On this week’s Stack podcast, we’ve got reviews for:

The Scumbag #1
Image Comics
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Lewis Larosa

Fantastic Four #25
Marvel
Written by Dan Slott
Art by R.B. Silva, Paco Medina and Will Robson

Madam Satan #1
Archie Comics
Story by Eliot Rahal
Art by Julius Ohta

Iron Man #2
Marvel
Written by Christopher Cantwell
Art by Cafu

Stillwater #2
Image Comics
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Ramón K. Perez

Batman #101
DC Comics
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Guillem March

Black Magick #15
Image Comics
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Nicola Scott

Werewolf By Night #1
Marvel
Written by Taboo & B. Earl
Art by Scot Eaton

Big Girls #3
Image Comics
Story and art by Jason Howard
Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #1
DC Comics
Story by Katana Collins and Sean Murphy

Dune: House Atreides #1
BOOM! Studios
Written by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
Illustrated by Dev Pramanik

Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King 1
DC Comics
Written by Peter J. Tomasi, Tony Patrick
Art by Riley Rossmo, Daniel Sampere

Something is Killing the Children #11
BOOM! Studios
Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Werther Dell’edera

Excalibur #13
Marvel
Written by Tini Howard
Art by R.B. Silva

X-Men #13
Marvel
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Mahmud Asrar

Faithless II #5
BOOM! Studios
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Maria Llovet

Nightwing #75
DC Comics
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Travis Moore and Ronan Cliquet

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This episode is sponsored by Helstrom, now on Hulu.

Full Episode Transcript:

Alex:                 What’s up y’all? 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 books that have come out this week.

Pete:                Do we?

Alex:                 And we’re going to kick it off … I think this is a big deal. This isn’t normally the sort of thing that we would kick off the show with. Usually it’s some Marvel or DC book or whatever, I mean, who even cares?

Justin:              Okay, weird voice.

Alex:                 Weird way to put it. But we’re going to talk about The Scumbag number one from Image Comics written by Rick Remender, art by Lewis LaRosa. The reason I think that should go first is a new Rick Remender book is a big deal. We’ve been following his writing pretty much since the beginning and every book out is an event, so it’s worth putting this right upfront at the top of the show. Reading this book I know this is something that Pete just loves a ton. He’s very into, he’s very excited about. The concept of the book though, before we get into Pete’s feelings about it, I can see his head already nodding, yes, yes, give me more.

Justin:              Yes, yes, I love this.

Alex:                 Is what if the worst person in the world was responsible for the fate of the world. That’s essentially what it is to the point where they essentially say that line at the end of the book. And in fact we do meet the worst person in the world who ends up in the situation.

Pete:                That’s the thing, they say the worst person in the world, it’s just like kind of a slacker druggie guy. It’s not like he’s a fucking head of the KKK or fucking, you know what I mean? A murderer. He’s like-

Justin:              Yeah. I guess it’s more, to say the worst, I understand what you’re saying, but definitely the most down and out.

Pete:                Right. But what-

Justin:              He has full on diarrhea.

Pete:                Sure. Yeah. Who doesn’t? The thing is it’s like brand new Rick Remender book. You ready to get your fucking heartbroken. This guy writes in such a way that pulls you in, gets you sucked into this amazing world, and then always breaks your fucking heart. I’m scared. I’m scared about this book.

Justin:              But that’s what I love, what I love about Rick Remender books. And it has been a long time since he launched a new one. We’ve been reading Low. We’ve been reading Black Science for a long time. And those books are-

Alex:                 Deadly Class.

Justin:              Deadly Class of course ongoing.

Pete:                Yeah, Deadly Class.

Justin:              But these other books are sort of wrapping up. Deadly Class feels like it’s going to keep going for a bit longer. And to have a new book is sort of precious. And what I love about it is he takes extreme premises and pushes them. And what he always does is on the art side brings in truly evocative artists. And in this case, it is the same thing. When he says it’s the worst person in the world, we see it in like, I would call this hyper realistic color and line. And it’s great. It’s great. It’s really smart of him to not shy away from these truly disgusting things, if the point of the book is this person is at his lowest and he has to become a world changing person.

Alex:                 Or maybe it won’t, I don’t know.

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                Starting a book with a Charles Bukowski quote is just a fantastic way to start something that’s this kind of mayhem, or it’s just about a drunken dude who does a lot of drugs and shit, that’s the perfect thing. But man, just seeing a guy doing drugs and shitting on the streets really makes me miss New York city, you know what I mean? Like back in the eighties and nineties, the real New York, you know what I’m talking about?

Justin:              Yeah, you were the mayor of New York in the mid eighties.

Pete:                Oh yeah, man. Just love doing drugs in the street, shitting anywhere you wanted, those were the days.

Justin:              You were a very controversial mayor [crosstalk 00:03:59].

Alex:                 Yeah. Before Giuliani took it all away. I mean, come on. Where’s that guy now? What’s he doing?

Justin:              Yeah, it is great. It is truly crazy to think of a time when everyone was like Giuliani, what a hero. And now truly, and not to get … it’s not at all political, but he is looked upon as a legit Nosferatu style monster. There are so many Twitter memes of him being like, “Look, his hands dead.” Or look, here’s [crosstalk 00:04:28].

Alex:                 He’s such a sad sack. That’s the thing that’s such a bummer about it, is he went from I’m the guy that’s going to clean up New York, this is very controversial too. He did some sort of figures like, I’m going to reveal information and he taped a video, and he opens up this folder and there’s nothing in the folder. And he’s just like, “Well, there’s evidence that I have here,” and there’s nothing in there, it’s just sad. That’s not the point of this book, let’s get back to The Scumbag thing. The thing about-

Justin:              Wait, let me just say one more thing on that. I do think this book spins out of the era we’re in. I think it’s about a person who is not ready to be elevated to a position of power who is in that position of power, which I feel like is it common on our time both Trump in and everything around our current political situation where it’s like, oh, these people shouldn’t be in charge of stuff like this. This book feels very timely to me.

