Doreen Inspires Good Once Again in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 25

by Taylor Anderson

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

There are some superheroes who are more good than others. Superman and Captain America are your prototypical heroes who have the reputations for always doing the “right thing.” Other heroes are more nebulous when it comes to how they carry out their heroing. The Punisher, for example kills people, and while Batman isn’t that extreme, he operates in the shadows in more ways than one. If you had to peg Doreen Green into one of these two pigeonholes, she would definitely fall in the former, and while that predictability risks being boring, with The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, it never is. Continue reading

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Dinosaur Ultron Embraces Evil in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 24

by Spencer Irwin

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

Dinosaur Ultron is a terrific villain, partially because it’s just so cool to see Ultron as a dinosaur, partially because artist Erica Henderson has come up with a design for him that’s equal parts menacing and adorable and because colorist Rico Renzi mines his red glowing highlights for some particularly effective scares, and partially because Ryan North has found a genuinely funny and unique voice for him. What seems most notable to me about Dinosaur Ultron, though, is that he came upon his hatred of all organic life independently of the original Ultron’s programming; if both versions of the AI came to the same conclusion despite wildly different lives and circumstances, did they ever really have a chance to be anything different? Could he still be? Continue reading

Secret Empire 4: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Ryan Mogge

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

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Patrick: The Secret Empire epic drives on an engine powered by dramatic irony. From the second Steve’s first “Hail Hydra” was uttered, the audience knew more about the threat the Marvel Universe faced better than any of its inhabitants. It is serendipitous (in the worst possible way) that the current political climate in the United States has made readers hyper-aware of this irony, as we’re able to draw obvious parallels between the rise of Hydra and the rise of white nationalism. We don’t need to parse out the rhetorical devices Steve uses to justify his abuses of power — we see them demonstrated by our president every day. Issue 4 doubles down on the practice of illustrating dramatic irony, giving the audience far more information than any of the characters are ever afforded. The result is an unsettling exercise in moral relativism. 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

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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FF 14

FF 14

Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing FF 14, originally released December 2nd, 2013.

Patrick: “The eve of battle” is an experience most of us will never literally experience – simply by virtue of the fact that so few of us will ever experience “battle.” The phenomenon, however, is immediately recognizable. People get introspective and honest and fearless the night before Something Big happens. That’s why people hook up the last day of camp, that’s why you stay up too late the night before finals watching Lord of the Rings with your friends. There’s something about the Bigness of the next day that makes every flight of fancy seem relevant. As the FF find themselves staring down the barrel of a battle royale with Doctor Doom, the Allreds chase down every impulse and curiosity, revealing a beautiful mosaic as quirky and particular as the team itself. Continue reading

Age of Ultron 10 A.I.

age of ultron 10 AI AU

Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Age of Ultron 10 A.I., originally released June 26th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Shelby: After the reality-shattering events of issue 10, we were left asking some big questions, namely, “What the hell was that?” For a second, the reality of the Marvel universe started to come unglued. Or maybe did actually come unglued, at least partially. Instead of focusing on the effects on the timeline itself, this issue focuses instead on the effects on one man, the man who started it all: Dr. Hank Pym. 
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Age of Ultron 10

age of ultron 10 AU

Today, Drew are Shelby are discussing Age of Ultron 10, originally released June 19th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Drew: Age of Ultron 9 found Taylor asking “What is time?” It’s something so central to our perception of the world, yet something we barely understand. Issue 10 continues the trend of focusing on subjects at the edge of our scientific understanding, this time taking up the question “What is reality?” What really are these things we believe to be true? History, as they say, is written by the victors (and re-written by whoever beats them, and so on), suggesting that “reality” might be a bit more subjective than we like to think. But what if the victors could actually alter history, not just our retellings of it? What if reality was objectively malleable? That’s kind of the question this series has been asking all along, but its conclusion puts a finer point on it, making the very fabric of Marvel’s “reality” the focus of this issue. Continue reading

Age of Ultron 9

age of ultron 9 AU

Today, Taylor are Patrick are discussing Age of Ultron 9, originally released June 5th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Taylor: What is time? This is perhaps one of the most fundamental questions to human existence, and as such, it has been discussed by mankind since time immemorial.  While philosophers and physicists debate about what exactly time is (it’s a question that still rages today), science fiction and pop culture have popularized the question by using it in a countless number of plots and stories. So none of us should be surprised that a comic book entitled the Age of Ultron (my emphasis) would come to center its plot on time travel and its consequences. Indeed, with time travel we have seen a proliferation of ages in this event increase exponentially, the consequence of which has been the raising of an eyebrow both for better and for worse. Yet while the plot of Ultron isn’t always all that original, issue nine raises the question of what exactly time is and what the consequences of traveling through it could be.

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