Big Rocks and Tiny Plots in Guardians of the Galaxy 147

by Michael DeLaney

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

What happens when the lovable misfit space pirates becoming the lovable misfit space police? The Guardians have teamed up with The Nova Corps to sniff out Shi’ar spies and track down the missing Infinity Stones in Guardians of the Galaxy 147. Joining the Novardians of the Corlaxy is Ant-Man (Scott Lang), who is trying to redeem himself in light of his Secret Empire betrayal. Continue reading

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Worlds Collide and Teams Clash in Avengers 672

by Spencer Irwin

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

Avengers 672 opens with both the Avengers and the Champions having the same fight in two different places. A new satellite is about to reveal images either confirming or denying proof of the High Evolutionary’s Counter Earth, a planet sharing our orbit on the far side of the sun. Nova and Peter Parker have both been to the planet, but Amadeus and Wasp insist that it cannot exist because it would defy all laws of physics and throw off the balance of the entire solar system. Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz use this scenario — of two planets that cannot share the same orbit without causing destruction — to illustrate the problem facing both of these teams: they can’t be in the same place without tearing each other down. Continue reading

Nova 7

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Nova 7, originally released June 7th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Add this volume of Nova to the list of great series that died too soon. Thankfully, Jeff Loveness, Ramón Pérez, and Ian Herring clearly know how to craft a powerful ending. Nova 7 loops back around to all the themes the creative team have been laying throughout their run — responsibility, friendship, teamwork, taking risks in life — and brings them to an explosive finale. It’s not just impressive how well it works, but that it works despite the fact that half the issue is drawn by a new addition to the creative team. Continue reading

Nova 4

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Nova 14, originally released March 8, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Love is never easy, no matter what your age. Still, as you grow and your relationships develop, the problems you face tend to change. The issues you deal with on a first date in high school are usually far different from those you’d deal with as an adult. In Nova 4, Jeff Loveness, Ramón Pérez, and Ian Herring chronicle both those romantic phases, and the results are just as genuine and heartwarming — and instructive! — as I’ve come to expect from this creative team. Continue reading

Nova 3

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Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Nova 3, originally released February 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Partnerships are successful when two people compliment each other, when both parties have something to offer that the other needs. Jeff Loveness and Ramón Pérez’s run on Nova is absolutely a book about partners, and issue 3 further defines their relationship, showing that they’re good for each other both on and off the battlefield.  Continue reading

Nova 1

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Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Nova 1, originally released December 7, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Marvel has been particularly bold with its legacy heroes lately. Iron Man isn’t Tony Stark, Hulk isn’t Bruce Banner, Thor isn’t… Thor… Even when the originators do carry the mantle, their proteges are filling the role at the same time (like Sam Wilson and Miles Morales). That’s a powerful transfer of status because those originals are so beloved and so iconic. But what happens when the hero being replaced doesn’t have decades of history to lean on? Hell, what happens when he’s being replaced by an even more senior member of his legacy-line? Jeff Loveness and Ramón Pérez aren’t quite ready to bring their titular Novas in contact with each other, probably because they’re too busy making the case for how great a character Sam Alexander is. Just as Richard Rider is coming back into the fold, Sam is at is high-flying, awkward-flirting, Avenger-defying best. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 7

ms marvel 7

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

Nova 5

Alternating Currents: Nova 5, Drew and Ryan

Today, Drew and Ryan D are discussing Nova 5, originally released March 2nd, 2016. 

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Drew: I developed my love of analysis with music. I studied music at college, where we learned a number of analytical approaches, examining everything from harmony to orchestration to rhythmic saturation. My favorite, though, was always the study of formal structure — the shape a piece of music takes. What’s remarkable about form is that you experience differently in the moment than you can in hindsight. As a piece of music unfolds, you have no idea if this is really a repeat, or some kind of clever fake-out (don’t even get me started on sonata form), but it’s patently obvious after the music ends (or, if you happen to have the score in front of you). I believe narratives — and especially serialized narratives — have a similarly plastic form; it’s easy to break a television season into acts once the whole thing has unfolded, but picking THE inciting incident or THE lowest point might be a bit more difficult in-the-moment. This is even more true for superhero comics, where things can always get worse, often in totally unexpected, physics-defying ways. So it’s with some reservation that I call Nova 5 Sam Alexander’s lowest point (at least as far as this volume is concerned), but all signs point to this issue as the nadir of the pastoral life established in issue 1. Continue reading

Infinity Gauntlet 5

infinity gauntlet 5

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Infinity Gauntlet 5, originally released November 11th, 2015. This issue is part of Secret Wars. To see more coverage of this week’s Secret Wars issues, check out our Marvel Round-Up.

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Spencer: There was one simple reason that I wanted to cover Infinity Gauntlet 5 this week: I just thought it would be a blast, both to read and write about. Spoiler alert: I was right, but considering the previous four issues, I suppose that was always a foregone conclusion. Even when his focus was on the cast’s hopeless task of trying to survive in a savage wasteland, Dustin Weaver imbued the story (and especially the art) with a certain spark of chaotic, creative energy that never failed to draw me in. That spark grew into a full-blown fire as the series progressed; the finale actually revolves around the power of creativity, both in terms of the ideas Weaver and scripter Gerry Duggan fill it with and within the story itself, where Anwen makes creativity her greatest weapon in the battle against Thanos. Continue reading