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/Superman #1, Marvel Comics #1000, Ascender #5, House of X #3, Vampirella/Red Sonja #1, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chosen Ones #1, Absolute Carnage #2, Archie 1955 #1 (on sale 9/18), Justice League #30, Power Pack: Grow Up! #1, Black Science #42, Ice Cream Man #14, Spider-Man: Life Story #6, Superman #14 and Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Poe Dameron #1.
If you like this, please let us know and we’ll aim to do it more frequently!
Alex: What’s up everyone? Welcome to the Stack. I’m Alex.
Pete: I’m Pete.
Alex: On the Stack, we talk about a couple of comic books that have come out this very day. Occasionally we do some advance reviews, and sometimes we cook a little bit of food, and we taste test it right here on the podcast.
Alex: Oh, that’s a new thing we’re going to be trying today.
Pete: Oh, man.
Alex: I’m going to be making my famous paella. I’ve been stewing it right here. You didn’t ask me what this gigantic pan was about? Full of rice, and seafood. Jesus, Pete.
Pete: You’ve never sounded more douchey in your life. When you’re talking about your paella.
Alex: Paella. My paella.
Pete: Oh my God.
Alex: Couple of items of business. We’ve mentioned this the past couple of episodes, but I’m going to just keep on mentioning it. Before we get into the reviews, first of all, we recently did some updates on our website, and I’ve heard from a couple of people there have occasionally been some issues depending on what app you’re using. If you’re having any issues whatsoever, definitely hit us up. Comicbookclublive@gmail.com. Our tech support, which is me, is willing to help you 24 hours a day, except when I’m sleeping, but I don’t really sleep, so it’s okay. Happy to help you, whatever.
Pete: Seems like maybe that’s not okay, the fact that you’re not getting sleep.
Alex: No, it’s great. I’m doing great. I’m making paella.
Pete: Oh, God, this paella’s going to be awful.
Alex: Yeah, it’s a nice coffee paella. It keeps you up all night.
Pete: Oh my God.
Alex: Also, we post a transcript along with this episode. If you want to check out a written version, or pass it along. Also, if you are hearing impaired, or know somebody that’s hearing impaired that might be interested in our comic book reviews, you can pass them a transcript. Usually posts the same time or a little bit later than the Stack episodes.
Alex: Last but not least, we have a new Stack specific feed. These episodes will still continue to roll out of the Comic Book Club live feed, everywhere that fine apps are sold, but there is the Stack specific feed as well, so check that out there if you would prefer just these Wednesday comic book reviews.
Alex: One other thing that I will mention to give you guys a little preview. We’ve been at the end of episodes reading the comments and questions that you guys have been leaving using iTunes and other places. We’ll be getting to a couple of those throughout the episode, specifically to address some concerns you guys might have had about our reviews.
Alex: But, before we get into that, let’s kick it off with a big title from DC Comics, Batman/Superman #1.
Alex: Yes, Pete?
Pete: It’s a big issue.
Alex: It is a big issue. This is huge. For those of you who don’t know, there’s two characters. Batman is, he has the powers of a bat. And Superman has the powers of a superintendent.
Pete: He doesn’t have the powers of a bat.
Pete: Wait, I’m sorry. Were you going to say a superintendent?
Alex: No, I think you heard that wrong.
Pete: Oh, okay.
Alex: Don’t rewind this podcast.
Pete: All right.
Alex: This is actually picking up from the Batman Who Laughs miniseries, by Scott Snyder, that found the evil Batman from an alternate universe infecting, spoiler, kind of, Commissioner Gordon among other people. Here, Batman and Superman are teaming up to solve a mystery that loops in to The Batman Who Laughs, and is going to consume the entire DC universe. What did you think about this kickoff, Pete?
Pete: Well this is… first off, I’m a sucker every time Batman and Superman are together. I love how they interact with each other, even though one is darker and more broody, and kind of a douche-
Pete: Yeah. They get along. They’re friends. It’s nice.
Alex: They are.
Alex: Yeah, I think this is a solid off start. It feels perfectly in line with what Jeph Loeb set up years ago at this point with Batman/Superman, where we have the dueling narrations, you get to see their different point of views. We haven’t seen a lot of variation in all of the Batman/Superman titles since then. I think that’s kind of okay. It sort of makes sense, because it was such a good, smart way of hitting this specific pairing. I do think the dark multiverse thing, there’s a thing that’s teased at the beginning of the issue, this is definitely a spoiler, but there’s a tease that there is a Superman who laughs, as well as a Batman who laughs. I’m very curious to get to that. We get in a different place by the end of the issue, but that should be a lot of fun to play with as we go forward.
Alex: Cool. Also the art is good. This is-
Pete: The art is-
Alex: … David Marquez is on the art for this, I believe.
Pete: Yeah, yup. The art is fantastic.
Alex: He is fantastic. Perfect artist to pair with Joshua Williamson here, so I’m very happy to see this. It’s a fun title to kick off our fun Stack.
Pete: Yeah, it’s a fun Stack.
Alex: There you go.
Alex: Next one to talk about. This is literally one of the biggest issues of the week. Marvel Comics #1000. This is celebrating 80 years of Marvel Comics. There is a little bit of controversy that came out earlier today, actually, as we were recording this, where there was a page that describing Captain America by Mark Waid that the text was changed. It seemed in earlier versions it was a little anti-America. They brought it more in line with the overall story of the issue. That aside, all the controversy aside, what did you think about this package, Pete? I’m curious to get your thoughts.
Pete: Wait, wait, wait. Back up the truck for a second. Do you know which page? Was it the Pledge of Allegiance page?
Alex: The Captain America, the Alex Ross page where there’s text that Mark Waid had written.
Pete: Oh, okay.
Alex: Yeah. No, not the Pledge of Allegiance one.
Alex: What did you think about this? Let me just lay out the concept for those of you who didn’t pick it up.
Pete: Sure, sure.
Alex: It’s 80 plus pages, celebrating the 80 years of Marvel continuity. Al Ewing is, I don’t know, the quarterback for this, would you say?
Pete: That’s a good one.
Alex: Where he takes the bulk of the pages. But, every single page is a different year in the history of Marvel Comics. It pays tribute to either a character debut, or a crossover, or series, or a big event, or something like that. There’s a different artist on every page as well. Essentially, it’s 80 plus creative teams tackling the story. There is a through line through it, but not completely on ever page. With that preamble out of the way, what’d you think, Pete?