Alex:                 I agree. The thing that I wanted to get back to you though, that Pete was saying about the worst person in the world is it’s not racist, murderer or anything like that. It’s nails on chalkboard worst, which I think they make pretty clear through the writing, where it’s the sort of guy who within seconds of meeting him you’re like, “Oh God, fuck this guy. This is the worst. Oh God, no.”

Pete:                The guy at the party’s looking to steal beers that aren’t being looked at. You know what I mean, like oh.

Alex:                 That’s great. The specificity going on there is so clear to the point where it builds to very graphicallY as we were talking about him shitting himself on the street, which is horrifying and gross. And mind you, not the first time Rick Remender has written a person on drugs diarrhea scene, that was way back in Deadly Class. Classic scene in deadly class.

Pete:                Classic, he loves a good shitting story, you know what I mean?

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              Let me throw this out as well to go back into early Remender, this book sort of reminds me a little bit of Fear Agent, and then it is a person who is super down and out having to maybe elevate themselves.

Alex:                 What I’m really interested in is reading the second issue of this book, because if Rick Remender has showed us anything, it’s he always has a very clear concept in the first issue that he blows it and save the out of proportion by the second issue. And I don’t know how they’re going to do that yet, but I’m excited to find out.

Justin:              A 100% true.

Alex:                 Yeah. But great to view.

Justin:              Great to view.

Pete:                It’s fun to see a new book that he’s working on. I’m very excited to see where this goes. Yeah, crazy first issue, fantastic art, definitely check it out.

Alex:                 Moving on to Fantastic Four number 25 from Marvel written by Dan Slott with art by R.B. Silver, Paco Medina and Will Robson. This I believe is the beginning of the status quo change that Dan teased back when he was on the live show with us chatting about this book. This is kind of a big deal. There’s a lot of stuff that goes down in this book as we celebrate this mini anniversary of the Fantastic Four. What’d you think about the issue?

Pete:                46 pages. This to me is a great Fantastic Four story. You get this kind of shit goes down, only the Fantastic Four can save the day. Then what’s nice about it is you’ve got Reed and Sue talking a little bit about the holes in their marriage about how they lied to each other a little bit. I’m hoping that moving forward, their relationship can get a little bit better because I’m sick of the classic, Sue Storm does so much more for the family than Reed does, and he’s just constantly busy and can’t be bothered. I think this was a really cool story, great use to the whole family. I’m very excited, even cool Watcher stuff, which you don’t normally kind of get.

Alex:                 Oh, no, people are always like, “That Watcher is very cool.”

Pete:                No, but like also, just this whole thing of like, we’re the Watcher and we’ve watched all these amazing events happen in Marvel whether it’s through comics or TV or movies, but just these splash pages like, oh yeah, I remember that. Oh, that was cool. Hey, cosmic Ghost Rider got a shout out.

Justin:              Well, see, I would take some issue with your statement Pete, because I think what Dan Slott is so great at and why he’s such a great match for the Fantastic Four, is his whole thing is everything old is new again, or everything new is old again, either way [crosstalk 00:09:10].

Pete:                Which one us it?

Justin:              It’s sort of both, because what he does here is he’s like, “Yes, Reed and Sue aren’t getting along because Reed has a secret from Sue.” But what’s great about this issue is Sue also has a secret from Reed, and she has her own life and she’s doing her own thing. And so they get to meet on equal ground.

Pete:                Great.

Justin:              The thing is it’s [inaudible 00:09:30] time. I’m going to be a wreck and shit, but then he’s like, “Oh, I have actually a family at home I have to get back to at the same time.” Doctor Doom is still a villain, but he’s actually the Doctor Doom, is the Doctor Doom read Richard’s relationship from the very beginning of the comic where they’re contemporaries. And even though they are wildly super-powered and they’re meeting here as like, “Oh, you were keeping a little secret from me.” He’s like, “Oh, well, yeah I was, figure it out.” And they’re like, “Well, let’s figure it out together.” It’s just Dan Slott is just a tactician when it comes to picking a part with a fine tweezers, these Marvel legends and finding a new way to reconfigure the stories by just slightly tweaking little bits and pieces.

Pete:                I did want to, while we’re talking about Doom, Doom is one of my favorite villains and Dan Slott did a great job of the way Doom just acknowledges the fact that Sue Storm was in the room before she revealed herself was such a bad-ass Doom moment. Dan Slott is just killing it on this book.

Alex:                 Yeah. This is a really fun issue, like you’re talking about, bunch of fun teases for the future, a new setup of new status quo for the team, as well as certain members of the team, as well as the Watcher and other things, just a great package. I had a blast reading this issue. Moving on to Chilling-

Justin:              Justin loves good packages.

Alex:                 Moving onto Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Presents Madam Satan number one from Archie Comics story by Eliot Rahal, art by Julius Ohta. We talked about this on the live show a little bit, but this exists in a weird mix of continuity between the comic books and the TV show, not necessarily contradicting either, but not existing like this is between season one and season two of Sabrina, or part one and part two or part three and part four or anything like that. It just kind of is an about Madam Satan. The real standout of this issue to me is Julius Ohta’s art, which does a great job of channeling Robert Hack from the original series, but finding a different way around it. What’d you think Pete?

Pete:                Yeah. I mean, because when you think about it, the only person who would want to be a principal at a high school is somebody who is in hell, you know what I mean? Someone who wants to bring hell to the people. So to me, this made a lot of sense like, “Oh yeah, the queen of hell would love to be a principal at a high school. That’s the perfect job for them.” And this is a real fun kind of set up. Madam Satan is glorious in the Sabrina TV show. And it’s nice to see this character kind of thrive in this comic as well.

Justin:              This does a good job of being sort of the TV show, but hearkening back to the comics, it originally inspired what went on to become the Sabrina TV show, like the afterlife with Archie and the Sabrina comic that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa then developed into the show. It’s great. And to your point, Alex, the art is just amazing throughout.

