We are now fully into Marvel’s Legacy initiative to step back from years of event overload and senseless character deaths, and to reintroduce simpler, more classic versions of the character back into the monthly issues. And as we glory in the reintroduction of series’ original numbering, and the inclusion of classic Stan Lee / Funky Flashman-esque Mighty Marvel Marching Society hype into each issue, we also wonder: where the hell are the simpler, classic versions of the characters?

In that vein, we talk about:

  • Invincible Iron Man #593, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Stefano Caselli and Alex Maleev, and
  • The Mighty Thor #700, written by Jason Aaron with art by almost everyone.

But Marvel is not the only one reintroducing older characters, so we also discuss:

  • The WildStorm #8, written by Warren Ellis with art by Jon Davis-Hunt, and
  • Mage: The Hero Denied #3, written and drawn by Matt Wagner!

This episode was recorded live to tape, meaning that you will learn the reasons why we would treat Marvel Legacy: Starfox in the way we would 80s VHS porn!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

We are living in an age where we are spoiled for choice, when it comes to comics-related television shows. From The Flash to Supergirl to The Walking Dead to Cinemax’s Outcast to the (possibly) upcoming Scalped on WGN America, there’s something for everyone… which is why we weren’t particularly excited for FX’s Legion, based on a mid-90’s New Mutant and set in the oldest and arguably stalest of the modern comics cinematic universes. We only decided to watch it because we have a comics podcast, which means that you need something to talk about.

But watch it we did, thinking we were taking one for the team, but finding one of the smarter and more intriguing comic book television shows – if not filmed genre properties, period – we’ve seen in recent memory. It’s a show based on a funnybook that made us unironically namecheck David Cronenberg and use the word “Kubrickian.” That doesn’t happen every day.

(Oh: and we completely confuse the character Legion with Proteus in this episode. In our defense, these characters appeared in prominent mid-90s X-Men stories, making them, by their very nature, very, very forgettable.)

We also discuss:

  • Amazing Spider-Man: The Clone Conspiracy #5, written by Dan Slott with art by Jim Cheung, and:
  • The Wild Storm #1, written by Warren Ellis with art by Jon Davis-Hunt!

And now, as usual, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know the greater plot of the Legion pilot, well, listening to this show won’t help you. But still: consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you don’t want your Mom to know which comics property we believe should have been called “The Brown Note,” get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

tmp_ant-man_movie_logo871384253It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show! May God have mercy upon your soul!

It has been a big, weird week for Marvel, both the movie studio and the comic publisher, so we talk about:

  • Edgar Wright’s departure from the Ant-Man movie, who might be a good choice from the directors who have been named as probable replacements, and who would actually be a good replacement
  • The rumor (a rumor that is picking up some partial documentation and some steam) that Marvel might cancel Fantastic Four to spite Fox Studios efforts to promote the latest movie adaptation
  • The concept that Marvel and DC might just be intellectual property farms for movies and TV, the deleterious effect that that could have on comics, and what, if anything, comics fans can do about it (spoiler alert: not much)
  • Fantastic Four #5, written by James Robinson with art by Leonard Kirk
  • Trees #1, written by Warren Ellis with art by Jason Howard

And, the usual legalese:

  • This show was recorded live to tape, which means you might hear more weird pauses, aborted jokes, and jokes about abortion than you might hear on your normal podcast
  • This show contains spoilers. We try to warn ahead of time, but there is every chance you will hear the odd spoiler of a story point or nine. What can I say? We ruin stuff.
  • This show contains adult, explicit language, and is not safe for work. Invest in some headphones, even if they must be those awful Beats By Dre monstrosities.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

homer_superman_shirtMy God, it’s a miracle: we’re actually releasing a new podcast on our regularly-scheduled Sunday! Sure, we had to tape it on Saturday to get it done, and during a time when we were forced by circumstance to remain sober while we did it, but what the hell; it’s a small price to pay for being able to rant about comics and pop culture on a predictable schedule.

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

  • Television! Particularly, the announcements this week that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was renewed (and whether or not that is a good thing), and the announcements that various networks have picked up season orders of Agent Carter, Gotham, iZombie, Constantine, and Flash, and which shows we think might be good or horrible, depending on their direction
  • Moon Knight #3, written by Warren Ellis with art by Declan Shalvey
  • Miles Morales, The Ultimate Spider-Man #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez, and
  • Why you should never allow a kitten into a recording studio when you are, you know, recording.

