On our final comic book review show of 2020, we’re chatting:

Batman Annual #5
DC Comics
By James Tynion IV and James Stokoe

Wolverine #8
Marvel
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic

Nailbiter Returns #8
Image Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Mike Henderson

Tales From The Dark Multiverse: Dark Nights Metal #1
DC Comics
Story by Scott Snyder, Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Written by Jackson Lanzing & Colin Kelly
Pencils by Karl Mostert

The Amazing Spider-Man #55
Marvel
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Patrick Gleason

Monstress: Talk-Stories #2
Image Comics
Written by Marjorie Liu
Illustrated by Sina Takeda

Dark Nights Death Metal: The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1
DC Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson and Scott Snyder, Magdalene Visaggio, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins, Regine Sawyer, Che Grayson, Marguerite Bennett, Matthew Rosenberg and Justin Jordan
Art by Dexter Soy, Scott Koblish, Alex Maleev, Scott Kolins, Anitha Martinez, Pop Mhan, Inaki Miranda, Rob Guillory and Mike Henderson

The Avengers #40
Marvel
By Jason Aaron and Javier Garrón

Lost Soldiers #5
Image Comics
By Aleš Not and Luca Casalanguida

Jinny Hex Special #1
DC Comics
Written by Magdalene Visaggio
Art by Gleb Melnikov

King In Black: Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1
Marvel
Written by Christopher Cantwell
Art by Salvador Larroca

Stranger Things: Science Camp #4
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jody House
Pencils by Edgar Salazar

Justice League: Endless Winter #2
DC Comics
Written by Andy Lanning & Ron Marz
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico & Howard Porter

Ghost Rider: Return of Vengeance #1
Marvel
Written by Howard Mackie
Pencils by Javier Saltares

Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #3
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art and Letters by Tyler Crook

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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, this is the final Stack of 2020.

Pete:                What?

Justin:              Yes.

Alex:                 [Crosstalk 00:00:18] It’s the last one everybody. No more comic book reviews after this, until next year or next week, [crosstalk 00:00:23].

Justin:              We’ll have some fresh ones.

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:00:25] It’s like a week away. Like, what are you doing?

Justin:              No, but we’re going to be different people then. We’re going to have different ideas. We’re going… [Crosstalk 00:00:32]

Pete:                What?

Justin:              The comics are going to be different, man. 2021. [crosstalk 00:00:35] They’re probably all going to come out of your computer.

Alex:                 I can be very political.

Justin:              Oh, that’s a fresh take.

Alex:                 Thank you.

Pete:                Oh wow.

Alex:                 Here’s something [crosstalk 00:00:43] not political. Actually, I guess maybe it kind of it is, but let’s kick it off with Batman Annual #5 from DC Comics by James Tynion IV and James Stokoe. So, this is the origin of Clownhunter. Here, we get a story of [inaudible 00:00:55] and Clownhunter, a little bit of Batman in it, but pretty much a flashback after his experiences, backing off from killing Harley Quinn. This was a great story. And, particularly just the collaboration between James Tynion and James Stokoe was great.

Justin:              The art in this book was excellent. Just a really fun story. We’ve seen a lot of Clownhunter lately, like a lot.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              So to go back into this, I was like, “Oh, more.” But, to get the backstory and with such a great fresh art look, like really enjoyed it.

Pete:                Yeah. I really like the way the counselor talked to Clownhunter and Batman. Like, when she said that, “Batman is smart,” oh, I laughed. That was just fun. Yeah. It’s great to get this kind of like origin story. It makes a lot more sense now with everything. I would have liked this a little bit sooner, but I’m very happy that we got it.

Alex:                 Jesse, you talk about this a lot, about what James Tynion has been trying to do seemingly, is add a lot of wrinkles to the Batman mythos with Clownhunter, with Ghost-Maker.

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                Ghost-Maker.

Alex:                 Classic character, clearly he had a big impression on me. As well as just his take on a Harley, and the Joker and other things. And, that really starts to pay off here, I think in a nice way. It definitely makes me engendered to the character quite a bit more. Let’s move on and talk about Wolverine #8 from Marvel, written by Benjamin Percy, art by Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic. This is, I believe, the 350th adventure of Wolverine; and finally, they’re over. This is it. This is the last adventure of Wolverine after 350. As he promised in his first appearance back in Incredible Hulk, he said, “Hey Bob, 350 times and I’m done.”

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 And now he’s, “That’s it.”

