Batman/Superman 31

Alternating Currents: Batman Superman 31, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Batman/Superman 31, originally released April 13th, 2016.

Drew: What is a comic book series? That sounds like a simple question, but it’s one of those definitions that falls apart under close scrutiny. Peter Tomasi understands how strange our notion of a series can get, as he piloted Batman and Robin through the better part of a year without Robin. In that case, it wasn’t the cast, but the creative team that allowed us to group those issues as part of Batman and Robin. But if we take that definition of a “series” as something to do with a serialized narrative told by the same person (or team of people), what do we make of “Super Legion,” Tomasi’s new eight-part crossover that cycles through four different titles? Does it function like its own miniseries, or do its constituent issues maintain enough of their series’ identity to keep them distinct? The answer lies somewhere in between, which makes Batman/Superman 31 one of the most fascinating, if troubled, individual issues I’ve read in quite some time. Continue reading

Batman and Robin Annual 2

batman and robin annual 2

Today, Greg and Mikyzptlk are discussing Batman and Robin Annual 2, originally released January 29th 2014.

Greg: My friends often make fun of me for liking everything, and they have a good point. If one of them asks me for a movie recommendation, I’ll give twenty, and get at least one “I heard that was terrible” in response. If someone rags on the recently cancelled and critically reviled Sean Saves The World, I’ll pipe in and counter that it was actually one of the best new comedies of the season, prematurely put down. The new Paramore album? On repeat, in my car stereo, no apologies. Sometimes I’ve been criticized as not having enough cultural taste or filtration. My counterargument is that the consumption of media and storytelling fundamentally stems from love and positivity. It behooves a consumer to like things, because of the positive feelings you get. So, whenever I do genuinely, fully, through-and-through dislike something, not only do I mean it, but it pains me to say it out loud. It blots out my blinding sun of naive media love. I’ll put it frankly, no matter how much it hurts me to say: Batman and Robin deserve better than this issue.
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Detective Comics 27

detective comics 27

Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Detective Comics 27, originally released January 8th, 2014.

Mikyzptlk: Detective Comics 27 is an anniversary issue not only because it’s the second “Detective Comics 27” in DC’s publishing history, but also because it’s Batman’s 75th anniversary (or close to it, anyway). With that, DC has brought on an impressive array of writers and artists (Brad Meltzer! Neal Adams!) in order to celebrate the Bat’s 75th birthday. The result is as intriguing as it is entertaining and heartwarming.  Continue reading

Best of 2013: Best Issues

Best of 2013: Best Issue

It’s that time of year again: where we suck up all of our grumblings about art being unquantifiable and compile our best-of lists. Today, we’re looking at our favorite single issues. Love or hate the subjectivity of this list, at the very least, it serves as a great reminder of all of the fantastic comics we’ve read over the past year. We’re sure your list will be different (and welcome your thoughts in the comments), but here are our top 13 issues of 2013. Continue reading

Batman and Two-Face 24

batman and two face 24 Today, Mikyzptlk and Spencer are discussing Batman 24, originally released October 16th, 2013.

Mikyzptlk: Origin stories. We are getting a lot of origin stories from DC Comics these days. I suppose it’s only natural given the relative newness of the New 52. It’s been a few years now, but there are still a lot of lingering questions and a lot more room to reinterpret certain origins. Still, I’ve been suffering from “origin-itis” lately, especially with Villain’s Month throwing a ton of new origins our way. While Peter Tomasi didn’t use the Two-Face Villain’s Month special to explore the origin of the villain, he’s certainly using this current arc to do so. So, how does he do? Well, Tomasi brilliantly circumvents my origin-overload by tying Harvey’s past directly into his present. Continue reading

Forever Evil: Arkham War 1

arkham war 1

Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Forever Evil: Arkham War 1 , originally released October 9th, 2013.

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MikyzptlkGiant line-wide crossover events like Forever Evil can be exhausting. Suddenly, a story crops up that seemingly takes over the narrative of the entire “universe,” while sidelining the stories you might rather be following instead. Not only that, these events usually bring with them a slew of additional material in the form of tie-in miniseries. These minis can be very hit or miss, but the best ones tend to expand upon the main event by showing us the effects it’s having on the rest of the word, and characters, around it. This is where Arkham War comes in. The only problem is, I’m not sure who to root for.  Continue reading

Batman 23.4: Bane

bane 23.4

Today, Patrick and guest writer Andrew are discussing Batman 23.4: Bane, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.

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Patrick: I’m gonna pull back the curtain at Retcon Punch here just a little. We like to invite our friends and family members to write about issues that don’t require a lot of context to understand – anything that seems like it’s going to be elemental and insulated. This way, we can get the perspective of non-comics-readers on a comic book. It’s a valuable perspective to have, and one that’s impossible to recreate within our regular writing and editorial staff. This policy bites us in the ass from time to time. It turns out that the more elemental characters are wrapped up in DC mythology because of their singularly compelling nature. We were bummed when Scarecrow was 20 pages of weird connective tissue and set-up for Arkham War – we thought for sure that our buddy Greg could just write some funny stuff about the scary drawings. That’s selfish though: why should the most interesting characters be relegated to the least interested writers? Without further ado: Bane. Continue reading

Detective Comics 23.3: Scarecrow

Alternating Currents: Detective Comics 23.3: Scarecrow, Drew and Greg

Today, Drew and guest writer Greg Smith are discussing Detective Comics 23.3: Scarecrow, originally released September 18th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.

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Drew: Peter Tomasi is an ideal utility player — he’s able to synthesize and adapt the ideas other writers introduce in flagship titles into something that can stand up on its own. He regularly turns what could be an unwieldy Frankenstein monster into something beautiful, so long as he’s given the space to do so. It turns out that last caveat is rather important — without appropriate time to develop the ideas, he’s forced to strip them down to the connective tissue they are, yielding stories that feel rushed and obligatory. Unfortunately, Detective Comics 23.3: Scarecrow falls firmly into this latter category, squandering some etherial, appropriately Scarecrow-y Szymon Kudranski art on a strange housekeeping issue. Continue reading

Batman and Robin 23.1: Two-Face

two-face 23.1

Today, Patrick and guest writer Gino are discussing Batman and Robin 23.1: Two-Face, originally released September 4th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.

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Patrick: Duality is the name of the game in Gotham City. You can be a hilarious clown, but you also have to be able to murder in cold blood on a whim. You can be an agent of justice, but you also have to be an overly violent vigilante. Two-Face encapsulates this idea directly, literally letting his moral alignment shift with the impartial flipping of a coin. He’s a villain, but only until he flips that coin one more time – then: who knows?
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Batman and Catwoman 22

batman and catwoman 22

Today, Spencer and Mikyzptlk are discussing Batman and Catwoman 22, originally released July 17th, 2013.

Spencer: I’m probably in the minority among the Retcon Punch writers, but I’m actually a huge fan of Catwoman. When written properly she’s an unpredictable, fun character, but I’m particularly fond of her team-ups with Batman. Catwoman’s been a lot of things to Batman in the past: a villain, a temptation, an ally, and even a love interest, and each version brings out a new aspect of Batman’s personality. When you throw these two characters together you can never be quite sure how they’ll react, and their team-up in Batman and Catwoman 22 doesn’t disappoint; Selina even manages to make Batman smile.

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