On this week’s comic book review podcast:
Infinite Frontier #0
Written by Joshua Williamson, James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Brian Michael Bendis, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Joelle Jones, Tim Sheridan, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Geoff Johns, Geoffrey Thorne
Art by David Marquez, Jorge Jimenez, Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, Joelle Jones, Stephen Byrne, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Jamal Igle, Alex Maleev, Todd Nauck, Dexter Soy, Howard Porter, John Romita Sr. and Klaus Janson
America Chavez: Made In The USA #1
Written by Kalinda Vazquez
Art by Carlos Gómez
Written by James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson
Art by Jorge Jimenez, Gleb Melnikov
Demon Days: X-Men #1
Story and Art by Peach Momoko
Suicide Squad #1
Written by Robbie Thompson
Art by Eduardo Pansica
Wiccan and Hulkling: King in Black #1
Written by Tini Howard
Art by Luciano Vecchio
The Swamp Thing #1
Written by Ram V
Art by Mike Perkins
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Tony S. Daniel
Crime Syndicate #1
Written by Andy Schmidt
Art by Kieran McKeown, Bryan Hitch
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1
By Chris Samnee and Laura Samnee
Sea of Sorrows #4
Written by Rich Douek
Art by Alex Cormack
The Comic Book History of Animation #4
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Ryan Dunlavey
Full Episode Transcript
Alex: What’s 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 books that come out this week, and we’re going to kick it off with a big one. Infinite Frontier, number zero-
Pete: Oh, man.
Alex: … from DC Comics. Nice, simple lineup of names here. So let’s go through it. Written by Joshua Williamson, James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Brian Michael Bendis, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Joelle Jones, Tim Sheridan, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Geoffrey Thorne. Art by David Marquez, Jorge Jimenez, Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, Joelle Jones, Stephen Bird and Rafa Sandovall, Jody… Oh, there we go. Jordi Tarragona, Jamal Igle, Alex Maleev, Todd Nauck, Dexter Soy, Howard Porter, John Romita Sr. and Klaus Janson.
Alex: Now this is your requisite, post-event check in with the entire DC Universe. What’s going on? What’s happening with everybody? What’s everybody’s new status quo now that the continuity has changed. So we kind of know how this one goes, but the framing here is that Wonder Woman has maybe ascended to be a higher being, she’s trying to decide about that.
Alex: And so she’s taken a look in on the new state and the multi-verse post Dark Nights: Death Metal. How’d you feel about this book? How’d you feel about the status quo? What jumped out at you?
Pete: For me, I thought the Bat cycle was sick. Cool green Lanterns thing. And love the last page, but what is happening now with DC?
Alex: Wait, what do you mean Pete?
Pete: Well, like we were really enjoying these DC kind of what if books, and now it’s just all over and-
Alex: Well so-
Pete: … and it all-
Alex: … Phillip Kennedy Johnson, when he was on the show, talked about this a little bit. He said that the Future State things are, and they talk about this in this book a bit as well, but not as explicitly, that they’re a possible future or a possible futures. These are places the continuity may be going or may not, but they’re not ignoring them.
Alex: And you can see that a little bit in the Batman story that teases the magistrate storyline. That plays later in The Stack Podcast where we’re going to be talking about Batman 106, where that plays in a big way. But that’s what we’re getting here is these new status quos, these new setups, they might head towards these disasters that we’ve seen in Future State, but also maybe not. We’ll have to see what happens.
Justin: … And I really like that. I liked the confidence with which DC moved forward through Future State and into this where it’s like, “Okay, all that stuff happened, you read it, and then we’re not going to dance around it. We’re just going to jump into the books and we’re going to start to pepper those things in, those things that we like, those things that-“
Pete: Maybe though?
Justin: … I appreciate that though. It really-
Pete: Why do you appreciate that? Because they’re saying, “We may do something that you really enjoyed, we may not. Go fuck yourself.”
Justin: … I love that. I like-
Justin: … I enjoyed what we saw, and then if they-
Pete: I very much enjoyed it, but I would like to know if I’m going to get some of it or not.
Justin: Well, then you continue being a fan, I think is the real… Like, if you keep talking about the things that you loved, I think they will do those things. And the things that people didn’t like, they won’t do those things. And we [crosstalk 00:03:21].
Alex: You heard it here first, true believer. You’re going to have to check in every week to find out whether the adventures of your favorite superheroes are going to turn out good, bad, or something in between. Excelsior.
