The Stack: The Joker, Children Of The Atom And More
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On this week’s Stack podcast:
The Joker #1
Written by James Tynion IV, Sam Johns
Art by Guillem March, Mirka Andolfo
Children of the Atom #1
Written by Vita Ayala
Art by Bernard Chang
By Guillem March
Wonder Woman #770
Written by Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan, Jordie Bellaire
Art by Travis Moore, Paulina Ganucheau
Non-Stop Spider-Man #1
Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Chris Bachalo
Proctor Valley Road #1
Written by Grant Morrison & Alex Child
Art by Naomi Franquiz
American Vampire 1976 #6
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Rafael Albuquerque
Deadpool Nerdy Thirty #1
Written by Joe Kelly, Skottie Young, Kelly Thompson, Fabian Nicieza, Gail Simone, Daniel Way, Gerry Duggan & Brian Poeshn, Rob Liefeld & Chad Bowers
Art by Cerardo Sandoval, Aaron Conley, Kevin Libranda with Bob Quinn, Patch Zircher, Michael Shelfer, Paco Medina, Scott Koblish, Rob Liefeld
Home Sick Pilots #4
Written by Dan Watters
Art by Caspar Wijngaard
Written by Tom King
Art by Jorge Fornés
Thor & Loki: Double Trouble #1
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Gurihiru
Black Hammer Visions #2
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Scott Kolins
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Sean Lewis
Art by Phil Hester, Sami Basri
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Esad Ribić
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Andrei Bressan
By Maria Llovet
Sweet Tooth: The Return #5
By Jeff Lemire
The Immortal Hulk #44
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Joe Bennett
Specter Inspectors #2
By Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto
The Amazing Spider-Man #61
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Patrick Gleason
The Last Witch #3
Written by Conor McCreery
Illustrated by V.V. Glass
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Full Episode Transcript:
Alex: Hey. What’s up, everybody. Welcome to The Stack. I’m Alex.
Justin: I’m Justin.
Pete: I’m Pete.
Alex: On The Stack, we talk about a bunch of books that have come out this week, and let’s kick it off with the clown prince of crime himself, The Joker #1 from DC Comics, written by James Tynion IV and Sam Johns, art by Guillem March and Mirka Andolfo. This is the first time ever the Joker has an ongoing series. So of course, it’s mostly about Commissioner Gordon. I mean, this is reliably good. It’s James Tynion, Guillem March. His art is gorgeous, as usually, even with the swerve here that it mostly is not about the Joker. It’s still a really good story. I liked it quite a bit. What’d you guys think?
Pete: Yeah. I was really impressed. I thought it was very interesting because it’s like “Okay. Joker #1. What are we going to get here?” and I was really impressed with the choices that they made with this comic. Also, we’re still getting this kind of Punchline kind of backup story in this, which is great, and it’s going to be really interesting to see how this Punchline thing unfolds, but yeah. As far as Joker #1, I thought they did an amazing job of getting you excited for this big kind of arc that they’re telling. I think, as far as this first issue is concerned, it does its job really well. I am very excited for more.
Justin: Yeah. I really like this version of Commissioner Gordon, or ex-Commissioner Gordon. We get to see a nice flashback of when he was in the Chicago PD before he got busted down to Gotham, and it reminded me a lot of Scott Snyder’s Detective Comics run, sort of where he was plucked from that.
Pete: Oh, yeah. With Jock. Jock was doing the art. Yeah.
Justin: Yeah. He was plucked, and Francavilla, Frencesco Francavilla, was doing the art on that for a little bit as well when he was dealing with his son and being suspicious of him becoming a murderer.
Pete: Yeah. That whole restaurant scene was just so-
Justin: A hundred percent.
Justin: In this, we get a little … There’s some reflections of that here in the story as well, and it’s just a great story, and I really like the idea that it’s not a story where we have to watch the Joker being a crazy person the whole time. It’s this sort of-
Pete: Or there’s three or four Jokers or … You know what I mean?
Justin: Yes. This sort of detective story where we’re following Commissioner Gordon make some hard choices that I’m curious to see how plays out.
Alex: It’s good storytelling across the board. If you were hesitant at all, definitely pick it up. Next up, Children of the Atom #1 from Marvel, written by Vita Ayala, art by Bernard Chang. This is an interesting take on what’s currently going on with X-Men to show us several characters that seemingly have decided not to go to Krakoa and instead be regular teenagers in high school while fighting crime as mutants. There’s, of course, a little bit of a twist there, but what did you think about this first issue?
Justin: I’m curious what Pete thinks of it, because we get to see perhaps a Cyclops that he can really get on board with.
Pete: Yeah. It was an issue of a comic book. Had some X-Men in it, which is great.
Pete: There’s some fighting. Yeah. I liked a couple of the characters. Art was really good.
Justin: Interesting. Not sort of a non-take there, really. I like this story a lot, especially in the larger context of the X-Men universe right now. This feels like a simple, standalone series where we’re going to follow these characters and whatever is up with them. They feel like sort of mutant wannabes, almost, trying to find their place by replicating the original X-Men in a fun way. It’s drawn really nicely. It was cool. Great reveal at the end.
Alex: Yeah. I like the fact that we’re getting to see outside of Krakoa and what’s going on there, because this is a part of the world that we need to find out more about of and their reaction to things. So I am curious, given the twist at the end in particular, where this is going to go, but Vita Ayala is always reliable as a writer, but Chang’s art is good. These characters are interesting. I’m excited to read the second issue.
