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Weekly Comics Spotlight #317

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John Mayo and Drew discuss FOREVER EVIL #1 by DC, X-FACTOR #262 by Marvel and CODENAME ACTION #1 by DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT.


John: Hello. Welcome to the 'Weekly Comics Spotlight,' the Comic Book Page Podcast. My name is John Mayo. In this episode, we'll be discussing recently released comics, one from DC, one from Marvel, and at least one other.

As always, we'll keep spoilers to a minimum, but we'll discuss general plot points and storylines in the comics as we review.

This is 'Weekly Comics Spotlight' 317 for comics originally released on September 4th, 2013. Now, starting us off in DC is 'Forever Evil' number one. This is the first universe-wide, epic, crossover event of 'The New 52' universe, which had kind of a lead in or precursor or whatever in 'Trinity War.' We talked about the end of that last week, had me really excited about this.

What was your take, Drew, on the fact there there was a noticeable gap in time and events between where we left off last week with 'Justice League' number 23 and where this began?

Drew: Yeah, that was a little startling with the announcement that we were still in spoiler territory ... continuing.

John: Yes, we're going to be heavy on spoilers both for 'Forever Evil' and certainly for 'Batman and Robin' number 23.1 with 'Two-Face.' I want to harp on that. I think even what's going on with the crossovers and the nature of some of the story and the importance of some of the events, we're going to be definitely in spoiler territory here and probably on the whole DC side for a little bit.

Drew: Yeah. The idea that the 'Justice League' is dead didn't ... I didn't pick up on that, just the last 'Justice League' that I read, that that occurred.

John: Because it hadn't.

Drew: It all happened before 'Forever Evil,' I guess, and it was all off panel, and I'm not sure how much time before these events started, but it was a big surprise and a lot to swallow.

John: It seems like a major plot point to kind of just skip over. I'm sure they'll tell us what happened and we'll figure it out as we go. But I was really expecting this to start off with just an amazing action sequence with 'The Crime Syndicate' taking out the combined 'Justice Leagues' and seeing firsthand, front and center what a major threat these guys could be, and ending this issue with a, "Oh wow! What's going to happen next? The heroes are doomed. These guys are so powerful, they just took out the 'Justice Leagues.'" We just get told they take out the 'Justice League' so I didn't get that sense at all.

Drew: Yes. I did like the cold open with Lex Luthor. I thought that was really nicely told, that intro. That was a nice touch. I enjoyed that.

John: I liked it. I've got one or two questions about it, though, because we start with Lex doing his negotiating technique with ... I guess this is Thomas Kord, presumably father of the Ted Kord who's not the 'Blue Beetle' yet, but who knows? He could be in the future, and ends with the helicopter they're in crashing into a LexCorp Tower or whatever.

It's a little weird because on one page, it looks like it's crashing straight down from above. On the next page, it crashes into the side, kind of from a horizontal trajectory. We then see that Lex has been kind of bounced out during the crash or whatever, and we see the tail sticking out, the whole end of the building or whatever. Then, a couple of pages later, we cut back to that scene, Thomas Kord is somehow hanging off the rotor, tail rotor of the helicopter after the crash, nowhere to be seen right after the crash and stuff, and I'm like, "How did he get out there?"

Drew: Perhaps he was floating down in the off panel parts, and then he landed. That's where he landed. Yeah, that's what happened.

John: I was going to go with ... He's a teleporter and we just didn't know.

Drew: There you go.

John: Both are highly possible takes on what's just a simple art mistake. But those are the sorts of things that as good as David Finch is, and he's a good artist and does a good job here. That's what separates those artists from the ones that are just unbelievable superstars.

Drew: Yes.

John: We would not have had this sort of a thing had it been by George Perez or a couple of other artists and stuff. Flipside, I think also if we had cream of the crop top-notch editor, not that the guy is doing this bad or anything, but there have been editors back in the day that were just very incredibly detail-oriented, and those sorts of things didn't tend to slip through on their books.

Drew: Yes. On a movie set, there's a ... Is it a script editor or there's actual position ...

John: There's a continuity person ...

Drew: Yes, then they're following along with the script and they're saying, "Okay now. Wait. You're shooting this but in the script it says you should be doing this," and they call them out right there and it gets fixed so that there isn't these issues.

John: The other thing the continuity person does is they're often going there and used to be with the Polaroid camera, now I'm sure it's digital or whatever, they're taking photos as they're shooting the scenes. Have you ever watched a movie and you've got two people sitting at a restaurant, and they're cutting back and forth as they're talking, and somebody's glass goes from full to half empty to full to half empty to full?

Drew: Yes. Those are great.

John: The continuity person is the one who's supposed to catch that.

Drew: Yes.

John: It's like, "Wait. When we did the shooting before, it was full, now it's half empty. Let's fill it up the other way or whatever." Those are easy mistakes to make when you're doing take after take after take after take.

Again, these sorts of things, I'm sure when David Finch is drawing this, he didn't give it a second thought and that's what the script called for maybe and that made sense to do. But as I'm reading it, those are the sorts of things that sometimes just jump out at me as a, "Hey. Wait a sec. Hey, it's not a big deal," but it was again to me, that's what separates a really good artist from a superstar artist.

Drew: Speaking of, "Wait a sec moment," when 'Nightwing' has Zsasz, is this the tail end? Has he brought him all the way from Chicago, I guess a transporter, or is this some kind of thing where he's picking up and taking him the rest of the way, because it seems really strange that he would be carrying him the whole way from Chicago.

John: Yes. That's a very fair point, because it says here that he's only here to drop off Zsasz and then heading back to Chicago. It's like, "Why is he suddenly in town?" It's like he just got into town too because people have just noticed he's there and stuff.

It's one of those that at a glance, people aren't going to really notice or think about it, but the minute you actually stopped and say, "Hey. Wait a sec. What's going on here?" and think about the scene, it starts to fall apart. Why would he be swinging with Zsasz in tow like this? Where did he come from? How is he doing it? How long does he been doing this? It's just ...

Drew: Unless Gotham is a suburb of Chicago. Even if it is.

John: Even if it is, and we ignored the geographical distance and such, he's swinging with just one arm holding a full-grown adult guy, you know? He's got to be a little heavy and stuff, got to throw his swinging off, yet the way he's drawn there with the arm stretched out and it just seemed like a very physically impossible swinging maneuver.

Drew: Where's that thing connected to?

John: Let's assume there's super skyscrapers occasionally in Gotham.

Drew: Does he stop and pull that one down, and then ... It's a nice original art piece, though.

John: Okay, maybe. But he then gets to Arkham Asylum which he's apparently right near because this conversation is pretty quick.

Drew: Yes.

John: When we get some of the shots of Arkham, there's like no buildings anywhere near it. Again, raising the question of, "How close is it to town?" He's in downtown, suddenly he's there. Yes.

It looks nice but sometimes when you think about it, it just doesn't hold together. Fortunately, these are not relevant to the main plot, so to a certain degree yes, that's unfortunate, but who cares.

Drew: It's probably just a nitpick but it jumped out a little bit for me.

John: Yes. Same here, but it's the kind of thing that I can notice, I can nitpick, and it doesn't really impact my enjoyment of the story.

Drew: Exactly, yes.

John: You get enough of those and it completely eliminates, for me at least, the possibility of it being a five out of five.

Drew: Yes. It has to be downgraded a little.

John: Now, what was your take when the whole Kryptonite scene is happening shortly before the middle of the book, where Lex sees Ultraman for the first time, who is crushing Lex's Kryptonite, vaporizing it and then sniffing the smoke?

Drew: I did a double take and looked again to make sure I had seen it right, and I thought, "Is that really what happened? Did he really snort the Kryptonite, and that gave him power?" That's amazing. I did not see that one coming, and I wasn't sure it had really occurred so I had to look at it again.

