This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Drew: The Marvel Universe is big. That much is clear from the very beginning of Avengers 675, which skips across the globe to catch up with Marvel’s countless superhero teams and fictional countries as they deal with the Earth suddenly being transported…somewhere. Characters helpfully repeat each other’s names (and the names of their respective teams) to orient us, but being overwhelmed is kind of the point — these characters are facing down utter chaos, and that chaos is everywhere. Crossover events will often feature these kinds of “cash in all the chips” moments, straining our familiarity with Marvel’s lesser-known characters to really sell the massive scope of the story. But that’s where this issue differs from the standard crossover; where other stories simply revel in the bombast of throwing all of these characters together, Avengers 675 uses it as a cover to inject a new character into the narrative. [Phew, are there SPOILERS to follow.] Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Vision 12, originally released October 26th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Patrick: I run payroll at the office I work in. No accounting experience, trusted with cutting paychecks for a dozen employees. I was intimidated at first — that’s the livelihood of my friends and co-workers I’m handling — but I was soon numbed by the inevitable monotony of the task. Something recently kicked me out of that stupor: a co-worker got married, and so the rate at which we withheld income tax changed. I’d been used to cutting this check for about the same amount twice a month, so I noticed that it looked like she was suddenly bringing home about 7% more than she had been before she got married. As a non-married dude in a committed relationship, I started to jealously ask “what the fuck?” The fuck, it turns out, is that the US government subsidizes marriage. I had always known there were tax benefits to getting married, but I’d never internalized what that really means. It means that marriage, and by extension family, are so integral to the platonic ideal of the American experience that the government is morally obligated financially encourage it. The Vision has always been about the fallacy of the domestic American dream, and issue 12 brings that fallacy back to the relationship from which that fantasy stems: husband and wife.
Today, Ryan D. and Michael are discussing Vision 11, originally released September 21, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Ryan D: One of the best teachers I ever had, a high school English teacher who also directs theatre, always urged us when starting a new book to think of the first page as “curtains up”; in other words, what is the first thing the audience sees when beginning a work. Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta craft their opening panel beautifully:
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Vision 9, originally released July 13, 2016.
Patrick: Last month, Ryan lead off her discussion with the weird relationships uncles have with their families. Uncles have a way of bringing the outside world in to an insular little unit. I’m an uncle myself, and I know that when I walk into my sister’s house, she and her husband and their two children are going to be exposed to whatever weirdness I might inject into their routine. They all tolerate (or celebrate, depending on how open they’re feeling) my weirdness precisely because we’re family. But I always harbor a secret fear that my uncle-y eccentricities will reveal themselves to be uncle-y weaknesses in the eyes of a completely put-together family. Of course, I’m projecting. Just because there’s a pair of kids and two well-employed parents doesn’t mean that something isn’t lacking. But it’s hard not to view your own shortcomings as catastrophic in the face of such idyllic perfection. Vision 9 exposes Victor’s biggest uncle-y weaknesses – he’s a drifter and an addict and spent his whole life fighting. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Vision 8, originally released June 8, 2016.
Ryan: An extended family member, someone who knows and loves you but doesn’t see you everyday, is in a unique position offer insight and help. Growing up, my Uncles’ advice and counsel always seemed better than my parents. It was probably because my parents were there all the time with a bunch of rules and expectations and time with my Uncles was more like a vacation. In Vision 8, Uncle Victor spends one-on-one time with each of the Vision family and is able to support them and connect to them in a way that their immediate family cannot. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan M. and Drew are discussing Spider-Man 1, originally released February 3rd, 2016.
Ryan: The danger of starting your story with a climactic image and then jumping back in time is that it can displace interest. At best, it builds anticipation. At worst, it feels like a bait and switch. It’s like when a friend starts a story with “Did I ever tell you about the time I made out with a mime in Vegas?” and then proceeds to tell you details about how she booked her hotel room. By getting me too invested in the end of the story, you’ve diminished my interest in the preamble. At that point, I’m just listening for mime specifics that indicate we’re getting to the good stuff. Continue reading →
Patrick: There’s one question that keeps rolling through my head in reading FCBD issues: who is this for? For retailers, the purpose of the event is self-evident. Stores get throw fun little parties and get some extra bodies in through those doors. And comic fans get to have their own little celebrations as well. But when I’m back in my apartment and it’s just me and books, I can’t help but wonder about everyone’s experience with their new free comics. Did the twelve year-old with Batman on his shirt get a kick of Divergence 1 because it was the “robo-Batman one?” (Those are the comic store employee’s words, not the kid’s). Were any new life-time fans born today? Or were some potential fans alienated? And what about those of us with extensive pulls? Did we get something out of this? Who are these comics for? Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing A + X 18, originally released March 28th, 2014.
Patrick: There was always going to be something artificial about the A + X conceit. For as much as it feels like they’re all good guys, so they should have no problem teaming up for a little BAM-POW superhero adventuring, there’s just too much baggage to sustain it for very long. As the series comes to close, it appears that A + X was a promise too heavy to be supported by such a fluffy, carefree experience. The final issue seems split on this opinion, simultaneously expressing how similar the two groups are while stubbornly refusing to find common ground between the two.
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.
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 →