Shifting the Narrative in Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor 1

by Drew Baumgartner

Hunt for Wolverine Mystery in Mardipoor 1

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

The Bechdel Test

Drew: This particular Dykes to Watch Our For premiered in 1985, and its premise is still ringing in the ears of writers and readers everywhere. Now known as “The Bechdel Test,” these criteria insist on something beyond simple representation (though it’s remarkable how many films fail to satisfy even that first requirement), aiming for a dialogue that features no males (even as subjects of conversation). And that last bit is a huge stumbling block for narratives to this day. Plenty will feature two women and even manage to put them in a scene together, but the conversation will still revolve around the male characters. It’s the kind of problem you might expect to plague any all-female tie-in to the “Hunt for Wolverine” event to suffer from — Logan is necessarily absent, but that fact is likely to be the subject of discussion — but Jim Zub and Thony Silas manage to shift the focus in Mystery in Madripoor 1, pulling the story in totally unexpected directions. Continue reading

Narrative Twists and Powerful Love in Hunt for Wolverine 1

By Michael DeLaney

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

Modern storytelling loves a narrative twist — you could argue that most stories are exclusively centered around them. With that in mind, do we let the success of a twist dictate the overall reception of a story? Hunt for Wolverine 1 may be such an example. Continue reading

Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Phoenix Resurrection 2

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

Does anyone remember the “flash sideways” device from LOST‘s final season? The show mined a lot of fun out of the mystery of just what the heck that other world was — a parallel universe? a new timeline? purgatory? — but I never really found the guessing all that fun, as the magical/metaphysical nature of that particular mystery meant that any and all of those things could be equally right. I tend to feel that way about most mysteries that delight in building up red herrings to look as likely as the ultimate answer (perfectly demonstrated in Clue‘s multiple endings; the culprit can only be found by the movie telling us whodunnit, not through any deductive work on our own), but it’s particularly pronounced in stories with a fantasy or sci-fi element that might defy our own experience of the world. That is, if we’re operating in a world with a magical island, is it possible to rule out even the most absurd theory? These are the thoughts running through my head as I read Phoenix Resurrection 2. Continue reading

X-Men ’92 1

xmen 92 1

Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing X-men ’92 1, originally released March 30, 2016.

Taylor: For many Generation Y-ers, or Millennials, or basically anyone born in the ’80s, the introduction to the world of comics came from one of two sources. The first, of course, is Batman: The Animated Series, which solidified the Dark Knight in this generation’s hearts forever. The second is the well-known, if not quite so beloved, X-Men animated series. While both shows are fantastic in their own way, I remember frequently being frustrated by the X-Men series as a kid. Like a true comic book, this series told long stories over the course of several episodes which made watching the show in order essential, but during the age of syndication, nearly impossible. Still, I have fond memories of the show and to this day I can still sing its guitar solo theme song from memory. X-Men ’92 is cut from the cloth of this show and in doing so, the creators have made a comic that is both timely and nostalgic at the same time. Continue reading

Runaways 4

runaways 4

Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Runaways 4, originally released September 23rd, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, check back Tuesday for our Secret Wars Round-Up!

secret wars div

“If there’s one thing I love, it’s teens who stay teens even when the situation is really dire, and so even when they’re running for their lives they never quite lose sight of crushes, pretensions, anxiety about their future and who they’re going to be. Sometimes those situations can feel just as life-or-death as…actual life-or-death.”

Noelle Stevenson, Runaways 4 letters page

Spencer: I loved Runaways 4′s letters page; the sheer unfettered enthusiasm and creativity from readers warmed my heart. But to me, the most insightful moment of that page is the above quote from Runaways writer Noelle Stevenson, which explains the greatest strength of both this mini-series and its finale magnificently. To these characters, coming to a romantic realization is just as significant as escaping from the Doom Institute; Stevenson and artist Sanford Greene realize that and treat every victory with equal importance. It makes for an uplifting, triumphant finale. Continue reading

X-Men 6

x-men 6 atom

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing X-Men 6, originally released October 9th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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Taylor: You guys, we’re all getting older. Most of the time, it’s pretty easy for me to pretend that I’m not and that instead I’m ageless, but occasionally something happens that reminds me I will eventually bow to the forces of Father Time. Like many my age (29), my facebook feed is quickly becoming filled with pictures of weddings — followed a year later by pictures of babies. Just to be clear: this means that people my age are having children. They are completely responsible for the life of another human being. That seems terrifying to me, mostly because I can’t imagine taking on such a huge responsibility in my life. But then I realize that I’m almost 30, a perfectly normal age to have kids, and that despite my best efforts I haven’t escaped our temporal universe. Then I wonder if a time will ever come when I feel ready to have kids. I have to wonder because — to my eyes — having kids seems like a lot more trouble than it’s worth, even though everyone says having them is totally rewarding. Does it make sense that X-Men 6, part of the Battle of the Atom event, could change my opinion?

Continue reading

X-Men 3

x-men 3

Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing X-Men 3, originally released July 31st, 2013.

Shelby: I hate a story that drags on too long. As a creator, it’s important to be able to edit yourself; you have to know where you want a story to go and be able to recognize when it gets there. At the same time, it’s just as frustrating as a reader when the story feels rushed. If I’ve settled in to savor a story as it unfolds, a sudden, “…andthenthegoodguyswinordidtheytheend,” is incredibly unsatisfying. A full-stop, wrap-it-up conclusion to a story arc just leaves me feeling confused, like maybe I missed an issue or something. As excited as I have been for Brian Wood’s X-Men, the end of the first arc has me feeling just that: confused and unsatisfied.
Continue reading

X-Men 2

x-men 2

Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Matt are discussing X-Men 2, originally released June 26th, 2013.

Patrick: Until you see it in action, a movie-monster isn’t that scary. You can hear whisperings about the monster’s insatiable appetite, and come across the ruins of the encampment that it has savaged, but it doesn’t really mean anything until you see the Alien burst violently out of your buddy’s chest. Remember how Scream started? With the killer toying with and brutally murdering the biggest name on the marquee. Whatever else was going to happen from that point forward, the audience knows the killer means business. Last month, we got an abstraction of a conflict – a storied shitty history between cosmic siblings. Faster than we can really deal with it, the conflict is in our laps, and everyone gets a good look at what Arkea can do. Consider me convinced: she’s a problem – one X-Men might not be up to solving. Continue reading

X-Men 1

Alternating Currents: X-Men 1, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing X-Men 1, originally released May 29th, 2013.

Drew: Anticipation is often the enemy of objectivity. Not that I can ever claim to be all that objective, but it can be difficult to evaluate a work on its own merits when expectations have been allowed to brew for as long as they have for X-Men 1. Since the announcement of this title, the all-female cast has been cited for everything from pandering to its female audience to serving as a rare bastion of female role models in comicdom. But, are any of those things what writer Brian Wood and penciller Olivier Coipel actually set out to do? Does that matter? Art shouldn’t have to answer for what people turn it into sight-unseen, but its difficult to talk about this series without some reaction to the expectations it was released into. Hopefully, I’ll be able to tie it back to the series itself. Continue reading