Best of 2016: Best Covers

best-covers-2016

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

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Weirdworld 5

weirdworld 5

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Weirdworld 5, originally released October 21st, 2015. 

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Patrick: One of the reasons people like genre films so much is that you never really need to guess what their values are. Are you watching a Western? Great: we value tough, honest men. Are you watching a teen drama? Great: we value cleverness and beauty. Jason Aaron and Mike del Mundo’s heart-stoppingly beautiful Weirdworld wears its chief value on its sleeve (and in its title): weirdness. That may sound like a shallow value, like when someone criticizes South Park for being all about “shock value,” and that may be the case. But even if we want to call weirdness a “shallow” value, it is startling how persistently it presents itself in this series. Even a little thing like The End of the World isn’t going to stop it from expressing itself as thoroughly — and as weirdly — as possible. Continue reading

Elektra 3

elektra 3
Today, Patrick and Shelby discussing Elektra 3, originally released on June 18th, 2014.

Patrick: I probably bring up the Matrix movies more than I ought to when discussing comics. For all the hullabaloo that surrounded their release, the original Matrix was more of a cultural anomaly, and not the flashpoint for a vibrant new franchise. One of the biggest reasons that first film worked at all is that the Wachowskis melded arresting visuals with some rudimentary philosophy. Like, it’s just intellectual enough to engage the thinky portion of your brain, and then it switches tracks to engage the adrenaline-junky in all of us. The second and third movies got this mixture all wrong, agonizing over bare philosophy for far too long, never dressing it up as anything more abstract. And then there’s the matter of the spectacle, which got a lot less compelling with each new installment. Elektra has also toed this line, exploring how death has shaped the lives of Elektra and Bloody Lips against the backdrop of Michael Del Mundo’s glorious artwork. Issue three escalates both its spectacle and philosophy to dizzying heights, setting the stage for one hell of a heady ending to the opening arc.

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Elektra 2

elektra 2 Today, Patrick and Spencer discussing Elektra 2, originally released on May 21st, 2014.

Patrick: Last time, we discussed the lengths Elektra goes through to not be defined by the actions taken against her (or even those taken on her behalf). The obvious point of comparison is the bounty hunter Bloody Lips, introduced to us in that issue, but left off our heroine’s radar. Bloody Lips gains skills and perspectives by eating the flesh of his enemies. Rather than having traits forced upon him, his borrowed abilities are elective. It’s hard to distinguish between the morality of these two characters: both are mercenaries willing to kill in order to get closer to their goal. The second issue starts to delineate hero from villain as Bloody Lips is propelled forward by instinct and Elektra is held back by compassion. Continue reading

Elektra 1

elektra 1

Today, Suzanne and Patrick are discussing Elektra 1, originally released on April 23, 2014.

Suzanne: By her own admission, Elektra has a bad habit of identifying herself through relationships to the men in her life. Her father, Matt Murdock, Kingpin, Bullseye…they all contribute to Elektra’s history in powerful ways. My first exposure to the character was Jennifer Garner’s appearance in Daredevil. Despite having a powerful skill set as an assassin, I didn’t leave the cinema wanting to kick butt like Elektra. Maybe this is a bit unfair, but my overall impression was that things happened to her and that element of passivity was unattractive. Continue reading

A + X 2

a+x2

Today, Shelby and (guest writer) James D’Amato are discussing A + X 2, originally released November 28th, 2012.

Shelby: I like fluff. Sure, it’s fun to read something that is very intelligently written and cleverly drawn, and analyze the holy hell out of it. Turns out, that’s kind of our bread and butter here at Retcon Punch. But for every Fight Club, there’s a Zoolander: a vacuous, fluffy bit of nothing that is just dumb fun. A+X is just that fluffy bit of nothing; it pairs up Avengers with X-Men, with no regards to continuity, logic, etc. The whole point of the title is to watch a couple of superheroes kick the crap out of some bad guys, and I don’t have any problems with that at all. The two stories in this issue are a great demonstration of the fact that just because I’m looking for some dumb fun doesn’t mean I want to have my intelligence insulted; there is, after all, such a thing as too dumb.

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