The Marvels #1

The Stack: The Marvels, Robin And More

podcasts The Stack

On this week’s Stack podcast:

The Marvels #1
Marvel
Written by Kurt Busiek
Art by Yildiray Cinar

Robin #1
DC Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Gleb Melnikov

Shadowman #1
Valiant Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Jon Davis-Hunt

Helm Greycastle #1
Image Comics
Story by Henry Barajas
Art by Bryan Valenza and Rahmat M. Handoko

Black Widow #6
Marvel
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Rafael de Latorre

Batman/Superman #17
DC Comics
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art by Ivan Reis

Summoner War: Legacy #1
Image Comics
Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Luca Claretti

Beta Ray Bill #2
Marvel
By Daniel Warren Johnson

Action Comics #1030
DC Comics
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad
Art by Daniel Sampere, Michael Avon Oeming

Crossover #6
Image Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Geoff Shaw

X-Men Legends #3
Marvel
Written by Louise Simonson
Art by Walter Simonson

Harley Quinn #2
DC Comics
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Art by Riley Rossmo

Deadly Class #45
Image Comics
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Wes Craig

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #25
Marvel
Written by Saladin Ahmed, Cody Zigler
Art by Carmen Carnero, Natacha Bustos

The Department of Truth #8
Image Comics
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Martin Simmonds

BRZRKR #2
BOOM! Studios
Written by Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt
Art by Ron Garney

Shadecraft #2
Image Comics
Written by Joe Henderson
Art by Lee Garbett

Once & Future #18
BOOM! Studios
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Dan Mora

The Comic Book History of Animation #5
IDW Publishing
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Ryan Dunlavey

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Full Episode Transcript

Alex:                 What is up, everybody? Welcome to The Stack. I’m Alex.

Pete:                I’m Pete.

Alex:                 And on The Stack, we talk about a bunch of books that have come out this week. Let’s kick it off with the most marvelous one of all, The Marvels #1 from Marvel, written by Marvel, art by Marvel. I’m kidding. It’s written by Kurt Busiek, art by Yildiray Cinar, and the idea of this book is you usually get these team up books where it’s the Avengers world or it’s the X-Men world and they don’t really cross. What if there was every idea in the Marvel universe all together at the same time? But mixing in a little sense of the Alex Ross Marvel series, also by Kurt Busiek, I want to say. I think it was Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross. So you also get somebody who’s a little bit of a bystander in the Marvel universe getting mixed up in the action here. Pete, what did you think about this one?

Pete:                Well … Excuse me. I’ve been drinking. I really think that it’s beautiful. A lot of amazing art. Great character stuff. It kind of jumps around, but some really breathtaking panels. Yeah. A lot of great action, and kind of like classic Cap moment where he’s reading a book before he jumps out of a plane. I think that’s real fun to see, but yeah. I thought this was kind of a great start. I think the art’s the real hero here, but I’m excited to see where this goes. I think, as a first issue, it does a great job of kind of getting you in this world and getting excited for more.

Alex:                 I am surprised you didn’t mention the Punisher at any point, Pete, because he does show up in here.

Pete:                Oh, yeah. I mean, if you’re going to talk about Marvel, you better fucking have the Punisher in there.

Alex:                 He’s part of the masthead and everything. I love the idea. To your point, it jumped around a lot. It was hard to hold on to. I think it’s classic Kurt Busiek in terms of he is a very smart writer who knows what he’s doing. So he’s setting up a lot of stuff there, but the thing that grabbed me the most was the idea of somebody doing tours in the Marvel universe, because of course that would happen. Of course somebody would commandeer and old Fantasticar, tour around … not celebrities, tourists, and show them off a Spider-Man fight and all of these other things, and the Baxter building. Such a smart, such a fun idea that I really enjoyed a lot. It feels like we’re going to get away from that in future issues, but I love that idea, and that felt so consistent with Marvel. So I was a big fan of that aspect of the issue.

Pete:                Also, kind of a fun fact here. We have in this issue this kind of like … Maybe you know who this is, this Michael Jackson character on a giant motorcycle, and that was one of the first Spider-Man comics, that character was on there, and I was like “Oh, who is this? What is this about?” and it really kind of got me kind of … I picked up my first comic off the spinner rack at a Wegmans, and the rest was history. So it was kind of cool to see this character back.

Alex:                 What else did you grab at the Wegmans? Did you get a Wegman sandwich and Wegman cookies?

