Finding Balance in Justice League: No Justice 3

by Spencer Irwin

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

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We here at Retcon Punch, sadly, haven’t had much of a chance to discuss Justice League: No Justice until now, but I’ve been enjoying it immensely from the start. It has many of the same strengths as its predecessor, Dark Nights: Metal, but since No Justice is working with only four issues, avoids most of its excesses. No Justice is focused and easy to follow, yet still has a grand scope and a firm grasp on the characters and history of the DC Universe. It’s well-balanced, which plays right into the themes of the series and the goals of its various League factions. Continue reading

Super Sons 6: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

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

Spencer: Despite not making a single appearance, the Teen Titans loomed large over the first five issues of Super Sons. The Titans were Damian’s trump card, the cool older friends he could taunt Jon with whenever Jon gained the upper-hand against him. Amazingly, Jon never seemed all that affected by Damian’s bluster, at one point even telling Damian off for bringing the Titans up so much. This all changes as Peter Tomasi and Jorge Jimenez bring the Titans into the fold in Super Sons 6, adding some interesting new wrinkles to these two boys’ relationship. Continue reading

Convergence: The New Teen Titans 1

teen titans 1 conv

Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Convergence: The New Teen Titans 1, originally released April 22th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Spencer: I think most of us take on certain comfortable roles when we’re among our friends. Sometimes, though, things change, and those roles no longer suit us, but they’re so firmly entrenched among the group dynamic that they can be impossible to escape. Marv Wolfman and Nicola Scott’s Convergence: The New Teen Titans finds this happening to the Teen Titans. After a year spent under the dome, the Titans are attempting to take their relationships to new places, but find themselves caught up in the same old roles and conflicts that have always defined them. Continue reading

Serious Issues: The Janelle Asselin Controversy pt. 2 – Representation

Serious Issues: The Janelle Asselin Controversy pt. 1 - Context

Interviewer: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
Joss Whedon: Because you’re still asking me that question.

This exact change may be a tad apocryphal. The rhetoric is too biting, too effective, even for a wordsmith like Whedon to toss out on the fly. The quote comes from a speech Whedon gave on gender equality, and it’s the well-scripted button on the top of an extremely well-crafted, well-reasoned argument for normalizing equality. The reason his response cuts so deep is because it is an intuitive truth. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve patted artists on the back for not being lecherous fuckers, or how frequently we need to sing the praises of a writer that creates female characters with real agency. We are so used to the imbalance between quality female characters and quality male characters that simply resisting this trend is often greeted as progress. This needs to change. Continue reading

Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual 1

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Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual 1, originally released May 29th, 2013. 

Mikyzptlk: Our past is a part of who we are. Often enough, it can be something that defines us if we let it. Now, that can either be a good or a bad thing depending on who you are. The last few issues of Red Hood and the Outlaws have focussed on Jason erasing his own past from his memories in an attempt to start fresh. Things haven’t gone as smoothly for Jason as he had hoped it seems as he is finding it harder to escape his past than he thought. Jason’s teammates are no strangers to a past they’d rather forget too, and this issue finds everyone looking back, when all they really want to do is look forward. The Annual is definitely another step in the right direction, even if I do have a bone or two to pick. Continue reading

Red Hood and the Outlaws 20

Red Hood 20 redux

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 20, originally released May 15th, 2013.

Spencer: Our past can be a burden, but it can also be a gift, and while some things are out of our control, most of what determines how we view our past is how we learn from our mistakes, live with our regrets, and learn to forge on. For Red Hood, Arsenal, and Starfire, their past falls into both camps; a shared history of tragedy is what initially drew these three together and cemented their friendship, but their own inability to reconcile their pasts and find a way to deal might just end up driving the Outlaws apart instead.

Continue reading

Red Hood and the Outlaws 19

red hood 19

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 19, originally released April 17th, 2013.

Patrick: Drew and I were pretty big fans of Red Hood and the Outlaws when we marathoned the first 8 issues to prep for the Night of the Owls. We’ve enumerated our reasons for liking it so much in an alarming number of articles since then, always apologizing for the state the series is in currently. It became a slog – that whole arc with Kori’s old spaceship crew and her sister, the Death of the Family – all of it seemingly worked against our good will for the series. We even went so far as to drop it from the Retcon Punch pull. We gave up on Jason Todd. Which makes Roy Harper a much better friend than we are.

Continue reading

Teen Titans 16

teen titans 16 DoF

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Teen Titans 16, originally released January 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Shelby: What is the point of being a villain? Some do it out of greed, like the Penguin, others for a cause, like Poison Ivy. Then there’s the Joker, who’s just a psychopath. The source of his villainy is insanity; he is chaos incarnate. You’d think that would make it easier for writers to use the Joker in their stories. Just think of the craziest, most out there plan, add some gratuitous murder and cruelty, and you’re done, right? Wrong-o. The Joker is chaos, but he’s directed chaos. He has an end point in mind, there is a “reason for his madness.” Batgirl  plays with the core idea that the Joker’s latest spree is based on love with a twisted wedding. Batman and Robin also ties back to love, either the love of Robin for Batman or the love of a son for his father, depending on whether or not you believe the Joker knows who everybody is. Teen Titans and Red Hood, however, have a tougher time showing us that central theme of love, so that at the end of the issue I’m left wondering, “what was the point?” Continue reading

Red Hood and the Outlaws 16

red hood 16 DoF

Today, Mikyzptlk and guest writer Pivitor are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 16, originally released January 23rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Mikyzptlk: As we all know, there are A LOT of comics out there competing for our dollars. Books like Scott Snyder’s Batman or Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman attempt to push the boundaries of reader expectation and deliver tales that are legitimately astonishing to behold. I’ve given two examples from one publisher from barely over one year of publishing, but there are even more possibilities just as astounding from publishers such as Marvel, Image, Vertigo, IDW, Oni Press, Archaia, and more! That said, not every comic is great, and with so much out there to consume, it’s getting harder to convince myself to continue to spend the $2.99 a month on a book that lacks the quality of its competitors.

Continue reading

Red Hood and the Outlaws 15

Alternating Currents: Red Hood and the Outlaws 15, Drew and ShelbyToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 15 originally released December 19th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Drew: Back when I first read Red Hood and the Outlaws 0, I was in awe of the backup revealing the Joker’s role in Jason’s life. I wasn’t sure at the time whether or not I truly believed Joker’s story (he’s not the most reliable narrator), but the thought that it could be true was a fascinating idea. One of the things that struck me about that story is that it more or less confirms that Joker knows who Batman (and by extension, the rest of the bat-family) is, a notion that has been at the forefront of the Death of the Family event. I’ve staunchly defended the possibility that the Joker is bluffing, but this issue’s focus on his relationship with Jason makes that outcome seem as remote as ever. Continue reading