The Stack: Dark Nights Death Metal, King In Black And More

Dark Nights Death Metal The Secret Origin

On this week’s comic book review podcast:

Dark Nights Death Metal: The Secret Origin #1
DC Comics
Written by Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns
Art by Jerry Ordway, Francis Manapul, Ryan Benjamin & Richard Friend, Paul Pelletier & Norm Rapmund

King in Black #2
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Ryan Stegman

Firefly: Blue Sun Rising #1
BOOM! Studios
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Dan McDaid

Ice Cream Man #22
Image Comics
Written by W. Maxwell Prince
Art by Martín Morazzo

Labyrinth: Masquerade #1
Written by Lara Elena Donnelly
Illustrated by Pius Bak, Samantha Dodge and French Carlomagno

King-Size Conan #1
Written by Roy Thomas, Kurt Busiek, Chris Claremont, Kevin Eastman and Steven S. DeKnight
Art by Steve McNiven, Pete Woods, Roberto de la Torre, Kevin Eastman and Jesús Saiz

An Unkindess of Ravens #4
BOOM! Studios
Written by Dan Panosian
Illustrated by Marianna Ignazzi

Sea of Sorrows #2
Written by Rich Douek
Art and Color by Alex Cormack

The Last God #11
DC Comics
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by Riccardo Federici

The Department of Truth #4
Image Comics
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Martin Simmonds

The Comic Book History of Animation #2
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art & Letters by Ryan Dunlavey

Doctor Doom #10
Written by Christopher Cantwell
Art by Salvador Larroca

Sea of Stars #8
Image Comics
Written by Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum
Art by Stephen Green

Transformers/Back to the Future #2
Written by Canan Scott
Art by Juan Samu

Action Comics #1028
DC Comics
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by John Romita Jr.

The Scumbag #3
Image Comics
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Eric Powell

Scarenthood #3
Story & Art by Nick Roche
Color by Chris O’Halloran

U.S.AGent #2
Written by Priest
Art by Georges Jeanty

Undiscovered Country #11
Image Comics
Written by Scott Snyder & Charles Soule
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli & Leonardo Marcelo Grassi

Something is Killing the Children #13
BOOM! Studios
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Werther Dell’edera


Full Episode Transcript:

Speaker 1:        Three, two, one.

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

Justin:              I’m Justin.

Pete:                I’m Pete.

Alex:                 And on The Stack we talk about a bunch of Comics that have come out this week and woo boy, did a bunch of Comics come out this week.

Justin:              Oh, and we’re going to talk about them all. It’s like Pokemon, but for comics and talking instead of collecting and it’s us instead of a kid named Ash.

Alex:                 Yes, but-

Pete:                What?

Alex:                 … we do still keep our comics inside of a ball. Starting with Dark Nights Death Metal The Secret Origin number one from DC Comics written by Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns. Art by Jerry Ordway, Francis Manapul, Ryan Benjamin and Richard Fred, Paul Pelletier, and Norm Rapmund. This is not what I was expecting at all.

Justin:              Agree completely.

Alex:                 But what it turns out to be is a deep dive into Superboy-Prime and in a weird way, the last ever Superboy-Prime story, it also I don’t know if it spoils or shows us or jumps ahead of a huge moment in Dark Nights Death Metal, but this is not just a throw away one-shot, this is an important part of the overall story. I was very hesitant going into this, but completely won over by the end both by the emotion and the storytelling and the art throughout, I was very impressed. Did you guys feel the same?

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, this was written by Geoff Johns and Scott Snyder. A collab, a classic collab, and it really shows. I feel like this… You hear both of their voices in a nice synergy in this book. I’ve never been a huge Superboy-Prime guy, but this story I thought was really good. It takes the character and really humanizes him in a way that I didn’t see coming and was just a great book, great little standalone story focusing on the character. I love where it ended.

Pete:                Yeah, the title was a little misleading. It is kind of a Prime story which I did not see coming. Yeah, I mean, it’s Supeboy-Prime still being a dick, but then he kind of gets a little bit less annoying and it’s amazing art and then of course dogs are awesome and dogs can make any asshole a better person.

Justin:              Wow.

Alex:                 100%. Couldn’t agree more with that. Like you said, you got Geoff Johns who invented Superboy-Prime coming in, Scott Snyder who has been the maestro of Dark Nights Death Metal and they’re working together. The thing… It is a huge spoiler, but the thing that surprised me that I could not believe happened in this book is Superboy-Prime beats the Batman who laughs and essentially wins in this issue, which is wild.

Justin:              It was wild, but-

Pete:                Is that it? I mean, is it going to happen in another book. Like it just seemed crazy that this was it.

Alex:                 I don’t know.

Justin:              It did feel weird that it would come down to this. There’s has to be a ton more story to be told in the main book, but I do think like the Space Wolverine focused book who’d colloquially known-

Pete:                Fuck you. You don’t know anything.

Justin:              He’s known as the Lobo-

Pete:                Thank you. Tell people what you’re talking about because that doesn’t make sense.

Justin:              No, I think that’s a perfect description.

Pete:                No.

Justin:              Like if I were to describe you, I would say regular bones Wolverine and I think that makes a lot of sense. I just see the world through Wolverine tinted glasses.

Pete:                That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.

Justin:              Regular bones Wolverine?

