Everybody Has Their Role to Play in Exiles 5

by Spencer Irwin

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

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Since the very first issue of Exiles the Tallus, an interdimensional, time-traveling gauntlet, has been calling the shots, pulling our heroes from reality to reality with its own agenda in mind. In many ways, it’s the true mastermind behind the defeat of the Time Eater, having charted a path towards victory and collecting heroes and allies all with vital and specific roles to play in its plan. Early on in the series this sometimes felt like it robbed the characters of their agency, but as we reach the finale of Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez’s story in Exiles 5 that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s interesting to see the role each Exile has to play, but far more interesting to see them all embrace their roles enthusiastically and of their own volition. Continue reading

One Impressive Spread is an Issue in Microcosm in Exiles 4

by Spencer Irwin

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

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Exiles 4 is the series’ best issue yet, and not just because of the puns (although the “Juggernautical” joke alone certainly earned this issue a spot high in my rankings). Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez slow down just a bit, devoting the entire issue to one dimension and one story, allowing the world the Exiles visit to feel interesting and fleshed out and for a full, self-contained adventure to play out there in a way that previous issues haven’t always had room for — all while still advancing the overarcing Time-Eater plot. It’s impressive plotting, pulled off with aplomb by every member of the creative team, who never allow the issue’s density to choke out the detail, character work, or fun this series has come to be known for. It’s a killer combination, and there’s one perfect moment that epitomizes everything that’s great about this issue. Continue reading

Staying Focused on Character, No Matter Where and When You Go, in Exiles 3

by Spencer Irwin

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

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One thing you can’t accuse Exiles of is a lack of imagination — or of decompressed storytelling, I suppose. The title flies through new ideas and worlds almost faster than readers can keep up with them. Sometimes I honestly wish it would just slow down and spend some time actually exploring the worlds it takes us to for more than a few pages, and thankfully, Exiles 3 does exactly that, spending over half its story in one scenario (a WWII-era battle with Peggy Carter’s Captain America), and ending with a legitimately shocking cliffhanger, one that finally isn’t the Time-Eater showing up yet again. I feel like this book is really starting to find its footing.

More importantly, though, no matter what era it travels to or how quickly things change, creators Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez always keep Exiles focused on what matters most: its characters. Continue reading

Black Widow 10

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Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Black Widow 10, originally released January 18, 2017As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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“Thank you for being a friend.”

Golden Girls Theme Song

Patrick: In college, I made a friend name Melanie. She was a freshman during my senior year, and she had kind of a tough time adjusting to the more Wisconsonian aspects of her college experience. She was from Portland, Oregon, and between the winters and the culture shock, she couldn’t connect with her classmates very easily. I loved that Melanie could see through the dorky Wisconsin obsessions with the Packers, or cheese, or beer or whatever, but that meant a lot of the ways we connected were extremely cynical. We complained about people together, we came up with strategies for getting each other out of small talk at parties – I’d consider it misanthropic if it weren’t also the thing that bonded us so tightly. We used to exchange birthday cards that read “Happy Birthday you fucking cunt.” Obviously, she’s the only person in the world I’d send that card to. Being friends with Melanie was unlike being friends with anyone else, and it’s important to recognize how unique each friendship is. For me and Melanie, that meant one thing, for Natasha and Bucky it means something else.

Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 8/17/16

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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 Black Widow 6, Captain America: Sam Wilson 12, Civil War II: Choosing Sides 4, The Unbelievable Gwenpool 5, and The Mighty Thor 10.

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Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1

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Today, Ryan D. and Spencer are discussing Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1, originally released October 28th, 2015.

Ryan D.: Just in time for Halloween season, Howling Commandos reads like a love letter to the schlocky B-Movie horror gems of the late Sixties and early Seventies, along the lines of Dracula vs. Frankenstein. Is it any good? Who am I to apply such a binary judgement to a creative work? Continue reading

Captain America: White 2

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Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Captain America: White 2, originally released September 30th, 2015.

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Taylor: For some reason, when I think about World War II, it doesn’t seem like it happened all that long ago. Maybe this is because the war shares many of the same things we see in warfare today like airplanes and tanks and machine guns. Or perhaps the reason it seems fresh is that WWII was a substantially photographed and filmed war, making it an frequent topic of documentaries. Still more, WWII has been the backdrop for much of the pop-culture that has pervaded the 20th and 21st centuries, and with each new story set between the years 1939 and 1945 the war comes alive once again. But WWII ended 70 years ago and few still live who actually saw or took part in its events. It’s a weird dichotomy, this difference between perceived and actual length of time, and if nothing else, Captain America: White 2 has me considering this subject deeply.

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Captain America: White 1

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Today, Andrew and Taylor are discussing Captain America: White 1, originally released September 16th , 2015.

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Andrew: After being unfrozen from the ice after 7 years, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale have delivered on their long teased series dissecting our favorite Nazi kicking boy scout, Steve Rogers. In line with their color series (including Daredevil: Yellow, Hulk: Grey, and Spiderman: Blue), Captain America: White presents a retelling of what made Loeb and Sale fall in love with Captain America in the first place, focused through a thematic color. Loeb and Sale paint a critical picture of this icon without being cynical. The Cap we’ve seen so far is calm, confident, but above all, naive. He is a soldier but not a leader. He has the enormous privilege of superhuman abilities which separate him from ever truly sharing the average soldier’s experience. This privilege and optimism blinds him to the dangers he puts Bucky through. It’s his relationship and loss of Bucky that is put at the forefront of this issue and what ultimately makes him into the nuanced Marvel character that he became today. Continue reading

Secret Wars 1

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Today, Ryan and Patrick are discussing Secret Wars 1, originally released May 6th, 2015. 

“Oh, best war ever…”

-General Nick Fury, Secret Wars 1

Ryan: Secret Wars grabs the baton from Jon Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers beloved/despised/confusing “Time Runs Out” saga chronicling the futile struggle of Earth-616 against the collapse of the multiverse. Hickman dives in by tipping his hat to the concluding plot thread of Doom vs. The Beyonders, the significance of which — aside from helping to shrink the amount of surviving universes down to a baker’s dozen minus a bunch — is still a bit lost on me. The narration of the issue is provided by Reed Richards, and the first installment of this event belongs to him.

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Chat Cave: Avengers – Age of Ultron

Marvel’s flagship film franchise landed its second installment this weekend, assembling the Avengers to take on Ultron. Secrets were revealed! Tears were shed! Scenery was chewed! Spoilers for sure after the break: welcome to the Chat Cave. Continue reading