Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 175: Avengers: Infinity War, or: They’re Not Called Hippie Stones

Marvel Studios’s Avengers: Infinity War opened last week and scored the biggest box office opening weekend of all time. It pulled in about $640 million in four days, meaning that, at around $15 per ticket, it was seen by roughly 43 million people. Which is good news for us, because it means that it shouldn’t be a big deal that this episode is full of more spoilage than an Arizona romaine lettuce warehouse.

As is usual for our shows about the big Marvel movies (and the big DC movies, provided we bribe them sufficiently), we are joined by comedians Ross Garmil and Benari Poulten to talk about Infinity War, a movie that really had no right being as good as it was, considering it had a main cast so big it made A Chorus Line look like Waiting for Godot, and featured a villain best known to movie audiences for sitting on his throne as if it was the Wednesday morning after Taco Tuesday and said throne had a flush handle.

We discuss the economical opening that turns Thanos from appearing to be a lazy gimp to a legitimate threat in all of five minutes, how the movie earns comparisons to The Empire Strikes Back not only in tone but in structure, how the original Jim Starlin comic series compares to the movie, and what we think might be coming in next year’s finale movie. Rob has a theory that’s one part deductive reasoning and two parts wishful thinking, shaken not served, served over ice, no you can’t stop wanting a drink every time you think about that ending.

Again, to be clear: this episode contains huge spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. Like, within about 90 seconds. So if you’re one of the two people who didn’t see it this past weekend, well, you’ve been warned, and I’ve told you that I don’t want you and Dad listening to this show anyway, Mom.

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 174: The Shemp of Superman

It’s a bit of a mixed bag this week, as we discuss, first of all, that we’re not dead (but thanks for asking!).

We then talk about the ongoing process of getting ready to attend San Diego Comic-Con, which, once upon a time, was something that could be achieved in an afternoon if you had a reasonable cash flow or credit card limit, but which is now a months-long slog that is generally more than likely to leave you frustrated, confused, and somewhere that isn’t downtown San Diego in the third week of July. Hotel sales through the convention ended last week, having moved from a first-come, first-served basis you had at least a modicum of control over, to yet another process where you’re at the mercy of another random number generator. For some, it means getting to stay in the Wino Suite of the Hard Rock Hotel for a pittance, while for others, it means spraying for bedbugs on the outskirts of town for five bills a night – guess where on the spectrum we are!

Finally, it’s almost official: Brian Michael Bendis is nearly ready to take over DC’s Superman franchise, with his first story appearing in this week’s Action Comics #1,000. So we certainly discuss that, but we also talk about the other creative teams that took over Big Blue from the beginning of DC’s Rebirth, taking the character from a blogger in poorly-explained Kryptonian nano-armor who was being smothered to death by editorial edict during The New 52, to one of the more enjoyable, back-to-basics characters in DC’s stable, despite adding a child to his backstory.

But then, yes, we talk about Bendis’s story in Action #1,000, and how we always get apprehensive when a new writer decides that everything you’ve ever thought about a character is wrong!

So, for the record, this week’s books are:

  • Superman #45, written by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, with art by Gleason, and:
  • Action Comics #1,000, written by Brian Michael Bendis (and everyone else), with art by Jim Lee (and everyone who was left)!

This show was recorded live to tape, with almost no editing. So if you’re looking for a comics podcast with hosts willing to admit on the public Internets to owning the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern Blu-Ray, well, welcome aboard!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 173: The Full Bonaduce

Season two of Marvel Studios’s / Netflix’s Jessica Jones dropped late last week, and as with most of Marvel’s / Netflix’s shows, we burned through it in a single weekend binge. And this binge was more enjoyable than the last couple, because for once no one from Crisis On Infinite Midlives threw up while watching the show, and because for the first time in a while Iron Fist was nowhere to be seen. Whether that’s a correlation or a causation deal we will leave up to you.

Season two had a lot to live up to, as we loved the first season’s combined exploration of PTSD and abusive relationships, and its meta examination of what it might really mean to be a companion to Doctor Who. This time around, the show tackles the concepts of different kinds of families, be they biological, adopted or self-created, and how they apparently will always let you down. And it combines it with a meta examination of why Trish Walker is the worst person in the world!

This show was recorded live to tape, with minimal editing. So if you’re looking for a genre podcast where the hosts are excited about the return of congenital, reckless alcoholic Jessica Jones because representation in media matters, well, you’ve come to the right place!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 172: Embezzly McCokeHabit

With all the excitement and hype surrounding last week’s release of Marvel Studios’s Black Panther, it’s easy to forget that, when the movie was announced as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three three and a half years ago, it looked to be nothing but a flick about another mid-tier character just to keep our juices flowing until Infinity War. While we loved Black Panther when he was pulled out of his element in Wakanda and dropped into a gritty pulp action story, his day-to-day adventures at home never set our world on fire, and we were looking far less forward to this than we were, say, Captain Marvel.