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              But the Lobo book… I forget what it was called, but it really told the Lobo side of the story, but it all was a part of the main story, we just got to see this little fragment fully told in the side book. So I think this is real. This is part of it.

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:04:03], said frag.

Alex:                 I mean, I’ll tell you what. This is an event that really could have used a checklist in the back of every book, which seems like such a dumb thing but we’re about to talk about King in Black in a second and a lot of those tie-ins kind of matter, but maybe not as much as the main King in Black book matters, but it’s very handy to look through and go, okay, have I read that? Have I checked that off yet mentally in my mind yet or does that come after this other thing? There’s so many different spinoffs and other things that it would be very easy to skip this issue and discount it as, Oh, it’s just another tale of the dark multi-verse or something like that, which mind you those books have been good as well, but I think there would have been a better way of executing that instead DC seems very allergic to recap pages and ways of letting people know how to follow their events and I wish they would do that a little better because I think ultimately that would be even more rewarding for the constant fans.

Justin:              The constant fans.

Pete:                I mean, that’s the thing though [crosstalk 00:05:02], by not kind of making anything about it, they’re really rewarding the people who read every DC book.

Alex:                 They just need to put a note be like, Hey, this one’s important.

Justin:              [crosstalk 00:05:17], strategically fraud choice if I may.

Alex:                 All right. Well, let’s move on to another big event. King in Black, number two from Marvel written by Donny Cates and art by Ryan Stegman. This is picking up split seconds after the end of the last issue of Venom, which I know I said mostly King in Black is important, but we got to watch Venom falling down a building for 32 seconds in the last issue of Venom. That he’s been tossed off by the King in Black by-

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:05:44], don’t say he’s been tossed off. That’s not-

Alex:                 What are you talking about?

Justin:              I mean, that’s-

Alex:                 What do you think that is?

Justin:              … exactly.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:05:52], like.

Justin:              Is that degrading?

Alex:                 You can’t say you toss somebody off. That’s not good.

Justin:              [crosstalk 00:06:00], he had his salad tossed off the building.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:06:06], Oh my God. Is that what you want me to say?

Pete:                No.

Justin:              Yeah. He got-

Pete:                No. I’m trying-

Justin:              Someone brocked his world.

Pete:                Somebody brocked his world.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:06:18], is dealing with the fallout of the last issue where the world has been taken over by [crosstalk 00:06:24], or at least New York city. Some of the Avengers are trying to rally to get Venom, and unfortunately spoiler, by the end of the issue they fail at Eddie Brock dies. Oh, I couldn’t believe that… I was like, Oh, this will cut and then [inaudible 00:06:41], will swoop in and save him. He’s not going to hit the ground. Smash.

Justin:              It’s about time somebody killed this maniacal Spider-Man villain.

Pete:                Oh my gosh.

Alex:                 So where do you think this is going from here? Do you think Eddie Brock is actually dead? He’s going to come back to life, is his son Dylan going to be the new Venom? What’s the goal here, granted that we’re only a couple of issues through the King in Black event at this point.

Justin:              I like this event a lot because it’s going hard yet we’re still getting the emotional bits. I think Donny Cates is very tactical. Like the issue of Eddie falling did feel like a sendoff and then to have him die in this issue feels like maybe he is dying, but I’m pretty confident he’s going to come back. He’ll become a full symbiote or some version of that will be where he goes.

Pete:                I hope so because I really got into the father son relationship here and it was weird that while he was going through all this… Like they just had his son playing video games in another room, I was just like… I feel like someone should have-

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:07:45], a son?

Pete:                Ooh. Wow. That’s [crosstalk 00:07:51], like a jilted father. A jilted dad.

Justin:              No.

Pete:                Yeah. Jesus Christ.

Justin:              The other day Alex’s son, it was bring your father to school day and he brought in his Xbox. That’s true.

Pete:                He was like Master Chief is my dad.

Alex:                 Great book. Next up let’s move to the end of an event Firefly: Blue Sun Rising number one from Boom Studios. Written by Greg Pak. Art by Dan McDaid. This is as I just indicated wrapping up the Blue Sun Rising event where now Reynolds and the crew of Firefly are taking it to Blue Sun, the evil organization at the heart of a lot of things in the Firefly universe. Even if you haven’t been reading this event religiously this is great. This is a good-

Justin:              So good.

Pete:                Fucking Greg Pak man.

Alex:                 … chapter in the Firefly universe. Love this stuff.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, Greg Pak has done a great job of really… Took the characters from Firefly and Serenity and put them in a very different place at the start of this run and then he’s really brought them back. It really feels like a great episode of Firefly or even the sort of climax of the Serenity movie. Like really great action puts the characters in a situation where they know how to succeed by fucking everything up. Introduces these other characters that aren’t part of the main crew, but still fit really well. I think this event is just such a great run on this book

Pete:                I’ve kind of been an outsider for this world, but this book did such a great job of bringing me in getting to care about these characters. This was an emotional ending. I thought it was really, really well done, and so well-written. This Greg Pak guy is unbelievable. I just really love that last panel and the let no one take the sky from you. Oh, just beautiful.

Alex:                 Great stuff. Definitely pick that up. Moving on to another surprisingly emotional issue, Ice Cream Man number 22 from Image Comics written by W. Maxwell Prince. Art by Martine Morazzo. Now we’ve talked about every issue of this book.

