The Stack: South Side Serpents, Captain Marvel And More

Riverdale Presents South Side Serpents

On this week’s comic book review podcast:

Riverdale Presents South Side Serpents #1
Archie Comics
Story by David Barnett
Art by Richard Ortiz

Captain Marvel #25
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Lee Garbett

The Department of Truth #5
Image Comics
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Martin Simmonds

Firefly #25
BOOM! Studios
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Pius Bak

Future State: Suicide Squad #1
DC Comics
Written by Robbie Thompson, Jeremy Adams
Art by Javier Fernandez, Fernando Pasarin

Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #1
DC Comics
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Steve Pugh

Future State: Dark Detective #2
DC Comics
Written by Mariko Tamaki, Joshua Williamson
Art by Dan Mora, Giannis Milonogiannis

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1
DC Comics
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Riley Rossmo

Future State: Aquaman #1
DC Comics
Written by Brandon Thomas
Art by Daniel Sampere

Future State: Batman/Superman #1
DC Comics
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art by Ben Oliver

Post Americana #2
Image Comics
Written and art by Dave Skroce

Daredevil #26
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Marco Chechetto & Mike Hawthorne

Monstress #31
Image Comics
Written by Marjorie Liu
Art by Nana Takeda

The Other History of the DC Universe #2
DC Comics
Written by John Ridley
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Nailbiter Returns #9
Image Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Mike Henderson

X-Men #17
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Brett Booth

Spawn #314
Image Comics
Written by Todd McFarlane
Art by Carlo Barberi

The Last God #12
DC Comics
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by Riccardo Federici

Something is Killing the Children #14
BOOM! Studios
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Werther Dell’edera

Strange Adventures #8
DC Comics
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerards and Evan “Doc” Shaner

An Unkindness of Ravens #5
BOOM! Studios
Written by Dan Panosian
Art by Marianna Ignazzi

Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #4
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Tyler Crook


Full Episode Transcript:


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, kicking it off with Riverdale Presents: South Side Serpents from Archie Comics, story by David Barnett, art by Richard Ortiz. This is part of a slate of comics that Archie has started releasing that aren’t exactly in continuity with the shows, but they include the characters the way they appear on the show. They’re kind of like halfway between the monthly comics and the shows themselves. This with a Madam Satan one-shot spinning off and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina that we talked about. This one of course is spinning off of Riverdale [crosstalk 00:00:46].

Pete:                I wish I would’ve known that before I read it, because I read it and I was like, “Holy shit, everything’s going to change.”

Alex:                 Yeah. Well, no, it’s out of continuity.

Pete:                They killed some people in this comic.

Alex:                 They straight up killed some people. I got to tell you, I mean, to start there, I was surprised how hardcore this was.

Justin:              Me too. This book went hard from beginning to end and I will say, “I like this.” To me, I mean Archie Comics for a decade has been taking big swings with a lot of their choices, a lot of their … especially their one shots like this and they’re limited series. But with this like putting it in between Riverdale featuring Toni Topaz here which was great. And then having both Hot Dog show up drawn like Hot Dog from the Double Digest. As well as a murder happening involving Hot Dog, I was like, “Okay, we’re going for it here.”

Alex:                 So the plot of this book if you haven’t picked it up is that Jughead is tasked by FP to go rejuvenate the serpents, FP can see that they’re getting older. He wants them to go out, get some young blood in there. Things go very, very wrong. The thing that I think this book did so well is the serpents are way too friendly on the TV show. They’re supposed to be the most hardcore biker gang, but they was like, “We’re hardcore, we’re fucking helping out with community service. And now we’re going to assist the police department. Look how hardcore we are.” Here they’re an actual biker gag, and they’re treated like an actual biker gang. And it works really well to the devastating end of the book.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Yeah, I agree. It was also nice to take you back to this time in Riverdale, we’re all Riverdale fans, and to sort of position us sort of earlier, this was like season two Riverdale it felt like, was really fun as well.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Good stuff. Definitely check. Oh, go ahead.

Justin:              Wait, Pete’s going to weigh in.

Pete:                I really liked this. I loved all the action, it moves really well. It feels like Riverdale, but it has its own kind of flavor, which is cool for the comic. And I thought the art was great and the storytelling was really impressive how well this moved. I had a great time.

Justin:              A lot of biker gangs have a crown that the head of the gang wears.

Alex:                 This is true, like the hell’s angels.

Justin:              Yeah, fairy famously, and some anarchy.

Alex:                 [inaudible 00:03:17] biker gang that we can name which is, what is that, Justin?

Justin:              That biker game, there’s the wheels, the wheelies.

Pete:                The Wheelers.

Justin:              The wheelers, that’s it.

Alex:                 Yes. Captain Marvel number 25 from Marvel written by Kelly Thompson, art by Lee Garbett. This is a title that we haven’t talked about too much, but as it is hitting an anniversary issue, we do like Kelly Thompson in particular here on the show, I figured it was worth talking about. Captain Marvel is trapped in a post-apocalyptic future where the son of Namor and Amara has lead ways everything, using captain Marvel for his evil plan. As usual with Kelly Thompson book, I thought this is a lot of fun. I had a blast reading this. What about you guys?