Justin: I can’t.
Pete: Mr. Magoo? I can’t hear anything you’re saying.
Alex: Just imagine. Me, Mr. Magoo. Imagine this in the DC Universe, Future State.
Pete: All I see is The Lost DVD thing. And I don’t hear anything you’re saying, because I’m just focused on The Lost DVD question that popped up.
Alex: Here’s the big twist, Pete, that Lost DVD thing behind me has been here the whole time.
Justin: Wow, I don’t know if that’s-
Pete: Well, that’s not true.
Justin: … a direct quote from Lost-
Pete: That’s not true.
Justin: … but even if it’s not, I don’t want to hear it. I like the Batman stuff I think is really fun here. It’s interesting that Grifter is now just fully part of the Bat Universe. The Bat Universe feels fairly large right now.
Alex: Well, and you get to see more of that in Batman 106 as well. It’s a big cast, but I agree with you. I like how James Tynion is playing with it. I like the potential threat of The Magistrate. I love the reveal at the end here of what Scarecrow looks like right now. That’s pretty terrifying. What’s up Pete?
Pete: So you guys are just okay with the fact that we just got two months of amazing stories and now like, “Eh, done.” “Maybe we’re going to do something-“
Alex: They told us. That’s exactly what was happening going in.
Pete: … You can tell us that. But then when you fall in love with it, as you’re reading it and buying these, and then have it maybe show up or maybe be taken away, it’s just-
Alex: This is the same thing that happened to you with Titania when you went to Europe, Pete. It was supposed to be two months. And then you were like, “Okay, let’s head home, baby.” And she’s like, “No, I live here. I cannot come with you, Pete.”
Pete: Did you say Titanita?
Alex: Come on. You know the name of your ex-girlfriend, Titania, who you met in Belgium.
Pete: Yeah, sure.
Justin: Titania. Famous. Famously, a real person’s name. Read a little Midsummer Night’s Dream over there?
Pete: No, I don’t know?
Alex: Oh, man.
Justin: I’m curious what Green Lantern’s going to do. They introduced the Teen Lantern here, which, okay, a little up in the air there. Flash really puts a flag in like, “We’re fully back to Wally West as the main Flash,” which Alex, you must love.
Alex: Great. Feeling a little conflicted after the past couple of years of storyline there. But I will say one thing that I was very happy about was Geoff Johns and Todd Nauck, back on Stargirl. They’ve been going all in on that since the series came back. They’re going to another story I think, coming up, another comic. That’s great. It’s just fun. They capture the tone perfectly. I’m really enjoying it. And I really like what they do here. Setting up Pat as connected to The Seven Soldiers of Victory, which is something from the TV show, where they’re doing the very smart thing of creating stories that work in the DC continuity, also work for fans of the TV show. I think that’s very, a nice thing to do.
Justin: How hyped were you when Darkseid’s knee-high boot slammed on The Spectre’s head?
Pete: Ah, spoiler dude. Jesus.
Alex: Let’s talk about the end of the book. Always. Great to see John Romita Sr. and Klaus Janson’s art on stuff.
Alex: That’s awesome.
Alex: Who cares about Darkseid? To be totally-
Pete: What are you talking about?
Alex: … blunt about it? There’s been so many Darkseid stories. I appreciate the idea that like-
Pete: There’s a ton of Joker stories.
Alex: … “We’re bringing it back to basics. It’s Darkseid versus the whole DC Universe. None of this crazy perpetuous stuff. We’re just going to clean it up. It’s just going to be a slam bang slab fest. Let’s have a little bit of a fun time here guys.” That’s great. But at the same time, I’ve read so many stories of Darkseid versus the DC Universe. If he had been away for a while, that would be a different thing. But we’ve had so much Darkseid in different iterations. He’s been on a justice league team. His daughter has been hanging around. If it was a character that was gone for a while, I feel like the impact would have been much greater. But as is, I was like, “All right, this is very nice art, happy to read this. I’m sure this will be fun.” But this is not the cliff hanger I think it was meant to be.
Pete: Oh, I completely disagree. I was so happy to see Darkseid at the end of it, because I was just… First off, it’s a zero issue. So fuck you for putting all that shit in a zero issue. Fuck you. That is not a Zero Issue. There is so much important that happens in that issue. It’s unbelievable.
Justin: Oh, I thought you were going to drop a beat, drop a little rhyme there.
