Categories
Comics

GC52 News (DC Comics Releases for 05/11/2021)

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

(Spoilers for DC Comics released 05/11/2021)

(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 maroon coat 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!

The Supermen are still off-planet dealing with some sort of alien infection. From the reports, it’s like a being that takes control of your mind… as long as it doesn’t take over the older man of steel, we shouldn’t have to worry about a thing! Jon is quickly learning to control his powers and sometimes even surpassing his father. Saw some footage the other day of his heat beams stopping mid-way and exploding, pretty neat power. Like that one time Superman did a wave of sun energy or whatever it was… anyway…

Have a weird one for you today. This morning, Jerry put this on my desk, looks like it arrived at GC52 by accident but it does relate to one of the world’s deadliest assassins, Lady Shiva. Let me read it to you.

Dan clears his throat before opening a yellowed letter.

Esteemed Master,

It has been 187 days since I left home to challenge the deadliest woman alive, Lady Shiva. My search has taken me to a vast city called Gotham, where I spotted her entering a lonely apartment with a bag of take-out food in her lethal hands.

From the shadows, I watched her have dinner with a man in a strange costume that she called, intermittently, “Bruce” and “Batman.” They talked of the mounting grief of being left alone by their loved ones, be it by death or abandonment, and I confess I was sorely tempted to shout “BORING!” in a manner most unbecoming of one of your students.

Lady Shiva seemed to agree, as not ten seconds later she attacked the man with a knife. As expected, she drew first, second and third blood, taunting the man about a son he seems to have fallen out of touch with. Enraged, he managed to turn the knife around, and then, shockingly, Lady Shiva threw herself on it and seemed to die.

Fortunately for my quest, the man nursed Shiva back from the brink, and the very next day they set out for a most intriguing place: something called a “mini-golf”. I spotted them spying on a handful of children playing nearby, but I must admit I found myself momentarily distracted by the astounding sight of a miniature windmill, and when I turned around, Shiva and the man were gone.

I swear to never again allow myself to be distracted like this and shall continue this pursuit to the very ends of the Earth… once I manage to overcome Hole 15. This dragon-like creature is extremely vexing.

Your faithful student.

Dan: They didn’t leave a name, but I hope they get the hole in one. Sometimes, it gets you a free game. Anyway, let’s check in with Violet to see how things are going with Wonder Woman.

Violet swivels side to side in her chair and taps her fingers along the desk. She still gets nervous jitters right before her screen time.

Violet: Good morning Earth! I’ve good news about Wonder Woman. You’d be happy to hear she wasn’t swallowed whole by that giant snake! I mean – SHE WAS, but she survived and got what she needed. She’s got the key to the Valkyrie Fortress. 

Back on the Vigrid battlefield, Wonder Woman and Thor took down a massive crab and when things were looking up… Diana’s neck snapped so quickly the Justice Incarnate couldn’t even make full sense of it but they managed to spot Deadman who admitted to reviving Diana each time she died in order to “set things right”. Whatever that means…

“Dr. Cizko” projected this evil alter ego of Diana to try and deceive her from the truth and mystery that’s in Valhalla but of course that didn’t work. Despite not having all her memory, Diana is determined and still a good person at heart. 

Odin returned for a short period of time, then got squished by a giant rock, only to return again as the grim reaper, do TRY to keep up.  Wonder Woman and the All-Father himself set out to the Fortress of Valkyrie, which looks beautiful from the photos, one giant floating crystal. That’s all I have for you today, we’re still waiting on the next update from Justice Incarnate. Once I’ve got it I’ll be sure to update as soon as possible!

Violet smiles and waves the camera goodbye as it cuts back to Dan who looks back and forth as if waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Dan: Violet that was great, you didn’t even break into the office this morning. Now, no time for me to interview my good buddy Grifter, mainly because he’s not answering my calls, but still, I thought he was my friend…

A cough comes from off-screen as Dan starts to get lost in thought. He quickly refocuses on the teleprompter.

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.

As Dan finishes the outro and the music starts to play as the credits roll a burst of static takes over the screen. When the picture returns to normal the GC52 studio has vanished, and instead security camera footage of an office is being played. At his desk, Mr. Bones, a cigarette in his mouth, listening to an audio tape. We’ve seen this once before.

It’s difficult to make out what is being played, but barely legible are the words “Jade” and “Obsidian”, the children of the original Green Lantern. A door to one corner of the office opens and in walks the GC52 reporter-revealed-spy Ethan, wearing the customary black suit befitting all covert operatives.

Mr. Bones: Ah, Agent 18, you have something for me?

Ethan: Yes sir, news just out of Gotham. Jim Gordon’s been seen boarding a private plane bound for Belize.

Mr. Bones: And why are the travel plans of an ex-police commissioner important to the DEO, Agent?

Ethan: Because he’s been hired by an as yet unknown third-party to hunt down and kill the Joker, who reports have confirmed is currently in Belize, sir.

Mr. Bones: Ah. Well at least someone’s finally gonna do it. Not like the Bat ever had the balls to see his fight through. Keep tabs on him Agent, but that’s as best we can do, Jim Gordon’s on his own.

And with that another burst of static takes over the screen and the broadcast ends.


Books covered this week:

  • Superman #31 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Scott Godlewski, Norm Rampund, Gabe Eltaeb, and Dave Sharpe.
  • Lady Shiva: Death Wish by Che Grayson, Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, David Baron, and Tom Napolitano.
  • Wonder Woman #772 by Michael W. Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Travis Moore, Tamra Bonvillain, and Pat Brosseau.
  • The Joker #3 by James Tynion IV, Guillem March, Arif Prianto, and Tom Napolitano.
Categories
Comics Television

Invincible – A Review

The hit 2003 Image comic Invincible by Robert Kirkman has been adapted into an animated series by Amazon Studios, starring a star-studded voice cast of Sandra Oh, Steven Yeun, Zazie Beats, J.K. Simmons, and more. 

