The Department of Truth #1

The Stack: The Department Of Truth, Shang-Chi And More

podcasts The Stack

On this week’s Stack podcast: The Department of Truth #1, Shang-Chi #1, That Texas Blood #4, Batman: Three Jokers #2, Chu #3, X-Factor #2, Nailbiter Returns #5, WW84 #1, Sea of Stars #7, Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #2, Ascender #13, Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey #3, Rogue Planet #5, The Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place #1 and X-Ray Robot #2.

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Full Transcript:

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

Pete:                I’m Pete. And-

Alex:                 And I’m… What? What?

Pete:                Real quick.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Pete:                You still have the two owls fucking up behind you. They’re still fucking each other behind you, in between shows, you could have taken one down or separated them.

Alex:                 Listen Pete, you do not know that the same people who watch our live show are also listening to our Stack podcasts. Don’t assume that there’s a continuity there. Just to explain to everybody just listening to this podcast.

Pete:                I am listening.

Alex:                 There are two owls who may or may not be fucking behind me. It’s unclear, and nobody knows. All right?

Pete:                Okay.

Alex:                 But I will say one of them has a very deep hole and the other one does not.

Pete:                Stop saying that. Please stop.

Alex:                 It’s a puppet. It’s a puppet. So you can put your hand in it. That’s what I’m saying. He’ll wear you like a puppet, Pete. Let’s talk about The Stack. There’s a bunch of books that came out.

Pete:                So many books.

Alex:                 So many books for us to chat about, and some big books as well. Kicking it off with The Department of Truth. Number one, print image comic…

Pete:                Oh, you want to start with your favorite?

Alex:                 I want to start with my favorite. There’s also a ton of hype on this book, so I’m excited to chat about it. Written by James Tynion IV, art by Martin Simmonds. James Tynion IV, as we talked about a lot on all of our podcasts, has been on a roll lately. And in particular, I think like… This is not an insult, but Wind, maybe a little less so, even though I really enjoy that book, but there’s something about-

Pete:                Wow. Fuck you. Don’t.

Alex:                 Something is Killing the Children came out and there was an insane amount of hype on it, and then it delivered. The Department of Truth seems sort of to think like such a clear title, you know what this book is on going in, and then it completely delivers in the first issue. I’m almost reticent to spoil it because it is one of those books, in my mind, it feels like a Brian Kay von book, where you read it and you’re like, “Yes. Okay. This last page, this got me.”

Pete:                Oh my God. The last page though.

Alex:                 Yes.

Pete:                But that’s the thing, you said you read it and you know what’s going on, I did not. It took me a while to kind of piece it all together, but man, by that last page you are hyped.

Alex:                 Yes.

Pete:                You are so hyped and ready for the next issue. It’s unbelievable. But the art is are really cool. It really fits the tone of what they’re trying to do in such a great way.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Pete:                And man, is the book good.

Alex:                 I know we’re bouncing around and not actually mentioning the plot here, and part of it is by design.

Pete:                That’s how I like to talk.

Alex:                 Well, I don’t want to tell the people what the plot are, because I read the book, not actually knowing what it was, then read, went to Image Comics’ website and looked at their blurb, it gives away too much. I didn’t want to know any of that stuff going in.

Alex:                 So, go in totally clean, know that it is a thing. You could probably tell us from the title, but it’s a thing about kind of conspiracy theories and the government. I think that’s all you need to know.

Pete:                Don’t spoil it. You fucking ass.

Alex:                 That’s all I’m going to say. The art, the writing, everything, it feels to me, it feels like a vintage vertigo book. Like a book that like would come out at the same time as Sandman and everything else where you’d be like, “Oh shit, this is going to change the industry.”

Alex:                 And now it’s another in a line of amazing books from Image Comics, but it is great. And to your point, Martin Simmonds art, it feels a little… Ah, who’s the guy who did 30 days of Night? Is it Ben Templesmith?

Pete:                Yes.

