The Stack: Creepshow, X-Terminators And More

Creepshow #1

On this week’s Stack, we’re reviewing Creepshow #1, X-Terminators #1 and many more!

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Creepshow #1
Image Comics
Written by Chris Burnham, Paul Dini and Stephen Langford
Art by Chris Burnham, John McCrea

X-Terminators #1
Written by Leah Williams
Art by Carlos Gomez

Harley Quinn 30th Anniversary Special #1
DC Comics
Written by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Dini, Rafael Sacvone, Sam Humphries, Stjepan Sejic, Rob Williams, Stephanie Phillips, Cecil Castellucci, Kami Garcia, Mindy Lee & Terry Dodson
Art by Chad Hardin, Guillem March, Rafael Albuquerque, Erica Henderson, Stjepan Sejic, John Timms, Riley Rossmo, Dan Hipp, Mico Suayan & Jason Badower, Terry Dodson

Stuff of Nightmares #1
BOOM! Studios
Written by R.L. Stine
Art by A.L. Kaplan

Vanish #1
Image Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Ryan Stegman

Titans United: Bloodpact #1
DC Comics
Written by Cavan Scott
Art by Luca Meyer

Judgment Day #5
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Valerio Schiti

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

Shirtless Bear-Fighter 2 #2
Image Comics
Written by Jody Leheup
Art by Nil Vendrell

Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1
DC Comics
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Javier Fernandez

Chilling Adventures Presents… Weirder Mysteries #1
Archie Comics
Written by Frank Tieri, Ron Robbins, Joanna Starer
Art by Federico Sabbatini, Juan Bobillo, Ryan Jampole

Public Domain #4
Image Comics
By Chip Zdarsky

Frankenstein: New World Order #2
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden and Thomas Sniegoski
Art by Peter Bergting

DUO #5
DC Comics
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Khoi Pham

The Deadliest Bouquet #2
Image Comics
Written by Erica Schultz
Art by Carola Borelli

Nightwing #96
DC Comics
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Bruno Redondo

Rogues’ Gallery #3
Image Comics
Story by Declan Shalvey and Hannah Rose May
Written by Hannah Rose May
Art by Justin Mason

Black Adam #4
DC Comics
Written by Priest
Art by Rafa Sandoval

Ice Cream Man #32
Image Comics
Written by W. Maxwell Prince
Art by Martín Morazzo & Chris O’Halloran

Fables #155
DC Comics
Written by Bill Willingham
Art by Mark Buckingham

Beware the Eye of Odin #4
Image Comics
Written by Doug Wagner
Art by Tim Orlando

Batman: The Knight #9
DC Comics
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

20th Century Men #2
Image Comics
Written by S. Morian
Art by Deniz Camp

The Lonesome Hunters #4
Dark Horse Comics
By Tyler Crook

Radiant Black #18
Image Comics
Written by Kyle Higgins & Laurence Holmes
Art by Stefano Simeone


Full Episode Transcript:

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

Justin:              I’m Justin.

Pete:                I’m Pete.

Alex:                 And on the stack, we talk about a bunch of comics that have come out this week.

Justin:              Yes.

Alex:                 Some of us in America, some of us in the UK. I don’t want to point any fingers.

Justin:              Wow. You’re going to-

Pete:                Yeah. You’ll never figure out who. London calling love.

Alex:                 Oh, Justin’s into London. It’s pretty late for him right now, but we’re going to jump into it. It’s the spooky hour for him there, so we can start.

Justin:              There’s a lot of spooky comics in this very stack we’re talking about.

Pete:                Oh my God. This first one, it freaked me the fuck out, man.

Alex:                 Kicking it off with Creepshow #1 from Image Comics written by Chris Burnham, Paul Dini, and Steven Langford art by Chris Burnham and John McCrea. This is two short horror stories set, I don’t know, generously in the Creepshow universe. But if you watch the show on shutter, that is from Greg Nicotero. This is him ushering it into comic books.

Alex:                 And I’ll tell you what, I don’t know if you guys remember, but there were two Creepshow movies back in the day. And one of the very first comics that I ever distinctly remember reading was Marvel comics adaptation of, I think, it was Creepshow two that I read a billion times and this took me right back there. 100%. It was like the sense memory thing of oh yeah. Okay. And to that point, I think they nailed that.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean, we’re going to talk about a fair amount of horror anthology or anthology adjacent comics today. And this was one of my favorites of the bunch, because it had that element of telling us those books from back in the day, The Scariest Stories You’ve Ever Heard part two.

Alex:                 Oh yeah.

Justin:              Part one, part two, part three where it was these stories that were just very simple, very straightforward and honestly, a little bit cheesy in the right way. Where it’s cheesy in a way where it’s like, “Oh, I see. This is a suburban story where these regular kids are doing this thing.” But the way they punch you with a horror just got me. The first story-

Alex:                 Oh my God.

Justin:              … specifically, there’s a little tiny jump twist at the end and it worked on me.

Pete:                Yeah. I was like, “No.” I screamed no a couple of times in this comic and yeah-

Justin:              You screamed?

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              You were reading this book and you screamed, blood curdling.

Pete:                I was very scared. And also, this is really fucked up in the kids die. You don’t really see kids in this bad of shape in comic books, so that was really fucked up. And then you always go to kids parties and you wonder about what type of person would put on these masks and do these types of things and the worst fear come true in this. I think what people would like about if you’re into the horror scene is the fact that they’re willing to go there and to kind of do fucked up shit. But man, no thank you.

Alex:                 That’s the difference. And I kind of love thinking about this. I don’t know why I enjoy-

Pete:                You think about eating kids.

Alex:                 I love eating kids.

Pete:                That’s what you think about?

Alex:                 They’re delicious. No. I love thinking about different anthology programs and the 10 degrees that make them slightly different from each other. Like Twilight Zone and Outer Limits are pretty close, for example, but Twilight Zone is always a little bit of a moral at the end like well, shouldn’t have done that. Versus outer limits is just a weird sci-fi thing. Amazing story is very much in that genre, but it’s more the Stephen Spielberg thing of like, gosh, this is pretty weird, huh.

And then you got on the other edge of the spectrum, you have the Tales of the Crypt and the Creepshows, where Tales of the Crypt is always some dark twist at the end where you’re like, “Oh, I’m the crypt keeper and I got you with a silly pun.” Creepshow is like, “Yeah, I’m like that, but I’m way fucked up.” And particularly getting Chris-

Justin:              You think they’re related the Creepshow and crypt keeper. It’s like one of them is like, “I’m the weird cousin of Creepshow.”

Alex:                 Absolutely. But from an art perspective here, having Chris Burnham and John McCrea in particular are just perfect for this type of thing. And I just had a blast reading this. I could totally understand how it’s too gross, too creeped out, but I had a really good time.

Justin:              Now, Pete, you mentioned that you were legit scared reading this. And could you just describe that for the listeners? Is that you just biting your fingernails? Like, aye, aye, aye. Are you pulling on your collar or you’re just like rubbing your cheeks? You said you screamed.

Pete:                I’m reading it and we’ve all been there where you get to the-

Alex:                 And just to paint a picture, Pete is in his bed clothes at this point. Go ahead, Pete.

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                Oh my God. I don’t know what that means.

Justin:              His knit cap.

Pete:                Yeah. We’ve all been there. The jackpot that is when you’re a kid trick or treating, the please take one scenario, or when you get to the house that is handing out full candy bars and then you and your friends change your costumes and keep going back, but-

Justin:              Surely we’ve all done that thing.

Pete:                Yeah, yeah. And so really-

Justin:              Classic Kids GAP.

Pete:                … is just kind of like, oh my God, I would’ve died. Because sometimes when you’re watching a horror movie or reading a horror comic, you’re like, “Well, I wouldn’t do that, so I’m good.” But in this you’re like, “Oh, I would’ve fucking died.”

