On this week’s comic book review podcast:
Way of X #1
Written by Si Spurrier
Art by Bob Quinn
Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point #1
Concept by Donald Mustard
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Reilly Brown
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1
Written by Ram V
Art by Filipe Andrade
Written by W. Maxwell Prince
Art by Patrick Horvath
The Mighty Valkyries #1
Written by Jason Aaron and Torunn Grønbekk
Art by Mattia De Iulis and Erica D’Urso
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Bruno Redondo
Radiant Black #3
Written by Kyle Higgins
Art by Marcelo Costa
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by Salvador Larroca
Justice League #60
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Ram V
Art by David Marquez, Xermanico
The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1
Written by Greg Rucka and Andrew Wheeler
Art by Leandro Fernández and Jacopo Camagni
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Esad Ribić
Written by Ram V
Art by Fernando Blanco
By James Harren
Specter Inspectors #3
Created and written by Bowen McCurdy & Kaitlyn Musto
Art by Bowen McCurdy
Stray Dogs #3
Written by Tony Fleecs
Art by Trish Forstner
Crimson Flower #4
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Matt Kindt
Art by Matt Lesniewski
Post Americana #5
Story and art by Steve Skroce
Orphan and the Five Beasts #2
Dark Horse Comics
By James Stokoe
For up to 15% off, please visit https://earthechofoods.com/minutemedia and use code MINUTE15.
Full Episode Transcript
Alex: What’s up, everybody. Welcome to The Stack. I’m Alex.
Justin: I’m Justin.
Alex: And on The Stack, we talk about a bunch of books that have come out this week. Kicking it off, the Way of X #1 from Marvel written by Si Spurrier, art by Bob Quinn. Now this book, I’m trying to think how to frame this up because I feel like this isn’t exactly something that we asked for, but I think we’ve talked a bit about Nightcrawler’s revelation that he was going to just start a mutant religion on Krakoa. There’s certainly been a lot of questions about what is morally right and wrong in this new X-Men world. And I mean, I know how he’d probably react to any way just by default, but certainly a lot of that would come from our third, Pete. So I’d be very curious to think about what he thinks about this book, because I think what is great about this book and I really liked it quite a bit is it is challenging a lot of those questions that fans have been asking all along about yes, he created this new society. Is this okay though?
Justin: Well, yeah. And this book just does such a great job of touching on so many little bits and pieces that were laid out in all these different X-Men books and brings them together and makes them, gives them meaning in a way that I feel like hasn’t been done in the series so far. Hickman’s great and I think this whole world is super exciting, but because it’s so big, I feel like we’ve only touched on a little bits and pieces, like X of Swords, extra Swords. I feel like that got into this whole other weird place when we thought it was going to be the first big, like exploration of what this world was. Instead, it was just like another expansion of the universe. This book actually gets into this shit that’s been on the table and it’s super exciting the way that it’s explored here.
Alex: Yeah. There’s a lot of things that I really liked here, a lot of different sequences, but just to get into spoilers. One of the things that I think was very hard to read, but so true in terms of the way it was written was the sequence where Pixie is talking to some of the younger X-men. And they’re saying, “Oh man, have you died yet? Have you come back? Come on, you’ve got to try it. It’s so cool.” And she gives into this peer pressure and it’s so sad to watch, but feels very authentic to the team experience.
Alex: And this is something we were talking about on the live show a little bit that superhero comics work best at the level of metaphor. And that’s exactly what they’re going for here in exactly the right way. It’s dispar on Nightcrawler’s journey, literal like emotional and mental journey that he’s going on through this book, but just on the basis of what it means for Pixie, a relatively minor X-Men character. I thought it was very impressively done.
Justin: Yeah. And that’s just one of them, like we get a bunch of great Magneto stuff in this issue. Professor X feels they’re still upping this like menace aura around him in a good way. The way they touch on the resurrection thing, the way that new mutants or deep powered humans are brought into Krakoa it’s just a very well-thought-out book. The details are super smart and just, there’s so many doors here ready to open as this book goes forward. I was really impressed with this.
