This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
Jim Gordon, The Dark Knight
Ryan: Since that line was uttered in lamentation of Gotham’s corruption, I feel as if it’s almost become a canonical outlook on the Caped Crusader. The thing about that line, though, is that it’s purely subjective on Gordon’s part, and particular unto the circumstances of that Batman story in that film. And almost every statement can be used against the point for which it was originally made, right? Even scientists with objective data sets can use the same numbers to support the opposite side of an argument, or the same verse of scripture used to prove opposing points. In Batman: White Knight 1, Sean Murphy takes Jim Gordon’s iconic statement and uses it to sow the seeds of a Gotham wherein the Joker justifies his action with that logic, both as a villain and a hero. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Infamous Iron Man 1, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Drew: I tend not to sweat spoilers — frankly, the notion that a story could be “spoiled” by knowing the plot ahead of time so disregards the importance of every other aspect of storytelling that I believe it misses the point of stories entirely. BUT, I do get how annoying it is to have the ending of a story blurted out when I wasn’t suspecting it. I may not mind clicking on articles I know contain spoilers, but I’d at least like to know what narratives those spoilers pertain to. Which is why Infamous Iron Man 1 seems to warrant a special spoiler warning: one for readers of Civil War II. Certain events in this issue fall out directly from events of Civil War II that haven’t happened yet, making it all but impossible to talk about the issue without spoilers. Consider yourself warned. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Tokyo Ghost 6, originally released April 20th, 2016.
Shelby: I used to listen to the news on NPR every morning, but I’ve stopped for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is that it’s simply too depressing; so many shitty people being shitty to each other, it’s too much to take. And I’m not even talking about the election coverage, which I am completely sick and tired of, despite the fact we’re still only in the primaries. Not only am I tired of all the bad news about bad people doing bad things, I have very little trust in the news that I hear. Every news story has me wondering who paid for their version of the truth to be broadcast, who is trying the hardest to trick me into being on their side. I can understand why the people of New Los Angeles would rather plug into mindless entertainment than put up with sorting through the spin and PR to find the truth. And that’s exactly what Rick Remender and the rest of the creative team on Tokyo Ghost want me to understand: they want us to understand how easy it can be to become the willingly ignorant, and the cost of breaking free. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Tokyo Ghost 5, originally released January 20th, 2016.
Shelby: A difficult personal story: about a year and a half ago, I witnessed a murder/suicide in my office. It shattered my world as I knew it. Everything is different now for me; my social anxiety is through the roof, I can’t really deal with parties or crowds anymore. I worry constantly about my interactions with other people: am I behaving correctly? Have I said/been offensive? I should probably apologize, I clearly did something wrong. I get depressed a lot, I find it can be difficult to get excited about things, even things I love and find exciting. The world as I understood it was taken away that day, by one person’s decision. I think that might be why I love Debbie in Tokyo Ghost so very much; I understand her fight to get back the world she lost when Teddy became Led Dent. Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t go back. Sometimes, as Led is about to discover, the end is the end. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Tokyo Ghost 3, originally released November 18th, 2015.
Drew: There’s something violating about an “averted happy ending” — endings that dangle a “happily ever after” in front of the audience before cruelly snatching it away. Vertigo is probably the most well-known example of this, but there are countless others. It’s an effective choice — we’re conditioned to expect happy endings, so denying us that happy ending at the last moment is always surprising — but it’s often brutal on the audience, who just wants resolution for the characters. It would be misguided to suggest that Tokyo Ghost 3 presents an averted happy ending — the central conflict has barely begun, let alone concluded — but I couldn’t help but feel just as violated by the loss of that “happily ever after.” Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Tokyo Ghost 2, originally released October 21st, 2015.
Shelby: We got Internet at my house when I was in high school. I had experienced it before then, of course, but I was old enough to remember that moment my farm in rural northern Wisconsin was plugged in and online. Those of us in our late 20s/early 30s are probably the last generation to remember life before the internet, when life and plans had to be scheduled ahead of time instead of on the fly, when the thought of connecting to someone a world away was unheard of, when there was just some information you didn’t have constant access to. As someone who feels too old be a Millenial and too young to be a Gen-Xer (or whatever came before the current generation), I feel of two minds about our near constant plugged in state, but Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, and Matt Hollingsworth sure don’t. The future they’ve envisioned in Tokyo Ghost is a world where the worst parts of the Internet have taken over, and it is somehow grimmer and more fascinating than you’d imagine. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan D and Taylor are discussing We Stand On Guard 3, originally released September 2nd, 2015.
Ryan: Canada and America at war. Total war. At first glance, this seems highly unlikely, almost unimaginable. But at issue three of a six-part miniseries, We Stand on Guard is far past first glance. Brian K. Vaughn and Steve Skroce keep pulling back the curtains, and every reveal in this issue fits perfectly into the universe created. The real hook, aside from the soaring tension and slick action, is that the fiction is not incredibly far from the truth.
Today, Drew and Courtney are discussing Hawkeye 22, originally released July 15th, 2015.
Drew: Endings are hard. Whether they break our hearts or leave us wanting more, even the most satisfying ending must face the bittersweet truth of being the end. “The End” takes on a peculiar meaning in the world of month-to-month comics (especially where the next volume may already be a fewissues in), but whatever we’re saying goodbye to — whether its a paradigm or a creative team — can still have an almost hallowed air of significance. This makes talking about comic book endings in a issue-by-issue format particularly difficult, as its tempting to use the final issue as a platform for talking about the series as a whole. I absolutely want to talk about Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run as a whole, but I want to first give issue 22 its due respect as perhaps the perfect distillation of what made his run so remarkable. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Ryan are discussing We Stand On Guard 1, originally released July 1st, 2015.
Taylor: You don’t have to sort through many comics, movies, or books before you find a story about a war, on earth, set in the relatively near future. A lot of the time, these stories are a good way of capturing the zeitgeist of time in which it was written. Take, for example, much of the sci-fi written during the Cold War. What percentage of that writing focuses on a then-likely war with the Soviet Union and/or nuclear holocaust? Keeping that in mind, some might find it surprising that Brian K. Vaughan’s new series We Stand On Guard is about a future war between the USA and… Canada? Yes, the country known for its benign nature is now the centerpiece for a story about war. But why? As it turns out there are plenty of reasons which make this a promising series premier.