Steve Goes Freelance in Captain America 696

by Drew Baumgartner

Captain America 696

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

Do the citizens of the Marvel Universe adequately compensate their superheroes? There’s little doubt that the entire planet benefits from the efforts of Captain America and his ilk, but whatever gratefulness the citizens feel doesn’t put food on the table. Which is why so many superheroes either take day jobs (with S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Heroes for Hire, for example), institutionalizing their heroic output, are already independently wealthy (like Tony Stark), or have some wealthy patron (like Tony Stark). That notion of patronage hints at what I’m getting at: superheroism is a bit like making art — society may value the idea of it generally, but that doesn’t exactly translate to money in the bank. It’s a lesson Steve Rogers is learning as his journey as a freelance superhero begins in earnest in Captain America 696. Continue reading

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It’s the Old vs. the Young in The Wicked + The Divine 33

by Spencer Irwin

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

The Wicked + The Divine 33 is an absolute gamechanger of an issue (I know we put a spoiler warning before every article, but I just want to reiterate — you do not want this issue spoiled), one that made me rethink everything I thought I knew about the series, and which has me eager to go back and reread it from the beginning. Writer Kieron Gillen addresses this in his letter that closes the issue, stating that he and artist Jamie McKelvie have been unable to even disclose one of the three major themes of the series before because it would have spoiled issue 33’s big reveals. With so much out in the open now, though, I think I have a solid idea what that theme might be. Continue reading

Action and a Message in Captain America 695

by Spencer Irwin

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

What does Captain America mean to you? Given not only our current political climate, but the outcry Secret Empire and its lead-ins created among many passionate Cap fans, it seems like a more pertinent question than ever. What is it about Steve Rogers that inspires so many? That’s what Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Matthew Wilson set out to discover in Captain America 695. Continue reading

Discussion: Mighty Thor 700

by Taylor Anderson and Patrick Ehlers

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

Taylor: Midway through the extra large, special 700th issue of Mighty Thor, Karnilla, Queen of the Norns, asks which ingredient is the most essential in the makeup of a Thor. It’s a good question, and one that writer Jason Aaron has been exploring ever since he took over the reigns of Thor some 60 issues ago. While Aaron has posed various answers to this question multiple times, he’s never come outright and revealed to readers what exactly makes a Thor Thor. That is, he’s never done that until now. Using the 700th issue as his podium, Aaron waxes poetic on the nature of Thor, presenting us with not so much a new Thor narrative, but a grand tapestry that relishes in pondering what Thor has been, currently is, and what it will always be. Continue reading

The Futility of Action in The Wicked + The Divine 32

by Spencer Irwin

The Wicked + The Divine 32

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

Something Amateratsu said way back in the first issue of The Wicked + The Divine has always stuck with me — she said that the Pantheon exist to inspire. This implies that their direct ability to change the world, for better or for worse, is limited; like most creators and performers, their true strength is (or at least should be) their ability to move others through their art. This seems an especially significant point to keep in mind while reading issue 32, which finds the futility in all of its characters’ attempts at grand gestures or plans — but especially Dionysus’. Continue reading

The Same World, but Two Different Realities in Paper Girls 16

By Spencer Irwin

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

One of my most vivid memories is a day in first grade when we had a substitute teacher. I opened a little tupperware container full of alphabet flash cards and it fell on the floor, scattering the cards all over. When I started to pick them up, the teacher came over and yelled at me for “crawling around on the floor,” wouldn’t listen to a word of my protest, and sent me to detention. The flash cards remained on the floor for the rest of the day.

When you’re young, it often feels like you and adults live in two different worlds, but that specific scenario was one where I quite literally felt like the teacher and I were seeing and experiencing two very different realities. That rift between generations is illustrated just as literally by Cliff Chiang, Brian K. Vaughan, and Matthew Wilson in Paper Girls 16. Continue reading

Runaways 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

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

Spencer: Runaways 1 has to be one of the most unusual first issues I’ve ever read, especially for a team book and especially for a book from the Big 2. While I’ve read plenty of good, sometimes even great, first issues, there’s certain objectives most first issues have to achieve — introducing the series’ cast, premise, and villain, for example — that can lead to them all feeling like they’re cut from the same template. Runaways 1, though, shatters that template completely; Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka, and Matthew Wilson essentially skip to what would probably be issue 4 of any other series, immediately immersing readers deep in a tense, life-or-death scenario. It’s a marvelous decision. Continue reading

A Toxic Relationship Smorgasbord in The Wicked + The Divine 30

by Spencer Irwin

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

My best friend has a particularly notorious habit of falling for the absolute worst women. The poorer of a match they are for him, the more he’s attracted to them. He’s shrugged off our warnings with “well, you can’t help who you’re attracted to,” to which I would inevitably respond “Just because you’re attracted to someone doesn’t mean you need to always go for them!” It’s a statement that wouldn’t stop going through my head as I read Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine 30, an issue chock full of dysfunctional, toxic relationships and characters who know how screwed up their love lives are, yet leap head-first into them anyway, as if they never had a choice. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 29 Continues to Ask “What Comes Next?”

by Spencer Irwin

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

The first part of the “Imperial Phase” storyline was all about answering the question “what comes next?” — all about the Pantheon figuring out how to proceed after Ananke’s death, and generally doing so in the most self-indulgent manner possible. In The Wicked + The Divine 29, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson kick off the second part of “Imperial Phase” by asking the same exact question, only this time in the aftermath of Sakhmet’s deadly attack on her followers. The Pantheon’s answers to that question don’t appear to have changed much. Continue reading

Paper Girls 15

Today, Patrick and Ryan M are discussing Paper Girls 15, originally released June 8, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: I’ve always loved the idiom “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.” It implies such a rough and determined win against nearly insurmountable odds. Like, think about how much courage it takes to snatch anything out of a pair of motherfucking jaws, never mind that the jaws evidently belong to the personification of “defeat.” It’s dramatic, heroic, hopeful. But it’s seldom something we see in the work of Brian K. Vaughan. Closing out the third story arc, Paper Girls 15 gives us a prime example of the exact opposite — defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. Every act of bravery is punished with increasingly perplexing consequences, until the very nature of the Girls’ time travel is thrown into question.

Continue reading