Action Comics 958

Alternating Currents: Action Comics 958, Drew and Mark

Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Action Comics 958, originally released June 22nd, 2016.

Drew: What kind of themes do you expect of a Superman story? Morality? Alienation? Hope? Love? Over his 75+ year history, Superman has come to represent many ideas beyond that handful of suggestions, but those might serve as a reasonable starting point for the character, describing at least the ballpark he tends to play in. With Action Comics 958 — an issue by its very numbering necessarily recalls a good chunk of Superman stories — Dan Jurgens and Patrick Zircher make a compelling case for voyeurism as a key element of the Superman mythos. Continue reading

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Bizarro 6

bizarro 6

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Bizarro 6, originally released November 18th, 2015.

Michael: With the countless stories we have read or watched we have (most likely) seen the same number of finales. We’ve seen finales we’ve loved, ones that are easily forgettable and, of course, the ones that the general public can’t ever seem to forgive. We are all our own experts on the “art of the finale.” Heath Corson and Gustavo Duarte treat their Bizarro finale with the same unique and fun approach that they’ve taken with the series thus far, while still playing to the finale tropes we recognize. Continue reading

DC Round-Up Comics Released 8/19/15

dc roundup6

Retcon Punch is on Summer Hours, which means we’re going to be writing fewer in-depth pieces for the month of August. But we’re addicts at this point, so we need a place for our thoughts on all those comics we can’t stop reading. Today, we’re discussing Bizarro 3, Black Canary 3, Dr. Fate 3, Green Lantern The Lost Army 3, Justice League 43, Martian Manhunter 3 and Robin: Son of Batman 3.

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Earth 2 Society 2

earth 2 society 2

Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Earth 2 Society 2, originally released July 8th, 2015.

Patrick: For the vast majority of DC’s line, Convergence didn’t really effect that much. And honestly, how could we possibly expect that convoluted mythology pile-up to effect anything even remotely grounded in reality? I don’t think this is a bad thing: I love having stories I can take seriously and follow ravenously from week-to-week and month-to-month, but I also enjoyed the two-month goof-off session that Convergence afforded us. Because the wackiness of that event was always going to be self contained, we got crazy major character deaths and radical shifts in status quo and all kinds of world-ending stuff you’d never be able to get away with “in continuity.” Of course, that story was part of DC’s continuity: specifically the Earth-2 part. Earth 2 Society 2 deals with those insanely elevated stakes gleefully, hilariously putting the FATE OF THE PLANET in danger. Again. Continue reading

Superman 38

superman 38

Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Superman 38, originally released February 4th, 2015.

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Mark: Well, it’s finally happening. DC announced late last week that starting in June, following the events of the Convergence event, The New 52 will no longer exist. Having run for almost 4 years, it’s not hard to understand why as The New 52 branding was getting a little long in the tooth. What does this mean for our favorite characters? Apparently not much, as no continuity reboot is planned. I mention this because when I first read Superman 38 before the post-Convergence announcements last week, I assumed that the two major revelations in this issue were being unloaded now so they could easily be walked back in only a few months. Continue reading

Superman 37

superman 37Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Superman 37, originally released December 24th, 2014.

“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is Alchemy’s First Law of Equivalent Exchange.”

Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist

Spencer: Equivalent Exchange isn’t just applicable to alchemy (or anime) — it’s a principle we all follow every day. We exchange our time for money. We exchange money for goods. We can even (metaphorically) give our hearts in hope of gaining affection in return. The point is, nothing comes for nothing, and the more we hope to gain, the more effort we have to put out to obtain it. This is even true of Ulysses’ Great World — it turns out that the price to maintain its “perfection” is five million human lives. Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr.’s Superman 37 finds Superman and Ulysses debating the morality of the Great World, and in doing so, they draw some compelling parallels to our own lives. Continue reading

Superman Unchained 9

superman unchained 9Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Superman Unchained 9, originally released November 5th, 2014.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

-Traditional

Patrick: As I sit down to write this piece, the clock on the wall above my desk reads 11:00pm. It’s the end of a long day that’s been packed with all the various activities with which I busy myself. I worked, I ran, I improvised, I saw a show, I socialized. I talked to my sister on the phone, I explored the new podcasts on the Wolfpop network, I listened to that Nintendo Direct (Mario Kart DLC on November 13!), I even found some time to read a few comics. All of my interests were active all day, occasionally shifting in immediate priority so I could focus on completing one thing. This is the only way I know how to live my life — I don’t have much of a plan for my future, because I cannot predict which of these things is going to be / should be the most important thing to me. My enthusiasms revise themselves as opportunities and proficiencies wax and wane, and I’m constantly in fear that this maleability will rob me of genuine perspective. How can a writer have a voice, or a point of view, if they’re not any one thing consistently? In his spectacular finale to Superman Unchained, Scott Snyder posits that adaptability trumps consistency, and that Superman’s lack of defining ideology is his greatest strength. Neither Superman nor Patrick Ehlers stand for any one thing — and that’s what makes us mighty. Continue reading

Superman Unchained 8

superman unchained 8Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Superman Unchained 8, originally released September 10th, 2014.

Patrick: I’d never really considered how strange it is that we refer to the biggest global political players as “super powers.” It’s…weird, right? That’s a phrase taken from our capes and cowls, our frequently immature power fantasies, and applied to governments. It might be comforting to think of the United States as Superman, swooping in to altruistically save the day, but the truth isn’t so clear-cut. How can a government take altruistic action when there is no “self” to sacrifice? One body makes a decision, another carries out the action, and a third has to deal with the consequences. Heroism comes from that internalizing the whole process, from decision-making through the consequences. With Superman Unchained 8, Scott Snyder suggests that Superman can (and should) be that singular entity. Continue reading

Superman 32

Alternating Currents: Superman 32, Drew and ScottToday, Drew and Scott are discussing Superman 32, originally released June 25th, 2014.

Drew: When I was five years old, I told my then four-year-old cousin that he was adopted. Nobody had told me that he was, and certainly nobody told me that I wasn’t supposed to tell him, but he was immediately distraught, running to his mother to assure him I was lying. A young kid’s relationship to his parents is his whole world, and the thought that there might be something unusual about it is understandably upsetting. Totally unintentionally, I put my aunt in an incredibly awkward position, forcing her to confront a truth outside of her terms, when her son was already distressed by the idea. Complicating the issue was that his brother is not adopted, which only creates more potential for feelings of alienation. Superman has long been the poster child for adoption, but what if his adopted home had its own “last son” that seemed to be every bit as “super” as he is? Might Clark grow a chip on his shoulder about being “the adopted one”? These are exactly the questions Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. set up in Superman 32, stopping just shy of showing us the answers. Continue reading

Superman Unchained 4

superman unchained 4

Today, Mikyzptlk and Spencer are discussing Superman Unchained 4, originally released November 6th, 2013.

Mikyzptlk: Superheroes and the concept of death have a…complicated relationship, to say the least. No matter how a particular hero has died, and no matter how long a character has been six feet under, there is no way to be certain that they will remain dead forever. Bucky Barnes was dead for 50 years before Marvel shocked us all with his resurrection. In the end, all it takes to bring a hero back from the grave are some creative pen strokes and an editor’s approval. With that, the concept of dying in a superhero comic has been diluted to the point of near meaninglessness. Superman Unchained 4 talks a lot about death, more specifically the death of Superman. Of course, we all know that Superman isn’t really going to die, and even if he did, he’d just come back later anyway. So, while Scott Snyder doesn’t actually have me worried about Superman’s fate, he certainly presents one hell of a foreboding issue.  Continue reading