Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Secret Empire 3, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Drew: That Secret Empire is about big ideas goes without saying. As with any tentpole summer event, it promises to change the Marvel universe as we know it (at least temporarily), but the bigger story is the way the event (and the stories leading to it) have reflected the real-world political climate, often in uncanny — and uncomfortable — ways. But issue 3 reveals that, underneath it all, writer Nick Spencer may have been building to an even bigger (albeit, perhaps less controversial) question about the very nature of the superhero genre in the present day: does it still have room for moral absolutes? Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing I Am Groot 1, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Spencer: When I first discovered that Baby Groot would feature in Guardians of the Galaxy v.2 I was taken by surprise, since in the comics Groot can regenerate from the kind of injury he suffered in the first film almost instantly. Of course, in the movies, James Gunn is free to make whatever changes he wants to the characters; the comics have since brought in Baby Groot as well, but that requires a bit more explanation. While the “whys” of Groot’s predicament are playing out over in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s fallen on Christopher Hastings, Flaviano, and Marcio Menyz’s I Am Groot 1 to explore the effect Groot’s new form is having on the team, and on Groot himself. Continue reading →
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?
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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
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.
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Guardians of Knowhere 1, originally released July 15th, 2015.
Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girl.
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 →
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.