Alex: Yeah. And I mean, the last thing I’ll say, and then we can move on. I think the fact that they are publishing a book like this when just a couple of years ago, even though we had some good ones, that it was all X-men fighting other mutants and bad people who want to kill mutants and that’s what it’s been for a long time. And now we get a book for Nightcrawler is questioning the morality of the X-Men and that is the point. That’s very cool. I like that a whole lot, so good stuff.
Alex: Moving on to the opposite end of the spectrum potentially, Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point #1 from DC comic concept by Donald Mustard, which sounds a little made up to be honestly, written by Christos Gage and art by Reilly Brown. I’ll tell you what, this is a great creative team here. Christos Gage is great, Reilly Brown is awesome about art. I didn’t know what to expect in here that I don’t think it delivered necessarily what I expected, but I was surprised that I really enjoyed the story. I thought it was a fun one.
Justin: They did a great job of being like, “No, we didn’t have to create some weird-like alien species that’s doing Fortnite for some reason.” It was just like, “No, no. Batman goes to Fortnite, that’s it. There’s no screwing around.” And I thought that was such a smart way of handling something like this. The Reilly Brown art is so good. We’ve been fans of his forever, it’s great to see. He brings such clean lines to his work and it works really well in the Fortnite side of things. And the way that that Christos writes Batman is great like the fact that he can’t talk, that he doesn’t really understand who he is, but he still has the signature voice, detective voice in his head. I thought this is a good.
Alex: Well, also the emotional underpinning of pinning it to Batman and Catwoman is very smart as well. Like we were saying, this is smart creative team. They know what they’re doing. It could have been a garbage comic that could have been thrown away and it’s definitely not. So very surprised and if you have any interest in this weird crossover, definitely check it out.
Alex: Next up, one of my favorite books of the week, The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 from BOOM! Studios written by Ram V, art by Filipe Andrade. In this book, Death finds out she’s fired because a baby has been born that just can bring immortality to the world. She gives it up, invades a recently dead body, and we follow her from there. That’s about halfway through the book, but I really always liked Filipe Andrade’s art, very fall down here. This is a interesting, very different mythology than we usually focus on in comics. And Ram V is just on fire lately. So it’s good to see in viewing an original property as well as the company’s stuff.
Justin: Ram V in The Stack is on fire. I hate to tell you but-
Alex: Three books, three books.
Justin: In this very Stack, I feel like we’ve talked about a lot of writers sort of coming into their own lately. Phillip Kennedy Johnson, we talked about a lot. And Ram V is sort of, I feel like also has that mantle right now. And this book is great. It’s fun. It’s funny while also getting into like stuff that I think is real, life and death here, but taken with that sort of gods who’ve seen it all way. But in that way, they’re also very petty and dealing with small perceived injustices and it’s just a great mix and the art is truly beautiful.
Alex: Next up, Haha #4 for me, it was-
Alex: Haha #4 from Image Comics written by W. Maxwell Prince, art by Patrick Horvath. In this issue of this clown anthology, a birthday party clown shrinks and gets sucked into a balloon. And meanwhile, a boy is trying to figure out whether he can connect with his grandfather. I’ll tell you what, and I don’t mean this necessarily in a bad way, this is the issue that felt the closest to Ice Cream Man to me, just on a horror weirdness level, but I still enjoyed it. And I think what W. Maxwell Prince is doing here is holding back on the horror a little bit and injecting it with a little bit more emotion in this book and I like that.
Justin: Yeah. I mean, I agree with you. It felt, especially the stuff inside the balloon, definitely felt very Ice Cream Man, but I thought there was going to be a turn at the end where it’s going to be like taking away, pulling the rug on the fantastical elements and the clown main character had died or something. And these were the last thoughts of a dying clown. So I’m glad they wasn’t, that I’m glad that it just stayed in this sort of fun world. And all of a Prince’s books are like little dreams and I think Ice Cream Man are the nightmares. And this is the dream side where you’re really following dream logic and having strong emotional beats from these characters that we just hit on and meet in these standalone issues, and then don’t ever see again. And he’s just such a master at giving us these stories like the O. Henry of comics, you could say.
