It’s been an speedy week, from the threat of yet another government shutdown, to calling other nations ugly names, to a 30-something minute span where it seemed like a large chunk of the population of Hawaii might be on deck to have a chance at their own Silver Age superhero origin stories. It was the kind of week when you just want to escape into a fat stack of comics books. You know, books about a disintegrating monarchy, the mistreatment of prisoners, and the literal vanishing of the Earth.

Okay, that sounds dire, but there were actually some interesting books this week, including the opening to a new Marvel event (you know, as part of Marvel Legacy! Which was supposed to mean an end to constant events!), a strong and surprisingly intriguing opening for one book’s new creative team… and a Tom King book, which always means some spirited conversation on this show. So we break down a few of the bigger books this week, including:

  • Mister Miracle #6, written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads
  • Avengers #675 (Part 1 of the No Surrender event), written by Mark Waid, Al Ewing and Jim Zub, with art by Pepe Larraz
  • Old Man Hawkeye #1, written by Ethan Sacks with art by Marco Checchetto, and
  • Suicide Squad #33, written by Si Spurrier with art by Fernando Pasarin!

As usual, this show contains spoilers, and was recorded live to tape with minimal editing. So if you’re looking for a comics show that ranges from speculation about meta-narrative in a comic about super villains to a story about one of the hosts eating a bug, you’ve come to the right place!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

After a couple of weeks off due to holidays, family travel, blizzards, arctic vortices, and professional obligations, and we’ve moved past holiday genre movies and into the pre-convention season lull. Meaning that until Marvel Studios’ Black Panther drops in about six weeks, there’s nothing to talk but comics.

And frankly, we’re kinda glad about that. Because as much as we like the comics-related visual entertainment, there’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned comic book to make you feel like a kid again. And sometimes, that kid is very, very angry about what has happened to the Watchmen universe.

So we talk about a few of this week’s new books, including:

  • Batman #38, written by Tom King with art by Travis Moore and Giulia Brusco,
  • Spider-Man #236, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Oscar Bazaldua, and
  • Justice League #36, written by Priest with art by Pete Woods!

But no calendar can stop Rob from chiming in on a comic book about the character from Watchmen, so we also discuss the December 27th release, Doomsday Clock #2, written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank!

This show was recorded live to tape, with minimal editing. So if you want to find out what the mythical 102nd use for duct tape is (the dirty one), you’ve come to the right show!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the inarguably most anticipated genre film of 2017 (at least the most anticipated by everyone except Rob) was released last Friday, and based on the box office returns approaching half a billion dollars in four days, it was beloved by nearly everyone on the planet, yes?

Yeah, apparently not. It seems that a movie that takes many of the beats that you’d expect from a Star Wars movie and deliberately tries to do something different with them isn’t for everybody. It’s an interesting popular reaction to a film that is almost universally beloved by professional reviewers. Which we at Crisis At Infinite Midlives are most assuredly not.

So we brought in some help to talk about The Last Jedi, and when it comes to dissecting what works and what doesn’t in a movie marketed largely to young people who are serious about their genre properties, we figured: who better than a pile of stand-up comedians all approaching, if not firmly ensconced, in middle age?

Se we are joined by Boston comedian Greg Boggis and New York comics Benari Poulten and Ross Garmil, who are not only funny people but hardcore genre geeks, to discuss The Last Jedi. We hit everything from the coolest moments, to the character arcs that are more satisfying than those in The Force Awakens, to the subtextual political statements made in the film, to the possible intoxicating properties of the green milk and flora of Ahch-To, to the crippling mental affliction that might be cursing one of the most beloved characters in the franchise. Which is funnier than it sounds.

This is one of the funniest, yest most interesting, episodes we’ve done in a while. However: be warned: this show contains extensive spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, hi! Nice to meet you! Apparently you’re the one!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

Crisis on Earth X, the annual crossover between DCW (Rob swears he will make DCW a thing) shows Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash and DC’s Agents of Tomorrow aired a couple of weeks ago, and while we’re a little late to the conversation, we wanted to discuss it, because it wound up being one of the finest pure comic book superhero stories we’ve ever seen put to screen.

From its oddly unique willingness to embrace depicting legitimate Nazis as pure and legitimate villains (as opposed to Marvel’s recent protestations that Hydra is somehow a completely unrelated paramilitary organization… that worked with Nazis), to its use of a superhero wedding as an excuse for a massive character crossover, to its sci-fi and comics classic use of parallel universe characters, to its creating real mortal stakes for several characters, it was an impressive depiction of classic comics storytelling… and it stood in stark contrast with, say, Justice League.

Please be aware that this show contains spoilers for Crisis on Earth X (as well as some spoilers for subsequent events on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Also, this show was recorded live to tape, so if you’re looking for a podcast that pivots into impromptu (and uncompensated) advertisements for Adderall, Ritalin and powerful liquor, you’ve come to the right place!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

Marvel Studios’s latest Netflix series, The Punisher, dropped all at once a couple of weeks ago, and it was, in a lot of ways, very different than the series that have been delivered up until now. Sure, the other series dealt with adult themes – Jessica Jones tackled being a survivor of abuse, Luke Cage dealt with racism, and Iron Fist took on the perils of being a boring rich white guy no one likes – but none of those series featured a protagonist who stabs people in the neck just to watch them die.

So we spend a chunk of the show talking about The Punisher, how it handles themes of PTSD and how war destroys not only soldiers, but also their families… and how those weighty issues map to a story that delivers the cheap thrill of watching Jersey mooks having their legs broken by a man sometimes known as “Shooty Batman.”

