Categories
Comics

GC52 News (DC Comics Releases for 05/25/2021)

If you missed last week’s news report, check it out here.

(Spoilers for DC Comics released 05/25/2021)

(Words in italics signal actions)

The GC52 Logo appears on televisions, computers, and all other types of viewing devices at its normally scheduled time. Lead Anchor Dan McMahon sits at the center of the newsroom behind his desk. This week he’s wearing a lot of sunscreen on his face, sunglasses on the back of his head in typical dad fashion, and a floral button-up that’s outlined by the large window behind him looking out over Metropolis. The Daily Planet globe is visible behind him as the setting sun sparkles off the crown jewel of the City of Tomorrow. The GC52 theme music begins to dim as the actual program begins.

Dan: Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Evening to all our wonderful viewers from the docks of Coast City to the furthest reaches of Oa, you are watching the multiverse’s best news show that brings you the news that you need to know! As always, I’m your host, Dan McMahon, doing my part to bring you up to the minute updates on the worlds you live in!

Remember a few weeks back when I was talking about those Warworld ships invading our Earth? Well, it turns out the large one was full of refugees fleeing from the hellish planet and to Earth. Our linguistic experts have been decoding some footage before the Supermen saved the day. One of the people on the ship was speaking a dialect of Kryptonian, and believe you me, I was just as shocked as you were when they told me it was Kryptonian… Strange things are afoot. Let’s check in with Katie though.

The camera struggles to focus on Katie. It’s almost as if her face is blurring in the frame. Her hair is also jet black instead of its usual blonde. Additionally, she is wearing dark blue lipstick smudged on the corners as if she couldn’t be bothered to look in the mirror before she left to go on camera.

Katie: This camera is rolling right? 

Her voice sounds warbling and monotone. Someone off-camera whispers, “What side of the universe did she wake up on this morning?”

Katie: The Batman and one of the Super-men — oh, wait. He’s the Superman. What makes him the most super of men? Huh. Anyway, the two friends — or are they foes? — broke into Martha Wayne’s manor last night. Ms. Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Batman’s sidekick Robin were supposedly accompanying the two heroes. If you ask me, that’s a lot of civilians — and a literal child involved in this scheme to do… whatever they were planning to do to Martha and her poor *cough* wimpy *cough* son Bruce. 

An explosion erupted from deep below the prestigious Wayne Manor. Superman was reported to have “packed a wallop” — who’s going around spewing old-timey jargon? Was it Robin? I bet it was Robin. Doesn’t that kid have homework to do? 

Apparently, Martha Wayne shot Batman while Bruce cowered in fear behind his mommy. I mean, Batman and Robin bust into the house of the wealthiest woman in the city and probably broke a bunch of precious items too. Bruce was probably on the verge of a panic attack for god’s sakes. Martha had every right to blast that Bat right in the — 

Someone signals from off-stage for Katie to stop talking. They mouth words to her and she looks slightly surprised.

Katie: What? What do you mean Martha Wayne isn’t alive? I just saw images of her sticking her own son with a needle as he transformed into a beefed-up monster who — 

She stops speaking mid-sentence. Nodding her head in realization, she stifles a laugh.

Katie: Oops. Looks like I’m in the wrong dimension — again. Wrong timeline? A parallel universe? Who knows anymore?! Blasted Archivist . . . sayonara! 

Suddenly, Katie fizzles offscreen like she’s been transported away. After a few seconds of silence and shock at the empty chair in the studio, the camera cuts away.

Dan: Every week… anyway… Violet was just here a moment ago… where did she get to? JERRY!

As the camera pans over to Violet she’s not sat at her desk but instead is ducked under her desk whispering loudly at a poor rat clutched in her hands.

Violet: Come on you little shit, take me to your leader!

She throws a glance up at the camera, rolls her eyes, and sits back in her chair with a frustrated sigh

Violet: It’s not what it looks like, ok?! I promised you all exclusive Harley updates, so I’m doing exactly that! I’ll start from the beginning. Harley started this new community support group to help victims of the Joker War, but some orderlies that work for Hugo Strange ambushed the entire thing!

That’s not even the worst part, they kidnapped Kevin! Harley managed to escape their grasps which led to this epic van chase but she couldn’t save him. The last I saw of her, she retreated down into the sewer for cover. 

Violet now holds the rat up to the camera.

Violet: After a while I found this little fella coming out from the way she went in and figured he must have witnessed something, right? Does anybody here speak rat or have Ratcatcher’s phone number? No? Okay, back to you Dan!

Violet glares at the rat as the camera pans back over to Dan.

Dan: Please, no one give her Ratcatcher’s number. Please. I don’t want rats in the office. We already have one over in Gotham in the Mayor’s seat. That’s right, we are getting POLITICAL. 

The camera focuses on Dan as he leans over his desk.

Dan: Gotham City has lost the daughter of one of the most influential families in Gotham, the Worths. We mourn for the loss of Sarah Worth and our regards go out to her partner. Her father is causing all sorts of ruckus down in City Hall with the Mayor and his weak grasp on the city.             We were told that Batman found the deceased but the police stormed the scene in their normal caveman-like fashion, contaminating the scene rather than working with the world’s best detective. It’s sick what Mayor Nakano is doing and the danger he keeps putting Gotham in…

But it looks like after he was kidnapped last week we finally have an idea of where Jake is. The fees for the lawyers keep going up every time something like this happens so I really hope this is the last kidnapping, death, best friend turns out to be a secret agent, whatever, we have to deal with. And now I’m saying that I just know something bad’s gonna happen.