The show stars Mark Nolan (Steven Yeun) as he tries to live up to the superhero legacy of the world’s most powerful superhero Omni-Man, who comes from an alien race called the Viltrumites (a thinly veiled superman pastiche), who as the show goes, on is revealed to be not all he seems. While Mark is excited that his power have started to emerge, he discovers being a superhero isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be (much like Spider-Man), he still has to balance personal relationships and his responsibilities as a high school student. It’s fun seeing him try and juggle all this.

The cast of characters are likeable and have great personalities. From mysterious government agencies that monitor and regulate heroes that both Mark, Omni-Man and other heroes work with, Mark’s mum, Debbie, to his regular human friends and his colourful and growing cast of super-villains; who range from somewhat comical to frighteningly powerful, clever and dangerous. Watching Mark trying to navigate them all is a rewarding, but very stressful journey filled with highs and lows and a shocking but amazing season finale to cap it off.

Season 1 ends with an awesome world expanding montage that gets us geared and excited for the future (the show is already renewed for a 2nd and 3rd season) and I am super buzzed about it. The show has great drama but also brutally awesome action. The superpowers on display are awesome, but it shows just how devastated regular human beings would be if they were exposed to them. Heck, even super-powered beings get the short end of the stick when dealing with powers, and if you’re squeamish about blood and gore this show might not be for you.

The show isn’t perfect, sometimes time moves too fast. Some of the animation at times isn’t smooth, and environments can feel a bit bland at times, but it doesn’t necessarily hold Invincible back from a great and memorable first season.

Amazon has carved a niche with darker and more mature superhero shows. If you loved The Boys and Spider-Man, this is the perfect show for you.

By Bolu Ayeye.

Categories
Film

Accidental Explorations of Contrition in the Saw Franchise

(CW: casual discussions of suicidality, suicide attempts, drug addictions, rape, domestic violence, loss of a child, cancer, gruesome deaths, gore, anti-black violence, and police violence)

As they were being released at a breakneck pace, I didn’t understand the appeal of the Saw movies. A friend of mine at the time was sharing how excited she was to take a day off and go see Saw 3 with her dad. Being the arrogant and ignorant jerk I was, I laughed.

“Why would anyone ever want to watch a Saw movie?

(Note: This is a bad way to be a supportive friend.)

What I understood of them at the time was that people get hooked into terrible machines and must mutilate themselves to avoid a grisly death. And, of course, the iconic shot of Cary Elwes realizing that he needed to cut off his own leg with a hacksaw.

Later, procrastinating several college assignments, I would go to the wiki pages of each Saw movie that had been released at the time (then 7), and I would read through the plot page, which would also include a passionless description of each trap and how the person survived it (or not).

This was a kind of thought exercise for me that also piqued my curiosity as someone who had always wanted to do production design for movies. I couldn’t help but think, “How would they decide what Hell to put a character through?” And, with my young literature-studying mind, I of course reached the groundbreaking conclusion: Symbolism.

The Jigsaw Killer (Tobin Bell)

The movies aren’t subtle about it, either. The first fully-revealed trap in the very first Saw movie (dir. James Wan, 2004) has the main character, the serial killer Jigsaw, explain that he placed a man in a timed maze of razor wire to see if he would cut himself to live instead of cutting himself as an attempt at suicide.

The symbolism on display is blatant, direct, and oftentimes playing on harmful stereotypes about marginalized or disabled people. The victims are most often people that the writers believe would be acceptable losses or deserving of righteous punishment. They’re most often addicts, drug dealers, arsonists, callous doctors, sex workers, and rapists.

The most common of Jigsaw’s victims are the kind of person that society believes should be punished, and that they would do so, if given the chance. This is how most folks understand the Saw movies. A criminal evades capture; Jigsaw finds them; Jigsaw tortures and/or kills them. Justice served.

In the framing of these movies, though, the traps are never glorious. The victims’ suffering is front and center, not their damaged bodies. The camera shakes and speeds up as they struggle or cry in pain. It cuts back and forth as they make a difficult cut. The camera often shows you the brutality and the gore, but it just as quickly cuts away to the person screaming.

This is most likely a budget choice as much as it is a stylistic one. They can spend less on effects if they show you less, but the impact is often not “Good. They got what was coming to them.” and is instead “That was awful that they had to go through that.”

At least for me, as a prison abolitionist, the Saw movies are an interesting exploration into what punishment is enough, and how best can you rehabilitate someone?

The answer within the fiction is, quite explicitly, to make someone face their own death and “appreciate their life.” Obviously, this has a whole host of issues inside and outside the movies, but, like all horror movies, it communicates this through blunt force and grotesque images.

Chris Rock in Spiral: From the Book of Saw

What stands out to me in actually watching these movies through in 2021 in preparation for the upcoming Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson movie (!?) Spiral: From the Book of Saw (dir. Darren Lynn Bousman 2021) is this aspect of criminality, and especially through the lens of policing.

Obviously, cops are trying to stop Jigsaw, and the fight between them is put more in the forefront of the plot starting as early as Saw 2 (dir. Darren Lynn Bousman 2005) when the lead detective on the case Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) corners and interrogates John Kramer (Tobin Bell) aka the Jigsaw killer, who is dying of cancer. The wrinkle is that Jigsaw has trapped Eric’s son in a house with six convicts who the detective had framed for various crimes.

And later, the series starts to move closer to stances on law enforcement when a detective of over 20 years is revealed to be the protege of the Jigsaw killer, and he sees it as his duty to punish various people for their crimes. We see him roughly roll an unconscious black man out of a wheelbarrow to get him into position for a device that the audience knows will ultimately kill him.

“Be careful. That’s a human being,” John scolds him.

“What’s it matter? He’s going to die anyway,” the protege responds.

