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

Moon Knight 6

moon knight 6
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Moon Knight 6, originally released August 6th, 2014.

Drew: One of the biggest challenges in analyzing any work of art is understanding the parameters on which it should be judged. There aren’t “right” and “wrong” ways to appreciate a work of art, but it is possible to select aesthetics that are more appropriate than others. That Picasso and Da Vinci or Hemingway and Melville were working in the same medium doesn’t mean that they should (or even could) be assessed using the same metrics. We’re used to those metrics being dictated by social tastes, but there are certain works of art that seem to be defined only by internal parameters — crystalized nuggets of simplicity that belies the true complexity of the piece. My list of examples is short — I honestly can’t think of one beyond Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony — but that makes the company Moon Knight 6 occupies all the more rarified, as the issue refracts and clarifies its respective series. Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire distill their hero down to his absolute essence, only to stretch that essence out to the size of a whole issue. It’s absolutely beautiful. Continue reading

Moon Knight 5

Alternating Currents: Moon Knight 5, Drew and ShelbyToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Moon Knight 5, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

For most people, the shot’s stunning aspects will go unnoticed. And for the rest of us — at least for me, at any rate — they’re a distraction.

Mike D’Angelo on Children of Men

Drew: It’s funny to think about now, but I can remember a point in high school when I thought literary analysis was such a huge waste of time. Allusion, foreshadowing, symbolism, and any other literary devices were distractions that cluttered the actual enjoyment of the piece. It was years before I understood how ignorant that attitude was. In fact, it took hearing that same attitude from a peer that shook me into appreciating how much more depth of meaning we have access to thanks to analysis. Can being more aware of analysis pervert how we experience it? Maybe, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. That is, unless you allow your knowledge of analysis turn you into a total snob.

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

Original Sin 3

original sin 3

Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Original Sin 3, originally released June 4th, 2014.

Someone shot and killed…a planet. I’m gonna need a minute to process that.

Moon Knight

Drew: The last time we talked about this series, I couldn’t get over how over-the-top comic book-y it is. And I mean that quite specifically: it’s not just epic or violent (as so many summer crossover events tend to be), it’s also whole-heartedly absurd, embracing all of the silliness that makes comics so much fun in the first place. Or, at least I thought that’s what this series was. Immediately after building to the line highlighted in the epigraph, this issue takes a sudden turn into the gory. The abruptness of the shift in tone makes it utterly shocking, but it may also rob this series of the frivolity that distinguished it from the likes of DC’s joyless gore-fests. Continue reading

Moon Knight 4

Alternating Currents: Moon Knight 4, Drew and SpencerToday, Drew and Spencer are discussing Moon Knight 4, originally released June 4th, 2014.

Drew: The etymology of the verb “to haunt” isn’t entirely clear, but it likely stems from the Old Norse heimta “bring home”, which is itself derived from the Proto-Germanic  khaim- or “home”. That is to say, while we commonly refer to people being haunted by thoughts and ideas, “haunting” originally referred rather specifically to spirits being brought to or trapped in ones home. But are those actually different things? I tend to think of the idea of ghosts as vengeance-seeking beings as a manifestation of guilt, whether that guilt be the killer’s, or just of those lucky enough to still be alive. That is to say, I don’t think the spirit of Banquo actually visits MacBeth — he’s more powerful to me as a representation of MacBeth’s guilty conscience than of any supernatural power. Ghosts are our tell-tale heart, figments of our imagination that drive us mad. Unless, of course, you don’t have a conscience. Then Moon Knight might need to be driven mad on your behalf. Continue reading

Moon Knight 3

moon knight 3Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Moon Knight 3, originally released May 7th, 2014.

Spencer: I’ve always struggled with ambiguity; as a child I was more concerned with knowing the “correct” answer or meaning of something than finding my own interpretations, and though I’ve mostly moved past this due to growing up, becoming (slightly) more emotionally stable, and especially due to my writing here, occasionally I still come across a piece of work that’s so ambiguous that I just have trouble dealing with it. Moon Knight is one of those books; it’s so opaque that any number of possible meanings could be applied to its story, leading me to wonder if there’s actually any meaning at all. Continue reading