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!

miracleman_annual_1_coverThere are two types of people in this world: superhero comic fans who love Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, and superhero comic fans who haven’t read all of it yet. Rob is in column A, and Amanda is in column B. Which means that they had very different reactions upon hearing that Marvel has announced that they will be publishing a Miracleman annual, with stories by Grant Morrison and Peter Milligan. This announcement begs the question: should new creators be allowed to jump into a story like Miracleman, which is a combined yet singular vision between two epic creators? And being two different types of people, Amanda and Rob have differing views on the announcement.

But there is more to comics than a couple of new short stories tacked onto a 30-year-old narrative. So Amanda and Rob also discuss:

  • The Death of Wolverine #1, written by Charles Soule with pencils by Steve McNiven,
  • Original Sin #8, written by Jason Aaron with art by Mike Deodato and
  • Big Trouble In Little China #4, written by Eric Powell and drawn by Brian Churilla!

And now the legalese:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a slightly looser show than your normal comics podcast, it also means that anything can happen.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to throw out a verbal warning before we cut loose, consider this fair warning.
  • Amanda and Rob use adult, explicit language, and therefore this show is not safe for work. The janitors portrayed in Miracleman had Walkman headphones for work, and that was 1984. What’s your excuse?

Enjoy the show, suckers!

tmp_all_new_doop_1_promo_cover20142043407136There are two constant givens that I can tell you about Marvel Comics at this particular moment in time: Peter Parker will somehow return as Spider-Man before The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes out in theaters in May (yes, I’ve been saying that since Doc Ock took over, but clearly I’m not the only one thinking that), and that Doop is awesome.

Yes, Doop. That floating green spud that acted as camera man for X-Force and X-Statix during Peter Milligan’s and Mike Allred’s run on those books in the early 00s, and who has been a stalwart faculty member of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning in Jason Aaron’s Wolverine And The X-Men. In fact, the Doop-centric 17th issue of that series was one of my favorite single issues of 2012. The little (literal) booger is just cool; an enigma wrapped in a riddle shrouded in mucous. It’s just an interesting character that can move from fringe comic relief to an international snot of mystery. While remaining funny as hell.

And for anyone who feels like me, there’s good news: Marvel has announced that Doop will be getting a star turn in All-New Doop, a miniseries by Milligan with art by David Lafuente with covers by Doop co-creator Mike Allred.

Hellblazer300-1Yesterday, I bemoaned the fate of Hellblazer and the title’s termination at issue 300 before going on to say mostly nice things about a character that had been generally known as a cliche, prior to being brought back from the dead. Today, I will talk to you about a character who has also turned into a cliche prior to becoming dead: John Constantine.

I think my “wailing and gnashing of teeth” yesterday was primarily mourning for a character who has really been dying and on his way to dead from about issue 251 on. I’m sure Peter Milligan meant well, but this series – which managed to survive the literal dicking Brian Azzarello gave it back in the year 2000 – has been dead man walking for some time. Sure, there’s been some glimmers of good story, but this is not the John Constantine we all signed up for. This is a sad shell of a John Constantine, a Constantine that, had he been anticipated as a likelihood by former writers like Garth Ennis, would have eaten a bullet sometime back around 1994. Issue 300 does not serve so much as closure for John Constantine as make you wonder about the Constantine that might have been in other hands.

And, I think I’ve figured out why.

Join me as I spoil my way through problem solving, after the jump.

green_lantern_20_promo_cover_2013DC’s been releasing their May solicits over the past few days… with one exception: they’ve been holding back their Green Lantern solicitations. Which has led to a certain amount of anticipation, at least here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, because some of the best crossovers and events in DC Comics over the past several years have come from Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns in those books.

So we’ve been waiting for what Johns had planned starting in May with bated breath, with images and memories of classics like The Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night and Brightest Day dancing in our heads. What would it be? Another big crossover? Rainbow Lanterns? A new Lantern oath involving the prominent use of the word “sack”?

Turns out, not so much. It seems that Geoff John’s next big plan for Green Lantern is to, well, quit the book.

And apparently it was such a good idea that every other writer on the Green Lantern books has made the same plan. That’s right: everyone is leaving the Green Lantern books.

Um… what the hell, Geoff?

I studied journalism when I was in college in the late 1980s / early 1990s, and one of the things I learned was the inverted pyramid lead, which means to open your story with the most important hard information. So, since it was one of the most important things I learned back then, I’ll go with it here.

DC Comics has cancelled John Constantine: Hellblazer. The comic, published under DC’s Vertigo Comics imprint, will conclude in February with its 300th issue, written by Peter Milligan with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli. The long-running comic, written for a mature, adult audience, will be replaced with a new comic series, Constantine, written by Robert Venditti with pencils by Renato Guedes. The new series, which will be published under the standard DC Comics bullet, will take place in DC’s superhero-filled New 52 Universe, and will be reportedly feature the younger, more action-oriented version of the John Constantine character as currently seen in Justice League Dark.

About the cancellation, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio said:

We’re supremely proud of Vertigo’s HELLBLAZER, one of the most critically-acclaimed series we’ve published. Issue #300 concludes this chapter of Constantine’s epic, smoke-filled story in style and with the energy, talent and creativity fans have come to expect from Peter Milligan, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini. And no one should worry that John is going to hang-up his trenchcoat – he lives on in March, in the pages of the all-new DC Comics New 52 ongoing series, CONSTANTINE, by writer Robert Venditti and artist Renato Guedes.