The detective and several others like him clearly see the world as people who should be punished and a world that is unable to or refuses to punish them. The series constantly plays in various grey spaces of morality that it pretends are black and white, and it makes the viewer uncomfortable at every step of the way. I don’t know whether all of this is intentional, but I find it incredibly enthralling.

After the firm stance of “Health insurance companies are evil and irredeemable” from Saw 6, I’m certainly excited to see where Spiral will take the plot of a cop killer who heavily plays with the series’s pig imagery, and what conclusions the movie will draw.

One of the nice things to me about horror, though, is that even when I wholly disagree with the philosophy of the creators, I can sometimes find a way to firm up my own beliefs.

Or maybe even just sometimes ignore the creators entirely and use their metaphors to suit my own needs.


By Casey Crook.

Categories
Episodes

Talking Blue Flame with Christopher Cantwell

With Vault’s FIRST costumed hero The Blue Flame on the horizon, Dan speaks with the writer, Christopher Cantwell. The conversation gets into what being a hero means today vs the golden age, who the Blue Flame is, and much more!

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 05/04/2021)

(Spoilers for DC Comics released 05/04/2021)

(Words in italics signal actions)

Missed last week’s News Report? Check it out here.

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 plain black suitthat’soutlined 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!

Another week, another press conference for Mayor Nakano to use A-Day to fuel his platform of hatred against vigilantes. This time by doing something good by honoring one of the guards who survived the attack, Sean Mahoney. But as soon as the conference ended Simon Saint was on him like a bird of prey on a scarecrow… as you know by now, I don’t trust those tech billionaires all around the world doing whatever they want in the name of quote-unquote progress. Have you seen the leaks from the Trojan factories where they’re making human-robot hybrids? I’m getting off-topic but what if Saint is whispering in the Mayor’s ear too? What then world?

It’s not as if Gotham doesn’t have enough problems already with the Unsanity Collective running rampant. But, I am picking my words carefully here, they’re only going after the rich and people who haven’t shared their wealth. People who haven’t tried to improve the world around them. Sure they went after different heads of media companies, not us though. I’m going to throw it over to Katie, I’ve worked myself up quite a bit here. 

The camera cuts to Katie in the newsroom. She spins around in a chair dramatically. Today, she sports a bright green blazer over a t-shirt that reads “SAVE THE PLANET” with the words circling an image of the Earth.

Katie: Hello all! I thought I’d add a little flair to this segment today, since most of the news I have for you has some… swampy details. In Central Park, New York, a woman identified as Jennifer Reece was seen conducting a brain scan on an unknown male subject. An eyewitness recognized Jennifer, spotting her after hours in a medical testing room. The MRI machine obscured the patient from view, so his identity remains speculative.

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you any of this. Sounds like a normal night, right? Well, here’s where the story grows some roots. The eyewitness reported watching green plants grow into existence, consuming both Jennifer and the man behind the glass in the other room. From their vantage point, the witness explained, it was difficult to tell whether they were conducting some sort of garden experiment, or if something supernatural was at play. 

Unfortunately, I can’t disclose any additional details with full confidence. As of right now, no one has been able to contact or locate the duo. It sounds to me like the relationship between those two is exhibiting some toxic, or even poisonous, qualities. Plants, poison, exploding green vines… someone should get a hold of Poison Ivy! Wait, remember that guy… what was his name? Alex? Alec! Alec Holland! Didn’t he have some connection with trees or something? Whatever happened to that dude? I have a sudden urge to go to a plant nursery all the sudden.

Katie drifts off, lost in thought. The camera cuts away as she pulls out her phone to look up the nearest gardening shop.

Dan: Told you there was something weird going on with plants… anyway… let’s check in with Thomas out in the final frontier.

The feed cuts to Thomas standing in a pile of rubble, smoke billowing out of a blown-out structure behind him.

Thomas: Is this thing on? There’s no tech support out here. Really, there’s no anyone out here. This is Thomas reporting from Oa, though it’s largely unrecognizable today in the wake of an unknown catastrophe. Havoc and destruction seem to have wiped out this once-formidable stronghold planet. Have the Green Lanterns’ enemies claimed victory, or is this merely a day that ends in Y?

My last interactions with the Green Lanterns as part of this assignment were press releases and internal documentation regarding a bulletin from Corps leader Stewart, addressing the recent attack on the United Planets summit, including combat with a giant, magical dragon… what? Did anyone fact-check the dragon or is that Gardner clown writing the briefs again? Anyway, they also discussed the possibly related assassination of a Guardian, which was followed by a solemn and glowing funeral. 

Today, I flew down to Oa from the Correspondent-class starship The Cavalcade and couldn’t even find Oa’s signature giant lantern. Maybe everyone jumped tracks to a new planet while I was asleep? Could this be one of those multiversal “events” that keep rewriting history as we know it, and if so, how long before our memories are replaced to fit the new timeline? I hope my per diem still exists in this version of the universe.

Thomas pulls out his phone and is visibly shocked.

Thomas: Oh, I see now! According to this update, it looks like Corps Leader Stewart has accepted a new assignment captaining a vessel with a thousand other lanterns to the “dark sectors” of the universe, beyond known space. That’s great. Just wonderful. I have no idea how to follow this story now. Hold on, there’s another update… one-third of the Green Lantern Corps has been reassigned from their usual sectors, to be replaced by United Planets authority and reassigned to provisional duties as requested by individual planets? Wow. So a thousand lanterns leave for parts unknown, a third of them are taken off their beats, and I guess some remainder either abandoned Oa or bombed it from orbit before quitting? See, this is why GC52 should’ve accepted that op-ed from B’dg about unionizing the Greens. 

Thomas puts his phone away, looks into the camera.

Thomas: Oh, right. Well, it looks like nobody is coming to save the remains of Oa, save for whatever can be recovered by Mogo’s gravitational pull. One can only hope that — oh, what’s that now? Did the camera pick that up?

A streak of green light touches down nearby.

