Alien #1

The Stack: Alien, Harley Quinn And More

podcasts The Stack

On this week’s Stack podcast:

Alien #1
Marvel
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by Salvador Larroca

Harley Quinn #1
DC Comics
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Art by Riley Rossmo

Firefly: Brand New ‘Verse #1
BOOM! Studios
Written by Josh Lee Gordon
Art by Fabiana Mascolo

Teen Titans Academy #1
DC Comics
Written by Tim Sheridan
Art by Rafa Sandoval

Once & Future #17
BOOM! Studios
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Dan Mora

Action Comics #1029
DC Comics
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Art by Phil Hester, Michael Avon Oeming

HAHA #3
Image Comics
Written by W. Maxwell Prince
Art and Cover by Roger Langridge

Batman/Superman #16
DC Comics
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art by Ivan Reis

Crimson Flower #3
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Matt Kindt
Art by Matt Lesniewski

Detective Comics #1034
DC Comics
Written by Mariko Tamaki, Joshua Williamson
Art by Dan Mora, Gleb Melnikov

The Scumbag #6
Image Comics
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Bengal

Barbalien: Red Planet #5
Dark Horse Comics
Script by Tate Brombal
Story by Jeff Lemire and Tate Brombal
Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Stray Dogs #2
Image Comics
Written by Tony Fleecs
Art by Trish Forstner

Post Americana #4
Image Comics
Story and Art by Steve Skroce

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Full Episode Transcript

Alex:                 What is up, y’all? 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, kicking it off with a very scary book called Alien #1 from Marvel, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, art by Salvador Larroca. This is a big deal because this is the first of the Fox properties that is coming to Marvel. We have Predator coming down the pike. Alien is here now, and we had Phillip Kennedy Johnson on the live show talking about this book a couple of months back now when he first got on it. So he teased that, if you want to go and listen to it, but all of the teasing aside, what’d you think of this one?

Justin:              I thought this was great. Really captures the vibe of the Alien movies while being a compelling new story where you really feel alongside the characters. Mistakes are made. Classic Alien thing where somebody really fucks up with these things. You don’t get a lot of mistakes with the alien people.

Alex:                 The thing that I thought was really fascinating about this as a fan of the Alien franchise, and to get into spoilers for the book a little bit … It’s about a military guy. He ended up getting captured by aliens, escaped. We don’t know exactly how yet, but this is years later. He’s retiring, trying to reconnect with his son. Definitely a theme Phillip Kennedy Johnson is playing with with his books right now with fathers and sons and connecting through this and through Superman.

Alex:                 So that’s interesting, I think, just from a reading perspective, but here, the son is a civilian, and for fans of the Alien movies, it’s such a big deal when they go to Earth in this book. When they go to Earth, you see very little of it, but you see people on Earth. You see what’s going on with society. You see civilians involved, and just from that fan perspective, I kind of geeked out about that beyond the fact that it seems like they’re doing really interesting, weird stuff with the mythology in this comic book. Salvador Larroca’s aliens in particular are terrifying. The pacing of it is alarming and upsetting in the right way. I really dug this book a lot as well. Pete, what did you think?

Pete:                Yeah. I agree with you. I thought the aliens looks amazing. There’s a lot of great kind of splash page shots that are really powerful. The Bishop. I’m always creeped out by Bishop, and so it was creepy to see Bishop back. Yeah, and it was a very interesting story that we got to kind of see the son’s side of why he doesn’t care about what his father’s been doing, and then we know the father’s side. So it was very interesting perspective, and I think that’s a cool way to, as Justin said, to put kind of a fresh spin on something that we’ve seen a lot of. So yeah. I thought this, as far as the first issue is concerned, does a great job of giving you something that you know and love with a little bit of newness to it. So I think well done.

Justin:              What I think they capture well here is the sins of the corporation in Alien are always what keeps making people act poorly, and that’s what gets everyone in trouble. In this, it’s all about human mistakes, and it’s just the aliens are there as the force of nature that makes them pay for their mistakes, and it’s just really great.

Alex:                 Absolutely. Really bowled over by this book. Next up, Harley Quinn #1 from DC Comics, written by Stephanie Phillips, art by Riley Rossmo. This is a great team for this book, Riley Rossmo in particular on a Harley Quinn book. So much fun. Really like the tone here. Very different from the past couple of runs of Harley Quinn. I thought this was very enjoyable. What was your guys’ take?