Pete:                Every goddamn issue.

Alex:                 Well, every goddamn issue because it’s fantastic. The art is absolutely gorgeous. It’s terrifying in exactly the right way. All these small or big heart tales that parse out may have a loose continuity with them, but this one is very different. This is a advent calendar focusing on a character who’s trying to deal with the fact that she’s pregnant, her parents are over religious, what should she do about it? And it ends up having kind of a sad, but very hopeful ending for Ice Cream Man. This was a very refreshing change of pace and I really liked this quite a bit.

Pete:                Well, that’s the thing. Like I couldn’t enjoy the refreshing because I was so worried about how this was ending. I was just like, “Oh God, what are we doing in this issue? Is the horror going to go too far? Like holy fucking shit.” But I was really impressed with the ending. I thought it was very touching and a nice turn.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, this was so refreshing that you might as well call it Lemon Sorbet man, because-

Pete:                There we go.

Justin:              … it’s such a nice bright change of pace. I do think that it’s sort of fitting at the end of a long difficult year to have even one of the darkest comic books on the stands really have a bright ending, but still able to talk about really interesting stuff, bring us to the edge of that horror. It’s great. This book is always great.

Pete:                I also really like how the house in the last panel, the way the windows are opened. It almost makes the house look like an advent calendar. It’s just really, really impressive. If you haven’t checked this out, please do. Like every panel it’s just… They’re really playing chess with this. It’s just very impressive.

Alex:                 Totally agree. Let’s move on to one that I was pleasantly surprised by Labyrinth: Masquerade number one from Archaia. Written by Lara Elena Donnelly. Illustrated by Pius Bak, Samantha Dodge and French Carlomagno. What Pete is alluding to is Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Pete:                You’re, goddamn right it is.

Alex:                 But I’ve been kind of iffy on the whole idea of continuing Labyrinth at all. What I really liked about this book is I feel like it found a fresh angle on the whole thing. We’re told a story that takes place semi in parallel to the movie, has some new things to say with some new characters. Has some good things to say about memory. Adds some stuff to the continuity, and just the whole mythology of it and the art is really good as well as the coloring. I like this quite a bit. Again, I know it seems like I should be in the tank for this, but I definitely came into it being wary and was won over by the end. What was your guys’ take?

Justin:              I think that Alex is fucking tanked, is what I think. He’s in the tank, he’s on the tank. This guy has tanked for this book.

Pete:                He’s under the tank.

Justin:              Yeah. He’s swimming in the tank. He’s Scrooge dunking ducking the tank. I remember Labyrinth not perhaps as much as you. I remember if someone peeing into a fountain because we watched that in school and [crosstalk 00:13:15], a very salacious moment in my life, but this played like a book. If you’re not familiar with Labyrinth, but want to give it a shot, it’s very much like an issue of the dreaming in the same end universe or even an issue of fables. It plays by those same rules, it’s a great story and you get to just sort of explore this world following this character. I thought it was fun.

Pete:                Yeah. I mean the whole time I was just thinking about how much [inaudible 00:13:43], loves this.

Justin:              There you go.

Pete:                But yeah, it was impressive. It was a new take on something that we’ve seen a ton. So it was nice to kind of like… I was impressed that it was fresh and the art was different, but it felt like it fit in the world. Yeah, I wasn’t really a huge fan of the Labyrinth, you know? I mean, I respect the Bowie and stuff like that, but I was really impressed with this take and with this story.

Alex:                 All right. Let’s move from a book that Pete was sure that I was all over to a book that I was sure Pete was all over. King-Size Conan number one from Marvel written by Roy Thomas, Kurt Busiek, Chris Claremont, Kevin Eastman and Steven S. DeKnight. Art by Steve McNiven, Pete Woods, Roberto de la Torre, Kevin Eastman, and Jesús Saiz. So this is a tribute to Conan. It is a bunch of short stories about different parts of Conan’s life. As usual the short story collection, I think mileage may vary, but for my money I thought the last story by Steven S. DeKnight was awesome. I love that one. I thought that was great. The rest of them were like your standard hack and slash fair, but that was the one that I was really into personally.

Pete:                All right. You don’t have to shit on the other ones [inaudible 00:15:06].

Alex:                 The other ones were pieces of shit.

Pete:                No.

Justin:              Wow.

Alex:                 Is what I definitely think. They’re not good art and good writing through out.

Pete:                Yeah, the Claremont one I enjoyed, but the Eastman one, it was like I got into a cozy sleeping bag from the ’90s and just wrap myself self in nostalgia and was just so happy. It’s just great to see his art. I mean, it’s a little weird in color, but it’s still just it’s so grimy and fantastic in all the right ways and I think it fits with Conan. It’s cool.

Alex:                 Did you find any poggs at the bottom of your sleeping bag?

Pete:                No.

Justin:              Get out of that sleeping bag dude.

Pete:                I was never a pogger.

Justin:              Okay.

Pete:                Never into the poggs, but yeah, I think this is great. A lot of great stories. Yeah, and the last one was cool. Also the art themselves we’re very different, but really worked. It was impressive.

