The Amazing Spider-Man 25

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 25, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Spencer: As Aunt May herself points out this week, Peter Parker’s always been a busy guy. Add running a major international company to his already impressive pile of responsibilities and it’s almost guaranteed that something will start to give. The massive Amazing Spider-Man 25 digs into that dilemma from all angles, reminding readers of every task Peter’s got on his plate and what’s at risk if he fails at any one of them. It’s an almost overwhelming issue, a trait that effectively puts readers in Peter’s overstressed shoes. Continue reading

Empress 1

empess 1

Today, Shelby and Ryan D. are discussing Empress 1, originally released April 6th, 2016.

Shelby: First issues of comics can be tricky to talk about, especially indie books that aren’t about a character we already know backwards and forwards. We’re faced with a completely new universe about which we know nothing, characters we haven’t met, and situations we don’t fully understand. I find myself thinking more about the potential I see in the issue than the issue itself. What sort of seeds is the creative team sowing, here? Where can this story go from this point? Most importantly, am I even interested enough in the world being created to want to see what happens next?  Continue reading

Uncanny X-Men 600

uncanny xmen 600

Today,Taylor and Drew are discussing Uncanny X-Men 600, originally released November 4th, 2015.

Taylor: In my junior year of college I took a creative writing course that required each student to have at least one of their stories workshopped. This involved everyone in the class reading your story and then picking it apart in front of you during class. All the things your peers thought about your story, both good and bad, came out during this process. I remember it being a humbling and somewhat traumatic experience. It’s hard to put something you created out there in the world for everyone to scrutinize and it takes a thick skin to not let the negative comments beat you down. In Uncanny X-Men 600, the final of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the series, Beast is put on trial by his peers for actions. In doing so he attempts to defend his actions and those of the author who gives him life. Continue reading

All-New Captain America 1

Alternating Currents: All-New Captain America 1, Drew and TaylorToday, Drew and Taylor are discussing All-New Captain America 1, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Drew: Am I the only one who sees Captain America as an unlikely legacy hero? I understand that the precedent was set back when Bucky first took up the mantle, but Captain America has always struck me as a character more defined by his personality than his power-set. I think that tends to be true of Marvel’s heroes in general — Iron Man is less the adventures of a guy with a metal suit, and more the adventures of Tony Stark, for example — which makes the thought of separating the hero from the alter-ego seem almost impossible. If you take Steve Rogers out of the equation, what is Captain America other than a good fighter with a patriotic outfit? That question seems to be at the center of Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen’s All-New Captain America, and while the first issue only addresses it glancingly, it’s clear they have a compelling answer. Continue reading

All-New X-Men 28

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing All-New X-Men 28, originally released June 11th, 2014.

Taylor: Madness fills an interesting role in our imagination. Just enough madness and you’re considered a genius. A little too much madness and you’re considered a nut. We tend to think of someone as being “mad” if they have any of a number of mental defects but retain enough of their personality to still be somewhat coherent. Perhaps the most well known madman of all time is Ahab. His singular quest to destroy the white whale consumed his entire life, even if he did retain the vestiges of a sane man. And that’s perhaps what makes him such a disturbing character. Despite (or perhaps because of ) his madness, he is charismatic. We forget that he’s insane sometimes and actually feel that his quest against Moby Dick is justified. Xavier is similarly hell-bent on killing the X-Men of the past, and similarly might have good reasons for wanting to do so. All-New X-Men 28 has me wondering if this quest is the errand of a madman or the product of love gone awry.

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All-New X-Men 26

all new x-men 26

Today,  Patrick and Greg are discussing All-New X-Men 26, originally released April 20th, 2014.

Patrick: Superheroes are tools. No, not the “Superman is such a tool” kind of way, but in that they are all able to act as narrative and emotional shortcuts. Between shapeshifters and psychics, healers and teleporters, extra-dimensional sorcerers and reality-manipulators, there’s really nothing that the X-Men aren’t capable of. The brevity with which they can be used to evoke emotions might be even more impressive — just think of the ennui immediately invoked by the appearance of Jean Grey, or the uneasy sense of righteous revolution that accompanies Magneto. Brian Michael Bendis’ All-New X-Men seems designed to celebrate this tool box: bring the original quintet of X-Men to the present day brings all of those emotional shortcuts to the fore. Issue 26 might be the first time Bendis actually uses those tools, instead of laying them out neatly for us to all to quietly admire before putting them back in their protective cases. Continue reading

All-New X-Men 24

Alternating Currents: All-New X-Men 24, Drew and ShelbyToday,  Drew and Shelby are discussing All-New X-Men 24, originally released March 12th, 2014. This issue is part of the Trial of Jean Grey event.

jean gray divDrew: As much as I can understand the appeal of seeing your favorite superheroes fight, the strained justifications for why they were fighting in the first place always got in the way of it being any fun. Shouldn’t Superman have heard of Batman? Shouldn’t they know they’re on the same side? These problems are exacerbated in cohesive publishing universes where you can confirm that, yeah, every hero should basically have heard of every other hero by now. Brian Michael Bendis discovered a creative end-run around this problem in All-New X-Men — the time-displaced original X-Men ultimately missed a LOT of introductions to Earth’s superheroes — which finds its logical conclusion issue 24 as they face off against the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. I mean, honestly, how would they know they were on the same side? Continue reading

All-New X-Men 22

all-new x-men 22 JG

Today,  Taylor and Shelby are discussing All-New X-Men 22, originally released January 22, 2014. This issue is part of the Trial of Jean Grey event.

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Taylor: Poor Jean Grey, girl just can’t catch break. When you’re one of the world’s most powerful mutants, it’s hard to lead anything resembling a normal, happy life. There’s always going to be someone who wants to harness your power or someone who wants your help for good or for evil. If that weren’t bad enough, when you wield the powers she does maintaining your everyday life and personal relationships becomes a challenge in and of itself. The ability to read people’s thoughts while maybe useful can also be a burden, for the old axiom “ignorance is bliss” sometimes proves too true. All-New X-Men 22 begins The Trial of Jean Grey, a crossover event with Guardians of the Galaxy, and if this issue is a harbinger of things of things to come, it will be a blast. Not only will we get some great “X-Men in Space” action, but the complex of character of Jean Grey will step into the limelight virtually guaranteeing an entering and emotional ride.

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X-Men: Battle of the Atom 2

battle of the atom 2 ATOM

Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing X-Men: Battle of the Atom 2, originally released October 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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‘But,’ said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, “I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done.’

‘So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.’

-Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King

Patrick: There’s a timbre to endings — a quiet cadence that mixes melancholy with hope. It’s an absurdly powerful tool in the writer’s box of tricks, and when it works, its hits the reader’s heart like a sock full of pennies. It’s the payout on the contract struck between the author and the audience, and it’s important for those moments to land. Battle of the Atom 2 executes so many muted goodbyes that it necessitates four epilogues, and aching sincerity occupying about half the issue. None of these moments reach the poetic heights of our buddy Tolkien up there, but the issue does manage its own form of bitter-sweet closure. It’s just the kind of closure that promises that we’re going to keep right on trucking on to the next adventure… and inevitably, to the next reality-warping event. Continue reading