Depth of Field in Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends 1

By Drew Baumgartner

Hunt for Wolverine Dead Ends 1

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

I remember someone once telling me that they mostly evaluate a comics artist based on the detail of their backgrounds. That always felt like an odd facet to fixate on (especially with so many others to factor in), but it’s hard to deny that richly detailed backgrounds are dazzling. It allows artists to flex not only their attention to detail, but their capacity for deep perspective, lending a sense of lived-in reality to their settings. But it’s also time consuming — even the most detail-prone artists will pick their moments, reserving sprawling cityscapes and the likes for big splash pages, and making choices that compress the depth of field elsewhere. Time is an understandable driver of level-of-detail, but it doesn’t always coincide with storytelling in a meaningful way. With The Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends 1, artist Ramon Rosanas finds a much more thematically resonant way to use his depth of field, lending Charles Soule’s villain reveal an unsettling otherworldliness. Continue reading

Waging Peace in X-Men Red Annual 1

by Patrick Ehlers

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

“I was the Phoenix. I burned so brightly. Then I was dead. And everything was dark.”

Jean Grey, X-Men Red (2018) Annual #1

Writer Tom Taylor starts this issue with the narration above, quickly summarizing the tragic arc of Jean Grey. It was a violent life, and the bullet points of her story are mostly bummers. Over Scott Summer’s grave, Jean promises that this time is going to be different, and this annual is all about what that might look like. Taylor and artist Pascal Alixe offer an issue full of love, understanding, and difficult conversations. Jean’s still here to win, but it’s not war she’s waging. It’s peace.

Continue reading

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

X-Men: The Wedding Special 1

by Spencer Irwin

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

What’s a Wedding Special without a wedding? It’s X-Men: The Wedding Special 1, I suppose. I’ll try not to hold the fact that this isn’t actually Kitty and Colossus’ wedding against this issue — chalk it up to a failure of expectations and research on my behalf, although I’ll still argue that it’s a misleading title. If anything, the real problem with this special isn’t the lack of a wedding, but the fact that much of what we get instead feels insubstantial and, at times, even generic. 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

Disposable Supporting Characters in Despicable Deadpool 295

by Michael DeLaney

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

In the world of popular fiction, there’s a very low risk of the main characters — or the most recognizable ones — dying. We know that our protagonists are safe in any given story, so there’s a higher likelihood that any supporting cast member will meet their end. As entertaining and touching as Despicable Deadpool 295 is, I can’t help but feel that it’s just another story where the characters we like stay safe while the nameless ones die off. 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

Uncanny X-Men 600

uncanny xmen 600

Today,Taylor and Drew are discussing Uncanny X-Men 600, originally released November 4th, 2015.

Taylor: In my junior year of college I took a creative writing course that required each student to have at least one of their stories workshopped. This involved everyone in the class reading your story and then picking it apart in front of you during class. All the things your peers thought about your story, both good and bad, came out during this process. I remember it being a humbling and somewhat traumatic experience. It’s hard to put something you created out there in the world for everyone to scrutinize and it takes a thick skin to not let the negative comments beat you down. In Uncanny X-Men 600, the final of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the series, Beast is put on trial by his peers for actions. In doing so he attempts to defend his actions and those of the author who gives him life. Continue reading

All-New X-Men 40

all new xmen 40

Today, Ryan and Michael are discussing All-New X-Men 40, originally released April 22nd, 2015.

Ryan: All-New X-Men 40 set the internet abuzz. People who have never picked up a comic book are posting about it. Reputable media outlets such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and even Buzzfeed wrote responses to the issue, inspiring a great deal of debate on message boards and comment sections, alike. Can you blame them? It is not every day that a seminal comic book character, one who is universally adored, receives a fresh start and is looked at with a contemporary — if not somewhat controversial — perspective. The creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Mahmud A. Asrar accomplish exactly this as they reveal that (SPOILER ALERT!)…Random is back, and he brought Boom-Boom, Karma, Masque, Madison Jeffries, and Elixir with him!! Oh, and apparently young Bobby Drake is gay. Continue reading

Uncanny X-Men 33

uncanny xmen 33

Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Uncanny X-Men 33, originally released April 15th, 2015.

Taylor: When watching any of the Star Trek series you quickly become aware that every episode centers primarily on one character. Depending on how important the character to the series, they’ll have more episodes than others. For example, Picard generally gets about five to six focus episodes each TNG season while Troy gets two to three. Generally, this means you know if an episode is going to be good or not. Picard episode? Yes! Geordi episode? No. With as cast that numbers somewhere in the thirties (at least) it comes as no surprise that Brian Michael Bendis would try this technique with Uncanny X-Men. This way, every character gets a taste of the limelight and most readers leave satisfied. The question though, is does this doom the series to a Star Trek-like cycle where some issues are great and others are not solely based on stars in them? Continue reading