Expressive Lettering Fills in the Gaps in Despicable Deadpool 298

by Patrick Ehlers

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

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“All that people care about is the look. There’s figures on this: 70% of what people react to is the look, 20% is how you sound, and only 10% is what you say.”

-Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill

Here’s something that’s true about comics: it’s a medium full of speaking characters that we will never actually hear speaking. By Izzard’s math, that means there’s a full fifth of a character’s essence we’re never really going to get through images and words on the page. As Deadpool pulls out all the stops to finally achieve suicide-by-mercenary, so too does the creative team pull out all the stops to express the height of his desperation. All the usual gears are spinning perfectly: Gerry Duggan’s writing is as simultaneously tight and chaotic as ever, and Mike Hawthorne’s impeccable layouts convey an almost grueling understanding of the setting of this issue-long brawl. But I want to focus on that elusive final 20% — “how you sound” — with Joe Sabino’s excellent lettering in this issue. Continue reading

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Secret Empire 9: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Patrick Ehlers 

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

“All good things must come to an end”

Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde 

Michael: Secret Empire is racing towards its conclusion: previously trapped heroes have been freed, once broken spirits have been re-emboldened, and the bad guys themselves are starting to realize that the odds might not be in their favor. After all, all “good” things come to an end — especially evil empires. Unfortunately, that repurposed Chaucer maxim can also apply to the quality of an ongoing Marvel event, as Secret Empire 9 loses a little bit of the title’s oomph. Continue reading

Captain America: Steve Rogers 12

Alternating Currents: Captain America: Steve Rogers 12, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Steve Rogers: Captain America 12, originally released February 22nd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: To say that Captain America: Steve Rogers 1 rocked the comics world would be a profound understatement. It caused an uproar unlike any I’ve seen in my time writing on comics, and it continues to be a point of controversy nine months later. It set the tone for a Captain America story unlike any we’ve seen before, built upon one huge, jaw-dropping twist. The downside of kicking off a series with a twist that large is that it’s hard to match. Writer Nick Spencer has struggled admirably in this regard — and may have actually topped himself in Civil War II: The Oath — but a twist that required the rewriting of reality as we know it is a nigh-unreachable bar. Case in point: this issue’s return of Elisa Sinclair. Continue reading

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 15

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Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 15, originally released December 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: Looking back at Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run on Hawkeye, it’s hard to pick out a single, best issue. But press any comic reader hard enough and they’ll probably say that #11, the famous “Pizza Dog” issue, stands apart as particularly good. If you haven’t read it, the premise of the issue is fairly simple: what’s a day in the life of Clint’s dog, Lucky, like? It turns out that question is far more complex than it would seem, as Fraction and Aja use revelatory methods to show what it’s like to experience the world from the point of view of a dog. Taking it’s queues from this modern classic, Squirrel Girl 15 aka the Unbeatable Mew shows us what it’s like to experience the world not from the point of view of a hound, but from man’s other best friend, a cat.

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All-New Wolverine 3

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Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing All-New Wolverine 3, originally released December 30th, 2015.

Michael: Tom Taylor and Laura Kinney’s first Wolverine adventures continue in All-New Wolverine 3. The story begins with the Wolverine/Taskmaster fight promised at the end of last issue. After Wolverine bests Taskmaster with a surprise foot SNIKT, she regroups with her clone sisters who survived Taskmaster’s attack via body armor. Moving from one action piece to another, the sisters cruise around New York and get into a tank battle with the soldier boys from Alchemax. Laura discovers that her clone sisters Gabby, Zelda and Bellona are prematurely dying and trying to take Alchemax with them on their way out. Laura doesn’t want to accept this however and offers to help the sisters by visiting the Sanctum Sanctorum and enlisting Doctor Stephen Strange. Continue reading

Ant-Man 3

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Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Ant-Man 3, originally released March 9th, 2015.

