The Stack: Harleen, Avengers And More

Harleen #1

On today’s Stack, we’ve got reviews for: Harleen #1, Avengers #24, Black Science #43, Angel #5, New Mutants: War Children #1, Batman/Superman #2, Ruby Falls #1 (out 10/2), Powers of X #5, Quarter Killer #1, Shazam #7, Strikeforce #1, Everything #2 (out 10/2), SFSX #1 and Faithless #6.


Harleen #1 Official Synopsis:

Dr. Harleen Quinzel has discovered a revolutionary cure for the madness of Gotham City-she just needs to prove it actually works. But with the criminal justice and mental health establishments united against her, the brilliant young psychologist must take drastic measures to save Gotham from itself. Witness Harleen’s first steps on a doomed quest that will give birth to the legendary super-villain Harley Quinn in this stunning reimagining of Harley and The Joker’s twisted and tragic love affair by visionary storyteller Stjepan Å ejic (AQUAMAN: UNDERWORLD, SUICIDE SQUAD, Sunstone).

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Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode to read along with as you listen:

Speaker 1:            3, 2, 1.

Alex:                         What is up, everybody? Welcome to The Stack. I’m Alex.

Pete:                        I am Pete.

Alex:                         And on The Stack, we talk about a bunch of comics that have come out this very day. We review them, we offer up opinions, hot takes. Hot takes, if you will. Hot takes and hot pancakes.

Pete:                        I don’t know if it’s hot takes, but we talk about how we feel-

Alex:                         Oh, they’re hot. They are hot, Pete. They are hot, hot takes. Oh, my gosh.

Pete:                        Don’t die. There’s too much smoke in here from all the heat.

Alex:                         I had too much spicy stuff. For the hot takes I need to heat it up. Well, anyway, before we get into the reviews we are once going to go to read a couple of comments from you guys. This is stuff that you have left for us on iTunes. We’re going to read it out here. If you’d like us to read your comments on the show, and we would love to do that, leave us a comment and a rating on iTunes and we’ll read it right here on the show. This first one’s from Erin Blur. “So good I listen twice. I depend on this podcast almost exclusively to find out what new comics I should be checking out. I don’t read too much superhero stuff. Some dabbling here and there, but I still love to hear what’s going on in these books. It’s like a little bit of fun gossip. Who doesn’t love that?”

Pete:                        Oh, fun goss.

Alex:                         Yeah, hot goss. Hot takes and hot goss. Too hot in my throat. I’m going to start coughing again. “They cover a great variety of stuff and I am super appreciative of that. This is the most fun way to get a rundown on some of the best comics coming out each week.” Thank you so much, Aaron Blur. That is very nice.

Pete:                        Yeah, thanks, Erin.

Alex:                         Here’s another one that, I’m sorry, I just can’t pronounce. It’s like [Jsjfkelssheirbdgoa 00:01:37] says, “Great podcast. This is a great podcast reviewing new and upcoming comic books. The hosts are funny and smart, and review a variety of books. Their varied interests and personalities give the listener multiple perspectives on new books, which has helped me out when trying to decide which books I should pick up. I listen every week and recommend everyone else do the same. Thank you so much. [inaudible 00:01:58].”

Pete:                        Yeah, thank you.

Alex:                         Yeah, we definitely try to do as much variety. I know we’ve been doing the House of X, Powers of X stuff a lot. We usually like to cover Batman or the big issues or whatever, but we’re definitely always trying to choose a new number one when it comes out in particular, because we feel like it’s good to check out those books, give them a little bit of a sample and recommend them there, both-

Pete:                        Plus any weird sex stuff that you’re into, you like to throw that in The Stack.

Alex:                         I love to throw that in The Stack, and we’re going to get to that at the end here, Pete. We’re going to get deep inside of it.

Pete:                        Oh, God.

Alex:                         Deep.

Pete:                        Oh, wow.

Alex:                         You like that, Pete?

Pete:                        No. I wish I didn’t bring it up.

Alex:                         Neither did I. I also didn’t like it. Let’s kick it off with a DC Comic book. This is from their Black Label line, Harleen #1.

Pete:                        This was a long book. It was like 60 pages.

Alex:                         I’m so sorry. Are you okay?

Pete:                        Yeah.

Alex:                         Okay, that’s good.

Pete:                        Yeah, yeah.

Alex:                         All right. This is from the Black Label line, which is their adults-only line, so kids stay away. This isn’t for you.

Pete:                        Or kids, yeah, get into it. It’s fucked up.

Alex:                         No, Pete. No, you can’t do that. This is for adults-only.

Pete:                        They can’t live sheltered lives. You got to get them used to the horrors of the world early.

Alex:                         The pages are made out of alcohol, all right? So-

Pete:                        Yeah. Black Label. That’s a booze reference.

Alex:                         That’s what it is. This is… I never pronounce his name correctly, and I do apologize, but Stjepan Sejic I think is what it is.

Pete:                        Nice try.

Alex:                         Thank you very much. I love his art. He’s so good. He has done a bunch of indie comics as well that are super fun. They’re a little sexy. So Pete, don’t you check them out-

Pete:                        I won’t.

Alex:                         … and kids, don’t you check them out. But this is him delving back into the history of Harley Quinn before she was Harley Quinn, when she first met the Joker. It’s his take on it. Pete, what did you think?

