Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 16, originally released June 25th, 2014.
Patrick: I very vividly remember being first introduced to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – it was late in the summer of 2003, and I was visiting my buddy Scott at his parents’ house between our Freshman and Sophomore years of college. Scottie had been playing the game on a borrowed console and the whole thing felt like a kind of wish fulfillment: suddenly there was a whole galaxy of Star Wars characters, stories and locations to explore, and all without leaving the confines of a single video game. There’s a promise inherent in KotOR’s premise – the depths of your imagination are already on display here, you only need look hard enough. This immediately becomes overwhelming. Even when alien races and spaceship designs look the way you remember them, you realize that any emotional connection you make with the material must be generated in-game. Without my core band of plucky rebels to get my automatic-love, I was left without a rudder, and instead of sailing the high seas of Star Wars adventures, I was mired in meaningless ephemera. This is often how I feel about the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe. I may be able to recognize Broods and Spartax and Skrulls and Grand Inquisitors, but without someone to actually care about at the heart of it? Not a lot to hang a story on. Brian Michael Bendis addresses this issue head-on by spreading the Guardians of the Galaxy out among the cosmos. Suddenly, even the muddiest mythology has emotional resonance.
Today, Suzanne and Spencer are discussing Captain Marvel 4, originally released June 11, 2014.
Suzanne: Have you ever turned on Fox News or MSNBC and listened to the political pundits’ commentary? You’d hear them prescribe the cure for deep-seated political issues like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a five-minute sound bite. But can they really appreciate the complexity of these conflicts from an outside perspective? That’s not even considering the emotion, levels of tragedy and loss the people involved experience. In the last issue of Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers walked into an entrenched political situation wrapped into a public health crisis. The people of Torfa live on a poison planet; people are getting sick and dying and will continue to do so unless they leave. Yet Carol manages to check her assumptions (thanks to Madame Eleanides) and learn from the people of Torfa. And by learning I mean going to other planets and stealing from intergalactic pirates. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Taylor are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 15, originally released May 28th, 2014.
Tell my father that I’m in. I’ll be Star-Lord. If he lets the rest of the Guardians go free. I’ll be what he needs me to be. In return I promise the Guardians will disappear. They won’t give Spartax any more trouble. You have my word.
Scott: Not everyone is cut out for improvising. Believe me, as a twenty-something living in LA, I’ve been to enough improv shows to tell you it isn’t for everyone. Most people are better off sticking to a plan. I know I am. I have a writer’s mentality; my strength lies in my ability to think through a problem and come up with a creative solution. Put me on the spot in a room full of people, however, and I’m a bumbling mess. I’ll say just about anything to get through those awkward moments, whether I believe what I’m saying or not. When Quill says the passage above, it doesn’t ring true for a second. It’s one of those “say whatever you have to” moments, and no one within earshot is buying it. Quill can hardly make it through those words before moving onto an even more poorly though-out idea. In fact, all of the Guardians are operating without much of a plan in this issue, and they don’t seem to be cut out for improv.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Captain Marvel 3, originally released May 14th, 2014.
Yes, but what does it mean?
Drew: We tend to talk a lot about the meaning of a given comic around here, but we’re rarely explicit in what we think “meaning” means. Or, more specifically, whose meaning we think we’re describing. Many folks are interested in authorial intent — who, after all would be better to speak to the meaning of a work of art than its creator? — but I’m personally more interested in the idea that meaning is created by the audience upon consuming a work of art. There may be objective truths about an art, but there are only subjective reactions. Of course, that doesn’t make me immune to the allure of monolithic readings of certain artworks — Virginia Woolf’s work is somehow inherently feminist, or Ernest Hemmingway’s work is somehow inherently macho. We like these readings both because they’re logical (they certainly reflect the character of the author), but more importantly, because they yield meaningful insights. But what about readings that buck those stereotypes? What about interpretations that strain against those meta-narrative to reveal something more meaningful? I suppose notions of “more meaningful” illustrate my point about subjectivity, but I firmly believe that Captain Marvel 3 gains a great deal by being very unlike what we’ve come to expect of this series.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 14, originally released April 23rd, 2014.
Drew: Anniversaries tend to be opportunities to look back. In comics, they seem to be opportunities to deconstruct. Detective Comics and Daredevil both had big anniversary issues this year, and both seized on the opportunity to ask what really defines these characters. The answers those issues posited were buoyed by the strength of their characters, but what about a team series — especially a team with a relatively smaller history? Guardians of the Galaxy 14 sets out to answer this question in the most unexpected ways, separating the characters (or even eliminating them altogether) to examine what makes theGuardians work as an abstract concept.
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 8, originally released October 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage. Scott: I always know I like a comic when it stops feeling “new”. There comes a point in every series where I’m no longer reading because it has potential to be good, but because it actually has become good (either that, or it never realizes that potential and I stop reading altogether). Eight issues in, and I feel like Guardians of the Galaxy is no longer getting by on merely being new. Without Iron Man to buoy it any longer, this is something of a sink or swim moment for this series, and it doesn’t miss a beat. Everything is clicking- the writing, the characters, the humor and the art. Especially the art. This is the issue that moves Guardians from my “Intriguing New Titles” column to my “Must Read!” column. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 5, originally released July 31st, 2013.
Ethan: I’ve always been envious of people who can consistently sleep through long flights. I’m not a tall person; airplane seats are not all that constrictive for me. Leg room is not really a big concern. Nevertheless, I haven’t mastered the skill of settling in and passing out. So on the one occasion in which I did get lucky enough to fall asleep during takeoff and wake up during the landing, I was freaking out a little. One minute, I’m freezing in the Great Plains; the next, I’m squinting at the Sierra Madre through bleary eyes and a tiny window. If our species ever gets around to inventing teleportation, I think it will feel a little bit like that. In Guardians of the Galaxy #5, a new character is undergoing her own, much more radical translocation – Angela, “Hunter of the Heavens,” has been ripped out of her home universe/reality, and she is NOT happy about it. Continue reading →