Justin:              Yeah, I liked this a lot too. Conan’s one of those characters that has these three iconic eras. Then I think if you haven’t read Conan, Jason Aaron’s run on Thor sort of echoed in a really good way, where it’s like young Thor, young Conan, middle sort of Thor, that’s confident and a great warrior and it sort of seeded all and then King-Conan who is sort of a little bit over it, and I like all these stories. The first one I thought it was really cool because it dovetails so nicely with the original publication of Marvel’s Conan: The Barbarian, which that was a cool little note and then my favorite version of Conan the more recent books of the last decade or so are the ones when he’s with Bêlit his pirate queen. So it was nice to see her again here.

Alex:                 Yeah. Good stuff overall. Next up An Unkindness of Ravens number four from Boom Studios written by Dan Panosian and illustrated by Marina… Marianna, excuse me, Ignazzi. Here we’re finally kind of getting some answers about what’s been going on, but this book there is a teen witch not named Sabrina who has come to a small town, find some weird goings on. There seems to be two warring factions who were both gunning for her, and here a lot of the things that we have suspected since the first issue come out. I like that they aren’t wasting a lot of time on this mysteries in this book and they’re finally pulling the lid back on them so to speak.

Justin:              Agree. Though that I will say the beginning of each issue has some good mystery building stuff where we’re getting a totally different sort of art style and some backstory stuff that I think is really cool. Dan Panosian who we had on the show is the writer of this book and he… The Panosh as he has never-

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:17:56], calls him that.

Justin:              As he’s never been called in his life. He illustrates the beginning of each book, which I think is very cool and then the main story it’s really good. The art style is sort of in that Archie world, but telling a story that sits right alongside Sabrina, if you’re a fan of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Pete:                Yeah, I agree. It’s cool. It’s almost like making fun of the Archie style in a way, where it’s just like a little edgier. Also I think it works great. I’m impressed with this story. Also you shouldn’t take old timey pills in a paper cup and then drink. You know that’s just a bad combo.

Justin:              What are the oldest pills you think are safe to take? Are you talking about… Like when you say old timey, do you mean like… Because the oldest pills were just little pebbles that people would take.

Pete:                Oh, thanks man. Just the-

Alex:                 Yeah. OG pills?

Pete:                OG pills-

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                Yeah. The original gangster of pills. Yeah, it looked like those old little paper cups that you see and he was just kind of tossing back some classic red and white pills there, and yeah. The art style is kind of like this Archie, but different, but the facial expressions are really great and especially in the main character. I think this is fun and different and cool. I like it.

Alex:                 Next up Sea of Sorrows number two from IDW written by Rich Douek. Art and color by Alex Cormack. We had-

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:19:38], we had Rich on the show.

Justin:              Yes. Take it easy guys.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Yeah, not too rough. This is a story about a bunch of treasure hunters who encounter, or maybe some deadly mermaids. This is great. This is terrifying. This is the scariest issue I’ve read all week easily.

Justin:              Yeah, the tone of this book is just so good. The way they draw the depths of the water is scary. The way the art is from, it’s so much… Like this is a very specific note, but it’s like so much up and down like vertical when they’re under water. Like when you read an issue of Aquaman or Namor. It’s sort of a scene like you’d see on any other book except under water. With this I could see these real long angles of these people under water and just add so much tension to it. All the characters are sort of greedy, up to no good. It’s great.

Pete:                Yeah, this is dark on top of dark and then scary as fuck, man. This is like a crazy book and it’s intense to read because there is no hope, there’s no chance. It’s all going bad and the sea is a dark, dark place in this book and it’s filled with things that are going to kill you. So this is intense and definitely worth picking up if you’re into that type of shit my man, but get ready.

Justin:              Have you guys ever been in water before?

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              You guys are like really-

Alex:                 Oh, man. No, I haven’t tried it yet.

Pete:                Well, it was funny because Rich was talking about like… You know he’s from New York City and he would go to the beach, but there’s a real big difference. The first time I went into the ocean off of a boat where there’s no land in sight, it’s scary as fuck and I think this book kind of does a good job of really kind of grasping that.

Alex:                 I panic when I get into the deep end of pools because I imagine there’s a shark under me if I can’t get to the bottom, so.

Justin:              Wow.

Pete:                Yeah. I’m ready to go to the ocean. Let’s do this.

Alex:                 No, man. You will-

Justin:              You really don’t like the ocean?

Alex:                 No, I really… Like I get an overactive imagination when the water is too deep and I can’t see the bottom. We used to go snorkeling when I was a kid quite a bit and if we were on the low part, we’re kind of swimming up to a reef or something like that. All good, but once we got past that where I couldn’t touch the bottom with my feet, it really became like, “Okay, something is going to bite me. Something is going to eat me. What’s coming? What’s going to happen? Oh God.” And I would just get this spiraling panic until I got back to the shore.

Justin:              Oh, man. I can’t wait for our triple Caribbean vacation. We’re going to have a blast.

Pete:                No way, man.

Alex:                 Good times. Let’s talk about The Last God number 11 from DC comics written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson. Art by Riccardo Federici. Another guest that we had on the show this week. We had Phillip talking about this issue. This is the second to last issue of the first series in Felspire Chronicles. Yes. Pete, do you have a question or a statement?

Pete:                I have something I wanted to point out. Usually you do such a great job with your transitions, but I just feel like you really missed an opportunity from going from Seas of Star Wars to Sea of Stars. I just wanted to point that out real quick.