Pete:                        Harleen. I thought it was interesting. It was cool to… Because normally, we’re the perspective of either Batman or the Joker, so it was fun to kind of get the bystander’s kind of point of view of what it’s like to live in Gotham and then walk around a corner and see Batman fighting Joker, you know? And what would that would be like, and would you kind of bum-rush afterwords to see them got to go fisticuffs, or would you run away for your life, you know?

Alex:                         Well even more than that, usually what we get with Harley Quinn in terms of her origin is a montage sequence, where she’s like, “I was a doctor at Arkham Asylum. I met the Joker, he drove me crazy and we fell in love and then I started dressing in a costume. The end.” So this is fleshing that out exponentially, and I think he does a very good job creating the character of Harley Quinn. Recreating her, and delving into it.

Pete:                        Yeah, and also-

Alex:                         And the Joker’s very alluring here.

Pete:                        I also like the fact that dealing with these kind of mad people, if you will, these villains, it’s hurting her sleep. It’s really messing with her life, you know? Trying to get into the heads of the bad guys is really messing with her, and I’m glad that they were kind of dealing with that. It’s not just like, “Oh, wow, I’m attracted to someone who’s very powerful,” or like, “I don’t know, the dark side of me is very much attracted to this dude,” or whatever. I like how we’re really kind of getting a little bit more of who she is and the stuff leading up to their meeting.

Alex:                         I agree with you completely. My only qualm with this book is I don’t understand the Black Label thing. Maybe it has to do with the paper quality. Maybe it has to do with the extra size of it, but other than some language here and there, it’s not more violent than anything you’d see in a DC Comic book.

Pete:                        It’s true.

Alex:                         It’s not more sexual than anything you’d see in a DC Comic book. There’s no Bruce Wayne’s wang in this issue or anything like that.

Pete:                        Okay.

Alex:                         That was Batman: Damned, the first issue, the first printing they had bat dick, and then they edited it out. So there’s nothing like that, so I don’t know why it’s-

Pete:                        What’s interesting is if this Black Label we’re kind of going to slow things down a little bit-

Alex:                         Sure.

Pete:                        … and explore things more. I’m cool with that.

Alex:                         It’s fine. Again, the issue is very good. Highly recommend picking it up. I’m just not 100% sure what the Black Label line is yet, and I’m curious to see if it defines itself in some way.

Pete:                        But it’s also to see somebody who seems like a reasonable human being, like how they kind of go off the deep end and are going to fall in love with this person who’s clearly a bad guy.

Alex:                         Yeah. Just like I did with my wife.

Pete:                        Whoa.

Alex:                         Too much. Avengers #24 from Marvel Comics. This is continuing the challenge of the Ghost Riders. This is… excuse me. My throat again. Hot takes. Hot takes from the Ghost Rider riding down my throat. Danny Blaze. Danny Blaze?

Pete:                        Yeah.

Alex:                         Danny Blaze is…

Pete:                        He’s the one in the car.

Alex:                         Danny Blaze, Robbie Reyes. Rob…

Pete:                        Yes.

Alex:                         Danny Blaze, Robbie Reyes. Hey, hey, hey.

Pete:                        Oh, yes.

Alex:                         Yeah. Oh, yes. They are having a race to see who will be the Ghost Rider, who will survive. Meanwhile, on earth, Cosmic Ghost Rider is fighting the rest of The Avengers. You’re a big Ghost Rider fan. What do you think about all of these Ghost Riders, Pete?

Pete:                        I love it. I’m sorry, let me just… Reyes is the guy in the car.

Alex:                         Yes.

Pete:                        So yeah, I’m very happy. At first, I was-

Alex:                         Johnny Blaze.

Pete:                        Johnny Blaze is the one on the bike.

Alex:                         Johnny Blaze. Danny Ketch.

Pete:                        I don’t know. You confused the crap out of me. I know this stuff and then you said it and now I’m questioning my knowledge. But anyways, like… So-

Alex:                         We can just call them Ghost 1 and Ghost 2.

Pete:                        Yeah, Ghost 1 and Ghost 2. So Ghost 1, the first Ghost Rider on the motorcycle… As a kid, I was very fascinated by this. And I very much like the fact that they updated the character and did it with the way that had a little heart and loved the backstory. And it’s cool that we kind of get erased. It kind of reminds me of the old Superman flash race, where we want to see who’s faster, who’s better, that kind of thing. And I liked this book. I feel like it’s cool. It’s kind of what you want. It’s a little popcorny but I loved it.

Alex:                         There was somebody, I’m totally blanking and maybe you remember, I feel like it was Danny Roth on our live show who was talking about this book and said that what’s great about it, no, it was Daniel Kibblesmith actually Daniel Kibblesmith was talking about at our live show. And I thought about it every issue. Hansen, it’s maybe like the book a lot better where you could pull out these things and it’s almost like describing it to a kid, and that’s what makes it fun.

Alex:                         Where you can be like, yeah, there’s two Ghost Riders, and they’re having a race in hell. The one of the Ghost Rider, ghost uncle infest this celestial tries to kill him. Awesome. Cosmic Ghost Rider takes off his skull and punches people with it. It’s fun. It’s just very enjoyable across the board. It’s a blast to read.

Pete:                        Yeah, it really is. And like, when you kind of break it down like that, it’s a great way to look at it is just like over the top fun.