Pete:                Yeah. I mean, as parents, you have to feel that if your son or daughter stabs a stuffed animal dolphin, you better address that early. Otherwise that’s really going to get out of hand and lead you [crosstalk 00:04:14].

Justin:              Well, the question is, at least in my household is it during stabbing practice or is it [inaudible 00:04:19].

Pete:                Oh, oh, oh.

Justin:              Because if it’s during stabbing practice it’s good.

Pete:                It’s fine.

Alex:                 I’ll tell you what, quarantine school has been weird.

Justin:              Yeah, they’re doing a lot of real post-apocalyptic lessons are going around. Obviously Pete you’re not a parent, but there is a lot of zombie preparation-

Alex:                 Smart.

Justin:              … how to, like early cannibalism stuff.

Pete:                Is it like machete upkeep and stuff like that?

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:04:44] and the teacher on the Zoom was saying, “Okay first graders, are you distilling your pee properly so you can drink it?”

Pete:                Oh my God. That’s so creepy.

Justin:              That’s why it’s really important to potty train them, so you don’t lose that precious pee.

Alex:                 What’d you think about this book, Pete?

Pete:                I loved it. Oh, that was gross.

Justin:              Precious Pete.

Pete:                Oh man, I don’t want it. Yeah, I really liked this, a lot of over the top action, which I enjoyed. Fun kind of Namor a story, classic tale of raising somebody who is going to murder their father. It was just classic fun stuff. You guys have to be worried about that, getting murdered by your own kids. That’s got to be something that waves on you.

Alex:                 You keep throwing this back on us.

Pete:                I mean, that’s something that you got to be worried a little bit about as a parent that you’re raising the person who’s going to kill you.

Alex:                 I’m much more worried about you killing me Pete than I have my kids at this point.

Justin:              100%.

Pete:                Oh well, that’s smart.

Justin:              That’s the real threat, keeps us up nights.

Alex:                 Speaking of things that are … Oh, go ahead.

Pete:                But I love that art. I love the action. This is some great, yeah, the Thor was just fantastic and this is really fun.

Justin:              Yeah, Bridget. It’s funny reading this alongside Future State over on the DC side of things, because it feels very much like a Future State book in the Marvel Universe. And it’s fun, I like books that take us into alternate futures where shits fucked up.

Alex:                 Well, let’s go to an alternate present where shit is fucked up in The Department of Truth number five from Image Comics written by James Tynion IV, art by Martin Simmonds. This is a big one for anybody who’s reading the series. It’s about a department that is tasked with taking care of conspiracy theories here. Our main character is finding out a bunch more about the other side, Black Hat, and what’s going on with them. Maybe this doesn’t change everything, but it certainly comes close to it. How’d you feel about this issue?

Justin:              I’ve not been shy to say I love this series. I think this series is just so present, it’s feels so real. It’s about how if enough people believe in conspiracy theories, they become real. And like what truth is, it is something I think we as a nation, as a world grapple with literally every day. And so this book does such a good job between the art and the story of really just getting inside my brain.

Pete:                Yeah, this is really kind of crazy cool. The conspiracy stuff is one thing, but just the art and the storytelling, unlike how this all kind of unfolds for the main character that we’re following here is tripped out in all the right ways. It’s just really great kind of like conspiracy story telling that kind of feeds into fears and kind of deep thoughts in all the right ways. I think this is a really creative book that is really doing an amazing job.

Alex:                 I feel like we’ve said this here on the show before, but it struck me with this issue in particular, this feels like a lost Vertigo book down to the art and the writing and everything, and it’s awesome. Firefly … Oh, go ahead.

Justin:              I was going to say just an excellent Vertigo book.

Alex:                 Yeah. A lost Vertigo book that should have stayed lost was what I was saying.

Pete:                Whoa.

Alex:                 Should’ve stayed in Karen Berger’s drawer.

Pete:                Oh, come on, what? You mean drawer?

Alex:                 Come on.

Pete:                You saying drawer?

Alex:                 Yeah, I was trying to say that.

Pete:                Okay.

Alex:                 Firefly number 25 from BOOM! Studios written by Greg Pak-

Pete:                Greg Pak.

Alex:                 … art by Pius Bak. We talked about the special, the end of The Blue Sun Rising, just being an awesome Firefly story. Here after all of this prequel stuff, we’re moving beyond serenity. We’re showing what happens years later. There’s a big twists here. I thought this is great. As much as I like the stuff that went before, I’m very excited about this direction for the book. It tells a good story. If you have watched all the Firefly and Serenity, you can jump in right here, you don’t have to read anything previous. And that is very exciting.

Justin:              Yeah. For Greg Pal to tell a great story that really nails all the characters, but it also feels like it’s expanding the universe as a prequel, and then to jump into sort of where the story is continuing from any fan, whatever they’ve taken in for this show and movie is great, such a smart move, I love that he’s guiding this ship.

Pete:                I wanted to read something, speaking of fans, a fan of our show reached out to me and was just wondering, we had Fred Van Lente on a bunch, but they’re asking me when the fuck Greg Pak is going to be on, so I wanted to kind of turn that over to Alex and just be like, “Hey, when the fuck is Greg Pak going to be on the show so we can talk to him.”

Justin:              Let me throw this out to you Pete, are you the fan that reached out to you?

Pete:                No.

Justin:              Sounds a lot like you.

