The Amazing Spider-Man 28

Alternating Currents: Amazing Spider-Man 28, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 28, originally released July 7th, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Drew: When we’re frustrated with superhero comics, we’ll sometimes blame the serialized format for robbing endings of any tension (or even mocking the very idea of “endings”) — as much as a given comic may try to convince you of the danger its hero is in, we all know they’ll be back to fight again next month. And actually, genre conventions are much more prescriptive than that, generally insisting that the villain also live to fight again (though maybe not until the hero has cycled through the rest of their rogues gallery). I added the caveat of “when we’re frustrated,” because I ultimately don’t think anyone’s assessment of a story comes down to how rote certain genre conventions are — predictable stories can be great, and unpredictable ones can be terrible — just that we might misidentify (or overemphasize) “predictability” as the reason for disliking a given story. Writer Dan Slott may be most famous for throwing those presumptions out the window, but Amazing Spider-Man 28 reveals just how adept he is at making even the most familiar genre conventions feel exciting. Continue reading

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Uncanny X-Men 34

uncanny xmen 34

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Uncanny X-Men 34, originally released May 20th, 2015.

Closing time,
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Semisonic, “Closing Time”

Taylor: Chances are that if you’ve been in a bar in the past 17 years, you’ve heard these lyrics wafting across a half-filled room. Generally played to indicate that yes, indeed that bar is closing soon, it signals to stragglers of a long night that it’s time to go home. But be not sad, the bittersweet song entreaties its listeners. There is a silver lining to something coming to an end: it signals the beginning of something new, and isn’t that something to be optimistic about? A nice enough thought, but what if the ending of something isn’t all that great and therefore the thought of something beginning again is not cause for celebration, but sadness? A tough question to ask, but Uncanny X-Men 34 has me asking it whether I want to or not. Continue reading

All-New X-Men 14

all new x-men 14

Today,  Shelby and guest Charles Cress are discussing All-New X-Men 14, originally released July 17th, 2013.

Shelby: The “fake-out” is a pretty effective way to garner suspense, especially in serialized story-telling. It’s one thing to make the audience believe something, and then later in the story reveal something totally different, but when you’ve got a month between installments, that reveal is a lot more powerful. It gives the illusion more time to set in the reader’s mind as the reality of the story. Just as serialized media can increase the rewards of the fake-out for the reader, so also does it increase the risk of  reader disappointment. It’s up to the author to make an anti-climactic “just kidding!” reveal meaningful enough for the character to keep the reader from feeling unfairly tricked. Considering he’s using fake-out reveals that literally involve illusions and tricks of the mind, Brian Michael Bendis has got himself a long row to hoe with this one.

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