doctor_who_capaldiThis week we’re joined by our longtime contributor Lance Manion, who, similarly to Amanda, has been watching Doctor Who since the 1970s. So, being most of the way through Peter Capaldi’s first season as The Doctor, we talk about the season so far, what we think works and what doesn’t, and what we individually want from a season of Doctor Who.

Conversely, Lance has very little background in the character of John Constantine. So we revisit the just-aired first episode of Constantine, discuss the key difference between the leaked pilot and the aired episode, and how the show works for fans of the character and people who only know him as the guy who was a jerk to Swamp Thing.

We also discuss:

  • Deathstroke #1, written and penciled by Tony S. Daniel, and:
  • Arkham Manor #1, written by Gerry Duggan with art by Shawn Crystal!

And now, the disclaimers:

  • Normally, we record this show live to tape. However, we had a technical issue this week, which required some sound post-processing and some editing. However, we kept it as close to live as possible to maintain the spontaneity.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to yell out warnings ahead of time, assume that we will spoil any surprises you might hold dear.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is not safe for work. Unless you want to explain to your boss what the “Tuscaloosa Armpit Gank” is, get some headphones.
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Enjoy the show, suckers!

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deathstroke_20_cover_2013-153518301Editor’s Note: And one last look at last week’s comics before the comic stores open late today… and it contains spoilers. But they are spoilers on a book that has been cancelled and lives no more. So do you really give a fuck? Thought not.

“So the final issue of Deathstroke was in this week’s take. You gonna review it?” I said.

“Fuck that,” my co-Editor Amanda said, “As far as I’m concerned, that book’s been over since Rob Leifeld took over from Kyle Higgins last year. DC editorial took a perfectly good book about a professional dealing with the perils of entering middle age and turned it into a book about some badly-proportioned, footless steroid head beating on space douchebags.”

“But Justin Jordan’s been writing the book for the past few months. Do you think it’s improved at all since then?”

“I haven’t been reading it.”

“Why not? Jordan writes Luther Strode, and you like that.”

“Yeah, but so what? It’s damaged goods. Taking over Deathstroke after Liefeld had his grubby mitts all over it is like watching a buddy get married to a whore. He might be totally in love and committed to making it work, but here ain’t a force on Earth that can make people look at her and not picture when she had three dicks in her mouth. Let Deathstroke go under and lie fallow for a while. I’ll try it again when it feels a little less… dirty. You review the last issue.”

Okay I will. Despite not having kept up on Deathstroke since Higgins left the book any more than Amanda did. Which means that I have no idea what the hell led into the events of this issue, which includes all the Usual Suspects you’d expect from a big Deathstroke story. We’ve got Terra, Rose (Slade’s daughter who became Ravager before the New 52), Grant (Slade’s son who became Ravager back in the 80s – c’mon, at least try to keep up), Jericho (Slade’s other son, who was a good guy in the 80s before becoming a bad guy in… ah, fuck it) and, well, Majestic (for some reason), locked in a epic battle to the death that requires some ugly choices, brutal methods, and one deus ex machina on Slade’s part.

Which is fine, but what matters is: is it any good? And more importantly: does it work as a final story? You know, with “final” in subtextual quotes, since ain’t no one really gonna kill a character that appears on The CW’s Arrow?

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dc_comics_logo_2013It has been 17 months since DC blew up their entire line of comics, shuffled all their creators around to different books, and blew up their entire history of continuity. You know, for everyone except Grant Morrison, who has been allowed to continue his Batman saga that started several years ago in Batman Incorporated like it’s still 2009… or sometimes, considering all the Silver Age characters Morrison’s shoveled into that storyline, like it’s still 1959.

And the New 52 reboot was an unqualified success. It put DC over Marvel, in both sales numbers and dollar earnings, for the first time. It refreshed the classic characters of the DC Universe for a new generation. Truly, those 52 books signalled the start of a thousand-year uncontested reign. Nothing could stop them. They would march to victory on a road of bones. They would drive their enemies before them, see them broken, and hear the lamentations of…

What’s that? DC’s cancelling six more books?

Whoops.

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batman_13_jokerHappy New Year! Well, almost.

This year in comics has been pretty uneven for the Big Two. Marvel finally dragged its ass across the finish line to end the pain and suffering that was Avengers Vs. X-Men, leading to a reboot relaunch of most of its major titles under the imprint of something called Marvel Now! Whatever its actual intentions (sales!), Marvel Now!’s primary functions have to have an excuse to bring Jean Grey back as a teenager (hot!) and kill off Peter Parker (cold!). The jury is out with me on the whole concept right now. Meanwhile, DC has killed off many of its New 52 titles before they even made it to middle school (oh, O.M.A.C., we barely knew ye!). On the other hand, Scott Snyder has emerged as an architect of some vision with his “Death Of The Family” concept, which is currently impacting the Bat Family of books. I’m digging this story almost enough to forgive him for taking a break from Vertigo’s American Vampire…and Vertigo’s got enough problems right now.

So, where were the bright spots? Check out my picks, after the jump.