Alex:                 We’ll try to have him back on scene, we always love having him of the show. Thanks for writing in, Pete. Let’s move over to our Future State block. Here’s the issues that came out of Future State this week. Future State Suicide Squad number one, Future State Superman Versus Imperious Lex number one, Future State Dark Detective number two, Legion of Superheroes number one, Aquaman number one, Batman and Superman number one. Now, as we’ve been doing in the past couple of weeks, instead of talking about absolutely everything, I want to call out what our favorites were, and I’ll turn to you Justin first. What was your favorite or favorites from these Future State titles this week?

Justin:              Once again, I liked a lot of these books. I feel like they’d been really crushing it, but my favorites were, let me throw it to Superman versus Imperious Lex.

Alex:                 Oh, that’s what I figured. I say that’s what I figured because that was also my favorite. And that’s a book, it’s written by Mark Russell, who’s one of our favorites here on the show, art by Steve Pugh. And it shows a Future State, a future society where Lex has taken over a planet, Superman and Lois come head to head with it. Ridiculous parodied, a lot of fun at the same time, Justin.

Justin:              And I do think Mark Russell has done such a good job. He’s so good at bringing real issues into his comic book work, famously first on the Flintstones book that he did. And then a bunch of other things that he’s done. And this to really weave big interesting ideas about how people, populaces are controlled by their leaders and economics, how economics drives people into a far Future Superman United Planets, Lex Luther story, I think was great. There’s a bunch of humor here as well. It’s just a book of ideas and I love that.

Alex:                 Pete, what about you? What jumped out at you this week?

Pete:                I liked Future State Dark Detectives number two. I really liked this kind of like a gritty future Batman. And I also really liked the second story with a Rose, guessing Slade’s daughter. But just-

Alex:                 That’s an in continuity character by the way. That’s not just a Future State character.

Pete:                Oh, okay.

Alex:                 Just for clarification.

Pete:                Thank you.

Alex:                 But just to mention before you get too far into it, written by Mariko Tamaki and Joshua Williamson, art by Dan Mora, who you love from Once & Future, and Giannis Milonogiannis. And the first story is about Bruce Wayne after he’s been “shot and killed” coming back and try to figure out what he is now. The second one is a Red Hood story, which is basically straight up Akira in a very fun way. Justin, what’d you think about this one?

Justin:              I like both of these stories. The Bruce Wayne story at the front of this is so good. The art, the Dan Mora art is excellent, and really I would love to see this as just an ongoing series of Bruce Wayne in a future where he has been killed, figuring out what he’s going to do next and finding his way back is great. And then the backup story really felt a lot like Nightwing [inaudible 00:13:02] relationship, but put on with Red Hood and Rose, which I thought was a cool sort of mapping, and with the Akira stuff you’re talking about as well.

Alex:                 The one that I was completely surprised that I loved was Future State Aquaman number one, written by Brandon Thomas, art by Daniel Sampere. I don’t usually like Aquaman stories at all, but this one is showing Aqualad all grown up training the daughter of Aquaman and Mera. They accidentally ended up in this conjoining of seas, I think it’s called the conjunction or something like that, that travels across different planets. They get trapped, they get separated, Aqualad’s been in prison for years. And finally, spoiler, but he gets some hope that the girl he’s been in charge with maybe still alive somewhere. This was bad-ass, like we were talking about, this is something that I’m like, “I want to read this book.” And this is such a strong concept right here. I want to see where this goes. I want to see them go through all these seas, go through all these worlds, try to find each other. That’s very exciting. And the art from Daniel Sampere-

Pete:                Oh my God.

Alex:                 … is awesome as well, but fantastic. My jaw dropped, I was so surprised, I like this so much.

Pete:                Yeah. And I really liked the Black Manta stuff as well. It was like the right amount of beautiful tripped out colors for all these different kinds of worlds and stuff. I was really impressed by it.

Justin:              I also want to throw it out to the Suicide Squad Future State book. This was really great as well. Really surprising, well-written dark take, featuring a ton of characters that I didn’t expect to really see together and just really smart observations of these characters.

Pete:                The second story, Black Adam really looks like The Rock, it’s like holy shit, all right guys, we get it.

Alex:                 Yeah, that was a weird one for me. But just to mention the writing team of that, written by Robbie Thompson, Jeremy Adams, art by Javier Fernandez, Fernando Pasarin. And real quick, before wrap up, here are the other ones, Future State Legion of Superheroes number one written by Brian Michael Bendis, gorgeous art as always by Riley Rossmo. And then there’s also Batman Superman number one, which is interesting one.

Pete:                That’s the one I wanted to talk about.

Alex:                 Written by Gene Luen Yang and art by Ben Oliver. Because this actually isn’t very Future State. This is, if Future State is 10, 15, 20, whatever years down the road, this is five years down the road with our Batman and Superman right before things go wrong, which is a fascinating tack to take, Pete, take it away.

Pete:                Yeah, I really thought this was, first off the banter back and forth between Superman and Batman was amazing. I also really liked this kind of false face thing. And then Superman realizing why masks are good was really cool. And I really liked this toad character that was introduced. Yeah, I was really impressed with this. Might not have been that far in the future, but man, this was a really cool book. I really liked it. And I’m trying to think, I also read the Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn, number four. And that was-

Alex:                 Pete.