But the money of the week is the release of the first issue of Doomsday Clock #1, written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank. This is the real beginning of DC Comics not only sequelizing Alan Moore’s and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen, but putting characters from the DC Universe onto a collision course with that universe. While we’ve both been enjoying DC: Rebirth, Rob is a huge fan of the original Watchmen, and thus has been DREADING the release of this book. So we break it down, and come to a couple of surprising conclusions.

This episode was recorded live to tape, with minimal editing, so if you’re looking for a podcast where the hosts are pretty convinced they came up with the moniker, “Shooty Batman,” you’ve come to the right place!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

Justice League was released to theaters in the United States last weekend, and, to put it mildly, it underperformed. In the same way that the Atlanta Falcons underperformed in last year’s Super Bowl.

Sure, there was a lot of weird buzz about reshoots and rewrites and new directors surrounding the movie, but none of that answers the question: was it any good? And did it deserve to underperform as compared to, say, Batman Vs. Superman, or Suicide Squad?

So we discuss the movie: what worked, what didn’t, what could have been improved, and why we think it didn’t do nearly as well as Suicide Squad, let alone The Avengers. We also talk about ways forward for a cinematic universe that includes starts with Superman killing a guy, and ends, for now, with redacted, under cover of darkness, robbing a damn grave.

This episode was recorded live to tape, so if you want to find out why Amanda think Aquaman went to Bowdoin, you’ve come to the right place!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

There’s a new Thor movie out. If history were a guide, this would excite us not at all. While we have been, and still generally are, fully in the tank for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have not seen any of the Thor movies in an actual movie theater, and that’s saying something considering we did see The Incredible Hulk in our local theater.

Thor: Ragnarok, however, promised to combine Thor with the most important elements of Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk, which we did like. So we made our way to the theaters this weekend, and we spend a good chunk of the episode talking about the flick. Did we like it? Was there more to it than just the thrill of seeing Hulk in full gladiator dress with his Warbound? Is there anything there to make us care about Asgard? Does the movie make the living envy the Doug? Tune in and find out!

We also discuss:

  • The Jetsons #1, written by Jimmy Palmiotti with art by XXXXX, and:
  • Captain America #1, written by Mark Waid, with art by Chris Samnee!

This episode was recorded live to tape, so if you want to know why Rob has the completely wrong idea about what it means to get romantic with a guitar, you’re in luck!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

We are now fully into Marvel’s Legacy initiative to step back from years of event overload and senseless character deaths, and to reintroduce simpler, more classic versions of the character back into the monthly issues. And as we glory in the reintroduction of series’ original numbering, and the inclusion of classic Stan Lee / Funky Flashman-esque Mighty Marvel Marching Society hype into each issue, we also wonder: where the hell are the simpler, classic versions of the characters?

In that vein, we talk about:

  • Invincible Iron Man #593, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Stefano Caselli and Alex Maleev, and
  • The Mighty Thor #700, written by Jason Aaron with art by almost everyone.

But Marvel is not the only one reintroducing older characters, so we also discuss:

  • The WildStorm #8, written by Warren Ellis with art by Jon Davis-Hunt, and
  • Mage: The Hero Denied #3, written and drawn by Matt Wagner!

This episode was recorded live to tape, meaning that you will learn the reasons why we would treat Marvel Legacy: Starfox in the way we would 80s VHS porn!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

DC has been teasing the inclusion of elements of Watchmen into DC Rebirth for nearly a year and a half now, which has made us, Rob especially, very nervous. That inclusion has been kept down to a dull roar until this past weekend, when DC released an ashcan of the first six pages of Doomsday Clock, the 12-issue mini-series that will make good on their threat – I mean, their promise.

So we read those pages, and, to be honest, we read them cold, without noticing that the date in the first panel was 1992, not 1985. So our reaction is based on the misconception that the events of these pages was taking place three weeks after the end of Alan Moore’s Watchmen… not that knowing seven years have passed really change our opinion much. And what did we think? Listen to find out, and thank God that modern digital recording can modulate Rob’s shrieking!

We also discuss Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to one of Rob’s favorite movies, and a flick that he had no intention of seeing until decent reviews started to come out. But see it we did, and we discuss it from two opposing viewpoints: one rabid about Ridley Scott’s 1982 original, and one who went into the sequel almost cold about the first movie. Once again: digital modulation is your friend.

We also discuss:

  • Batman: White Knight #1, written and drawn by Sean Murphy, and
  • Batman #32, the conclusion of The War of Jokes and Riddles arc, written by Tom King with art by Mikel Janin!

This episode was recorded live to tape, meaning that “tossing Joi onto a hard drive” could have any one of many meanings!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

With everything that’s been going on at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office (goodbye flood, hello nine-foot curtain hanging!), we’ve been a little late to the party on Marvel’s latest Netflix series, The Defenders. Again, this is purely because of unrelated life events, and is in no way related to the fact that the final count for Rob falling asleep through Iron Fist, Marvel’s last Netflix series, stands at six. And that’s not a final count, because it includes the final episode. But we digress.

This past weekend, we finally caught Marvel’s second attempt at putting together a filmed superhero team, and we discuss the effort. Including what worked, what was fun and interesting and surprising, why Netflix can’t seem to create a superhero series of ANY length that doesn’t feel like it’s dragging in the middle, and why Iron Fist is the Poochie of filmed superhero drama.

We also discuss:

  • Action Comics #987, written by Dan Jurgens, with art by Viktor Bogdanovic, and
  • Mr. Miracle #2, written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads!

This show was recorded live to tape. Which is why you will learn the etymology of the phrase “Kneel before Zuck!”

Thanks for listening, suckers!