Pete:                You’re god damn right. I mean, I was part of the Cookie Monster club. I’m always getting cookies every time I walk into a Wegmans.

Alex:                 Amazing. I didn’t know they sold comics. That’s kind of great. Let’s move on and talk about Robin #1 from DC Comics, written by Joshua Williamson, art by Gleb Melnikov. This is focusing on Damien Wayne. He is getting embroiled into a classic Mortal Kombat style fight club, and man, it ends … I don’t want to spoil it, but it ends in a very surprising way. I enjoyed this, but I loved the twist more, and I’m very excited to read what happens going forward.

Pete:                I’m sorry. Sometimes I kind of block you out when you’re talking. Did you say Robin #1 we’re talking about?

Alex:                 Yes.

Pete:                Oh, great.

Alex:                 Did you block me out for the entire time I was talking? How much have you had to drink?

Pete:                A lot.

Alex:                 Pete, it is Wednesday at 9:00 AM. What’s going on with you?

Pete:                Yeah. Yeah. I know, but Wednesdays are hump day. So you got to drink.

Alex:                 Everybody’s doing the Humpty Hump. RIP.

Pete:                Oh, rest in peace.

Alex:                 Rest in peace.

Pete:                Oh, Shock G.

Alex:                 Shock G.

Pete:                Come on, man. I mean, it’s too soon. This is a crazy comic. Amazing art. I really loved this issue. That last panel … Hoo-hoo, and I love the King Snake fight. Love the flashbacks with the childhood friend there doing the art, and the Alfred stuff … Oh, the Alfred stuff. So touching. I’m glad somebody’s talking about fucking Alfred. I mean, come on.

Alex:                 Everybody’s talking about Alfred pretty much all the time, Pete, but yeah. Good book. Very fun. Next up, another number one, Shadowman #1 from Valiant Comics, written by Cullen Bunn, art by Jon Davis-Hunt. This is a book that we talked to Cullen Bunn when he was on the live show a couple of months back, and he said that he has been waiting forever for this to come out, but this is a real horror take on Shadowman. He is investigating a mystery at a rich person’s messed up party, and it gets as gross as humanly possible. In particular, I think Jon Davis-Hunt’s art here is very good, very gross and terrifying in the right way, and I dug this. I’m not always a Shadowman guy. I feel like it gets way too into The Deadside stuff, but I like this take. I enjoyed this, and I’m excited to read more. What about you, Pete?

Pete:                I agree. I am a Shadowman head. I love Shadowman, one of my favorite characters from Valiant, and we’ve … Valiant has kind of brought out a couple different Shadowmen. So I’m very excited about this one. I really like this leaning into the horror aspect of it, and the characterization is a little different from anything we’ve seen before. I really enjoyed the scythe that he has and how it changes depending on what’s going on is very cool. The character designs. The person that he has talking to him in his ear is very interesting. I think this is great. I’m very excited. As far as a number one goes, really does a great job of kind of differentiating itself from the other Shadowmen comics. So I think this is very exciting as far as this character going in a different direction, and yeah. Why would you go to a rich person’s Eyes Wide Shut party? At this point, it’s not going to end well. Don’t do it. Just go anywhere else, but man alive. There’s nothing worse than rich, douchey people, I tell you.

Alex:                 I got to say I love the way that you say Shadowmen as if it was his last name, like his name is Jake Shadowmen. I really enjoy that quite a bit. Let’s move on, talk about Helm Greycastle #1 from Image Comics, story by Henry Barajas, art by Bryan Valenza and Rahmat M. Handoko. This is your typical fantasy stuff, but there’s some twists and turns worked in here. I’ll tell you what. I was surprised this wasn’t a He-Man riff, based on the title. It’s not, but what’d you think, Pete?

Pete:                Yeah. I got real excited by the title. It seems like it was a fanfic based off of prior before He-Man stuff, but I was really impressed. First off, the amount of stuff that you’re getting in this comic … Not only are you getting amazing maps of the world, but all this breakdown and special stuff in the back, which is great, all this glossary and Kickstarter backers and amazing art, and I was really impressed with all that you’re getting in this book as far as a package is concerned, but I think it’s just kind of like the classic “Okay. Here’s the team. We’ve got the wizard person. We got the dwarf. We got the badass lady,” and I tell you. This, even though it kind of fits into tropes or whatever, really delivers. At first, I was like “Okay. What are we doing here?” But I was really impressed with the story, was really impressed with the different characters, and this is based off love and what you would do for love and also has some really amazing Aztec god stuff that’s going on here that is really very, very fucking cool. Even though I was like “Okay. Here we go,” I thought it really did a great job of being different in all the right ways.

