dc_rebirth_charactersIt’s the first full week of DC Comics: Rebirth, and not a single Watchmen character appears in those issues, so we decided it would be a good opportunity to complain again about Watchmen characters appearing in the DC Universe.

Specifically, it was revealed this week that DC Comics didn’t contact Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons to ask him his opinion about adding Watchmen characters to Dc Universe: Rebirth. So we talk about whether that was a bush league move (protip: yeah), some of the history around DC leaving Watchmen alone, and whether DC Editorial really had any choice in asking for Gibbons or writer Alan Moore for even a half-hearted blessing in using their characters in Rebirth.

Then, since we were on a Rebirth roll, we discussed all this week’s titles from that event:

  • Superman: Rebirth #1, written by Peter Tomasi with art by Doug Mahnke,
  • Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, written by Benjamin Percy with art by Otto Schmidt,
  • Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1, written by Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries with art by Ethan Van Sciver and Ed Benes, and:
  • Batman: Rebirth #1, written by Scott Snyder and Tom King with art by Miken Janin.

And, just so Marvel doesn’t feel neglected, we close the show by talking about:

  • Civil War II #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez!

And, as always, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you want to avoid knowing how the DC: Rebirth books end (spoiler alert: no matter what happens, it probably won’t matter next month), then consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your mom to know what “giddy bottom” means? Get some ear buds.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

x-files_season_10Sorry for last week’s unexpected absence, but something unexpected made its way into our home and made us feel terrible. And on a completely unrelated note…

A couple of weeks ago brought us the conclusion of the much-anticipated return of The X-Files. Presented as six episode miniseries meant to function as an official tenth season of the original series (down to the original, shot-on-video opening credits), the event was intended to satisfy both long time fans and newer viewers alike. Meaning that we were the entire target audience – Amanda watched the show from the first episode, whereas Rob has only seen the first couple of seasons on DVD and the movies.

So we talk about the things about the season that worked, the things that unexpectedly delighted us, the elements that were more distracting than anything else… and the things that were simply, truly, irrevocably awful. And while we didn’t agree on everything, there is one thing in which we are lockstep: of all the things that work in The X-Files, Chris Carter should be George Lucas’ed into the cornfield, Disney style.

We also discuss:

  • The Walking Dead #152, written by Robert Kirkman wih art by Charlie Adlard,
  • Green Lantern #50, written by Robert Venditti with art by Billy Tan and Vicente Cifuentes, and
  • Black Widow #1, written by Mark Waid with art by Chris Samnee!

And, the disclaimers:

  • As we said: we were sick last week. So you’re going to hear more coughing and sniffling than normal. We apologize.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to yell out warnings ahead of time, be aware that we will ruin the ending of The X-Files more thoroughly for you than Chris Carter did. Actually, that’s not possible.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you want your employer to learn how to violate millions of television viewers with a move I like to call the Sudden Stem Cell Trespass? Then get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

secret_wars_teaser_alex_rossIt is Mother’s Day today, which means a somewhat shorter and truncated show this week. Because when you’re a son or a daughter, you need to honor your mother on Mother’s Day. And it turns out that you need to do that whether you remember she’s visiting that day, or whether they need blind telephone technical support for several hours. Because she’s the woman who gave birth to you, and saying, “But we have a podcast to record!” isn’t a good excuse. Particularly when you don’t want Mom to know that you have a podcast.

So this week, we take advantage of the fact that Convergence is half over to discuss the previews of post-Convergence books, both new and old, that DC has released this week. The books run the gamut from humor to sci-fi to action to apparent political horror, so we talk about Doomed, Red Hood and Arsenal, Starfire, Midnighter, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Omega Men, Detective Comics, Section Eight, and Prez.

But the big deal in this week’s comics was the first issue of Marvel’s Secret Wars, where Jonathan Hickman spits on his hands and takes Marvel the whole Crisis route. However, Secret Wars #1 isn’t Crisis. So we talk about how Hickman has put Marvel through it’s own Kobayashi Maru test, and given us a superhero story where nobody acts like a superhero, everyone seems to act in their own self-interest, and heroes act like they never have before in order to make sure everyone’s in the right place to service the plot. Ultimately, we talk about how this is a story that is very consistent with Hickman’s general style… and how that might not be the best thing for some of these characters.

And now, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like speculation about the musky flavor profile of Dead Guy Whiskey.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that you are going to learn exactly why Reed Richards is a d**k.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Unless you want your employer to learn our new cocktails based on Dead Guy Whiskey, get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

green_lantern_20_cover_20131784141047If you’re anything like me, when you see Green Lantern #20, and its thickness, squared binding and eight dollar price tag, you will think of The Amazing Spider-Man #700 from just five months ago – an issue that was padded with secondary stories to pad out it’s length. So you might think that Green Lantern #20 would do the same to fill its 86 pages and get a little upset that you’re dropping eight clams on what would seem to inevitably be a big chunk of filler.

You would be wrong. Sure, there is filler here – I’m not sure I needed nine pages of messages of congratulations to writer Geoff Johns (although DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson’s message makes me believe she might be the brains behind the Horse_EBooks Twitter account) – but on the whole, this is a one-story comic book. So you’re damn sure getting your money’s worth with this comic book.