Alex:                         Yes. Let’s move to something that’s much more serious from Image Comics, Black Science #43.

Pete:                        Oh, man.

Alex:                         It’s the last issue of Black Science. A lot of stuff going down here. If you haven’t picked up the series, obviously, very bad place to start, but this is about-

Pete:                        Great, jumping on point.

Alex:                         Great, jumping on point, definitely pick up this issue. This is bringing all of the multi-vessel adventures our heroes have gone on over the course of the series altogether. It all comes down to this. What did you think about the wrap-up? How’d you feel about the series as a whole, Pete?

Pete:                        I was impressed with it. Of course, recommender is going to break your heart eight different ways to Sunday, but he definitely, like, I thought it was going to be more heartbreaking than it was.

Alex:                         Really?

Pete:                        Still at the end, it was tough to see his wife be like, “Okay, fine.” That was like-

Alex:                         Let’s get into spoilers. I’ll just lay it out for you guys really quickly. So there’s this guy Grant McKay, he invents a thing the pillar that lets them travel through the different layers and the multiverse, he completely wrecked the multi-verse. His arch-enemy Kadir compressed, I guess, you could say the multiverse into one particular version. Grant McKay knew everything was wrong. He started to break it again.

Alex:                         And at the end, he ends up killing his kids, getting totally sliced to ribbons and then convinces his wife to travel to another section of the multiverse where their kids are still alive and continues it there again. Also, throughout the issue, we finally find out what’s going on with the seeming flash-forwards, flash-sideways. It turns out this is actually from the beginning, potentially, we get to see where everything started before it all went horribly wrong. This ending, it wasn’t totally satisfying, but it made sense because they ended it anyway where Grant McKay isn’t continually screwing up the multiverse that wouldn’t be true to the book.

Pete:                        Right. And he’d never does things in wrapping it in a little bow.

Alex:                         Rick Remender and Grant McKay the character.

Pete:                        No, but also he wasn’t going to have Grant McKay finally do something right either. So it really made sense for the character. It stayed true to what he kind of set up. Yeah, I think this is a great issue because it gives you a lot, it ends in a way that maybe isn’t the most satisfying, both the way that makes sense with the things that he’s built up and also the fact that like, life isn’t perfect. You know what I mean?

Alex:                         What?

Pete:                        Like there are compromises-

Alex:                         What are you talking about? I don’t compromise on anything, Pete. I live my life to the fullest.

Pete:                        His wife has compromised-

Alex:                         Sorry, I had something in my throat, but I chose to have something in my throat.

Pete:                        His wife has to compromise so they can try to live a life with their fake kids.

Alex:                         Sure.

Pete:                        And part of her is going to be dead inside always because she knows these aren’t her real kids.

Alex:                         One of those kids are kind cool, like a little bit cooler.

Pete:                        Still a part, it’s going to eat at her that this isn’t real.

Alex:                         I don’t know. That’s what happened with my wife.

Pete:                        Oh, my God. Why does this keep coming back to a…. My wife-

Alex:                         My wife, a very funny and very current reference. Let’s jump over to BOOM! Studios. Angel #5. This is kicking off their big angel. Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover that’s going to reintroduce the Hellmouth to the Buffy universe. Here, Angel is training a new guy named Gunn, who we know from the TV series. We get to see a glimpse of Fred also from the TV series. What’d you think about this one, Pete?

Pete:                        I really liked this issue. I thought it was a great, did a great job of establishing your character, showing them where they’re at, and then introducing Angel into their life in a very angel way. I thought it was really cool, flow really nicely. The story just kind of really unfolded in a nice way. I thought the art did a great job of pulling you into this world. I liked the characters. I liked the portrayal of them. It felt very true to the other kind of versions of them. I thought this was a really solid issue.

Alex:                         I agree. The stick-on gun, in particular, and repainting him is, I guess, it’s an urban spelunker or something like that as a cover for him hunting vampires, super smart. I liked that a lot.

Pete:                        The flashback of his origin story was intense.

Alex:                         It keeps it consistent with the character we know, but gives them a modern sheen, and that’s exactly what these books should be doing. Plus, I’m excited about the Hellmouth crossover. I want to see what’s going to happen. So mission accomplished comic book. Moving back to Marvel Comics, very exciting comic book of the week. We always like to say that in a very awkward way, but the very exciting comic book of the week is New Mutants War Children #1. This is reuniting Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz on the title that they revamped, redefined for a generation. What’d you think about this, Pete?

Pete:                        Well, I think it’s nice to have Claremont back. It’s like a nice sweater you kind of forgot about. You break it out of your closet, and you’re like, “Oh, this is snugly.” I think it’s great that kind of be able to pull people back into something that they helped kind of create. Yeah, I think this is an interesting story. Art’s fantastic. I’m excited to see where this goes. I think they do a good job.

Alex:                         This is on the issue. It’s a one-shot. It’s like the power pack thing from the other week.

Pete:                        Oh, okay.

Alex:                         It’s all to celebrate Marvel Comics 80th anniversary.

Pete:                        Well, great. Celebrated.

Alex:                         Done.

Pete:                        Yup.

Alex:                         Checkmark in the air.

Pete:                        Yep.

Alex:                         Great.

Pete:                        Celebrate. What’d you think?

