On this week’s comic book review podcast:

Rorschach #1
DC Comics
Written by Tom King
Art by Jorge Fornés

Commanders in Crisis #1
Image Comics
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Davids Tinto

The Immortal Hulk #38
Marvel
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Joe Bennett

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1
Dark Horse Comics
Story by Gerard Way & Shaun Simon
Art by Leonardo Romero

Dark Nights: Death Metal #4
DC Comics
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo

Stealth #6
Image Comics
Written by Mike Costa
Art by Nate Bellegarde

The Vain #1
Oni Press
Written by Eliot Rahal
Illustrated by Emily Pearson

The Avengers #37
Marvel
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Javier Garrón

Once & Future #12
BOOM! Studios
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Dan Mora
DC The Doomed and the Damned #1
DC Comics
Written by John Arcudi, Saladin Ahmed, Kenny Porter, Amanda Deibert, Marc Wolfman, Amedeo Turturro, Alyssa Wong, Brandon Thomas, Travis Moore and Garth Ennis
Art by Mike Perkins, Leonardo Manco, Riley Rossmo, Daniel Sampere, Tom Mandrake, Max Fiumara, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Baldemar Rivas, Travis Moore and PJ Holden

Redneck #28
Image Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Lisandro Estherren

Amazing Spider-Man #50
Marvel
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Patrick Gleason

Strange Adventures #6
DC Comics
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerards and Evan “Doc” Shaner

Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #3
Marvel
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by Leonard Kirk

Seven Secrets #3
BOOM! Studios
Written by Tom Taylor
Illustrated by Daniele Di Nicuolo

Hellions #5
Marvel
Written by Zeb Wells
Art by Carmen Carnero

New Mutants #13
Marvel
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Rod Reis

Cable #5
Marvel
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Phil Noto

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Full Episode Transcript:

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

Pete:                What’s up? I’m Pete.

Alex:                 And we are talking about comics. What? What?

Pete:                It just sounds like you’re barely making it, man, you’re like “What’s up everybody, this is the fucking Stack?”

Alex:                 “Oh, God, week 52 of our comic book review.” We actually have a ton of titles queued up for you today, kicking it off with a big one from DC Comics. Rorschach #1 written by Tom King and art by Jorge Fornes. This is a highly anticipated slash, highly dreaded, I think, comic book because it is-

Pete:                Highly dreaded?

Alex:                 Highly dreaded, it’s following up on Watchmen which is always a dicey proposition.

Pete:                Okay, I see what you’re saying now.

Alex:                 In this book we get introduced to a very Manchurian Candidate type scenario. As a Rorschach, I don’t want to say the Rorschach, but a Rorschach and somebody else try to assassinate a presidential candidate, maybe. There’s an investigator who’s looking into it. And by the end, spoiler, three, two, one, but it seems like this assassin may be none other than Walter Kovacs, AKA Rorschach himself. That out of the way, what do you think about this book, Pete? What was your takeaway? What were your thoughts?

Pete:                Well, I think it did a great job of grabbing the reader. It starts off with Rorschach kind of getting murdered, which is interesting jumping on point. And then you kind of… It’s the classic kind of Tom King storytelling where you’re getting little pieces of information as you go along. But he does it so well. And yeah, I mean, I think it’s… It’s weird to say I’m a fan of Rorschach. But there are aspects of Rorschach that I like, and I love the “Where’s your gun moment?” I thought that was really awesome. I mean, it’s great art, interesting story. I think it’s just kind of the election balloons and the stuff with everything that’s happening right now. I think it’s a very well timed book. And I’m on board. But I was going to be on board when you had a Rorschach #1, so I’m not upset about it. I’m very much enjoying it. I’m looking forward to more.

Alex:                 Jorge Fornes’s art, and I believe it’s Steve Stewart’s colors are great throughout the book. Just very, very good across the board. Clearly delineate what’s happening in the past versus what happens in the present. There are a couple of things that I think are kind of fascinating about this book. The biggest one is that Tom King has so clearly been influenced by Watchmen and Alan Moore, down to his panel grids. The way that he lays them out. But he purposefully avoids the nine panel grid here in this book, to the point where there’s one page that I think is like a 12 panel grid, or maybe a 15 panel grid or something like that.