Pete:                Yeah. I agree. I thought the art was amazing. Really great story as far as the first issue goes. Does such a great job of grabbing the reader and getting kind of this take on Harley, and I think it’s a nice take. I’m a huge fan of the animated series, but I don’t want every comic to be like that. So this is, I feel like, a different enough take where it still feels like Harley Quinn, and I love the art and the storytelling. I think this is a fantastic first issue.

Justin:              Yeah. I think what this book … I mean, the art is so cool. It’s fun how Batman is such a presence in it, and it’s a little bit more of a Batman that is likable and sort of like just “Look. I’m just trying to keep an eye on you, Harley. So don’t screw around.”

Pete:                He’s like a dad. Batman’s like a dad of Gotham.

Justin:              Yeah. Uncle Batman, and I really like this Harley because it’s not like it’s a huge change where she’s like “I’m good now.” It’s the same character who’s just like “I’m trying this out. I don’t know. Let’s just see,” and she’s sort of having fun with it, and I feel like that preserves the original spirit of the character. We talked about this on the live show this week about how Harley Quinn spun out of Batman: The Animated Series and how wild it is that a character like that can just explode and have so many iterations in all these different mediums, and now to see her back here sort of having that spirit of the original while also being the new character is great.

Alex:                 Totally agree. Next up, Firefly Brand New Verse #1 from BOOM! Studios, written by Josh Lee Gordon, art by Fabiana Mascolo. We’ve had effusive praise for Greg Pak’s run on the main title. This is a different artist, a different team, and it’s jumping forward, I believe, 25 years in time to showing us the descendants of the original Serenity crew, what’s going on with them now. So what’d you think about this? Does this hold up to the high quality of the other Firefly books?

Justin:              Well, I think, what I like about it is that they’re taking a lot of swings. They keep moving with the Firefly story, just like “Hey. Let’s tell the most interesting story no matter what the continuity really is. Let’s just keep moving,” and for them to move from the past to the present into the future, or I guess, not in that order, but it’s great to see, like “Oh, yeah. I’m so curious about this. What’s going to happen where? What are these characters like?” They feel spiritually like the old Serenity crew, but they’re all new people.

Alex:                 Pete?

Justin:              It’s like meeting your friends’ friends, and they’re nice.

Pete:                Yeah. I thought-

Alex:                 Pete, I know you’re probably put off by the fact that Greg Pak wasn’t on this, who you love, but go ahead.

Pete:                Yeah. I was kind of like “Wait a second. What’s going on here?” The Pak was killing this, but yeah. I like the way it kind of starts. I think it’s a great kind of story, a good take, but it’s one of those things where it’s like when you have a to-do list and you just sleep instead of doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re putting everybody on the ship in jeopardy. That was just kind of crazy, but yeah. I enjoyed it. I thought the art was good. I thought it was fun.

Justin:              So you’re bothered by the chores, that no one’s doing their chores.

Pete:                Well, I’m just bothered by how casually they woke up, and they were like “Hey. Did you fix the engine?” and they were like “Well, I thought you were going to fix the engine.” Then it’s like … We’re on a spaceship. You can’t just be that casual.

Justin:              What’s the chore wheel like in your household?

Pete:                It’s a lot of chores, man. All right? It’s a lot.

Justin:              What happens if you don’t do it? How does it break out? Did you get your chores done today, for instance?

Pete:                Yeah. Yeah. Just barely. Just barely.

Alex:                 Oh, boy.

Justin:              Stakes high.

Alex:                 Teen Titans Academy #1 from DC Comics, written by Tim Sheridan, art by Rafa Sandoval. This is exactly what it sounds like. The Titans are opening up a school in Titans Tower. Meanwhile, the Teen Titans are off doing Teen Titan stuff, and these are the Teeny Titans who are signing up. Maybe some day they’re going to be Teen Titans or Titans. I said all of those words quite a bit. What’d you think about this book?

Justin:              Great enunciation from Alex. Hit all of his consonants really well, and that was borderline tongue twister.

Pete:                Yeah. I thought this was a fun story. I ship Nightfire. So I feel I’m happy that they’re still out doing-

Alex:                 Just trying to slip that in there, Pete.

Justin:              Dropping that knowledge.

