As we move slowly into convention season, there is kind of a dearth of interesting comics news to work through some weeks. Oh sure, we could weigh in on Marvel’s comments at ComicsPRO that the reason their sales are down is because of DC shipping cheaper books, but that’s a little inside baseball even for us. And besides: we all know that the people at Marvel will say absolutely anything if it means Issac Perlmutter turns his Sauron doom-eye back toward Kevin Feige.

So this week, we stick with talking this weeks’ comics, including:

  • Justice League of America #1, written by Steve Orlando with art by Ivan Reis,
  • Darkness Visible #1, written by Mike Carey and Arvind Ethan David with art by Brendan Cahill,
  • The Old Guard #1, written by Greg Rucka with art by Leandro Fernandez
  • Hulk #3, written by Mariko Tamaki with art by Nico Leon, and:
  • The Amazing Spider-Man #24, written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli!

However, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know how many of this week’s comic books actually feature The Hulk (hint: it’s one fewer than you’d think!), then consider yourself forewarned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Let’s just say that Rob curses enough about The Clone Conspiracy this week to make the phrase “Ben Reilly” an obscenity by association. So consider using earbuds.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

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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.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

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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.

Thanks for listening, 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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doctor_who_capaldiThis week was the much-heralded premiere of Doctor Who season 8, with Peter Capaldi’s first turn as The Doctor. Like most geeks, Amanda and I watched the show, with our special guests, long-time Crisis On Infinite Midlives contributors Trebuchet and Pixiestyx, and spent some time talking about the episode itself, and Doctor Who as a whole. Between us all, we have a wide range of experience and interest in Doctor Who, from one recent and casual fan to one who’s been watching since Tom Baker was broadcast of UHF PBS stations in the early 90s, so it made for a pretty interesting conversation, even with our crippling, debilitating hangovers!

We also discuss:

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #6, written by Christos Gage with art by Karl Moline, and
  • Multiversity #1, written by Grant Morrison with art by Ivan Reis (and considering Rob is the only hardcore superhero fan with a soft spot for Morrison, this gets a little contentious)!

And now the disclaimers:

  • This show was recorded live to tape. While this might mean it’s a little looser than some comics podcasts, it also means that anything can happen! Including the rank mockery of Matt Smith!
  • This show not only contains spoilers, but it is supersaturated with spoilers. So while we try to throw in warnings ahead of time, consider this a big, blanket, spoilery-woilery warning.
  • Everyone involved in this show uses explicit, adult language, so the show is not safe for work. Even the BBC, which allows full frontal nudity, would bleep this show. So get yourself some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

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superior_spider-man_31_cover_2014Editor’s Note: Yeah. That sounds just spoilery enough to be right. Let’s go.

It’s been about 16 months since Doc Ock took over as Spider-Man, which has been just enough time to forget that Spider-Man is supposed to be fun, dammit.

Spider-Man’s supposed to be a wisecrack and an acrobatic move and a triumphant battle against insurmountable odds, while simultaneously Peter Parker’s a self-defeating complaint, an overdue bill he can’t afford to pay and a ruinous relationship that disintegrates against, well, predictable odds. Is it a formula? Sure. Is it soap operatic? Hell, yeah. But it’s a thing that works, and which has been working for 52 years. And it seems like a simple enough formula that we’ve seen so often over the years that we wouldn’t miss it if it was gone for a while… but I did, dammit.

Doc Ock as Spider-Man has been an interesting thought experiment to help reinforce that it’s the character of Peter Parker that makes the comic and not just a power set and a red and blue leotard, but nobody falls in love with a thought experiment unless it’s the Milgram Experiment, and even then it’s only if the enthralled already had a closet full of jackboots. So while it’s been a kinda cool distraction to watch a darker, more obsessed version of Spider-Man, I was ready for it to be over since I already have Batman.

So not only is it just plain good to see Peter back in the saddle in The Superior Spider-Man #31, writer Dan Slott clearly knows it. Because throughout this issue, characters react to Peter being back in costume (despite ostensibly not really knowing that he ever wasn’t the guy in the costume) with a general sense of relief and a sense of return to normal.

And so did I.

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tmp_superior_spider-man_25_cover_20141062414147Editor’s Note: Ah, but my dear Spider-Woman… I so want to spoil you. And I can no longer think of a reason not to.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

I’ve been pretty vocal recently that, while I’m generally enjoying Dan Slott’s tale of Doc Ock as Spider-Man in The Superior Spider-Man, it’s felt like it’s been dragging along for a while to me. With the foregone conclusion that Peter Parker would eventually be returning as Spider-Man – a foregone conclusion that has been bourne out by recent news (spoilers at that link, by the way) – I had passed the point where I was fully engaged in seeing how Doc Ock would operate as Spider-Man and had reached the point where I wanted to see how things turned out to put Peter back into the suit. Picture it like sex: foreplay is fun and all, but as a wise man once said, eventually you gotta go into the trenches and bump uglies. So to speak.