Alex: I love it. Next up, The Mighty-
Justin: Shout-out to my seventh grade English teacher for my-
Alex: I thought it was something. Shout-out to O. Henry.
Justin: Shout-out to O. Henry bringing that heat. [crosstalk 00:08:59]. Yeah, getting that An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge gang. Hype, hype!
Alex: The Mighty Valkyries #1 from Marvel written by Jason Aaron and Torunn Gronbekk, art by Mattia De Iulis and Erica D’Urso. In this book, we’re getting two stories of the Valkyries. Front is Jane Foster and the backup story is, well, she gets a name by the end, but it is the Valkyrie that we know from the MCU, from the Marvel movies and recently showed up in Main continuity. This is great. They keep rebooting this book, but I enjoy every version of it.
Justin: Yeah. I sort of don’t like they keep rebooting it because I just want to follow the Jane Foster Valkyrie story. I think the characters are really good. The powers that Valkyrie has are really interesting and the positioning her as this like a steward of the dead, literally where she like can see people how close to death they are is really interesting. So I want to see more of those stories. The fact that it’s paired with the Valkyrie from the MCU and sort of paying like owning and not owning up, but like paying homage to that storyline and really bringing it to the comic universe is great. It’s really well done here. The story was very sort of weird, and space, and getting into some stuff that I didn’t see coming. So I liked this book.
Alex: Me too. Next up, Nightwing #79 from DC Comics written by Tom Taylor, art by Bruno Redondo. This is Nightwing dealing with revelation from the last issue, I guess kind of first issue at least of this reboot arc that Nightwing is now rich. He got a bunch of money from Alfred. He’s trying to decide what to do with it in Blüdhaven. He’s hanging out with Barbara Gordon. I’ll tell you what, the Nightwing Barbara stuff, so romantic. The way that it is paced in the paddles just hit me right in my heart the entire time.
Justin: I want so bad for their relationship to start back up. And it feels like, well, how much are we actually seeing them being together? I feel like it’s never happening. Let us have it, give us this, give it to us, let them be.
Alex: And on the other end of the spectrum, Bruno Redondo’s art is stunning throughout this book. The layouts, the way that he draws Nightwing, it’s great. We talked about the last issue, how blown away we were by it and same thing here. This is… I’ve never been truly into Nightwing. There’s been runs that I really liked, the Tom King, Tim Seeley stuff that they did with Spiral was super fun. But I think it was the most, honestly, that have been Nightwing as a solo title. And this is fast on its way to being one of my favorite runs ever, even though-
Justin: It’s so good in this issue. I was like, “Oh, Nightwing’s the Spiderman of the DC universe.”, especially in this run. And I mean that as a compliment, both visually and the way the character is. So earnest, but funny and you’re really pulling for him to just keep going, definitely check this out.
Alex: Well, let’s move to another Spider-Man as character. Radiant Black #3 from Image Comics written by Kyle Higgins, art by Marcelo Costa. This is a hero has some new powers. Someone had defined he touched a black hole, and now he can fly. And he has some super strength and other things. We’re not quite sure exactly what, but at the same time, he’s a frustrated author and he’s trying to work on his writing while living once again with his dad. In this issue, there’s a really interesting structure here where he’s trying to figure out how to break a short story while trying to figure out also what his new life means as a hero. This title is really good and I’ve been very surprised by it, every single issue.
Justin: Yeah, and I agree. I think this issue really felt like sort of a concept issue, breaking the story while breaking down the new identity as a superhero. I thought it was a fun way of telling the story and we’re watching the Invincible series on Amazon and this feels like Spider-Man SKS, but also just the way the art and the character feels so Invincible to me. And it’s really fun to feel like you’re at the beginning of a story like Invincible that had that much depth and breadth throughout the run.
Alex: Yeah. And the thing that separates it, and this is such a small thing, but I do think it’s important is this is a character who is older than Mark Grayson. Mark was a teen, it does have those notes of it. But this is somebody who, if Mark got his powers 15 years later, what would that be like in a certain way?