Alex:                 Let’s move on, talk about Black Widow #6 from Marvel, written by Kelly Thompson, art by Rafael De Latorre. We loved the first arc of this book, which found Black Widow very much out of her element. In this arc, she is back in her element, the spy game, the violence game. She’s working with White Widow, AKA Yelena, here to investigate a new mystery, and potentially there’s a tease that they might start up a Red Room of their own in some sense. What’d you think about this one? Did this follow up on the high level of the first arc, and are you still on board with this book?

Pete:                Yes. I feel like the art is really great. The writing here by Kelly Thompson is fantastic. I love the action. I love the pacing. It does really feel like Black Widow, and I really hope the movie is going to be something like based on these new comics that we’re getting, because the pacing, the storytelling, the personification of this character is go great. I like when I see Black Widow with a human side and not just kind of cold blooded and whooping ass. Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing Black Widow whoop some ass, but I feel like how they do the softer side really tells who’s doing this Black Widow, like what kind of Black Widow this is, and I feel like this is great. I mean, just she’s kicking people out windows, just having a great time. I also really liked the twist at the end. I think this was great. I think it does a great job of picking right off where the other one left off.

Alex:                 To your point about the movie, it’s just end of April here. The movie doesn’t come out until July 9th, I think. Plenty of time for them to base the movie on the comics that are coming out right now, I think.

Pete:                Yeah. Plenty of time. A couple re-shoots. Some rewrites. Yeah. Yeah. You know how movies and television work.

Alex:                 Well, the movies are performed live, I believe.

Pete:                All last minute. Yeah.

Alex:                 I think so. They’re like-

Pete:                They’re like improv shots.

Alex:                 They’re like Broadway. Next up, Batman / Superman #17 from DC Comics, written by Gene Luen Yang, art by Ivan Reis. This is picking up on a great first … I put in quotes first because a lot of the stuff is soft rebooted at DC, but first issue of Batman / Superman where we got a weird double filmstrip type issue, one story about Batman, one story about Superman. They crossed over. There was a tease that was something else was going on at the end there. That’s where we pick up, and we find that there is a mass manipulator trying to recut the DC universe to make his own ultimate story. We flash back to these two universes here. This is great. I love this. I think, as creatively structured as the first issue was, this follows up very nicely with the story. Gene Luen Yang has a great handle on all these characters. I really enjoyed this quite a bit, and Ivan Reis’ art, of course, is excellent superhero stuff. What’d you think, Pete?

Pete:                I think it was a little easier to read than the last one. I think it’s fun and very creative, but I don’t know what it is that just … For me, it’s hard to get into with the kind of-

Alex:                 Well, you don’t like Batman or Superman, right?

Pete:                Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. No. I don’t know what it is, but it’s hard for me. I don’t know if it’s the film kind of paneling or whatever.

Alex:                 Well, you don’t like film, right?

Pete:                It’s too busy. Yeah. I don’t know, but it’s hard to kind of get into it, and also, the Robin is kind of like the dated “Yay. I’m having fun,” Robin. No, dude. You’re in the Gotham mean fucking streets, bro. You better have your head on a swizel … swivel.

Alex:                 On the swizel?

Pete:                On a swizel.

Alex:                 You got to have your head on the swizel. That’s what I always say. What’d you think about the Joker with his mouth in his tummy? That was pretty upsetting?

Pete:                Yeah. Yeah.

Alex:                 I love that. That was a nightmare vision right there that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. All right. Let’s move on, talk about Summoner’s War: Legacy #1 from Image Comics, written by Justin Jordan, art by Luca Claretti. This is based on a game, I want to say. I’ve never played it, but I thought this was a fun time. Justin Jordan knows his way around a fantasy universe. We get a new hero who is summoning a bunch of stuff but getting it kind of wrong. She’s trying to get it right, gets sucked into the middle of a war. I expected this to be much more serious than it was, but I came out enjoying it quite a bit. What about you, Pete?