Alex:                 Good stuff. Very impressive. Next step, Iron Man number two from Marvel written by Christopher Cantwell, art by Cafu. When we talked about the first issue of this book, I think we were pleasantly surprised by the change in direction here as Iron Man is going back to basics. Here we get a little bit more on that, veering on the side of he cut us a death wish a little bit, or at least injure himself, which as he’s trying to move back to be a hero. But I got to say, I’m loving this take. I just think it’s so refreshing to see a Tony Stark who is just being a hero and going on fights and fighting people and being a human being for a change. It’s great.

Justin:              I agree. This felt like a comic that I would have read back when I was in high school. It is just iron man dealing with shit. Of course he’s fighting Absorbing Man. The ultimate early run of a series villain is Absorbing Man. And I love the guest stars throughout and Ironman just sacrificing himself, like Cardiac shows up, another, it’s a Spider-Man villain technically who is just sort of Iron Manny in a lot of ways. And this felt like just some good classic fun.

Pete:                Yeah. It was fun to see Hellcat. Yeah, it’s all right, it’s okay.

Justin:              Pete, you do not like in Iron Man?

Pete:                No. I mean, this comic has gone through so much stuff and it’s just crazy. Like, okay, great, it’s back to Tony Stark, but I don’t know, cool.

Alex:                 Well, what do you want it to be then?

Pete:                I want, it was just weird because it’s like, oh, Tony Stark’s not Iron Man anymore. Okay, cool. And there was this really cool character who’s trying to take on the mantle, but then was like, “No, we’re going to go back to Tony Stark.” And then it’s like, “Okay, but why?” And then it’s just like, “Oh, it’s back to basic Tony Stark.”

Alex:                 So you’re upset that it’s not Riri is what you’re saying.

Pete:                I liked Riri. I liked the possibility of new stories. I just think that Iron Man has done a lot of amazing things, so let’s see something amazing. You know what I mean? Let’s see why we’re seeing Iron Man again instead of something new.

Alex:                 All right. Fair enough. Next up, Stillwater number two from Image Comics written by Chip Zdarsky, art by Ramon K. Perez. We talked about the first issue of this as well, liked it quite a bit. A guy goes on a road trip, ends up in a town where nobody ever dies. His friend gets killed outside the town, and it turns out at the end of the first issue that he may actually be a natural born resident of the village. We find out many more F’d up things about the town in this issue. What did you think about this? And also given that it drew some comparisons to Revival-

Pete:                Controversial.

Alex:                 Controversial comparisons to Revival the Tim Seeley series that had kind of a similar premise, at least at the start. Do you feel like it’s veering off enough at this point?

Justin:              It’s totally quite different, I would say. I don’t want to get into like, is it wrong to have a book this close premise wise? Because I enjoyed reading this, the first and second issue. It feels like at the end of this issue, we’re setting up sort of what the deal is going to be. This guy is the third person who’s been invited into the town. Clearly we’re going to meet these other two people and what that means, his relationship to his mother and how the town works. All of that is fun. I’m excited to get into that. Revival felt like very different tonally. It was about people who with established relationships and how they were sort of dealing with this new status quo. I think to me it’s different enough to exist separately.

Alex:                 Also they feel like different types of horror, right? As Tim Seeley is very good at, it’s a little more slasher horror, it’s a little more graphic horror, a little more fun horror. This is more aligned with The Wicker Man I think that sort of, or mid summer, that sort of thing.

Justin:              Oh, that’s a good comparison, yes.

Alex:                 So yeah, I agree. I do think they’re different. There’s certainly a danger there that they’re going to weave together too much. But right now I think they can both exist and that’s okay.

Pete:                I would just like to say, as someone who’s lived in a big city for a really long time, this is why I don’t like the small towns, they scare the shit out of me. I love this thing of playing with the creepiness of a small town and all these people know each other and you’re the outsider kind of coming in. I think that’s a great idea to start a story. And I think sometimes when writers are … we’re all pulling from the same pool. Sometimes ideas might overlap. You’d like to give somebody the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully it’s not a rip off. But I do not know.

Pete:                But as far as this is concerned, the little kid in the beginning was so fucking creepy with that wolf, I was scared shitless, and I’m interested to see where this goes. And it’s really fun this idea of if people can die, then yeah, people would just kind of like loosey goosey shoot each other because there’s going to be no damage.

Justin:              Loosey goosey.

Pete:                But it is kind of crazy right now to see a cop fucking just shooting first, and then talking later, it’s kind of a hits and not fun chord right now.

Justin:              Yeah. It’s not crazy to see that, it happens a lot in this world. Pete, real quick, when you said you’re scared shitless, could you give us just a sort of scale, a power ranking on the different types of scared you are, just so I know what you mean when you say that.

Pete:                Well, they’re scared like, oh, my stomach hurts a little bit, you know what I mean? And then there’s like-

Justin:              Your stomach hurts a little.

Pete:                Yeah. And then there’s like-

Justin:              Like I ate too much candy.

Pete:                Yeah. You got like-

Justin:              So like you’re scared candy. Let’s call it that.

Pete:                Okay. Yeah. And then scared shitless is like you’re in real trouble.

Alex:                 Oh, so there’s two parts to the scale?

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Interesting.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:18:58] and then I have no shit in me whatsoever.

Pete:                Yeah, let’s skip the [crosstalk 00:19:03].

Justin:              Let me just also ask, quick follow-Up on that. When you say you’re scared shitless, that means you’ve shit everything out. You’re fully [crosstalk 00:19:09].

Pete:                Yeah, empty on the streets side.

Justin:              You’re on the streets comeback style diarrhea.

Pete:                Right.

Justin:              Or is it, are you full of shit and you just can’t get it out?

Pete:                No, no. Yeah, you’re the scumbag of the street who’s empty [crosstalk 00:19:23].

Alex:                 But you’re 100% clean at this point. You’re just-

Pete:                Yeah. I’m an empty vessel.

Alex:                 You’re an empty vessel.

Justin:              So you read this comic and you fully just rooster tailed yourself.

Pete:                Yeah, exactly.

Justin:              While you’re reading it. I got you. Okay, great.

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:19:39]. I’ve been going back to doing the transcripts of the episodes and I-

Justin:              Don’t do that-

Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:19:44], so I’ll try to pull our quotes from each of the episodes and put it out there. The hope of getting maybe some pull quotes or something like that on a book. I think we could say Stillwater, it’ll clear the shit out of you.

Justin:              Yeah, you’ll go full rooster tail.

Pete:                Pull your own quotes Zalbs.

Justin:              You go full rooster tail for this book.

Alex:                 Batman 101 from DC Comics written by James Tynion IV, art by Guillem March. This is following right up on the Joker war as Batman grapples with the knowledge that Joker might’ve been right. And he has to in fact change, he’s got to up his game.

Justin:              Game.

Pete:                Game.

Alex:                 As he talks to Catwoman about it. Pete, I’m sure you have some feelings about this because spoiler, Catwoman and Batman decide to be on a break for a year. What’d you think about that?

Pete:                Yeah. I mean, I liked the kiss. I thought the kiss gave us hope. But the old taking a break is just, it’s a heartbreaking, don’t a break guys, say yes to love.

Justin:              Don’t take a break.

Pete:                Don’t take a break from love.

Justin:              Friends, in the TV show Friends, famous romantic comedy.

Alex:                 We were on a break.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              Alex, let me ask you, are you hyping up that phrase or are you doing a Ross impression?

Alex:                 I think I’m doing-

Pete:                Ross, it was Ross.

Alex:                 No. Yeah, I mean I’m doing Ross, but I think it’s one of the characters from Seinfeld being like Jerry.

Justin:              You mean Jerry Seinfeld.

Alex:                 Yeah. No, I think Jerry [crosstalk 00:21:19]. Jerry Seinfeld says like, “Jerry.” He’s like a poker bot. Jerry.

Justin:              It’s hard for me to tell what you’re talking about. I love Guillem March’s art.

Alex:                 Yes.

Justin:              And especially in issues focusing on not just Batman, but the bat family, always great to see. I will say, and this is being picky, but Grifter still doesn’t sit with me.

Alex:                 What’s deal is that?

Pete:                You don’t like a billowy mask?

Justin:              I’m fine with the billowy mask. I mean I wear a cloth mask for when I go out and it does hang a little low in a Grifter.

Alex:                 Can I, not to interrupt your flow here, but when you’re wearing that mask out, do you take it and then pull it up to your forehead?

Justin:              Yes, a 100%.

Alex:                 Okay.

Justin:              And it really, it blows with little wrinkles in it just like Grifters does. No, it’s just something like I still, the Wildstorm universe of it all. I’m just like, “This guy doesn’t quite fit with these characters to me.”

Alex:                 I do, I agree with you on Grifter, never quite got him, don’t like the mask. But I do like what James Tynion is setting up here with Batman vs Grifter, and this greater mystery of who Grifter works for. That seems like that’s something that potentially is going to tie in going further forward, and that’s a fun place for it to go. Batman versus the Wildstorm universe, great, all in on that.

Justin:              Also wildcats.

Pete:                Old school, that Clownhunter got a shout out in this book.

Alex:                 You love that guy. [crosstalk 00:23:02].

Justin:              Alex, we talked about this on the live show, but as someone who’s married to a clown, are you worried?

Alex:                 Definitely. We added an extra lock to the door, because my wife has been doing that thing where she pulls the bed sheets up to her neck and says, “Oh, I’m scare, scare, scare, scared.”

Justin:              Yes. Because as you know, your wife is modeled on Charlie’s grandparents and [inaudible 00:23:27].

Alex:                 Yes, exactly. We sleep with another couple in our bed. All right. Black Magick number 15 from Image Comics written by Greg Rucka and art by Nicholas Scott. Oh, it’s a great issue every single time. Here we’re getting the fallout of the last couple of the issues as our main character deals with her new burgeoning relationship with a fellow cop. While in the background, I think for the first time we see hell or something like that.

Justin:              Yeah. She’s getting crazy in the background.

Alex:                 Yes.

Justin:              This comic was very sort of austere for so long about the witchyness of this of it. And now we’re fully in witch world, which I love.

Pete:                A lot of pointy kind of pyramid looking things in that aisle.

Alex:                 Great. Thank you, Pete. We’ll use that one for the pull quote for this issue. Nicholas Scott art as usual is the hero here. It’s just absolutely gorgeous. But I love the sort of almost taking a break issue in a way, there’s been so much harrowing, terrifying stuff. Every issue to take some time here and really deal with the relationships, the characters, if I was really nice.

Justin:              Yeah, I agree. And the art, it feels like it gets better. There’s just something about, it’s so detailed, but it keeps getting, I guess maybe cleaner is the right word. It’s great. How do you feel about the French computer? You don’t see French computers very often-

Alex:                 No, not usually.

Justin:              … except in France.

Alex:                 No. Even in France, they still use English. Everybody’s like, “I can not read this.”

Pete:                I mean, I’m a little disappointed that she’s not listening to her cat more. If you have a magical cat, I feel like you should pay attention and listen to it, especially when it knows more things than you. And that’s always frustrating when a character isn’t listening to people they should be listening to.

Justin:              As a new cat owner, Pete, is your cat magical? And if so, what is that cat saying to you?

Pete:                Well, I’ll tell you what, she does have one of those mystical eye things like the Prince album over her left eye, which kind of freaks me out. And I do think that cats can see into different realms and stuff. So yeah, the cat freaks me the fuck out.

Justin:              Nice. That sounds like a nightmare to deal with every day. Every day you wake up and you’re like, you look at your cat and you’re rooster tailing, because you’re scared shitless.

Pete:                That’s right. That’s how I start my day.

Justin:              Wow.

Alex:                 God. From day to night, let’s talk about Werewolf by Night, number one for Marvel Comics written by Taboo and B. Earl, art by Scot Eaton.

Pete:                Oh, king of the transition.

Alex:                 Here is another character that I’d never quite gotten just based on the name. And they try very hard to explain it to this book, by the idea of like, I’m a werewolf, but by night. It’s like, “Well, most werewolves are by night, I think.”

Justin:              But I take it the other way, I think the name is sort of saying, “Not just a werewolf where it’s once a month, that’s a werewolf by all nights.” Because if the character was named like werewolf normal, werewolf monthly, that’s less fun.

Alex:                 It does come out monthly, so there is that. But on the other hand, he turns back into a human in this very first issue where he’s like, “I’m a werewolf by night.” Well, I’m a human, it’s still nighttime.”

Justin:              I say a lot I’m a human by night. And they’re like, “What do you mean?”

Alex:                 I thought this book was okay. It was honestly frustrating to be that the part that was fun and exciting was the last page of the book, that to me without getting spoilers unless we want to, that to me felt like, okay, this is the part you needed to put at the front of the book instead of all the setup that I didn’t necessarily care about personally.

Justin:              Well, let me say, I like this I guess more than you it seems, because it feels like it’s a Marvel Comics book, but it feels like this could be an Image Comics book. It establishes a world around this character that isn’t relying on other superhero, other Marvel universe things. And I like the characters a lot. And we talked about this on the show with Colin Bond and whatnot, the horror infiltration into superhero comics I’ve been really enjoying.

Pete:                Yeah. I mean, I thought the reveal was fun, but I thought the more fun was with the granny pressuring those two to start a family, I thought that was really fun.

Justin:              Your favorite part of this comic was the grandmother pressing them to have children?

Pete:                Yeah. Come on, mommy’s a werewolf, fuck it. But I think that also this was like-

Alex:                 How’s your relationship going, Pete?

Pete:                Good man. It’s going good. Thanks for asking.

Alex:                 Welcome.

Pete:                But I think that this book is kind of over the top, whatever. I just thought the kind of the real down to earth moments were kind of nice. And also you never know, man, the guy who cleans the toilets could be a werewolf, the person who collects the recycling, it could be a mummy. You got to be nice to people, because you don’t know what their superpower is.

Justin:              I think that every day. I’m like this-

Alex:                 It would make sense if they switch jobs, honestly. Because I feel like the mummy could just take some of that wrapping and refill the toilet paper rolls.

Pete:                Oh, wow.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              Honestly, every time I … whenever I go out in New York city, I’m always like, “Are you a mummy?”

Alex:                 Let’s move on and talk about Big Girls number three from Image Comic story, and art by Jason Howard. I think we’ve got back and forth a little bit about these issues. Generally, Jason Howard’s art is great. This takes place in a world where large women and large men are fighting. The men are monsters, are they? And the women are not monsters, or are they? And they’re fighting and the ruins left to the world. Find out a lot more about it, this issue that really mixes things up. I thought an interesting way, definitely confuses the metaphor perhaps a little bit, but certainly makes the story that we’re following more fascinating. What did you guys take away from it?

Pete:                Oh, go ahead.

Justin:              You go.

Pete:                I completely agree. I’m very happy with this kind of new development in this issue where the men aren’t just total D bags. I kind of like the reveal in this issue, gives things a little bit more complication. I’m very excited to see how this moves forward and what the kind of reveals are going to be. Yeah, the art’s the real hero of this book, this is becoming a very interesting book and I’m getting into it more and more with each issue.

Justin:              Yeah. This book feels like an episode of The Outer Limits. Did you guys ever watch that when you were younger? Where it was like, it took a premise, a sci-fi premise and it just played it up and then there’s a twist and then you landed the ending. And so I definitely liked this progression. I think the art is really nice. It reminds me of Ryan Ollie in a lot of ways.

Alex:                 Jason Howard did … what was the wolf thing that Robert Kirkman did? Right, I think.

Justin:              Oh, yes.

Alex:                 Science Wolf. Science Dog.

Justin:              Science Wolf. Science Dog.

Alex:                 I think Jason Howard did Science Dog. I’ve got to look that up while you’re talking.

Pete:                You should look that up.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              Okay, great. So all we have to do while Alex is looking this up is talk.

Pete:                Yeah. Let’s just do a little soft shoe and kill some time.

Justin:              It’s not killing time, it’s bringing more of our personal lives into the fall.

Alex:                 How’s your family, Justin?

Justin:              Family, good, very good. They’re right upstairs.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              Yes. Several members of my family were doing laundry over the course of our tapings this evening. And every time washer and dryer finish, they each make a little celebration song.

Alex:                 No, I’m sorry. They did Super Dinosaur together, there it is.

Pete:                Okay. I thought maybe it was the shark one.

Alex:                 How did everything go while I was looking that up?

Justin:              Great. We had a totally normal friend conversation.

Pete:                Yeah, turns out Justin’s washer and dryer, because he’s such a fucking big time rich guy, they play celebration songs. He probably had to pay extra for that.

Justin:              No, it’s definitely not.

Pete:                Every time his washer and dryer finishes it’s like [inaudible 00:32:15] bright, clean clothes, come out now.

Justin:              That’s great, that would be great.

Alex:                 Man, you should sell that to Whirlpool.

Pete:                Yes.

Alex:                 Let’s move on and talk about Batman: White Knight Presents Harley Quinn, number one from DC Comic story by Katana Collins and Sean Murphy. This is of course spinning off of the White Knight Universe of stories that Sean Murphy has been building up. It’s a very different Harley Quinn who is out of the game. Batman is in jail. The Joker is dead. She’s on her own. But she gets sucked back into it by a Joker want to be, or is it the Joker himself? What’d you guys think about this book?

Pete:                Well, I mean, first off the art’s amazeballs. This kind of a newer take, a fresh take on the old [inaudible 00:33:06]. You get a flashback to her and Jack meeting and I think it’s interesting. I’m not upset at the changes. I think it’s a fun last page. I kind of want to work alone and by alone, I mean, me and my two hyenas. I’m on board, I’m interested to see where this goes. I think we need more Harley Quinn. I don’t think there’s enough of Harley Quinn, we got to get more.

Alex:                 I will say, before you get into anything, Justin, I think we already have our pull quote for this, it’s I’m not upset at the changes.

Justin:              Pete, when you say you need more Harley Quinn, what are you, in life, or in this [crosstalk 00:33:52] features a lot of Harley Quinn.

Pete:                Harley Quinn is a very popular character. I don’t think DC has caught on yet. They haven’t put enough Harley Quinn in books yet. I barely see her, so it’d be nice if they started using her more.

Justin:              Well, let me say the White Knights sub universe is interesting to me, because it’s a little … I like this book and I like the Harley Quinn in this book. But I’m like, “Oh, we’re so far away from the normal, the reality of the DC universe right now.” I’m like, that to me is … it takes me out of it because the book is so far removed from sort of the normal storytelling, the normal continuity I guess. But I have enjoyed these White Knight books, the art is truly amazing.

Pete:                That’s a real hero there.

Justin:              Yeah. I’m curious how much longevity this pocket universe has in the DC universe.

Alex:                 Yeah, I agree. Let’s move on. Dune: House Atreides, number one written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, illustrated by Dev Pramanik. Oh, this is from Boom Studios, I believe, right? This is-

Pete:                Yeah, it’s Boom.

Alex:                 Thank you. I forgot to write that down. Interestingly, I mean, as we were talking about with the Wonder Woman, 1984 book, a couple of weeks back. This is again a book that was clearly there to tee up the movie that was supposed to come out this year, instead is coming out a full year later. But at the same time, it is riffing off of the book, it’s teeing up the movie, it’s telling you a little bit more about Dune and the world. What did you think about this? Does this stand on its own, given that the movie is now not coming out for basically a full calendar year?

Justin:              Well, I’m curious if some of the scenes here are from the movie. Is this bull fighting scene or space ball or whatever it’s called. Is that a scene that we’re going to see in this movie, because this made me want to see the movie?

Pete:                Really?

Justin:              Yes. It made me want to see sort of the more streamlined visually dynamic version of this comic. What this reminded me of though, as I was reading it, is like X of Swords, or 10 of Swords. It reminded me of a version of that where I’m like, “Wait, who are any of these characters?”

Alex:                 It definitely, it’s a very, it kept jumping around. I mean, granted the books are very expensive. There’s a lot of stuff going on. There’s a lot of mythology. I thought this looked very nice for what it is to have [inaudible 00:36:29] art is very pretty. And like you were mentioning the gladiator scenes or the bullfighting scenes were very nicely laid out. But I couldn’t help but wish while I was reading this, that this was almost more in the European style, that this felt like the sort of thing, if you’re going to going to do dune, get like a Mobius to do it, or Mobius light or something like that to give it that says, because it should be weird and off-putting not consistent with current comic books at all.

Justin:              Right. Yeah. Especially when the movie is … I mean, we don’t know this I guess. But is probably going to be visually stunning and purposefully so. The comic should reflect that a little bit.

Alex:                 I agree. Let’s move on to another one, Dark Nights: Death Metal, Robin King, number one from DC Comics written by Peter J. Tomasi and Tony Patrick, art by Riley Rossmo and Daniel Sampere. You cannot go wrong with Peter J. Tomasi and Riley Rossmo at all. I mean-

Justin:              Great team.

Alex:                 … I’m not the hugest fan of the idea of Robin King, who is basically a Bruce Wayne, who’s an evil teen who’s Robin, but man, this book is killer, just so good. What’d you guys think?

Pete:                I mean, just this kind of like universe is just kind of cranking things up to 11 here. It seems like everybody’s kind of having fun with the overtopness of it. And again, we get kind of a funeral thing here, but an interesting take where he hears Robin at the funeral that kind of draws him. I think it’s … Robin King messing with Animal Man was really intense. Then the blue beetle getting eaten by beetles. I mean, this is just kind of crazy fun over the top shit. I think this kind of event is like a fun, like, “Hey, let’s just crank this up and see what happens.” And every book has been kind of art-wise really funnily kind of driven towards these monsters and over the top villain, so why not?

Justin:              Why not? I mean, to your point, Alex, this team is so good, and especially in a book where it’s just all about hitting different aspects of the DC Universe, like Animal Man, Red Tornado, Blue Beetle, great to see all these characters, just like riding firestorm down and defeating him.

Alex:                 Oh yeah, that was messed up.

Justin:              It’s all great. And I don’t know, Robin King isn’t someone who I’m like, “God, I can’t wait to keep seeing more of this guy.” But I think he is one of the more memorable characters from this event. See of Bruce Wayne’s, the Robin King definitely sticks out as one that is more threatening and more interesting.

Alex:                 Yeah. I agree. Now from Children Who Are Killing Something to Something is Killing The Children number 11.

Pete:                Oh, come on. [crosstalk 00:39:47]. He’s been working on this for a week.

Alex:                 Written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera. We’re really-

Justin:              And just for you guys listening, the way we work is I actually hold up a cue card and Alex reads that down because we workshopped it.

Alex:                 I hold it up a cue and Alex … Oh, I’m sorry, that’s your line.

Justin:              No, that’s mine. We work in a classic SML model where it’s all handwritten cue cards.

Alex:                 Yeah. Fun fact, Justin really great at writing cue cards.

Justin:              A 100% right. That’s why I’m a line producer.

Pete:                Yeah. One of the things that line producers do.

Alex:                 In this issue we’re continuing, like we talked about almost every issue, there’s little bits of information that are eked out every issue, but it still feels so present and so terrifying as our main characters are trying to get away from these monsters who are attacking the town, who are killing the children. But at the same time, the organization she works for is mustering forces of their own, and it seems like we’re heading towards a climactic showdown in the next issue, which is all very exciting. Every issue of this is great.