Alex: Next up, Karmen #1 from Image Comics by and art by Guillem March. This is a very different take on an angel dressed in sort of a skeleton thing straight out of Karate Kid, right, Pete? You know what I’m talking about.
Pete: I do know what you’re referencing, but I feel like this costume is a little bit more elaborate than that one.
Alex: Slightly more elaborate because it actually is her skeleton, but she is visiting with somebody who … They don’t come out and say it, but has recently died or is about to die and takes her around as a ghost to sort of show her the world. It’s not quite clear to me what this book is going to be about going forward yet at this point. There’s a tease of something a little bit more at the end here, but it’s always a pleasure to see Guillem March’s art.
Justin: Great art, and this feels like something that is like a labor of love, like something that the amount of time and focus put into this book is just palpable. It’s beautiful, and it’s sort of haunting in the way the story unfolds. I thought this was great, and yeah. Love the art.
Pete: Yeah. It’s very sad and very powerful, and yeah. I mean, it’s kind of a twisted tale about something that is just … Whoa. Everybody okay? I thought that was a fire alarm going off there.
Alex: It’s all right.
Justin: No. I didn’t hear anything.
Alex: I mean, I will say, to that point, not to interrupt you, Pete, but I do want to mention for anybody interested in picking this up, trigger warning for suicide in this book, potentially. They don’t come out and say it, but it’s pretty clear what’s going on there. Also, there is a fair amount of nudity. So this is not a book that should go necessarily handing to kids, but go ahead, Pete, if there was anything else you wanted to say.
Pete: Yeah. It’s kind of a dark tale, but they’re kind of putting a bright kind of light on it. So I’m very interested to see how this all unfolds and what the point of this is, because it’s a little fucked up, but yeah. I mean, it’s not something you can read in the subway or something. You have to read this by yourself somewhere, but it does a great job of grabbing the reader’s attention, and I’m curious to see kind of how it all unfolds.
Alex: Pete, did you take this one to your reading hole?
Pete: Yeah. Yeah.
Alex: Me too. Yeah. I got in my hole, just crawled up, and read that book so nobody could see me.
Justin: I made a reservation in Pete’s reading hole, and I still haven’t really got my arrival date.
Alex: Oh, you got to try the cheese puffs there. They are to die for.
Justin: So good.
Alex: Wonder Woman #770 from DC Comics, written by Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan and Jordie Bellaire, art by Travis Moore and Paulina Ganucheau or Ganucheau. Excuse me. We talked about this a little bit on the live show. This is coming out of the Future State stuff. So Wonder Woman had this new status quo where she pulled herself back from being sort of a guardian of the universe type thing but instead has found herself in Valhalla in the Norse afterlife fighting the same fights over and over again. That’s the front story. The back story is showing us young Wonder Woman. I thought this was phenomenal.
Justin: This was one of my favorite books of the week. Really great. I was really curious, reading all the stuff coming out of Future State, where Wonder Woman was going to land. It felt like it was going to be just not a fun place, she was going to be doing something different, and this was such a breath of fresh air. Diana sort of doesn’t know what Wonder Woman is. She doesn’t have her powers. She’s just being a warrior in its purest form. There’s a mystery unfolding behind the scenes. There’s some romance here, perhaps. Really just a great story top to bottom. Really caught me off guard.
Alex: Pete, you were very patiently raising your hand. What’s going on?
Pete: All right. So I’m a huge fan of Wonder Woman, but it was weird. I know there’s a lot of different kind of mythology, historical and non-historical, wrapped up with Wonder Woman. So it was like I was like “Asgard? Wonder Woman? Why am I fighting this in my brain?” It’s this weird Valhalla. I know it should be okay, but to me, it’s like I associate it so hard with Marvel that it was hard for me to be like “Yeah. This is cool. Wonder Woman’s walking around Marvel right now. This is totally fine. There’s nothing wrong with this.”
Alex: Yeah. I get what you’re saying, but it’s definitely a very different take than Thor stuff over in Marvel, certainly. I agree with you. It is nearly impossible for comic books to divorce Norse mythology from Thor and the Thor comics books and Loki and et cetera, but those existed beforehand. They definitely time immemorial, and this feels like a more mythological take on Norse mythology than exactly what’s going on, usually at least, in Marvel comics. So I got over it by the end, but I was definitely there with you at the beginning with it, Pete.
Justin: Thor was a different dude. He had a red beard. So that’s totally different.
Pete: Sure. Sure. Sure. Yeah. Yeah, but that aside, I really thought this was a great start for this new team. I feel like this is really cool. I also really liked the backup. I thought that was fun. I’m excited for this.
Alex: Well, let’s move on to one that you’re very excited for as well, Pete, Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 from Marvel, written by Joe Kelly and art by Chris Bachalo.
Pete: Come on.
Alex: Of course, this is taking Spider-Man and putting him in the position of Alexander Hamilton in the musical Hamilton, because he is going non-stop.
Pete: Don’t ruin this for me, you fucking piece of shit.
Justin: My favorite song from Hamilton is Non-Stop.
Alex: Oh, interesting. Pete, you love this book. This is the fast and the furious of Spider-Man books. It’s sort of the total opposite of what’s going on in Amazing Spider-Man. No real soap opera going on here, just complete balls-to-the-wall action with brief interludes to give you backstory about what’s going on. Talk about what you liked about this book.
Justin: Even those interludes are happening pretty fast. This is a smash opera, which is Pete’s medium of choice.