John: I saw that and I'm thinking, "Seriously guys. Come on. I mean, I get where you're going." Originally, what had happened with Ultraman pre-crisis and stuff, exposure to Kryptonite granted him powers. This is clearly a new and a different version, his powers work a little differently, the whole snorting the Kryptonite smoke or whatever. It's like, "Okay, whatever. We'll go with that." Don't know that that's the direction I would have gone, but again, it doesn't really matter.

There was a nice bit at the end with a new weakness for Ultraman or what appears to be a new weakness.

Drew: Yes.

John: I like that a lot. That was good. But again, that was another one that the way he deals with that weakness doesn't make sense. He seems like he's exposing himself to his weakness as he's trying to counteract it.

Drew: Right.

John: I don't want to get too spoilery on that part, not that it matters.

Drew: Everybody's read it. Everybody's read it by now.

John: Okay. Fair enough. He's pushing the moon to block the sun. The sun burns like he's a vampire or whatever. It's like, "Wait a sec. To block the moon or push the moon that way, he had to have full exposure to sun. Shouldn't that be a problem for him?"

Drew: Does the moon being moved like that affect anything?

John: I would think it affects the tides. Apparently, it's just going to stay there so I don't know quite how that works. Maybe he pushed it going to the Lagrange points or whatever.

Drew: We need the Federal Bureau of Physics to come over and cross over and explain this one in a panel or two.

John: Yes. It's exactly what we need. While they're at it, the other thing they can explain, and this one really did bother me. I don't consider this a nitpick, I consider it an unfortunate editorial snafu. We get to the middle of the book right at the staple, and we've got Scarecrow and some of the other Arkham villains and stuff including Two-face. Scarecrow is like, "You're being invited to join the Secret Society. Here's their coin." We get this whole bit with him and Two-face with the Riddler and Poison Ivy there too. Two-face is like, "Yep. I'm in."

Now, before I read 'Forever Evil', I read all of the other villain month issues that week or for this week. There were a few spoilery things but nothing major. It didn't really spoil the story for me at all, up until I got to this. The crux of 'Batman and Robin' 23.1 with Two-face was the Scarecrow trying to entice him to be part of the Secret Society, and how he gets the coin, when he gets the coin, that whole thing played out completely differently, to the point that it doesn't make sense for both to have happened as told, and it just doesn't work.

Drew: Yes. I didn't notice at the time. I read 'Two-face' later and I thought when I read that, "That seems very different than 'Forever Evil'. Oh well," and I moved on. Now that you mention it though, it's jarringly different, and I don't know what the explanation could be except besides a complete miss by editorial, completing [Todo 00:12:25] with. Besides that, could it be that we're seeing a synopsis of events in 'Forever Evil' and then it's being expanded in the Two-face story on maybe and reading ... or do you feel ...

John: If Two-face hadn't been standing on the bat signal in the 'Batman and Robin' issue in a blatantly different place?

Drew: Yes.

John: I could see it's like, "I'm not expecting it to be word for word between two comics like this or even shot for shot or precisely the same." It was drastically different. I get that doing 52 books that are tying into an event like this, not easy. There are going to be mistakes.

So far, that's the only real major one I've noticed. In that respect, not too bad but I saw that and it did kind of ...

Drew: The whole idea of this coin communicator is very reminiscent of Voldemort's little snake tattoo that everybody had in the 'Harry Potter' world, that it would glow and they could communicate with that way and it seems kind of reminiscent of that. If you've got this, you're in the club and you can be a part of this Secret Society.

John: It looked to be pretty big coins.

Drew: Yes.

John: At least three or four inches, four inches I'd say in diameter or whatever. I thought the gatefold center spread they had was nice, a little indulgent but not annoyingly so.

Drew: I thought it was ... I like the nice ... I thought it was a nice landscape and it was a cool shot. I stared at it for a while trying to pick out who everybody was.

John: I liked it, don't get me wrong, but this is another one where I think as good as Finch is, somebody like a George Perez, somebody with a cleaner style or whatever might have done a little better. It also would have been nice if all of these characters had actually been seen before.

Drew: Yes.

John: A number of them like the Royal Flush Gang I do not believe have. There's one who we see later on, Monocle that, I guess he is in this four-page spread. He's just standing further away from the guy he's seen with later so I didn't see him at first.

Drew: I wasn't sure about Monocle. Did he exist? Was he from something in major ...?

John: He was not ... You could argue. He was never a major, major villain. He was a villain of I believe Hawkman. I'm trying to think if he was an earth one or earth two villain. The favorite story I have that he was in was one of the JLA JSA crossovers, where it was the Secret Society of super villains actually, under the guidance of Ultra-Humanite trying to wipeout all the heroes from either earth one or earth two. He was one of the representative villains from ... I forget which world he was in. I'm thinking he's earth two but I'm not positive, I'm correct on that.

Drew: I guess it no longer matters.

John: It no longer matters. That is true. It was nice to see all the different villains and stuff.

Drew: Yes.

John: Little interesting that Black Manta is here because where we see in one of the other books ... I forge which one it was. I thought he was showing up there with Amanda Waller trying to get some protection or maybe that was elsewhere in here. I forget. At some point, he was trying to be recruited by her.

Drew: Then, we have the super giant reveal for this issue ...

John: True. Yes.

Drew: Skip ahead if you don't want to know it, but 'Nightwing' is captured and basically unmasked but he's literally unmasked ...

John: Yes, literally.

Drew: They kind of out his whole - who he is and where he's from and all that good stuff, and bam, there it is.

John: Now, we talked about 'Nightwing' a little while ago and how he was just visiting Chicago.

Drew: Yes.

John: Apparently he went ahead and got a driver's license out there. It seem to make sense for a short trip, because he didn't want a driver's license.

Drew: Yes, that is curious.

John: Those are details that don't really matter. I think the unmasking of Dick Grayson and stuff like that, definite turning point for the character, raises the question if he will survive 'Forever Evil' or not. That's a genie that's hard to put back in the bottle, but could also make him the public face of 'Batman Inc.' and could also further Batman's secret identity because Bruce was funding 'Batman Inc.' because of Dick Grayson not because he was Batman if anyone was wondering.

Drew: Yes. I don't know how, because you could easily trace back ... Okay, Dick Grayson was ... He was still under Bruce Wayne's protection as award in 'The New 52' continuity, correct?

John: Yes, as far as ... Yes.

Drew: He was still ... If he is Nightwing and he was still with Bruce Wayne earlier, wouldn't that be a clue for folks also that, "Hey, if he's the masked superhero, I wonder."

John: I think it maybe a matter that it also comes down to how did his origin - Dick Grayson's origin as Nightwing and Robin play out in this universe, because Batman was obviously involved in that investigation, and Bruce Wayne was there at the circus in most incarnations of the story. It would make sense that Bruce took him on as award because of the tragic background and stuff just like he had. Since Batman had gotten involved in investigating the death, that's how he ...

They could easily play out the story such that that's how Bruce and Batman kind of got a connection through Dick Grayson. They're clearly separate people. We've seen them that way before through all sorts of other shenanigans that Bruce Wayne has pulled over the years and Batman and so.

Drew: Yes.

John: They could easily work the issue. I think like I said, it could serve to strengthen Batman's secret identity versus just the fact though it ruins it.

Drew: Nightwing is a lot of people's favorite character. He's a really popular character. I think this is a really interesting turn of events. I hope they don't continue and kill him off. I would like to see how this plays out in his book next month and then to the future. I think there's a lot to be had there.

Moon Knight was out in for a long time in the 'Marvel' side, and his secret identity was known. It led for some interesting reading.

John: There's a lot of stuff they could do with this that would work. He's one of my favorite characters and I'd be very upset if they do kill him off. They've got so many Robins running around right now, former Robins that I could see where they need to maybe get rid of one or two, and they just killed off Damian, they had killed off Jason Todd before, they teased ... they were going to do that right after a death of the family. Tim Drake is about the only other one they really could kill off at this point ...

Drew: They've actually demoted him to never having been Robin in 'The New 52'?

John: I don't believe so. I thought he had been Robin and became Red Robin freeing up the role for Damian.