Alex:                 You know what? I purposely separated them because I kept confusing them.

Pete:                Yeah. [crosstalk 00:22:58]. That makes sense.

Alex:                 There you go you are absolutely correct. Later in the podcast, we’re going to be talking about Sea of Stars number eight, but I kept them separate because I thought it was weird. All right. So let’s talk about The Last God instead. This is a big dark issue where things go down.

Justin:              Holly shit.

Alex:                 I don’t think they’re going to get out of this one.

Pete:                There’s plucky kids.

Justin:              It doesn’t look great. I mean, every time we talk about this book, it’s all about there’s just so much depth here of the fantasy, the mythology it’s so well thought out. The art is amazing. It feels like the… Every page feels like the cover of a fantasy novel in the best way, and it does feel like a new take. It’s like a ruined fellowship as Phillip said on the podcast and to get to be in that with them and still have it, it’s not so stiff as it might come across. It’s not like these people aren’t saying we must continue. Like sometimes the sort of the token characters come across like they’re still joking around, they’re still like being real people and that’s great to see.

Pete:                I got to tell you hearing PKG get worked up about this in how… And do it, he gets with just seeing the back matter in the songs and stuff in this issue really lets you know how deep this rabbit hole goes. Like you think you have an imagination of what you want to have happen. He has it worked out tenfold and it’s really impressive. The art is just phenomenal. Each issue kind of takes you to this kind of creepy magic place. Yeah, this was a fantastic issue. Great ending. I really can’t wait to see how this is all going to kind of go down. Yeah, man, the battle stuff is just glorious.

Alex:                 Next let’s talk about The Department of Truth number four from Image Comics written by James Tynion IV. Art by Martin Simmonds. Now earlier I said that Sea of Sorrows was the scariest thing that we read all week, I think I lied. I think this actually was. This book is incredible and this issue in particular is so expert at getting under your skin and making you feel uncomfortable. The writing is phenomenal. The art is phenomenal. If you haven’t been reading this, this is about a organization, a part of the US government maybe devoted to not debunking conspiracy theories, but stopping conspiracy theories before they could become true based on everybody’s belief. Here we get the belief that the characters of the organization is having challenged on their own as we find out more about Black Hat, the organization that’s fighting against it and the stuff that they lay out here is so upsetting to read in exactly the right way. A fantastic book, but as I said very scary and very uncomfortable to read at the same time.

Pete:                I want to hear Justin take because he was saying this is his pick of the week. So I’m excited to hear what he’s going to say.

Justin:              Yeah. I love this book. Like I’m a big news junkie and this book is like, Oh, this makes me feel so much better to have someone sort of digesting these things and making it make sense in a fictional context, but it actually is quite stressful to really feel these beliefs that real people in our world believe, and have it… The premise of the book is that if enough people believe in a very simple idea that is false, it still manifests in the real world and I think that is such a smart premise and scary and feels real to us. Like the book does this just great sort of loop-to-loop mentally for us as the reader, because the premise is about flies becoming real, but that’s also happened in our world. It’s such a smart book.

Pete:                That whole thing about Barack just blew my mind. I-

Alex:                 And you believe it now, right?

Pete:                Yeah. It was just one of those things where they in this book were able to pull off kind of like a trope that we’ve seen in a lot of horror movies and spoiler, but the whole like “The room in the next room.” I was like, “Oh shit.” But like that’s such a thing that I should have seen coming. It’s just… Oh, man. It’s intense. It uses real life that makes it scarier. Yeah, the art’s phenomenal. This is a crazy read and it’s really impressive.

Alex:                 Two things that I wanted to mention about this book in particular. One, a couple of issues back they introduced these… Issue two actually I think, they introduced this star face man who are our main character that we are following who is new to The Department of Truth was maybe, or maybe not tortured by this being years back, wants to track him down and wants to stop him and it uses a lot of antisemitic tropes and as a Jewish man myself, I was very uncomfortable about it. Reading this issue the targets conspiracy theories around birtherism and Barack Obama made me realize in retrospect that, “Oh yes, of course they are trying to make me feel uncomfortable with this plot line. They’re trying to make me feel this is upsetting.” And so to elicit that reaction, I think is the right thing.

Alex:                 The other thing that I wanted to mention is the end of the book, and this is a big spoiler, but by the end of the issue our main character is told, okay, this Washington Post reporter and presumably his editor, you got to kill them. You got to just shut this down because even if they say they’re not going to follow this up, at some point they’re going to mention it and it’s going to take on a life of its own and the Washington Post reporter I believe says something to the effect of, “Hey, you’re one of the good guys, right?” And while he’s crying, he says, “I think so.” And shoots them, and that in essence kind of defines and redefines the entire series because we realize, Oh, okay. We have a predilection to think that people we’re following the heroes, maybe they’re not.

Justin:              Yeah. And I think I had that same feeling of dread reading this about just controlling the truth is a slippery slope to be on. So that’s a great tension for this book. One of the things I want to mention, there’s an ad on the back of this book for the new Anthology series from W. Maxwell Prince, the writer of Ice Cream Man called HaHa, coming out in January. Very excited for that.

Alex:                 Me too.

Pete:                I don’t know if I’m ready for that.