Pete:                Yeah. I enjoyed the lightness of it, and I also enjoyed the kind of person who’s coming to her own, trying to get her powers right, and trying to figure things out. I thought it handled it in such a great way, and who doesn’t love a flying, giant falcon pet that you can ride and fly on? I mean, I also liked the dad wizard figure with the giant necklace. I thought very cool. I like the character designs. I like the story. I thought the pacing was great, and the lighter, fun animation to it makes it flow real nice and kind of creates a fun world. So yeah. At first, I was like “Ah, what’s this going to be?” but I was more impressed with it the more I read. So thought it was cool.

Alex:                 Well, and I’ll tell you what I’m impressed by, Pete. I’m impressed that this week’s podcast is brought to you by Earth Echo Foods and their superfood product, Cacao Bliss. You know, I actually got to-

Pete:                Cacao.

Alex:                 Cacao. You know, I actually got to try some of the product. This is true, and they sent a very nice book, a recipe book, and a frother to froth my cacao.

Pete:                Ooh, you’re into frothing now? That’s your deal?

Alex:                 That’s my whole deal. From top to bottom, I’m into the froth, baby.

Pete:                Wow. I tell you what. Frothing is fun.

Alex:                 it is fun, actually. I-

Pete:                I also just wanted to say don’t cacao flex on me about how you’re so into this and I’m just getting started.

Alex:                 Yeah. All right. Well, pretty soon, I’m sure you’ll be into Cacao Bliss and you’ll do your own cacao flex. A couple of basics. They start with 100 percent organic cacao beans, then blend them with turmeric, MCT oil, coconut, Himalayan sea salt, cinnamon, and black pepper.

Pete:                I mean, that sounds cool, but I’m a Mountain Dew guy myself.

Alex:                 Yeah. Well, and I get that, but Cacao Bliss will actually remove your cravings, facilitate weight loss, boost your energy, and reduce your inflammation with one simple drink. Not only that, it’s friendly to paleo, gluten free, keto, vegan, and vegetarian diets.

Pete:                Yeah, but the real question everybody’s thinking is “How does it go with vodka?” Mix well?

Alex:                 I don’t know.

Pete:                Weird. You should get to the bottom of that.

Alex:                 For the last eight years, Earth Echo Foods has been a leader in the superfoods market and are proud to have served millions of customers worldwide. If you want 15 percent off, use the code MINUTE15. Check it out at earthechofoods.com/minutemedia, and now let’s turn it back-

Pete:                Cacao.

Alex:                 Cacao. Let’s turn it back to the comic books with, I’m sure, one of Pete’s favorites, Beta Ray Bill #2 from Marvel Comics by Daniel Warren Johnson. Picking up on the first issue here, Beta Ray Bill is trying to get his more human form back from his more horse form, and he goes to great lengths to get it this issue, teaming up with Scourge, teaming up with Pip, going into Hell itself. Pete, you’re a big fan. What’s going on?

Pete:                Okay. All right. First off, Daniel Warren Johnson is killing this book. It is glorious. I mean, the double spread page of the ship, and you get to see all the different compartments of the ship, and it looks like Daniel Warren Johnson is drawing in one of the little bottom compartments. Looks like that’s him. It’s hilarious. But seeing Scourge here is glorious. You know, this is interesting. It kind of makes your heart break a little bit for Beta Ray Bill and how much he doesn’t like the way he looks.

Pete:                So this is going to be a really interesting mission that he’s on where he’s kind of looking to fix himself, but I’m hoping he’s going to find himself and realize that he is badass just the way he is. I love the bar scene. This is probably the best Odin you’ve ever seen in your life. I cannot wait. They set up the whole adventure in this issue. Oh, this is going to be so much fun, an amazing ride, and just epic, epic, epic backgrounds, and just the way the Hell landscape and that whole portal thing … Oh, man. This is so much fun, very exciting. I’m very happy this book exists.

Alex:                 I also love this book, but my main thought here is, what are you going to do, Pete, when we have Daniel Warren Johnson on our live show on May 11th? How are you going to deal with that?

Pete:                Wait. Are you serious?

Alex:                 I’m serious. Yeah.

Pete:                He’s going to be on the show May 11th?

Alex:                 Yeah.

Pete:                Oh, ho, ho. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to hold myself together, man. Holy shit. This is going to be weird. I’m going to be rocking the T-shirt I made of his comic, a giant panel from his comic that I have that was nicely give to me by Aaron and John. Oh, dude. Oh, I don’t know how that’s going to go. I’m a little worried. I’m sweating.

