vision_7_cover_2016It has been a stone bummer of a week when it comes to comic news. From the tragic loss of Darwyn Cooke to DC Comics having to release a statement on sexual harassment in the face of protests over allegations about Superman Group Editor Eddie Berganza, there haven’t been a lot of smiles in comics this week. Hell, when the most welcome news is that Supergirl was renewed and only has to reduce their budget and expatriate to Canada, you’re not talking a barrel of laughs.

But these things all happened, so we talk about them. Particularly the DC Comics harassment issue, as one of us was once harassed in the manner and circumstances in which Berganza is accused of harassing someone back in 2012, and therefore we wanted to share our perspective on it.

But we hate dwelling on negatives in our favorite hobby, so we spend more time than usual talking about actual comics this week, discussing:

  • Southern Bastards #14, written by Jason Aaron with art by Jason Latour,
  • The Vision #7, written by Tom King with art by Michael Walsh,
  • Starfire #12, written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Elsa Charretier, and
  • Powers #6, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Avon Oeming!

And, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. We will ruin the ending of the latest Powers story line for you… but then again, since it’s been seven months since the last issue, you probably don’t remember how the story line started.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and therefore is not safe for work. Sure, the concept of a “kitten chaser” sounds benign, but do you want to risk your employment on it? Didn’t think so. Buy earphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

secret_wars_teaser_alex_rossIt’s been three months since Marvel announced the Secret Wars crossover event, and since then, speculation has been flying about what it meant for the Marvel Universe: would it be a reboot, or just an event allowing Marvel characters from all their various universes to punch on each other for a few months?

Well, Marvel’s Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort and Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso did a press conference about Secret Wars this week, and it turns out the answer is: both!

So this week, we spend a lot of time poring over audio from that press conference, first trying to figure out if this reboot was planned before or after Alonso famously denied that Marvel was planning a reboot. We also discuss whether and what we’ll miss from the Ultimate Universe, what we want to see written out of Marvel continuity, and what we think is absolutely sacrosanct. Further, when it comes to Secret Wars itself, we talk about Battleworld, what battles we want to see between characters and universes, and ultimately, whether or not we’re excited by the idea of a Crisis On Infinite Earths-style reboot of Stan and Jack’s Marvel Universe.

We also discuss:

  • The Amazing Spider-Man #13, written by Dan Slott with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, and:
  • Powers #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Avon Oeming!

And now, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean this is a looser comics podcast than you might be used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like discussions over whether we want to start a Kickstarter to fund the purchase of a Crisis On Infinite Midlives Kill-Bot.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that we’ve ruined the end of Spider-Verse for you.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and therefore is not safe for work. Unless you want your employer finding out what body part we want to use to trigger the machines guns on our Kill-Bot, get some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

guardians_of_the_galaxy_movie_posterWe have safely returned from San Diego Comic-Con 2014, so Amanda and I do a final postmortem of the experience… as we prepare to turn right back around to attend and cover Boston Comic Con next weekend.

We also discuss:

  • The new Guardians of The Galaxy movie and how it is one of Marvel Studios best… while still not being perfect,
  • Guardians of The Galaxy #17, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Nick Bradshaw and Michael Avon Oeming, and
  • Fatale #24, written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips!

And now, the legalese:

  • This podcast is recorded live to tape. This might mean more pauses and rough spots than you might be used to in a comics podcast, but it also means that anything can happen.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to warn before dropping them, be aware that they might come at any time.
  • Amanda and I use adult, profane language, and therefore this show is not safe for work. Dr. Dre didn’t spend 18 bucks on research and development for you to listen to podcasts on speakers.

As an aside, this episode is our first show as a member of the Comics Podcast Network. It’s a cool site that features nothing but podcasts about comics and comic culture. We’ve found a few killer shows there that we like listening to, and we’re excited to be joining their ranks. Check them out to find other viewpoints about our favorite hobby!

Enjoy the show, suckers!