Drew: That was not my understanding of 'The New 52' continuity. I thought he was only a Teen Titan.

John: We've only seen him as a Teen Titan but somewhere within the past five years, my assumption and I could be wrong on that, it was that he had been Robin.

Drew: Yes. You would definitely assume that. I would assume the same thing, but I thought it was an official statement now, but it could have been ...

John: There may have been an official statement but was there an official comic that actually ...

Drew: Said those words?

John: That indicated either way.

Drew: I don't know. I could also Google that and get back to you.

John: Yes, please do. I'm curious. To me, I don't care what Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns or any of the creators say during an interview or whatever, to me it's what's on the comic book page. If it's not in the book, that was intense not what it was actually delivered.

Drew: Right.

John: Overall, I liked this issue. It kept me interested and stuff. I was hoping for them to just knock it out of the park and they didn't quite do that. This was fun, this was interesting, and it certainly sets up a lot of potential story and stuff like that for the rest of it.

Drew: Yes. Given all the little tweaks and things, I still thought it was fun to read and I enjoyed it and yes, it's definitely not a five because of all those things, but I had a lot of fun with it and I'm all in on this event. Yes, it's a solid four.

John: Yes. That's four out of five for me too. I was also, as much as I harp on that 'Batman and Robin', I did think the other villain issues this week were solid, they were good, some were origin stories, some were kind of current day stories, some kind of implied the whole lack of power and some stuff like that, but none of them flat out said this takes place after 'Forever Evil' number one so I didn't feel the need to go read that first, and none blatantly spoiled major aspects of it either.

Drew: Yes. Let me shoot back in the CBR archive. There's an article by Brian Cronin so Tim Drake was never Robin. Scott Lobdell reveals Tim Drake probably became a superhero and apparently he was always Red Robin and never Robin. The origin is the same. Tim Drake does figure out Batman's secret identity, but never takes on the Robin identity.

John: That's what they say.

Drew: That's what they say, and then Teen Titans number one contradicted it, but then in the reissue of - in the collected trade-type Teen Titans, they took out the picture, they edited out the picture where Robin glances down, where Tim Drake glances down and see himself as Robin in a picture with Batman.

John: Wow.

Drew: They've edited that out of the 'Trade Paperback' version and any reprints of Teen Titans one. The original one would still have that in there.

John: Send me the link for that.

Drew: Okay.

John: That's interesting. It's surprising we're only two years in and they've had Direct Com already and very surreptitiously so. Depending if you read the Trade or the original version, you would have proof of what you feel, what you've read in the comic as to which way the continuity went.

Drew: Exactly. Exactly.

John: That's just confusing.

Drew: Yes. I don't know if you can ... I'm sure that you can find those two panel side or those two page side by side with just a little digging.

John: I would be surprised if you couldn't.

Drew: Yes.

John: That seems like something that 'Bleeding Cool' would probably have up there.

Drew: Yes. That's still 'Forever Evil', good. Solid.

John: Yes, worth reading, fun and curious to see where it goes. Looks like it will definitely have some ramifications. Be hard for it not to.

Drew: I think the problems with the villain month for me that goes along with what you were talking about with Two-faces, there doesn't seem to be a clear focus on what these villain issues are going to be. Some are stories with a little bit of origin in them, some are straight up origin stories, some have actual content that jives with the 'Forever Evil' book, and some don't even mention it. It's kind of all over the place and I don't know if that's by design or just there wasn't really that ... there were very loose parameters given for what these villain month issue should look like.

John: The other way to frame that question that issue is if they had all had the same basic marching orders, tell an origin, have it tie in to 'Forever Evil' or whatever the marching orders would have been, and therefore had a more somatic consistency to them, would we not likely be sitting here saying, "Wow, they all felt like they were the same basic story, they boiled down to this, that and the other." Whereas having it be more scattershot and a little unfocused, make it not feel like you're spending an entire month reading, "Everyone is getting their origin this month like we got last year." It seems like a potential damage if you do damage it if you [don't 00:24:48] situation.

Drew: Yes.

John: I don't know that there is a right or a wrong. It just seems like ... because I agree with what you're saying. It was a mixed bag and yes it all features a villain per issue but again is it an origin, is it tying in, what was the marching orders?

We'll see what they do next September if they do another sort of a theme month or whatever and see how that goes. At this point, what I would be tempted to do for a theme month is a supporting cast month.

Drew: It would be cool.

John: ... focused ... Buy me an issue on Alfred another one on Commission Gordon, another one on Harvey, Bullock ... Have a Superman issue on Lois Lane or Jimmy Olsen or whatever. They've got a great supporting cast, why not spotlight them?

Drew: I do think these 3D covers are amazing to look at. I think they are beautiful. During the solicitation period, in previews, it didn't do it. 'Justice', I was on the fence going back and forth, because I couldn't decide, "Do I want to get them all? Do I want to just sit out?", and I went back and forth and I couldn't just pick and choose because they all looked really intriguing. I went, "Yes, I'll just pick up at the new stand when they come out and not the new stand but at the comic shop."

John: The rack, yes.

Drew: Yes, at the rack. It was the wrong decision because these things are really cool. I think they're really nice covers and although they are a issue selling gimmick and not a series selling gimmick, marketing gimmick, I think it was very cool.

John: As far as gimmicks go, it was a clever gimmick. It seems intriguing. I have not had not to go set foot in a comic shop the last week or two, so I haven't seen them, but that's also one of my techniques for curbing my impulse buying which at the moment I really need to do since recording and even since uploading the previous spotlight for this month, my order for the September previews is over $700.

Drew: Wow. That's got to be close to a record.

John: I think so. I haven't checked and I may pair one or two things of the Big Ticket items out. There's only like four Big Ticket items. That was one of the reasons I decided when I got the email from GCBS not to go with the 3D covers. I could save $26.

My August order was around $600 or whatever. It's like, "That just makes sense."

Drew: With a $600 comic order, that's like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

John: Yes, yes. Again, first world problems as we're talking about recording. I lead a tough life.

Drew: After we're done with our reviews, there's a ton of villain month cover or villain month stories to talk about. I'll save it for that. I was really impressed with the actual product, and I thought they looked really nice and very much I would say when the story was well done also, a solid four dollar investment.

John: Cool. That's good to hear.

Drew: Yes.

John: I think they could have handled the solicitation aspect of it a little better.

Drew: Yes. It would have been nice of them to overproduce them.

John: They may have but not to the sufficient quantities. In some cases, the allocations may not have been that much, but in other cases, it was severe. It's just a bad situation all the way around in terms of how the business side of it was handled. Creatively, I think it was one of the best gimmicks they've done. I'm still going to put it behind the promotional power rings with Blackest Night.

Drew: I cannot wait to see what the sales numbers are because I think you're going to see sales numbers for DC. I think the market share is going to be gigantic, a gigantic leap.

John: I'm fully expecting them to have of a hundred ...

Drew: I'd say 50% maybe.

John: A 104 items on the list easily, guaranteed, because I think they're going to sell a ton of the 3D covers, the 2D covers, and that's not even counting whatever they would have from Vertigo and other sections. It's probably going to be a very strong month for them.

Drew: Yes.

John: I still got to figure out how one handle all these point whatever issues in terms of how I chart stuff but be interesting. Again ...

Male: You need to ...

Drew: That's an intern.

John: I do. I do. Shall we move on to Marvel?

Drew: Yes, let's go move on to Marvel.

John: This is 'X-Factor' 262. It is the final issue. This is written by Peter David who is a long time 'X-Factor' writer. This issue focused on Multiple Man, Jamie Madrox and Butterfly, Layla Miller. I've been reading all six of this arc as well as the whole run since it started ages ago. Have you been reading the book or is this the first one you hopped on?

Drew: I haven't read since before Peter David. That was the last time I read an 'X-Factor'.

John: When you say that, clarify that. Do you mean back in the day when 'X-Factor' was the original five X-Men?

Drew: Yes, that was when I read 'X-Factor'.

John: Okay.