Justin:              “I’m going to replace Professor X someday,” he said, as he fought the Hulk.

Alex:                 Pete, what do you think about this issue, did this hold up to the immense legacy of Wolverine?

Pete:                No. But, we kind of got like different stories here. Some of them more enjoyable than others, but I did very much enjoy a lot of the action and the one where like, Wolverine’s like punching this face in the water. That was great. Very enjoyable. It’s a good way to kind of talk to people. I’m very excited for how it ended though. I don’t know if we should do spoilers or not, but I’m excited for-

Alex:                 No, we don’t really do spoilers on this podcast after the comics have already come out. Yeah, of course, you can go.

Pete:                All right, fine. I’m excited for Patch to be back, and to get more Patch.

Justin:              Patch Adams.

Pete:                Well, Robin Williams rest in peace, you fucken legend. But, not that Patch. I’m talking about the old Wolverine Patch. So, very cool.

Justin:              “It is interesting to touch on so much of the Wolverine legacy,” as you said Alex. Reading this book made me want to see a series that is literally just like, sort of time-dashing through different Wolverine eras and telling us some stories we haven’t heard yet. Because, I feel like we get Wolverine showing up in the present day areas where he had all this history, and he’s like, “Ah shit, I got to deal with the son of this person I killed,” or something. And like, it made me want to see more stories throughout the Wolverines 350 issue long history.

Alex:                 I really believe Benjamin Percy invented the CIA character that Wolverine is hanging out with. He just feels like a very different character interaction Wolverine, where he’s not a super spy. He’s just a member of the CIA. He’s mostly hanging out in his backyard, and he’s really just there for Wolverine to have somebody to sound off of, and that’s it. He’s not a mutant. Well, that’s great. There’s something really involving about that relationship that feels fresh and new. And, I liked that quite a bit. Like, the issues where it’s just them talking. Very cool. A lot of fun.

Pete:                Yeah. I disagree with you. That’s what I was talking about when it was [inaudible 00:05:08], but you do get some really great kind of classic Wolverine moments. There’s like a big splash page where he’s kind of coming through a window with his claws out and he’s like, “I got a dog in this fight.”

Alex:                 You don’t like CIA guy, Pete?

Pete:                No, no, I don’t like CIA guy.

Alex:                 Can I pause at something by you? I think if they were sitting in a bar, you would like it a lot more than if [crosstalk 00:05:32] they’re sitting in a backyard.

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                Well, I very much enjoy the backyard drinking. That’s all we can do right now. We can’t really go in bars. The bar thing isn’t really what… It was just kind of like the way the CIA guy was, that I didn’t trust him, or I didn’t think Wolverine should be chatting with him. It seemed like Wolverine’s too busy to stop for a beer at that moment.

Justin:              It’s like I always say, “A backyard is just a bar without a pool table.”

Pete:                I always say that.

Alex:                 Nailbiter Returns #8 from Image Comics written by Joshua Williamson, art by Mike Henderson. We get some big revelations through this issue about the game that has been going on since these fake and real serial killers. And, we get a big flashback to Nailbiter’s origin story, or at least, I guess, before his origin story. I say this every issue, “I love how they’re fleshing out and adding to this mythology.” “It’s just fun, it’s gross.” It plays out one of my biggest fears about poking out eyeballs that are [crosstalk 00:06:35].

Justin:              Ah, that’s all I could think about. I have such [crosstalk 00:06:38] a… I don’t have a lot of like picky fears, but falling down and having my eyeball catch on the edge sharp table-

Alex:                 Oh, stop.

Justin:              … is a big one. It’s a big one for me. Like tripping randomly, and then boop, corner of a table.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:06:53] I just want to note this for the person who does transcripts on our podcast, please put in everybody cringed when Justin said [crosstalk 00:07:00]

Justin:              [crosstalk 00:07:00] Yes, exactly. Also, an umbrella spoke going into my eye.

Pete:                Nailbiter is great. I mean, it should have been in our kind of like top list of the year, for sure.

Alex:                 Oh, here we go.

Pete:                But, it’s one of those things where I’m really impressed with the storytelling of this book. Like, they did a really amazing job of like getting a lot of action in the front, and like slowly rolling out the story. This is issue eight and we’re kind of getting the origin story, that’s kind of crazy, but it really works in this world. It’s the action and the intensity are so over the top, but the story is very interesting, which is impressive. And, the characters and the grossness, and the fact that we’re reacting so much to a comic book really says a lot about how well they do creating this world, and sucking us all into it and kind of making a part of it. It’s so creepy. And, I can’t believe that like, this is just the tip of the iceberg for their plans to come. I can’t wait to read more. This is such an intense, over the top book. Really, well done.

