This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
My wife is itinerantly averse to spoilers, to the point that she refuses to watch trailers for movies. It’s an attitude I can sympathize with (many trailers seem more like hyper-condensed edits of the entire film than teasers), but can’t fully understand — how could she possibly know if a movie appeals to her if she doesn’t know anything about it? To me, some foreknowledge of the genre and basic premise of a narrative is essential to my interest in it. Of course, in serialized media — especially ones with particularly high-concept premises — the first chapter might just cover the “basic premise,” effectively spoiling its own plot. But the thing I’ve always resented about “spoiler” talk is the way it privileges plotting (and especially surprise twists in plotting) over every other narrative element. There are real, unique pleasures to be mined from having more perspective than the characters within the narrative, and a well-told story will use those tools as effectively as any narrative twist. Aleš Kot and Tradd Moore demonstrate the value of those tools on both the micro and macro level in The New World 1. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Ghost Rider 1, originally released November 30th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS!
Patrick: I’m not great with first impressions. I’ve got so many nerdy and niche interests, and I never want to unload all of that alienating garbage on someone when we first meet. That usually leads me to under-share, but on the odd occasion I give myself green lights, things get weird fast. Striking the balance between being withholding and being an emotional exhibitionist is hard, but it’s exactly what’s required of a good first impression. Felipe Smith and Danilo S. Beyruth give themselves all green lights with Ghost Rider 1, and while the result reveals an awful lot about what this series is going to be, it is frustratingly unfocused, bursting from overstuffed plots from the very first issue. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing All-New Ghost Rider 3, originally released May 14th, 2014
Shelby: I’ve only been reading monthly comics for a couple years: basically since the New 52 launched. Even with that relatively short history with comics, I feel pretty jaded when it comes to origin stories. If I don’t already know it backwards and forwards, I’ve seen enough origins to get the gist of it. Tragically lost parents at a young age, science experiment gone wrong, coming-of-age gaining of powers (be they magical or otherwise) — it’s easy to roll your eyes at a new origin story because you think you’ve already seen it. Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore have embraced that origin spirit with their All-New Ghost Rider, but have somehow managed to do so in a way that feels new and relevant. It doesn’t hurt that it’s completely gorgeous to look at, either. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Harley Quinn 0, originally released November 20th, 2013
Patrick: My buddy Andrew and I once went halfsies on a copy of the game Catherine. If you’ve never played it, the game is half puzzle game, half infidelity simulator. You’re barely even in control of the main character as he blushes his way through an affair with a blonde sex nymph. Those portions of the game when you’re sitting in the bar, trying to non-suspiciously excuse yourself to the bathroom so you can read the sexy tests your new lady is sending you are novel as shit. I don’t know that it was an engaging gameplay experience, but it was addictive and unique – an “experience” devoid of any qualifiers like “game” or “storytelling.” Harley Quinn 0 manages the same feat, simultaneously throwing out and embracing everything you’ve ever known about visual storytelling. The result is a manic experience. Continue reading →