Pete: Yeah. I love this. There’s no time wasted. It’s all non-stop. It’s all happening. During a fight scene, which is such a great idea, don’t waste time like “Oh, let’s go to a coffee shop and fucking talk about our feelings.” No. It’s all action. It is just non-stop. I loved it. The art alone is worth picking this up. Unbelievable. Just so fun how Spider-Man’s falling but counting the stories by having this inner monologue. I needed this Spider-Man, because Nick Spencer’s fucking killing me on that other Spider-Man book, and I just needed a light, fun Spider-Man Spider-Man book that isn’t doing a bunch of weird shit. So I really needed this book, and the art is just so good, and I love the pace of it. I love the action. Every single page was glorious, and then the backup story with not your mom’s Zemo here. This is a new Zemo here that’s just has a lot of sass, got some backtalk, really owning the fact that he’s rocking a purple mask in a fun way, and it’s all about that drip.
Justin: He does love that drip. Yeah. I first opened this book, and I was like “Surely there’s going to be a couple stops in here.” None.
Pete: No. Why do you need stops? What do you need stops for? It’s an express train.
Justin: It’s an express train.
Pete: You go on the local if you want some fucking stops and look around.
Justin: Pete, what did you think of the backmatter where the editor, Nick Lowe, talks about how, in every single page, he’s getting his relationship with Mary Jane annulled.
Pete: That’s not true.
Justin: That’s how non-stop it is.
Pete: That’s not true.
Alex: Non-stop annulments. Yeah.
Pete: That’s not true. it’s not true at all.
Alex: This is the perfect team-
Justin: It is true. Re-read it.
Alex: I would say this is the perfect team for this book. Joe Kelly, great at this sort of thing. Chris Bachalo, great at this sort of thing. This is fun. Like you’re saying, Pete, this is the opposite of what’s going on in Amazing Spider-Man, and it’s a nice little treat after reading that.
Pete: It is a nice treat. Come on.
Justin: Yeah. No. I really enjoyed it. Chris Bachalo’s art’s great. It’s great to see him on a book like Spider-Man where you get to see-
Pete: It’s phenomenal.
Justin: There’s so much going on. The panels are crooked. When I got to the end, I was like “This surely can’t be the end,” and there’s a whole other story. So the stops kept not stopping, you know?
Pete: Yeah. Exactly. Never stop stopping. What’d you guys think of the backup?
Alex: The Baron Zemo backup?
Alex: I love Zemo. I don’t know what it is. I just love that guy.
Pete: Yeah. I didn’t know you were such a Zemo head.
Alex: I love Zemo.
Pete: But this-
Alex: I can’t explain it.
Pete: How do you-
Alex: No. Actually, I can explain it. It’s because Under Siege, Avengers: Under Siege, is probably my favorite Avengers storyline. I was like “Yo. I’m sold on this guy. This guy-“
Justin: Avengers: Under Siege is your favorite Avengers story?
Justin: There it is.
Pete: How do you feel-
Justin: You love a real loose mask, huh?
Pete: How do you feel about this updated Zemo a little bit? He’s got a little sass.
Justin: You keep pushing his sass.
Pete: Well, it’s just I haven’t seen the Zemo, and Zalben’s a Zemo head. So I’m wondering if he’s like “This is my Zemo,” or like he feels cool with it.
Alex: No. It’s straight out-
Justin: Pete, have you-
Alex: If anything, it’s old Zemo. He’s got the loose mask back again instead of the tight mask.
Pete: Sure. Yeah.
Alex: His neck’s getting some air.
Pete: Right, but I mean, the way he’s talking is not how Zemo normally talks.
Alex: It’s fine.
Justin: Pete, this story focuses on a drug called A Plus. Have you been taking some of it? Because you seem hyped. You’re non-stop right now.
Pete: Dude, I am non-stop, and I needed a book like this to get me hyped.
Alex: Let’s move on then and talk about Proctor Valley Road #1 from BOOM! Studios, written by-
Pete: Oh, boy.
Alex: … Grant Morrison and Alex Child, art by-
Alex: … Naomi Franquiz. What?
Pete: I kept the whole time reading this being like “I can’t believe this is written by Grant Morrison. It looks like such a nice, wholesome book, and I can’t believe Grant Morrison is doing this shit.”
Alex: Yeah, and then you got to the end, right?
Pete: Oh, yeah. I did.
Alex: So this is about a bunch of kids who hear a legend about a place called Proctor Valley Road, where a bunch of people seemed to die. Like Pete’s saying, it starts relatively like just regular teen fun movie for three quarters of the book, and then things get messed up by the end in a really big way, spinning out into some mythology. It doesn’t feel like a Grant Morrison book at all, I would say-
Pete: It doesn’t.
Alex: … but Justin, what did you think about this one?
Pete: It’s easy to follow. You can understand. It’s impressive.
Justin: Well, I think the biggest difference why it doesn’t feel very Grant Morrison is the art. The choice of the artist, Naomi Franquiz, is very different, feels very not Grant Morrison, but I think it sort of plays against type a little bit in a good way, because the horror comes at you in such a different way by the end. I feel like you get in the heads of the characters very quickly, and they’re all fun, likable, smart characters. Has sort of Scooby Doo vibe with the collection and the era of characters here.
Alex: Now, I don’t want to jump on you too much, but the artist’s name is actually Franquiz, and that’s a great segue to start up my Fran quiz. First question. Who played the nanny on the hit TV show The Nanny?
Pete: Fran Drescher.
Alex: Correct. That was the whole quiz. I can’t think of another Fran. I’m sorry.
Justin: Oh, that’s good. Most famous Frans are Fran Drescher.
Pete: I do want to talk about that podcast we were on, at some point. That was kind of crazy.
