Hawkeye 20

Alternating Currents: Hawkeye 20, Suzanne and SpencerToday, Suzanne and Spencer Drew are discussing Hawkeye 20, originally released September 10th, 2014.

Drew: Of all the ways a writer can use to emphasize their storytelling beats, shuffling the chronology of the events always demands my attention. I almost called it “distracting” but I think I mean “demands my attention” — I absolutely appreciate that it’s a handy tool in the savvy writer’s toolkit, but we’re so used to perceiving events one after the other that flipping them around feels noticeably alien. Again, I don’t want to imply that it’s inherently bad — there are lots of compelling reasons to tell a story out-of-order — but that it draws attention to itself in ways that aren’t always accounted for. Fortunately, Matt Fraction has routinely proven himself capable of handling (and justifying) these types of stories, making Hawkeye 20 an excellent example of nonlinear narrative done right. Continue reading

Original Sin 8

Alternating Currents: Original Sin 8, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Original Sin 8, originally released September 3rd, 2014.

Drew: As the final chapter of a summer crossover event, Original Sin 8 has significantly more baggage than the average comic issue. In addition to wrapping up its own 8-issue maxi-series (9 if you count that zero issue), this issue is essentially charting of the trajectory of the Marvel Universe in the short term, setting up an array of new series and new volumes of old series that seem to fall out of the aftermath of this event. All that is to say that it’s easy for this conversation to turn into a discussion of Original Sin as a whole, or even how we feel about some of the lasting changes this issue presents. There’s certainly value in those conversations (and believe me, I’m going to talk about them a bit), but first, I want to examine whether or not this issue manages to be entertaining in its own right. Continue reading

Original Sin 5

original sin 5

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Original Sin 5, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

The Butler did it!

Traditional

Drew: As far as board game adaptations go, Clue actually does a pretty fantastic job of mimicking the experience of playing the game (it’s certainly closer than Battleship, and don’t even get me started on Twister). By the end of the movie, it really could be anyone, and the multiple endings play with that idea brilliantly. Of course, what’s truly clever is the way that those endings play with our expectations of parlor murder mysteries in general. Of course it could be anyone — that’s the whole point. Ultimately, the who, where, and what of the murder doesn’t matter so much as the why and how, which tend to be pulled out at the very last minute, anyway. Original Sin 5 subverts those explanations by showing us why Nick Fury killed all of those monsters and planets, but stopping just short of telling us who killed the Watcher. But hey, maybe it doesn’t matter! Continue reading

Original Sin 4

original sin 4

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Original Sin 4, originally released June 18th, 2014.

Spencer: Original Sin is the funniest murder mystery I’ve ever experienced.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration (Clue certainly gives it a run for its money), but the fact remains that, in a genre not exactly known for being a laugh riot, Original Sin stands out as something strange and unique (and hilarious). Despite the deadly secrets, overwhelming paranoia, and occasional gore, Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato somehow manage to give us an issue with a laugh on pretty much every page, an issue that treats its subject matter with the utmost seriousness but that also has no problem embracing the sheer ridiculousness inherent to the medium. It’s a difficult balance to achieve, but Aaron and Deodato walk that tightrope masterfully. Continue reading

Deadpool 25

deadpool 25

Today, Patrick and Greg are discussing Deadpool 25, originally released March 12th, 2014

Patrick: In high school, I did theatre. Like a lot. Acting, directing, writing, set building, lighting, sound, Vice President of the Drama Club — I was a damned theatre rat. It was great, I loved it and built my whole life and identity around it. But I was also kind of a jerk in high school. At the height of my jerkishness, the director of our theatre program told me that she used to think I was funny, until she realized I was just mean. Which is a harsh thing for a teacher to say to a child, but I’m sure I was asking for it. I was socially destructive, and alienated all of my friends in that world. It was the nuclear option: I had hurt too many people to stay in that circle. So I bailed — on my hometown, on theatre, on all of those people that used to be my friends. Was I acting out of self-preservation or was I protecting my friends from further exposure to my toxic attitude? Deadpool 25.NOW shows Wade’s world melting down around him in the most predictable way, as the Merc with the Mouth is unable to find peace in resolution. He too bails, and whether its a selfless or selfish act is heartbreakingly ambiguous. Continue reading

Deadpool 23

Alternating Currents: Deadpool 23, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 23, originally released February 12th, 2014.

Drew: I like to think that I’m an open-minded guy when it comes to art, but I’m actually proud of the fact that I’ve never seen any of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer’s films. Frankly, the commercials alone embarrass me enough to scare me off. That’s not an embarrassment of prudishness — I can make dick jokes until the cows come home — but of intelligence: the grasping, desperately hackneyed pop culture references those movies are built on bring me closer to tears than laughter. Unfortunately, that brand of humor has dominated parody films over the past two decades, leaving only a few exceptions — like Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy — that even attempt to respect either the genre it’s sending up or the audience’s intelligence. Deadpool’s tendency to break the fourth wall has long made him the most likely source of parody in the Marvel universe, and that parody lived up the its potential for depth in the recent “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” arc. Unfortunately, this arc finds ‘pooly once again aiming for yuks in the cheapest ways possible. Continue reading

Deadpool 22

deadpool 22Today, Greg and Drew are discussing Deadpool 22, originally released January 8th, 2014.

Greg: I was first introduced to the Austin Powers franchise as a kid, and immediately gravitated towards the big, broad aspects of the comedy. The accent, the teeth, the catchphrases, the physical set pieces — this is the kind of stuff that absolutely slayed 9-year-old Greg (who am I kidding, this scene will always work for me). On a recent rewatch, however, I noticed one joke that whooshed right over my head. The name of Powers’ secret agent boss is Basil Exposition, and his purpose in the film is to, well, spout exposition, the bits of narrative business necessary to understand what is technically happening in a plot. It’s a fun bit of satirical lampshade hanging, yet it nevertheless serves its actual purpose — get all the boring stuff out of the way to leave plenty of room for fun. Deadpool 22 has the unfortunate task of dealing with this, yet executes it rather gracefully.
Continue reading

Deadpool 21

deadpool 21Today, Spencer and Scott are discussing Deadpool 21, originally released December 18th, 2013.

Spencer: Is Deadpool simply comic relief—a comic book Daffy Duck—or is he a deep, dark character, using jokes to mask his pain? We’ve had heated debates about this in our comment sections in the past, but the truth is that Deadpool is both, yet Deadpool is also neither; he exists on a spectrum that can slide anywhere between those two points. In their Deadpool run thus far Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan have explored both extremes, but now—after Wade’s all time low in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”—we find a Deadpool who has become much more tragic, yet still retains much of his typical humor. I’ve taken to calling him “Grumpy Old Man Deadpool.” Continue reading