Avengers 42

avengers 42

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Avengers 42, originally released March 4th, 2015. 

“We don’t view our history as being broken or something that we need to fix. If anything we think we are building upon that history and we are taking the best and biggest pieces of it and seeing how easily they coexist with one another. We don’t expect all our moves to make everyone happy, but we think it will make for a really fascinating read through ‘Secret Wars’ and beyond.”

-Axel Alonso, Secret Wars Press Event

Patrick: The grander hyper-textual implications of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers have been apparent for some time, but the importance and meaning of the meta-textual reasons have been something of a mystery. By Alonso’s own admission, Marvel doesn’t really need a Crisis-style reboot, but Secret Wars and Battleworld seem to bear all the multiversal signatures of one of DC Comics’ rebooting events. The problem with Crises (and it’s a problem that I think both DC and Marvel are starting to experience) is that the real world drama trumps the in-narrative drama. We’re more interested in answering the question “What’s going to happen to Batman?” than “What’s going to happen to Batman?” — and that means that we are necessarily less interested in the stories themselves than the companies telling those stories. Avengers 42 tries to reclaim some of that drama for itself, representing what appear to be conflicting editorial voices as characters within the Marvel Universe. Continue reading

Original Sin 8

Alternating Currents: Original Sin 8, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Original Sin 8, originally released September 3rd, 2014.

Drew: As the final chapter of a summer crossover event, Original Sin 8 has significantly more baggage than the average comic issue. In addition to wrapping up its own 8-issue maxi-series (9 if you count that zero issue), this issue is essentially charting of the trajectory of the Marvel Universe in the short term, setting up an array of new series and new volumes of old series that seem to fall out of the aftermath of this event. All that is to say that it’s easy for this conversation to turn into a discussion of Original Sin as a whole, or even how we feel about some of the lasting changes this issue presents. There’s certainly value in those conversations (and believe me, I’m going to talk about them a bit), but first, I want to examine whether or not this issue manages to be entertaining in its own right. Continue reading

Original Sin 5

original sin 5

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Original Sin 5, originally released July 2nd, 2014.

The Butler did it!

Traditional

Drew: As far as board game adaptations go, Clue actually does a pretty fantastic job of mimicking the experience of playing the game (it’s certainly closer than Battleship, and don’t even get me started on Twister). By the end of the movie, it really could be anyone, and the multiple endings play with that idea brilliantly. Of course, what’s truly clever is the way that those endings play with our expectations of parlor murder mysteries in general. Of course it could be anyone — that’s the whole point. Ultimately, the who, where, and what of the murder doesn’t matter so much as the why and how, which tend to be pulled out at the very last minute, anyway. Original Sin 5 subverts those explanations by showing us why Nick Fury killed all of those monsters and planets, but stopping just short of telling us who killed the Watcher. But hey, maybe it doesn’t matter! Continue reading

Original Sin 4

original sin 4

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Original Sin 4, originally released June 18th, 2014.

Spencer: Original Sin is the funniest murder mystery I’ve ever experienced.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration (Clue certainly gives it a run for its money), but the fact remains that, in a genre not exactly known for being a laugh riot, Original Sin stands out as something strange and unique (and hilarious). Despite the deadly secrets, overwhelming paranoia, and occasional gore, Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato somehow manage to give us an issue with a laugh on pretty much every page, an issue that treats its subject matter with the utmost seriousness but that also has no problem embracing the sheer ridiculousness inherent to the medium. It’s a difficult balance to achieve, but Aaron and Deodato walk that tightrope masterfully. Continue reading

Original Sin 3

original sin 3

Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Original Sin 3, originally released June 4th, 2014.

Someone shot and killed…a planet. I’m gonna need a minute to process that.

Moon Knight

Drew: The last time we talked about this series, I couldn’t get over how over-the-top comic book-y it is. And I mean that quite specifically: it’s not just epic or violent (as so many summer crossover events tend to be), it’s also whole-heartedly absurd, embracing all of the silliness that makes comics so much fun in the first place. Or, at least I thought that’s what this series was. Immediately after building to the line highlighted in the epigraph, this issue takes a sudden turn into the gory. The abruptness of the shift in tone makes it utterly shocking, but it may also rob this series of the frivolity that distinguished it from the likes of DC’s joyless gore-fests. Continue reading

Original Sin 2

original sin 2Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Original Sin 2, originally released May 21st, 2014.

