Ms. Marvel 18

Today, Spencer and Ryan M. are discussing Ms. Marvel 18, originally released May 10th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Supporting characters exist, well, to support — to highlight and contrast the protagonist’s various personality traits. Even when supporting characters deal with trauma and plot twists of their own, creators and readers alike have a tendency to only think of those events in terms of how they effect the protagonist. I’ll admit that I’d been thinking that way of Bruno Carrelli, the (former?) best friend of Kamala Khan, after everything he’d gone through in the Civil War II tie-ins; my number one concern was whether he and Kamala would ever be able to repair their relationship. Writer G. Willow Wilson shines the spotlight on Bruno in Ms. Marvel 18, and by doing so, gently reminds her readers that Bruno is his own man with his own unique struggles that are worth considering and empathizing with. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 15

Today, Ryan M. and Taylor are discussing Ms. Marvel 15, originally released February 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan M: We all have things that we would never want the world to know about us. I started to type an example about me here and then deleted it, so there’s your proof. There is a reason that certain things are kept private. In a world where a malevolent person could access so much of your life through technology and persistence, it feels even more important to keep some things sacred. Ms. Marvel 15 deals with the psychological ramifications of a secret getting out as well. Continue reading

IvX 1

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Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing IvX 1, originally released December 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Last month’s IvX 0 did a fantastic job of summing up the conflict between the Inhumans and the X-Men and showing why their going to war was only a matter of time. Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, and Leinil Francis Yu’s IvX 1, though, is the issue where that powder keg finally ignites into all-out war, and war…well, war is ugly. IvX 1 plays up the fun of watching these two groups duke it out, but also the pain and sadness inherent in its scenario. Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 6/22/16

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We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Doctor Strange 9, Gwenpool 3, Ms. Marvel 8, Power Man and Iron Fist 5, Rocket Raccoon and Groot 6, and The Ultimates 8.

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Sam Wilson: Captain America 10

capt america sam wilson 10Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Sam Wilson: Captain America 10, originally released June 22nd, 2016.

Spencer: People have certain aspects of themselves that bind them together into larger groups. Some of those qualities we choose for ourselves — our hobbies, religion, who we marry — but others we have no choice in. Our family, race and nationality, and sexuality bind us to like individuals. That doesn’t mean every member of, say, the same religion or race are alike, nor that they’re all friends, nor that they’ll even agree on anything. What it does mean is that they’ve all got one thing in common that no other group understands, and that makes them part of a community. In Sam Wilson: Captain America 10, writer Nick Spencer explores Sam Wilson and James Rhodes’ community, mining unexpected riches from the concept.

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Ms. Marvel 7

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Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Ms. Marvel 7, originally released May 25th, 2016.

Patrick: Y’know, for being one of them-there “Inhumans,” Kamala Kahn is not particularly well-suited for large-scale comic book crossovers. Her problems tend to be grounded in something so much more closely resembling reality than someone like Carol Danvers or Tony Stark or even Peter Parker. She’s not going into space, and if she is fighting some kind of superpowered evil, it’s more of a strain on her maxed-out high school schedule than it is a threat to her life. So I was a little taken aback when I saw that this issue was designated a “The Road to Civil War II” story, with all that self-serious branding on the cover. Luckily — and obviously, when you take a second to think about it — G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona understand what works about Ms. Marvel. Instead of delivering twenty pages of set-up, they craft a narrative that plays out — and subverts — the themes of Civil War in a friendly, emotionally honest way that’s true to their characters. Continue reading

Silver Surfer 3

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Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Silver Surfer 3, originally released April 13, 2016.

Patrick: Silver Surfer has a puzzling relationship with the concept of “history.” I suppose we should expect no less from a character that can get caught in infinite time loops and regularly has a role in actively remaking reality. But he’s also just a strange character to consider from a meta-fictional standpoint: a villain-turned-hero whose whole shtick reads like a crummy Beach Boys B-side. There’s a weird mix of highfalutin science fiction mumbo-jumbo and campy comic book irreverence built into the character’s DNA. Was he the herald of planet-devouring mega-monster? Sure, but his last name is also Radd. Dan Slott and Michael Allred use the occasion of Silver Surfer’s 50th anniversary to celebrate the character’s duality and challenge the comic book industry’s penchant for rebooting their worlds and characters.
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Ms. Marvel 19

Alternating Currents: Ms. Marvel 19, Ryan and DrewToday, Ryan D. and Drew are discussing Ms. Marvel 19, originally released October 14th, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, check out our Marvel Round-Up.

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Ryan: As you may already know, Ms. Marvel is a delight to read. I, personally, have not had so much fun reading a comic since Vaughn’s Runaways, with all of its silly and earnest characterizations. The comic being discussed today features the same amount of oddball quirk and spirited dialogues, but also does not shy away from the heavier side of human emotions, making Ms. Marvel 19 a joyful kick to the gut. Though it may seem a little odd reading a Secret Wars tie-in dealing with the Incursion about five months since Hickman took us to Battleworld, the this issue offers a completely fresh, focused perspective on the cataclysmic event, wherein our titular character does not even don her tights. Instead of sweeping battle scenes, Wilson and Alphona treat audiences to a pay-off of inter-personal relationships and redemption in the face of confusion and helplessness. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 18

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Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Ms. Marvel 18, originally released September 9th, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, check back Tuesday for our Secret Wars Round-Up.

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Taylor: The old axiom says there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While I have my doubts that every person experiences grief in the exact same way as this, I do believe that most people go through something akin to this before arriving at the final stage of acceptance. When something truly traumatic happens it takes awhile for our brains to shift to the new reality of things. However, I think given time we all come to accept whatever bad thing it is that’s happened to us. Ms. Marvel 18 delves into this last stage of coping with grief and shows us that for everyone who undergoes it, it looks a little different.

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Ms. Marvel 16

ms marvel 16 swToday, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Ms. Marvel 16, originally released June 17th, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, click here.

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Spencer: Being a teenager comes with a skewed sense of priorities. Every setback you face feels like the end of the world, even something as simple as failing a test or embarrassing yourself in front of your crush. As the superheroic Ms. Marvel, Kamala Kahn’s problems are often much more severe than the typical teenager’s, but even she sometimes needs a lesson in priorities — it’s just a shame that Kamala’s reminder takes the shape of the literal end of the world. If that sounds depressing, don’t worry — despite the heavier subject matter, G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona never let Ms. Marvel 16 feel gloomy or depressing, instead focusing on the same mix of humor, heart, and adventure that’s made this title such a delight from the very start. Continue reading