Anyway… let’s take a look at the footage we got from… Lazarus Island? That’s not a real place is it Jerry?

The drone labeled GC52 and Property of Jerry turns on and begins to fly as it looks at two tables, one with a child and the other with GC52’s own Jake, both have holes where their hearts should be! The boy’s hole begins to close and he regains consciousness as a young white-haired woman in blue and orange greets him and they walk out together. After they are gone the hole through the chest of the reporter closes in an instant. He sits up instantly and the drone flies into his face.

Jake: WHAT THE HELL… OH HI FOLKS! I am reporting live from what I heard is called Lazarus Island home to the League of Lazarus, who are hosting a tournament of the deadliest fighters and someone saw me in my navy suit with a shirt that turned orange when I had some OJ spilled on me and they thought I was the Question! I was flattered then suddenly I had a hand through my chest courtesy of my new buddy, Brutale, who at least bought me breakfast first. 

He gets off the table and throws on a black robe with glowing green writing on it and begins to walk out. 

Jake: Now supposedly everyone here gets three deaths then they’re gone for good so meaning I have a few revives left, but sadly I don’t intend on staying here long enough to find out. I have a ferret to feed! Now… wait… there’s that boy, who was killed when I got here. Looks like he’s with the girl that ran him through and they’re breaking into something, I wonder what… Let me see if I can’t get us in there! 

He rushes up to a wall and watches as two men open a door and when they’re in, he slinks through the opened door undetected. As he and the drone go down a staircase they find a glowing green liquid that looks eerily refreshing. 

Jake: Hm I wonder what that stuff is…

Walking over, his foot is caught by a rock and he falls in! After a brief struggle, he realizes he can stand only for the camera to pick up the visage of a much younger Jake! He goes on with his reporting seemingly unphased by his unintentional sink or swim, but he seems a little more amped and unhinged. 

Jake: WOW I FEEL GREAT! WOO, THAT WAS REFRESHING… 

A noise startles him and Jake becomes visibly annoyed. 

Jake: I AM TRYING TO RECORD HERE! GOD, THE NERVE OF SOME PEOPLE! WELL LIKE I WAS TRYING TO SAY, THAT SEEMS SAFE TO INTERACT WITH BUT I NEED TO GET HOME!

He grabs the drone and runs back outside. He begins running towards the water and as he gets in a wave hits him and washes him back on shore where a party is being held. 

Jake: WOW A PARTY, ALRIGHT MIGHT AS WELL JOIN I! BACK TO YOU DAN!

The drone footage ends, and the camera feed returns to the studio where Dan has his face in his hands, mid-conversation with Jerry the inter.

Dan: -st don’t get it Jer. How does this keep happening. He was dead, and now he’s alive. Ugh, I guess this what we should expect dealing with supers week in and week out.

Oh, sorry folks, um… let’s go over to Bree while I gather my thoughts. It looks like she’s been hiding in… Titans Tower… Yeah, sure, let’s see.

The feed cuts to black for a second before the bright light of a flashlight washes over a face that’s hovering slightly off-center of the camera. The reporter known for power suits now dons an all-black catsuit and is shinning a flashlight below her chin. Bree appears to be in some sort of confined, dark space.

Bree: Well they say if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself! Too much is happening in Titans Tower for one set of eyes, so I’ve taken it upon myself to run backup. I’ve been living in the vent- ahem, I mean, I’ve been occupying an undisclosed location within the Tower and have not been explicitly told to vacate.

Anyways, to catch you up, the faculty Titans are absent for a mission of their own. What have the youngins been up to, unsupervised? What became of Superboy and Red X? That’s what I’m here to find out! I left for the Tower immediately after recording my last cast and seem to have arrived at just the right time for a little hallway rumble.

The camera angle adjusts to focus on the vent directly in front of the reporter. Although the video quality is poor, some sort of colorful conflict is possible to make out from between the slats.

Bree: The young Titans are being attacked by Red X, Superboy, and 2 other figures I haven’t been able to identify yet. One looks like….a steampunk owl…thing? The other has a very distracting metal helmet. It is unclear whether this is a surprise training exercise or an actual attack.

A loud BOOM echos through the vents and seems to rattle the whole structure. Bree is shaken slightly but manages to hold on to the flashlight. The noise lasts less than a minute and distant shouting is heard shortly after, although the exact dialogue is unclear.

Bree: WOW sorry about that folks, perhaps that was one of those boom tubes? Oh wait- I can make out some voices. The teachers are back, they don’t sound happy. Something about… one of the young Titans… KILLING?!?! OH… she swears she wasn’t going to… and now she’s… QUITTING?!?! Hmmm… some are trying to talk her out of it… doesn’t seem to be working… and now… whispers…

The reporter has more or less put her ear to the vent, she continues in a whisper tone.