Alex:                 I didn’t mean-

Pete:                It’s going to get weird.

Alex:                 I didn’t meant to hype you up too much. Sorry about that, Pete, but I agree with you. This book is so good. Love Beta Ray Bill as a character. Love the depth of emotion that they put in this book. It’s so good, and the art is fantastic as well. I can’t wait to see next issue, because the only thing this issue held back on a little bit is the big bonkers visuals that Daniel Warren Johnson does so well, and I think, purposely so, because we’re heading to Muspelheim, and we’re going to see Surtur probably. We’re going to see these Hell landscapes and big battles. Very excited for that.

Pete:                What are you talking about? That ship was like-

Alex:                 I love a good cross section. I am so here for a good cross section. It’s great. This issue was great. Don’t get me wrong. Don’t jump on me, Pete. Let’s move to Action Comics #1030 from DC Comics, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan, and Michael W. Conrad, art by Daniel Sampere and Michael Avon Oeming. The front story is about Superman dealing with the fact that he may be losing his step here. We don’t know exactly why, but there’s some stuff going. He’s trying to decide whether he’s going to turn the mantle of Superman over to his son, Jon. At the same time, Warworld and Mongul have some plans for him, and in the backup story, we’re getting more of Midnighter and Apollo, which I know you love ever so much, Pete. What’d you think about this one?

Pete:                This is really becoming epic. This whole thing of maybe Superman dying and like … I am just really impressed how this comic is building towards this event in, I feel like, all the right ways. First off, crazy opening, amazing art. The Batman Ray stuff is great, how Batman’s just giving it to him straight, and Adam’s trying to sugarcoat the shit. It’s really funny, and then the touching Damien and Superboy on the rooftop talking about their dads was fantastic. I am very excited to see where this goes. I feel like this is really building towards something here.

Alex:                 This is a great … and this is a great package too. I really like the fac that we get a full main story and then a backup story. It feels like a very hefty comic, which is really nice, and they’re both good. They’re good teams on both stories. So it’s a lot of fun. Next up, Crossover #6 from Image Comics, written by Donny Cates, art by Geoff Shaw. This is the end of the first arc of this book as our … not exactly a team, but our group of characters are trying to enter the dome that is around Denver. They’re trying to get in there.

Pete:                That’s where Justin is right now.

Alex:                 They’re trying to get him out, baby, and so far, they haven’t been successful, but this is awesome. This is everything that you want out of this book. There’s a double-page splash of all these different comic book characters fighting. I hesitate to spoil any of it, because if you don’t want to know, you don’t want to know, but turn away for a second. I’ll just mention it here, because for those who aren’t sold on this comic book, just know that it’s basically every Image character all fighting on one page, and then we get … Oh, my gosh. What’s his name? I’m blanking on his name. The old astronaut guy from Black Hammer is there as well, and it’s just …

Alex:                 This is paying off on the promise of the premise, and I can’t believe how hard it’s hitting it, but the thing that I think is so special and wonderful about this book is in between Madman showing up and Savage Dragon showing up and then Darkness and Witchblade and all of these other characters. Hit-Girl shows up, and one of the characters is like “Oh, shit. This is the best day of my life.” It’s about the characters at the center of the original characters, and I think that’s the thing that is making this book work is the emotional underpinning of these new characters that we don’t know, and the rest of it is this really awesome set dressing.

Pete:                Well, also what’s crazy is … Oh, first off, I completely agree with everything you’re saying there. This is really epic and really delivering. When it was called Crossover, I was like “When are we going to get the splash pages? When are we going to get …” To me, the crossover is … You really get this in this issue with the double page, just everybody from Image just fighting and kicking butt, and the Hit-Girl line after where she’s like “Mine too,” because she gets to fuck up zombies … Just so great. I mean-

Alex:                 Walking Dead zombies.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 She gets to fuck up Walking Dead zombies.

Pete:                This is so fun, and you really feel it, and the last-page reveal is great. I feel like this comic did such a great job early on establishing things and then building towards this in such a great way. I feel like they are really killing this, and this is a lot of fun.