Alex:                         I loved it. I mean, this is my jam. This is my new mutants. This is my team. You get to see Cypher being Cypher. What a week, what a week to be a Cypher fan. What a year, what a lifetime to be a Cypher fan.

Pete:                        Wow, look at you. You’re glowing.

Alex:                         I am glowing. It is funny to read this story where basically jammed in every possible thing that they could do, you get Dark Child, Iliana, you get the trans board trans boat virus, you get to see Warlock going crazy and being worried about the Magus. You get to see Ron, rein, and Cypher bonding once again. So good. And all the characters are so good. It was so much fun to watch.

Alex:                         But really, it is all about the Bill Sienkiewicz art. And to see him do an entire issue of newbie once again, not just a cover is incredible. I love Chris Claremont. We’ve seen him write a bunch of books since then. But the two of them together, it’s just pure magic. I love this book so much. Again, amazing book of the week-

Pete:                        Oh, me too.

Alex:                         … as we always say. This is the power pack thing. They’re my thing. So I’m very happy about it. Let’s jump over to DC Comics Batman/Superman #2.

Pete:                        Oh, man.

Alex:                         This is continuing the infection of the DC universe courtesy of the Joker, not the Joker, The Batman Who Laughs. And this issue, Batman and Superman are dealing with the Shazam who laughs. How do you feel about this title? I know you liked the first issue quite a bit, right?

Pete:                        Yeah, I think this is great. They do a really good job of setting the stakes and painting the heroes kind of fighting against what they… It’s really awesome. And like what I’m talking about is here’s Superman, the kind of boy scout, if you will, and also Zam has to do is turn back into the kid and Superman won’t hit him because it’s a little kid who’s innocent. And then when he says, “Shazam, he’s the evil Shazam.” So it’s like, I love the stakes of this. And I also loved, although it kind of hurt to watch, was Batman, Superman fighting like upset. Batman upset about the way things went down.

Alex:                         Just kiss, guys.

Pete:                        Oh, fuck you. Fuck you.

Alex:                         Come on.

Pete:                        I thought this was a fantastic issue.

Alex:                         This is the just us league.

Pete:                        Oh, boy. Fantastic issue. Amazing artwork. Love the stakes. This is so much fun. In the beginning when this whole Batman who laughs, Joker smiles, like that whole thing, I was like, this is lame. But they’ve done an amazing job of flushing these characters out in a way that makes them so important to what’s going on.

Alex:                         Yeah. Yeah. I enjoy this as well. I actually liked this issue even better than the last issue, frankly.

Pete:                        Wow.

Alex:                         I thought it was a lot of fun. The riff on Shazam was a lot of fun. Now that the initial concept is out of the way, they can really, really get into it, and that’s great stuff.

Pete:                        And it was crazy. Or Batman say he wasn’t prepared for this.

Alex:                         Yeah. That is crazy. I think Batman is usually prepared for everything, right?

Pete:                        Yeah.

Alex:                         Geez. All right. Next one we’re going to talk about is out October 2nd from Dark Horse Comics-

Pete:                        Don’t spoil it.

Alex:                         … Ruby Falls #1. I enjoyed this issue quite a bit. I like the art in particular, but it’s a, I dunno, what would you call it? Surrealist. No war. Is that fair?

Pete:                        Sure.

Alex:                         How’d you feel about the issue, Pete?

Pete:                        What I like about it is it’s kind of a comic within a comic where you have these main characters talking about the place, what they are, talking about how important the color red is to the kind of town and stuff. But also the comic has tones of red in there, which I thought was such a cool thing. It starts small and gets bigger. I think this is interesting. I’m excited to see more.

Alex:                         I would say overall, these Berger Books that are coming out from Dark Horse, from editor Karen Berger are getting better and better each time. Obviously, she is a veteran. We’ve had her on the live show. You can go back and listen to the episode. But the first couple I felt like, okay, I don’t quite get what this is. It sort of feels Vertigo ish.

Alex:                         It’s not exactly it’s own thing yet, but it really does feel like this line is getting its own identity, its own feel to it, and that really crisps in with this book for me. So I’m excited for people to check it out.

Pete:                        Cool.

Alex:                         Next one to talk about House of X/ Powers of 10 #5.

Pete:                        Now here we go.

Alex:                         Here we go.

Pete:                        Here we fucking go.

Alex:                         Here we fucking go with a reasonable discussion about a comic book, Pete. Let’s get ready to do it.

Pete:                        Are you ready to explain shit to me or what?

Alex:                         I am absolutely ready to explain shit to you. Now, this is I would say, can I speak for you, Pete?

Pete:                        Sure.

Alex:                         If you had to choose between House of X and Powers of 10, I would say Powers of 10 unequivocally is your least favorite of the two, right?

Pete:                        Right, right.

Alex:                         Because it jumps through timelines.

Pete:                        Yeah, the three timelines.

Alex:                         Three timelines. Very confusing.

Pete:                        Yup.

Alex:                         This one less confusing maybe.

Pete:                        It was until the last timeline.

Alex:                         The last timeline. But we still don’t know a lot about that timeline yet.

Pete:                        Right. But also this also felt like the least shocking issue. This was just them moving pieces on the chessboard. It was like, okay, in this issue, we get to see how Professor X gets the helmet head. How he turns it into lollipop man. Cool. We knew that was happening. Now we get to see that.

