Prologue Cons in Harbinger Renegade 0

by Drew Baumgartner

Harbinger Renegade 0

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

How do we feel about prologues? On the one hand, I can understand why the specific circumstances of the world the story takes place in might need to be laid out ahead of time. On the other, I think stories work best when they find a way to integrate that exposition into the narrative itself. I always feel like prologues take my interest in the story for granted, even though the story hasn’t even begun. It kind of flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that a writer must grab hold and retain the attention of the reader from the very first sentence. More than anything, I’m often frustrated at the fact that, because a prologue essentially exists outside of the narrative, it doesn’t have to play by the rules of good storytelling, drawing me into the world of he story through relatable characters, interesting circumstances, or some kind of clear-cut inciting incident. Or maybe I just encounter a lot of bad prologues (I’d love to hear some examples of good ones in the comments). Either way, Harbinger Renegade 0 definitely frustrated me in those same ways, effectively turning me off to a narrative that ostensibly hasn’t even started. Continue reading

Flipping the Revenge Narrative in Bloodshot Salvation 1

by Patrick Ehlers

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

What would it take for Bloodshot to settle down? Easy answer, right? Wife and kids. Classic motivators for a cowboy to hang up his boots. We’ve all read enough genre fiction to know what happens next: the quiet of the Bloodshot/Magic Jessie household is violently shattered, sending the hero on a revenge rampage. Hold the phone — writer Jeff Lemire is flipping that trope on his head, instead killing off Bloodshot and making Magic and her daughter the heroes of our story. Continue reading

Superboy 0

Alternating Currents: Superboy 0, Drew and NickToday, Drew and (special guest writer) Nick Idell are discussing Superboy 0, originally released September 12, 2012. Superboy 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Drew: I’ve never been a big fan of origin stories. They tend to be overly plotty, displacing more telling character moments in favor of unwieldy exposition. In short, I see them as a necessary evil we often need to get out of the way before the real story can begin. It’s unfortunate, then, that I live in an age where superhero origin stories are so ubiquitous, every third Spider-Man movie needs to revisit that well. We’ve fetishized origins, pushing them to ever-increasing complexity, straining the very limits of pre-title copy that attempts to explain it all. “The Supergirl and Robin of Earth-2 are trapped on Earth-1” sounds relatively snappy, but likely requires an explanation of what the fuck Earth-2 is, and how exactly they get trapped in the first place. These baroque origins relay details, which requires more space to properly explore, resulting even more bloated exposition. “Scientists clone Superman” is such a clean, self-contained idea, but Superboy 0 finds writer Tom DeFalco ladling on the details, buddying the message into an inexplicable hash.

Continue reading

Ravagers 0

Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Zach Kastner are discussing Ravagers 0, originally released September 12, 2012. Ravagers 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Patrick: There are some story types that are fundamentally more compelling than others. Storytellers know these tropes well and trot them out whenever a) they’re also trying something new or b) they don’t have any better ideas. This is why most cop and detective shows put a child in danger in the first episode. We can all get on board with that: save the child – there’s no way not engage with that story. The trope on display in Ravagers 0 (and I suspect through most of the Culling story line) is a newer one: teenagers forced to fight each other to the death. Oh Hunger Games/Battle Royale/Ravagers, you do have one hell of an interesting concept. But while something like Hunger Games really finds itself in the details, Ravagers couldn’t be bothered with anything other than the broadest possible strokes.

Continue reading