Pete:                I feel like it was a little busy, but they have so many people on Teen Titans. I kind of feel like that’s going to happen, but overall, I thought it was a really solid first issue.

Justin:              I’ll tell you what, Pete. I ship Nightfire, especially in this issue. I would normally definitely be a Batwing or Nightgirl, Nightacle. Is that the right-

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:08:57].

Alex:                 Nightacle.

Justin:              Nightgirl is not the right answer, I don’t think.

Alex:                 Nightacle?

Justin:              Oraclewing?

Alex:                 Orwing. Orwing.

Justin:              Orawing.

Alex:                 Batdick.

Justin:              Good. But I agree. I feel like there have been a lot of books like this. Marvel does this a lot where they’re like “Let’s take our magic characters and make a school about them. Let’s have all these young mutants be in this school,” and often it feels like the stories feel very next door to the main storyline, and this feels like a Titans books, and it’s just now there’s these gradations between all the different Titans. There’s the Titans, the Tiny Titans, and the Teeny Titans, and there’s the tall Titans, the tiptop Titans.

Alex:                 What did you think-

Pete:                Guys, stop.

Alex:                 What did you think about them having to be called Mr. Nightwing? That was pretty weird, right?

Justin:              What I liked about it was it felt like kids who hadn’t made a plan about “Oh, what should we call ourselves?” and then someone was like “Oh, you’re Mr. Nightwing,” and they’re like “Okay,” and then they have to go with it.

Alex:                 What’s your first name, Mr. Nightwing?

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Uh, Dave?

Alex:                 Oh, god. I’m Dave Nightwing. Yeah. This is okay. I’m usually a sucker for these books. I thought this was all right. I liked Rafa Sandoval’s art, just good superhero art across the board. Always very appropriate for Titans. I don’t really know anything about the Red X, which is the big mystery here. So felt like a bit of a deep dive for anybody who is outside that continuity, but I like some of the characters. I’m definitely going to tune back for issue two and see what happens. I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Justin:              Another binge read.

Alex:                 Once & Future #17 from BOOM! Studios, written by Kieron Gillen, art by Dan Mora. Pete, I was a little worried about you this issue, because not as much grandma as there usually is-

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 … but still-

Pete:                Yeah, but you still-

Alex:                 … there’s a dragon. There’s a lot of action.

Pete:                But you also got smoking grandma. Grandma’s smoking in this. So that’s-

Alex:                 Smoking hot is what you’re saying, right?

Pete:                No. That’s not what I’m saying.

Alex:                 Okay.

Pete:                But yeah. I like this-

Alex:                 I ship Petema.

Justin:              Petema. Pete Smokingma. Smoking Petema.

Pete:                A lot happens in this issue. We kind of get all the pieces on the board. It was great to kind of finally see plans collides and everybody else kind of come together, kind of revealing what’s going to happen moving forward. This is just non-stop glorious. Every issue is unbelievably drawn. The stories are fun. The characters are great. The art’s unbelievable. I don’t know why you aren’t reading this book.

Justin:              I am, because we all read. We read a lot of comics, and I like this book, but I will say I think I need a little gear shift. I feel like we’ve been in this-

Pete:                What?

Justin:              I feel like we’ve been in-

Pete:                I’m not going to stand here and let you … This is an unbelievable comic. Okay? End of story. You can’t put in your bullshit. This comic is fantastic.

Justin:              I-

Alex:                 Well, hold on, Pete. Just to jump in, Justin, I hear what you’re saying. I actually think they got there with this issue, because I’ve been feeling that as well. It’s a lot of the grandma wandering around and being like “You don’t know what’s going on with these stories. There’s a lot of stories,” and the son being like “Stories? Come on,” and then everybody’s kind of wandering around and yelling at each other about magic stuff and stories, but this issue, what we got … It really feels like it’s heading towards the endgame here. We finally know they’re looking for the Holy Grail. The bad guys wanted to essentially wipe everything clean and destroy the world. The good guys, of course, want to stop them. They get a dragon, and we get this very propulsive ending of them on a dragon chasing after … I’m honestly forgetting whether it’s Gawaine or Galahad who has been turned into a centaur, and I think that’s part of the issue you’re getting at, where it’s a lot of these names being thrown out there, but I like this ending, and I’m very excited for the next issue off of this.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, I like where it’s going, and honestly, the stuff with Rose felt like the most interesting. She feels like she’s operating sort of on her own, but it’s just like you’re saying. It feels like grandma and her son, #PeteMissesGrandma, #SmokingHotGrandma … It feels like they really are just like “Oh, here we go again. This story’s crazy, but we have to keep doing it,” and so I’m just ready, and the Merlin stuff was interesting. I liked that, but even he’s a little like “I’ve already got this all figured out.” So I think I just need a little refreshment with that.