Thomas: Someone’s here! It appears that the secret lantern, Sojourner “Jo” Mullein, has returned from her time in the Far Sector and come across Keli Quintela and a, *ahem* grievously wounded Simon Baz.

We will continue reporting on this tragic story as it develops and try to catch up to the Dark Sector and any remaining or alternative Green Lanterns who have not died or perhaps violently resigned. As a wise Lantern once said, every nut has the potential to become a tree. Back to you, Dan.

After a slight delay, accounting for the vast distance it takes the footage from Oa to stream back to Earth, the camera returns to Dan

Dan: Thank you Thomas… what was that Jerry, someone’s in the studio? Is it Violet? No?

The door of the studio thumps open and in bustles Justin Partridge III. He’s dressed in a slightly crispy-at-the-edges grey suit and brandishing a cartoonish-looking assault rifle that glows slightly blue, ammo belt, and a sloshing potion-like substance in a fishbowl around his waist. He also sports a black eye and a slight trickle of blood in one nostril. 

He clatters his weapon down on the desk and takes his seat, pulling a sheaf of burned pages out of his suit coat. He straightens his tie and it tears away easily, taking away what remains of his shirt’s collar. He checks the cameras.

JPIII: Cam 1… Cam 2. Thanks, Oswin… *ahem* Greetings, fellow citizens! I’m Justin Partridge III, filling in for Ethan who is… somewhere.

Apologies for my dramatic entrance. I am here on loan from The Gotham Gazette, but before I could catch a train to the studio I was… sucked into a giant energy aperture that blossomed in the middle of Gotham and then placed me into a constantly churning cycle of escalating violence in which I was forced to compete against monsters and lunatics, all of whom keep dancing robotically while screaming about tomatoes and camping.

It’s a nightmare from which I cannot wake! HA HAA, I’ve been killed SO many times! But at least Batman, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn are there too! Holding the line against the hordes of unbound-by-social norms pre-teenagers and attempting to get to the bottom of the how and why of the game’s “fun” mechanics.

That’s right, citizens, while everyday Joes, Janes, and gender resisters live, die, and repeat, The Batman and his allies do the same! This elevates the issue above just its marquee delights and provides the “boots on the ground” a dark light in which to rally behind. Celebrities! They are just like us!

That’s right, citizens, while everyday Joes, Janes, and gender resisters live, die, and repeat, The Batman and his allies do the same! This elevates the issue above just its marquee delights and provides the “boots on the ground” a dark light in which to rally behind. Celebrities! They are just like us!

At least I assume it was valiant. Unfortunately, I then took about a dozen sniper rifle rounds to the face and chest, tossing me from our shared reality into a “Respawn lobby” which then tormented me with a “ticking clock” for the next few hours/days/months through the latter half of the “game”, providing the action a creaking dread, when I could focus on it whilst dodging cartoon bullets and poorly driven vehicles. 

Better still, even seemingly without his memories, The Batman seems like “our” Bat! I was worried that the metaphysical horror of the cycle of killing and returning would fracture the hero’s mind. Or, even worse, throw him into the sort of violent mania one experiences beyond the Zero Point. But thankfully, The Batman is leaving the gunplay and volatile explosives to us (and Harley who did a floss at one point)! And no, I am NOT joking. And further-

PING PING PING! Justin checks his watch. The Storm Eye is Shrinking! He gathers his rifle, checks the ammo clip, and smashes the fishbowl around him, covering the desk, himself, and backdrop with oddly soothing blue slime. He gives a tired smile to the camera, bringing the rifle to his shoulder.

JPIII: Until next time. Eyes up, citizens. Dan?

He disappears in a puff of legally permissible smoke.

Dan: Well, that was something. That’s all we have for you today, 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:

  • Batman #108 by James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles.
  • The Swamp Thing #3 by Ram V, Mike Perkins, Mike Spicer, and Aditya Bidikar.
  • Green Lantern #2 by Geoffrey Thorne, Dexter Soy, Marco Santucci, Alex Sinclair, and Rob Leigh.
  • Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point #2 by Christos Gage, Donald Mustard, Reilly Brown, Nelson Faro DeCastro, John Kalisz, and AndWorld Design.

Thanks to this week’s contributors Dan, Katie, Thomas, and Justin. We’ll see you next week.

Categories
Comics

Fun-Size Round Table: Marauders #20

The camera pans down to a rather large yacht where Dan sits on the edge of a large hot tub, surrounded by dresses, pieces of suits, and all different clothing items with a martini between his fingers. 

Ahoy there muties! Welcome to our first X-centric FSRT about Marauders #20. As you can see, I am looking through my options for the Hellfire Gala. I don’t know if I play it safe or make a STATEMENT. Anyway, you’re here for this round table, aren’t you? Unless you want to talk fashion with me. Are we feeling more of a McQueen vibe or more like a played down Lagerfeld? Gucci or Gaultier? Valentino or Versace? Nevermind, on with the show!  Nevermind, on with the SHOW! Issue #20 was written by Gerry Duggan, art by Stefano Caselli, Colorists Edgar Delgado & Chris Sotomayor, and letterer Cory Petit. 

Simon

Ororo Munroe is many things, and this issue attempts to summarize them all heading into the Hellfire Gala. Unfortunately, this issue reads as just that; a summary, based off of a short bullet-point list Gerry Duggan pulled off of his brainstorming document, with each point listed by a different character. It all acts like it’s crescendoing to Duggan’s grand statement on Storm from the character herself… and she just shows off her knife collection. For an issue that’s supposed to be about Storm, I really wish we were able to see her view of the Marauders as well as their view of her.