Pete: Well, yeah, it’s basically one page stories. Every page is one page. It’s got a date in Marvel history with that page. It’s very creative. It’s fun. It’s kind of like when you get a special issue, and they have a number of different stories. Some of them are going to be better than others. At first I was a little like, ugh, this issue’s going to be 81 pages stories, is this going to get annoying? I was impressed by the way it flowed. I thought it was more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. Some of them were very heartwarming, some of them were really cutesie or whatever, but it’s a lot of fun. I would say it’s definitely worth checking out. I paged through it numerous times, so definitely was one of those things that stayed with me enough that I wanted to go back again.
Alex: Did you have a favorite page?
Pete: Ooh, probably The Punisher page.
Alex: That’s a shocker.
Pete: Yeah, it’s really-
Alex: The one by Matthew Rosenberg.
Pete: Yup. Rosenberg is killing right now.
Alex: That was a pretty solid Punisher page. For my money, the best one was Dan Slott and Marcos Martin on Spiderman. There’s a beautiful little one page story about him fighting Dr. Octopus, it ties in to the death of Uncle Ben. In, I think it’s four panels, something like that, it says everything you need to know about Spiderman. I thought that was just great. Plus, Marcos Martin on art is awesome.
Pete: There’s also, this is not a new idea, but really kind of exploring just the hero versus villain. It’s Ironman versus Doom, and it’s after their battle, what happens. Tony walks in the door, everybody’s like hey, Tony. Loved ones, everyone’s around. Doom’s just by himself, just sitting there by himself.
Alex: Yeah. Overall though, I think this was a little bit of a miss for me.
Alex: This issue. I think it’s certainly worth it in terms of, wow, there’s some amazing roster of artists, there’s an amazing roster of writers as well. Certainly you can point to the fact that there is a significant lack of women involved in this issue. That’s a huge bummer. Just on a logistical level, it felt like it pulled back from what it could have been. What I mean by that, is you have these fun pages that explore moments in Marvel history, like the Spiderman page that encapsulates Spiderman, the Punisher page that encapsulates Punisher. As it went on, there’s a couple of things that are happening all at the same time.
Pete: I think I know what you’re talking about.
Pete: You were really upset by the Wolverine, Punisher, talking about baths, right?
Alex: Yeah, 100%. Thank you for zeroing in on it.
Pete: No problem.
Alex: I actually do think that was one of the first pages where I started to feel, at least one of my major criticisms with this issue, was that was celebrating the fourth issue of some random mini-series, which might have been important to one of the writers, and I get that. I certainly wasn’t in the room to hear when they were pitching these things, but it did feel like… there are so many things that have happened over 80 years of Marvel history, why are you going for these random niche things that people only vaguely remember?
Alex: You know? That’s one criticism I have of it. That particularly happens in the last 20 years or so, where it feels like they ran out of milestones.
Alex: The bigger criticism I have, is there’s a very ambitious thing that Al Ewing is doing in this title. Some of the other pages touch on this a little bit. He is building this uber story that’s going to pay out throughout the Marvel Universe coming up, where he introduces, or reintroduces a couple of different characters, including the wearer of the Eternity Mask. The way the Eternity Mask works, it’s a piece of the being, Eternity, and it gives you power equal to the person you’re fighting. It doesn’t make you super strong, necessarily, it just makes you the equal of whatever adversary you’re facing.
Alex: He builds up this massive battle that’s gone throughout the history of the Marvel Universe and beyond, between the wearer of the Eternity Mask, which has changed over time, and the Enclave, which is the organization that created Adam Warlock. That’s a neat story, but while that is occasionally going on, there’s also these interview segments that, right now, these don’t make a lot of sense because some of them are unmasked, like Spiderman is being interviewed and unmasked. That turns out, that is the current bearer of the Eternity Mask is interviewing these people. Then there’s other pages that don’t match it at all, that are just there because they want them to get the creative teams. Because all of these things are going on at the same time, it felt to me, it felt discombobulated, basically. It felt like, if they had created an 80 page story, that every page was a different milestone in the history of Marvel Comics, all telling this uber story of the Eternity Mask versus the Enclave, that’s super cool. Or, if you just do 80 pages tribute, that’s pretty cool on its own. Trying to do all of these things at once, it doesn’t really doesn’t add up to a cohesive package in any particular way.
Alex: Did you get that feeling at all?
Pete: Well, I definitely thought it was some… I felt like there was some chess pieces being moved on the board, as well as some dumb stuff. I was like, what’s happening? I didn’t think we needed to take time out to be like, hey, remember the time that Wolverine and Punisher admitted they both like baths?
Alex: Boy, that really is stuck in your craw.
Pete: Yeah. There’s other things that-
Alex: Did they take baths with each other?
Pete: No, they didn’t.
Alex: Bubble baths?
Pete: Yeah, they talked about how bath bombs are cool.
Pete: I just think that there are times where I was like-
Alex: I like bath bombs and bath goods.
Pete: I think there were times where I was like, oh I see what they’re doing. Then there are times where I was like, wait, what’s happening here? I thought it was a cool idea, I gave them the benefit of the doubt.
Alex: Sure. It’s always good when you try new things.
Alex: Looking forward to reading the 90th anniversary issue as well, in another 10 years.
Pete: Oh, yeah, that’s going to be so much better, dude.
Alex: That’s going to be great.
Alex: Moving on to an Image comic book, Ascender #5. We’ve been loving this book. This is the sequel series to Descender. Where the first series was sci-fi, this is magic with a little bit of sci-fi. There’s an evil being called Mother, that has taken over most of the entire galaxy with her army of fantasy creatures. Some of our characters from Descender are trying to escape from her. They’re on the run. This issue, very briefly, it looks like one of the characters dies. When that character got killed onscreen, I gasped.
Pete: Oh, yeah, that was-
Alex: I gasped out loud. I think, to me, that is testament to how involved in these character’s lives I’ve become.
Pete: Yeah. Also, you had to wait until after the credits to see what happened.
Alex: Yeah. This series is so good. The art is so good. The character work is so good. It’s great.
Pete: Dustin Nguyen’s art is just unbelievable.
Alex: Whitten. Dustin Whitten.