Justin: Yeah. This feels like, I guess like Mark Grayson in the college years a little bit. I feel like in the beginning of Invincible, he’s like just a dumb can that gets kicked down the street first, like so many issues. And in this, he’s like a little bit beaten down by the world in a way. And then trying to visit like a reemergence, I guess the way to say it.
Alex: Absolutely. Next-
Justin: … can that gets kicked down the street.
Alex: I really liked that metaphor. Don’t make fun of it, it was great. Alien #2 for Marvel Comics written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, art by Salvador Larroca. And this issue we are picking up on the first one, obviously, where a ex-Marine who was in charge of a Xenomorph program is back on earth, he’s retired. Unfortunately, his son is part of the Weyland-Yutani resistance and has gotten into some big trouble on a space station. So he heads back up there to bail them out. God, this book is good. It’s so scary, it’s so well-drawn. I said this for the first one as well, but as an Alien fan, I am so happy reading this book right now.
Justin: Yes. And like, there’s just something about the Aliens. It’s like you can’t beat them. They’re always, I don’t know what it is like even beyond like Predator, I’m like predatory fine. But their son with the aliens, it’s like, no, they’re going to get on your face. And it’s weird that they’ve been able to pull this trick on us because the whole thing is weird. They cling to your face and they come out of your gut. And then they’re sort of like big bugs that are like, they don’t move much. They’re just happened to get you. But it’s, there’s something very scary.
Alex: It’s terrifying. And it’s even more terrifying here in a certain way because this guy knows about it. He lays it all out and he says, “Hey, like we do…”. I don’t even think they do this in the movies at any point but he’s like, “Okay, we call those facehuggers and there’s the eggs and they can jump on your face and they can plant the eggs on you. And then there’s the…”, like he lays it all out for everybody. And to your point, you’re still like, “No, they’re not going to win.”
Justin: Yeah. You don’t beat these facehuggers. It does feel a little bit like a postmodern alien story where it’s like, “Well, everyone knows.” But the fact that the team, Phillip Kennedy Johnson is still able to make it scary and recapture that fear and tension while still being like, “You guys all know what’s happening here.”, is really impressive.
Alex: Yeah. And just the very idea, Justin, I would tell you of the Alien, and the facehugger, and everything. It makes my stomach feel a little queasy, but do you know what makes my stomach feel better?
Justin: What’s that?
Alex: Cacao Bliss.
Justin: Cacao Bliss, of course.
Alex: Cacao Bliss, yes. This podcast is actually brought to you by Earth Echo Foods and their superfood product, Cacao Bliss.
Justin: And we have worked for weeks on practicing how to say cacao and this is where we planted cacao. Nothing feels better than being able to enjoy rich, smooth, creamy chocolate and knowing you were doing something good for your body. Alex, do something good for your body. It’s not like the scrub that you’re putting on to really enhance your beard growth. This stuff’s actually good for your body.
Alex: Yeah. What about the facehugger, is that improving my body?
Justin: It’s a good look. It is improving the outside, the inside is trouble.
Alex: Yes. They actually, they start with 100% organic cacao beans that are naturally kissed by the sun that is blended with turmeric.
Justin: Oh, wait. As they said, please don’t make that kiss noise. I don’t know if you read that, it’s written right below.
Alex: Hey, we’re just have a couple of directions. Just to read the script and whatever you do, do not do the kissing noise.
Justin: Making script seem supernatural every line. And they said, “Don’t comment on every line, you stupid improvisers.”
Alex: It’s blended with turmeric MCT Oil, coconut, Himalayan sea salt, cinnamon, and black pepper. And no facehuggers, no Xenomorph eggs or anything like that, which is nice.
Justin: It is nice. And the result, you’re going to fall in love with a truly decadent, healthy, guilt-free chocolate. Removing your cravings, facilitating weight loss, boosting your energy and reducing that inflammation Alex, with one simple drink.
Alex: Now by inflammation, you’re talking about the alien that is slowly growing inside of me.