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During the mid-90s, when Wildstorm was an independent publisher run by Jim Lee and before it because a launching-off point for Warren Ellis’s groundbreaking writing on Stormwatch and then The Authority, I knew it less as an imprint known for publishing creator-owned comics, and more as “one of those X-TREEM Image-type publishers that’s fucking up comics,” while I spent three or four years in mostly Vertigo-fueled superhero comics exile. Oh sure, I’ve read some of the old Wildstorm stuff in reprints, and have become familiar with some of the “classic” characters via the more recent Ellis and Ed Brubaker-written stories, but when it comes to a lot of the stuff from, say, 1994 through 1998, I’m what you’d call tabula rasa.

And having read Team 7 #0, by writer Justin Jordan and artist Jesus Merino, that is going to simultaneously bite me in the ass and make me wish I hadn’t spend my mid-20s sneering so hard at books that weren’t named PreacherTransmetropolitan or Jonah Hex.

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Earlier this evening, an monumentous event happened in the comics world that can only be adequately described by the chroniclers of the two extremes of human morality and mortality: King James and Dante:

Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

– King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

Try not to suck any dick on your way across the parking lot!

– Dante, Clerks

In short: Rob Liefeld has left DC Comics, in a fashion in which we all wish we could leave our employers: by apparently screeching, “Fuck you, I quit!” and telling the world the boss sucks on Twitter.

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First of all people of San Diego: it’s a fucking e-cigarette. It emits water vapor. So please stop passive-aggressively giving me shit when I’m using it on a public sidewalk, out of doors and approaching the convention center, by muttering, “Nothing I like better than a faceful of cigarette smoke blowing into my baby’s face…” Let’s clear the air here (ha!): my e-cigarette emits no odor and bothers no one, unlike your little bundle of squalling fecal production. And since my e-cig doesn’t even burn, the San Diego Fire Marshall even considers it less of a fucking fire hazard.

Okay, I feel better now. Now that we’ve got my personal news out of the way, let’s talk about what’s been happening at SDCC 2012 that doesn’t involve self-righteous self-absorbsion.

The actual programming at SDCC started in earnest yesterday, featuring panels on everything from homosexuality in genre fiction to Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II. (Rob: This may be redundant. Consider editing. -Amanda)

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So Preview Night is past us now, and while I know it’s not even theoretically possible that it was busier than last year – after all, Preview Night passes have been selling out since about 2009 – it sure feels like it was. A few years ago it was possible on preview night for someone to, say, get ripped to the tits on Stone Arrogant Bastard IPA for four hours before he doors opened and then cruise around the floor, staging stupid and adolescent photographs with the Jabba The Hutt prop at the Hasbro booth. If you tried that now, you would inevitably stumble into someone waiting in a truly horrific line for an exclusive S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier playset, be unable to convince said line-waiter that you weren’t claim jumping, and wind up instigating a pathetic slapfight.

There is very little convention programming that occurs on Preview Night, so the action is centered on the main convention floor. The night’s original and intended purpose is to allow people who are attending the con to obtain exclusives, or who are looking for some particular, special item, piece of art or back issue, to have access to the vendors early and get the purchase out of the way so they can enjoy the rest of the convention. As such, any actual comic news is few and far between on Preview Night… but there is certainly some, and if there isn’t? There is spectacle.

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We’re coming up on a year since DC Comics rebooted their universe with the New 52, and by the time that year ticks over, we’ll already be down to 42… which, knowing comics, will still not be the Ultimate Answer.

On top of the cancellations of original New 52 titles Men of War, Mister Terrific, O.M.A.C., Static Shock, Blackhawks, and Pile of Steaming Shit (Whoops! I meant Hawk And Dove! Damn those typos!) back in January, DC recently announced that they were cancelling Justice League International, rebooted from the 80s classic Giffen / Dematteis / Maguire title by creative team Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti, at the one year mark. At that time, DC kicked off six new books to keep the number of monthlies at 52, merely for the purposes of marketing and not because Dan DiDio can only remember two double-digit numbers at once and can’t (or won’t) forget “69”, as has been rumored by sources I just made up.

Well, it is now June, and DC has just announced that they will be launching four new monthly comics come July, which means that barring additional cancellations, DC would be carrying 55 books, a number which Dan can’t remember, nor drive, nor use to easily keep track of the age of consent (We kid, Dan! Bring back your Sunday “We Love Comics!” panel at SDCC this year!).

However, let’s start with the new books launching in September:

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I must admit I’ve been dragging my heels on this review of Deathstroke #9 all week. I’ve been pretty clear about my feelings on the subject of Rob Liefeld’s take over of Deathstroke. Liefeld certainly has his fans and his detractors. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m in the “I Hate Rob Liefeld” club, we here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives home office have been more than willing to use Liefeld’s name as an easy punchline, the same way Tim Allen might make grunting noises into a microphone instead of telling an actual joke. But, honestly, in the 90s, if I was looking for ridiculously silly, overblown art, I read The Tick. At least the silly had a purpose in that. Liefeld has never done much for me art wise. However, I’ve never read his actual writing. I’m aware he’s created a number of characters for which such comics luminaries as Alan Moore have written spectacular stories. I mean, he must know what he’s doing if he keeps staying employed in the business and Alan Moore has played in his sandbox, right? Or does he just have some incriminating photos of Bob Harras somewhere?

After reading Deathstroke #9, I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter.

Read all about Deathstroke and his new playdate, Lobo, after the jump!

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