Secret Wars is a mammoth event — Marvel has populated an entire Battleworld with Wolverines, Captains America and Spider-Men. There’s a lot in here that’s worth reading, but we don’t always have the time to dig deep into all of them. The solution? A quick survey of what we’re reading. Today, we’re discussing A-Force 4, Civil War 4, Red Skull 3, Giant-Sized Little Marvel AvX 4, Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos 4, Planet Hulk 5 and Siege 3.
Today, Ethan and Scott are discussing A + X 15, originally released December 11th, 2013.
Ethan: A + X revels in the chance to turn big name team-ups into superpowered Laurel & Hardy shorts, and A + X 15 follows suit. Along the way, we get a rehash on an age old question of metaphysics, a bio of a famous president, and the alien invasions of our fast-food franchises.
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Infinity 3, originally released September 18th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.
Spencer: Infinity and its tie-ins have been dripping with ego and machismo. Between the Builders, the Illuminati, Thanos, J-Son, the Galactic Council, and even some of the Avengers, there have been a lot of big words and threats thrown around, and almost all of them are strong enough to back up their words with actions (except for J-Son, of course). This isn’t necessarily a complaint; some of the coolest moments of Infinity (such as the spree of sick burns in last week’s Avengers or the Skrulls’ touching suicide mission) have sprung from this kind of machismo. It’s exciting, but in this week’s issue, writer Jonathan Hickman flips our perspective a bit, reminding us of why we probably started reading comics in the first place: its always more fun to root for the underdog.
Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Infinity 2, originally released September 4th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.
Ethan: Space operas tend to share a few common traits. The first is that they usually happen in space (surprise!). Next, they make some assumptions about technology, concerning themselves with the adventures that take place between the stars rather than the history of how their characters came to be able to travel across the galaxy. Some involve enormous space battles, and many feature a tightly knit band or bands of characters fighting back against monolithic forces of evil. I’m still trying to decide if the Infinity arc fits the bill of a space opera rather than just a standard sci-fi story, but Infinity #2 certainly provides a lot more evidence towards the former than the previous issue did. The heroic attempt by the galactic alliance of good-guys to halt the Builder onslaught didn’t pan out so well, so now they’re licking their wounds and trying to find a new way to survive.
Today, you and Patrick are discussing Thunderbolts 14, originally released August 21st, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.
Patrick: You might have guessed this from the name, but “Infinity” is a pretty big story. Not just in terms of page count (though, it should be pretty astonishing in that regard), but in terms of scope. It’s already taken two dozen Avengers into deep space for some interstellar warfare, and there’s still the yet-unexplored threat of Thanos invading Earth. Jonathan Hickman was said to have been setting up Infinity in his Avengers and New Avengers series – which he…. sorta did. Most of what those series accomplish — in terms of setting up this event — is that they introduce the relevant superhero teams. Each team battles its own cataclysmic threats, only to be cut short when the main aggressors of Infinity entered the fray. Issue 14 of Thunderbolts is this concept in miniature: complete with team introductions and a mission cut short by alien invaders.
Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Avengers Assemble 18, originally released August 21st, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.
Ethan: Ever since the birth of the film industry, it’s been a race for the technology and craft to keep suspending our disbelief as we become desensitized to each decade’s best special effects. Every once in a while, a filmmaker pulls off an innovation that jumps way ahead of our expectations, and the medium feels special again. And even while fancy visuals can surprise us, if the movie forgets that it’s supposed to have a plot and just chucks those visuals at our eyeballs for two hours without going anywhere, it feels like a waste. We talked about the long build-up to the Infinity arc, and then the first issue felt like a much more violent version of the grand finale at a fireworks show. With so many pyrotechnics and most of the characters strapped in to acceleration harnesses, it would have been easy to become distracted by the spaceships and forget the people inside of them. To balance out our view of that battle, Avengers Assemble 18 rewinds all the way back to the pre-launch scene and tells the story all over again from the perspective of one character: Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman.
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Avengers 18, originally released August 21st, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.
Spencer: I’m not a huge fan of the genre, so this might be a complete oversimplification, but in my mind most war stories seem to be divided into two categories: the stories that are about glory, honor, and the beauty of warfare (which I’m not fond of), and the stories about the people who sacrifice themselves to protect others (which I appreciate more). Avengers 18, an Infinity tie-in, takes the form of a war story as the team joins a massive Anti-Builder Armada, and while it largely falls into that second category, a few early scenes even manage to make aspects of the first compelling to me.
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Infinity 1, originally released August 14th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.
Spencer: “So…what is Infinity actually about?!” It’s a question that, in one form or another, has been tossed around Retcon Punch quite a bit the past few months. Up until now, my answer has always been, “Um…Thanos?,” and even the Preludes over in Avengers and New Avengers did little to clarify things. Thankfully, now that the first issue has dropped, I can finally give a clear answer: “Infinity is the story of what happens when two different universe-ending threats—each capable of supporting a summer crossover all on their own—hit at the same time, leaving the Earth absolutely helpless.” Pretty cool, huh? Now I only hope that the series can live up to the massive threats it’s spent its first issue establishing.
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Young Avengers 7, originally released July 10th, 2013.
Spencer: Teenagers are a tricky bunch to write. They speak, think, and communicate in their own unique ways, and it’s glaringly obvious when adults try to imitate these patterns without knowing what they’re doing. Fortunately, Kieron Gillen isn’t a writer who falls into these traps. Gillen has a remarkable knack for writing teenagers, and this is more apparent than ever in Young Avengers 7, where he uses these kids’ relationships (and social networking accounts) to show us how the team has progressed since we last saw them.
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Young Avengers 1-3, originally released January 23rd, 2013, February 27th, 2013, and March 27th, 2013.
Shelby: My sister used to work at Barnes and Noble, in the Young Adult section. It’s been a long time since I was what the publishing world considers a “young adult” so I didn’t have super high hopes when she told me I absolutely had to read The Hunger Games. Like Harry Potter before it, however, Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy transcended the age of the “intended” audience to deliver strong and sympathetic characters and an engrossing plot line. I feel similarly about Young Avengers. It may not be billed as a book for teens, but Kieron Gillen has taken the concept of “teen versions of characters you already know” and crafted something much more meaningful than I initially expected. Continue reading