Batman 10

batman-10

Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Batman 10, originally released November 2nd, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Most writers have certain tics and styles that come to define their work: Brian Michael Bendis, for example, is famous (infamous?) for his unique style of dialogue and pacing. Tom King has made quite a name for himself over the past two years with his critically acclaimed titles (such as Omega Men, The Vision, and Sheriff of Babylon), all of which, as different as they are, share many of the same themes, tones, and idiosyncrasies. King’s run on Batman was never meant to be part of that “Trilogy of Best Intentions,” but it’s still strange to me that Batman 10 is his first issue that really feels like a Tom King comic. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing — turns out that King’s techniques without his usual depth of story can sometimes end up feeling more like a parody of a Tom King comic. Continue reading

Batman: Rebirth 1

batman rebirth 1

Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Batman: Rebirth 1, originally released June 1st, 2016.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Sigmund Freud

Drew: There’s plenty of reasons to believe Freud never said such a thing, but whatever its origin, this quote always helps me keep perspective when attempting to parse the symbolism in a work of art. The last thing I want is to sound like Fred Armesin’s exaggerated (and nonsensical) lyrical analyses, so it always makes me nervous when I find my attention drawn to symbols within a comic. Even with that reticence, though, I couldn’t ignore the deeply symbolic nature of Scott Snyder and Tom King’s Batman: Rebirth, even if I’m not quite sure what all of the symbols mean. Continue reading

Grayson 18

grayson 18

Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Grayson 18, originally released March 23th, 2016.

Mark: I came into Grayson 18 unaware of the creative change-up behind the scenes, but it’s immediately apparent that this is a different team than the one that has guided Grayson through the past year and a half. Yes, Tom King, Tim Seeley, and Mikel Janin have departed in preparation for Rebirth, leaving new writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly to wrap up the last three issues with the help of artists Roge Antonio and Geraldo Borges. And while Grayson 18 definitely reads like a lesser issue, Lanzing and Kelly do well enough in beginning to bring Grayson‘s many disparate threads together.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Antonio and Borges. Continue reading

Grayson 16

grayson 16

Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Grayson 16, originally released January 27th, 2016.

Mark: You know when you over indulge in something that you love? When you love Nerds candy so much you buy a movie theatre box-sized pack of them and eat them in bed, only to wake up the next morning with multi-colored sugar nuggets stuck to your chest and a raging sugar headache? Grayson 16 is the comic book equivalent of that. Dick Grayson is so Dick Grayson this issue, it has to be a knowing parody right? Not to say that the sugar wave isn’t a blast while you’re riding it. It’s hard to blame Seeley and King for giving the people what they want. After the end of its first spectacular arc, Grayson has come down to Earth a little bit, working overtime for a few issues to expound an increasingly complex mythology. Grayson 16 is pretty back-to-basics, but turns everything you loved about early Grayson up to insane levels. Continue reading

Best of 2015: Best Artist

best artist 2015
Without artists, all of your favorite characters, scenes, costumes, and locations would just be words on a page. In short, they’re the ones that make comics comics. That’s a lot of responsibility, yet the best artists manage to juggle all of those tasks and inject some meaningful art and style into the proceedings. Whether its a subtle expression or a jaw-dropping action sequence, our favorite artists add the requisite magic to make their worlds and characters real. These are our top 10 artists of 2015.
Continue reading

Best of 2015: Best Covers

best covers 2015

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 2015. Continue reading

Grayson 12

grayson 12

Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Grayson 12, originally released September 23rd, 2015.

Mark: Grayson 12 is billed as Dick’s return to Gotham after quitting Spyral, and it is, but it’s also a continuation of the Grayson spy game. Dick truly intends to leave his life as international sex spy behind, but his hand is forced when the mysterious Agent Zero attacks him at Wayne Manor. Unless he returns to Spyral, she threatens, they’ll reveal to the world that Bruce Wayne is Batman. It’s a threat that’s been made in Bat Family comics forever, but it actually has greater weight here as Bruce is currently in no position to defend himself. Continue reading

Grayson 10

grayson 10

Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Grayson 10, originally released July 22nd, 2015.

Spencer: Once, way back when Wally West was the Flash, he ran so fast that he merged with the Speed Force, a fate from which no speedster had ever returned. Wally did return, though, all because of the love of his life, Linda Park. Wally called Linda his “lightning rod” — no matter what weird shenanigans he had to deal with, Linda’s love always kept him grounded in reality. I think most of us have a “lightning rod” of one sort or the other, some person or thing that acts as a constant in our life, that keeps us tethered to our old lives even as everything else around us changes. Dick Grayson has gone through more changes than most ever since his “death” in Forever Evil, but even as an agent of Spyral, he had both his mentor Batman and his faith in his own abilities acting to keep him grounded. With Grayson 10, though, Tim Seeley, Tom King, and Mikel Janin strip those last familiar comforts from Dick, leaving him with nobody he can trust — not even himself. Continue reading

Grayson 9

grayson 9

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Grayson 9, originally released June 24th, 2015.

Michael: I think the majority of comic-book-dom would agree that Dick Grayson is awesome. I mean, I love Dick Grayson but some people loooooooove Dick Grayson. There is something inexplicable about certain corners of fandom and their obsession with the former boy wonder. There is the fact that he is the first (some would argue best) Robin, holding the role for over 40 years. But it’s not just that – Dick Grayson has become something of a sex symbol in the Bat-fan community. Dick Grayson fans are very vocal about this fact, using social media to express their interest to see more “butt shots” of Mr. Grayson to various writers including Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins and current Grayson writer Tom King. There is of course the easy/stupid pun involved in his name – which I will ignore – but fans of all genders and sexualities are all about Dick Grayson. With Grayson – issue 9 especially – Tom King has not been afraid to give the people what they want. Continue reading

Grayson 8

Alternating Currents: Grayson 8, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Grayson 8, originally released March 4th, 2015.

Drew: I like to read into titles. We tend to boil down the difference between Superman and Action Comics to the creative teams involved, but I think the focus of every story is informed by its title. Luke Skywalker may feature prominently in Star Wars, but not in quite the same way he would if the movies were titled Luke Skywalker. In that same vein, when a story’s title is the protagonist’s name, we understand that story to necessarily be about that character. Oliver Twist may deal with poverty and exploitation, but the story is ultimately about a single orphan. In the month-to-month grind of comics, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Spider-Man is actually about Spider-Man (and not the criminal-of-the-month), but the best writers manage to keep the focus on the heroes, even as they’re put up against an endless lineup of threats. Tom King and Tim Seeley have never lost sight of Dick as the center of Grayson, but issue 8 reasserts that focus so strongly, we never feel lost — even as they yank the rug out from under us. Continue reading