x-files_season_10Sorry for last week’s unexpected absence, but something unexpected made its way into our home and made us feel terrible. And on a completely unrelated note…

A couple of weeks ago brought us the conclusion of the much-anticipated return of The X-Files. Presented as six episode miniseries meant to function as an official tenth season of the original series (down to the original, shot-on-video opening credits), the event was intended to satisfy both long time fans and newer viewers alike. Meaning that we were the entire target audience – Amanda watched the show from the first episode, whereas Rob has only seen the first couple of seasons on DVD and the movies.

So we talk about the things about the season that worked, the things that unexpectedly delighted us, the elements that were more distracting than anything else… and the things that were simply, truly, irrevocably awful. And while we didn’t agree on everything, there is one thing in which we are lockstep: of all the things that work in The X-Files, Chris Carter should be George Lucas’ed into the cornfield, Disney style.

We also discuss:

  • The Walking Dead #152, written by Robert Kirkman wih art by Charlie Adlard,
  • Green Lantern #50, written by Robert Venditti with art by Billy Tan and Vicente Cifuentes, and
  • Black Widow #1, written by Mark Waid with art by Chris Samnee!

And, the disclaimers:

  • As we said: we were sick last week. So you’re going to hear more coughing and sniffling than normal. We apologize.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to yell out warnings ahead of time, be aware that we will ruin the ending of The X-Files more thoroughly for you than Chris Carter did. Actually, that’s not possible.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you want your employer to learn how to violate millions of television viewers with a move I like to call the Sudden Stem Cell Trespass? Then get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

lucifer_foxWhat with the search for a new Home Office thanks to continual incursions by vermin (It’s like Secret Wars, only with ants!), we’re a little scatterbrained and fried this week, but we don’t let that get in the way of putting together a great show for you! Or at least a show of roughly professional-ish quality!

Disney’s D23 Expo was this weekend, and since Marvel Studios was bough by Chairman Mouse, that means that the first real footage from Captain America: Civil War has been shown. Not released, and not leaked in any fashion we’ve been able to locate, but descriptions abound, so we discuss what we’ve heard, what was announced about Doctor Strange, and whether we will be allowed to openly carry liquor and firearms at the Mos Eisley Cantina Disney will be building at Disneyland.

And while we weren’t able to see the Civil War trailer, we have been able to see the pilot to Fox’s upcoming adaptation of Vertigo Comics’s Lucifer. We are big fans of Mike Carey’s Lucifer series (and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman that introduced the character in that form), so we have strong opinions as to how the original comic series, about a fallen angel exploring what it means to have free will through the creation of literal universes, jibes with this new series about a Devil who solves crimes with a former actress cop.

We also discuss:

  • The Walking Dead #135, written by Robert Kirkman with art by Charlie Adlard, and:
  • Starfire #3, written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, with art by Emanuela Lupacchino!

And now the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape, with minimal editing. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like a sudden tangent over which character in The Strain we want to kill with a pipe wrench (it’s totally Zach).
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be forewarned that we will reveal that people talk a lot in The Walking Dead.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Unless you think your employer is interested in the continuity ramifications of perverse Wookie sex, get yourself some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

daredevil_netflix_season_1_posterLet’s be honest here: if you’re a comic book fan who’s connected enough to be listening to comic book podcasts, there’s a good chance that you have a subscription to streaming Netflix. And if you do, you probably spent this weekend the way we did: binge-watching Daredevil. And possibly binge-drinking Daredevil beer.

So we discuss the show, including the parallels between Kingpin’s and Daredevil’s character arcs, how effective the characterizations of other supporting characters were, and the general adult nature of the show (vis a vis violence and alcohol). We also talk about how the show stacks up against Mark Waid’s current comic book version of Matt Murdock, what we hope to see in the future from the show, and whether a certain relatively high-profile character’s unexpected death amounts to Suicide By Kingpin.

We also discuss:

  • Convergence: Nightwing and Oracle #1, written by Gail Simone with art by Jan Duursema, and:
  • The Walking Dead #140, written by Robert Kirkman with art by Charlie Adlard!

And now the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like an impromptu pitch for Batman: I Punch Your Groin.
  • This show contains spoilers. This show especially contains spoilers for the Daredevil TV show. Like, we ruin the whole thing. Like, we air recordings taken of us watching the show, that include dialog of the show. So consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. For example, we talk about “Jerk Hawkman.” Only we don’t use the word “jerk.” So get some headphones.

Oh, and by the way: if you’re looking for that Web site that has transcripts of at least some of the episodes of Daredevil? Here you go. And that reference to Bullseye maybe being in the show? Here’s the source.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

BatgirlNewCostumeThere has been another creative team change on Batgirl, by all reports due to editorial edict. So Amanda and I talk not only about the proposed new direction for the character, but we about the increasing influence over story and tone that editorial seems to have been gaining over creative teams as opposed to the early 2000s, when comics were doomed and writers and artists could seemingly do any damn thing they wanted if the sales numbers this month were higher than the ones from last month.

