Worlds Collide and Teams Clash in Avengers 672

by Spencer Irwin

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

Avengers 672 opens with both the Avengers and the Champions having the same fight in two different places. A new satellite is about to reveal images either confirming or denying proof of the High Evolutionary’s Counter Earth, a planet sharing our orbit on the far side of the sun. Nova and Peter Parker have both been to the planet, but Amadeus and Wasp insist that it cannot exist because it would defy all laws of physics and throw off the balance of the entire solar system. Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz use this scenario — of two planets that cannot share the same orbit without causing destruction — to illustrate the problem facing both of these teams: they can’t be in the same place without tearing each other down. Continue reading

The Failings of Friendship in Desperate Times in Secret Empire 5

by Spencer Irwin

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

“The power of friendship” is a popular trope in most media. The idea that most situations can be overcome through the bonds we share with our friends is powerful in a lot of ways, but it’s one that never really seems applicable to war or espionage stories like Secret Empire. Make no mistake, Hydra is not going to be defeated by friendship or optimism alone, but in Secret Empire 5, Nick Spencer, Rod Reis, Andrea Sorrentino, Joshua Cassara, and Rachelle Rosenberg do explore the effect pre-existing relationships have on their conflict. It’s not always a good one. Continue reading

The Vision 5

vision 5

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Vision 5, originally released March 9th, 2016.

Drew: I’m always baffled that the notion of privilege — that the majority class might benefit from their majority status in ways they aren’t aware of — is met with such resistance. But, I suppose that’s another symptom of privilege: blindly assuming you’re in the right, evidence to the contrary be damned. That’s the spirit that made Imperialism such a cultural force in the 19th and 20th centuries, as Western Europeans and (later) Americans replaced indigenous cultures with their own, believing whole-heartedly that it was the moral thing to do. Of course, whatever high ground a colonist might presume their medical technology or christian theology gives them, there’s no denying that imperialism brings all of the evils of the western world, as well, from literal plagues to damaging social and economic practices. The Vision 5 opens with the most memorable line from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice — Shylock’s pledge to embrace the evils of the majority class — suggesting that the Visions might be better off not being human, after all. Continue reading

The Vision 4

vision 4

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Vision 4, originally released February 3rd, 2016.

Drew: I recently watched a video titled “Why Donald Trump is a Gift to Democracy,” which effectively argues that the correlation between Trump’s disproportionate coverage and high poll numbers reveals the problems in how a profit-driven news media can be hijacked by anyone desperate for attention. I’m not as optimistic as the video seems to be about our collective will to change this phenomenon, but the more I think about it, the more absurd a profit-driven news agency is — if good reporting and the bottom line don’t match up, a publicly traded company really only has a duty to the latter. It’s ultimately not in service of the public it reports to, but the shareholders. This may seem like an odd introduction to a discussion of a comic about a robot-family’s struggles at fitting in in suburbia, but a profit-driven news media is actually the closest thing I can think of to an artificial intelligence that would harm humans in order to sustain itself. Only, you know, I have a lot more sympathy for the family of robots. Continue reading

The Mighty Thor 1

mighty thor 1

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing The Mighty Thor 1, originally released November 18th, 2015.

Taylor: By now we all know the premise of Breaking Bad: a chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer turns his skills to dealing meth and things spiral out of control from there. While this is an interesting premise, it’s not what makes the show great. What makes it great is the colossal character study it became. The show ponders why Walter White does the things he does and what drives him to do it. Naturally, his cancer diagnosis is a catalyst for much of the action Walter takes. And while his disease spurs him on to nefarious pursuits, others react to the disease more nobly. Case in point: Dr. Jane Foster aka Thor. Rather than let cancer eat away at her body and her sole like Walter, Jane uses it to motivate ever  greater and more altruistic deeds. Continue reading

The Vision 1

vision 1Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Vision 1, originally released November 4th, 2015.

Spencer: Secret Wars is dead — long live “All New, All Different Marvel”. We’re a few weeks into Marvel’s newest initiative, and so far each book is handling the “All New” mandate in a different way. Some books aren’t really changing at all (Spider-Gwen), some are throwing a few new quirks or cast members into familiar concepts (Guardians of the Galaxy, Invincible Iron Man), and some are taking their stars into completely uncharted territory (Amazing Spider-Man). For my money, though, there’s no book as drastically new and different as Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s The Vision. Part fairy-tale, part family drama, part inevitable tragedy, The Vision 1 is a comic unlike anything I’ve read in quite a while. If I’m being honest, I still haven’t fully wrapped my head around it, but I know one thing: I like it. Continue reading

Chat Cave: Avengers – Age of Ultron

Marvel’s flagship film franchise landed its second installment this weekend, assembling the Avengers to take on Ultron. Secrets were revealed! Tears were shed! Scenery was chewed! Spoilers for sure after the break: welcome to the Chat Cave. Continue reading

S.H.I.E.L.D. 1

shield 1Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing S.H.I.E.L.D. 1, originally released December 31st, 2014. 
Spencer: Since his premiere in the first Iron Man film, Agent Coulson has been a fan-favorite character, but it was the reveal that he was a dedicated fan of Captain America in The Avengers that truly sent his popularity skyrocketing. Believe me, I was on Tumblr to watch it happen. All of us reading comic books are obviously fans just like Coulson, so there’s just something appealing about a character who shares our enthusiasm and interests. Mark Waid and Carlos Pacheco’s S.H.I.E.L.D. 1 puts this aspect of Phil Coulson front-and-center, showing how Phil’s skills make him an ideal leader but also how those same skills benefit Waid as a writer. Continue reading