Pete: [crosstalk 00:07:50] It was a spam phone call.
Alex: We put it in a zero issue. Don’t blow it in a tissue.
Pete: Please don’t be the white guy, beat-boxing and trying to rhyme. That’s just awful.
Alex: I mean I think-
Pete: Stop it.
Alex: I think that was-
Alex: … I think that was really good.
Pete: No. I… In all this madness, to see Darkseid, I was like, “Yes. Okay. Now we can get to a storyline. I understand what’s happening here. I don’t know why there’s all this other madness going on, but I can understand this.” So I felt really good about that ending and it got me excited to read the first issue. What the fuck?
Justin: Does Darkseid always look like he’s crumbling to you guys. I feel like he’s like a gritty sidewalk. He’s like concrete that’s slowly just crumbling out. Like, he needs a good moisturizer?
Pete: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex: Do you think that’s how to stop him?
Pete: We all need a good moisturizer.
Alex: Send him to a spa day?
Justin: Yeah. A solid pressure washer would really take him down I feel like.
Pete: No, man.
Alex: Just give him a cream called The Pro-life Equation. It would just really smooth him out. Let’s move on and talk about America Chavez: Made in the USA, number one from Marvel. Written by Kalinda Vazquez. Art by Carlos Gomez. So this is, of course, bringing back a solo title for America Chavez. It is revamping her origin quite a bit, adding some new details, some new threats. What’d you think about this book?
Justin: I like this. America Chavez is such a unique, her power set is so weird. And so I like… And her origin is so specific with her coming from another earth and sort of wandering into our world. And then most recently on the Avengers West Coast team. Very fun. I think this book’s great.
Pete: Yeah. I agree. I really thought this was a fantastic first issue. Gets you excited for this world and what’s going on. I really like the character. Also, super nice of her, in the middle of a mole battle, to answer questions from somebody with just a camera that… like an old camera, not even like a cell phone. So I was very impressed with her and how she handles herself. Yeah, I think they did a great job of getting me excited for more. I think this was a really solid first issue. Love the art, love the writing.
Alex: It probably helps that this starts out in Los Angeles, but it definitely feels of a piece with the work that Kelly Thompson did on the West Coast Avengers title, on the Hawkeye title as well. You got Kate Bishop cameo in here. But it moves off into its own thing, but it has that sense of fun, that sense of weirdness. It’s great. I really enjoyed this book quite a bit.
Alex: Let’s move on to the book that we talked about a little bit earlier, at least teased a little bit earlier, Batman, number 106 from DC Comics. Written by James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson. Art by Jorge Jimenez and Gleb Melnikov. This is the new status quo for Gotham City, Batman chilling out in a basement with Ghost-Maker, fighting crime. Until some new and old villains are coming for him and things are tightening quite a bit. This is, I thought, great.
Justin: Yeah, I agree. I really-
Alex: Pete, you have a question though. You raised your hand.
Pete: Yeah. I just… You love a good commercial in the middle of the comics. So I was just wondering what you thought of The Oracle eating Ruffaloes? I thought that was a nice nod to Mark Ruffalo who may, or may not be-
Alex: Dude sadly died and was made into potato chips? Is that what you’re talking about?
Pete: … Yeah, exactly.
Pete: I’m just wondering, because you love when they change the, instead of ruffles, they… So they were cute with that. Just wondering usually, you enjoy that. So I was just wondering…
Alex: Yeah, I wish there was a little bit of a Hulk crunch on there, that would have really nailed it. But I guess, wrong universe, you couldn’t go do that.
Justin: Hard to do that, yeah.
Alex: Yeah. But yeah, that was my big takeaway from the book as well. So thank you, Pete.
Pete: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it was cool to see Batman working with Oracle. Just, she’s super caszh that she can fight crime and eat chips. I mean, that’s pretty awesome. But it was also interesting, this Ghost-Maker and Batman dynamic. To see how casual they are sometimes is a little jarring, but it’s fun. It’s a new kind of dynamic. And I like the new villain who didn’t get their reveal out before they got punched in the face, was cool. Yeah, I think the Demon or Detective was fun. So it should be interesting to see how this all unfolds. So I’m in.
Justin: Yeah, and the way that this spins directly out of the Future State stuff to have this villain, this scientist setting up the Magistrate program, that they really used a ton in the Future State, but never really resolved. So I think that’s cool. And we get to see that build up. I do miss… I think it’s strange that Ghost-Maker is replacing Robin, basically? In a weird way. We get a Robin backup here in this issue, which I also thought was cool.
