heroes-rebornYes, we are back, after yet another long week of trials and tribulations in the hunt for a new Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office forced us to miss another episode, for which we humbly apologize. We believe our Long National Nightmare has ended, and that we will have no further service interruptions… at least until November 1, when we will be in the new Home Office, but likely with no Internet service. But that is a problem for the future.

As for today’s problems, well, how do you solve a problem like Heroes Reborn? The sequel to the 2006 – 2010 series that captivated the world before reminding it why many kids abandoned comics once they reached the age of reason (“How about evil carnies? Just write it! I’m taking a long lunch! Did I say ‘long?’ I meant ‘liquid!'”) debuted on NBC last week. We are huge fans of Heroes, going back to when we saw the pilot at SDCC 2006, and had high hopes for this return to the world of Peter Petrelli, Hiro Nakamura and visions of the future via Tim Sale. So we spend some time talking about what works, what doesn’t, and whether you should tune into this show if you aren’t already fans of the Enemies of Sylar (short answer: probably not)!

We also discuss:

  • Batman Annual #4, written by James Tynion IV with art by Roge Antonio, and:
  • Gotham By Midnight #9, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Juan Ferreyra!

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 a conversation about how Heroes‘s Noah Bennet is a (terrible) role model to America’s youth via his never giving a woman his real name.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that we reveal Hiro Nakamura’s message from the future.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Unless you want your co-workers to hear the tale of Drunken Mexican Batman, consider using headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!


robobunny_batman_capulloWe are back, after a week spent upgrading various parts of our online infrastructure! Which was exactly as exciting as it sounds! Provided you are Lex from Jurassic Park and know Unix! Unlike us!

And we came back just in time for an almost complete comics news drought. This happens ever year in the couple of weeks leading up to San Diego Comic-Con; the publishers save their big announcements for the show, while leaking only little things, like TV casting announcements.

So the news about comics winds up being news about comics at SDCC. So this week, we discuss a couple of announcements about the convention itself, including some of the… shall we say, odder… convention exclusives that some vendors are making available, to the announcement that Marvel Studios won’t be having a Hall H presence this year, while Star Wars and DC / Warner Bros. (probably) will be having a big one.

And we took the opportunity afforded by a relatively slow news week to talk about more of this week’s comics than usual, including:

  • Starve #1, written by Brian Wood with art by Daniel Zezelj,
  • Starfire #1, written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Emanuela Lupacchino,
  • Constantine, The Hellblazer #1, written by Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV with art by Riley Rossmo, and
  • Batman #41, written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo!

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 learning why putting a cape on your office chair means Gotham City is doomed.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, please be aware that we might ruin stuff for you.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Unless you want your employer to hear multiple references to a sketchy, ten-dollar party, get some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!


c2e2_logoWe conclude our coverage of C2E2 2015 with a recap of the Caped Crusaders, Dynamic Duos and Darkest Knight panel (or just the Batman panel when it’s at home), featuring Batman writer Scott Snyder as moderator, with Batman Eternal writer James Tynion IV, Detective Comics writer Brian Buccallato, Gotham by Midnight writer Ray Fawkes, and the upcoming Robin: Son of Batman writer / artist Patrick Gleason.

So in this episode, we bring you a ton of audio clips of these guys (well, mostly Scott Snyder) talking about upcoming storylines in Detective Comics, Gotham by Midnight and Robin: Son of Batman… but at the time of this panel, we were only four days away from the conclusion of Batman: Endgame in the core Batman title, and only a week away from the debut of the new “RoboBunny” Batman in DC’s Free Comic Book Day offering, Divergence. So we feature a bunch of clips of Snyder and company talking about the new Batman, the process in creating him, the reasoning behind the new direction, and a few new tidbits about him that you might not have heard elsewhere, all from the mouths of the creators!

And, since Batman #40 has been released since this panel, we not only feature several clips of Snyder talking about what Batman: Endgame means to him, but we review and discuss the issue!

Thanks for listening to our C2E2 coverage. We return to our normal weekly schedule on Sunday, May 3rd, with an episode about Avengers: Age of Ultron, featuring a couple of very cool guests!


Thanks for listening, suckers!


comxiologyYeah, I know that we mentioned the other day that we had subjects that we wanted to talk about in a podcast, but I also know that you didn’t even remotely think that we’d actually, you know, do one.

Well, the joke’s on you, because here’s Episode 11: The Golden Shakeoff Caper! In which we discuss:

  • The ComiXology buyout by Amazon (in which I reference a piece I wrote about ComiXology’s licensing and lack of ability to back up your comics)
  • The San Diego Comic-Con hotel registration process, and the anxiety-provoking processes around attending SDCC in general
  • Deadpool #27
  • DC’s new weekly comic, Batman: Eternal #1

And here is our usual disclaimer: this episode was recorded live to tape, meaning that other than adding the intro and outro music, it is presented exactly as we discussed it, with every, “um,” “uh,” cough and burp. Further, this podcast is not safe for work. Be advised that we liberally use explicit and vulgar language, although if you weren’t tipped off by the fact that our title this week includes the phrase, “golden shake-off,” you need more help than a friendly warning. Either way, use some headphones.


