Michael: Poor Alec. First he and Buddy lose an entire year of fighting — and hence, the fight itself — but Alec must forge ahead, beset by mistrust from allies, misinformation, and an intuition that fails him more often than not. He doesn’t quite grasp his powers, he can’t be sure what the Parliament of Trees really knows, and a justifiably cocky Arcane has fortified himself. The only consistent truth for Alec is Abigail’s essential good and his powerful sense that she’s still alive — and even that is in jeopardy. Continue reading →
Drew: Last month, I couldn’t get over how openly writer Jeff Lemire was playing to our expectations in Animal Man. More specifically, he was setting up expectations with the express purpose of implying he was going to meet them at face value — all with an unblinking swagger that was kind of thrilling. Animal Man 14 finds him switching gears to the kinds of thwarted expectations we expect from (good) superhero comics, but that change actually makes the surprises even more surprising. Continue reading →
Scott: This Rotworld stuff can be pretty depressing. I can only take so much of hearing about how everyone everywhere is dead and there’s nothing anyone can do to make things better. So it’s nice that Swamp Thing Annual #1 was able to take a step back and tell a story that, while still wholly depressing in its own right, feels like a breather from the current state of Rotworld despair. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E 13, originally released October 10th, 2012. This issue is part of the RotWorld crossover event. Click here for complete RotWorld coverage.
Shelby: I liked the zero issue of Frankenstein. I already know the original Frankenstein story, so I just enjoyed this comic book take on it. Sure, I didn’t know anything about S.H.A.D.E., including what the acronym stands for, but it didn’t get in my way of appreciating the story being told. Knowing that we’d be covering the title at least through Rotworld, I foolishly thought I didn’t need to know anymore, that I’d be able to pick up issue 13 just fine. Apparently, I forgot how comic books work; even with the familiar faces of the Red and the Rot to guide the story, I have almost no idea what is going on here, so bear with me.
Shelby: Zero month gave us a little reprise from the events of Rotworld. Sure, we learned more about Anton Arcane’s horrifying history, making him that much more of a serious threat. But it was easy to forget that the last time we saw Alec, he was in a completely dead world, one which he assumed was an alternate version of the reality he knew. I’ll be honest, I assumed it was an alternate reality as well; the single panel reveal at the end of 12 didn’t really sink in. But now, we are fully immersed in Rotworld, and let me tell you: things are way worse than we thought.
Drew: Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder are confident that they can surprise readers. They have every right to be — Swamp Thing 12 (which they co-wrote) saw the shocking reveal that Rotworld is not a place but a time — and that confidence lends their writing an assured sense of purpose. Their ability to surprise has made both Animal Man and Swamp Thing thrilling reads in their first year, and has leant the crossover a sense that anything could happen. Sure enough, Animal Man 13 is rich in surprises, but it also paints Lemire into a difficult narrative corner — to such a degree that I can’t help but see it as a cocksure statement that he can write his way out of anything. It would be annoying if I didn’t have every bit of confidence that he can. Continue reading →
Drew: One of my biggest pet peeves in comics is the assumption that “bigger is better” when it comes to threats the hero is facing. I understand the sentiment — if saving one person is good, saving one million must be a million times as cool — but in practice, it often turns the risks into abstract hypotheticals. Such abstractions lose the human connection that is so easily established by a single person in danger. In comics, a single loved-one in danger is just as cliched as when it’s the whole city, but when handled well — as in Animal Man 12 — the payoff is much greater. Continue reading →
Shelby: I love seeing heroes working together. I don’t mean like in Justice League, on an established team (also, they aren’t really working together anyway); I’m talking about the almighty Crossover Event. Swamp Thing and Animal Man’s Rotworld isn’t a traditional comic crossover, with multiple books dealing with the same issue and borrowing characters. Snyder and Lemire have instead told the opposite sides of the same story, and now those two halves have finally come together so seamlessly I had to check the cover multiple times to remember which title I was reading.