Justin: Exactly, this stuff will get that before it bursts out of your chest. Drank some cacao.
Alex: Not only that, it’s friendly to paleo, gluten-free, keto, vegan, and vegetarian diets.
Justin: For the last eight years, Earth Echo Foods has been a leader in the superfoods market and they are proud of served millions of customers worldwide, including space.
Alex: But unlike Weyland-Yutani, they’re a good company. And they are offering a 15% off when you use the code MINUTE15, you can check it out at earthechofoods.com/minutemedia. So go do that.
Justin: Check it out. Find your bliss, your Cacao Bliss.
Alex: Guaranteed to prevent facehuggers, not guaranteed.
Justin: There’s no a guarantee, stop. It says again, “Don’t do it at the end. If you did it earlier, fine, but definitely don’t do it at the end.”
Alex: Justice League #60 for DC Comics written by Brian Michael Bendis and once again, Ram V, art by David Marquez and Xermanico. This is front story, we’re getting a Justice League story, they’re recruiting some new members, Naomi, Black Adam. And in the backstory, we’re getting some Justice League Dark. I’ll tell you what, I like this. I was a little iffy, I think we were all a little iffy on the first issue, but I think it’s starting to hit its groove. And I enjoyed it here. I think Brian Michael Bendis kind of starting to figure out the voices and making them work. And there’s some fun bits, but what was your take?
Justin: I really liked the backup, that Justice League Dark stuff, the Ram V stuff. My issue with the front half is this to me, it’s like what Bendis does a lap where he’s like, “Hey, I made this character and now they’re the focus of everything that I do.” And you would get there with Naomi here where I’m like, “This isn’t a Justice League book. You’re just trying to sneak in your character.” I feel like in any other time in comic book history, it’d be like, make up a new character. We need a new character and the creator would do that. And then they would just like, bring it in a little bit here and there. Let it sit, whatever. But this is just like Naomi’s the focus of everything. Everyone wants to talk about where Naomi’s from. The mission is to go to where Naomi’s from. It’s like, “Hey, ease up. She’s new.” It’s a new person on the team. You don’t get to be the star right away.
Alex: I don’t know. Since there was so little Naomi, I think the original series was six issues or something like that. Now I’m okay with it. I understand what you’re saying, but I like the character. I know they’ve got to lay in a little more groundwork because they’re developing a CW series with Ava DuVernay, so it’s all good. Do your IP development, I’m happy to read it.
Justin: Oh wow, that’s what I love. My favorite books are the ones that I hear about that have the most IP development.
Alex: They put the levels on the front cover now, right?
Justin: Yeah, and this one is peaking.
Alex: Next up, The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1 from Image Comics written by Greg Rucka and Andrew Wheeler, art by Leandro Fernández and Jacopo… Ja-co-po? Jacapo Camagni.
Justin: I think [crosstalk 00:20:55]. “Jacopo?”, I believe that’s what he said.
Alex: Yeah, close enough. This is two stories about the Old Guard spinning off the series. You may have seen the movie on Netflix talking about IP development, but this is great. Both of these stories are really good. I love telling stories inside of the stories. The first one is just about an axe throughout time, very ship of Theseus type thing going on. And the second one has your fave gay couple from the movie focused on just good stuff. I liked both of these a lot. What do you think?
Justin: Yeah. The arts fantastic throughout and has the same vibe as the original series. And it’s nice to just have a little pocket, this is like a little pocket universe that’s developing here. I wonder are people from the movie going back and reading the comics because I hope so.
Alex: Oh, you mean people who saw the movie?
Justin: Yes. People who watched the movie and maybe didn’t know about the comic. And maybe they’re tracking back-
Alex: I don’t know, I hope they did. I was joking about it a little bit, but people were really into Nicky and I’m forgetting the name of the other guy, the gay couples. So I do think they created all sorts of new fans for the property. So hopefully they’re checking this out because it’s a good, fun story.
Alex: Next up, Eternals #4 from Marvel written by Kieron Gillen, art by Esad Ribic. In this issue, we’re getting more Eternals fighting and doing stuff. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just very well done.
