all_new_miracleman_annual_1_coverIt’s the first episode of 2015! In a week where there’s no comics news since everyone in comics is on vacation, and there were almost no new comics for exactly the same reason! Which means most comics podcasts and news sites are doing their Best Of / Worst Of lists this week… while we did ours last week. Clearly we don’t plan well.

So this week, we decided to look back to a couple of events from 2014 that we haven’t previously talked about in a lot of detail:

  • The Doctor Who Christmas Special, Last Christmas, and:
  • Luc Besson’s superhero-ish movie from last summer, Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson!

And while it was a light week for comics, there were a couple of big, highly-anticipated issues. So we discuss:

  • All-New Miracleman Annual #1, written by Grant Morrison and Peter Milligan, with art by Joe Quesada and Mike Allred, and:
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. #1, based on the TV show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., written by Mark Waid and drawn by Carlos Pacheco!

And now the legalese:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used it, it also means that anything can happen. Like the definition of a Face Dream Herpe.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that you will be told the villain of 1988’s Miracleman #15. 27 years is enough of a cushion.
  • We use adult, profane language, so therefore this show is not safe for work. This week’s title is “Wookie Shoe Porn,” for God’s sake. We shouldn’t need to warn you to get some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!


daredevil_36_cover_2014Editor’s Note: No one on the white hat side has ever hidden his or her spoilers with less than noble intent.

About 20 years ago, I worked in a job that put me in close proximity with many lawyers. And not the kind of lawyers who champion the powerless and regularly make the short lists for major federal benches, but the kind that advertise during the times of day and kinds of shows likely to be shown in hospital waiting rooms. The kind would chase an ambulance, fake a slip-and-fall, and then sue the ambulance. Real lowlives with cut-rate law school diplomas and Rolodexes full of the kinds of doctors who will certify, from their second floor walk-up offices, that their patients have no legs.

One time I saw one of these guy’s clients get busted for insurance fraud after claiming he had permanent debilitating neck pain, and then being caught fronting a thrash headbanger band for a two-hour bar set. I remember another lawyer for whom our standard operating procedure was to immediately counter-sue for frivolous litigation the instant he sent us a letter, not just because he represented the lowest form of Lawrence Brake-Stander, but because he’d lost frivolous litigation lawsuits repeatedly over the years.

Those weasels never got disbarred. In my (admittedly limited) experience, the only way a lawyer gets disbarred is if he wears a mask, but rather than going out to defend the innocent, he uses it to expose himself to the elderly. And even then, they might get a pass for psychological reasons. You know, if they just can find some doctor who will swear before God that, despite all evidence to the contrary, they have a medical condition.

So, while reading Daredevil #36, I had a little difficulty completely believing that Matt Murdock would be disbarred, even considering the extreme circumstances under which he became embroiled in ethics charges. But that’s my problem and not writer Mark Waid’s, who put together a hell of an issue to close out the third volume of Daredevil. This comic doesn’t just shake up the status quo, it puts two into the back of its head… while still remaining somewhat believable and, if you think about it, not being so outlandish that it will completely blow up the character as he has stood for the past half decade or so.

Except yeah: the real New York Bar would just put a strongly-worded letter in his file if he showed up for his hearing sober, speaking English and without the blood of innocents dripping from his Cthuhlu fangs.


tmp_daredevil_31_cover_2013-146449185Editor’s Note: We find the defendant guilty on the charge of Premeditated Spoilers.

It would have been really easy for Mark Waid to have fucked up Daredevil #31.

This was the first comic book I remember seeing that in any way tackles the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman murder trial, and that is a subject that is just playing with dynamite. And it is playing with dynamite just because it is so Goddamned easy to pick one side or another, based on a few snippets of facts gleaned from various news accounts one might have half-paid attention to while working or drinking beer or surfing for porn. You write a book that takes the side of the shooter, and you’ve alienated everyone who knows that ACLU isn’t a lolspeak acronym. You take the side of the shootee, and you can experience your first mainstream media crossover attention by being mentioned on Sean Hannity’s show, possibly accompanied by your home address.

And yet if any comic book is the perfect one to reference the case, it’s Daredevil, what with its protagonist being an actual officer of the court. But still: it took a lof of balls for Waid to even consider making that case part of a mainstream comic book story… and he generally nails it. Because he’s smart enough to reference the case without the story being about the case. Instead, it’s about the people who made a snap decision about one side or another, based on a few snippets of facts gleaned from various news accounts one might have half-paid attention to while working or drinking beer or surfing for porn.

And that’s most of us, Bubba.


daredevil_25_cover_2013Editor’s Note: Amateur. You carry your spoilers like a blind man. Leaves you vulnerable in seven ways.

Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil has been pretty universally solid, with a few missteps along the way – whether we needed another “drive Matt Murdock insane” story like we got a few months ago is an open question, and that whole “throw Foggy out a high window… as a faint to have some schmo with a scalpel kill him in front of witnesses” plan probably could have used an extra day or two on the drawing board. But in general, those moments are outnumbered by good, and sometimes great, moments and stories.