Shelby: Last issue, we discussed the merits of a superhero murder mystery. Patrick mentioned that the fluidity of the rules of the superhero world make for a much more fast and loose sort of mystery. It raises the question of how such a mystery can even exist; when you’ve got Emma Frost and Doctor Strange running around, how can you possibly know the answer to anything? I suppose that is was the Watcher’s function; despite the number of characters who have the capability of knowing everything, Uatu was the only one who actually did. The entity for whom there was no mystery is now the subject of a murder mystery of epic proportions. That fact is not lost on writer Jason Aaron, who decides to further upend the concept of the murder mystery by telling us who did it in the second chapter.

Continue reading

Original Sin 1

original sin 1

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Original Sin 1, originally released May 7th, 2014.

Do we… check for a pulse or… did he even have a pulse? Do we know?

Captain America, Original Sin 1

Patrick: Superhero murder mysteries are a trip. In a traditional murder mystery, the audience should all have the same basic understanding of the rules of the game. That way, we’re able to play along as detectives in our own right. Half of the fun in watching a fictional detective solve a crime is feeling like you’re one step behind, just a shade less insightful than hero of our story. But superheroes live in a different universe, with scores of different rules that change and contradict each other throughout the course of history. The abilities and motives of the murder suspects could be…literally anything — you know how many of these characters can alter reality? The first proper issue of Original Sin sets a wildly complicated stage, and while I don’t think I have a chance in hell of reaching the conclusion before our heroes do, I do have a sense of what’s at stake for our lead detective: the original Nick Fury.

Continue reading

FF 16

ff 16

Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing FF 16, originally released January 22nd, 2013.

Ethan: With the arrival of FF 16 Scott Lang’s campaign to end Doom is itself at an end. Even though Doom was the cause of the crusade, it’s always been more about Scott — this finale is no different. As Scott confronts the mortal enemy of the Fantastic Four and the man who killed his daughter, there’s never going to be a better time to prove who or what the latest incarnation of Ant-Man has become. Unsurprisingly, Matt Fraction and Lee Allred do not disappoint.

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FF 15

FF 15

Today, Ethan Patrick and Drew are discussing FF 15, originally released December 18th, 2013.

Ethan Patrick: I guess it’s appropriate that I’m stepping up to bat for Ethan for this issue of FF. There are an awful lot of substitutes and avatars in play for the invasion of Latveria. The good guys are all either trying to be something they’re not or asserting something else as themselves. In some cases, the characters are two or three steps removed from the version of themselves that’s actually doing the action. Interestingly, Doom never falls victim to this same delusion — in fact, even though everyone expects him to either a) port his consciousness over to another body or b) merge with another body. We know it can’t last, but Doom wins a victory here by being the only one refusing to be anything but himself. Maybe the kids still have one more thing to learn before the Fantastic Four comes back to town.

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Deadpool 20

deadpool 20

Today, Patrick and Greg are discussing Deadpool 20, originally released December 4th, 2013.

Patrick: There’s no single person or institution that’s introduced me to more media than The Simpsons. I didn’t know that it was happening at the time, but my 10 year old mind was being educated in the works of Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling, Francis Ford Copola, Stanley Kubric, Martin Scorsesse, Tennessee Williams, and on and on. But the film that seems to have cropped up the most was Citizen Kane. I can’t possibly convey what my first experience of watching Citizen Kane was like: by that point in my life, I’d seen the same scenes and camera angles and transitions and themes and characters reconstituted a hundred different ways on The Simpsons. It was invigorating and shocking to see everything in its original context, granting new meaning to my favorite old Simpsons episodes, but also imbuing Citizen Kane with a kind of pre-loaded meaning. Deadpool has never shied away from referential humor, but writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn and artist Scott Koblish narrow their focus in the third inventory issue, and convinces us that Jack Kirby’s work is the Citizen Kane of comic books. Continue reading