An Early Start Sets Crude 1 on an Unusual Course

by Drew Baumgartner

Crude 1

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

Every story is a mystery at its start. Themes, settings, characters, and their motivations are all unknown to us at the outset, so the opening chapters of stories are often defined by which of these questions they answer, and which they leave open. In that way, a story ultimately defines what its hanging questions are by where it begins. Does it open generations before the protagonist is born or on the day of the inciting incident? Does its scope start wide and zoom in, or does it start in tight and zoom out? Or, more to the point in many mainstream comics, do we meet the protagonist before or after their loved one is murdered, propelling them on some kind of quest for justice/vengeance? With Crude 1, Steve Orlando and Garry Brown’s choices on where and when to start their narrative reveal a great deal about what they think is interesting about their narrative, but in doing so, may have buried the lede. Continue reading

Batman/The Shadow 6: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Mark Mitchell 

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

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Michael: As Drew and I suggested in our discussion of this series’ first issue, Batman/The Shadow is absolutely a Batman-centric book featuring The Shadow and not the reverse. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it just proves how strong Batman’s hold is on the heart and mind of Scott Snyder. The finale — Batman/The Shadow 6 — underlines that statement as the fantastical elements of The Shadow’s world only strengthen Batman’s very human legend. Continue reading

Batman is Always Right in Batman/The Shadow 5

by Michael DeLaney

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

After Frank Miller turned Batman into an angry grumpypuss, many modern Bat-tales involved The Dark Knight’s allies showing him that there might be a better way than un-trusting ultraviolence. In Batman/The Shadow 5, Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando place Batman on the opposite side of that dynamic while embracing another trope of the character: Batman is always right. Continue reading

A New Take on an Old Myth in Batman/Shadow 3

by Michael DeLaney

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

“Forget everything you think you know” is a phrase that has become overused in pop culture — particularly in marketing movies like last year’s Doctor Strange. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but think about it while reading Batman/The Shadow 3. Steve Orlando and Scott Snyder challenge our presumptions on Batman’s origins by positing that he is destined to inherit the mantle of The Shadow. Continue reading

DC Round-Up: Comics Released 5/24/17


How many Batman 
books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Batgirl 11, Batman / The Shadow 2 and Wonder Woman 23. Also, we will be discussing Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 21 on Monday, so check back for that! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Batman/The Shadow 1

Today, Michael and Drew are discussing Batman/The Shadow 1, originally released April 26th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Perspective is a key component of storytelling — both from the storytellers and the readers. A creator’s familiarity and appreciation of a character inform the story, as does the reader’s in their reception. In Batman/The Shadow 1 Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando pen a story of Batman investigating the mystery of The Shadow. I’m not super familiar with The Shadow so I shared Batman’s POV: as he learned more about The Shadow, so did I. Continue reading

Justice League of America 1

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Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Justice League of America 1, originally released February 22nd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Sometimes I’m a tough customer to please. When it comes to storytelling, I like to get my bearings on the landscape and characters, but I don’t want to be spoon-fed all of the important details. With regards to Justice League of America 1 it nails some subtle world-building but is less successful when handling the stars of the book. Continue reading

DC Round-Up: Comics Released 1/4/17

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How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Batman 14, Green Arrow 14, Midnighter and Apollo 4, Nightwing 12 and Shade the Changing Girl 4. Also, we’ll be discussing Superman 14 on Monday and Green Lanterns 14 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

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Supergirl 4

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Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Supergirl 4, originally released December 14. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Hey, why do we hate midichlorians so much? Y’know, the quantifiable micro organisms that live in bodies of Star Wars characters that help them communicate with the force. Do we hate it because it’s an explanation of something that was cool precisely because it was mysterious? Or is it that we hate the answer because it is inherently dumb? The answer is kind of a mix of both – I’m totally fine with unanswered questions if the wonder those questions inspire is fun all on its own. That quality — let’s just call it “wonder” — is something that I look for in Superman comics. I want to grin stupidly to myself and say “whoa, neat.” But that wonder is so fragile, and can be ruined with some inelegant attempt to explain the mysteries I’m letting into my heart. Unfortunately, Supergirl 4 is all answers for middling mysteries, going out of its way to over-explain even the most uninteresting questions.

Continue reading

Midnighter and Apollo 3

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Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Midnighter and Apollo 3, originally released December 7th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

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Mark: Throughout the first three issues of Midnighter and Apollo, Steve Orlando has proven his love for the obscure corners of the DC Comics universe by incorporating his favorite elements at every opportunity. The most successful of these moments are like Midnighter and Apollo 1‘s Subway Pirates cold open, and don’t rely on the reader sharing his same pool of knowledge to enjoy. Midnighter and Apollo 3 is the first time in Orlando’s work that I’ve felt on the outside looking in. It’s alienating in a way I wasn’t expecting, but maybe gives me a better understanding of why Midnighter remains such a niche character. Continue reading