Justin:              Pete, I understand your connection to the book. I get all that. I see why it scared you, but I want a physical description of you being scared. Is there chattering teeth? Are your toes curled up?

Pete:                No. I’m reading it. And I was just like, no. And then the jot the book away from me. You know what I mean?

Justin:              You threw the book across the room [inaudible 00:06:35].

Pete:                I would not throw it.

Alex:                 Just to help you out, Justin, he did the Scooby Doo thing. He had the legs above the ground and go, and then he was running away.

Justin:              And screamed jinkies?

Pete:                No, no. I just jot the book away from me. I don’t throw it because it’s art and I’m not going to trash something that somebody worked so hard on.

Justin:              So you threw it into a bag and board across the room.

Pete:                I was reading it close to my face.

Justin:              Like the Michael Jordan comic book horror.

Pete:                My eyes aren’t so good, so I had it close to my face and then I just screamed no and jotted it farther away.

Alex:                 I’ll tell you what, if anybody ever figures out how to take a comic book and throw it across the room into a bag and board, they are the king of comic books.

Justin:              Jim Lee.

Alex:                 Yeah. Jim Lee. All right. Why don’t we talk about Exterminators #1 for Marvel written by Leah Williams, art by Carlos Gomez. This is taking Boom-Boom, Jubilee, and Dazzler three-

Pete:                To the doom room.

Alex:                 Three light-based superheroes that all kind of do the same thing and putting them in a situation where they get wasted and kidnapped by vampires. Little bit of a spoiler there, I guess for the issue. Justin, I know you love this one. So why don’t you talk about this?

Justin:              I like this. I know you lay out the premise and it is maybe a little bit goofy, but what I liked about it is it puts these characters sort of out there, personality forward. They’re in some harrowing, but goofy situations. They’re very much just trying to party. I guess it just felt like in the world of all these comics that we read, in the world of the other X-Men book we’re going to talk about here later in the stack, this felt sort of a refreshing party book, featuring characters that we know from Marvel. I feel like we just don’t see that much at all anymore and I appreciated it.

Pete:                Yeah. I mean, this is fun. I liked the kind of jokes and then kind of busting on each other, and stuff like that was fun, the back and forth. Yeah and I’m interested to see kind of with the reveal, how this moves forward. I really thought I was going to hate this more than I did. It was a pleasant surprise.

Justin:              That’s a Glow review from PL Pete.

Pete:                Yeah. What they did with it was pretty cool.

Alex:                 I thought this was delightful, honestly. I don’t want to undersell what I was saying at the beginning here. Love all these characters. I love Dazzler, Jubilee, Boom-Boom. They’re very fun together. The way Leah Williams write them is very fun. The way Carlos Gomez draws them is very fun. Them having a drunken debaucherous bloody evening with people exploding and getting hurt, it felt to me like this is the closest that mainstream Marvel can get to a black label book without actually getting as far as a black label book over DC can go. And I enjoyed that. My one little qualm was about two-thirds away of the book and they kind of point this out where I realized, wait a second, they all do the same thing. What’s going on here?

Justin:              In slightly different ways. Boom-Boom-

Alex:                 Sure.

Justin:              … countdown. But to your point, Alex, it’s sort of Harley Quinn-esque, this book in the Marvel universe. And like I said, you just don’t get a lot of party books anymore. It reminds me of some early Dan Salant work, some of the books that were really comedy forward and just like freewheeling.

Alex:                 Totally agree. Hey, speaking of Harley Quinn, our next book is Harley Quinn 30th Anniversary Special #1 from DC comics written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Dini, Rafael Scavone, Sam Humphreies, Stjepan Sejic, Rob Williams, Stephanie Williams, Cecil Castellucci, Kami Garcia, Mindy Lee and Terry Dodson. Art by Chad Harden, Guillem March, Rafael Albuquerque, Erica Henderson, Stjepan Sejic, John Timms, Riley Rossmo, Dan Hipp, Mico Suayan, and Jason Badower, and Terry Dodson.

Alex:                 As you can tell from the title, this is a bunch of stories from classic and new Harley Quinn teams telling stories of Harley throughout her different eras. And this is another great collection from DC Comics, I thought. And I’ll tell you what, I like Harley in general. I feel like she purposefully could become a bit much, so I was trepidatious going into this. I came out really enjoying pretty much all of these stories.

Pete:                I agree. I really think that as far as the collection of stores go, this is a really a cut above because I was really impressed with not only the stores in here, but all of them together, how great they were. Also, the covers are amazing. The head explosion one was my favorite, but the Amanda Conner, Jimmy P store was really great. The Alfred, Harley Quinn team up was great. The one that kind of looked like Adventure Time was a lot of fun. And of course, I love the Kirky one with the hys, but yeah, I was really impressed. I also was like, “All right, here we go. Collection of Harley Quinn stories,” but really well done.

Justin:              What I think is great about this is it does a great job of taking in a lot of different Harley points of view or her different personality traits that she tends to have in different writer’s hands. We see a nice variety of those and it’s matched with a great variety of artists. There’s some more austere realistic art and some of the more freewheeling stuff in the beginning and end. Like Riley Rossmo’s story, I feel like it’s great for that sort of almost Batman The Animated Series-esque art.

Justin:              You see some great Catwoman stuff here. Amanda Conner doesn’t draw her story, but that story has such her energy and Jimmy P there too, teaming her up with Alfred rather than Batman, which I thought was fun. Just a lot, like you’re saying, everyone’s saying, just a lot of great stuff.

Alex:                 Yeah. It’s also a Rogue’s gallery of talent here, all of the artists. I love all the writers, but definitely seeing the artists, I was like, “Oh, I love Rafael Albuquerque stuff. I love Riley Rossmo’s stuff, Erica Henderson.” This is great. So they put together a really nice package here. Very, very fun book. Definitely pick it up.

Justin:              Yeah, the Guillem March story is really well done too.

Alex:                 Stuff of Nightmares #1 for Boom! Studios written by R. L. Stine. Art by A. L. Kaplan. This is a messed up variation on a Frankenstein story. And for those of you who, the old goosebumps, this definitely goes far more extreme in terms of the violence and horror going on here for R. L. Stine.

Alex:                 I’ll tell you what, this is definitely a bad place to start the review, but my main thing reading this book is the entire time I was trying to remember the name of Stuff of Legend, which was a great book about a bunch of toys who [inaudible 00:13:51] adventure together. And I was like, “Oh, what is that? Wait. It’s not stuff of nightmares. What is it? What is it?” So I was reading this book, but was very distracted the entire time.

Pete:                That’s weird.

Justin:              It’ll be hard to fit that quote on the cover, but I’m sure they’ll want it.

Alex:                 R. L. Stine will be like, “Thanks.”

Pete:                Yeah. I mean with the title, I was like, “Nope, this is not going to be for me.” And yeah, I mean it’s really messed up and dark and twisted, but the art is really great. A lot of the faces and all the stuff is done really well. The shading, the coloring, especially. Some really great panels and really good text storytelling.

Alex:                 Did you get very spooked by the stack this time?

Pete:                Yeah, this is a spooky stack.

Justin:              It’s a haunted stack. All the books are doing the Monster Mash.

Pete:                And that little fucking creature thing creeped me the fuck out.

Justin:              Why? Because he was a giant baby saying, “Help me. Help me.”

Pete:                Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, that thing is going to pop up in a nightmare for sure.

Alex:                 Help me, Pete.

Pete:                No, don’t. Don’t.

Justin:              Help me.

Pete:                Don’t.

Justin:              Just for the listener, Pete leaned back and took his headphones off because he just got scared by me saying that. Just to be clear, he’s scared right now. You can see because his teeth are chattering and he’s biting his finger. I was like.

Alex:                 Yeah. And he, I think, just ran away for the podcast and went.

Pete:                I don’t know what you’re doing jinkies.

Alex:                 They do that thing, they jump in the air.

Pete:                And their feet move, but they don’t make… That’s like a tongue thing. That’s not how the feet out.