Alex:                 Neither am I. I feel like my wife, who is a clown is going to be hypercritical of it. We’ll see what happens. Maybe we’ll have her on the show. Next up [crosstalk 00:29:52], History of Animation number two from IDW written by Fred Van Lente and arts and letters by Ryan Dunlavey. Just a little note, we’re going to have him on the show I believe next month or maybe February.

Pete:                Fred.

Alex:                 Have a chat about this book, so that should be a lot of fun. This book is great. I know we talked about this the last time, but here we’re finally getting to the point where Disney is ascended and Walt Disney at least in this world and probably in ours as well is a sociopath.

Justin:              Yes.

Pete:                Yeah. It’s super crazy to read this. You know that Fred Van Lente just did all this off the top of his dome. Like this guy knows so much about Animation.

Alex:                 He made it all up, right?

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 He made up all this shit?

Pete:                No, no. He just knows it-

Alex:                 The Department of Truth.

Pete:                … because he lived it, man. He lived it all.

Alex:                 Oh, God. That’s crazy.

Justin:              He lived it. I love that little facts you learn every time you read any books that these guys do together, and this is so interesting. Like just one from the beginning here Marjorie Sullivan I think wife of the creator of Felix the Cat, notable drinker fell out of her window and died trying to hail her chauffeur while she was drunk. Just those little details, these little stories that are just so interesting, and then the way they incorporate imagery from the actual cartoons and animated projects they’re talking about is really cool.

Alex:                 And it’s also funny. You know it could just be a history lesson that feel like reading Wikipedia, but they make it engaging, they make it fun as they have done with every comic they’ve done across the board. This is great. I’m very excited to keep reading this book and see how they get up to modern history. It’s really fascinating so far. Next one Doctor Doom number 10 from Marvel written by Christopher Cantwell. Art by Salvador Larroca. This is the last issue of this title. I believe the last one we read was the first issue of this title. So I figured it was worth checking in. Part of the criticism I believe we had with the first issue was it seemed a little light and fun for a Doctor Doom book. This issue was not light and fun, [crosstalk 00:32:00], but definitely very dark in exactly the right way. I thought this was a great ending for the series. How’d you guys think?

Justin:              I agree like the first issue I think was called Pottersville last issue called Bedford Falls, I think those are two references to its wonderful life. My favorite movie at the holidays. So this felt very timely and it’s just a great character study of Doctor Doom that we get to see played out here, cementing him as a straight up villain. He gets played a lot in Fantastic Four as sort of a little bit of a softie. He has a connection with Valerio thanks to Hickman’s run, but I think this is the best Doctor Doom. He’s a petty, very powerful super villain and we get to see that on display.

Pete:                Yeah. Just to me the way it ended was great. When it started, I was like what are we doing here? I don’t want a different Doom, but just the way he’s like never was, never will be good. Like that was just so bad-ass, such a great Doom kind of like ending. So I was really impressed with how this ended.

Justin:              You were like here comes the Doom?

Pete:                Yeah. “Here comes the Doom.”

Alex:                 Well from Sea of Sorrows to Sea of Star number eight from the Image Comics written by Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum. Art by Steven Green. So we had Dennis Hallum on the show, live show a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was really fascinating frankly reading this now knowing that… Unless I got it wrong, Dennis writes the dad stuff and Jason Aaron writes the kids’ stuff and knowing they kind of write on their own tracks, definitely redefined how I read this book, but still another good weird issue of the story of a dad and his son trying to find each other in the universe.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, really knowing that about the book it definitely changes how you read it. This book reminds me so much of sort of last season late episodes of Adventure Time where it’s like a little bit trippier it’s a little bit like you don’t quite know where the deeper underpinnings are blending with the fun mythology stuff and I’d love that. So I love this.

Pete:                Yeah. This continues to be just kind of like I’m worried about the kid and if they’re going to find each other, but I’m also having such a great time with the amazing stuff that is happening and to see that the dad kind of get to have some fun in this issue was great. Before he was just kind of just scared shitless for his son and kind of panicking. This was I feel like a cool kind of turn where now both characters are kind of like looking for each other, but they’re all both also kind of having fun out here in the Sea of Stars.

Alex:                 Next up Transformers/Back to the Future number two from IDW written by Cavan Scott. Art by Juan Samu. I got to tell you I was fine with the first issue of this book. I thought it was fun, but okay. We get of course time travel story where the Decepticons take over the past of Hill Valley, turn it into a despotic future. Marty McFly has left there, but the reveal at the end that the DeLorean is a transformer was like, “Great. Now we’re into it.” This issue paid off of that promise. It was a blast to read, super dumb and silly and fun in exactly the right way. Like I said, I had a blast reading this. I had a lot of fun. Pete, I’m sure you had fun as well.

Pete:                Yeah. This is just a ton of just kind of like mash up fun. You know like what’s better than DeLorean being a transformer, spoiler also the goddamn skateboard is a transformer.

Justin:              Yes. Oh, you’re not a fan of Skills. The transformer who’s also a skate board. This makes me think like, can any wield object be a transformer?

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Like-

Pete:                Well, also I got to say the ending was also a lot of fun. Doc Brown, looking like he’s got the Mando gun going on and I tell you what, I don’t know what future those ties are, but I can’t wait to get there because that’s a fun looking tie and I’m hoping to rock one, one day.

Justin:              Yeah, sort of the bandolier tie?

