And lo, we return to you from lands afar, with the legendary tale of The Mighty Conquest of the Editing Robot with the Holy Union of the Irish and Columbia or: How We Killed Our Podcast Editing Computer with a Cup of Irish Coffee!

Seriously, we’re back after some serious technical difficulties, but ready to discuss the annual sale of passes to San Diego Comic-Con, and how we’ll be covering at least part of the event from on site. We’re excited to be returning for the first time since 2014… but we can still be irritated by having to suffer through the experience of the Blue Ring of Failure.

But it was a big week for comics, both good and bad, so we spend most of the episode discussing the high and lowlights, including:

  • Nick Fury #1, written by James Robinson with art by Aco,
  • Secret Empire #0, written by Nick Spencer with art by Daniel Acuna,
  • The Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign? #1, written and drawn by Geof Darrow, and:
  • Batman #21, written by Tom King with art by Jason Fabok!

And, as usual, the disclaimers:

  • We experienced a technical problem where a crackling sound becomes apparent during the last several minutes of the show. We ran it through a couple of filters to minimize it, but it’s obvious, and while the audio never becomes inaudible, it is irritating. We apologize, and we swear that our backup system to avoid this will totally work next time this happens, because we will totally remember to turn it on.
  • The show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know what universe Batman comes close to this week, well, you must be a new listener! Nice to meet you!
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is not safe for work. If you don’t want your mom to hear about how Batman makes Reverse Flash see God, then get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

doctor_who_guitarAfter weeks of renovations here at the All-New, All-Different Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, we had a relatively quiet few days for a change. So we took the opportunity to catch up on Doctor Who season 9, the second with Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and the last with Jenna Coleman as Clara, although unlike when other Companions have made their curtain calls, I suspect we’ll be seeing Clara again. Soon.

So we spend a good chunk of the episode talking about the season, including its two-episode story structure, the circumstances of Clara leaving The Doctor, why putting a gun in The Doctor’s hand is lazy writing, why Maisie Williams would make an excellent Doctor, and how showrunner Steven Moffat apparently thinks there’s a Jackrabbit Slims on every street corner in America. Most importantly, we lay out why penultimate episode Heaven Sent is a an unholy plot-holed mess in The Girl Who Waited clothing.

We also discuss:

  • Scarlet Witch #1, written by James Robinson with art by Vanesa Del Ray, and:
  • Constantine The Hellblazer #7, written by James Tynion IV and Ming Doyle, with art by Brian Level and Riley Rossmo!

And now, 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 discussing whether Maisie Williams’s character had an unfortunate encounter with stripper glitter, a Bedazzler or a nose piercing.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware that there are reasons we discuss who would be the best actress to portray a female Doctor.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your employer to hear what is aggressively pouring out of John Constantine’s drain? You do not. Get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

tmp_ant-man_movie_logo871384253It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show! May God have mercy upon your soul!

It has been a big, weird week for Marvel, both the movie studio and the comic publisher, so we talk about:

  • Edgar Wright’s departure from the Ant-Man movie, who might be a good choice from the directors who have been named as probable replacements, and who would actually be a good replacement
  • The rumor (a rumor that is picking up some partial documentation and some steam) that Marvel might cancel Fantastic Four to spite Fox Studios efforts to promote the latest movie adaptation
  • The concept that Marvel and DC might just be intellectual property farms for movies and TV, the deleterious effect that that could have on comics, and what, if anything, comics fans can do about it (spoiler alert: not much)
  • Fantastic Four #5, written by James Robinson with art by Leonard Kirk
  • Trees #1, written by Warren Ellis with art by Jason Howard

And, the usual legalese:

  • This show was recorded live to tape, which means you might hear more weird pauses, aborted jokes, and jokes about abortion than you might hear on your normal podcast
  • This show contains spoilers. We try to warn ahead of time, but there is every chance you will hear the odd spoiler of a story point or nine. What can I say? We ruin stuff.
  • This show contains adult, explicit language, and is not safe for work. Invest in some headphones, even if they must be those awful Beats By Dre monstrosities.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

tmp_the_saviors_1_cover_2013903724880Jack Finney’s 1955 novel The Body Snatchers has, in my lifetime, been adapted about every ten years, whether we need a new version or not.

Putting aside the original novel and the 1956 movie Invasion of The Body Snatchers, we had the Donal Sutherland shrieking version in 1978, the one with Gabrielle Anwar in the early 90s, and then the Nicole Kidman version (which was inspired casting. After all, if Nicole Kidman was taken over by an unfeeling alien spore, who could tell?) in 2007.

And on one level, why not? The idea that the people that you love aren’t who you think they are, combined with the concept that your own individuality is not only an ephemeral thing, but something that, if wiped away, other people might not even notice it was gone, is powerful. But it’s a powerful concept with diminishing returns; the novel, first and second movies are rightly considered genre classics, while the 90s version is pretty much just a decent sci-fi flick, and the latest being kinda useless, since by then it was an old story told better, and besides: Kidman shows off her whole magilla in Eyes Wide Shut.

