Stolen Ideas and Intellectual Subjugation in Black Panther 3

by Spencer Irwin

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

Slavery is an indescribably cruel, evil, downright sadistic practice that robs its victims of so much, down to their very humanity. Issue one of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ and Daniel Acuña’s Black Panther used T’Challa’s capture at the hands of the intergalactic Wakandan Empire to explore how slavery strips its victims of their names, gods, homes, and heritage, and now issue three uses this same concept to explore a totally different side of the atrocity that is slavery: how it robs its victims of their intellectual property and potential. Continue reading

An Overemphasis on Action Leaves Everything Else Feeling Slight in Black Panther 2

by Spencer Irwin

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

With this new volume of Black Panther, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has thrown readers into the deep end of his story, giving us no clue how T’Challa came to be abducted by the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, and very little reassurance that the T’Challa we’re following even is the same T’Challa from Coates’ previous volume. It’s a fun little mystery, and one where the fact that neither readers nor T’Challa know any answers has immense thematic parallels, but also one that really just hovers around the margins of Black Panther 2. Even as the mystery grows greater, this issue is an action spotlight, a car chase first and foremost. Continue reading

The Inevitable in Despicable Deadpool 299

by Patrick Ehlers

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

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“Always do this. Tell the audience what you’re going to do. Do it. And then tell them it has been done.”

Stan Laurel via Jerry Lewis via Conan O’Brien on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show

Conan went on to explain, “If anyone knows what the hell he’s talking about, please tell me, because it’s been ringing in my head for years.” It’s a strange piece of advice, especially to be passed down through a line of comedians. Comedy is based on the unexpected, right? But there’s another kind of humor that comes from obviously broadcasting what’s about to happen and then delivering on it. It’s a kind of dramatic irony — the audience knows what’s going to happen only because of their superpower of being an audience. Despicable Deadpool plays into the dramatic irony of the title “The Marvel Universe Kills Deadpool,” and quietly asserts that the creative team intends to deliver on everything it’s been setting up for the last three issues. Continue reading

Expressive Lettering Fills in the Gaps in Despicable Deadpool 298

by Patrick Ehlers

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

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“All that people care about is the look. There’s figures on this: 70% of what people react to is the look, 20% is how you sound, and only 10% is what you say.”

-Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill

Here’s something that’s true about comics: it’s a medium full of speaking characters that we will never actually hear speaking. By Izzard’s math, that means there’s a full fifth of a character’s essence we’re never really going to get through images and words on the page. As Deadpool pulls out all the stops to finally achieve suicide-by-mercenary, so too does the creative team pull out all the stops to express the height of his desperation. All the usual gears are spinning perfectly: Gerry Duggan’s writing is as simultaneously tight and chaotic as ever, and Mike Hawthorne’s impeccable layouts convey an almost grueling understanding of the setting of this issue-long brawl. But I want to focus on that elusive final 20% — “how you sound” — with Joe Sabino’s excellent lettering in this issue. Continue reading

How Lettering Sells the Loss in Deadpool 34

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Comic book creators have so many tools at their disposal for exploring sadness. There’s the acting of the characters, the framing of a panel, setting, color and even dialogue if it comes down to it. Throughout their run with The Merc With the Mouth, writer Gerry Duggan and artist Matteo Lolli have utilized every one of these tools to convey the extreme despair at the center of Wade’s life, and his climatic battle with Preston is no exception. The sky turns red, and all other color disappears, in the abandoned town of Pleasant Hill, setting a strong emotional tone for the battle. The previous issue saw Preston turning off her emotions (literally — she’s a robot and can just mute those things), but Lolli’s insistence on her steely visage actually ends up communicating more about the fatalism driving Wade’s fall from grace. Continue reading

Deadpool 24

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Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 24, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Spencer: What lengths would you go to to save your family? What sacrifices and compromises would you be willing to make? That’s a question we quite often ask of our heroes (comic book or otherwise), but that question usually implies that a character has some sort of ethics, values, or morals they’d have to struggle about breaking or abandoning in the first place. Deadpool doesn’t really have any of those things, though; what he has to give up to save his family is something far different, but just as important to him. Continue reading

Deadpool 21

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Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 21, originally released October 26th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Taylor: The Music Box Theater in Chicago has an ongoing series of film showings called “Is It Still Funny?” The premise of the event is that viewers go and watch an older comedy film and then listen to a discussion that begs the questions “is this film even funny anymore?” It’s an interesting idea and I think it works because unlike other genres, comedy tends to not age well. There’s a slew of reasons for that and here is not really the place to get into it, but the question is interesting when applied to a character like Deadpool. At what point do all of his antics fail to amuse and humor? More importantly, at what point do they begin to put innocent lives in danger?

Continue reading

Deadpool 45

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Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Deadpool 45, originally released April 8th, 2015.

Taylor: At the risk of sounding trite, a funeral is an event where people come together to celebrate the life of someone who has passed on. Even though most funerals are more somber than celebratory, the very nature of the event is to recognize someone who has died and to give those who remain closure. The much heralded Deadpool 45 is the issue where Deadpool dies and in many ways it acts like a funeral for Deadpool, even before the man himself has died. It offers closure to those who have read the series the past couple years and also reminds us just how much we ware going to miss the Merc With the Mouth, even if we know he won’t be gone for long. Continue reading

Thor 4

Alternating Currents: Thor 4, Spencer and Drew

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Thor 4, originally released January 28th, 2014.

Spencer: Would my life be different if I had a different name? Back in high school I thought Spencer was a nerdy sounding name and that it gave me an automatic handicap when it came to being “cool,” but now that I’ve matured I’ve come to realize that my name didn’t dictate my personality or path in life. Still, as I’ve grown to love and appreciate my name it’s come to feel like an intrinsic part of my personality; it may not have shaped my life, but it’s grown with me and absorbed my qualities, and if somebody took my name away from me, it would feel like I was losing a part of myself. That’s the exact situation Thor Odinson finds himself facing in Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s Thor 4, an issue that firmly establishes the new Thor while also showing just exactly what that means for the old one. Continue reading

Thor 3

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Thor 3, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Taylor: Despite what you may think of them, the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies are amazing for one thing in particular. No, I’m not talking about the infinite pools of blue that are Orlando Bloom’s eyes, I’m talking about the insane amount of detail present in each installment. From swords wielded by extras on down to the authentic briar used to create Gandalf’s pipe, it all is produced with detail and realism in mind. And while Thor may not be known for its realism, the series does possess a staggering amount of detail which I find positively delightful. Thor 3 is an exemplar of this and is another solid installment in this run. Continue reading