Today, Taylor and Ryan M. are discussing Unstoppable Wasp 1, originally released January 4, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: One of the science teachers at the school where I work has posters hanging up all around her room depicting women scientists along with their accomplishments. Without even asking, it’s clear why her room is set up this way. By hanging these posters she wants to show her female students that yes, they too can be intelligent scientists. While that only seems like common sense to a lot of us, for many girls growing up this lesson is hard to learn because they are rarely shown that as a girl it’s awesome to smart and into science. One has only to look at comic book characters such as Black Widow, a classic femme fatale, to understand how society largely views women’s role in our world. The first issue of Unstoppable Wasp is keen to show that women not only can be scientists, but that it’s damn fun and exciting as well.
Today, Ryan M. and Spencer are discussing Mockingbird 8, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Ryan M.: When the cover of an issue includes the eponymous heroine wearing an “Ask me about my feminist agenda” t-shirt, you have no choice but to examine the work therein with a feminist lens. I will admit that going into the issue, I expected it to contend with Bobbi’s reactions to her rapist stalker and how she deals with being a trauma survivor, possibly with irreverent jokes about corgis and effortless flirting with Hunter. Instead Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk deliver those corgi jokes and Hunter-flirting as they reveal the feeble heart of the patriarchy and use the Phantom Rider to skewer it.
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Silk 8, originally released May 11th, 2016.
Drew: I had a bit of an identity crisis when I got to college. Well, “crisis” is an overstatement, but I certainly had to reevaluate how I defined myself. Some of that came down to being in a new place with new people, but the bigger part was that the things that distinguished me in high school, say, my passion and talent for music, were no longer remarkable in a conservatory full of musicians. I suspect this is a common experience for a lot of teens, even if the details change a bit (maybe it’s not college, but a music scene, or space camp, or whatever), which is why identity is such an important subject for them. Of course, for all of our struggles to further define ourselves, our identities are much more stable than those of comic book superheroes, whose identities are managed by numerous writers, artists, and editors, but are often split between costumed and civilian personas, and might even run into alternate versions of themselves. Suffice it to say, Cindy Moon was not in a great place to define (or defend) her personality even before she ran into her evil doppelgänger, which lends every decision she makes in Silk 8 an almost visceral tension. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Silk 6, originally released March 16th, 2015.
Taylor: Many of the stories I’ve encountered in my time reading comics exist in a world that is split into two halves. There are those who are good and those who are bad. S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Hydra. The Light Side vs. the Dark Side. While these worlds are the setting for compelling stories, they aren’t necessarily a reflection of our own world. It’s rare today that something or someone can be considered entirely good or evil. Silk 6 recognizes this, and in doing so, shows us that sometimes choosing between right and wrong isn’t as easy as most comics would have us believe.
Today, Taylor and Ryan M. are discussing Mockingbird 1, originally released March 9th, 2016.
Taylor: Being a middle school teacher, I’m around people trying to be something they’re not almost all day. That’s no dig against the kids I teach — I remember when I was in middle school I was in a similar state. When you’re young, you try on different personalities all the time. Some fit, most don’t, and the result is most of the time you’re left attempting to be something alien to your core self. Barbara Morse, a.k.a. Mockingbird, may be an adult, but like the bird that is her namesake (and middle schoolers), she’s still in search of her identity. This defining aspect of her first issue is both its strength and weakness.
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 1, originally released October 7th, 2015.
Spencer: If you’re reading a Spider-Man book, then you know his deal: “With great power must also come great responsibility.” For Peter Parker, his “power” has always been the superhuman abilities granted him by a bite from a radioactive spider, but are these abilities truly his greatest asset? It’s a question Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli tackle head-on in the newest Amazing Spider-Man 1. Skipping ahead eight months from the conclusion of Secret Wars, Slott and Camuncoli present us with a version of Peter Parker who’s found a way to honor his Uncle Ben without even needing to put on a mask; in fact, Spider-Man now exists mainly to protect and support Peter. It’s a take both radical and faithful in a way only Dan Slott could pull off. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Jack are discussing Hawkeye 22, originally released July 15th, 2015.
Drew: Endings are hard. Whether they break our hearts or leave us wanting more, even the most satisfying ending must face the bittersweet truth of being the end. “The End” takes on a peculiar meaning in the world of month-to-month comics (especially where the next volume may already be a fewissues in), but whatever we’re saying goodbye to — whether its a paradigm or a creative team — can still have an almost hallowed air of significance. This makes talking about comic book endings in a issue-by-issue format particularly difficult, as its tempting to use the final issue as a platform for talking about the series as a whole. I absolutely want to talk about Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run as a whole, but I want to first give issue 22 its due respect as perhaps the perfect distillation of what made his run so remarkable. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Hawkeye 17, originally released March 12th, 2014.
Spencer: Hawkeye is consistently one of the most daring comic books on the shelf. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always making the biggest, most shocking moves, but it does mean that anything’s fair game when it comes to this book. An issue told from the point of view of the dog? Sure! Killing off a beloved supporting character then spending months and months revisiting the event from everyconceivableangle? Why not?! Separating the main characters then dividing up the narrative between them? Seems do-able! Matt Fraction doesn’t shy away from taking risks with Hawkeye, no matter how strange or mundane, and Hawkeye 17 is one of the strangest of all. Fortunately, it’s charming as all get out. Maybe that’s the true legacy of Hawkeye: the risks always pay off. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Hawkeye 15, originally released February 26th, 2014.
Spencer: Why do we love Clint Barton so much? I could probably devote my entire word count to the reasons, but the one that sticks in my head is that he’s heroic, but still endearingly flawed. Clint screws up a lot, but he’s always trying to do the right thing, no matter how badly he goes about it. Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye 15 reveals that Clint’s attempts to save his building are less than legal and have only pushed the Tracksuits to more desperate measures. But despite it all, I can’t help but like the guy even more; his heart’s in the right place. Continue reading →
Today, Jack and Shelby are discussing Hawkeye 9, originally released April 10, 2013.
Jack:Oh, poor, dear boy, Clint, what will we do with you? Getting mixed up with shady ladies, pissing off cops and criminals alike, dirtying the name of the Avengers by living in the morally gray, breaking hearts, and, always, always getting hit in the face. Continue reading →