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.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

godzilla_and_godzookyIt is Sunday, which means it’s time for another episode of the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show, or as we like to call it: that thing we do as an excuse to not write for one day so we can devote more time to drinking whiskey, watching Game of Thrones, and babying the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office Mascot, Parker The Kitten.

On today’s show, we tackle:

  • Godzilla! We went into it thinking it would be a movie filled with Walter White battling a giant lizard, walked out of it thinking it was a pretty enjoyable reboot of the property… and then we talked about it. And sometimes, that’s the worst thing you can do to a movie…
  • Wild-assed and variant covers – Marvel announced this week that the covers of each issue of The Death of Wolverine would be something called “Weapon Etched Holo Foil,” and DC is planning to release their Futures End (Mistakenly called Five Years Later in the show) September one-shots with another series of 3D covers. As a couple of people who lived through variant covers and how they helped kill comics in the mid-90s, we don’t have a lot to add about it, but man do we like to complain about them.
  • Batgirl #31, written by Gail Simone with art by Fernando Pasarin
  • The United States of Murder Inc., written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Avon Oeming
  • The Walking Dead #127, written by Robert Kirkman with art by Charlie Adlard, and:
  • Cat nutrition, or: taking care of a stray animal for only $47 a day

And one show note for the week:

  • The Island of The Mushroom People is an actual movie, actually called Attack of The Mushroom People in America and Matango in its native Japan. I wish I was making that up.

And, our usual semi-legalese:

  • This show was recorded live to tape, meaning that you might hear more than the normal number of “ums”, pregnant pauses, and references to Bukkake
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is not safe for work. That line just above about references to Bukkake? I didn’t pull that out of my ass. Be smart: listen with headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

PowersHere at Crisis On Infinite Midlives, we are on the fence as to what next gen gaming console we will eventually and inevitably purchase. We have been XBox people since the first generation of that console – a first-gen XBox is still jacked into the big TV tube upstairs, just in case I get the urge to widen my point of view on the undead apocalypse by playing Stubbs The Zombie (although given a couple of the prices for that game I’ve seen on eBay, I can be persuaded to abandon my philosophical pursuits) – so we are leaning toward picking up an XBox One. Especially considering that I’ve got me a hankering for some Titanfall.

With that said, I have certain reservations about purchasing a console that, by all initial reports, has a camera with which to watch me and a microphone with which to listen to me, no matter what I’m doing on my living room couch. I’m the kinda guy who sticks a piece of electrical tape over his Webcam when he’s not using it, and if a grown taxpaying man gets the occasional urge to watch childrens’ cartoons while in a state of undress outside of societal norms while scratching himself like an ape in a cage, it ain’t nobody’s business, and it certainly isn’t Bill Gates’s business.

So I have been toying with unilaterally buying a Playstation 4, because not only have I long wanted to play some Nathan Drake Uncharted games, but it seems less likely to take photos of me that will be laughed at in Sony’s customer service department. And there is now another possible reason to lean toward the Sony side: the television adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’s and Michael Avon Oeming’s Powers has been picked up for broadcast on the Playstation Network.

powers_bureau_2_cover_2013This is a hell of a thing to say, but Brian Michael Bendis’s creator-owned books remind me of having herpes.

Hear me out.

To get herpes, you have to get laid (or really enjoy the taste of toilet seats, but I’m going to assume that if that’s your thing, this isn’t the Web site you’re likely to be visiting, what with the lack of the words, “girl” or “cup” in the URL). And that’s good. But then after a while, there is an itch. And that itch lasts for a good, long while, and while you’re waiting for it to pass, it is maddening. And then one day the itch is satiated, and that is awesome… until the itch comes back. And the itch stays for an indeterminate period of time, until the next respite. Which is great… but the whole time, you’re hesitant to get laid again, because as weird and satisfying as the agony-and-the-ecstacy cycle might be for you, it would be a hell of a thing to pass it on to someone else.