Alex:                 They don’t do the tongue thing. It’s what their feet’s because they’re running on air.

Justin:              What they’re doing is scurrying.

Pete:                The noise doesn’t match what you’re setting up is my complaint.

Justin:              This was scary also, like the other ones. I thought a lot more blood in this than some of our other anthologies. And this one is a little, it’s not self-contained. I think we’re going to get a continuation of this story next week. But this reminded me a little bit of some of the Joe Hill DC titles that were coming out a couple years ago like Basket Full of Heads, so fun.

Alex:                 I’ll just throw out there, I don’t really get the R. L. Stine thing. Goosebumps is not anything that I really read as a kid. And every time that I’ve tried to venture into it, I sort of felt like he’s like, “Yeah, I don’t know. This is a scary idea. What do you think?” And that’s what I sort of get here, but I did like the tote of it.

Alex:                 I thought the characters were fun. And I think over a continuing series, I’m more interested to see this rather than as a done in one scary tale. Excuse me. So excited to see where this goes.

Alex:                 Next up. Scary tale. Vanish #1 from Image Comics written by Donny Cates. art by Ryan Stegman. I don’t want to spoil the twist here too much, but this kicks off with a very Harry Potter-esque chosen one narrative about a guy who was supposed to save the world. Cut into him years later, he’s a worthless drunk until something happens. This is a twist on magic books. This is a twist on superheroes. It’s exactly what you expect from the sort of twist that Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman deliver on all of their books. And I think they 100% delivered here. Do you guys agree?

Justin:              Yeah. This book, it sort of caught me off guard. It felt like it was coming from a couple different sources. It almost reminded me of The Magic Order, the Mark Millar book meets like ’90s Top Cow art and with a little bit of the Harry Potter narrative thrown in here. So it was sort of like that type of references that I was like, “Oh.” It kept me a little bit like, “Oh, I’m surprised to see all these things together,” until we get into the twist of the story. And I was like, “Okay.” It’s almost like that if I could phrase it, I’m picking up what you’re putting down, is what I would throw out on the spot.

Pete:                Yeah. I mean, first off Alex, when you say worthless drunk, I mean I take a little offense to that. I mean if you’re dedicating your life to booze, I don’t know if that’s worthless. You know what I mean?

Justin:              Interesting.

Pete:                But I do think that I looked at this and I was like, “Oh my God, this team is amazing. I’m very excited to read this,” but then it just took forever. I felt like a lot of times when you’re reading a comic, you’re like, “Oh, I want more. I want more.” This is a big comic. You get in a lot of pages. And I was just like, “What are we doing?” I don’t know. I felt like it took-

Justin:              Not hitting for Pete.

Pete:                It wasn’t hitting and I like where it ended and I’m interested to see where it goes, but I just felt like this took a long time telling for the setup.

Alex:                 Well, I think to Justin’s point, this feels like at least in this first issue three concepts at the same time.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 So it’s not one idea in the first issue. It’s like, what if the chosen one years later had saved the world and had nothing else to do, catching up with him. So you got that idea and then you have the idea of like… This is getting spoilers here if you haven’t read the book, so tune out for a second. But what if superheroes weren’t actually superheroes, but had something secret and more dastardly going on in the background. And then the final concept, which is introduced on the last page, which Justin, I think your 100% apropos in terms of saying Top Cow. It feels very Top Cow to me is what if the guy who was the villain was actually the hero and what if the heroes were the villain?

Alex:                 And so you got all of those things going on at the same time, so it’s a lot of setup in this first issue. So Pete, I’m very curious to see what you think now that all that setup is out of the way. I think we definitely should talk about the second issue and see what’s going on there.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Now that you’ve gotten the setup out of the way, how does the concept work? How do these potentially dueling concepts work for you? I’m very curious to hear, but I guess we’ll see next month.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Next up, here’s one that I didn’t think was going to work for me and 100% did, Titans United: Bloodpact #1 from DC Comics, written by Cavan Scott, art by Luca Meyer. The reason is I missed the whole Titans era. Like I missed the Teen Titans. I missed the Titans era, so did-

Pete:                What about Teen Titans Go!? Did you get into that?

Alex:                 I enjoy that. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is this maybe the best superhero movie.

Pete:                Wow.

Alex:                 So I enjoy all the individual characters, but I don’t really have any nostalgia for it. So throwing you into a situation where they’re all fighting a bunch of characters that I don’t necessarily know, then introducing Baron Blood, and it feels all very ’90s. I was like, “Okay, here we go with another Titans book.” But there’s a twist that happens about three quarters of the way through the book that I was like, “Okay, this is working for me. I’m enjoying this.” And I think that comes down to Gavin Scott, who we had on the show a couple of weeks ago, maybe months ago at this point-

Pete:                We should have talked to him about this book.

Alex:                 We didn’t, Pete. I know you’ve been doing that bit for a while. We didn’t talk to him about this.

Pete:                You’re right, we didn’t. We fucking failed.

Alex:                 Anyway. He knows how to write his way around a book. And I think he’s done it once again here. What did you guys think?

Pete:                We should have talked to him about it.

Justin:              Nice. There are a lot of books where throw around words like bloodpact. And I love that this book was literally like, “Oh, you’re going to see a bloodpact.” I’ll tell you that much. But I agree with you, Alex. I also have never been a crazy Titans guy. It wasn’t what I was reading in that time. But I like this book. I think this lets us non Titans folks in a good way.

Pete:                Yeah. I feel like this is a classic Titan story, which is good. And the art’s really great. I think it sets up nicely what’s going forward and gets us excited for more in a good way. So I also was pleasantly surprised by this. I also really loved The Backup. I thought that was really great story as well. I’m excited for more of that.

Justin:              I think it was a preview for an upcoming comic.

Pete:                Oh, okay. Well I’m very excited about the preview. We’ll just take that out in editing.

Justin:              Batman and The Joker. The deadly duo.

Pete:                Yeah, the deadly duo.

Justin:              Let’s talk. Hey, we can get the producer on board.

Alex:                 Let me write down the time code.

Pete:                Yeah. That’s just time called this. So it’s time stamped.

Justin:              I’m just going to talk to the producer real quick. Who, as we know is a giant baby. Help me.

Pete:                No.

Justin:              Help me.

Pete:                I knew this was going to be a running bit and I’m so… No, it’s no.

Justin:              It’s okay. Just for the listeners-

Pete:                I picture the fucking baby every time you do that.

Justin:              He took his headphones off, so he can’t hear us. He can’t hear us right now, but we’ve moved on though. Judgment day. Help me.

Pete:                Stop.

Justin:              This is not just a bit in this one. This is an ongoing… This is a life bit.

Alex:                 Pete has taken off his glasses. He’s wiping the sweat off his brow.

Justin:              Oh my God.

Alex:                 He’s changed to his nightgown and his nightcap. There’s one candle by him in a little candle holder.

Pete:                What are you talking about?

Justin:              He’s so scared. His nightcap is jumping off his head and hovering above him for seconds, for our followers.

Pete:                Are you guys talk about Judgment day?

Alex:                 There’s some dancing skeletons that are next to him, doing a little clackety skeleton dance. Anyway, Judgment Day #5 from Marvel written by Kieron Gillen, art by Valero Schiti. In this issue after the big cliff hanger in the last issue where it looks like the Celestial is going to kill everybody on earth, he doesn’t.

Justin:              He didn’t didn’t do it.

Pete:                He’s killing. He’s killing people. He is killing.

Alex:                 There’s a couple of people.

Pete:                Yeah, no people are dying. And then being reborn eggs styles.

Alex:                 I’m just going to put this out there because we tend to be very positive. We like to talk about positive.

Justin:              We love comics.

Alex:                 We love comics. Like Kieron Gillen, like Valero Schiti, this event is a mess.

Pete:                Well, I do feel that it’s picked up steam and the last issue, things really started to happen. And this issue, I feel like they’re doing a good job moving things forward. I’m enjoying this now more in these last two issues than I have since it started. So I’m really looking forward to what’s going to happen and where things are going.