Alex: Let’s just skip by that and instead talk about American Vampire 1976 #6 from DC Comics, written by Scott Snyder, art by Rafael Albuquerque. Here-
Pete: The Querque.
Alex: … shit is going down, and we’re heading towards, I would say, the endgame of American Vampire at this point as our heroes finally close in on the thing that’s going to let them beat the Tongue, the demonic entity that’s trying to take over the Earth, and things go horrifically wrong. I like this issue. I also like every issue of this book.
Pete: Holy twists and turns, Batman. This is some shit.
Justin: Holy twisted tongue. The Tongue always wins. Can’t beat the Tongue.
Pete: Yeah. Wow. Yeah. This was very impressive.
Alex: That’s what I always say to my wife.
Pete: Oh, my god. Don’t be creepy, you fuck. Yeah. American Vampire just continues to impress. You think like “Okay. I got a handle on what’s going on.” Nope. No. You do not. Yeah. I think this is a really solid, great issue. The Querque is just killing it on the art. It’s a lot of fun and really crazy and over the top.
Justin: Really making that nickname work. What is so great about this book and a lot of Scott Snyder’s stuff is he always had another gear. This series, there’s such a big cast. It’s like “Oh, right. These are all … I remember how all these characters work together,” and in this issue and throughout this series, they’ve been in an ever-worsening situation, and in this issue, the situation somehow gets much worse, and he focuses the cast down to the characters we care the most about and the twists and turns that happen there. He’s masterful at timing the big story moves, and this is another great example of that.
Pete: That guy’s a great writer.
Alex: Good stuff. Deadpool Nerdy 30 #1 from Marvel, written by Joe Kelly, Skottie Young, Kelly Thompson, Fabian Nicieza, Gail Simone, Daniel Way, Gerry Duggan, and Brian Posehn, Rob Liefeld, and Chad Bowers, art by Gerardo Sandoval, Aaron Conley, Kevin Libranda, with Bob Quinn, Patch Zircher, Michael Shelfer, Paco Medina, Scott Koblish, and Rob Liefeld. Basically, anybody that you can imagine having something to do with Deadpool over the years was pretty much involved in this. This was a bunch of short stories all set on different birthdays that Deadpool is happening. We’ll turn it over to Pete, our Deadpool expert.
Pete: Yeah. This is nice. This is just a who’s who that’s put their fingerprints on Deadpool coming back to tell some fun stories, and that’s exactly what it is. You’ve got everything from Rob Liefeld making fun of pouches to just insane party birthday things. Yeah. It’s crazy. It’s Deadpool. It’s over the top. It’s fun. It’s also like the art styles are very different for all these different stories. There’s a lot of really funny stories in this, a lot of funny ideas. Yeah. The No Chill story was really fun. Yeah. I believe Deadpool would hide guns in different ice cream shops all over the country. Why not? Yeah. It’s a ton of fun. It’s a lot of great art, and it’s one of those collected stories that I think is worth it.
Justin: I’ve been celebrating Deadpool’s birthday every year. So the fact that he’s hit 30 is just a real boon. I’m cutting loose like crazy over here. I thought this was fun as well. I want to give it up for the Skottie Young story, Baby’s First Cable, which is very fun. Kelly Thompson’s Best There Is was really, really good, and the Fabian Nicieza story, I thought, was very good as well.
Alex: That’s the one that I wanted to call out in particular. The thing that I really liked about this book is it’s very easy to do a bunch of goofs with Deadpool, but Fabian went for something much serious and much darker, and I think people forget that Deadpool stories can get really dark sometimes.
Pete: Oh, yeah.
Alex: So that was great. I was very trepidatious going into this, because I don’t usually love collections. They feel like a mixed bag, but they got the right creators working on it, and this is good. If you’re a fan of Deadpool at any point in his history, I think this is kind of a must-pick-up.
Alex: Next up, Home Sick Pilots #4 from Image Comics, written by Dan Waters, art by Caspar Wijngaard. This is so good. This book is so good. Pick up this book.
Justin: It’s so much better than it has any right to be, out of the gate just coming out hot with this story about some teens who are in a band, the Home Sick Pilots. They go into a haunted house. One of them becomes this ghost gatherer of these haunted objects, and this is sort of the all fight issue where things are coming to a head. It’s so much action. It’s beautifully drawn. The premise is so strong, and it has this sort of intense loneliness about it as well that I really like.
Pete: Yeah. I mean, if you would have tried to explain this story to me, I’d be like “You’re out of your gourd. This doesn’t sound good,” but it is so well done, so creative, so different. The art, the storytelling, the paneling … It all works so well. This is such a crazy unique story, and some really unique characters. Yeah. I just continue to be impressed. This is one of those ones where you get it and you’re like “Man, I hope it’s going to be as good as the last issue,” and it fucking delivers.
Alex: I think a lot of it has to do with Caspar Wijngaard’s art, honestly, where the character designs are so unique. We talked about this in the last issue, but there’s a VHS something ghost, zombie, I don’t know, monster. I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but it’s so terrifyingly and beautifully drawn. One of the main ghost is this horseshoe ghost, has a horseshoe head. Again, absolutely terrifying. We find out more about the mythology here. There seems to be an outside group that kind of has maybe ghosts trapped in TVs that are strapped to their chests that are tracking down ghosts. So there’s so much going on in this book, but it-
Pete: Then the haunted house double-page spread thing was fucking insane.
Alex: Beautiful. The fact that everything is very distinct in terms of the look, in terms of the coloring of the book … Fantastic. Pick up this book. I cannot wait for the next issue. Next up, Rorschach-
Justin: Don’t trust VHS tapes. Switch to Betamax.