Justin:              Totally [inaudible 00:16:24].

Pete:                I’m just putting it out there, we’re doing a quick review thing here.

Alex:                 No, no, no, but it’s not Future State.

Pete:                Well, it is DC.

Alex:                 You keep doing this. I send you a list of comics and you are like, I read these five other comics.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 I just think that the story is really-

Justin:              I just love comics.

Alex:                 Great. Pete, when we get to it, I read Amazing Spider-Man as well, so I just want to talk about that.

Pete:                Great. I’m just wanting to say real quick though, the Harley Quinn thing at first, the White Knight Presents, I didn’t, but now it’s really going well and I’m really impressed with it. And I thought it was a really great story and it’s worth checking out.

Justin:              Really grabbing the mic.

Alex:                 How was Usagi Yojimbo, Pete?

Pete:                I look forward to checking that out.

Alex:                 Wow.

Justin:              Wow, shame.

Alex:                 What a hater. Post Americana, oh.

Justin:              Hold up. One last thing about Future State. I think that DC should do this, pick a month every year, do this. It introduces so many interesting ideas. They could reflect whatever the ongoing stories are in the main titles in their Future State titles, introduce a bunch of new artists and writers into this world.

Pete:                I think that’s what they’re going to do.

Justin:              I don’t think they’re going to do that, but I wish they did.

Pete:                I think they are.

Alex:                 That’s a great idea. I mean it’s clearly like it was originally there to give everybody space on the schedule and everything, at least in terms of the writers and artists, but this is great. I’m so happy with all of these books.

Pete:                I also wanted to say in the Future State Legion one, the amazing last page, that was a really fun issue.

Alex:                 Sure.

Justin:              Yes.

Alex:                 Post Americana number two from Image Comics written and art by Dave Skroce. This is a wild book, we talked about the first issue of this taking place in post-apocalyptic world. When we left off, our main characters have been captured by cannibals who wear human skin. That’s where this issue picks up. Pete, you got to love that, picks up right where it left off basically.

Pete:                Huge fan.

Alex:                 This book is fucked up at exactly the right way. It’s like Crossed, but not as dark I guess, with a little bit more of a mission to it.

Justin:              I don’t know. It feels a lot just like Crossed. I don’t know where you’re seeing the less darkness. There’s less like coming on bullets before you shoot them at people.

Alex:                 Sure, that’s fair.

Pete:                I would say-

Alex:                 But the main lady has no limbs, but she calls her robot limbs and then kicks the ass of the cannibals, so that’s pretty fun.

Pete:                It’s like Iron Man. I would say this is like a really dark version of Wall-E a little bit, like a real fucked up Wall-E.

Justin:              Oh, Wall-E, interesting. I don’t get that.

Alex:                 Well, there’s a male character and there’s a female character like Eva.

Justin:              Oh, interesting. None of them are robots. And there’s a lot of other people there and many of them cannibals, which if I remember Wall-E correctly it’s very light on cannibalism. Am I wrong there?

Pete:                Yeah, it is.

Alex:                 Did you watch the director’s cut?

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 It’s on Disney plus.

Pete:                I was just talking about the people who are on vacation, looking at the news and kind of taking it all in. And that kind of little bit was very Wall-E.

Justin:              Oh, I see. Yes. I mean, to be fair, that is reminiscent of Wall-E. That was one panel.

Pete:                Still reminded me of Wall-E dickhead.

Justin:              You said this book is like a fucked up wall-E, and that is taking one panel and being like, this is … If I heard that description, I was like, “Oh, okay, fucked up Wall-E. I love Wall-E, I wish he was more fucked up. Let me read it.” And I was like, “What’s that dude Pete talking about?”

Pete:                Because there’s one panel that really reminds you of Wall-E.

Justin:              Okay, it’s hard to argue with you.

Alex:                 It’s a fictional story like Wall-E.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              My life’s a lot like Wall-E in that I occasionally watch a silent film.

Alex:                 This book is insanely over the top odd purpose, but I’m enjoying it two issues in-

Pete:                I am too.

Alex:                 … and I’m excited to see where it goes. Let’s move on to talk about Daredevil number 26 from Marvel written by Chip Zdarsky, art by Marco Checchetto and Meek Hawthorne, Mike Hawthorne. Excuse me, I don’t know why it’s spelled Meek, like the character for the Guardians of Galaxy, not Guardians of Galaxy, [inaudible 00:20:39], and World War Hulk.

Justin:              Yeah, we can just cut this part out of there.

Pete:                World War Hulk is right.

Alex:                 Mike Hawthorne, this is taking Daredevil who was in prison, mixing it up with King in Black. It is, Ted’s fucked up with an amazing last paddle. I’ll tell you what, I am vehemently against venomizing everything in the Marvel Universe, yet I love this, and I’m not 100% sure why.

Justin:              Well, I think it’s just really well handled. There’s a sort of kid and parent venomization here that is legit scary. I love the Electra taking over from Daredevils in prison. I love Electra being the Daredevil on the street. That’s such a fun story. To see them all having to handle the King in Black stuff is wild. And I loved that it didn’t take over, all the characters get to shine still. And this last bit where we … spoiler, but Daredevil gets venomized and you get to be in his head.