Justin:              It’s interesting how you guys have switched posish a little bit.

Alex:                 Which posish are you in, Justin?

Pete:                Yeah. Where are you at?

Justin:              Great question. Well, I was just looking at the book and I want to just shout out the fact that perhaps, Pete, you liked it because the last bit is Cyclops is a great leader, but he’s not who earth needs right now. This is Nightcrawler saying this. Nightcrawler literality is like, “Should we bring Cyclops back to life? Nah.”

Pete:                Nope.

Justin:              “Let’s bring someone else.” And so I think that may be a little taste of why our guy PL Pete is enjoying.

Alex:                 Can I ask your a question? This is a big spoiler. I’m going to jump to the end of the issue here. So definitely tune away if you don’t want to know, but Captain America dies in this issue. He’s one of the people judged and killed by the Celestial. And the thing at the end is they’re like, “We’re going to bring that Captain America.” And he bursts out of one of those mutant eggs that have on Krakoa with his shield that they resurrected him with?

Pete:                Come on, how you going to know it’s Cap. You can’t not know it’s Cap. So they put his shield in his hand. Don’t be-

Alex:                 In his egg? That’s what he was birthed with. He was birthed with a shield. Like he was a little baby. He was like, ah.

Pete:                I think basically in between panels, he was punching his egg.

Alex:                 I’m sorry. We ended the last issue with the Celestial being like, “Well, I’m sorry, I’m judging all life on Earth. You’re all gone.” And this issue is like, “I’m going to take you out individually.”

Pete:                Well, he killed a bunch of people, but we’re only seeing parts of it. I mean, what are you doing right now? You know how comics work.

Alex:                 This is not good. This is not a good cop. I’m sorry.

Pete:                You want to see every single person die is, what you’re saying. You want to see-

Alex:                 No. Yes, actually, listen. I went on a whole rant about secret wars back in the day. I still have to go back and revisit that and prove myself wrong since I’m sure I was wrong about that. But at least I appreciate the audacity of Jonathan Hickman being like, “We’re going to end the earth. Well we did.” And here, it feels like we’re going to end the earth, but very slowly with enough time for them to solve this problem.

Pete:                Well, first time reading comics, asshole? Come on, dude.

Justin:              Wow, but here let me, because I agree with you, Alex. This, I am a little lost in this and I’m not. I think what this crossover is doing is reckoning with a lot of the topical things happening in Marvel comics. You got the X-Men with being reborn all the time not agreeing with everyone else. You got the Eternals. They’re having a whole war within themselves and reckoning with their gods. You’ve got the Avengers who are just living inside the dead husk of a Celestial.

Alex:                 Right.

Justin:              So I can see where it’s like, look, all this stuff relates to each other, so that’s cool. And dealing with that is interesting, but there’s no overarching narrative thrust pushing us through these ideas. It’s just like these ideas are spinning around in a blender and we’re seeing Captain America come out of an X-Men thing. We’re seeing Eternals influencing the X-Men in their daily lives. It’s like it’s mixing things up, but it’s not going anywhere it feels like. And that’s what I’m missing here.

Alex:                 We’ve talked a little bit about how sometimes all the extraneous stuff around events, miniseries or whatever is like, I don’t need to read this. Why do I need to read this? This title is reading the news without any of the asterisks or anything where it’s like, you got to be reading these 50 other mini series to understand what’s going on here because otherwise it’s just the headlines. It’s all headlines and that’s pretty much it. It’s driving me insane.

Alex:                 The other thing that’s driving me a little insane is you fuckers did this to yourself. Nobody is mentioning out loud the fact that they brought the Celestial to life to judge everybody, to stop the Eternals from killing the X-Men. And they seem to have just skipped past that in the narrative. Everybody’s like, “Well, got to deal with this problem.” And there’s no classic Marvel. There’s no emotion going on. Captain America died and Ironman’s like, “All right, onto the next thing. Let’s figure something out. We got to stop this Celestial.” I’m like Jesus Christ, take a beat. Take a beat here to be like, “My best friend died.” Give me something to hold onto here.

Pete:                But they have the eggs. You know what I mean?

Alex:                 How are you on team X-Men now? For months, I’ve been leaving X-Men books out of the stack because it is too painful to me talk about them.

Justin:              He wants them. He wants them in.

Alex:                 And now all of a sudden you’re like, “I love this crossover. I love the eggs. Bring it on.”

Justin:              He wants all eggs.

Pete:                I was going to say, I didn’t say I loved it, but it’s continuity. So it’s a different world we’re living in where it’s like, “Oh, somebody dies. Well fucking fry up the ag machine and let’s fucking make some fucking grown people.”

Justin:              I will say Pete, I think you need to reread some of these X-Men books to really understand the whole egg deal.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 All right. Why don’t we talk about somebody else who is getting resurrected it Berserker #10 from Boom! Studios, written by Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt, art by Ron Garney. In this issue, Keanu Reeves character who I’m blanking on the name of is back to life and he is pretty fried, but he’s slowly growing his hair back as they are figuring out how to bring him back to his origins. Pete, I know you’re pretty high on this, so take it away.

Pete:                Yeah. This is a ton of fun. The art, Ron Garney on the art is just unbelievable. This is just very cool to kind of see this character kind of evolving and kind of growing in real time in this comic. And I like what they’re doing with this. This is really just over the top action, fun, badass stuff here. And I’m having a blast. I love the colors. I love the angst. This is just a really impressive, crazy cool book turned up to 11. Edition number 10 though because I’ve got people giving me a lot of shit on this podcast. So I want to make sure.

Justin:              Just say it’s turned up to number 10 then.

Pete:                No, it’s a phrase turned up to 11, but it’s issue number 10.

Alex:                 Is that from Ghostbusters or something?

Pete:                Oh my God.

Justin:              I think this issue’s turned up to 10, just from a numbering issue on it. But what I like about this comic is it’s almost mythological in the way it’s telling the story. It’s telling a story about this godlike character that’s moving forward.

Pete:                Keanu Reeves.

Justin:              Keanu Reeves and you see the people around this god character that are fucking with him, maybe trying to help him. The different angles, it’s all about their wand point of view on the thing. It’s just great, simple storytelling and the Ron Garney art, it really hits.

Pete:                Oh yeah.

Alex:                 Shirtless Bear-Fighter! 2 #2 from Image Comics by Jody Leheup, art by Nil Vendrell. In this issue are shirtless, bear-fighter is trying very hard to get a job, but it’s just not working out because he keeps wanting to fight bears.

Pete:                Also, you got to have a shirt.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              The shirtlessness is the real Achilles heel.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 That’s true.

Pete:                It’s really cost him in this issue.

Alex:                 Just from a comedy perspective, I appreciate that they are on the second series of this, the second issue of the second series and they keep finding different ways of playing out this concept. It is very fun.

Pete:                Yeah. You would think they’re kind of beating a dead horse at this point, but they’re doing a great job of having new things happen to this character in fun ways. I’m still really loving this comic. I think it’s very funny and interesting. I also love the rant about toilet paper in here. There’s nothing worse than crappy toilet paper. But this is just not only amazing art, but just great action and comedy all blended into one there.

Justin:              Nice. I have a lot of follow-up questions about the toilet paper thing, but I’ll save those for our weekly meetup. I really want this guy to put a shirt on.

Pete:                Really? No.

Justin:              Well, it would make his life better.

Alex:                 But it takes away his power, so he can’t do that.

Pete:                Yeah. It dampens his power.

Justin:              But he also can stop fighting bears and just be-

Pete:                I think we’re going to get to that eventually, but he’s got to go through some more stuff. You know what I mean?

Alex:                 If you’re looking for a great comedy book that delivers every time, check out Shirtless Bear-Fighter. Next stop, Batman: One Bad Day: Two-Face #1 from DC Comics, written by Mariko Tamaki, art by Javier Fernandez. This is the second of the issues that delve into Batman’s rogues gallery and gives them the one bad day of the title.

