Action Comics 1000: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner, Michael DeLaney, Patrick Ehlers, and Spencer Irwin

Action Comics 1000

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

“From the City that Has Everything”

Drew: Superman changed the world. That’s obvious enough in-universe, but it’s just as true of our world. Action Comics 1 created (or at least codified) the superhero genre, a genre that came to define both the 20th and 21st centuries, and is still growing as Action Comics rings in its 1000th issue. It’s a singular achievement, but celebrating it as such might not be in the spirit of Superman, for whom humbleness is as much a part of his character as heroism. He’s not one to take compliments easily, let alone brag, so any efforts to do so on his behalf run the risk of feeling crass. Most of the stories in this issue opted to ignore lionizing Superman outright, aiming instead to illustrate what it is that makes him so laudable, but in the issue’s opening chapter, Dan Jurgens came up with a way to address the issue with Superman himself, providing a commentary on the whole exercise of a huge anniversary issue, and offering a justification that even Superman can get behind. Continue reading

DC Round-Up Comics Released 8/19/15

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Retcon Punch is on Summer Hours, which means we’re going to be writing fewer in-depth pieces for the month of August. But we’re addicts at this point, so we need a place for our thoughts on all those comics we can’t stop reading. Today, we’re discussing Bizarro 3, Black Canary 3, Dr. Fate 3, Green Lantern The Lost Army 3, Justice League 43, Martian Manhunter 3 and Robin: Son of Batman 3.

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Dr. Fate 2

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Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Dr. Fate 2, originally released July 15th, 2015.

Patrick: There are a lot of so-called “legacy” characters in comic books. Rebooting those characters has to be insanely stressful for creators – how do you make sure the latest iteration is both true to its own identity and its own time, while also honoring the legacy that birthed the hero? Let’s take the current Batman as an example: Jim Gordon has to kick his smoking habit and work within in the confines of the law, but he’s still got Bat-gadgets and fights the Penguin (or whomever). That’s simultaneously Gordon and Batman. But what about when a character actually has an active reason not to buy into their own legacy? Enter Khalid – the child of first generation Egyptian immigrants. His whole life is built on the promise that he doesn’t have to live his parents’ lives. Weirdly, the American dream — go to school, work hard, live a comfortable consumer’s life — encourages Khalid to reject any sense of cultural identity and everything his newfound superpowers come to represent. That’s who’s motivated to ignore legacy: immigrants just trying to fit in. Continue reading

Convergence Round-Up: Week Eight

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Today, Michael leads a discussion about Convergence 8, Action Comics 2, Blue Beetle 2, Booster Gold 2, Crime Syndicate 2, Detective Comics 2, Infinity Inc. 2, Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters 2 and World’s Finest 2.

convergence divMichael: When’s the last time you read a true finale from Marvel or DC? I’m talking final word, last story, completion of a hero’s journey, close-the-book-on-it ending. I could probably only count a handful of those types of finales in the past couple of years; maybe. Like any analysis of the Big Two, it can be seen in two ways: cynically or inspiringly. Cynically, there will never be a “final story.” The Coca-Cola and Pepsi of comic books always leave a door open for potential future stories because they want your money. Inspiringly, we are witnessing the sagas of modern mythology: endless heroic epics. These stories will never come to a true end because their legend continues and the heroes never say die. It can be impossibly cheesy, but the end caption “Never the end” always clutches at my heart strings. After eight weeks, 41 books and 89 issues Convergence has finally met its end. I think there is a strong argument for the inspiring read of “Never the End” present in most of these finales. Conversely, Convergence been criticized as a sales stunt, so the more cynical finale read is just as viable. Two months later what have we learned? For one, nostalgia can be expensive. Continue reading

Worlds’ Finest 4

Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Worlds’ Finest 4, originally released August 1st, 2012.

Patrick: It did not take long for the good will this series established in the first issue to wear off. Two months ago we were saying “well, I still remain hopeful” and all those things you say when you feel like you’re witnessing a one-time mistake. But issue three doubled down on its mistakes and reduced its leads to painfully dull stereotypes. This month’s outing is only an improvement in that it commits no new sins, but that’s cold comfort when business-as-usual is boring, unlikable characters.
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Worlds’ Finest 3

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Worlds’ Finest 3, originally released July 4th, 2012.

Shelby: Often, the hardest review to write is for the really good issues. All I want to do is gush, “IT’S SO GOOD!!!” and I have to force myself to find something intelligent to say. It’s not unpleasant, by any means; it gives me an excuse to spend more time with something I really enjoy, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. The really bad issues, though, are much easier to talk about. I can compose a laundry list of reasons why I don’t like it, and usually don’t have to spend much more time with it than a couple of readings. This month’s Worlds’ Finest falls firmly into that latter camp, and I’m really glad I don’t have to read it anymore than I already have.
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Worlds’ Finest 2


Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Worlds’ Finest 2, originally released June 6th, 2012.

Patrick: Last month, I had a great time with the Earth-2 books. The giddy thrill of watching Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all eat it, coupled with a handful of details that were just different enough from the main world, really sold me on both Earth-2 #1 and Worlds’ Finest #1. But now that we’re settling into the actual stories that these series wish to tell, it becomes apparent that Worlds’ Finest is stuck on some dull details, even if there is a compelling narrative buried below the surface. Continue reading

Worlds’ Finest 1

Today, Drew and Peter are discussing Worlds’ Finest 1, originally released May 2nd, 2012.

Drew: Superhero comics are well-known for their entertainment value. We turn to them for wild plotting or impossible feats or insane action. When handled well, they can also be home to themes that resonate even with their non-powered readers. Our favorite titles home in on the themes that resonate most with their characters, offering pointed, deliberate examinations of the human condition. With World’s Finest 1,  writer Paul Levitz offers a compelling case for counting it among those titles, as it explores how two very different characters cope with moving on from the loss of their very way of life. Continue reading