Since then, Marvel installed an A-list director who turned the movie into something much more than the half-decent filler in between Avengers movies we initially expected. We saw the movie this weekend (in a local theater packed in a way we haven’t seen since the first Spider-Man movie), and we discuss, in a spoiler-filled way, how we liked it, what worked for us and what didn’t, the worldbuilding and the depth of the character bench, and some of the political commentary we found to be embedded in the film.

We also discuss January 24th’s Doomsday Clock #3, written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Franks. This is the third issue in the DCU / Watchmen universe crossover, and we go into it in depth in a segment which we’re beginning to refer to, here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, as “Dr. Manhattan Can’t Do That, Dammit!”

This show was recorded live to tape, with minimal editing. So if you’ve been looking for a comics podcast where one of the hosts wants to move to Wakanda so they can find someone competent to program their Nest thermostat, you’ve come to the right place.

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 171: Think Pieces About Underpants: The 2017 Crises Awards

We are smack in the middle of awards season, when networks cynically fill their airtime with slapped-together ceremonies celebrating old crap you already know about, all in the hopes that someone will get drunk and start making a damn fool of themselves, all on a short budget.

Or, in other words: welcome to the 2017 Crises Awards!

Last year was one where there were some truly spectacular accomplishments in comics, genre television and movies. And there were also several comics crossover events! So, as we do every year, we carefully account for our favorite, and least favorite, genre material from the past year! And by “carefully account,” we mean “frantically re-read old show notes and dig through unsorted longboxes of comics to remember what the hell we actually read last year!”

We go into the categories of:

  • Best and Worst comic series or miniseries
  • Best and Worst single comic issues
  • Best and Worst comic crossover events
  • Best genre television
  • Best genre movie, and
  • Most and Least anticipated genre entertainments of 2018!

This show was recorded live to tape, with minimal editing. So if you’re looking for an awards show where the only “Lorde” is at the end of the phrase, “Drunk as a,” you’ve come to the right place!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 170: Gleek Flings Poo

It’s been an speedy week, from the threat of yet another government shutdown, to calling other nations ugly names, to a 30-something minute span where it seemed like a large chunk of the population of Hawaii might be on deck to have a chance at their own Silver Age superhero origin stories. It was the kind of week when you just want to escape into a fat stack of comics books. You know, books about a disintegrating monarchy, the mistreatment of prisoners, and the literal vanishing of the Earth.

Okay, that sounds dire, but there were actually some interesting books this week, including the opening to a new Marvel event (you know, as part of Marvel Legacy! Which was supposed to mean an end to constant events!), a strong and surprisingly intriguing opening for one book’s new creative team… and a Tom King book, which always means some spirited conversation on this show. So we break down a few of the bigger books this week, including:

  • Mister Miracle #6, written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads
  • Avengers #675 (Part 1 of the No Surrender event), written by Mark Waid, Al Ewing and Jim Zub, with art by Pepe Larraz
  • Old Man Hawkeye #1, written by Ethan Sacks with art by Marco Checchetto, and
  • Suicide Squad #33, written by Si Spurrier with art by Fernando Pasarin!

As usual, this show contains spoilers, and was recorded live to tape with minimal editing. So if you’re looking for a comics show that ranges from speculation about meta-narrative in a comic about super villains to a story about one of the hosts eating a bug, you’ve come to the right place!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 169: Sports is a Fantastic Album, Selina

After a couple of weeks off due to holidays, family travel, blizzards, arctic vortices, and professional obligations, and we’ve moved past holiday genre movies and into the pre-convention season lull. Meaning that until Marvel Studios’ Black Panther drops in about six weeks, there’s nothing to talk but comics.

And frankly, we’re kinda glad about that. Because as much as we like the comics-related visual entertainment, there’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned comic book to make you feel like a kid again. And sometimes, that kid is very, very angry about what has happened to the Watchmen universe.

So we talk about a few of this week’s new books, including:

  • Batman #38, written by Tom King with art by Travis Moore and Giulia Brusco,
  • Spider-Man #236, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Oscar Bazaldua, and
  • Justice League #36, written by Priest with art by Pete Woods!

But no calendar can stop Rob from chiming in on a comic book about the character from Watchmen, so we also discuss the December 27th release, Doomsday Clock #2, written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank!