Alex: I only use LaserDisc, personally.
Pete: Oh, wow.
Alex: Rorschach #6 from DC Comics, written by Tom King, art by Jorge Fornés. In this issue, we’re continuing to work our way back through the history of our cowboy character, who was killed back in the first issue. Here, we find out how she met the Jack Kirby-esque artist who later went on to don the mask of Rorschach. This is good. I was not quite sure about it going in or what was going on, but like we talked about with the last issue, I think that really started to indicate where the story is going and sell me on it. I like this quite a bit.
Pete: Yeah. I was a little worried this was going to be like that Eminem song, like “Dear Stan, my biggest fan.” So I’m glad that she didn’t kill herself in those letters or whatever, but man, this was a really great idea and well pulled off. I have no idea what’s going on in this Rorschach book, but I’ve been really impressed with all the different issues, and it’s the classic King thing where he’s like “Oh, yeah. I’m just going to give you just enough information to pick up the next issue.” That guy is a master.
Alex: Pete, it’s interesting you brought that up, because you know Tom King wrote the Eminem/Punisher crossover that was in XXL.
Pete: Oh, I know. It’s a fucking great issue, man.
Alex: He didn’t write that, but …
Justin: Wow. Pete took that bait very quickly.
Pete: Yeah, but it is a great issue regardless of who wrote it.
Alex: Is it?
Pete: It was Eminem who wrote it.
Justin: I like this issue of Rorschach a lot. I feel like Tom King is trying to say something about American with this book in a really smart, subtle way, almost as if to say … Here’s what I think he’s picking apart. In the original Watchmen book, it was all about how bringing the world together via the squid monster was a necessary thing to prevent everyone from world war from killing all human, if you were to believe that plan, and this is about how society is drifting apart and what sort of in a very personal in these personal stories, and we get to sort of see that happen in this story following these two characters who are corresponding via letter, and then we’re hearing the presidential debate underneath it all, between Robert Redford and the conservative candidate, and it’s just really good. I am always excited to see what the next big idea he’s getting to is.
Pete: I’m not sick of this Robert Redford bit. This is fun.
Justin: Not a bit.
Alex: Not a bit. It’s real. It’s happening. Thor and Loki: Double Trouble #1 from Marvel, written by Mariko Tamaki, art by Gurihiru. This is an all-ages title showing Thor and Loki as teens? 20?
Pete: Double trouble.
Alex: Something like that, and just-
Alex: … playing some tricks on each other and having a good time. I know I’m a sucker for this sort of thing, but what did you guys think of this book?
Justin: It’s fun. It’s fun to see, I mean, the inherent dynamic between Thor and Loki where it’s like “Oh, you can’t trust Loki,” but Thor always does because Thor’s a sucker for Loki. This feels the most natural of that, where they’re young, they’re sort of daring each other, and it goes instantly and horribly wrong in a fun, all-ages way.
Pete: Yeah. I thought this was cute and well done in all the right ways. Even though it’s an all-ages, it’s still a very enjoyable book to read. It’s kind of fun to see them depicted this way and the kind of team-ups and mischief they get into. Yeah. It was a good book.
Alex: Next up, from all ages to no ages, Black Hammer: Visions #2 from Dark Horse Comics, written by Geoff Johns, art by Scott Kolins. This is very exciting to me, personally. I don’t want to speak for you guys or the world at large, but to see Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins, the team for The Flash and many other things, collaborating on a very hardcore horror book that’s set in the Black Hammer universe, I thought, was very neat. I was a little worried about it. I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but I thought it was horrifying and well written, and I liked the little twist there. It felt like a Tales from the Crypt episode. I was very happy with how this book turned out. What did you guys think?
Justin: Yeah. It felt like just classic, classic comics, comic horror with a lot of great execution. We don’t know who the bad guy is right out of the gate, and then it’s like “Oh, this is bad. Oh, maybe everything’s bad.” It feels like we end in a place where it’s just “Oh, this is just awful across the board for everyone,” which is very true to classic horror comics, I think, in a good way. Love the art. This series is so good. Next up, in April we get Chip Zdarsky and Johnnie Christmas teaming up. This has been one of my favorite anthology series to pick up.
Pete: Yeah. It was creepy in ways that I wasn’t ready for a little bit. It was just like this white dude who has got a POC in the back and gets pulled over by the comics and then is like “Hey. I’m white. So you don’t fucking question me,” or whatever. So it just sucked that so far we haven’t got any … The poor kid gets really completely fucked over and then turned into something monstrous. I hope that there is a kind of redemption arc for that character a little bit, but yeah. The team and art is unbelievable.
Alex: All right. Fair enough. Next up, Superman #29 from DC Comics, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Sean Lewis, art by Phil Hester and Sami Basri. This is the new era for Superman that Phillip Kennedy Johnson on our live show a couple of weeks back. So it’s exciting to finally see it come to fruition. Here, we are finding out about Superman fighting an enemy that he can’t quite beat, or at least can hurt him in a certain way, and we find out from his son that this enemy might in fact kill him, which is, I would say, a big deal for comic books. What’d you think about this issue?
Pete: Yeah. I mean-
Justin: Has the death of Superman ever been a big deal for comics at any point?
Alex: I don’t remember it in my lifetime.
Pete: Yeah. I think that there’s some real touching father-son shit going on here, and that Amanda Waller, man. She’s up to something. Somebody should be watching her or paying a little bit more close attention, because-
Justin: Wow. Strong viewpoint, Pete.