Drew: Of course I did not recognized where I was. That being said, I thought that was a wonderful issue and the letter that he enclosed at the end I thought was brilliant, a lovely touch. I have a lot of respect for him as a writer, and I feel like I missed out and then I really missed about on a strong title. I thought this was a wonderful, final issue. It was just great.

John: To me, this is the way to end the long-running title. All of the characters got a smooth and solid conclusion of their character arcs and plot lines, he basically put the toys back on the shelf in a nice, clean, good manner to where it's ready for other writers to use them or for him to come back and do more with these characters, and it always annoys me when a title ends and it's like, "But what about all these dangling plot lines? Who cares? It's over. It's done." He tied off a lot of loose ends. A lot of ones, he didn't necessarily even have any obligation I think to really resolve.

I'm glad he wanted to do that, got the chance to do that and did it so well. A lot of credit I think goes to the editorial staff at 'Marvel' and stuff for not just saying, "Let's cut the cord and be done with it." He's tried over the years to really be up the sales level on this book at one point saying, "I'm going to get over a hundred thousand." I'm like, "Yes. Good luck."

It frustrates me that he was never able to succeed on that because I think as a writer, Peter David was doing everything he could and everything right and deserve to be selling a lot better than the title that was.

Drew: Does Neil Edwards always the [Pimsleur 00:31:42] on this. Are they a team or has it been various [Pimsleurs 00:31:45] over ...

John: It's been various with [Pimsleurs 00:31:46].

Drew: I thought that the art was great. I just thought he did a great job of him emoting the characters very well and they worked well together with this creative team. They worked very well together.

John: Peter David usually works pretty well with the artist he's dealing with.

Drew: Yes.

John: I don't recall any major cases where they just seemed to be on completely diverging directions or something. I do like that they clarified at the end that Peter David stroke was not why this title was ending.

Drew: Yes. I thought that was a nice touch. He didn't have to address it, and it was nice and he did.

John: I appreciated it, because frankly I was assuming it might have been a factor for why this title was ending, but it sounds like he certainly got something waiting in the wings, that they're going to announce soon. We'll see what that is. it was also mentioned in one of the previous issues, I think it was 260 about another 'X-Factor'. We may see another 'X-Factor' title with a new group of characters by a new creative team, and when they see Peter David going and doing something else too.

Drew: Yes.

John: That could be a win-win for everybody.

Drew: Yes, there was an announcement of some new 'Marvel' now titles coming with James Robinson, Hickman and Matt Fraction at the helms of the three titles that I saw. That would be interesting. There's some new stuff coming out with some good writers. None of them were 'X-Factor' but there could be another wave.

John: Almost certainly, because they seem to be doing that with the 'Marvel' now and they've got an all new now or whatever initiative they're starting. They're going to renumber some old titles. It's a little crazy to some of that.

If they can shuffle things around and get a couple of wins every time and be building up a better and better and strong and stronger list of titles and stuff, that's the way to do it.

Drew: It is. That would leave ... What is it, astonish ... Is 'Astonishing X-Men' still around? It has a big number, right?

John: It's at 60 something.

Drew: Yes. Is that like the old ... When the 'Journey Into Mystery' is a big number?

John: They just ended.

Drew: Okay. It's over. Yes, is that it? Is that what's left?

John: I think so.

Drew: [Venom 00:33:59] was just canceled. It's got 41 or '40s maybe and will be done. Yes, so everything will be just like 'New 52'.

John: I've just pulled up the August sales data and I've got from 'Marvel' six items that are over in issue number 40. No, I take it back, five items over in issue number 40, 'Journey Into Mystery' like you mentioned at 655 which I think was the final issue or maybe there was one more. 'X-Factor', 262 we've just talked about the final issue. That leaves 'Astonishing X-Men' at around issue 66 as the highest number thing on the top 300 for 'Marvel'.

Drew: Wow. Will it be replaced by the new title that has Nightcrawler in it or will it stay? What's it called. What's the Nightcrawler one called? It was just in this month's preview.

John: 'Amazing X-Men'.

Drew: Okay, so it's another IP? All right.

John: You could argue. They just rotate the names.

Drew: Yes. If the [inaudible 00:35:02] is out?

John: I do not see 'Astonishing X-Men' listed in that 'Marvel' previews though.

Drew: Yes.

John: It may have just replaced it, yes. I think it did actually.

Drew: What would be of that? There's the old card.

John: Yes, that's the refiltered list. Venom at 39 which we can take off. That leaves Wolverine and the 'X-Men' at 35 as of that set of numbers.

Drew: That's amazing.

John: Yes. Three-year old title. That's an old title these days. That's part of why I think sales aren't so great is there's no point sticking around.

Drew: Yes.

John: The title isn't, and it turns everything into a churn-based kind of a model. It's bad for business. I think it's just foolish, but yes.

Shall we move on to our other book for the week?

Drew: I don't think I gave it a number. It's a five.

John: Oh, I don't think I did either actually. I was going to give 'X-Factor' a four. Close to a five but not quite there for me.

Drew: You have no heart. It's the man's last issue and it was solid. Give it a five.

John: I tended to give fives out for books that I think are practically perfect and just really work for me in all things. To me, it's the difference between like a CGC 9.8 and the CGC 10.

Drew: I can be bought, so listen publishers. If you want a five, just P.O. box ...

John: That's funny. No, he's certainly doing great stuff. He rarely disappoints. Peter David is a writer. He does good stuff and I'm looking forward to what he has next.

Drew: Yes, definitely. I can't wait to it. Whatever he does next, I want to get on the ground floor because I'm just really impressed with this issue.

John: Worth going back and getting previous ones. I think a lot of people missed the boat on that title.

Drew: Yes.

John: Our other book for the week is 'Codename Action' number on from Dynamite. This is essentially a relaunch of what was the captain action property that was last seen over at Moonstone. I really enjoyed their run of the series and was curious what direction they were going to take with this. I really enjoyed this. I thought it was a really solid start to the story, we get introduced to the characters, a lot of the basic tone and style ... There's still a few things that were in the solicit that weren't in this issue, but they're just get and going, so I didn't expect everything here.

This is what looks to be a fun mix of 'Super Spy Action' and it looks like we're going to get some 'Superheroics' in there too. What was your take on this?

Drew: I started out as thinking this is a James Bond derivative, and I was not that pleased with it. I just kept reading and as I continue to read, I thought less and less that it was reminiscent of James Bond and more that it was a really good comic. I started to really enjoy it and I was swept up in the story and the mystery, and the last page was really cool. It kind of propels me into the next issue. I can't wait to find out what's going on there. Yes, it was solid.

It started off I thought really reminiscent of James Bond so much though that I just tell it wasn't going to say anything, but it tuned the corner on me.

John: I can definitely see that, because we get introduced to the new operative a thousand and one, and then he meets Veteran Operator number five who visually looked a lot like a James Bond, kind of Sean Connerish take.

Drew: Yes, and then the tec person to get the gear from and yes.

John: On the whole operator fives, close enough to seven, Legend is a Super Spy and stuff. It's like they were building him up. I'm not expecting Operator five to stick around all that long to be honest. I'm thinking he's either going to get replaced or killed off before too long, because what more would up the stakes if this veteran operator who's been around for decades gets taken out.

Drew: Yes.

John: It had some fun stuff. I liked how we got a clear aspect of the mission there being assigned, figuring out how and who is replacing the world leaders. Then at the end, we get kind of that bigger picture problem that they don't know about yet, and again plants the seed for future things and really opens up the scope of the story I think. We'll see if this is going to be kind of a slow burn title or if it goes fast pace or just what direction it goes in.

Drew: I'm not really sure exactly what you're talking about. I'm not sure if this is going to go in that direction or it's going to be more of what we got in this first issue. I'm not really sure.

I do want to see that next issue though. That's a success and we'll see after that. If it maintains that momentum, then yes. I'm in.

