Sam Wilson: Captain America 1

sam wilson 1Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Sam Wilson: Captain America 1, originally released October 14th, 2015.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands:
One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

-The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America.

Patrick: Have you ever considered how weird it is that the Pledge of Allegiance is a common fixture at the beginning of the school day? From my first day of kindergarten, until the last day of my senior year of high school, I either recited this thing, or stood silently with my hand on my heart while hundreds of other kids recited this thing in unison. Even without that “under God” jammed in there by Eisenhower, the pledge feels more like prayer than anything else — offering oneself up in the service of a singular benevolent entity. Of course, it’s not quite that simple: liberty and justice are pretty nebulous terms, and what they mean can vary hugely depending on your perspective. I think when I was a kid, I would have just as easily swapped out “liberty and justice” for “law and order” and not given it a second thought. But that’s not the country is really about: we’re founded on revolution, on challenging the status quo, on fighting for what we believe in. In Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuña’s Sam Wilson: Captain America, Captain America embraces the more revolutionary aspects of his mantle, and while he’s certainly fighting for liberty and justice, he is decidedly anti-establishment. Continue reading

Daredevil 36

daredevil 36Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Daredevil 36, originally released February 19, 2014. 

Patrick: I haven’t been reading Marvel comics all that long — in fact, just as the New 52 got me into reading Batman and the gang, Marvel Now got me into reading Spider-Man and the gang. My constant-comic-discovering-buddy Drew pointed out something profound very early on: Marvel is much more interested in reconciling the superheroes with the secret identities than DC is. Which isn’t to say that there isn’t tension between Clark Kent and Superman or that there aren’t similarities between Barry Allen and The Flash, but Marvel heroes tend to lead two rich, full lives that grind against each other constantly. Such is the case with Matt Murdock — the guy even has a history of aggressively asserting that he’s not Daredevil. The finale to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s phenomenal run (for now) sees Matt Murdock and Daredevil united as a single set of priorities, values, loves, vulnerabilities and friends. Continue reading

Daredevil 35

Alternating Currents: Daredevil 35, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 35, originally released January 15th, 2013. 

You never attack from a direction I could guess. That’s why you don’t lose.

Matt Murdock

Drew: With that line, Mark Waid reveals exactly what has made his run on Daredevil so memorable: he’s always delivering the unexpected. I’ve repeated time and again that Waid’s work on this series — like Daredevil himself — is absolutely fearless, and it’s thrilling to see Waid suggest that that eschewing of safety or predictability is exactly what makes this series a success. The boldness of his writing throughout this run speaks for itself, but by having Matt rely on outside help from Elektra and Kirsten to implement that unpredictability, Waid reminds us that even the man without fear needs the support of equally fearless friends, highlighting the work of Waid’s own collaborators. Continue reading

Daredevil 34

Alternating Currents: Daredevil 34, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 34, originally released December 18th, 2013. 

Drew: We tend to associate soapbox speeches with masturbatory lectures important only to the speaker — it’s an annoyance when someone gets on their soapbox — but at one time, soapbox speeches were actually considered a form of entertainment. I’m not entirely sure if the audiences tended to agree with the speeches, or if there was more of a morbid curiosity factor in play (the same type that might keep you up late watching youtube clips of The O’Rielly Factor), but the point is: there was a time when somebody would literally be on a soapbox, and people’s reaction wasn’t to just tell them to get of of their damn soapbox. I was reminded of this as I read Kirsten McDuffie’s soaring call for levelheadedness in Daredevil 34. Continue reading

Daredevil 33

Alternating Currents: Daredevil 33, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 33, originally released November 22nd, 2013. 

Drew: “The man without fear” is kind of a strange title for a superhero — between absurd power levels and unmatchable competence, most superheroes have nothing to fear in the first place. Heck, the Avengers just repelled an unstoppable force of universal destruction and one of them just shoots arrows. This prompts supervillain inflation, where each bad guy needs to be bigger than the last in order to draw any drama from the situation — at least, that’s usually the solution for most writers. Mark Waid, on the other hand, has taken Matt Murdock’s title to heart, and has set out to explore the kinds of horrors that have nothing to do with the size of the guy Daredevil has to punch. The result is incredibly relatable and human, but also extremely rare in modern comics. Continue reading

Daredevil 32

daredevil 32

Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Daredevil 32, originally released October 23rd, 2013. 

Ethan: There have been a couple of times now that I’ve wondered aloud about whether this or that character in Daredevil is about to die. Sometimes with tongue in cheek, like when we saw the crooked judge take a pot shot at Matt in the courthouse, or with a little more concern like at the end of the last issue, where we saw something that looked like Foggy hanging from the neck in a darkened room. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence or a concerted effort by Mark Waid to always seem like he’s killing off one of his characters, but guess what: in Daredevil 32, I think he’s really done it. He’s gone and punched Matt Murdock’s ticket.

Continue reading

Daredevil 29

daredevil 29

Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Daredevil 29, originally released July 31st, 2013. 

Patrick: White supremacists are the worst. Don’t try arguing otherwise, ETHAN! They’re represented here by the Sons of the Serpent, a group that tempers their problematic world-view with some good old fashioned supervillainy. This way they feel a little more at home in the Marvel Universe. Just like you can’t have too many straight-up gangsters in Batman before one of them starts to affect a Penguin’s quack or whatever. But there’s one detail about this group that I can’t decide whether in lends credence to their real-worldness or their comic-bookiness: they have infiltrated government organizations at high levels of authority. Hey, either way: Daredevil’s going to have to kick ’em in the face. Continue reading

Daredevil 28

daredevil 28Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Daredevil 28, originally released July 10th, 2013. 

Ethan: There are some classic tropes we associate with The High School Reunion. The kids who used to be ugly are now the fit, glowing, underwear models; the jerky jocks are flipping burgers; the nerdy punching-bags all own their own companies and are rolling in dough. So when Matt Murdock comes face to face with a childhood bully in need of some help, it’s no surprise that the bully is now down on his luck while Matt’s strutting around in a suit. On the other hand, maybe things are a little more complicated. Maybe there’s a little more virtue in the dirtbag and a little more dirt in the virtuoso lawyer-superhero than we knew about before? Writer Mark Waid and artist Javier Rodriguez continue to keep us on our toes as they shuffle our expectations in Daredevil #28. Continue reading