This show was recorded live to tape, with minimal editing. So if you want to find out what the mythical 102nd use for duct tape is (the dirty one), you’ve come to the right show!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 168: Look at The Porgs, Artoo

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the inarguably most anticipated genre film of 2017 (at least the most anticipated by everyone except Rob) was released last Friday, and based on the box office returns approaching half a billion dollars in four days, it was beloved by nearly everyone on the planet, yes?

Yeah, apparently not. It seems that a movie that takes many of the beats that you’d expect from a Star Wars movie and deliberately tries to do something different with them isn’t for everybody. It’s an interesting popular reaction to a film that is almost universally beloved by professional reviewers. Which we at Crisis At Infinite Midlives are most assuredly not.

So we brought in some help to talk about The Last Jedi, and when it comes to dissecting what works and what doesn’t in a movie marketed largely to young people who are serious about their genre properties, we figured: who better than a pile of stand-up comedians all approaching, if not firmly ensconced, in middle age?

Se we are joined by Boston comedian Greg Boggis and New York comics Benari Poulten and Ross Garmil, who are not only funny people but hardcore genre geeks, to discuss The Last Jedi. We hit everything from the coolest moments, to the character arcs that are more satisfying than those in The Force Awakens, to the subtextual political statements made in the film, to the possible intoxicating properties of the green milk and flora of Ahch-To, to the crippling mental affliction that might be cursing one of the most beloved characters in the franchise. Which is funnier than it sounds.

This is one of the funniest, yest most interesting, episodes we’ve done in a while. However: be warned: this show contains extensive spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, hi! Nice to meet you! Apparently you’re the one!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 167: Metallo’s “O” Face

Crisis on Earth X, the annual crossover between DCW (Rob swears he will make DCW a thing) shows Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash and DC’s Agents of Tomorrow aired a couple of weeks ago, and while we’re a little late to the conversation, we wanted to discuss it, because it wound up being one of the finest pure comic book superhero stories we’ve ever seen put to screen.

From its oddly unique willingness to embrace depicting legitimate Nazis as pure and legitimate villains (as opposed to Marvel’s recent protestations that Hydra is somehow a completely unrelated paramilitary organization… that worked with Nazis), to its use of a superhero wedding as an excuse for a massive character crossover, to its sci-fi and comics classic use of parallel universe characters, to its creating real mortal stakes for several characters, it was an impressive depiction of classic comics storytelling… and it stood in stark contrast with, say, Justice League.

Please be aware that this show contains spoilers for Crisis on Earth X (as well as some spoilers for subsequent events on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Also, this show was recorded live to tape, so if you’re looking for a podcast that pivots into impromptu (and uncompensated) advertisements for Adderall, Ritalin and powerful liquor, you’ve come to the right place!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 166: The World’s Worst Detective, or: Rorschach, Meet Vibe

Marvel Studios’s latest Netflix series, The Punisher, dropped all at once a couple of weeks ago, and it was, in a lot of ways, very different than the series that have been delivered up until now. Sure, the other series dealt with adult themes – Jessica Jones tackled being a survivor of abuse, Luke Cage dealt with racism, and Iron Fist took on the perils of being a boring rich white guy no one likes – but none of those series featured a protagonist who stabs people in the neck just to watch them die.

So we spend a chunk of the show talking about The Punisher, how it handles themes of PTSD and how war destroys not only soldiers, but also their families… and how those weighty issues map to a story that delivers the cheap thrill of watching Jersey mooks having their legs broken by a man sometimes known as “Shooty Batman.”

But the money of the week is the release of the first issue of Doomsday Clock #1, written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank. This is the real beginning of DC Comics not only sequelizing Alan Moore’s and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen, but putting characters from the DC Universe onto a collision course with that universe. While we’ve both been enjoying DC: Rebirth, Rob is a huge fan of the original Watchmen, and thus has been DREADING the release of this book. So we break it down, and come to a couple of surprising conclusions.

This episode was recorded live to tape, with minimal editing, so if you’re looking for a podcast where the hosts are pretty convinced they came up with the moniker, “Shooty Batman,” you’ve come to the right place!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 165: Whiskey Tango Motherbox

Justice League was released to theaters in the United States last weekend, and, to put it mildly, it underperformed. In the same way that the Atlanta Falcons underperformed in last year’s Super Bowl.

Sure, there was a lot of weird buzz about reshoots and rewrites and new directors surrounding the movie, but none of that answers the question: was it any good? And did it deserve to underperform as compared to, say, Batman Vs. Superman, or Suicide Squad?

So we discuss the movie: what worked, what didn’t, what could have been improved, and why we think it didn’t do nearly as well as Suicide Squad, let alone The Avengers. We also talk about ways forward for a cinematic universe that includes starts with Superman killing a guy, and ends, for now, with redacted, under cover of darkness, robbing a damn grave.

