Dialogue and Internal Monologue as an Introduction in Domino 1

by Spencer Irwin

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

First issues have an almost impossible amount of work to do. They have to introduce (or reintroduce) the lead character, their supporting cast, their unique perspective, the series’ premise, and they have to do it all within 20 pages. Every creative team has their own unique approach to this task, and for Gail Simone and David Baldeon in Domino 1, that approach largely comes down to dialogue and internal monologue. Continue reading

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X-Men Red 3 Offers a Portrait of Our Time

by Drew Baumgartner

X-Men Red 3

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

…it occurred to me that instead of them just being heroes that everybody admired, what if I made other people fear and suspect and actually hate them because they were different? I loved that idea; it not only made them different, but it was a good metaphor for what was happening with the civil rights movement in the country at that time.

Stan Lee on creating the X-Men

That the mutants of the Marvel universe are reviled and oppressed has long made them an allegory for any number of minorities the world over, which in turn makes the X-Men an allegory for any number of civil rights activists. Much has been written about the MLK/Xavier and Malcolm X/Magneto parallels, but as the twentieth century churned on, those movements coalesced less and less around recognizable figureheads. These movements weren’t leaderless, by any means, but the leaders were no longer the household names they were in the early ’60s. X-Men comics responded in kind, broadening its cast and bringing in an array of perspectives to cover the more diffuse push for civil rights across the globe. This made the X-Men generalists in terms of their symbolic power — maybe they were drawing parallels to the gay rights movement, or apartheid, or even the holocaust. But that generalist nature may also have blunted any one of those parallels, limiting how specific any one of them can truly feel.

Or so I thought. I’d come to accept the X-Men as a broad comment on the nature of oppression and activism, but never turned to it for “ripped from the headlines” representations of discrete real-world events. Maybe I (and the rest of the world) wasn’t paying enough attention to real-world events to recognize them. Maybe those events weren’t being covered in the way they have been over the past few years. Whatever the case, I was completely bowled over by the unapologetic allegory for Charlottesville that Tom Taylor and Mahmud Asrar present in X-Men Red 3. Continue reading

Scaling Back in X-Men Red 2

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Last time we wrote about X-Men Red, Spencer and Ryan saw the series as somewhat foundational — asserting the attributes that makes an X-Men comic and X-Men comic. That means both the soapy sci-fi details of the characters’ pasts and the political commentary were turned up to 10. The scale for both was just huge — I mean, Jean addresses the United Nations and was framed for murdering the UK ambassador for crying out loud. X-Men Red 2 continues to engage in the same kind of character- and political-work, while scaling back to considerably more personal levels, and the result is almost intimate. Writer Tom Taylor and artist Mahmud Asrar have such a strong handle on these characters’ voices, the moments don’t need to be huge to make them impactful. Continue reading

Rogue and Gambit 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Ryan Mogge

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

Mark: There’s a thin line between romantic pursuit and creepy, unwanted attention, and fan favorite X-Man Gambit falls too often onto the “creepy” side of that line in Kelly Thompson and Pere Perez’s Rogue and Gambit 1.  Continue reading

The Specificity of Allusions in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 3

by Drew Baumgartner

Deadpool vs Old Man Logan 3

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

Back in high school english class, I was daunted by the idea that every work of literature alludes to earlier, more foundational works. How could I ever understand the meaning of a novel if I haven’t also read the novels it references, and the novels those reference and so on and so on. I’m still fascinated by the notion that every work of art has an ever-branching family tree of influences, but I’m less concerned about missing them — a work lives or dies on its own merits, so if I don’t “get it,” I’m happy to pin that on the work itself. I have a largely similar attitude to comics, where general familiarity with the character and the world might be a safe assumption, but a given issue can’t take for granted that we’ve read any other comic, let alone one from years ago. And yet, comics also has this rich, ever-growing continuity that can (and some might argue should) inform every character’s identity. Such is the case with Deadpool Vs. Old Man Logan 3, which draws upon writer Declan Shalvey’s own personal history with Wade Wilson in one of the most rewarding ways I’ve seen in years. Continue reading

Cliches and Cutlery in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 2

by Michael DeLaney

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

Story models repeat themselves, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For me, Deadpool vs Old Man Logan isn’t trying to be anything new or groundbreaking — but then again every comic book is someone’s first. Deadpool vs Old Man Logan 2 uses the X-Men staple of a military organization hunting “the chosen one” while the two mutant former weapons trade quips and shed blood. Continue reading

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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

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Michael: A common criticism of a piece of fiction is “nothing really happened.” The meaning of that blanket statement can vary depending on who the critic is and more specifically what they’re expecting. A great example of this is the Season 3 Breaking Bad episode “The Fly.” Critics praised the bottle episode as a brilliant character study while it left many audiences unimpressed with the fact that “nothing really happened.” While I try to appreciate the deeper meaning of a piece of work, I must say that in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1…nothing really happens. Continue reading

Generations: Wolverine & All-New Wolverine 1: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Michael DeLaney

Generations Wolverine & All-New Wolverine 1

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

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Drew: Superhero comics have always been about wish fulfillment. We might think of a lot of those wishes (from flying to standing up to bullies) as childish, but adults are far from immune from impossible fantasies. While the wealth and power of many superheroes is certainly appealing, I’m thinking more of the more existential wishes adults may have, at once more fantastical and easier to imagine than leaping tall buildings in a single bound. The most elemental of these wishes might be to have just one more conversation with a deceased loved one. This is exactly the fantasy Tom Taylor and Ramon Rosanas mine in Generations: Wolverine & All-New Wolverine, giving Laura Kinney one last chance to interact with her father. Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 3/29/17

We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Inhumans Prime 1, Old Man Logan 20 and X-Men Prime 1. Also, we’ll be discussing Black Widow 12 on Monday and Spider-Woman 17 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Inhumans v X-Men 6

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Inhumans v X-Men 6, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

“You guys… who are the good guys?”

Ms. Marvel, IvX 4

Patrick: Kamala’s rhetorical question at the end of issue 4 might have been meant to highlight the idea that there are no “good guys” in war, just people living out of various levels of desperation. And that’s definitely true of both the I and X Camps — these are peoples who believe that their survival is contingent on the destruction of the other. What they’re willing to do to each other is resultant entirely from the treat they perceive from their enemies. In effect, everyone is retaliating, acting in self-defense, and therefore the answer to Ms. Marvel’s question is “everyone.” But that’s not true, is it? There is one agent of aggression who has been manipulating all players, X-Men and Inhuman alike. And that person — the sole “bad guy” — is Emma Frost, who defines her identity by the fear she experiences as a mutant.  It’s a heartbreaking fall from grace as the long-suffering White Queen finally succumbs to paranoia and unequivocally cedes the moral high ground. Continue reading