This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Drew: Over the past two weeks, countless articles have been written about the world-building in the Black Panther film. It’s obviously something the movie does remarkably well, combining a kind of anthropological survey of African culture with a sci-fi utopia for an Afrofuturist aesthetic that is unique in the world of blockbuster movies. Moreover, that world-building was essential in ingratiating a new audience to the character and his home country, implying a rich culture that stretched far beyond what we saw on the screen. Of course, superhero comics — especially long-running ones — are often more interested in what has already been built than they are in what is new, trading on our nostalgia for familiar events and characters in a way that a single film obviously can’t. There’s certainly a case to be made for honoring the storied history of any character in that way, though the approach may be at odds with appealing to newcomers (who may have been brought in by, say, a widely popular movie), all of which puts Black Panther Annual 1 in a difficult position. Is it aimed at newcomers looking for an approachable entry into comics after seeing the movie, or is it aimed at long-time readers who are already duly familiar with the character’s history? Continue reading →
Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Michael, Shane, Patrick and Mark discuss Black Canary 2, Green Lantern The Lost Army 2, Martian Manhunter 2, Secret Six 4 and Superman/Wonder Woman 19.
Michael: We’re in the second month of DC’s soft reboot of “DC YOU.” Though the name is so very stupid, the shakeup of DC’s monthly offerings has been a welcome change of pace thus far. We’re dealing with characters and concepts that have been in rotation for at the very least a couple of decades; so it’s nice to look at them from a different, less New 52-ish lens. I think that this particular selection for our DC round-up presents iterations of villains and do-gooders that may be different but don’t stray too far from the core of their character. You finally seem to be on the right path DC. (Hopefully.)
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Secret Six 2, originally released February 11th, 2015.
Drew: At what point is it fair to form an opinion about a work of art? The conventional wisdom warns us not to judge a book by its cover, but at what point is it fair to judge? I’ve been told that the first chapter is enough, but I’ve seen others advocate for just the first page. I tend to be a bit more charitable than most — I’ve never walked out of a movie, but then again, I would probably not see a sequel of a movie I didn’t like. So, how do comics fit in to that? Is the first issue the first page of a story? The first chapter? The first movie? Single issues rarely give a complete story (at least nowadays), but also offer a convenient point to stop and reflect. After two issues, we may not have a great idea of what Secret Six will actually be like, but maybe we have enough to form an opinion about it. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Suzanne are discussing Secret Six 1, originally released December 3rd, 2014. Spencer: It’s no secret: Gail Simone’s first, Pre-New 52 run on Secret Six is still the best work of her career, but that fact has likely created some heightened expectations for this week’s Secret Six relaunch. There’s no escaping the hype completely, but Simone manages to mitigate much of it by showing from the very beginning how different this volume is from what came before. Much like Catman himself, readers are thrown blindly into the middle of a still-unfolding mystery — it’s a thrilling way to kick off a new series, but some frustratingly inconsistent art threatens to derail the entire experience. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and guest writer Jennie Seidewand are discussing Action Comics 23.2: Zod, originally released September 11th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.
Drew: The final shot of “Face Off,” Breaking Bad‘s season 4 finale, is absolutely devastating, revealing exactly what lengths Walt was willing to go to in order to survive. It’s a paradigm-shifting twist, one that challenges much of what we thought we knew about the character, and one that risks alienating the audience by keeping them in the dark. It’s an incredible feat that that reveal doesn’t fly Breaking Bad off of the rails — one that can largely be attributed to the fact that the series had long been about Walt’s lies and desperation, and about testing the audience’s sympathy for him. Writer Greg Pak employs a similar tactic in Action Comics 23.2: Zod, keeping the audience in the dark about Zod’s crimes until long after the fact. Unfortunately, without four seasons of incremental steps towards that crime, the reveal lacks any actual surprise. Continue reading →