Alex:                 Here, we’re going to get Two-Face who is reformed, just trying to set up for his dad’s birthday party. While somebody has threatened his dad, Batman is looking into it. We were pretty high on the first issue of this, which plumbed into the Riddler. What did you think about the Two-Face one?

Pete:                Well, I was also really high when I read this one, but I think it’s-

Justin:              Wow.

Pete:                Well, first off, let me back up the truck, the art’s unbelievable. Really fun covers. I love these kind of one and done. I think what they’re doing, this is fun and cool and exploration of different characters. Here, we’re getting Two-Face. But the problem I was having was even Batman knew in the beginning where it was like, “Oh, couldn’t just be Two-Face the whole time.” So I felt like this was a little weird that we were going through the motions here, even though everybody was like, it’s fucking Two-Face, right. It’s just fucking Two-Face.

Justin:              He’s two-faced. He’s got something up on that other face.

Pete:                Yeah. So I was kind of like, why are we really going through all this? It’s clearly Two-Face. So I felt like it kind of insulted Batman’s intelligence a little bit with the fact that it was, and again, spoilers here. But other than that, it was really a lot of fun and I’m glad we’re getting this kind of one and done cool explorations of different villains and stuff.

Justin:              Gradar, loved the inclusion of spoiler and the other members of the Bat family in this book. I agree. I think it’s strange how many Batman comics are like Two-Face, he’s reformed when it’s like that guy’s whole thing is not being reformed. So it is a little strange. The only time he was reformed was during No Mans Land, I want to say. And he was like, “I’m regular now.”

Alex:                 Well, I will say, this did remind me of the… Oh my gosh. Was it Gotham Central where he was friends with Renee Montoya and sort of a mentor for her?

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Yeah. That played out into No Mans land, if I remember correctly.

Alex:                 Yes. And that was awesome. So just reading that, I was like, “Oh yeah, that was such a good relationship,” because that to me properly played into the idea of Two-Face kind of wants to be better. The Harvey Dent part of him wants to be better, but the Two-Face part wants to be bad. And Renee Montoya truly believed that he could be better and was of course ultimately betrayed by him, even though she knew it. So there was this inevitability to it. Here, I think this is missing that inevitability a little bit because to Pete’s point, they make Batman a little dumb. They make Batman be like, “Ugh, I’m going to investigate all these other people,” but not Two-Face when the entire time we’re-

Pete:                Also, I’m a suspect. It’s like what? Batman, what the fuck are you talking about?

Alex:                 No, I think the only suspect is Two-Face here. So to let us get ahead of that is a bummer. But like you said, Javier Fernandez’s art is awesome in this book.

Pete:                Yes. Worth it for the art.

Alex:                 There you go. Chilling Adventurous Presents Weird Mysteries #1 from Archie Comics written by Frank Tieri, Ron Robbins, Joanne Starer, art by Frederico Sabbatini, Juan Bobillo, and Ryan Jampole. This is, as implied by the title, three weird stories set in the Archie Comics universe, including Betty fighting aliens, among other things. And it is much more in line with the Scooby Doo, them running in place go and then running away.

Pete:                Stoop.

Alex:                 You know what I’m talking about, right.

Pete:                That’s not the sound that legs make.

Alex:                 Help me.

Pete:                No.

Alex:                 It’s less scary than the other things that we’re talking about. What did you guys think about this anthology?

Pete:                It was a little too weird for me because who was that-

Justin:              It was weirder?

Pete:                It was a little too weird where I was like, I wasn’t involved. I didn’t really feel it. And also, who was that Pops? You know what I mean? I’ve never seen that iteration of Pops.

Alex:                 I’m just going to say it is worth it for Frank Tieri writing Betty as Frank Tieri alone, because it is 100% Frank Tieri writing Betty being like, “Yo, you fucking aliens. I’m going to fucking kill you right now.” And that made me laugh out loud several times reading that story in particular. I thought the followup stories were pretty fun, but it was mainly, that was the main event for me. And I had a good time reading this. What about you, Justin?

Justin:              I agree with you, Alex, especially about the first story. Here’s something that stuck out to me. Betty confronts this monster Archie. And one of the reasons she knows he’s a monster is that he smells better than Archie, much better. Is it in cannon that Archie straight up stinks?

Alex:                 Wait, did-

Justin:              He’s got like stink lice?

Alex:                 Did it say smell worse? Am I wrong about that?

Justin:              No. Oh yeah. I see, Archie smells better than the alien.

Alex:                 Yes.

Justin:              Ah, I see bad.

Alex:                 You’re out of the show.

Justin:              The first time I read it, I was like, “Why does Archie smell so bad?” But he smells good.

Alex:                 Yeah. He smells good.

Justin:              What do you think Archie smells like?

Alex:                 He probably actually does smell bad. He’s probably very sweaty all the time.

Justin:              He smells like acoustic guitar, I think.

Alex:                 Jughead definitely smells like hamburgers.

Pete:                Oh yeah.

Alex:                 Veronica probably smells like money.

Justin:              What? Nice.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              We’re doing our top smells of Riverdale.

Alex:                 All right. Why don’t we move on? This is fun if you’re looking for… Honestly just to put it out there, I think these anthologies have been pretty good so far Archie, particularly the horror inflected ones. They’ve been pretty enjoyable. Yeah, I’ve liked reading them. And if you’re looking for some fun stuff that is not as hardcore as Riverdale or the Creepshow books or anything that we’ve been talking about, I think this is a good alternative.

Alex:                 Public Domain #4 from Image Comics, by Chip Zdarsky. In this issue, after the big settlement to the last issue that has allowed our main artist to create more books about his Superman, Captain America-esque character, his sons are pretty off about it in different ways and dealing with that. This book continues to go in surprising directions that I absolutely was not expecting. How are you guys feeling about it?

Justin:              Agree completely. And I feel like I’m starting to see the path forward. The rallying point, I feel like the win and the goal I think that is shaping up here I’m super excited about. This reminds me of if you’re been missing out on Sex Criminals, Chip Zdarsky’s book with Matt Fraction from a few years ago, this has some similar bones, especially comedically. So come get some.

Pete:                Whoa, weird. Anyways. I’m completely thrown by that review.

Justin:              Why? Because I said the word sex?

Pete:                No, because you said bones like there was… anyways.

Justin:              It shares say the same comedic bones as the-

Pete:                Oh, I see.

Alex:                 Pete, when you were in your nightgown the other night, that skeleton tried to have sex with you. That was sex bones. The one, it was like.

Pete:                Oh my god.

Alex:                 During the skeleton dance.

Pete:                Who are you?

Justin:              Yeah, it was making that noise that Alex just made.

Pete:                I appreciated the improv t-shirt that one of the characters was wearing that reminded me just a little bit, but I also think that this is cool. I’m liking the way this is unfolding. I also appreciate the messiness that the family has. It feels like a real family. Sometimes when it comes to relationships to stuff like that, they use a lot of short dialogue because they feel like, “Oh, they’ve known each other a whole lives. They know how they’re speak.” I like the way that they’re interacting and the kind of back and forth, it really feels real. And so I am appreciating that.

Pete:                I’m liking how this is all unfolding and how the things seem not a writer is kind of drawing out this whole arc. It seems messy like real life, so I appreciate that. And I’m very interested to see how this all unfolds. I’m very intrigued. They do a good job of pulling us into this story. It gets a little meta, but I really appreciate this book. And I think it’s very creative and cool.

Alex:                 Frankenstein: New World Order #2 from Dark Horse Comics, written by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Thomas Sniegowski, art by Peter Bergting. This is taking place, I assume in some sort of future world where Frankenstein and a young girl are traveling through, I want to say post apocalyptic wasteland, but it’s not. It’s like post post apocalyptic wasteland and I’m getting a sense-

Justin:              Oh, post post.