Pete:                Unbelievable. You’re unbelievable.

Alex:                 Well, let’s move on then and talk about Action Comics #1,029 from DC Comics, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan, and Michael W. Conrad, art by Phil Hester and Michael Avon Oeming. In the front story, we’re getting a tale of Superman and his son, as we talked about a little bit earlier. In the back story, we’re finding out what’s going on with Midnighter after Future State. This directly picks up on that in a very surprising way. What’d you think about this one?

Pete:                I thought this was a very touching story. Love the kind of like Superman taking about being a human and this whole father-son back and forth stuff. It’s really speaking to me. I very much enjoyed this. The Midnighter story is freaking me out.

Justin:              It’s different Midnighter.

Pete:                Yeah. Yeah. I love how stylized the art is. I think it’s a cool take on Midnighter, but I’m nervous to see how this is all going to unfold, and I don’t like the fact that they’re not talking to each other. You know what I mean? You’re supposed to be able to talk to your partner.

Justin:              Are you talking about him and the computer in his brain?

Pete:                No. Him and Apollo.

Justin:              Yeah. What I will say is it is a very different take on Midnighter, but it feels like Apollo is still the one who’s knocking on the door at the end.

Pete:                Still the one.

Justin:              That’s what I’m saying. So that must give you some reassurance, and the front story, I thought, was great, really keying in on this idea of fathers and sons, and sons losing fathers, and fathers realizing that the sons are realizing that they’re eventually going to lose their father. It’s just great idea and echo storytelling, and then the last couple pages, setting up the sort of creepy Warworld Rising stuff, I’m into.

Alex:                 I’m into it too, and I like how they are tying in the DC Future State stuff. Now, the other thing … This is news that I believe leaked early this week before they were going to let it out, but it seems clear now in retrospect how they’re setting this up with Superman potentially being taken off the board so that John Kent is going to move into the Superman role. We got this Midnighter backup which seems like it should be unrelated to a Superman thing, but it turns out that DC is going to be launching some sort of a Superman and The Authority series by Grant Morrison with art by Mikel Janin-

Pete:                What?

Alex:                 … which this seems to be setting up directly, in my mind. We don’t know much more about it other than that, but that certainly seems to be where they’re going, and that is very cool.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, Grant Morrison back in the game? Not sort of existing on the periphery being like “Hey. Did you think I could make this Green Lantern book weirder?” and then he does. That’ll be interesting.

Alex:                 Yeah. That’s great. It’s also great to see Michael Avon Oeming on a regular book as well. I really like his stuff on Midnighter, and that’s a lot of fun. Let’s move on, talk about Haha #3 from Image Comics.

Justin:              Haha.

Pete:                Oh, here we go.

Justin:              Hoo-ah.

Alex:                 Hoo-ah #3, following the adventures of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman land. It’s been a great ride. I can’t believe we’ve gotten here. The continuity has been very dense, but really getting that back story of how did he find the scent of a woman? How did he come up with hoo-ah? It’s been a wonderful ride, and [crosstalk 00:17:04].

Justin:              How did he come up with hoo-ah?

Alex:                 It is written by W. Maxwell Prince, art and cover by Roger Langridge. I love this team. I was so excited about this. This is a anthology book where W. Maxwell Prince is taking his regular creepiness from Ice Cream Man and applying it specifically to different types of clowns. This issue, we get a mime issue, a mime who is friends with a robot.

Justin:              Love a mime.

Pete:                The worst.

Alex:                 Roger Langridge, one of my absolute favorite creators. He did Thor: The Mighty Avenger. He did Snarked is the book that he did that was all a riff on Lewis Carroll stuff. That is awesome. He did an amazing Muppets book, if you never checked it out. It’s definitely much more surreal and fantasy based than the previous two issues that were very realistic and dark takes, but man, I love this book. It was so good. Maybe my favorite of the week. What did you guys think?

