The Unbelievable Gwenpool 2

gwenpool 2

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing The Unbelievable Gwenpool 2, originally released May 11th, 2016.

Spencer: When asked what fictional universe I would like to live in (which happens more often than you’d think, thanks to weird Tumblr memes), I never give the DC or Marvel universes as my answer, despite them being my favorite fictional universes. I think the reason why is pretty clear: actually living in one of these universes would be utter hell. These worlds run our favorite heroes through the wringer for the sake of a good story, and the lives of their civilians are even more fraught and chaotic. That’s a point Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru make early — and hilariously — in The Unbelievable Gwenpool 2.

civilians

The dangers of Earth-616 are only compounded for our titular hero, Gwen Poole, who is actually a young woman from our world who has achieved her dream of traveling to her favorite fictional universe. Gwen’s adventures in her Howard the Duck back-ups focused on the joy of this transition, but now that she’s become the star of her own title, the true consequences of her situation have finally hit home. Continue reading

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Secret Avengers 10

secret avengers 10Today, Greg and Spencer are discussing Secret Avengers 10, originally released November 26th, 2014. Greg: I studied a lot of television history in college, and there are many similarities between that medium and comic books. Particularly, there’s a notable trend in both mediums from self-contained, episodic units that could be watched and appreciated with no greater context, to highly serialized, novelistic longform works that have identifiable cause-and-effect and require consumers to know their stuff. TV content creators seem to understand this is a primary method of creating and consuming TV now, with binge-watching services like Netflix and Hulu taking storm, and even half-hour sitcoms serializing like crazy (I would not recommend jumping into New Girl halfway through, for example). Comic book creators, however, still seem to try and cater to both extremes of readership; in the case of Secret Avengers 10, they manage to succeed, but just barely. Continue reading

Secret Avengers 4

secret avengers 4Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Secret Avengers 4, originally released June 11th, 2014. 

Spencer: I’m a big proponent of comics being goofy, and due to my embracing the sillier aspects of comic books, I’ve been a big fan of Secret Avengers thus far. Still, it’s way too easy for “silly” to cross some sort of line, becoming corny or cringe-worthy or sometimes just tonally jarring. I liked last month’s issue a lot more than Drew and Shelby did, but I still have to agree with them that some of the issue’s more bizarre jokes felt out of place amongst the drama of the story itself. That’s not a problem in issue four, though. Gone are the random (if funny) throwaway gags; instead, Ales Kot and Michael Walsh embrace the inherent ridiculousness of their cast and the world they live in without ever betraying the high stakes of the mission itself. Continue reading

Secret Avengers 3

Alternating Currents: Secret Avengers 3, Drew and ShelbyToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Secret Avengers 3, originally released May 14th, 2014. 

Drew: There was a point in my life, from my late teens through my early twenties, where I firmly ascribed to the notion that making an impression, good or bad, was better than going unnoticed. It made me a very outgoing person, but it also made me pretty obnoxious. I may have gotten a bit more cynical over the years (I’ve definitely gotten quieter), but I’m now fairly certain that outgoing and obnoxiousness may be more than just directly correlated; frankly, I think they’re the same trait. “Outgoing” is the term we use when we find that kind of extroverted behavior charming, but it doesn’t take much to see those same behaviors as utterly grating. It forces us to walk a tricky line — we don’t want to be faceless cookie-cutter bores, but we also don’t want to be so fixated on the beat of our own drums that we turn people off (at least, not everyone).

Art walks a similar line, struggling to distinguish itself from the pack without alienating its audience. All art exists on a continuum of underdone to overdone but the vanguard has always been on that overdone edge, as artists push the envelope of taste ever further from the known. I don’t want to suggest that Secret Avengers 3 is quite on the bleeding edge of comic book trends, but it certainly toes the line of obnoxiousness. I know that sounds like a harsh criticism, but I really don’t mean that in a bad way. I may not mean it in a good way, either, but it’s certainly not all bad.

Continue reading

Secret Avengers 2

secret avengers 2Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Mark are discussing Secret Avengers 2, originally released April 9th, 2014. 

This is the Secret Avengers, there are no rules.

-S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill

Patrick: For all the crap people give the superhero genre for being “formulaic” or “predictable,” the medium of comics is anything but. I really liked Captain America: The Winter Soldier — and that flick does take a lot of big crazy chances — but one of the moments I was disappointed by was the split second we thought we were going to see Nick Fury’s car fly through the streets of D.C. Hot damn, I wanted to see that car fly. “Flying car” is one of those things you sorta just have to shrug at and say “comics are weird, man.” Or, more precisely, “there are no rules.” Ales Kot’s Secret Avengers embraces this philosophy, combining a cast of button-down Special Agents with a band of superhero (…and supervillain) misfits into one cacophonous volume. It’s a buffet of surprises, each one gleefully undermining all the others. Continue reading