We are also just over a week away from San Diego Comic-Con 2014, so we talk about some of the scheduled panels, and how the wealth of content can make it infuriating, if not impossible, see everything you want at the show.

Finally, we discuss and review The Walking Dead #129, and Grayson #1!

And now the usual legalese:

  • We record this show live to tape. While that might mean some parts are a little rough around the edges compared to your regular comics podcast, it also means that anything can happen.
  • This show contains spoilers. We try to give a shout-out ahead of time, but we drink while recording. So tread lightly.
  • This podcast contains adult, explicit language, and is not safe for work. If you don’t want your boss hearing us talk about how superhero costumes contain compartments for each boob, wear headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

harrison_ford_signIn this week’s podcast, Amanda and I are joined by longtime Crisis On Infinite Midlives contributors Trebuchet and Pixiestyx! Trebuchet read comics as a kid and came back to them as an adult, and Pixiestyx didn’t read any comics until adulthood. Which make them the perfect guests with whom to discuss:

  • Star Wars: Episode VII! And more specifically, why we aren’t feeling all that excited about it,
  • Considering the comics industry is dying (almost literally) to bring in new and lapsed readers, what factors, books, and events brought Trebuchet and Pixiestyx to comics in the 21st Century,
  • Uber #14, written by Keiron Gillen with art by Gabriel Andrade,
  • The Walking Dead #128. written by Robert Kirkman with art by Charlie Adlard, and
  • The United States of Murder Inc. #2, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Avon Oeming!

But first, a few disclaimers:

  • This show is recorded live to tape, and may contain more pauses, “um’s”, and references to tube steaks, lips and Kobe assholes than your average comic book podcast,
  • There are spoilers here. We try to warn ahead of time, but proceed at your own risk, and
  • This show features adult, profane language, and is not safe for work. We all found headphones with which to record the show, so you can damn well hunt some up to listen to it.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

godzilla_and_godzookyIt is Sunday, which means it’s time for another episode of the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show, or as we like to call it: that thing we do as an excuse to not write for one day so we can devote more time to drinking whiskey, watching Game of Thrones, and babying the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office Mascot, Parker The Kitten.

On today’s show, we tackle:

  • Godzilla! We went into it thinking it would be a movie filled with Walter White battling a giant lizard, walked out of it thinking it was a pretty enjoyable reboot of the property… and then we talked about it. And sometimes, that’s the worst thing you can do to a movie…
  • Wild-assed and variant covers – Marvel announced this week that the covers of each issue of The Death of Wolverine would be something called “Weapon Etched Holo Foil,” and DC is planning to release their Futures End (Mistakenly called Five Years Later in the show) September one-shots with another series of 3D covers. As a couple of people who lived through variant covers and how they helped kill comics in the mid-90s, we don’t have a lot to add about it, but man do we like to complain about them.
  • Batgirl #31, written by Gail Simone with art by Fernando Pasarin
  • The United States of Murder Inc., written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Avon Oeming
  • The Walking Dead #127, written by Robert Kirkman with art by Charlie Adlard, and:
  • Cat nutrition, or: taking care of a stray animal for only $47 a day

And one show note for the week:

  • The Island of The Mushroom People is an actual movie, actually called Attack of The Mushroom People in America and Matango in its native Japan. I wish I was making that up.

And, our usual semi-legalese:

  • This show was recorded live to tape, meaning that you might hear more than the normal number of “ums”, pregnant pauses, and references to Bukkake
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is not safe for work. That line just above about references to Bukkake? I didn’t pull that out of my ass. Be smart: listen with headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

walking_dead_125_cover_2014Editor’s Note: Some kind of instinct. Memory of stories they used to ruin. This was an important spoiler in their lives.

Let me start be reiterating the spoiler warning in the first line of this review. I recognize that I try to get cute with my spoiler warnings, and therefore they might be missed by some people who want to cut to the chase and get pissed off by reading spoilers on a free Web site written by a drunkard who’s spent almost two years complaining about the antagonist in The Walking Dead. I intend to spoil the living shit out of this issue. Starting now.

Thank fucking God that, after about 23 straight months of the rotten, one-note son of a bitch, someone has finally put the shiv to Negan. Granted, it happens at the very end of the issue, and since this is only part 11 of 12 of the All Out War storyline, he still has 22 pages to magically get someone to seal the gaping wound in his neck to still be a pain in someone else’s, but I have waited since July of 2012, when Negan killed Glenn (which gets namechecked in this issue) to see someone actually hurt that wretched bastard.

I have been vocal about how slowly-paced things have seemed since Negan came on the scene to curse and threaten his way through The Walking Dead, so seeing him take a blade to the throat would have given this issue a thumbs up even if the other 21 pages were wordless Charlie Adlard ink washes of Rick trying futilely to crank himself off with his wrist stump. But that’s not the case.

