A Loss of Focus Drains the Drama from All-New Wolverine 24

by Drew Baumgartner

All-New Wolverine 24

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

There has been plenty to love about Tom Taylor’s run on All-New Wolverine, from its adventurous cameos to its wry sense of humor, but I’d have to say my favorite aspect has always been its emotional intensity. Each storyline has been distinguished by its intense personal connection to Laura, whether it was battling (or teaming up with) her clone sisters, or settling a score from her earliest days. Every one seemed to leave a meaningful impact on Laura, ending or beginning new chapters in her life. It’s a breathless feat to keep that amount of emotional weight moving for that long, which is why I’m almost willing to forgive issue 24 for being the complete antithesis of that kind of importance. Continue reading

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Out of Order is the Right Order in Rocket 5

by Spencer Irwin

Rocket 5

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

I’ve never been a big fan of the in media res opening (and I just won’t shut up about it!), but I’ve always thought Rocket has used them excellently nonetheless — when paired with the sidebar narration it feels natural to open a story at its end, rather than a cheap crutch. Al Ewing and Adam Gorham take this skill to the next level in Rocket 5, opening the issue with not one, but four in media res openings! Amazingly, it works better than ever. Continue reading

Groot Roots in All New Guardians of the Galaxy 9

By Taylor Anderson

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

The origin story is a quintessential tale for any hero, whether they be major character who headlines movies or one that would only be familiar to the most knowledgeable comic book reader. Many of these stories are so well-known that many people know where Superman or Spider-Man got their powers from even if they’ve never picked up a monthly. But not all heroes enjoy such clarity when it comes to their origins, and such is the case with Groot. There seems to be no consensus on where Groot came from, so in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 9 Gerry Duggan figures he may was well take stab at telling the story of Groot’s roots. Continue reading

Heroism and Revenge in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 8

by Michael DeLaney

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

A ship in peril! A hero on a quest to save his friend! A space raccoon who is dying of an alien disease! All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 8 is a heroic race against time as Star-Lord tracks down The Raptors, who have infected Rocket with a deadly pathogen. Continue reading

No Funny in the Prose Gutters of Rocket 4

by Patrick Ehlers

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

The strength of Deadpool’s joke-telling is directly proportional to his awareness of the medium he’s in. He’s a fourthwall-breaking stinker, and love ’em or hate ’em — Deadpool’s shtick is is built on being knee-slappingly self-aware. But not every Deadpool story is a bucket o’ laughs, and Gerry Duggan’s run with the character has explored Wade’s darkness as effectively as his jovial irreverence. Writer Al Ewing taps into that same darkness in Rocket 4, leveraging the one thing Deadpool will always have reverence for — the form of the medium. Continue reading

All-New Wolverine 23 Subverts a Familiar Setup

by Drew Baumgartner

All-New Wolverine 23

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

Get away from her you bitch!

Ellen Ripley, Aliens

As action movie quips go, Ripley’s command to the Alien Queen is far from inventive, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the most iconic. Indeed, on repeat viewings, the the tension of Ripley’s descent into the Alien nest is more or less subsumed by my anticipation of that scene. Indeed, once you know the showdown between Ripley and the Queen is inevitable, everything leading up to it feels like unnecessary padding. The Queen exists for the sole purpose of Ripley defeating her, so the movie is really just ticking boxes once she has Newt. In All-New Wolverine 23, Tom Taylor and Leonard Kirk reproduce that setup with uncanny accuracy, teasing us with the promise of Laura facing down the Brood Queen only to snatch that possibility away at the last second. Continue reading

Irony vs. Sincerity in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 6

by Patrick Ehlers

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

There’s a little bit of a disconnect between the crew of the Milano. On one hand, you’ve got Gamora and Drax, honor-bound warriors who are deeply entrenched in the galactic mythology that shapes the universe around them. On the other, you’ve got Star-Lord and Rocket, both of whom would happily throw sarcastic scare quotes up around “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s a tension of values — irony vs. sincerity — that eventually melts away in Guardians of the Galaxy 6. Continue reading

Surprising Surprises in Rocket 3

by Drew Baumgartner

Rocket 3

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

Any comics creator worth their salt understands that page turns are the most basic currency of comics storytelling. It’s built right into the format of the comic book — there are images that we can’t see that are suddenly revealed to us when we turn the page. There are certainly ways to surprise the reader within a page or spread, but none of those techniques are quite as inherent to the medium. Which means you can pack a lot of surprises into an issue by doing nothing other than leaning into the page turns. Page turns certainly aren’t the only technique Al Ewing and Adam Gorham rely on for surprises in Rocket 3, but they’re used so emphatically, it’s hard for those moments not to stand out. Continue reading

Shifting Tone in All-New Wolverine 22

by Drew Baumgartner

All-New Wolverine 22

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

The tonal range of Tom Taylor’s All New Wolverine is truly remarkable. We’ve seen issues of high drama and irreverent fun, all of which gives this series a depth of emotional experience that at least approaches real life. Moreover, the range allows Taylor to wield tone with a nuance that is rare in superhero comics, juxtaposing and combining them within issues to evoke ever more specific emotions. The surprising tonal twist in issue 22 is far from the most subtle Taylor has ever pulled, but I’ll be darned if it isn’t effective. Continue reading

Secrets, Surprises and Criminality in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 4

by Patrick Ehlers

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 4

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

Liars. Thieves. Con men. They’ve all got secrets. It’s no wonder that the Galaxy’s rascally Guardians, who are more criminals than they are heroes, have a whole host of surprises and secrets up their collective sleeve. Writer Gerry Duggan and artist Aaron Kuder keep the reader in the role of the mark, setting us up to be as surprised as everyone else in their story. It’s a little frustrating to be kept at such a distance, but it is perfectly in-line with what it must be like to know these guys. Continue reading