Pete:                Yeah, man.

Justin:              Here’s what want to pitch given what I just said sort of an Amish wagon transformer series [crosstalk 00:36:46], wheelbarrow, there’s a Turner, there’s-

Alex:                 My name is Rumspringer. I’m an auto bot.

Pete:                Rumspringer.

Alex:                 Yes. There’s more than meets the eye. Yeah, this is a blast read. It’s very silly but it’s very fun the right way. Next step action comics number 1028 from DC comics written by Brian Michael Bendis. Art by John Romita Jr. This is the last issue of Brian Michael Bendis’s run on the title. He’s wrapping everything up with the super family before he move on with Phillip Kennedy Johnson, who again we had on the live show talking about his new run so go check that out-

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:37:22], key guests.

Justin:              We’re topical.

Pete:                Man.

Alex:                 But what do you think about this issue? What do you think about Brian Michael Bendis’s run on the super family as a whole?

Pete:                I thought you were going to be like, what do you think of this Brian Michael Bendis guy?

Alex:                 Do you think he’s going to do well?

Pete:                I thought this was very swing issue, cool ending, love the thank you notes by the desk cubicle, amazing art, touching story. I thought this was a great Superman comic.

Justin:              I mean, this is Bendis doing what he does best and Bendis writes great sum up issues for his runs, where he… Because his whole thing is like really bringing characters down to earth, having them having a take and really connecting with the other characters in their universe and that is what this is all about. We get to see this stuff from the Jimmy Olsen series where he has purchased The Daily Planet. Perry’s very fun, we don’t get a ton of time with actual Superman stuff happening here which I thought was interesting, but I love the family stuff. That’s what I really liked about the run before Bendis took over so I’m glad we’re sort of landing there because I hope that we’ll play a lot in going forward and honestly, I don’t feel as burnt by the Superman and Clark Kent revealing themselves to the world as I did initially.

Alex:                 Yeah. I think that’s a fair estimation of it and overall, this is a good fun issue. It doesn’t feel particularly essential necessarily. It’s been weird reading the sum-up issues before they move on to Future State where it’s like well, see you later, is kind of what they feel like, but John Romita Jr art, it’s good. He’s drawn a good superman. It’s a nice time.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Next up The Scumbag number three from Image Comics. Written by Rick Remender. Art by Eric Powell as considering the story of the worst guy on earth who can save the earth. Here, I think we kind of complete the first arc and move into the second arc or at least the second villain for our dirt bag hero naturally saves the world, but does some terrible things in the process. This book continues to be very timely in an interesting way and funny at the same time.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, I agree. It’s a classic Remender book where it’s like a strong, good premise for a story. It’s very funny, but there’s always some stuff underneath. It’s really like commenting on our world in a way that is really nice. Pete, give me your take on this 1978 Firebird trans in.

Pete:                Come on, man. I mean I was a little disappointed with the sex doll edition, but that is like, Woo-hoo, baby.

Justin:              Now that’s a transformer, right?

Pete:                Yeah. it should be.

Justin:              I do like the last page that sets up our next field and as you said Alex, the sort of accolade looking people hundreds of them on laptops typing on the bright side of the moon with a mysterious villain watching over them is a great setup.

Pete:                I also like how there’s this line with the scumbag, you know what I mean? Like okay, the scumbag gets to be a scumbag at different moments, but it’s also like, “Hey man you can’t be a piece of shit and have superpowers. That’s not how it works, you know?” And that really kind of comes back to-

Justin:              Oh wait Pete. Actually, have you ever met villains? Have you ever met any supervillains?

Pete:                No, I haven’t. Cause I’d probably be dead if I did, but thank you for asking?

Justin:              No. I mean, have you ever read about them, because those people are mostly assholes who have super powers.

Pete:                Oh, okay. Interesting take, but-

Justin:              And I’ll also mentioned Eric Powells art, which is like what if Mad magazine, but super fucked up, which is fun to read.

Alex:                 It’s just a fun book across the board. Let’s move to a slightly more serious one Scarenthood number three from IDW. Story and art by Nick Roche. Color by Chris O’Halloran. In this book we’ve been following a father and his friends, who have to deal with some weird going on in their town, around the school that their kids go to. Here a lot comes out about our main character that makes him I think in a really interesting way less palatable as well as we get the lid blown off when it comes to the supernatural storyline. It was definitely a big issue. Justin, you’ve been really liking this book in particular I think.

Justin:              I like this book a lot because of those swerves that it keeps taking. It’s interesting we’ve spent the first two issues really in the head of our main character and then the perspective totally flipped. I love being inside people’s heads except for the year that I was trapped inside Pete’s head being John Malkovich style. That was a weird ride.

Pete:                Yeah. You almost didn’t make it out, man.

Justin:              That’s true, but boy I learned a lot about your schedule, what you do on your private time. Check out the upcoming memoir-

Pete:                Yeah. I think this is definitely what it’s like to be a parent.

Justin:              … if I did it the page story.

Pete:                You know, like you’ve got your responsibilities to your kid and then you have a group of parents that you get together with and you solve crimes and ghost stories and stuff like that. So I feel it’s nice to have a representation of what it’s like to be a parent in this world.