Justin:              Favorite of the week?

Pete:                I hated it.

Justin:              You hated it?

Pete:                Yeah. I don’t like mimes. I think they’re creepy, and this proves my point.

Justin:              Wait. Rank sort of the clowns, the different genres of clown, in sort of least scary to scariest.

Pete:                Well, first off, I think … No offense to Alex’s wife, but I think that [crosstalk 00:18:21]-

Alex:                 But I hate your wife.

Pete:                Yeah. I think-

Alex:                 No offense to your wife. I hate your wife.

Pete:                No. Your wife is an unbelievable person. I don’t know how she puts up with you.

Justin:              Wait. You’re considering wife a different genre of clown?

Pete:                No. I just don’t want to speak poorly of clowns, and Alex’s wife was an amazing clown. That’s a separate category. I want to try and make that clear.

Alex:                 Just to be clear before you get to into it, Pete, of course we’re going to break this into the four types of the clown, the Whiteface, the Tramp, the Auguste, and the character. So go ahead.

Pete:                I don’t know what-

Justin:              Dropping clown husband knowledge.

Pete:                I don’t know what was just said-

Justin:              Auguste.

Pete:                … but-

Alex:                 The Auguste.

Pete:                … to answer your question, Justin, clowns do freak me out. I think, sometimes you can see the sadness in their eyes, and that can be very painful, and then mimes-

Justin:              So give me the power rankings. So you got your mimes. You got your-

Pete:                Yeah. The mimes are the creepiest of them all.

Justin:              Really?

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Why is that? Because they’re not talking?

Pete:                Yes. I don’t trust people who don’t talk, and I also … Well, and you have some-

Justin:              Too skinny.

Pete:                But also, they’re-

Alex:                 Wait. Sorry. Is it that they wear stripes so they look like they just got out of prison?

Pete:                No. No. That makes them look French, but I think that-

Alex:                 All French people just got out of prison. Go ahead.

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                Oh, that’s an awful thing to say. Yeah. I don’t trust mimes, and clowns can be scary is my long-winded point that you kind of dragged out.

Alex:                 Justin, what about you? What did you think about this issue?

Justin:              It was great. It’s very fun. it’s like-

Pete:                Wait. It’s fun? That was fun?

Justin:              This whole issue is very fun. I would love to see this-

Pete:                People died. I don’t know what … What do you mean? What’s fun?

Justin:              Hey. I got news for you. People die all the time.

Pete:                Oh, don’t be that guy.

Justin:              But not robots. Think about that. I’d like to see the script of this comic to see the process, really, how they put this together, because the visuals are so good. They do so much of the storytelling, and it’s just a fun, nearly silent issue where we touch on, I don’t even know, just how the world sucks, finding moments whenever you can despite the weird circumstances of developing an act and becoming friends with a robot, how the dancing frog can live, can truly live if you do it right, and it’s-

Pete:                The poor WB frog.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Great book. Definitely pick that up. Next up, another one of my favorites of the week, Batman/Superman #16 from DC Comics, written by Gene Luen Yang, art by Ivan Reis. In this book, we’re getting two tales told simultaneously of Golden Age, I think, I would say, Superman and Batman through film … not strips, but old-timey film reels. On the top, you got Superman. On the bottom, you got Batman. Like they say at the beginning, you can read them separately. I kind of recommend reading them together, because, spoiler, they actually start to tie together at the end there. This is a very cool, really fun issue that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Justin:              Yeah. This issue, I feel like, really just stands alone. I mean, I know it is tying into a larger story, but it really is just a super innovative way of telling these two stories, and you sort of think one thing, and then there are some reveals later on that you’re like “Oh, huh. Okay,” and like Alex said, things sort of come together in the end. Just a really innovative issue, I thought.

Pete:                I’m glad you guys liked it.

Alex:                 Pete, you’re so negative this week.

Pete:                Not really.

Alex:                 Okay. Well, let’s move on then to Crimson Flower #3 from Dark Horse Comics, written by Matt Kindt, art by Matt Lesniewski. Pete, lots of people die. There’s a lot of blood in this one as our main character hones in on her target. What’d you think about this?

