It was yet another berserk week at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, with more workmen in the house, the building of massive shelving that, Tardis-like, is somehow bigger on the inside, and family members evacuating South Florida to escape Hurricane Irma… before turning around to drive right back into Hurricane Irma. Let’s just say there might be a genetic component to why Rob never seems to think things through.

As such, this week hasn’t been conducive to a well prepared episode. For which we apologize, but we saw a few things we wanted to talk about. We finally saw the first season of Alan Tudyk’s Con Men as it premiered on the SyFy Channel, as discussed how it reflects and makes fun of actual convention culture.

We also caught the first episode of Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville, which is a weird show by the creator of Family Guy in that it’s a riff on Star Trek that will make Star Trek fans crazy with rage, and that will make Family Guy fans baffled and confused.

We also discuss Spider-Man #20, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Nico Leon, and Venomverse #1, written by Cullen Bunn with art by Iban Coello!

This episode was recorded live to tape. So if you ever wanted to know why Star Trek conversations with Rob and Amanda quickly turn to Romulan Ale, here’s your answer!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

Editor’s Note: One last review of the comics of 12/5/2012 before the comic stores open…

Let’s get the preliminaries out of the way: the chick with the purple hair who doesn’t speak and is the only apparent member who isn’t asked to volunteer in Thunderbolts #1? That’s Mercy. She debuted back in Peter David’s and Todd McFarlane’s run on The Incredible Hulk – issue 338 to be exact, a couple of issues before the arc collected in the Ground Zero paperback. If I recall correctly, she shanks people who she thinks are down on their luck… and she thinks everyone is down on their luck. You’re welcome.

Thunderbolts #1 is yet another Marvel Now book that is, despite Marvel’s protestations, a complete reboot (but, but, Marvel doesn’t reboot! Which is why The Punisher is still a superpowered avenging angel! And he’s still a black guy!). We’ve gone from the team being the standardized government-sponsored team staffed by former supervillains hoping for redemption that it’s been for years (but don’t let it make you bitter; if you miss that idea, DC’s still publishing Suicide Squad), to apparently just General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, former Hulkbuster and current Red Hulk, out on his own, building a team out of the darker, more edge heroes of the Marvel Universe. You know, like DC’s Team 7.

So now our Thunderbolts are apparently Red Hulk, Punisher, Deadpool, Elektra, Venom and Mercy, which is a lineup, except for Mercy, that should be familiar to anyone who has seen twelve-year-olds playing Heroclix (although you probably heard them referred to as “The Asskickers,” or perhaps “Team Awesome”). However, this lineup is being written by recent Deadpool writer Daniel Way instead of a runny-nosed punk jacked up on Red Bull and his first boner over imagining Elektra naked, so we can expect a little more from this team, right?

Truth be told, I can’t quite tell yet.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review contains spoilers, such as the fact that Venom rides Captain America’s motorcycle. Which you learned from the cover to your left. Damn covers have no regard for spoiler alerts. However, consider yourself warned. 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a guy walks into a Marvel comic, and he gets confronted by Captain America. Cap tells the guy that he’s out of control and he needs to be brought in, so the guy tells Cap that he’s always respected him and that Cap’s been a big influence on him, and then he punches Cap in the temple, steals some of his shit and gets away clean! Ha! Get it?

Oh, you’ve heard that one? Of course you have. It’s been a staple of Marvel Comics at least since Daredevil: Born Again. So much so that Mark Millar and Matt Fraction hooked it for The Punisher during and just after Civil War. And then Mark Waid took it for Daredevil #2 just three or four months ago. Hell, Daniel Way used it in Deadpool this fucking week. And now Rick Remender’s dusted it off for Venom #10. And considering all these characters wind up kicking Captain America’s ass when he shows up, it’s reaching the point where I’m beginning to think that Captain America’s Kryptonite is simple respect; if Baron Zemo had offered to shake Cap’s hand before shooting off that rocket, this book would take place in the Wunder Universum and everyone would be eating schnitzel right now.

This time around, Cap shows up to shut down the government program that hooked Flash Thompson up with the Venom symbiote. Unfortunately, Cap’s timing leaves a little to be desired, since Thompson is being blackmailed to do crimes as Venom by Jack O’Lantern and Crime-Master – because nothing proves you’re a master criminal like telling everyone you’re a master criminal. Ask Keyser Soze. But I digress.

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers about Spider-Island. It has spiders. Also, some other stuff. You have been warned.

Now if you insist upon using a comic story as a parable about a serious issue, Venom #7 is a much better way of doing it. But we’ll get to that.

This issue is a crossover issue to Marvel’s Spider-Island event that I initially picked up for only one reason: issue 7 of any book Rick Remender writes is the point where it stands a solid chance of going gloriously and disastrously off the rails.

Think about his 2008 run on Punisher, which he started in the middle of the Dark Reign event when Norman Osborne had managed to use public opinion and political intrigue to wrest control of SHIELD from Tony Stark even though he was woefully unqualified and The Green Fucking Goblin. While the X-Men remained neutral and the Avengers wrestled with ways to turn the tide of public sentiment away from Osborne even while it turned against themselves, Remender had The Punisher come up with an ingenious and crafty plan to turn Osborne’s fortunes by shooting him in the face.

That was issue 1. By issue 7, Remender had the straight-ahead, no-nonsense Punisher fighting zombies. And thus began a long, slow train wreck that culminated in the Punisher being killed and resurrected as Frankenstein. Reading Remender’s Punisher was like watching a Kardashian try to redefine pi in a room full of cocaine and NBA players: a hot mess I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

So when I saw Venom had reached the critical seventh issue, I wanted in on the ground floor of the implosion… so imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a damn good book, and arguably the best part of the Spider-Island event so far.