dcw_invasionAfter a year of superheroes beating on each other in comic books and in not one, but two different cinematic universes, sometimes you just need a good, old-fashioned superhero team-up. You know, where the good guys fight each other at first because of a misunderstanding or mind control or something, then they come together to fight seemingly insurmountable odds, and finally defeat the bad guys.

Some comic publishers seem light on their ability to publish such stories recently (hi, Marvel!), but thankfully, the people in charge of the DC Arrowverse shows on The CW network have us covered. The Invasion! crossover between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow took place this week, and gave us heroes from four shows and two Earths coming together to battle aliens, the government, and the after effects of time travel. Not to be confused with the after effects of physical travel; you might suffer Montezuma’s Revenge as a result of either, but only one involves a stone axe and your face.

So we discuss the crossover: what worked and what didn’t, what plot points were genius and which were purely for storytelling expediency, which characters and actors shared excellent chemistry, and who should be given more to do considering he once played Superman, for God’s sake.

We also discuss:

  • The Totally Awesome Hulk #12, written by Greg Pak with art by Mahmud Asrar, and:
  • Inhumans Vs. X-Men #0, written by Charles Soule with art by Kenneth Rocafort!

Alas, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to learn why the greatest weapon against an alien invasion might be just one damn pocket? Watch Invasion! before listening and consider yourself duly warned.
  • We use adult, profane language, so therefore this show is not safe for work. You want your mom to hear us talk about the emotional resonance behind an X-Man trying to get themselves hard as fast as they can? Then get some headphones.
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civil_war_ii_7_cover_2016Last week was Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday where family members travel for hours and miles to share a table with family members and take a moment to express gratitude for the good things in their life. Then they follow that moment with hours of barely-suppressed acrimony, sarcasm-dipped references to long-buried grievances, and barbed rejoinders about the political beliefs of family. They then disperse to Black Friday sales around the map, taking their frustrations out on fellow shoppers and leading to those awesome fight clips on YouTube.

Rob and Amanda did not go to any Black Friday sales. They did, however, read Civil War II #7, and they do have a comics podcast.

Due to vagaries of comics publishing (and the fact that Civil War II has been late almost since it was solicited), this week we not only discovered the result of the battle between Captain Marvel and Iron Man, but we began to learn the price that certain characters will apparently pay for their roles in suspending the Constitution, ignoring the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, contributing to the deaths of at least three Avengers and arguably sending the Marvel Universe on the road to literal apocalypse.

And we found that price to be wanting.

So we spend a lot of time complaining bitterly about:

  • Civil War II #7, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez and Andrea Sorrentino,
  • Captain Marvel # 10, written by Ruth Fletcher Gage and Christos Gage with art by Thony Silas, and
  • The Ultimates 2 #1, written by Al Ewing with art by Travel Foreman.

But, since we can’t be negative about everything, we also discuss:

  • Deathstroke #7, written by Priest with art by Larry Hama and Carlo Pagulayan,
  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 11 #1, written by Christos Gage with art by Rebekah Issacs, and:
  • A. D.: After Death Book 1, written by Scott Snyder with art by Jeff Lemire!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know what happens in Civil War II, just try to forget some of your biggest disappointments before reading it.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you said to your mom what we say about Civil War Ii over the Thanksgiving table, you’d be disowned. So get yourself some headphones.
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american_psycho_coverIt has been a weird couple of weeks here in the United States. Any week where the honest-to-God news in your local newspaper is more contentious, rancorous and secret identity-obsessed than your average comic book is one where talking about what comic creators are skipping what conventions in which American states, and which writers are retiring from what social networks feels redundant at best and depressing at worst.

But the good news is that, here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, we learned long ago that’s it’s an unwise decision to publicly discuss religion, politics, or inappropriate self-love over Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. The bad news is that we forgot one of those truisms during this episode. The answer will (probably not) surprise you!

Either way, we decided this would be a good time to take the long view and just talk about this week’s comics. Well, about this week’s comics, about how very different stories can come from similar ideas, and about unreliable narrators. So we discuss:

  • Spider-Man #9, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by NIco Leon,
  • Batman #11, written by Tom King with art by Mikel Janin,
  • Demonic #4, written by Christopher Sebela with art by Niko Walter, and:
  • Kill or Be Killed #4, written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know if Dylan from Kill or Be Killed kills or is killed, then skip this show (and next month’s Image Comics solicitations).
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you think your mom wants to know what happens to a Daisy Buchanan when she’s bitten by a radioactive Gatsby (Spoilers: she gets greedy and whiny)? Then get some headphones.

And please note: from here on out, we will be publishing the podcast on Mondays, rather than Sundays. Thanks for sticking with us!

