Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing New Avengers 3, originally released November 18th, 2015.
Spencer: Al Ewing and Gerardo Sandoval’s New Avengers is rather explicitly a book about problem-solving; the very purpose of Sunspot’s revamped A.I.M. is to use their resources to solve crises on a global scale, and the bulk of the second issue was spent breaking down the threat of Life-Minus like a math problem in order to find a solution. It seems appropriate then that, with the concept of problem-solving having been thoroughly established, Ewing and Sandoval shift the focus of issue 3 to exploring the effectiveness (and morality) of various approaches to solving problems. 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.
Ethan: When I was starting college, I knew – objectively – that I would at some point no longer be a student; I’d graduate, get a job, do the adulthood thing. But at the time, steeped in the day-to-day evasion of and frantic return to schoolwork, hanging out with friends, sleeping as little as possible, the thought if college actually ending rarely crossed my mind. And then BAM it was time to get up to go to the early-morning rehearsal for the graduation ceremony. College was finished, I was moving into a new apartmen and starting a new job. That sense of disconnect – when something long awaited feels as though it happens and is shoved into the past before we have the chance to actually experience – is the same feeling I’ve gotten during most of the turning points in the Infinity event, and the same is true of its finale. Continue reading →
Drew: The ubiquity of three-act structures often makes the form of a story predictable. We know what’s supposed to happen in a second act — even if we don’t know the specifics of a given story — but what happens when a narrative breaks that structure? Infinity takes the form of a six-part miniseries, with primary crossovers into ten other issues. To further complicate things, the series has long followed an A/B structure as the avengers face two very different threats in very different locations, and the event itself could be described as the third (or second and third) act(s) of narratives started in Avengers and New Avengers. What do we expect of the fifth issue of Infinity (itself the twelfth issue of the event)? What it supposed to happen? Unfortunately, writer Jonathan Hickman doesn’t offer a particularly compelling answer in the issue itself. Continue reading →
Spencer: As children, most of us swear we won’t grow up to be our parents. Maybe we just hate the way they nag us, or maybe there’s a more serious fault of theirs we’re trying to avoid; either way, while it’s possible to avoid our parents’ faults, more often than not we end up repeating those exact same mistakes we once declared we’d never make. Poor Thane—the half-Inhuman son of Thanos—has more reason than most to endeavor to never become his father, but unfortunately, it turns out he may be more like the Mad Titan than he ever feared. Continue reading →
Spencer: Infinity and its tie-ins have been dripping with ego and machismo. Between the Builders, the Illuminati, Thanos, J-Son, the Galactic Council, and even some of the Avengers, there have been a lot of big words and threats thrown around, and almost all of them are strong enough to back up their words with actions (except for J-Son, of course). This isn’t necessarily a complaint; some of the coolest moments of Infinity (such as the spree of sick burns in last week’s Avengers or the Skrulls’ touching suicide mission) have sprung from this kind of machismo. It’s exciting, but in this week’s issue, writer Jonathan Hickman flips our perspective a bit, reminding us of why we probably started reading comics in the first place: its always more fun to root for the underdog.
Patrick: You might have guessed this from the name, but “Infinity” is a pretty big story. Not just in terms of page count (though, it should be pretty astonishing in that regard), but in terms of scope. It’s already taken two dozen Avengers into deep space for some interstellar warfare, and there’s still the yet-unexplored threat of Thanos invading Earth. Jonathan Hickman was said to have been setting up Infinity in his Avengers and New Avengers series – which he…. sorta did. Most of what those series accomplish — in terms of setting up this event — is that they introduce the relevant superhero teams. Each team battles its own cataclysmic threats, only to be cut short when the main aggressors of Infinity entered the fray. Issue 14 of Thunderbolts is this concept in miniature: complete with team introductions and a mission cut short by alien invaders.
Ethan: Ever since the birth of the film industry, it’s been a race for the technology and craft to keep suspending our disbelief as we become desensitized to each decade’s best special effects. Every once in a while, a filmmaker pulls off an innovation that jumps way ahead of our expectations, and the medium feels special again. And even while fancy visuals can surprise us, if the movie forgets that it’s supposed to have a plot and just chucks those visuals at our eyeballs for two hours without going anywhere, it feels like a waste. We talked about the long build-up to the Infinity arc, and then the first issue felt like a much more violent version of the grand finale at a fireworks show. With so many pyrotechnics and most of the characters strapped in to acceleration harnesses, it would have been easy to become distracted by the spaceships and forget the people inside of them. To balance out our view of that battle, Avengers Assemble18 rewinds all the way back to the pre-launch scene and tells the story all over again from the perspective of one character: Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman.
Spencer: I’m not a huge fan of the genre, so this might be a complete oversimplification, but in my mind most war stories seem to be divided into two categories: the stories that are about glory, honor, and the beauty of warfare (which I’m not fond of), and the stories about the people who sacrifice themselves to protect others (which I appreciate more). Avengers 18, an Infinity tie-in, takes the form of a war story as the team joins a massive Anti-Builder Armada, and while it largely falls into that second category, a few early scenes even manage to make aspects of the first compelling to me.