Alex:                 It feels a little like Ben Templesmith on the art, but it’s different enough. James Tynion is on a fire here, and it is a book that feels insanely current, like insanely current.

Pete:                It’s really well done. It’s just so good. I wonder if the people at Image are just high fiving themselves like, “We’re fucking killing it right now. You can’t touch us.”

Alex:                 Well, the thing that is, I think, so great about this book, and again, this is not spoilers, this is just kind of skirting what it’s about, is that it is about our current moment in time and our current political moment in time, but it’s fun to read at the same time. It’s still scary at points. It’s fun at points. There’s good action. There’s good adventure. There’s good weirdness. Great, great book. Do not miss this one.

Pete:                Really great book.

Alex:                 Don’t miss it.

Alex:                 Next up, another book that I’m going to say don’t mix, Shang-Chi, number one from Marvel, written by Gene Luen Yang and art by Dike Ruan. This is another one that I wasn’t sure about going in, but as usual, Gene Luen Yang killed it.

Alex:                 We get Shang-Chi, turns out he’s part of a dynasty of five weapons. It’s very similar on the surface to what happened with Iron Fist, where there were those seven immortal cities, but it goes in a very different direction by the ed. Super fun. Great last page. I’m 100% on board with the character, and it’s a very different take on Shang-Chi.

Alex:                 It’s clearly calculated to have something that has a trade or multiple trades on the shelves by the time the movie hits, but you will not regret picking up this comic book.

Pete:                I’m so happy with the team behind this book. So happy for this new relaunch of Shang-Chi. One of my favorite characters as a kid, also get a little Fin Fang Foom, which I was totally pumped to see. This is a great book, great art, fun storytelling, and it picks up and you think like, “Okay.” But then you’re like… It just does such a great job of unveiling the story in such a way that kind of is a little different than what we’re used to, but still has all the action and stuff that you want.

Pete:                I’m very impressed with this book. I’m very excited to see how this is going to move forward. And also this was the first Marvel book that I read with the Brian Starfreeze-

Alex:                 Stelfreeze?

Pete:                Stelfreeze, sorry. Stelfreeze tribute to Chadwick Bozeman, and it’s very fucking moving and an amazing art and so powerful. And I’m so happy that Marvel is doing this.

Alex:                 Man, they really went all out for that. I mean, just to talk about that for a moment. A lot of last weeks books had the Chadwick Bozeman tribute [crosstalk 00:06:51] rest in power branding on it. But this week, there’s a whole testimonial from Ta-Nehisi Coates. There was the art, as you mentioned. And yeah, it’s really powerful stuff.

Pete:                Yeah. It’s really moving.

Alex:                 But yeah, that’s all said about Shang-Chi. One of the things that I love about it is Yang does such a great job of sneaking humor in out of nowhere. The rhythm of his humor, it almost sneaks in from the side in a certain way where it’s in the middle of an action sequence and suddenly there’s a joke.

Alex:                 It completely throws me in the right way where I’m like, “Wait, wait, hold up, this was a serious scene, what’s going on? That’s funny, that thing that you’re doing.” It just makes it really fun to read, even as he’s setting up these good characters, this good mythology.

Alex:                 Getting back to the Iron Fist thing, it almost feels like a rejoinder to Iron Fist, which is very good, mind you, but to the whole conversation surrounding Iron Fist, the TV show, where people are like, “Dude, cast an Asian person, person of Asian descent as Iron Fist, or just do Shang-Chi. What are you doing?”

Alex:                 And this comic series is very specifically to be like, “Here you go.”

Pete:                Thank you. Yes, please.

Alex:                 Great stuff. Can’t wait to read the second issue of that. Let’s move on to one of our favorites here on the show, that Texas blood number four Image Comics, by Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips. We had Chris Condon on the live show a couple of weeks ago, and that was super fun to talk to him about this book.

