Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing U.S.Avengers 1, originally released January 4, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Patrick: There are more flavors of Avengers out there than there are flavors of ice cream at Baskin Robbins.
That’s not an entirely true observation. Baskin Robbins always carries 31 flavors, and even at it’s most, Marvel only publishes 5 or 6 Avengers series at one time. But I’m too in-love with the ice cream metaphor to let it go, so stay with me. Like Baskin Robbins, U.S.Avengers is an exercise in indulgences, cramming in as much fun, color, and sugar as humanly possible. This cartoonish excess is also unapologetically American, leaning in to everything that even remotely expresses that cultural identity. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy’s Most Wanted 1 and Legendary Star-Lord 1, originally released July 2nd, 2014.
Last week, we noted that the great Marvel Hype Machine has kicked into full gear where the Guardians of the Galaxy are concerned. Let’s be honest: while there’s a lot of non-specific good will built up towards Marvel Studio Movies, this is a completely untested property. That means fans of the comics are going to have to be amazing ambassadors, and to move these five characters up to the forefront of our minds, Marvel has kicked off three new series: one of which was Rocket Raccoon — a high-profile release by a rock-star creator and featuring the prescribed breakout character from the movie. What about the other two?
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Original Sin 0, originally released April 23rd, 2014.
Spencer: A few months ago Patrick and I covered Inhumanity 1, and while most of my complaints about that issue still stand, at the time I misunderstood its purpose; it wasn’t meant to be the beginning of a story, but instead to serve as a primer to catch new readers up on recent events in other titles. In a way, Mark Waid and Jim Cheung’s Original Sin 0 is almost the complete opposite of Inhumanity 1; I enjoyed the story much more, but it’s a story that looks to only have the vaguest of connections to the upcoming Original Sin miniseries.
Today, Spencer and Scott are discussing Nova 13, originally released February 19th, 2014.
Spencer: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: two heroes meet, but a misunderstanding causes them to fight for a while before they inevitably team-up. Wait, why didn’t you stop me? You’ve all heard this one before; TV Tropes calls it “Let’s You and Him Fight”, and it’s easily one of the best-known tropes in comics. Nova 13 is one large “Let’s You and Him Fight” scene between Sam and Beta Ray Bill, and while there’s definitely a lot of fun to be had with the fight, ultimately Gerry Duggan and Paco Medina don’t do anything interesting enough to justify devoting so much time to such a tired concept. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Nova 12, originally released January 15th, 2014.
Spencer: Teenage superheroes are kind of my specialty. The many incarnations of the Teen Titans were my gateway into mainstream comics in general, and my undying affection for the recent Young Avengers series is well known around the metaphorical Retcon Punch offices. I feel like I know the structure and tropes of these stories like the back of my hand, which makes it even more surprising to me how effectively Nova subverts them. Nova isn’t a book full of teenage angst or love triangles, and it isn’t even a book about the exhilarating freedom of being a teenaged hero, not really. Instead, writer Gerry Duggan has crafted a book that shows the toll being Nova has taken on Sam Alexander’s personal life, a book about how handing ultimate cosmic power to a fifteen-year-old kid is probably a really bad decision, no matter how pure that kid’s intentions are. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Nova 11, originally released December 11th, 2013.
Patrick: When I was in Junior High School, I had to babysit for my little sister kind of a lot. It was fine – I think she’s one of the best people in the world, and we were friends even then. But it was something of a running joke with my friends: “Patrick can’t come to band practice because he’s got to babysit,” “Patrick can’t go roller skating because he’s got to babysit,” “Patrick can’t explore the starfield map in his brain because he has to babysit.” Oh, wait, that one’s not me. That one’s Nova. Continue reading →
Drew: Teenage superheroes are tricky. Part of what makes them appealing is their adult-like agency, but if you give them too much, they cease to resemble actual teens — writers must maintain a careful balance between escapism and realism. One of the most common tools used by writers to keep their teen heroes grounded is to surround them with other teen superheroes, and maybe even have them fight teen villains. This effectively scales their world back, giving them a comfortable niche between regular, mortal adolescence, and full-on adult superheroics. In Nova 8, writer Zeb Wells starts building that teen cast, giving Sam a stake in the events of Infinity that are fully unique. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Ethan are discussing Wolverine and the X-Men 27AU, originally released April 17th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Taylor: Expect the unexpected. On a scale of one to ten that measures cliché sayings that enrage me, this one is at about a 9.3. How can you expect the unexpected? By its very nature a person can’t prepare for the unexpected. If something is unexpected that means you cannot see it coming, so how can you prepare for it? I understand that some of the charm people derive from this saying comes from the very paradoxical nature of it that I hate so much. However, I think a lot of people have forgotten this aspect of the saying in eschewing its true meaning. Rather, those who employ the saying often seem to use it as a way of preparing people for wild times ahead, not caring that the dribble coming out of their mouth is useless and confusing. However, occasionally this phrase is useful, like when you really have no idea what to expect from your present circumstances. I think time travel is one of the times when it’s safe to say you should expect the unexpected if for no other reason then temporal mechanics are wonky. So when Wolverine and Sue Storm travel back in time in Wolverine and the X-Men 27 AU, I think it’s safe to use the phrase I deplore so much.