doctor_who_christmas_special_2015While we originally planned to list our 2015 Crises awards for the best and worst of the year this week, we were stymied by a combination of holiday travel for Rob, and a crippling cold (and cold medicine high) by Amanda.

So after spending some time talking about what we got for Christmas, and best Christmas memories from childhood (spoiler: none of Amanda’s childhood memories are anything but heartbreaking and hilarious), we talk about the Doctor Who Christmas special, The Husbands of River Song. We talk about the episode’s weird mix of farce and heartstring plucking, how it might mean some solid writing on showrunner Steven Moffat’s part to tie River’s character closely to her first appearance, and how it paints the Doctor as a remorseless and opportunistic genocidal monster. Really.

We also discuss:

  • DK III #2, written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello, with pencils by Andy Kubert and inks by Klaus Janson,
  • Teen Titans #15, written by Scott Lobdell and Will Pfeifer with art by Ian Churchill and Miguel Mendonca, and:
  • Darth Vader #14, written by Kieron Gillen with art by Salvador Larroca!

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 the tragic tale of a girl, pseudoephedrine and a busted Etch-A-Sketch.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that we will explain, in detail, why The Doctor is history’s greatest monster.
  • This show contains adult, profane language and is therefore not safe for work. You want your employer to know what it means when things go “testacularly”? Then get some headphones.
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c2e2_logoIt’s a somewhat truncated show this week, as Rob has been battling a bug for the past couple of days. However, The Show Must Go On, particularly when you do a show about superhero comics during a week when the first medically-created superpowers were discovered. Sure, they’re crappy superpowers, and they run the risk of making you see C’thulhu in every dark corner, but I guess you’ve gotta start somewhere.

More importantly, we wanted to announce that while we will not be covering this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, we will be covering The Chicago Comic And Entertainment Expo the last weekend in April! So in this episode we talk about why we chose to cover that particular convention, a preliminary schedule of podcast episodes we’ll be releasing during and after the con, some of the more interesting panels we want to take in and cover, and how C2E2’s guest roster and programming schedule remind us pretty strongly of SDCC as it was ten years ago.

We also discuss:

  • Darth Vader #3, written by Kieron Gillen with art by Salvador Larroca, and:
  • Miami Vice: Remix #1, written by Joe Casey with art by Jim Mahfood!

And now the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While it might mean a looser comics podcast than you’re used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like finding out whether “pig slapping” means what Amanda thinks it means.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware that we might ruin your knowledge of the current mental state of Lt. Martin Castillo (that state being “shaky.” See? Spoilers everywhere!).
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you want your boss to know Rob’s definition of “pig slapping”? Of course not. Get some headphones.
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secret_service_1_mark_hamillSince we in Boston are staring down the barrel of another blizzard, we decided to get out of the Home Office while we could to catch a movie: Kingsman: The Secret Service, the new movie based on Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’s 2012 comic The Secret Service.

While Rob in particular didn’t like The Secret Service as it was being released in comic form, we took the movie as an opportunity to reread the original series as a complete work, and we talk about some plot and thematic differences between the comic and movie, as well as what worked about the movie… and what didn’t work. (Important safety tip: if Samuel L. Jackson tells you, with a lisp, that in order to save the world he needs to put an explosive chip in your neck? Call your lawyer and tell him to ask Sam for his business plan first.)

We also discuss:

  • Star Wars: Darth Vader #1, written by Kieron Gillen with art by Salvatore Larroca, and:
  • Southern Bastards #7, written by Jason Aaron with art by Jason Latour!

And now the usual disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While that might mean a looser comics podcast than you might be used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like the discovery that many English foods sound like euphemisms for perverse locker room hazing (hi, Toad In The Hole!).
  • The show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, if you intend to see Kingsman: The Secret Service, you should consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you want to explain to your boss why chugging a Toad In The Hole isn’t a matter for the police? Get some headphones.
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harrison_ford_signIn this week’s podcast, Amanda and I are joined by longtime Crisis On Infinite Midlives contributors Trebuchet and Pixiestyx! Trebuchet read comics as a kid and came back to them as an adult, and Pixiestyx didn’t read any comics until adulthood. Which make them the perfect guests with whom to discuss:

  • Star Wars: Episode VII! And more specifically, why we aren’t feeling all that excited about it,
  • Considering the comics industry is dying (almost literally) to bring in new and lapsed readers, what factors, books, and events brought Trebuchet and Pixiestyx to comics in the 21st Century,
  • Uber #14, written by Keiron Gillen with art by Gabriel Andrade,
  • The Walking Dead #128. written by Robert Kirkman with art by Charlie Adlard, and
  • The United States of Murder Inc. #2, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Avon Oeming!

But first, a few disclaimers:

  • This show is recorded live to tape, and may contain more pauses, “um’s”, and references to tube steaks, lips and Kobe assholes than your average comic book podcast,
  • There are spoilers here. We try to warn ahead of time, but proceed at your own risk, and
  • This show features adult, profane language, and is not safe for work. We all found headphones with which to record the show, so you can damn well hunt some up to listen to it.
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iron_man_6_cover_2013Editor’s Note: My old man had a philosophy: peace means having a bigger spoiler than the other guy.

