Generations Iron Man and Ironheart 1: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Patrick Ehlers 

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

Taylor: The future is going to be weird, man. How do I know? Every day I stand before 25 middle schoolers and attempt to teach them important stuff about books. Frequently, I’ll make analogies that are too out of date for them to get or, more embarrassingly, I’ll pull a “back in my day” story out of the playbook. Thinking about the difference from when I was in middle school to the kids I teach today is a lesson in how fast things change. These kids (see, I’m already so old I can’t help it!) have never known a world without cell phones, the internet, and Justin Bieber. Generations: Iron Man and Ironheart 1 understands that change happens quickly, just as I do, but the world that the issue imagines is beyond anything I thought imaginable. Continue reading

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Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier 1

Alternating Currents: Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier 1, Ryan and DrewToday, Ryan and Drew are discussing Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier 1, originally released October 1st, 2014.

Ryan: I love when comic books try new things. Whether the point is to advance the relatively young medium or simply to offer some variety to a landscape that sometimes feels dominated by the same handful of big names and tried-and-true styles, it excites me to read a daring, non-linear narrative or to see adventurous use of graphic design in a title. I spent the entire summer haranguing a friend to read the copy of Jonathan Hickman’s The Nightly News which I graciously let him borrow. Hickman, responsible for both the writing and art, confessed in the afterword of the trade paperback that he intentionally made the comic difficult for the reader’s eye to follow by cluttering the pages with infographics and non-sequential art. Luckily, this calculated risk works perfectly in the total package. Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier showcases a fun, new direction for the former covert operative/Captain America and art that looks unlike anything I have read lately, but do these strong choices translate into a great read? Continue reading

Best of 2012: Best Titles

best titlesWe generally avoid quantifying our enthusiasm around here — we’ll gladly praise or condemn comics as our tastes dictate, but turning that into a grade or a score makes us uncomfortable. As there are in our pull-list, there are holes in this ‘Best of’ list. Mea culpa. We’ve had some great experiences with comics this year, and these are the series that were consistently fun, thoughtful and beautiful. Too subjective for a year-end list? Ignore the rankings. Any way you slice it, these are fantastic series that deserve the scrutiny we heap on everything. Each is a rewarding read and well worth your attention. Our picks for the top 12 series of 2012:

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Swamp Thing 15

Alternating Currents: Swamp Thing 15, Drew and Patrick ROTToday, Patrick and Drew are discussing Swamp Thing 15, originally released December 5th, 2012. This issue is part of the RotWorld crossover event. Click here for complete RotWorld coverage. 

Patrick: Naturally, I copied the our previous post about Swamp Thing to get this article started. I noticed that Capristo started the piece: “Poor Alec.”  And thus I lost my opening line for this write-up. Looking back on our Swamp Thing Alternating Currents, it is remarkable how much we pity Alec. No matter what he does, he can’t be granted a minute’s peace. And while his counterpart, Animal Man, seems to be amassing allies left and right in the Rotworld, Swamp Thing’s road is a perpetually lonely one. It makes Alec’s quest for his singular companion that much more compelling. They are two against the Rotworld, and the pair’s separation lends as much uneasy tension to this issue as the undead tentacle-monster. Oh, did I not mention: there’s an undead tentacle-monster.

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Cram Session: Swamp Thing 1-11

It can be hard to keep up with all the comics you love. But it’s damn near impossible to keep up with all the comics you’re interested in.

Retcon Punch got you covered.

Alec Holland is just about the most reluctant hero of the New 52. Dude didn’t even cape-up until the end of issue 7. But it’s been a great ride, and now all human and plant life hangs in the balance. Catch up here and prepare for the Rot World crossover with Animal Man.

Swamp Thing 11

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Swamp Thing 11 originally released July 11th, 2012 (but mistakenly released a week early on Comixology.com)

Patrick: There’s a pivotal moment near the climax of Swamp Thing and Arcane’s fight where Alec realizes what he’s up against. He stares, deadpan, at his injured enemy and puts the pieces together: “every wound… becomes a mouth.” The Rot is consumption: and nothing can quash its appetite. That’s us — you, me, the comics industry, the entertainment industry, consumers. We relentlessly chew up narratives, characters, histories… christ, DC Comics alone puts over 60 titles on the sacrificial alter on a monthly basis. They reboot the line, they run cross-over events, they revive Watchmen, they do line-wide zero issues. But it’s basically never enough, the consumers always want more. And so the war between the Green, the Red and the Rot goes on forever, a conflict insatiable. Continue reading

Swamp Thing 9

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Swamp Thing 9, originally released May 2nd, 2012.

Shelby: I love non-traditional stories. While there is definitely comfort to be found in stories that go exactly as you imagine, it’s those twists that can turn a story on its ass that make things really interesting. And when those twists give the finger to time-honored and traditional story-telling tropes, that’s when I sit up and take notice. Swamp Thing is an awesome embodiment of the non-traditional. Our hero is a monster (unless you compare him to the villain), and in this issue after he rescues the damsel, she turns right around and rescues him back.

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Swamp Thing 8

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Swamp Thing 8, originally released April 4th, 2012.

Drew: Swamp Thing is all about details. Plot-wise, this issue may be even lighter than the previous one — Swamp Thing brings the fight to Sethe’s doorstep, prompting Sethe to play his ace in the whole: a Rot-ified Abby Arcane — but the creative team continues to emphasize and elucidate themes in ways that are both exciting and rewarding. Both the narration and the art are packed with subtle detail that amplify, refract, and subvert the story in surprising ways. Continue reading

Swamp Thing 7

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Swamp Thing 7, originally released March 7th, 2012.

Patrick: Alec Holland dies after taking a chainsaw through the torso.  Spoiler, I guess. No, I didn’t just ruin a twist or anything – in fact, Alec suffers this wound at the end of the previous issue. As is so frequently the case for characters in superhero comics, the drama continues to play out past the point of death, into the cerebral nether-space between living and dying. It allows Alec to decide that he needs to embrace his destiny and become the Swamp Thing. It’s a regular stop for heroes nearing the end of the Heroes’ Journey (capital H, capital J), but Scott Snyder manages something subtly different, emotionally unique to this very specifically reluctant hero.  Continue reading

Swamp Thing 6

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Swamp Thing 6, originally released February 1st, 2012.
Drew: Patrick and I try to avoid talking about comics outside of these write-ups in order to keep the conversation on the blog and open to everyone, but when he was catching up on Swamp Thing for our initial, epic write-up on it, he sent me a message betraying how good he thought Scott Snyder’s writing was. This break of form is entirely justifiable, given that Snyder’s awesomeness on Batman and Swamp Thing aren’t so much opinions as hard fact, but it also reveals just how flashy Snyder’s writing is. It isn’t just good: it’s remarkably  good. Continue reading