doctor_who_doctor_mysterio_poster_2016It is the holiday season, and while that means things like delayed flights, family political battles and regifting, it also means the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special. And this year’s, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, was a double whammy: not only was it the first Doctor Who story in almost a year, but it was about an American superhero.

So we discuss the story, both on a Doctor Who and a superhero story level. And while we don’t want to spoil anything, we learn that there’s a reason why it’s maybe not a good idea for a British television writer to tackle an American superhero story. We’re guessing it’s the same reason it wouldn’t be a good idea for the guy who created The Cape to write an episode of Doctor Who.

We also discuss:

  • Civil War II #8 written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez, and:
  • DK III: The Master Race #7, written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello, with art by Adam Kubert, Klaus Janson and Frank Miller!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. So if you don’t want to know who loses at the end of Civil War II, you should avoid this show. And probably mirrors.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and this therefore not safe for work. Unless you think your mom wants to know what Marti Noxon might do with Naked Batman, maybe use your holiday Airpods.

Happy New Year, suckers!

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hey_kids_comicsIt has been a hectic week at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, and combining that with a dearth of substantial comics news we’d be interested in discussing, it means that we’re going old school this week.

That’s right: on this week’s episode of our comics podcast, we’re going to discuss a bunch of this week’s comics!

Here’s what we’ve got in the pipeline:

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 10 #18, written by Christos Gage with art by Rebekah Issacs,
  • Secret Six #5, written by Gail Simone with art by Dale Eaglesham and Tom Derenick,
  • The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #4, written by Dan Slott with art by Adam Kubert and Scott Hanna,
  • 1872, written by Gerry Duggan with art by Nik Virella, and:
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard #17, written by Al Ewing with art by Lee Garbett!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • We record this show with minimal editing. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like learning why a “grunt” is poor open house etiquette.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that you will learn whether or not Spider-Man actually renews his vows (Not yet. Sorry.).
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Seriously, you don’t want your supervisor hearing that “grunt” thing. Get headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

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EDITOR’S NOTE: No more spoilers. Actually, a lot more spoilers.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 is a hard book to review because it endeavors to do a whole lot of things all at once. First, it needs to resolve the fact that Dark Phoenix is running around in the body of a petulant dink, and it generally accomplishes that. Second, considering the story was about two linchpins of the Marvel Universe, they had to, pretty much for the first time since the series started by showing Cyclops acting like he was one bad night away from handing the X-Men Nikes, track suits and tainted Kool-Aid, introduce some ambiguity as to who the good guys and the bad guys were, and it accomplishes that damn well.

However, one of the things it needed, and tried, to do, was rehabilitate the Scarlet Witch after the events of Avengers: Disassembled in 2004, when she single-handedly wiped out pretty much all the mutants in the 616. It also needed, given the commitment by Marvel editorial to integrate the X-Men back into the more mainstream, non-mutant based books, to make sure that there were actually X-Men around to add to the Avengers books. And it certainly accomplishes both of those things, but it does it in a strangely unsatisfying way, a way that feels like the decision was made that many of the main events of the past seven or eight years of Marvel stories simply don’t matter. It is the final nail in the events of Disassembled – Hawkeye’s alive again, the Vision’s back, and now the mutants are all returning – and it feels like someone at Marvel, be it Axel Alonso or Joe Quesada or Brian Michael Bendis or Ike Perlmutter, dusted off their hands and said, “There! Now we’re back to 1999!”

We make a lot of jokes here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives about how vehemently Marvel protests that they don’t reboot, but make no mistake: Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 is a reboot. The only question is: it is a good one?

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EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m just going to spoil the Earth, like Kane from Kung Fu.

Even if Avengers Vs. X-Men goes the way of such other luminary comics crossover events as Contest of ChampionsAtlantis Attacks, or Heroes Reborn, meaning in order to remember it one needs to find it on Wikipedia, it will have accomplished one thing that no other event in Marvel Comics history has accomplished, and which is long, long overdue.

In issue ten, it showed Cyclops getting the everfucking shit kicked out of him while a baldheaded nerd points and laughs, and the he goes running for his Mommy. Well, not exactly, but close enough to make me giggle myself into a halfway decent erection.

Yes, I hate Cyclops just that much.

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Editor’s Note: Does he spoil? Listen bub: he’s got Jack Daniels infected blood!

If you are a Spider-Man fan, you will find Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 to be about the most satisfying issue of the crossover event so far. It hammers home his philosophy of “With great power comes great responsibility” without actually saying the words for a change, it plays to his strengths as a character, and it allows this street-level hero to have a distinct and concrete impact on a cosmic-level story in a way that is true to the character, and satisfying for people who love him.

It also has a marital collapse. And it sets up the savage beating of one of the biggest douchecanoes in modern superhero comics. So there’s not a lot of downside here.

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Versus #1 takes the Avengers Vs. X-Men event, strips out the backstory, the plot contrivances and the other useless crap that is being pounded into this event to make it hang together as a story, and it leaves us with the core idea which is all that almost anyone gives a tin shit about in this event: superheroes kicking the shit out of each other.

Let me offer an analogy: let’s say that Avengers Vs. X-Men is a Grateful Dead show. If that’s the case, then Versus is the smelly guy in the parking lot selling hits of acid for five bucks a whack: in other words, it’s far more entertaining, and if you’re honest with yourself, it’s the real reason you decided to attend the main event in the first place.

This book is fucking fun. It is meant to be fun, and it knows that it’s fun; any comic that opens on its recap page (and interesting choice for a first issue) with…

This book is about AWESOME BRAWLING! You want PLOT? LOOK ELSEWHERE, CHUM. You want a KNOCK-DOWN, DRAG-OUT WHUPPIN’? WE GOT YOU COVERED.

…is a book whose only ambitions vis a vis obtaining an Eisner Award to to snatch one out of Joe Sacco’s hands and use it to beat Grant Morrisson about the head, neck and face.

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If you’re not an old school comics fan going back to the 80’s or into more indie stuff, you might not know who Geof Darrow is, since he’s done most of his work for the movies and TV. He started out in animation doing character designs for the Pac-Man Saturday morning cartoon, so you know he must smoke pot. Then he did the concept art for Neo’s biopod in The Matrix, so you know he must smoke laced pot.

Comics-wise, he wrote and drew Shaolin Cowboy, which has been out of print for years.  He drew The Big Guy and Rusty The Robot and Hard Boiled, both written by Frank Miller. And at the 2009 Boston ComicCon, he grabbed my 1990 first print copy of Hard Boiled #2 and used it to give some kid who he was talking to when I shuffled up an impromptu art lesson without my having to ask or buy something or shoot his loved ones in the face.

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