Patrick: We’ve gotten to understand the rhythms of Spider-Verse pretty well at this point. Meet some Spiders; have some fun with them; there’s some meta-commentary; maybe someone dies; repeat until you’re no longer having fun. Spider-Verse Team-Up 3 subverts that trend, turning thematic patterns on their head and insisting that Spider-Verse is more nuanced and interesting than it ever let on. But is what we sacrifice in fun worth the extra depth? Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Superboy 17, originally released February 13, 2013. This issue is part of the H’el on Earth crossover event. Click here for complete H’el on Earth coverage.
Mikyzptlk: Ah, the Ticking Clock. This dramatic device has been used countless times in probably every story telling medium imaginable. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s fairly simple. If you are a writer and want to add a bit more tension or urgency to your story, just introduce a countdown or time bomb element of some kind. The H’el on Earth event has been using this particular device since the Star Chamber threatening Earth was introduced. Superboy 17 introduces yet another ticking clock, and, as it turns out, it’s fairly effective.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Superboy 16, originally released January 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the H’el on Earth crossover event. Click here for complete H’el on Earth coverage.
Patrick: Drew had to fight pretty hard to find some meaning in last month’s issue of Superboy. I’m not saying his assertions are wrong, but they certainly meet Tom DeFalco more than half-way. Shelby was not so kind. This issue, by comparison, brings some strong characterization of Superboy, non-stop action and an interesting theme (with clever call-backs). This issue isn’t going to start any Superboy-revolution, but it is a tonally consistent, exciting story. Maybe I’m setting the Superbar pretty low at this point…
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Nightwing 15, originally released December 19th 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Scott: Superheroes are defined by the things they care about most. Whether it be a loved one, a city, or a planet, there must be a something that compels them to fight, something for which they can be held accountable. Their physical abilities may make them Super, but it is their desire to protect the things they care about that make them Heroes, and what differentiates them from other physically powerful figures, like villains or, say, sidekicks. The success of Nightwing as a series ultimately depends on whether Dick Grayson can shake the notion that he is a sidekick, fighting to save Batman’s Gotham rather than something of his own. In Nightwing 15, with the threats against Dick’s beloved Haly’s Circus beginning to have real consequences, it finally feels like he is blossoming into a Superhero in his own right.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Superboy 15, originally released December 12th, 2012. This issue is part of the H’el on Earth crossover event. Click here for complete H’el on Earth coverage.
Drew: We’re pretty big fans of meta-commentary here at Retcon Punch. That is, the notion that the way a story is told can reflect the themes of the narrative itself (or vice versa), adding another level of meaning to the work, and often some kind of experiential element. This can happen when a character experiences time in an unusual way, or when our expectations for a title might be unreasonable, but we generally treat those moments as specifically designed by the creators to speak to our own experience of the title. Tom DeFalco isn’t responsible for the strange identity crisis Superboy (the series) has experienced in the New 52 (at least, not solely responsible), but issue 15 finds him tying that in beautifully to Kon’s own identity issues. Continue reading
Drew: As a former sidekick, it’s difficult for Nightwing to define his life without Batman. This is as true outside of the mask as it is behind it — just try to define Dick Grayson without mentioning Bruce Wayne. This makes Dick’s investment in Haly’s Circus (the one part of Dick’s origin story that doesn’t involve Batman) make a lot of sense — it’s his best shot at agency in his life. Dick seems poised to begin a new chapter in his civilian life, yet his costumed life finds him pulled inextricably back towards Batman, as some of Bruce’s oldest foes demand Nightwing’s attention. Continue reading
Today, Drew and Mikyzptlk are discussing Superboy 14, originally released November 14, 2012. This issue is part of the H’el on Earth crossover event. Click here for complete H’el on Earth coverage.
Drew: We read a lot of comics at Retcon Punch. One of the best thing about reading so many comics (besides, you know, reading so many comics) is that when we do pick up the odd issue of a title we’re not reading — usually for a crossover event — we still kind of know what’s going on. We may not get every reference to what has happened before, but because we’ve seen glimpses of, say, the Red Lanterns in Green Lantern: New Guardians, we kind of know what’s going on with them when we pick up Red Lanterns 13. This works well enough for stories set in Gotham or Oa, where our coverage of related titles is relatively robust, but it breaks down if crossovers are happening in our blind spots. The Superman and Young Justice groups happen to both be blind-spots for me, which makes jumping into a title like Superboy at issue 14 a particularly disorienting experience. Continue reading
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Nightwing 13, originally released October 17th 2012.
Scott: The other night I just could not get to sleep. I was lying awake restlessly, my mind racing through any number of thoughts until the desire to know what year a certain Guided By Voices album came out was nagging at me so much that I convinced myself to open my computer and look it up. 40 minutes later I found myself on John Woo’s Wikipedia page and decided it was time to call it a night once and for all. Dick Grayson is having one of those restless nights, but instead of GBV’s chronology, what’s nagging at him is Gotham’s lack of gang activity — the city is too quiet for him to sleep easy. The sequence of events that follows is something like a night spent with Google and Wikipedia: a bunch of tangentially related bits and pieces — some very intriguing, others merely dead ends — that by the end has you wondering what you’ve really learned.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Nightwing 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Nightwing 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Drew: The past is complicated. Or rather, our relationship with the past is complicated. Time has a way of changing our opinions of events, placing even our emotional attachment to our own memories in flux. That shifting relationship to the past is made exponentially more complicated in the comics world, where the actual events of the past are open to revisions, reboots, and retellings every few years or so. While those changes are often jarring for the characters, they’re particularly difficult for the audience, who may be attached to previous iterations of the story (not to mention the fact that they may be particularly anal about continuity). Like I said; shit’s complicated. It’s impressive, then, that Nightwing 0 isn’t just a successful retelling of Dick’s origin, but a compelling essay on the value of such retellings. Continue reading
Today, Peter and (special guest writer) Nikki Royce are discussing Legion Lost 0, originally released September 12, 2012. Legion Lost 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Peter: The Legion of Superheroes is something I never really got into. The concept is there, but it was so far removed from the DC characters that know and grew up with that it never jived. The closest I ever got was if any of those characters made appearances in the present time, such as the JLA/JSA crossover The Lightning Saga. I was confused even then. I think it probably boils down to there simply being too many heroes, or too few major members, and too many minor characters. Regardless, The New 52 provided me with a chance to try again on the Legion, and yet, here we are again, lost in the limbo of not really caring too much about them.