Bree: The action is over and making too much noise threatens to give away my location. I don’t have a good feeling about any of this, but, I must end the broadcast. ‘Till next time!

The camera abruptly cuts to black. When the camera cuts back to the office, Dan is wearing a bucket hat and has his sunglasses on.

Dan: You may be wondering why I am all sunblocked and beached out, well I was invited to a NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE on another Earth by a very nice gentleman. I met him at a cocktail hour on Earth BL and he asked me to swing by for the weekend for Memorial Day. I will tell you how it goes next week. But for now, that’s all we have for you, so as always… be it the Bat Symbol in Gotham, a red streak through Central City, or a golden lasso on Themyscira… GC52 has you covered with the news you need to know. Till next week, I’m your host Dan McMahon. Be strong in all your convictions.


Books covered this week:

  • Action Comics #1031 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Daniel Sampere, Adriano Lucas, and Dave Sharpe.
  • Batman/Superman #18 by Gene Luen Yang, Ivan Reis, José Luís, Danny Miki, Jonas Trindade, Sabine Rich, and Saida Temofonte.
  • Harley Quinn #3 by Stephanie Phillips, Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, and AndWorld.
  • Robin #2 by Joshua Williamson, Gleb Melnikov, Luis Guerrero, and ALW’s Troy Peteri.
  • Teen Titans Academy #3 by Tim Sheridan, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Max Raynor, Alejandro Sanchez, Alex Sinclair, and Rob Leigh.
  • Detective Comics #1036 by Mariko Tamaki, Dan Mora, Jordie Bellaire, and Aditya Bidikar.
Categories
Comics

Fun-Size Round Table: X-Men #20

It is here.

There has always been discourse around the X-line of comics. Whether that be about the outcome of the X Of Swords tournament with character fates being theorised or about the (in?)famous X-Men election, the conversation has been never-ending. For those new to these characters, this is the era of X-Men comics they will remember 20-25 years from now. This is the era that invested them in the characters. 

It may be the penultimate issue, but X-Men #20, by Jonathan Hickman, Francesco Mobili, Sunny Gho, and Clayton Cowles, promises to be an issue with consequential moments. Seeds planted a year ago slowly come to fruition. If the cover is any indication, what implications will the creation of Nimrod have for Krakoa and the future of mutantkind? 

And what did the elusive and ever-changing Roundtable have to say about this issue? Let’s find out!

Alexandra Iciek


X-Men #20, Credit: Francesco Mobili, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, Marvel

Despite having an outer-space reach, X-Men #20 tells a contained story with long-lasting consequences. Readers follow Mystique, as she attempts to destroy an Orchis base. However, as par for the course with Raven Darkholme, her motives lie elsewhere.

The issue suffers with the disjointed storytelling style that the current X-Men ongoing has become known for. That said, Hickman’s script maintains a tone that feels appropriately understated yet dramatic. The plot moves forward steadily, until it ends at a startlingly consequential conclusion. Given X-Men #20 is the penultimate issue of the series, it is anyone’s guess as to what the ramifications will be in the next release.

Francesco Mobili’s art manages to capture individual character expressions well. Sunny Gho’s colors notably contrast the nature-based resources of Krakoa with the technological density of the Orchis base. The art slightly falters in the final pages, but overall does well to keep up with the hushed atmosphere of the issue.

Blanton Matthews


X-Men #20, Credit: Francesco Mobili, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, Marvel

Ever since House of X and Powers of X the new story of X under Hickman has been one of divergent evolution: humans into mutants, contrasted with humans into techno-beings, leading to the final conflict between what naturally evolved of man into mutants versus the created mechanical post-humans. Now we see the parallel more clearly as Mystique enters through a gate, darkly.

X-Men #20 is at its core a story of two wives—widows really. As the mutants of Krakoa have mastered resurrection, so too have the humans by way of Dr. Alia reviving her husband as Erasmus, who becomes Nimrod. She and Mystique act out of love for their late spouses, desperate to bring them back. Ultimately neither is able to do so.
The hatred and fear building in all the players here is exciting. When the thread of Mystique and Destiny began in X-Men #6, Matteo Buffagni’s smooth lines and heavy contrasts sold the romantic scenes very well, both in the flashbacks of the living Destiny and the final pages of Mystique toasting to her late wife. With Francesco Mobili, it’s different. Opening exactly as #6 ended, the thinner lines—as well as a subtly different approach to color rendering by Sunny Gho, who colored both issues—show us a harsher reality. This is a world without love; only people desperate to revive it.

Ed Escobar


X-Men #20, Credit: Francesco Mobili, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, Marvel

Jonathan Hickman’s run on the main X-Men title has been characterized by an anthology-like nature, creating several plots designed to be fulfilled in the long term. This has been Hickman’s style at Marvel in general, but it also harkens back to the way that X-Men in the 1980s would set up plotlines far in advance. 

This issue follows the thread set-up in X-Men #6, and involves Mystique infiltrating the main ORCHIS base to ensure its destruction. Thematically, the issue slots in perfectly with the post-human conflict introduced in Powers of X.