Well, we are now on the 25th issue of The Superior Spider-Man – an impressive feat, considering the first issue was only a year ago – and now we’ve got some solid rising action moving toward a denouement of this whole Otto situation. Writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage take a solid step in this issue toward yanking the rug out from under Otto, showing cracks in his public image, suspicion from Spider-Man’s allies, and some real opposition from someone who can actually get to the bottom of this whole Ock / Spider-Man situation.

After months of foreplay, characters are finally starting to bump Editor’s Note: Rob, this metaphor is a dicey pile of shit. Move along. -Amanda

Ahem. Anyway.

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tmp_superior_spider-man_22_cover_20131746222442I haven’t written about The Superior Spider-Man in a while, even though I am still reading it and still generally enjoying it, because it is beginning to succumb to The Walking Dead disease.

Here’s what I mean: we all know full well how The Superior Spider-Man is going to end. No matter what writer Dan Slott says on Twitter and at conventions, we all know that Peter Parker will return as Spider-Man at some point before the Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie opens on May 2nd next year. And even if you choose to believe that Marvel’s overlords at Disney will be willing to allow that corporate synergy and mindshare (Christ, I feel dirty just typing that) to pass since the movie’s owned by Sony and Columbia, the signs are all here that Peter Parker will return and Otto Octavius will suffer a fall. Otto’s showing hubris, he’s arrogant, and his sense of superiority is rubbing damn near everyone the wrong way.

All the signs point to Otto falling from grace and Peter returning, and the problem is that every reader knows this. Because we read comic books, and we know full well that dead only means dead in comics if the dead guy is Uncle Ben, Thomas Wayne or Martha Wayne. So we all know that the broad-stroke ending of Otto falls / Peter returns is coming (the same way we’ve known that Negan falls / Rick triumphs is the likely ending of the Walking Dead arc that’s been going on since 2012)… but it seems it has been going on forever.

And the events of The Superior Spider-Man #22 continues with the long, slow arc of Otto blindly heading toward a bad end, with yet another instance of Otto interacting badly with someone who would expect Peter to know and be friendly with him. And it’s certainly enjoyable enough, particularly in seeing J. Jonah Jameson’s reaction to some of the events of the issue… but it is also still more of the same interminable setup for a story for which I’m becoming damned impatient to see the punchline.

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dc_comics_logo_2013It has not been a good week for DC Comics, publicity wise. In the last week, the creators of Batwoman announced that they were leaving the title early, mostly due to editorial interference on a bunch of story points, including forbidding the planned plotline of Batwoman getting married to another woman. And while that particular story point was not, by the accounts of both the creators and DC Editorial, the primary cause for the split, but it’s what fired the imagination of half of the comics Internet (if by “imagination,” you mean “screeching hate frenzy”)… particularly once Dan DiDio, at this weekend’s Baltimore Comic Con, defended that particular decision by announcing that no DC superheroes are married. Even though a bunch of them, you know, are.

But Baltimore is over now, and the initial hubbub is starting to die down, so DC can get back to focusing on the comics, particularly the few that are left from the New 52 relaunch that still have consistent and successful creative teams. Like Geoff Johns on Aquaman. Right?

green_lantern_facepalm

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Editor’s Note: If I ever want to hear your spoilers Spike… come to think of it, I’ll never want to hear your spoilers.

Well, I certainly didn’t see that coming. I probably should have, given how similarly weighty events have recently played out in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but what the hell. We’ll get to that in a minute.

We’ve spent sixteen issues watching Angel and Faith off in England, trying to work out how to bring Giles back from the dead. And during that time we’ve met some interesting new characters and we’ve come across some old familiar ones, and some weird shit has gone down, but that first statement has been our core mission: Angel and Faith are trying to resurrect Giles. And that has made Angel and Faith, to me, more compelling than the core Buffy Season Nine title, because of what that mission entails: doing some dark shit, shit that the Buffy TV show, in Season Six, showed us was difficult on a good day, impossible on a bad one, and dangerous, ill-advised and rife with bad, bad unintended circumstances on every day. And this story has worked for me because if anyone knows the dangers behind raising the dead, it’s members of Buffy’s Scooby Gang, and yet they were doing it anyway. And the promise has been that we will eventually see them on the precipice of darkness, with Giles’s body and some magical McGuffins, and having to make the conscious decision as to whether to proceed or not, and face those consequences.

Well, that’s over now. While the conclusion of Angel & Faith #16 delivers one hell of a twist and teases a possible big bad for Faith and Angel that I didn’t really see coming and which could well wind up with an emotional and affecting climax. However, by taking that course, writer Christos Gage has let the air out of the story so far. He trades the weird, sick momentum of the story so far for a twist and an “oh shit!” moment. And while that moment has some promise, it doesn’t trade even in my ledger.

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