points that have already been made, the jokes are just about the only things making it feel fresh.

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Deadpool 13

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Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 13, originally released July 17th, 2013.

Ethan: Back in issue #7 of Deadpool, the writers and artists took us on a timewarp with a faux, never-before-printed “inventory special”. The issue was allegedly produced in the late 70s/early 80s giving the team an excuse to indulge in 10 times the saturation of pop culture references in the already saturated title. It was an entertaining  issue in its own right and a nice break after the Zombie Presidents arc. Now that Vetis is taken care of, writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn and artists Scott Koblish and Val Staples are back to their tricks with another trip back to the era of disco. And if you think the bell bottoms and dated catch-phrases were flying thick and fast last time, you might want to sit down and hold onto something before you open #13. The hair is longer, the polyester is louder, and the racism is, if far from accurately depicted, at least touched on.

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Daredevil 27

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Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 27, originally released June 26th, 2013. 

Mikyzptlk: I’ll just come right out and say it, the conclusion to Age of Ultron was a huge disappointment to me. It felt less like a conclusion, and more like a setup to a bunch of other books that I may not even be interested in reading. I’m not saying I won’t be reading any of them necessarily, but it’s a pretty annoying to see a story “end” by telling me I have to read all of these other books to learn about any potential consequences of the story I’ve been reading for 10 issues. So, what the hell does this have to do with Daredevil you ask? Well, I get that comics, by nature, are supposed to get you to come back month after month. The thing is, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that. And, with the conclusion of the latest Daredevil arc, Mark Waid proves he knows how to do it rightContinue reading

Age of Ultron 2

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Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Age of Ultron 2, originally released March 13th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Ethan: In recent years, after the financial markets fell screaming into their perennial nosedive, the city of Detroit hasn’t done so well. Workers who had spent their lives with a company were laid off, branches were closed, businesses died, buildings were abandoned. Over time, the violence of the changes and departures faded as the temperatures, wind, and microorganisms went to work. Materials that we associate with longevity — brick, stone, even plastics — took on a distinctly alien appearance of decay. The effect even got a name — “ruin porn” — and photographers from across the country flocked to capture the scenes. Reading through the second issue of Age of Ultron evokes the same mix of wonder and horror, albeit the decay is in much fresher stage, and the characters are fictional. Bryan Hitch continues to deliver impressive vistas of metropolis in its death throes, and writer Brian Michael Bendis fills these images with sparks of life as the heroes try to find their place in the new world.

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