Alex:                 This issue, we’re continuing the storyline of this brother who’s come back to Texas. He’s discovered some bad doings around his brother who was killed. This is very much a middle of the arc issue, but there’s still such good character stuff here. And there’s such a good emotionally based character twist that happens as well. Every issue of this is great. I’m really enjoying it.

Pete:                Yeah. The storytelling, the pacing, the art, it’s really, really well done. It’s very interesting. They do a great job issue to issue, giving you more information on this bigger thing in such a cool way that you’re just you’re in and you want more and more and more. They’re killing it on this book. Just the paneling, it’s just really impressive package.

Alex:                 Yeah. There’s a great scene in here with our sheriff character, who we haven’t seen a lot of since the first issue. Where he’s sitting down with his wife and his wife is talking to him and his… If you haven’t been reading the book, he has this verbal tick where he just says, “Well.” And that’s pretty much it all the time.

Alex:                 The way that the lettering plays out in particular, it reads so well as a scene where she’s just-

Pete:                So well.

Alex:                 Yeah. Yes. Where she’s just kind of like needling him a little bit. And he’s like, “Well.” And she’s like, “Well?”

Alex:                 It’s great. Just the rhythm of that scene is so good. And just those little character moments are so nice. Definitely pick up this book.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Next one up, I’m very curious to get your take on this, Pete. Batman: Three Jokers, number two from DC Comics written by Jeff Johns and Jason Fabok. This is continuing with the storyline, as you can tell from the title of, there are actually three Jokers. There’s the original Joker, the criminal, there’s the comedian, and there’s the performer. I’m forgetting what the third one is. Whatever it is. He’s dead this issue.

Pete:                The criminal, the comedian, and the clown.

Alex:                 The clown, there we go. And the clown was killed by Red Hood last issue. There’s serious repercussions for this issue. I got to tell you, I am so stressed out reading this book, I can’t quite explain it.

Alex:                 Jason Fabok’s art is phenomenal, but the feeling and the tension that Jeff Johns is putting in this through the characters is everything that should have been present to Doomsday Clock but wasn’t, but is here. It’s very hard to read, but it feels like that is part of the point. What’s your take on it?

Pete:                Yeah. That’s the thing. It is very hard to read. What sucks is it reopens a wound of… We get Jason Todd again, fucked up by the Joker in a way that’s not cool and way out of bounds. And you have this hard conversation with Batman and Barbara and it’s like, I’m reading this going, “Hey, Jeff Johns, what are you fucking doing to me over here, man? Well, I already lived this and had to live with this already. And then you’re making us redo it.” It’s very painful and I’m just wondering why. Why?

Alex:                 Well, it’s interesting to pair this with Doomsday Clock, I think, because Doomsday Clock, for all its faults, was Jeff John’s mission statement on what Alan Moore had to say through Watchman, what Alan Moore had to say about superhero comics and what he had to say about the universe.

Alex:                 It’s certainly, at the very least in this issue, particularly given the last page, feels like this is-

Pete:                That last page was awesome though.

Alex:                 Well, it’s Jeff Johns’ mission statement on killing Joke versus Watchman, which is not unimpeachable, but it’s still a masterpiece of the forum, as we talked about at length on our Watchman watch podcast. Killing Joke has not aged well. Killing Joke-

Pete:                Well, that’s also the thing, is the killing joke recently had a movie done that was awful. Just garbage in a way that was unnecessary and very painful. I went to the movie theater very excited about what I was going to see and got kicked in the nuts repeatedly. And now Jeff John’s like, “Oh, guess what? I’m not done kicking you in the fucking nuts yet.”

Alex:                 Here’s your problem, you got to stop going to 4D Movie theaters, and then you won’t get kicked in the nuts repeatedly. You pay extra for the shit, right?

Pete:                Don’t bring up 4D, man. That shit is awful.

Alex:                 Jason Fabok started [crosstalk 00:13:23]

Pete:                I think 4D is the reason we’re in this fucking pandemic, because there’s spraying in the seats and that’s where the COVID started.