Alex:                 I want to throw something out at you guys. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but we meet a tribe of frog people in this issue. Is this the far future of the BPRD universe? Because-

Pete:                Whoa.

Alex:                 Yes.

Justin:              The answer is yes. Yeah. O.

Alex:                 Kay. Because-

Justin:              I think that’s set up in the first issue.

Alex:                 Yeah. Because we left off BPRD in this place where it was the literal apocalypse. There were these Eldritch gods that were coming down. There was a plague of frogs and that’s kind of where it ended. I think this is directly picking up on that story line and particularly realizing that reading this issue was very exciting to me.

Justin:              Yeah. And that part is cool. And that’s why I’m curious of this frog community they’ve sort of chanced upon. I’m like, “Eh, can’t we just not trust frogs here?”

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              Aren’t frogs bad business? But maybe not. And I like the connectivity there. It makes it feel a bit more important because otherwise, this book feels like a wild flight of fancy and sort unFrankenstein-esque, which I don’t mind because I like the sort of roots it’s putting down in this future BPRD world.

Pete:                Yeah. I’m having a lot of fun with this book. The art’s really awesome. There’s a lot of creative characters in here. A lot of great panels. I’m enjoying this kind of like zen Frankenstein who’s just kind of walking the earth, solving problems, getting into fights. This is cool. I’m having a blast with this. I like the creepy teaser at the end that happened. That was really great. I think this is a very creative and cool comic. I’ve been really enjoying these issues.

Alex:                 Duo #5 from DC comics written by Greg Pak, art by Khoi Pham. And this issue, our main characters who are stuck in the same body with nano bots, decide to use them to heal the entire world with some limitations. And our two factions who are against them kind of team up to take them down. Things go predictably wrong.

Alex:                 I love this book, but in a very positive way, it feels like reading a chess match sort of because you keep seeing these moves and counter moves and Greg Pak in particular, I love Khoi Pham’s art, but Greg Pak is structuring it in such a way that every time one character does something, another character is like, “Well, got to parry against that. Got to move around that thing.” And just from an intellectual level, I’m really enjoying watching this game play out.

Pete:                Yeah, this is really intense. This issue, things are getting crazy. I hope they both survive or if it’s one thing at this point, they seem really nice. But this great art, unbelievable action, cool story. I’m enjoying the heck out of this book. That Greg Pak, man, he knows what he is doing.

Justin:              I think it’s so hard to carve out your own little corner of any universe. And I think Greg Pak has done a great job of doing that here. This reminds me of some old school Valiant books in a good way. So I think this is the worth it read.

Alex:                 The Deadliest Bouquet #2 from Image Comics by Erica Schultz, art by Carola Borelli. After the death of their mother in the last, issue these three sisters have been taken in by the police and they’re trying to figure things out. Pete, I know you’ve been loving this book. Talk to me about it.

Pete:                Yeah. I mean it’s just the classic kind of thing of what’s better than one badass lady? Three. So yeah, I’m really enjoying this kind of story as it’s unraveling. We’re getting back background on these ladies and their lives because they’re kind of fighting in the present.

Pete:                Yeah. I’m loving this. I’m loving the action, the story. I appreciate the characters and what they’re kind of fighting for in their different personalities. So this is very, very cool. And I’m having a blast. I also really like the preview in this as well. It’s not a backup, guys. It’s a preview of another comic coming out.

Alex:                 Thank you for specifying. I appreciate it.

Justin:              I love the specificity. This book is setting up some sort of coy mystery about the mother and what she did to raise her daughters. It feels like they’re being trained for some sort of perhaps intense mission or something or almost Charlie’s Angels-esque in that they each have a different specificity. All of them deadly, but I’m ready to open up that mystery. I’m hoping we’re going to get there in the next issue.

Alex:                 I will say I like this issue better than the first one. I thought the first issue was a little oblique. It was hard to get into the characters, even though I wanted to. This one, we get a little deeper into it. It’s a little more fun. It’s a little lighter. So I’m definitely getting more board with the series as we go.

Alex:                 Next up Nightwing #96 from DC Comics, written by Tom Taylor, art by Bruno Redondo. It all goes down this issue between Nightwing and Blockbuster. Thank you.

Justin:              Blockbuster Video.

Alex:                 The king of the DC universe.

Pete:                Not the video, the villain.

Alex:                 The fact that he never returned dangerous liaisons after months and months and months. And he is coming for him. No Twizzlers, no free popcorn with his rental or anything like that night. Nightwing’s done.

Justin:              Yeah. But you know what’s not done? Nightwing’s relationship with Barbara Gordon and we get-

Pete:                Bro, come on.

Justin:              … one of the most beautiful affirmations out there.

Pete:                Babs and Robin, yeah I mean this is really peak relationship.

Justin:              Just really great.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Yeah. Peak ship here. This book always has sort of the full package. You’ve got some great superhero stuff. You have revelations for our main character Nightwing, but also some great emotional moments at the same time. Tom Taylor, he sort of has the formula cracked right now I feel like in the DC universe and I will just keep reading this book for as many… If this came out every 45 minutes, I’m reading every issue.

Pete:                Yeah, I agree. This is great comics. Just absolutely great comics. And spoilers, Blockbuster is dead now. In real life, the video place is dead and now the villain is dead. So we all have to just-

Justin:              What a huge announcement.

Pete:                … move on with our lives. We have to move on.

Alex:                 Pete, you’re smiling because you don’t have to return your video of Cruel Intentions, right?

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                Wow.

Alex:                 You still have it on VHS.

Pete:                That is a reference, bro. But you know, wrong. Wrong.

Justin:              Let me just say, I feel like-

Pete:                Leaving the Cube is what I have and they’ll never get it back.

Justin:              Us celebrating Blockbuster’s death is the same way that the England celebrated the death of the Queen.

Alex:                 Oh wow, dude. Spider crawling across the coffin.

Justin:              We’re going to have day-

Alex:                 This book is phenomenal. I spend a lot of time reading every issue, being like, “Wow, this is like DC’s Hawkeye. Wow, this is like, he’s DC’s Daredevil.” But ultimately, this is wow, this is like DC’s Nightwing. And this is the ultimate Nightwing right there. Absolutely killing it. I’m very excited to see what happens over the next four issues as we march towards issue 100. I feel like it’s going to be a big one. And I want to give a shout out in particular to Bruno Redondo’s art. His layouts are phenomenal every single issue.

Pete:                The panels and the fight sequences, so fun.

Justin:              Bruno’s art is Redondo.

Alex:                 Rogues Gallery #3 from Image Comic, story by Declan Shelvey and Hannah Rose May, art by Hannah Rose May and art by Justin Mason. We talked to Declan Shelvey about this in our live show just this very week on the podcast. I would say it, Pete don’t do not say it. And this in issue after flashing back to show us these characters being pissed that an actress is leaving their favorite superhero show and then showing us what was going on with the actress and why she quit, we bring those two stories together in an apocalyptic way this issue. This is so good and so dark. I can’t believe we only have one more issue of this series, but they are crushing it so far.

Justin:              Yeah, I agree. I said this on the live show, but I feel like this comic got us on board with these characters, at least a little bit. They’re up to no good, but we’re feeling some sympathy for their situation. Totally flipped the script in the second issue. In the third issue, it all sort of becomes the horror show that I didn’t see coming anyway. And I feel like it’s going to get worse and more intense in the final issue. And the perspective switching this series does has been great.

Pete:                I was having so much fun. This was such a great comic and unbelievable art. The problem for me is when things got real meta and then she picked up a comic book with bloody hands and then touched the pages of the comic. Like what the fuck are you doing? You know what I mean?

Justin:              It increases the value.

Pete:                No, no it does not. No.

Alex:                 So Pete, in a situation, just going to throw it out there. You’re in a situation where there’s-

Pete:                You have gloves at the ready if you have a comic book collection.