John: The impression I got from the solicitation is we're going to see more super heroic type stuff in this book, whether that pans out or not, don't know. This is a six issue limited series so I'm hoping we're going to have nice, tight storytelling and it just keeps moving with Chris Roberson doing the writing. He's a really good writer. He's told a lot of really good stories, so I don't expect to be disappointed there. Again, he handled both the 'Super Spy Aspect' pretty well and the limited 'Superheroics' we got very well too, and the art really worked for me. I was very pleased with that.

Drew: Yes. Solid book.

John: For me, very strong four out of five. Again, I liked what they had done over at Moonstone. The problem I had there is it was a ... The book said that is the lead feature and there was usually a backup or two, so they were sometimes where I was paying $399 or whatever for an issue and half the book was something else. It was coming out late at times, it was moving slow, it was hard for it to really maintain the story momentum, whereas this did a really good job and if they can get the issues out on time, and I have no doubt that Dynamite can, it should do pretty well.

Drew: Yes, I want to give it a three just because I started off really, really derivative there for the first third of the book or so. It did pick up then and finished strong. I will continue in the next issue. Three still is solid score.

John: How could they even prove the first part of that book for you?

Drew: I guess it was just, for me it was too much of James Bondish, so I kind of checked out a little and said, "This is not telling anything new," so I didn't enjoyed that part. For it to be so kind of on the nose, it's another James Bond rip off story, therefore I didn't like that part. Then, as I continued to read, it started to be more and more interesting and less like that, but there was still that whole chunk at the beginning that I didn't like it much.

John: I guess my question is they seemed to be using that to give you a familiar jumping off point for the story, and to use it almost I won't say is a shorthand for setting some stuff up, but we've seen enough variations on the 'Super Spy' genre between TVs, movies, comics, etcetera that, or granted it's yes, very reminiscent of James Bond which is one of the main ones. Flipside, they could have go in the direction of, "It's too similar to 'Mission Impossible'. It's too similar to 'Shield'. It's too similar to this, that or the other."

Drew: To pick the most iconic spy franchise out there and ...

John: Yes, I know. I agree with that.

Drew: .... Kind of do variations on the numbering and the personnel in those that ... and to use that as a beginning, that was the problem I had. It could have been a spy ... There's lots of spy, it could have been reminiscent of Bourne and I won't even notice because ...

John: Not as iconic. You're right.

Drew: Yes, exactly.

John: I completely agree and I think that was almost as much on the artist as the story.

Drew: Yes.

John: If they had changed the look of Operator five and given him some other designation, those two things alone would have helped differentiate it some, you still have the tech guy and all that stuff which again very reminiscent again at the James Bond formula. I can totally see where you're coming from on that, and I'm just wondering was that a fixable problem or not, and I'm not sure.

Drew: Sure. Yes. Okay. I see what you're saying. That was part and parcel with the way the story setup was, so you take it with it and it's part of the whole enjoyment of the issue. I get what you're saying.

John: It's enough of the premise that it's hard to ...

Drew: Yes. You can really think, yes.

John: ... to get started from a different vantage point and not have that built-in comparison or not. Either way, enjoyable book. I'm looking forward to the other issues.

Drew: Yes.

John: I had another large shipment of books this week. I read through all of them. What do you think of the other villain month books this week?

Drew: I didn't get to them all ... Let's see, I read 'Cyborg Superman', 'Joker', 'Two-Face', 'Ventriloquist', 'Poison Ivy', 'Desaad', 'Count Vertigo' and I still have the other five or six to read.

Man, overall, there were so many innocent dead bodies in these issues. It's like, "Okay. Are you trying to say these people are really bad guys? Are you suddenly trying to show me that these are evil, bad people?", because I don't know if I haven't read enough but I've never seen that much of dead people in comics.

John: What better way to set them up by lots of carnage?

Drew: The 'Joker' one was so disturbing in some of the scene. I didn't not like it. I'm not saying I didn't like it. I thought it worked. I think it worked really well, but my God, they were dark some of them.

John: The 'Ventriloquist' one was another like that, yes.

Drew: The 'Ventriloquist' was so dark but good. 'Two-Face' was kind of dark. I like them though. The 'Poison Ivy', I had zero expectations on the 'Poison Ivy'. I thought that was great. That was a great issue, really great telling of her origin as you walk in through Gotham, that's just under whatever happened in the time that we didn't get to see after 'Justice League'.

The 'Count Vertigo' was a huge surprise for me because I didn't even know who that was. That was a great origin story. I loved it and really though that character was going to [spoil 00:45:48] anything in that one in case you haven't read that one yet. Also, some dark and twisted stuff ...

John: Yes, I was going to say that the ending there, they're a little disturbed.

Drew: Yes, a little disturbing.

John: The focus on villains, that's almost to be expected.

Drew: Yes, it makes sense. Yes, villains but we saw an entire death of the family storyline from Scott Snyder. I don't think the Joker really killed anybody in that whole run.

John: He made one or two people and I'm trying to think if he killed anyone though.

Drew: He puts some fake faces on a plate. In this thing, he's a villain. He's a villain.

John: Again, that was the point of these issues.

Drew: Yes. His little pet monkey storyline, that was crazy. I loved it.

John: Yes.

Drew: I just loved it.

John: That was entertaining. It was fun. It's like, "Okay."

Drew: Even in like 'Cyborg Superman', that was probably one of the weaker ones for that run.

John: Major change to that character though from 'Pre-Crisis'.

Drew: I liked it. I still liked that a lot. I wanted to get to all of them and I just didn't get it done, but I want to finish the rest of these often. I'm excited for the 'Best of Villain' month, and I'm not all in in DC on a month to month basis, but this month, I'm all in. I want to read all of the stories.

Now, I can't see how that's going to benefit DC long term. It doesn't really benefit them at all because if I'm reading four 'Batman' titles and four 'Dark Knight' 23.1 point two, point three, point four, it doesn't really translate into me picking up 'Constantine' next month. I don't see how it benefits them long term, but by God, they've got me hook, line and sinker this month.

John: Again, I think it's going to be a great month for them. I think a lot of people are going to go all in, normally don't. It comes down to like you said, is it going to be benefit them long term, are there kind of exit strategies on each of these titles of, "Hey. If you like this, you should follow this book next," and are they going to service on ramps into the regular monthly runs? I think again the choice of calling all of these by so few titles may backfire on them.

Drew: I think yes, most of them had ... the 'Ventriloquist' had picked up the story in 'Batgirl'.

John: The question is months from now, are people going to remember that?

Drew: Yes. That's probably questionable, questionable to doubtful, but still, I can see the attempt, I see what they were trying to do, I don't know how successful they would be long term, but short term, man, that was a homerun for me.

John: If they don't have a dominating percentage of the breakdown of the top 300 in September, I will be surprised.

Drew: Yes. I would be hugely surprised. I just love to see what those numbers are because that will give us an idea of what their print runs were because most of these titles are selling out, and then we know the ones that are, the ...

John: We know the 3D ones were allocated. By definition, that's what they printed.

Drew: Yes.

John: Let me rephrase. What they sold with some reorders and whatever went through other channels, but it gives us a pretty clear indication of how they thought these things were going ot do with the 3D print runs. Anything the 2D does is almost an icing on the cake. It's again going to be a strong month for them. If they keep the quality, that's just a win all the way around.

Drew: Yes, I dominated that conversation. Did you like the stories within these packages?

John: By and large yes. I thought 'Cyborg Superman', the change and who the character is made sense, but was a major change and has ramifications.

Drew: Yes. I was really curious as to someone who knows the real or not the real, but the pre-origins for all the characters that are being highlighted here, and then to see 'The New 52' interpretation of the origin if it was jarring in places or if it upset you or you're onboard.

John: Again, with the 'Cyborg Superman', he was essentially Reed Richards but not a genius version of him. They had a storyline, I think it was Nash [inaudible 00:50:03] in a Superman at one point where a 'Fantastic Four' like event happens. That guy, Hank Henshaw later became the 'Cyborg Superman'. By removing him in that back story entirely and switching to a different character made sense, didn't really upset me or anything, but the character they chose, it's like, "Wow. That was a really interesting choice."

