Duality in The Waste Lands of Mid-World

Duality in The Waste Lands of Mid-World

The third volume in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, The Waste Land, is built on duality. From its structure to its characters, the novel is fixated upon binaries, the spaces created between two extremes, and the often-flawed methods used to bridge that divide. Spoilers for The Waste Land begin after the jump.

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Agency and the Scarlet Witch

Agency and the Scarlet Witch

Wanda Maximoff, better known as the Scarlet Witch, is near the epicenter of the event that serves as the catalyst for the MCU’s Civil War: during a botched heist in Lagos, Wanda manages to save Captain America from death by suicide bomber, but deflects the explosion rather than diffuse it, resulting in the death of a dozen innocent Nigerian citizens. While the resulting media outrage largely places responsibility for the tragedy on Wanda, the reactions of her fellow Avengers are more varied, and reveal a full spectrum of responses to Wanda’s unprecedented demonstration of power.

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Other Worlds Than These: Extended Universes 102

Other Worlds Than These: Extended Universes 102

Although an overabundance of postmodern conventions can alienate a reader from the story, adding a touch of metafiction can go a long way towards defining the relationship between several distinct works tied together across an extended universe. As mentioned in a previous entry in this series, using a touch of metafiction to obviate reader confusion has a history that extends all the way back to Don Quixote, a work often credited with being the first Western novel. While Cervantes judiciously applied pressure on the fourth wall, this article examines an extended universe that delights in constructing an entire room of fourth walls before gleefully knocking down the building: Jasper Fforde’s Nextian universe.

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The Canon Strikes Back

This was written in response to Asher Elbein’s Atlantic article, “Enough with the Canon.” I agree with what I believe to be the essence of his argument – namely, that trying to assert an authoritative version of a fictional story in order to marginalize alternate perspectives is wrong. However, the article fails to consider both the functional aspects of canon, and the way it allows for a particular type of storytelling that would otherwise prove impossible.

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Avengers Standoff: Captain America: Sam Wilson #7

Avengers Standoff: Captain America: Sam Wilson #7

None other than Nick Spencer himself, the author of the Pleasant Hill books, penned the week’s sole entry into the ongoing Avengers Standoff saga. But in addition to taking a long awaited step forward in the Standoff narrative, this issue pulls double duty, serving as the celebration of 75 years of Captain America. The homage to the First Avenger’s history begins with the cover illustration, a controversial re-imagining of Cap’s first cover, and ends with three short stories contemplating the ideals that are represented by Captain America. In between, there’s an extra-long story that has all three men who have wielded the shield exploring what it means to be Captain America. Spoilers for Captain America: Sam Wilson #7 begin after the jump.

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Avengers Standoff: The Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6

Avengers Standoff: The Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6

These days, superheroes are the main attraction in comics. Given the commercial success the genre has demonstrated at the box office, it’s hard to imagine that will change any time soon. However, it’s worth remembering that the early days of comics were largely defined by two genres: crime and horror. The Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. mines Marvel’s horror history and combines it with the modern superhero team to create a fun book that feels fresh (even when it isn’t). Spoilers for The Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6 begin after the jump.

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