And, a few notes (and please let us know in the comments if we mentioned something obscure and forgot to include it here):

  • The “Maurissa” whose name we were trying to remember was Maurissa Tancharoen, one of the showrunners for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • When we talk about Beacon Hill and Dorchester, you might not know that Beacon Hill is a Boston neighborhood populated almost exclusively by people who use the word “summer” as a verb, and Dorchester is a place where you go to witness or participate in a knife fight (it is the home neighborhood of Mark Wahlberg, so you know almost nothing good has come from there)

Finally, the nitty gritty pseudo-legalese:

  • This show may contains spoilers, and it may spoil something with no warning whatsoever (although we make an effort to chuck a “spoiler alert!” in now and again)
  • This show was recorded live to tape and is unedited, so there may be more “ums”, pregnant pauses, and vile, ill-advised humor than you are used to from your everyday comics / pop culture podcast
  • This show includes the use of explicit and profane language, and is most decidedly not safe for work. Unless you have the kind of job that requires you to know what a “Tunguska Reacharound” is, in which case, listen away and feel free to tell your pimp that we think you deserve a larger cut of the take.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

project_superpowers_jae_lee_2008Here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, we are some Warren Ellis fans.

Back in 2000, when watching Unbreakable led me to leave a several-year Vertigo Comics exile to delve back into superhero comics, Ellis’s The Authority and Stormwatch trades helped reinforce my hope that superhero comics had moved away from the Image Age of chicken-scratched detail lines on footless steroid monsters punching on each other with no driving story to speak of, and into something that an adult might like to read.

Ellis’s Nextwave remains one of my favorite limited series of the past fifteen years, and his collection of Come In Alone columns not only reinforced that there were actual adults writing comics, but they made me a lurker on the Warren Ellis Forums, where my proudest contribution was that Matt Fraction ripped off the logo from a 1999 Web site I ran to be his forum avatar for a while.

Ellis has been mostly absent from mainstream comics since we started this Web site in 2001. He wrote Secret Avengers in 2001 (which is the first book I ever reviewed here), and he’s been contributing to the Kelly Sue DeConnick co-written Avengers Assemble for the last couple of months, and he did the Avengers: Endless Wartime graphic novel a few months ago,  but otherwise he’s been working on novels and TV properties and whatnot.

So it is about time, as far as we fans are concerned, for Ellis to take on a larger-scale comics project… which is a thing that he is doing. Specifically, he will be rebooting Dynamite Comics’s Project Superpowers line of books. You know, that line of comics that Alex Ross and Jim Kreuger launched in 2008! The one that none of us actually read!

avengers_endless_wartime_coverAvengers: Endless Wartime, the new original graphic novel written by Warren Ellis with art by Mike McKone, is, for all intents and purposes, an effective sequel or side tale about The Avengers from the Joss Whedon movie. It is a sequel to The Avengers that, unlike Marvel Studios, has no rights issues or special effects budget constraints to deal with, and therefore can include fan favorite characters, like Wolverine and Captain Marvel, that the movies can’t. And it is a sequel that is printed on really shitty paper.

Seriously: I got my copy shrinkwrapped and therefore never opened before I got it back to the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, and the pages in the front and back third of the book were wrinkled to hell and back. And on top of that, a couple of panels had printing errors that smudged the shit out of the lettering. It’s not the worst thing in the world – it doesn’t make the book unreadable or anything, and I lost all my resale value, defects or not, the minute I stripped the shrink wrap to read the thing – but when you’re dropping $25 clams on a piece of shelf porn, you expect the thing to be printed at least as well as it would have been had it been broken into a six-issue miniseries. Your mileage may vary, and God knows you won’t spend the full $25 if you buy the thing off of Amazon or something, but I bought it at my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to stop threatening to demand $25 if they don’t let me strip off my shrink wrap for a close inspection.

But let’s forget about the printing issues and go back to the story, which takes place pretty much outside of current Avengers continuity, includes all the players from the Avengers movie – and they are far more recognizable as the characters from the movies than they are most modern versions of the characters in the comics –  and has the global scale of a major motion picture. And while it feels like there are a couple of stories jammed together that make things a little confusing now and again, it’s packed with familiar character notes, catchphrases, and Warren Ellis dialogue. Dialogue that would jeopardize a PG-13 rating if it actually was a movie.

avengers_endless_wartime_coverIt has been a good long while since we have seen any new mainstream comics work from Warren Ellis, what with his book deals and his columns in the mainstream press (well, “mainstream” compared to the comics press, which is widely populated by drunken amateurs who have just enough brain power to buy a domain name and install a content management system that allows them to publicly rant about comic books. Hi, Warren!) and his fat movie deals.

That drought will, however, be coming to a close with the upcoming release of the original graphic novel Avengers: Endless Wartime, with art by Mike McKone, in a couple of weeks (Amazon has a listed release date of October 1st). And if you’ve missed the news, here’s the official blurb as to what it’s about:

An abomination, long thought buried, has resurfaced in a war-torn land…

Hi, Warren!

…But now it wears an American flag. Faced with another nightmare reborn, Captain America will not stand for yet more death at the hands of a ghost from his past. Haunted by his greatest shame, Thor must renew the hunt for a familiar beast. At their side, an assemblage of allies united to end the threats no one of them could face alone. They are soldiers. Warriors. Comrades-in-arms. Mighty heroes led by a living legend, stronger together than apart. They are the Avengers. Also includes exclusive AR video content, a free digital download of the book, and an introduction written by Agent Coulson himself Clark Gregg!

It is safe to say that we will be picking up and reviewing the graphic novel when it drops, but if you’re on the fence, well, Google Books has released he first few pages of the book to review at your leisure. And if you don’t feel like logging into Google to see how it’s gonna look (hi, NSA!), well, you can see those pages after the jump.

scatterlands_promoA few weeks ago, Warren Ellis teased some kind of a new comics project, named Scatterlands, with Super Dinosaur artist Jason Howard… and he did it without mentioning any further detail about what it was. Oh sure, he had previously Tweeted that he missed doing a free Web-based project like FreakAngels, but as a teaser, that really didn’t mean anything. After all, the man has also Tweeted about the gastronomic delights of the common infant, occasionally combined with the pastime refreshment value of Col. Werner Von Braun’s Old No. Nein! Stuttgart Slurpin’ Partially Gelatinous Booster Fuel. So it’s best to take Ellis’s 140-character pronouncements with a grain of salt. At least, I sincerely hope it is.

However, in this case, those announcements were at least semi-accurate, because Ellis has announced the nature of the Scatterlands project: it will be a Web-based, daily, single-panel comic strip, with new panels every weekday.

And by “it will be,” I mean that “it is.” The first panel debuted today on Ellis’s Web site.

So whaddya got in store for us, Warren?

warren_ellis_headshotWarren Ellis is a legend in the world of comic books who hasn’t written a comic book in Goddamned forever. Sure, he did a short run on Marvel’s Secret Avengers toward the end of 2011, but while he released a novel and started a weekly column for Vice in 2012, he’s been pretty much absent from comics for well over a year at this point. And hey, those things were entertaining, but he did these things while there’s a fandom out there waiting for the conclusion of Fell and hoping for another dose of Desolation Jones.

Well, there’s some good news – no, not new Fell or Desolation Jones; we live in a human world, filled not with miracles, but with mundane and crippling disappointment – Ellis has announced a new comics project.

Of some kind.

Unlike every other comics Web site in the world, we here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives are not putting together any lists of the best and worst comics of 2011. This is partially because we only came into existence in September, partially because when we review books we try to tell you what we think in a little more depth than a star rating or an idiotic list of weekly winners and losers, and partially because before we started this site we read many, if not all, of our comics on Wednesday nights while shitfaced at the bar next to our local comic store.

But if I were compiling a list of my favorite comics of 2011, Warren Ellis’s Secret Avengers would have a rock solid place on it. It has been a series of big idea, one-and-done issues with rotating, top-shelf artists, and an overriding concept – missions to stop extinction-level events that no one can ever know about – that cheerfully lends itself to big stories that can flip the bird to ongoing continuity. And this week’s #20 continues the solid run… although I readily admit that more than once, the stories have felt a little, shall we say, recycled.

A couple months ago when I reviewed Secret Avengers #18, I reveled in the fact that Ellis acknowledged that the problem with time travel is that if you just move through time, the planet would have moved, and you would pop out of your time tunnel or your hot tub or your DeLorean in the empty vacuum of space to die with blood boiling in your brain and leaving Elizabeth Shue available for Karate Kid II after all.