Black Krrsantan’s Past Is Finally Revealed in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Annual 1

by Mark Mitchell

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

Doctor Aphra is a book built around taking familiar characters from the Star Wars universe and remixing them by removing their moral compasses. Chelli Aphra is the Han Solo who would have taken his reward at the end of A New Hope and never looked back as the Rebels attacked the Death Star. Her robot compatriots, BeeTee and Triple-Zero, are the lovable C-3PO and R2D2, but also they’re always looking for opportunities to murder. And Black Krrsantan? He’s always been a bit of a mystery, but Doctor Aphra Annual 1 revels in finally letting the audience in on his past. Continue reading

(p)review: Curse Words 1 – SPOILERS

curse-words-1-preview-spoilerLast week, we started a conversation about Curse Words 1. The issue hadn’t been released at the time and there’s an awesome twist at the end that we knew we had to discuss somewhere. If you haven’t read the issue yet, maybe check out that spoiler-free discussion, and then come back here for our conversation about That Big Twist. You’ll know it when you see it. Obviously, SPOILERS follow.

Patrick: So, okay, like 95% of this story is pretty well-examined territory in fantasy and science fiction right? An outsider from another world visits our own and falls in love with the places and the people and decides to make a home of Earth. Or protects it or whatever. Where Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s first issue delightfully subverts that narrative by demonstrating that, while New York city has charmed Wizord, it hasn’t exactly made him a better person. For real, spoilers ahead.

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(p)review: Curse Words 1

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(p)reviews are a bit different from our usual coverage, as they discuss comics that haven’t come out yet. As such, we’ll avoid our usual spoilers — think of it as part preview, part review. Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Curse Words 1, which will be released Wednesday, January 18th, 2017. If you’re looking for a Spoiler-y discussion, click here.

I’m outta balloons. Is a baggie all right?

-Lance, Pulp Fiction

Drew: Rules are fundamental to our understanding of any narrative. For most, the only “rules” we need to understand are those of the world we live in — physics, social norms, human nature — but other narratives take us out of this comfort zone. Pulp Fiction may seem like an odd choice to illustrate this point, but when I first saw the movie in high school, the world of recreational opiates was foreign enough to me that someone had to contextualize the line I included above, which explains why Mia Wallace later confuses heroin for cocaine. That heroin was normally packaged in balloons was an important rule, but not in the moment the concept is introduced — a kind of Chekhov’s baggie of heroin, if you will. As a story featuring magic, Curse Words promises to take us even further from the rules we know, but just like that line from Pulp Fiction, its first issue seems to lay some key groundwork for the rules that will govern the series. Continue reading

Astonishing Ant-Man 11

Alternating Currents: Astonishing Ant-Man 11, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Astonishing Ant-Man 11, originally released August 31, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: When I was 13 or 14, a group of older kids vandalized our high school. They broke in after hours, threw a bunch of furniture off of the roof, and dug a bad word into the grass of the school courtyard. It got a lot of attention, but the vandals were smart enough not to leave any incriminating evidence. Until, that is, they were caught vandalizing a billboard on the other side of town. Being caught red-handed is generally only a sure indicator of guilt for the crime you’re caught doing, but these idiots also happened to have a video camera with them. Oh, right: in the decades before everyone carried a video recording device in their pocket, these knuckleheads went out of their way to create incriminating evidence, bringing along a camcorder to immortalize their crimes. But, you know, not being made out of videotapes, one tape might cover many nights of escapades. Which is to say, the police caught them with a video confession of sorts for the high school vandalism.

It was a remarkable story at the time, but in the years since, as cameraphones proliferated, stories of idiot criminals (usually teens [but not always]) caught with footage of their own criminal acts became more and more common. Sure as selfies and reality tv made navel gazing a way of life, they also created a new kind of criminal: one with the self-directed airtight case against themselves. That’s almost the situation Scott Lang finds himself in, though in his defense, he didn’t know he was being recorded and broadcast around the country. Still, how do you talk your way out of a conviction when there’s video footage of you planning and committing the crime in question? That remains to be seen, but there’s little doubt that Jennifer Walters is the one lawyer who might be able to pull it off. Continue reading

Batman 52

batman 52

Today, Mark and Drew are discussing Batman 52 originally released May 11th, 2016.

Mark: I have exactly zero interest DC’s upcoming animated adaptation of The Killing Joke. You will never be able to convince me that there is a version of Batman that needs to be R-rated. I don’t object inherently to the idea of a difficult Batman, I think there’s a place for one-off stories like The Killing Joke or Arkham Asylum, but to my mind these are mere diversions, thought exercises meant to explore the darker facets of the character. But while sometimes interesting, I don’t think they should even be lionized as important to the character. The best ones, including Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, are more a commentary on comics in general than they are everyone’s favorite Caped Crusader. You don’t really need any more evidence that holding The Dark Knight Returns and its ilk up as the “cool” version of Batman is a damaging exercise than Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Commentators and critics have already done a thorough job dissecting that movie’s many failings so I’ll refrain from doing so here, but I will add that even though Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman was praised by even some of its harshest critics, it’s not a portrayal of Batman I particularly enjoyed. Occasionally fun to look at? Sure. But like pretty much every other aspect of the movie, this is a Batman completely devoid of joy. Continue reading

Ant-Man 5

ant-man 5

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Ant-Man 5, originally released May 6th, 2015.

Taylor: If you’ve ridden public transportation with any regularity, you are aware that there are some people who clearly don’t follow the unstated rules of the bus or train. Don’t bring cooked food into the vehicle; don’t have loud conversations; don’t listen to music loudly or without headphones; and always do your best to make room for others. Those who fail to follow the rules must suffer the passive aggressive wrath of those around them, yet remarkably, few seem to care. These individuals are either entirely brazen (a definite possibility) or perhaps they just lack a self-awareness that informs them that their actions are burden on others. In Ant-Man 5, we see if Scott Lang is one of these individuals and the result is an issue with unexpected emotional depth. Continue reading

Ant-Man 3

ant-man 3

Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Ant-Man 3, originally released March 9th, 2015.

Taylor: Before I became a teacher, I was working in a job I cared nothing about. While that sounds kind of miserable — which it was at points — I did enjoy that my work was something I could leave at the office. Weekends and evenings were basically all mine during this period and I did whatever I pleased with that time. Now, working at a job I care about, I find the divide between work and my home-life has blurred. Work comes home often now and weekends are spent mostly preparing for the coming week. Basically, my situation was a trade off. Work at a boring job and be free at home. Work at a job that you care about, and never stop working. Ant-Man 3, despite it’s humorous overtones, meditates on this aspect of life in a way that is both insightful and entertaining. Continue reading

Ant-Man 1

ant-man 1

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Ant-Man 1, originally released January 7th, 2015.

Taylor: As long as stories have been told, people have enjoyed hearing about clever heroes. Perhaps the prototype of the clever character in western literature is Odysseus — a man who more than made up for physical shortcomings with the power of his mind. And while many people nowadays might not feel a close kinship to Odysseus, they still appreciate a clever hero — and a clever story. Marvel, as a publisher, has taken this love of cleverness and has essentially turned it into a multimillion dollar business. While the Marvel movies embody this philosophy to their core, there are a number of comic series which also are banking on this appreciation for wit. The reboot of Ant-Man is no exception to this formula, but does it have anything all that clever to say? Continue reading