Pete: Whitten. Sorry.
Alex: No, that’s fine.
Alex: Yeah, it’s fantastic. Definitely pick up the series.
Alex: Next one we’re going to talk about, this is one of the big ones. Pete does not want to get into this, but I’m going to make him get into it anyway. We’re going to talk about House of X #3.
Alex: Before we talk about House of X #3, Pete, I want to read a comment from iTunes, to you. This is from August, 21st. Sleestracks left it. Great, except for, three stars, the guy hating on Hawks Box. He was just annoying. I get having a different opinion, but he just seems like a troll.
Alex: Then we got another comment on the website, which is a little different, but clarifies some stuff. This is from Johnny L Wilson left on the website. On two recent podcasts, I heard you guys question the name of the character Nimrod, confusing it with Doofus. I believe the character’s name is a reference to the Bible character mentioned in the book of Genesis. He is listed as a mighty hunter. Maybe that hint will keep Justin from complaining. I assume he means you, Pete, not Justin.
Pete: Well, we were doing a bit about the name.
Alex: Yeah. Nothing’s going to stop Justin from complaining, certainly. Just to read the second part of the comment, it’s a little less relevant to the discussion we’re about to have. The only thing I regret about listening to the cast, is that my local comic shop closed down and the next closest doesn’t carry most of the books that sound really interesting. I just subscribed to Comixology, except I don’t enjoy comics onscreen as much as I enjoy piling stacks in my basement. Johnny, thank you for that. I think you’re 100% correct about Nimrod and the name there. I also agree, you’re a big fan or print comics, right Pete?
Pete: Well, yeah. It’s a thing. It’s a real issue, especially with me, where I’m old school. I like having something in my hand. I like to read it, take my time with it. On the screen it’s just more stressful than relaxing to me. I don’t get this… yeah, and it’s hard because I live in New York City, so space is really important, and I’m just being buried alive by my comic books. Reading them onscreen definitely not as enjoyable, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to stay current. The struggle is real, man. The struggle is real. The things we sacrifice for the things that we like. I understand what you’re saying about reading things online. Some people, I think, it’s not a big deal, and that’s great. I wish I was one of those people. I just have such a better experience with it when I can hold it and read it that way.
Alex: Sorry, I wasn’t listening. I was busy stirring my paella, trying to scrape off some of the burnt rice on the bottom.
Alex: I do want to get back to the Hawks box thing. Now, Sleestrack, first of all, I would take a little exception to giving us three stars, given that we have several hundred episodes of the podcast, and five of them so far have had one review about a comic. Obviously you’re entitled to your opinion. I di think this was a good opportunity to talk about House of X, Power of X/Powers of 10, because we have been going back and forth about it. I love these series so far. You, they’re not grabbing you. Right?
Alex: I think I wanted to get a sense, beyond the whole troll of it, because we certainly do err on the side of bits on the show.
Pete: Yeah, we’re comedians. We’re trying to make this fun. That was the thing of why we started doing this, is sometimes panels can be super boring. We try to keep things fun and entertaining to listen to. Sometimes our bits to get away, but the feelings and stuff, we have different opinions about comics and I think that’s fun, doing bits about it.
Alex: As you know, I don’t like bits. I’m always serious about everything, such as this paella that I’m making right now. I did actually think this was an opportunity. I am certainly curious, because I, and I know a lot of other people, find this era of the X-Men so exciting, so well done, and so well structured. It’s definitely not, beyond all the bits, grabbing you, and I’m curious to hear why. What is it about it that’s not working for you?
Pete: What’s tough is, to me it has a tone of we’re the X-Men, we’re not going to stay and fight for you humans who we like and are doing the right thing by sticking up for mutants and mutant rights. We’re going to leave. We’re going to take all of our stuff, and we’re going to leave you guys to yourselves. That, to me, has a negative connotation, and I don’t like that choice for my X-Men. I want my X-Men to stay and fight for me, and we can all live happily together, hopefully. We get to a certain point where that can, humans and mutants can live together. The fact that they have this plan, and the humans are not being treated well, justifiably, we do awful things to mutants as well, it’s this thing for me where the fact that we’re not trying to work it out anymore, we’re saying fuck you, we’re out of here, we’ve got this separate plan and we’re going to give you drugs to make deals with you, is what strikes me with a negative connotation.
Pete: But, the story is a bigger story than that. There’s a lot of things going on. I don’t like the tone that it has to it. It’s this negative tone. I also don’t like to see people that I like in my comic books, Wolverine being one of them, being on this team where I don’t know if they’re good guys or bad guys. I don’t know who to root for. I also don’t know what’s happening as far as with all the different timelines, and how one lady has lived many lives because of that, or doing what she wants to do. I don’t know. There’s not enough answers for me to get excited about this series. The series, for me, is more annoying than fun because it’s broken up in the three timelines.
Pete: That’s something like… I read so many comics, and comics have got to make creative choices as far as how they want to tell the story. Sometimes jumping around in time is a great way to get to reader’s attention right away. Sometimes that can also fall flat if you don’t like what’s happening in the very beginning. For me, it’s a little bit annoying because it’s three separate timelines happening at once, and there’s a team which I don’t know if they’re doing good or bad. It seems like it’s not good. There’s a dude named Nimrod, so you lose me on three different fronts there. That’s why it doesn’t speak as well to me.
Alex: I think that’s well said, and those points are well taken. I don’t actually think that’s beyond what you’re actually supposed to be feeling at this point in time with this run. Certainly it’s hit you a lot harder than, say, it has me, for example. I think that makes a lot of sense. Just to address two things. Johnny L Wilson, our good friend from the website, I think addressed the Nimrod thing, which I get, but it is a Biblical illusion. That’s what they’re going for there.
Alex: You love the Bible.
Pete: Yeah, that got-
Alex: You read it every night before you go to sleep.
Pete: I’ve got nothing wrong with the Bible. It’s just if you’re going to have a main character named Nimrod, I’m going to make fun of it.
Alex: All right. Fair enough.
Alex: I do want to talk about the first thing you said, though, about being unsure of what’s going on with the X-Men right now. This past weekend, we were in Philadelphia at Keystone Comic Con.
Pete: Yes, we were.
Alex: I’m explaining to the people who are listening. You know where we were, Pete.