Pete: Oh, that was awesome.
Justin: Now after you’ve had a long day of fighting crime, do you go home and spar with your buddy? I think I’d be like, “Come on, man. Let’s [crosstalk 00:13:09].”
Alex: Sure, if you’re a chef, you’re cooking all day and then you go home and you eat. Same thing.
Justin: Cooking and eating is actually two very different processes, Alex.
Alex: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think so.
Pete: Maybe a chef goes home and orders food, because he’s so tired of cooking.
Alex: We talked about this quite a bit, but James Tynion’s run has had these weird stops and starts. It’s been so good across the board, but it was supposed to be a very short storyline. Then it got expanded. Then it got interrupted by the Future State and Dark Nights: Death Metal stuff. So, this feels like a new fresh start for him. And I’m really hoping this time it gets to be whatever ongoing story he wants to tell, because he’s such a good storyteller. I don’t want to see another event come in, or another switch, or something like that. I want to see what is the long form story that James Tynion has to tell about Batman.
Pete: I was very confused, because the Batman one was the first time I saw the cover and I was just like, “What happened to the last event?” The cover was… I was just like, “What is going on?” So, I’m glad we got in, in the Zero Issue.
Alex: Well, let’s move on to something you probably like, Pete. Demon Days: X-Men, number one from Marvel Comics. Story set by Peach Mamoko. This is a very different take on the X-Men. What’d you think Pete? You like this book?
Pete: Well, yes, I did very much the art-
Justin: Huge X-Men fan, Pete LePage.
Pete: … Normally, yes. The art is absolutely glorious. It is just almost like a painting here. I’m a sucker for watercolors. I just love it. The character designs are so cool and unique. It’s got this kind of like old style [inaudible 00:14:53] meets new. I’m very, very much into this. It was really cool. And the wolf is Wolverine named Logan. I was in it to win it, and they really delivered on this first issue.
Justin: I agree. The art is very… it’s really beautiful here. I thought it was interesting for an X-Men book to have Venom be the villain, and Hulk be here? Is what I took the big red demon to be.
Pete: They’re two characters in Marvel, so.
Justin: Yeah, but I don’t know if you follow the X-Men really, but they’re traditionally not associated with them.
Alex: Well, that was the thing that was-
Alex: … confusing to me. I read this book and not once did any island fuck another island. So it didn’t feel like an X-Men book to me, to be honest.
Justin: I think it was implied that Japan was fucking another-
Pete: Go on. Go on-
Justin: … the Philippines.
Pete: … name one other island.
Alex: I was going to say, yeah.
Justin: I was trying to name a neighboring island, because the islands don’t travel to fuck, they fuck the neighboring islands.
Alex: I can picture the map. See, we got into your head. It’s just Japan, and there’s nothing around you except ocean. [crosstalk 00:16:02].
Pete: Absolutely nothing. It’s nothing.
Justin: A lot of ocean.
Pete: Oh, yeah.
Alex: There you go. Yes. Very good book. Let’s move on to talk about Suicide Squad, number one from DC Comics. Written by Robbie Thompson. Art by Eduardo Pansica. This is bringing in a little bit of the upcoming movie with Peacemaker. The thing that I thought was kind of fascinating about this, we didn’t talk about this-
Justin: Kind of?
Alex: … this happens in Infinite Frontier, number zero. Continues in the Batman issue. But big event, pretty much everybody in The Arkham Asylum is killed. Seemingly by Joker Gas. Turns out later it’s actually the Scarecrow faking Joker Gas, including most of the inmates, including potentially Bane, among other folks. But the Suicide Squad issue takes place the same time as that. They’re trying to break Talon out of Arkham Asylum when The Gas comes, and that’s what we’re playing with here. I like this. I thought Robbie Thompson writes a good Suicide Squad. I think the danger is there. The unnecessary deaths are there. So it hits all the bases. And Eduardo Pansica’s art is real good.
Justin: I can’t believe we lost Film Freak so early on in his career.
Pete: I mean, I agree. I thought this was really great issue, and hopefully, the movie will be just as enjoyable. It’s fun because all the Peacemaker dialogue in my head, it was John Cena speaking those lines. I didn’t like the Superboy reveal, did not like that. That was scary. I thought it had a really great ending. And then it was also weird how Waller was like, “I’m tired of losing.”