But then there are times when Waid just fucking outdoes himself. I’m not sure how into this whole greater Unknown Mastermind With A Master Plan To Break Matt Murdock greater storyline I am – again, it’s something that’s been done by at least three Daredevil writers I can think of off the top of my head – but the particular story of Daredevil #25, with this particular antagonist, has a progression and an arc and a final twist reveal that is simply magnificent.

Don’t get me wrong, the antagonist himself is only okay – every writer of superhero comics ever has at least toyed with the idea of a villain who is the evil version of the hero (Bizarro / Owl-Man / Kaine / Sinestro / Faith anyone?) – but that final twist reveal? Man, that’s enough to forgive going to that villain well.


indestructible_hulk_6_cover_2013Editor’s Note: Hulk spoil!

Let’s start off with this: that’s a great cover. But since I am emotionally no older than 12 years old, all I keep thinking is that if you obscure Thor’s hammer, what you’ve got is a spectacular pin-up of The Hulk after a horrific night of Taco Bell.

Second: I really wanted to like Indestructible Hulk #6. I am generally a fan comics that are written by Mark Waid, and as a dude who was reading comics back in the 80s, I will buy damn near anything pencilled by Walt Simonson, particularly an issue that you can tell based on the cover features Thor. For a generation of comic geeks, having Simonson draw Thor is appointment comic reading second only to maybe seeing Todd McFarlane draw Hulk.

And having read through the issue a couple of times, it turns out that seeing Simonson draw Thor again is one of two good reasons to read the book, the other being the final panel, which I’ll get to in a minute. But otherwise, this is a decompressed first issue of a longer arc that asks more questions than it answers, but in many cases not teasing the mysteries well enough to make them compelling rather than incomplete and confusion. And worse: while, again, it’s nice to see Simonson’s Thor again, his storytelling choices take characters that are meant to be enigmatic and instead makes them cannon fodder.

This one’s only okay, guys. On a good day.


green_hornet_1_cover_rivera_2013Editor’s Note: While we might normally report on a piece or two of comics news this late in the evening, it is April Fool’s Day, and we don’t believe a single Goddamned thing we read on any news site today. And while I toyed with making up some bullshit story about us being acquired by Marvel Comics or something, I feared too many people would comment simply with, “Good.” So here’s a comic review.

Despite a misspent youth, adolescence, adulthood and middle age reading comic books, I don’t really have a lot of personal history with The Green Hornet. The radio show and the Bruce Lee TV series were before my time, and I missed the attempted comics reboot of the character in 1989 since I was just starting college and therefore needed to cut back on my comic budget to fund a newly-found Boone’s Farm habit. I became mildly interested in the first Green Hornet series from Dynamite Comics back in 2009 until I learned it was being written by Kevin Smith, and therefore there was an even chance that the second issue would be finished and released sometime next November. And then there was the 2011 movie starring Seth Rogan that was so abominably awful I felt ripped off seeing it for free on cable while so drunk I would have been entertained by almost anything airing on TruTV.

So, long story short, I really haven’t had much of a reason to follow The Green Hornet. I, however, have many reasons to follow Mark Waid. So I picked up his first issue of The Green Hornet purely based on Waid’s name, with my only preconception about the character being that Seth Rogan played him in a way that made Adam West look like he was starring in The Dark Knight Returns.

So was the fact that Mark Waid was the writer enough to make me give a damn about The Green Hornet for the first time ever? Well… kinda. There was some pretty good stuff here to be sure, but there were also a few leaps in logic that I didn’t believe, and a little too much time tying the character into Dynamite’s shared pulp universe that was interesting, but distracting. But on the plus side, it featured far fewer fart jokes than I remember from the movie.


logo_marvelAmanda reported earlier about Marvel’s new one-word teaser – part of what’s looking to be a new round for already-introduced comics from the Marvel Now relaunch (but not a reboot! Because Marvel doesn’t reboot! And Spider-Man has always had feet that looked like Mickey Mouse was crippled by polio!) – hinting that the Doc Ock version of Spider-Man is possibly going to lose his Avengers ID card and all associated rights, privileges, upgrade miles and punches toward a free six-inch sub.

That, however, wasn’t the only teaser up Marvel’s sleeve today. To wit: legendary The Mighty Thor artist Walt Simonson will be taking over art duties, at least temporarily, from Leinil Yu on Indestructible Hulk. And Marvel being Marvel, they had a teaser to go with the news…


Editor’s Note: Kingpin left me with ten spoilers in my pocket. I found a comics Web site that makes change.

Whether purposefully or accidentally, Marvel and writer Mark Waid have put themselves into a difficult position by putting the first chronological appearance of The Superior Spider-Man – that is, whoever Spider-Man will wind up being after the events of next week’s The Amazing Spider-Man #700 – into this week’s Daredevil #21.