Alex: We’re at Keystone Comic Con, and while I was waiting for you guys to go out there, I was with my family. We were like, hey, we’re in a comic convention most of this time, looking at the real history, by which I mean the Infinity Stones, what’s going on with Harry Potter, the Marvel cinematic universe, et cetera. Real history. But let’s go look at this fake history out there in Philadelphia, where we are, because we have the morning and it’s very nice weather.
Alex: We walked over to the historic district, to Old Town in Philadelphia. The first thing we walked up to was the Liberty Bell.
Alex: The way that they have it set out, if you haven’t been to that probably since you were a little kid or a student, or anything like that, is before you can get to the Liberty Bell, you walk through a whole museum of the history of the Liberty Bell. You understand the weight of it. You understand why it is important as a symbol. Frankly, my daughter, the entire time we’re walking over there, was singing a parody she had made up of Old Town Road, called Old Cracked Bell, that went, I don’t know why my parents want to see this old cracked bell. It was very funny. She’s a very funny kid. We were trying to explain to her, as parents, no it’s not just an old cracked bell, it has all this history behind it. I think by the time she got there she understood it.
Alex: The thing that struck me as we were walking through it, and I was talking to her, and she was starting to wrap her mind around the history of the American Revolution, which she had already heard, is she was asking questions about King George III. Well, wait, was he a bad guy? Why was he a bad guy? The thing that I started to think about, while I was explaining it to her, was at the time he wasn’t necessarily, right? He was cracking down in terms of taxes, but if you think about it from his perspective, it’s well, this is my property. I’m keeping these colonies, these are my property, and these people who are creating this violence and rising up against me, they are the bad guys in this scenario. Ultimately, as American history, as Americans, we look at this as no, he was the bad guy. We won, we gained our independence, that was the good thing at the end. That’s always true of all points in history. It’s hard to tell, when you are in the thing, exactly who the good guys and the bad guys are until you have that distance on it.
Alex: The reason I bring this up, I’m sure you can tell, is I think that’s the point we’re in right now with the story that Jonathan Hickman is telling on X-Men. We are at the beginning of this where, we talked about this on the show the other day, I think it was Abraham Riesman, our guest brought up, that there’s certainly a lot of shades of Zionism, of forming the state of Israel that are going on there. If you study that history, like I did when I was in Hebrew High School, in Hebrew school, that was pretty fraught. It’s still pretty fraught, but certainly at the beginning people were like, what are you doing? Taking over this land, we’re going to take it back from you. They’re fighting, depending on, again, what perspective you’re looking at it, it’s hard to tell who the good guys are, the bad guys are here.
Alex: I think the thing that complicates it even more, which we’ve talked about on the podcast, on the Stack, for the very first issue, is that there’s that very weird panel that kicks it off, where Professor X seems to be hatching a bunch of X-Men out of krakoa eggs, and saying to me, my X-Men, which is extremely ominous.
Alex: There’s this pall hanging over the entire thing right now, where to your point, I don’t think we know who is good or bad. We look at the X-Men as oh, these are the heroes we have followed, yes, they are probably the good guys, but that’s not 100% clear to your point, the way that they’re acting. I don’t think we’re going to have the sense of which side they’re actually falling on and who we’re supposed to believe until we get to the end of the story. That’s the long thing that I was getting around to, is I understand what you’re saying, but I think that’s what you’re supposed to feel.
Alex: Great. No? All of that, and you’re like, no thanks, still.
Pete: Yeah. Sure, yeah, I hope it does make more sense and we kind of see all that. It’s set up to be that.
Alex: It’s not about it making sense. I think it does make sense. It’s about piecing out the information bit by bit. We don’t have a sense of the whole story yet.
Pete: Right. It comes out in individual issues.
Pete: We have a show where we review individual issues.
Pete: Until I can get a sense of how my team’s doing, I can say you know what? I don’t like where we’re at, guys. It seems a little shady.
Alex: All right. That, to me, is a much more fair estimation than the way we’ve been going right now. X-Men, a little shady.
Alex: Speaking of which, let’s talk, that was all preamble to actually talk about House of X #3 that comes out today.
Alex: I was actually very curious to hear what you thought about this because this is the first issue where we get to see this new iteration of the X-Men acting like a team and going on a mission.
Pete: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Alex: Specifically here, we pick up with Cyclops. He’s been tasked by your favorite character, by Magneto and Xavier, to head up to the mother mold-
Pete: Wait, wait.
Pete: You’re saying the dude with the X head is definitely Xavier? That’s what you’re saying?
Alex: I’m still not convinced. I’m just, for the sake of clarity, I’m saying it’s Xavier.
Pete: Yeah, well, we don’t know.
Alex: They’re acting, to your point, they’re all acting super weird in this issue.
Alex: Very weird. Which made me even more suspicious than I usually was about what’s been going on here. Just going with it, you have Cyclops taking these X-Men on a mission to take care of a mother mold, which is a giant sentinel head that creates master molds, which create more sentinels. They believe that if the mother mold goes online, it is going to create Nimrod, the hunter from the Bible, and lead to the robot apocalypse, essentially. They’re aiming to stop that.
Pete: So, Terminator?
Alex: Yeah, Terminator. On the other side are these humans, the Orchis Project that has bene building and trying to get the mother mold online. What’d you think about this issue?
Alex: Pete, just real simply. Real simply. With all this weight behind you, just real simple.
Pete: It sucks.
Alex: What? Ridiculous.
Alex: Oh my God. It definitely doesn’t, first of all, but go on.
Pete: Sure. Cool. Awesome.
Pete: I just… we have Cyclops, and I’m putting Cyclops in quotes because he is the leader, which I wouldn’t follow him-
Alex: You also put that in quotes.
Pete: Yeah, I wouldn’t follow him to a grocery store.
Alex: Do you usually need to be led to a grocery store?
Pete: If I’m in a new place and I’ve never been to said grocery store.
Alex: Don’t you just follow the pie smells? Or what do you do there?
Pete: Usually, yeah.
Alex: You waft.
Pete: I just follow my nose.
Pete: So he’s like, hey guys, we’re going on this mission, and we have no backup plans because maybe people can read minds. So, cool, everybody let’s roll. The team, obviously is like, wait a sec, this doesn’t seem right. They get into a lot of talking. Well what if they can read minds? Well what about all the humans on the ship, do we have to kill them, too? This seems like a shady plan, but okay, Cyclops, we’re rolling with you. Again, this is lack of information that I don’t… I like to read a comic book and know who I’m rooting for. You can’t do that with this.