Alex:                 There’s a home invasion. You’ve already seen a dead body. Somebody is coming to kill you. You’re like, “Well, time to put on the gloves. Don’t want to ruin the comic book I have to look at.” That’s what you do?

Pete:                Well, first off, if it’s your comic, you know what it fucking says on the inside. You don’t need to go back and look. Don’t ruin this comic that everybody’s looking to get because it’s worth so much with your bloody fucking fingers, man.

Alex:                 I’ll throw this out there, I think this is misogyny, Pete. I think you’re being misogynistic, frankly.

Pete:                Wow.

Justin:              Really? How does that?

Alex:                 Because he is criticizing a woman for doing something.

Justin:              No. I don’t think that’s fair.

Pete:                All right. I mean, if she could have just maybe used a non-blood finger to turn the page a little bit, that would’ve been-

Justin:              I think it was criticizing the comic for letting itself be bloodied.

Alex:                 Oh, okay. All right. You’re going to be comoginist. All right, I’m just going to move on. This book is very good, Black Adam.

Pete:                It is really great. It is awesome.

Alex:                 I tried rial up Pete here and it didn’t work. Black Adam #4 for DC Comics. Things have changed written by Priest art by Rafa Sandoval. In this issue, Black Adam is continuing to explore what has happened to him with his weird extraterrestrial plague. Meanwhile, White Adam, his heir is also exploring his own powers. What do you guys think about this one?

Pete:                I think this is very cool.

Justin:              I love this book.

Pete:                Yeah, go ahead. Sorry.

Justin:              I was going to say, I love this book. I have not been a huge Black Adam or reader or fan for his run or a lot of his appearances. This book, I like that it’s sort of operating on two levels. I like our new White Adam character. Just the tone of this book is really nice for me. And the art is also great.

Pete:                Yeah. I really like the new guy here that we get in this comic. Really love how creative and cool the art is, the pace and the action. I’m having a good time.

Alex:                 Let’s move on and talk about Ice Cream Man #32 from Image Comics, written by W. Maxwell Prince, art by-

Pete:                Do you talk about this? How do you talk about this?

Alex:                 … and Chris O’Halloran. So we love this book. Right? This is one of the best books on the stand for the past 32 issues.

Pete:                Continues to be.

Alex:                 Knocking out of the park. This book has gone through a metamorphosis, I think in the past couple of issues in particular where it has gone from nihilistic straight horror to just nihilistic reality, if that’s a fair way of putting it. Where this issue is dealing with a guy who is in rehab and there are Ice Cream Man touches like horrible creatures and there’s weird supernatural things popping in, but it deals with the reality of rehab and it is gutting.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Yeah. And I think to me, that’s the point. I think the reality is scarier. This leaves me with more of a sunk feeling in my stomach than the more horror versions of issues of this series or even any of the horror stuff we’ve talked about this episode. And I think that’s maybe the point and maybe the sort of slight hand that W. Maxwell prince is doing here is that sort of like still featuring the Ice Cream Man stuff. But if you notice, it’s mostly in the front half of the book and of pulling that stuff away, still including it-

Pete:                The back half too, bro

Justin:              There’s a little bit, yes. And there’s touches of it, but the actual horror vision stuff is in the front half. And I think of pulling that back and leaving us with just how hard reality is for us in certain ways and so many people in other larger ways is the true upsetting part about this book and what makes it great.

Pete:                Well also, the move that it does at the beginning, where it starts black and white and then goes into a full color page ad and then gets into the normal pace of the comic, it really messes with you in so many ways that when you’re done reading the comic, it sticks with you like a little creature. It really just gets underneath your fingernails and really kind of messes and tweaks with you.

Pete:                It is so creepy and truthful and the reality of it messes with you that it almost doesn’t have to do anything else. You know what I mean? I can’t talk enough about how creative and impressive this is for so long. The fact that they’re still doing this to us after all this time is really, really impressive.

Pete:                The ideas that this comic is cranking out and exploring is unbelievable. And yeah, I mean this comic should be held up for years and years to come as a triumph. I was so skived out and impressed by this issue. It was heartbreaking in different ways and horrifying in different ways that you weren’t ready for. But then also kind of gave you that punch at the end to still let you know it’s an Ice Cream Man comic.

Alex:                 Not to belabor this point too much, but the thing that I’ve been feeling that’s been creepy in the past couple of issues here on Ice Cream Man, which happened a little bit more over in clown is the other anthology that he did, right-

Justin:              Ha Ha.

Alex:                 Ha Ha, thank you. Is there’s like there’s a glimmer of hope coming through that there is something here where we’re following this main character who’s in rehab. And they talk about how everybody in rehab, there’s a five to 10% chance that you’re actually going to never come back to rehab and actually it’s going to work, but otherwise you’re going to go back.

But you really, or at least I felt, that five to 10% when you’re reading that. There is that glimmer of hope there when you’re reading this thing that I don’t think was present at the first 20 to 25 issues of this book that I’ve been feeling a little bit here in terms of a hopefulness about the world, a hopefulness about people, a bit about humanity, rather than that nihilism that existed. I don’t know if you guys are getting the same thing, but maybe it’s just how I’m interpreting it. I don’t know.

Justin:              Maybe, but I also makes me think there’s a future rug pull. Because the other thing that’s coming in here is a lot more references back to earlier Ice Cream Man issues.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              So I’m starting to feel these threats coming together and we don’t know what the final sort of thing we’re going to end up with here.

Pete:                It’s impressive that you got hope at the end of it because I got the opposite of that because it was like, we had a lot of hope for this character to be able to pull off not go going back to rehab. And spoilers, but when he gets in the taxi, after he is done the rehab stint, he says not going home. And then the taxi driver’s the Ice Cream Man. I was like, “Oh, he’s not making fucking home, man. This guy done.” So I got the opposite of hope.

Alex:                 Yeah, I guess we’ll see where it goes. Next up Fables 155, not issue 15 for DC comics written by Bill Willingham, art by Mark Buckham. In this issue, our kids are continuing to go on their adventures. A bunch of other things are happening as is classic fables. What’d you guys think about this one?

Pete:                I’m sorry that my copy and paste cut me off a letter there. You know what I mean? It’s really costing me. Fables-

Justin:              It was a number, not a letter. It was a number, not a letter.

Pete:                Sorry, yeah it was-

Alex:                 [inaudible 01:01:22].

Pete:                This comic is amazing, all caps. All right. This is just so creative. So cool. I love this so much. It’s so badass. It is. I love what the characters are doing, where their story’s going. I love how it’s paced out. And there’s all these little treats for us in between the panels. This is just high art comic stuff happening and I just love the shit out of it.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean I agree. We said this before, but this is just a straight up continuation of the peak of Fables from back in the day. And as for the story, I feel like we’re in a space where the kids, the Wolf pack kids are almost finding the end of the fairy tales here. It feels like each of them are in their journey or coming up against something and it’s not quite on story. Like we have one of the kids dealing with an errant knight who’s just a dick. Another character who opens up a Pandora’s box and it’s bad, but then also maybe good. We’re breaking fairy tales a little bit here, which I think is a nice little turn for this world.

Alex:                 Beware the Eye of Odin #4 from Image Comics, written by Doug Wagner, art by Tim Orlando. This is the final issue of this series where a group of adventures are trying to bring the Eye of Odin back to the place it belongs. There’s some fun twists and fights here. I really enjoy this series and I highly recommend picking it up in trade if you can. But what did you guys think?

