The Strength — and Risks — of Intimacy in America 5

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Fear of intimacy is one of those tropes that’s so common it’s practically become cliché (Friends was on at the gym the other day, and I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes at Chandler trying to run away from his wedding), yet its based on very real, very understandable fears. Without intimacy one would lead a very lonely life, yet opening yourself up to another person is, ultimately, a risk that takes a surprising amount of courage to do. That’s something America Chavez has already discovered in America 5, an issue that shows the benefits of her emotional intimacy even as this same quality places her in grave danger. Continue reading

Being a Mentor is the Ultimate Strength in America 4

by Spencer Irwin

America 4

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Nobody can make it through life alone — not even someone as powerful and independent as America Chavez. There have been many inspirational figures in America’s life, but no direct mentor figures. That’s something Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, and Ming Doyle aim to fix in America 4, where they not only give America Chavez her very own mentor, but show why it’s important for her to have one in the first place. Continue reading

America 1

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Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing America 1, originally released March 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: I’ll never forget a piece of advice a friend once gave me: “You’ve learned everything you can from this job. It’s time to move on.” That statement has always stood out to me because, up until that moment, I had never considered the challenge provided when looking at a potential job; I’d grown up thinking of a job only as a means to an end, a way to get money to survive and pursue more meaningful hobbies. Now though, while I recognize that there’s a certain amount of privilege involved in that advice, I also recognize the truth in it. I think that statement is certainly going through America Chavez’s mind in America 1 as well, as the hyper-competent Ultimate embarks on a new stage of her career: college. Continue reading

The Ultimates 2 4

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Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Ultimates 2 4, originally released February 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible. […]

Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. […]

Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question.

Aristotle, “Rhetoric”

Drew: I’ve never studied philosophy, or even public speaking, but even I’ve heard of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, the three modes of persuasion Aristotle describes in the excerpts above. Obviously, “heard of” is a pretty far cry from understanding, but to my lay mind, Logos — the mode that relies on logic — is often held up as the purest form of persuasion, as it hinges on facts rather than our emotions or faith in whoever is making the argument. But, of course, it’s difficult to truly ignore the impact of Ethos and Pathos — we’re emotional, social beings — so it’s possible for something to feel like Logos when, in fact, it isn’t (a phenomenon we call “truthiness”). Moreover, dubious Logos may shore up its logicalness by being distractingly lacking in Ethos and Pathos (a phenomenon we might call “fuck your feelings”). This is all very messy, and is threatening to turn into an essay on political discourse, but I brought it up to address the appeals characters make to one another in Ultimates 2 4 — all modes are on display, including a “logical” argument built on such shaky ground that its arguer feels compelled to call itself “Logos.” Continue reading

The Ultimates 2 1

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Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Ultimates 2 1, originally released November 23rd, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: It’s odd that we have a concept of ideas that are “ahead of their time” — that is, it’s odd that ideas are so often rejected only to be later praised that we have a phrase to describe the phenomenon. Optimistically, the fact that those ideas can be reappraised suggests that you can’t keep a good idea down, but the other side of that coin reveals how common it is to reject good ideas in the moment. Indeed, the very fact that those ideas can later be proven to have value illustrates that the initial problem wasn’t with the idea, but the people involved in implementing it. Maybe it comes down to personalities involved or the politics surrounding an idea, but good ideas can be rejected for reasons totally unrelated to the quality of those ideas. Those mistakes may be corrected by history, but often over the course of generations. To me, the best way to speed up that process, unlocking the value of good ideas sooner, is to constantly reevaluate our decisions, never defaulting to the assumption that the “best” idea always wins. Such is the case with the idea of the Ultimates — the politics and personalities involved may have prevented that idea from reaching its fruition the first time around, but that doesn’t mean it should be discarded completely. Continue reading

A-Force 1

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Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing A-Force 1, originally released May 20th, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, click here.

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Michael: Full disclosure: the exact ins and outs of Secret Wars are kind of over my head. I know that it is a better (and actually planned out) version of DC’s Convergence. I also know the basics of the event, which pretty much can be boiled down to the recap page of: “The Multiverse was destroyed! The heroes of Earth-616 and Earth-1610 were powerless to save it! Now, all that remains…is Battleworld!” So I’m going to try to take A-Force objectively, at face value. Continue reading

Young Avengers 10

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Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Young Avengers 10, originally released September 25th , 2013. 

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Ethan: Who do you trust? What does it mean to trust someone? I trust the people close to me to listen to me when I speak, to take care of me when I’m hurting. I trust the people I work with to give me sound advice, and I trust them to be polite when we’re talking at the water cooler; on the other hand, I DON’T trust them to leave an unlabeled lunch in the communal fridge intact (seriously, two instances of lunch-jacking this week, who does that). Enemies are in some ways easier to trust than loved ones or colleagues, as long as you’re trusting them to do bad things and put you in harm’s way. In Young Avengers #10, writer Kieron Gillen examines why we count on other people to help or hurt us, and what happens when our trust is betrayed. Specifically, how these questions apply to A) gods/goddesses of mischief, B) reality-warping demiurges, and C) all-consuming pan-dimensional suburban parasites.
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Young Avengers 9

young avengers 9

Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Young Avengers 9, originally released August 28th , 2013. 

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Shelby: There is nothing more fraught with drama, angst, and confusion than teen-aged relationships. The same goes for adult relationships, but when you’re a teen, pumped full of hormones and generally lacking life-experience, everything is amplified to outstanding proportions. It’s really no surprise, then, that if you’re a teen-aged all-powerful superhero, everything is amplified even further. Instead of focusing on the actual events surrounding the Young Avengers, Kieron Gillen hones in on the evolving relationships of these kids; for them, negotiating their feelings towards each other is proving to be more fraught with danger (and embarrassment) than any quest they could embark on.
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