Alex: Here’s what is exciting me about that aspect of it. Very rarely do comics have re-read value.
Pete: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Alex: I think, right now, with every subsequent issue of House of X/Powers of X, you could go back and read the entire run and get new information and new conceptualization from what’s been going on. I think that’s very cool.
Pete: That is cool.
Alex: There you go.
Pete: Agreed. I’ll say that’s cool.
Pete: But, also, let me ask you something. When you read a comic book, what do we get? We get 32 pages? Something like that?
Alex: Something like that.
Pete: Yeah, cool. Then you get whole pages in this one, in particular, that’s all white with a little bit of text. We’re getting robbed of pages, by the way.
Alex: No, we’re not getting robbed of pages. There’s a ton of story that’s going on here. There’s the whole attack on the mother mold, there’s also Emma Frist getting Sabertooth out of prison.
Pete: Yeah, and there’s also parts where they repeat things people said, because in case we didn’t read it the first time.
Alex: Did you read it the first time?
Alex: What? That’s so unlike you, Pete. Usually you skip the text parts.
Pete: No, but it happened in the comic book and then they repeat it in the white text.
Pete: Oh, more powerful.
Alex: Then they elaborate on it more. This issue, actually it was interesting to me that there was so much repetitive information, because, I don’t know. But I liked it.
Pete: Good, you keep liking it.
Alex: I keep liking it, you keep not liking it.
Alex: Great discussion.
Pete: It would be vert impressive though, if by the end of this, I am blown away by how well I like it. Then I can go back and re-read it.
Alex: Yeah. I get the sense, and I could be vastly wrong, but I get the sense of a couple of things with this issue. One, there’s again, something going on with Cyclops, Xavier, and Magneto. We still don’t know the extent of what Xavier, Magneto, and Moira have been planning, what went on there. We don’t know what happened in Moira’s sixth life, that’s information that’s been left out. I’m still iffy on this being the actual Marvel Universe at this point, honestly.
Pete: Yeah. It doesn’t feel like it.
Alex: I think there’s a chance that the end of these duel series, Moira dies again. Or, alternately, that Moira dies again and then we need to start at the beginning with the knowledge of what’s gone on, knowing this is coming somewhere down the road. So that’s weighing over them.
Alex: I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see. That’s my suspicion at this point. I think we’re going to get, not a reset, but-
Pete: What do you think about the reveal in this issue of where they’re secret, zen place is? It’s on the moon.
Alex: They mentioned that in the first issue.
Pete: Oh, I didn’t catch it.
Alex: Yeah. They’re planting a krakoa flower on the moon in the first issue.
Pete: Oh, right. Yeah, you do get to see it all.
Alex: It was pretty cool. Seeing them fly off the moon. I liked that.
Alex: Love the moon.
Alex: Let’s move on to a Dynamite comic that I think is going to be a little less controversial on this podcast, Vampirella/Red Sonja #1. This is bringing together two ladies of Dynamite Comics. What’d you think about this issue, Pete?
Pete: Well, what I liked about it, was it wasn’t about their bodies. It was actually a story. It had a lot of cool stuff going on. It’s not just T&A for T&A’s sake. I was really impressed with this comic. We have Vampirella who’s trying to get to the bottom of this mystery, and it turns out at the bottom of this mystery, spoiler, is Red Sonja. Cool.
Alex: A lot of the Dynamite titles that we read are like that though. I do think, in a weird way, even though their covers are very beautiful most of the time, I think they do them a disservice by putting the T&A up front, and then these great stories behind them. A regular comic book reader, if you’re picking it up for T&A, you’re like, yeah, I’m finally going to see some boobs in a comic book. Oh, I’m very excited. You’re not getting that inside.
Alex: If you’re the sort of person who wants to read the story, which is about Vampirella going to Russia to investigate a mystery, and trying to find a creature that is like her, also a vampire, and ultimately, spoiler, discovering, yeah, Red Sonja, it’s very well told. It’s fun to read throughout. The art is great. It doesn’t match what’s going on on the cover at all, and that’s a bummer. I wish they would have the confidence to match it up more.
Alex: There you go.
Alex: Pick that up.
Alex: Moving on to a BOOM! Studios book, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Chosen Ones #1. This is, basically tells of the slayer, they used to do that back in the Dark Horse days. This is kind of the same sort of thing, showing different slayers throughout the ages with a new continuity that they set up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve been enjoying this comic. I know you’ve been a little iffy about it, in total. What’d you think about this one?
Pete: This was a really fun issue. I really liked this issue a lot. We got to kind of bounce around-
Alex: Did you just fall asleep for a second? What just happened?
Pete: No, just kind of had the heart attack. Yeah, I had a mini stroke.
Alex: Quick one.
Pete: Yeah, a mini stroke.
Pete: Realizing I could die talking about Buffy. Anyways, I felt like this was a very… I enjoyed it. I thought it was enough action to keep this story going, and I liked how in different time periods we had different artists. I like when they’re making artistic choices instead of it being like, oh, we don’t have this artist anymore, we have to get a new artist. I thought that was enjoyable. A lot of great action as well.
Alex: Yeah. I like these stories quite a bit. The middle story, which takes place, I guess, in a Victorian era, something like that, with the little kid. That was one of my favorite ones of the three. Overall, they’re very solid. If you’re a fan of the Vampire slayer, and Buffy, and everything, I think you’ll very much enjoy this.
Alex: Here’s another Marvel comic book, Absolute Carnage #2.
Alex: Cletus Kasady is taking over the Marvel Universe. When we last left them, Venom and Spiderman had teamed up, trying to get Norman Osborn before Carnage could take over his symbiote, his little piece of symbiote that’s left inside of him. Meanwhile, Carnages are running amok, all over New York City in the rain, as usual. As you do. Pete, how’re you feeling about this?
Pete: This is great. I like how this event is moving forward. It’s really showing the danger, you’re really feeling it. For Venom and Spiderman, it doesn’t look good for them. It’s kind of fun to see Venom and Spiderman interact.
Alex: On the opposite end of the spectrum, I really enjoyed the interaction between Cletus Kasady and Norman Osborn in this issue.