For a deceptively simple story, it has a lot of ground to cover, but the pace is never an issue and it hits all the beats it needs to. Francesco Mobili’s art in the book does a good job of selling the stakes, and Sunny Gho’s colors work well to contrast Krakoa and the ORCHIS base. The issue’s impactful conclusion promises monumental consequences in the near future.

Reagan Anick


X-Men #20, Credit: Francesco Mobili, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, Marvel

X-Men #20 is three things in one; a continuation, a conclusion, and a prologue.

In the space of one issue, Hickman furthers the plotline of Mystique fighting to get her wife, Destiny, resurrected while simultaneously closing the door on the chapter of this story concerned with the birth of Nimrod. At the same time, as these two feats are accomplished, Hickman guides us into what comes next. After continually being denied access to her wife, Mystique is ready to follow Destiny’s command and burn Krakoa to the ground, something we’ll see either come to pass or come to a screeching halt this Fall in Inferno.

Regardless of how this plays out, I’m excited to see what happens. It promises to be messy and I love mess.

Bobby Varghese Vinu


X-Men #20, Credit: Francesco Mobili, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, Marvel

A notable theme in Hickman’s work has been the concept of the “great man” and how their belief in solving “everything” arises from an arrogance that harms everyone. True to form, we see that with Xavier’s and Magneto’s exploitation of Mystique when she goes to Orchis in a thrilling sequence of events to stop Nimrod, who is akin to the harbinger of death for mutantkind. Hickman excellently delivers on the implications introduced in House of X/Powers of X, with there being more to come.

But I do have a criticism of the art. Mobili’s pencils are serviceable at best and unremarkable at worst, with Gho’s colours elevating it. And the exploitation of Mystique can understandably upset some readers, especially with regards to the unfortunate lack of other wlw romances in the X-line, but this issue makes it clear that this is not the end of her story, which is reassuring.

Terrence Sage


X-Men #20, Credit: Francesco Mobili, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, Marvel

One of the long standing plot threads of the new era of X-Men comes to a boil in this chilling 20th issue. Hickman once again charts Mystique on a mission of a love lost and attempts to be found again but will doom everything Krakoa has to offer. Francesco Mobili on art gives a colder, more uneasiness as we move to conversations between Mystique, Professor X, and Magneto and then later on the ORCHIS Station where all Hell breaks loose. The last time we focused on this plot line, it felt more akin to a ticking time bomb and Hickman promptly has reached zero as we reach a new shift in this specific narrative thread. 

Categories
Comics Television

The Surprising Awesomeness of Superman and Lois

Superman and Lois is great. I’m going to lead with that, no well-thought-out poetic discussion on how Superman is my favourite character (he is). No long drawn-out rambling on my relationship as a fan to Superman, or rants about how certain writers or directors don’t understand the character. I just want people to give this surprisingly great show a chance. 

As someone who generally has very mixed feelings towards the CW, I entered Superman and Lois with very low expectations, however, they were blown away by what I saw. Superman and Lois follows Clark Kent and Lois Lane as they try to balance raising two sons (Jonathan and Jordan), both unique with their own struggles and needs, as well as the couple’s responsibilities to the world, all the while dealing with emerging threats. The show is connected to the ArrowVerse, however, it seems quite separated in its own way, first and foremost there’s been a lot of money spent on it to look good, like HBO-level good. The action is great and the CGI is solid. 

Then there’s the drama; as the family makes big changes to their lives, the boys navigating their adolescence and growing pains, Clark being Superman, and Lois exploring big stories within and without the community they’re now a part of. Everything about the drama works extremely well, carried by compelling performances from the two leads, Tyler Hoechlin and Bitsie Tulloch. The kids are kids but they’re not unnecessarily annoying and angsty, their struggles with being the son of the most important and powerful hero is very understandable, as well as just trying to fit in at school. 

The family has good chemistry and play-off each other well. Lois has a lot of agency and her skills at juggling being a reporter and mother are fleshed out. Then there’s the heart of the show, Superman, my personal favourite hero. I was not a fan of how he was portrayed in Supergirl, but in this show, there’s much more respect for him and his honesty in his struggles, and figuring out what is best for himself, his family, and the world. It’s a blast to watch. Clark is great at being superman but interestingly, he’s struggling at being a great father though he’s giving it his all. Just four episodes in and I can say with confidence that the show so far is a great one, and I hope others join in on the fun.

By Bolu Ayeye.

Categories
Episodes

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Jon, Amanda, and Jake venture into the sewers to discuss the Heroes in a Half Shell. Chaos ensues as they begin discussing the IDW comics relaunch of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In this reimagining by Tom Waltz and co-creator Kevin Eastman, showing the turtles bond goes much deeper than we could ever imagine! We discuss the reason behind each brother’s colors and go off the rails talking about the franchise as a whole.

Story covered this episode:

TMNT Volume 1: Change is Constant

Story: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Layouts: Kevin Eastman
Art: Dan Duncan
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Robbie Robbins

Subscribe now or listen below!

Talkin’ Killadelphia with Rodney Barnes GateCrashers

Rodney was kind enough to join Dan to talk all about the first 2 arcs of Killadelphia. They spoke about some of the things that made it feel authentically Philly, horror, and discuss the future of the Killadelphia universe. Check it out and then make sure to pick up the trades!
  1. Talkin’ Killadelphia with Rodney Barnes
  2. Black Cat, Taskmaster, and the Infinity Stones with Jed MacKay
  3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  4. Cruisin’ the Infinite Frontier with Joshua Williamson
  5. Star Trek
Categories
Comics

GC52 News (DC Comics Releases for 05/17/2021)

If you missed last week’s news report, check it out here.