Alex:                 Oh man. Pete, by the way, I love your podcast that you do out of Alex Ross’s network. It’s very good. Batman: Three jokers is also, I think, very well done. Makes me uncomfortable. I’m not quite sure where it’s going. And I’m certainly nervous on the places it going to leave the Joker and Batman in continuity, when eventually things link up. But it’s a nicely put together package, I would say.

Pete:                It’s too bad Justin is not here.

Alex:                 Yeah. He loves the tight little package. Next up Chew Number Three from Image Comics, written and lettered by John Layman, art and colors by Dan Boultwood. This is continuing the story of the Breaking Bad and the Chew universe as Chew’s sister. Goes darker and darker. Now they’re just good fun issue of this book. I’m really enjoying a lot and I’m enjoying revisiting the Chew universe through this time.

Pete:                Oh, see what you did there?

Alex:                 Yes, I do.

Pete:                Yeah, I agree. This is just a fun extension of something we already love. Very interesting to kind of have these two kind of like sisters. It’s very cool to see where this goes. I think it’s just a great continuation of something, and the art and writing, it feels spot on to what we love and it’s just great.

Alex:                 Yeah. It took a little while. I enjoyed the first two issues, but this is the first issue that really feels humor-wise on the same level as Chew, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m very happy about the series.

Alex:                 Let’s move on to one I’m sure we’re going to agree on, X-Factor Number Two from Marvel, written by Leah Williams and art by Carlos Gomez. This is the second part of 10 of Swords. I know I loved the first issue of this. I thought this is great.

Alex:                 The second issue is a little more of a business issue as the team recovers from the disaster that happened in other worlds. Now, they need to find 10 swords to battle apocalypses, evil children. That’s what’s going on. Here though, they’re dealing with the fact that Rockslide died, Apocalypse got killed, Richter almost got killed. And what happens after that.

Alex:                 And we once again get a realignment of how death works in the X-Men part of the universe, that I though was very smart and ups the stakes of everything that happens. I’m really enjoying this crossover. Pete, I’m sure you feel the same. Over to you.

Pete:                This fucking sucks, man. This is such fucking bullshit. What the fuck is even happening? There is so much shit happening that it is just insane. There is too much to deal with. And then in between that, they’re making us read these fucking briefing statements-

Alex:                 Love it.

Pete:                … wherever the fuck they are. The signed affidavit bullshit. I’m so happy that Charles Xavier finally lost his lollipop head. I’m very excited in that.

Alex:                 Can we talk about that moment? I know you don’t like this, but the very fact that everybody, this entire time, since House of Acts and Powers of 10 launched, has been talking about, “Wait, the X-Men could just resurrect themselves whenever they want, what does it matter if they die? The moment when, and this is a big spoiler for the issue, but they try to resurrect Rockslide and it goes horribly wrong to the point where Xavier’s helmet shorts out, and we get to see every other helmet short out.

Alex:                 I screamed, is probably too strong, but I definitely was gassed at that moment, because it was like, “This is all over.” It turns out that’s not exactly what’s going on, but that the stakes are that high for this thing, I thought was great.

Pete:                Yeah. You said this thing, because you don’t even know what the fuck is going on.

Alex:                 I know what’s going on.

Pete:                Your shit is too confusing. And it’s weird because it’s like, okay, here’s a shot of Xavier’s helmet in a root bath, overlooking something. And then, oh, here’s a shot of Xavier’s helmet in a root bath that’s in space, in a root bath that’s somewhere else under a sun and then water.

Alex:                 Hold on. This is the most-

Pete:                What is happening in this book?

Alex:                 This is the most excited I’ve been about the X-Men in decades.

Pete:                Congratulations. You should-

Alex:                 Thank you.