Alex:                 Yeah, I agree. Let’s move on and talk about US Agent number two from Marvel written by Priest art by Georges Jeanty. This is continuing a story where US agent is dealing with a lot of things. I’ll tell you what, I honestly had a little bit of trouble following this issue even though I remember what happened to the last issue which I think we all liked quite a bit, but the Georges Jeanty art still reliably very good.

Justin:              Yeah. I agree. It is. I don’t quite know the full take of this story, but I do like it. I like the scenes, I like the issues we’re touching on here and I just like US agent as a character. Like what if captain America was sort of a jerk, but really had an inferiority complex, but was always trying to do the right thing. So I like where this book is living.

Pete:                Yeah. I had a little bit of a hard time following what was happening, but it’s cool.

Alex:                 All right. Well, next stop then Undiscovered Country number 11 from Image Comics written by Scott Snyder and Charles Soule. Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi. In this issue we’re starting to get into the, if not wrap up, at least the back half of the unity storyline. We are in the second ring of a closed off America that has all followed focused on tech, turns out it’s terrible. They’re powered by baby brains. There is a basically dead woman living in a giant vagina who runs everything and she wants our heroes brains to join them.

Alex:                 Here’s something that I thought was fascinating about this issue, and this is definitely a spoiler for the issue, but I certainly realized this and the characters realized in this book, they’re given a challenge. There said Aurora, who’s the person who runs America wants you to either choose a ring of America or keep moving to the next ring until you choose one, and by the end of the book they all realize they say, “Hey, you know what I think we need to do is we need to see all of these rings and get to Aurora and then bring what we’ve learned. That’s the challenge here.” And that’s certainly what I thought. I was like, “I’m ahead of this book. I know what’s going on here.” But the fact that they said that out loud, that is 100% wrong, right?

Pete:                Yup.

Justin:              Yes. I think that was a classic bait and switch move that we get a little bit of a pay off right here.

Pete:                But also we’re plug for the first-generation iPod in the middle of this.

Alex:                 Still good man [crosstalk 00:45:23], click wheels are really good. [crosstalk 00:45:27], plus all crazy bass they had for songs on those things.

Justin:              You can listen to one whole U2 album on there, and that’s the only thing. If I remember correctly, that’s the only thing you can listen to on it. Yeah, I really liked this arc especially. Like we talked about it before, but it really focuses up a lot of the ideas and you have more of a sense of the characters coming out of the first arc. So it really moves in a nice way, and so many ideas.

Pete:                I think it’s an interesting idea just like, Oh, you just got to give up your second born. Not your first born to be a floating brain just your second born, you know what I mean? No one really cares.

Alex:                 I think I can do that. Justin?

Justin:              Yeah. Wait a second. Are you a first born or a second born? Because I think-

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:46:16], I’m a firstborn.

Justin:              I’m a first born. Pete, aren’t you this younger brother?

Pete:                Nope. I’m a firstborn as well.

Alex:                 Oh, great. Well this is all working out so well. The book is really good, definitely pick it up. Next up at last something… Oh yes. What’s up Pete?

Pete:                I did want to say though that every time I think I have a handle on what’s going on, they’re like nope, not even close. Which is not really frustrating, but impressive that I could still be confused after this long, but man the art and the paneling it’s just really impressive. Okay, sorry.

Alex:                 No. It’s all right. Last but not least Something is Killing the Children number 13 from Boom Studios written by James Tynion IV. Art by Werther Dell’Edera. We’re finally getting an event that’s been promised pretty much since the first issue where our main characters compatriots come to town and start killing everybody. She wants to shut down the monsters that are killing the children as quickly as possible. Every issue… I know I say this every issue, but so little happens but it’s of such import to the characters, it still feels media at the same time and Werther Dell’Edera art is phenomenal. Another great issue of this book.

Justin:              Every single issue of this is just so great and the art is just… There’s at least one or two panels where you’re like fuck man I would love to have that. It’s like a desktop background or a poster or something. It’s just glorious.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:47:49]. That would be so cool to have it as a desktop background.

Pete:                Yeah, because you get to stare at it every day you fucking dick.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:47:57], a laptop. I don’t want to brag or anything.

Justin:              Mr. Desktop over here. I would love to have it just as printed on my sheets.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:48:05], to have it on my van.

Justin:              Yeah. The inside or the outside are both?

Alex:                 Inside. I don’t want other people to see.

Justin:              Nice.

Alex:                 It’s for me.

Justin:              That’s for you. That’s for daddy. Yeah, I like this book a lot. I will say the pace of this book is gotten, it’s pretty… Not a ton of story happens each issue, and I’m curious if that will change. Because I think it needs to make some larger moves. So maybe-

Pete:                So you’re saying this wildly popular book that is really impressive they should just change it?

Justin:              I think it could pace up a little bit. I feel like we’ve been in this narrative moment for quite some time.

Pete:                Yeah, but if you read in the trade then you’re fucking fine, they don’t have to change anything.

Justin:              Don’t tell me what to do.

Pete:                Well, don’t tell it what to do, enjoy it for what it is.

Alex:                 Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to tell those of you listening what to do. If you’d like to support us 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 comics. iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app is you are trying to subscribe and listen to the show @comicbooklive on Twitter, for this podcast and many more. Until next time we’ve been Comic Book Club, peace out.

Justin:              Oh, when I lived in your head Pete, I told you what to do all the time. (singing).

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