This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
There have been some truly great deconstructions of the superhero genre. Watchmen set the bar in that particular corner of superherodom, but there have been countless imitators in the decades since. Indeed, there’d be enough to think that the very idea of deconstructing a superhero story has lost all meaning — but of course, in comics, any issue might be someone’s first, so any deconstruction might feel subversive to newcomers, even if the rest of us have seen it a million times. That was more or less my assessment of Jupiter’s Legacy when it started back in 2013; this was an attractive, well-observed series that ultimately felt decidedly familiar. But, of course, that was its starting point, not its raison d’être. The fifth and final issue of volume two clarifies that this series was about taking superhero mythology from that tired deconstructed wasteland and reconstructing its original spirit of optimism. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Patrick are discussing Reborn 1, originally released October 12th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.
Mark: Most of the time, I’m at peace with the idea that death is the end of all things. Part of this peace is born out of a sense of self-preservation because I am a Wear-a-Nightguard-Otherwise-You’ll-Shatter-Your-Teeth level worrier by nature and worrying about something as far out of my control as the afterlife would be enough to end me, but some of it is also that I’m a (relatively) healthy 32 year old. Death is not looming over me at this moment (fingers crossed), and so it isn’t something I think about all that often.
But occasionally, when I’m lying in bed thinking about something dumb I said in 6th grade and fretting that that moment negatively altered the course of my life, an inescapable existential terror bubbles up. Someday I’m going to die, and that’ll be it. Lights out. For that reason, I envy people who believe in something greater coming after this life. It’s unquestionably comforting to think that there’s a great reward for living life well. The classic Western idea of an afterlife is Heaven—a paradise designed as a gift to God’s faithful servants for a job well done. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Ryan D. are discussing Empress 1, originally released April 6th, 2016.
Shelby: First issues of comics can be tricky to talk about, especially indie books that aren’t about a character we already know backwards and forwards. We’re faced with a completely new universe about which we know nothing, characters we haven’t met, and situations we don’t fully understand. I find myself thinking more about the potential I see in the issue than the issue itself. What sort of seeds is the creative team sowing, here? Where can this story go from this point? Most importantly, am I even interested enough in the world being created to want to see what happens next? Continue reading →
Today, Ryan M. and Michael are discussing Huck 5, originally released March 16, 2016.
Ryan M.: One of those maxims that you hear all the time in writing classes is that conflict reveals character. Until a character is tested, you really can’t know who they are. It’s in times of turmoil that people show what they value and what they’re willing to sacrifice. By the same token, the unchallenged winner is under no obligation to show their cards. It’s easy to be invulnerable in victory. Unfortunately, lack of emotional openness does not inspire engagement. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Old Man Logan 1, originally released January 27th, 2016.
Michael: Comic books are full of lofty, almost impossible goals — typically on the part of the villain. We know all of the classics: world domination, citywide destruction, and the death of their most hated hero nemesis. The Joker might win small battles, but ultimately he will never win the war. Does knowing that a character will never completely achieve his or her goals ruin the story for you? Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Ryan M. are discussing Huck 2, originally released December 16, 2015.
Michael: The tale of Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque’s altruistic and gentle giant continues in Huck 2. As scores of people gather outside, Huck has been holed up in his house under the watchful eye of his friendly neighbors. While his neighbors seem content to keep Huck hidden from the potential scorn and judgement of the media, Huck needs to go outside and help people. Because that’s just what Huck does. Huck generously accepts the calls for help then goes out into the world to right these wrongs, with a large group of watchers-by in tow. The issue gives us a little more insight into Huck’s origins, as we are introduced to his (twin?) brother. We are also introduced to a character referred to only as “Mrs. Jones,” who seems to have telepathic powers, perhaps due to Soviet experimentation. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Chrononauts 1, originally released March 18th, 2015.
Ryan: On September 13th, 1959, the Soviet Union made history by landing the first man-made object — the Luna 2 — on the moon. The Soviet success allowed their premiere, Nikita Khruschev, a scientific triumph to laud over President Eisenhower demonstrating the virtues of Communism. After a decade of dominating the Space Race, the USSR lost the ultimate prize to the USA and its space program, which had been kicked into high gear under the watch of President John F. Kennedy, when the first feet to touch the surface of the moon belonged to American astronauts on July 20, 1969. Despite the years of rivalry and the mires of the Cold War, when Apollo 11 touched down, the Russians cheered. As Soviet astronaut Alexei Leonov wrote, “Everyone forgot that we were all citizens of different countries on Earth. That moment really united the human race.” Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy’s new title, Chrononauts, seeks to recapture the magic of families across the world crowding around their televisions and radios as science catches up to imagination. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Jupiter’s Legacy 5, originally released January 14th, 2015.
Ryan: When George Lucas was writing a little thing called Star Wars, he visited one Dr. Joseph Campbell for mentorship and guidance. Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, developed a monomythical model on the Hero’s Journey taken from many of history’s prototypical protagonists. With this in mind, Lucas crafted perhaps the most iconic modern heroes in Luke Skywalker. In Jupiter’s Legacy, Mark Millar continues to ask big questions about what it means to be a hero. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Starlight 2, originally released April 2nd, 2014
Taylor: In Western society we have a bad habit of forgetting the elderly. Indeed, when we aren’t forgetting them, the aged are bothering the young with their healthcare needs, their devotion to voting, and their being a reminder of what awaits us all later in life. I have to admit, one of my deepest fears is growing old and being alone with no one around giving a crap about this old fart. The gut-punch that was the first issue of Starlight explored the way a meaningful life can wither into one of loneliness and with it, a tale of redemption was set. In the second issue of the series, Duke McQueen — senior citizen and planet saver — laces up his boots once again to save Tantalus and it is an absolute delight.