Reagan Anick

While this issue is allegedly about Storm, she seems absent from it. Her voice is never really heard and I think that’s a weakness. This is supposed to be her farewell within Marauders and yet over the course of the story Storm feels barely there even as the other Marauders tell tales about her. It comes off feeling like a clip-show and as many of us know, clip-shows very rarely work. And while as usual I loved seeing Storm with knives, this one definitely doesn’t work the way it was intended to. It just doesn’t feel like a good send-off for someone like Storm who has been integral not only to the Marauders, but to the X-Men as a whole for literal decades. We can’t be sure what the future holds for Ororo but hopefully it’s better than this. 

Ben Ventura

I love stories where characters casually sit around a dinner table and just talk, so this issue was right up my alley. It was a nice return to the strong character work and continuity callbacks that Duggan pulled me in with at the start of the book, after the lackluster-at-best, problematic-at-worst Madripoor arc. Everyone’s voice felt right at home and the emotional beats hit for me when they needed to.

The issue also does a very effective job of teasing what’s to come. We’re given the first mention of the “Hellfire Expedition”, which I think signals that the teased Mars plots are going to be followed up in Marauders, which is exciting. Storm is going somewhere (likely the teased Hickman book) with her characterization being the most focused and driven it’s been in years. And the Hellfire Gala is right around the corner. 

This issue revitalized my excitement for this book in a way I was not expecting it to.

Corey Smith

Marauders #20, ostensibly meant to be an appropriate send-off to Storm, ended up being emblematic of the way the character has been treated for decades. We know she’d badass, we know she’s great, but why? What is it going to take to see her in the leading role she deserves? Even in an issue centered around her, it’s less about Ororo than how others feel about her, the same trap her Giant-Sized special fell into. We see her help a mutant with the exact same questionable origin as Trinary, and… punch the racism out of a Klansman? But, as always with this series, I can’t help wondering when we’re going to hear her voice, instead of what others have to say about her. At this point, it’s too late. 

Vishal Gullapalli

Honestly what stuck out to me the most in this issue was the scene in India and the new mutant that Duggan and Caselli created, named Lash. Lash’s origin is that she was enslaved and forced to work under threat of her family being hurt. Storm saves her from the misogynistic Indian men, and everything’s right with the world. Because we needed another Indian mutant whose entire existence is centered around white writers’ perception of India. There is no real difference between Lash and Trinary – it’s pretty uncomfortable that Lash, who was a slave, has whip powers just as it’s uncomfortable that Trinary is basically mutant tech support. I’m just exhausted – why can’t an Indian mutant make me excited?

Categories
Comics

The Blue Flame #1 (Spoiler-free Review)

Review by Jimmy Gaspero Jr.

The Blue Flame opens with an homage to Silver Age science fiction/superhero stories to introduce the reader to Sam Brausam aka The Blue Flame. Not just a fun throwback, it gives the sense that this story is going to attempt to get at something fundamental about the superheroes that have played such a large role in popular culture since, at least, the Silver Age. Sam is described as an ordinary, blue-collar Everyman, but he finds himself in strange circumstances in Outer Space, with both Sam and the reader not quite sure what is going on, which instantly helps connect the reader to Sam.

After Sam learns the reason he’s been called to this planet, the story shifts to Sam’s life on Earth. Sam is shown at work, shoveling snow, and driving what I think is a late 70’s model Mercury Comet. It’s all a bit mundane, and that’s the point. Everything shown about Sam on Earth reinforces the idea that he doesn’t have superpowers, he’s not a billionaire, he wasn’t gifted with godly power jewelry.

This issue also introduces the Night Brigade, a team of Sam’s fellow vigilantes. None appear to have superpowers and it’s reminiscent of Watchmen, except the Night Brigade all feel like decent people.  The personal relationships among the Night Brigade are not perfect, but are genuine. Christopher Cantwell’s dialogue quickly endears the Night Brigade to the reader. The mundane side of vigilantism continues as various members of the Night Brigade discuss testifying at a trial and how they will afford to repair their damaged truck. There’s such a sense of camaraderie, respect, and light-hearted humor that later events are a massive tonal shift.

Credit: Christopher Cantwell, Adam Gorham, Kurt Michael Russell, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Vault Comics)

The design of Sam’s suit and logo, along with The Blue Flame logo (by Tim Daniel) is incredible. The Blue Flame suit and helmet are sleek, but functional. I was reminded a little of The Rocketeer and The Great Machine from Ex Machina, but with a strong Mega Man influence.

Adam Gorham’s artwork is stunning in the opening cosmic sequence, but no less remarkable later on as he employs inventive panel layouts and inset panels that keep the story visually interesting. Kurt Michael Russell colors everything so beautifully. The colors, especially for the Night Brigade, are bright and vibrant without being brash or too bold. The cold grayish white of a snowy day, the yellowy green of working in a boiler room with artificial light, the cool blue of the evening. Sam’s life looks like a happy one.

Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is an exceptional letterer. His font choices fit the story so well and are never stagnant as can be seen when Sam sings while he shovels or how he conveys the quickened speech of the radio DJ. Another interesting technique is the irregularly shaped speech bubbles he uses for the aliens in the opening sequence.

For Vault Comics’ first foray into superhero stories, this is a compelling narrative that has set up some very interesting questions combining an Everyman vigilante with a cosmic dilemma. It’s an incredible creative team and if it isn’t yet on your pull list, it should be. 


The Blue Flame #1 is available in all good comic stores and digital storefronts May 26th.

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Episodes

Overwatch

Video Games can lead to all sorts of inspiration. Scarlett is joined by Ben Kahn and Rachel Silverstein, authors of Renegade Rule, to dive into the world of Overwatch! We chat about Overwatch characters, gaming, their upcoming comic, and just how much a video game can inspire.

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 04/27/21)

(Spoilers for DC Comics released 04/27/2021)

(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 plaid suit jacket 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!