(Spoilers for DC Comics released 05/17/2021)

(Words in italics signal actions)

The GC52 Logo appears on televisions, computers, and all other types of viewing devices at its normally scheduled time. Lead Anchor Dan McMahon sits at the center of the newsroom behind his desk. This week he’s wearing a blue suit, with a yellow floral tie outlined by the large window behind him looking out over Metropolis. The Daily Planet globe is visible behind him as the setting sun sparkles off the crown jewel of the City of Tomorrow. The GC52 theme music begins to dim as the actual program begins.

Dan: Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Evening to all our wonderful viewers from the docks of Coast City to the furthest reaches of Oa, you are watching the multiverse’s best news show that brings you the news that you need to know! As always, I’m your host, Dan McMahon, doing my part to bring you up to the minute updates on the worlds you live in!

I’m hoping tonight’s news will be a quick one, I’ve got a wedding to go to. Reports of the Justice League being off-planet seem to be true. One of our Tamarian news teams sent in a report of a sound wave at barrier-breaking levels. Upon closer inspection via satellite, it was from Black Canary herself. I mean we all know she’s powerful but this seems like some next-level stuff! 

It does seem though that the recent invader Brutus has bested not only the Man of Steel but the newest powerhouse, Black Adam, as well. With Noami and the other members ready to fight, are they technically the invaders now? Anyway, let’s see what Violet has for us this week! Violet? VIOLET!

Violet leans over her desk explaining last week’s events to the boom-mic operator.

Violet: No I shit you not, a massive snake, even bigger than yours and that’s saying something! Last night was- 

Dan gives her an annoyed cough to snap her back to attention. 

Violet: WHAT?! He has a king cobra at home! 

She quickly fixes herself over just in time for the camera and gives Dan a sheepish smile that wouldn’t melt butter.

Violet: Gotham me little chickens how are we?! I’ve got some NEW news! 

She exaggerates a wink.

Violet: Yara Flor, our new favorite demigod has been spotted at Gotham airport traveling to Brazil in search of some answers about herself. 

It wasn’t long upon arrival that Brazilian news channels showed us incredible footage of Yara saving a man’s life from a car accident, mere seconds before it blew up. If that’s not enough excitement for you, it gets better! 

A young man’s YouTube channel ‘Kickin’ It With Kevin’ was shared around the internet earlier today showing us Yara getting pulled into the ocean by what looks like a pair of golden boleadoras?! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated. That’s all I have today folks, back to you Dan! 

The camera cuts back to Dan, who’s in the middle of combing his hair.

Dan: Just cut to Jake, I’m in a rush. Jerry? Cut, now!

The feed cuts to a man in a full navy blue suit sitting on the floor unaware he is being filmed as he continues to play with his pet ferret, out of nowhere a camera drone with the sticker saying “GC52,” and “property of Jerry,” flies in his face.

Jake: Who is a good lil ferr… Oh hello! Welcome back folks! In the news today from Blüdhaven I am sad to report another victim of the recent string of murders by a figure locals are calling the Man Without a Heart, which is apt as they have been ripping the hearts out of people’s chests. Wait hold on..

A creaking is heard from down the hall, our journalist goes to check it out. As he peaks out he sees Dick Grayson, a red haired woman, and two detectives leaving Mr. Graysons apartment. 

Jake: Hmm, that’s interesting. I wonder what that was about… I have an idea. Follow me, viewers! 

The reporter grabs the drone and rushes down the stairs of his building so fast he begins to skip steps. Once down he goes to his car, swings open the door and throws the drone onto the dash. He begins heading to his lead while explaining where he’s taking the audience so abruptly.

Jake: So dear viewers, as many know Blüdhaven is riddled with crime and corruption, recently the buzz on the street of this heartless man has come from a colony of orphans in the city who I am going to be interviewing now! Wait… no…

As he approaches his destination the reporter’s face is lit with the bright orange light of fire. He turns the camera around to show Nightwing facing off against the serial killer, Heartless, but as the reporter tries to get out of the car he’s pushed back on by Brutale and The Electrocutioner, henchmen of the crime boss, Blockbuster. 

Jake: Jerry, feed Mr. Tubes!

Suddenly Brutale hits him and Electrocutioner shocks the camera causing the feed to go out. When the camera finally returns to the studio, Dan is sat at his desk with his head in his hands.

Dan: Why does it always seem like one of the team mysteriously disappears, or gets kidnapped every single week? Jerry, you best talk to the lawyers, see if that’ll be covered. Let’s hope Katie doesn’t have anything bad happen to her, she is in the studio after all…

Katie holds a black cat in her arms while it appears to nuzzle her ear. Her hand slips under the cats’ collar for a moment, seeming to retrieve something. Katie suddenly realizes she is on camera. The cat bolts out of her arms and Katie scrambles for her microphone. The black cat has shed hairs all over her red blazer.

