This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Comics tend to make a big deal about the prosocial mission of superheroes. That is, their origin isn’t just about why they can leap tall buildings or outrun a bullet, but why they choose to use those powers to protect innocent people. It’s interesting that creators emphasize this point — the choice to don a cape and charge into a burning building is a certainly a remarkable one, but it’s also understandable. That is, even if we don’t all have the courage and strength to do those things, we immediately grasp the desire to help people. Villains, on the other hand, demand a much more thorough explanation — if stopping a massacre is remarkable but understandable, causing a massacre is both remarkable and baffling. Creators are rarely up to the task, vaguely suggesting an overgrown thirst for power or money, but never quite convincing us how those things add up to a homicidal maniac. Those creators would do well to check out Lazarus X+66 6, which offers an origin for the Zmey that covers both his superhuman abilities and his monstrous psychology. Continue reading →
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
Joe Darion, “The Impossible Dream”
Is Andy the anti-Don Quixote? Her world-weary cynicism is certainly the opposite of his delusions of chivalry; her bitter pragmatism the opposite of his flights of fancy. But the thing that strikes me most is that Andy is the unbeatable foe, the kind of mythical being Quixote could only dream of. Of course, this gives them different priorities — while he’s focused on those imaginary beings, she’s utterly undaunted by the mortal tilting at her. Sure, the mortal can get in a few good licks, but is more of an annoyance than a nemesis. Indeed, it turns out the only thing worthy of an unbeatable foe’s attention is another unbeatable foe. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Lazarus 26, originally released March 29th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Drew: Goodness gracious, is this series great. I tried approaching this intro about seven different ways, but the only way to really do justice to this issue is to start off by acknowledging just how precise writer Greg Rucka and artist Michael Lark are in what they do. There’s so much going on in this issue that showcases exactly why this series continues to be one of my favorites, but I’m going to focus on the introduction of Vassalovka’s lazarus, the Zmey — an unexpected grenade of a threat that utterly disrupts the slow-burning family drama at the heart of this series. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Wonder Woman 18, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Mark: One of the most compelling features of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman is its willingness to incorporate into real issues facing society, as we come to terms with our systematically poor treatment of women and grapple with how to resolve it. Like a proclamation of intent, the earliest arc in the book, “The Lies,” features Cheetah dealing with the devastation caused by abuse, rape, and victim-blaming. These are issues deeply entrenched in American culture made palatable to general audiences because the villains manifest themselves as mystical beasts and gods. But not all of the methods Rucka and his collaborators use to convey their message (for lack of a better term) are quite so foregrounded. For instance, every position of authority in Wonder Woman so far is held by a woman. This is a story about women, featuring women, that is in no way lacking because its pages aren’t filled with more dudes. Continue reading →