Alex:                 I’m very excited to see where this goes in a second arc, given everything that’s been laid out here. Let’s move on, talk about X-Men Legends #3 from Marvel, written by Louise Simonson, art by Walter Simonson. So the idea of this book is in-continuity stories from classic X-Men teams telling stories that they never got to tell in their original run. So these are not retellings of stories, like we’ve seen before with books like this. This is not stuff that doesn’t count. This is all stuff that’s important, but beyond that, with this issue, it is just so great to see Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson working together on classic X-Factor again. It’s just so much fun to see Apocalypse, Cameron Hodge, Ship, all these, honestly, kind of dumb X-Factor costumes, but I really enjoy them on a nostalgic level. It’s just nice. It’s like a warm, comfy blanket of a comic book.

Pete:                Aww. That’s great. I’m glad. I feel like this is very cool. It’s one of those things where, for some people, it’s a warm, comfy blanket. Other people, it’s like “I don’t want to see Scott and Jean Grey kiss. I don’t want to see that at all. Also, why’s he shooting lasers?” But I think that, for some people-

Alex:                 Why is he shooting lasers? Cyclops?

Pete:                Yeah. As he’s kissing. That’s not cool. You could hurt somebody.

Alex:                 No. He just has the glint. He has a glint on his ruby quartz.

Pete:                It looks like he was, while he was kissing, he was shooting somebody else. Anyways-

Alex:                 If you had laser-blast eyes, you’d be like “Maybe I’ll laser blast somebody when I kiss them just one time just to see what happens.”

Pete:                No. I wouldn’t. That’s a really fucked up-

Alex:                 Just to test it out.

Pete:                You should talk to somebody, because you shouldn’t be walking on the streets having those thoughts. Yeah. I think it’s old-timey fun if you’re into that, and if that’s how you like it, the-

Alex:                 It’s like the Renaissance festival of comic books.

Pete:                Yeah. I just, after a little while, was like “Okay. I get it,” but I’m glad that you had yourself a warm, weighted blanket and felt soft and fuzzy again. So that’s great.

Alex:                 Let’s move on, talk about Harley Quinn #2 from DC Comics, written by Stephanie Phillips, art by Riley Rossmo. This is Harley doing her Harley thing, basically. I think Stephanie Phillips writes it, but the real star here is Riley Rossmo on art, who is perfect for Harley Quinn. I think Stephanie Phillips is definitely writing to Riley Rossmo’s strengths, taking some weird, wild action sequences in there. What’d you think, Pete?

Pete:                I love this. The art is glorious. The story just fits really well. This feels like Harley Quinn. It’s just a fun, cool story. Great Hugo Strange in this, and Kevin. Kevin’s grown on me. I feel like I’m excited to see how things unfold with Kevin. I’m a little worried about Kevin, but yeah. I feel like this is just a-

Alex:                 We need to talk about Kevin.

Pete:                Yeah. I just think it’s a fun Harley Quinn book that … It’s a little different because of the art, but man, it really fits DC in such a fun way.

Alex:                 Next up, Deadly Class #45 from Image Comics, written by Rick Remender, art by Wes Craig. In this issue, we are jumping forward to the ’90s and following our main character here, Marcus, as he deals with a new status quo. Man, I’ll tell you what. I went through so many different thought processes while I was reading this book. One, it’s great to have Deadly Class back. Two, Wes Craig is awesome, so good. I love his art. I love what he does here with Deadly Class. When I got to the page where they revealed that … I think it was 1992 and they have the Nirvana baby there. I laughed out loud. Was definitely Rick Remender doing what he always does with this book, which is channeling the feeling of the time period that he’s in here-

Pete:                It’s ’91.

Alex:                 … and then there’s a bunch of a person shitting himself, which is just Rick Remender’s thing at this point. I like this issue. What did you think, Pete?

Pete:                So I agree with everything you said. It’s so great to have it back. I mean, art is absolutely legendary, just absolutely legendary. When the characters are having the discussion about the pool and the light is reflecting on them from the pool … Just so amazing, the attention to detail. There’s panels that are very sparse. There’s panels that are very busy. It’s too bad that Justin’s not here. There’s some nods to some great things that he loves. Yeah. I was just really impressed. The whole scene in the bathroom where a dude’s just reading in a bathtub like he lives there just really felt like the ’90s to me.

Pete:                I think that this is just a very special, fucked up book in all the right Rick Remender ways. I mean, the fact that he was chasing after someone busts him for being naked on the floor having that thing up his ass and running after being like “It’s not weird. People sometimes need help pooping,” was just hysterical, and then the kind of reveal of like this is about as me as it gets was just magic, and then the little note from Rick at the end … So touching, and he says he loves us. So everything’s going to be okay, guys.