Dan: Another week and another Invasion, the typical affair. The only problem is that some of the vessels are of Warworld origin. For those of you who don’t know what Warworld is, I can give a bit of context. It’s a planet ruled by a heinous villain named Mongul who enslaves every race in the universe to fight for his and other’s amusement. It’s a big problem for the universe at large but we have mostly been exempt because we have protectors against such things but them showing up like this? Even Superman looked shocked at what he found inside the ship and although we couldn’t make out what he saw, we heard some alien language. We will keep you updated as we can. Let’s check in with Violet who has been hired on as a freelance reporter against my better judgment. 

The camera cuts to Violet standing on a Gotham street corner.

Violet: Good morning Gotham! I have breaking news! I ventured back out into the streets and managed to tail Harley and her new friend, Kevin, for a few blocks. They gave me a HUGE craving for a caramel frappe, so I picked one up and continued my stalk-*AHEM* …observation from distance. I heard Harley raging over the news about Hugo Strange starting up a new program named S.A.F.E who’s mission is to re-home the troubled individuals of the city (A.K.A. crazy clown people).  I mean sure, that sounds good in theory, but Hugo Strange of all people? The guy gives me the creeps. 

Harley and Kevin disappeared into an old thrift store, and I’m no *bleeping can be heard over the audio* I was going to follow them I swear! But S.A.F.E orderlies pulled up outside and beat me to it! I hid in the shadows of an ally and the next thing you know the store window smashes through! It was one of the orderlies! Harley and Kevin tied them up and escaped in their van. I’ll try to fill you all in as soon as possible, things are getting intense! Oh, that reminds me. Dan, do you think I could get a taser on company expenses? It is crazy out there after all.

The video feed cuts back to an exasperated Dan in the studio.

Dan: Right, um… Thanks for that Violet, and no, you can’t have a taser. The medical bills alone would put us out of business. Anyway, let’s go over to Ka–

As Dan is about to go onto the next segment, a burst of static takes over the screen. The image clears, flying cars are seen zooming overhead. The neon-drenched skyline in the background produces an image that’s as incomprehensible as it is beautiful. It’s Aidan, after vanishing last week, he’s back.

Aidan: I.. I’m.. in the FUTURE?!

Not sure whether he’s excited or terrified about this development, Aidan turns around only to see a DOMINATOR the size of a SKYSCRAPER. Definitely terrified, Aidan runs for dear life down the street ahead of him. Before he can even process anything else, a GOLDEN SHIP SHAPED LIKE A BEETLE swoops him off the ground. Inside– IMPULSE, the Flash of the 30th century and a woman who has a curious resemblance to modern superheroes Booster Gold and Blue Beetle.

Aidan: Thanks, Impulse and uh… Booster Beetle? What was that? Oh. Yeah, yeah, the Queen of the Quantum Realm, Waverider Warrior, Tiara of Time– couldn’t you have just led with Gold Beetle?

Everyone goes silent. Impulse whispers into Aidan’s ear. It’s hard to hear over the rumbling engine and Aidan’s own, unspeakable panic, but he got the gist. He seems rather unscathed by what he just heard.

Aidan: Listen, I don’t know how I got here, or why we still have a live feed, but it appears this is actually The Flash of our time’s consciousness in Impulse’s body! How is this even possible? I have been told that the speed force itself is injured, has cut all its users off, and has chosen The Flash to tend to its wounds by zapping him throughout time into the bodies of other speedsters. Why? That’s the mystery. Oh, and the Dominator chasing us? They “absorbed” residual speed force energy that then amplified their height due to the species’ physiol-

Gold Beetle’s ship suddenly crashes through the roof of the 30th century’s Flash Museum. Aidan, taken aback, falls out the side window when all of a sudden lightning is heard in the distance. He quickly puts the pieces together while falling through the air.

Aidan: NO, not again… not aga– 

Just as before– KRAKOOM! Thunder strikes. Aidan vanishes. History repeats. The feed goes blank, disconnected entirely.

Dan: Well. He was here and now he is gone… Thanks, Aidan. All of this future talk has me thinking about that recent Tred Talk by the Trojan CEO… robotic implants cannot be good right? Sure, technology can make things better and I support that but this feels insidious. The company is called Trojan. Like a Trojan Horse? Maybe I have just seen one too many sci-fi movies but look at Metallo, that’s a robo villain who was once human. Just be careful out there? Let’s see how Katie is doing in Gotham…

The camera cuts over to Katie standing in front of a funhouse with a clown face.

Katie: Hello again from Gotham! Our own cowled crusader ran into some trouble after investigating a reportedly “haunted” funhouse. Batman and Robin found the Joker and a gang of evil clowns engaging in some serious clowning around. Thankfully, the world’s best teenage detectives (and Scooby!) happened to be in Gotham City again. Mystery Inc. came to Batman and Robin’s aid and defeated the Joker and his insane clown posse. The group has dealt with clowns before, so these jokers were no match for Batman and the gang. It’s not clear whether Scooby acted as anything more than a distraction, though. He’s known to shake and shiver in fear. No Scooby Snacks were found at the crime scene. 

Curiously, eagle-eyed sources spotted Robin donning a different look this week than the last time he had a Scooby-Doo team-up. For all you fashion-curious freaks, you’d be intrigued to know that Robin was seen wearing his full-length red bodysuit accented by black garments after the battle. Maybe he’s trying to impress Batman with a new look. 

You might wonder, Scooby-Doo, where are you now? In a strange turn of events, witnesses last saw Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang blindfolded in the Mystery Machine as it was driven by . . . Robin? Does he even know how to drive? I’m surprised Fred let anyone touch his precious vehicle. We all know Fred has a . . . unique relationship with the van. Anyway, that’s all the news for — 

Suddenly, a swarm of bats flies overhead. A note flutters down from above as Katie screams in terror. She swats at the air before picking up the paper.

Katie: God, the bats in this city are out of control! Wait . . . this just in. I have received an anonymous note informing me that Robin did not kidnap Mystery Inc. According to this, Robin took the teens to Batman’s secret lair! What I wouldn’t give for a chance to see all the gadgets and collectibles he must have in there. 

