Today, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Talon 10, originally released July 27th, 2013.
Patrick: There’s a moment during this issue where one of Bane’s mega henchmen, code-named The Wolf-Spider (because he’s terrifying), tells Calvin that there’s nothing he can do to stop Bane’s army from destroying the Court of Owls. Calvin gives his blessing – there’s nothing in the world that would make his life easier than the utter annihilation of the Court. It’s a funny moment, and one that seems like it is frustratingly close to a workable armistice between the Talon and Bane’s henchmen. Alas, we’re talking about characters named Talon and Wolf-Spider, so the fists keep flying. Back in Gotham, Casey escapes from Harmon’s torture dungeon and gets herself arrested by honest cops in order to protect herself from the Court. It’s an issue of unlikely alliances teased, embraced and broken.
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Talon 9 originally released June 26th, 2013.
Shelby: I’m a total sucker for magic tricks. As a kid, I obsessed over David Copperfield specials; as an adult, I understand it’s all a matter of misdirection and slight of hand, but I still fall for it every time. The magic of expecting one thing, but finding something else never grows stale for me. “Misdirection” is a label that can be applied to both this issue of Talon, and the title as a whole. James Tynion IV has continued to subvert our expectations with this title, making us think we’re reading one kind of story when it turns out to be another entirely. And, just like any slight of hand, the smallest little hiccup can knock the whole illusion askew. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Talon 7-8, originally released April 24th and May 22nd, 2013.
Shelby: We need to remember that the Talons are bad guys. I know, we’ve got Calvin here fighting the good fight against the Court, and we’ve got Mary working with the rest of the Birds; that makes it easy to forget that we first met the Talons as a sweeping wave of indestructible killing machines, hellbent on assassinating whomever they were pointed at. This title started out with Calvin’s unique position of being a Talon on the lam, a man with all the training needed, but unable to go through with the final process that would truly transform him into the Talon he was meant to be. In issues 7 and 8, all that is going to change; hold on to your butts, because things are getting complicated. Continue reading →
Drew: You know that feeling when you finish a good book and you just want it to keep going? The story is done, but you just like the characters and the world they live in so much that you just want to keep spending time with them. I get that A LOT. I tend to be more character-focused when it comes to narratives, so it makes sense that, in my head, every narrative becomes a hangout story — one where the lack of plot makes the only draw the likableness of the characters. Red Lantern 16 has the appropriate lack of plot to make a proper hangout story, but lacks the key component of even a single likable character. The result is a palpable waste of time, as unpleasant as sifting through a bucket full of flaming blood rage-puke. Continue reading →
Drew: Last month, Shelby and Mikyzptlk raged about how Red Lanterns 14 seemed to misunderstand the very concept of rage. While I’d love to suggest that that response was fully intended as a clever “you are there!” meta-text, that stuff is really only satisfying when the text itself actually works. When done well, the various corps should act as a shorthand for emotion, giving you a quick and dirty sense of the character’s motivations. Unfortunately for Peter Milligan, rage isn’t a particularly relatable emotion — in fact, its irrational nature makes it totally un-relatable. I don’t envy the task of pulling something compelling out of the Red Lantern corps, so I can almost excuse the fact that he wants to make his characters driven by something other than rage — except that it ultimately serves to make the characters less compelling by removing literally the only thing I know about them. This leaves Red Lanterns 15 populated by characters with no apparent motivation in situations I neither fully understand nor care about.
Mikyzptlk: You know, I used to love Peter Milligan. Back in the day, he wrote X-Statix, one of the most interesting books that Marvel has ever printed. But then, Red Lanterns came a long and really hurt my appreciation of Milligan. Similarly, I used to love the Red Lanterns. They used to be one of the most interesting Corps in the emotional spectrum. But then Milligan came a long and REALLY hurt my appreciation of them. Continue reading →
Drew: Let’s be frank: Red Lanterns is not on my pull. I’m willing to tolerate a lot of the goofiness inherent in the Green Lantern universe, but blood-vomiting rage-monsters just doesn’t sound like fun. As I read through this issue, I couldn’t help but compare the Red Lantern Corps to the Hulk. It’s an easy comparison to make: both are powered by anger, and (until recently), both lose control when super pissed. The danger with that basic formula is that it turns both the Hulk and the RLC into forces of nature — horrible natural disasters that I can’t even fathom rooting for. For the Hulk, writers have often mitigated this by allowing Hulk to retain some of Bruce Banner’s heart; he still won’t hurt the ones he loves. More important, Bruce actively avoids Hulking-out; he knows it’s dangerous for everyone around him and he does everything in his power to prevent it from happening. Peter Milligan has a different solution, giving the Red Lanterns renewed sentience via some kind of blood baptism, but eliminating their heart from the equation altogether. The effect is that they charge into situations — like the one depicted in Red Lanterns 13 — knowing full well that they’ll probably just kill everything. It’s hard to empathize with that.