Pete: Then there was a weird kind of backup where I was like “This just looks like The Goon,” but yeah.
Alex: I don’t know. That was Bibbo, right?
Pete: Yeah. Yeah.
Alex: Bibbo. Yeah. That was Sean Lewis writing about Bibbo. He’s writing this backup story about the other folks that live in Metropolis while the Superman stuff is going on. We get a little Jimmy Olsen. We get a little Bibbo. We got some weird villains. I thought that was fun. Justin, what did you think about this book?
Justin: I really like Phil Hester’s art. Phil Hester Green Arrow was a book he sort of was on for a long time, and I feel like his style really fits here in the DC universe to me for whatever reason, and I feel like this is … The Johnson Superman era has begun. I’ve really been liking the work he’s done on Superman, and this takes the continuity of Superman and his son sort of both being Superman at the same time and adds this sense of dread over top of it in a way that I thought was just really good, really smart.
Pete: Also, it was really impressive how cool Superman was about his own death, and his son knows, but he wasn’t going to push him on it. He’s really slow playing that pretty well, and I was like “Wow. I would have been like ‘Yo. Fucking son. Tell me when I’m fucking dying here. Help me out. What the fuck. I’m bleeding out my arm and you’re being casual.'”
Justin: Well, I-
Alex: I mean, that feels classic Superman.
Justin: Superman feels like … We know his greatest weakness is Kryptonite, but his second greatest weakness is not playing Coney ball with him, which really seems to break his god damn heart.
Pete: Yeah. That was heartbreaking. Yeah. Oh, come on, man.
Alex: What are the rules there?
Pete: If he’s dying-
Alex: How do you play Coney ball?
Pete: … play Coney ball.
Alex: Come on.
Justin: It’s probably a lot of throwing a pine cone while you’re flying or something and trying to catch it. Pine cones sharp.
Alex: Yeah. Some day. Some day we’ll get a game of Coney ball. We’ll get the rules. It’ll be a lot like Calvinball, but I guess we’ll have to find out. Eternals #3 from Marvel, written by Kieron Gillen, art by Esad Ribic. Here, we are finding out more about the Deviants in particular, the antithesis of the Eternals, as they are dealing with a spiraling-out-of-control murder mystery of their own. How’d you feel about this issue?
Pete: Well, first off, the art is just glorious. It’s really beautiful. Lot of amazing character designs and stuff like this-
Justin: It’s like someone took-
Pete: … the facial expressions.
Justin: It’s like someone took the … Sorry to interrupt you, Pete. Someone took the-
Pete: No problem.
Justin: He-Man characters and put them in epic Renaissance paintings.
Pete: Yeah. Yeah.
Justin: It’s so beautiful.
Pete: It’s really impressive. It’s almost like a watercolor tone to it. It’s really great. Yeah. I’ve been enjoying. Eternals really wasn’t my bag for a long time, but this new kind of reboot is doing its job in getting me excited about a movie that maybe … I don’t know.
Alex: Good conclusion there.
Justin: Way to play it cool.
Alex: Strong conclusion.
Justin: Playing it very coy. That movie’s been announced and talked about for quite some time.
Pete: Well, I don’t know when it’s actually coming out. You know what I mean? So that’s why I was trying to be like …
Alex: I do think somebody mentioned this on our Patreon Slack that it feels like it’s Kieron Gillen’s X-Men, and I think that’s accurate in a way because he’s using these text pages to break everything up, but he’s maybe the only person other than Jonathan Hickman that is using that convention in a successful and exciting way. There’s a page here where the computer, who narrates the entire book, talks about how many Deviants actually exist, and they kick to a double-page spread of just names of Deviants, and it’s like “Page 10 of 7,947,” or something like that, and it plays so well because it’s this oh-shit moment of the Eternals … There’s probably 10 of them, and they getting killed off, and their enemies, the Deviants, are innumerable at this point. It’s great.
Justin: Did you guys have any favorites from the Deviant page you wanted to highlight?
Alex: [Corbadorbadugal 00:34:14].
Pete: [inaudible 00:34:17] that shout out.
Justin: I’m going to give it up for some of my favorites from the page, [Smokewheel 00:34:22], [Bottleshirt 00:34:22], and [Dabgnorts 00:34:25].
Pete: Oh, yeah. Dabgnorts. How could I forget about Dabgnorts?
Justin: I went to college with a Bottleshirt. So I feel like I know that dude.
Alex: Not to keep plugging stuff, but you can go back a couple of months in our feed, and we talked to Kieron Gillen before he launched Eternals where he talked about it quite a bit. That’s in the Comic Book Club feed. So check that out. It was fun to chat with him about this stuff.
Alex: Birthright #47 from Image Comics, written by Joshua Williamson, art by Andrei Bressan. We are getting to the endgame here. Here, our heroes are going after people whoa re picking the detritus of the magical battle, the climax that we had finding the God King Lore, and that leads to probably what actually this final arc is about, which is brother versus brother. What’d you think about this one?
Pete: [crosstalk 00:35:17]-
Justin: Can I love this book more? Can I talk about this book possibly any more in my life? I’ve given this a shine up on every single issue of this series because I love it so much, and this was great. In the midst, the fact that this is the epic end to this epic story and we still get this great, quiet bar scene between these two warriors talking about just how shit went down and the difficulties of being a rage-fueled werewolf … Did anyone on this podcast identify with that character? Anybody? Any hands going up here?
Pete: I’m sure. I’m sure there was a lot of people that did.
Alex: Me? Me? Was it me?
Justin: You are the rage werewolf of the show.
