Best of 2017: Best Series

Series

We all love a good one-off or anthology, but it’s the thrill of a series that keeps us coming back to our comic shop week-in, week-out. Whether it’s a brand new creator-owned series or a staple of the big two, serialized storytelling allows for bigger casts, bigger worlds, and bigger adventures. That bigness was on full display this year, as series made grand statement after grand statement about what they were all about. These are our top 10 series of 2017.  Continue reading

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Best of 2017: Best Artists

Artists

Without artists, all of your favorite characters, scenes, costumes, and locations would just be words on a page. In short, they’re the ones that make comics comics. That’s a lot of responsibility, yet the best artists manage to juggle all of those tasks and inject some meaningful art and style into the proceedings. Whether its a subtle expression or a jaw-dropping action sequence, our favorite artists add the requisite magic to make their worlds and characters real. These are our top 10 artists of 2017. Continue reading

Hastily-Laid Plans Go Awry in Hawkeye 14

By Drew Baumgartner

Hawkeye 14

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

This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, “Hey you. Can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on Then a friend walks by, “Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”

Leo McGarry, The West Wing, “Nöel”

Humans aren’t perfect. We often have dumb ideas or bungle good ones, we make lots of mistakes, and fail far more often than we succeed. But we do try. And what’s particularly endearing is that we often try for the sake of others. This is what Marvel heroes are all about — imperfectly trying to help others — and there’s really no better example of this in the modern Marvel canon than Clint Barton. He’s an ace archer and his heart sure is in the right place, but (bless him), he’s more prone to failure than just about anyone else out there. But he’s also the most qualified person around to help Kate, which means he’s coming to her rescue, whether she needs it or not. Continue reading

Beyond Homage in Hawkeye 13

By Drew Baumgartner

Hawkeye 13

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

When it comes to franchised characters in comics, virtually every creative team owes a huge debt to those who came before. I think this might be particularly true for Kate Bishop, who was characterized so iconically (and recently) in two beloved series — Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers — that her past interpretations are all but inescapable. I don’t mean to sell short the contributions of Kelly Thompson and her collaborators on this series, but they clearly understand the importance of reconciling Kate with her past, which is arguably why “Kate’s past” has made for such a satisfying narrative motif. But issue 13 finds Thompson and Leonardo Romero fully addressing Kate’s metatextual past, crashing a bumbling Clint Barton back into Kate’s life. Continue reading

Hawkeye 11: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson & Patrick Ehlers

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

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Taylor: If you read enough ancient ancient Greek myths you quickly realize that people have had complicated relationships with their parents since history began. Cronus was afraid his son Zeus would kill him and take over the world so he tried to eat him. Cronus failed. Zeus did indeed come to rule Mt. Olympus but not, without inheriting his father’s fear of his own children. Kate Bishop shares a similarly complicated relationship with her father, the only difference is that she doesn’t fear him so much as she fears to become him one day. This relationship is part of what defines Kate and the way she responds to it is fascinating in Hawkeye 11.

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An Off-Color Kate in Hawkeye 10

By Spencer Irwin

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

When I first opened Hawkeye 10 I did a double-take, and had to go back to recheck the credits. I would have sworn it was Francesco Francavilla illustrating the issue, but instead, it was regular colorist and artist Jordie Bellaire and Leonardo Romero doing their best impression, bathing those first few pages in the deep, rich shades of red that have come to be Francavilla’s trademark. It’s our first sign that something is seriously wrong with Kate, and not just because thinking of Francavilla brings to mind the villain spotlight issue of Fraction’s Hawkeye; it’s because red is not Kate’s color. Continue reading

The Value of Teammates in Hawkeye 9

By Drew Baumgartner

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

The Hawkeyes are team players. Whether it’s the Avengers for Clint or the Young Avengers for Kate, they’re more or less synonymous with their respective teams. That’s part of what makes their solo series so subversive and interesting — in part because it finds them away from their usual teammates, and in part because it finds them forging new teams out of the people around them. Only, for Hawkeyes, it’s never quite that simple. Case in point: the first half of Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s Hawkeye 9 provides an object lesson in why Kate needs her team, but the second complicates their relationship, forcing Kate to keep that team at an arm’s length. Continue reading

The Use of Flashback in Hawkeye 8

by Taylor Anderson

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

You see it a lot in movies and TV shows nowadays, the flashback or flashforward in time. Its popularity with artists is understandable, though — when you only have so much time to devote toward character development, why not take a shortcut and use a flashback to show what motivates a character? Just because this is an easier way to develop a character doesn’t mean it’s easy, however. In Hawkeye 8, the use of flashback isn’t damning, but it also adds relatively little to the story at the same time. Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 6/7/17

We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Black Bolt 2, Daredevil 21, Doctor Strange 20, Hawkeye 7, Rocket 2 and Unstoppable Wasp 6. Also, we will be discussing Nova 7 on Monday and Amazing Spider-Man 28 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Hawkeye 3

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Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Hawkeye 3, originally released December 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: Legend has it that carved upon the Ancient Greek Temple of Delphi are the words gnothi seauton — Know Thyself. For the Greeks, it was important to know who you were and your place in society. This maxim not only helped you achieve glory, but prevented you from overstepping your bounds, as so many ill-fated Greek characters learned all too late. In our modern culture, knowing yourself has taken on a completely new meaning. Because of social media, you’re not only yourself but also the brand you push out there on Facebook, Twitter, and comic blogs. Given this, it’s imperative not to only know thyself, but also know how thyself is viewed by others. Hawkeye 3, knows itself and how it comes off to its readers, and that makes it a smart, funny, and interesting read.

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