Green Lanterns 37 is a Clumsy Parable

by Patrick Ehlers

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

“I conducted my own investigation because no one listens to me. I got away with it because no one looks at me. Because, unless I have your reports, your coffee or your lunch, I’m invisible.”

Peggy Carter, Agent Carter

Patrick: Part of what I love about the short-lived Agent Carter television series is that, when it wants to, it can be thuddingly obvious about its themes and values. Peggy is a bad-ass super-spy often overlooked — or worse, taken advantage of — because she is a woman in the 1950s. The show loves putting these blatant statements of gender theory in Peggy’s mouth, but only once the show itself has actually demonstrated what she’s describing. It makes for an exhilarating story that embodies complicated values: having fun and having something to say at the same time. Green Lanterns 37 has an awful lot to say, but has not quite mastered how to have fun saying it. Continue reading

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History Deepens in Doctor Strange 23

by Taylor Anderson

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

The Marvel universe is as deep as the Mariana Trench, which is to say it’s practically bottomless. After more than fifty years of continuously pumping out serialized stories, it’s fair to say that no person knows everything about the Marvel universe no matter how much they’ve read. The breadth of its history gives writers a leg up when writing their stories: when you have deep pool to draw from it’s unlikely it will run dry any time soon. Even with the vastness of this narrative landscape, Doctor Strange stands out because it always hints at an even deeper world history beyond the Marvel pages. This is something Dennis Hopeless knows and uses to his great advantage in Doctor Strange 21.

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Understanding Golden Age Tropes is an Asset in Doctor Strange 22

by Taylor Anderson

Doctor Strange 22

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

No matter how much success comic book movies have in crossing over into the mainstream or how dark and gritty Christopher Nolan, Alan Moore, or anyone else can make their comic book universe, monthlies will never be able to escape the shadow of the goofiness of the Golden Age. In some ways, the silliness of Golden Age comics have been celebrated by serious comic book fans and writers. They knowingly acknowledge that comics of the past weren’t great, but also pay homage to the stories that gave birth to some of today’s most beloved heroes. Doctor Strange is a product of the Golden Age, and in issue 22 Dennis Hopeless both celebrates and takes a dig at these roots. Continue reading

Doctor Strange 21

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Doctor Strange 21, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Taylor: Here are Retcon-Punch, we read a lot of comics. This is great in so many ways, but primarily because at no other time in history has their been so many quality options for monthly reads. However, the deluge of great comics can take its toll. Given too much of something good, even great comics, a person quickly becomes numb to their pleasures. Reading so many wonderful series means that it becomes easy, on occasion, to overlook just how amazing and unique some issues really are. It’s for this reason that Doctor Strange 21 stands out to me. Not only is it an excellent issue on its own, but it reminds me why comics are some of the most innovative mediums going today. Continue reading

Spider-Woman 17

Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Spider-Woman 17, originally released March 29th, 2017 . As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

Taylor: My ten-year college reunion is fast approaching this summer, and with it so approaches the acknowledgment that I’m basically who I’m going to be in life. At my five year reunion it was fun to see old friends and also consider how we still still had much of our life in front of us. Now, solidly in my thirties, it’s pretty apparent what trajectory my life is going to take. For better or for worse, people at the reunion will judge me by this metric and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it except choose not to care. Where did I learn such sage-like wisdom, you may ask? From the heartening and fun somewhat final issue of Spider-Woman, I answer.

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Spider-Woman 16

spiderwoman-16

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Spider-Woman 16, originally released February 22, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

“…as for Ellen and me, we were finally joined into a new element — much, much bigger than anything we had ever known. We didn’t know what the future had in store for us, but what did it matter? We fulfilled our destiny.”

“Day of the Dot” The Adventures of Pete and Pete

Patrick: Action movies and will-they-won’t-they romanic stories have a lot in common. Both rely on the promise of something big and meaningful just on the other end of the narrative. It’s a sense of longing — either for a pair of soulmates to recognize each other or for explosions and motorcycle chases — that drives like 90% of the story. When the lovers get together, or the fists start flying, that means we’re just about at the end of the thing. The Adventures of Pete and Pete got its two teenage leads together in a special before the series even got started, which made for a weird transition to a regular serialized romance. It was kind of neat though, to actually see the glory of their romance (in all of its innocence) before having it awkwardly revoked a few episodes later. Spider-Woman 16 moves us to those goal posts on both the romanic and action fields, showering the reader in destinies fulfilled. Continue reading

Power Man and Iron Fist Annual 1

Alternating Currents: Power Man and Iron Fist Sweet Christmas Annual 1, Taylor and Drew

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Power Man and Iron Fist Sweet Christmas Annual 1, originally released December 21st, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: At some point during the Christmas holiday I looked up from my cell phone and realized a number of my family (including myself) weren’t talking to each other. Instead, we were hypnotized by the small, glowing screen in each of our hands. Something about this felt wrong and I felt a stab of guilt in realizing that this wasn’t the best way to spend time with my family. Resolved to do better, I put my phone in my pocket and got ready to make some conversation because at the end of the day, isn’t that what the holidays are really about? Connecting with people? Most would say yes and can count on the first annual issue of Power Man and Iron Fist to back up their opinion.

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Spider-Woman 13

spiderwoman-13

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Spider-Woman 13, originally released November 2nd, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

Patrick: “It takes a village” is perhaps a imprecise idiom about what it takes to raise a child. After all, it’s not just that it takes volume of people to effectively care for a tiny, helpless human being and mold it into a functioning member of society. It takes the emotional investment of that village, not just in the child, but in each other, to raise a child. That’s how friends, strangers, and even enemies, become family. As Spider-Woman transitions into the next chapter of Jessica Drew’s life as a new mom, writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Veronica Fish examine that interdependence, and the huge emotional cost that comes with it.

Also, f’real: spoilers ahead.

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Jessica Jones 1

jessica-jones-1

Today, Spencer and Ryan M. are discussing Jessica Jones 1, originally released October 5th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Befitting her job as a private investigator, mystery is a vital element of the Jessica Jones mythos. It’s probably why my favorite episode of the Netflix series is the one that put the ongoing Kilgrave story on hold to solve an unrelated case of the week, and it’s also why the first issue of the new Jessica Jones relaunch works so well — Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos don’t just build a mystery around Jessica’s newest case, they turn her very life into a mystery that the audience, and perhaps even Jessica herself, need to solve. Continue reading

Spider-Woman 11

Alternating Currents: Spider-Woman 11, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Spider-Woman 11, originally released September 28th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

The five stages — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Drew: As a psychological heuristic, Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief is arguably as well-known as Freud’s id, ego, and super-ego structural model. However, that may make it one of the most misunderstood, as Kübler-Ross explains in the quote above. We often talk about those five stages as if they fall into a prescribed linear order, but it was never really meant to be understood in that way. Which is to say: someone experiencing grief may feel any or none of these feelings in any order or any combination. Grief is a remarkably complex phenomenon that everyone experiences differently — some might feel mostly depression or mostly denial, while others, like Jessica Drew in Spider-Woman 11, feel mostly anger. Continue reading