Alex:                         It was, I would say, nice to see him say, “I’m the lollipop pad.”

[crosstalk 00:20:53]

in the middle there.

Pete:                        And then, okay, we got to talk about how we’re going to move all these drugs and make all these drugs. Okay, cool. We got to see that happen.

Alex:                         I appreciated the fact that this is the first issue. We’ve been really dealing with a lot of different shapes, but we haven’t gotten into Jonathan Hickman’s sweet spot, which is Circles until this issue finally… we’ve got a couple of sweets circles going on here. That was very nice.

Pete:                        And then we get the future, which I don’t understand at all because it’s like a robot talking about how depends how dense robots are and then everybody is going to die.

Alex:                         It’s, you just got to think about like soft robots and hard robots, right?

Pete:                        Yeah, sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That makes sense.

Alex:                         You do get it now.

Pete:                        Oh, yeah. That makes a lot of sense. But yeah, so that last part was super confusing to me, and I don’t understand any of it.

Alex:                         Yes. So just to lay it out for you guys who are listening, in case you didn’t read the book, definitely read it, but as Pete mentioned, we are definitely filling in the blanks this issue, but one of the things that I, in particular, enjoyed about this issue-

Pete:                        Can I try to guess?

Alex:                         What is it?

Pete:                        Forge. You love Forge?

Alex:                         No, it wasn’t Forge. No, that’s a good guess.

Pete:                        It’s like hey, we need someone to make a lollipop pad for Geo the guy.

Alex:                         Well, absolutely. I mean, [crosstalk 00:22:12]-

Pete:                        Forge call.

Alex:                         … as soon as weirds off for this conversation between Xavier and Forge where Xavier-

Pete:                        And Xavier looking mighty creepy like a villain in this.

Alex:                         You think throughout?

Pete:                        Yeah.

Alex:                         I don’t know.

Pete:                        I mean, when his lollipop pad is less evil-

Alex:                         Well, I will say so as usual with this issue, as you’re reading through the issue and as you’re reading the text pages that are [crosstalk 00:22:35], I love how Hickory had always seem to drop an alarming piece of information just casually in the middle there. And here, we find out further about the big revelation of the last issue, which is that Professor X has been backing up all the X-Men. And he’s been doing it for years. Every week he makes a copy of everybody’s brain.

Alex:                         We find out more of the logistics of this that there’s five different places where there’s backups besides the helmet that he’s wearing on his head. And once a year, he does a three day backup of absolutely every human to exist and he’s completely prone for that.

Pete:                        There’s nothing nerdier than talking about backups, and the proper way to back up things and making sure that it’s backup of a backup of a backup.

Alex:                         Throughout this series, Hickman has been very confidently showing his work. He’s like pushing it across the desk and saying, “You guys, I did it. I did my work and I figured it out. Those questions you have, here you go. There’s the answer.” And I do appreciate that, that is actually in the text, and it’s not like you go to an X-Men panel and he’s like, “Oh, yeah, here’s how the backups work.”

Alex:                         Then it’s all in there and answers the questions before you can actually ask them or very soon after you’ve asked them. So that’s all great. But there’s one other detail that’s thrown in there where in the previous issue, they mentioned with the backups that nobody has tried taking a mutant brain and putting it in what they call a husk, very alarming name, a husk that does not belong to them. So like taking Cyclops’ brain and putting it in Kitty Prydes body or something like that.

Pete:                        That’s creepy, dude.

Alex:                         They also say, and I believe the same paragraph that you can revert backups, but it’s very difficult. And they mentioned that Professor Xavier has done that twice and then move on. And that to me is like alarm bells, alarm bells, alarm bells. Why would Xavier revert his backup. Do you have any theories there, Pete?

Pete:                        Cause he messed the fuck up a bunch of times.

Alex:                         I mean, I think that’s probably what it is. It also might be wiping information from his own brain or something like that. Or something bad that happened.

Pete:                        Or he revealed too much that somebody and then reverted back.

Alex:                         Yeah, I’m not sure, but that’s definitely one detail that about this needs to be expanded upon.

Pete:                        I keep hoping that the X-Men are going to read an issue and be like X-Men aren’t as bad as they look right now because everybody looks like a God damn villain and it keeps getting creepier. The one sunshine that I had in this book was Namor. That shit was awesome.

Alex:                         When Namor shuts Professor Xavier down.

Pete:                        He’s like fuck outta here.

Alex:                         Yeah, of course. Very-

Pete:                        Very Namor [crosstalk 00:25:26]-

Alex:                         Hitman has glory more a lot with the Illuminati, so he’s very familiar with him. He’s also very familiar with Emma Frost. That was my favorite part of the issue because one issue that I’ve had with this is because everybody is so cold, like they sound very much the same across the board. They’re all this cult of X right now. Emma Frost is not part of that, like very distinct lead not part of that.

Alex:                         And I appreciated them going to her, her negotiating with them and them understanding, no, we’re not going to mind wipe and convince you of this cult in the same way you’re always going to be Emma Frost. But to your point, professor Xavier, who now wears an all-black costume and a lollipop head is walking around with Magneto recruiting Emma Frost and tells her, “Hey, you know who we need Sebastian Shaw,” which is pretty fucked up. So you have that and then added an apocalypse at Mr. Sinister running things as well.

