Creator vs Creation in Daredevil 608

by Michael DeLaney

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

“I did not ask for the life I was given. But it was given nonetheless.”                                                                 Mr. Eko, LOST

No one ever asked to be born – we emerge from the womb and are saddled with struggles specific to our circumstances. In Daredevil 608, Mike Murdock emerges from the ether/Matt Murdock’s imagination and has to deal with a world that doesn’t want to acknowledge his existence. Thus, he takes some aggressive measures to make them acknowledge it. Continue reading

Kingpin Drowns Out Everything Else in Daredevil 599

by Spencer Irwin

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

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, the media has been a constant bombardment of scandals, missteps, and outrage. Every new sound bite is accused of being a “distraction” from something more important, but the truth is that almost every one of these stories is important (and horrifying) in their own way. Still, so many stories flying around at once can be absolutely overwhelming — nobody can get their bearings straight or agree on which scandals to tackle first. There’s just no way to focus in a world absolutely overwhelmed by Trumpian horrors, which is exactly what Matt Murdock is discovering in Daredevil 599, where newly-elected Mayor Fisk is just as divisive, dangerous, and all-encompassing a figure. Continue reading

Clashing Tones in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual 42

by Drew Baumgartner

Amazing Spider-Man Annual 42

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

It’s hard to separate a character from the types of stories they inhabit. Indeed, it’s an idea that doesn’t even really make sense in most media, where characters tend to inhabit just the one story, but it kind of runs amok in comics, where there are countless forces pushing characters into other types of stories. There’s crossovers and cameos, which will pull the guest-starring character into the (potentially very different) tonal world of the home series. There’s cross-media franchises, which will accentuate the parts of the character that best suit the medium, whether it’s an action movie, a video-game, or a kids cartoon. And, perhaps more than anything, there’s the monthly grind of telling yet another story with this character, inspiring creators to think outside the box to find something new and exciting to show us. Those forces compound over the decades, such that a given character is less defined by the type of stories they inhabit than the range of stories they could inhabit. Such is the case with Spider-Man, who is so famously versatile to have teamed up with basically everyone in the Marvel Universe, has appeared in countless film and television iterations, and often stars in multiple comics series at once. Even so, there seem to be a few types of stories that Spider-Man isn’t quite suited for, as The Amazing Spider-Man Annual 42 illustrates. Continue reading

Kingpin’s Trumpocracy in Daredevil 598

by Michael DeLaney

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

Nick Spencer had his take on Trump’s America in Secret Empire and now Charles Soule holds the mirror up to our current national nightmare in Daredevil 598. Wilson Fisk is the mayor of New York City and like Trump, he’s planning on making America great again…for the bad guys. Continue reading

It’s Hard to Take Peter Seriously in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 3

by Spencer Irwin

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

The fact that Chip Zdarsky would be writing his own ongoing Spider-Man series intrigued me from the moment it was announced. Zdarsky’s sad-sack take on Spider-Man was one of the most consistently funny gags in Howard the Duck, but seemed difficult to translate into the star of a monthly title. Even now that we’re three issues into Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man I’m honestly still not 100% sure how it’s worked out. Zdarsky and Adam Kubert ace the series’ humor and have come up with some interesting plots, but their Peter Parker is almost too stupid to function. Continue reading

Fist Fights and Legal Fights in Daredevil 25

by Michael DeLaney

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

I’m about to blow your mind: superhero comics are full of fist fights. Crazy, I know. But with every punch or kick traded, there’s typically opposing ideologies. In Daredevil 25, Charles Soule and Alec Morgan match the high stakes of Matt Murdock’s Supreme Court case with the trappings of superhero fisticuffs. Continue reading

Collaboration Must Be Fun in Doctor Strange 24

by Taylor Anderson

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

To be a comic book writer you have to have a certain amount of trust in people. I say this because unless you’re one of those uber-talented and driven writers who can do it all, you have to depend on another person to put your words and directions into pictures. Aside from the loss of creative control this may represent to an author, there are also logistical worries involved in this process. When an artist is penciling Doctor Strange, for example, they are going to need pretty clear directions from the author given that a lot of what they draw has to be things that don’t exist in real life. How exactly do you tell someone to draw all those bizarre magical beasties Stephen has to fight? Continue reading

Prioritizing Responsibilities in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man 2

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

It’s always easy to score political points against the president by suggesting they’re spending too much time relaxing. Folks of every political persuasion have made this argument at some point or another, and it always sounds reasonable because the President obviously has more important things to be doing. With great power, as the saying goes, must also come great responsibility. But of course, even Presidents are people, and while we should certainly hold them to a high standard in terms of workload (that it’s a stressful job is part of the job description), expecting them to never take a vacation is inhumane. This is a point Peter Parker has always fluctuated on. He obviously respects the responsibilities that come with his powers, but he’d also like to be a human being with a fulfilling professional and personal life. Usually, that means he’s constantly running out on dates or jobs to save the day, but Chip Zdarksy and Adam Kubert find a decidedly different approach in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 2. Continue reading

The Power of Friendship (and smoke) in Daredevil 24

by Michael DeLaney

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

How long can you stay mad at your best friend? In the case of Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, it took about 20+ issues. In Daredevil 24 Charles Soule and Alec Morgan finally begin to mend their broken relationship as Matt continues his grand quest to “legalize superheroing.” That, and pick on poor Tombstone. Continue reading

History Deepens in Doctor Strange 23

by Taylor Anderson

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

The Marvel universe is as deep as the Mariana Trench, which is to say it’s practically bottomless. After more than fifty years of continuously pumping out serialized stories, it’s fair to say that no person knows everything about the Marvel universe no matter how much they’ve read. The breadth of its history gives writers a leg up when writing their stories: when you have deep pool to draw from it’s unlikely it will run dry any time soon. Even with the vastness of this narrative landscape, Doctor Strange stands out because it always hints at an even deeper world history beyond the Marvel pages. This is something Dennis Hopeless knows and uses to his great advantage in Doctor Strange 21.

Continue reading