A wise man once said, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I think it was Harvey Dent. Or maybe Billy Dee Williams. Either way, it’s a statement that certainly applied to last week in comics and comics-related entertainment.

In column A was the United States debut of Marvel Studios’s Guardians of The Galaxy, Vol. 2. We managed to sneak in a matinee last weekend of a movie that we greatly anticipated as either a new installment of a light action science-fantasy property, or an excuse to spread Baby Groot out over two and a quarter hours, or perhaps both.

We talk about the movie, how it is satisfyingly character driven, almost completely disconnected from the master Marvel Cinematic Universe storyline, heavily influenced by some of the best genre sequels out there, and what music cues we might expect now that Star-Lord has access to more modern tunes (here’s a hint: Sonny Crockett and Patrick Bateman would totally approve!

And then there’s column B, which comprised a few of the biggest comics* released last week:

  • Batman #22, written by Joshua Williamson and Tom King with art by Jason Fabok,
  • Secret Empire #1, written by Nick Spencer with art by Steve McNiven, and
  • Secret Empire; Free Comic Book Day edition, written by Nick Spencer with art by Andrea Sorrentino!

(*In the interests of ending on a positive note, we give a quick shout-out to Project Superheroes: Hero Killers #1, written by Ryan Brown with art by Pete Woods)

You wanted the disclaimers, you got the disclaimers!

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know how Captain America and Hydra consolidate their power, well, it really doesn’t matter, since we have no idea, either. But either way: consider this a master spoiler warning.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. We have jokes about The Flash being unable to find The Button, and those jokes are about exactly what you think they’re about. So wear headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

secret_wars_teaser_alex_rossAt last week’s New York Comic Con, Marvel announced that writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic would be bringing us an updated version of Secret Wars. And after months of Marvel hyping up their version of the Multiverse in Avengers, New Avengers, and Spider-Verse, we can honestly say that: yeah, this looks just like DC’s Crisis On Infinite Earths. Except for the big stakes of a reboot, and written by a guy who sometimes seems to value intricate plots over character.

So we discuss that, as well as the dual announcements that Marvel Comics is bringing back some version of 2006’s Civil War in 2015, and that the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be addressing that same storyline. Specifically, how this might be a smart practical move for Marvel Studios (in that it could allow them to replace some key actors), and a not-so-smart story move (in that Marvel Studios has no Spider-Man).

And finally, we discuss The Death of Wolverine #4! The Canucklehead’s dead! So why are we having a hard time caring?

And now, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means anything can happen. Like discussing why one might need a tissue to read certain books of The Bible.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warning ahead of time, please consider this your official heads-up.
  • Amanda and I use adult, profane language, so this show is not safe for work.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

star_hunters_4_coverOver the past week, announcements have come down that TV versions of Teen Titans and Supergirl are being developed… mere weeks before the premieres of Gotham, Constantine, The Flash, and a new season of Arrow. And all this on top of DC’s efforts to build a Marvel Studios style cohesive universe with their own movies.

So Amanda and I discuss who they could possibly use in Titans, what with all these other disconnected properties being released (spoilers: if we see Jericho, there will be blood). We also talk about whether, with these series as well as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Agent Carter, and the four Netflix series, we could be driving the non-comics reading public into superhero burnout, and if DC is fouling their own nest by pulling possible movie characters out of play for basic cable TV shows.

We also talk about:

  • Batman: Futures’ End #1, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Aco, and
  • The Death of Wolverine #2, written by Charles Soule with art by Steve McNiven!

And now the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While that might mean a slightly looser show than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like talking about Matthew Perry wearing Leifeld leg pouches stuffed with Vicodin.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout a warning ahead of time, consider this the official one.
  • This show contains adult, explicit language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you don’t have headphones, find Jericho, clock him in the head and take his. He’s got it coming, and besides: he can’t cry for help anyway.

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!

guardians_of_the_galaxy_1_cover_2013Let’s stop for a second and remember that, back before the turn of the century, Guardians of The Galaxy writer Brian Michael Bendis got his start writing small-scale indie crime comics. There was Jinx, about a small-time bounty hunter, and Goldfish, about a small-time grifter, and Torso, about a real small-time serial killer (yeah, his victims would probably argue the “small-time” point, but let’s face it: “The Cleveland Torso Murderer” ain’t no Jack The Ripper. That name sounds dangerously close to “The San Diego Goofball”). When he moved into superheroes, it was Powers – more about a couple of street-level detectives than about superheroes – and then Alias and Daredevil for Marvel – again, street-level, crime-based superheroics.

It’s easy to forget now how nervous many of us were when Bendis took over Avengers back in 2004, because there was just no indication that the guy could really handle anything beyond street scumbags bullshitting each other, or maybe a mildly depressed former superhero taking it in the corn chute from a 70’s B-Lister. But if you take a step back and really look at Avengers Disasssembled, part of why it works is that, at it’s lowest level, it’s about a depressed woman who is lying to and betraying everyone in sight to hide her most personal shame. That’s a noir femme fatale story right there… sure, one that includes Hulks and exploding arrows, but a femme fatale story nonetheless. Bendis found the street-level story in the superhero epic, and made it pretty damned good.

So it has been a long ride for Bendis to go from giving us stories about no-hope dickheads running the Three Card Monty scheme in Portland to a story about the son of a planetary king and his alien buddies trying to defend the Earth from alien invasion. But the good news is, it generally works. If you’re a fan of Star Wars or the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, you’ll find some good stuff to like in Guardians of The Galaxy #1.

You’ll find those things because they are really damn reminiscent of those properties, but still: they are there.

guardians_of_the_galaxy_1_CoverHere’s the problem with having been six years old when Star Wars was released in theaters: I’ve never really given that much of a damn about Guardians of The Galaxy. Yeah sure, Guardians of The Galaxy debuted in 1969, but that was before my time, and by the time Marvel really started to whip them up was in Marvel Presents right around the origina Star Wars release, and if you’re six, who’re you gonna pay attention to? The guy with the full color lightsaber? Or the talking raccoon with a gun (and before you ask, no, even at six or seven, I didn’t buy into Jaxxon, either)?

But regardless, Marvel Studios in its infinite wisdom has decided to make Guardians of The Galaxy into their next big tentpole property, which means that Marvel is releasing a new book starring the team, written by Brian Michael Bendis with pencils by Steve McNiven. And Marvel just hosted a liveblog with those guys to talk about what they have planned for the property. And I tried to get myself excited about the prospect, even though it features a guy who calls himself Starlord without a whiff of irony, and a creature that calls itself Rocket Raccoon, which is roughly analogous to me calling myself Lumbering Whiteguy.

And I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sound like they have some cool stuff planned for the project.