Alex:                         It definitely still sets off a lot of those alarm bells across the board in terms of what’s going on. You could make the argument that, okay, these people are mutants, so they’ve always been about mutant superiority and now everybody is on board with that. So that’s why it works. But it’s still distressing.

Pete:                        Yeah, it’s very creepy, very upsetting. And it does look like there’s any end in sight. And I’m having a hard time with that.

Alex:                         I get it. So the reason I think they’re setting it up like that, and we’ve talked about this quite a bit on the podcast, is because of that flash-forward where ultimately, the villain is not Mr. Sinister. It’s not apocalypse. It’s not mutants at all. It’s the oncoming robot revolution that is taking over the entire known universe. And as we find out in the future timeline, which granted still lots of holes to be filled in black holes, if you will but the phalanx has taken over most of the universe around earth. Earth has offered itself up to the phalanx. The Phalanx, this issue agrees.

Alex:                         And one of the remaining humans talks to the ravines of Nimrod. It says, “Wait, so what’s going on here, exactly?” And Nimrod says, “Oh, well, you see the phalanx decided, yes, it is going to accept you. You will live on as backups through forever, except also it’s going to eat you. So too bad about that. And if anything, what they’re doing is they’re setting up the mutants and the X-Men as the opposite of the phalanx where the mutants were being told are constantly giving the souls and the bodies back all the time and they want to expand versus the phalanx, which wants to do nothing but consume. So that’s the conflict we’re being set up with. That is the destiny of the entire universe [crosstalk 00:28:18]-

Pete:                        This is insane.

Alex:                         It’s huge. It’s huge storytelling. We still have one more red issue.

Pete:                        I don’t know who I’m rooting for.

Alex:                         You’re not rooting for the robots, man.

Pete:                        I kind of am rooting for the robots.

Alex:                         Really?

Pete:                        Yeah. What do I want? Evil mutants to win.

Alex:                         Yes.

Pete:                        No.

Alex:                         I do think we are heading towards something in the current timeline where we’re going to see a world war X a year from now because you got Namor doesn’t agree with them. We already know that Wakanda and their related nation don’t agree with them. Doctor Doom doesn’t agree with them. I think we’re going to see those nations fighting back against the X-Men in the next year or so once the titles are established, but still a couple of issues to go here. Big, big stuff. Let’s move on to a comic psychology book, Quarter Killer #1. This is from Vita Ayala, who we’ve been enjoying quite a bit on titles like Livewire. What’d you think about this book?

Pete:                        Oh, man, I love the art. It’s really cool. Plus it has, the art kind of old school feel, you kind of have this thing about quarters being really big currency so you can play video games with.

Alex:                         Yeah. And you love quarters.

Pete:                        Well, as a kid, I grew up going to arcades. Yeah, I do. I’m old as fuck.

Alex:                         I will say I really enjoyed the art in this. I enjoyed story overall, but so much was going on it did feel like watching somebody play a video game where every once in a while you look away to have a sip of soda and you’re like, “Wait, what level are you on now? What are you fighting? What’s going on here?”

Pete:                        I don’t know, man. I disagree. I thought it was really easy to follow. I was really happy with the story and all the reveals. I think they really set up a unique cool world here, and I’m excited for more.

Alex:                         I am too. Again, it was a lot for me. Maybe I read it late at night. I don’t know.

Pete:                        Yeah, let’s see what happens.

Alex:                         Yeah, but you can pick that up on ComiXology Originals. Now, here’s another DC Comic and another Shazam, Shazam #7, man, this title hardly ever comes out, but when it does, I like it hardcore.

Pete:                        They are alone in the creativity of all these worlds that they’re bouncing back and forth between is really fantastic.

Alex:                         So if you have forgotten or haven’t bring the book, Shazam and the whole Marvel family, I don’t know if we call them that anymore. I guess the Shazam family, they are all trapped in these different magical lands, including we find about the was under lands, this issue among others. Meanwhile, Billy Batson and Mary, I don’t remember. I don’t know, whenever. A lady Captain Marvel.

Pete:                        The lady of Shazam.

Alex:                         They are back, are in earth. They have just told their parents about their powers. So there’s a lot of stuff going on in a lot of different places, but Geoff Johns keeps the action going from place to place. Two big things we should probably talk about in this issue. One, just a personal thing, I love Dale Eaglesham. I love Scott Collins. They’re two of my favorite artists. It’s very jarring to see their style side by side because they’re so different. And I wish they would hold this title until Dale Eaglesham would finish the whole thing, personally. I know Scott Collins is faster.

Pete:                        Yeah. But I just think that it’s so cool because you’re bouncing around between different worlds to have the different styles for different-

Alex:                         Yeah, but it doesn’t feel consistent to that. It feels like Scott Collins did some of the pages and Dale Eaglesham did some of the pages, not the different worlds are split up that way. I wish they had done it that way. But again, I love both of them. I love their art.

Pete:                        I mean, we need to talk about the reveal that tigers are just faking. You know what I mean? Like they can talk, and walk, and stand around and stuff.

Alex:                         Have you ever been to the zoo?

Pete:                        I have.

Alex:                         You got to hide around the corner and then you kind of peek your head and the tigers are just like, “How are you doing?

Pete:                        And they’re like, “Hey, what’s up?”

