The Perversion of Meaning in Lazarus 28

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Do you feel that disconnect between what you love and what you have to do? Of course you do. Human beings tend to have pretty good bullshit-detectors, and we usually know when someone is selling us something. The problem is we don’t always reject false forms of happiness. That’s the real disconnect. We can recognize the flashing lights as hollow spectacle and still opt in. Lazarus 28 shows us both the meaningful and the superficial connections to the world Jonah lives in, and the damage exacted on one by the other. It’s a harrowing issue, and creators Greg Rucka and Michael Lark place sex and family at the very center of this dichotomy between meaning and meaninglessness. Continue reading

Manifest Destiny 4

Alternating Currents: Manifest Destiny 4, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Manifest Destiny 4, originally released February 12th, 2014.

I’m busier than you.

College, Traditional

Drew: I don’t know if it is true everywhere, but when I was in college, scheduling a meeting or asking someone to help with something was basically made impossible by everyone’s knee-jerk insistence that they were SO busy. I absolutely understand the importance of saying “no” when you really are busy, but the implication that someone was unwilling to make time for whatever group project that everyone else was making time for always drove me nuts. It was known around campus as the “I’m busier than you” game, which found its practitioners preemptively complaining about how busy they were in hopes of avoiding being asked to do anything. The best response I ever saw to these kinds of complaints was a friend insisting that he had just run a marathon with knives embedded in both thighs — something so over-the-top to (hopefully) give everyone a little perspective on how silly it is to complain about term papers or whatever. Of course, nothing we could come up with was quite as extreme as single-handedly fighting off a band of monsters WHILE PREGNANT, which is to say, Sacagawea (or at least the version of her that appears in Manifest Destiny 4) would have easily won the “I’m busier than you” game. Continue reading

Manifest Destiny 2

manifest destiny 2

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Manifest Destiny 2, originally released December 11th, 2013.

Drew: I love a good creature feature. I could actually take or leave the shock cuts, the gore, even the monster — for me, it’s all about what keeps the victims from simply dispersing at the first sign of trouble. Whether it’s a remote village, arctic research station, or a towing ship in deep space, writers have to get inventive with keeping otherwise relatable characters from simply escaping from the monsters trying to kill them. Or, at least, they should get inventive — I think we’ve all seen the fuel line cut a few too many times to give all writers a pass, and horror movies are notorious for characters whose actions are unrelatably stupid, pressing on to the cabin, haunted house, or foreboding castle in spite of the obvious warning signs. After three readings of Manifest Destiny 2, I’m still not sure if the characters are dumb, or actually stuck. Continue reading

Manifest Destiny 1

manifest destiny 1

Today, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Manifest Destiny 1, originally released November 13th, 2013.

“(It is) our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us.”

John L. O’Sullivan, New York Morning News, 1845

Patrick: The term “Manifest Destiny” is strange – I’m not totally convinced that those words make sense when put up next to each other like that. I mean, I see how you can make one’s destiny manifest: essentially just realizing one’s potential. My objection — I think — is that it’s redundant: both “manifest” and “destiny” can imply that what is going to happen is meant to happen. And maybe that’s all O’Sullivan was going for, he felt that the US was “supposed” to conquer all the lands between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The genius of the term is that it feels as though the right and responsibility to do so is innate – you’ll notice that he doesn’t say that any man, government or god has granted us this opportunity, just “Providence.” Whatever was out there, it was just ours. No question, no doubt, no reason. It’s already a dangerous and intriguing concept, so what happens when you add secret missions and monsters? You get the best kind of alternate-history comic – one that makes you chuckle in recognition and gasp in shock in the same breath. Continue reading