Pete: Oh, yeah.
Alex: There’s a little tease that though Norman Osborn is essentially below Carnage, he’s not going to stand for that.
Alex: I’m looking forward to that quite a bit. I’m looking forward to a throw down between them. The art that Ryan Stegman is doing on this title is great.
Pete: So creepy.
Alex: Gross, and everything. The moment at the end, I don’t want to spoil it, but what happens to one of the characters is very upsetting. This is fun. This is good. I’m enjoying it.
Pete: Yeah. The writing is also really great.
Alex: Yeah. Donny Cates doing a good job.
Alex: Another one coming out September 18th, from Archie Comics.
Pete: Don’t spoil it, dude.
Alex: Archie 1955 #1. I’m going to spoil the shit out of it.
Alex: Just you wait.
Pete: Oh, man.
Alex: Archie has red hair.
Pete: Aww, Dude.
Alex: Like the tomato sauce in my paella.
Pete: You don’t put tomato sauce in paella.
Alex: Sure you do. A little tomato sauce.
Pete: I don’t know.
Alex: Some rice. Some seafood.
Pete: Oh my God.
Alex: I’m the chef here, buddy.
Pete: Okay, yeah.
Alex: It’s fine. This-
Pete: The people who actually make things in kitchens, who listen to our show, are probably murdering themselves right now.
Alex: I wouldn’t do that.
Alex: That’s an extreme reaction to what just happened. Don’t do that over our comic book podcast.
Alex: Archie 1955, this is taking back Archie to the dawn of rock ‘n roll in this issue. Where the previous mini series, Archie 1941, took him to war, this is again dealing with a semi-serious subject for Archie comics. I know you’re a little 50/50 about some of the Archie books. What’d you think about this one, Pete?
Pete: Yeah. This is a little bit more of an old timey Archie for me.
Alex: Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Pete: It’s not a good thing.
Pete: I like the more Riverdale Archie.
Alex: Oh, okay.
Pete: That’s where I’m living.
Alex: You want murder.
Pete: No, but just a little bit more updated.
Alex: More murder.
Pete: Sure. Fine.
Alex: In the modern world, there’s more murder.
Pete: Sure, yup. Okay. Yeah.
Alex: Versus 1955.
Pete: Oh, man.
Alex: Did you know nobody got killed in 1955?
Pete: That’s not true. That’s not true.
Alex: Look up the stats.
Pete: Yeah, I’m sure that plenty of people died.
Alex: I liked this. I thought the characterizations were good. I think Mark Waid, who’s been writing this, has been doing a good job of translating these characters to these different eras. I’d be very curious to see A, what happens with this, because I think there’s some interesting things set up here right at the beginning, but also after this mini series, I want to see a 60’s based one. I want see a 70’s based one. I want to see them take it through the eras, because-
Pete: Wow, look at you.
Alex: The characters are so translatable.
Pete: 60’s, 70’s, and today.
Alex: Exactly. All of the modern music.
Alex: All right. Justice League #30 from DC Comics. Two big things happening in this issue.
Pete: Holy crap.
Alex: First thing is it’s kicking off the Justice League Doom War that’s been building over the course of this run. Then there’s a big, well it would have been a surprise, but it actually dropped online the day before the comic came out, what happens on the final page. I don’t usually geek out about characters returning. I got so excited about that last page of the issue, Pete.
Alex: Yes. Before we get into that, how’d you feel about the kickoff of the Justice League Doom War?
Pete: What’s great is that we’ve had a lot building up to this, and I think it delivers. I think the stakes are very high right now with what’s going on. It’s not looking good for our team. It’s intense. I’m excited to see how this is all going to unfold. This is the year of the villain, and I feel like they’re really doing a job of bringing this all together in kind of a fun way.
Alex: Yeah, I like this quite a bit. This is Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV teaming up to write this issue.
Pete: They’re a great team.
Alex: They’re great together. The stakes are ludicrously high at this point. It’s the fate of all of the multi-verses and everything. I think they’ve done a good job with it. They’re building up this new corner of DC mythology, that builds on everything that has happened before. It’s big, it’s bold. It also takes time to have fun. The character of Jarro, the little piece of Starro starfish, who says… so they’re sending two teams. One to the past, one to the future to get different pieces of the Totality. This piece of the Source Wall that they think is going to turn the tide to Justice. It’s a very typical high stakes thing where, okay, we’ve got three teams, everybody has your missions. Oh, no, things immediately went wrong. The way that they set it up, the future is fun that they go to, the past. Here’s a spoiler, three, two, one, Justice Society is back.
Alex: I love it. Classic line of the Justice Society is so much fun.
Alex: It’s great. The thing with Jarro is, as Batman is leaving, he’s like, Okay, bye-bye. Tell Lady Robin’s you meet who’s the best Robin. That’s me. It’s just to have a fun little bit in the middle of this, and also take the time for character stuff throughout, which they do, is just so impressive. It’s great stuff.
Alex: Next up, Pete, let’s talk about the best issue of the week. Are you ready?
Alex: You know what it is?
Alex: Power Pack Grow Up # 1.
Pete: Here we go. Yeah.
Alex: Pete, I swear to God, I lost my mind reading this issue. I loved it so much. So much. As a Power Pack fan, this was absolute perfection. As I kept reading this book, I was like, did they write this just for me? Is this just for me?
Pete: That’s got to be a great feeling.
Alex: It was such a good feeling. I was giggling by the end, because this is reuniting the Power Pack team. Reuniting the classic team of Louise Simonson and June Brigman. The backup story is by Louise Simonson and [inaudible 00:42:35] who I dearly love as well. Throughout the issue, I’ll just straight up spoil the whole thing. It’s classic Power Pack. It’s young Power Pack, at the ages they were back when the comic book was originally coming out versus these semi adult Power Packs that are running around the Marvel Universe now. They go to a Lila Cheney concert in Central Park. Who shows up? Kitty Pryde shows up. Classic Kitty Pryde with Wolverine, who’s like hey, I’m the old normal Wolverine-
Pete: Right. Who has a stick of gum that looks like he’s smoking a cigarette, but it’s-
Alex: Oh my God, I loved it. They fight the Brood. F.R.I.D.A.Y shows up. The Chameleons show up. Then, the whole thing. The whole package. From front to back, I was so happy reading this. It gave me such intense pleasure.
