The Uncanny Inhumans 13

Alternating Currents: Uncanny Inhumans 13, Drew and Patrick
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Uncanny Inhumans 13, originally released September 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Most people believe that the 20th century was a death struggle between Communism and Capitalism, and that Fascism was but a hiccup. But today we know better. Communism was a fool’s errand. The followers of Marx gone from this earth, but the followers of Hitler abound and thrive. Hitler, however, had one great disadvantage. He lived in a time when Fascism, like a virus… like the AIDS virus… needed a strong host in order to spread. Germany was that host. But Germany did not prevail. The world was too big. Fortunately, the world has changed. Global communications, cable TV, the internet. Today the world is smaller and a virus does not need a strong host in order to spread. The virus… is airborne. One more thing. Let no man call us crazy. They called Hitler crazy. But Hitler was not crazy. He was stupid. You don’t fight Russia and America. You get Russia and America to fight each other… and destroy each other.

Dressler, The Sum of All Fears

Drew: I’m not sure if the above quote appears in Tom Clancy’s novel, but it sure plays a key role in its film adaptation, where a group of fascists run a false flag operation in hopes of pitting Russia and the US against one another. The narrative of a neo-nazi faction gaining by pitting the two powers that be against one another certainly has real-world resonance in the rise of the alt-right during this election cycle, which I suppose highlights the danger of steamrolling any narrative into a simple dichotomy. The US and Russia may have been the only superpowers left, but they were far from the only interests that could benefit from their antagonism. Unfortunately, international relations aren’t always subtle enough to fully understand those smaller interests. The same could be said of superheroes, which, even when they’re fighting with one another, tend to be almost entirely two-sided. The Inhumans already represent a kind of third party to Captain Marvel and Iron Man’s “Civil War,” but an even subtler point is how even smaller factions might exploit that conflict to their own ends. It’s The Sum of All Fears, but with superpowers in place of, well, superpowers. Continue reading

Young Avengers 13

young avengers 13Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Young Avengers 13, originally released December 4th, 2013. 

slim-bannerPatrick: I like starting off an article off with a little epigram. It’s a fun, pithy way to get things jump-started, and usually it makes me look smarter than I actually am. Young Avengers has always had romance running through its veins, but the final issue of the Mother Parasite arc focuses in love — its power, its uncertainty, its sheer insanity. I thought to myself “oh, I’m got the perfect quote to kick off this piece,” but in attempting to access a beautiful, articulate saying about love, I was subjected to a deluge of insightful comments, heart-breaking one-liners, and hopeful true-isms. It turns out that we are all obsessed with love, and we all want to be in the mix for saying the most beautiful thing ever about it. Kieron Gillen has put his characters through the paces, and across countless nightmare worlds, and in the end, it’s love that keeps all of reality from collapsing.  Continue reading

Young Avengers 11

young avengers 11

Today, Spencer and (guest writer) Suzanne are discussing Young Avengers 11, originally released October 23rd , 2013. 

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Spencer: You don’t just wake up the day you turn 18 or 21 and immediately become an adult. There’s no ceremony or initiation. Adulthood is subjective, and most of us spend the majority of our twenties trying to figure out just what it means, or even actively fighting against the idea of growing up. It’s a difficult transition period of our lives to navigate, and the only thing that could make it worse is throwing a multidimensional parasite and a league of evil exes on top of it. That’s exactly what Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie do in Young Avengers 11; while the issue mostly sets up the plot and characters for the final battle against Mother, it’s anchored by the various characters’ viewpoints about becoming adults. Continue reading

Young Avengers 8

young avengers 8

Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Young Avengers 8, originally released July 24th, 2013. 

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Ethan: Comics love to play with the idea of the parallel universe. As we grow in our understanding of the world and our galactic context, human nature still seems to gravitate towards the mystical Unknown. At the end of the day, we don’t always like feeling like we understand everything. We like horizons, unexplored places, whether it’s the vast, unplumbed expanses of the ocean floor or the weird, extreme, unvisited zones where black holes gobble up entire stars. So it makes sense that when given half an excuse, author Kieron Gillen and artists Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton take us on a whirlwind tour through alternate realities full of bird-people, dead gods, and flying taxis. Young Avengers #8 takes as its setting the ancient and eternal game of wondering “what if?” while serving up it’s signature fare of hilarious teenage dialogue and angst. Continue reading

Young Avengers 7

young avengers 7

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Young Avengers 7, originally released July 10th, 2013. 

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Spencer: Teenagers are a tricky bunch to write. They speak, think, and communicate in their own unique ways, and it’s glaringly obvious when adults try to imitate these patterns without knowing what they’re doing. Fortunately, Kieron Gillen isn’t a writer who falls into these traps. Gillen has a remarkable knack for writing teenagers, and this is more apparent than ever in Young Avengers 7, where he uses these kids’ relationships (and social networking accounts) to show us how the team has progressed since we last saw them.

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Young Avengers 5

young avengers 5

Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Young Avengers 5, originally released May 29th, 2013. 

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Shelby: I’ve read a few team books, some which have worked and some which haven’t. Personally, I think a team book fails when the author focuses establishing the team as a character before establishing the individuals which make up that team. If the members of the team can’t stand alone as characters, how can they form a cohesive group? Kieron Gillen so effectively establishes the characters in Young Avengers, it didn’t even occur to me until five issues in that he’s been secretly building a team this whole time.

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Young Avengers 4

young avengers 4

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Young Avengers 4, originally released April 24th, 2013. 

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Spencer: Tricksters are a common archetype in most works. They spread chaos, disregard authority, and cheat, con, and lie in whatever ways they can to get what they want. We all feel like we know better than to trust them, and so do our protagonists, but the best tricksters find a way to get past our defenses and bend us to their whims anyway. Kieron Gillen knows exactly how to write an effective trickster, and his Loki — one of the oldest and greatest — somehow manages to keep surprising both the Young Avengers and the readers; he might just be proving himself a greater threat than even that pesky interdimensional parasite.

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Young Avengers 1-3

young avengers 1-3

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Young Avengers 1-3, originally released January 23rd, 2013, February 27th, 2013, and  March 27th, 2013. 

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Shelby: My sister used to work at Barnes and Noble, in the Young Adult section. It’s been a long time since I was what the publishing world considers a “young adult” so I didn’t have super high hopes when she told me I absolutely had to read The Hunger Games. Like Harry Potter before it, however, Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy transcended the age of the “intended” audience to deliver strong and sympathetic characters and an engrossing plot line. I feel similarly about Young Avengers. It may not be billed as a book for teens, but  Kieron Gillen has taken the concept of “teen versions of characters you already know” and crafted something much more meaningful than I initially expected.  Continue reading