Alex: She loses a lot.
Justin: She loses a lot. I love the page of Superboy was great, I thought. The kryptonite shackles and the-
Pete: It made me sad.
Justin: … It’s sad. It is sad. Because Superboy is a hero and he’s entrapped.
Alex: Sorry about that, Pete. I hope you get past that. Let’s talk about Wiccan and Hulkling: King in Black, number one from Marvel. Written by T.D. Howard. Art by Luciano Vecchio. This is following up on the Empire event. They are married now, they’re ruling space, and of course, some goop dragons bash their way into their honeymoon and they have to deal with that. Lots of fun stuff in here. I always like a good Wiccan and Hulkling book. And I think T.D. Howard captures their voices quite well.
Justin: Yeah, and this book-
Justin: … I liked that this was just a fun book. It wasn’t trying to do a bunch of stuff. It was like, “Okay, we’ve seen… We know where these two characters are, but we haven’t actually seen them be married and be ruling. So let’s just do that and have it be a fun tie-in.” And I think it was very successful at that.
Pete: Yeah, I completely agree. The lightheartedness added to this big kind of a King in Black event was really cool. I really love the interaction of the guy who’s holding up the little orb. And there are a lot of really cool moments, fun, little moments. I also like how, when they get the robot present, they think it’s just a champagne delivery robot, which is just a fun thing.
Pete: And then just to see them together is great. I think this is just… The art’s fantastic. There’s just enough action. The balance with fun and give us some good relationship moments. This is just a great book from start to finish. You kind of know what you’re going to get a little bit, and they really deliver on it and don’t let you down. I was very happy with this book.
Alex: Next up, The Swamp Thing, number one from DC Comics. Written by Ram V. Art by Mike Perkins. This is a new Swamp Thing with a new M.O. New villains, new weirdness, same old horror. Justin, I think you’ll love this one.
Justin: [crosstalk 00:19:49] loves plants, that guy.
Alex: And we should mention, on the Future State beat, this is the team that wrote The Swamp Thing: Future State book that was so excellent. Here, they’re dealing with an entirely different Swamp Thing, entirely different story. But I think if you like that, and that book was great, it was very exciting to see them taking on this one as well.
Justin: Yeah, I agree. The Future State book was very sort of clinical. It got into some… It was about Swamp Thing building his children and how he did it in this future Earth. And this brings some of that clinical wraparound to this series. And then we just get into some brand new characters, some mythology building. I think it’s the same sort of green versus the rot situation in a good way. But a brand new character, who’s Swamp Thing. We don’t, he doesn’t seem aware of that he is Swamp Thing. And we’re getting that slowly told over the course of this first issue. Really nice art. This book reminded me of early Starman, both in-
Pete: Ooh, really?
Justin: … the writing and the art style. So I’m here for it.
Pete: Couple of things Justin, if you don’t mind, since-
Justin: I do mine, so let’s just do one thing from you Pete, if possible.
Pete: … Oh, okay. All right. Great, great. So if it’s just one thing, I guess I’ll just pick the… It starts off with a plane being grabbed out of the sky by a giant, let’s say, beanstalk. Like, that’s really high up. I mean that-
Alex: No, no, no, no.
Pete: … I mean, to grab a plane-
Alex: Okay, so the guy-
Pete: … out of the sky-
Alex: … Can I clarify this one?
Pete: … I’m talking to Justin.
Alex: Oh, okay.
Pete: I’m having a conversation with Justin. He’s the Swamp Thing expert. Trying to get some clarification here.
Justin: Are you familiar with-
Pete: No, go ahead [crosstalk 00:21:34].
Justin: … one of the other major beanstalk storylines, Jack versus Beanstalk?
Pete: Right, right. I’m very familiar.
Justin: That beanstalk went very high up. It went so high up there were giants living there.
Pete: Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Justin: So, beanstalks-
Pete: That’s why I said beanstalk, because that’s the only thing that I know that could reach a plane in the sky.
Alex: There are big, tall, terrible giants in the sky.
Justin: That’s true. That’s the point Alex wanted to make. Alex, not very religious, but he does believe that giants dominate, live in the sky in the clouds. [crosstalk 00:22:04]
Alex: The lyrics I know from Into the Woods, I say out loud, whenever I can. No, it was not a beanstalk, Pete. The new Swamp Thing was riding on a plane. He was having nightmares. And in his nightmare, he pictured himself exploding into plants out of the plane, not a beanstalk-
Alex: … rising to the plane.