Alex:                 Yeah. I’m sure it’s all going to turn out very well for Marcus.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Moving on to Miles Morales: Spider-Man #25 from Marvel, written by Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar, art by Carmen Carnero and Natacha Bustos. The front story is the kick-off of a clone saga, but this time with Miles Morales, and the backup story is another story of Miles, this time tangling with a new villain about a cake, and it’s very cute. I thought this book was great. I like Saladin Ahmed’s take on Miles. I think there’s some good, interesting, weird danger here, the fact that they’re aware that nobody likes the Clone Saga and are kind of riffing off that. There’s almost this modern cottage industry in Marvel of saying “Hey. You know what? The Clone Saga sucked. Let’s tell a good story around the Clone Saga,” and once again, I think it works here. Pete?

Pete:                Oh, it’s too dangerous. Don’t go near the Clone Saga. It was bad enough. Don’t fucking rip open old wounds. I really like the stuff between the friends here talking about who’s dating who and then Miles getting too riled up and then friend being like “Get your hands off me.” I just … Oh, some great, powerful stuff. I love the way that Miles was trying to kind of put things together here as this issue goes on. It’s very cool. Spider-Man fight. Yeah. I’m nervously excited for about what’s going on. I don’t want anything ever to do with the Clone Saga, but I feel like this Miles Morales book is doing great. So I’m going to trust it and follow along, but man, am I worried.

Alex:                 Next up, The Department-

Pete:                Oh, also-

Alex:                 Yes?

Pete:                Backup story was absolutely magical.

Alex:                 Very delightful. The Department of Truth #8 from Image Comics, written by James Tynion IV, art by Martin Simmonds. In this issue, our main character is still grappling with what is real, what is lies, how do conspiracy theories work, and there’s such a smart thing in this issue that … How do you clean up after they’ve dealt with these conspiracy theories? Specifically here, there was a gigantic ice wall at the end of the world that was established in, I believe, the first or second issue. So they got to take care of that in this issue. Terrifying, smart, well done, well drawn. This book is truly incredible. Pete, what do you think?

Pete:                Yeah. It’s creepy in all the right ways. Just the paneling that uses what psychopaths do when they cut up newspapers to spell things, and there’s all these words in between the panels to really heighten this conspiracy stuff. It’s almost like they kind of wash over panels in different tones. It’s really artistic and impressive and saying a lot of stuff. I just don’t know what’s happening right yet, but I am really in awe of the artistic swings and the storytelling and what’s happening, and I don’t really need to know yet, but man, it’s finally starting to deal with the lizard people, which, when we talk about conspiracy theories, that’s one of the first things I think of.

Alex:                 Number one, baby. [crosstalk 00:33:17].

Pete:                So I’m excited to see what’s going to happen with this, but man, yeah. This is a lot of tripped out fun, and I feel like it’s … Hopefully, it will land really well, but man, this is really cool.

Alex:                 Yeah. Next up, BRZRKR #2 from BOOM! Studios, written by Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt, art by Ron Garney. In the first issue, we got a non-stop battle scene from our main Berzerker, Keanu Reeves, basically. In this issue, we take a flashback, and we find out about his origin, or at least part of his origin, how he came to be, what happened to him. We talked to Matt Kindt about this a little bit on our live show a couple of weeks back. So definitely go listen to this one. I love this issue too. It was very different from the first issue, but I really like the origin story. I thought it was so smartly and grossly done. Ron Garney’s art is impeccable across the board. Pete, what about you?

Pete:                Yeah. This is super crazy and intense but really fits this BRZRKR style. Yeah. I continue to be impressed by this book. We’ve seen a couple different things with BRZRKR, and Keanu is really killing this. This has been really insane and over the top in all the right ways, and I have been really enjoying this book.

Alex:                 I’m very surprised. He rips a cow in half.

Pete:                Yeah. Poor cow.

Alex:                 I never thought you would have liked that sort of thing.

Pete:                That poor cow, and he dives through a horse. It’s kind of gross, but man.

Alex:                 Cool. Let’s move on, talk about Shadecraft #2 from Image Comics, written by Joe Henderson, art by Lee Garbett. In this book, a young girl finds out that her brother has turned into a shadow creature.

Pete:                Classic.