Justin: It is, especially it’s epic mythology style storytelling done with a light of complex, series of character interactions done with a light touch, with fun dialogue, their jokes to keep it light both from the narration, the commentary on the different characters. It’s good. It’s like a chess match a little bit. You have to really have your head in the game to be like, “Oh right. That’s why he’s doing that. That’s why she’s there.”, but it’s good.
Alex: To your point, one of the best bits in the book is Sersi talking about their current problem of Eternals being killed off and saying, “Okay, I’ve got to go talk to Tony Stark. I’ll go to Dane to talk to this human.” And walks one of her compatriots through the whole conversation, she’s going to have it to Tony stark. And it’s clearly exactly what you would see in any other comic book, but her essentially throwing a human of bone and it puts her on such a higher level than anybody else in the Marvel Universe, particularly given she’s like generously considered a C or D list Avenger at best, to flip that dynamic is kind of studying at amazing. I love it.
Justin: I agree. I thought that was really fun. And then this fight at the end with Thanos I thought was great. And positioning these Eternals, I won’t spoil it, but again, putting them against each other. I thought it was very cool.
Alex: Yeah, great book. Next up, Catwoman #30 from DC Comics written once again, by Ram V, art by Fernando Blanco. In this issue, Catwoman is continuing to investigate the underworld of Gotham City. The Riddler has been attached. She is trying to figure out exactly what’s going on there. Another really good rebooted comic from DC Comics. Once again, like Nightwing, I was not super into the Catwoman comics, but I’m really enjoying this take.
Justin: I agree. With this book really being able to focus in on like the two sides of Catwoman. I think make her really interesting outside of all the Batman relationship stuff that I feel like she’s been so attached to it for the past couple of years. There’s her like late at night, cat burglary, like mixing it up with different other Batman villains and then like bright, fancy parties where she’s stealing or like an undercover as herself or another like high society person finding her next mark or finding a clue to get into the mystery she’s after. And I love that the sort of duality and art’s very good in this.
Alex: Next up, here’s a comic that we probably should address a little bit of the controversy around. Ultramega #2 from Image Comics by James Harren. Now, we reviewed the first issue of this book and we unequivocally loved it. We gave it a rave review, put it first in The Stack when it came out. The idea of the book was just big kaiju battle and ends up in an epic way as a huge twist at the end where it jumps many, many years into the future, which is where we pick up an issue too. As we follow this kaiju cult and they fight a Ultramega, which is their version of the a big… I don’t even know what you’d call it, just like not robot defender, but like the big Pacific Rim style defender of everybody against kaijus. However, after we posted that review, we became aware of some controversy online where people were talking about it and felt a lot of very stringent, strong things about the book.
Alex: We talked about this bit on our Patreon’s Slack as well, and got some people’s feedback there. And there were thoughts of, “Is this appropriation? Is the fact that there are no Asian characters in here a problem? Is it sexist because all of the women die?”. There were a lot of other things there that I’m sure certainly forgetting, but I think at least Justin, what you and I fell on is I think all of this criticism of the first one was apt, and well said, and worth discussing. But at least in my opinion, it was worth also paying attention to what was going on to the second issue. See of that stuff held up, see if they’re going for something different. It doesn’t dismiss any of the criticism of the first issue, but does it change it in any way? So what’s your take both about the controversy and how it bears up or not with this issue.
Justin: Yeah, no, I agree there. There are some issues there like, definitely feels like we’re not getting… The female characters are like, “Oh, I see what you’ve done here.” It’s not a character that I’m really like, “Oh, this is an original idea. Feels like you’re taking sort of tropes and using them in your story.” So I definitely think that could have an eye going forward. And I think this issue, it gets out of the paradigm that the first issue did. But I also think like this comic feels like it’s very much saying like, “Well, here’s what would a kaiju story is.” And they are bad at… They use tropes throughout.
