Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 6

Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Dr. Aphra 6, originally released April 12th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Most every Star Wars comic book, movie, video game or TV show is going to have to wrestle with history. The franchise has been culturally relevant for so long that every new experience in this universe is going to draw comparison to the various media that came before. On top of that, history is an inherent part of the narrative: characters grow up the echoes of a great civil war and among the ruins of galaxy-spanning republic. So characters, creators and audiences must show a certain reverence for that history. All characters, that is, except for Doctor Aphra, who’s familiarity with that history breeds boredom. Rather than reveling in what has come before, Kieron Gillen and Kev Walker’s Doctor Aphra 6 looks aggressively, persistently, forward. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 28

Alternating Currents: Wicked + The Divine 28, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 28, originally released April 12th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: Fatalism has always been baked into the world of The Wicked and the Divine. Right from the start, we understood that the pantheon were destined to die, though the exact reasons for their death remained mysterious. In the wake of Ananke’s death, our characters have begun to question whether or not they are truly doomed to die — they know only what Ananke told them, but no longer trust her words. As the pantheon variously pursue their different paths, some in hopes of defying what may-or-may-not be their destiny, I can’t help but wonder if their names might offer some hint about what those destinies might be. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 3/8/17

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, we discuss Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 8, Green Valley 6, and The Wicked + The Divine 27. Also, we discussed Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 5 on Friday, so check that out! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 5

doctor aphra 5

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Dr. Aphra 5, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: When I was young I didn’t want to be a firefighter or sports-star the way a lot of other boys did. Instead, I dreamt of becoming either a paleontologist or archaeologist. While I have to admit Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones played a role in this desire, I was also drawn to the sheer mystery of studying long gone civilizations and animals. There’s something incredibly tantalizing when confronted with ruins or fossils: they speak of a once great culture or animal that has collapsed and left behind only echoes of its stories. Before reading Dr. Aphra, I had never really considered that the Star Wars universe a place full of such mystery, but as issue 5 shows, not only is Star Wars capable of this, but it can excel at it, too.

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The Wicked + The Divine 26

wicked-and-divine-26Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 26, originally released February 8, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Set in the aftermath of Ananke’s death, “Imperial Phase (Part 1)” has been an arc all about figuring out what to do next. Last month’s cliffhanger finally presented a tangible threat in the form of the Great Darkness (or at least some of its agents), but if you thought that’d be enough to unite the Pantheon against a common enemy, you’d be sadly mistaken. The Wicked + The Divine 26 finds these gods as divided and lost as ever…and perhaps suggests that’s the way they’re meant to be? Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 25

wicked-and-divine-25Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 25, originally released January 4th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: There’s been an air of aimlessness to The Wicked + The Divine‘s fifth arc; with Ananke dead, it seems like the Pantheon don’t really know what to do with themselves. This quality is clearly a purposeful choice on Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s part, as this entire storyline seems to revolve around figuring out “what comes next?” Issue 25 provides at least one solution (in the most shocking way possible), but what may be more significant is the way it emphasizes — both to the Pantheon and the audience — what questions about the future they should actually be trying to answer in the first place. Continue reading

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 1

doctor-aphra-1

Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Dr. Aphra 1, originally released December 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor:  Last month the outstanding Darth Vader series penned by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca wrapped up after 25 stellar issues. In its short run Darth Vader skillfully contributed to the myth of its titular character in a way that previous Star Wars titles couldn’t quite pull off. But for all the fantastic work done on the character of Vader, what really stands out about the series is the creation of so many interesting and fully realized ancillary characters. Of these, Vader’s hired accomplice Doctor Aphra stands out as one of the most interesting, and so she is getting a chance to lead her own series. With the always entertaining Triple-Zero and Beetee in tow can this series possibly live up to the story that spawned it?

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The Wicked + The Divine 23

wicked-and-divine-23

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 23, originally released November 2nd, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: The epistolary novel — a novel told as a series of documents (letters, newspaper clippings, etc) — presents an intriguing contradiction of allure. The thought of holding “real” evidence of a story brings it closer to us, while their existence distances us from the immediacy of the events they describe. That tradeoff can be mitigated when only a portion of the narrative is epistolary; in presenting both a traditional narrative and physical evidence of that narrative, storytellers can have their cake and eat it too. This is a tactic that is remarkably common in comics, where text and image already freely mix to create illusions of reality in a way that simply isn’t true of prose. Watchmen is obviously the most well-known example of augmenting a traditional comic with epistolary documents, but countless series have employed the technique since. I would argue, however, that none of those examples — including Watchmen — justify the existence of those documents quite as elegantly as The Wicked + The Divine 23. Continue reading

Darth Vader 25

darth-vader-25

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 25, originally released October 12th, 2016As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

star wars div

Taylor: Darth Vader stands alone in pop culture. He is at once terrifying and relatable, a killer and a loving father, a villain and a hero. Perhaps the reason for his enduring popularity is that Vader cannot be defined by one singular trait. Like every human, he changes over time, is sometime good and sometimes evil, and is all too fallible. Ultimately this is what makes him a character that is uniquely memorable. Despite controlling an ancient mystical power, using a sword made of pure energy, and conquering the known universe, what makes him an essential character is the simple fact that he changes. In the final issue of this amazing run, Darth Vader explains once and for all why there is such a big change in the Lord of the Sith between Episode IV and Episode V in wonderful fashion.

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The Wicked + The Divine 1831 1

wicked-and-divine-1831-1Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 1831 1, originally released September 21st, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

–George Santayana

Spencer: The Wicked + The Divine‘s Pantheon live in a perpetual cycle of rebirth: as the opening scrawl reminds us, these deities are reborn every 90 years, whether they like it or not. It’s unclear exactly how much the Pantheon can remember of their previous incarnations — if they remember anything at all — but I get the impression that however much they remember, it’s not enough. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans use The Wicked + The Divine 1831 to give readers their first extended glimpse at a previous Pantheon, and it proves to be enlightening in many ways. Turns out the Pantheon are caught in quite a few perpetual cycles, and most of them are far more destructive than their rebirths. Continue reading