Pete:                You love that.

Justin:              I loved it. I thought it was so smart.

Pete:                Yeah, I was really … There’s a lot in this comic which is great. A lot of very interesting ideas in this comic, the whole prison scene, and where Daredevil’s getting kind of lectured and talking about the difference between white and black. He can just take off the mask and be somebody else, really powerful stuff, really cool. It’s very interesting to see Kingpin. I am not tired of this idea of Kingpin being a public figure. And we know him as this evil person and he’s like, it’s just very … I love this idea and I’m not sick of it. And I hope it continues around Daredevil.

Alex:                 One thing that I really loved was getting to see the moment when the mayor of New York finds out that venom symbiotes have attacked the city. I feel like that’s something that you’d never really get to see at all in a comic book crossover, because it’s always focusing on The Avengers, focusing on the superheroes. You never get to see the government, except later on when captain America is like, “Can you send out the national guard?” And they’re like, “Yeah, absolutely.” You never get to see that moment they’re like, “Oh, aliens attacking again. You got to get out of here.”

Justin:              It’s funny too because I feel like I’ve heard mayor de Blasio talk a lot about them, the venomization of New York.

Alex:                 Oh yeah, he always talks about that.

Pete:                I’m sick.

Justin:              I mean, to be fair, he’s often jumping to conclusions.

Alex:                 Right. Well, you remember when those venom symbiotes attacked New York, he was like, “Alternate side of the street park [inaudible 00:23:18].” It’s very niche content.

Pete:                Yeah, it is.

Justin:              It is very New York focused content.

Alex:                 Great comic though. Let’s move on and talk about Monstress number 31 from Image Comics written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda. Now we had talked about Monstress: Talk Stories, the two-part book that came out before this, after not talking about Monstress for a very long period of time. I thought those were awesome, so I thought it was worth checking out this book, the main book and seeing how it’s going. I still love the art in this. This is such a weird wild world that is fascinating to jump in with, the mythology is so different and interesting to read. But what did you guys think about it?

Justin:              Yeah, I agree with you. This is very much to me, and I haven’t read a lot of this book, but it’s very much to me like all of the cut scenes from Final Fantasy game just sort of put together. And I love that, so I thought this was a fun read.

Pete:                The art is really impressive in this book and it’s really a lot of fun, the different monsters and stuff and the different kind of animal people that we kind of see in this is very cool and worth checking out alone. But you guys, this has to be a dream of yours. Just sit down and have a father, daughter conversation as you sit on a pile of skulls and just kind of have a father daughter talk or a father son talk, that’s got to be something that you guys look forward to as parents.

Justin:              Hmm, didn’t go where I thought it was. Yeah, sure. I mean, after stabbing practice obviously we do sit on skulls after.

Pete:                Obviously after, yeah.

Alex:                 Exactly. Let’s move on and talk about The Other History of the DC Universe number two from DC Comics, written by John Ridley, art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, where the first issue of this book focused on black lightning, here we’re jumping over to the Teen Titans and looking to two characters there. I got to tell you, I mean, this issue was phenomenal as the first issue is phenomenal.

Justin:              It’s so good.

Alex:                 It’s fascinating personally reading this for me because I am much more familiar with what happened with black lightning. And there’s much more touchstones in that book than here, because I never read Teen Titans growing up. I had no idea what was going on there, the continuity. This is definitely, I understand this feels like the decades, but none of these stories, other than Titans Hunt which we talked about at a live show a couple of months ago, and some of the Deathstroke stuff, none of it really feels familiar with me. But at the same time I love this story and I love the idea of taking two characters who were in Teen Titans showing their diverse opinions, their diverse ideas, views of what was going on throughout the history of the DC Universe. This is such a cool project. It’s very exciting.

Justin:              It’s just so smart the way it takes two characters and really weaves their stories together with observations that … A lot of the things that happen in this from the original comics are ridiculous. But to then weave them into one story with actual commentary of what a real person would think, I think it just works so well, on top of that weaving in like real-world events and the perspective of these two African-American characters in a world where, which they talk about a lot where everyone else is white essentially, it’s just really well done. This is necessary reading I think right there.

Pete:                Yeah. I didn’t know how much I wanted this until it happened, just to have that kind of commentary on the stuff that we know from the years of reading comics is just so rich and great and such a cool idea. Art’s amazing. I’m really impressed with the writing and storytelling. It’s a must pick up.

Alex:                 Great stuff. Let’s move on and talk about Nailbiter Returns number nine from Image Comics written by Joshua Williamson, art by Mike Henderson, not Meek Henderson or anything like that.

Justin:              No, that would be [crosstalk 00:27:24].

Alex:                 That was so much fun.

Justin:              Well, I guess we’ll have to cut this out too.

Alex:                 Yes. In this book we’re finally getting a lot of answers about what has been going on in Buckaroo with the butchers. We get the [inaudible 00:27:38] back on the villain of this series. Another just great issue, like the theology that they keep fleshing out here is so impressive and so much fun.

Justin:              And we finally get the eyeball licking that I think we’ve all been asking.

Pete:                Oh, man.

Alex:                 Absolutely. I’ve been begging for it. I’ve been writing them every week. Where is it? Where is it? Where is it?

