dark_knight_returns_batman_vs_supermanThe big genre news this week came in the form of about four minutes of film assembled by marketing departments: the second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which debuted at a panel at Star Wars Celebration last week), and the first for Superman V. Batman: Dawn of Justice. So, like everyone else in fandom, we discuss them: the content, how they play with expectations by showing us glimpses of long-loved characters and / or story beats from classic comics, and how they really tell us nothing while promising us everything… and how that can drive one mad with useless speculation based on roughly 45 seconds of footage, combined with slightly more dialogue than a Vine video and some kickass music.

We also talk about our plans to cover next weekend’s C2E2 convention in Chicago, including our planned schedule for this show during and after the convention:

  • We will release a recap of Friday at the convention sometime on Saturday, 4/25,
  • We’ll release a recap of Saturday’s programming at our show’s normal time on Sunday, 4/26, and:
  • We’ll release a full recap, including panel audio, on either Monday, 4/27 or Tuesday 4/28.

We also discuss:

  • Convergence: Supergirl Matrix #1, written by Keith Giffen with art by Timothy Green II,
  • The Tithe #1, written by Matt Hawkins with art by Rahsan Ekedal, and:
  • Archie Vs. Predator #1, written by Alex De Campi with art by Fernando Ruiz!

And, the usual 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 arguing over whether Chewbacca has had plastic surgery done, and where he gets his hair colored and highlighted.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, assume that you will discover which members of the Riverdale Gang have had their spines removed.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your employer to hear which sexually transmitted diseases are most reminiscent of Midichlorians? Get some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

liefeld_headshotTwitter is a strange and terrible beast at times. Sometimes it allows people to feel close to celebrities, luminaries and people one might otherwise be unable to interact with. Other times, it is a direct pipeline from your subconscious to the outside world, laying your darkest impulses and secret opinions bare to a cold and misunderstanding populace. This is why, every Saturday morning, the first thing I do after waking up on the couch where I passed out is check my own outgoing feed to see if it is safe for me to venture out my own front door, or if it is time for me to finally implement Project Miguel Sanchez. But I don’t want to make this about me.

Instead, lets start with a case of the first use of Twitter. Yesterday, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio Tweeted this:

At first glance, this is good news to me. Sure, DiDio isn’t the best comic writer in the world, but he and Giffen really captured lightning in a bottle with O.M.A.C. at the start of the New 52 reboot, so I am actually very interesting in seeing new work on an obscure-ish cult favorite to see if they can do it a second time.

Of course, a teaser like this begs for speculation, and Bleeding Cool, apparently based on the fact that DiDio’s and Giffen’s last work was on a Jack Kirby creation for DC, speculated today that the book would be a reboot of Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. Okay, fine. Why not?

Because Rob Liefeld, that’s why not!

tmp_justice_league_3000_1_cover_2013-1500172898People who know me know that I loves me some 80s-era Justice League International. In a lot of ways, it was the true breakout revelation coming out of Crisis On Infinite Earths: the premier super team of the DC Universe packed with 90 percent B-listers who often didn’t like each other, spent as much time bantering as they did fighting crime, and who seemed to spend about half their time wondering what they hell they were doing there (when they weren’t wondering how to turn a buck from being on the team).

It was groundbreaking, even though it shouldn’t have been – Keith Giffen’s, J. M. DeMatteis’s and Kevin Maguire’s Justice League came right after the horror and debacle of Justice League Detroit, which was also packed with B-listers, wanna-bes and spastics , but was missing little things like entertainment value, or characters you might give a shit about. Seriously: the only person who remotely cares about Vibe is Geoff Johns, and I am still reasonably convinced that he only brought the character back to settle a bar bet with Dan DiDio.

But eventually, all good things must pass. By the mid to late 90s, people began to tire of the humor of the Justice League International books (and to be honest, the balance between humor and action did seem to tilt firmly toward the Bwah-hah-ha-ha side of the scale), and DC rebooted the Justice League with JLA and Grant Morrison’s and Howard Porter’s vision of DC’s Big Five (plus Aquaman, who is only considered a DC A-lister when DiDio asks Johns, “Double or nothing?”).