Pete: I thought [crosstalk 00:22:23].
Alex: No, but then basically, Swamp Thing powers exploded outwards while he was still on the plane, causing it to break. Fantastically drawn panel. I love that. So terrifying. But it turns out he’s just having a nightmare there.
Pete: Oh, okay. All right, so-
Justin: He’s made of plants though?
Pete: … All right. So question number two then will be for both of you guys, since you both seem to be experts.
Pete: One of the reasons I had to move out of New York City is because anytime you’re walking in central park, there’s always people popping out of the trees. And at first I thought it was like a [inaudible 00:22:54] of elves, just when the elves got too big, they got kicked out of the trees.
Justin: Yes, this all-
Pete: But it turns out it’s Swamp Thing.
Justin: … this all checks out so far.
Pete: I just… That part… The book to me was a lot creepier and scarier than I was ready for. I’m just wondering, have you guys, in Central Park, seen the people popping out, or?
Justin: The people popping in the park, people popping in the park. Let me say Pete, I feel like, so you wanted a book that was more focused on beans and elves? And this book just didn’t really have that for you.
Pete: Well, no. I mean, Swamp Thing can be kind of a horror story type of thing, but there’s also a lot of great stories that Swamp Thing does where it’s got a little heart, a little love, that kind of stuff in it. But I was just… They weren’t straight horror for this issue. So I was a little-
Justin: Well, I think they’re going to…
Pete: … taken aback.
Justin: Once we get to know the character, I think that you’ll find the heart there. And The Swamp Thing, also a great history of horror. Have you guys ever grown beans?
Alex: No, but I will say that when you’re walking out and somebody pops out. That happened to me one time, and he showed me things, many beautiful things that I hadn’t thought to explore.
Justin: A hundred percent. Let’s let that hang in the air for a little bit longer. Nice.
Alex: Pete, any other questions?
Pete: Nope. No, thank you for filling those. I appreciate it.
Alex: Anytime. Let’s move on to talk about Nocterra, number one from Image Comics. Written by Scott Snyder. Art by Tony S. Daniel. Now we had Scott on the live show a couple of weeks back to talk about this very book. He teased it. It’s all about a post-apocalyptic world where there’s no sun and a girl who lives in it, who used to be blind that is now the only one who can lead them.
Justin: I’m just a post-apocalyptic girl living in a post-apocalyptic world, Alex. When will you understand that?
Alex: I thought it was great. This is Scott Snyder’s big wild storytelling matched with Tony S. Daniel’s superhero art. There’s… I love the idea of a post-apocalyptic world where it’s 13 years later and people are like, “Time to dress crazy now. Let’s do this.”
Justin: I can’t wait for the apocalypse when it’s like-
Justin: … “All right, dude. Now you can wear lights on your head and stuff.” Like, “Get loose with your fashion.”
Alex: We’re living in an apocalypse right now and I’m dressed the same as I always have.
Pete: Oh, boo.
Justin: Exactly. You’re not taking advantage.
Alex: I’m not. [crosstalk 00:25:21].
Pete: I tell you, the truck lights in this is amazing. I hope that catches on and truckers start really lightening up their trucks like that. So that’s magical.
Justin: Yeah, when will the truckers catch on? I like this book a lot. Really fun world that’s created here. Scary. You ride along with your, this, our main character here, and really feel for her. It’s fun.
Pete: Art’s great. Really think it’s a very interesting, cool story. And they do such a great job of getting you excited for this world and trying to figure out all the things that have gone wrong. A lot of really cool, interesting moments. I did want her to look a little bit more like a trucker and less like a superhero, but then whatever, that’s cool.
Alex: No, but I think that’s what you do with Tony S. Daniel. He’s an amazing superhero artist. So you lead into that, and you get wild designs, and you give people superhero costumes, and you make that work. It’s Scott playing to Tony S. Daniel’s strengths, the same way that he does to Jock, or the same way that they do in Undiscovered Country to Giuseppe Camuncoli. Just leaning into those artists and what they can do. And then following this pass down. I think that’s what works here, and it’s fun.
Justin: I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone utter the phrase, “I wish that person looked more like a trucker.” And I appreciate it. Very rarely said thing.
Alex: Next up, Crime Syndicate, number one from DC Comics. Written by Andy Schmidt. Art by Kieran McKeown and Bryan Hitch. Here we’re getting a semi-satirical look at the crime syndicate and their world and how they come together on the newly revamped Earth-3. What’d you think about this one?
