Finding Balance in Justice League: No Justice 3

by Spencer Irwin

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

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We here at Retcon Punch, sadly, haven’t had much of a chance to discuss Justice League: No Justice until now, but I’ve been enjoying it immensely from the start. It has many of the same strengths as its predecessor, Dark Nights: Metal, but since No Justice is working with only four issues, avoids most of its excesses. No Justice is focused and easy to follow, yet still has a grand scope and a firm grasp on the characters and history of the DC Universe. It’s well-balanced, which plays right into the themes of the series and the goals of its various League factions. Continue reading

Tapping Into the Raven of Old in Raven: Daughter of Darkness 1

by Spencer Irwin

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

When talking about the three new characters he co-created at the outset of The New Teen Titans, writer Marv Wolfman has said that, while he’d probably eventually run out of ideas for Cyborg and Starfire, he felt like he could continue on writing Raven stories forever. I find it sweet and admirable to see how Wolfman has stuck to that nearly 40 years later, continuing to pen the occasional new Raven story even as the character has changed so much from the one he originally conceived.  Continue reading

Super Sons 6: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

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

Spencer: Despite not making a single appearance, the Teen Titans loomed large over the first five issues of Super Sons. The Titans were Damian’s trump card, the cool older friends he could taunt Jon with whenever Jon gained the upper-hand against him. Amazingly, Jon never seemed all that affected by Damian’s bluster, at one point even telling Damian off for bringing the Titans up so much. This all changes as Peter Tomasi and Jorge Jimenez bring the Titans into the fold in Super Sons 6, adding some interesting new wrinkles to these two boys’ relationship. Continue reading

Uncanny X-Men 34

uncanny xmen 34

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Uncanny X-Men 34, originally released May 20th, 2015.

Closing time,
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Semisonic, “Closing Time”

Taylor: Chances are that if you’ve been in a bar in the past 17 years, you’ve heard these lyrics wafting across a half-filled room. Generally played to indicate that yes, indeed that bar is closing soon, it signals to stragglers of a long night that it’s time to go home. But be not sad, the bittersweet song entreaties its listeners. There is a silver lining to something coming to an end: it signals the beginning of something new, and isn’t that something to be optimistic about? A nice enough thought, but what if the ending of something isn’t all that great and therefore the thought of something beginning again is not cause for celebration, but sadness? A tough question to ask, but Uncanny X-Men 34 has me asking it whether I want to or not. Continue reading

The Kitchen 4

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Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing The Kitchen 4, originally released February 18th, 2015.

Ryan: Strap in while I set the stage.

The Kitchen takes place in New York City in the late 70’s. Consumer inflation resumed a steady upward spiral from 1972 to a peak of near 12 percent in 1979. Corporate profits crashed by 30 percent as the cost of business soared thanks to massive social movements forcing Nixon and the federal government to enact sixty-two health and safety laws protecting workers and consumers on top of thirty-two other laws protecting the environment and regulating energy use. With interest up and profits low, the economy wallowed in a crisis state until Paul Volcker, Chairman of the Federal Reserve under President Carter, purposefully plunged it even further into peril in 1981 by cutting taxes to the rich, gutting welfare, and attacking labor in what became known as “Raeganomics”. Continue reading

Teen Titans 23.1: Trigon

trigon 23.1

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Teen Titans 23.1: Trigon, originally released September 11th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.

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Shelby: Demons, am I right? They are pretty much the most concentrated form of evil out there, short of Satan himself. There are a few demons floating around the DCU, so it’s no surprise one of them would get an issue this month. The only thing I knew about Trigon going into this issue was that he fathered Raven, and I was intrigued by what his origin would be. Would he be something along the Christian lines of Hell and minions of Satan, or would it be a more galactic demonic force sort of situation? Whatever it was, I knew it would be unsavory, in a dark magic sort of way, which is usually right up my alley. Unfortunately, I was not prepared for just how unsavory it would turn out to be.
Continue reading

Teen Titans 16

teen titans 16 DoF

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Teen Titans 16, originally released January 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Shelby: What is the point of being a villain? Some do it out of greed, like the Penguin, others for a cause, like Poison Ivy. Then there’s the Joker, who’s just a psychopath. The source of his villainy is insanity; he is chaos incarnate. You’d think that would make it easier for writers to use the Joker in their stories. Just think of the craziest, most out there plan, add some gratuitous murder and cruelty, and you’re done, right? Wrong-o. The Joker is chaos, but he’s directed chaos. He has an end point in mind, there is a “reason for his madness.” Batgirl  plays with the core idea that the Joker’s latest spree is based on love with a twisted wedding. Batman and Robin also ties back to love, either the love of Robin for Batman or the love of a son for his father, depending on whether or not you believe the Joker knows who everybody is. Teen Titans and Red Hood, however, have a tougher time showing us that central theme of love, so that at the end of the issue I’m left wondering, “what was the point?” Continue reading

Phantom Stranger 2

Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Phantom Stranger 2, originally released November 14th, 2012.

Shelby: To me, the Phantom Stranger is a very old-fashioned kind of “hero.” There’s virtually no way to make the hard-boiled, fedora-wearing, mysterious man in the shadows seem like anything but old-fashioned. With his current origin as (probably) Judas Iscariot, he fits into that nebulous, religious category with The Spectre (of God’s Vengeance, for those of you keeping score). Unsurprisingly, he’s in here too; also not surprising, he’s an old-fashioned, hard-boiled detective. So, when Dan DiDio includes these characters with far more contemporary references, like kiddie soccer games and Star Wars quotes, it doesn’t fail so much as it just feels disingenuous.

Continue reading