Today, Michael and Shane are discussing Convergence: The Question 2 originally released May 6th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.
Michael: Gotham is a terrible place and everyone knows it — real and fictional. It’s a city full of human heroes whose days will all come to an end eventually; lending itself to tales about struggling for what’s right no matter what. Despite that, Greg Rucka has put Renee Montoya through high-stakes, supernatural apocalypses before. Convergence: The Question 2 is not an “end of the world” story in that sense, however, but the stakes and the message make it feel just as important. Continue reading →
Today, Shane and Michael are discussing Convergence: The Question 1, originally released April 8th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence this week, click here.
Shane: When you read a comic, you aren’t always going to be aware of what happened behind the scenes. As a child, you don’t think about it at all — sure, maybe you have a loose understanding that somebody wrote and drew the comic, but that’s about it. But as you grow up, you start to pay attention to the creators just as much as the characters — but that means you may now let their lives and personalities dominate your reading experience. Greg Rucka, for instance, recently had a publicized falling-out with DC, over promises made to him that were taken back, leading to him leaving the company after years of being among their top writers. In particular, this left certain characters he’d shepherded a bit lost. Of the many, perhaps most abandoned was Renee Montoya. Rucka helped transition the character from a supporting role in the Batman titles to a star role in Gotham Central, later guiding her journey in 52 to become the new Question. He continued to write the character in various high-profile projects, making her a significant presence at DC comics–but it strikes me as notable that, after Rucka’s departure from the company just prior to Flashpoint, Renee Montoya has been virtually nonexistent in the New 52. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Ryan are discussing The Multiversity: Pax Americana 1, originally released November 19th, 2014.
Mark: Alan Moore’s Watchmen is regularly heralded as the finest work ever produced in the medium of comics, but it wasn’t born in a vacuum. Moore’s original pitch was to use heroes from DC Comics’ then recent acquisition of certain Charlton Comics characters like Peacemaker, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, and The Question. In the end DC had other plans for their new IP, but Moore used those heroes as the frameworks for his invented characters. Now, almost 20 years later, the all-star team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely flip Moore’s original vision on its head in The Multiversity: Pax Americana 1. On Earth-4, Peacemaker is our The Comedian, The Question takes on characteristics of Rorschach, Captain Atom those of Doctor Manhattan, and Blue Beetle reflects Nite Owl. If Watchmen is a snake eating it’s own tail, Pax Americana is the tail biting back just a bit. Continue reading →
Taylor: Superheroes are, by nature, egotistical creatures. Think about what it requires to be a superhero. Not only do you need some sort of amazing ability or power, but more importantly, you need to have a belief in yourself and that you can help the world. For some, such as Spider-Man and Superman, this egotism can be a burden, while for others, like Batman, it can be a tool to fulfill unspoken desires. Regardless of the why, superheroes must believe they are doing the right thing, otherwise they lapse into inaction or perhaps outright villainy. But this raises a question: what happens when superheroes team up and they have to make a decision, but everyone has a different opinion on how to solve that problem? Being egotists, it’s not in their nature to give in to another’s will, so what happens when they come to an impasse with their superhero peers? Justice League Dark 22, the third installment in the Trinity War tackles this question and the results are explosive, to say the least.
Patrick: Did any of you guys ever play Warhammer? If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a table top war game where you assemble an army from your race of choice and battle against your friends’ armies. It’s the least pick-up-and-play game you could ever imagine – understanding the basic rules means reading a 100+ page manual, and keeping a cheat sheet with charts and tables with you at all times. And then there’s understanding your own army, for which you need yet other book completely dedicated to that race. Then you need the little metal figures to represent the members of your army (sold separately), and if you’re really hardcore you can paint them. Then you need a surface large enough to play on – one time my friends and I took a door off its hinges and used that when we were denied the dining room table. Ideally, this surface will be populated with trees and terrain and stuff like that. Setting up the Trinity War has felt an awful lot like setting up a Warhammer game. Everyone’s been reading extra books they don’t really want to read just so they can play in the big game. Now the event is actually here and I can’t believe I’m surprised that all the characters feel like pieces in a game. Continue reading →
Patrick: Comic books have an unhealthy relationship with death. For superheroes and their enemies and friends and families, death is a temporary setback. It’s such a common assumption that heroes will come back from the dead, and that assumption affects our language as we talk about these characters. Here’s a good example — in the blurb introducing the new Marvel series Superior Foes of Spider-Man, the editor explains the conceit of the series by saying:
…One thing they have in common is their shared hatred for their nemesis, the Superior Spider-Man — even if he’s possessed by their old boss Otto Octavius at the moment.
“At the moment?” Dude, come on, let’s commit to the idea that Peter Parker is dead. Otherwise, he’s not dead — he’s on vacation. So, it’s nice a character so integral to DC’s mythology journey all the way to heaven only to discover that he can’t just pluck the souls of his family from the afterlife.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Justice League 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Justice League 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Shelby: What makes a superhero so heroic? I’m not talking about the enhanced DNA/gadgets/magic powers, it’s easy to see where that comes from. It might not make a ton of sense (really, a different color sun?), but it’s easy to see the source. No, I want to know what makes a hero, what are the inherent traits that would make someone suddenly imbued with immense power decide to fight the good fight and try to save the world? The same question can be asked of the super villains our heroes fight. Are our heroes filled with a sense of responsibility to do what’s right? Do our villains feel they deserve more than they’ve got? Is it as simple as heroes are good people, and villains are bad? Well, what if you try to be good, but are also a smartass 15-year-old who thinks you know best and is kind of a dick? Where does that put you on the hero/villain scale?