Pete:                Yeah, this is just great. I mean it’s impressive to kind of see the characters go through the change and all the fun stuff that happens. There’s also an adorable moment between two the characters where they’re listening at a door and they do a good job of you kind of want to see what’s on the other side of the door, but we’re getting told what’s happening in an interesting way. And normally, you want a show, don’t tell, but I feel like this comic pulls it off. The troll stuff was super creepy and weird, and I think they killed that artistically. And I thought it was pretty creative and cool. And the fact that the little mouse got to have a nice moment there was cool. Shout out to-

Justin:              Ralph S Mouse on his motorcycle. I thought the art in this was good. And I like the little twist we do at the end here. Setting up perhaps another miniseries.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Batman: The Knight #9 from DC comics written by Chip Zdarsky, art by Carmine Di Giandomenico. This is the second to last issue of the series and it finally brings Batman and his frenemy face to face with Ra’s al Ghul to train them as well Talia al Ghul. It goes about as you’d expect, but with some modernized twists here. I think the series is a awesome retailing of the origin of Batman and it continues to do so and be so in this issue. But how are you guys feeling about it?

Justin:              It feels like Chips Zdarsky took all the fun elements that he liked from the Batman mythology across all the different mediums. This feels very much in line with Batman The Animated Series, introduction of Ra’s al Ghul and Talia al Ghul. And is just bringing us a new remix of it and this is a good remix

Pete:                Remix. Yeah. It’s Batman: The Knight with a K, just so you know, people are listening might-

Justin:              Think Alex pronounced it. He pronounced it-

Alex:                 Knight. Knight. I said knight.

Pete:                Yeah. I think this is really cool. I want more. I’m very excited about-

Justin:              Well, this comic’s about to be turned up to 10. So you’re going to check it out next month.

Pete:                Okay, great. Yeah. Because the issue number nine, I appreciate that.

Justin:              It’s turned to right about nine right now. You just got to wait.

Pete:                Yeah. Oh, check it out more. Yeah. I want more of this kind of before Batman becomes Batman and he’s training. This is very exciting peak animated series moments with the training and becoming the person that we know and love in the comics. So yeah, I wanted to get it inside his head more.

Pete:                I want to kind of like, how do you learn all the fighting techniques? What kind of stuff do you go through? So I don’t want to fast forward that part and I’m a little worried that that’s happening, but man, I love this book. I like this bold young Bruce who’s willing to push people to see what they’re going to do and explore that. I really like that idea. And yeah, it was nice to see Ra’s or as I say Raz and Talia. So it was cool.

Justin:              That’s incorrect.

Pete:                Yeah. I hear you. Yeah, but it’s hard because when you’re reading the comics, you didn’t know the proper way.

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                I was always in my head Ra’s al Ghul.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              Yeah. I mean I guess I just love Batman or as I say ba, ba, ba, ba, Batman. That’s just the way I say it.

Pete:                Yeah. I’m enjoying all the fun choices that they’re making in this comic.

Alex:                 20th Century Man. Men? #2 from Image Comics, written by S Morian art by Dennis Camp. This fallows the adventures of a big guy trapped at a robot suit.

Justin:              Well, let me talk. When I was talking about my picks in the live show for this week, let me just be straight up with you here at the end of the stack. I panic picked because truly, my favorite read of the week was this book and the book we’re about to talk about right after this.

Justin:              This book is epic in a great way. It is sneakily is retailing The Avengers, essentially in an almost in Allan Moore-esque exploration of geopolitics at the same time. And I think this is one of the smartest books on the stands. It’s really well drawn characters and the art on top of all that is great. This is my favorite book to read when it comes out.

Pete:                I think Justin’s underselling the art. It’s not great. It’s great. This is really cool art.

Justin:              Same word. I would argue that’s the same word.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 I would say, this is the thing that I would say is your bananas. This art is good.

Pete:                Interesting.

Justin:              Yes. We have no bananas today.

Pete:                Yeah. I mean parts of it, there was a lot of text and a lot of stuff that they were doing artistically, which was cool.

Alex:                 Didn’t read the text, did you?

Pete:                Nope. But I did think that I really loved the paneling and the action and the art was beautiful. Yeah. It felt like it got a little long in the tooth at parts, but I really appreciated the fact that they were doing the deep dive on this character.

Justin:              Little long in the text.

Pete:                Yeah. But I’ll tell you what. There was a ad, a preview. It was just a panel for Old Dog. And man, I wish we could get the artist and writer on our show to talk about that because that move seems-

Alex:                 Move away from the mic. Move away from the mic. You’re not getting our visual signals. You’re too hot, too hot on the mic. I get your joke.

Pete:                I was looking at the art. And I was trying to get to the Old Dog thing.

Alex:                 All I’m going to say is curse your bananas straight to hell. Let’s talk to the next book, which is The Lonesome Hunters #4 from Dark Horse Comics.

Pete:                You don’t want to talk more about Old Dog? This seems like a really cool book.

Alex:                 Oh my God.

Justin:              It comes out of next weekend. That’s probably when we’ll talk about it.

Alex:                 Yeah. We’ll talk about that.

Pete:                Okay.

Alex:                 So in this issue, our Lonesome Hunters are fighting a bunch of birds with a sword. Justin, I heard a little birdie told me that this is one of your two favorite books of the week. Take it away.

Pete:                He just said it. No bird told you anything. It was him.

Justin:              I was in my classic bird character.

Alex:                 Take your bananas, set them on fire, and send them straight to the center of the earth, Pete.

Justin:              Wow. The Lonesome Hunters #4 is one of those rare comics-

Pete:                How do you know where I keep my bananas? Sorry.

Justin:              Great point. In the banana box. I think this comic, it has such a great tone. It has two great characters at the center that we’re flourishes in and they take care of each other so much. And that’s what this issue is sort of about, while also having all these problems or faults or worries in their life. And it’s also just a great sort of dark fantasy comic at the same time. I think this is such a good book and feels like if you are a Hellboy fan and you’re a lot of Hellboy coming out, but if you want some Hellboy, when it felt essential when it was really in continuity driving the story forward, this is the book for you.

Pete:                I was really impressed with this book. A lot of things all came together in this issue. The art is just peak, ripe banana good. And I think that this was one of the better issues in the stack this week. This was really just a fantastic comic and story. The paneling and the pace and everything was just absolutely beautiful.

Alex:                 I think you’re right on the money with the storytelling feeling like Hellboy. Visually, it looks like The Goon and those two books are great. So definitely pick this up. I got to move on though and talk about our last book, which is one of, if not my favorite book in the stack this week.

Pete:                There it is.

Alex:                 Radiant Black #18 from Image Comics, written by Kyle Haggins and Lawrence Holmes, art by Stefano Simeone. In this issue, we’re picking up on the big revelation of the last issue that Radiant Yellow is from somewhere in the future and knows that our Radiant Blacks, because there’s two of them now, are going to destroy the entire world. This issue is told over three storylines. The top panels are all, I guess, farther in the past. The middle story line is a little farther in the past. And the third story line on the bottom is all the post apocalyptic future. I love a good format break and I think they crushed it here, but it really is Stefano Simeone’s art that makes it. There are so many different styles, so many different tones here. This issue absolutely crushed it.

Pete:                I was a little confused with the three different things happening at once, but it is gorgeous, absolutely amazing. And I really love how it ends and I’m very excited to see what is going to happen. They do a great job of really moving things forward and setting things up in an exciting way. But yeah, this is a really solid comic, continues to be a solid comic.

Justin:              Got to give it up to Radiant Black coming off of closing down sort of a big story arc and then diving face first into something totally format breaking and bringing in a lot of new elements at the same time. This feels of almost like high teens Invincible issues where Kirkman was really laying out a lot of the future continuity.

Pete:                Before it was just punching people through the chest.

Justin:              Well, it was like the first 10 to 12 issues in of Invincible I feel like were like, “Look, this is simple, fun superhero stuff. Not a lot of lay on.” And then it got into really punching some things that then the rest of the series played with. That’s what I feel like we’re getting into here. And it’s really great.

Alex:                 Yep. Good stuff. If you’d like to support our podcast, 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, Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice to subscribe, listen, and follow the show. @comicbooklive on Twitter. for this podcast and many more. Until next time, we’ll see you at the comic book shop.

Justin:              Pete, could you do me a quick favor help me?

Pete:                No. How did I not not see that coming?

Justin:              Help me.

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