Alex:                 But he never goes into that basic Watchmen breakdown of the page at any point, which almost seems like a no brainer for somebody who has built a lot of their career on building his work off of what Alan Moore did. So that’s curious to me, the other thing that’s curious to me, is the choice of setting. Because it very purposely feels like The Manchurian Candidate meets All the Presidents bad down to the feathered hair that everybody has, and the fashion they’re wearing. It seems like it said in the 70s. But Watchmen itself was set in the 1980s. So, when is it set is my question. This is supposed to be now, but have fashions come around to the 70s? Again, what’s going on? Are they only doing it because it’s supposed to feel like a 70s conspiracy thriller? There’s something about that and the lack of clarity there in the world, though I’m sure King, because he’s meticulous writer, has thought through it. And we’ll find out eventually. I’m just not quite sure with this first issue, there’s a wall there for me in terms of where it’s at.

Pete:                Okay, well, it’s a weird thing to get hung up on, but I understand what you’re saying. But it’s just weird to me, because Tom King is kind of famous for, “You’re going to have to keep reading to figure out the story.”

Alex:                 Sure. But I think that’s important because we’re dealing with Watchmen and we’re dealing with an ongoing world and we know this is continuing. There are things that are teased here and thrown into the background, whether it’s through billboards or advertisements or other things that let us know, “Okay, this is kind of where the world got to from 1985 to here.” And interestingly, some of the things whether it’s quite sensitive Not dovetail with Watchmen the TV series.

Alex:                 So that only raises further questions in my mind of is this in continuity with the comic book? Is it going to continue with the TV show? Is it in continuity with the both? Is it’s own continuity? And I know that’s not the only thing I should be thinking about, I know I should be concentrating on the story which taken on its own, totally divorced from Watchmen is a good conspiracy thriller story. But those are the sort of things that I do think are important to understand, in some sense, when you’re saying here, “This is a continuation of Watchmen.”

Pete:                Yeah, just you kind of sound like me when we were talking about Tom King’s Vision. I was hung up on one little thing, and you guys were like, “Hey, get over it.”

Alex:                 I think this is a big thing, though. I think this is a big important thing. It is a big thing.

Pete:                That will be explained. Sure, but it will be explained. Tom King is piecemealing-

Alex:                 It’s a gorgeous comic book, like the best of Before Watchmen, which was a dicey project to begin with, but still had some good comics come out of it. Yeah, this is a dicey project that still seems like a good comic. So I’m happy to follow it along. But I have questions.

Pete:                My question is, do you know if this is monthly or weekly? Because the election’s coming up? And I need to know.

Alex:                 I assume it’s monthly.

Pete:                Oh man, we’re in trouble.

Alex:                 All right, let’s move on then to the second comic, we’re going to talk about, Commanders in Crisis #1 from Image Comics written by Steve Orlando. Art by David Tinto. We talked to Steve about this on the live show a couple of weeks back. And it is basically him doing a Crisis comic book, but with totally original characters. What do you think? Did it pay off on the premise that he sold us on, on the pitch, Pete?

Pete:                I think it did. I think, I’m in. This is very interesting. This is a cool team. It’s fun to kind of see his take on a big crossover event like this. It’s fantastic art. I like the team that is kind of in this thing. And there’s like a cool kind of like superhero moment where we had the kiss. That was great. Yeah, I’m on board. I think these characters are interesting enough that even if I don’t… It’s not like a Avengers crossover event where I know every single person, I got enough here to go by. And yeah, I’m excited to see where this goes, it seems like he did a good job of selling it and I’m in.

Alex:                 What’s really fascinating about this, to me, is that it avoids any of the archetypes. I expected going in with it, we’d get a Superman, a Wonder Woman, a Batman etc. We don’t get any of that these are completely as far as I can tell original characters. There’s no analogues from any particular universe. And that only makes Steve Orlando’s job harder going into this. But it does make it more interesting to read because their powers are so weird and so interesting. And the hook of it, which he talked about on the show, this is the reveal at the end of the issue. So if you don’t want to know turned away, but I still think it’s fair to talk about because he mentioned to us is the death of Empathy, which is going to be an interesting thing to see going forward. The other detail that is so weird, but such an interesting specific thing is all the members of the team in the book are from different parallel universes where they were all presidents.

Pete:                President.

Alex:                 Which is very weird.

Pete:                Commander in Crisis. Yeah.

Alex:                 Commanders in crisis, they are commanders. They were all like the first Latinx president, the first woman president, the first, etc. resident. But it’s a bunch of presidents with superpowers fighting a crisis, which is such a bizarre detail, but it makes so much sense for the title. And yeah, I’m definitely on board. I think like he’s set up a weird, interesting, very different world here.

