It’s been an speedy week, from the threat of yet another government shutdown, to calling other nations ugly names, to a 30-something minute span where it seemed like a large chunk of the population of Hawaii might be on deck to have a chance at their own Silver Age superhero origin stories. It was the kind of week when you just want to escape into a fat stack of comics books. You know, books about a disintegrating monarchy, the mistreatment of prisoners, and the literal vanishing of the Earth.

Okay, that sounds dire, but there were actually some interesting books this week, including the opening to a new Marvel event (you know, as part of Marvel Legacy! Which was supposed to mean an end to constant events!), a strong and surprisingly intriguing opening for one book’s new creative team… and a Tom King book, which always means some spirited conversation on this show. So we break down a few of the bigger books this week, including:

  • Mister Miracle #6, written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads
  • Avengers #675 (Part 1 of theĀ No Surrender event), written by Mark Waid, Al Ewing and Jim Zub, with art by Pepe Larraz
  • Old Man Hawkeye #1, written by Ethan Sacks with art by Marco Checchetto, and
  • Suicide Squad #33, written by Si Spurrier with art by Fernando Pasarin!

As usual, this show contains spoilers, and was recorded live to tape with minimal editing. So if you’re looking for a comics show that ranges from speculation about meta-narrative in a comic about super villains to a story about one of the hosts eating a bug, you’ve come to the right place!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

anniversaryIt is the Labor Day long weekend here in the United States, and considering there was little comics news this week, we strongly considered taking a pass on a show this week. However! A quick peek at our Web site archives reminded us that today, September 4th, is the fifth anniversary of Crisis On Infinite Midlives on the Internet.

And we couldn’t let the occasion pass by unmarked. So we did a very brief show (at least a brief show for us) to reminisce about where and how we started, and how we wound up where we are.

And since that story isn’t a long and involved epic tale that will ring down through the ages to eventually become a three-hour Charlton Heston movie, we also talk a little bit about some Spider-Man: Homecoming casting news, The Attack of The Mushroom People (for some reason), and some of this week’s comics:

  • Suicide Squad Special: War Crimes, written by John Ostrander with art by Gus Vasquez,
  • Thunderbolts #4, written by Jim Zub with art by Jon Malin, and:
  • Uncanny Avengers #13, written by Gerry Duggan with art by Ryan Stegman!

Oh, by the way: that Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuinness Avengers title Rob was looking for was Avengers: X-Sanction from back in 2012.

And, as always, the disclaimers:

  • This is a shorter-than-usual episode, and it’s a little bit loose. We assure you: we’ll be back to spending two hours acting as if in love with the sounds of our own voices next week.
  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know that John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad is about a black-ops team of supervillains… well, you’re already screwed. But you are also warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Your boss is already upset that the next long weekend is three months away; don’t go making them angrier by listening to this without headphones.

Thanks for listening (and reading) for the past five years, suckers!

suicide_squad_movie_wallpaperDC Films’s Suicide Squad opened this week, to impressive box office numbers, if not so impressive reviews. But here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives, Rob in particular is a fan of John Ostrander’s and Kim Yale’s 1980s original DC comic, so we went out of our way to see the flick, excited to spend Sunday preparing to talk about it, in depth, during this week’s show.

Then Rob’s day job called him on on Saturday night and worked him like a dog until 5:45 a.m. Sunday morning.

But we refused to let that stop us! So we spent our few waking hours today rereading dozens of issues of Ostrander’s Suicide Squad (and a few more modern issues, and even a few issues of Michael Fiffe’s Copra for some flavor), hashing out problems with the movie, discussing the differences between Ostrander’s nihilist Deadshot versus Will Smith’s devoted dad, arguing about whether the movie’s Harley Quinn was insanely devoted to Joker or ready to accept herself as a massively anti-social person, speculating about whether the rumored studio edits and deleted scenes would have made a better or worse flick, and bickering over whether three naps in a single 14 hour span is healthy.

So you’re in for a unique show: we taped this late, didn’t have time to really edit it at all, and recorded it in a state of profound fatigue hysteria. And we still somehow found the wherewithal to discuss DC Rebirth Suicide Squad #1, written by Rob Williams with art by Phillip Tan!

And, as always, some disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen Suicide Squad, and want to avoid being told whether or not Captain Boomerang consummates his forbidden love with a fluffy pink unicorn, you are hereby forewarned. (NOTE: This is not a sleep deprived hallucination. It is an actual and valid question introduced in this multi-million dollar studio-backed major motion picture).
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Hello!? Aussie Unicorn Rogering! Get some headphones.
  • We repeatedly misidentify this episode as number 113 during the show. We are very ,very tired.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

suicide_squad_17_cover_2013Am I the only one having fun here, boys?

– Harley Quinn

That’s the first line of Suicide Squad #17, and it’s pretty much a complete review in and of itself.

This is not the smartest comic you will read this week. It is not the finest attempt at visual narrative aspiring toward classic literature that you are ever going to see. It doesn’t have the most intricate plot – hell, it doesn’t have much plot, period. And with the exception of two panels for Harley and some backstory for Yo-Yo, the closest thing this comic has to character development is the establishment that Harley’ll let you suck her toes if you kill someone for her. So if you’re looking for some kind of high-falutin’ example of comics as the entertainment of choice for the discerning sophisticate, this is not the book for you.