Pete:                Yeah.

Justin:              And the amount of information we get is very controlled. Every issue of this feels like a scene or two scenes from a movie, as opposed to so many comics where it’s so much happening. This feels very just like controlled pacing wise in a way that is very different from other comics. And visually it lets us really just chew these horror images up as we get to see them.

Pete:                Yeah. This was intense. I was very happy with the kind of information we finally get about our kind of main character and her kind of relationship a little bit to this organization. Love the kind of dragon guy overseeing things. But it’s also crazy in this comic how people are wearing masks, like how we’re wearing masks. And so that’s kind of freaking me the fuck out a little bit. But man, nothing creepier than a one eyed fucking Teddy bear, man. This book continues to be amazeballs. The art, the story-

Justin:              Nothing creepier.

Pete:                Nothing creepier.

Alex:                 I’ll tell you what, maybe they’ve already done this, but they should make masks based on something that’s killing the children. I’d wear one of those, those would be fun.

Justin:              That’s a great idea. Pete, would you, now if a one eyed teddy bear is scary, what about a two eyed teddy bear?

Alex:                 Oh, man.

Pete:                One eyed is more scary, man.

Alex:                 What about a no eyed teddy bear. Terror.

Justin:              I mean a terror bear does sound scary.

Alex:                 Let’s move onto our X of Swords block Excalibur number 13, written by Tini Howard [crosstalk 00:42:40]. What?

Pete:                I was hoping we would save that black for last, but all right, you’ve got this all-

Justin:              No, I like the book we’re saving for last, I think we made the right choice.

Alex:                 Okay. Written by Tini Howard and art by R.B. Silva. And then we got an X-Men number 13 from Marvel written by Jonathan Hickman, and art by Mahmud Asrar. Unlike the previous months, we’re only getting two … Previous weeks, excuse me, we’re only getting two issues this week, they’re not tied together, they’re each their own stories. In Excalibur we find out what’s going on with Captain Britain who is now Betsy Braddock, and her siblings as they go to other worlds and tango with other world. And in X-Men number 13, we find out the fate and backstory of apocalypse, two very different stories, but we’re really starting to get to the halfway point of this event. What did you think about these, and what do you think about this event so far?

Pete:                I really love the ways events started, but I just feel like we’re taking too much time with the [inaudible 00:43:37] or getting the sword so they can join the battle. It’s like, “Yeah, get your fucking sword so we can get this goddamn fight started.” I’m excited to see how this unfolds. I’m still very much on board, but I feel like they’re taking their sweet ass fucking time with each person joining the goddamn fight.

Justin:              I mean we got three swords in two issues, that’s pretty … the ratio is right there.

Alex:                 I will say I love the slow anticipation of building the swords, but every time they get to that scene where everybody is standing in the circle with their swords, it’s cool. But I’m also like, how long have they been standing there? Have they been standing there not talking and staring at each other?

Pete:                The first person was like, “Jeez, guys, cool sword.”

Justin:              I do think, I mean, them all arriving there could have happened over the course of five minutes. It’s just the way that comic pacings everyone is doing their own shit on the-

Alex:                 No, this has taken weeks. I mean, weeks between comics.

Justin:              Now, that’s how you’re reading it. But I do think everyone could have arrived there one after the other.

Alex:                 Otherwise how … This is probably a good thing for our podcast to tackle. But how does the linear progression of time work?

Justin:              Well, here’s the thing, it moves forward second by second, minute by minute, unless you go timeout, and then time stops and you can do whatever you want for a brief amount of time.

Alex:                 You can say what’s going on.

Pete:                I’m glad you’re talking about timeouts.

Justin:              And then time in and everything continues on.

Pete:                No, but I think in comics Wednesdays are like our Mondays, you know what I mean? That’s the start of the week.

Justin:              Oh, interesting.

Alex:                 I like [crosstalk 00:45:28].

Justin:              You have a calendar in your house is just Wednesday to Wednesdays just like-

Pete:                Wednesday to Wednesday [crosstalk 00:45:33].

Justin:              Mondays and Tuesdays are just lost days for you.

Alex:                 It’s always Wednesday somewhere, you know what I’m talking about?

Pete:                Oh yeah.

Justin:              Timeout. Pete doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Timing.

Pete:                Timing.

Alex:                 I like these books quite a bit. I thought the other world stuff was really interesting-

Pete:                What a surprise.

Alex:                 … I really liked the Braddock family. I thought they’re really fun in the way that Tini Howard wrote them, delineated them in an interesting way. It also throws in interesting power dynamic into everything that’s going to other world, which if they’re trying to defend to other world, but they hate other world, what’s up with that? I guess we’ll find out how that plays out. But the big one was X-Men 13 which gives completely red cons apocalypse, gives a entirely new motivation for everything that he has ever done, which is very, very classic, Jonathan Hickman, Marvel at this point. But I think it works.

Justin:              I think it does work as well. And it is weird because it’s like apocalypse who is like, he’s been alive for millennia. But then you’re like, “Wait, that dude was married?”

Pete:                Yeah, right.

Justin:              Like, oh, okay, he had a little life. Cool.

Alex:                 Well, and then the other part of it for those who haven’t read the book, this is a spoiler, but we find out the reason he’s always been looking for the fittest and the strongest to survive is to master the forces to fight back the beings that are invading [inaudible 00:47:01] and therefore [inaudible 00:47:02] and eventually the earth. It’s actually been this [inaudible 00:47:05] heroic motivation the entire time, which is kind of an amazing retcon to throw in there.

Pete:                Yeah. Oh yeah. By the way, apocalypse has been not evil this whole time.

Justin:              I don’t know, I bought it like, as far as a cut scene to just drop in for us. I think that works. And despite the fact that he has been a villain this whole time, if he’s trying to find the fittest so he can get back to be with the people he loves, that’s enough of a motivation for me to be like, “Okay, maybe this person can now stand with our heroes.”

Pete:                I agree.

Alex:                 Pete, you disagree.