Pete:                … read X-Men more. I think that it’s just sanity stacked on insanity, stacked on insanity. We have to deal with the first thing you did before we can move on. We’re barely dealing with the fact that all the X-Men said, “Hey, fuck you to the rest of the world.” Okay. Now you’re on your own private Island, you’re fucking each other, great. Then it’s just one insane thing after another insane thing, and then this insane council that like oversees everything. It is just so much insanity I keep hoping like, “All right, eventually this is going to calm down so we can catch up to all the madness.” And it just stays on the gas pedal, and I’m really having a hard time keeping up and dealing with it.

Alex:                 I mean, I get what you’re saying. I do think though that this crossover is more accessible than the stuff that has come before. I love the fact that, again, spoiler for the issue, but Polaris is some sort of seer, she’s been given-

Pete:                Poor Polaris, is really falling apart here.

Alex:                 She is falling apart because she let down her team, she let down everybody, but she has the information to where these 10 swords are going to be so that they can battle Apocalypse’s evil children.

Alex:                 I love the fact that she does this prophecy and the folks at Marvel, no, we’re going to pick it apart, we’re going to figure it out very quickly. So instead, at the end of the issue, they have Cipher being like, “Okay, here’s what I think they’re talking about on the prophecy. Here’s the characters. They’re going to go get swords.”

Alex:                 And some of them are going to be wrong, but I love the idea that they’re sending us on a wrong path in some places, while on the right path in others, like of course, Wolverine’s going to have a sword. We already know Illyana is one of the people who has the sword.

Pete:                The Illyana part was great.

Alex:                 That was great, so much fun. I am having a blast so far with the storyline and I’m excited to see what happens

Pete:                I would like to be enjoying it, but there’s just too much madness going on with portals opening and closing, and then the White Queen’s being mean. It’s just it’s too much.

Alex:                 Excuse me.

Pete:                Well timed cough there, buddy.

Alex:                 No problem.

Pete:                What are you trying to say?

Alex:                 Nothing. Nailbiter returns number five from Image Comic. Story and art by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson. This is picking up the storyline. There’s a contest going on in Buckaroo with a bunch of copycat serial killers, or are they? In this issue, there’s a big twist. And we find there’s another Nailbiter who looks exactly like the original Nailbiter. Some big action goes down.

Alex:                 We had Joshua Williamson on the show a couple of months ago and he talked about the storyline. I love that he’s just following through on it. This is a big fun action. Every single issue, out of the gate. I’m having a blast reading this one too.

Pete:                It’s unbelievable. It’s really a lot of fun. It’s fast paced. It’s action oriented. But also the art is amazeballs. You’ve got a lot of fun, double spread stuff. Great characters. Great action. This is just really, really fun book.

Alex:                 Yeah. Next up WW84 Number One, which of course is World War 84. We skipped a couple in there, but that’s all right. Number one. Just kidding. It’s Wonder Woman 84, Number one. This is-

Pete:                Story.

Alex:                 Yes. Hold on. A story by Anna Obropta and Louise Simonson art by Brett Blevins. I’m going to say two things about this.

Pete:                Well, wait, wait, wait.

Alex:                 Yeah. Yeah.

Pete:                First off, it’s a tie into the movie.

Alex:                 Yes.

Pete:                Which I am so excited for this movie, but obviously let’s push it back until we can all go see it in theaters or whatever we need to do. So excited for this movie. And then was so excited for this comic book because it’s a tie in and I’m like, “Okay, maybe it’ll match the tone of what’s going on.” But then I got really disappointed and was like, “God, I hope the movie is nothing like this, because there is some really just lame character stuff. I mean, one of them is called Jazz and is just like chill Jazz, grownups never listen, who wrote this? Like what are you-

Alex:                 Anna Obropta and Louise Simonson.

Pete:                Yeah, I know. But like really over the top kind of like, I’m being a kid right now and parents are lame. And then the accents of the robbers like, “The stairs. Tor the roof. Over that way.” I’m like, wow. No, [crosstalk 00:22:49] but let’s tone this down a little bit. Make it a little bit more like not… It seems a joke to me.