All of which brings us to The Saviors #1, a new comic by Starman writer James Robinson and cartoonist J. Bone, which gives us what so far seems to be yet another version of Invasion of The Body Snatchers, wrapped in the unlimited special effects budget that only a comic can bring, but saddled with some real storytelling difficulties and forced characterizations that simultaneously amp the excitement visually while bogging the whole thing down in writerly bits of business and force-fed pacing.

This one’s got some problems, guys.

james_robinson_headshotWell, there goes all my hopes for another Starman story… or worse: here comes another Goddamned Starman story.

Allow me to explain. Yesterday, via Twitter, the magical service that allows people to reach into my life across time and space to show me the things that they are about to have for dinner,  DC Comics’s Earth 2 writer James Robinson announced that he is leaving that book.

Okay, that’s a bummer, especially considering that when it comes to alternate versions of classic heroes, Robinson is one of the best in the business – so good that the characterizations in his Elseworld’s story The Golden Age became, pre-New 52, part of DC’s Golden Age canon.

But hey: maybe this was good news! Maybe Robinson was freeing himself up to do that last Starman story he’s always been saying he wants to do! Maybe it means that he’s clearing himself up to do a complete new Starman series! Maybe it means –

Oh, what’s that? It means nothing of the sort?

EDITOR’S NOTE: And one last brief review of one of last week’s comics before the comic stores open…

Looking back over this past week’s reviews, it seems like there wasn’t very much I actually liked. Which is a bummer, but just the way things go sometimes; some weeks you get journeymen turning in inspired craftsmanship, others you get dillitanates who are fucking around in the medium for the sheer, lunatic thrill of it.

Thankfully, The Shade is no dillitante… and neither is writer James Robinson, who is continuing via The Shade miniseries to channel the closest to a Jack Knight Starman story that we are every likely to see again.

Robinson is just over halfway through this 12-issue miniseries with this issue, and yet amazingly, it is not a bad place to jump on if you haven’t been reading from the beginning. Yes, it is mid story – even mid ministory within the series, which recalls adventures from the title character’s past – but Robinson gives the reader a three page recap at the start of the book, in the middle of a fight, to bring us up to speed. Which is valuable, and the kind of thing that I like to see in comics – I prefer a book that I can pick up and follow without having to hunt up back issues or old trades – although I’ll admit that the sequence is dialogue-heavy exposition.

According to the DC Blog, The Source, DC Universe Presents – a spotlight series that features a different hero in each arc – will begin, starting with issue 9, a new, 3-part story that introduces a heretofore unknown daughter of immortal Vandal Savage, Kass, uh, Sage. Kass is a profiler for the FBI who will need to reach out to daddy for help in order to solve a difficult case. Writing the series will be James Robinson (The Shade, Starman) and art will be handled by DC Universe Presents Deadman arc penciller, Bernard Chang with Ryan Sook on cover art.

So, is this character intended to be a complete retooling of Secret Six‘s Scandal Savage or a new character entirely?

More!

Well, we knew it was coming – the DC brass all but told us it was – but DC’s New 52 is now the New 46.

DC has announced that they are canceling Men of War, Blackhawks, O.M.A.C., Mister Terrific, Static Shock, and, in the interest of at least some justice, Rob Leifeld’s Hawk & Dove, after their respective eighth issues.

But since DC’s multiverse includes 52 worlds, and because the only words that rhymes with “46” are “ticks,” “dicks,” and “pricks,” they will be releasing six new regular books in May, including:

For all the excitement that DC Comics has been trying to generate with the New 52, and their loud and public protestations that everything is all-new and all-different, this appears to be the week that they’re playing to old readers’ nostalgia… if not every reader’s nostalgia, then mine in particular. Going through this week’s DC take is like being 25 years old again, except I no longer have to choose between comics and food that isn’t ramen noodles, my joints crack whenever I do anything more strenuous than turning a page, and those cracking joints are the only ones I currently have hidden in the house.

James Robinson’s Starman was one of the bright spots of comics in the 1990s, a decade that brought us chromium variant covers, Spider-Clones and the ability for Rob Liefeld to make a living that didn’t involve grocery bagging or glory holes. Starman was a book that was as much about world-building as it was the title character, making its Opal City art deco setting and its residents as much a key character as Jack Knight himself. Robinson retired Jack Knight as Starman – permanently, so far – in 2001, and supposedly has a deal with DC where they can’t use the character without his permission, making Robinson the first comic creator I’ve been tempted to torture for the good of comics who didn’t draw Captain America with tits.

So, no Starman for you. However, Robinson’s giving us The Shade miniseries, which is still pretty Goddamned good.