Drew: I’ve expressed this before, but I’m somewhat uncomfortable with parenting stories — not because there’s anything wrong with them, but because I’m necessarily lacking the parenting experience to be able to appreciate them fully. With each issue of Saga, Brian K. Vaughan has put those concerns out of my head — I’m not the last man alive, either, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying his Y: The Last Man — but with issue 19, he takes that relatability a step further. Indeed, he so intimately catalogues the reshuffling of priorities of early parenthood that — in at least some small way — I fell like I actually understand what it might mean to be a parent.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 15 originally released December 19th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Drew: Back when I first read Red Hood and the Outlaws 0, I was in awe of the backup revealing the Joker’s role in Jason’s life. I wasn’t sure at the time whether or not I truly believed Joker’s story (he’s not the most reliable narrator), but the thought that it could be true was a fascinating idea. One of the things that struck me about that story is that it more or less confirms that Joker knows who Batman (and by extension, the rest of the bat-family) is, a notion that has been at the forefront of the Death of the Family event. I’ve staunchly defended the possibility that the Joker is bluffing, but this issue’s focus on his relationship with Jason makes that outcome seem as remote as ever. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 14, originally released November 21st, 2012.
Shelby: I’m in an interesting position reviewing Red Hood and the Outlaws. I didn’t start reading this title until the last arc with Kori and her home planet. I missed out on those first few issues that Drew and Patrick raved about. Even without reading those first issues, I can understand what they liked in this book; these are three very unique characters, and together they form a very unique team. But I feel like all the last handful of issues has done is show me what this book could be instead of just living up to its potential.
Drew: I hate recommending art. From movies to books to music, I think there’s something really presumptuous about the statement “you’d like this.” Moreover, I hate what recommending that art says about me, especially if the person I recommended it to didn’t like the art in question. This may all stem from a particularly traumatic recommending experience where, while staying overnight at my cousins, I insisted that we all watch the TGIF programming bloc — a mainstay of my Friday nights at home. For whatever reason, this particular Friday aligned with all four shows delivering episodes uncharacteristically romantic in nature. I’m sure it was as tame as a kitten fight, but it struck my young mind as profoundly inappropriate — at least in part because I was acutely aware that my aunt had already banned The Simpsons in her household, which seemed unfathomable to me. As if to intentionally make me feel more devious in my tastes, at the conclusion of the night, she remarked, “well, that’s really not the kind of thing we like to watch around here.” The absurdity of being made to feel TGIF was inappropriate aside, I still get incredibly nervous when someone consumes art on my recommendation. That feeling is only exacerbated in cases of serialized narratives, where the sampled episode/issue may not be indicative of what you actually like about it. That’s more or less the feeling I have introducing Shelby to Red Hood and the Outlaws with issue 13. Continue reading
Drew: We tend to talk a lot about writers here at Retcon Punch. We certainly pay attention to the art, and have often found rewarding things to discuss when doing so, but we always seem to come back to the writer. Writers have so much control, particularly over the kinds of things we like to talk about here — character development, voice, plotting — but forgetting how much influence the artist has over the final product is a mistake. It’s like valuing a film or playwright’s input over that of the director or actors’; sure, it make sense in theory, but you don’t have to see too many community theater productions of Shakespeare to know that even the best scripts can be muddled in the wrong hands. It’s unfortunate that it often takes examples like the community theater to emphasize the importance of the other collaborators, and it is also unfortunate that this issue is one such example. Continue reading