Pete:                I would rather watch panels of him trying to put that sword together than to hear about his bullshit family.

Alex:                 Man.

Justin:              Wait, why would you rather watch see him put the sword together?

Pete:                Because at least that’s moving the fucking thing forward.

Alex:                 All right. Well, we’re getting to it.

Pete:                I want to see a sword fight. I want to see a giant fucking sword fight.

Alex:                 You’re going to get it, you’re going to get a big all sword fight.

Pete:                And they’re giving me all these goddamn backstory before what’s going to hopefully be the greatest sword fight of all time.

Justin:              What if instead of a sword fight they just talk it out.

Pete:                If this is going to be a fucking kill bill situation, I’m going to lose my goddamn mind.

Alex:                 What if it’s like the sexual sword fight, Pete, what would you think about that?

Pete:                That would also suck.

Justin:              Speaking of that-

Alex:                 It would in fact.

Justin:              … let’s jump into our next book.

Alex:                 All right. Let’s move from saying that you were a little conflicted about Pete, a title I know you love, Faithless Two, number five [inaudible 00:48:50].

Pete:                You can’t even [inaudible 00:48:51], you’re cracking yourself up. Oh yeah, I love it, ooh, what the fuck.

Alex:                 Well, I was kind of cracking up because you couldn’t stop yawning while I was introducing this. You made the biggest, most adorable lion yawn while I was doing that.

Justin:              Yeah. You are just a little bit, you’re a little baby by just waking up from a nap.

Alex:                 I thought this was great-

Justin:              And Alex is like scar, Alex’s scar being like, “Hey kid, you want to see some porno?” That’s what we’re doing right now.

Alex:                 Oh, Justin. I thought this issue Justin actually got to the heart of what you’ve been talking about for the past couple of the issues with this book, where we’d be like, “Okay, what’s going on with this art? They’re visiting many wonderful European countries. There’s some fucked up shit going on. There’s weird sex stuff going on. What are we getting through this title?” And this issue did it. This issue pulled the lid off, revealed what the title at least this part is about, and I like that quite a bit. How’d you feel about it?

Justin:              Same way. This felt like, I mean, if we can talk about how, this book is very sexual, and mixing that with sort of the demonic and we find out like heaven and hell in this universe they’re creating.

Pete:                Heaven fucks too bro, you know what I mean, come on.

Justin:              No doubt. Yeah, no, I know.

Alex:                 Oh, that’s a pull quote [crosstalk 00:50:15], thanks Pete, you’re [crosstalk 00:50:16].

Justin:              Heaven fucks too. And this, I feel like it has been a lot of buildup, and finally this is sort of the release issue where the orgasm issue, where there’s a ton of sex in this issue, and it’s about coming to conclusion.

Pete:                You don’t have to say it like that.

Justin:              But that’s truly what I think-

Alex:                 No, he’s commenting on coming to conclusions.

Justin:              Exactly. I think this is truly what it was written to be, and I respect that.

Pete:                We can be honest on this podcast, right? There’s a thing that happens in this issue where they’re having a threesome, and I’ve never had a threesome, but I have to assume when it happens it’s like in the book, where you start to meld into each other and turn into each other’s sexual organs until you become one sort of like human centipede, centrifugal force type thing. Is that correct? You guys [crosstalk 00:51:14].

Justin:              That’s been my experience.

Alex:                 Yeah. Okay.

Pete:                Especially when you do weird drugs and then have sex in the woods.

Alex:                 Nice. I thought this issue was very good. Last one, we’re going to talk about Night-

Pete:                Wait.

Alex:                 Yes.

Pete:                While we’re being honest, I just wanted to say, Justin, the next time we’re stuck on a boat and drinking with Brian Azzarello, I’m going to have a lot of questions for him.

Alex:                 First of all, how dare you?

Justin:              The real question is, don’t do those drugs, those weird drugs that we didn’t like last time. Because we should say a lot of this book is based on our time on the comic book carnival cruise that we did.

Alex:                 Yeah. The boat was called the USS Faithless, right?

Justin:              That’s a 100% right. The Faithless Two.

Alex:                 Last but not least, Nightwing number 75 from DC Comics written by Dan Jurgens, art by Travis Moore and Ronan Cliquet. Finally, Nightwing is back to himself. He has his memory again. In this issue, KGBs is coming for him. He’s trying to figure out what’s going on with himself, both with his ex-girlfriend Barbara Gordon, as well as his new girlfriend. We haven’t really been following this title, and I got to tell you, I like Nightwing stuff, but I really got off when he lost his memory. Jumping back into this, this was a pleasant surprise.

Justin:              Yeah. Rick Grayson was the sort of like devil may care, like I’m bad character, that filled in after he lost his memory, and it just didn’t work I feel like. It didn’t feel at all organic to Nightwing. And so it is good to finally see him back, especially since Nightwing has had so many iterations that have worked in a surprising way, a lot of the Tom King stuff where he was a super spy. [crosstalk 00:53:09]. Yeah, with Tim Seeley working for checkmate and all of that, it was great and it was not Nightwing, but it still worked because he was still inherently himself. And the recreation stuff felt like such a departure that it didn’t … it felt like a one-off issue thing where it was like a bummer, but let’s get our guy back, and it just lasted for longer. To see him back here being in themself is exciting.

Pete:                Yeah. I also liked the Alfred stuff, I thought that was very touching. I’m glad somebody is really dealing with the lost here.

Alex:                 And I like the idea also of bringing back KGBs, the person who shot him originally where he lost his memory and building it up as this big, bad villain, foreign Nightwing. I think that’s fun, it gives it emotional stakes, ties it into the previous art, but moves it forward in a very nice way. I enjoyed this book. I was very surprised, I’m glad we checked it out. And I think that’s it for The Stack, if you’d like to support us, patreon.com/comicbookclub, also 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 comics at comic book live on Twitter, iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice to subscribe and listen to the show. Comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and many more, until next time, this is The Stack, signing off.

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