The series, which expanded the story of the John Constantine character created by comics legend Alan Moore during his classic run on Swamp Thing, debuted as a DC Comic in 1988 and was written by Jamie Delano and drawn by John Ridgeway. Moving to DC’s more mature Vertigo imprint in 1993, the book featured work by comic legends Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Paul Jenkins and Brian Azzarello, as well as many others, throughout its nearly quarter-century history.

Constantine is expected to debut in February, 2013.

Okay, that’s the classic news version. My journalism professors, one of whom once looked me in the face and said, “You smell like a three-day dead dog in the dump tank of a whiskey distillery. Sit in the back, please,” would, for once, be proud. However, like the one, older professor who once slipped me a copy of Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on The Campaign Trail after defending me in a meeting to determine if I should be ejected from the journalism department after writing a story about the college’s president that included the term, “goatfucker” taught me: classic journalism isn’t always properly equipped to capture the whole truth.

Guess who found their microphones?

That’s right, after five months, and literally no waiting with bated – or any – breath, it’s time for another exciting episode of the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Podcast!

In this week’s episode, we drunkenly rant about:

  • Digital Comics. Specifically, it was a big week encompassing the closing of the Web storefront and the release of the first of Marvel’s Infinite Comics via ComiXology, so we talk about how faithful customers of digital comics get to be in the vanguard of comics publishing while eventually being doomed to wind up with fuckall for their money!
  • Marvel’s Augmented Reality application, which forces you to read your printed comics through your cell phone like Commander Data or some other robotic autistic person!
  • Fanboys Vs. Zombies, and how it is an awesome book if you have been to SDCC, want to go to SDCC, or want to see Joe Quesada eaten by a grue!
  • The Avengers movie: can it possibly be as good as the trailers and the TV spots make it look?
  • Agent Coulson: Xander of the Marvel Movie Universe?
  • Hawkeye: Like a Boss? Or Like a Miss?
  • SDCC Hotel Sales: big mess or biggest mess?
  • Plus: Justice League Dark and The Boys!

As always, if you listen to this show at work, wear headphones unless you want to explain to your boss why you’re listening to someone bemoan the lack of glory holes in San Diego hotel rooms! And if you can listen to the whole thing, see if you can tell the moment when the booze gets on top of us!

As always: thanks for listening, suckers!

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review was written when the writer was extremely hung over. This has affected his mood, and his ability to remember if he has included spoilers or not. You have been warned.

Red Lanterns is one of the damnedest comics on the stands right now. Every issue I’ve read feels like it has some kind of underlying theme, some kind of Big Message it’s trying to impart. Issue one felt like it was hinting at the underlying motivations and effect of vigilante violence. The third issue teased themes of the effects of sexual violence. This issue intimates a greater examination of the vary nature of what it would mean to become suddenly superhuman. These are all admirable aspirations for a monthly comic book, and it would be exciting and interesting to read… if those themes weren’t buried in hamfisted storytelling that seemingly goes nowhere and gratuitous ass shots and brokeback poses. This book serves up more ass on a consistent basis than a back alley Chinese food place… in more ways than one.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review contains spoilers, and saying that backwards won’t make them go away.

We’re six issues into Justice League Dark now, and Peter Milligan is finally putting the actual team (mostly) together after an interminable rampup of what seemed like dozens of tiny solo adventures of the DC Universe’s most Vertigo-like heroes… just in time for a forced crossover with I, Vampire and Milligan leaving the book. Thanks a lot, Pete. Your timing sucks.

At the end of the last issue, we finally had Constantine, Deadman, Shade, Zatanna et al in one place… just in time for each of them to say, “Fuck you, Charlie” (Or in Zatanna’s case, “Eilrahc, uoy kcuf”) and disperse to the four winds. And now they’re all having nightmares; Constantine dreams of London on fire and it being his fault. Zatanna dreams of monsters putting fingers in her mouth (Meaning that, based on finger placement, her definition of nightmare has a lower threshold than mine). Deadman dreams that Dove is dead, unlike most comic fans who have been praying that Hawk would also take the dirtnap.

We’re in an age of 90s nostalgia in comics, what with more spider-clones, someone thinking Todd McFarlane is worth suing, and Rob Liefeld finding steady work that doesn’t involve a riding mower or medically required applications of Zovirax. And for those of us who had their 80s comics habit survive through that somewhat empty decade only because of Vertigo comics, this is a development that in many ways feels like flashing back to being a Boston altar boy in 1972.

But for those of us who did survive 90s comics and their excesses thanks to Vertigo, a bright spot of DC’s New 52 has been Justice League Dark, which, while not perfect, gave us Peter Milligan writing both John Constantine and Milligan’s old favorite of mine: Shade The Changing Man. And God knows that the book was in no way perfect, including the end of the first arc where the team finally got together… and said, “Fuck all y’all, mates” and immediately disbanded.

Well, I’ve got some bad news: Peter Milligan is leaving Justice League Dark. But I also have some good news: Jeff Lemire, writer of Animal Man and Sweet Tooth, is taking it over as of issue 9. And Milligan is shifting over to Stormwatch to take over from Paul Cornell.