And it is a big story. This is Johns’s final issue driving the Green Lantern franchise, and he treats it like the series finale of a long-running television show, even though the Green Lantern books will continue, as the five full-page ads in this issue for those books attests. And as a series finale-feeling story, it brings back all the old favorite characters for a final bow, it throws all the old fan favorite moments at the wall, and as is befitting a sci-fi action story, it blows stuff up real good.

But this is a space opera, not hard science fiction. So while Johns puts all the pieces into place to make a slam-bang action-packed story, there are a bunch of elements required to push that story forward that are firmly based in the scientific principle, as defined within the Green Lantern universe,  of the Theorem of Shut Up That’s Why. So some of the points between A and Z require a lot of taking on faith to avoid nitpicking… but if you can, you’ll have yourself a damn fun read that brings all your favorites up to bat one last time, and even tells you where some of these characters would end up.

green_lantern_20_promo_cover_2013DC’s been releasing their May solicits over the past few days… with one exception: they’ve been holding back their Green Lantern solicitations. Which has led to a certain amount of anticipation, at least here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, because some of the best crossovers and events in DC Comics over the past several years have come from Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns in those books.

So we’ve been waiting for what Johns had planned starting in May with bated breath, with images and memories of classics like The Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night and Brightest Day dancing in our heads. What would it be? Another big crossover? Rainbow Lanterns? A new Lantern oath involving the prominent use of the word “sack”?

Turns out, not so much. It seems that Geoff John’s next big plan for Green Lantern is to, well, quit the book.

And apparently it was such a good idea that every other writer on the Green Lantern books has made the same plan. That’s right: everyone is leaving the Green Lantern books.

Um… what the hell, Geoff?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Comic Reader of Earth: You have the ability to overcome great spoilers.

The most obvious thing I can say about Green Lantern #0 is that new Green Lantern Simon Baz is the unluckiest son of a bitch in comics history.

If Simon Baz didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all. Black cats must go days without sleep in order to find him just to cross his path. The next time Spider-Man whimpers about “The ol’ Parker luck,” he need only look at Simon Baz to know that a dude with a high-paying engineering job who has banged a supermodel should really just learn to shut the fuck up; Spider-Man could have gotten his powers by being gang assaulted by radioactive lepers and still count himself luckier than Simon Baz.

His luck is so Goddamned bad that it stretches the bounds of logic. Which is the only downside to an origin issue, with a generally likable character, that is packed with character-building story points… even if a lot of those points require you to believe that the hero has luck so crappy that if he won the lottery, he’d die of a gangrenous paper cut from the winning ticket before he could collect.

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.

Ever since DC Comics revealed the cover to Green Lantern #0, and certainly during all the Green Lantern-related panels at SDCC, the big question has been: who is the new Green Lantern who’s carrying the gun? And how will he factor into the upcoming Third Army crossover event? And what does he have against sleeves? And will the man with his finger stuck through someone’s ring go off half-cocked against the angry, purple headed aliens? And why do I suddenly feel like I need a shower?

Well, thanks to the Diamond / Previews Website and its solicitation for Green Lantern #13, we have the answers to all your questions! Y’know, provided your only question is, “What’s the new Green Lantern’s first name?”

On one hand, Green Lantern #11 is an encouraging sign that the book might be returning to its glory days of  the spectacular Blackest Night crossover from a couple years ago… almost literally. We’ve got the return of that crossover’s villain Black Hand, he’s got his Black Lantern ring back and he’s bringing the dead back, getting ready to take over the world again. It’s exciting, even though it’s a story that maybe we’ve seen before.

On the other hand, Green Lantern is a sign that the book might be returning to another story from the past. That story is Army of Darkness.

This issue is very much a transition story, wrapping up the recent origin of the Indigo Tribe while laying the groundwork for the upcoming Third Army event, of which it appears that the returning Black Hand will be a big part of. Sinestro has been released from the thrall of the Indigo Lanterns, which is a shame, since on an infinite timeline we’d have see a lettering mistake having Indigo Sinestro muttering, “Nok. Kok. Nok kok. Kok nok. Kok.” Yes, I am emotionally twelve years old, why do you ask?

A few weeks ago I reviewed a comic book about a video game that was actually a damn good Green Lantern story. By contrast, the latest issue of Green Lantern Corps is a Green Lantern comic that is, for all intents and purposes, a video game.

This book is what Green Lantern would be if it was a first person shooter in Hoard Mode.

You think I’m kidding? The whole video game vibe frankly bakes off of this book. For starters, look at that Alex Garner cover and tell me it doesn’t look like concept art from some FPS. The first person point of view, “your” hand coming into frame at right to shoot plasma beams at anonymous bad guys in armor with lightsabers… just replace the DC Comics slug with a health meter and the New 52 bullet with an ammo indicator and boom! You’ve got a shooter! A shooter designed by a focus group loaded with Asperger’s patients (“So how about we give stormtroopers lightsabers and have them fight Green Lanterns? Jesus, Bob; they’re all peeing!”), but a shooter nonetheless.

The whole video game vibe continues right into the story proper and doesn’t stop, from the weird aliens coming in multiple waves, to the Green Lanterns using their rings – weapons that can turn whatever you imagine into reality – to do nothing more than create a plethora of BFG9000’s to mow the aliens down. Part of me thinks that writer Peter J. Tomasi took a screen grab of an epic Red Bull-and-Stoli-fueled Gears of War session, emailed it to artist Geraldo Borges, and said, “Lightbox this, but make everything, y’know, green. But don’t trace the chainsaws on the ends of the guns; I don’t want to get sued.”