Justin: These people love crimes. It’s our heroes, but they love crimes.
Alex: This didn’t really hit for me to be honest. There’s some bits that I liked it at, but-
Justin: Maybe you didn’t get it Alex, but it’s the heroes that you know and love, but then they love crimes.
Alex: My favorite page is the backup story for which is, I don’t remember, Ultraman? Is that what he’s called? The Superman add-on?
Alex: Ultraman’s origin, it’s a riff off of All-Star Superman. And you get the first three panels are kind of the same. And then the last one is, it shows the Kents and it’s like deranged psychopaths or something like that?
Alex: That’s funny, that made me laugh. But then I feel like it didn’t quite follow up from there, the rest of the story. I wanted to go wilder and darker this book, personally.
Pete: I thought it was too dark for me. Seeing a Superman figure, this Ultraman guy, be so douchey and so… Abusing, his power in such an awful way, it was just so scary and against everything that I want out of a superhero. Like throwing a newspaper truck in a high rise of a skyscraper, through the office glass, just because someone wrote a story about you? Go fuck yourself, you fucking superhero. I have thicker skin, Jesus’ age. But yeah, I think that’s the point of it to just show how evil and douchey people can be I guess? But yeah, to me, it was a little too dark and I wish they took it back a little bit. So I guess a little different from [inaudible 00:28:39].
Justin: I agree with Alex, I wanted to go further. It felt like it was heading for that tone of a Mark Russell book, but it doesn’t quite go that far with the satire. I agree with you also, I did like the backup. Felt like a little bit more in that sort of fun, irreverent tone taking on the Superman origin.
Alex: Let’s move on and talk about one that I bet Pete liked, Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters, number one from Oni Press. By Chris Samnee and Laura Samnee. This is a-
Alex: … all ages title.
Pete: They’re writing a comic book together.
Alex: They’ve been working together for a while.
Pete: Sure. Great.
Alex: Pete, talk about what you liked about this book.
Pete: First of all, words, don’t need them. This book proves that. A lot of amazing panels with barely any words. The art’s unbelievable. Love the character design. Such a cool, interesting world. And also kind of a nightmare, I’m sure, for you parents to yutes over there, that has to be like your worst nightmare. You’re watching your kid, then all of a sudden you get taken out or get a bump on your head, and now you don’t know where your kid is. I mean, that has to be like your worst nightmare come true. But yeah, I really, really enjoyed this. I think it’s such a solid first issue. I can’t wait to see where this goes.
Justin: I agree. This was very fun. It reminded me, maybe I have Bone brain, given what we’ve talked about lately, but they reminded-
Pete: Yeah, you do.
Justin: … me of Jeff Smith’s Bone.
Alex: Come on, everything can’t remind you of Jeff Smith’s Bone.
Justin: That’s not, the times I’ve mentioned Bone in the last couple of podcasts we’ve done have not been because something reminded me of it. And this legitimately does. It has that really smart paneling, good storytelling, some heart to it. I liked it a lot.
Alex: I thought this was really good as well. Just classic storytelling. Like you were saying, Pete, from the Samnees. I think they did a great job. If you’re looking for something fresh and new, check this out. Next up, Sea of Sorrows, number four from ITW. Written by Rich Douek. Art by Alex Cormack. This is continuing a increasingly bloody and deadly-
Pete: Oh, man.
Alex: … mermaid saga. Bunch of folks trapped on a ship. It’s like Under Siege, but with killer mermaids. I think that’s a fair way of putting it, right?
Justin: Ooh, that’s nice. When does she sing, Part of Your World? I just feel like I just don’t know how they’re going to work it in?
Alex: It just hasn’t come yet, but there’s a couple of more issues to go in the mini series. So I’m sure it’s coming.
Justin: I like this book. It’s got such a great tone to it. I mean, obviously, Under Siege is… A lot of huge fans out there of Under Siege, especially Under Siege Two.
Alex: Dark Territory? Yeah, of course.
Pete: Oh, my god.
Justin: A hundred percent. Way to drop that you’re a huge train fan. So the fact that those-
Pete: Are you guys talking about fucking Seagal movies over here?
Justin: … Under Siege Two. Alex, when you got into Under Siege Two, did you come at it as an action movie fan, or more about from a train fan? We were just wondering.
