Great Ideas Fizzle Out in America 9

by Spencer Irwin

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

One of America‘s greatest strengths as a title is that it’s chock-full of fantastic ideas; unfortunately, one of its greatest weaknesses is that it often doesn’t give those fantastic ideas enough room to breathe and succeed. America 9 is a frustrating installment in that way, blowing through the meaty ideas of last month’s issue (plus a whole host of new concepts) so fast that none have room to land. Continue reading

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History as a Weapon (and a Motivation) in America 8

by Spencer Irwin

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

When I was first introduced to America Chavez in the pages of Young Avengers, she was a bad-ass, taciturn woman of mystery. As time has passed, though, we’ve come to learn far more about her personality, her methods, and — especially within the pages of Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones’ America — her history. She still has the qualities that made me fall in love with her in the first place, but she’s also become more predictable and easier to sum-up.

For example, I took one look at this panel — of America explicitly breaking the rules the moment they’re announced — and thought ‘Yup, that’s America in a nutshell.’ Oubliette the Exterminatrix — the evil who’s been recently stalking America, and who finally makes her move in America 8 — has been paying as much attention to America’s history as readers have, and it gives her just the ammunition she needs to take America down. Continue reading

America 1

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Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing America 1, originally released March 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: I’ll never forget a piece of advice a friend once gave me: “You’ve learned everything you can from this job. It’s time to move on.” That statement has always stood out to me because, up until that moment, I had never considered the challenge provided when looking at a potential job; I’d grown up thinking of a job only as a means to an end, a way to get money to survive and pursue more meaningful hobbies. Now though, while I recognize that there’s a certain amount of privilege involved in that advice, I also recognize the truth in it. I think that statement is certainly going through America Chavez’s mind in America 1 as well, as the hyper-competent Ultimate embarks on a new stage of her career: college. Continue reading

Ant-Man 5

ant-man 5

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Ant-Man 5, originally released May 6th, 2015.

Taylor: If you’ve ridden public transportation with any regularity, you are aware that there are some people who clearly don’t follow the unstated rules of the bus or train. Don’t bring cooked food into the vehicle; don’t have loud conversations; don’t listen to music loudly or without headphones; and always do your best to make room for others. Those who fail to follow the rules must suffer the passive aggressive wrath of those around them, yet remarkably, few seem to care. These individuals are either entirely brazen (a definite possibility) or perhaps they just lack a self-awareness that informs them that their actions are burden on others. In Ant-Man 5, we see if Scott Lang is one of these individuals and the result is an issue with unexpected emotional depth. Continue reading

Ant-Man 3

ant-man 3

Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Ant-Man 3, originally released March 9th, 2015.

Taylor: Before I became a teacher, I was working in a job I cared nothing about. While that sounds kind of miserable — which it was at points — I did enjoy that my work was something I could leave at the office. Weekends and evenings were basically all mine during this period and I did whatever I pleased with that time. Now, working at a job I care about, I find the divide between work and my home-life has blurred. Work comes home often now and weekends are spent mostly preparing for the coming week. Basically, my situation was a trade off. Work at a boring job and be free at home. Work at a job that you care about, and never stop working. Ant-Man 3, despite it’s humorous overtones, meditates on this aspect of life in a way that is both insightful and entertaining. Continue reading

Ant-Man 1

ant-man 1

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Ant-Man 1, originally released January 7th, 2015.

Taylor: As long as stories have been told, people have enjoyed hearing about clever heroes. Perhaps the prototype of the clever character in western literature is Odysseus — a man who more than made up for physical shortcomings with the power of his mind. And while many people nowadays might not feel a close kinship to Odysseus, they still appreciate a clever hero — and a clever story. Marvel, as a publisher, has taken this love of cleverness and has essentially turned it into a multimillion dollar business. While the Marvel movies embody this philosophy to their core, there are a number of comic series which also are banking on this appreciation for wit. The reboot of Ant-Man is no exception to this formula, but does it have anything all that clever to say? Continue reading

Young Avengers 15

young avengers 15

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Young Avengers 15, originally released January 8th, 2014. 

slim-bannerShelby: New Year’s Eve is a night of…well, generally heavy drinking, but it’s also a night of contemplation and renewal. The last year, with it’s good and bad, is over; whether you liked it or not, it’s over, and it’s time to prepare for a fresh start in the new year. I definitely understood that this year, since I moved to a new apartment December 29th. It was a short move, just a block away, but having lived in my last place for 3 years made it a really big change. There’s the “out with the old” as you throw out a bunch of crap you can’t believe you kept for so long, and the “in with the new” as you figure out a new way to arrange your home. Like New Year’s Eve, it’s a bittersweet thing, and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (with a little help from their friends) capture it perfectly at the end of their run on Young Avengers. Nothing but spoilers and revelations ahead, folks.
Continue reading

Young Avengers 13

young avengers 13Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Young Avengers 13, originally released December 4th, 2013. 

slim-bannerPatrick: I like starting off an article off with a little epigram. It’s a fun, pithy way to get things jump-started, and usually it makes me look smarter than I actually am. Young Avengers has always had romance running through its veins, but the final issue of the Mother Parasite arc focuses in love — its power, its uncertainty, its sheer insanity. I thought to myself “oh, I’m got the perfect quote to kick off this piece,” but in attempting to access a beautiful, articulate saying about love, I was subjected to a deluge of insightful comments, heart-breaking one-liners, and hopeful true-isms. It turns out that we are all obsessed with love, and we all want to be in the mix for saying the most beautiful thing ever about it. Kieron Gillen has put his characters through the paces, and across countless nightmare worlds, and in the end, it’s love that keeps all of reality from collapsing.  Continue reading

Young Avengers 11

young avengers 11

Today, Spencer and (guest writer) Suzanne are discussing Young Avengers 11, originally released October 23rd , 2013. 

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Spencer: You don’t just wake up the day you turn 18 or 21 and immediately become an adult. There’s no ceremony or initiation. Adulthood is subjective, and most of us spend the majority of our twenties trying to figure out just what it means, or even actively fighting against the idea of growing up. It’s a difficult transition period of our lives to navigate, and the only thing that could make it worse is throwing a multidimensional parasite and a league of evil exes on top of it. That’s exactly what Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie do in Young Avengers 11; while the issue mostly sets up the plot and characters for the final battle against Mother, it’s anchored by the various characters’ viewpoints about becoming adults. Continue reading

Young Avengers 10

young avengers 10

Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Young Avengers 10, originally released September 25th , 2013. 

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Ethan: Who do you trust? What does it mean to trust someone? I trust the people close to me to listen to me when I speak, to take care of me when I’m hurting. I trust the people I work with to give me sound advice, and I trust them to be polite when we’re talking at the water cooler; on the other hand, I DON’T trust them to leave an unlabeled lunch in the communal fridge intact (seriously, two instances of lunch-jacking this week, who does that). Enemies are in some ways easier to trust than loved ones or colleagues, as long as you’re trusting them to do bad things and put you in harm’s way. In Young Avengers #10, writer Kieron Gillen examines why we count on other people to help or hurt us, and what happens when our trust is betrayed. Specifically, how these questions apply to A) gods/goddesses of mischief, B) reality-warping demiurges, and C) all-consuming pan-dimensional suburban parasites.
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