Pete:                I very much enjoyed this. I thought this was a really great villain reveal. We thought it was kind of like one villain, and then kind of through the villain monologue, you got to see kind of how dark and twisted this villain actually was. So yeah. I really liked it. I like these scarf powers, and I think the art’s creepy and twisted in all the right ways. It’s a very interesting, cool book, and again, it’s like there’s not a lot of … There isn’t too much dialogue. So it’s not a heavy read. I very much enjoyed this.

Justin:              Yeah. I like this a lot. The art is really cool. I wish we had talked to Matt Kindt about this book.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 We messed up.

Justin:              Yeah. We messed up, because we had him on the live show recently, and this would have been a good one, because I think maybe we had just read the previous issue, which I think we all enjoyed. Yeah. It’s hard to pin this story down. It’s a really unique story. it’s a revenge tale, and the art really just really showcases the storytelling that’s happening here in a way that is really surprising.

Alex:                 This is probably the wrong thing, but the art almost feels like a medieval tapestry come to life in a certain way in terms of how-

Pete:                Oh, interesting.

Alex:                 … it’s laid out and the way that they have these stories inside of stories inside of stories. Very fascinating book. I highly recommend picking it up.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Next up, Detective Comics #1,034 from DC Comics, written by Mariko Tamaki and Joshua Williamson, art by Dan Mora and Gleb Melnikov. This is telling a story of a kind of poor but still doing okay for himself Bruce Wayne. What’d you think about this one?

Pete:                I-

Alex:                 I mean, he’s doing fine. They’re making a big deal about “I don’t have my money. I only have 18 Batcaves and this really nice apartment in a good part of Gotham. That’s it.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Yeah, and he’s like “It’s crazy. I have neighbors now,”-

Pete:                Yeah. It’s-

Justin:              … and it’s like “Yeah. I know. We all have neighbors, asshole.”

Pete:                Yeah. It’s weird to see Batman kind of dealing with people, but I do really love the art. I really loved the moment where the bad guy sees Batman and is like “Crap.” That was just fun. Yeah. I think it’s an interesting story. I really like the backup as well. I feel like it’s a great package.

Justin:              It’s a great package.

Pete:                You love a good package.

Justin:              Yeah. I like this a lot too, and oddly we’ve talked a lot about Batman: The Animated Series, but this feels like Batman is warming up a little bit and becoming more like that Bruce Wayne from Batman: The Animated Series, where he has to talk to people and he has to be like a normal person sometimes, and maybe that’s what it’s like when you lose money and come back down to Earth and get with the people. Bruce Wayne, get with the people. Meet your neighbors.

Alex:                 Oh, I thought you were going to say something else after that. You said “Meet your neighbors.” You went up, and then-

Pete:                Yeah. Yeah. I thought-

Justin:              Meet your neighbors.

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:25:49].

Justin:              That’s what I’m saying. Do it. Go do it.

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:25:50].

Alex:                 Oh, that was it. Okay. It was a punctuation point.

Justin:              Meet your neighbors.

Alex:                 Yeah. Good story. Let’s move on, talk about The-

Justin:              Alex, go meet your neighbors.

Alex:                 I would love to, but coronavirus. The Scumbag #6 from Image Comics, written by Rick Remender, art by Bengal, dealing with the last arc. Here, we got our main Scumbag is now a super celebrity. He has blown the lid on all the things he’s done to save the Earth while having a big party in his new mansion, and then new threats come his way. What’d you think, Pete?

Pete:                Yeah. I feel like this is Remender having a lot of fun, a lot of cool metal references going on here, which was fun. Yeah. I mean, talking crack pipe. I mean, who doesn’t love that? But yeah. It was just tough because I felt like we had gotten somewhere with Scumbag as a character. It seems he regressed a little bit. I felt like he kind of did some things where he was doing things for the better of him, himself, and the team and moving towards being a hero, but now with this, it’s kind of like he went backwards a little bit. So that part’s a little frustrating, but a lot of really fun art, crazy, over the top, just stupid stuff.

Justin:              But what I like about this is Remender knows to bring this character back to sort of what he is, and yes, there’s a hero in him, but we don’t want him to be the hero yet. He has to continue to be the hard partying Scumbag, and that’s what he is as he’s thrown into a different superhero situation, which I’m excited to see how that plays out.