Alex:                 Let’s move on and talk about Tales from the Dark Multiverse, Dark Nights: Metal #1 from DC Comics. Story by Scott Snyder, Jack Lanzing and Collin Kelly, written by Jack Lanzing and Collin Kelly, pencils by Karl Mostert. It’s appropriate that this book is about the Joker Dragon, because this is the most ouroboros snake eating its own tail book that DC has maybe ever done. It’s insane. It is a version of the Dark Multiverse where the heroes lost Dark Nights: Metal that is being reflected because of Dark Nights: Death Metal, never getting to see this. I went to do this very trepidatious. I was not sure about this idea at all, but I think it paid off really nicely. I like this a bit. And shockingly, I think it actually has repercussions for the future of the DC Universe in a big way, that was very surprising.

Pete:                Yeah. I really love this book. I was surprised, Dark Metal keeps turning it up, and turning it up. And, like the hilarious degradation shredding on the guitar, and then having a kryptonite pick. That was insane. The [crosstalk 00:09:25] Joker Dragon was awesome.

Justin:              Very fun.

Pete:                This is just so much fun, completely over the top. This is just great.

Justin:              I like seeing Duke take such a prominent place in the DC Universe. Like, a character that I felt was created, and then occupied this weird place where he’s was a Robin who became this new character, who had metahuman abilities, which is something that really hasn’t been touched upon in the Bat Family. So, it felt like he slipped into this sort of middle place. And, to see him back here as a focus, and still sort of as a Bat character while still carving out his own place, I really liked.

Alex:                 Yeah. Good book. Definitely pick it up. Next up, The Amazing Spider-Man #55 from Marvel, written by Nick Spencer, art by Patrick Gleason. We are continuing and maybe wrapping up the last remains storyline involving Harry Osborn. It seems like maybe we’re moving on with something different next issue, but nothing is resolved here necessarily. [crosstalk 00:10:31] And I got to be honest, I like this issue. I’m still willing to follow them, but we’re getting to the point where I really need some answers, or they’re going to lose me. [crosstalk 00:10:43] to be honest.

Justin:              I agree with you. Like, I do think this character has been one this… I guess we can say it’s Harry Osborn at this point.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              It seems like it just is, has been held over our heads for every issue up to this point, right. For 54 issues basically. And we were getting, it just feels like we’re not getting the whole thing. And, I don’t know why. Because, if you read this sort of by itself, it’s like, “Oh, I see this villain has captured Peter Parker and all of his friends, and is going to kill them solely, and Peter Parker has to get away.” But, it does feel like there’s a missing piece that sort of really binds everything together. And I’m, to your point, sick of the coin that’s associated with it. Especially when like the Sin-Eater storyline before this was so good, and felt like such a great standalone story. I want to have that feeling about this issue, or this series, this arc as well.

Pete:                This is just a little too intense for me for Spider-Man. Like, the part where Spider-Man shoots his webbing through somebodies head, and out the back of their skull was just like, “Holy shit.” I didn’t think I would ever see that in a Spider-Man comic. I think sometimes Nick Spencer is a little bit more of a shock factor, and I don’t know, it’s pulling me out of the story a little bit. It doesn’t feel like a Spider-Man comic, even though it’s obviously dealing with Spider-Man, and all the friends, and all that stuff. Also, the MJ stuff in here was weird, but maybe that’s just because I have MJ issues in Spider-Man right now.

Justin:              [crosstalk 00:12:28] I liked MJ being such a bad-ass in this issue, though. Like, she really is the hero.

Pete:                Yeah. She really does kind of like step up and kind of be like, “All right asshole, what the fuck is your deal?”

Alex:                 All right. I’ll throw one theory out at you about Amazing Spider-Man and what’s going on, that I feel like its kind of obvious, but I’m not sure that they’re going to go for it. And, I thought they were going to go for it in this issue based on what they said, and then they didn’t. Is this because of One More Day? Like, did this- [crosstalk 00:12:58]

Justin:              I thought that too. I thought we [crosstalk 00:13:00] were going to find out what MJ whispered to Mephisto, and it had something to do with it.

