Rowan’s Defenses May be Lacking in Black Magick 7

by Drew Baumgartner

Black Magick 7

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

We don’t often talk about procedurals in terms of “putting the pieces in place” — there’s too much directionality to all of the clue finding for the endgame to feel anything other than inevitable. Of course, for all of the procedural elements in Black Magick, it isn’t strictly a procedural. This issue is full of procedural scenes — all showing some degree of cause and effect — from Rowan’s “investigation” into Bruce Dunridge to her (and Alex’s separate) spellcasting, to Stepan Hahn’s own detective work. He’s the noose we’re consciously aware of (especially as the end of the issue puts him on a collision course with Ro), but it’s the procedures we don’t quite see the fallout of that intrigue me most. Continue reading

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Wonder Woman Annual 1

Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman Annual 1, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: With her big screen debut just around the corner there’s a regular Wonder Woman frenzy these days. Wonder Woman Annual 1 seems to be joining in on the fun with several short stories that embody what makes Diana of Themyscira such a powerful symbol. I’m pretty sure that Batman and Superman are already on their second Rebirth Annual issues but this is only Wonder Woman’s first? What gives, DC?

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DC Round-Up: Comics Released 1/11/17

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How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing All-Star Batman 6, Detective Comics 948, Flash 14, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 12, New Super-Man 7 and Wonder Woman 14. Also, we’ll be discussing Gotham Academy Second Semester 5 on Tuesday, so come back for that! As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

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Best of 2016: Best Artist

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Without artists, all of your favorite characters, scenes, costumes, and locations would just be words on a page. In short, they’re the ones that make comics comics. That’s a lot of responsibility, yet the best artists manage to juggle all of those tasks and inject some meaningful art and style into the proceedings. Whether its a subtle expression or a jaw-dropping action sequence, our favorite artists add the requisite magic to make their worlds and characters real. These are our top 10 artists of 2016.
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Best of 2016: Best Covers

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You know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean you can’t judge the cover on its own merit. Some covers are so excellent that they pack all the drama, excitement and emotion of the whole issue into one succinct image. Sometimes they end up being their own surreal experience. And other times, we’re just exciting to see our favorite heroes kicking ass one more time. These are our top 10 covers of 2016. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 12

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Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Wonder Woman 12, originally released December 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: There was a lot of emotions on both sides of the recent U.N. decision to drop Wonder Woman as an honorary ambassador. Detractors believed that the fictional character was “the epitome of a pin-up girl,” while lifelong fans see her as a figure of peace and equality. Regardless of your personal feelings, when you step back and look at the whole thing, it’s just another example of us defining what Wonder Woman – and women in general – are allowed to be. In both “Year One” and “The Lies,” Greg Rucka has been exploring how we have historically defined Wonder Woman, while building towards what she is today. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 2

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Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman 2, originally released July 13, 2016 

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Michael: Wonder Woman was a unique entry of The New 52 and the same can be said of the Wonder Woman of DC Rebirth. After a “bad breakup” Greg Rucka returns to DC fueled by his passion for everyone’s favorite Amazon. In a lot of ways, Rucka is having his cake and eating it too. Continue reading

Black Magick 4

Alternating Currents: Black Magick 4, Drew and Ryan

Today, Drew and Ryan D. are discussing Black Magick 4, originally released January 27th, 2016.

Drew: I’ve been thinking a lot about genre lately. Specifically, how we might define genre as a concept. I tend to think of genre as a checklist of conventions; guns and horses? That’s a western. Period costumes and overly-earnest impressions? That’s a biopic. But every convention you can think of has numerous exceptions, and writers love deconstructing genres, which means there’s no one trait that would actually be true of an entire genre. Instead, “genre” is more of a cloud of possibilities, and any given story’s placement within that genre is a negotiation of the conventions that fit within that cloud and the subversions of those conventions. Why use those conventions at all? There are a number of reasons, but one of the most practical is that those conventions work as a shorthand — we don’t need the concepts of interrogation rooms or fortresses of solitude explained to us, even though we’ve never experienced them ourselves. This allows writers to skip ahead to the subversions, showing us what’s unique about this particular genre story. We all know what’s unique about Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s Black Magick (it’s right there in the name), but issue 4 is the first to hint at just how different that might make this story. Continue reading

Black Magick 1

Alternating Currents: Black Magick 1, Drew and Michael

Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Black Magick 1, originally released October 28th, 2015.

Drew: Police stories tend to be more about cases than about characters. Law and Order is a prime example — the detectives and ADAs mostly serve as charismatic cogs in a machine, only hinting at “character” insofar as they have different manners of speech and dress. Sure, every once in a while you’d be asked to care about someone’s home life, but the fact that it always felt awkward and forced illustrates my point — we only cared that they got the bad guy, not that they were driven into police work by an overbearing father or whatever.

But then there are police stories that manage to make their characters’ psychology a key element of the narrative — The Wire springs immediately to mind, making the wants and habits and vices of its detectives as important to understanding the story as any piece of evidence they might find. Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker struck a similar balance in their Gotham Central, where the romantic and familial relationships of the characters played key roles. It’s no surprise, then, that Black Magick 1, Rucka’s latest police story, features a detective who is every bit as intriguing as the case she’s called to. Of course, as was often the case with Gotham Central, it may be difficult to separate the character from a case that seems so personal. Continue reading

Convergence: The New Teen Titans 1

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Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Convergence: The New Teen Titans 1, originally released April 22th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Spencer: I think most of us take on certain comfortable roles when we’re among our friends. Sometimes, though, things change, and those roles no longer suit us, but they’re so firmly entrenched among the group dynamic that they can be impossible to escape. Marv Wolfman and Nicola Scott’s Convergence: The New Teen Titans finds this happening to the Teen Titans. After a year spent under the dome, the Titans are attempting to take their relationships to new places, but find themselves caught up in the same old roles and conflicts that have always defined them. Continue reading