Enjoy the show, suckers!


batman_21_cover_2013I bought Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, back when it was just Batman #404 through #407, from the spinner rack at my local supermarket for 75 cents a piece.

That story was a stone classic from the word go, right from the first issue, which opened with James Gordon telling us what a hell on Earth Gotham City was, and ending with Bruce Wayne not only bleeding out, but willing to bleed out unless he found some inspiration to make his war on crime more sustainable and effective than just trying to stomp out local goons. You know the images; we all know the images: the giant bat crashing violently through the window, the smile on Bruce’s face, and the bloody hand on the bell to call Alfred, with the caption, “Yes, Father… I shall become a bat…”

I can spin that sequence of panels off from memory because Batman: Year One is Frank Miller, in 88 tight pages, telling one of the greatest Batman stories ever told (on the tails of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, which is the greatest Batman story ever told, and I’ll fight any man what says different), and cementing his position as one of the greatest comic storytellers ever, regardless of any future paranoid writings or rantings.

That was in 1987. It is now 2013, and we have the first issue of Zero Year, written by Scott Snyder, on the tails of Death of The Family, one of the best Batman / Joker stories in recent memory. Just based on the title, Zero Year is meant to elicit in us memories of Year One. And based on the events of this first issue of Zero Year, it covers some, if not all, of the same period of Batman’s career that Year One did.

Look, don’t get your hopes up here. Zero Year #1 / Batman #21 isn’t on the same level as Batman: Year One #1 / Batman #404, and I think we all knew that it wasn’t gonna be. After all, there is only one first love of your life, and when it comes to Batman stories, Frank Miller and Batman: Year One got to anyone old enough to buy comic books with their own money long before Scott Snyder ever put a word in Batman’s mouth. So I could sit here all day and compare the new book – or pretty much any other modern comic book – negatively to the old one, but that really doesn’t matter.

What matters is: does Zero Year #1 hold up on its own as a good Batman story?


batman_20_cover_2013Dear creators working in DC’s Batman office: there is a product available on the Internet called Skype. It is free. And it allows you create a virtual conference room, where you can invite any number of people to join, and then, you know, talk to each other.

I say this because there is obviously no communication happening about how Bruce Wayne is handling the death of his son. The writer of that death, Grant Morrison, has Bruce sucking down Man-Bat serum and going on a revenge rampage over in Batman Incorporated. Peter Tomasi has Batman scouring the world looking for a way to bring Damian back to life, including the psychological torture of the last Robin to get killed on his watch this month, and making an attack on fucking Frankenstein for answers last month.

And Scott Snyder, the writer of the main Batman title? Well, as a guy who has to turn in a comic book during this whole, sudden, “Damian’s-Dead” shitstorm, he has Batman affected by the event in the margins, while making the meat of the story a decent, if workmanlike, two-and-done featuring an antagonist no one really cares about, and a big Easter Egg in this week’s Batman #20 to delight the rubes (I was certainly delighted). However, as a guy who has reached A-List status at DC in the past year and a half, with arguably as much pull as Morrison, Snyder has clearly said, “Um, yeah: I’ll give you a couple issues mentioning this death, but this is Grant’s problem. I think I’m gonna scrap my Riddler plans and do a year-long story set in the past while you guys deal with the fallout from the whims of that crazy Scottish fucker.”

So if it seems every Batman writer has picked a different stage of grief to stick Bruce Wayne into over the death of his son, Snyder has clearly chosen “Acceptance.” Which means, at the very least, that it is the less histrionic of the two Batman titles on the stands this week. But the question is: is that enough to make it any good?


batman_16_cover_2013Plotwise, Batman #16 doesn’t hold up too well if you stop and think about it for too long. The idea that a single inmate, no matter how ruthless or deranged, could not only take over an entire insane asylum under the nose of law enforcement (not to mention the inevitable cavalcade of starfuckers and psycho groupies that would surround Arkham like flies on shit. Don’t believe me? Ask Carole Anne Boone), but would somehow have the resources to modify and booby trap the place in the way Joker does in this issue is implausible on a good day. Throw on top of that that the ending of the whole thing is gonna seem a little familiar if you’ve seen The Vanishing, and this is a story that could swirl the tubes pretty quickly, if you spend too much time contemplating the particulars behind it.

So on that basis, I’m going to recommend – and I don’t do this very often – that you just don’t stop and think about Batman #16 too much.

Seriously, don’t think about it. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the logistics of how Joker could have gotten his hands on the sheer number of victims he has on hand without anyone missing them, or where he found the team of contractors to build the carefully machined and electrified death traps without mentioning to anyone what they were working on, or how he had the time to wait on craftsmen to build that Batman Throne… even though, seriously: I ordered a custom-made bed about two months ago, and I’m still waiting on that Goddamned thing, but Joker gets a throne on demand? I’m seriously thinking about going back to that furniture store and filling it with gas… or at least a different kind of gas than I did last time. Maybe that’s why it’s taking so long. But I digress.