Alex:                         “You know what’s going on with the lions?”

Pete:                        Yeah, I mean, I knew tigers were super jacked and stuff, but to see them in this way, it’s really-

Alex:                         I love a nice, muscly tiger. Last thing we got to talk about, we got to talk about the last page, Pete. We have to talk about the last page because Shazam is in a graveyard. He’s looking around at graves. And the last grave he sees is Captain Marvel, which for those of you who know anything about the contracts of the negotiations and everything that’s happened over the years, at a certain point, DC just kind of gave up off the Captain Marvel name, which was originally Shazam’s name. I cannot believe they’re bringing it back. It’s such a dirty inside baseball thing. I don’t know how they’re going to do it or make it work.

Pete:                        I don’t know. I just think they were just kind of doing a nod to-

Alex:                         Though the text at the end is Captain Marvel returns.

Pete:                        Wow.

Alex:                         So there you go.

Pete:                        Oh, wow.

Alex:                         I’m back. I don’t know. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens, but that is a fun teaser. Very excited to read the next issue in six to eight months or so.

Pete:                        I feel like though that’s just going to be so much more work just to try to make that happen when it’s just-

Alex:                         It’s classic Geoff Johns though. He always figures out a way to make, delve deep into continuity, make it work. That’s one of the things I think he is best at as a writer.

Pete:                        He is great.

Alex:                         So I’m excited to see what happened. Strike Force #1 from the Marvel Comics. This is a bonkers title from TD Howard. This is a bunch of seemingly random characters grabbed out of a grab bag are stuck together to face a new shape-shifting villain. You got Blade, you got Winter Soldier, you got, what did you call that? Not photon. I don’t know. The old Captain Marvel now called Marvel Photon, not 100% sure, Spider-Woman. You get Angela as well. What’d you think about this book?

Pete:                        This is a fun group, and I’m a sucker. Anytime Blade’s in the mix, I’m all about it. I think this is an interesting comic. I’m excited. I don’t know, I think it is a grab bag, but I was excited with the way they’re working together.

Alex:                         I am too. I don’t know, not to think about it from a callous business perspective, I have no idea who this title is for. But since we were reading it for the show, I’m glad I read it because it’s much better than like, eh, we took all the sharp heroes and put them together or we took all the spider heroes and put them together. This is a team that I’d never in a million years would have thought to put together. The note and the back promises that, okay, everybody is here for a reason. They’re all going to tie in in some way. So I’m excited to see how it goes. And there’s a big cliffhanger at the end too, so that should be fun. Definitely going to follow this into issue number two.

Alex:                         Here’s another one from Dark Horse coming out October 2nd, Everything #2. Oh, man, this book is bonkers. We really liked the first issue of this. It’s set in an opening at a mall called Everything, a store that has everything. It’s like reading a fever dream. This one even more so. What’d you think Pete?

Pete:                        This kind of reminds me of Ice Cream Man, where it’s creepy in ways you don’t understand yet. And especially the lady in the house who like something made her sad and something else that’s making her go to work. There’s just so much… We get to see a lot of different slices of life here in this book and especially with like, okay, there’s this mall with everything, but then there’s this creepy like teddy bear that’s not really a teddy bear and it really affects people. And then the creepy parade to honor the person who’s dad that almost killed somebody. Yeah, it’s all over the place but in a way that kind of makes sense.

Alex:                         It feels like watching one of those brainwashing films from A Clockwork Orange-

Pete:                        Oh, man, don’t bring up that movie.

Alex:                         No, but that’s what it about it, it just, it barrages you with these images and these feelings throughout that when I got to the teaser for the next issue, they were like, this thing happens to this character and this thing happens to another character. And I was like, “I don’t know what that is, but bring it. Let’s do more of this.” It’s great. Just, the images are great.

Pete:                        Their art is just really fantastic and such a creepy way, and the faces and the kind of, the way people are disjointed and stuff like that. It’s just amazing storytelling.

Alex:                         All right, let’s get to the long-awaited sex pack.

Pete:                        Oh, Jesus Christ.

Alex:                         Here we go, Pete, your favorite section of the show. First up from Image Comics, this is a highly anticipated-

Pete:                        You double sexist.

Alex:                         I double sexted you. Yes. SFSX, AKA Safe Sex #1.

Pete:                        I have to read these comics in public.

Alex:                         Why? You have to read them in public.

Pete:                        Yes, I do.

Alex:                         No, you don’t. I send them to you, spoiler for you guys at home, I send them to you far in advance. You have to read them in public.

Pete:                        Well, I read them at work.

Alex:                         You live in an apartment. Do other people wander into your apartment at random times.

Pete:                        No, I just read them at work and that’s-

Alex:                         Well, that’s your fault then.

Pete:                        It’s super creepy and I get like really fucking weirded out by it.

Alex:                         Do you masturbate while you’re reading them?

Pete:                        Of course.

Alex:                         That’s the problem. That’s why it’s embarrassing, Pete.

Pete:                        No, I would not do that because this book is really fucked up.

Alex:                         Yes, it is very fucked up. This reminded me a lot of Bitch Planet. It feels like a natural successor to that where it takes place in a futuristic society where the main character is working in a sex club. A theocracy starts clamping down on them hardcore, and they eventually run for their lives. She and her boyfriend, eventually her husband, run for their lives. Things get locked down after that and they are crazy after that. It’s very graphic. If again, kids don’t-

Pete:                        There isn’t kids listening to this.

