This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Spencer: For the first few decades of his existence, Green Arrow was just Batman with a bow and arrows. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when Oliver Queen lost his fortune and gained a social consciousness, that the character became something unique and important. In today’s divisive times, I appreciate Green Arrow’s status as a “social justice warrior” more than ever, but honestly, the fact that Ollie is often pretty bad at this aspect of his job is probably just as important. That Ollie often needs to be educated allows creators to explain unfamiliar concepts to the audience, but it also means confronting the kind of guilt and privilege that often plagues even the most well-meaning of activists. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Nightwing 9, originally released November 16th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Spencer: If you go back and read my reviews of recent Nightwing issues, I’m on record as calling this run “grim” more than once. I’m still a bit puzzled as to why writer Tim Seeley has filled Dick with so much angst, but at least Nightwing 9 is an acknowledgement of this trend, and seemingly an active move away from it. It’s a refreshing look at why Dick Grayson is such a powerful character in the first place. Continue reading →
Today,Taylor and Spencer are discussing All-New Wolverine 9, originally released June 1st, 2015.
Taylor: In middle school I was a wallflower. I would go to dances with the hopes of dancing with a girl only to find myself retreating to the sidelines once the first few bars of a slow song wafted their way across the gym. By doing so I guaranteed my safety, even though that also guaranteed my mission to dance with a girl would fail. There was, and continues to be, safety in fading into the background. There, you aren’t the focus of attention, you can be overlooked, and most importantly, you’re just part of a larger tapestry. But that doesn’t mean you’re any less important than those people on the dance floor; you’re just different. The same can be said for comics, where background, while often overlooked, is an integral part of the art, as All-New Wolverine 9 demonstrates.
Today, Drew and Mikyzptlk are discussing the Flash 19, originally released April 24th, 2013.
Drew: It’s hard to pick a favorite thing about The Flash. Is it the bright tone? The vivid, thematically rich art? It’s penchant for clever meta-commentary? In many ways, it feels like it was designed for the kind of nerdy dissections we do here at Retcon Punch, giving us everything we look for in a comic. Nothing brings that feeling about more than the specific pop-culture references this series drops from time to time. Things like having characters from LOSTpop up randomly, or building an entire arc up to a single Planet of the Apes reference feel like they were designed rather specifically for my nerdy mentalities. Those references were fun, if entirely disposable — they amounted to little more than throwaway lines and background characters — but with issue 19, writer Brian Buccellato goes into full-on homage mode, giving us an extended Die Hard tribute that plays a key role in the plot. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing the Flash 18, originally released March 27th, 2013.
Scott: Use your gifts to help in every way you can. This is what Barry Allen believes being a superhero is all about. Or so he claims. In The Flash 18, Barry contradicts himself, telling the eager-to-help members of team “Speed Force” that they must not use their newfound powers. Despite having gifts and wanting to help, these men are not superheroes in Barry’s eyes, at least not yet. So what does it take to truly become a superhero? Does it require a fine-tuned sense of when and how to use your powers? Does it even require having superpowers at all? Looks like Barry’s about to find that out the hard way. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Blue Beetle 15 and 16, originally released December 19th, 2012 and January 23rd, 2013.
Patrick: There’s a point in issue 16 where Moonrunner refers to being stuck in The Hunted as “a fate worse than death.” It’s a hyperbolic cliche — one that gets trotted out whenever a writer wants to artificially heighten the stakes. The phrase caries an added significance here in the final pages of Blue Beetle. If the Jaime Reyes dies here, then his story ends, and the bittersweet message he recorded for his family serves as a poignant farewell to the emotional origins of this character. But if Jaime Reyes survives this series, he’ll be put into the reality / game show “The Hunted,” which means he will linger on lifelessly in the pages of the largely abysmal Threshold. For anyone attached to the Blue Beetle, seeing him languish in another series (just as this one was starting to feel real again) is a fate worse than the character’s death.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing the Flash Annual 1, originally released August 29th, 2012.
Drew: When I interviewed Francis Manapul back in April, he expressed that he reveled at the unique expectations mandated by the New 52. Specifically, he expressed that “the best thing about knowing what people are expecting is when I change something, it seems shocking.” Subverting expectations is such a simple concept — and one so central to genre fiction in general — that you’d think it would start to lose its spark; but then again, with Manapul and Brian Buccellato on writing duties, nothing ever is that simple.