Pete:                Yeah. And it’s even like when you get the kind of splash page introduction of the superheroes it’s like “Prizefighter, as strong as the crowd hopes he is.” I was like, “What?” And then it’s like “Sawbones, Action Surgeon.” I’ve never seen those two words next to each other, action surgeon. What is that? Yeah so it’s very interesting.

Alex:                 It’s intriguing.

Pete:                Yeah, it really does a good job of like, kind of sucking you in. And then there’s the fun kind of like, oh these minions aren’t very smart. They have their brains in a backpack. Okay, this is crazy. It’s doing a great job. And I think this really ought to be interesting to see how this unfolds.

Alex:                 I agree. Let’s move on. Talking about the Immortal Hulk # 38 from Marvel written by Al Ewing art by Joey Bennett. In this issue, the Leader is dominating the Hulk and all of his allies. He is in the Hulk’s mind-scape and controlling things from outside when a rogue element comes in and turns around the balance of power. Pete, I know you’ve been down on this book, but this issue by the end like in the right way, personally, I was like, “What the fuck is happening here?” Oh my God.

Pete:                Yeah, this is great. This is really great. You got a lot of the kind of horror aspects that’s been happening, but this like really gets into kind of the story and action. I’m very happy with this issue. It’s really impressive. Very cool. It’s got a lot of twists and reveals but man, it’s glorious. It really is a great issue of comic book.

Alex:                 Yeah, it’s still horrifying, everything that’s going on and the visuals that Joe Bennett draws. But everything that Al Ewing has been building up over the past 38 issues is really finally coming to crest here. It feels like the Leader is probably the sub-villain that we need to deal with in this run. But it’s still such a good Leader story. And it’s such a good Hulk family story that it feels dangerous in the right way. Just great. Gross.

Pete:                It’s really impressive how this book has grown and changed and done so many different things. It’s really… I can’t imagine the pitch meeting for this fucking thing.

Alex:                 “Okay, so get this. Rick is very long.”

Pete:                It’s a horror hulk.

Alex:                 Yeah, Rick is long, and he kind of bends in a weird way. And that’s the pitch.

Pete:                Has the grossest neck you’ve ever seen.

Alex:                 Just it’s horrible. It’s absolutely horrible. Yeah, a great book. Moving on to the True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, National Anthem #1, from Dark Horse comic, story by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, art by Leonardo Romero. If you’ve never read this book, this is basically about a bunch of folks. It’s sort of like an extrapolation of, what was the movie? Them. The Kurt Russell movie where he puts on this… No, Rowdy Roddy Piper, puts on the sun glasses, and could see the truth about the world. It’s essentially that, but in comic book form, and here, they’ve beaten the bad guys, they have one as far as they know. And then things start to go horribly wrong from there. Really good book. I like this, it’s esoteric and strange, as most of Gerard Way stuff is. If you read Doom Patrol, if you read Umbrella Academy, but it still feels very prescient and timely in terms of the storytelling, which I like quite a bit.

Pete:                Yeah, it’s really impressive. The art and the storytelling is gorgeous and fantastic, and really moves the story very… It moves through this kind of crazy world. And you’re kind of really piecing it together. But it’s very unique. And just when you think you’ve got a handle on it just kind of surprises you again. And I love all the different groups that they kind of break down in the middle of it. Yeah, I think this is a great issue that really kind of gets you excited for more in this world, it really sets things up and gets you wanting more. I think it’s a great first issue.

Alex:                 And I think you could understand it even if you haven’t read the first series, you could jump right in here and go ahead with it. Obviously you’re going to have a richer experience, but it’s good stuff regardless. Next up, this is what we talked about in the live show a little bit, Dark Knights Death Metal #4 from DC Comics. Written by Scott Snyder art by Greg Capullo, wild stuff happening in this issue. This is bringing together a bunch of the one shots and miniseries that have been running along. We find out what’s been going out with the Flash Team, we find out what’s been going on with Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman as they sink deeper into the Crisis Dark multi verses, and things-

Pete:                And-

Alex:                 Yeah, Pete.

Pete:                It still starts with Uncle Rock in this one. But, you know.

Alex:                 Sergeant Rock.

Pete:                Sarge Rock.

Alex:                 You call him Uncle Rock.

Pete:                [crosstalk 00:14:48]. Yeah, I call him uncle Rock. That’s what he calls himself in this, which is a funny moment.

Alex:                 He married your aunt.