Drew: I think with a lot of people too.

John: Yes. Geez.

Drew: He [kills 00:50:30] entire worlds and cities, geez.

John: There was a lot of carnage. The 'Joker' one, it was a good 'Joker' issue. This is one of the ones that when they do collections of 'Joker' stories moving forward, certainly is probably going to be in the run.

Drew: I do remember when they did in the solicit after villains month, there's a collected villains month 'Omnibus' for like $99 for all 52 issues. At the time, I thought, "Why? It's offly quick to put those all together," but not, it makes a lot of sense. I think that would be a fun read to have, all of those collected for roughly two bucks an issue.

John: Yes.

Drew: I think that's pretty smart to have that out just the next month. It makes a lot of sense. Because of the scarcity and the trouble people have finding them, they just want to say, "You know what? Forget it. I'll just pick up the 'Omnibus'."

John; Be interesting to see how that does, yes. I think you may be very much right on that, but the flipside, $100 a cover price roughly, that's going to scare some people off, limit some people.

Drew: Yes. That's a big number by any standard.

John: We talked about 'Two-Face'. Again, it didn't really jive with the 'Forever Evil' but I enjoyed the issue.

Drew: Yes.

John: This is avery different 'Ventriloquist' than we'd gotten before, but a surprisingly equally disturbed version.

Drew: Oh my. I really like that 'Batgirl' issue with the 'Ventriloquist' in it, but this one just took that and amped it up to super psychotic and crazy and dark and twisted ... It was a fun [run 00:52:05].

John: Most of these were.

Drew: Yes.

John: I liked what they were doing in 'Poison Ivy', 'Desaad' one, 'Count Vertigo' ... Again, that one was another really disturbing one.

Drew: Most of Poison Ivy's kills were justifiable bad people, were they not? Did you get that sense that there were always reasons for those people to die?

John: She's always been ... not always, but ...

Drew: Kind of on the fence there.

John: Over the last dozen years or so, very much an eco terrorist type thing. If you think those sorts of people deserve to die, then yes, a lot of it was very justifiable.

Drew: Nobody deserves to die, but in terms of some of the people that were dying in some of the other books.

John: It's not quite as random with her, yes. I would give you that entirely.

Drew: Yes, less innocent by standards.

John: I was really impressed by the 'Relic' issue, the 'Green Lantern' 23.1.

Drew: I had just started that today and I am going to finish that. Yes, I heard good things. All splash pages, right?

John: Let me think. Again, I've read like 40 or 50 comics. Yes, pretty much. Yes, it was. I didn't even really noticed that one going through it. It was well told in covered ground that I thought needed covering.

The 'Darkseid' one was good. 'Creeper' was good but it was so long since we'd seen the character, and this issue was getting teased back in the 'Katana' issue way back when. The timeline there didn't work to its advantage.

Again, what we got with the 'Bizarre' was some good stuff same with the [inaudible 00:53:35] one. Overall, there wasn't any that I thought, "Gee, this was a little weaker or why did they do this one?" They told good stories.

Drew: Yes. The weakest one for me was the 'Desaad' or 'Sue'.

John: Yes, I can see that. I can see that.

Drew: Yes, that was probably the weakest one for me. Still, I just thought they were really solid stories.

John: The other one I thought was solid going over to 'Marvel' was 'Battle of Atom'.

Drew: Yes.

John: We got the first issue of that and then the second part of that story over an all new 'X-Men'. That really worked for me. I was really pleased with that.

Drew: I'm probably going to read both of those and not chase the individual ex titles just to see if I can get the cliff notes version of what exactly happened.

John: Hopefully you'll be able to do that. If you've got to read all of it, that's always a little annoying when they do that kind of stuff.

Drew: Yes.

John: I don't like it when they force or make people feel forced to read all the stuff.

Drew: Now, did you pick up 'Batman Black and White' as part of your all in?

John: Yes I did. That to me is not part of the all in but I got it anyways.

Drew: It is ... I like the idea of the anthology collection, but I thought ... Some of the art was beautiful, really cool interpretations. The 'Zombie Batman' I didn't care for, the overarching message, that way the social message that they wove through all the stories I thought was way too heavy-handed for me. I was disappointed overall to this book for five bucks. I don't know what your thoughts were. I've heard real ... A lot of people have been raving about this book.

John: I had mixed feelings on it. As with any anthology, some of it worked a lot better for me than others. The whole bit with the bat mobile needing repairs was a lot more pages than there was story.

Drew: Yes.

John: It was good. I liked it.

Drew: There were good ideas in that. There were nice ... the fact that he would ding the car so that he could work on it and then ... Those are some really funny touches and that made sense with the character. I liked some of those things, but I had to look at the ... for five dollars and what we got, I just thought, "My goodness." Yes, I wouldn't want to review this one because I would have to give it a two or something, lower.

John: For me, the problem with revealing something like this is I would feel obligated to go kind of story by story, and some of them I'd give frankly low ratings on, others I'd give very high ratings too and then it's like, "How does that worked out?"

Again, I like what they're doing, I like seeing stuff by all the different artists, this is something that I think they should do once in a while but certainly not something I would probably get on a regularly basis.

Drew: Two is next month, right? They're going to do a ...

John: I think it's a six issue series, yes.

Drew: Yes. Yes. I don't think I've preordered that. I'm not really worried about that. Did you get a chance to read 'Quantum and Woody 3'?

John: I actually did not get 'Quantum and Woody' or 'Shadowman' this time around. I should be in the shipment, it comes, arrives tomorrow for me.

Drew: Okay.

John: Looking forward to it though.

Drew: Yes. There was ... [Aspen 00:56:39] says really some good stuff, good dialogue, there's really a great exchange in there that just laugh out loud hilarity, I felt and we'll have to talk about that another time. I thought that was really good.

What do you think of ...

John: [Inaudible 00:56:59] is a publisher to be watching. They're telling really good stuff.

Drew: What did you think of the Latham first issue of the 'Daredevil: Dark Nights' arc?

John: As I recall, I thought it was incredibly lackluster.

Drew: Yes. It makes sense, yes. That was just okay on it, yes.

John: Yes, it wasn't bad but it wasn't one that made me think, "Wow! This was a great story." It held together very well as a single issue, but it was one of those that almost felt like a filler issue which kind of essentially exactly what it was.

Drew: Yes, you're right. That is exactly what it is. It's a filler two-story arc until you get to the closer I guess, right?

John: They fact they did a miniseries which in and of itself has miniseries inside it or whatever, it was a little weird.

Drew: Yes, the more I think about that, I think you're right. It would have made more sense to do a three issue, a two issue and a three issue miniseries and series and not one big series that has those within it. It probably would have helped sales.

John: Probably. You would have had to spread it out across a longer timeframe, and I almost would have taken this two-issue arc not having seen the second half yet, but almost would have taken that and done it as a double-size issue.

Drew: Yes. Why not?

John: Just sprinkle that over the course of a year, the three issue here, one shot here, three issue there, but we'll see.

Drew: God is dead from 'Avatar Press'. It was a Jonathan Hickman book.

John: Yes, got that.

Drew: Interesting. Little [nudity 00:58:30] at the beginning to kick it off and get you into the book. It had some neat ideas. I think I liked it. I'm definitely going to read the next issue.

John: I liked it but it was heavy on setup and I'm looking forward to getting a little bit more payoff down the line. It certainly got a lot of potential but I didn't feel like this in and of itself sold me so well on the series.

Drew: Right.

John: It's six issue limited. I'm sure he's got a very beginning, middle and end in mind. I liked what I got, I just wanted a little bit more I guess.

Drew: I think he does the same thing on 'East of West', a lot of setup.

John: The difference is, 'East of West' is ongoing.

Drew: Yes.

John: This is six issues, so the question is is it six issues for chapter one, or is it six issues and done?

Drew: Yes, that we don't know. Reality check number one, I think is kind of a miss for me, was very inside baseball type of story. It's like a comic creator - the story of a comic creator with basically severe writer's block and his character jumps off the page and leaves his mind so that he can exist in the real world. I just thought it was way too meta and too inside comic industry.