Pete:                That’s what I thought too, and then it didn’t.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:13:08] reverse it or change it, because there’s the whole thing about MJ saying, “No, Peter doesn’t remember.” Harry doing a toast and saying, “Brand new day.”

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 That was the part that I was like, “Oh, shit,” when that got to the middle of the issue, and then they didn’t follow up on it. So that, I think is to me, is the thing where it feels like you were saying, Justin, “You got to stop being coy about it, just get to whatever it is and let us know.” And hopefully, that happens next issue.

Justin:              Yeah. And, I will say the way this issue ends makes me think they could still go that way.

Alex:                 Yes.

Pete:                Yeah. They’re definitely toying with our emotions in this, for sure.

Alex:                 Next up, the Monstress Talk-Stories #2 from Image Comics, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sina Takeda.

Alex:                 I think we were unilaterally loved the first issue of this, which was as the title implies, merely a story showing the past of some of the characters in the present day of Monstress. This tells another story of those characters past. And, it’s as gorgeous, and lovely, and sweet and [inaudible 00:14:11].

Justin:              Lush.

Alex:                 Lush is a great adjective. Great story.

Pete:                Yeah. It’s not just a story though. It’s a talk-story.

Alex:                 Okay, [crosstalk 00:14:21]

Justin:              Wow.

Pete:                Somebody telling somebody else this story.

Justin:              A talk-story, that’s basically a podcast.

Pete:                Oh, weird. But yeah, I can see why this is Alvin’s favorite- [crosstalk 00:14:30]

Alex:                 Hey, what’s up everybody? This is Monstress, we’re sponsored this week by [Blue Apron 00:00:14:33]. Blue Apron.

Pete:                Yeah. I can see why this is one is Alvin’s favorite picks, because it’s got some like creepy, furry shit in here, but that is [crosstalk 00:14:46]…

Alex:                 You know me.

Pete:                Yeah. You’re a perv.

Justin:              Oh, I thought you were going to define yourself when you said that. You know me question mark.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:14:56] I like to leave an air of mystery for our listeners.

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                But, the art alone is just glorious. It’s really just fantastic, jumps right off the page, and is worth it.

Justin:              It’s super dreamy in a good way. Like, I feel like this sort of plays a little bit like a prequel, but the sort of dreamy look of the art makes it feel like one of the characters is remembering this or dreaming it, which I think you don’t really see in a lot of comics. I thought that was cool.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Good issue. And, good two issues series, even if you haven’t necessarily been reading the book. Next up, Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1 from DC Comics, written by Joshua Williamson and Scott Snyder, Magdalene Visaggio, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins, Regin Sawyer, Che Grayson, Marguerite Bennett, Matthew Rosenberg and Justin Jordan. Art by Dexter Soy, Scott Koblish, Alex Maleev, Scott Kolins, Alitha Martinez, Pop Man, Inaki Miranda, Rob Guiilory and Mike Henderson.

Alex:                 This is a bunch of stories that take place simultaneously with the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal, is all of the Multiverses are all fighting together. As usual, it’s a mixed bag, some are good, some are fine. But, what jumped out at you? What did you particularly like about this issue?

Pete:                I really like Bergy’s story, Matt Rosenberg. The Armageddon Blues was a lot of fun. Yeah. I just… Some like really cool, amazing art. Yeah. But, some of the story not as good, but there was some great stuff in there.

Justin:              I agree with you. I really liked the Rosenberg story, which featured Constantine and dark Constantine like becoming [crosstalk 00:16:40]

Pete:                Yeah, two Constantines.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Pete:                I just don’t know why one Constantine would trust the other one. When they’re pouring the drinks, I was like, “Come on, if you’re really Constantine, you’d fucken know.”

Alex:                 To give you the conceit of the story, everybody’s meeting their dark multiverse opposites, who they’re the worst version of themselves. And, Constantine, in the version he meets himself, is basically indistinguishable from himself. And, it’s fun. Yeah, they just try and get a drink in the Oblivion Bar and hang out, compare notes. It’s a good time.

Justin:              I also really liked the story right before that, by Marguerite Bennett and Inaki Miranda, which was a Penguin focused story, which felt like [crosstalk 00:17:16] it was specific, and good and horrifying in a great way.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Good stuff. I think a good collection better than I expected. And definitely, if you’ve been enjoyed Dark Nights: Death Metal, a good thing to pick up. Next up Avengers #4 from Marvel, by Jason Aaron and Javier Garonne, is kicking off the Phoenix storyline in earnest. Justin, what do you think? You were into this.

