doctor_who_doctor_mysterio_poster_2016It is the holiday season, and while that means things like delayed flights, family political battles and regifting, it also means the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special. And this year’s, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, was a double whammy: not only was it the first Doctor Who story in almost a year, but it was about an American superhero.

So we discuss the story, both on a Doctor Who and a superhero story level. And while we don’t want to spoil anything, we learn that there’s a reason why it’s maybe not a good idea for a British television writer to tackle an American superhero story. We’re guessing it’s the same reason it wouldn’t be a good idea for the guy who created The Cape to write an episode of Doctor Who.

We also discuss:

  • Civil War II #8 written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez, and:
  • DK III: The Master Race #7, written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello, with art by Adam Kubert, Klaus Janson and Frank Miller!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. So if you don’t want to know who loses at the end of Civil War II, you should avoid this show. And probably mirrors.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and this therefore not safe for work. Unless you think your mom wants to know what Marti Noxon might do with Naked Batman, maybe use your holiday Airpods.

Happy New Year, suckers!

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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.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

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all_new_captain_america_1_cover_variantThis week we added and installed a ton of new studio equipment for the show… and then used it to spend a few minutes laying in movie sound clips like middle-market Morning Zoo jocks.

Once we got that out of our system (and it is out of our system, we swear), we spent some time discussing the Doctor Who season finale, Death in Heaven. We talk about how the finale resembled a big comic book crossover event, whether the season theme of The Doctor-as-aristocrat really held water, the missed opportunity of Clara insisting that she was The Doctor, and why the English put so much stock in Christmas specials.

This week also brought us the solicitations for the first week of DC’s Convergence event on April 8th, so we go through each of the books and talk about what looks good, what looks great, and what it would take for us to even remotely care about some of the returning pre-New 52 characters (hi, Damian Wayne!).

On the comics front, we discuss:

  • Captain America and The Mighty Avengers, written by Al Ewing with art by Luke Ross,
  • Captain America #1, written by Rick Remender with pencils y Stuart Immonen, and
  • Superior Iron Man #1, written by Tom Taylor with art by Yildiray Cinar!

And now the warnings:

  • This show is recorded live to tape. While that might mean that this is a looser comics podcast than you are normally accustomed to, it also means that anything can happen.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that the spoilers you fear most will be uttered as the punchline to a dirty joke.
  • Speaking of dirty jokes, this show contains adult, profane language, and is not safe for work. Having just bought a crate of recording studio gear, I can state with some authority that headphones are cheap. Get some.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

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daredevil_end_of_days_cover_2013Editor’s Note: I’ve been there for a lot of people’s last words. And every time it’s the one thing they spoiled about the most.

Mapone is not a thing.

I have, as I’m sure a lot of people have since Daredevil: End of Days began several months ago, Googled the living shit out of the word “Mapone.” And there is nothing there; there is some family out of Italy, a Fleetwood Mac fan on YouTube, some promotional trinkets company in South Africa… and since October, a bunch of reviews of Daredevil: End of Days. If you look for the definition of “Mapone,” there isn’t one. If you try contextual searches, you wind up with articles about Halo battle maps, mapping values in computer programs, and MAPI interfaces.

In short, “Mapone” is not, by any real definition, a word. It is, rather, a sound you make with your mouth. So as a mystery, writers Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack picked a good mysterious word to act as a throughline for the story… but Daredevil: End of Days #8 is the last issue of the miniseries, meaning that it is time for them to put up or shut up.

And they have put up. We learn the meaning of the word “Mapone” on the very last page of the issue, Citizen Kane-style. And the reveal is, in fact, a surprise, and it is, in fact, generally satisfying… until you close the book and stop and think about it for more than ten seconds.

So it is a really fortunate thing that this issue accomplishes so much beyond the silly little mystery, closing out a story that turns the legacy of Daredevil into a tragedy that is almost Shakespearean in scope, and which is implied to doom everyone it touches. Daredevil: End of Days #8 is a truly weighty and satisfying speculative end to the story of Matt Murdock, regardless of the whole “Mapone” mystery that has kept us going through this story. And that is a good thing.

Because Mapone is not a thing.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: He is Daredevil, The Man Without Fear! Of Spoilers!

One of the main reasons cited for the runaway success of Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil (Eisner awards for Best Writer, Best Continuing Series and Best Single Issue tend to be indicative that You Done Good) is that Waid depicts Murdock as a more positive character than he has been since Frank Miller revamped him in the 80s. Waid successfully broke from the years-long general formula for a good Daredevil story, which was to throw some terrible hardship at Murdock and watch him go nuts for a while.

That, however is Mark Waid. Daredevil: End of Days is written by Brian Michael Bendis, who wrote Daredevil from 2001 to 2006, and who put Daredevil through trials like revealing his secret identity, accusing him of murder, and having him marry a woman who goes violently insane and requires commitment… and not the good kind where people throw you a party and give you salad spinners, but rather the kind where the jackets tie in the back and the big blue pills don’t give you a boner.

So will Bendis’s take on this supposed final Daredevil story embrace the Waid’s more positive take on the character? Sure! Provided you get a warm fuzzy feeling over seeing the title character murdered in the street in broad daylight on page four! But that’s okay, because this Daredevil comic book isn’t really about Daredevil!

Depressed and confused? Don’t worry; stick with me and we’ll work through this. And it is generally a comic book worth working through.

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Amazing Spider-Man #680 was good and fun enough that this week’s immediate followup of issue 681 was the first book I pulled off the stack yesterday, despite the cover that, if you remove the planet Earth from the background, looks like a frame grab of a Spider-Man / Human Torch bukkake flick. Seriously: if that’s how people look in hard vacuum, we now know why HAL wouldn’t open the pod bay doors: because it’s fucking hilarious. They look less like they’re suffering from asphyxia than like they have a pube caught in their throats. I could go on, but rumor is there’s a whole comic book behind this cover.

Writers Dan Slott and Chris Yost have delivered what is still a big, fun comic book, but in no way will it make you smarter. In fact, you’ll need to turn off large parts of your brain in order to fully enjoy it as the high-budget b-movie that it is. The science in this issue makes Michael Bay’s Armageddon look like Nova with Neil Degrasse Tyson.

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The Amazing Spider-Man #680 is a buddy flick set in a zombie apocalypse occurring in space. If you walked into a movie studio executive’s office with that pitch, you’d be thrown out on your ass. Unless that executive worked for the Sy-Fy channel. In which case you’d be given their largest production budget to date: 75 bucks. Although they might go up to an even hundred, assuming Tiffany and / or Lorenzo Lamas was available.

My point is that this comic book is a big, glorious mess where I’m sure that the one “splorch” sound effect in tne book represents the sound of writers Dan Slott and Chris Yost throwing absolutely every plot idea they can think of at the wall… and it all sticks. I can almost picture those two guys saying, “Spider-Man… we bring in The Human Torch… and put them on a space station… what can they fight, what can they fight, what can they – space zombies! Now let’s write, but first: let’s take this TV apart!”

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