John: The inside baseball I think is a very fair comment on that. The problem I had with it is it setup the premise but it takes all issue to do that and it didn't really give us any remote explanation as to how this guy got out of his comic world into the real world.

Drew: No. It wasn't enough of a payoff at the end for you to say, "I can't wait to find out what happens in the next issue."

John: Yes, this was an issue setting up the premise not really moving the story forward, and this is too competitive of a market for that I think. This is one that I think the first issue may do okay, but I expect to see a short drop off on the sales on the second. No, maybe the second one will turn it around. Don't know. Yes.

Drew: Yes, I would think so. I don't think I want to read the next one.

John: I think a lot of people are going to think that.

Drew: Yes. Speaking of not wanting to read the next one was 'Sheltered number three', I was suppose to drop off of this for two, but more really curious and I was sitting on the shelf and calling to me for some reason. I tried another one and it's still not clicking.

John: You gave up after ...

Drew: You dropped this one didn't you?

John: Yes.

Drew: Yes, you're wise. It just didn't do it. Some of them was really ... An interesting title for me this month was 'Superior Spiderman 17', because I'm usually forcing fives on this book. This issue for me was like the weakest one in the run. I really didn't like it. I didn't enjoy it. I didn't like the character of 2099 at all. I thought there were just some ... I enjoyed parts of it like the softball stuff at it. That was a nice touch, but the overarching story I did not like that much. That maybe because I don't know a lot of this back story.

John: Yes, I was going to ask if you're going to need the 'Spiderman 2099' stuff.

Drew: No, I hadn't. I was trying to piece it together while I was going through there and I think they tried to help you as a new reader, but it wasn't enough to make it that compelling or interesting. I think folks that know all that got a lot more out of this issue than I did.

John: I would agree with that. If somebody who's read all the 'Spiderman 2099' stuff that I was very much aware of who the character was, what was going on and all that stuff so it was easy to get in to that part of the story.

The other thing about this as they were bringing 'Horizon Labs' back, front and center into the storyline, and it's really kind of gotten neglected over the last couple of months.

Drew: Yes it had. Yes, it's true.

John: Just as the Doc Ock, Peter Parker didn't really know what was going on with Horizon, neither did we to readers. I think they could have set that part of the story up a little bit better. I still enjoyed it but I agree, it was not at the top of the game like the run has been so far.

Drew: For the 'Wildcard' issue for me was the 'Star Wars' number which was based on the original George Lucas screenplay. I think it's an eight issue miniseries.

John: Yes.

Drew: I did not know this story at all, and I was very surprised at just how different, starkly different it was from what we ended up with with the 'New Hope', and you kind of had to check that movie out of your broad mind a little bit to try to figure out what was going on here because there's a significant amount of difference. Yes.

John: There's enough similarities that it's like an alternate version world of it or universe.

Drew: It is. Yes, it's almost like a fan fiction or something.

John: More like an Earth two version of it.

Drew: Yes. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it, because I really enjoyed what I was reading. It was just like a new 'Star Wars' tale. It felt somewhat familiar, but then different in a lot of ways.

John: Yes.

Drew: When you know it's the screenplay for 'Star Wars', the first one, the '77 movie.

John: The original one, yes.

Drew: Yes, the original one. I think Leia was very pretty spot on, close to her character, but that might have been it. That was it.

John: Overall, I really liked it but it was very interesting. You've got very 'Star Wars' type stuff but in a very different usage and twist on it.

Drew: Yes.

John: Again, to me that worked really well and it was again a blend of the new and familiar with the radically different take on it. I'm looking forward to the rest of the run and kind of have a whole thing go ...

Drew: Yes, I'm going to stick through this one. I want to find out exactly how this goes and there were some ... Darth Vader is in this, but there's like a different ... I don't know. It's different.

John: It's a very different take on them, yes.

Drew: It's a very different take. If you're a 'Star Wars' fan at all, I think you should check this out for sure.

John: Definitely.

Drew: 'Superior Foes number three', this is still a great book for me. I like this one. I thought it was a really cool gangster story that was woven into this ... I didn't know it. I don't know if it existed before, but it was all new to me and I really loved it. Another great issue.

John: I really enjoyed it and I thought the way they're spotlighting these villains is really working for me. The whole bit with the probation officer type stuff is a lot of fun in this issue. I'm curious how long this is going to go for and how well they can keep it going because I don't see it slowing down anytime soon.

Drew: Yes. No, because as far as real time, not a lot of time past and the story was able to just shoot off the side and still maintained the momentum of the series. I just really liked it. I loved ... The humor is just ... It's a really good containing piece to [Hawk guy 01:06:04] I think. I think it has that same humor sensibility to it. They really would work well together. If you like one, I think you'll like the other and vice versa.

John: I think it's also a great way for them to spotlight 'Super Villains' ...

Drew: Yes.

John: ... to get to know them as characters, not just as bank robbers of whatever.

Drew: It sure gives you a whole different appreciation for them. When they pop up in other books, I feel totally different now when I see 'Shockwave' pop up somewhere.

John: You've gotten to him.

Drew: Yes.

John: He's more than just a punching bag.

Drew: Yes.

John: It's something that I think they should keep going with.

Drew: We might get some of that and team up maybe with some of the 'Sinister Six' that's happening over there. Maybe we'll get to know them a little.

John: Hope so. Hope so. Certainly, it seems likely, yes.

Drew: 'Trillium 2' I thought was a really good continuation of the first issue. I liked it. Was worried because I wasn't blown away by issue one, but I thought issue two was solid enough. I might continue with this one.

John: I didn't get it.

Drew: You didn't read it, yes.

John: Nope, didn't seem interesting to me so I skipped it.

Drew: I started 'Infinity 2' but didn't get to finish it. I'm not sure if that's keeping the momentum going or not.

John: I liked it but I haven't really gotten and sucked into story as I would like to be.

Drew: Ys.

John: There's nothing wrong with it. It's telling some interesting stuff, but between what happened in the first issue in 'Avengers Assemble' and the 'Captain Marvel', there's an aspect where we're getting different vantage point in some of the same events, and I'm not sure how well they're all really staying in lockstep but I'm also finding, I'm not really caring that much in terms of if they do or not.

Again, I'm liking it, I'm enjoying it, but I'm not just blown away by it.

Drew: Right. Yes, for me, this week, DC definitely beat the field and was my big winner. I really enjoyed a lot of their stuff.

John: They have a strong week. They had a lot of good stuff.

Drew: I didn't get to read anything else.

John: Have you read 'Ironman' yet?

Drew: No. I don't normally.

John: They're telling a really good storyline with the secret origin of Tony Stark.

Drew: I've heard several folks say that that's an underappreciated book.

John: I believe it is. I'm really enjoying it. It's got some great stuff, great story, great art, well worth reading.

Drew: Love to put that on the review list.

John: Okay. Another one that we'll have to consider doing, and I say that because as much as I'm enjoying this book, if you come in late, it may be a little harder to figure out what's going, 'The Red Ten' by ComixTribe.

ComixTribe is basically retelling Agatha Christie's ten [linens 01:08:53] or whatever. They've essentially counterparts to the 'Justice League'.

Drew: Wow, it's clever.

John: We're losing one an issue, so fortunately they had about 10 members to begin with. It's a fun story. I'm liking it. I think ComixTribe is doing a lot of really good stuff these days and not doing tons of stuff but I think pretty much everything I've read from them I've enjoyed. That's always a good thing in my opinion.

Drew: Another one of those hidden [gems 01:09:20] from the back of the previous catalog.

John: This is ... Yes. This 'Red Five', one or two of the publishers are ones that are on my radar. If they put something new out, I would at least consider it. In nine times out of ten, that means I get it.

Other thing I found interesting this week was 'Ame-Comi Girls'. This introduced the 'Team Hellions' which is essentially the Teen Titans as if they were horror film acr types of whatever, mixed with the Japanese cute girl genre. It was a very bizarre hybrid.

