This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
A hallmark of any Chip Zdarsky comic book is the writer’s free-flowing brand of humor. This makes him an ideal choice for everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, whose motor mouth humor has been known to get more than the occasional wince and eye-roll. Thus, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 4 marks Spider-Man’s first foray into the world of stand-up comedy. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 20, originally released May 17th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
Drew: We like to think that the truth in an unstoppable force, that its discovery is inevitable. It’s a comforting thought, and may very well be true over the long-run, but heaven knows it can be effectively obfuscated in the short term. This is exactly what Doreen finds herself up against in the depressingly timely Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 20, as Melissa Morbeck attempts to frame her for her own crimes. Ryan North and Erica Henderson pack the issue with enough parallels to the 2016 election to make the familiarity sting, but manage to keep it just as packed with jokes, maintaining their distinctive levity, even as things look their bleakest.
Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Silk 14, originally released November 16th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: As if it weren’t apparent already, humans are walking studies in contradictions. One minute we may say or feel one thing and the next end up saying the exact opposite. Often this isn’t the result of bad intentions – few people want to be so wishy-washy – but it’s hard for people to predict how they will feel about something in the future compared to how they are thinking about it in the present. If there is anything that defines Cindy Moon from other flawed superheroes, this is the feature. Despite her best efforts, Cindy is constantly in a state of flux, desiring something one minute and dismissing it the next. While this could make her unlikable as a character, I find it makes her all the more interesting because it is something that makes her truly human.
Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Silk 6, originally released March 16th, 2015.
Taylor: Many of the stories I’ve encountered in my time reading comics exist in a world that is split into two halves. There are those who are good and those who are bad. S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Hydra. The Light Side vs. the Dark Side. While these worlds are the setting for compelling stories, they aren’t necessarily a reflection of our own world. It’s rare today that something or someone can be considered entirely good or evil. Silk 6 recognizes this, and in doing so, shows us that sometimes choosing between right and wrong isn’t as easy as most comics would have us believe.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Silk 7, originally released September 2nd, 2015.
Taylor: At one point or another we’ve all pondered what we would if the world was ending. At first glance it seems like a macabre question but in truth it’s anything but. Essentially the question is asking what’s important in life and what you value. Rather than focusing on death, I find that to be a rather life affirming question. Luckily, it seems unlikely any of use will have to face this scenario, but those in the Marvel universe aren’t so fortunate. As the world ends, due to the Secret Wars, Cindy Moon (aka Silk) must decide how she wants to spend her last day on planet Earth. In the process, I came to see exactly what she values in life and what drives her to be a hero.
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Silk 5, originally released June 10th, 2015.
Spencer: Asking for help isn’t easy. It should be, because we all need help from time to time (or, perhaps more accurately, almost constantly), yet there’s often a stigma against asking for help. Needing helps means admitting that you can’t do everything all by yourself; oftentimes it means admitting that you were wrong, or that you failed. In the case of Cindy Moon — a.k.a. Silk — it also means revealing some of her deepest secrets. Yup, asking for help can be downright difficult, but it’s also absolutely essential if we want to keep moving forward in life. Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee’s Silk 5 finds Cindy finally reaching out for help in both her superheroic and civilian personas, and in both cases it’s without a doubt the best possible decision. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 3, originally released June 25th, 2014.
Patrick: If you go back and read our discussions on Superior Spider-Man, you’ll notice that one thing keeps popping up over and over again: what it means to be a hero. The concept of Otto’s identity, and how it melded with the concept of Spider-Man, was something that we brought up on a bi-monthly basis. I mean, if you look at our very first discussion of the series, Drew starts with the line “What does it mean to be good?” Writer Dan Slott was so good at putting Otto in situations that challenged both his heroism and his villainy, and it changed who Spider-Man is and how Spider-Man operates. With Peter Parker back in the driver’s seat, it’s becoming clear that some of those changes don’t wash away with a quick mind re-swap. Issue 3 finds Spider-Man — and everyone else — dealing with this latest discrepancy, and not everyone’s so happy with the restored status quo. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 27, originally released February 12th, 2014.
Spencer: One of the most enjoyable aspects of a writer having a long run on a title is watching elements from earlier issues resurface in surprising ways later on down the line. I think perhaps my favorite example of this is in Jon Rogers’ pre-reboot Blue Beetle run, where Jaime Reyes managed to bring back weapons, plans, and allies from nearly every one of his earlier adventures to use in his epic endgame against the Reach. It brought a nice sense of closure and finality to the proceedings, not to mention made for a thrilling game of “catch-the-reference.” I got a similar feeling from this week’s Superior Spider-Man, where plot points writer Dan Slott has been seeding for the past 27 issues begin coming back en masse, both to Otto’s relief and to his detriment. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 14, originally released July 24th, 2013.
Drew: Vigilantism. It’s the concept that best describes the majority of comic book heroes. They operate outside of the law, making them criminals. At least, an individual vigilante is called a criminal. Of course, many comics have found interest in growing beyond the individual vigilante — the Justice League, the Avengers, Batman Incorporated — but most of those groups have made peace with their respective governments. What do you call it if a vigilante becomes an army without making nice? In a word: war. Writer Dan Slott brings us right to the brink of war in Superior Spider-Man 14 as Otto unwittingly unites an army against Spider-Man. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 13, originally released July 10th, 2013.
“What we leave behind is something we each determine, through the way we live our lives. Whether we achieve something we can be proud of, or fall short, we have only ourselves to blame.”
—The Superior Spider-Man, Otto Octavius
Spencer: From Ghost-Peter’s laments about how Otto was tarnishing his good name to Otto’s annoyance over his future inventions all being credited to Peter, legacy has been a reoccurring concern in the Superior Spider-Man since its very beginning. After the events of this issue Otto is ready to create a new legacy, free from the influence of Peter Parker, but without Peter’s guidance and memories, can he truly live up to the high moral standards of Spider-Man? Otto said it himself: if he leaves behind a legacy of failure or terror, he’s only got himself to blame.