Pete:                Our very own [JTS’Z 00:17:42].

Justin:              Hey, Let me handle this one guys.

Pete:                .All right.

Justin:              I like this a lot. I feel like Jason or Aaron has really cornered the market on these fun, high stakes Avengers stories that take up a premise, and just laid on the table, and then just really amp it all the way up, and tell us these wild stories focusing on the different Avenges dealing with, in this case, the Phoenix Force. We had all the great Ghost Rider stuff before this, the vampire stuff before that, like I’ve been really enjoying these runs. They’re a little bit lighter than you might expect the Avengers to be, but it’s great.

Pete:                Yeah. I really enjoyed this. Art is glorious. It’s just kind of like a great jumping on point for this big thing that’s happening. But I like how, even though it’s huge, there’s a lot of fun, like really small, cool moments. And, I also love when Captain America has downtime, he’s just punching shit, just working shit out. You got to respect that, man. That’s just great.

Alex:                 Yeah. I like this. This is fun. I mean, there’s not much going on here in terms of innovation, but it’s Doctor Doom versus Captain America, and that’s a good time.

Pete:                Yeah, its fun.

Alex:                 Next up, Lost Soldiers #5 from Image Comics, by Ales Kot and Luca Casalanguida. This is, I think, the last issue of this. We’ve [crosstalk 00:19:07] checked in a couple of issues here. Gorgeous, gorgeous book.

Justin:              It is. The art is so good in this book, especially the last sort of run, the last sequence going to the end. Really, just a great combination of words and texts while bringing the story together, this… Sorry, words and pictures while bringing the story together, really well done.

Pete:                Yeah. Casalanguida, I know we kind of… It’s tough with the name or whatever, but just wanting to kind of point that out.

Alex:                 Oh, sorry about that.

Pete:                Yeah, yeah. [crosstalk 00:19:40]

Alex:                 Hey Pete, I’m glad you never get names wrong and you’re always here to correct me on-

Pete:                Oh no, I’m not… No, no, no. [inaudible 00:19:47], I am not attacking you on that. I am awful- [crosstalk 00:19:50]

Alex:                 You son of a bitch.

Justin:              Wow. I knew we’d [crosstalk 00:19:53] break up eventually.

Pete:                I’m just trying to help.

Justin:              But here, this is the precipice of 2021, [inaudible 00:19:58] year. The year we always said it was going to be our year.

Pete:                I’m just trying to look out- [crosstalk 00:20:03].

Alex:                 We had that 15 year plan.

Justin:              Exactly. Textbook we’ve fit every one.

Pete:                But, this is like so creepy in a lot of different ways. I kind of had to read it a couple of times to really tried to get what was happening. It’s very intense. It’s really well done. But, it’s really just very moving, and it’s just shakes you a little bit.

Alex:                 Good stuff. Let’s move on and talk about the Jinny Hex Special #1 from DC Comics, written by Magdalene Visaggio, art by Gleb Melnikov. This is focusing on a character… I don’t know if it was created by Brian Michael Bendis, but certainly he wrote it over in his Young Justice book. This is a descendant of Jonah Hex who lives in the modern day. And this book, she is dealing with the resurgence of an old villain.

Alex:                 I loved this book. I thought this was such a fun story. And, I was very surprised to find out the art was by Gleb Melnikov, instead of Humberto Ramos, because I thought it was Humberto Ramos for a good portion of the book. It was not, but just a fun mashup of western story and magic. And, just the positivity of the Jinny Hex character is infectious over the course of the pages.

Justin:              I agree. I want to see more from this character.

Pete:                I had a hard time with this. The art, I agree, is unbelievable. It’s an interesting story. But, the problem I had was this doesn’t feel like someone who’s related to Jonah Hex in any way. I wanted her to be…

Alex:                 You wanted her to have a piece of skin connecting her top lip to [crosstalk 00:21:52] bottom lip.

Pete:                No. I wanted her personality to be kind of like a little gruff, not trust people as much, like kind of feel a little bit like Jonah Hex, gave me that relation. But, she was very sunny and nice. And I’m like, “That doesn’t feel like a Hex to me.”

Justin:              “Like a fresh take,” you’re saying.