Alex:                 Wow. I didn’t realize you’d be so negative about this. I thought this was just fine. I thought that was fine as like a movie tie-in comic. The big blubber to me was this idea that like… It’s very clear that this machine is running, but certain parts of it are not working well. And what I mean by that is, as you mentioned, the movie was supposed to come out months ago, then it was supposed to come out in, I want to say, October.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 And now it’s being pushed to December. It’ll probably be pushed back again. Let’s be honest. But this weekend I actually went to Target, which was a harrowing experience.

Pete:                Why would you do that?

Alex:                 It was actually fine. We needed to get my kids shoes and there was barely anybody there, so it was totally okay.

Pete:                Oh, wow.

Alex:                 Yeah, it was pretty awesome. I was very nervous about it. But walking through the toy aisle, they had Legos for Wonder Woman in 1984, and I was like, “Man, this is not coming out for months now and you have the Legos already on the shelf.” And it’s the same thing with the comic. And it’s a real bummer to be like, they couldn’t stop it. The comic still needed to come out, the Legos still needed to come out, even though the movie has been pushed way, way back. And that made me weirdly sad.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 That’s all. But that said, I thought the comic is fine. It is the sort of thing that if the movie was out or the movie was coming out next week, I think we’d read it and be like, “Yeah, this is cute. This is fine. I can’t wait to see the movie.” As is, as the only thing we’re getting for months and months, there’s a lot more pressure on it.

Pete:                Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I do like this idea of putting Wonder Woman in a museum where she can tell stories about like-

Alex:                 She belongs in a museum.

Pete:                Fuck you. Telling stories about bad-ass females throughout history, that’s awesome. I fucking love that. Premise, I don’t want stereotypical weird kind of characters.

Alex:                 We named Need the dog Diana.

Pete:                Oh, wow.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Pete:                Well, I hope you got your kids wonderful Wonder Woman shoes while you were at Target.

Alex:                 No, they didn’t want that. Next up, Sea of stars, Number seven from Image Comics written by Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum, art by Steven Green. Another really just good solid issue of this book as a dad chases his son through the universe. In this issue, the son finds out that his dad is alive. There’s some mix-ups there and some great action set pieces involving space. Well, what’d you think, Pete?

Pete:                This is just continues to be amazing. The art is really still in the show. And the characters, these are so fun and creative characters and really well drawn. It’s just kind of the scary thing of, you think losing your kid in a store is bad, try losing your kid in space. Unbelievable scenario and just really over the top fun. Every issue has just been a real treat and it continues, continues to get better.

Alex:                 Yeah, I agree. Let’s move on to Marvel Zombies Resurrection, Number two, from Marvel. Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, art by Leonard Kirk. We’ve really been enjoying this book or at least the first issue and the preview, zero issue, whatever you want to call it. The issue that came before. As Spiderman takes Franklin and Valarie Richards to try to stop the zombie plague that has affected their universe.

Alex:                 It was a great twist in this issue involving the Phalynx and the robots of the Marvel universe that I thought was so smart and so well done and added some of the danger in a really nice way. There’s also a wonderful and sad scene with Viv Vision’s daughter. Another just very good solid issue of this book.

Pete:                Yeah. I mean, the Punisher [crosstalk 00:26:56] before-

Alex:                 Yeah, what did you think about that, Pete?

Pete:                I mean, come on. Fucking come on. But this comic is great, even though I was like, “Oh man.” But the Viv thing was just so heartbreaking.

Alex:                 No, you can do it. Come for him. Come for Phillip Kennedy Johnson. We’ve had him on the show a couple of times. Come for him. You tell him what he did to your boy, the Punisher.

Pete:                He made a choice. He made a choice. It wasn’t as upsetting as Frankie Castle. It’s an interesting choice.

Alex:                 Filings Castle?