Pete:                Yeah that’s how that technically works. You’re right. But yeah, I mean, this is just amazing art, over the top fun. Darkseid in that chair is unbelievable. It’s like Green Lantern’s ring chair. So that means the Green Lantern has to sit there and keep thinking about the size and weight of that chair. That’s a very intense little thing that doesn’t get much attention. It’s just they’re killing this. This is just so much fun. Each one of these books is really fun to see what mashups of characters they’re going to use, and how crazy it’s going to look, and it hasn’t disappointed yet.

Alex:                 This entire book feels like the dialogue break in a metal song. When somebody’s like, “And then Superman is sunk into a pit of fire as Darkseid watched.” The whole thing. Just it’s absolutely, really ludicrous. The whole thing is crazy. We talked about it on the show, but it ends with the Darkest Knight aka Batman who laughs winning, turning the universe into the Last 52, a bunch of dark multiverses, it’s only going to go from there. Who knows how they’re going to win. But it’s funny for the insanely highest stakes, that is, honestly just fun the entire time.

Pete:                It really is.

Alex:                 Let’s move on to something that’s a little bit grimmer but in the right way, Stealth #6 from Image Comics, written by Mike Costa and art by Nate Bellegarde. We’ve been loving this series on the show.

Pete:                It’s too bad Justin didn’t want to talk about this book.

Alex:                 He got out of here, was like “No thanks. Don’t want to talk about Stealth.”

Pete:                Yeah, he was like, “Listen, guys, I love Stealth. I said it was my pick. But I’d rather watch a football game right now. So fuck all, y’all.”

Alex:                 I don’t think that’s what’s happening. But the other Stealth, if you haven’t been reading the book, it’s about a guy who’s in sort of a all powerful armor [inaudible 00:17:01], who also may or may not have dementia. He’s been fighting against a guy called the Dead Hand who can kill people by touching them with his hand. Everything is revealed in this issue. They loop everything back. We finish it up. This is the end of the miniseries. What did you think about the conclusion, Pete?

Pete:                I was really impressed with this. Like this kind of started and it was like, “Wait, what’s happening?” I love the story. I love the action, the art’s unbelievable. But I was kind of like, “But man, does this all come together in such an amazing way.” It’s one of those books where you read it. And at the end, you’re like “God, I want to go back and read it all over again.” It’s really great. Really impressive. And I can’t compliment the art enough.

Alex:                 In a surprising way too, it’s nothing that I think you could have predicted from the first five issues, but it makes total sense at the same time when it’s explained, which is a difficult feat to go through. Pass off, whatever the word is.

Pete:                Yeah, especially us, we’ve read so many comics, it’s hard to surprise us. And this really did a great job of that.

Alex:                 This is a great miniseries, definitely pick it up when it’s in trade or individual issues. Next up The Vain, #1 from Oni Press, written by Eliot Rahal, illustrated by Emily Pearson. This is about a bunch of vampires around the turn of World War II who are robbing blood banks. Get it?

Pete:                You see what they’re doing?

Alex:                 And when war breaks out with the Nazis, and then everything changes. I was very surprised and impressed by this book. I thought this is a really fun concept. The characters were good. I liked how the world was laid out. And there’s a good nice twist at the end. How’d you feel Pete?

Pete:                Yeah, I really liked it. I thought it was very cool. Kind of like bank heist, but they’re robbing a blood bank. And also like, fun kind of like, the way the vampires kind of handled the crowd and fuck with them a little bit, very enjoyable. And what’s also nice is even the undead are like “You know what’s really fucked up? Nazis, man. Racism is awful. I’m a fucking undead vampire. But I know this is wrong. So let’s go end this.” That was great.

Alex:                 It’s a little shaggy in terms of that because it feels like okay, the concept is bank robbing vampires. I get it. And then next issue it’s going to be like, okay, it’s vampires fighting Nazis, I get it. So I’m wondering if it’s going to change every single issue and that’s going to be the rhythm of the book. Or if it is something else. Whatever it is, I’m definitely onboard. I had a fun time reading this. I think it’s a fun take on vampires. Like I said the characters are good. So definitely willing to follow it. And Emily Pearson’s character designs are very good as well.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Next up the Avengers #37 from Marvel written by Jason Aaron, art by Javier Garron. This is kicking off the end of the Age of Khonshu.

Pete:                Yes, the Age of Khonshu. And this is the finale.

