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.
Play

Enjoy the show, suckers!

Share

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.

Share

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.

Share

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?

Share

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.

Share

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!

Share

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…

Share

Amazing Spider-Man #680 was good and fun enough that this week’s immediate followup of issue 681 was the first book I pulled off the stack yesterday, despite the cover that, if you remove the planet Earth from the background, looks like a frame grab of a Spider-Man / Human Torch bukkake flick. Seriously: if that’s how people look in hard vacuum, we now know why HAL wouldn’t open the pod bay doors: because it’s fucking hilarious. They look less like they’re suffering from asphyxia than like they have a pube caught in their throats. I could go on, but rumor is there’s a whole comic book behind this cover.

Writers Dan Slott and Chris Yost have delivered what is still a big, fun comic book, but in no way will it make you smarter. In fact, you’ll need to turn off large parts of your brain in order to fully enjoy it as the high-budget b-movie that it is. The science in this issue makes Michael Bay’s Armageddon look like Nova with Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Share

The Amazing Spider-Man #680 is a buddy flick set in a zombie apocalypse occurring in space. If you walked into a movie studio executive’s office with that pitch, you’d be thrown out on your ass. Unless that executive worked for the Sy-Fy channel. In which case you’d be given their largest production budget to date: 75 bucks. Although they might go up to an even hundred, assuming Tiffany and / or Lorenzo Lamas was available.

My point is that this comic book is a big, glorious mess where I’m sure that the one “splorch” sound effect in tne book represents the sound of writers Dan Slott and Chris Yost throwing absolutely every plot idea they can think of at the wall… and it all sticks. I can almost picture those two guys saying, “Spider-Man… we bring in The Human Torch… and put them on a space station… what can they fight, what can they fight, what can they – space zombies! Now let’s write, but first: let’s take this TV apart!”

Share

Okay, nobody panic, but recently someone was wrong on the Internet!

A couple days ago, J. Michael Straczynski posted a chart with a horrifying, Killington black diamond descent slope that he found at some undisclosed location on a Facebook page with the comment: “Sales on The Amazing Spider-Man since my departure. Just sayin’. ”

Now, here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives, we love us some JMS. We make it a point to hit the Spotlight on JMS panel at SDCC every year, and we’ve even watched Jeremiah because of his involvement, and not to watch the final career destruction and public humiliation of Luke Perry. Well, at least mostly because of JMS.

And there was a time when I would have cheered a post like Joe’s, because there is, in fact, a bright and shimmering line between JMS’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man and what came after. I call it a bright, shimmering line because to me, it resembles a steaming, stinking arc of urine: One More Day.

One More Day was abominable. It was a wretched and cynical move to eliminate Peter Parker’s marriage from continuity without rebooting the whole character… because Marvel doesn’t reboot! Making a deal with the devil to eliminate your past is just a minor course correction! And exposing your genitals to school children is just a form of enthusiastic mime!

And frankly, the early issues of Amazing Spider-Man after One More Enthusiastic Mime were almost as bad. A rotating writing and art staff, with some kind of apparent editorial mandate to chuck a bunch of villains for Spider-Man to fight and a pile of new tail for Peter to chase felt forced. Sometimes almost desperate. I mean seriously: Paper Doll? Who makes people thin and kills them? A little on the nose, dontcha think? What, did Dan DiDio throw a trademark on the name Teabag?

So yes, there was a time I would have been on JMS’s side with his post, despite it being so passive aggressive it makes a Jewish grandmother look like John Rambo. There were several months where I kept The Amazing Spider-Man on my pull list on a week-by-week basis. However, these days the book is exclusively written by Dan Slott. It’s gotten over it’s weird need to come up with new villains no one gives a shit about, and, recent only-okay Spider-Island event aside, it has been a source of damn fun comics stories. And Amazing Spider-Man #675 is no exception.

Share