Pete:                Yeah. You guys are big eyeball lickers, this is right up your alley. This book has started at such a crazy place. And I think every issue like, oh, okay, now I understand. But it keeps getting more and more insane in such a great way. It heightens and makes things even better than you thought. I’ve been really impressed with the kind of unraveling of the stories, if you will. And man, this is so intense and gross and over the top in all the right ways, the arts fantastic. And man, eyeballs are gross.

Justin:              Yeah. But I agree and the amount of sort of dream logic that’s been used in this book, I was really surprised by, but it’s been great and it really keeps you guessing throughout.

Alex:                 Next one, I’m very excited and I mean this earnestly to find out what Pete thought about this book, X-Men number 17 from Marvel Comics, written by Jonathan Hickman, art by Brett Booth. In this issue the X-Men in classic uniforms, X factor uniforms journey to Shi’ar space and have a classic nineties style fight to save [inaudible 00:29:18]. Pete.

Justin:              Save Xandra.

Alex:                 Oh yes.

Justin:              This generation’s [inaudible 00:29:24].

Alex:                 Yeah, sorry. Pete, if there is any issue of X-Men, it had to be this issue, right?

Pete:                Sure. I mean, it was very kind of like, it was a little nineties art that was a little bit like, holy crap, when does this take place in the timeline? But man, yeah, it was enjoyable. I mean the phone call was a little ridiculous. And there was still something that I was supposed to read that didn’t in the middle of it.

Alex:                 Oh my God, that was so much fun. [crosstalk 00:30:00] Bobby.

Justin:              It was very fun.

Pete:                I’ll never know.

Alex:                 Chilling out having a hilarious time. So funny.

Pete:                I mean, it’s nineties excellent fun is what it is and all the right ways. And so that part is very cool.

Justin:              This to me was such a wild read. Coming off of X of Swords and everything that’s been going on in the X-Men books, to read this sort of love letter to the Chris Claremont era of X-Men, drawn by Brett Booth with all this really goofy shit going on between Sunspot and Cannonball. Throughout the whole issue I was like this, it just feels like Jonathan Hickman is like, I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want. And this is what I want to do right now as a palette cleanser after X of Swords, and here it is.

Alex:                 It’s great. I could not believe where they had that splash page of Jean Gray and psych labs in the X-Force uniforms storm in her classic uniform, just walking out and like posing in [inaudible 00:31:03] field style. That’s great.

Justin:              There’s this panel on page nine or something with storms in the front and then behind you got like Cyclops and Jean just flirting in the background. I was just like, this is so … And I love seeing that.

Alex:                 Me too.

Justin:              I was like, it’s such a flashback.

Alex:                 And the other thing that we get a tease of here is there’s going to be an actual vote online to choose the new member of the X-Men, which is so fun. I just love the fact that they’re having fun.

Pete:                You think that’s fun?

Alex:                 What?

Pete:                You think that’s fun?

Justin:              I do think it’s fun. Here, let’s list the options here, and then let’s hear who everybody thinks. We’ve got Banshee.

Pete:                Can we talk about the … in the middle of this giant epic fight, she calls home for help. And we got to listen to this douchebag talk about a fire sale and how he’s making money off of it. Do you guys know what a fire sale is? Do you know what … I mean, this is like, it’s very …

Alex:                 It’s for Sunspot.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 That’s what he does.

Justin:              Yeah. It was fun. It was weird and fun. That’s what the point of it was.

Pete:                Cool.

Alex:                 What is your problem with the X-Men vote, Pete? Is it that you have to use a computer, which you don’t know how to use yet?

Pete:                Yeah, that’s exactly it.

Justin:              Let me throw it down. Let me list the X-Men, Banshee, Polaris, Forge, Boom Boom, Tempo, hugely famous Tempo, Cannonball, Sunspot, Strong Guy, Mero, Armor.

Pete:                Armor.

Justin:              Who’s your pick?

Alex:                 I do like Armor.

Pete:                I go Armor.

Alex:                 Wait, who is on it then? Who is already on the team? Because I don’t know the list, obviously seen Cyclops, Jean Gray, Storm.

Justin:              Yeah, I mean, I don’t know either. I think it’s sort of up in the air maybe or maybe it’s decided.

Alex:                 Who’s the first batch again?

Justin:              Banshee, Polaris, Forge, Boom Boom, Tempo.

Alex:                 Ooh, I want to see if Storm is on the team. I want to see Forge on this team. Because I want to see that old nineties tension between them. That’d be fun.

Justin:              Yeah, they had a lot of tension.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              I’m definitely going for Strong Guy.

Pete:                Really?

Alex:                 Love it.

Justin:              I love Strong Guy.

Alex:                 All right.

Pete:                No Boom Boom.

Justin:              Fun character. Funny character. A lot of pathos underneath his his powers, great, great character.

Alex:                 I got to assume Wolverine is the other one, right? It’s Wolverine and Storm, Cyclops, Jean Gray and whoever the fifth one is.

Justin:              It’s a bunch of X-Men. I don’t know. We don’t know. Remember every other X-Men book has been like, look, a bunch of random experts.

Alex:                 It’s true. All right. Let’s throw it out to Pete the page here with a [inaudible 00:33:49], Spawn number 314 from Image Comics, written by Todd McFarlane, art by Carlo Barberi. In this issue Spawn meets a larger Spawn.

