Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Superman: American Alien 4, originally released February 17th, 2016.
Michael: When people ask me why characters like Superman and Batman work so well, my answer typically boils down to: they were the first ideas of their kind and in this case they were the best. The idea of Superman is incredibly simple and yet incredibly amazing. What a lofty goal it is to dream up the most powerful hero around who is a champion for good. Superman: American Alien 4 continues that trend of big dreams and hopeful ambition from all sorts of perspectives. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Superman: American Alien 3, originally released January 13, 2016.
Michael: Here are two words for you: Max Landis. It’s likely that you have one of the two following reactions: A) “I heard that guy is a conceited ass” or B) “I have no idea who that is.” Consequently, I’d bet that Max Landis himself would say that neither of those reactions bother him all that much. Nevertheless, when it comes to Max Landis I can assure you of this: the man knows Superman. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Batman 44, originally released September 9th, 2015.
Michael: While Scott Snyder’s current Batman run could fit into the mold of “written for trade paperback collections,” he also likes his standalone issues. Batman 44 takes a reprieve from Jim Gordon’s inaugural Batman arc, “Superheavy,” to tell an all-too-real story about a murdered black teenager. Taking place shortly after Zero Year, the relatively new Batman does some detective work to find out a little more about this murdered teen: Peter Duggio. He discovers that Peter was mixed up with The Penguin, the Four Fives gang and a mysterious man (who readers know to be Mr. Bloom) who gave him some temporary super powers. When his powers ran out (Man-bat wings), Peter fell to his death. But before that he was shot four times by a police officer. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Green Arrow 44, originally released September 2nd, 2015.
Michael: Interlude: from Medieval Latin word interludium; “inter” (between) and “ludus” (play). Interludes are curious animals; they often serve as a bridge between stories in an ongoing narrative but can simultaneously be standalone anecdotes. Part prologue, part origin story, Green Arrow 44 serves as such an interlude. And like many interludes, it provides some setup for the overall plot but also exists as its own island of a story. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Green Arrow 34, originally released August 6th, 2014.
Spencer: Eighteen months ago, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino began their run on Green Arrow, which had been a meandering, mediocre title ever since the New 52 relaunch. Lemire and Sorrentino arrived with a distinct style and a strong, specific vision, quickly transforming the title into one worth paying attention to. Now — with the exception of next month’s Futures End tie-in — their run has drawn to a close, and more than ever it’s apparent how much effort the creative team has put into rehabilitating Green Arrow. Issue 34 gives the conflict between Ollie and Richard Dragon a happy ending, but it also lays bare Lemire and Sorrentino’s strategy for creating a compelling superhero comic. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 33, originally released July 2nd, 2014.
Spencer: Despite being the title character, throughout Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s run on Green Arrow Oliver Queen has largely been a pawn, pushed back and forth by businessmen, various factions of the mysterious Outsiders, and even members of his own family (or sometimes all three!), all trying to use him for their own means. After declaring his independence from the Outsiders, though, Oliver Queen has moved to the front-and-center of his book — as Richard Dragon says, they’re both kings now. There’s still a massive focus on the supporting cast, of course, but now Lemire is using the supporting cast to teach us more about Ollie. I don’t necessarily understand every revelation, but it’s still a refreshing change of pace. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Green Arrow 30, originally released April 2nd, 2014.
Shelby: Because I like to stay on top of pop culture trends, I recently discovered the TV series Legend of the Seeker. It’s a pretty straight-forward magic-based fantasy, based on Terry Goodkind’s series The Sword of Truth. You know, right up my alley. Anyway, there are two groups of magical women in this universe: Confessors and Mord-Sith. The Confessors’ power is based on love and truth; they can see when someone is lying, and as a last resort force them to tell the truth by causing people to fall desperately in love with them. The Mord-Sith, however, get their power from hate; all love, kindness, and compassion is burned out of them from youth until all they know is how to cause pain and hatred. While neither situation is ideal, it’s made clear that the love for a Confessor can elicit positive change in a person, whereas “training” from a Mord-Sith can only breed more hate. So, what do you get when someone is motivated by both love AND hate? By quiet dignity and unbelievable cruelty? Maybe we should ask Green Arrow.
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 27, originally released January 8th, 2014.
Patrick: The mystery is an amazingly compelling form of storytelling. It’s also pretty straightforward: there’s a piece of information we don’t have and the author assures us that the reward of experiencing the story will be having the mystery solved before our very eyes. But there’s one big drawback, principally that the subject of a mystery takes places in the past. Sure, a detective might stop a killer from killing a second time, but they’re working to figure out a thing that already happened. The mysteries of the Green Arrow universe are vast, but even the most stunning revelations play out in the past. That might leave us with an interesting present, but it’s hard not to feel like we’re a little late to the party. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 25, originally released November 6th, 2013.
Spencer: Much like Wonder Woman or Batwoman, Jeff Lemire’s run on Green Arrow has been steadily building its own mythology that feels completely removed from anything else going on in the DC Universe. Despite that, Lemire’s still managed to make Ollie’s connections to the Justice League of America and Roy Harper work within the context of his larger saga, but he isn’t so fortunate with this month’s Zero Year story. The tie-in feels pointless, and it’s only the new character of John Diggle that anchors things to the book’s ongoing plot at all. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Mikyzptlk are discussing Green Arrow 23, originally released August 7th, 2013.
Drew: Last month, Count Vertigo articulated exactly why he’s such a perfect match for Green Arrow — Ollie needs to aim, while Vertigo stymies perception of space and motion. Ollie’s life has been such a mess recently, it’s easy to forget that archery is inherently very ordered. Even the quickest shot requires some pre-planning, some careful thought. In this way, the relationship between Green Arrow and Count Vertigo is one between order and chaos, a theme writer Jeff Lemire blows up in issue 23, as just about everyone has their plans upended. Continue reading →