Pete:                Yeah, I mean, I understand like, “Hey, let’s change the character, maybe make them a little bit more approachable.” Cool. But, you got Hex on the last name, so I want to see some grit. I want to see a little bit meaner type of person, [crosstalk 00:22:25] not trusting a person.

Justin:              You want to see a piece of skin, connect the grittiness to [crosstalk 00:22:28]

Pete:                Stop saying the skin. The skins not the character.

Justin:              Like a googly [crosstalk 00:22:32] eye, you had googly eye.

Alex:                 It’s kind of the character.

Justin:              If I were to name four things about Jonah Hex, I think three of them would be the one side of his face.

Pete:                Oh my [inaudible 00:22:41]. I read a lot of Jonah Hex. I love Jonah Hex. So, I had a lot of high hopes for this. I think it’s great. I do want more of this, but I hope the more we get, the more we kind of find out a little bit darker stuff about Jinny.

Justin:              How many times have you watched the Jonah Hex movie?

Pete:                That is garbage. Don’t talk about that- [crosstalk 00:23:03]

Alex:                 I mean, I will mention there’s a really great interview where Josh Brolin mentions that, “He always wanted to play a character that had a piece of skin that connected his top lip and his bottom lip.” He finally got to do it. [Crosstalk 00:23:12].

Pete:                The skin is not the character.

Alex:                 It’s kind of the character.

Pete:                Stop.

Justin:              He talks about it all the time. Plus, most of the issues, he’s going to the dermatologist to get that thing treated.

Pete:                Oh my god, I fucken hate you guys so much.

Justin:              An early western dermatology.

Pete:                Why do I do this? Why do I do this to myself?

Justin:              Moisturize it Jonah.

Alex:                 Moisturizer, got it.

Justin:              Its so [crosstalk 00:23:34] hard, it keeps it chapped.

Alex:                 It’s very [crosstalk 00:23:36] dry here [crosstalk 00:23:37] desert.

Pete:                Well, at least I have a line that’s like I’m trying to not be like Jonah Hex. You know what I mean? Like, give me something.

Justin:              I am a medicine man and I recommend you moisturize.

Alex:                 King in Black: Iron Man, Doctor Doom #1 from Marvel written by Christopher Cantwell, art by Salvador Larroca. As you can figure out for the title, this is Ironman and Doctor Doom teaming up during- [crosstalk 00:23:59].

Pete:                Teaming up.

Alex:                 … the whole King in Black storyline to try and kill Santa Claus. Justin, you’ve been very anti Santa Claus in Marvel Comics over the past couple of weeks. How did this issue strike you?

Justin:              I got to say, I thought this was fun. I feel like Christopher Cantwell is occupying this space of like, just good storytelling that are sort of funny, but have these like good underpinnings, like the Doctor Doom series that he just did. And, it was such a surprise, I guess. So, it got me.

Pete:                Yeah, it was. Like the look on his face when they’re like, “Is that Santa?” That was really fun. Yeah, I agree, it’s kind of insane, but it’s a fun story. Yeah. I mean, if people love vines, creepy vines, they’re going to love the story as well.

Alex:                 Yeah. If you love creepy vines, definitely check out this book. Moving on.

Justin:              I love Red Vines. Can I still… Is this story still accessible [crosstalk 00:24:58]?

Alex:                 Ah, come on.

Pete:                Are you serious?

Alex:                 Only good for soda. [crosstalk 00:00:25:01].

Justin:              Just kidding. Nobody loves Red Vines.

Alex:                 Nobody loves Red Vines, I love Twizzlers tho.

Pete:                Twizzlers. Yeah. Now, we’re talking.

Justin:              I don’t like any of them. I want my candy to be not rope.

Pete:                What?

Justin:              Not ropey.

Alex:                 What about sour straws? What about those?

Justin:              Give me a Sour Patch child, [crosstalk 00:25:20] I’ll eat those.

Alex:                 Child. Fair enough. Stranger Things: Science Camp #4, speaking of children, Dark Horse Comics written by Jodie Houser, pencils by Edgar Salazar. So, this is wrapping up this storyline taking [crosstalk 00:25:34] between season two and three as Dustin and his new girlfriend fight a serial killer at camp. Spoiler, it turns out maybe not totally a serial killer. Pete, you seem to like this. What’s going on?