So yeah: try not to get bogged down in all that nitpicking, unrealistic shit. Because if you do, you’re gonna miss one hell of an atmospheric story that shows just how driven and plain old badassed Batman is, and which uses really pretty extreme violence and disturbing situations to show just how dangerous and committed Joker is.


I’ve read through Batman #15 about four times so far, even though it is a middle part of a long crossover, meaning that even though there is some decent action and some forward plot motion here, there isn’t a hell of a lot in the way of real epiphany or resolution here. Sure, we learn the origin of that giant Joker card that Bruce keeps in the Batcave (and, based on that origin, that there is either a custom printer somewhere in Gotham who once hung up the phone and told his assistant, “Yup: Bruce Wayne is Batman. Or maybe The Joker. Either way, make sure the check clears before you start work,” or that Bruce is much arts-and-craftsier than I would have originally anticipated), and we discover how it’s at least possible that Joker knows the identities of the Batman Family, but it’s not like there are any big, sweeping moments that would normally keep someone reading and re-reading an individual issue of a comic book.

Instead, I found myself going over and over the book, wondering about what was actually going on in the heads of Batman and The Joker. We have Joker running around, attacking the people closest to Batman and his allies, claiming that he’s doing it to make Batman his best… but why? A razor-sharp Batman would make life infinitely more difficult for Joker, so what’s his motivation? And then there’s Batman, keeping at least one significant secret from Robin, Nightwing, et al, and trying to keep them away from the battle – despite the fact that at least Batgirl and Red Hood have, shall we say, intensely personal reasons for wanting to take Joker head-on – and apparently willfully ignoring some evidence that Joker might have the upper hand on him, all while implying that he thinks Joker is trying to prove a point… but why? And what point?

I kept rereading the issue trying to figure out what it is about each of these characters that is making the other act in ways that really don’t seem to be in their own best interests… and then I realized that, despite decades of reading stories about these two guys, that I’ve never really given that question a whole hell of a lot of thought beyond the obvious: “Joker is insane and kills a lot of people despite Batman constantly trying to stop him.” Which is fine as a plot engine, and one that has driven one hell of a lot of damn good comic books and movies over the years, but almost none of those stories ever made me think any more deeply about each character’s real motivations beyond that bullet point.

However, Batman #15, despite being a middle chapter, made me ask those questions. Which helped hammer home that Death of The Family is shaping up to be one pretty special Batman story.


I don’t know a lot about magic beyond getting hammered and watching my Penn & Teller: Bullshit DVDs, but even with my limited background, I question whether or not Talon #1 writer James Tynion IV knows exactly what an escape artist actually does. If Harry Houdini could do the things that title character Calvin Rose is capable of, we would never have had a Second World War because the first time they drew the curtain on him in the Chinese Water Torture in New York, they would have reopened it three minutes later to discover Houdini in a dry tuxedo, standing outside a tank containing an adolescent Adolf Hitler, clawing frantically at the glass.

Seriously, if any magician could do what Talon does, they would not be performing for screeching children at rotten birthday parties except maybe as a front for their lucrative paid assassination careers. Penn and Teller would not be doing a residency at the Rio Casino in Vegas, as they would be too busy robbing its vault empty on a nightly fucking basis. This, however is not a bad thing, for a few reasons, the first being that a comic book about a guy tensing his wrists to provide slack to eventually escape handcuffs would be boring, particularly after he was shot in the face as soon as the handcuffs were locked. And second, because Tynion is using the escape artist / magician hook to show some action presented in a real clever way, and to present a protagonist who, at least so far, isn’t concerned with beating the bad guy, but beating the bad guy so he can get away.

So we’ve got a clearly unrealistic escape artist protagonist who fights only to escape, but still, one who acts in a kinda cool and interesting way, and has a tendency to mouth off and sometimes panic and run while he’s fighting. So does that make for a good and entertaining comic book?


Scott Snyder spent a lot of his time at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con hyping his Death of The Family storyline as one of the definitive Joker storylines of all time… and at the time, it sounded like an awful lot of hype. Here’s what I wrote about his comments at the time:

“It really is our Killing Joke… this is an explanation of what makes The Joker special as a villain.”

“He will rape and kill… and do everything to break you,” Snyder said. “[We wrote The Joker] the most fucking twisted we possibly could.”

All of which sounded promising, but let’s face reality: there ain’t a comic writer alive lucky enough to get to write the main Batman title, with The Joker as the villain no less, who ever said, “The Joker? Fuck that guy. He’s no K.G. Beast, I’ll tell you what. So yeah; I fucking phoned it in… what’s that? Yeah, it’s spelled L-O-B-D-E-L-L…”

So the hype kinda slid off my back at the time, but now it’s three months later, and Batman #13, the first issue of the Death of The Family crossover, is out in comic stores. And sure, there’s been a lot of excitement over the story, and yeah, the owner of my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me not to ask the paying clientele if they want a dose of my “Joker Venom and / or Happy Juice,” told me, “That’s the way The Joker should be written,” when he handed my my copy… but it’s all just hype still right? That’s the question I asked myself when I opened the book an hour ago, and…

Son of a bitch. Now that’s The Joker.