We are in a genre entertainment lull. A week after Wonder Woman debuted in theaters, three weeks before Spider-Man: Homecoming opens, and with all the geek TV shows on summer hiatus, there’s not a lot to talk about except the comic books.

So we stick with comics this week, and we are thankful that we don’t have to deal with a week of DC Comics trying to shoehorn classic comics from the 80s into modern continuity. Instead, we weep that we have to deal with DC Comics trying to shoehorn classic comics from the 80s into some weird Elseworlds continuity they probably hope they can sell to people who remember Frank Miller without thinking of Holy Terror.

So we discuss:

  • DK III: The Master Race #9, written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello, with art by Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson,
  • Wonder Woman Steve Trevor Special #1, written by Tim Seeley with art by Christian Duce,
  • Batman #24, written by Tom King with art by David Finch, and:
  • The Walking Dead #168, written by Robert Kirkman with art by Charlie Adlard!

And, the normal disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know who Steve Trevor is sleeping with, you are clearly not thinking things through. But don’t pretend we didn’t warn you.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. We don’t talk about Batman’s dance belt because of his waistline. Listen with some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

Yes, we’re a day late, and for that, we’re sorry. But it’s a jam-packed show this week, so we wanted to take the time to get it right. That, and we had weird audio issues it took a while to resolved, but let’s focus on the positive.

First, we discuss some long-awaited and welcome comics news: Matt Wagner’s announcement at ECCC that Mage: The Hero Denied, which has been promised since the conclusion of the first Mage series in 1986 and the end of the second in 1999, will begin this July. Mage is rarely mentioned in the same breath with other 80s classic series like Watchmen, but it’s one of the first examples of urban fantasy out there, and one of our personal favorites.

And then there’s Logan. Which was Rob’s choice for most-anticipated genre movie of 2017 (a choice for which he took some static), and for once, it’s almost like Rob knew what he was talking about. We discuss Logan, how it’s less a superhero movie than it is a western (and, as a western, the Unforgiven of comic book movies), and, even with all those qualifications, one of the best comic book movies ever made.

We also discuss:

  • Batman #18, written by Tom King with art by David Finch, and:
  • Savage Things #1, written by Justin Jordan with art by Ibrahim Moustafa!

And, the usual warnings:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen Logan yet and don’t want to know whether or not we’re making up the fact that Jubilee saves Logan’s soul from Mephisto, consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Look at this episode’s title. Think about the discussion surrounding that title. Listen with headphones.

And, one last disclaimer: there is some unexplained static in the show’s recording, for about ten minutes, starting at about the one hour, five minute mark. We’ve run the audio through a couple of filters to minimize the crackling, but it’s still noticeable and the audio will sound somewhat processed during that time. A thousand apologies; we’ll send your refund to the usual address.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

clone_conspiracy_promo_poster_1This week, Marvel and Spider-Man writer Dan Slott announced that this fall’s Spider-Man event will be called The Clone Conspiracy, and will feature The Jackal and the clone of Gwen Stacy, possibly bringing a bunch of long dead Spider-Man characters back from the grave. We initially had a very negative reaction to this news, because any Spider-Man title that includes the word “clone” brings back memories of the 1990s Clone Saga… but then we realized that neither of us had actually read all that much of the original Gerry Conway clone stories from the 1970s, or the Clone Saga stories from the mid 90s.

So we ran out and purchased the trade of the original clone stories from 1975 through 1990, and one of the trades of the 90s Clone Saga, to see how we really felt about the clone stories in the face of the actual works. And we discussed, in the face of actual exposure to the clone stories, whether we wanted to see any more clone stories… and whether we did or not, if they could possibly overcome the reputation of the 90s Clone Saga.

We also discuss:

  • Civil War II #2, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez,
  • Superman #1, written by Peter Tomasi with art by Patrick Gleason, and:
  • Batman #1, written by Tom King with art by David FInch!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to learn the ending of who wound up with the mantle of Spider-Man at the end of The Clone Saga 21 years ago, you are a wise person with good taste in serialized graphic storytelling! But we’ll still ruin it for you.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you don’t think your mom wants to hear how there’s a big bit of Hal Jordan in Carol Danvers, then get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

tmp_forever_evil_3_cover_2013934293745I think I’ve finally figured out why DC’s latest event crossover, Forever Evil, hasn’t really been working for me, despite the fact that I’ve got a soft spot for the Crime Syndicate going back to the original Crisis On Infinite Earths. The storytelling decisions that writer Geoff Johns has made have made this thing pretty one dimensional up until now.

Think about it: the Crime Syndicate in this series are pretty much just evil for the sake of being evil, and that’s not all that interesting. Sure, there are some little extra beats like Ultraman’s lust and hatred for Superwoman, and Owlman’s somewhat conflicted emotions about Nightwing, and Power Ring’s cowardice, but in general these characters are pricks for the sake of being pricks. They’ve got the raw power to knock the moon out of orbit, but they also need to recruit this universe’s super criminals for power, why exactly? Because shut up, that’s why!

Also, Johns’s decision to get the Justice League out of the way has made sense from the angle that it allows these characters to run riot across the Earth to show us how bad they are, but it has had the unfortunate side effect of accentuating what the bad guys are up to… and a lot of it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Like that whole moving the moon to block the sun. It’s a neat visual, but if you stop and think about it for more than ten seconds, you’d realize that changing the moon’s orbit would alter tides, cause massive crop failures and climate change, and generally cause devastation on a planetary scale. Not that anyone would know, since the eclipse would blind everyone in about 45 minutes or so. And combine that with the fact that every time I see Grid I’m reminded that he split away from Cyborg by the selfsame powers of “shut up,” and we’ve had a bunch of one dimensional characters doing awful and ridiculous things for about three months (or eight when you remember that Forever Evil is, for all intents and purposes, just a continuation of the Trinity War crossover).