If I had to hazard a guess, writing Iron Man has to be an interesting and somewhat difficult task for Kieron Gillen. He’s following an Eisner-winning run by writer Matt Fraction on Invincible Iron Man, and not only is he taking the peak seat writing a character who is now mired in the popular culture not only as the star of his own movies, but the star of The Avengers and, if reports are correct, soon to be part of the Guardians of The Galaxy movie. So imagine not only that heavy responsibility that Gillen must feel, but throw on top of it that he is working with artist Greg Land, which means that no matter what Gillen wants to write for Tony Stark, he needs to make sure he includes a coterie of hot chicks for Land to lightbox.

Well, Gillen tries to rise to the task in Iron Man #6, the first part of the three-part arc The Godkiller. First, Land picks up the story gauntlet thrown down by Fraction at the conclusion of Invincible Iron Man, where Fraction set up Stark as preparing to spend an extended period of time in deep space. Gillen picks up story elements from last year’s Avengers Vs. X-Men to put Stark at odds with an entire spacegoing civilization, in a way that could easily put Iron Man into contact with the Guardians before all is said and done. And I can almost see Gillen finishing the first draft of his script and leaning back in his his seat with satisfaction… only to see a handwritten note pinned to his wall reading, “DON’T FORGET THE SPACE BITCHES!” and then sighing, cracking his knuckles and leaning forward to perform draft two.

I say that Gillen “tries” to rise to the task, because while Iron Man #6 lays the groundwork for a high-tension story putting Iron Man into direct conflict with an entire spacefaring civilization… but it is, in fact, all groundwork. This is a somewhat talky, exposition-laden issue with precious little action, instead focusing on explaining the civilization to set the groundwork for future conflict, and on Stark’s daddy issues and senses of aging and mortality. It is mostly foreplay with very little climax.

And, as with most good foreplay, there are hot chicks. So at least Land has something to do.

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Editor’s Note: You want my property? You can’t have it. But I did you a big favor: I’ve successfully privatized world spoilers! What more do you want?

Jesus, there’s a lot of Lovecraft to go around in this week’s comics.

Iron Man #4, written by Kieron Gillen with art by Greg Land, is ostensibly part four of a five part opening arc by the new creative team, but in reality is a crackling, easy-to-follow one-and-done featuring everyone’s favorite hard-headed, pragmatic engineer against the thirteen brides of who is clearly Cthuhlu, The Elder God and Black Infinite.

Ah, I’m just kidding. Of course it’s not clearly Cthuhlu. It’s possible that it’s Dagon or Zoth-Ommog.

Actually, since this is a Marvel comic, and therefore the only masters of the sea that any writer can guarantee the reader has heard of either have pointy ears and wings for feet, or else an orange shirt and unlawful carnal knowledge of sea horses, it’s probably Cthuhlu.

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A fabulously charming, billionaire, genius playboy walks into a bar with a hot air-headed blonde and a cold drink. The playboy says, “I have a lust for life that, when viewed from a distance is almost indistinguishable from a death wish.” The punchline? The cold drink is water because the playboy is an alcoholic, so he has to tolerate the blonde while sober. Also: the scene is drawn by Greg Land.

Iron Man #1 is written by Kieron Gillen. He is a man who knows his way around a solid, nuanced story, as anyone who has his recent work on Journey Into Mystery can attest. However, Iron Man #1 – titled “Demons And Genies”- appears to be, at the outset, more concerned with reestablishing plot points from earlier stories, such as “Demon In A Bottle” and “Extremis”, than breaking any new ground. So, yup – not a reboot. If anything, it’s taking Warren Ellis’s “Extremis” story and reminding the readers, “Hey, remember when storylines were fresh, new, and exciting? This isn’t one of those times. But don’t sweat it reader! We’ve got an app to fix that. Just view the selected panels through your smartphone using our Augmented Reality program and you’ll forget that what you’re reading breaks absolutely no ground at all!”

Probably not a good thing, right?

More blasts from the past, and spoilers, after the jump.

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We’re still under threat of Hurricane Sandy here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office. However, I’d like to take this opportunity to pass along a new page of preview art by light box hack penciller Greg Land from Iron Man #1.

Where on earth could Greg Land have received such stellar inspiration? After the jump!

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Oh Marvel, you and your one-word teasers for Marvel Now relaunches that you struggle more and more to make enigmatic and mysterious. A few weeks ago, they dropped a few that were truly baffling at the time – Superior? What the fuck does Superior mean? Are we dick-measuring now, Marvel? – and it had reached the point where I had become convinced that, if they wanted to keep us guessing, Marvel would be forced to resort to just making words up. Something like: “Miller. Jansen. Dinkenclammer,” or: “Adams. Lee. Sclunt.” *

But it turns out I was a bit off on that prediction, because Marvel’s come out with a couple new teasers that are a bit more decipherable. Such as this one from yesterday:

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Marvel continues to hype their Marvel Now! initiative, where they’re planning to restart a bunch of their titles at issue #1 so that for a period of several months, every week when I go to my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me not to ask the paying customers if they “want to see my number one,” there will be a new Marvel first issue for me to pick up. Or, if is a first issue of something with Cable written by Jeph Loeb, for me to point at accusingly while loudly insinuating that it is practicing witchcraft.

Today’s announcement from Marvel? That writer Kieron Gillen and artist / pornography lightboxer Greg Land will be taking their work from Uncanny X-Men to a new comic book.

What comic book? Beats the shit out of me. See if you can figure it out:

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