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!
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.
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
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
Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman 2, originally released July 13, 2016
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
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
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
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.
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
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Earth-2 4, originally released August 1st, 2012.
Patrick: Self-awareness is all the rage these days. You can get away with telling any story – no matter how cliche or inane – by simply having the characters acknowledge the various well-worn tropes they’re engaged in. It’s a safe way for writers and film-makers to assure their audience that they’re in on the joke – yes, we all know how crazy this looks. Joss Whedon is the king of this sort of thing (y’all saw Avengers, right?), but you see it everywhere. There are a couple of draw-backs to this approach, but the biggest danger is that of white-washing your characters’ personalities. If everyone is savvy enough to comment on their genre-adventures, then no one’s really an individual. Another big draw-back is that it makes everyone extremely — and interchangeably — chatty. While Earth-2 manages some neat concepts and fun characters, the cut-and-paste nature of the dialogue is holding it back in a serious way.
Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Earth-2 3, originally released July 4th, 2012.
Peter: Alan Scott’s sexual orientation has been quite the hot topic lately. But Alan’s transformation into the Green Lantern of Earth-2 brings with it many more interesting and surprising developments than just the one hot-button issue. As Earth-2 slowly repopulates with costume heroes, he will certainly be playing large role. The character has been pretty much completely redone with the New 52, which means we have a total reinvention of the Green Lantern side of his character. But there is no way I am going to spoil that on the home page.