Rocket 1

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Rocket 1, originally released May 10th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: Rocket Raccoon is a walking, talking lesson in juxtaposition. At first glance, he looks likes one the lovable characters from the Looney Tunes gang. After all, he’s an anthropomorphic, talking woodland creature. However, this fuzzy exterior conceals his true nature as a loudmouthed, gun-crazy thief. If this contrast isn’t enough, he is frequently paired with the other Guardians of the Galaxy, a group that frequently saves the universe purely because it’s the right thing to do. This contrasts mightily with Rocket’s typical motivation of doing whatever job comes his way so long as the price is right. That being said, the juxtaposed nature that is intrinsic to Rocket should take center stage in a comic where he is the star. So is that the case in the latest series to bare his name?

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All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 1

Today, Ryan M. and Taylor are discussing All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 1, originally released May 3rd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan: The Guardians of the Galaxy are taking up a decent chunk of my brain right now. I am mentally unpacking the movie and all five (!!) post-credit sequences, so I can’t say that I came into All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 1 clean. That said, the timing of the release is not coincidental, so I know I’m not the only one with at least two takes on these characters rattling around in my head. Luckily, this is a first issue, so Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder offer a balance of fresh moments and necessary set up. Continue reading

Deadpool the Duck 5

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Deadpool the Duck 5, originally released March 15, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

“Batman’s superpower is that he always wins.”

-Comic Professional, Traditional

Patrick: At this point, it might be difficult to trace this sentiment back to a singular source. So many creators and fans and critics have cited this as one of the defining characteristics of Batman. Whether by preparedness or wealth or training or his friends or sheer luck, Batman always wins. Leave it to Howard the Duck to present the antithesis of kind of magical thinking. Howard may, in fact, be the cynical scribe’s Batman, and his cheeky superpower is that he always loses. As Howard the Duck 5 clearly illustrates, nothing can stand in his way — not even victory. He’s always destined to lose. Continue reading

Deadpool the Duck 2

deadpool-duck-2

Today, Michael and Ryan M. are discussing Deadpool the Duck 2, originally released January 18th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Two characters from different backgrounds with different points of view are forced into a situation where they have to rely on one another. This is a story concept that has been executed countless times over many different genres, usually for comedic effect. It’s a simple formula that has been repeated so much because it works so well. It’s an easy shorthand that allows our brain to enjoy a story and know where the characters stand: yin and yang, dark and light, straight man and jokester, etc. Deadpool the Duck 2 continues that time-honored tradition of the “odd couple”, but does it work? Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 6/22/16

marvel roundup36

We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Doctor Strange 9, Gwenpool 3, Ms. Marvel 8, Power Man and Iron Fist 5, Rocket Raccoon and Groot 6, and The Ultimates 8.

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Rocket Raccoon and Groot 5

rocket raccoon and groot 5

Today, Taylor and Ryan M. are discussing Rocket Racoon and Groot 5, originally released May 4th, 2016.

Taylor: When I was a kid I watched a lot of cartoons. Almost anything that was animated on TV I would be drawn to. So much was my love for the animated form that I would wake up at 6:00 AM every day just so I could get in a good viewing before going to school. While there’s probably a lot of reasons I love(d) cartoons so much, watching the original Looney Tunes shorts certainly played a foundational role. There’s so much to love in these shorts, but perhaps more than anything the thing that most appeals to me is just how zany they are. Rocket Racoon & Groot 5 takes its cues from these animated shorts, but it turns out that when you measure yourself against greatness, you’re likely to come up short.

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Guardians of Knowhere 1

Alternating Currents: Guardians of Knowhere 1, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Guardians of Knowhere 1, originally released July 15th, 2015.

Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girl.

Traditional

Drew: I’ve never seen any codified theories to this effect, but I strongly believe that every narrative has an ideal length. The Old Man and the Sea couldn’t be longer without losing its essence, just as War and Peace couldn’t be shorter. I can’t claim to understand all of the factors that determine the ideal length for a story, but it’s obvious enough when the length isn’t ideal. The epigraph may functionally describe a lot of stories we’re familiar with, but it’s too short to be a satisfying story — we have no empathetic connection to “boy,” no investment in his relationship to “girl,” no context for their eventual reunion. Conversely, Brian Michael Bendis is often criticized for making his stories too long to be satisfying, with each plot point dragged out for too many issues for us to be invested in the bigger picture. Of course, one of the big mitigating factors in the world of comics is the quality of the art — a dazzling action sequence may not require much of a plot, and indeed may be better off without many distractions. Nobody does “dazzling” better than Mike Deodato Jr., which makes him an ideal pairing for Bendis’ decompressed style. So does Guardians of Knowhere 1 live up to that “match made in heaven” expectation? Continue reading

Secret Wars 1

secret wars 1

Today, Ryan and Patrick are discussing Secret Wars 1, originally released May 6th, 2015. 

“Oh, best war ever…”

-General Nick Fury, Secret Wars 1

Ryan: Secret Wars grabs the baton from Jon Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers beloved/despised/confusing “Time Runs Out” saga chronicling the futile struggle of Earth-616 against the collapse of the multiverse. Hickman dives in by tipping his hat to the concluding plot thread of Doom vs. The Beyonders, the significance of which — aside from helping to shrink the amount of surviving universes down to a baker’s dozen minus a bunch — is still a bit lost on me. The narration of the issue is provided by Reed Richards, and the first installment of this event belongs to him.

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Rocket Raccoon 10

rocket raccoon 10

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Rocket Raccoon 10, originally released April 1st, 2015.

Spencer: Every comic character has a certain formula inherent to their stories. That’s not to say that every Batman or Superman story is the same, but think about how often you used to see Batman entangled in a death trap, or nowadays see him facing the destruction of his city, or Superman duking it out with a heavy-hitter over Metropolis. There’s more than enough variations on these stories to stop them from all being rehashes, but my point is that I can often just glance at a plot synopsis and immediately tell, “Oh yeah, that’s a Superman story” or “Oh yeah, that’s a Batman story. ” Skottie Young and Jake Parker’s Rocket Raccoon 10 is one of those issues that fits every requirement for a Rocket Raccoon story to a “t.” It’s very much a “standard” Rocket Raccoon story, but in achieving that status, it’s lost any sort of identity of its own. Instead of standing out, it blends in, to the point where I feel like I’ve read this story before. Continue reading

Rocket Raccoon 5

Alternating Currents: Rocket Raccoon 5, Drew and SpencerToday, Drew and Spencer are discussing Rocket Raccoon 5, originally released November 5th, 2014.

Drew: I think reading makes us bad at evaluating comics. Or, rather, the fact that literacy so far outstrips our art literacy that the art can often go unnoticed. I know from my own experience that there’s a tendency for beginning readers to just burn through the dialogue, barely paying any attention to the art. It’s these tendencies that make Stan Lee an inarguable household name, while Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby are only known by comic fans. Indeed, our focus on writing is so ingrained, it often takes a compelling dialogue-free issue (or sequence) to remind us that comics are a visual medium. With Rocket Raccoon 5, Skottie Young and Jake Parker deliver something of a goofy cousin of the silent issue, but one that nevertheless emphasizes just how much storytelling can be done with images alone. Continue reading