Action Comics 40

action comics 40

Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Action Comics 40, originally released March 14th, 2015.

Spencer: In preparation for the premiere of its final season next month, I’m currently in the process of rewatching Mad Men from beginning to end. Meanwhile, my best friend just got into House of Cards, and has shown me a few episodes in hopes of getting me to watch it as well. I guess it worked — the first episode hooked me right away — but I already know that there’s no way I’ll be able to go straight from Mad Men‘s unending cycles of dysfunction to House of Cards‘ cynical wheeling and dealing; it’s simply too much darkness back-to-back. I need some sort of comedy as a palette-cleanser between the two series, and I get the feeling that Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder were dealing with a similar dilemma when they came up with the idea behind Action Comics 40. After the angst of the massive “Doomed” crossover and the horror-centric Ultra-Humanite story, the title was in dire need of a fun, goofy story to lighten the mood, and Bizarro’s story here certainly succeeds in doing just that. Continue reading

Action Comics 32

action comics 32 Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Action Comics 32, originally released June 4th, 2014.

Drew: How do you beat the unbeatable man? Normally, Superman writers struggle with this question in trying to create any real tension — the conventions of comics dictate that Superman is the most powerful being on Earth and that the good guy always wins, so how do you manage to wring a compelling story out of that? “Doomed” solves this problem by turning it on its head: what if Superman was the bad guy? Then the fact that he’s the most powerful being on Earth lies in direct conflict with the fact that the good guys always win, making the question of how to beat Superman no longer a trivial detail, but a key to the resolution of the conflict. Of course, years of the other kind of conflict have given writers an arsenal of weapons to use against Superman — they’ve never quite worked on their own, but maybe they can get the job done together. Action Comics 32 explores this idea in earnest, but reminds us that for all the ways we have to beat Superman, he was always our only solution to beating Doomsday. Continue reading

Batman/Superman 5

Alternating Currents: Batman/Superman 5, Drew and ScottToday, Drew and Scott are discussing Batman/Superman 5, originally released November 6th, 2013. 

Drew: Ironic detachment is a dangerous thing in a work of art. It calls our attention to the weaknesses of a story, but it can’t do much to address those weaknesses. In calling our attention to the foibles of a work of art, the artist is intentionally leaving them in, which either means they’re either left there intentionally (maybe just to point them out), or they’re actually unavoidable, in which case, making fun of them is entirely superficial. Either way, it makes the art about itself, which is great if the point of the art is to comment on the limitations of the form, but starts to break down if it needs to make any other points. Unfortunately, Batman/Superman 5 aims for something beyond its postmodern trappings, and falls firmly into this latter category. Continue reading

Action Comics 23.4: Metallo

metallo 23.4

Today, Patrick and guest writer Chuck are discussing Action Comics 23.4: Metallo, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.

villain divPatrick: Have you ever wondered why we find the idea of an evil version of our heroes so interesting? From Bizarro to Venom to Dark Link, we love seeing a warped mirror image of the protagonist. I think it’s because we get to double down on the time we spend exploring their common details. But there’s also this kind of “there but for the grace of God” fascination — if circumstances or perspective were just a little bit different the hero could become the villain. Sholly Fisch tries that same approach to Metallo, and it results in making the character feel less interesting, less unique. Fortunately, that’s exactly what he’s going for. Continue reading