Pete:                Yeah, I don’t know about-

Alex:                 Yeah. It doesn’t quite work as well. It doesn’t roll off the tongue. Really good book, excited to see how this potentially ties into the bigger story in the Marvel universe that’s being told. That should be very cool.

Alex:                 Next up, Ascender, Number 13 from Image Comics written by Jeff Lemire and art by Dustin Nguyen. I don’t know. Every issue. This is good. The end.

Pete:                I mean, it’s hard because it’s like… It really is. Every issue is just like a painted, just unbelievable artistic feet that is like water color and beautiful and amazing.

Pete:                The action, the storytelling, the connecting, these Ascender, Descender worlds, it’s really impressive how big the story It’s great that Jeff Lemire has got to tell this giant story. And he has an amazing artist who bring it to life.

Alex:                 I cannot believe how much it is tying into Descender at this point. I really thought it was going to be its own thing, but nope, it’s basically the same story at this point. And every old character that we get back again is so exciting. Another one happens at the end of this issue, the cover of the next one promises a huge one is coming back. This is great. This is just a thrilling fantasy Sci-fi mashup that I can’t wait to read every month.

Pete:                Yeah. And also, I just wanted to say the Driller playing hide and seek was just so nice.

Alex:                 Great stuff. Love Driller.

Pete:                In the middle of all this madness.

Alex:                 So good. Next up, one that I’m sure you liked, Pete. Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey, Number Three, from DC Comics, written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, art by Amanda Conner.

Alex:                 As we talked about with the two previous issues, this is just classic. Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner on a Harley Quinn, except as raunchy as they want to be. And they want to be very raunchy as usual.

Alex:                 Harley Quinn has gotten one over the Joker, stolen the collective treasure of all the criminals in Gotham City, and they’re coming for her this issue. The Birds of Prey of course, kind of hate her, but are kind of having her back at the same time. This is just so much fun to read. This is one of my favorite things coming out from Black Label.

Pete:                It’s great. And it’s also nice to see Alfred alive. And the Alfred, Batman conversation about Harley Quinn being at the Wayne Manor is hysterical and really fun. It just feels like an extension of the animated series. And I hear the voices of the characters from that. Especially Clay Face. And the hole riddled with nails joke was hysterical. I mean, those two are just a powerhouse couple and they’re killing it.

Alex:                 It’s just so much fun. Amanda Conner’s art is so great, and so enjoyable. So funny to read every time. Just the way that they mine jokes, like the Beaver jokes, over and over and over again. But at the same time, they’re still funny and stupid in the right way. Every single issue. And not just every single issue of this book, but their entire run of Harley Quinn books. It’s wild that it still works this far down the road, but it absolutely does.

Pete:                I just want to say, while we’re still in the DC world. I did check out some of that, wasn’t on the list, and I wanted to quickly talk. Batman, Joker or War zone, Number one. A lot of people are wondering about the Clown Hunter, and you do get the reveal of who the Clown Hunter is in that issue.

Pete:                That was driving me crazy. If that was something that you wanted to go check out, you do get to the bottom of that in that issue.

Alex:                 Who is it? Who’s Clown Hunter, Pete?

Pete:                Well, that’s the fun thing is it’s not like, oh my God, it’s, you know what I mean? It’s a kid who grew up in Gotham who says Batman could have saved his parents. And I was like, “Great. That’s good enough for me. That makes sense.”

Alex:                 He figured out who Batman is?

Pete:                Well, he just sees Batman as Batman.

Alex:                 Oh, okay, I see what you’re saying. All right. Fun stuff. Thanks for the surprise pick. Moving onto Rogue planet, Number five, from Oni press, written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Andy McDonald. We talked about every issue of this wild space horror book.

Alex:                 I believe this is the last one, which I was kind of surprised by. But we get some very, I thought, satisfying answers to all the bizarre, horrific weirdness that’s been going on to this planet.

