Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 3/8/17

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 All-New Wolverine 18, Captain America Steve Rogers, Old Man Logan 19, Power Man and Iron Fist 14, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 18 and Unbelievable Gwenpool 14. Also, we discussed IvX 6 on Thursday, and will be discussing Nova 4 on Monday and Man-Thing 1 and Silver Surfer 9 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Royal City 1

Today, Ryan D. and Spencer are discussing Royal City 1, originally released March 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: In my first weeks as an English major at college, I learned a lesson which, at the time, blew my mind: don’t trust the narrator. Most of what I’d read for high school or for pleasure until then featured omniscient or objective narration, so finally tackling novel’s like Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, wherein Chief Bromden casually mentions the walls oozing, or Nabokov’s Lolita, in which the main character very subjectively rationalizes his pederasty, really expanded my mind as to how an author could influence an audience and curate their reading experience. While I have come to expect writer and artist Jeff Lemire to throw down some tricks for a new title, the reveal at the end of Royal City 1 treated my brain to a lovely narrative twist which has my eye opened skeptically towards narrators all over again. Continue reading

Descender 18

descender-18Today, Spencer and Ryan D. are discussing Descender 18, originally released January 18th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: In Descender‘s earliest issues, Tim-21 was easily its star attraction. That’s not to say I didn’t love everything else the series had to offer; it’s just that the sweet, adorable, largely helpless companion bot instantly captured my heart. Throughout their third and fourth arcs, though, Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen have doubled-down on fleshing out the rest of their cast, allowing them to keep pace with Tim’s massive appeal. Descender 18 feels like the culmination of this work, yet throws in an ironic twist; the series distances itself from Tim-21 just as he becomes more important than ever to its central mythology. Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 1/11/17

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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 All-Star Wolverine 16, Captain America: Steve Rogers 9, IvX 2, Mighty Thor 15, Ms. Marvel 14, Power Man and Iron Fist 12 and Silk 16. Also, we discussed Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 16 on Thursday and Deadpool 24 today, and will be discussing Daredevil 15 on Wednesdayso come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 1/4/17

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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 Deadpool the Duck 1, Hawkeye 2, Moon Knight 10, Nova 2, Old Man Logan 16 and Unworthy Thor 3. We discussed Captain America Sam Wilson 17 on Thursday and U.S.Avengers 1 today, and we’ll be discussing Unstoppable Wasp 1 on Tuesdayso come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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IvX 1

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Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing IvX 1, originally released December 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Last month’s IvX 0 did a fantastic job of summing up the conflict between the Inhumans and the X-Men and showing why their going to war was only a matter of time. Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, and Leinil Francis Yu’s IvX 1, though, is the issue where that powder keg finally ignites into all-out war, and war…well, war is ugly. IvX 1 plays up the fun of watching these two groups duke it out, but also the pain and sadness inherent in its scenario. Continue reading

Moon Knight 9

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Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Moon Knight 9, originally released December 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Spencer: One of the greatest things about superhero comics is how thoroughly they live in the realm of metaphor. The limitless possibilities provided by the Marvel and DC universes mean that creators can take the most abstract of concepts and make them literal, physical threats for our heroes to face head-on. Sometimes this can oversimplify things, sure, but under the pens of the best creators this provides an opportunity to explore complicated subjects in a more straightforward manner. That’s certainly the case with Moon Knight 9, where Jeff Lemire and his murderers’ row of artists tackle Marc Spector’s mental illness in a way that’s simultaneously realistic and about as sci-fi as humanly possible. Continue reading

Death of X 4

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Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Death of X 4, originally released November 23rd, 2015.

Patrick: At the risk of making a statement that’s been made a million times already: 2016 has been a hell of a year for high-profile deaths. Calling them “celebrity deaths” would be underselling it — figures like Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro and Prince virtually changed the fabric of reality simply by existing in it. But for all their earth-shifting influence, their deaths were all quiet, ultimately meaningless affairs. These revolutionaries did not die they way they lived, which is to say, their deaths made no specific statement. Bucking the trend, was David Bowie, who had released an eerie, melancholy record in the final weeks of his life. Bowie knew that his life was performance – it was challenging and honest – and that his death should be the same. In Death of X 4 Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule close the book on the life of Scott Summers, insisting that he die the way he lived, a revolutionary, even if that’s a performance he was never putting on.

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A.D.: After Death Volume 1

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Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing A.D.: After Death Volume 1, originally released November 23rd, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: A frequent criticism of popular fiction is the overemphasis on plot instead of character. There’s a lot of moving pieces involved in “epic storytelling” and oftentimes the emotional resonance of the characters in a story gets left by the wayside in service to the overall concept. Sometimes the fantastical plot of a story so greatly eclipses everything else that the personal relationships of the characters are rendered completely irrelevant and uninteresting. Then there’s A.D.: After Death Volume 1. Continue reading

Thanos 1

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Today, Drew and Ryan D are discussing Thanos 1, originally released November 16th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

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Drew: This line is often used to sell a given story as some kind of ultimate showdown, but it always strikes me as thoroughly self-defeating: either one or both of those adjectives simply prove to be false. That is, the answer can’t be as interesting as the question suggests, since the answer necessarily reveals that the question was built on a false premise. Or, if you’re feeling more diplomatic, you might take Superman’s answer to this question from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman: “they surrender.” It’s an elegant solution, but is ultimately far less entertaining than the premise suggests — “they surrender” isn’t exactly the white-knuckle conclusion the question implies, and again, betrays the falsehood of those adjectives.

Such is often the case in superhero comics, where villains are routinely trotted out as unstoppable, only for our hero to miraculously give lie to that claim. It’s enough to make anyone doubt the increasingly hyperbolic claims made of villains. This becomes especially true of big name villains, who continue to be heralded as some kind of ultimate threat, in spite of the fact that they’ve been beaten in virtually every appearance. Thanos is a prime example of this — the seriousness of his threat diminishes with each subsequent return (especially after that time Squirrel Girl defeated him) — leading to even more hyperbolic claims made next time. Cleverly breaking that pattern, Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato’s Thanos 1 sidesteps the Worf Effect by lampshading the inevitable conclusion in the first issue. Continue reading