Pete: I wish people could see your face right now. You are beaming.
Alex: It’s wonderful. Those are the titles that I read growing up. Those are the things that I think of. For me, I understand characters need to grow and change, but I particularly… I know you’re a big fan of Wolverine. I didn’t realize how much I missed that iteration of Wolverine.
Pete: Oh, wow.
Alex: I love that iteration of Wolverine, where he’s not grumpy and moody and be like, I’ve seen so much.
Pete: Because he has.
Alex: Because he has, but when he was palling around with Kitty Pryde, having a little bit of fun, just like you’d always find him be like I’m standing by a tree, leaning on it with one foot up, hey, how’s it going there? That’s the way you discover him all the time, and that’s how he shows up in this issue. It’s perfect from front to back. The story is very simple and emotionally told, and very sweet throughout. Great. Loved it.
Pete: I’m so glad you had so much fun with this.
Pete: So great. So happy for you. That they can make a comic just for you, and you loved it so much.
Alex: I loved it. What did you think of it, Pete? Tell me honestly, Pete, but don’t say it.
Pete: I tried to read it three or four times. It was so, it was just so boring.
Alex: Oh, no.
Pete: I was like, I’m sure this is for somebody.
Alex: It’s for me. It was for me.
Pete: Well, I’m very happy for you.
Alex: It was great. All my Power Pack fans out there, I hope you are as happy as I was because this was a delight from start to finish.
Pete: It even had the unicorn guy.
Alex: Yeah, yes.
Alex: Wonderful. Loved it.
Alex: Let’s move to something that’s diametric opposite, Black Science #42 from Image Comics. This is the second to last issue of the title.
Pete: Oh, man.
Alex: Everything has come down to this. The multiverse has been collapsed into one quote, unquote, perfect universe. Of course, it all ends up destroyed I’m this issue. How’re you feeling, going into the final lap here?
Pete: This is great. We get to see some fun action. Our main character has to do something, and now he’s on the run. It’s very intense. I’ve just been super impressed with this title overall, how creative it is, how dark it is, how stakes are high and also insane. It’s a very, very creative book, and it’s going to be sad to see it end.
Alex: Yeah. I’m very curious to see how they end it, in particular because this issue actually splits things into two different universes, seemingly.
Alex: One where everything’s going wrong, and one where is kind of staying right.
Alex: I’m a little nervous how that’s going to pan out because Rick Remender has a tendency to not give his characters even anywhere close to happy endings.
Pete: No, he’ll kill his babies.
Alex: Yeah. You think [inaudible 00:46:35] is like. He’s going to figure it out. He’s going to figure out how to save the multiverse. I don’t if he is.
Alex: I’m really not sure. I’m very nervous coming to this issue, but great stuff, particularly if you’re a fan of the series.
Alex: Let’s move on and talk about Ice Cream Man #24, also from Image Comics. Another totally effed up issue of this book. This one focuses on crossword puzzles. If you have been following this book, this is absolutely one of our favorite current books on the show.
Alex: This is a semi-horror anthology with some plot things that are weaved throughout about a evil, demonic ice cream man who comes into people’s lives and totally screws them up like a vindictive crypt keeper. Here we get to see a couple that has dark moment in their past who are trying to get past and deal with it in very different ways in what they encounter here. There is an emotional moment about halfway, three quarters of the way through this issue that punched me right in the gut.
Pete: Because you’re a big fan of puzzles?
Alex: I was like, they solved it, I love it. No, there’s a thing that’s revealed about the couple that I don’t want to spoil here, and what happened in their past that completely got me. So good, so well done. How’d you feel about this issue?
Pete: Yeah. Every single issue, you have no idea where you’re going to get. The last issue, you could read it back to forth, it was like this-
Alex: It was a palindrome.
Pete: Yeah. It was just really, really cool, and very creative. I was like, man, how are they going to top this? That one, they did it with a crossword. Yeah. Just super creative and really fun use of panels. I also wonder if the puzzle at the end there, with all the blanks, if that’s going to come into play later.
Alex: Yeah, I don’t know. It’s hard to tell what is going to come back or not in this comic book. That’s one of the exciting things about it is, like you were saying, you open up the cover and you have no idea what you’re going to get issue to issue.
Pete: You have no idea.
Alex: That’s exciting.
Alex: It’s great.
Pete: There’s also a good guy in there, too.
Alex: Yes, there is.
Pete: It’s not just an evil ice cream man.
Pete: The cowboy.
Alex: There’s also a good paella man, I think is what he is. Something like that.
Pete: Oh my God.
Alex: Also, we should mention, this is not for kids. This is very violent, very disturbing at points.
Alex: But what a good comic.
Pete: I would say it’s a horror comic. You’re saying semi-horror. Sometimes it’s not as horrific, but there always is fucked up shit happening.
Alex: Yeah, that’s fair.
Alex: Here’s another Marvel Comic, Spiderman Life Story #6. This is wrapping up Chip Zdarsky’s run, where he took Spiderman in each issue, moved him forward through the decades. This brings us up to the modern day, and we get touch on one of Pete’s favorite stories, Superior Spiderman, here. How’d you feel about the series as a whole? How’d you feel about this issue? The Superior Spiderman of it all aside.
Pete: Yeah. So you have Doc Oc trying to be a hero again in a bad way. It’s just one of those things where it is frustrating, because it brings you back to a comic, a time in comics that you were like, oh, this is cool. Superior Spiderman is great. Or, if you’re like me, you’re like, why? Why would you rip open that wound for me to bleed from that again? Non joyable. The art is great. Some fun story telling, but yeah, I did not enjoy it.
Alex: I was overall really impressed with this mini-series, the way that Chip Zdarsky touched on major points from each of these different decades, and made it make sense as a cohesive story over the course of the six issues. If you compare it to, say, Marvel 1000, and the way that we were talking about that, where it wasn’t exactly cohesive unless you just look at the Al Ewing pages and that’s it. Here, he did find a way to make it work. Did hit on the actual major touch points from each decade. I thought that was pretty neat.
Alex: I like this a lot, and Mark Bagley on art, of course is always great.
Pete: Art is great.
