Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Wonder Woman 18, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Mark: One of the most compelling features of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman is its willingness to incorporate into real issues facing society, as we come to terms with our systematically poor treatment of women and grapple with how to resolve it. Like a proclamation of intent, the earliest arc in the book, “The Lies,” features Cheetah dealing with the devastation caused by abuse, rape, and victim-blaming. These are issues deeply entrenched in American culture made palatable to general audiences because the villains manifest themselves as mystical beasts and gods. But not all of the methods Rucka and his collaborators use to convey their message (for lack of a better term) are quite so foregrounded. For instance, every position of authority in Wonder Woman so far is held by a woman. This is a story about women, featuring women, that is in no way lacking because its pages aren’t filled with more dudes. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Mark are discussing Wonder Woman 16, originally released February 8th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: When you look at where the genre of superhero comics comes from, it’s unwise to overlook the influence of pulp fiction. Pulp fictions were serialized stories printed on crappy paper that told stories ranging from the bizarre to the terrible. While it’s easy to dismiss these stories and their authors, they had an undeniable influence on generations of writers to come. While the quality of pulp fiction may be suspect, there’s no denying the stories were innovative and daring. And even though the monthlies we read nowadays are printed on better paper, it’s always fun to look back and pay homage to these stories that influenced so much of our modern pop culture, just as is done in Wonder Woman 16.Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Wonder Woman 12, originally released December 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Michael: There was a lot of emotions on both sides of the recent U.N. decision to drop Wonder Woman as an honorary ambassador. Detractors believed that the fictional character was “the epitome of a pin-up girl,” while lifelong fans see her as a figure of peace and equality. Regardless of your personal feelings, when you step back and look at the whole thing, it’s just another example of us defining what Wonder Woman – and women in general – are allowed to be. In both “Year One” and “The Lies,” Greg Rucka has been exploring how we have historically defined Wonder Woman, while building towards what she is today. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Wonder Woman 9, originally released October 26th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.
Mark: I find the romantic entanglements of superheroes to be deeply uninteresting territory. For every Lois Lane—in her best portrayals an ambitious, go-getting reporter for The Daily Planet— there’s a dozen Gwen Stacy-types, a character known primarily for two things: the color of her hair and her untimely death.
After the explosive climax of Wonder Woman 7, Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp take a breather with Wonder Woman 9. Focused more on the private life of Diana Prince, the issue features the most Steve Trevor we’ve seen in the run thus far and, not coincidentally, drags the most when he’s around. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Dark Knight III: The Master Race 6, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Drew: What do you think of when you hear the word “sequel”? Do you imagine a story that deepens the themes established in the original (a la The Dark Knight or The Godfather Part II) or do you imagine a story that returns to the well more out of obligation than any artistic impetus (a la The Dark Knight Rises or The Godfather Part III)? Do you imagine a continuation of the original narrative, taking the characters in bold new directions, or do you imagine a barely disguised repetition of the original narrative, taking the characters in safe, predictable directions? While I try to keep an open mind, I’ve been around the block enough times to recognize that most sequels tend to rely heavily on nostalgia, carefully recreating situations to replicate the thrills of the original. Unfortunately, that phenomenon means even my disappointment in The Dark Knight III: The Master Race 6 all too familiar. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Drew are discussing Trinity 1, originally released September 21st, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Michael: This might be considered controversial but I like my superheroes to be friends. Superheroes fighting each other is a time-honored tradition dating back to the golden age, but we have taken that to the extreme in the modern day. The past year has given us Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War on the big screen and Marvel’s Civil War II is still on the shelves at comic shops. When characters have lived side by side with one another for 50+ years however, their personal relationships are far more interesting than their super smash battles. Enter Francis Manapul’s Trinity, whose purpose seems to be reuniting the three greatest heroes that DC has to offer and once again make them the greatest friends that DC has to offer as well. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman: Rebirth 1, originally released June 8th, 2016.
Mark: Who is Wonder Woman? What defines her?
Of DC’s key Trinity, Wonder Woman is the character most in need of a Rebirth. The New 52 Batman was able to essentially cruise along same as he ever was (which, of course he did – he’s Batman), and while some of us yearned for New 52 Superman to be more like his pre-Flashpoint counterpart there’s no argument either icon suffered as hard or as long at the hands of ineffectual creative decisions as Wonder Woman. This isn’t dismissing Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run on the book, but Meredith and David Finch’s Wonder Woman was, frankly, awful – almost immediately and so poisoned the water that DC needed to dig a whole new well. Like so many New 52 books, Wonder Woman went out of this world with a sad, wet fart. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Batman/Superman 32, originally released May 4th, 2016.
Spencer: I’m a sucker for fight scenes. When I was younger, my top priority for any piece of media I checked out was “lots and lots of fighting,” as my voracious consumption of Dragonball Z in middle and high school can attest to. I still have a soft spot for this kind of action — and I look forward to lots of lovingly, intricately choreographed fight scenes when I finally get to see Captain America: Civil War on Friday — but as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that action without any sort of substance supporting it is just hollow. While the “Final Days of Superman” storyline has plenty of substance to it, little of it makes its way into Batman/Superman 32. This issue has tons of action, but little of it means anything. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Dark Knight III: The Master Race 4, originally released April 27th, 2016.
Drew: As much as I enjoy The Dark Knight Returns, I have to admit that it’s a pretty shaggy story — Batman takes on an entirely new foe in every issue (Two-Face, the Mutants, Joker, and the Government, respectively), and most of the conclusions people draw about the book’s maturity comes from parsing only one or another of those battles. How does your neocon reading of part 4 jibe with Bruce Wayne getting his groove back in part 1? How does your psychosexual reading of his relationship with the Joker fit in with the rest of the series (which continues well after the Joker dies)? For all the glib distillations of DKR, none of them actually capture the angularity of what I would argue is a decidedly episodic story. Those terse critics should rejoice, then, over DKIII, which offers a through-line so clear, even literary critics should be able to find it. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Justice League 49, originally released April 27th, 2016.
Michael: Guys I did it again: I thought that my love for Geoff Johns and the Justice League would win out over the cynical critic that lives inside of my brain. But I was wrong; oh so very wrong. Justice League 49 is the penultimate chapter in “The Darkseid War,” continuing the story’s overarching theme of “doing stuff, undoing stuff and redoing the stuff – at high volumes.” Continue reading →