Not Quite a Moral Challenge in Superman 40

By Mark Mitchell

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

While Superman’s abilities to punch hard, fly fast, and jump high are the sizzle to his steak, the real meat (pardon the tortured metaphor) of Clark Kent as a character is his strong moral center. Comic books are lousy with characters possessing superpowers, but only a precious few represent truth and goodness like the man from Krypton. That’s why the Superman stories that really stick with us are the ones that find ways to challenge his moral certitude — and by challenging it, ultimately end up amplifying it even more. At multiple points, James Robinson and Doug Mahnke’s Superman 40 is on the precipice of testing the Man of Steel’s philosophical strength in interesting ways, but never shows any interest in doing so.

Continue reading

Doctor Strange 7/Doctor Strange: Last Days of Magic 1

doctor strange roundupToday, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Doctor Strange 7 and Doctor Strange: Last Days of Magic 1, originally released April 27th, 2016.

dr strange div

Doctor Strange 7

Spencer: Science vs. magic, in one form or another, has been a debate since the beginning of time. Those fighting this battle defend their side vehemently, probably because the conflict taps into a number of elemental aspects of the human condition, such as the origin of life, the idea of a higher power, and perhaps most fundamentally, the balance between order and chaos. The thing most people lose sight of, though — especially the Imperator of the Empirikul, villain of Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s Doctor Strange 7 — is that it isn’t an either/or proposition. Science and magic can, and should, exist side-by-side. Continue reading

Fantastic Four 2

fantastic four 2Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Fantastic Four 2, originally released March 12th, 2014.

Patrick: I don’t like the way James Robinson writes dialogue. Don’t like it. He invents unnecessarily awkward contractions; his characters use cliché superhero rhetoric; there are frequent problems with subject-verb agreement; and he’ll mix up countable and uncountable objects (using words like “fewer” and “less” incorrectly). I can accept some of these “mistakes” as affectations of Robinson’s characters: lord knows Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm aren’t going to edit the words that come out of their mouths. But dialogue is like 5% of a comic, right? As long as the art and incident are compelling, a few glaringly stupid sentences shouldn’t bother me, right? RIGHT!? Continue reading

Earth-2 5

Today, Shelby and Courtney are discussing Earth-2 5, originally released October 3rd, 2012.

Shelby: Reintroducing old heroes to old audiences is not easy. The whole New 52 relaunch has been about juggling continuity and fresh stories to keep both new and old readers satisfied.  I’ve seen it as a great opportunity to learn more about characters new to me. I don’t feel so attached to old continuity, and instead like to discuss the differences between the old and the new, and what they mean for the story as a whole. I don’t know how I’m supposed to have a meaningful discussion, however, when I’m distracted by poor writing and cluttered art.
Continue reading

DC Universe Presents 0

Today, Patrick (guest writer) Bryan Coratti are discussing DC Universe Presents 0, originally released September 19, 2012. DC Universe Presents 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

There are five separate stories within DC Universe Presents 0, each one from series that were cancelled back in April. Generally, these stories serve as excellent reminders of why those series were shit-canned in the first place. Patrick and Bryan tackle these stories one-by-one.

Continue reading

Earth-2 0

Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Earth-2 0, originally released September 5, 2012. Earth-2 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Peter: The Second Wave was an interesting move on DC’s part: start handful of series half way through the publishing year. So, many of them launched right in to full-blown stories. The Zero Issues have allowed them some breathing room. Specifically the Earth-2 Zero Issue has allowed James Robinson to flesh out some history before the chaotic and destructive #1 and introduce a new character rooted in the history of Earth-2, and his fate is still uncertain.

Continue reading

Earth-2 4

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Earth-2 4, originally released August 1st, 2012.

Patrick:  Self-awareness is all the rage these days. You can get away with telling any story – no matter how cliche or inane – by simply having the characters acknowledge the various well-worn tropes they’re engaged in. It’s a safe way for writers and film-makers to assure their audience that they’re in on the joke – yes, we all know how crazy this looks. Joss Whedon is the king of this sort of thing (y’all saw Avengers, right?), but you see it everywhere. There are a couple of draw-backs to this approach, but the biggest danger is that of white-washing your characters’ personalities. If everyone is savvy enough to comment on their genre-adventures, then no one’s really an individual. Another big draw-back is that it makes everyone extremely — and interchangeably — chatty. While Earth-2 manages some neat concepts and fun characters, the cut-and-paste nature of the dialogue is holding it back in a serious way.
Continue reading

Earth-2 3

Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Earth-2 3, originally released July 4th, 2012.

Peter:  Alan Scott’s sexual orientation has been quite the hot topic lately. But Alan’s transformation into the Green Lantern of Earth-2 brings with it many more interesting and surprising developments than just the one hot-button issue. As Earth-2 slowly repopulates with costume heroes, he will certainly be playing large role. The character has been pretty much completely redone with the New 52, which means we have a total reinvention of the Green Lantern side of his character. But there is no way I am going to spoil that on the home page.
Continue reading

Earth-2 2

Today, Peter and Drew are discussing Earth-2 2, originally released June 6th, 2012.

Peter:  Earth-2 is a world without heroes. Issue 2 shows us the return of the heroic age. Unfortunately, since the world was ravaged by the Apokolypse War, people have become a little wary of heroes. In a brand new world for DC, we see a lot of creative world building. As the second issue for this Second Wave title, world building continues to be the forefront, just as DC promised in the Second Wave.
Continue reading

Earth-2 1

Today, Peter and Shelby are discussing Earth-2 1, originally released May 2nd, 2012.

Peter:  We have officially reached the Second Wave of the New 52. With it, we see the reintroduction of the DC Multiverse, and thus alternate versions of some of our favorite super heroes. We begin here with Earth-2 #1, which will then lead us into the rest of this brave new world.
Continue reading