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!

dc_rebirth_first_teaserIt’s been a couple of weeks since DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee tweeted their first teasers toward something called “Rebirth,” and  since then, there has been, well, absolutely no concrete hard news whatsoever.

But what there are are rumors. Many, many rumors. From where did the rumors originate? Who knows? But rumors there be, about book cancellations, creative team changes, new books, new first issues, and partial to total reboots. So we talk about them, kick around which sound like good ideas, which seem like terrible mistakes, and wind up in a short-term, love-hate bromance with Dan DiDIo.

We also discuss:

  • Batman: Europa #4, written by Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello, with art by Gerald Parel, and:
  • Spider-Man #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by Sara Pichelli!

And, the usual 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 finding a very valid, but… shall we say, alternative, use for your comics.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware that you might find out that Batman talks like Phillip Marlowe, and why that’s maybe not a great idea.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your boss to find out what “Gank the wingman” means? Then get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

flash_arrow_crossoverWell, New York Comic Con was this week… and we were not at it. And what with the impending Home Office move, we were too busy to follow nearly as much of it as we would have liked. But still, we open the episode gamely trying like hell to round up some of the news and announcements from the convention… before realizing that there is one activity that no amount of bad scheduling or work commitments or lack of funds can keep us from experiencing: television.

This week gave us the debuts of the new seasons of The Flash and Arrow on The CW (or, as Rob continues to insist upon calling it, The DCW). And these debuts brought some interesting new angles to old familiar characters, like Arrow trying to find love, and The Flash trying to nuke a guy to death. So we discuss the episodes, some of the changes that seem to be in store for the characters in the coming season, who we think will die, who we think will receive either a power ring or villain helmet… and most importantly, how Arrow and The Flash seem willing to take standard superhero story tropes and turn them delightfully on their heads.

We also discuss:

  • Dr. Strange #1, written by Jason Aaron with art by Chris Bachalo, and:
  • The Amazing Spider-Man #1, main story written by Dan Slott with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli!

And, as usual, 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 discussion about how the best Inhumans movie would feature Lockjaw, a green screen, and piddling on a baby.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be warned that you will learn whether or not we were serious about The Flash nuking a dude to death.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you want your employer hearing about the surgical alternative to Method Acting? You do not. Listen with headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

secret_wars_teaser_alex_rossIt’s been three months since Marvel announced the Secret Wars crossover event, and since then, speculation has been flying about what it meant for the Marvel Universe: would it be a reboot, or just an event allowing Marvel characters from all their various universes to punch on each other for a few months?

Well, Marvel’s Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort and Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso did a press conference about Secret Wars this week, and it turns out the answer is: both!

So this week, we spend a lot of time poring over audio from that press conference, first trying to figure out if this reboot was planned before or after Alonso famously denied that Marvel was planning a reboot. We also discuss whether and what we’ll miss from the Ultimate Universe, what we want to see written out of Marvel continuity, and what we think is absolutely sacrosanct. Further, when it comes to Secret Wars itself, we talk about Battleworld, what battles we want to see between characters and universes, and ultimately, whether or not we’re excited by the idea of a Crisis On Infinite Earths-style reboot of Stan and Jack’s Marvel Universe.

We also discuss:

  • The Amazing Spider-Man #13, written by Dan Slott with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, and:
  • Powers #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Avon Oeming!

And now, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean this is a looser comics podcast than you might be used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like discussions over whether we want to start a Kickstarter to fund the purchase of a Crisis On Infinite Midlives Kill-Bot.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that we’ve ruined the end of Spider-Verse for you.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and therefore is not safe for work. Unless you want your employer finding out what body part we want to use to trigger the machines guns on our Kill-Bot, get some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

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.

Hellblazer300-1Yesterday, I bemoaned the fate of Hellblazer and the title’s termination at issue 300 before going on to say mostly nice things about a character that had been generally known as a cliche, prior to being brought back from the dead. Today, I will talk to you about a character who has also turned into a cliche prior to becoming dead: John Constantine.

I think my “wailing and gnashing of teeth” yesterday was primarily mourning for a character who has really been dying and on his way to dead from about issue 251 on. I’m sure Peter Milligan meant well, but this series – which managed to survive the literal dicking Brian Azzarello gave it back in the year 2000 – has been dead man walking for some time. Sure, there’s been some glimmers of good story, but this is not the John Constantine we all signed up for. This is a sad shell of a John Constantine, a Constantine that, had he been anticipated as a likelihood by former writers like Garth Ennis, would have eaten a bullet sometime back around 1994. Issue 300 does not serve so much as closure for John Constantine as make you wonder about the Constantine that might have been in other hands.

And, I think I’ve figured out why.

Join me as I spoil my way through problem solving, after the jump.

So yeah – turns out they were talking about Spider-Man.