If this source is accurate, the more pressing issue seems to be that a phantom infiltrated Batman’s secret hideaway and is threatening everyone inside. While the Scooby gang is quite certain the ghost is merely a phony phantom, this piece of paper says Batman is worried about how someone could enter his hideaway in the first place! We’ll have to count on Mystery Inc. to do what they do best: solve mysteries and catch that villain. They’ve got some work to do! 

This is Katie signing off. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but here’s hoping more bats will deliver information on this case. I like my cat informants so much better . . . Back to you, Dan!

Before the camera cuts away, Katie is seen crouching down. She pets a black cat as it drops something in its mouth into her hand.

Dan: Thanks for that Katie. I do love that dog. Now let’s go over to Bruce Spruce, who’s been following leads on the whereabouts of Robin.

Raucous cheering and applause can be heard as Bruce Spruce appears in the middle of a crowd, being smashed together on every side by rabid fans.

Bruce: This is Bruce Spruce coming to you live from–

A vicious glare meets Bruce’s, from a very large man, urging him to consider his next words very carefully.

Bruce:-Coming to you live from… The Big Match, yes, The Big Match, where Robin is fighting “The King Snake.” He looks… considerably less like a snake than I was led to believe, folks. This is a tremendous disappointment. 

The camera pans to the match and zooms in as Robin beats The King Snake into the floor, leaving him alive.

Bruce: Ouch! That small child just beat the $&%* out of that large man with the stupid tattoo! He may not have looked like anything resembling a real snake, but damn was that satisfying to see! Let’s see if we can get an interview with Robin himself. Robin! Robin! After him Geoff! We must give chase! 

Bruce and Geoff the camera operator are almost immediately knocked to the floor. They lose track of Robin but quickly regain their composure. They head outdoors and stumble across Robin waiting for a ship and continue to follow, sneaking aboard as well, they listen while the passengers talk.

Bruce: Alright folks so it looks like we’re headed to a place called “Lazarus Island” where some sort of tournament is going down. There are some potentially heavy hitters here and some familiar faces too, so it’s going to be a crazy ride–oh no, I think they heard that! Apparently, there’s some sort of rule about the outside world knowing where we are. Oh $#&% oh $#&%! The network knows exactly where we are though so send someone after us! Save us before it’s–

The feed cuts out and the camera goes back to Dan.

Dan: #!%&, that’s one for the legal team to sort out. Bree? You’re up, I’ve got to make a call.

A female reporter with a cheery disposition is seated at one of the newsroom desks, this time in a power suit as opposed to the yellow press vest she had been seen in last week.

Bree: While Dan is on break, I’m here to report an exclusive exposé on Titans Academy! Or, well, an exposé in progress. Our mole- I mean, informant, has been inside the tower for a week now. Still, there is MUCH we have uncovered! My source shares tales of teenage angst powerful enough to topple the hierarchy of the veteran Titans’ rule! And maybe… an old enemy thought dead is sneaking around the tower! 

A blurry photo of a figure cloaked in black appears on the monitor behind her. The quality is reminiscent of every photo that claims to prove the existence of Bigfoot.

Bree: My informant tells me the older Titans have dubbed this figure “Red X”, in their hallway whispers. Red X was an ex-member of the team that disappeared a few years ago without an official explanation. Why the Secrecy? What could the sudden arrival of this old Titan mean? We’re continuing to dig for answers on the Public’s behalf.  

The photo on the monitor disappears and is replaced with another grainy image. The photo seems to have been taken from a low angle and around a sharp corner, half of the image is occupied by a wall and the other half is 2 figures standing across from each other. Their heads don’t quite fit in the frame and are cut off at the chin.

Bree: Are tensions perhaps running high between the old guard? Many of them have a complicated history. Here, Cyborg and Nightwing are visible and displaying anxious body language. My source was not able to hear the entire conversation, but relationship troubles seem to plague the team. How well will they be able to mentor when they can’t present a cohesive front to their students? And now, GC52 viewers…

The image disappears again. Bree is silent for a second. Her expression shifts from what you’d associate with jovial gossip to a blank, cold kind of seriousness. 

Bree: The image that has haunted me since it landed in my inbox. The Titans have yet another dangerous enemy… Superboy. 

The monitor showcases a 3rd low-quality image. Taken outside, at night, 4 figures are barely visible. A red ‘S’ on a black t-shirt is just barely legible.

Bree: My informant has told me the student being accosted goes by Bolt, another speedster. Why Superboy has returned is unclear, as is the identity of his two companions. This is, unfortunately, all the information I have at this time. 

The final image disappears, and the seriousness in the reporter’s expression is replaced with her initial cheer. Outro music begins to play.

Bree: That’s my time for today, tune in next week as the GC52 team continues to work to uncover the Titans’ best-kept secrets!

While the outro music is playing we hear a commotion in the studio and the video feeds cuts to Dan running back to his desk.

Dan: Cut that damned music. I’m not on break and we’ve still got one more story… Wait, what do you mean he’s not here yet? We lose Ethan last week and now his replacements not made it? Christ! Well, 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:

  • Action Comics #1030 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Daniel Sampere, Adriano Lucas, and Dave Sharpe.
  • Harley Quinn #2 by Stephanie Phillips, Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, and Deron Bennett.
  • The Flash #769 by Jeremy Adams, David Lafuente, Brandon Peterson, Mike Atiyeh, Luis Guerrero, and Steve Wands.
  • The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #3 by Sholly Fisch, Randy Elliott, and Silvana Brys.
  • Midnighter: The Passenger #2 by Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, Michael Avon Oeming, Taki Soma, and Dave Sharpe.
  • Robin #1 by Joshua Williamson, Gleb Melnikov, and ALW’s Troy Peteri.
  • Teen Titans Academy #2 by Tim Sheridan, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, and Alejandro Sanchez.