Well, this week brings us Forever Evil #3, and the good news is that things are starting to improve and become a little more diverse than just “evil dicks are evil.” But to get there, we get one more big plot point that doesn’t really ring true, and another that relies on, well, evil dicks being evil.

forever_evil_1_cover_20131103308065Editor’s Note: Today is the second anniversary of the launch of Crisis On Infinite Midlives, and as such, I am going to give myself the gift of one review where I don’t try to be clever and / or funny to warn you that spoilers will follow. Plus, cocks.

It is the roughly second anniversary of the launch of DC’s New 52, and DC is celebrating by releasing the first issue of their crossover Forever Evil, also known as the seventh issue of their crossover The Trinity War. And DC is celebrating the complete and utter dismissal of their entire 1986 through 2011 continuity and the subsequent triumphant relaunch of the Justice League by bringing back a part of that 1986 through 2011 continuity and implying that the triumphantly relaunched Justice League is dead.

Well, that’s one way of celebrating your anniversary, I guess. Some of us like champagne and… well, champagne. Other people like leather, rails of drugs and savage whippings. This story features the Crime Syndicate. So I’m gonna let you guess which column this one falls into.

Look, I’m not gonna lie to you: I wasn’t particularly psyched to see this issue when I walked into my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to stop offering to show the paying clientele “something else that’s Forever Evil, and also in 3D, and it’ll only cost you three bucks!” The whole way that The Trinity War ended by not ending, implying that the readers of that series would need to tune back in this week to see what seemed to be the inevitable Justice League / Crime Syndicate battle that should have concluded that miniseries, was really a bummer for me to read, and it shaded my anticipation of Forever Evil. It’s hard to get excited about an event when the last one really had no climax. An anniversary with no climax is nothing but a champagne drunk. And is usually followed by divorce proceedings. Or at least an angry, furtive yank in the morning.

Well, we don’t get that fight in Forever Evil #1. We don’t find out what really happened after the last panel of The Trinity War beyond the word of a pack of degenerate liars. But what we do get in its stead is a pretty decent little mystery of what exactly happened to the Justice League after the Crime Syndicate broke through Pandora’s Box, the implication that a couple of members of the Secret Society are gonna wind up being unpredictable flies in the ointment, the foreshadowing of involvement by the Teen Titans and Amanda Waller… and one fuck of a bad day for Nightwing.

justice_league_of_america_1_cover_2013Editor’s Note: Gathered together from the cosmic reaches of the universe – here in this great Hall of Justice – are the most powerful forces of spoilers ever assembled.

This isn’t like The Suicide Squad.

– Steve Trevor

Actually, Justice League of America #1, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by David Finch, is a lot like Suicide Squad, in that it’s got Amanda Waller making unique and intriguing personal offers to fringe people with super powers to join a team controlled by the government to perform missions for the government’s purposes. It’s also a lot like Keith Giffen’s and J. M. DeMatteis’s early issues of their late 80’s Justice League, in that it is attempting to lay the groundwork for and justify a Justice League packed with second-stringers and also-rans. It’s also a lot like Brad Meltzer’s post-Identity Crisis run on Justice League of America, in that it’s got as many sequences of people looking at pictures of, and talking about, superheroes as it does sequences of people actually, you know, doing stuff.

Two of these similarities are good things.

Look, as an opening issue of a book trying to justify the creation of a second Justice League when there’s a perfectly good one that’s only a year and a half old, this is a perfectly acceptable story that delivers the necessary exposition required to justify the concept and to introduce characters who are either relatively new since the New 52 reboot, or who have been around in their own titles, albeit with sales numbers low enough to warrant a whole new introduction (I’m looking at you, Hawkman). And it does it with enough mysterious teases and interesting secrets to justify their willingness to join this team to keep things intriguing… with one exception. In one case, using a single word balloon, Johns shows himself to be playing with some serious fire. Fire that, if he handles it well, will thrill anyone who read comics through the 1990… and that conversely, if he screws it up, will make a fairly significant niche fanbase turn on him like he insulted their mothers, and make the attempted rehabilitation of Vibe seem like a low-risk venture.

There is a convention going on in Toronto this weekend called Fan Expo Canada, which we were not able to attend since we are still paying off our attendance at San Diego Comic-Con, I have no valid passport, and because of that 1991 incident where the Montreal Police were forced to declare that particular location of Peel’s Pub “Unfit for human habitation” after five pitchers of Labatts and a plate of their poutine like it’s my fault that there was already a dude locked in the bathroom when the gravy and beer did what it does.

Anyhoo, there was a convention this weekend, and members of the DC Comics staff were there, and there was a pretty big announcement: writer Geoff Johns and current Batman: The Dark Knight artist David Finch will be collaborating on a new book: Justice League of America.

Yesterday was a big day on the DC Source blog, where they apparently decided to try and recapture that excitement and magic of the first month of the New 52 by showing off every… single… cover of every… single… comic that they’re releasing in February, the six month anniversary (or six month-aversary? “Anni” means “year”. So technically, anniversary isn’t the right – what’s that? No, you’ve been drinking! but I digress.

You can go straight to the source (get it?) for the full list, but here are some of the highlights. And lowlights: