Sure, our weekly comic book review podcast The Stack is an audio podcast – but what if it wasn’t? To provide better service to our listeners, here’s a transcript of the latest episode, featuring reviews for: Batman #77, Powers of X #3, Pretty Violent #1, Livewire #9, Superman Year One #2, Jane Foster: Valkyrie #2, Faithless #5, Year of the Villain: Black Mask #1, Ghost Spider #1, Psi-Lords #3, Weatherman #3 and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #2.
If you like this, please let us know and we’ll aim to do it more frequently!
Alex: What is up everybody. Welcome to The Stack. I’m Alex.
Justin: I’m Justin.
Pete: I’m Pete.
Alex: On The Stack, we talk about a bunch of comic books that have come out this very day, Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. Eastern time. That’s when the podcast drops.
Justin: They know what time it is. They know what day it is. They know what time it is. Everybody listens to this shit like clockwork.
Alex: They do.
Alex: Well, by 9:02 they’re done. They listen to the podcast.
Pete: On Thursday guys.
Alex: No. That’s not possible.
Justin: Everyone here is all Wednesday all the time.
Pete: Maybe even Friday.
Justin: That sounds crazy. Friday is the weekend. People are partying.
Alex: Yeah, they’re like, “Whoa! I don’t have to work anymore and read comics. I’m done.”
Alex: I’m done with my comic reading job.
Justin: You can’t hang 10 on a sweet surfboard and listen to this podcast at the same time. Have you got underwater headphones?
Alex: Yeah, watch me try.
Justin: Okay, Alex is going to listen to our podcast.
Alex: I don’t really listen to podcasts.
Justin: What’s more believable, Alex surfing or Alex listening to the podcast, let alone both at the same time?
Alex: Great question. Here’s a couple of notes before we get into the reviews. Those of you who listened last week heard these, but those of you who are new hear them for the very first time.
Pete: Welcome new people.
Justin: They were so exciting. What a time to be alive.
Alex: First of all, we have the regular transcript of this episode. If you like to read your podcasts instead of listen to them, or if you’re hearing impaired in any way, that usually rolls out at about the same time as the audio podcast, so, check that out on our site Comicbookclublive.com. Also, we have a Stack specific feed, if for whatever reason you don’t want to get the live show and the Stack in the same comic book feed, you can always still subscribe in the Comic Book Club Live feed there. But, we do have a Stack specific feed that rolls out. It’s currently up on iTunes and Google podcast and a couple of other places. We don’t quite have it on Spotify yet. I believe it’s on Stitcher. But, you can checkout the full list again on our website at Comicbookclublive.com.
Alex: One last thing, we’re not going to do it this episode since there’s so many comics to talk about. But, we love getting comments from you guys. Leave us a comment on iTunes, leave us a rating anywhere, we would love to read your comments on the show.
Justin: We’ll read your comment. If there’s a question, we’ll answer it. A comment with a question.
Alex: Can you do that?
Alex: Is that legal?
Justin: Let’s push the borders.
Alex: Yeah, let’s do it. Speaking of pushing the border, let’s talk about one of the big issues of the week, sure to be controversial, Batman number 77.
Justin: Oh yes. This guy.
Alex: From DC Comics. Now I’ve got to tell you, leading up to this, I saw a lot of people who had read it in advance being like, “I’m going to get off the internet permanently as soon as this issue drops,” because they were predicting that people were going to be so upset. We are going to get into spoilers for the issue, so we’ll give you a spoiler countdown.
Pete: Now, is that why you’re wearing a Batman T-Shirt?
Justin: It was just a fan of. You’re like the office comic book guy, right?
Alex: Yeah. I love Batman. Actually, I hate basic T-Shirts like this that are just like the Bat signal.
Justin: Yeah, that T-Shirt’s basic good.
Alex: It’s pretty dumb, right? What?
Justin: No, it’s cool. That’s great.
Pete: No, that [crosstalk 00:03:14].
Alex: I’ll tell you what, there was one time I was walking through security at the airport, and I was wearing my dumb shirt that I hate that just says Star Wars on it.
Justin: You love that. You wear it all the time.
Alex: No, I have a Star Wars shirt that looks a little slightly more vintage and has an image. I do like that one, it’s very comfy. But, this is the one that just has the Star Wars logo. The lady we had at security was like, “Oh Star Wars fan.”
Justin: That’s true.
Alex: I was like, “Yes, it’s true.”
Justin: What do you want-
Pete: Why are you so mad?
Justin: Don’t be mad. That’s a person who sees something and is trying to connect with you for a second.
Alex: It’s like if I was wearing a shirt that said, “Pizza on it.” I was like, “Yeah, I like pizza,” I don’t know.
Justin: You’d be asking for that very comment.
Alex: I guess so.
Justin: And Pete would be like, “Hey, hang 10 Alex, I love pizza too.”
Alex: Listen, most Batman shirts are like Batman, Jim Lee all over your body going onto your arms and shit.
Justin: Who’s wearing those?
Pete: I have. I have a shirt just like that.
Alex: Pete. I don’t like that, that’s too much.
Justin: I was about to insult him more, and now I will not. I got my daughter a Batman T-Shirt and she won’t wear it.
Justin: She won’t wear it.
Alex: Well, I’m glad we did that spoiler countdown because we just spoiled the heck out of Batman.
Justin: It’s a long countdown.
Alex: Batman wears a shirt in the issue. In this issue, we are continuing the City of Bane storyline. Bane has taken over Gotham. He has taken all of the villains and created his law own law enforcement there. Meanwhile, Batman is very far away from Gotham. He’s been kicked out. He lost. He’s being nursed back to health by Cat Woman.
Justin: His ex.
Alex: Bane has made an edict-
Pete: In Paris, right? They’re in Paris.
Alex: In Paris, very beautiful city.
Justin: Lovely place for love.
Alex: So nice.
Justin: It’s the city of nursing your boyfriend back to health.
Alex: Bane has made an edict that if any of the Bat family comes into Gotham, he is going to kill Alfred in front of them. That is what they said. Of course Damian does not listen.
Pete: He doesn’t listen to rules.
Justin: Petulant child.
Alex: He goes into Gotham, goes for Thomas Wayne who’s the alternate universe father of Bruce Wayne, who’s come home from Flashpoint. They have I think a stunning fight.
Justin: Great, really beautifully drawn.
Alex: Oh my God! Such an amazing fight, so tense, so good. Thomas Wayne wins, ties him to a chair, and makes him watch as Bane snaps Alfred’s neck and kills him.
Justin: That’s was fucked up.
Alex: Yeah. So, I assume-
Justin: But I will say, that’s how all butlers want to end their service.
Pete: Oh my God! That’s so-
Justin: Have you ever hang out with butlers? I went drinking with some butlers and they party, and they also are like, “Sorry, I’m quitting my job next week, so let’s see you later.”
Alex: Yeah, my neck could get snapped I hope, fingers crossed. I assume this was the thing people were talking about that they were going to be very upset about.
Pete: I think it was-
Justin: And then with Pennyworth coming out.
Alex: It’s crazy.
Pete: [crosstalk 00:05:51]. It’s out already.
Justin: That’s what I’m saying, Pennyworth is out. That’s what I’m saying, the fans.
Alex: Now, I’m curious to get how I’ve said-
Pete: I thought they would be enraged that Damian was using magic with the wand.
Alex: Clarion’s wand?
Alex: No, I don’t think that was it.
Justin: That was cool.
Alex: You are very much a fan of side characters Pete. How do you feel about Alfred-
Justin: Yes, your Foggy Nelsons.
Alex: … About Alfred dying, how do you feel?
Pete: It’s the worst. I would much rather Damian die or any of the robins.
Justin: You’d rather Bane dies?
Justin: That’s checks out.
Pete: But like-
Justin: It really checks out.
Pete: The way he died, and being like begging, it was… I couldn’t go back and read it again.
Justin: Really? What is your list, in all the Batman family, your list, order of who you want to die, where does Alfred fit in? Is he above Batman?
Pete: Yeah, yeah.
Justin: So, this bummed you out more than Batman himself dying.
Justin: Why? Why would that possibly-
Pete: Because Alfred is more pure than Batman. Batman has crossed the line, he’s done things he shouldn’t have done.
Justin: Alfred has battled over the line a little bit.
Justin: He’s gone too far. Too much tea, too many sandwiches.
Pete: All Alfred’s done is try to raise a child after his parents died, and all he’s done is try to be that person there for Batman.
Justin: He has been the father figure. Is Alfred dead?
Alex: I’m going to say no, I think it’s Clayface.
Alex: That was my best guess. That’s why I was holding back. That said, the thing that gives me a little nag of doubt here is, we knew going into this that there was all sorts of behind the scenes rumors, and scuttlebutt about Tom King making a big move on Batman during the City of Bane storyline that ended up with him splitting it off into a separate title, Batman and Catwoman rather than continuing with the Batman run.
Alex: None of that’s been confirmed or anything like that, but my little nag of doubt is like, “Oh, was this the thing? Was killing Alfred the thing that was such a big move that Warner Brothers said no way?”
Justin: I’ve got to think not because then why did we see it? We saw it. It happened. So, are they going to just reboot Alfred?
Alex: Yeah, I don’t know.
Justin: I like your Clayface theory.
Alex: Yeah, well it might have been, just to go against my own theory, it might have been that Tom King was saying, “I’ve got to kill Alfred, and then Alfred, until the end of his run on issue 105 or whatever it was going to end up, that would be the status quo.” So, for like two solid years, no Alfred. This way, they could do something where they go over to Batman Catwoman, but meanwhile, whatever writer comes back in it’s like, “Oh yeah, it was Clayface.”
Alex: It could be Tom King was not going to wreck on it, but now they have the opportunity to wreck on it.
Justin: But they still have like a year left-
Alex: Yeah, it’s still a lot.
Justin: … Of dead Alfred.
Alex: I don’t know.
Pete: I’m really worried to see what happens when Batman finds out.
Justin: What kind of Batman fan are you? An Alfred alive universe fan, or a dead Alfred universe fan?
Alex: Great question.
Pete: Alfred alive.
Alex: Pete is wearing his shirt that says Alfred on it.
Justin: That’s true. It’s classic insignia of the Alfred symbol, and a cup of steaming tea in the sky.
Alex: If that was real, and that was Alfred dying, it is a bummer to me that he wasn’t in the issue more.
Justin: Yeah. That’s why it felt like maybe not. We don’t get a big moment, we don’t get a moment to-
Pete: Well, I think maybe in the next issue, if he’s really dead, that’s what they’re going to do.
Justin: But, if Al-
Alex: He’s definitely going to say a lot less dialog if he’s dead.
Justin: It’s true.
Pete: No, but I’m saying we’re going to-
Alex: Show flashback and show it?
Pete: Yeah. That’s possible.
Justin: Also no Alfred, Bruce Wayne moment. You would expect to see that. So, it feels like it was something to maybe push Damian to a particular place, which makes sense. Damian strides the line between hero and villain a little bit, maybe that’s the point, and the Clayface move like you’re saying.
Justin: Outside of that big moment in the issue, I love this storyline. I liked the way that it’s played. It’s almost the opposite of Zero Year. The way that that was played is like big, everyone knows that the city’s been taken over. But this, people seem like they don’t know, and they’re just wandering around, and all of a sudden, a cop car rolls up and it’s Scarecrow there, and Mr. Zsasz.
Pete: They’re really enforcing the leash laws.
Justin: Yes, which I respect that.
Pete: Yeah, because I know Pip don’t slip.
Justin: Yeah, Pip don’t slip.
Alex: Overall, I really thought this issue was great. I mean, for the points we talked about, regardless of what’s actually going on with Alfred, if he’s actually dead or not, and I assume by the time this podcast is up, there’ll be some interview with Tom King clarifying what it is, but, that full pre spread was horrifying, but so well drawn. The fight scene as I mentioned with Damian was tense, and excellent.
Justin: Really good.
Alex: This story is so good.
Pete: Now, normally when I freak out about somebody dying, you guys are-
Alex: You seem very calm.
Pete: Yeah. Normally, because you guys are like, “Whatever, it’s the last page, it doesn’t count or whatever.” So, that’s why I’m holding back my freak out because I’m still in disbelief about what happened.
Justin: Well honestly, and I’m not trying to light you up by saying this, this one wasn’t on the last page, and it was legit. It wasn’t a, oops, it was a different person, or the lights were off. No, they killed that dude.
Pete: No dude, don’t.
Justin: That butler has battled his last.
Alex: No dude, it can’t be over for Alfred.
Justin: It’s time for a new Alfred, a younger Alfred.
Pete: Oh yeah.
Alex: I’ll fucking punch you in your throat.
Justin: Or an older Alfred, an older butler.
Alex: Do you think Batman would do that? He came springing in robins.
Justin: That’s what I’m saying.
Alex: Maybe there’ll be like an enterprising butler that finds-
Pete: Guys, it’s too fucking soon.
Alex: No. All I’m saying is, just listen, hear me out.
Pete: I’m not going to hear you out.
Alex: You could have like a younger perspective butler who breaks into the house, finds Bruce Wayne’s finger sandwiches and is like, “Wait a second, I could be your new Alfred.”
Justin: A fun butler.
Justin: A fun Alfred.
Alex: A Futler.
Justin: A Futler.
Pete: [crosstalk 00:11:54] he’d better not be dead, that’s all I’m saying.
Justin: I think he’s dead.
Alex: Yeah, we’ll see what happens.
Pete: Al, come on. Seriously, you can’t be dead man.
Justin: Pete’s moving through the seven stages of despair.
Alex: Unless it turns out… It’s amazing to see it happen right in front of us.
Pete: I would have to walk away from Batman for a little bit, if that’s real.
Justin: If Alfred’s dead?
Justin: See you later.
Alex: Well, let me ask you this, between, you get a choice, it’s like a [inaudible 00:12:25] choice situation, Alfred and Foggy Nelson, who do you choose?
Pete: Either way, I’m walking away.
Alex: You’re going to let them both die?
Justin: How dare you?
Justin: You have to choose. You have a scale.
Pete: No, I’m saying, if Foggy died in the comic, I would be done with-
Alex: But I’m asking, you have the choice, you’re a character in the comic, Alfred and Foggy are real-
Justin: Loaded gun, do you shoot a butler who appears sometimes in a comic with food for the hero, [inaudible 00:12:52], or a coworker of the blind lawyer who occasionally says, “Don’t fight crime,” to the hero?
Pete: Screw you fads.
Justin: Which one do you kill?
Pete: Dude, they are huge parts of who our heroes are.
Alex: Sure, so save one of them.
Pete: I can’t.
Justin: Why are you letting them both die?
Pete: I can’t.
Justin: They’re both dead.
Pete: I would shoot myself in the head.
Alex: Don’t ever do that.
Pete: I couldn’t do it.
Alex: Oh my God!
Pete: They both need to be saved.
Justin: What happened to make a regular choice?
Alex: How can Batman-
Justin: You’re in line at Subway getting your classic meatball sub and they’re like, “Sorry, we’re out of meatballs.” Are you like, “Good! You’re out of meats? Bang!bang! You’re dead.” You die in a Subway. That is why that gypsy predicted you would die in a Subway because you thought it was underground train, it’s actually a sandwich shop.
Pete: Yeah, but if you take Alfred away from Batman, Batman’s only-
Alex: Where’s he going to get his soup?
Pete: No. Batman is going to come unhinged like you can’t believe.
Justin: I’d love to see an Alfred cook book.
Alex: The one thing I will say that was weird to me about this issue, particularly given the whole Alfred of it all was, that Batman storyline with him having a romantic walk with Catwoman in Paris, I know he has to heal, I know he’s like, “I’ve given it up,” but the way those scenes play, they’re so romantic, and they’re dressed so well. I could really-
Justin: It made me sick.
Alex: I could deal with it better if they were in a flop house and he was dirty and they couldn’t deal with it.
Justin: Wait, in relation to Alfred dying?
Alex: Yes, seriously. Because, it seemed like they were having a relatively nice time.
Justin: I liked it. It made all those scenes feel more tense and overarching dread. Because, Catwoman also feels like she’s fucking around with him too much.
Justin: So, it’s a stress. Alfred dying and those scenes being beautiful made me more tense reading it, which I liked.
Alex: Yeah but I guess it stressed me out because, I was like, “What the fuck are you guys doing? Go back to Gotham. Jesus Christ! They’re about to kill Alfred you assholes.”
Justin: Wow! You hate Batman.
Alex: I hate Batman. This is Batman’s fault. I blame him, I’m done with Batman.
Alex: I’m going to rip off my shirt right now. Rip.
Justin: Oh wow! Look at him.
Pete: That’s gross.
Justin: He tore it in half. Really been working out.
Alex: My abs.
Justin: I know it’s really shocking.
Alex: All right, let’s move on to another book. This is another big book that came out this week from Marvel Comics, Powers of X, number 3, a.k.a Powers of 10 number 3.
Alex: I’m going to just say this up front, all right? Pete, I know you haven’t been onboard with this, you are so wrong.
Justin: Crazy wrong.
Alex: I don’t know if this is a bit your doing, or whatever’s going on, but this has made me excited about comics again.
Pete: What the fuck kind of statement is that?
Justin: It’s just story, just the storytelling, the complexity, the power. You’re always talking about the power a story has. This one was just an epic Sci-fi-
Pete: You’re using the title in your description. It’s really awful.
Justin: Well, I thought it was also interesting the way Powers of X 2 came out, and then Powers of X 3, and then they’re slipping to House of X 3, House of X 4, so it’s a very purposeful stagger move right there. This story I thought was just so good, you get to see everybody sacrifice themselves, and we see the plan is just-
Pete: What the fuck are you talking about?
Justin: … Spoiler about the issue, to reboot Moira with the information she needs to change the next timeline, that’s just so good.
Alex: The way this all rolls out… So we’ve been reading this, we’ve talked about this almost every issue, but I love how every issue adds new information that completely re-contextualizes every previous issue. What we find out of this issue is this storyline, 100 years in the future, where there’s a bunch of X Men working for apocalypse, fighting against Nimrod who’s taken over the entire planet. That turns out to be an alternate timeline. That’s the sixth life of Moira MacTaggert, and that flash, sorry, ninth life of Moira MacTaggert, right at the end, so good, so good.
Alex: I just want to say, I’m terrible at guessing anything about this book, but to give myself a little pat on the back about this, people were talking about like the sixth life of Moira MacTaggert, what’s going on with that. I felt like focus on the ninth life, because that continued past the point where everything else ended, so what’s going on there. I love that we loop back to that, I love the way that it looped back around or changed everything that we know before.
Alex: The reason I said it made me excited for comic books again, and I’m so hesitant about this, but I feel like with events like this, it always reaches a point about halfway through, and we’re not quite there yet, but halfway through where they’re like, “Just real quick, issue five has been delayed three weeks. Then, issue six has been delayed a bunch. The last issue was just setting up every other thing so, it’s not really ending or anything like that.”
Justin: Any other issue starts the main story.
Alex: Exactly. But, this we know for a fact, they’ve been working on for an incredibly long period of time to get this ready, but the way that it’s structured, it’s so meticulously planned.
Justin: Yeah, so deliberate. Every choice is deliberate.
Alex: It feels like Hickman almost definitely finished the end of this story before they started on it.
Justin: Yeah. I feel like that’s based on the way he seems to work, it seems like that’s the way. He just got it all planned.
Alex: That’s why I’m excited about it. I don’t want to get burned again. I’ve been burned by so many events in comics, but I read this issue and goosebumps all over my body by the end.
Justin: Plus Wolverine.
Pete: I had the complete opposite reaction.
Justin: You had reverse goosebumps?
Alex: Right into your arm?
Pete: Dents, yeah-
Alex: Those are called pores Pete.
Pete: I get it. I guess I’m not smart enough to enjoy Hickman and all of this, but fuck this whole fucking premise. First off, the future you see it’s this weird ass church where this pastor is mutating babies in front of people, and they’re talking about pulling the humanity out of humans. It’s awful. It is all leading towards-
Justin: Yes, it’s supposed to be bad.
Alex: It’s supposed to be bad.
Pete: … Horrible thing, and you’re like, “Yeah, fucking Nimrod.” Nimrod blows the future, blows-
Justin: Nimrod’s bad.
Pete: This whole thing is a shitty, shitty thing that we have to ride along with and hope at the end it doesn’t suck.
Justin: It doesn’t suck.
Pete: It’s been sucking the whole time.
Justin: It’s a bleak future. It’s like humans trying to become more machine like because they lost against the mutants.
Alex: This whole storyline at least now, I’m sure it’ll be totally different next issue, but it’s reframed the conflict with the X Men from being humans versus mutants, from mutants versus mutants to mutants and humans versus the eventual machine dominance that is going to destroy all of reality, right?
Pete: Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen Terminator dude, I know how it works.
Justin: Good, you like that.
Alex: Yes. So, that’s the storyline that they’re dealing with. That’s what they’re facing. What’s incredible about this issue is, we’ve been reading these first couple of issues, and as they’ve been unfolding information, you were like, “Okay, the X Men start House of X to stop this machine domination.” As far as we knew up to this point, they lost. They utterly lost.
Justin: Remember how much you loved the Tech Narc last issue?
Alex: Then we find out this issue, that they haven’t yet, that there actually is hope, that there’s a classic days of future past, Wolverine sending information back in time-
Justin: Wolverine loves sending information, which I know is your favorite power of his.
Pete: This is the worst. This is so bad.
Justin: He sent them crazy emails. He sent the best email.
Alex: You love email, you love getting email.
Alex: Earlier today, I sent this long email to Pete, and he responded, “Yeah.”
Pete: With an exclamation point.
Justin: All caps.
Pete: That was great.
Justin: It was great.
Alex: This again, I feel I’m repeating myself every single issue, but the other thing that I love about this run is how Hickman is hitting these touchstones from X Men history every single issue.
Justin: Subtly, subtly.
Alex: In a different way, where it doesn’t feel, it’s part of the tapestry, it doesn’t feel like ripping off, it homages but it works for the overall story he’s telling. It’s so good.
Pete: It’s focusing on a character that you have to buy into in the beginning.
Justin: Who’s that?
Pete: Moira Lady.
Alex: I don’t understand what you’re-
Justin: Why don’t you like her? She’s cool.
Pete: She makes horrible choices, and then dies at the end. I don’t see why I’m supposed to be rooting for her.
Justin: That’s what life… First off, that’s what our life is too. Too close to home.
Pete: Yeah, yeah, too close to home if you want.
Justin: Nimrod’s like a pink terminator.
Pete: The only thing I will give you about this book is, the art is amazing.
Justin: Art’s very good.
Justin: Very good Wolverine.
Alex: I really think you’re on the losing side of history on this one Pete.
Pete: That’s fine, I don’t mind being on the losing side of history on this.
Justin: Nice. I guess we’ve covered it.
Alex: I wish you can enjoy this because it’s so wonderful.
Justin: I love a review that ends, I’m on the losing side of history.
Pete: Yeah. I don’t care.
Alex: All right, let’s go to another book, Pretty Violent, number one, this is a new book. You must have liked this one.
Pete: [crosstalk 00:21:47]. The writer and the title.
Alex: Yeah, there you go. It’s about a little girl who’s a super hero. She ends up over the course of the issue murdering a bunch of people semi-accidentally, and then there’s a twist at the end where it turns out, but this is the concept of the book, she’s actually a super villain. There you go. How did you feel about this one Pete?
Pete: It’s great. This is just dealing with this thing of like, it’s not easy being a super hero. You can’t just show up and start beating people. You have to know what’s going on, you’ve got to… It was just fun to see this person who has you think good intent, trying to make a difference, and she keeps making it worse, and worse, and worse.
Justin: Yeah. This was the most over the plaid book for Pete [inaudible 00:22:32] I can imagine.
Pete: The art’s a lot of fun, it’s really gross, it’s very violent, it’s cool.
Justin: Reading the back matter, this was created by some writer animators for Adventure Time. After work, they would write this, they would create this. That makes so much sense because this is the opposite of Adventure Time tonally, and lots of swearing and murder, murder, murder.
Alex: It reminded me a little bit of I Hate Fairyland from Skottie Young.
Pete: Skottie Young is working on this.
Alex: He is?
Pete: Or is it Scott Young is a different person?
Alex: I think it’s a different person. This, I like this just fine. I thought the art was fun. I felt like the twist was predictable enough that I wanted to just get to it already. So, the fact that they do get to it at the end of the issue, I’m much more willing to read a second issue, and see where it was now that they’re not playing coy about things anymore. But, if you are looking for a new title that’s super gross, the art is super gross.
Justin: I actually like the backup a lot. Sort of a time travel take where our hero/villain returns from the future to try to stop her dad from creating a bad nickname for her. Then, her whole time traveling squad gets wiped out, I thought that was really fun.
Alex: Yeah, it’s a good start and to the Adventure Time of it all, I’m sure they planned out a lot of things for it. So, that should be fun to follow. Moving on to a Valiant comic book, Livewire number 9. We really liked the early issues of this book. Let’s check back in, what do you think about what’s going on now?
Pete: I really like the way this book is making choices, and then seeing how the character reacts. So, we have this character Livewire, and she’s trying to do good but messed up a little bit, and is a little weary about trusting people, as she should be in this issue. If lawyer type show up to your door, don’t trust them. I think that’s the lesson here.
Justin: Yeah, because they’re going to bring you to court?
Alex: How did you feel about this Justin?
Justin: I liked this a lot. I feel like this title really is just turning on the guilt that the Livewire has about what she did, and this taking it in a whole new direction, into politics, I thought was really cool. I mean, it’s all just an ongoing monologue about how she is feeling and dealing with her life as this leader of the sci-ops and a super hero/villain. I think it’s great. It’s a very unique take on a super hero/villain and being inside her head.
Alex: I really do like thrusting Livewire into the middle of an election in particular, and a politics storyline. I never would have thought of that in a million years, but it works so well and it’s so smart and well written.
Pete: I’m a little disappointed they changed the artist though. The art kind of changed.
Justin: I like the art.
Pete: I mean, it’s good, but it’s always weird when you like a book and then they change artists.
Justin: You don’t like change.
Alex: Speaking of change, let’s move on to another controversial comic book, DC Comics Superman Year One number two. Now we, I think it’s safe to say, did not like the first issue of this book.
Alex: John Romita Jr. Art, glorious as always. Frank Miller’s writing, mixed bag.
Justin: Misogynistic bag is what we talked about last time.
Alex: I think it’s fair, I think that’s fair.
Justin: In that first issue especially. This is not as misogynistic.
Justin: Not as, there’s still a little bit. So, a quick recap of what happened, Superman is in, Clark Kent is in the navy, and it’s just so much navy stuff, so much training.
Alex: So much, yeah.
Justin: I was like, “I don’t need to go to bootcamp to be along with this ride.” Then oddly, he gets involved with a mermaid, who lives in the-
Alex: Although he discovers very quickly he could walk into the water and just start breathing water.
Justin: What is that? That’s not a Superman thing.
Pete: I didn’t know Superman could breathe underwater.
Alex: I mean, it’s Superman Year One. As you grow older, you start breathing water, like a baby.
Justin: You could breathe underwater when you go through puberty.
Pete: This comic made me think of our old friend Kenny Chords, who used to be navy seal.
Alex: Had fucked a mermaid that one time.
Justin: Yeah, definitely did.
Alex: I forgot about that.
Pete: We made the logo for that mermaid beer, and that’s where he got the image from.
Justin: He drew the mermaid that he had sex with.
Alex: Yeah, the one that he fucked. I remember that.
Pete: But, a lot of those drills, and tests and stuff are real, that they use.
Justin: No doubt about that.
Alex: There comes a point when you’re trying so hard to make things different with Superman’s urchin because you’re like, “This is what everybody knows. What about this other thing?” That it becomes unrecognizable as Superman, and I think that’s what’s happened here. I also think this shows-
Pete: Yeah, I thought it was Aquaman for a while.
Alex: This also shows the faults of a late career Frank Miller, where he has a tendency to start with one thing, and eventually be like, “I want to play with the whole DC universe.” This is what happened with, what was it, Dark Knight Returns?
Justin: No, the-
Alex: Two, and three.
Justin: Yeah, I think three, it got to be three.
Alex: Yeah, DK3, where he was just like… It was barely even a Batman book at a certain point. I think it’s the same thing here. I would not at all be surprised if next issue somehow Superman turns into Batman or something like that. His parents get killed, and he becomes a vigilante on the street, something. Because, he’s clearly going through Aquaman’s origin year, which is bizarre.
Justin: Yeah, it’s definitely weird. I don’t know what… Is this meant to be a comment on Superman? That’s the way it felt like it was going, where like Superman joined the military. I see what you mean there. It’s like truth, justice the American way. It is in that world for Superman to sign up for the military and go through that. Then, this plays it out in the weirdest possible way.
Pete: Also, you had to love the comments by the guy buzzing the heads like, “Hey, you’re breaking clippers. This is coming out of your paycheck, right?”
Justin: Yeah like, “Man, you’ve got some strong hair.” It’s just very chilled out. Everyone there is like, “You’re good, you’re a little too good at this you regular man.” It’s like, “What?”
Alex: What are we talking about? The other thing is that, there’s a big reveal of him wearing a Superman costume, but the way that it’s played out is, he goes under the water, and then they’re like, “Why don’t you put on your suit?” He’s like, “Great!” Then he just puts on his Superman suit and walks out.
Justin: So weird.
Alex: The page of it is beautiful.
Justin: It is cool.
Alex: Again, John Romita Jr. having super boy walking under the water, glorious. But why is this happening, and why is this happening in this way is incomprehensible.
Justin: Imagine being like a first time comic book reader and be like, “I love Superman. I’ll pick up this Superman Year One. Year One makes sense, I’ll start there.” It’s like, “I loved how Superman debuts his costumer underwater, the cape flowing in the waves. Then he fucks a mermaid.” It’s like, “Okay, I love Superman too.”
Alex: Then he decides to marry that mermaid.
Justin: And be the king of an undersea kingdom.
Alex: Just like in the Christopher Reed movies.
Pete: It was a little weird how she was like, “I’m completely yours. You are like…” I was like, “Whoa! Whoa! What is that? You don’t need to throw that in there. That was really-
Alex: Talk to your buddy Kenny Chords about that, that’s what-
Justin: Yeah exactly, this is based on his life. I mean, it just feels like Frank Miller, it feels like you’re sitting around with a grizzled old person being like, “I saw this war movie once. You’re going to love it. I’m going to talk to you about it for a long time, like 65 pages.”
Alex: Then, you zone out for like five minutes, and suddenly he comes back and he’s like, “The mermaid’s what they called people. There was a friend of mine…” you’re like, “What?”
Justin: Like holy shit! What did I miss?
Alex: Yeah. Well, the art is gorgeous. Moving on to another Marvel comic book, Jane Foster Valkyrie number two. This come from Dennis Hallum and Jason Aaron. We really enjoyed the first issue of this. It felt like a good TV pilot. How do you feel about the second issue, where it’s Bullseye versus Jane Foster?
Justin: I think this was fun. Good action. We really get to be inside Valkyrie’s head establishing this new character, new power set, new iteration over this character we’ve all known and loved, Jane Foster.
Pete: Also, her all weapon’s pretty badass.
Justin: Her weapon’s cool. Then, I like the take at the end of her putting away the past Valkyrie and her love for it. You never see that in something like this, and I thought that was cool.
Alex: I like how they’re exploring her powers as a Valkyrie. It seems like it could be a very simplistic thing, but the way they’re doing it, she has this death sense, she’s figuring it out as it happens and using it to save people, which I thought was a cool move. This title is very fun. I’m really enjoying it a lot.
Justin: I like the journey into mystery thing we’re doing on the next issue.
Alex: Absolutely. Moving on to a BOOM! Studios book, Faithless number five. This is from Brian Azzarello. It’s about a lady who has got mixed up with some blood sex magic. Pete loves it. Loves this book.
Justin: I mean, we cover a lot of comic books on this podcast, but none so much as Faithless. We’ve done every single issue.
Alex: It’s true.
Pete: You love to put this one in the Stack.
Alex: Do I?
Alex: Why is that?
Justin: We should talk to our editorial board about who… Because, obviously the Stack is chosen by shadowy cabal of people who we don’t know what their motivation here is.
Justin: Alex, what do you think? What do you think it is about this book that-
Alex: I’m not quite sure.
Justin: … That the person or people who like to choose what comics we talk about would want to include in here?
Alex: Perhaps, well, I think it would be interesting to get more of a light on that, to get Pete’s reaction to this book, how he feels about having to read this book month after month, after month. What do you think Pete?
Pete: It’s bad. It’s awful, but I’m hoping that the weird shit stops and we can-
Justin: It doesn’t seem likely. For five issues in, it’s been all… It’s not weird, it’s just sex, sick people having sex.
Alex: Yeah. It’s a bunch of people in love Pete.
Pete: Yeah, but it’s just weird how she’s just like, “Oh my man! I keep killing people. Well, I’ll just have sex. I’m not going to think about it.”
Justin: I think that’s an interesting take.
Alex: Let me ask you a question, and let’s be honest here.
Justin: This is a safe space. Let me turn the recorder off. Okay.
Alex: So, when you have sex, sometimes the painting that you made of the person you’re having sex with turns into a painting of them having demons pulling them down to hell, right?
Alex: We’ve all had this experience.
Pete: No, I’ve never had that experience.
Justin: What you paint before and after sex though.
Pete: No, I don’t.
Justin: It’d be some light painting?
Alex: Yeah, right.
Justin: You paint during sex Pete?
Alex: How’s that even possible?
Justin: How do you have the time, and the dexterity.
Alex: And all of your hands.
Pete: Yeah, you need all of your hands for painting.
Justin: Pete fucks on paint.
Justin: So, it’s like the sex is the painting.
Alex: Nice. Have you been to his gallery by the way?
Justin: Yes. You mean his apartment?
Alex: The art’s very bad.
Justin: Yeah. I remember how in this wall with he painting and two eye holes, have you been back there?
Alex: Oh yeah.
Justin: It’s a good spot.
Alex: I walked by it while I was going inside, and it looked like the eyes were following me.
Justin: That seems unlikely.
Alex: What do you think about this book Justin?
Justin: I like this book.
Justin: I do, yeah.
Pete: What do you like about it?
Justin: It’s super unique. It has this sense of just dread around the main character who was a normal innocent person who couldn’t have an orgasm if I remember correctly, and then now into this demonic stuff is becoming much more into the sex, involved with the girlfriend, her dad, all these different people. The art’s really cool. I do think it has… I want to know where we’re going a little bit more. It feels like these last two were sort of like, “Here’s this next thing.”
Pete: They center around the sex.
Justin: But not even-
Alex: It’s not really. To your point, there’s a thing in this issue where a homeless woman encounters the main character, starts yelling at her, and then she’s drawing this protection circle on the ground-
Justin: That was cool.
Alex: … And hundreds if not thousands of rats and vermin surround her, but they can’t get in the protection circle. It’s this amazing dark disturbing nightmarish image. But to your point, I want to know how it connects. I want to see the thread start coming together on this.
Pete: I wish somebody could do that in New York City, draw all the rats out and just put them in the little circle and get them trapped there.
Justin: You want to flip the script on that?
Alex: Oh yeah, flip the circle.
Justin: This comic book reminds me of like a late night series in the ’90s, like CBS or something late night, where I was like, “Oh, it’s fucked up.” And then-
Pete: CBS never had shit like this.
Justin: Maybe not CBS, maybe it was another… I think it was CBS.
Alex: Are you thinking of CVS?
Justin: Yeah. I used to go to the pharmacy late at night, and I need to see some shit. There was a network that had like a late night line of television.
Pete: USA Up All Night?
Justin: No. I don’t know, I’m going to look it up.
Alex: Okay great, you look that up. I think Faithless is as good as well, the art is excellent. In particular, DC comic book, Year of the Villain, Black Mask number one, this is a one shot focusing on the Black Mask character as he tries something a little bit new in the DC universe based on an offer from Lex Luthor. He ends up going into corporate crime kind of, instead of his regular crime. What do you guys think about this book?
Pete: Well, this was interesting. I didn’t know much about Black Mask as a villain. They have him growing up next to an old Bruce Wayne, and not liking him very much. So, I thought it was a very interesting origin story. I’m excited to see where it goes. It was cool to see Batman in the comic.
Justin: Yeah, this was cool. I liked this. They feel like what I used to read annuals for, where it’s just like a standalone story, it gets into this character we’re not usually in the head of, and you see a little thing, a little story they’re getting involved.
Alex: This would have been a good annuals. That’s a very good point. There’s the Sinesto, One Shot as well, and I feel like you could have tying into the Year of the Villain, a bunch of villain focused green lantern annual, Batwoman annual, et cetera, except it flips the script and becomes about the villains, and that would have achieved the same purpose. But, these One-Shot’s are very good so far. I don’t know necessarily what’s coming next, but the first two have been very neat. The first one was Mark Russel’s the Son was by Tom Teller, I’m enjoying them quite a bit.
Alex: Ghost Spider number one from Marvel Comics. This is bringing Spider Gwen into the Marvel universe. Kind of specifically, she can’t go to school anymore in her universe because everybody knows who she is. So, she ends up transferring over to the Marvel 616. That’s the bulk of this issue along with some other sundry plot items. How do you guys feel about this reboot, Pete?
Pete: I just had a question. So, her plan is that she’s going to sleep in her universe and then wake up and come to 616 to go to school and live her life, and then go home to sleep?
Alex: Yeah. It’s like you living in Brooklyn and going to work in Manhattan.
Justin: The subway is taking her through different dimensions. It kind of is, isn’t that funny? Especially since that gypsy told you you were going to die in the subway, or at a subway.
Alex: Stop bringing up-
Justin: Sandwich shop.
Alex: What do you think about Ghost Spider?
Justin: I love this character. I’ve read all of the spider-
Pete: Do you like the fact that her costume is made up of little spiders?
Justin: I do like that.
Justin: I really liked the Spider Gwen series, and when that ended, she had her symbiote, had the venom symbiote attached to her and that has moved to become this Ghost Spider situation where her costumer is made of spiders.
Justin: You find that scary?
Pete: That’s very weird and scary.
Justin: Spiders are just regular bugs.
Pete: Yeah, but I mean, if all the spiders are just let go or something, she would be unprotected.
Pete: Well, like a bad guy could just punch her or see who she-
Alex: When you take off your clothes at the end of the day-
Justin: Yeah, when all of your spiders that make up your clothes let go at night, when you’re like, “All right pant spiders, you let go first, and then you shirt spiders, your turn to let go because it’s bedtime.”
Alex: Yeah, “Oh no, I’m unprotected now. Quickly under these covers spiders.”
Justin: Spiders protect me. Spiders, turn into sheets and a bed.
Pete: I just didn’t know spiders could be close or uniform or-
Justin: Yeah, spiders can do all sorts of stuff. They make webs.
Pete: I just thought it was a weird choice. I didn’t know that this whole time Spider Gwen was made up of little spiders.
Alex: She’s not made up of spiders.
Justin: It’s just like you wear clothes.
Alex: Her suit is made up of spiders, she’s not.
Justin: Spider webs are just clothes that catch bugs.
Alex: True. Scientists and finding out more and more about that these days. Great, there we go. Valiant Comic Books, Psi Lords. We fought and talked about the first two issues of this book before it came out, as well as with Fred Van Lente on our live show.
Pete: He writes this.
Alex: Yes he does. This is a trippy book about a bunch of characters that are trapped in a space jail. This issue, they’re finding out a little bit more about their powers and origin. What did you think about this?
Pete: Well, it brings up a good point, would you rather go to space jail, or earth jail?
Alex: I’d shoot myself in the head.
Pete: That’s a smart move.
Justin: Don’t make me choose.
Alex: Yeah, don’t make me choose.
Justin: Definitely space jail. Space jail is very close to space jam.
Pete: Sure, but I mean if you broke out, you would be in space, and you’d be fucked. I would go with earth jail, that way, you could-
Justin: You could break out?
Justin: So, you’re breaking out of earth jail.
Pete: Either jail, I’m breaking out.
Alex: Here’s the thing, earth jail is way too close to earth jam.
Justin: Yeah, that’s true.
Justin: What just happened to you?
Pete: Nothing, singing the theme song for my new earth jam. (singing).
Alex: This book is very weird but good. I like what they’re doing with the characters in this issue. The art is also very nice. It’s strange to see these characters completely on more, just basically floating on a rock somewhere for most of the issue. But, I’m definitely intrigued to find out more. We talked about this a little bit, but it feels like the prisoner in space, very purposely, and I like that feel quite a bit.
Pete: Plus, if you’re trying to lay low, you just hang out on an asteroid that’s floating around, nobody knows to look there for you.
Justin: Chill on the stroid. It reminds me of some Alan Moore stuff, some of his like Miracle Man stuff, where it’s these really regular people and now they’re gods, and now they’re trying to figure out what the deal is. I feel like this is a rare series where the art really, really matches the tone and style of the story.
Alex: Yeah, I agree. Another image comic book Weather Man volume two, number three. You dudes love this book. What do you think about this issue?
Justin: We dudes do.
Pete: The main guy reminds me of Justin, just the right amount of duchy, you know what I mean?
Justin: Thank you.
Pete: You’re welcome.
Justin: My friend Pete.
Pete: Yeah. I mean, if you were a comic book, this would be you.
Alex: If the douche fits, wear it.
Justin: Okay, my clothes-
Pete: He’s always got something quippy he says.
Justin: That’s a lot of what Spiderman says that.
Pete: Yeah, but not like your tone.
Justin: Interesting. Well, something for me to really think about going forward. I do like this series a lot. The characters have moved to earth, and earth is super fucked up with a bunch of zombie dudes. This is great. Art by Nathan Fox is really cool.
Pete: Now, art’s really fantastic. Very interesting. I love this comic because you really don’t know what’s going on in a way that’s not frustrating yet. It’s very interesting to see how that unfolds. But, I love how creative this book is. You’ve got a lot of different characters coming together, so, it’s a very unique book. I like it a lot.
Alex: Last one to talk about from DC Comics, Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen number two. This is from Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber, a lot of stuff going on in the life of Jimmy Olsen. Where we last left him at the end of the last issue, he was hiding out in Gotham City, he was presumed dead, somebody is gunning for him. There were some window bats who were coming in through his window. A bunch of other stuff happens in this issue before we eventually loop back to that moment.
Alex: I love this book so much. It is so much fun. To get into a spoiler about this issue, they introduce and then seemingly kill off Jimmy Olsen’s big brother in this issue. When it comes around to that, it just gutted me.
Justin: Yeah. Also introduces an ancestor of Jimmy Olsen in a fun way, which does seem to come back.
Alex: That was in the first issue as well.
Alex: So, that seems like something that they’ve got there.
Justin: Yeah, something’s happening here.
Pete: There’s a bunch of Jimmy Olsens running around.
Justin: A lot of Olsens.
Pete: It’s like the Olsen twins.
Justin: Yeah, or Peggy Olsen from Madman. I feel like these are just fun. I like the way it’s told as fun shorts. It feels a lot like a comic strip but with just a lot more going on.
Alex: How do you feel about this Pete? You didn’t love the first issue, if I remember correctly.
Pete: Yeah. I just think that these are like a collection of ideas and stories, some of them okay, some of them a little bit… Because, Jimmy Olsen as a character is a little annoying. The problem is, if you get too much into that, I lose interest.
Justin: But isn’t he sort of like Superman’s Alfred?
Pete: Fuck you for saying that.
Justin: Or sort of Superman’s Foggy Nelson.
Alex: He is very close to his Foggy Nelson, that is true.
Pete: No he’s not.
Alex: He absolutely is.
Justin: He sort of is.
Alex: Yes, he 100% is.
Pete: No he’s not.
Pete: You know nothing about Foggy Nelson in comparison to Jimmy Olsen.
Alex: Foggy Nelson doesn’t know anything about Foggy Nelson.
Pete: Fuck you. Foggy Nelson runs the whole fucking practice while [inaudible 00:44:26] out doing-
Alex: Into the ground, they’re constantly poor.
Pete: You are just so ridiculous.
Justin: Foggy Olsen, Jimmy Nelson.
Pete: Oh my God! You are just-
Alex: I don’t think this is just a series of fun little shorts. They’re funny yes, and they are split up, but clearly, they’re building to something. Something that they deal with pretty heavily in this issue, that they touched on a little bit in the last issue is the weight of the fuck ups that Jimmy Olsen constantly gets involved in, what it does both to the City of Metropolis and to him emotionally. That’s such a fascinating thing to be dealing with.
Justin: Yeah, I love the series that panels in the middle of him just like getting ruined by a Superman situation that he’s been in.
Alex: Yeah. I think a lot of what the series is eventually going to be about when we get to the end of the day is, can Jimmy Olson grow up, can he change?
Justin: Yeah. That’s cool.
Alex: Or is he stuck in being the same old timey dufus that he was back in the day back when they originally had these Jimmy Olsen comic books? I think that’s such a smart targeted thing to do.
Pete: I like the last page reveal of Lois Lane, that’ll hopefully make things more interesting.
Alex: If you’d like to support our show, Patron.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. at the People’s Improv Theater loft in New York. Come on by, we’ll chat with you about comic books. Pete, what do you want to plug?
Pete: Find us on Facebook so you get to know about the amazing guests we have on our live show.
Justin: Find us on Twitter at Comicbooklive.
Alex: Check us out at Comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and more. You can subscribe on iTunes, android, Stitcher, Spotify or the app of your choice. We’ll see you at the comic bookshop.
Justin: Hey Pete, let’s head out to the Subway… if you dare.