Yesterday was the retailer’s breakfast at New York Comic Con where The Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott announced what the hell “Superior” stood for, and apparently he then turned right around and told USA Today that, following the sooper seekrit events of the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man #700 – which will mark the end of that title, at least until someone at Marvel realizes there’s money to be made in releasing a book with the words “Spider-Man” and “800” on the cover – he will be writing a book titled The Superior Spider-Man about… some guy in a Spider-Man suit.

A guy who might, or might not, be Peter Parker.

“I’ve always been the omniscient hand that’s been protecting Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and not letting anything too bad happen to him,” [Slott said]. “And now I’ve become this cruel god. There’s something exciting about that, about going, ‘Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha, here is what’s going to happen to you, Spider-Man!’ And it’s drastic and it’s big and it’s exciting and it’s never been done before.”

So here’s what we know: Slott says that in The Amazing Spider-Man #700, Doctor Octopus has only one day to live, and he knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and he is going to do something unfriendly to Pete. And whatever that thing is, it is going to lead to a somewhat darker Spider-Man.

So what do you have in mind, Dan?

Marvel has released a new one-word Marvel Now teaser… kinda. And, well, so much for that Miracleman theory.

There’s still no specific word as to what Marvel’s “Superior” tease from a couple weeks back means, but thanks to Marvel releasing a new version of the image to USA Today, we at least have a creative team attached… which you can see after the jump.

Well, True Believers, The Amazing Spider-Man debuted in theaters this week, and took an astounding $35 million in U.S. and Canadian box offices. In the movie, a young Peter Parker goes through his origin rigamarole to become Spider-Man and, in the process, fights a villain called The Lizard. Coincidentally, this week no, not really a coincidence, I’m sure The Amazing Spider-Man #689 hit comic book stores. In this issue, an older, more world weary Peter Parker fights a “living vampire” named Morbius, while ignoring the larger, more devious threat from a villain called…The Lizard. Frankly, I don’t care if it was planned purposefully or not, but I think the outward similarity is a good thing. Based on the movie’s success this week, I agree with Rob that it’s probably a good idea for a comic book to resemble the movie property during the time of a recent release. If viewers liked the movie, they’ll probably latch onto the book more easily if they see characters they recognize. Apparently, not all fans agreed with me if this tweet from Dan Slott (@DanSlott) yesterday is any indication:

Some fans think I sold out having the Lizard in this arc. Others think I missed an opportunity to bring Gwen back. ‪#CantPleaseEverybody‬ ;-D

The fans that are moaning about wanting Gwen back probably were also the first ones to get their panties in a bunch about Gwen sleeping with Norman Osborn and her freakish look alike clones children running around, ninja style trying to kill Peter under J. Michael Straczynski’s Sins Past arc. Let her lie, people. There’s no good way to bring her back that isn’t going to anger as many people as it pleases. Meanwhile, let’s talk about how Dr. Curt Connors has been brought back to life in this issue by penciller Giuseppe Camuncoli as Too Much Coffee Man. Seriously. That is the bug-eye of a 3 pot a day man. But, I digress.

Beyond surface similarities, why should new readers follow this book, and other questions answered in spoiler-y fashion, after the jump!

Thanks to the hectic nature of a weekend that’s contained St. Patrick’s Day, a visit with my tax guy where I learned my coming federal refund, and a trip to my local electronics retailer to piss that refund away on a jacked-up tablet PC to help faciliate more effective reporting at SDCC this July (At least that’s the excuse I’m using to justify dropping the coin), it has been difficult to keep up with the goings-on at this weekend’s Wondercon in Anaheim, CA. Frankly, by about our second bar yesterday afternoon, it was difficult to keep up with the going-on in my my own pants (“I’m actually peeing in the bathroom, and not dreaming I’m peeing in the bathroom while I’m busily pissing myself on the couch, right? Right? …who am I talking to?”).

But when I finally managed to find the time to filter through the Wondercon announcements after a busy morning whimpering and cleaning the couch, one particular item jumped out at me: Marvel’s announced the return of The Lizard starting in Spider-Man issue #679. Which, on one hand, is in no way surprising; the issue’s due out about a week before the Amazing Spider-Man movie’s scheduled to be released in theaters, and if there’s one thing comics do well in the face of movie publicity, it’s try to match the books with the flick… and fuck it up. After all, this is the industry that killed Batman just before The Dark Knight make a bazillion dollars. So I’m less surprised over Marvel’s bringing back The Lizard than I am that they’re not bringing back Gwen Stacy (“Oh, Peter! I was absorbed by the Phoenix Force! No? Howzabout I’m a clone? Um… Ultrons? Just shut up and give me your comics money.”).

So the concept of writer Dan Slott and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli bringing The Lizard back wasn’t exactly exciting. The art that debuted at Wondercon, however…