Today, Spencer and Greg are discussing Deadpool 29, originally released May 28th, 2014.
“…I’m happy, too.”
“Hey, don’t use the ‘h’ word around me. It ends the fun quickly.”
–Shiklah and Deadpool, Deadpool 29
Spencer: As a medium, comics seem to have a problem with happiness — and quite often, as DC especially has proven, they specifically have a problem with characters being happily married. The above quote comes from the very first panel of Deadpool 29, and is spoken as Wade and his new wife lie together in bed. It’s a remarkably prescient statement from Deadpool; life itself seems to go out of its way to make sure Wade can’t ever be genuinely happy, at least not for long. Wade and his new bride have been disarmingly happy together so far, but with the honeymoon over and real life (aka the larger Marvel universe) reasserting itself, it seems like only a matter of time until the “fun ends quickly.” Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Scott are discussing Magneto 1, originally released March 5th, 2014.
Taylor: I’ve always been intrigued by villains. From an early age I remember being bored with the rudimentary morals most heroes possess. Instead, I gravitated to the other side to the spectrum, choosing to root for the bad guys. I found Cobra Commander fantastic, Megatron enviable, and Darth Vader the most impressive person I had ever seen. Something about their ruthlessness always drew me to them. These aren’t simple men — they have agendas and were willing to do anything to see them carried out. Yet each character also possesses a certain cerebral quality that sets them apart from your average thug. It’s this quality that draws me to these characters and it also happens to be the same quality that draws me to Magneto. He’s smart, ruthless, and devoted. But can an entire series based on this metal-bending character be sustained by these qualities alone?
Today, Taylor and Ethan are discussing All-New X-Men 21 and Uncanny X-Men 16, originally released January 15th, 2014.
Taylor: Ah, the father/son relationship. Daddy issues have basically been around since the birth of man, both literally and figuratively so it’s no wonder they often pop up in the stories we tell one another. After all, who hasn’t inherited some odious trait from their father or wished they had a better relationship with the man? So rich is the vein of paternal relationships that it can told time and time again and still be entertaining. Throw in a dash of mutants and a pinch of augmented super powers and you got yourself the makings of an interesting story. Given these ingredients, you think it would hard to cook up a story that resound with its fan base. However, in All-New X-Men 21 this proves to be the case. The story is a bit bland and one you slog through just for its narrative nutrients.
Taylor: You guys, we’re all getting older. Most of the time, it’s pretty easy for me to pretend that I’m not and that instead I’m ageless, but occasionally something happens that reminds me I will eventually bow to the forces of Father Time. Like many my age (29), my facebook feed is quickly becoming filled with pictures of weddings — followed a year later by pictures of babies. Just to be clear: this means that people my age are having children. They are completely responsible for the life of another human being. That seems terrifying to me, mostly because I can’t imagine taking on such a huge responsibility in my life. But then I realize that I’m almost 30, a perfectly normal age to have kids, and that despite my best efforts I haven’t escaped our temporal universe. Then I wonder if a time will ever come when I feel ready to have kids. I have to wonder because — to my eyes — having kids seems like a lot more trouble than it’s worth, even though everyone says having them is totally rewarding. Does it make sense that X-Men 6, part of the Battle of the Atom event, could change my opinion?
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Uncanny X-Men 11, originally released August 28th, 2013.
Drew: Does bravery matter in war? Society has long honored the soldiers most willing to ride out and face their enemies, but modern technology renders that way of thinking almost obsolete. Why risk your life in hand-to-hand combat when you can shoot your enemy from a quarter mile away? Or drop a bomb on him? Or better yet, have a drone drop a bomb on him while you sit comfortably in a control room on the other side of the planet? The danger for yourself stops being physical, and starts being spiritual — under what circumstances is it moral to kill someone who poses no immediate threat to you? America has become a bit desensitized to these drone strikes, but in Uncanny X-Men 11, Brian Michael Bendis examines how would-be-victims react to murder-by-proxy. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Uncanny X-Men 10, originally released August 14th, 2013.
Ethan: When moderately intelligent villains start going about business of realizing their aims, one of the early practical considerations is that of personnel. If you want to take over the world, or bend its orbit into the sun, or just make a whole lot of money, you’re gonna need some other people to help you get there. You can solve this problem in a few different ways: one common one is to just shell out the cash, but you tend to get an army of dim thugs that way. Another way is to come up with an idea that has the twin benefits of both supporting your own aims while striking a chord in the hearts and minds of your potential followers/muscle. In Uncanny X-Men #10, we start to receive signals that Scott is in danger of following in the footsteps of the bad guys he used to square off against, and I don’t even think he knows he’s doing it. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Uncanny X-Men 9, originally released July 31st, 2013.
Drew: Earlier this year, I became addicted to Radiolab, NPR’s quirky show about science and the philosophical repercussions of that science. The show is fascinating, but is also maddeningly self-referential — the hosts will often refer to massive concepts and conclusions from episodes that aired years before. The one that has come up the most often is the idea that your sense of self — the thing that makes you you — is basically the story you tell yourself about your life. That is to say, it isn’t how you look, how you spend your time, what you value, or even the company you keep — what you are is the narrative you believe about your life. Uncanny X-Men 9 finds Brian Michael Bendis examining every single one of his theories, as our new mutants (and a few old ones) struggle to get a handle on their own identities. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and guest Charles Cress are discussing All-New X-Men 14, originally released July 17th, 2013.
Shelby: The “fake-out” is a pretty effective way to garner suspense, especially in serialized story-telling. It’s one thing to make the audience believe something, and then later in the story reveal something totally different, but when you’ve got a month between installments, that reveal is a lot more powerful. It gives the illusion more time to set in the reader’s mind as the reality of the story. Just as serialized media can increase the rewards of the fake-out for the reader, so also does it increase the risk of reader disappointment. It’s up to the author to make an anti-climactic “just kidding!” reveal meaningful enough for the character to keep the reader from feeling unfairly tricked. Considering he’s using fake-out reveals that literally involve illusions and tricks of the mind, Brian Michael Bendis has got himself a long row to hoe with this one.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing All-New X-Men 13 and Uncanny X-Men 7, originally released June 26th, 2013.
Patrick: There’s a character in Final Fantasy VI named Terra. You’d be hard pressed to call her the main character, but it’s Terra’s struggle to understand and control herself that propels the story and motivates just about every other character in the game. Terra has untold power because she is the result of a marriage between a human and a magical creature known as an Esper. As the humans wage outright war on the Espers, her magic side gets harder and harder to control. This is a weirdly recurring character in science fiction and fantasy: the woman of immense power, who proves to be a danger to herself and others, and who must be made less powerful. Enter: Jean Grey and Illyana Rasputin. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Mikyzptlk are discussing All-New X-Men 12, originally released June 5th, 2013.
Shelby: Making a mistake is a simple matter. Whether it’s your fault or not, when you make a mistake you acknowledge the error, fix it as best you can, and apologize. Provided you’re not a total asshole, of course. Nothing is ever so simple in ComicBookWorldLand, though; when you can be suddenly possessed by some sort of malevolent cosmic entity, that adds a lot of layers to the idea of mistakes and culpability. Things can get really complicated really quickly, and if there’s anyone who isn’t going to understand a nuanced situation, it’s going to be a bunch of teenagers.