Pete:                Yeah. And is immediately confused why this larger spawn would be attacking him. He’s like, “Hey, wait, we look similar, we should be on the same size, giant spawn.”

Alex:                 What I love about this giant spawn, having not read many issues of Spawn before this, is it is entirely possible this large spawn was introduced prior or this large spawn was just introduced this issue. But either way is fine.

Justin:              Let me just throw out there, he fights a larger spawn, is captured, and then that larger spawn is like, “It’s time to meet my master, who is the large and even larger spawn.”

Pete:                And even larger spawn, because [crosstalk 00:34:39], well, you can’t get larger in that spawn. And by the way our spawn is so small in comparison to the large spawn and then even larger one. But what’s fun-

Alex:                 Here’s my question, why do they keep calling each other spawn? Because that’s like their designation, right? It would be like, if we kept calling each other a human or something like that.

Justin:              Yes.

Alex:                 It’s weird.

Pete:                Well, human.

Justin:              It is weird. Yeah, they should have a short hand, because they’re all in the spawn business together.

Pete:                I really liked this twist at the end where it’s like, oh man, you giant spawns are going to get taken down by even smaller spawn. What a twist.

Alex:                 Remember that he’s not a spawn, I think he’s sharp night guy.

Pete:                He’s night spawn, that’s [crosstalk 00:35:24].

Alex:                 Oh, he’s night spawn, was that medieval spawn?

Pete:                It’s medieval spawn. I don’t know if it’s medieval. It looks like a night spawn.

Justin:              I think, and it wasn’t introduced in issue six or something crazy, way back in the day.

Pete:                What, medieval spawn?

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                That was-

Alex:                 Before we move on here-

Pete:                No, no, that was a crossover event where medieval spawn was its own comic series for a little, dark ages spawn.

Justin:              Yeah, that’s right. I’m starting to think this Todd McFarlane guy is trying to sell some action figures.

Pete:                Well, he is, he makes a lot of them, and it’s smart. Because if I was a kid I would want all the spawns, but the dark ages spawn is where [crosstalk 00:36:01].

Alex:                 But as an adult you know better.

Justin:              As an adult you put away childish things.

Pete:                That’s right.

Justin:              And you’d have no interest in having any of these action figures.

Alex:                 Pete, before we move on, I just want to ask, did you like this comic book?

Pete:                Yeah, what’s not to like?

Alex:                 Your voice was very high.

Justin:              Wow, really high-pitched answer there, Pete. And let’s just, for the listener, Pete, is sitting on a pile of spawn action figures as if they were skulls.

Pete:                Yes.

Alex:                 The Last God number 12 from DC Comics written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, art by Riccardo Federici. This is wrapping up the first maybe arc of this book. But it definitely wraps up the story that we have here as our friends to try to take down The Last God, I guess.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Big revelations here, some big deaths. What’d you think? How’d you think about this story as a whole over the course of 12 issues?

Pete:                Epic. I really love the storytelling, and [inaudible 00:36:58] is like we see them in action, but as the issues go on, we get little bits and pieces of their backstory, I think done so well, while telling a bigger story. The action and the lead-up of the ending of this was just really well done. And I wasn’t the biggest fan of songs or whatever, but it really kind of fit. I loved all the back matter and the maps and stuff. This was just a fantastic epic story that I think really 12 issues of just gold.

Justin:              It’s really beautifully drawn. The story’s great. And the fact that it ends with this just great song where we see all the characters, it feels just like a montage at the end of a epic trilogy. I want to see this as a TV series more than I want to see The Lord of the Rings series that’s in development at Amazon.

Pete:                Wow.

Alex:                 Couldn’t agree more. Let’s move on and talk about Something Is Killing the Children number 14 from BOOM! Studios, art by James Tynion IV, art by Werther Dell’Edera. Here we’re getting our hero finally fighting back against the monsters who are the ones killing the children. Justin, I know you’ve been, frustrated is probably too strong a word, but you’ve definitely felt like this title needs to get somewhere. Did you feel like it got there with this issue?

Justin:              Yes, it does feel like this is the issue that’s sort of moving into what this arc is about. When so many of the issues in this arc were very much like we got to fight this stuff, we got to get out there and do this. And we were getting little tidbits. Let me start over, this arc felt like it was going to be this huge backstory arc, really getting us to the next phase. And then it didn’t do that. And then this feels like it does it.

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

Pete:                I disagree a little bit with Justin. I think this continues to be amazing. I didn’t think-

Alex:                 It’s very good. The art is very good. The fight sequences are awesome in this book.

Pete:                Yeah. I’ve just been impressed with it from start to finish, but I think that we do kind of get to see the main girl kind of views her kind of veteran’s styles to kind of work her kind of magic a little bit. I’m glad we got to finally see that. And I love the whole bit about her working out some anger issues, oh, that just spoke to me in ways that you can’t believe. But I want to get one of those mass to walk around with the light that she has. I think that’d be really cool. But yeah, I can’t say enough great things about this book. This is really glorious.

Alex:                 It’s good staff. Moving on to Strange Adventures number eight from DC Comics written by Tom King, art by Mitch Gerads and Evan Doc Shaner. In this issue the Pykkts finally attack earth. The whole Justice League is on the offensive, Adam Strange of course is caught in the middle. And in the backstory, finding out more about what’s gotten with Adam Strange, and it is starting to feel like maybe he’s the bad guy here. What do you guys think about what’s going on?