Justin: And this book is taking is trying to be like, “Well, we’re going to take that and push it in these weird directions.” And so the first issue definitely started in the trope world. So I think that’s where the criticism is. But I do think with this issue, it does push out beyond that a little bit and get into some like weirder worlds. We do get some more non-male characters here and I’m like White dude characters. So I think that helps to shake it up a little bit and I hope going forward, it will continue on this path because I think it’s a beautifully drawn book and the story is interesting.
Alex: Yeah. I agree with you on that. And I, again, don’t want to dismiss any of the criticisms and if there are further criticisms that we missed in this issue, please, if you’re listening out there, definitely let us know because we want to have a conversation about it. But I also felt like, like you’re saying, I think there’s something to be said for, this is a stew of tropes. That is the whole idea of this book. It’s not trying to be an original kaiju book or anything like that, but it jumped for being a kaiju book to being a post-apocalyptic book. It feels a little Mad Max in here at certain points. There’s a little Akira going on at certain points as well. It’s pulling on all these different things and I think that is okay to do. You can pull on a bunch of different things as long as it feels like it comes through and something that feels fresh or new, but I do feel like this issue feels fresh to do.
Alex: I’m interested in the characters. I’m interested in the concepts, like you said, I like the art quite a bit. It’s very reminiscent of Daniel Warren Johnson, and other folks like that, where there is exaggerated characters and looks, but otherwise the action is very clear and big. And it often pulls back to this big screen feel at certain points. So again, I feel a little hesitant to unequivocally recommended at this point, given how strongly folks felt about the first issue. Certainly, we’ll back off if there’s more commentary about this that we missed, but I do think that this paid off on like you’re saying. The setup of the first issue that may have been appropriation or not, but moving forward in the second issue, it becomes clear that it’s more a trope stew in my mind.
Justin: Yeah, but tasty tropes strew.
Alex: Tasty tropes stew. Every day, I have a little bit of tropes stew and I get stronger. Next up, Specter Inspectors #3 from BOOM! Box created and written by Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto, art by Bowen McCurdy. In this issue, our specter inspectors as well as their demon friend are once again, investigating another ghostly mystery. This continues to be a very charming series in my mind. What’s your take?
Justin: Yeah. And it’s a fun, like it’s drawn unlike a horror book, but it’s dealing with a bunch of horror stuff and horrible things happen, but the characters are pretty chill about it. So I do think the art style wall, I was like, “Oh, it’s sort of weird that it’s drawn this way.”, really starts to blend with the way that they tell the story. And I do enjoy this book as well.
Alex: Well, speaking of which let’s move on to another book that is drawn in a very cartoony way, but is definitely a horror book. Stray dogs #3 from Image Comics written by Tony Fleecs, art by Trish Forstner. So there are a bunch of dogs who are owned by this guy. They’re slowly started to discover that maybe he murdered all of their owners and took them. This is one of the most distressful books or things I think that I did all week, like just reading this book. I was so upset in the right way at the end of this, as we follow these dogs, finding out more about what’s going on with their owner, there’s a point spoiler where they try to dial 911. The dogs have a conversation about like, “What are we doing? We don’t speak English. We’re going to call 911, what’s going to happen?”. And I was freaking out reading this book. I cannot believe how emotionally invested I’ve got to this.
Justin: This book is such a good secret book. It seems like just a goof when you look at the cover or whatever, but then it is like the way it’s drawn, very like Disneyfied dogs or it sort of pulls on like Disney dog movies and then other like animated feature films from like Bluth to the universal movies like whatever. And sort of smash them all together and be like, “No, this is all your favorite childhood dog friends, but they’re in the most fucked up situation you could imagine.” And it’s great, it’s scary. And it really puts you in the heads of these dogs where it’s like, of course the most horrifying thing that could happen to a dogs at the person they love, their owner is killed. And then they’re in this situation where they’re living with the murderer and their dogs. And they’re so aware of them being dogs. And it feels like we’re trapped in their dog lives. It’s such a good book.
Alex: Yeah, it’s great. Again, I can’t believe how into it I am and stressed out about it I am. Next up-
Justin: Go hug your dog. Read this book and go hug your dog.
