This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Get back to work.
Gus Fring, “Box Cutter”
Is there any scene in modern television more gripping than Gus Fring slowly changing out of his street clothes, unexpectedly slashing the throat of one of his loyalest employees, then changing back, as calmly as before? It’s a shocking show of force from a character that had mostly distinguished himself for his almost quaint professional decorum. He was a drug lord, sure, but he treated it as a kind of regular day job, fully compartmentalized from his familiarly domestic home life. In many ways, Rowland Tusk feels cast in that same mold, separating his home life from his more sinister occupation, and largely keeping his hands clean until — suddenly — he needs to get his hands dirty. Continue reading →
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
It’s easy to feel optimistic at the start of Outcast 30 — Simon and Kyle have just discovered a new Outcast, Daphne, and they all seem stronger than ever. Or, they will be, but right now they’re exhausted after clearing out a huge safehouse for the merge (or the possessed — we need something to call these antagonists). There’s a bit of tension as Kyle has to convince his family to take in a complete stranger, but even the resolution of that is played for maximum hopefulness, as both Simon and Amber comment on how much stronger they feel in Daphne’s presence. It’s almost enough to feel like they might be in a position of strength — especially after the way last month’s issue ended. Continue reading →
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 Cannibal 6, Extremity 4, Injection 13, and Outcast 28. Also, we discussed Faith 12 on Thursday and will be discussing Star Wars: Darth Vader 1 and Paper Girls 15 on Tuesday, so check back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.Continue reading →
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 Extremity 3, Faith 11, Outcast 27, Shipwreck 4, and Star Wars: Poe Dameron 14. Also, we discussed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 69on Friday, and will be discussing Pestilence 1 on Wednesday,so come back for that! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.Continue reading →
Today, Ryan D. and Drew are discussing Outcast 26, originally released March 29th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Ryan D: If you are writing a serialized work of fiction — especially one which you plan to keep going for an extended period of time — then you must ask yourself: how do I release information to my audience? Questions proposed by the initial thesis of a work (i.e. “why would a man dress up like a bat to fight crime?”) need to be answered eventually for the readers’ intellectual illumination; however, if you answer these questions too quickly without supplying new ones (i.e. “what happens when this bat vigilante tries to take on an apprentice?”), then there’s no way your story can go for more than a few chapters. In Outcast 26, Robert Kirkman, who has written at this point 165 issues of his most commercially successful series The Walking Dead, again proves his ability to sustain an interesting initial concept by supplying the audience with nourishing answers before shifting the questions in a way which makes me keen for more. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Greg are discussing Outcast 2, originally released July 30th, 2014.
Patrick: I like to think of myself as a pretty mild-mannered, in-control kind of guy. One of the things I pride myself on is my skill for conflict resolution — and as a cornerstone of that, my communication skills. I sincerely believe that just about any conflict can be ameliorated with enough patience, understanding and communication. That being said: I once punched my friend Jeff in the stomach. Straight up stocked him in the gut. I was mad about something — who even cares what — and rather than make him understand that I was upset, I just hit him. I was twelve years old at the time, and I’ve passed so many peaceful years since then, that tend to think of that person that hit Jeff as “not really me.” That was someone else’s behavior. It’s the same thing I think about the version of me that used to drink to the point of blacking out, and vomiting in the bed (only happened once, thank goodness). That wasn’t Patrick, that was drunk-Patrick, which is just a different version of “not really me.” While the first issue of Outcast settled very neatly on a question of faith, the second issue is interested in these ideas of fault and identity. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Drew are discussing Outcast 1, originally released June 25th, 2014.
We want to trust. We want to have faith…in everything. That’s who we are.
Reverend Anderson, Outcast 1
Scott: Faith is a complicated word. On it’s own, it’s almost inseparable from religious connotation. But I use the word frequently without giving any thought to God or the doctrines of any church. I ask people to have faith in me. I proclaim my faith in baseball teams and film directors. I advocate being faithful in relationships, and I refer to my morning coffee — and the trip to the bathroom it induces (indeuces?) — as “Old Faithful” (I think because of this). Sometimes there’s weight behind the word, but often there isn’t. It’s a word that probably suffers from overuse. Like Reverend Anderson suggests in this first issue of Outcast, I want to have faith in everything, but maybe that’s foolish. Writer Robert Kirkman is determined to make everyone think about faith, to examine the forces behind what they believe and why they believe it. With the help of artist Paul Azaceta, he’s crafted a compelling start to this story, as thought-provoking as it is creepy. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Zach are discussing Invincible 103, originally released June 19th, 2013.
Patrick:Invincible is a series that resits being discussed on any terms but its own. Robert Kirkman has built up such an extensive cast of characters, and such a rich history, that nearly every new thing that happens can find its origin in previous issues of this series. There are three different editors’ notes in this issue, the first refers me back to to the Death of Everyone story (which I actually read), but the next note refers to issue 37 which came out seven years ago, and the other to the spin-off series Guarding the Globe. I always used to get the feeling that an editor’s note was in place to be helpful, assure you that there was some precedent for the thing that was happening. Failing that, the editor’s note was just trying to sell me some related material – a slightly-less-altruistic kind of helpful. Invincible editor Sean Mackiewicz uses them for another reason altogether – to identify moments of fan-service. It’s like Kirkman writes in all these winks and nudges to his long-time readers, only to have Mackiewicz let us newbies know how clever he’s being. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Invincible 101, originally released April 24th, 2013.
Drew: Big reveals can be a lot of fun, but they often have the effect of retroactively making everything leading up to them seem patently absurd. The very notion of “spoilers” bears this out — sure, knowing Bruce Willis was dead all along removes the impact of the reveal, but the more lasting effect of knowing is that it draws your attention to how hard the movie works to never explicitly show that he’s alive, ruining what would have otherwise seemed totally innocuous. Once you know he’s dead, he can’t credibly be seen as not dead, which makes the whole movie kind of dumb. As a newcomer to Invincible, the big reveal in issue 102 feels a lot like that spoiler, shifting our perspective on a character so drastically that I find it hard to believe we could have ever thought anything else. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Invincible 100, originally released January 30th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Well, here we are at issue 100 of Invincible AND the 1st Alternating Current about Invincible. Wait, what do you mean we’ve never covered this book before? Oh boy, we’ve got our work cut out for us this time. In all seriousness, this is actually the first time that Retcon Punch is tackling Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, and it was my bright idea to start covering it at issue 100. I was hoping that the issue would begin with some kind of summary of events leading up to what was happening in the current issue to give potential new readers a chance to catch up. Instead, we jumped right in where the previous issue left off. I shouldn’t have been surprised as this is simply Robert Kirkman’s style. His comics don’t have previously pages, nor does he have his characters awkwardly dole out exposition in order to catch readers up. You’ve either read the previous issues or you haven’t. While this might make it difficult for new readers to jump aboard his series, it makes for the most seamless transitions between issues, and an overall story that feels more real. That said, it seems that Kirkman is, in fact, attempting to restore the main character to his roots somewhat, which might just make it a bit easier for new readers to jump aboard after all.