Alex:                 This is the finale. So Khonshu, who is the God of Moon Knight has taken the powers of the rest of the Avengers. This issue they’re fighting back as well as Moon Knight who now the Phoenix Power is fighting back. This is playing with toys in the best sense of the phrase.

Pete:                Well yeah, and that’s a great way to put it. Because you do have like a super baby here who is like, “Yo, give me back my toys.” So that was kind of well put there. But yeah, this is a fantastic art. And it kind of reminds me of Snyder’s just over the top fun, where a lot of different characters are getting to play with different powers and stuff like that. And I think this is a great kind of finale. And it’s cool to kind of see somebody get powered up like this, and then kind of like spoiler, but de-powered, and where those powers go. So it’s, again, a writer and artist, having a lot of fun with the different kind of powers and different perspectives. So yeah, I really enjoyed this. I thought it wasn’t a huge kind of event. It was just kind of big enough. And I thought it was great.

Alex:                 Yeah, it’s playground rules. It feels like every page, and I say this in the best sense, because it’s fun to read. But it’s the sort of thing where somebody is like, “Oh you’re going to attack my pyramid. Well, my wolf men and my mummies are going to attack you.” And they’re like, “Fine. Well, now I have the Iron Fist…” That’s great. Like, there’s not enough of that in comics, where it just feels like people playing and having fun. It all has to mean something. It all has to lead to the next thing. This is the sort of thing where it’s like, and I’m probably mis-remembering this, where She Hulk can very briefly get the Iron Fist, and it has no bearing on anything whatsoever, other than a fun splash page that they draw. And that’s fine. It’s refreshing to read something like that.

Alex:                 Here’s another thing that is almost the opposite, where it’s fun, but everything means something. Once and Future #12 from Boom Studios by Kieron Gillen, art by Dan Mora. Pete I know you love this series. This is wrapping up the Beowulf arc. Listen, I think textually pretty big revelations for the mythology of the book, as teased to us by Kieron Gillen when we chatted with him a couple of weeks back. How’d you feel about this one?

Pete:                This just continues to be one of my favorite things on the stands. Art is unbelievable. You have these unbelievable monsters these great kind of stories and fables intertwined here, and then you just got one badass grandma who’s not going to take shit from nobody. And this is just such a glorious comic book that is worth your time and money. And it’s entertaining, it’s smart, it’s touching. It’s stories that you’ve kind of know, that kind of are told in this new kind of messed up way and it’s very, very enjoyable.

Alex:                 Yeah, Dan Mora’s art and character designs and monster designs in particular are so good across the board. But this issue is Kieron Gillen doing his Kieron Gillen thing and wrapping stories together, figuring out how they fit together, figuring out how the mythology of England as an entity fits together. And it’s fascinating to read, but it’s nowhere near as dense as say Die, for example, but just good, good stuff and so much fun to read.

Alex:                 Let’s move on to an anthology DC the Doomed and the Damned #1 from DC Comics, written by John Arcudi, Saladin Ahmed, Kenny Porter, Amanda Deibert, Marv Wolfman, Amedeo Turturro, Alyssa Wong, Brandon Thomas, Travis Moore and Garth Ennis. Art by Mike Perkins, Leonardo Manco, Riley Rossmo, Daniel Sampere, Tom Mandrake, Max Fiumara, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Baldemar Rivas, Travis Moore and PJ Holden. As you can probably guess, from how I introduced it, as well as the lineup this is a series of short stories teaming up DC Comics characters in spooky situations. As usual, how’d you feel about this one, Pete? And were there any stories that jumped out to you?

Pete:                Yeah, this was a really nice collection. I had a lot of fun with this. I mean, the Batman versus the kind of monster in the mirrors is great. This is what I want Halloween comics to be like. I want to see heroes taking on the kind of monsters. And this is the classic like if you say a name in the mirror three times, so it was cool to see that. The Raven Wonder Woman story was great. I’m a sucker for a Grundy story. I love the look of Superman in that one store. I thought like he really looked fantastic with the Swamp Thing. It was just super fun. I think there was a lot of cool stuff and even the Green Lantern team up I enjoyed.

Alex:                 Yeah, I like this as well. I mean, if you can’t tell from the title this is riff on Brave and the Bold but Doom and [inaudible 00:25:31] instead. So it’s a team up book-

Pete:                Oh, I just put it together.