Alex:                 Next up, I know this is one of Pete’s favorite Barbalien, Red Planet #5 from Dark Horse comics, script by Tate Brombal, story by Jeff Lemire and Tate Brombal. I cannot say that last name. I’m so sorry. Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta. This is about the Martian Manhunter-esque part of the Black Hammer universe. He is gay. He is dealing with that. He is also dealing with being trapped on his own planet at some point. Pete, talk about this book. Why did this one strike you in particular?

Pete:                Well, it’s a very powerful book. I mean, you got people fighting for their rights, what they believe in. There’s a lot of great protest moments. There’s very powerful page with blood spilled on it. They’re saying a lot of great stuff in this book. They’re talking about the collective. They’re talking about us as humans trying to grow and fight for things. It’s very, very powerful, very cool. Love the imagery and the art, and it’s just really well done.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, I agree. I feel like we’ve been talking up the Black Hammer sort of side universe so much lately, and it really is just like this great, creative explosion that’s happening over in the Dark Horse universe, and this story … We’ve been talking a lot about the sort of episodic series, and this is just a great standalone story that has blown out that really takes you along for a great ride.

Alex:                 Really good book. Definitely agree. Next up, one of the darkest books of the week, Stray Dogs #2 from Image Comics, written by Tony Fleecs, art by Trish Forstner. So we reviewed, really liked, I think, the first issue of this book, which took a bunch of dogs, brought them together, and it turns out that maybe their owner is murdering women and stealing the dogs. We get deeper into that mystery this issue. I think you kind of called this out last issue, Justin, but it very much feels like Law & Order Don Bluth or something like that, and it’s kind of upsetting to read, in a certain way.

Justin:              It is upsetting, because these dogs are witness to this killer who is continuing to kill. I mean, we don’t know that for sure yet, I guess, but the way it’s like all these dogs, definitely drawn in the style of the Don Bluth Disney, very cute, lovable dogs that are just like “We’re in a dog story about dogs just trying to get by and then fall in love and then eventually go home and have Lady and Tramp children,” but instead it’s like this super dark … The dogs are witnessing and realizing that their current owner is a killer. It’s so dark, and I was so surprised by this, and it’s great.

Pete:                Yeah. It’s very interesting, kind of this thing of what if the person who is raising you, taking care of you, feeding you, all these things, is a horrible, horrible person? It’s like, what do you go on? Do you go on the fact that “Oh, but they provide for me, and they’re nice, and they take me out,” and all these things, and then “Oh, but I don’t see the murders”? It’s very interesting perspective. It’s very messed up and done in this adorable art that makes it even darker, but it’s this tale that hopefully these dogs can hopefully get to the bottom of and make a difference, but man, it’s a crazy start, for sure.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, I say this a lot. I hope these dogs can solve that human murder.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Last but not least, Post Americano #4 from Image Comics, story and art by Steve Skroce. In this issue, our heroes, I guess, have been captured. One of them has reconnected with their mom, and entering the fray is what looks like a superhero and a werewolf. I love this book so much more than I think I would every single time out of the gate, because it’s just so weird and funny and violent in exactly the right way, and I keep going into it thinking “This will be the issue. This will be the one that turns me. This is when they’ll go too far,” and they never do. It just skirts that line perfectly.

Justin:              Well, and I think this issue does a great job of having this heartfelt reunion between our mother and daughter characters here, and it’s really sweet and taken very seriously, and then the back half of the issue or back third of the issue is this wild nonsense superhero showcase.

Pete:                Yeah. It’s completely over the top, tons of violence. Each issue is crazier than the last, and you’re like “Oh, they can’t top that,” but then this issue does, and it kind of makes fun of itself in the process, but man, really fun. Great read. The art’s fantastic. A lot of cool characters. I mean, I love the car. I thought the car was so great. Such an awesome entrance, but it did hurt when that mint issue #1 got trashed by the guy in the tie. That hurt.

Alex:                 Good stuff. If you’d like to support our podcast-

Justin:              Heartbreaking.

Alex:                 … patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 7:00 PM to Crowdcast and YouTube. Come hang out. We would love to chat with you about comic books. iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice to subscribe and listen to the show. On iTunes, leave us a comment and rate us. We would appreciate that quite a bit. @ComicBookLive on Twitter. Comicbooklive.com for this podcast and more. Until next time, we’ll see you at the virtual comic book shop.

Justin:              Send in the mimes, those cooky, spooky mimes.

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