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doctor_strange_movie_posterSorry this week’s episode is late, but we had this thing, and we are late because of it. However! This past weekend, Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange opened in theaters, marking not only the latest film in Phase Three, but the first to have an opening credit production logo featuring almost no comic books.

So we discuss the movie, its similarities to Iron Man, how Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent is the enemy of suspension of disbelief, whether Doctor Strange is actually history’s greatest villain, how to pronounce The Ancient One’s last name, whitewashing and cultural appropriation, and, of course, spotted dick.

We also discuss:

  • Avengers #1, written by Mark Waid with art by Mike Del Mundo, and:
  • Superman #1, written by Peter Tomasi with art by Patrick Gleason!

And, as always, the disclaimers:

  • Due to strange circumstances, this episode was recorded live to tape with no editing. So while it might mean a looser show from us than you are used to, it also means that it should suffice as a legal request for political asylum (Happy Election Day, everyone!).
  • This show contains spoilers. So if you don’t want to know how to pronounce “Chiwetel Ejiofor,” well… actually, you won’t learn how to pronounce that here.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Trust me: you don’t want your mom to hear the way Rob tries to pronounce “Chiwetel Ejiofor.” Get some headphones.
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get_jiro_blood_and_sushiThis week, the paperback edition of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s graphic novel Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi, was released. This book is a prequel to his 2012 sci-fi comic Get Jiro!, and like the original, it is steeped in modern foodie culture. Luckily, Amanda is also steeped in foodie culture.

So we talk about Get Jiro! and other foodie-related books (like Starve and Chew), and how some are good about catering to new culinary enthusiasts, while others depict a subculture where not knowing the unwritten insider foodie rules mean that you literally deserve to die… all while being part of a comics culture that is trying desperately to shed a long reputation of being hostile to outsiders. And if that all sounds heavy, fear not: there is also a story about Rob eating a pile of rock salt at a fine French restaurant that is just plain funny and dumb.

We also discuss Civil War II #6, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know if Jiro survives Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi, well, you’re probably being willfully obtuse considering it’s a prequel, but consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. We talk about C. B. Cebulski’s Lucky Peach. You want to risk your mom hearing about that? Then get some earbuds.
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power_man_iron_fist_9_cover_2016We’re back, after yet another interruption – this time, we left the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office to go to the American Classic Arcade Museum, where Amanda beat her personal best on Centipede, and Rob, after 30 years, finally learned the secret to escaping the building in Elevator Action (Take the elevator to the lobby and shoot everyone who gets in your way… which, to be honest, is a good strategy for getting out of any building, but what the hell? Rob is slow).

But we are back, and ready to discuss Marvel’s latest original Netflix series: Luke Cage. This is a series that touches on a variety of classic genre fiction, from pulp to blacksploitation to 70s cop TV to good old superhero comics, and provides us with a couple of deep, well-developed villains with sympathetic motivations and believable actions. And there is also Diamondback!

We also discuss:

  • Power Man & Iron Fist #9, and:
  • Glitterbomb #2!

With that said:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know why Luke Cage proves that Captain America is history’s greatest monster, consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you don’t want to explain the definition of “rapscallion hobo” to your mom and / or employer, get some headphones.
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ms_marvel_11_cover_2016We are more than halfway through Marvel’s Civil War II summer event, which, like most Marvel summer events, has dragged into the fall with no end before the darkest days of winter in sight. And while we previously have idly wondered how Marvel intends to deal with characters who are on the side of profiling and pre-crime, the event has really reached the point where, in order to keep the plot moving, characters like Captain Marvel and Black Panther are acting in truly reprehensible ways that will likely require rehabilitation on the level of Matt Fraction’s reboot of Tony Stark’s brain after the first Civil War.

And while there is no main Civil War II issue this week, there are several books that feature main pro-Predictive Justice players in the event doing horrible things that run the gamut from emotionally destroying adoring teenagers, to entrapment, to asking people if they are for or against you and placing those in the latter camp under arrest without even precognitive evidence. All of which makes Tony Stark’s Civil War pro-registraton stance look like good, old-fashioned flag-waving New Deal patriotism.

So we discuss these books, including:

  • Ms. Marvel #11, written by G. Willow Wilson with art by Takashi Miyazawa and Adrian Alphona,
  • The Totally Awesome Hulk #10, written by Greg Pak with art by Mahmud Asrar, and :
  • Captain Marvel #9, written by Ruth Fletcher Gage and Christos Gage with art by Thomy Silas.

And we discuss not only what can be done to rehabilitate characters who are clearly meant to be on the wrong side of issues, but how the series maps to recent social justice events and causes in the news.

And, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to give warnings ahead of time, if you don’t want to know why the Canadian justice system is the most ruthless yet enticing in the world, consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. We did this show on a mix of beer, Sudafed and cough medicine, and we pride ourselves on our vocabularies even under adverse circumstances. Get some headphones.
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hadrians_wall_1_coverAfter yet another cripplingly busy week at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office (and, to be honest, after about a quart of single malt scotch and a few belts of mescal), we only had the time to discuss a few of the comics of the week. But that turns out to have been a good decision; since we didn’t have time to fully discuss and coordinate our choices, we wound up with a couple of polarizing choices upon which we didn’t really agree.

This led to a conversation that ranged from deciding where on the Kubler-Ross scale of grief we are with regards to Watchmen characters still appearing in DC: Rebirth books (Rob is at “Bargaining”, Amanda is “amused at Rob’s Bargaining”), how James Tynion IV made Rob care about Spoiler for the first time, whether there’s enough nostalgia in the world to make innovative visual storytelling enough to bring Steve Austin into the 21st Century, and how Amanda’s battle against scotch last night went (picture Amanda as Rocky and scotch as Apollo Creed).

So what comics do we talk about?

  • Detective Comics #940, written by James Tynion IV with art by Eddy Barrows,
  • Lady Killer Volume 2 #2, written and drawn by Joelle Jones,
  • The Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man #3, written by Van Jensen with art by Ron Salas, and:
  • Hadrian’s Wall #1, written by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel, with art by Rod Reis!

And, as usual, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to find out who dies in this week’s Detective Comics (hint: it’s not Batman), then consider yourself forewarned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. See that title? It’s because we talk about Lee Majors and a plaster cast. You want your boss asking about that? Then get some earphones.
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anniversaryIt is the Labor Day long weekend here in the United States, and considering there was little comics news this week, we strongly considered taking a pass on a show this week. However! A quick peek at our Web site archives reminded us that today, September 4th, is the fifth anniversary of Crisis On Infinite Midlives on the Internet.

And we couldn’t let the occasion pass by unmarked. So we did a very brief show (at least a brief show for us) to reminisce about where and how we started, and how we wound up where we are.

And since that story isn’t a long and involved epic tale that will ring down through the ages to eventually become a three-hour Charlton Heston movie, we also talk a little bit about some Spider-Man: Homecoming casting news, The Attack of The Mushroom People (for some reason), and some of this week’s comics:

  • Suicide Squad Special: War Crimes, written by John Ostrander with art by Gus Vasquez,
  • Thunderbolts #4, written by Jim Zub with art by Jon Malin, and:
  • Uncanny Avengers #13, written by Gerry Duggan with art by Ryan Stegman!

Oh, by the way: that Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuinness Avengers title Rob was looking for was Avengers: X-Sanction from back in 2012.

And, as always, the disclaimers:

  • This is a shorter-than-usual episode, and it’s a little bit loose. We assure you: we’ll be back to spending two hours acting as if in love with the sounds of our own voices next week.
  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know that John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad is about a black-ops team of supervillains… well, you’re already screwed. But you are also warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Your boss is already upset that the next long weekend is three months away; don’t go making them angrier by listening to this without headphones.
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tick_amazonWe’re not gonna apologize here: we love The Tick. During the 1980s Rob was a regular customer of the Brockton, MA New England Comics retail store where The Tick was born, Amanda was a fan of the 1990s Fox cartoon that brought the character to national prominence, and we both enjoyed the Patrick Warburton live action show from back in the day when your live action TV superhero choices were The Tick, Smallville or (God help us) Black Scorpion.

So we were excited when Amazon Prime video announced that part of their 2016 comedy pilot season would be a new, live action version of The Tick. And as fans of the character from the days he was a Daredevil parody through his more silly Saturday morning cartoon adventures, we were excited to see the character back in live action… but we really weren’t expecting what we got from the show. It’s a much darker, more psychological take on the character than we’ve seen maybe since the first few Ben Edlund issues of the comic book, and yet still pretty funny. And we had a lot of fun talking about it, on its own merits and in comparison with earlier versions of the character.

What’s that? You don’t have an Amazon Prime membership and you want to see the episode we’re talking about? Well, you can see it for free on your computer, and even find a link to a survey where you can give Amazon your feedback on the show.

We also discuss:

  • Kingsway West #1, written by Greg Pak with art by Mirko Colak,
  • Civil War II: Ulysses #1, written by Al Ewing with art by Karl Kesel, and:
  • Detective Comics #939, written by James Tynion IV with art by Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira!

And, as usual, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know whether Warren Ellis fan Al Ewing spends more time developing the character of Warren Ellis’s Karnak or Brian Michael Bendis’s Ulysses, consider yourself officially warned. You don’t need to be warned, but you are.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Let’s just say that, “Spoon!” is not the strongest word we shout during the show. Consider ear buds.
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