Killing Has Consequences in Deadpool 33

by Michael DeLaney

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

Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli continue to propel Wade Wilson’s emotional journey forward in the face of all of the changes that Secret Empire has wrought. Deadpool 33 is bookended with Wade Wilson dealing with aspects of his Hydra-ruled life, but the substance of the issue comes in the form of a flashback. Continue reading

Selling Out (and Feeling Guilty About It) in Deadpool 32

by Michael DeLaney

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

Writer Gerry Duggan has made me recognize Deadpool as a (misguided) hero with heart. So when Hydra’s new America debuted in Secret Empire, I was shocked that Deadpool was working for the bad guys. Deadpool 31 showed us that Wade’s idolization of Captain America put him down this path. In Deadpool 32 he’s struggling with the guilt of that choice. Continue reading

Thor 7

thor 7

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Thor 7, originally released April 15th, 2015.

Taylor: Recently I visited a friend who I’ve known for a long time. As we tend to do, we watched bad action movies, with the features this time being Commando and the more recent John Wick. Both movies feature a ridiculously high body count, the cause of which is a thin plot filled in with a lot of action scenes. Generally, audiences tend to love action, but after John Wick killed what was probably his 42nd mobster, I found the action scenes growing stale. And therein lies the rub with an action sequence whether it be on film or in a comic book: too much of a good thing makes it bad. Thor 7 is an issue that is basically all action and despite the dangers of too much action, it’s a great issue. Why you may ask? The answer is the astounding art of Russell Dauterman. Continue reading

S.H.I.E.L.D. 1

shield 1Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing S.H.I.E.L.D. 1, originally released December 31st, 2014. 
Spencer: Since his premiere in the first Iron Man film, Agent Coulson has been a fan-favorite character, but it was the reveal that he was a dedicated fan of Captain America in The Avengers that truly sent his popularity skyrocketing. Believe me, I was on Tumblr to watch it happen. All of us reading comic books are obviously fans just like Coulson, so there’s just something appealing about a character who shares our enthusiasm and interests. Mark Waid and Carlos Pacheco’s S.H.I.E.L.D. 1 puts this aspect of Phil Coulson front-and-center, showing how Phil’s skills make him an ideal leader but also how those same skills benefit Waid as a writer. Continue reading

Secret Avengers 10

secret avengers 10Today, Greg and Spencer are discussing Secret Avengers 10, originally released November 26th, 2014. Greg: I studied a lot of television history in college, and there are many similarities between that medium and comic books. Particularly, there’s a notable trend in both mediums from self-contained, episodic units that could be watched and appreciated with no greater context, to highly serialized, novelistic longform works that have identifiable cause-and-effect and require consumers to know their stuff. TV content creators seem to understand this is a primary method of creating and consuming TV now, with binge-watching services like Netflix and Hulu taking storm, and even half-hour sitcoms serializing like crazy (I would not recommend jumping into New Girl halfway through, for example). Comic book creators, however, still seem to try and cater to both extremes of readership; in the case of Secret Avengers 10, they manage to succeed, but just barely. Continue reading

Secret Avengers 3

Alternating Currents: Secret Avengers 3, Drew and ShelbyToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Secret Avengers 3, originally released May 14th, 2014. 

Drew: There was a point in my life, from my late teens through my early twenties, where I firmly ascribed to the notion that making an impression, good or bad, was better than going unnoticed. It made me a very outgoing person, but it also made me pretty obnoxious. I may have gotten a bit more cynical over the years (I’ve definitely gotten quieter), but I’m now fairly certain that outgoing and obnoxiousness may be more than just directly correlated; frankly, I think they’re the same trait. “Outgoing” is the term we use when we find that kind of extroverted behavior charming, but it doesn’t take much to see those same behaviors as utterly grating. It forces us to walk a tricky line — we don’t want to be faceless cookie-cutter bores, but we also don’t want to be so fixated on the beat of our own drums that we turn people off (at least, not everyone).

