secret_empire_promoYes, we are late after a weird weekend, but we still have a good show for you! A show barely prepared for, fueled by caffeine and alcohol, but as far as shows go: this is one!

Anyway, for the past few years, DC Films seems to have gauged whether or not to proceed making live action films of some of their lesser-known comics properties by releasing direct-to-video animated versions of them to see if they’ll stick. They did it with Suicide Squad three years ago, and now they’re doing it with the cast of the proposed Dark Universe movie with Justice League Dark, which was released last week.

We are big John Constantine fans (and kinda fans of the New 52 Justice League Dark), so we watched the movie and discuss the return of Matt Ryan to the role, how Batman fits into a mostly magical cast, why Black Orchid is almost literally filler, and why seeing Green Lantern being lightly tazed is almost always worth nearly any price of admission.

In addition: this week gave us the first two issues of what will become Marvel’s next event, Secret Empire. We have been nothing if not vocal here about how much a bummer Civil War II was, and now that we’re staring down the barrel of a story about a literal Nazi taking over the United States, well, we have strong opinions. And we even try to have those strong opinions without talking too much about current American politics.

As a palate cleanser, we also discuss Deathstroke #11, written by Priest, with pencils by Denys Cowan and inks by Bill Sienkiewicz!

But here’s the disclosures:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know why spending a few months with Nazi Captain America might be a depressing idea, you have been warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you don’t want to explain to your mom why “catharsis: isn’t the same as some form of “reaching around”, then listen in your car or something.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

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daredevil_end_of_days_cover_2013Editor’s Note: I’ve been there for a lot of people’s last words. And every time it’s the one thing they spoiled about the most.

Mapone is not a thing.

I have, as I’m sure a lot of people have since Daredevil: End of Days began several months ago, Googled the living shit out of the word “Mapone.” And there is nothing there; there is some family out of Italy, a Fleetwood Mac fan on YouTube, some promotional trinkets company in South Africa… and since October, a bunch of reviews of Daredevil: End of Days. If you look for the definition of “Mapone,” there isn’t one. If you try contextual searches, you wind up with articles about Halo battle maps, mapping values in computer programs, and MAPI interfaces.

In short, “Mapone” is not, by any real definition, a word. It is, rather, a sound you make with your mouth. So as a mystery, writers Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack picked a good mysterious word to act as a throughline for the story… but Daredevil: End of Days #8 is the last issue of the miniseries, meaning that it is time for them to put up or shut up.

And they have put up. We learn the meaning of the word “Mapone” on the very last page of the issue, Citizen Kane-style. And the reveal is, in fact, a surprise, and it is, in fact, generally satisfying… until you close the book and stop and think about it for more than ten seconds.

So it is a really fortunate thing that this issue accomplishes so much beyond the silly little mystery, closing out a story that turns the legacy of Daredevil into a tragedy that is almost Shakespearean in scope, and which is implied to doom everyone it touches. Daredevil: End of Days #8 is a truly weighty and satisfying speculative end to the story of Matt Murdock, regardless of the whole “Mapone” mystery that has kept us going through this story. And that is a good thing.

Because Mapone is not a thing.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: He is Daredevil, The Man Without Fear! Of Spoilers!

One of the main reasons cited for the runaway success of Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil (Eisner awards for Best Writer, Best Continuing Series and Best Single Issue tend to be indicative that You Done Good) is that Waid depicts Murdock as a more positive character than he has been since Frank Miller revamped him in the 80s. Waid successfully broke from the years-long general formula for a good Daredevil story, which was to throw some terrible hardship at Murdock and watch him go nuts for a while.

That, however is Mark Waid. Daredevil: End of Days is written by Brian Michael Bendis, who wrote Daredevil from 2001 to 2006, and who put Daredevil through trials like revealing his secret identity, accusing him of murder, and having him marry a woman who goes violently insane and requires commitment… and not the good kind where people throw you a party and give you salad spinners, but rather the kind where the jackets tie in the back and the big blue pills don’t give you a boner.

So will Bendis’s take on this supposed final Daredevil story embrace the Waid’s more positive take on the character? Sure! Provided you get a warm fuzzy feeling over seeing the title character murdered in the street in broad daylight on page four! But that’s okay, because this Daredevil comic book isn’t really about Daredevil!

Depressed and confused? Don’t worry; stick with me and we’ll work through this. And it is generally a comic book worth working through.

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When I was a working comedian, some inconsiderate dickface sent some True Believers (and if Stan Lee hasn’t sued the Christ out of that dickface’s estate for trademark infringement, then comics’ lawyers are spending too much Goddamned time keeping me from reading new Miracleman stories) onto flying machines to do something unspeakable. And in the face of this tragedy, we working professionals needed to figure out how to be effective in addressing the scenario in a way that didn’t feel disrespectful to the people affected it. What we did was to write material about the fringes of the tragedy. We didn’t write about the guts of it, we wrote about what people were doing in the face of it. We wrote about how people were reacting to it, and how it affected our understanding of American myths and legends.

Dave Stevens, the creator of The Rocketeer, died of leukemia in 2008 after having written and drawn only a very few stories about a character so compelling it spawned a movie – sure, a movie that John Cartered, but what the hell; it’s still more than Wonder Woman got. IDW Comics is now publishing a Rocketeer Adventures series, and they’re doing what we comedians did right after 9/11: they’re telling stories about The Rocketeer by telling stories around The Rocketeer. And those stories are generally pretty Goddamned cool.

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