Out of Order is the Right Order in Rocket 5

by Spencer Irwin

Rocket 5

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

I’ve never been a big fan of the in media res opening (and I just won’t shut up about it!), but I’ve always thought Rocket has used them excellently nonetheless — when paired with the sidebar narration it feels natural to open a story at its end, rather than a cheap crutch. Al Ewing and Adam Gorham take this skill to the next level in Rocket 5, opening the issue with not one, but four in media res openings! Amazingly, it works better than ever. Continue reading

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Surprising Surprises in Rocket 3

by Drew Baumgartner

Rocket 3

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

Any comics creator worth their salt understands that page turns are the most basic currency of comics storytelling. It’s built right into the format of the comic book — there are images that we can’t see that are suddenly revealed to us when we turn the page. There are certainly ways to surprise the reader within a page or spread, but none of those techniques are quite as inherent to the medium. Which means you can pack a lot of surprises into an issue by doing nothing other than leaning into the page turns. Page turns certainly aren’t the only technique Al Ewing and Adam Gorham rely on for surprises in Rocket 3, but they’re used so emphatically, it’s hard for those moments not to stand out. Continue reading

Finding a Balance in The Black Monday Murders 6

by Ryan Desaulniers

Black Monday Murders 6

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

If you know Jonathan Hickman’s past work, you know he can get…complicated. Reading The Black Monday Murders 1-5 to catch up for last month’s full conversation proved a deep dive into an intricate world full of ancient conspiracy theories, old money, the occult, convoluted machinations, epistolary inserts, and shadow-soaked boardroom conversations. This issue returns to show some of the fallout of the recent occurrences and again displays Hickman and artist Tomm Coker’s tightrope walk approach to action, exposition, and reaction. Continue reading

The Black Monday Murders 5

Alternating Currents: The Black Monday Murders 5, Drew and Ryan D

Today, Drew and Ryan D. are discussing The Black Monday Murders 5, originally released April 26th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: Whether it was identifying the types of places our predators preferred to hunt or what kinds of mushrooms made us sick, pattern recognition was essential to the survival of early humans. As with any tool, though, our reliance on pattern recognition distorts our view of the world, leading us to find patterns where none exist — as they say, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That quality can be manipulated, on the one hand by those who seek to benefit from our gullibility, and on the other by artists who strive to highlight the beauty in the chaos. I found myself thinking about both groups as I read The Black Monday Murders 5, an issue full of intricately patterned beauty and intricately patterned lies. Continue reading

Best of 2016: Best Covers

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You know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean you can’t judge the cover on its own merit. Some covers are so excellent that they pack all the drama, excitement and emotion of the whole issue into one succinct image. Sometimes they end up being their own surreal experience. And other times, we’re just exciting to see our favorite heroes kicking ass one more time. These are our top 10 covers of 2016. Continue reading

Moon Knight 9

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Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Moon Knight 9, originally released December 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Spencer: One of the greatest things about superhero comics is how thoroughly they live in the realm of metaphor. The limitless possibilities provided by the Marvel and DC universes mean that creators can take the most abstract of concepts and make them literal, physical threats for our heroes to face head-on. Sometimes this can oversimplify things, sure, but under the pens of the best creators this provides an opportunity to explore complicated subjects in a more straightforward manner. That’s certainly the case with Moon Knight 9, where Jeff Lemire and his murderers’ row of artists tackle Marc Spector’s mental illness in a way that’s simultaneously realistic and about as sci-fi as humanly possible. Continue reading

Moon Knight 6

Alternating Currents: Moon Knight 6, Drew and Michael

Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Moon Knight 6, originally released September 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Drew: Unreliable narrators abound in postmodern fiction. Often, their unreliability reveals something important about the narrator — their fears, their ego, their obliviousness — but sometimes, it reveals more about their situation. Perhaps they’re dreaming, or on drugs, or experiencing a psychotic break — whatever the case, we understand that the events of the story may not be exactly what they seem, but precisely what that means about the narrator isn’t necessarily clear. It’s a device that runs the risk of turning into an unfollowable mishmash, but when done well — as it is in Moon Knight 6 — it can reveal surprising connections as disparate elements resonate with some shared (but perhaps unknown) meaning. Continue reading