Justin:              I mean there’s … Go ahead. You go.

Pete:                Yeah, so I’ve been a little frustrated with this up until this issue, because I felt like we haven’t really had enough information to really kind of piece together what’s going on. In this we get a lot of information which is great and much needed. The very crazy cool touching stuff with the daughter here. Yeah, I felt like this finally started to click for me and I was like, “Oh my God. Okay. Now I’m understanding things a little bit more and I want to go back and read it from the beginning.”

Justin:              I mean, this book is so good. It’s such a stressful read, like a lot of Tom King stuff. The tension in this book, it’s just palpable throughout. And we have Adam Strange in the last couple of issues. We found out that he’s been tortured basically for a million lifetimes, just absolutely brutalized. And in this issue, it just rephrases him. He’s gone through so much trauma. He’s like a fully broken person. And Doc Shaner’s art like, he still has these perfectly clear blue eyes, but you just see the pain that he’s in and how he is just not capable of being a hero. And that adds so much dread to the scenes with his daughter. And then meanwhile, you have Mr. Terrific and Batman trying to sort through with great sequences of Mr. Terrific answering trivia questions from one of his fears. I’m so excited to see where this is going.

Alex:                 I am starting to feel despite what I said at the beginning, that this is more about perspectives on war and how nobody is right. That there isn’t really a villain. I know I said maybe Adam Strange was the villain, but I think he committed atrocities, the Pykkts committed atrocities. That’s what happens in war. We know that Tom King has been in wars. He was in the CIA. He knows how this works. And I think that’s what he’s writing about here is that from the perspective of your side, of course you’re right, but that doesn’t mean that you’re right for the perspective of the other side. And I think that’s what he’s playing with here.

Justin:              There are no heroes.

Alex:                 Exactly.

Justin:              It’s very hard to have a hero when you’re in a war where both sides are fighting to kill and fighting for their lives. And I think that’s what we’re going to get next issue.

Alex:                 Yeah. Next up, An Unkindness of Ravens number five from Boom! Studios written by Dan Panosian, art by Marianna Ignazzi. This is the end of the first arc, first book, whatever you want to call it, of this title. We’ve had our main characters try to figure out what’s going on in this weird small town here, spoiler, but she finds out her mother is alive. She had a twin sister who had some power maybe, but it turns out actually she didn’t. It turns out she might have the power. She might be the one that is supposed to complete this coven of witches or whatever is going on here. We were big fans of this from when they started. How did you feel about how it wrapped up?

Justin:              I liked this so much. I think it’s set up a good mystery. I really, the art is so approachable, it makes you really feel like you’re right alongside the main characters. And this last couple of pages reveal is just so sweet. And it does such a good job, especially with the art of being very like Archie or comic books Sabrina. But having more mature themes and more sort of deeper storytelling than those original comics.

Alex:                 Pete, what about you?

Justin:              I really like this, this continues to be a fantastic book. I’ve been really impressed with kind of how we’re finding out the information as this story is going. And this whole thing about this kind of coven of witches called the ravens. And it’s just very cool. And I really liked this kind of mother daughter interaction. I feel like it’s very kind of like old timey versus now times. This kind of like, there’s a bigger picture and then … But somebody just so caught up in their own shit, they can’t kind of see the bigger things going on. I was really impressed with that. The art is glorious. I’m really into it and I’m excited to see how this kind of unfolds what choice she makes moving forward, what team she’s going to choose.

Alex:                 Good stuff. Last but not least, Colonel Weird: Cosmagog number four from Dark Horse Comics, excuse me, written by Jeff Lemire, art by Tyler Crook. This is also wrapping up this title exploring one of the members of Black Hammer. There’s a big emotional catharsis that happens here as he moves forward in his history. I thought this title was awesome. Just Tyler Crooks art is phenomenal.

Justin:              So good.

Alex:                 The writing is great. We’ve talked about this before. I’ve said this before, but it’s like Slaughterhouse-Five in space. Good stuff.

Justin:              Centered on an Adam Strange type of character. I mean, we’ve talked a lot about eyeballs in this episode The Stack.

Pete:                Yeah, sure have.

Justin:              And in this comic like-

Pete:                Eyeball heavy stack.

Justin:              Yeah, eyeball heavy. I’ve been just licking these eyeballs, lapping them up. And this, you just see so much pain in the different versions of Colonel Weird throughout time, throughout this book. And it’s just so good. It’s such a well done story.

Pete:                I think the cover says so much. It’s like The Little Prince and Outer Space, but sad.

Alex:                 That cover is so good. Go ahead, Pete.

Pete:                Yeah, it’s really unbelievable. I feel like I want to read it all again because it ended and I was like, “Wait, what?” I wasn’t sure how great the ending is until I want to go back and read it all again. But it was really cool, very creative and the art’s unbelievable.

Alex:                 And that is it for The Stack. If you’d like to support our show, 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 at Comic Book Live on Twitter, for this podcast, and more iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice to subscribe and listen. Until next time, keep supporting Dim Comics.

Justin:              Time for stabbing rehearsal.

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