Art walks a similar line, struggling to distinguish itself from the pack without alienating its audience. All art exists on a continuum of underdone to overdone but the vanguard has always been on that overdone edge, as artists push the envelope of taste ever further from the known. I don’t want to suggest that Secret Avengers 3 is quite on the bleeding edge of comic book trends, but it certainly toes the line of obnoxiousness. I know that sounds like a harsh criticism, but I really don’t mean that in a bad way. I may not mean it in a good way, either, but it’s certainly not all bad.

Continue reading

Hulk 1

hulk 1

Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Hulk 1, originally released April 16, 2014.

Shelby: I love online quizzes, the dumber the better. If I can answer a dozen questions and find out which sandwich I am, I rest easier at night. There’s always that one question, “If you friends could pick one word to describe you, what would that word be?” that always gives me pause. How can a person be distilled down to just one, defining thing? And how am I supposed to know what other people would say that one thing is? Comic book characters probably don’t suffer the same sort of existential crisis I feel talking personality quizzes because most of them do have that one thing that defines them. Take Bruce Banner, for instance. He’s defined by his intelligence; he’s one of the smart ones. Well, I suppose he’s also defined by his predilection towards turning into a green rage monster, but if we consider Bruce alone, the one word I’d use to describe him would be “smartypants.” So, what does it mean for the character if he loses that one thing that makes him who he is? Or who he was, anyway.

Continue reading

Secret Avengers 2

secret avengers 2Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Mark are discussing Secret Avengers 2, originally released April 9th, 2014. 

This is the Secret Avengers, there are no rules.

-S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill

Patrick: For all the crap people give the superhero genre for being “formulaic” or “predictable,” the medium of comics is anything but. I really liked Captain America: The Winter Soldier — and that flick does take a lot of big crazy chances — but one of the moments I was disappointed by was the split second we thought we were going to see Nick Fury’s car fly through the streets of D.C. Hot damn, I wanted to see that car fly. “Flying car” is one of those things you sorta just have to shrug at and say “comics are weird, man.” Or, more precisely, “there are no rules.” Ales Kot’s Secret Avengers embraces this philosophy, combining a cast of button-down Special Agents with a band of superhero (…and supervillain) misfits into one cacophonous volume. It’s a buffet of surprises, each one gleefully undermining all the others. Continue reading

Deadpool 25

deadpool 25

Today, Patrick and Greg are discussing Deadpool 25, originally released March 12th, 2014

Patrick: In high school, I did theatre. Like a lot. Acting, directing, writing, set building, lighting, sound, Vice President of the Drama Club — I was a damned theatre rat. It was great, I loved it and built my whole life and identity around it. But I was also kind of a jerk in high school. At the height of my jerkishness, the director of our theatre program told me that she used to think I was funny, until she realized I was just mean. Which is a harsh thing for a teacher to say to a child, but I’m sure I was asking for it. I was socially destructive, and alienated all of my friends in that world. It was the nuclear option: I had hurt too many people to stay in that circle. So I bailed — on my hometown, on theatre, on all of those people that used to be my friends. Was I acting out of self-preservation or was I protecting my friends from further exposure to my toxic attitude? Deadpool 25.NOW shows Wade’s world melting down around him in the most predictable way, as the Merc with the Mouth is unable to find peace in resolution. He too bails, and whether its a selfless or selfish act is heartbreakingly ambiguous. Continue reading

Thor: God of Thunder 19

thor 19Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 19, originally released February 12th, 2014.

SpencerIt’s easy to take a cynical view of environmentalism — personally, I’m thinking specifically of how that one-time donation of $20 I gave to my state’s Wildlife Conservation Fund has been spent three or four times over just paying for the junk mail they’ve since sent me — and its even easier to turn stories about environmentalism into preachy tirades. Amazingly, in Thor: God of Thunder 19 Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic avoid those traps, somehow presenting us with a nuanced and “realistic” tale of the titular God’s fight to save the Earth itself while also taking the time to remind us of our planet’s beauty — and what the planet could end up looking like if we fail to protect it. Continue reading