Instead, we have a rich issue filled with the aftermath of Negan’s earlier biological warfare, some scenes of some serious jockeying in conventional warfare, and a whole bunch of sweet, sweet psychological warfare. Meaning that not only does this story meet the definition of All Out War, but it is the first really, really good issue of The Walking Dead in quite a long time.

tmp_walking_dead_116_cover_2013-1782529905I have not been particularly quiet about my opinion that The Walking Dead has been spinning its wheels for a while now – you get Negan making threats, Rick and company come up with some kind of plan to turn things around, Negan sees said plan coming and turns it around with effortless ease and an erudite and witty comeback such as, “In case you haven’t noticed, you’re fucking fucked, you stupid fucker,” – and yes, that was an actual quote from Negan from one of the last few issues – and you repeat and repeat and repeat until you start considering dropping the title and waiting for the trade for the first time since the seventh issue.

This seemingly endless cycle has been going on for at least 17 months, or since Negan killed Glenn… but with issue 116, we finally we have an issue of The Walking Dead where not only does something go wrong for that baseball bat-fellating son of a bitch, but where there’s an actual live zombie attack. It’s a Goddamned Christmas Miracle!

Well… Negan still says irritating cocky shit and gets a hostage out of the deal. So maybe it’s more of a Thanksgiving Miracle. You know, the kind where you still have to put up with drunken racist Uncle Pete, but you avoid jail time for choking him out because for once, you get to witness him slipping on some gravy and falls on his ass.

tmp_walking_dead_115_cover_2013971730894This review is going to be colored by the fact that I am sick to fucking death of Negan and am more than ready for The Walking Dead to move on to something new.

We have been dancing with this character for fifteen months and his crew of douchebags for even longer than that, and for the entire time it has felt like the guy has one note, and writer Robert Kirkman has been playing it over… and over… and over, in an unending loop that should offend the mind of any self-respecting software developer:

while (bool negan.getIsAlive())
    List ricksPlanToBeatNegan = new List ( { “Take The Fight to Negan!” } );

    n = n + 1;

See what months and months of reading about Negan has done to me? I develop software for my day job, and I just spent ten minutes trying to come up with a valid Java-ish method rather than contemplate 12 more issues with this fucking character.

But 12 issues should be the long and short of Negan, because The Walking Dead #115 signals the start of the major story arc All Out War, which should give us the final showdown between Rick’s and Negan’s people. And if the check that the title’s floating is any good at all, this showdown will be a straight-out fight, rather than these little insurrections and half-measures and bouts of oneupsmanship that have made reading The Walking Dead since July of (Jesus) 2012 feeling like walking through thick mud: you take forever and a ton of effort to take every step, and yet go nowhere fast.

So things should start speeding up… eventually. Because part one of All Out War is really more of the same.

We’re a bunch of issues into the Negan Is A Douchebag arc in The Walking Dead, and I still don’t have that douchebag figured out yet.

I know a few people with some experience dealing with people on the autism spectrum (I know, I know: “Gee Rob, doesn’t everyone who knows you have experience dealing with at least one guy on the autism spectrum?” Yer a real fucking comedian, you are), and I’ve heard enough descriptions of missed social cues and inappropriate responses to interpersonal stimuli and the need for rigid routine to think that maybe writer Robert Kirkman intends for Negan to be rocking that kind of diagnosis… although everything I know about autism comes from secondhand anecdotes, Rainman and when people question my motivations.

But at the same time, I know a rotten, cowardly fucking bully when I see one, an I certainly see one in Negan. A big kid in arrested development who realized somewhere along the way that, since there’s no one to put the arm on him for telling racist jokes and flushing drunks heads down the toilet, why the hell not escalate to baseball bats and hot irons?  Maybe Negan’s just the kid who wedgied you in junior high who’s stuck in a state of arrested development, taking advantage of the fact that he maybe pinkbellied his first couple of “followers” into line, and the rest followed the pack.

Or maybe Kirkman has some combination of the two in mind; a character who never had the capacity to understand that just because a littler kid didn’t hit you back didn’t mean he was your friend, who thrives in a black-and-white set of simple rules that he suddenly found himself in a position to create on his own (no matter how much sense those rules might make), and whose pre-apocalypse personal obsession was zombie movies which made him better prepared to handle the rise of the walkers while we other social outcasts who were obsessed with, say, comic books, contributed to the rise of the new world order by becoming lunch.

Or maybe I’m completely full of shit, utterly off base, and have no idea what I’m talking about. And even if I am, who gives a damn? I don’t need the DSM-5 to know batshit crazy when I see it, and Negan is crazy. Regardless of his motivations (although clearly, this is the kind of thing that’s on my mind these days), this issue serves to show that, back at the ranch, Negan is at least as dangerous as the Governor, if not more so due to his obvious lack of real care for his people. He needs to die, already… and he has Carl.

This will not end well… and frankly, after six or seven months with this prick, I’m not sure it will end at all.