Middlewest 1 Hides Magic in Plain Sight

by Patrick Ehlers

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

I regularly make the claim that I “don’t believe in spoilers.” And that’s like 90% true – if a work can be “spoiled” by learning one detail of what happens in it, it’s probably not going to be a thing I enjoy anyway. There are exceptions to this, of course, and there are the odd movie or series that I wish I could revisit without any knowledge of what it’s about. Like, can you imagine how cool it would be to watch The Truman Show without any idea that Truman is part of a giant reality TV show? The movie so patiently teases both the character and the audience with the reality of the situation before blowing the doors off about 20 minutes in. Skottie Young and Jorge Corona’s Middlewest 1 takes a similarly patient approach to revealing the reality of the world of their story, but the hints are everywhere. Continue reading

Deadpool 5 Sacrifices Character for Laughs

by Michael DeLaney

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

Every creator has their own take on a character — it’s why we keep returning to the same stories of caped mystery men and women after all this time. Working within the familiar realm of the Marvel Universe, they can forego some of the basic elements of a character’s world. However, there are times where creators might rely on that familiarity a little too much, neglecting to fully establish their version of the character/world. Such is the case with Deadpool 5. Continue reading

Fantastic Four 1 Teases the Reader with Pathos

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Patrick: Dan Slott and Skottie Young close out the first issue of Fantastic Four by giving the creative team shit for not actually reuniting the titular superheroes. It’s a cute little one-pager, playing to Young’s hyper-specific strength for drawing adorably angry characters.

But this epilogue is more than just a cute way to sign off with joke. By ending the issue with an explicit acknowledgement that “they’re not even back yet”, Slott and Young are doubling down on the idea that the absence of the Four itself is a phenomenon worth exploring. Continue reading

It’s Wade Wilson’s World in Deadpool 3

by Michael DeLaney

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

Deadpool is a mercenary, assassin, sometimes hero, and fourth wall-breaking jokester. But after nearly 30 years of quips, kills and general raunch Deadpool has become something else entirely: a lens to see the Marvel Universe through. Deadpool has a funny effect on the characters and setting surrounding him — he Deadpoolifies everything he touches. Continue reading

Deadpool is Back to Merc’ing in Deadpool 2

By Michael DeLaney

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

Deadpool is often characterized as the bane of the superhero community’s existence: he’s the last guy that they want to ask for help. That said, the Avengers set must derive some guilty pleasure when they get to cut loose and rip Wade Wilson’s regenerative body apart. At least, that’s what I gather from Skottie Young and Nic Klein’s Deadpool 2. Continue reading

Deadpool 1 Honors the Past and Embraces the Future

By Michael DeLaney

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

“Honor the past, celebrate the present and embrace the future.”


Gerry Duggan’s Deadpool is dead, long live Gerry Duggan’s Deadpool! Duggan wiped the slate clean for future Deadpool creators by having the Merc with the Mouth wipe his own painful memories from his mind. Surprisingly, Skottie Young makes note of this mind wipe in Deadpool 1 — both in dialogue and in the opening credits pages.

Deadpool is still breaking the fourth wall, still has a big ego, and in light of his memory loss, he’s just going to have to assume that his recent comic book run was “pretty big.” Continue reading

I Hate Fairyland 1

Alternating Currents: I Hate Fairyland 1, Drew and RyanToday, Drew and Ryan M. are discussing I Hate Fairyland 1, originally released October 14th, 2015.

Drew: When I was in high school, I used to annoy a friend of mine by insisting that all ska music sounds the same. I suspect the vast majority of people might agree that ska has a pretty specific sound, but that’s true of virtually any artistic style, from country music to cubism — if you aren’t placing it in the appropriate context, you’ll only notice the most superficial elements, which necessarily define the genre. I’d argue that certain artists are so unique that they present a genre unto themselves, which is why sophomore efforts from those artists, say Spike Jonze’s Adaptation or Weezer’s Pinkerton, are chronically under-valued: we notice only the superficial similarities to their previous work, failing to appreciate what makes this one different. History tends to right those wrongs, but it can be hard to correct in the moment. So please, don’t hold it against me when I suggest that Skottie Young’s I Hate Fairyland presents a cuter, cruder take on his Rocket Raccoon. Continue reading

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

Spider-Verse 1

Alternating Currents: Spider-Verse 1, Drew and SpencerToday, Drew and Spencer are discussing Spider-Verse 1, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Drew: I tend to jump to conclusions about media before I’ve ever consumed it. I know that seems problematic for someone who reviews media, but with so many movies, shows, and comic books out there, it’s impossible to try them all, so I tend to gravitate towards the ones I think I’ll like. Of course, it’s an imperfect system, meaning I sometimes bet on a dud, or miss something truly great, but without any other way to pre-filter content, I continue to defer to my gut. After weeks and weeks of buildup to Spider-Verse, which seemed to pimp the event as a high-stakes affirmation of Spider-Man’s necessity in not just our universe, but ALL universes, my gut was telling me that this event was not for me, but I decided to give it a fair shot. Fortunately, my gut turned out to be wrong, with Spider-Verse 1 serving not as a herald of doom and gloom, but as a celebration of what makes the idea of Spider-Man so fun in the first place. 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