Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Star Wars: Poe Dameron 12, East of West 32, Kill or Be Killed 7, and Sex Criminals 17. Also, we discussed Archie 18 on Monday, and we’ll be discussing American Gods: Shadows 1 on Tuesday, and Injection 11 on Wednesday so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading
Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Star Wars: Poe Dameron 10, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Michael: In the beginning there was Star Wars and it was good. Then came The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and eventually what would be known as “The Expanded Universe.” The original Star Wars films are classic stories of good vs. evil that served as the groundwork for the countless novels, comic books and video games that The Expanded Universe built on. Marvel has made it very clear that EU no longer exists within their Star Wars realm. But the current Poe Dameron arc “The Gathering Storm” has a lot of that EU spirit – specifically in the series’ antagonist, Agent Terex. Continue reading
Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Star Wars: Poe Dameron 1, originally released April 6th, 2016.
Michael: Poe Dameron is in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens just long enough for us to know that he’s cool and that we want to know more about him. There is no denying that Oscar Isaac’s brief (but memorable) role as Poe was a joy to watch. With his charm, wit, and optimism, Poe Dameron was a combination of Luke, Han and Lando. It’s no surprise then that Marvel chose Lando scribe Charles Soule to tackle another smooth talker in Poe Dameron. Does this first issue lay a foundation for further understanding the elusive cool guy Poe? Does this feel like a necessary addition to the strong Star Wars line? Continue reading
Without artists, all of your favorite characters, scenes, costumes, and locations would just be words on a page. In short, they’re the ones that make comics comics. That’s a lot of responsibility, yet the best artists manage to juggle all of those tasks and inject some meaningful art and style into the proceedings. Whether its a subtle expression or a jaw-dropping action sequence, our favorite artists add the requisite magic to make their worlds and characters real. These are our top 10 artists of 2015.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Chewbacca 5, originally released December 30th, 2015.
Taylor: In the new Star Wars movie, it’s apparent that director J.J. Abrams wanted to make Chewbacca a more rounded character. The need for doing this is plain – Chewbacca is one of the main characters in the Star Wars movies, but he’s little more than Han Solo’s charismatic shadow. Abrams rounds out Chewbacca by having him interact with more characters than just Han and by also giving him more heroic things to do like blasting stormtroopers. For the most part I find this to be a fairly successful venture into Chewbacca’s character. He’s portrayed as being important but not to the point that his language barrier interferes with things at all. The Chewbacca comic series similarly attempts to flesh out this character, but as issue 5 highlights, it is not nearly as successful as Episode 7.
Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Chewbacca 4, originally released November 25 2015.
Michael: Remember in Revenge of the Sith when Anakin Skywalker was arguing that from his point of view the Jedi were evil and we all laughed? Flawed storytelling aside I think comic book fans can agree that the big difference between heroes and villains is their perspective. “History is written by the victors” is probably an overused statement but nonetheless true. Simple Star Wars logic dictates: Rebel Alliance = good, Galactic Empire = bad. I’m not sympathizing with The Empire here, but Chewbacca 4 had me examining the actions of our “heroes.”
Today, Patrick and Andy are discussing Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire 1, originally released September 9th, 2015
“Star Wars is the saga of good vs. evil, divided into nine parts.”
-George Lucas, 1994
“It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”
-George Lucas, 2012
Patrick: George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy is heavily influenced by just about every archetype-establishing institution in the book: westerns, serials, samurai stories, myths. They are clear stories of good vs. evil, strictly adhering to tenants of Joseph Campbell’s Hero With A Thousand Faces. In 1977, that made those films the sum total of popular fiction to that point – a perfect distillation of the hero triumphing over forces of darkness. That’s an over simplification, of course: Taxi Driver came out the year before A New Hope, after all. But what Lucas did so well in his original film was channeling the simple, clear morality of popular fiction. Almost 40 years later and morality in popular fiction isn’t so clear – neither is the morality of war. Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, two different Gulf Wars – today’s storytellers have a different responsibility to their audience than Lucas did. Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto’s Shattered Empire embraces this shift, focusing more on the insane fog of war surrounding the bit-players that supported the main heroes of the original trilogy. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Black Widow 18, originally released May 27th, 2015.
“All these voices / All these memories / Make me feel like stone.
All the people / Make me feel so alone.”
-Brian Wilson, “Midnight’s Another Day“
Patrick: One of the universal experiences of the comic book reader is the gradual sense that you’re actually getting to know these characters. Readers watch them grow and evolve, and there’s frequently running voiceover to add extra context to their actions. You ever notice that comic fans are much quicker to refer to Superman as “Clark” than people that just know him as a cultural icon? Surely, everyone knows that Superman is Clark Kent, but only those of us that feel close to him would have the audacity to use his first name. But what happens when a comic series actively keeps the protagonist’s perspective at arm’s length? Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s Black Widow shows off a Natasha Romanova that can only really be herself when hidden from everyone else. That includes Bucky Barnes, the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., you and me. Continue reading
Suzanne: Have you ever looked at your job description six months into a new job and chuckled to yourself? Rarely do expectations and generally-worded guidelines from corporate align themselves with real-life experiences. How about that summer internship when you felt more like a barista than a business student? Natasha Romanova feels your pain in Black Widow 12, as jobs constantly pull her away from her preferred role as a spy. Continue reading
Shelby: Sometimes it takes other people to really see something about a character. Seeing a character’s actions and internal monologue when it’s separate from others can almost numb you towards that character’s actions. It’s with the inclusion of another point of view that you suddenly realize the character is not all right, or that they need more help than even they realize. If there’s any character out there who needs more help than they realize, it’s gotta be Nathan Edmondson’s Black Widow.