Alex:                 Which it gives it a very different flavor from other anthologies. I think it gives it more focus, particularly because you usually get a non-supernatural character teaming up with a supernatural character. The best one for me, which you mentioned, is Saladin Ahmed’s story, which I just… I love Batman dealing with the supernatural because he does it all the time. But he never believes it. He’s always like, “Scientific explanation for this. I got to figure this one out.” And it’s great here. He deals with essentially like a Candyman, Beetlejuice type figure, except in Gotham City. And it’s a lot of fun. But this is a good collection if you want to pick it up. Next up Redneck #28 from Image Comics written by Donny Cates, art by Lisandro Estherren. This is a title we have not checked out that much, I think, right, Pete?

Pete:                Well, so this is weird because I saw Redneck and I thought it was Jason Aaron’s book called Redneck and it’s not. This is a different kind of redneck, not what you think because it’s about vampires.

Alex:                 No, Jason Aaron wrote another book. I don’t remember what it’s called. But it’s not Redneck.

Pete:                Okay.

Alex:                 No, he’s, what is it? Southern Bastards. That’s what he wrote.

Pete:                Oh. Right, right, right. Yeah. I thought… But anyways, so this is a very kind of… The art is really fantastic. I love the way they kind of draw the action. And a very interesting, kind of like tale throughout time here that we’re dealing with. And I love the way it kind of ended on this cliffhanger for more. I think this is very interesting book, very kind of unique and creative. And I didn’t know what I was getting into. And I was pleasantly surprised.

Alex:                 So Donny talks about this in the end matter a little bit, but it is wild reading the first couple of issues of this books, which I think I read the first couple and I just got away from it for no particular reason. But it was what the title said, it was about a bunch of swamp folks dealing with vampires. I was like, “Okay, I get it. Rednecks cool. I’m on it, I get the concepts of this book.” To here where we’re like Dracula war, which is a very different sort of thing.

Alex:                 But Lisandro’s art in particular is epic throughout the book. As you mentioned, it spans through different time periods. I enjoyed this quite a bit. And it’s certainly the sort of thing that makes me want to be like, “Okay, I read the first collection, I read this issue. Now I actually need to read what happened in between, because clearly, I missed a lot.”

Alex:                 Next up Amazing Spider-Man #50 from Marvel, written by Nick Spencer, art by Patrick Gleason. This is picking up right on the last issue, but kicking off a new storyline, where we finally learn the identity of Kindred as well as why he has it out for Spider-Man. Why he has it out for Norman Osborn, what happens to the Sin Eater? Big things happened in this issue. Spider Man is a very dire straits. We’re definitely going to get into spoilers here. So Pete, as you feel about this reveal, what do you think about this?

Pete:                Cool. I mean, when I saw the tombstone reveal, I was like, “All right.”

Alex:                 But so let’s walk through this and this is spoiler time. But Kindred pulls up the tombstone, you’re supposed to think as a reader, “Oh, okay is he Captain Stacy?” Gwen Stacy’s dad. But he’s not. Instead, what Kindred has done is he’s pulled up the corpses of Captain Stacy and Gwen Stacy, and put them at a dinner table for Spider-Man, classic villain behavior. But it turns out the Kindred is none other than Harry Osborn.

Pete:                Yeah, at the end there’s another twist, where you think, “Okay, we don’t know, here’s the reveal of the tombstone. That’s who he is.” But then at the end, it’s like, “He’s my son.” And then you’re like twist again.

Alex:                 I don’t love that. I feel like we’re going to have to do a lot of explanation to get why Harry Osborn is this.

Pete:                Especially when Spider-Man sits down to that dinner and he sees the two dead people. And then he’s like, “Wait, but what’s this got to do with Harry Osborn?” You know what I mean?

Alex:                 Yeah, I mean, first of all, indoor dining very dangerous right now. Second of all, if you ever get in that situation, just be like, “Check, please.”

Pete:                Yeah, also, you got to put masks on those corpses, you know what I mean? You can’t just [crosstalk 00:30:16].

Alex:                 I mean come on. Absolutely. They could spread disease.

Pete:                They’re inside.

Alex:                 Yes. Think of the servers.

Pete:                Yeah, exactly.

Alex:                 This is a good issue. Nick Spencer is doing an intriguing job of the storyline. But like I said, I think though this fills in a lot of holes in what’s been going on I need to get to how this happened, which I assume is going to happen soon. This seems to be a big storyline. But why is Harry Osborn Kindred? What does that mean? How did he become Kindred? Are all big open questions here but we’re just at the beginning of this storyline right now.

Alex:                 Next up, another Tom King book Strange Adventures #6 from DC Comics written by surprise Tom King art by Mitch Garads and Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner. In this issue, as usual, we’re jumping back and forth between the planet Ron and what’s happening on Earth, as Mr. Terrific investigates the death of Adam Strange and Alanna’s daughter. In this issue Mr. Terrific Alanna kind of go on a date a little bit, and parry and check each other out and sort of probe each other’s weaknesses. Ends in a very different, very interesting place. I like this issue quite a bit, particularly, because it made me doubt Alanna being the bad guy of this series. How’d you feel about it Pete?

Pete:                Yeah, yeah. Also, we had a little Seth Meyers sighting. Little talk show clip here. And as we all know, Seth Meyers came on Comic Book Club, big fan of the show. So it’s nice to see that.

Alex:                 It was nice to see it finally pay off for him.

Pete:                Yeah, yeah. Really nice to see Seth Meyers get his due, poor guy, he works really hard. But yeah, I mean, this is just waiting, each Tom King book, you get a little bit more information, a little bit more information. You’re trying to piece together this whole story. So it’s unbelievable, Tom King, kills it as a writer. And I’m excited to see how this unfolds, and we get a little bit more. And I love the Terrific stuff in this. So yeah, I can’t wait until the final kind of domino falls, I can kind of look back and see what we’ve done here.

Alex:                 I agree. This is definitely a mystery book. It’s going to make you reevaluate everything when we finally get to the end there. But every issue just gorgeous to read and gut wrenching and heartbreaking across the board. Another one, very sad Marvel Zombies Resurrection #3 from Marvel written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson art by Leonard Kirk. Spider-Man is taking Franklin and Valeria to the Galactus hive to try to find a cure for the zombie virus that has afflicted the Marvel Universe. Things go predictably, very, very wrong, including a favorite of Pete’s, who gets caught in the struggle. I love the twist that Philip gives to the whole Marvel Zombies thing here. It’s so smart. So well done. I’m a little hesitant to spoil it. But every issue of this is so dangerous, so harrowing. And it’s amazing that he has found a totally different twist on the zombie mythology in the Marvel Universe. How’d you feel Pete?

Pete:                Yeah, this was really crazy and intense to kind of like, have these kind of reveals of kind of like how this all unfolded. Love the Galactus stuff. Magic stuff is really cool. The character that we’re not talking about I was like… All right, but-

Alex:                 We can talk about him. We can spoil it.

Pete:                I think it’s-

Alex:                 We spoiled so much this podcast.

Pete:                This continues to be a really fun book and if you would have said-

Alex:                 It’s Wolverine.

Pete:                Wolverines. Wolverine. But yeah, I mean, you would think like okay, Marvel Zombies all right, how long we doing this, but this really is a fresh take on it. And it’s very enjoyable.

Alex:                 I agree. I’m very nervous, concerned about what will happen at the last issue when we get to that. Moving on to Seven Secrets #3 from Boom Studios written by Tom Taylor illustrated by Daniela De Nicolo. This issue we’re following who we still think is our main character but we’re not 100% sure, as they go on a mission to become the new secret keeper for this organization. Still don’t know what the secrets are, still don’t know what’s going on.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 We just know somebody evil is gunning straight for them. Another great issue of this book as Tom and company continued to build out the mythology. How’d you feel Pete?

Pete:                Yeah, I liked this. Again, we kind of don’t know. I mean, if I’m risking my life over a briefcase, I might take a peek. But I think that this is very creative in the way that it kind of tells his story as it unfolds and the touching like 15 gifts from the father for the 15 years he wasn’t there. That got me, that got me a little bit. That was pretty awesome. I’ve been really impressed with the characters in the book and their story and kind of how this is all moving forward. A lot of great action. Yeah, this continues to impress.

Alex:                 Yeah, great book and Daniela De Nicolo’s art is also real good, it’s very anime… Excuse me, manga inspired. Yeah, but it feels like the halfway point way point.

Pete:                The mustache guy reminds me of the guy from Voltron. The new Voltron [crosstalk 00:36:07]-

Alex:                 Interesting. I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I appreciate it regardless. Before we wrap up here, let’s do it. Let’s get into the X/10 of Swords block. Three issues out this week. Hellions #5, written by Zeb wells and art by Carmen Carnero. New Mutants #13 written by Ed Price and art by Rob Price. Cable #5 written by Jerry Duggan and art by Phil Noto. Versus last week, where we got a little more of an overarching story each one of these is very much its own thing.