And it has been with the Big Boys we have stayed for lo, these more than fifteen years. After all, DC launched their New 52 with a Justice League lineup that could have come straight from 1965 but for the inclusion of Cyborg and about 10,000 Jim Lee seams and fine detail lines. And a lineup like that leaves little room for Giffen’s and DeMatteis’s humor and infighting; after all, having Earth’s (Original) Mightiest Heroes sniping at each other as pussies and jackasses would be unseemly to those legendary character and to their owner’s parent company, who is struggling desperately to get a Justice League movie off the ground.

However, you should never count Giffen and DeMatteis out. Because with Justice League 3000, they have found a way to get some conflict and humor out of the Big Five by cloning them, dumping them 987 years into the future, and ripping all the history you think you know about the characters away… kinda like right after Crisis On Infinite Earths.

So the question is: can these guys catch lightning in a bottle twice? Particularly considering they’ve got Howard Porter, who helped revitalized the JLA after they left Justice League International, doing the art?

Well, kinda.

legion_of_super_heroes_23_promo_cover_201396548742DC’s August solicitations are starting to be released and, as one will when a comic pubisher spends most of 2011 extolling their new group of 52 comics, I perused them to see which of those 52 new and exciting books are getting the ick.

And the short answer is: four of them, with two coming from the original New 52 from September, 2001. Those books being Dial H, Threshold, Demon Knights and Legion of Super Heroes, with the latter two being two of those original relaunched titles.

I have long since stopped keeping count of how many of the original New 52 titles are still sucking breath (although it’s clearly more than ten percent… because at least seven of them are Batman Family titles that will only be cancelled if some dingbat hires Joel Schumacher to reboot the Batman movie series. And by “reboot,” I obviously mean “add nipples to Batman’s boots”), but none of these cancellations are particularly a surprise to me. Dial H was clearly a Vertigo title marooned in the DC Universe; a book initially edited by former Vertigo chief Karen Berger, and given the upheaval in DC’s Editorial division, this book probably only had a matter of time unless someone changed the title to Dial B. With Gotham City’s Area Code Before The “B.” And Then Dial “Atman.”

new_years_ballIt is New Year’s Eve of the first complete year of the existence of Crisis On Infinite Midlives. We have all the comics we’re going to get in 2012, so it is time to publish my list of the best comics of the year… mostly because with no new comics, there isn’t much to review, and the biggest comics news we’re likely to get between now and Wednesday is likely to be “Frank Miller Publicly Intoxicated, Yells At ‘Hippies.’ Must Be Tuesday.”

So here’s my list; Amanda’s will appear later today. It is in no particular order, it encompasses everything from single issues to multi-issue story arcs to series that started in 2011 and ended this year. And I know what you’re thinking: “Rob,” you’re thinking, “Why don’t you organize things a little more? And use some consistent criteria for your list?” Well, because fuck you, that’s why. Look: it’s New Year’s Eve, and I intend to be recklessly intoxicated within about 90 minutes from the time I press the “publish” button.

So without further (or any) ado: here’s my list!

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is new comics day, which means that – wait! Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! I normally get this excited, scream and bother passers-by when I see a bird! Oh, no; it’s one last comic review before the comic stores open, forget it.

Superman #7 is the first issue with the new creative team of co-writers Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens and art by Jesus Merino and, well, Dan Jurgens. These are a couple of old-school comics writers working on a brand new Superman, which arguably is what this book has been needing, and the classic flavor they bring to certain sequences of this book makes it somewhat endearing, but I’m guessing how you feel about it will likely depend on how much you’re digging  the new, cocky, armored Superman, and how you feel about a villain with a classic feel… that feel being that of a Republic Serial villain chewing scenery like Robin Williams teething in the midst of a heroic Ritalin bender.

This book starts off with an definitive statement of “Bang!” by the new team, dropping us in the middle of a battle between Superman and some robot right on the streets of Metropolis. It’s an action-packed sequence with a visually satisfying amount of collateral property damage, while Superman internally soliloquizes about how the battle seems like merely an attempt to call him out… which would be an interesting plot point if this weren’t Superman, who, thanks to super hearing, can be called out by whispering, “Hey Superman! I’m on the corner of Weisinger and Swan, on my way to fuck yer moms!”

Considering that Keith Giffen’s art on O.M.A.C. is an obvious and unabashed tribute to Jack Kirby, if there is any justice in this world, we will eventually discover that Giffen’s pencils of Superman’s face in the opening of this book were redrawn by Al Plastino… or in a more modern turn of irony, Rob Liefeld.

Actually, having looked at that lede I just wrote, and at O.M.A.C. #7 itself again, I think doing something like that wouldn’t be a dose of justice, but something that co-writer Dan DiDio and Giffen might do just as a self-referential goof, for the sheer, lunatic thrill of it… which seems like the reasoning behind almost everything they do in this book. This is not a bad thing. O.M.A.C. has, since its launch in September, been many things: over the top, agressively retro, and almost deliberately schizo in its jumping from outlandish scenario to outlandish scenario every month. It has also been one of the most consistently entertaining comics of the first batch of the DC’s New 52.

DC Comics’ New York Comic Con panel on their Edge / Dark line of New 52 books happened today, and while we haven’t come across any specific coverage of the panel yet that we can cannibalize, regurgitate and spit back at it in lieu of actual journalism Rob: edit this shit out now. We can at least act like we know what the fuck we’re doing -Amanda

Whoops! Sorry, technical difficulties, folks! Sorry about that. As I was clearly saying, while we haven’t been able to diligently ferret out any details about what happened in the panel, DC’s Source blog helpfully published the covers to the upcoming Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #5 and OMAC #5, by J.J. Jones and Keith Giffen respectively, which you can see after the jump:

Cover to DC Comics OMAC #2, by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen“Lemme see,” I said to my local comic store owner, who knows me by name and asks me why his store always smells like a distillery explosion after I leave, “The New 52 week one books that we want to keep getting… definitely Detective Comics. Also Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Justice League International… we’ll call Batgirl ‘on the bubble,’ and, um…”

“Don’t forget OMAC,” Amanda chimed in.

“OMAC? Are you fucking kidding me? You read The Outsiders at the end of its run. Dan DiDio might be a good publisher or editor in chief, but whoever he answers to shouldn’t allow him to write anything longer than his own name.”

“Yeah, but I like Keith Giffen. And I really liked the end of the first issue. So I want to give it another shot.”

Sheesh. Wimmens, man. What’re you gonna do? So I made the commitment to spend another $2.99 a month because hey: I love her, and it isn’t gonna suck itself, and sandwich: I don’t have one, amirite?

Ow. Owwwww. Note to self: don’t write shit like that when you don’t mean it and when your girlfriend is your editor. But I digress.

So this past Wednesday OMAC #2 was, in fact, in my pile of subscription pulls, whether I really wanted it or not. So imagine my surprise when it turned out to be one of the better books of the week.

The Sudafed finally mixed with the Jack Daniels and made a mellow, Earth-friendly body-meth, which gave us enough energy to complete Episode 3 of the Crisis on Infinite Midlive’s Podcast: The Fistula of Justice!

Thrill to two drunk sick people as they talk about the impact of the New 52, DC Comics’ new Neilsen Survey (Which sadly didn’t include the obvious question: Orange nip slip: horrifying moment or the most horrifying moment?), the overriding post-Catwoman question: are superhero comics sexist (“What’s wrong with being sexist?” “Not sexy, sex… Jesus, you really are a monster, aren’t you?”), and our sleeper favorite books of the week!

And to answer some questions from the show that are enigmas, wrapped in riddles, covered in mucous:

Enjoy the show, sucker! And if you don’t, just hit that “Don’t Look” link up there!