Pete:                Yeah, this was great. This is what I wanted from the beginning. I wanted to see how they got together. This is just kind of a fun…. I just appreciated what they did here. They connected things for us. That’s what I want, when it’s like between seasons, like give me how this happened. They did it in such a great way, that felt like the characters we know and love. I thought this was great. I thought it made sense, that it was… I don’t want to spoil it, but like, yeah, it was cool. And, totally felt like it fit in the world. And, I was happy.

Justin:              I was down on the first couple issues of this, but I thought this last issue really wrapped it up nicely. [crosstalk 00:26:30] It felt like we really landed in a place where it felt more like the Dustin character, and that he found sort of a new batch of kids to really do a stranger thing with.

Pete:                [inaudible 00:26:43]

Alex:                 I Agree. I thought this was fun. I enjoyed the series overall. My one quibble is, and this is an impossible problem to get past, but it felt like there is no way that Dustin would ever not mention everything that happened to this comic book series to his friends.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Like, he would not shut the fuck up about what went on here. The fact that he didn’t mention it, it was like, “Eh, I don’t believe this is necessarily canonical,” like there’s that leap there.

Pete:                Oh, you’ve… I mean, that’s insane.

Alex:                 Dustin, the character from Stranger Things would not be like, “Hey, there was a serial killer at camp.” He wouldn’t mention that?

Pete:                Yeah. But, this is a comic that takes place in-between. You can’t go back and wretchedly change what happened.

Alex:                 He would have 100%, like I respect that they needed to do this, so they made the story work.

Pete:                That’s not how this works, man.

Alex:                 No, I understand like logically-

Pete:                The shows already came out.

Alex:                 I understand logically-

Pete:                You can’t…

Justin:              To be fair guys-

Pete:                What are they going to do, fucken-

Justin:              … in-between seasons of Comic Book Club, I fought a serial killer to the death.

Alex:                 You did mention that before. [crosstalk 00:27:51].

Justin:              And, I did mention it.

Alex:                 Okay. You also got a girlfriend right?

Justin:              What happens in-between seasons, stays in-between seasons.

Pete:                In-between panels, shit goes down, bro. You can’t- [crosstalk 00:28:00]

Alex:                 I’ll tell you what, it is the never ending story. That’s the main thing that I would [crosstalk 00:28:04] take away from it.

Pete:                That’s the stupidest…

Alex:                 Justice League: Endless Winter #2, from DC Comics written by Andy Lanning and Ron Marz, art by Carmine Di[inaudible 00:28:13].

Justin:              Wow.

Alex:                 Saw Pete looking at me, I going to pitch it.

Justin:              Pete, holding up a notepad, getting [crosstalk 00:28:25] redline.

Pete:                Oh my God. You just bailed on it. Oh my god.

Justin:              That was the most Pete thing you’ve ever done. These dudes get into trouble and be like, “Well, I’m not going to finish that.”

Alex:                 Carmine Di [inaudible 00:28:47]…

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 I’m so sorry.

Pete:                Oh god.

Alex:                 You’re a wonderful artist, and Howard Porter, this is wrapping up the Endless Winter storyline that’s run through a couple of books over the past couple of month. We were pretty high on the first issue. But, how do you feel about how this event wrapped up?

Justin:              It’s much more different reading this during the winter. You really feel the cold.

Alex:                 Yeah. Cool. Thanks. Pete, what about you?

Pete:                Oh my God. All right. Okay. First off, can we give a shout out Variant Cover by Daniel Warren Johnson. I thought this was amazing art, a great story. The sad Batman line kind of hurt me a little bit where it was just like, the chance to be with your family, anyone would understand. I was like, “Oh, poor, sad Batman, that was tough, tough a little moment there.” But yeah, I thought this was great.

Justin:              It’s interesting how much Black Adam becomes the center point of this story, which I am not crazy into.

Pete:                Okay.

Justin:              But, that’s where we are, I guess.

Alex:                 I do feel like we’ve gotten a little repetitive with the Black Adams storylines, where he’s like, “Black Adam, you shouldn’t be here.” And then, Black Adam is there and he’s like, “I’m trying to help.” And they’re like, “No, Black Adam.” Then beat him up a little bit. I want to see something new for him. I want to see a new mode for Black Adam.

Pete:                Yeah. You all aright? You got the hiccups or something?

Alex:                 Yeah, I got a little bit of the hiccups.

Justin:              What happened?

Pete:                Its like, “Are you getting choked up talking about Black Adam, likes what’s [crosstalk 00:30:31].