Pete:                That’s the thing. I was like, “How are they going to tie in all this madness?” Because it seemed like every issue was just, “Look at this crazier thing that’s going on on this planet. Oh, you thought that was crazy, check this out.” And it just keep tightening. And then they really delivered on this issue. Such a cool explanation. So moving. Very, very cool and interesting. This book is worth it. Check this out, get it collected, whatever you want to do. You’ll be happy you did. Rogue Planet is not only artistically amazing, but it’s a great story.

Alex:                 Yeah. And a little pluggy plug, we’re actually going to have Cullen Bunn on our live show next month, ostensibly, to talk about varying comic stuff, but I’m sure we will bring up Rogue Planet as well.

Alex:                 But as Pete mentioned, it’s coming out in Trade, definitely pick it up there. It’s worth it. Ties up really nicely. I was very happy and very surprised at how concretely everything made sense by the end.

Pete:                Yeah, it was really impressive.

Alex:                 There you go. Let’s talk about another horror book, The Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place, Number one, from Marvel. Written by Jeff Lemire and art by Mike Del Mundo. This is, I believe, one of the first time somebody other than Al Ewing has written specifically an Immortal Hulk tale. We’ve had the Hulk pop-up in other books at this point in the Immortal Hulk form, but this is a one-off horror story set in this universe. And I love it.

Alex:                 I wish they would do this forever. It feels like the main book, and Pete, maybe this is part of what you’ve responded to. I know you haven’t loved the horror Hulk in general. But it really started off as these done in one, almost tales from the crypt episodes, but starring the Hulk. And we very much got away from this, for this Uber story that Al Ewing has built, which is wild and insane. And I’ve been loving it a very different way.

Alex:                 But this story gets back to basics here, where it’s almost like the Hulk series, but through the lens of Immortal Hulk, where Bruce Banner is traveling around, he finds a weird gamma mystery. It’s very dark. It’s very sad. Mike Del Mundo’s art is very evocative, and Americana, while also not shying away from the horror elements, just a really good one-shot across the board.

Pete:                I was really, really, really impressed with this book. Jeff Lemire killed this. This was a very moving book, still in this world of Al Ewing’s kind of horror version, but just there was a lot of beauty and heart in this. Whereas I feel like if you’re telling a Hulk story, it’s got to kind of have those things of what are we really doing here, what’s really important? And the Hulk kind of helping these people and really saving this kid was so beautiful. And the whole fact of like, at least you’re not alone kid, you have your father, was just very touching, really well done.

Pete:                I’m so happy Jeff Lemire got to tell this one shot, and it still worked in the kind of bigger picture of what Al is doing. I was really impressed by this book. Very moved by it.

Alex:                 Yeah, I agree. I know I kind of said this before, but I could read a million of these. I hope that they just keep releasing Immortal Hulk one shots from different perspectives with different writer, artists, teams. I don’t know if they will, but that would be so much fun. So we’ll see what happens.

Alex:                 Last but not least. X-ray Robot, Number Two, from Dark Horse Comics. Story and art by Michael Allred, color art by Laura Allred. If you see the names of the cover, you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Alex:                 It’s a bunch of Sci-fi psychedelic weirdness involving a robot who is sucking people through multiple dimensions. There’s some really goofy shit that happens in this book that is just bits, and exactly the right way, involving portals. It’s much more slapstick, I think, than their usual books, but I had a fun time reading this. How’d you feel about it, Pete?

Pete:                Portal bits, I love it. Yeah. This was a lot of fun. It’s this classic kind of like art for kind of tripped out world. I just think it’s really kind of in their sweet spot and it’s a really great book. If you’ve enjoyed any of their stuff, you will really love this book. It’s definitely, really cool and really well done.

Alex:                 I agree. And that is it for the Stack. If you’d like to support us patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 7:00 PM to Crowdcast and YouTube. Come hang out. We would love to chat with you about your favorite comic books. Socially @comicbooklive, iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice to subscribe and listen to the show. Comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and many more. Until next week, that’s it for the Stack.

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