Michael: Nothing gets me going like a dramatic reveal. I love stories wherein tables are turned and even villains fall in and out of virtue. In comics, a strikingly juxtaposed panel can make a subtle twist even more shocking. There’s something thrilling about being duped by a brilliant turn. We’re told something is true, relevant, or congruous, only to find out that some or all of these things don’t matter, and yet the story is somehow better for it. It may be that we enjoy the release of tension or delight in dashing our assumptions that makes these betrayals so enjoyable, but part of what makes them effective is context. What the hero knows determines how new information changes him. Issue 16 of Aquaman delivers some really solid twists from Geoff Johns with vivid art from Paul Pelletier and Sean Parsons to back it up, but our heroes are so clueless and mired in chaos that the impact of these bombshells are hard to gauge. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and guest writer Zach Kastner are discussing Justice League 16, originally released January 23rd, 2013, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.
Drew: “What if there was a problem so big, Superman couldn’t solve it?” is the question the Justice League was designed to answer. This was something Johns managed quite well in this series’ first arc, justifying the League’s formation with a truly global threat. This issue effectively voids that answer by asking “yeah, but what if there was a problem so big even the Justice League couldn’t solve it?” Continue reading →
Shelby: Events are tricky things to handle. On the one hand, you have an opportunity to tell a story on a broader scale; you can involve more characters and build bigger plots. You also get a chance to lure readers to new titles, which can either be see by readers as an introduction to something new, or a cheap trick to make us give DC more money. To some extent, both are true. The real trick to an event, though, is figuring out how to distribute your story, and Geoff Johns is making some choices with Thrones of Atlantis that I find to be interesting to say the least. Just a heads up to you, our gentle readers: don’t make the same mistake I did. If you haven’t read Justice League 15 yet, put this down, go read it, and then come back, otherwise Aquaman 15 isn’t going to make a lick of sense. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Justice League 15, originally released December 26th, 2012, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.
Drew: Sitcoms and comics are notorious for featuring one- and two-dimensional characters. This isn’t the result of laziness on the writers’ parts — actually, it’s their desire to work indefinitely. Narratives that don’t go on indefinitely are free to give their characters actual character-defining arcs — that’s kind of the point — but those that have no defined endpoint must more or less tread water to avoid ending. This is why we know the status quo will always be restored. Sure, Bruce might stop brooding for a bit, or Hal might lose his ring, or Superman might die, but as long as people are willing to see their further adventures (and pay for them), they’re bound to return to their resting state. Individual titles focusing on those characters are free to bend the rules a bit, but cameos in other titles kind of rely on the platonic form of the heroes. Because Justice League essentially acts as a series of cameos, it is particularly invested in not giving these characters any sense of emotional arcs. Of course, that doesn’t stop Johns from trying to shoehorn those in from time to time, too.
Mikyzptlk: There’s been some internal discussion of whether or not the “Throne of Atlantis” storyline should be considered an event. Some of us here have grown tired of DC’s seemingly endless run of events and I can’t really blame them. The comic book “event” is a double edged sword. While they definitely bring attention and increased sales to the books that are involved, they tend to get bloated with needless tie-ins, many of which are written by writers who may not be nearly as talented as the showrunners themselves. The current Batman event “Death of the Family” is a good example of this. Compare some of the “DotF” tie-ins to the main series and you’ll know what I mean. Fortunately for “ToA,” the entire story is being handled by the one and only Geoff Johns, so we shouldn’t have to worry about any bloating. In fact, as it’s only 6 issues (3 in Aquaman and 3 in Justice League) some may consider it more of a crossover than an event. Regardless of that, however, Johns gives us something that feels like a big event, with a prologue that is both foreboding and fairly intense in a mostly quiet way. I think it’s safe to say that I actually enjoyed this issue more than any other so far and it’s gotten me pretty psyched for the “events” to come. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Justice League 14, originally released November 21st, 2012,
Mikyzptlk: My complaint with the first 12 issues of Justice League was that there was too much emphasis placed on the action and not enough on the characters. Being a fan of Geoff Johns for many years, I’ve seen what he can do with characters big and small and have read many tales of his that were rich with deep characterization. As year 2 of Justice League is starting to rev up, I’m happy to see Johns starting to focus more on his characterization. Even though this issue isn’t perfect, I’m glad to say that it’s less a Jerry Bruckheimer summer blockbuster and more of a return to what I come to expect from Johns.