Taylor: Before I became a teacher, I was working in a job I cared nothing about. While that sounds kind of miserable — which it was at points — I did enjoy that my work was something I could leave at the office. Weekends and evenings were basically all mine during this period and I did whatever I pleased with that time. Now, working at a job I care about, I find the divide between work and my home-life has blurred. Work comes home often now and weekends are spent mostly preparing for the coming week. Basically, my situation was a trade off. Work at a boring job and be free at home. Work at a job that you care about, and never stop working. Ant-Man 3, despite it’s humorous overtones, meditates on this aspect of life in a way that is both insightful and entertaining. Continue reading

Moon Knight 4

Alternating Currents: Moon Knight 4, Drew and SpencerToday, Drew and Spencer are discussing Moon Knight 4, originally released June 4th, 2014.

Drew: The etymology of the verb “to haunt” isn’t entirely clear, but it likely stems from the Old Norse heimta “bring home”, which is itself derived from the Proto-Germanic  khaim- or “home”. That is to say, while we commonly refer to people being haunted by thoughts and ideas, “haunting” originally referred rather specifically to spirits being brought to or trapped in ones home. But are those actually different things? I tend to think of the idea of ghosts as vengeance-seeking beings as a manifestation of guilt, whether that guilt be the killer’s, or just of those lucky enough to still be alive. That is to say, I don’t think the spirit of Banquo actually visits MacBeth — he’s more powerful to me as a representation of MacBeth’s guilty conscience than of any supernatural power. Ghosts are our tell-tale heart, figments of our imagination that drive us mad. Unless, of course, you don’t have a conscience. Then Moon Knight might need to be driven mad on your behalf. Continue reading

Deadpool 27

deadpool 27Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 27, originally released April 9th, 2014.

Spencer: We all have that one friend whom we love dearly, but who’s clearly a huge jerk. What’s fascinating about having a friend like this is what happens when they fall in love and/or get married. It’s a strange thing to experience; there’s joy at seeing your friend happy, but there’s also a bizarre feeling of unease and dread. Can this last? Is it for the best? Should you warn their boyfriend/girlfriend about what they’re getting themselves into? (Pro-tip: Don’t do this). As sad as it is to say, there’s this odd feeling that maybe the whole thing is just a very bad idea. This is the situation Deadpool’s friends find themselves facing in Deadpool 27. Yes, Wade Wilson is getting married, and it’s exactly as strange as it sounds. Continue reading

Deadpool 10

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Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 10, originally released May 22nd, 2013.

Scott: Wade Wilson is a guilty-pleasure Spider-Man. Like Spider-Man, he’s an agitator, a loudmouth smart-ass. And like Spider-Man, you’d root for him against just about anyone. The thing is, you root for them to do different things when the big moment arrives.Wade and Spider-Man join forces in Deadpool 10 and show us up close the major difference between them. Deadpool doesn’t stand for anything in particular, so he doesn’t have to play by any rules. He kills people and doesn’t think twice about it. It wouldn’t look good on Spidey, but it’s a strangely endearing trait for Deadpool.

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Age of Ultron 4

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Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Age of Ultron 4, originally released April 3rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Patrick: One of the things I’ve absolutely loved about picking up monthly comics is that I’ve had the opportunity to get know the work of a ton of great writers and artists. It pains me a little to think of how few people will ever read a funny exchange written by Jeff Lemire, and how few people will never see Adam Hughes masterful acting simply because they don’t read comics. Drew, Shelby and myself have been at this for over a year — I like to think we’re in the club now — and I have this brand new skill of identifying someone by their work. Brian Michael Bendis, the writer behind Age of Ultron is notorious for his massively decompressed stories, and between this series, Guardians of the Galaxy, and his X-Men books, I feel like I can spot his handiwork a mile away. But Age of Ultron is a special case, and its glacial pace allows almost every issue to be a Bryan Hitch vanity project. This makes it kind of tough to discuss in the same way we discuss other comics, but it’s clear now that this is the series’ identity – the problematic obsessions with character development and plot and theme are mine and not Ultron’s. Retcon Punch needs a new way to talk about comics. Alright, let’s see what we got. Continue reading