Reversing Normalness in Cloudia & Rex 3

by Patrick Ehlers

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

It’s amazing how quickly the concept of normalness can completely reverse itself. When we first meet Cloudia, Rex and their mother, it is during a painfully mundane car trip. The little sister is chattering away in the front seat, while the teenager trades texts with a boy and is generally angsty. That is our base-normal: reflective of a real world we immediately recognize. There’s a touch of narrative whiplash as writers Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas and artist Daniel Irazzari drop us into a realm of forgotten gods under siege. Eventually, that becomes our normal: reflective of the bombastic medium of comic books. Issue three of Cloudia & Rex concludes the miniseries by interrupting that fantastical reality with grounded, human elements, proving there’s no limit to how many times you can turn a narrative on its side. Continue reading

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Love, Survival, and Loss in Cloudia and Rex 2

by Mark Mitchell 

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

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In our discussion of Cloudia and Rex 1, I praised creators Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, and Daniel Irizarri for their honest portrayal of a grieving family in extraordinary circumstances, and their work continues to sing in this second act. I’m especially taken with their ability to deftly inject humor into the darker moments of the issue, like when Death sends Cloudia a text message posing as a boy she likes that reads, “Hello, would you mind engaging in a phone speak?” The fine line they walk between making Cloudia an honest-sounding selfish, reluctant teenager, but still relatable and likable is, frankly, remarkable. Continue reading

Kill Or Be Killed 10: Discussion

By Ryan Desaulniers and Drew Baumgartner

Kill or Be Killed 10

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

Ryan D: Maybe you were one of those people, like I was, who trudged through all six seasons of the TV series LOST, debating what was really going on underneath the framework narrative, listening to countless fan theories and devising your own. Perhaps the most popular of these theories was that the characters in the show were all in Purgatory, which show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse refuted until they were blue in the face. The tricky thing about fan theories, though, is that when the finale of the series did include a narrative reveal revolving around a state of limbo, many audience members felt disappointed and off-put. They had assumed and hoped that the creators would have devised a finish more surprising than what every Joe and Jill had guessed back in season one, and that the clues given to support this ending were feints and decoys, not the actual resolution. In a similar way, the creative team of Kill or Be Killed, in its tenth issue, confronts the fan theory which has been on everyone’s mind since the first issue: the demonic force which serves as a catalyst for Dylan’s violent turn might by a by-product of a mental condition. While some readers might be anxious about exploring the most obvious of possible explanations of Dylan’s actions, the deftness of writer Ed Brubaker and his visual team of Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser keeps this pseudo-reveal exciting and the narrative fascinating. Continue reading

Cloudia and Rex 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell & Ryan Desaulniers

Cloudia and Rex 1

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

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Mark: Everyone in Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, and Daniel Irizarri’s beautiful Cloudia and Rex 1 is just trying to survive. For the deities like Death, Hypnos, and Ala, the threat to their existence is very literal; their entire plane of existence is under attack from Seraphim sent by the High Waveform as it looks to consolidate power and become the one, true God. For 13 year-old Cloudia, her younger sister Rex, and her mom, the threat is more existential. A close knit family, their ties are beginning to fray in the aftermath of Cloudia’s father’s death. Continue reading

Kill Or Be Killed 9

Alternating Currents: Kill or Be Killed 9, Drew and Ryan D

Today, Drew and Ryan D. are discussing Kill Or Be Killed 9, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

The best-laid plans of mice and men
Often go awry

Robert Burns, To A Mouse

Drew: I use this epigraph a lot on this site. It’s an appealing quote, both because of its sentiment and its popularity (bastardized “translations” to English aside), but also because plans going wrong is such a ubiquitous source of drama. We’ve all had something fall apart in spite of our best efforts, which makes seeing it in fiction tragically relatable, even if our plans (and how they go wrong) are more banal than we might encounter in fiction. It’s probably a bit too generous to say that Dylan’s plans were ever the “best-laid,” but we still recognize the panic that comes when they go awry. This issue pushes him ever closer to completely losing control, though he manages to just barely hang on. Continue reading