This episode was recorded live to tape, so if you want to find out why Amanda think Aquaman went to Bowdoin, you’ve come to the right place!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 164: Get Opie

There’s a new Thor movie out. If history were a guide, this would excite us not at all. While we have been, and still generally are, fully in the tank for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have not seen any of the Thor movies in an actual movie theater, and that’s saying something considering we did see The Incredible Hulk in our local theater.

Thor: Ragnarok, however, promised to combine Thor with the most important elements of Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk, which we did like. So we made our way to the theaters this weekend, and we spend a good chunk of the episode talking about the flick. Did we like it? Was there more to it than just the thrill of seeing Hulk in full gladiator dress with his Warbound? Is there anything there to make us care about Asgard? Does the movie make the living envy the Doug? Tune in and find out!

We also discuss:

  • The Jetsons #1, written by Jimmy Palmiotti with art by XXXXX, and:
  • Captain America #1, written by Mark Waid, with art by Chris Samnee!

This episode was recorded live to tape, so if you want to know why Rob has the completely wrong idea about what it means to get romantic with a guitar, you’re in luck!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 163: Batgirl’s Gap Year

We are now fully into Marvel’s Legacy initiative to step back from years of event overload and senseless character deaths, and to reintroduce simpler, more classic versions of the character back into the monthly issues. And as we glory in the reintroduction of series’ original numbering, and the inclusion of classic Stan Lee / Funky Flashman-esque Mighty Marvel Marching Society hype into each issue, we also wonder: where the hell are the simpler, classic versions of the characters?

In that vein, we talk about:

  • Invincible Iron Man #593, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Stefano Caselli and Alex Maleev, and
  • The Mighty Thor #700, written by Jason Aaron with art by almost everyone.

But Marvel is not the only one reintroducing older characters, so we also discuss:

  • The WildStorm #8, written by Warren Ellis with art by Jon Davis-Hunt, and
  • Mage: The Hero Denied #3, written and drawn by Matt Wagner!

This episode was recorded live to tape, meaning that you will learn the reasons why we would treat Marvel Legacy: Starfox in the way we would 80s VHS porn!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 162: Hey Girl, Are You An Electric Sheep?

DC has been teasing the inclusion of elements of Watchmen into DC Rebirth for nearly a year and a half now, which has made us, Rob especially, very nervous. That inclusion has been kept down to a dull roar until this past weekend, when DC released an ashcan of the first six pages of Doomsday Clock, the 12-issue mini-series that will make good on their threat – I mean, their promise.

So we read those pages, and, to be honest, we read them cold, without noticing that the date in the first panel was 1992, not 1985. So our reaction is based on the misconception that the events of these pages was taking place three weeks after the end of Alan Moore’s Watchmen… not that knowing seven years have passed really change our opinion much. And what did we think? Listen to find out, and thank God that modern digital recording can modulate Rob’s shrieking!

We also discuss Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to one of Rob’s favorite movies, and a flick that he had no intention of seeing until decent reviews started to come out. But see it we did, and we discuss it from two opposing viewpoints: one rabid about Ridley Scott’s 1982 original, and one who went into the sequel almost cold about the first movie. Once again: digital modulation is your friend.

We also discuss:

  • Batman: White Knight #1, written and drawn by Sean Murphy, and
  • Batman #32, the conclusion of The War of Jokes and Riddles arc, written by Tom King with art by Mikel Janin!

This episode was recorded live to tape, meaning that “tossing Joi onto a hard drive” could have any one of many meanings!

Crisis On Infinite Midlives Show Episode 161: Forbush Man: The Motion Picture

With everything that’s been going on at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office (goodbye flood, hello nine-foot curtain hanging!), we’ve been a little late to the party on Marvel’s latest Netflix series, The Defenders. Again, this is purely because of unrelated life events, and is in no way related to the fact that the final count for Rob falling asleep through Iron Fist, Marvel’s last Netflix series, stands at six. And that’s not a final count, because it includes the final episode. But we digress.

This past weekend, we finally caught Marvel’s second attempt at putting together a filmed superhero team, and we discuss the effort. Including what worked, what was fun and interesting and surprising, why Netflix can’t seem to create a superhero series of ANY length that doesn’t feel like it’s dragging in the middle, and why Iron Fist is the Poochie of filmed superhero drama.

We also discuss:

  • Action Comics #987, written by Dan Jurgens, with art by Viktor Bogdanovic, and
  • Mr. Miracle #2, written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads!

This show was recorded live to tape. Which is why you will learn the etymology of the phrase “Kneel before Zuck!”