Alex: Next one to talk about from DC Comics again, Superman #14. This isn’t a huge shocker, but another team comes back towards the end here. Turns out, this is a big spoiler for this whole thing, this whole story Brian Michael Bendis has been telling, the Unity saga. What that means is that Superman brings the family of Kal-El, the survivors of Krypton, together to confront everybody in the entire universe and say you guys got to come together, in oh, let’s say sort of like a federation of planets type thing. As soon as that happens, the Legion of Superheroes show up and is like, hey guys, this is Unity Day. You did it, you created a cohesive universe. That’s where we, the Legion, come from. Isn’t that super cool? There’s a lot going on in this comic book.
Alex: I… how did you feel about it? I’m curious to hear from you first.
Pete: Well, first off, you’ve got Superman… so when you’re drawing Superman, there’s a couple of things for me. There is classic Superman drawing where you’re like, okay, this is a little bit old timey, this is the style that I got used to. I don’t know, by having that kind of Superman, especially early in the comic, there’s certain-
Alex: Wait, what kind of Superman?
Pete: It’s just the panels looked a little weird. It was like a-
Pete: … B movie Superman is what I felt like I was looking at.
Pete: It didn’t really feel like I was reading Superman comic. The art can really pull you out of a story sometimes. For me, it was a little weird to see Superman looking like that.
Alex: I didn’t really have a problem with the art. This is by Ivan Rice, who every time I hear his name, I sing it in my head to the tune of Edleweiss from-
Alex: Ivan Rice, Ivan Rice, no?
Alex: Nope? Oh, okay. Sound of Music?
Alex: Nope? Okay. Anyway, I didn’t have a problem with the art here. I had a little bit of a problem with the writing. It felt like it was trying to take on too many things, and ended up feeling very super rushed, because-
Pete: I’m wondering if he’s got something that he’s trying to get to, and he’s just trying to get through this.
Alex: I’m not sure, because it felt like this whole thing was just to get John Kent to the age that Superboy is when he joins the Legion of Superheroes, way back in the day, so that he can join the Legion of Superheroes in the modern continuity. It’s a long way to go for that punchline, quote unquote. So there’s too much in this issue that’s going on, frankly. I am happy to see the Legion back. I like the Legion. I’m curious to see Brain Michael Bendis’ take on them. He writes youth characters so well. It think that will be a lot of fun. I’m also curious to see what this title is now that he’s passed it. I think, ultimately, he’s been doing a better job with the ground level action comics than he has with the space set Superman title, frankly.
Alex: There yo go. Last one to talk about. From Marvel Comics, Star Wars Age of Resistance Poe Dameron #1. This is by Tom Taylor. Tom Taylor, on Twitter, was promising some big exciting things, where he said, I couldn’t believe that they let me do this. That Lucas Film, and Marvel let me do this to this title. I was very curious to check out what it is. I think we can spoil it, because there’s the twist at the end. Again, one, two, three. This is focusing on a young Poe Dameron as he is training with, I’m forgetting what it’s called, honestly. The Republic.
Alex: When he’s training with the Republic. He’s going on a mission. He’s very by the books, and he encounters somebody who teaches him to not quite be by the books, to be a little bit more of a cool fly boy, and encourages him to join the Rebellion because the First Order is not what they seem, and the Republic is weaker than they seem. The twist at the end is the person who encourages him to do that is Holdo.
Alex: From the Last Jedi, who he clashed with in the Last Jedi-
Alex: … ans was like, you don’t know what you’re doing.
Alex: You get out of here. Who are you, even, Admiral Holdo? That was a great twist.
Pete: It really was, it was very cool. It was also, it was a lot of classic Star wars moments. All right, let’s go find this… all this ship is just hiding like next to the ship classic Star Wars move. I thought this was a cool understanding of about how to be who you are, and fight for what you believe in, but also be a rebel within that.
Alex: What I lied about Tom Taylor’s writing here, I was initially a little thrown because it didn’t quite sound like Poe Dameron to me. I’m so used to Charles Soule on the Poe Dameron series that he wrote, which was superb. He nailed the voice of the character with that. It took me a little while to realize oh, this is a younger Poe Dameron, he’s not quite there yet. You start to see how Tom Taylor worked in little hints of his voice throughout, where he ultimately gets there by the end.
Alex: I think this is great. I would like to see more of these one shots take chances like that with continuity. I know they can’t always. This makes it feel a little more vital for the overall franchise.
Pete: Definitely does. Definitely does.
Alex: To your point, great Star Wars book.
Alex: Guys, that is it for the Stack but before we wrap up, we do actually have one more comment. This was from on the Stack podcast. This one was five stars, thank you. From Skyjuggler, says okay, Logan, after listening… oh, this is a reference to Loga, the guy who suggested we split off the Comic Book Club and the Stack feeds. He says, okay, Logan, after listening to the most recent episode of the live show, I finally understand Logan’s point. When there is an obnoxious guest on the show, the show suffers, but that never happens on the Stack. Still check out the live show, it’s really great [inaudible 00:56:50] the father of Stack. The guests are just comic book geeks, they’re not good in public.
Pete: Oh, man.
Alex: Oh, boy. All right. Sorry, Skyjuggler.
Pete: Oh, man.
Alex: Geez, I think some of the guests are pretty good.
Alex: I don’t know. They’re all comic book geeks. We’re all comic book geeks here.
Alex: On this comic book podcast. It’s all good.
Pete: Yeah, that’s the thing. We ask people’s opinions. We got it, you don’t always agree with it, but we’re glad people are listening and checking out the show.
Alex: Yeah. Speaking of listening and checking out the show, if you’d like to support the show patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also we do the live show every Tuesday night at 8:00PM at the People’s Improv Theater Loft. Come on by, our guests are big comic book nerds and a little bit obnoxious, but it should be fine. Pete, what do you want to plug?
Pete: Friend us on Facebook so you get to know about the amazing guests we have on our live show.
Alex: Follow us on Twitter @comicbooklive. You can subscribe, iTunes, Androis, Stitch, or Spotify , or the app of your choice.
Alex: I think my paella’s done, Pete. Do you want a little taste?
Pete: No. No, I don’t.
Alex: Want a little taste? I’ll just put a little bit in here.
Pete: No. There’s marinara in there, with rice. That doesn’t make sense.
Alex: I put some marinara and a little mozzarella.
Pete: Oh my God, that’s not paella.