Katie: Why hello there! What’s shaking around Alleytown tonight, you may want to know? It’s more of who’s shaking down — or who’s getting shaken down. Okay, enough with the shaking. 

Socialites and elite benefactors alike attended Gotham’s most prominent dinner party (of the week) tonight at the home of collector and scientist Dr. Siddhart Roy. He boasted a great unveiling of the ‘crown jewel’ or his collection, the noteworthy Degas painting. When he pulled the string, Roy and his guests let out a collective gasp. You know the kind; the gasp that occurs when something absolutely shocking occurs at a party full of rich people. To everyone’s surprise, the Degas painting was nowhere to be seen. Only one person must have gasped in only mock horror. That person? The cat-tacular culprit, of course! 

This should not come as a shock to anyone when I report that my favorite feline–I mean Catwoman is believed to have pulled off this Ocean’s Eleven heist of Gotham. Catwoman undoubtedly interfered in Siddhart Roy’s fate tonight. She was truly his monkey’s paw — or, more appropriately, his “cat’s paw,” this evening. 

Katie sneaks a glance at the mysterious object she retrieved earlier from the black cat’s collar. Her eyes widen for a moment and she begins laughing awkwardly.

Katie: Well, I feel like the cat’s got my tongue now. I have to apologize for my slight mocking because my special source revealed to me that… Dr. Siddhard Roy committed suicide mere minutes before I went on air. I have credible reason to believe that Roy was harboring the missing perfecter of plants, Poison Ivy. Along with the Degas painting, this source says that a woman resembling Poison Ivy was caught on camera briefly at Roy’s soiree.

Are Roy’s suicide and Poison Ivy’s possible escape connected? We urge any person — or animal — to come forward with any information about these tragic events. I will report any new details about this case that help unravel this messy ball of yarn. That’s all I have for tonight. Back to you, Dan.

The camera swivels round to Dan, who’s standing up from his desk, ready to run out of the studio as soon as he’s given his sign-off.

Dan: Thanks for that Katie. Sounds like we’re about to have a busy few months in Gotham, let’s hope we’re up to the task. Well, I’ve got a wedding to get to folks. That’s all we have for you, so as always… be it the Bat Symbol in Gotham, a red streak through Central City, or a golden lasso on Themyscira… GC52 has you covered with the news you need to know. Till next week, I’m your host Dan McMahon. Be strong in all your convictions.


Books covered this week:

  • Justice League #61 by Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, Tamra Bonvillain, and Josh Reed.
  • Wonder Girl #1 by Joëlle Jones, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles.
  • Nightwing #80 by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott.
  • Catwoman #31 by Ram V, Fernando Blanco, Jordie Bellaire, and Tom Napolitano.
Categories
Comics

Fun-Size Round Table: Fantastic Four: Life Story #1

To the CEO of GateCrashers LTD,

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner; our enquiries into the life story of the superheroes known as the “Fantastic Four” have taken far longer than we first anticipated. We have only now finalized their activities during the “Swinging Sixties” and are now hard at work investigating the team’s turmoil during the 70s.

Enclosed, you will find a copy of the comic we produced as a means of communicating their history in a way you will understand. We’ve named it Fantastic Four: Life Story #1. It was created by Mark Russell, Sean Izaakse, Nolan Woodard, and VC’s Joe Caramagna.

You will also find attached work by our best critics on the events depicted in this comic and hope it brings some clarity to the history of the Fantastic Four. We look forward to working with you in any future endeavours.

Yours faithfully,

Ethan Chambers,

The FSRT.

Rob Secundus


Fantastic Four: Life Story #1, Credit: Marvel

I should love this; I love Mark Russell’s comics, I enjoy Izaakse’s art and Woodard’s colors, and I love the Life Story gimmick that recontextualizes sliding timescale continuity into real history. I would expect Russell to go wild with that gimmick, given his facility with political satire, but he’s weirdly restrained here, and as a result I don’t think the comic has much to say about either the FF or the 60s. It also seems to abandon parts of that Life Story gimmick; rather than retain the general events of the FF’s story as they were published, this is a story that imagines their first decade without Namor or Doctor Doom. The one brilliant thing for me is the centralization of Galactus and his reimagination as the Great Filter, the answer to Fermi— but that’s not enough to save what was ultimately for me a baffling first issue.

Katie Liggera


Fantastic Four: Life Story #1, Credit: Marvel

I am preface my thoughts by admitting that I don’t know much about the Fantastic Four’s comic origins, but I know a lot about Mark Russell. Historically, Russell excels in writing hilarious social satire in comics. I was unfortunately a bit underwhelmed by his moderated writing style in this comic, when I was hoping for more of his astute wit. Regardless, Russell is a comic book writer I enjoy 99% of the time. Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 still manages to reshape Fantastic Four narrative beginnings filtered through the lens of the highly popular 60s historical era in the smart and entertaining manner I expect from Russell. 

The issue parses the historical backdrop realistically, seamlessly weaving the setting together with the Fantastic Four’s presence in the era. I’ve also gleaned enough about FF over the years to understand some problematic portrayals of Sue. Fantastic Four: Life Story seeks to present Sue with an appetite for motivation and resilience during challenges. Depicting these character traits in Sue is refreshing. The issue pays homage to FF character roots while exuding their personalities in a short time frame. Despite the lack of satire I was hoping for, Fantastic Four: Life Story is intriguing enough to entertain and propel readers toward introspection. And the incorporation of Galactus is delightful.