Because with all the hype and anticipation surrounding what will happen with Spider-Man (as an example: once we published an article about the leak to the Internet of the ending to The Amazing Spider-Man #700, our Web traffic doubled… and we didn’t even publish the actual spoilers), what he does and how he acts in Daredevil #21 will be almost as important to readers as the story about Ol’ Hornhead. It’s kinda like casting the Octomom or John Wayne Bobbit in a porno flick; you’ll get a lot of rubberneckers not watching the thing for its intended purpose.

So even though Spider-Man’s appearance in Daredevil #21 makes complete and total sense with regards to the greater story – not only the story of some still unknown party trying to drive Matt nuts, but of Matt’s conscious decision to lighten up that goes back to Waid’s earliest issues – his appearance here, before the resolution of the current arc in Spider-Man’s home title, means the issue (not the story; there is a distinction there) has a massive, nearly crippling distraction that I doubt Waid originally intended. It makes the reading of this individual issue, during this particular point in pre-Amazing Spider-Man #700 time, an almost schizophrenic experience, where what Spider-Man does and says in two pages is almost, if not more, important to the comic reader than the actual Daredevil story in the preceding 18 pages.

So I’m gonna review it that way: in two parts.


One thing I have learned over 36 years of reading comic book is that, for a character who has been a linchpin of Marvel Comics and who has had some of the greatest crossover success of any comic book character, appearing in cartoons, a prime time television show and three major motion pictures just in my lifetime… nobody ever seems to like The Hulk all that much at any given time.

There is no other major comic character that I can think of that has been rebooted, retrofitted and overhauled more often than The Hulk. Just off the top of my head, Hulk has been green and stupid, grey and stupid, grey and smart, grey and smart and a mafia enforcer, green again and a genius, green and stupid again, green and a gladiator, green and a world conqueror, and one time, green in white clown makeup getting his ass kicked by Batman. And when it comes to Bruce Banner, he has been Bruce Banner, David Banner, a wimpy genius, a tactical master, an abused child, a mad scientist, an itinerant wandering hobo, and the leader of government agencies. If a creator came into, say, Superman and said, “You know what would make Superman better? If Clark Kent was a street hustler, and if Superman wore doilies and shit napalm,” there would be nerd riots in the streets around every comic store… but when it comes to The Hulk, the attitude seems to be, “Fuck it. Can’t be any worse than what the last guy did.”

It seems that every time a new creator gets his hands on The Hulk, his or her first action is to look at what came before, boldly state, “Nah, that ain’t right,” and start slapping together a new current status quo. Just a month or so ago, Jason Aaron finished a run where Banner had been separated from Hulk, Banner went nuts and spent a while doing fruitless genetic experiments, a reasonably intelligent Hulk boned Red She-Hulk, Banner and Hulk reunited to fight Dr. Doom, all in a storyline that was packed with big, goofy action and fun. But that was a month and a creator ago, which in Hulk terms means it might as well have never happened.

So yes, the new creative team on Indestructible Hulk #1 has, indeed, looked at Aaron’s run and seemingly said, “Nah, that ain’t right,” and is taking Banner and Hulk in a different direction. Normally, this would be so much the norm it almost wouldn’t register; just another case of a new guy fucking around until he gets bored or sales tank and the next guy comes into to fuck around. However, this time around the writer is Mark Waid – you know, the guy who looked at 25 years of noir stories in Daredevil and said, “Nah, that ain’t right,” and turned the book in a direction that has generally been as entertaining as any Daredevil story since Frank Miller made Daredevil a noir character.

So while this is yet another reboot for Hulk, whether we needed it or not, Waid gives us an interesting new start, with a fresh take on Banner and some of his motivations, a good take on the tension that being around Banner can cause straight out of the Avengers movie, and a fresh “relationship” between Banner and The Hulk… not that it doesn’t have some problems.


First of all, no matter how you feel about Daredevil #18, you’ve gotta admit: that is one hell of a cover. If the goal of a comic book cover is to get someone not already predisposed to the book to buy it (and that is the goal of a cover, no matter what the prevailing wisdom of “What can I get for the original art on the collector’s market” might say), then this one by Paolo Rivera  succeeds. If you’re in a comic store and you see this cover and you’re not interested? Just ask the guy at the counter if you can use his bathroom, because clearly you didn’t go into the comic store because you like comics.

Trouble is, you put a cover like that on a comic book, particularly when the cover is hyping that the creative team just won an Eisner Award for making Daredevil the best continuing series of the year, and you are writing a check that the book itself had better Goddamned cash. So does the story, by writer Mark Waid with interior art by Chris Samnee, deliver the goods?

In general, yes it does. This issue continues Waid’s examination of Matt Murdock’s long relationship with, shall we say, “stress-related personality issues.” It was a trait that dominated the character for so long that Waid has been almost required to address – if you’re gonna decide that a character has simply decided to be less intense and crazy, you almost have to put him in a situation where he would once, well, go bugfuck nuts to see if he can stay less intense and crazy. And Waid is doing that, in a methodical and well-built way… with a couple of nitpicks. Because Matt Murdock might have decided to be less apeshit crazy, but I have promised no such thing.