Action Comics 958

Alternating Currents: Action Comics 958, Drew and Mark

Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Action Comics 958, originally released June 22nd, 2016.

Drew: What kind of themes do you expect of a Superman story? Morality? Alienation? Hope? Love? Over his 75+ year history, Superman has come to represent many ideas beyond that handful of suggestions, but those might serve as a reasonable starting point for the character, describing at least the ballpark he tends to play in. With Action Comics 958 — an issue by its very numbering necessarily recalls a good chunk of Superman stories — Dan Jurgens and Patrick Zircher make a compelling case for voyeurism as a key element of the Superman mythos. Continue reading

Superman 50

superman 50

Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Superman 50, originally released March 16th, 2016.

Michael: Mark, I’ve had a problem lately — the impending arrival of whatever DC Rebirth shapes up to be has been coloring my read of nearly every DC book. The creative behind-the-scenes shuffle that must be going on fascinates me — creators rushing their stories to conclusions earlier than they anticipated, etc. Superman 50 is the conclusion of Gene Luen Yang’s run on the book. And while it is an awkward, frantic, and deflated conclusion, it kind of seems like that’s what Yang intended all along? Continue reading

Green Arrow 44

green arrow 44

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

The New 52: Futures End 1

futures end 1Today, Patrick leads a discussion on The New 52: Futures End 1, originally released May 7th, 2014.

Patrick: Guys, I want to start this off by apologizing for the typo in the header: it’s “Futures End” and not “Future’s End.” That’s my bad, not Shelby’s. I want to keep it there for posterity and because it speaks to the general confusion regarding this title. The full name is “The New 52: Futures End.” As a weird consequence of that name, it’s the only series that takes place in the New 52 that doesn’t bear this logo on its cover:

The New 52

If Batman Eternal is about Batman losing control of Gotham, then certainly Futures End is about the superheroes losing control of the universe. Unfortunately, that also feels an awful lot like the creators losing control of the New 52.

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The Flash 28

flash 28Today, Scott and Drew are discussing The Flash 28, originally released February 26th, 2014.

Scott: As a kid, I didn’t enjoy ghost stories very much. I did my best to avoid them, but sometimes, late at night at a slumber party or around a campfire, it was impossible. I endured; listening wasn’t the hard part. In the moment, whatever shock or gore the stories contained didn’t affect me much. It was the aftermath, the lingering psychological torment — the fear, however irrational, that maybe the deranged killers they told these stories about might actually exist. In The Flash 28, Barry Allen is confronted with my greatest fear: the murderous monster from his childhood ghost story is real. A ghost story combined with a detective story, this issue is as fun as you can imagine, even though all of the elements don’t mix together quite right.
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The Flash 27

Alternating Currents: The Flash 27, Drew and Scott

Today, Drew and Scott are discussing The Flash 27, originally released January 29th, 2014.

Drew: As a society, we emphasize “truth” above all else — even as we often acknowledge the necessity (or at least convenience) of small lies. We tell lies to beg off of social invitations, or to save face after doing something stupid — I once even made a fake email account just to avoid having to explain a too-complicated truth. These lies are generally pretty transparent, but we feel compelled to maintain the facade because “actually, your band sounded terrible,” just feels cruel. Of course, all of those lies flying around make it possible for people to get a false sense of themselves (or at least a false sense of how interested coworkers are in looking at pictures of their cats), that is, those little lies can become a bigger truth, upon which someones own sense of self might be based. Its those kinds of truths that seem to be in play in The Flash 27, as Barry begins to chip at the finish of his candy-colored world. Continue reading

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 1

Alternating Currents: Rogues Rebellion 1, Drew and John

Today, Drew and guest writer John Crowley are discussing Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 1, originally released October 16th, 2013.

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DrewWe’re reminded over and over again that it isn’t the powers that make superheroes heroes. Anytime a newly powered teenager or well-meaning techno-geek runs into the established heroes, they’re given a speech about the great responsibility that comes with their powers. But what about the other side of the coin? What makes a supervillain a villain? The Rogues have always been a little less villainous than, say, Batman’s baddies, but their thievery has always put them on the wrong side of the law. The Crime Syndicate’s arrival has shifted the moral landscape significantly, placing the rogues firmly on the side of angels, as Rogues Rebillion 1 finds them protecting the Gem Cities — much like Flash would if he were there. Continue reading

The Flash 23.3: Rogues

rogues 23.3Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing The Flash 23.3: Rogues, originally released September 18th, 2013. This issue is part of DC’s Villain Month. Click here for our coverage of Villain Month.

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Patrick: I wouldn’t say that Captain Cold is an alcoholic, but he does drink. Occasionally, he drinks to escape, but he also drinks to celebrate. It’s a dimension of who he his, but it doesn’t define him, which is so rare in comics. If someone’s a drinker, that’s probably some horrible vice that pigeonholes them into being abusive, inattentive or otherwise absent. Hell, Taylor and I just posted a piece of Casey Jones’ alcoholic father in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles yesterday. Beer is a consistent factor in this issue, it sees Cold through despair, it helps him unwind, and it’s even a sign of hospitality. Cold’s boozing habits are nuanced and resist simple definition, just like the man himself. Continue reading

Trinity of Sin: Pandora 1

pandora 1 trinityToday, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Trinity of Sin: Pandora 1 originally released July 3rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divPatrick: After reading through the first issue of Trinity of Sin: Pandora, I went back and reread Ray Fawkes’ masterpiece – One Soul. The book is beautiful: it’s a sprawling, 200 page meditation on birth, sex, death, life, love, disappointment, god, war – all as told through the eyes of 18 people throughout history that never meet, never interact. None of these characters are named, but they always occupy the same single panel in each spread. When they die, their panel just goes black, and remains that way for the rest of the book. By all accounts, One Soul is a slog. It’s hard to parse out the meaning in 18 different rambling monologues, and every time you do zero in on a character, Fawkes takes them away in a tragedy of circumstance. It’s disorienting and it’s heartbreaking. The middle of this issue shares a lot of these qualities as Pandora hopelessly wanders the Earth for centuries, experiencing unspecified loss over and over again. This directionless wandering is bookended by dense DC mythology, emphasizing the long, meandering, often pointless nature of these big superhero universes. But just because they’re long, just because their meandering, just because they are often pointless, doesn’t mean they’re not also beautiful.

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Suicide Squad 20

suicide squad 20

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Suicide Squad 20, originally released May 8th, 2013.

Shelby: You all know how much I love a good anti-hero. That character that walks the line between good guy and bad, who’s only looking out for himself and will help you out if your ideals  happen to line up with his. He’s got a moral compass, it just doesn’t point north all the time. I love the anti-hero because he is so much more complex than your strictly good/bad guy. Suicide Squad takes the idea of the anti-hero and asks, “what if they were all supervillains forced to be ‘good guys’?” The result is either an interesting look at the dynamics of good and bad or an exercise in masochism, both for the characters and the reader. Honestly, I’m not quite sure which is more accurate.

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