[ED. – Rob – this is STUPID. Bendis’s books have nothing to do with herpes. You just seem to want to write about herpes. Get to the Goddamned point… unless there’s something you want to tell me… Amanda]

Okay, here’s the point: Powers: Bureau #2 is the middle of a story in a book that is known as much for being delayed as it is for it’s general excellence. And this issue delivers the best of Bendis’s dialogue, with delightfully perverse imagery and some well-executed suspense and action, albeit with some leaps in logic and mildly confusing story points along the way. However, this issue was a week late from its last solicitation in November, and while the next issue is currently set for two weeks from now, I’ll believe it when I see it. So even though it’s a good issue, it’s like walking in mid-boink… and not knowing when the itching is likely to stop.

Brian Michael Bendis’s and Michael Avon Oeming’s Powers has been a dicey read for me for a long time now. A comic that started as a unique take on the superhero book, where some regular cops worked regular cases that just happened to involve superhumans and included some of the coolest dialogue you could find in a comic book, it eventually… evolved. Or devolved. Into a book where the regular cops got powers and secret identities, and the compelling partners at the core of the book split up, all while Bendis and Oeming started putting out, say, an issue a year, whether we needed one or not.

If the original Powers arc, Who Killed Retro Girl?, was the comics equivalent of Twin Peaks season one, the more recent arcs have been more like Laverne & Shirley after they went to Hollywood… assuming Garry Marshal had had the brainwave to replace Shirley with The Great Gazoo. Which is somewhat of an unkind comparison, because I always kept Powers on my pull list, because even while the characters shuffled and I lost track of the plot between issues, it still offered some of the best dialogue in comics, and there was always something interesting going on, even if some issues felt less like seeing Muhammed Ali in his prime in 1979 than it did watching Muhammed Ali trying to eat prime rib in 2009.

You get all that? Good. Now forget it all. Because Powers #10 is flat-out the best issue of Powers since the early, early Image Comics days. It has it all: the crackling dialogue, Walker and Pilgrim back together doing interrogations in the box, and real, human stakes behind the superpowers. It is awesome, and one of the best single issues of not just Powers, but of any comic book I’ve read in weeks.

I like Brian Michael Bendis’s Powers a lot. It has been on my pull list at my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to stop acting out the term “pull list” in front of the paying customers, for more than ten years. I have all the individual issues that follow the first “Who Killed Retro Girl?” arc back when the book was published by Image Comics. And I even like this individual issue of Powers. But I’m not going to recommend that you buy it.

It is, in fact, all but pointless to buy this book, because it doesn’t matter whether it’s good or not, or if you like it or not. Falling in love with an individual issue of Powers is more pointless than falling in love at summer camp. It’s more pointless than falling in love with a hooker. It’s roughly akin to falling in love with a hooker in a city that isnt your own, that you might come back to in a few years, and as you’re zipping your pants you realize that all you remember is that her name is P-something.

Because this comic book simply. Does not. Come out. Ever.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And once again, one last review of last week’s books before the comic stores open… and somehow once again, it’s about Black Panther. Although it might seem like it, Black Panther is not the last book I read every month. It’s just that since it comes out a week before Hawk & Dove, I need it to steel myself for the inevitable.

Black Panther has been canceled; the last issue of David Liss’s run is in two months, closing out the currently running Kingpin of Wakanda storyline. Which is a Goddamned shame on a couple of fronts, the first being that Liss has put together a great run of comics. The second being that, after all this time – I got an inkling of it back when I reviewed issue #524 a couple months back, but I didn’t totally get it – I’ve finally figured this book out. It’s old-school pulp, pure and simple.

A rich guy with a background in adventuring in the jungle, genetic superiority to normal men, who’s battling to defeat colonial encroachment? That’s Doc Savage when it isn’t Tarzan or Alan Quartermain. A rich guy who puts together a team of specialists to battle corruption in an urban jungle? That’s The Shadow –  yeah, okay; it’s also Batman, but if you look back at Detective Comics #27, Batman was also The fucking Shadow. Not to be confused with fucking The Shadow; that was Margo Lane. Or maybe Alec Baldwin. But I digress.