Alex:                         To our podcasts.

Pete:                        Yes.

Alex:                         There are some kids.

Pete:                        Yeah?

Alex:                         Yes.

Pete:                        Oh, sorry, kids.

Alex:                         No, it’s fine. This actually gets broadcast live to a bunch of kindergarten class. Sorry about that, everybody.

Pete:                        Hey, don’t color within the lines, color however the fuck you want to or don’t listen to your teacher.

Alex:                         By the way, I wanted to mention your painting show on PBS, Pete, it’s terrible.

Pete:                        Thanks, man.

Alex:                         No problem. I really liked this book a lot as you did. I liked the art a lot. I thought the art was very good. And it does have some stuff to say. It’s not as strong as Bitch Planet necessarily. It’s not as harsh as that. But it’s fun to read.

Pete:                        Is it fun?

Alex:                         Yeah, it is fun.

Pete:                        All right, cool.

Alex:                         You’re going to stop being such a prude band.

Pete:                        Oh, thanks, man. I really appreciate that.

Alex:                         Get loose.

Pete:                        Yeah. I’m all about getting loose.

Alex:                         You got to drink one of those Black Label books. Chill out a little bit.

Pete:                        Yeah, I’m all about that, but it’s just like, okay. Yeah, I get it. Like what’s appropriate, what isn’t and what is like… But yeah.

Alex:                         You just can’t.

Pete:                        Well, it’s just okay. Like you’re either having sex in the crazy orgy dungeon or you’re trying to be like a member of society that has to report when you have sex, and it’s like, God damn, there can’t be a place that’s like in between that or-

Alex:                         Welcome to America 2019, Pete.

Pete:                        I guess so. I guess so. But I mean, it’s creative.

Alex:                         Faith praise for being the page. Let’s go on to our last book, which is Faithless #6.

Pete:                        Here we go again.

Alex:                         Here we go again from Boom Studios. This is another fucked up sex book. But I liked this one quite a bit.

Pete:                        Oh, my God.

Alex:                         If you haven’t been reading it, it is… Well, I’ll tell you in particular what I really liked about this issue.

Pete:                        You like the creepy guy who’s making them have sex and stuff?

Alex:                         No. So this, we’ve been following along with this girl called Faith who meets another girl, kind of falls in love with her, kind of crushes on her, sleeps with her, ends up sleeping with her father as well. Get sucked deep into this art underworld. There’s all these weird strange signs that have been going on throughout. We even talked about what the last issue that we felt like, okay, this is great, but I’m wondering where this is going.

Alex:                         And what I liked about this issue, it’s going to be taking a break and coming back with, I believe, volume two after this because it really creased in what they’re talking about that in order to join the art world, in order to find yourself as an artist, you have to essentially give up your soul is I think what’s happening in this book. And at least that’s what came through to me in this last issue, and I liked that quite a bit. That illuminated a lot of what’s been going on for the past five issues as well.

Pete:                        Cool.

Alex:                         What’s up, Pete? Your problem was that somebody sucked a dick?

Pete:                        No, I don’t have any problem with somebody sucking a dick. I mean, do what you love.

Alex:                         By the way, just real quick, I want to apologize to Ms. Smith’s entire class. Sorry about the suck a dick thing.

Pete:                        Hey, I’m not sorry about that, Ms. Glass.

Alex:                         Ms. Class.

Pete:                        If you want to suck dick, you suck dick. All right. You follow your heart.

Alex:                         Just don’t do it between the lines.

Pete:                        Yeah, exactly, of the dick. So anyways, I don’t know how you’re getting all that from this because it looks like a creepy guy is manipulating people to have sex, and a bunch of people are fucking dying.

Alex:                         Well, that is what is happening. But ultimately, he gives Faith the choice and he says, “Look at this. You can force people to do this. You can make people do things with your voice.” And then we cut ahead a couple of months to where she’s doing an art exhibit. All of her old friends don’t even know about it. She’s dressed differently. She’s traveling along with the girl and her father, doesn’t even recognize them at all. She’s given up everything that she is in order to become this artist that she thinks she wants to be. And that’s what the book has been about.

Pete:                        Cool.

Alex:                         It’s about art, man. You just don’t get it.

Pete:                        Yeah, I don’t.

Alex:                         Yeah, man.

Pete:                        It seems like an old creepy dude manipulating young woman.

Alex:                         That’s what art’s all about, man.

Pete:                        I hope it’s not. I hope it’s not.

Alex:                         Welcome to America 2017, man.

Pete:                        Oh, man.

Alex:                         If you would like to support the show at, also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the Peoples Improv Theater Loft in New York. Come on by and we’ll do some creepy stuff to you as well.

Pete:                        No, I don’t want, no.

Alex:                         Pete, what do you want to play?

Pete:                        No, man.

Alex:                         What?

Pete:                        Listen, don’t let anybody do creepy things to you, all right? That’s why I want to plug.

Alex:                         Okay. Also our Facebook, you can check us out on Facebook. You can check us out on Twitter @comicbooklive, for this podcast and more. You can subscribe and comment, as we mentioned, on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, or the app of your choice, and we’ll see you next week at The Comic Book shop.

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