With thanks to this week’s contributors Dan, Violet, Aidan, Katie, Alex, and Bree.

Categories
Comics

Fun-Size Round-Table: Beta Ray Bill #2

Whosoever holds this keyboard, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of the Critic. But here at GateCrashers, everyone and anyone is worthy of this power in our weekly Fun-Size roundtable! Every week, you can join us here as our Warriors Five (to Seven, numbers may vary) ponder pensively about one of the many books hitting store shelves. This week’s comic is Beta Ray Bill #2, written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson, colored by Mike Spicer, and lettered by Joe Sabino. Now let’s hear what our roundtable of critics have to say about it:

Bobby Varghese Vinu

Beta Ray Bill #2 – Credit Marvel Comics, 2021

I was first introduced to Beta Ray Bill through Walt Simonson’s iconic run on Thor and there’s something about Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer’s Beta Ray Bill that has the Simonson coolness that keeps me engaged. The artwork here feels like an evolution of Simonson’s pencils. There’s design-porn abounds and there’s colour to every character and every moment.

There is a consistent sense of motion, whether that be the fight scenes, like Skurge defending Bill and calling him his wingman in a heartwarming moment of comedy, or something quieter like Odin and Bill having a conversation about the latter’s desire to restore his original form. The motion in this comic is always present, no matter the scene. Nothing is static. While the story is interesting, regardless of whether the premise of Beta Ray Bill wanting to “fix” his looks has been told before, it doesn’t matter to me. This is a comic that exudes cool. For me, the plot doesn’t matter. I only care about that addictive sense of motion that helps the story “pop”.

Dave Shevlin

Beta Ray Bill #2 – Credit Marvel Comics, 2021

Folks, I DESPISE this comic. How, after so many years and so many stories of Bill accepting and loving himself, do we reset the character and base an entire mini on the old, tired “I’m a horse faced monster and I hate myself” trope?   You could say Daniel Warren Johnson is “beating a dead horse” with this, as the only thing he seems capable of doing as a writer is rehashing this ancient, already-resolved plot point while making CONSTANT horse jokes about Bill.  How all these alien races know what an Earth animal like the horse is, I couldn’t tell you.  No respect or proper characterization is given to anyone.

If all this isn’t bad enough, the plot takes a turn into Bill taking dangerous and possibly sinister methods to acquire power, which is a plot done before and better in the Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter miniseries.  Then we have the last page: Skuttlebutt, Bill’s longtime sentient battleship, acquiring a sexy female body, because of course she does.  Please stop taking every female AI and giving it a robot body with banging tits and ass.  This really sums up the entire book at this point: it’s embarrassing, it’s tired, it’s rote, it’s all been done before and overall, it makes an entirely TERRIBLE comic.  The one positive in this book?  Mike Spicer’s colors.  Hardly anyone is doing it better than him right now in the coloring game, and his work is phenomenal throughout.

Alexandra Iciek

Beta Ray Bill #2 – Credit Marvel Comics, 2021

My engagement with Asgard/Thor books is often touch and go — I’m nowhere near as in touch with the history as I am with, let’s say, X-Men. As such, I’ve gone into Daniel Warren Johnson’s and Mike Spicer’s Beta Ray Bill run with far less context than your average Thor die-hard. 

I have surprisingly loved this series so far! 

Issue #2 of Beta Ray Bill has a wicked sense of momentum to it — the issue weaves through various settings, emotions, and action scenes virtually effortlessly. Spicer’s colors add a certain dimensionality to Johnson’s art, furthered by Joe Sabino’s dynamic lettering. If the creative team keeps this level of quality going for the rest of the series, Beta Ray Bill may emerge as one of the best books of 2021.

Tyler Keeling

Beta Ray Bill #2 – Credit Marvel Comics, 2021

Back in December when they first solicited a Beta Ray Bill book spinning out of the then-ongoing King in Black event, I was both worried yet excited. It seemed like a boring event, but the solicited tie-in series all seemed like a lot of fun. Then came March and Beta Ray Bill #1. I immediately took to Twitter to complain about the gross mischaracterization of Bill and how immediately exhausted I was by the book. Now we sit here, a month later with issue #2 out, and I find myself even more upset with whatever this book is trying to be.

I have been trying to parse what this book is attempting to say — Is it trying to carry a message about self-love and acceptance? Or is it trying to be a whimsical action book with a main character trying to find himself after a major traumatic event? Either way, nothing about it is landing. I find myself wondering if Johnson initially wanted to write another character but was denied and instead “Replace All”‘d whatever character he had his heart set on. That being said, Johnson’s art, Mike Spicer’s coloring, and Joe Sabino’s lettering all look incredible here, and are the standout pieces of the issue. Between that and the bar fight scene, I largely liked this issue more than the first. Sadly though, that’s not enough to save whatever car crash is going on here.

DW

Beta Ray Bill #2 – Credit Marvel Comics, 2021

I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Beta Ray Bill but have always liked him as a character, because he’s just Peak Weird Superhero in a way that I absolutely love. Going into this, I genuinely didn’t even know he was a cyborg, or that he isn’t just like… always a horse?

Anyway, I liked this issue a lot more than the first, but I have a lot of questions. Mostly, buddy, are you okay? I feel that between the whole emasculation vibe I get from Bill’s insistence that he needs to become humanoid again to fuck Lady Sif (you won’t bang him? Seriously? You’re probably grimy as hell and your cooch undoubtedly smells like old bear skin and musty beer) and the very horny Odin and even more horny Skuttlebutt android at the end, this guy is really trying to work some shit out that should probably be done through a therapist?

Skurge is absolutely delightful, and the bar fight scene is definitely a highlight. Overall, I love the line art, coloring, and lettering; the visuals for this book are incredible! I just, uh, have a lot of trepidation on how this Fellowship-heads-to-Mt. Doom adventure mixed with the clunky “finding myself/accepting my inner beauty” thing is going to play out.