However, if you are looking for non-stop, balls-out violent and gory super villain action, with entertaining repartee and a few damn good jokes? Suicide Squad #17 is about the best three bucks you can spend this week.

Fifteen issues into various DC “New 52” titles and I have to tell you – if you’d have asked me who would still be standing as the long term writer of a title at the end of 2012, I’m not sure I would’ve named Adam Glass over Scott Snyder or Gail Simone. Snyder’s Swamp Thing was an unexpected initial hit, although its sales have been in decline lately; Simone’s Batgirl, despite being uneven in places, was garnering solid sales. According to Comics Beat, last October Batgirl #13 sold 50,074 issues versus Suicide Squad #13’s 27,644. So, what gives? Why does Glass continue to get the green light?

After the jump, we puzzle out the nature of sales, love, and rubber chickens – with spoilers!

First of all people of San Diego: it’s a fucking e-cigarette. It emits water vapor. So please stop passive-aggressively giving me shit when I’m using it on a public sidewalk, out of doors and approaching the convention center, by muttering, “Nothing I like better than a faceful of cigarette smoke blowing into my baby’s face…” Let’s clear the air here (ha!): my e-cigarette emits no odor and bothers no one, unlike your little bundle of squalling fecal production. And since my e-cig doesn’t even burn, the San Diego Fire Marshall even considers it less of a fucking fire hazard.

Okay, I feel better now. Now that we’ve got my personal news out of the way, let’s talk about what’s been happening at SDCC 2012 that doesn’t involve self-righteous self-absorbsion.

The actual programming at SDCC started in earnest yesterday, featuring panels on everything from homosexuality in genre fiction to Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II. (Rob: This may be redundant. Consider editing. -Amanda)

In order to do due diligence for this review of Suicide Squad #7, “The Origin Of Harley Quinn”, I was going to re-read 1994’s The Batman Adventures: Mad Love by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Dini, after all, created Harley Quinn and, frankly, my first reaction after reading the conclusion to Adam Glass’s reboot of her character was that I wanted to read the original. However, Mad Love doesn’t appear to be on any of our book shelves at the moment – which means it’s in any one of 23 separate, unlabeled long boxes that are stashed in the closet of the Home Office’s second bedroom, and I just don’t have the patience to go digging.

You know what is out and easily accessible on the book shelves of Home Office Command Central? Batman: Son Of The Demon…just in case Rob wants to get into a drunken pissing contest with a 12 year-old who has a theory that Batman is gay and that Damien was grown in a petri dish in the Bat Cave.

Stranger things have happened. Both here and in the Bat Cave. But, I digress…

The thing is, this issue, and most of the Suicide Squad run in general, isn’t bad. Some of it is pretty good – but it’s not as good as what Dini and company first came up with, even if it’s trying for darker, edgier, clown car…ier, whatever. Perhaps that just my own failing that I can’t get past that.

Or is it? Spoilers and whatnot after the jump.

On a lot of levels, the reboot of Suicide Squad has been a hot mess. It started with a psychological torture tale, moved into a zombie story and then transitioned quickly into a prison break movie with almost no segues or fanfare… and that’s all in what’s supposed to be a single, cohesive, five-issue story arc. In many ways it’s a failure, but what’s saving it is two things: a total commitment to the primary characters on the part of writer Adam Glass… with the keyword there being “primary,” because the second saving grace is the apparent willingness to kill just about any character at any time.

By the time this issue rolls around, what’s left of the Squad (We’ve lost one or two via simple escape, gunshot wound, the odd zombie attack and fatal viral infection… only some of which may have been passed on by Harley Quinn) is stuck behind bars, infected with something called the Rot Virus (Yeah, sounds like Harley) and charged with quelling a prison riot before the bombs they had stuck in their brain stems. So long story short, Glass is throwing everything at the wall to amp up the tension. Deadshot’s out of bullets. El Diablo might have to kill someone. Waller’s trapped two floors above the riot. And the tension works… for those characters.

When I was a kid, I developed a theory called “Murder She Wrote Logic,” which was borne out of (duh) Murder She Wrote. Whenever you watched that show, you didn’t need to look at the evidence or the logic or anything else; all you had to do was look at who was least likely to be the killer, and you knew that they were the perp. You can use the same logic on Suicide Squad: whichever characters are drawn in broad strokes are doomed. The aforementioned Deadshot, El Diablo and Amanda Waller are well drawn out with reasonably solid dialogue and characterization, so they make it. Others like Yo-Yo, and Voltaic in the first issue? Meat for the machine, man. It’s an area where the book falls down; yeah, Glass will kill members of the team – something you’d expect to see in a book called Suicide Squad – but you can pretty much call who’s dead the first time they speak. They might as well show Deadshot a picture of their grandkids and tell him how many days they have left until retirement.

It is Wednesday, and since the Arkham City video game has made many of us… shall we say, sensitive to the idea of Harley Quinn in a bustier, that means that this…

…particularly a new Suicide Squad, means the end of our broadcast day.

But let’s talk about a decent take, shall we? We’ve got a new Black Panther, a new Ultimate Spider-Man, and a new Star Trek Vs. the Legion of Super Heroes (Or as we like to call it here at the Crisis on Infinite Midlives Home Office: Two Saturn Girls, One Spock)!

But we’ve gotta read them before we can write about them, and before that we have all this beer we need to turn into hangovers!

So: see you tomorrow, suckers!