Brandon Masters


Fantastic Four: Life Story #1, Credit: Marvel

For myself, I still fondly remember Mark Russell’s time on DC’s The Flintstones comic as a fantastic social satire. However, I was actually more excited to see how Russell would take the vast tapestry of Marvel’s first family and the thousands of comics they’ve been in, and craft it into something that’s a cohesive story set in real-time. Having read nearly all of The Fantastic Four at some time or another throughout their various incarnations, there was a small thrill that went up my spine to see how it would play out, with the world changing as the Marvel Universe grew out of the 1960s.

I was not disappointed. Not only was Russell able to craft a few one-shot throwaway issues into a long-running plot thread that made those same events feel organic, but the real world genuinely felt influenced by the rise of super powered heroes rather than the other way around. Little touches like the Fantastic Four appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show alongside the Beatles was a fantastic touch. Sean Izaakse is also in top form here, rendering the fantastical in a more realistic world. It still comes across with the old Marvel flair, but is a welcome reinterpretation.

However, this is coming from a long-time fan of The Fantastic Four. Those who aren’t as big a fan will certainly find the issue a little more dense to read, and the revelations of those referenced issues can come out of left field without the “ooooh” factor of the reference. Here’s hoping the rest of the comic holds up to the promise, but I have high hopes.

Ethan Chambers


Fantastic Four: Life Story #1, Credit: Marvel

While I know a fair bit about the Fantastic Four thanks to long nights on Wikipedia and through cultural osmosis, I’ve not actually read many of their stories. Especially not their earliest adventures, so getting to see these play out was fun, and thanks to Sean Izaakse and Nolan Woodard’s amazing work on the art.

However, there’s something about the book that makes it feel breezy, it rushes past what feel as if they should be major events. I think it comes down to Mark Russell’s attempt to look at the entirety of the 60’s in one single issue that makes everything feel a bit less than. Except, that is, for Galactus, and Reed Richards’ first encounter with the World Devourer, which is given the necessary pomp and circumstance to really let the moment pop on the page. I’ll be sticking around for the full story because it can easily get its story on the right track, and as mentioned, the art is fantastic, but right now, it’s a good book that should be, and excuse the pun, fantastic.

Sean Dillon


Fantastic Four: Life Story #1, Credit: Marvel

One of the stronger aspects of Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley’s Spider-Man: Life Story that the Fantastic Four counterpart lacks is focus. With Spider-Man, we largely looked at a singular moment from the decade being explored. Be it the protests of the Vietnam War or the Death of Gwen Stacy, there was always something within the comic to keep things glued together. In turn, the moments where we look back at what we missed over the rest of the decade are emphasized.

By contrast, Fantastic Four: Life Story opts to explore the whole decade, much to its detriment. There’s a sense with Russell’s efforts that they’re trying to cover far too much. Whole strands of the book that could have been explored in a whole issue are regulated to a single panel or an off-handed mention, if that. For example, Ben Grimm has a whole character arc that takes place largely off screen. What is focused upon feels rushed and underdeveloped. It’s a so-so comic. But with a bit more focus, it could have been great.

Categories
Episodes

Cruisin’ the Infinite Frontier with Joshua Williamson

Joshua Williamson spoke with Jake and Dan to dive deep into his upcoming mini series Infinite Frontier and Robin. They get deep into the characters of Chase, Bones, and Damian Wayne with conversations about who they are as people and why they do the things they do. Honestly, this was just an excuse for Dan and Jake to talk to someone writing their favorite characters.

Subscribe now or listen below!

Talkin’ Killadelphia with Rodney Barnes GateCrashers

Rodney was kind enough to join Dan to talk all about the first 2 arcs of Killadelphia. They spoke about some of the things that made it feel authentically Philly, horror, and discuss the future of the Killadelphia universe. Check it out and then make sure to pick up the trades!
  1. Talkin’ Killadelphia with Rodney Barnes
  2. Black Cat, Taskmaster, and the Infinity Stones with Jed MacKay
  3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  4. Cruisin’ the Infinite Frontier with Joshua Williamson
  5. Star Trek
Categories
Comics Film Television

The Undoing of WandaVision

The below article contains spoilers for WandaVision.

WandaVision is one of the best shows of the year. It follows Marvel’s Wanda Maximoff and The Vision as they navigate life through a strange world of various sitcoms from across the ages, from the ’50s to present-day mockumentaries. A well-acted drama with a huge budget and a very intriguing and engaging premise, WandaVision was well on its way to being my personal best show of the year. That was until the very last episode where the awesome setup and conflicts didn’t pay off that well. I would even say the show shied away from the greatness it was showing.