Alex:                 [inaudible 00:30:32] so much. Don’t pick out Black Adam. I love Black Adam. Yeah, this is fine though. This is fine. Like, we talked about with the first issue, Andy Lanning and Ron Marz know their way around an event, and make it fun. They know all the characters. It’s enjoyable. If you’ve been following all along, I think there’s a solid ending.

Alex:                 Moving on to Ghost Rider: Return of Vengeance #1 from Marvel, written by Howard Mackie, pencils by Javier Saltares. This is, as we all have been begging for, the return of some guy who has been trapped in hell and a bunch 90s characters who escape from hell, and there’s a bunch of fighting. Pete, I’m sure you love this.

Pete:                Yeah. This was like a younger me, well like wheelhouse of just over the top action and crazy characters. Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t make much sense, but it is quite badass, and a lot of fun battles and very gross stuff.

Alex:                 Justin.

Justin:              On my end, I agree with you. When they said at the beginning of this issue, “Michael Badilino,” I was like, “Oh, I feel like I’m at someone’s birthday party, and I don’t know who it is.” And, that was sort of the whole vibe here. I was like, “This is like a ghostwriter who is…” This is a little mean, but it’s just less interesting than all the other ghostwriters. So I was like, “I don’t quite know the deal here, but-“

Pete:                Yeah, its like Heavy Metal Ghost Rider, basically.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Yeah. I mean, I agree with you, and I agree that it’s also mean. But definitely reading this, I was like, “Who is this for?” “Who are they publishing this for it?” “Have people been demanding this?” I’m sure this is something that, oh, you Pete.

Pete:                Well, younger… Lets… Yeah.

Alex:                 Younger Pete.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Younger Pete.

Alex:                 Yeah. There you go. It’s just… I don’t know it. Art’s fine, writing’s fine. I want a little more for my comics, that’s all I’m saying.

Pete:                Like, teenage me would fucken love this.

Justin:              Teenage me would fuck over this.

Alex:                 Oh boy, lets-

Justin:              Speaking of getting a little more from our comics, let’s move on to our next one.

Alex:                 Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #3, from Dark Horse Comics, written by Jeff Lemire, art and letters by Tyler Crook. Spinning out of Black Hammer, Colonel Weird is continuing to jump through his timeline, Slaughterhouse-Five style, mix things up. There’s something he’s forgetting. He’s tried to figure it out. My God, this series is so good.

Justin:              So good. I love this title so much. Black Hammer does such a good job of being like… Yeah, we’re telling sort of Justice League stories that have like Indie Comics, Justice League stories, you could say. And, this is just a perfect version of that. I love the art. I love the Slaughterhouse-Fiveness of it. It really just keeps hitting the mark, which is hard to do with what they’ve established here.

Pete:                Also, there’s a lot of like… I completely agree with everything you’re saying, this is really phenomenal. The art’s banana’s good. But, it’s also like a lot of really cool things. Its like, he stops and talks with this like somewhat, maybe homeless dude on the corner, and then the homeless dude had a little flower in his hair. And then later when we see him, the weird guy has a flower in his hair, similar to how he did. There’s a lot of great details. Its just very impressive, this kind of weird-ass storytelling. I can’t wait to see how this wraps up.

Alex:                 I love how Tyler Cook, Crook, excuse me, draws Colonel Weird just with this mixture of vulnerability and sadness throughout the book.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 That is wonderful. We’ve talked about this before with Black Hammer, but just the way that Jeff Lemire is creating this own universe for himself, and his characters is awesome. So, this is great.

Pete:                Also, like the eyeball stuff was not as like cringe-worthy as Nailbiter, it was a very creative and weird, but not like cringe-worthy, which was cool. Also- [crosstalk 00:34:52]

Alex:                 To clarify, he shoots a giant eyeball.

Pete:                Yeah. And then, we get like a tease image for the next issue, and the little prince from outer space style, just so cool.

Alex:                 Great books. And, that’s it for The Stack. If you’d like to support us, patrion.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 7:00 PM to Crowdcast into YouTube, iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice, to subscribe and listen to the show. Comicbookclublive.com for this podcast. More @comicbooklive on Twitter. That is it for 2020. We will see you for more Stack in 2021.

Justin:              See you in the future.

Pete:                Its next fucken week guys. Why are you making it a big deal?

Justin:              No, the world going to be different.

Alex:                 Wow. [crosstalk 00:35:36] going to be so much older.

Justin:              We’re going to get to download our comics onto a tablet. (singing).

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