Justin: Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Pete: Yeah. I agree. This continues to just be unbelievable. Yeah. It’s crazy because it’s like “Oh, I thought this was wrapped up,” but it continues to go on in such an enjoyable way that I don’t want it to end, but yeah. I just think this is artistically and creatively one of those books that’s going to stand up over time.
Alex: I agree. Next up, Pete’s favorite book of the month-
Alex: … maybe year, Luna #2 from BOOM! Studios by Maria Llovet. This is about a-
Pete: Don’t put your weird shit on me, motherfucker.
Alex: Listen, man. Maria Llovet makes some gorgeous art. That is what I am going to say. This is about a woman that is getting into a strange cult and getting sucked deeper and deeper. Justin, what did you think about this one?
Justin: I like this. It’s crazy how much this is like the other book, the Brian Azzarello book.
Justin: Faithless. Yeah. Just in almost every way. So it’s a little weird to have this being out so soon after we’ve been talking about the other one, but I like this independent of Faithless. I think this is a good book. It’s sort of like the country, the unplugged version of Faithless, where there’s a lot of vests with no shirt underneath, looking in old books and playing some fun acoustic guitar.
Alex: Faithless too fancy for you? Check out Luna, now from BOOM! Studios.
Justin: A hundred percent. Even bad boys have a soft side. Luna, from BOOM! Studios.
Alex: Next up, Sweet Tooth: The Return #5 from DC Comics by Jeff Lemire. We are at the second to last issue of this book, a rebooted Sweet Tooth. We find out some big revelations and twists in this issue. Pete, there’s a big, angry elephant. What did you think of this one?
Pete: Yeah. I really enjoyed the elephant. Yeah. We got the kind of reveal, the evil master plan in this. Yeah. I think it does a great job of leading us, being like “Oh, what’s going to … Tune in next time.” Yeah. I think this is a great book. The art’s fantastic. It’s really raise the stakes. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next issue.
Justin: Pete, how did you like the zoo? I really enjoyed the elephant. Pete, how’d you like the circus? I really enjoyed the elephant. Pete, how’d you like your safari? I really enjoyed the elephant. That’s all I hear from you, Pete.
Alex: Hey, Pete. How were your animal crackers? I really enjoyed the elephant.
Pete: The elephant. Yeah.
Justin: Pete, how do you enjoy-
Pete: See, the elephant animal cracker is a little bigger. So you get more cracker. That’s why it’s more enjoyable.
Justin: Pete, how did-
Alex: Did you bite off the legs first, or the trunk first? What did you go for?
Pete: It depends on the mood, you know? Some days are a trunk day. Other are the legs.
Justin: Uh oh. He’s in a real trunk mood.
Alex: Yeah. Oh, I can’t eat carbs today. It’s trunk day.
Justin: Trunk day. Pete, how did you enjoy the animal in the room that no one wanted to talk about? I really enjoyed the elephant. I mean, if you like Sweet-
Pete: I love walking into the room and talking about the giant elephant. You kidding me?
Justin: Believe me, I’ve known you for so long I can’t hide an elephant in the room with you. Elephant. If you like Sweet Tooth, you’re going to like this book. It is a true one-to-one sequel to that book. You don’t get to know the characters as well, and it feels like it’s taking the ideas and creating a story that has the tension and stress and thriller nature of Sweet Tooth and just playing that hard quickly, and I’m curious what the big point of this will be at the end.
Alex: I agree. I think a lot of the proof is going to be in that final issue, and I’m excited to check that out. Next up, The Immortal Hulk #44 from Marvel, written by Al Ewing, art by Joe Bennett. We are back to the good old fucked up Immortal Hulk this issue with things growing out of people’s backs and big monsters and things exploding and whatever. That’s great. I love it. I love this book.
Justin: Yeah. I love this book too. The art is so good, so horrifying. Truly, there’s so much just skin stretched-
Pete: Oh, fuck.
Justin: … in fucked up places. I love it.
Alex: I love that this is the sort of book where you can have a green Sasquatch in the desert with Puck, and Rick Jones, who’s just like a stretched out neck at this point and a head, is coming out of a radioactive guy, and they’re like “Whoa. Whoa. He’s not bad. He’s not smiling anymore,” and you’re like “Yeah. No. No. He’s a good guy now.”
Justin: Yeah. It was like “I noticed the lack of smile on this horrifying image.”
Alex: But it’s great. I love that they’ve gotten this book to a place where they just have this insane mythology where that happens. You have this huge fights with the U-Foes and the Hulk where, spoiler, but they win and they blast the skin off the Hulk in the most horrifying way, leading to a huge cliffhanger at the end there. This is great. Pete, I know you’ve been a little back and forth on this book. How’d you feel about this one?
Pete: I thought it had a really hilarious, amazing, scary, fucked up last page. I think this is a very creative, dark, twisted book. It continues to be enthralling. I’m excited to see how this is going to kind of end or wrap up here, because after that last page, I was like “What?”
Alex: This is not actually my problem or anything, but there was a certain sense I got towards the end of this book, because they clearly are heading towards the endgame with Immortal Hulk. I started to feel bad for whoever is going to have to pick up Hulk afterwards, after this run, and be like-
Pete: But I think-
Alex: … “Yeah. I’m the Hulk. I like to smash things. Boop. Boop.”
Pete: No, but I think that Marvel knows that, and I think that you kind of get something that’s like “Hey. Your Hulk book isn’t always fucked up.” You know what I mean? So it’ll be a refreshing, nice Hulk story that we can kind of be like “Oh, yeah. That’s right. This Hulk,” and then maybe it’ll be something else later, but I think the next thing could be a nice palate cleanser.