Marvel had done an awesome job crafting an intriguing mystery, all the while creating a compelling drama about grief and loss. The only problem was closing the deal. The downside of the Marvel mold of filmmaking reared its head, the company had gotten so used to having a clear good and bad guy that they brought upon themselves a major problem come the finale. The show had an awesome villain, Mephisto. Just kidding. No, the great big bad of WandaVision was Wanda herself, not Agatha, not Hayward, Wanda. And this had amazing potential, the only issue was the writers and the show itself didn’t seem to realize it, or, they did realize and tried to cast others in a more negative light and walk back on that choice.

They had us with “Agatha All Along”, except It wasn’t. Agatha was maybe right, her only flaw was trying to steal Wanda’s powers (well, and threatening her kids), but Wanda kidnaped hundreds of people and tortured them for weeks. Should Wanda really be in charge of such power? In the final episode the directing, writing, and narrative choices seem to make a concerted effort to state that If there was a villain, it was not Wanda. But the truth is, no matter how we slice it, Wanda was the one who kidnapped an entire town and traumatized them.

Having Hayward be a sneaky villain makes no sense. The United States government wanting a powerful weapon like Vision is incredibly on-brand, no need to be sneaky about it. And more importantly, Wanda taking over the town pretty much gives him carte blanch, his being sneaky and duplicitous makes no sense. Lastly, and sadly for me, the biggest victim of these story decisions was sadly Monica Rambeau. Monica was a pretty cool and interesting character. Initially our guide into this world, who was trying to figure things out right alongside us, the audience. But after a while, she became fixated on Wanda and not the many victims in The Hex. Even when it became clear Wanda was the cause of it all, she didn’t have any wariness of her. It was particularly odd of Monica to absolve Wanda. How does Hayward stealing Vision’s body make him a bigger villain than Wanda? I still like Monica but hopefully she gets treated better in future instalments of the MCU. Regardless, wandavision is a great show but that last episode held it back from becoming a truly fantastic entry in the MCU.

By Bolu Ayeye.

Categories
Episodes

Star Trek

Space… the final frontier! Jake and Dan trek into space for the first time! Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly drop so much Star Trek knowledge on them as this week’s co-hosts.

Here is the list of episodes we watched:

The Original Series:
BALANCE OF TERROR
THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER

The Next Generation:
YESTERDAY’S ENTERPRISE
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS Pt 1 and 2

Film:
STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT

Subscribe now or listen below!

Talkin’ Killadelphia with Rodney Barnes GateCrashers

Rodney was kind enough to join Dan to talk all about the first 2 arcs of Killadelphia. They spoke about some of the things that made it feel authentically Philly, horror, and discuss the future of the Killadelphia universe. Check it out and then make sure to pick up the trades!
  1. Talkin’ Killadelphia with Rodney Barnes
  2. Black Cat, Taskmaster, and the Infinity Stones with Jed MacKay
  3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  4. Cruisin’ the Infinite Frontier with Joshua Williamson
  5. Star Trek
Categories
Comics Various Media

The Weird Politics of Invincible.

By Bolu Ayeye

Invincible is one of my favourite shows of 2021, and I loved it so much I started to binge read the source material, the comics. A lot of the comics shows their age at the start, some of the gay jokes and dialogue but it was 2003 so it’s expected, it was still super enjoyable.

However what surprises me at the end of the run was just how dark a turn it took and not for the better, in short Invincible in some ways goes potentially fascist lite? The word is overused a lot today and gets thrown around loosely, but Invincible seems to play with those ideas and somewhat present them if channelled correctly as reasonable and starts leaning heavily into the ends justify the means, although thankfully I think the cartoon might be softening the stance seeing as Cecil seems considerably warmer and reasonable in the cartoon.

 The most glaring example was Robot violently overthrows the world governments and actually leads us all to a better world, but that’s still not right cause yes we have a better world but one man’s unilateral vision for us all, no checks and balances and him imprisoning any dissidents against his rule, inherently comics will always struggle with fascist ideas because they often present super gifted men who go and break the law to make society what they believe it should be by fighting crime, a mighty man breaking the law to save us all, and if you are unaware of the history that’s somewhat similar to how fascist regimes start, granted heroes do not become our government and run our lives but again it’s a quick rundown of how the ideas are linked.

Heck Mark overthrows the alliance of planets cause according to him things needed to change, and while on paper I have no issue with some of the premises of that action, the council of planets being corrupt and favouring richer planets wasn’t hinted at all, so the one strong man Mark overthrowing them last minute didn’t resonate with me

The comic seems to somewhat vindicate it, Mark does stop Robot but he just hands over Robot’s intellect to immortal to guide the world but fallen into a trap again, select few unilaterally deciding how best to rule an entire planet.

Yes it’s a comic and at times shouldn’t be an arbiter of truth and morality but like all Art, the ideas presented can still be examined and criticised.

What seems to be a consistent theme was democracy and everyone having a say was wrong and a strong man was what was needed to make the world a better place, robot, Cecil and even in a sadder tragic way mark(who before then had started going down a darker path having killed and mauled some of his enemies who were beaten or even somewhat victims), and that lends a more interesting question in an where the Viltrumites wrong? cause minus the brutality and conquering that was their philosophy the best of the best-taking control of the fate of civilization without care or consult of those considered lesser, and their power consolidated with sheer superior might. My only hope is that the animated series tackles, changes and improves on these narrative choices, cause I still enjoy both but take issue with that narrative choice.