Alex: Please, I don’t have a dog, but I got to find a dog on the street and I’m going to hug it. I’m going to take it back to my home. I’m going to kill the owner, maybe not in that order.
Justin: Wait, sorry. Real quick, whose side are you on this one?
Alex: The murderer, that’s what we were talking about. Crimson Flower #4 from Dark Horse Comics written by Matt Kindt, art by Matt Lesniewski. And this is, I believe the final issue of this book. It’s about an assassin who is very mixed up with fairytales. We find out much more about what’s going on with that as she wraps up the mystery of who killed her father, I believe. This is very intense to read, but the art also is gorgeous like we’ve talked about with previous issues, Justin, over to you.
Justin: I love this book. It’s like everyone has like noodle appendages in a fun way, but they’re like murdering each other the whole time. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s happening sometimes. I feel like this book does a good job of putting us in the mindset of the main character where it’s like, she’s seeing this both sides of this, the real world, the fantasy world, and so are you. And so you figure out, so we fast reading, we feel like she feels and the way it really seamlessly blends fairytale logic with this horrifying story about a woman seeking revenge is great. It feels like a modern fairytale that also happens to use old fashioned fairytale tropes to tell its story.
Alex: Great. Next up, one that jumps to the future, Post Americana #5 from Image Comics, story and art by Steve Skroce. In this issue, our post-apocalyptic heroes are headed to their potential salvation. It is a robot lady, I think who is running basically the remains of, I would say Disney, but it’s more Hanna-Barbera or something like that, just a bunch of animatronics are hanging out. Every issue of this book is bonkers.
Justin: It’s crazy and it’s good though. I do like it. It’s like it really punches you in the head a little bit when you’re reading it. And I guess, I mean that as a compliment because I do like reading it, but it is like it’s a trippy walk through this American world.
Alex: It’s to the point that it’s hard to get a grasp on what the actual reality of the book is, where you start off with an egg who is narrating things, you end with a superhero and a wolfman who were attacking them. There’s a lady with a toe that spies on people. So many ideas are happening all at the same time in here, but I have a blast reading it every month. And I’m excited to see where we’re headed with this wild story.
Justin: Yeah. It feels like undiscovered country, but sort of like a little like trippier. If you were recording this podcast on like 4:20, that’s what this is look would be.
Alex: But we’re not of course because it’s 4/21, it’s 9:00 AM when we [crosstalk 00:35:59]. We recorded live.
Justin: We recorded live.
Alex: Last but not least, Orphan and the Five Beasts #2 from Dark Horse Comics by James Stokoe. This is your typical story of somebody tried to take down a bunch of evil people who’ve taken over an entire land. And this one we’re watching our hero face Thunder Thighs. Is that what it is?
Justin: Thunder Thighs.
Alex: Thunder Thighs. It goes bonkers. I know I used that word just before, but again, it goes bonkers by the end. Man, I love this book. The art is amazing, the action is amazing. I thought I knew where it was going and it just went wild there, halfway through it. I loved it.
Justin: This feels like playing, I don’t know, when I was young, we would rent video games from like our local. I grew up in the country, we had like a little grocery store and they had video Nintendo games you could rent. And be like, “Oh, I’ll rent this game. I don’t know what the title is. It’s called the Orphan and the Five Beasts. Okay, I’ll give it a try.” Get home and be like, “Wait, what?” And then like gets decapitated and a tiny head comes out like, “I thought I’d beat this boss.” And I didn’t at all. This feels, it took me back exactly to that moment in my life being like, “This is a weird game. I’ll play it for as long as I can and return it tomorrow. And then I’ll never think about it again.”
Alex: Yeah, that’s great. If you’re looking for a big fight comic, definitely pick that up. That’s a great description. And folks that is it. If you’d like to support our podcast, patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 7:00 PM to Crowdcast and YouTube, iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice to subscribe and listen to the show, @comicbooklive on Twitter, comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and more. Until next time, we’ll see you at the virtual comic book shop.
Justin: Goodnight, guys. Happy 4/21.