Alex:                 There might be more evil shadow creatures out there. She’s dealing with the ramifications of that in this issue. I like this issue better than the first one, even. I thought there was some good setup in the first one, some creepy visuals, but here, I think the characters are really starting to hit their stride. I like the mythology that they’re setting up, and that’s interesting, and finally, having a character for our main character to play off of, even if it’s a shadow, literally, of her brother, I thought was very neat and very smart and fun to watch. Pete?

Pete:                Yeah. I agree. The brother-sister moments are fun and sweet. The whole shadow world is very interesting. This is a very kind of cool book, and it’s handled well where it’s kind of … You’re still dealing with teen drama a little bit, but then also there’s this foreboding of something coming that’s going to be bigger and scarier. Also, the scene in the principal’s office was hysterical, especially when the shadow finds out that she’s got a gun, and that’s like … Sorry. I should have said spoiler, but-

Alex:                 That’s all right. Guidance counselor, also, but-

Pete:                Oh, yeah. Guidance counselor.

Alex:                 But yeah. Good stuff. Definitely a good book to jump on early. Next up, Once & Future #18 from BOOM! Studios, written by Kieron Gillen, art by Dan Mora. In this issue, everything changes in huge, climactic, insane way. I read most of this issue thinking “Okay. I like this book.” Like we’ve been talking about, I kind of got to get to something, whatever it’s going to get to. It’s fun to read, but whatever we got to pull the lid off and really move forward with it, that’s this issue. By the end of this issue, things have gotten totally bonkers. Spoiler warning here, but Boris Johnson is dead. So that’s going on. But the visuals are absolutely wild. Pete, your favorite grandma is a little upset here. What’d you think?

Pete:                Yeah. This is just continues to be one of the best books on the shelf. I love the art. You get dragons in this issue. you get over-the-top violence and head ripping. I think this is just non-stop fun from issue one, and the characters are so great, and I mean, what’s better than a badass grandma? I mean, come on.

Alex:                 Hey, man. You got to follow your fetishes, whatever they are. Last, but not least-

Pete:                Oh, stop. Don’t put that on me.

Alex:                 I mean, you put that on yourself. The Comic Book History of Animation #5 from IDW Publishing, written by Fred Van Lente, art by Ryan Dunlavey. This is the final issue of this title. Animation is done after this. There’s no more history to talk about, but … Just kidding. They talk about Pixar in this issue. They talk a little bit about your favs, Nausicaä?

Pete:                Nausicaä of the Valley-

Alex:                 Nausicaä.

Pete:                Yeah, and the Valley of the Wind.

Alex:                 And a bunch of other stuff with Miyazaki there, and brings us up to the current day in terms of the history of animation. Again, as usual, fun, informative, just a great series, and if you missed it, pick up all five issues. Read it. You’re not going to be sorry. It’s not just a dry history. As usual, it’s fun, and it’s interesting, and if you have any interest in animation or you’ve ever seen any animation, you’re going to like this book.

Pete:                Yeah. I mean, they do such a great job of giving you facts in a cool, funny, fun way, and also, talking about things from your childhood. They touch on how The Simpsons were made, Batman: The Animated Series, Mask of the Phantasm, all this great, great stuff, and you’re getting insider, behind-the-scenes shit, and it’s really informative and crazy, and it’s so well curated. It’s really well done and even touching. The ending’s a little touching. I mean, Fred Van Lente’s a giant sweetheart, and I love it.

Alex:                 Aww. Very nice, and we love all of you. Thank you so much for listening. If you’d like to support-

Pete:                Wait. Wait.

Alex:                 What?

Pete:                I just wanted to say I checked out Detective Comics #1035.

Alex:                 Oh, god.

Pete:                I just wanted to say it was a cool-ass story and very weird. I’m liking this kind of take on Batman with this weird drug and zombies, maybe, and then the Huntress was really such a cool thing. So I’m excited for where that’s going.

Alex:                 That’s great to hear. I’m really glad to hear that, Pete. If you’d like to support our-

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:39:51].

Alex:                 What?

Pete:                I like to sometimes give the people a little bit extra. You know what I mean? Because you just do the bare minimum. I like to go one step more just for the people. You know what I mean?

Alex:                 Yeah. I only read 20 to 30 comics a week. You read 21 to 31.

Pete:                Yep. Exactly.

Alex:                 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. 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, listen, and follow the show. Comicbooklive.com for this podcast and more. Until next time, we’ll see you at the virtual comic book shop.

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