Alex: No, I was more of a people-popping-out-of-a-cake fan. That’s kind of where I started with Under Siege.
Pete: Oh, come on, man.
Alex: Then I sort of went from there.
Justin: A lot of people come to it from there.
Alex: So, yeah. You should check out my letter box list of that.
Pete: Oh my God. Yeah, this-
Alex: Movies with people popping out of cakes.
Pete: … Anyways, back to the comic. So this is like-
Justin: Back to the comics? Never!
Pete: … It’s very scary, very intense and the paneling, and just the action, and the design of this really does such a great job of really getting into this frenzy like, “Holy, what’s going to happen?” All these things are kind of happening at once to this ship. And just when you think like, “Okay, I got a handle on this evil mermaid.” It keeps getting heightened levels and levels of how scary she actually is. This is really just a horrifying, amazing comic that really creeps me the fuck out and makes me never want to go on a boat again.
Justin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Justin: Yeah, I agree. It’s good horror. When the mermaid opens or body mouth, do you feel like it’s very Little Shop Of Horrors and perhaps the song coming out of the mouth is some sort of Suddenly Seymour style song?
Alex: No, it reminded me a little bit of the end of the first act of Into the Woods. When they’re saying, “Into the woods, we have to go, I hate to leave a have to though.” That’s mostly what it reminded me of.
Justin: Interesting. [crosstalk 00:33:11].
Alex: Not related, but just always, that’s always in my head.
Justin: It’s true.
Alex: Last one to talk about, The Comic Book History of Animation, number four from IDW. Written by Fred Van Lente. Art by Ryan Dunlavey. This is a guinea for Pete, because not only is it about the rise of the Studio Ghibli films, it’s also about the rise of animation on Saturday mornings with GI Joe, with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra, all of that good stuff. As usual-
Pete: Yeah, don’t forget She-Ra.
Alex: … super well-written, super fun to read, super informative. This is just a great-
Alex: … book.
Pete: I mean, Fred Van Lente is just knocking it out… It’s so informative. And the art is so creative and cool. This really does such a great job of teaching you things about things that you already know and love in such a fun, creative way. I really want this to be like an animated podcast or something. This is just so-
Justin: Ooh, yes.
Pete: … so cool that I don’t want this to stop. I want to learn all things in this format, and I want to learn it from these two. I was just so impressed by this. I grew up in this time and just learning all of this stuff is really crazy. As a kid I just love Saturday mornings. And yeah, this is just so hilarious. The Superman sitting down at like a Hollywood place with Fred, from Scooby Doo doing the finger guns? Hysterical. I love Skeletor in this. Just I just so many amazing, cool things. I [crosstalk 00:34:42].
Alex: Well, and Pete, I have a question for you. And this is an honest question, given that they do spend a lot of time talking about the very dark side of this, and the very negative ramifications and reasonings for doing these Saturday morning cartoons. Does that color your viewing of them at all?
Pete: No. I mean, unfortunately when you learn about things, especially things that happen back more in time, you’re always finding out racist fucked-up bullshit things. So it’s, unfortunately that’s life. But as a kid, those kind of Saturday mornings were amazing. So that doesn’t… It’s hard to go back and watch some of those things because they really don’t hold up. But yeah, this didn’t, it didn’t hurt reading about it and learning about that, which I think-
Alex: Well now, now that you’re an adult, your Saturday mornings are a fucking nightmare, right?
Pete: … Yeah.
Justin: You got to watch your Saturday morning documentaries.
Pete: No, man.
Justin: With a big bowl of cereal and a bunch of serious movies.
Alex: Oh, here we go. Another murder doc on Netflix.
Justin: What I love, I think Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey do so well is, they add the little details that you just, they’re so hard to find, it’s so well researched and then well illustrated by Ryan. And a couple of them that I really liked here were just how everything was sort of made up on the spot. All of these things that feel so important or particular like, “Yabba dabba doo,” and the name of Scooby-Doo and it’s just like, “Oh, hurry up. This is doo.” Name… Or like, “Hey, say Yahoo.” And instead he said yabba, dabba doo. And then it became this super iconic thing. And it just feels like stuff like that doesn’t happen anymore in the creative process. So being able to read this and see this is so cool.
Pete: I take offense to that, because we usually make stuff up in the moment and it becomes comedy gold.
Justin: No, we do, yes. I’m speaking more, I guess, television. I mean you can’t script Netflix. Classic.
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