Alex: No. I agree. I mean, I think all I’m saying is this is such a definitive Hulk run. To come after this, I do not know what you do next at this point.
Justin: Yeah. I mean, it does feel like they’re setting up … This issue, really, I was like “Ah, I see where we’re going.” I’m very excited for that. The U-Foes were great. It’s rare to see a story where your hero gets just destroyed in such a fashion, and yeah. I feel like they’re going to be like “Okay. How about it’s just Hulk smash for a while?” after this.
Alex: Next up, Specter Inspectors #2 from BOOM! Box by Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto. We love the first issue of this book, which found a bunch of fake paranormal investigators discovering something real paranormal. They track down more paranormal stuff this issue, specifically a ghost in a library. Pete, you’re a big Ghostbusters fan.
Pete: Yeah. I mean, the classic-
Alex: You love a ghost in a library. What’d you think about this one?
Pete: Yeah. The classic ghost in the library move. Fun. Yeah. I think this continues to be a really fantastic book, and what’s nice is even though it’s drawn a little cartoony, there’s still some real scary panels going on in here, and I like this kind of group of people that we have working together. It has some heart to it. It’s intense, and it’s going to be fun to see how this gang kind of gets out of trouble, but yeah, a little nod to the old classic Ghostbusters with the old librarian ghost.
Justin: Yeah. This book, the art is so great at just expressing the different feelings and emotions these characters are having throughout this story. So it’s a really great book that … Great synergy between the writer and artist here, and it’s good. It’s scary, and it’s fun.
Pete: It’s a bold move to talk to a librarian ghost, because you know she’s going to shush you, but they rolled that dice and they took that gamble.
Justin: I’d rather talk to a librarian ghost than just a regular living librarian.
Alex: Next up, The Amazing Spider-Man #61, AKA stop Spider-Man, from Marvel, written by Nick Spencer, art by Patrick Gleason. This issue, we’re getting a brand-new status quo for Spider-Man. This is the much hyped new costume. We find out why he gets the new costume here. Justin, what did you think about this one?
Justin: This is such a total shift back to what Nick Spencer was doing before this last big storyline where all this gross stuff happened with Kindred and Sin-Eater and all that, which was so heavy and intense, and this was like “Nope. It’s fun again. Boomerang and Spidery just being roommates, screwing around, social media,” all that. So it was a bit of a whiplash jumping into this issue. I like what’s happening. It’s hard to reconcile with the last six months of Spider-Man.
Pete: Yeah. I mean, I agree with Justin. This does feel like Whiplash where somebody’s yelling at me to play the drums and I really don’t want to. I’m looking forward to this thing being over with so can get back to Spider-Man.
Alex: For me, this felt like Whiplash in terms of I’m a little more into my bird than Sam Rockwell.
Alex: So we all had different takes. I liked this. I thought this was fun. Like Justin was saying, I do think it’s interesting that they throw in the Kindred thing right at the beginning here. They’re clearly not done with it. We’re going to come back to it at some point, you’d think.
Justin: I just hope we finally get to find out who’s underneath the mask.
Alex: That would be great. The Last Witch #3, our last book here on The Stack, from BOOM! Box, written by Conor McCreery, illustrated by V.V. Glass. Here, we’re getting a witch versus witch battle. That’s the hot thing this month. Everybody loves it. Everybody loves seeing witches fighting, and you guys have been loving this book.
Pete: Oh, yeah.
Justin: I do love this book. This is another one of my favorites of the week.
Justin: These characters are so good. I’m so behind this young girl who has the witch mark and is battling these badass witches and somehow finding a way to win every time. I really love this.
Pete: Yeah. I’m really impressed with this, the art, the storytelling. It’s really fantastic. What’s great is it’s even better than it looks. When you look at it, you’re like “Oh, kind of looks adorable. Looks like an all-ages,” but it’s not. There’s so much going on in this book. It’s really fantastic. It’s very touching. Plus, you got a badass grandma who smokes cigars. I mean, come on. You know what I mean? Come on.
Alex: I knew it. I knew you were going to bring up the grandma.
Justin: I knew we’d-
Pete: Come on.
Justin: … get to Pete’s grandma love.
Pete: The little kid and the … It’s touching. It’s badass. It’s fun. It’s a lot of different things, but the storytelling and the art is glorious, and this book has really been impressive.
Justin: At what age are you finally like “Wow. That’s what I’m talking about,” when you see a grandma, Pete?
Pete: What do you mean?
Justin: What age? Is it someone having grandchildren? Or are you like … When you see someone, like an older grandmother woman, is that when you’re like “Okay. I want to put a sword in that golden girl’s hand”?
Pete: Well, any time you see a badass grandma, you think that’s a cool grandma. You know what I mean? So I don’t know what the age is, but if you saw a grandma rocking a cigar or with a sword or a machine gun, you’re going to be like “Hell yeah. I’m on her team. She’s on my team. Let’s go.”
Alex: Pete, that’s a real GILF, is what you’re saying?
Pete: No. No. That is not what I’m saying.
Alex: Grandma I’d like to fight with.
Pete: All right. You know what, Zalben? I don’t know what to do with you.
Alex: But I know what to do with all of you. You need to support as at patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at Crowdcast and YouTube at 7:00 PM. Probably shouldn’t have said the time there. iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice to subscribe and follow our show. @ComicBookLive on Twitter. Comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and more. @ComicBookClub on YouTube. We’ll see you next time at the virtual comic book shop.