Alex:                 In Hellions we get that team heading off into other world to basically cheat the whole sword contest that’s going on by stealing Arakko’s swords. In New Mutant’s we find out how Cypher is dealing with fact that he’s supposed to be a sword bearer. Answer is not very well. And in cable, he is dealing with a sword of his own. When the last we left him, he was with Cyclops and Jean Grey on Sword, the actual space station the people, we find out what happened to them, and what happens next. This is great. I was a little worried that this crossover was going to be just one thing after another just following up on it. But I love that each one of these individual interweaving stories, and I thought each of these issues was a ton of fun all on its own. Pete I know you liked last week’s issues. How’d you feel about this one?

Pete:                I did. I really liked the break from the stacking insane idea on top of insane idea and like here we’re just going to have like a showdown you bring your best, we’ll bring our best, bring a sword, let’s settle this. But this gets a little derailed by the Lollipop Guild where they sit around a table and makes insane decisions like “Hey, we’re going to do this big battle to the death, but why don’t we cheat? Right? Because we’re on our own island by playing by the rules so fuck it let’s just cheat, and just throw a wrench in the whole fucking thing.”

Alex:                 So this is in Hellions by the way just to clarify what’s going on here. I love this issue. Zeb Wells writes the crap out of these characters. His Empath is such a horrible asshole in a hilarious way. Mr. Sinister is great.

Pete:                The cape bit is just glorious. It’s really fun.

Alex:                 Oh my god. So funny. Just, it’s a funny book. And I appreciate that in the middle of this like… Particularly coming off of, I think, the last issue was Storm being like, “I need to potentially destroy a relationship with my husband because it’s the head of the world and I need to invade Wakanda.” And then this issue, Mr. Sinister’s like wrestling with a horse most of the issue is great. That you could have these different tones of this world is so much fun.

Pete:                Yeah, it’s all right.

Alex:                 And then of course, there’s New Mutants, which is I think one of the greatest issues of all time that really just really digs in on Cypher as a character. One of the greatest characters of all time. Gives him his due in the sun, shows up what was going on with Warlock, trains with Krakoa, plays on his insecurities, but in the right way, and fleshes out his relationship with Krakoa, just a great issue across the board. And I know I’m using a sarcastic voice, but I also actually think that.

Pete:                The art in this book is glorious. The Krakoa, trying to stop him and talk to them but like “If something happens to you I won’t be able to…” I thought that was great. But at this point, I’m like, “Okay, guys, a lot of build up to the sword fight. Can we get to this goddamn sword fight.” Like, do I got to sit there and see everybody’s origin story to how they got their sword.

Alex:                 There’s 10 swords. They’re not even halfway through. They’ll get halfway through, they’ll have all the swords and then they’ll have a bunch of fights.

Pete:                Yeah.

Alex:                 Come on.

Pete:                Now hopefully I make a [crosstalk 00:40:12]-

Alex:                 And Cable, also fun with like some terrifying weird alien enemies, that was super fun as well. Just a fun month across the board. Right Pete?

Pete:                Sure. Yeah. What a month. What a year. Everybody’s having a blast. Good times.

Alex:                 Yeah, I just ordered a shirt online, actually, they said “2020 having a blast.”

Pete:                Oh, man. Yeah, I mean, I’ll look forward to hopefully getting to the fight. Just, I don’t know, I think the last month with the three titles or last week, whatever it was, I thought was better, getting me hyped for this thing, but after this week, I’m kind of like, “All right, get me there already.” But hey, people like reading stuff in between their comic books pages, apparently, because man, they’re doubling the fuck down on that.

Alex:                 Oh my gosh.

Pete:                And at this point I’m just to do it.

Alex:                 Well, I liked these quite a bit. I had a fun time this week. And I’m glad to read all three of them.

Pete:                Did you like reading about the sword instead of seeing it? Just reading about how much it weighs and that kind of stuff?

Alex:                 You know what they say, do you bring an essay to a sword fight?

Pete:                Ah right, right.

Alex:                 If you’d like to support this podcast, patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also we do a live show every Tuesday night at 7:00 PM.

Pete:                We sure do.

Alex:                 We do Crowdcast and YouTube, come hang out and check it out. iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher or the app of your choice to subscribe and listen to the show. At Comic Book live for this pod. You can, I don’t know, socially or whatever. ComicBookClublive.com for this podcast and many more. Until next time, we’ll see you at the virtual comic book shop.

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