Despicable Deadpool 300: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner & Patrick Ehlers

Despicable Deadpool 300

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

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Drew: Five years into this run, pointing out that Deadpool is a Sad Clown would be lazy analysis — not only has that point been well established, but the series itself has managed to explore it so thoroughly, reducing the character’s emotional journey to a two-word summary couldn’t possibly do it justice. And yet, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to begin this piece than embedding Smokey Robinson’s “Tears of a Clown,” not because of a shallow similarity between the content of these two works, but because of some profound similarities in how they treat that content. The lyrics describe a narrator who puts on a good face in spite of his profound sadness, but the music doesn’t betray that sadness for a second — it sounds like any other Motown hit (though that bouncy bassoon that maybe hints that this song is about a clown). By this point in the story, Wade Wilson has completely dropped that fascade of silliness, but just like the instruments in “Tears of a Clown,” the series itself maintains that clownish exterior. Continue reading

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A Good Laugh Goes a Long Way in Infinity Countdown 3

by Taylor Anderson

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

One of the things that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done right since its inception is to make their movies funny. Of course, some movies are funnier than others. Thor: Ragnarok has more humor than the first two Thor movies combined. Even the grandiose Avengers movies always find time for a laugh in between the action and making sure every hero has their proper amount of screen time. This humor isn’t always present in Marvel comics, and huge crossover events are often more muted in their humor. Luckily, that’s not the case with Infinity Countdown 3. Continue reading

Life and Death (and Colors!) in Infinity Countdown 2

by Taylor Anderson

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

Life is literally defined by two things: birth and death. Sure, there’s a bunch of stuff that comes between those two milestones, but if you’re looking for something that all living things have in common, birth and death are pretty much it. Unsurprisingly, these two events have taken on a symbolic meaning for us humans. Ideas such as Yin and Yang, Light Side and Dark Side, Good and Evil, all stem from the dichotomy between the giving and extinguishing of life. It’s unsurprising, then, to see these two pillars of life make an appearance in Infinity Countdown 2. The grand scale of narrative presented is ripe for such grand themes as birth and death. Continue reading

Exiles 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Ryan Desaulniers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Mark: The best teams are made up of strong, diverse personalities that bring out the best in each other. This is especially true in fiction. The individual members don’t need to always get along, conflict drives any story, but a certain baseline level of respect is necessary. One of the most impressive feats of team building in recent history has to be 2012’s The Avengers. Looking back with full knowledge of the incredible success Marvel Films has achieved almost unblemished since Iron Man ten years ago, it’s easy to take for granted the fact that The Avengers worked at all, but at the time it was incredibly risky. Going back and watching The Avengers now, the first two-thirds of the movie drag quite a bit as writer and director Joss Whedon works to establish the team dynamics, but that groundwork was necessary not just for the first movie, but for the Marvel Films team-ups to come. Again, we take for granted now that all of these characters can seamlessly interact with each other, but that’s only because the hard work was done by that essential first Avengers film. In Exiles 1, Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, and Alvaro Lopez begin the work of building their own superhero team, and, like The Avengers, their patience in this premier issue sets them up for long term success. Continue reading

Batman 44: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Taylor Anderson

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

Mark: Comic book characters locked into perpetual monthly stories can never really change; someone like Batman is an archtype unto himself, and if you mess with that alchemy too much, you threaten to change what Batman is. I used to think of this limitation as a bug in serialized comic storytelling, that the lack of permanent change in a character somehow devalued the overall impact any specific authorial choices could have, but I’m beginning to see it as a huge advantage. Continue reading

Analog 1: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Drew Baumgartner

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

Patrick: I listen to a lot of Slate’s Trumpcast. Y’know, because the president has me in a nearly constant state of low-key panic, and I feel utterly powerless to stop our democracy from crumbling, so like, might as well listen to a podcast about it. One of the things that comes up on the show pretty often is the idea that we need to let go of the idea that there is one smoking gun that will implicate the administration and the president himself in collusion with the Russian government. There is no evidence so ironclad that it would force impeachment. Further, impeachment and removal from office would not address the systemic problems with corruption, bigotry, and foreign interference. There’s no “one solution” because there is no “one problem.” Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan’s Analog 1 takes a very specific speculative high-concept pitch, and gradually reminds the reader of everything else that is intriguing and terrifying about their world — there is no “one problem.” Continue reading

Fluid Stakes Keep Hawkeye 15 Breezy

By Drew Baumgartner

Hawkeye 15

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

That’s a dumb joke, but it’s one of my all-time favorites. It doesn’t make any sense — Bender should know that the person he’s talking about is standing directly in front of him — but the reveal to us is just so perfect. It’s the kind of joke that really only works in visual media, taking advantage of the limits of our perspective we all take for granted. We assume we understand who is in the scene because of who we’ve been shown, but anybody could feasibly be lurking just off-camera. That kind of perspective twist is part of what gives Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s Hawkeye such a distinct voice, as our perspective telescopes to best suit the scene. Indeed, as issue 15 demonstrates, they can shift perspective both literally and figuratively to goose just about anything. Continue reading

Days of Hate 1: Discussion

by Ryan Desaulniers and Patrick Ehlers

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

Fom ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Ryan D:  The Capulets and Montagues. The Hatfields and the McCoys. The Shiite and the Sunni. These famous rivalries span generations, with their common point being that the reason which the fighting began has long since ceased to matter. The conflict now revolves around the most recent slight or atrocity perpetrated by the other side. In the aptly named Days of Hate, writer Ales Kot and artist Danijel Zezelj bring us a speculative world where our current political divide is seen played out to one natural conclusion in which the catalyst has been lost in four long years of partisan turmoil and war. Continue reading

Hastily-Laid Plans Go Awry in Hawkeye 14

By Drew Baumgartner

Hawkeye 14

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

This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, “Hey you. Can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on Then a friend walks by, “Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”

Leo McGarry, The West Wing, “Nöel”

Humans aren’t perfect. We often have dumb ideas or bungle good ones, we make lots of mistakes, and fail far more often than we succeed. But we do try. And what’s particularly endearing is that we often try for the sake of others. This is what Marvel heroes are all about — imperfectly trying to help others — and there’s really no better example of this in the modern Marvel canon than Clint Barton. He’s an ace archer and his heart sure is in the right place, but (bless him), he’s more prone to failure than just about anyone else out there. But he’s also the most qualified person around to help Kate, which means he’s coming to her rescue, whether she needs it or not. Continue reading

Best of 2017: Best Covers

Best Covers of 2017

You know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean you can’t judge the cover on its own merit. This year found us marveling at covers that weren’t just carefully designed and lushly colored, but that actually did a great deal of storytelling, cramming all of the drama, excitement and emotion of the whole issue into one succinct image. Some did it literally, some did it metaphorically, but all moved us in some way beyond simply broadcasting which of our favorite characters would appear in the issue. These are our top 10 covers of 2017. Continue reading