Drew: Is that a weekly digital first?

John: That's a digital first, yes. I don't know how much longer the print comics is going to go, but I think they're going to continue with the digital side of it. They're changing how they're repackaging.

I read a bunch of other stuff. None of it's really jumping out as a stuff to talk about other than 'Legends of the Dark Knight', that's another digital first. It was one where it ends on kind of a Cliffhanger thing and it's like, "Why didn't you just reorder the chapter such that we get it all in one issue?"

It's silly to read parts of stories and then get parts of the story that then has a cliffhanger.

Drew: That's because it's not really a print comic.

John: No, it's not but they I think could have and should have instead of telling to kind of done in one stories and then something that's a cliffhanger, reordered, how they took the digital parts and give me a full story and an issue.

In other words, I shouldn't pay $399 and get a short story and then part of something that could have been concluded in this issue potentially but because of the way it split wasn't.

Drew: Yes. Okay. I can see that.

John: If there's not enough of room for the whole story in a single issue, yes, I get it, split it over issues, but if there is, come on. Still, good stuff. Yes, those are the highlights for me.

Drew: Great week. Great week for comics.

John: It's just a really good time for comics.

Drew: Yes.

John: A lot of good things been published by all the publishers, it's just a matter of finding what's right for you as based on your taste, your interest and your budget.

Drew: How many 'Forever Evils' do we get?

John: I believe it's a seven issue series. Let me double check my notes here and see what it says.

Drew: Is it a monthly?

John; One of seven. I believe it is monthly, yes.

Drew: Boy, that will take a while then.

John: Yup.

Drew: Okay. All right. That's an event.

John: It's an event not only because of the length, the scope, but also the fact it's already tied into every title they've got.

Drew: Every single thing, yes.

John: I was shocked by how well 'Infinity number one' sold and I'm curious if DC is going to be able to top the charts with the 'Forever Evil' or not.

Drew: I would assume so. I think it's going to just dominate the charts, but I've been wrong before.

John: I think the DC overall will, but Marvel Events just generally sell better than DC Events.

Drew: Yes.

John; I also did not think that 'Infinity' was going to sell as well as it did. It really comes down to how things are ordered and what people think. As strong as these events both start and debate if 'Infinity' is really a true event or not. Either way, it's a top selling book.

The question is really going to be how these sales are at the end of these things, and if they're able to maintain tales or if it just drops off drastically?

Drew: Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

John: I'm getting to where I think first issue sales are interesting, but meaningless in terms of how the book is really doing, particularly given how much of it is propped up by varying covers and stuff like that.

Drew: Yes, give me an average of three month sales without varied covers and that will tell me a little more, a better shot at how well that comic is doing.

John: I think for ongoing titles, aside from the fact they seem to rotate every two or three years, just skip the first six and actually probably just three or four issues of sales and go from there, and you get a better sense, because that's usually where half the sales drop anyways in the first three issues.

Drew: Yes.

John: I still got to figure out how I want to tackle the villain month stuff when it comes down to the September sales. I've got a couple of weeks to go figure that out.

Drew: I was wondering if you were going ... Are you going to have zeroes in ... like there wasn't a 'Batgirl' issue, there wasn't a 'Catwoman' issue, but there were four 'Dark Knight' issues that month? What's your gut telling you, what you think you're going to do?

John: Typically, I think the point whatever issues and don't do them in the trends, because typically they've been like a point one issue that's jumping on point by a different creative team. Since these are by different creative teams and arguably are not really issues of the title they're claiming to be, I don't want to necessarily lump them in there.

What I may do is take the ... Obviously, I'm going to try how the 52 issues did, and then I may do a high-low average of the titles they were part of. I don't know.

Drew: Yes. It makes sense, doesn't it that you just know there's really no data on any of 'The New 52' that month, because this is a totally different animal.

John; There is, but not on the individual titles is the funny part.

Drew: Yes. Yes.

John: I can do aggregate sales for 'The New 52', and I've given some thought to doing that including splitting out for the second month of 'The New 52' when all the number one showed back up of what were the new issue sales versus the total sales and stuff like that, but I need to get some of the data a little bit tweaks to go do that and I need to give some thought as to what is meaningful and relevant statistics and charts for 'The New 52' for September? Certainly if listeners have ideas, I'm all ears, I would appreciate some input on this. What do you guys want to see in terms of how the sales? What are the relevant benchmarks? Are the different titles that they're using of action 'Superman' and the 'Batman' titles and stuff, are those good benchmarks or are they not?

Drew: I'm guessing 'Every Evil' is well over a hundred thousand.

John: If it's below 150, I'll be surprised.

Drew: I would think the 'Joker' issue would definitely be over a hundred thousand. I'm really not sure what the print runs were on some of these things, so there's probably a number that it caps that, that it can't go over but they had to print a lot of the 'Joker' because it was the 'Batman' title.

John; I guess the other question is, "If you take the list of the 52 villains, which villain maps to which ongoing title the best?"

Drew: Yes.

John: Because I can't even say which of the two 'Aquaman' titles I should be using to compare to 'Aquaman' versus ...

Drew: I don't think you can.

John: What would I use the other one for? Yes.

Drew: Yes. I think you're right. You have to aggregate the whole thing as a new ... what were the sales for 'New 52' for that month compared to the debut month or months two or whatever. That makes a lot of sense.

John: Then also taking again, the 'Four Action Comics' ones and how does that compare to how Action's been trending? Is that even relevant or not? I don't know.

Drew: Then the month after ...

John: The month after, I just treated as if the 23 is the previous issue.

Drew: Then we'll see if there's any sales juice or any bump that they got from this endeavor.

John: If I had to guess that the trends are going to be pretty much in line with as if those titles didn't happen. That's usually how it is.

Drew: That was what happened at 'Zero Month', right? There was a change.

John: I'd have to double check. Yes, usually ... you seen what happened after 'Blackest Night'. Things would shoot up five times what they normally sold and there would be a negligible if any gain on the next issue compared to the previous one before the promotional 'Power Ring'.

Drew: Always. Always just happen. It's like that every time.

John: It didn't used to be. It used to be that there was a sustained bump for a little bit. You get a shot in the arm and some of it carries over. Now, it's here that they gone tomorrow literally and we've gotten to a very churn based model. If something is crossing over, if that issue gets the sale of the next issue, it's as if the crossover never happened. At best, it's usually continuing to go down and sometimes it's chasing people off the books.

Drew: That's why it's so rare and celebrated when something like a saga or a 'Walking Dead' happens where those numbers continue to rise month after month after month, and new readers seem to funnel in, and you're talking significant numbers anyway in this 60,000 range or whatever and it just continues to build just doesn't exist very often. It's so rare.

John: No. It does not. It's very, very rare. Again, that's why 'Walking Dead' is one of those go-to titles for me in that regard. Other titles just don't cline like that.

Drew: I guess 'Batman'. It's selling.

John: 'The Walking Dead' has continually gone on an upward trend period.

Drew: 'Batman's' been up and down since 'The New 52' launch?

John: Up and down. I'd have to double check since 'The New 52' launch. It's been selling strong, but it's not one that started around 6,000 and has gone up to the 70,000, 'The Walking Dead' now is.

Drew: Yes.

John: It's fundamentally different, not better or worse, just ...

Drew: It's a much smaller slope but I think it's been successfully adding readers. Seems like it.

John: Some issues more so than others. It's bouncing around a lot. It's had some that are over 150, some that are below 130. It doesn't seem to have a clear trajectory in either direction. It may be that I used some charts on that for next month's article and stuff too. I don't know. I'll give it some thought though.

Drew: Good stuff.

John: Anything else? That pretty much do it.

Drew: Man, that will do it. Cool.

John: Join us next week as we discuss 'Batman 23.2' featuring the 'Riddler' from DC, 'Mighty Avengers number one' for 'Marvel, and 'Kings Watch number one' from 'Dynamite Entertainment'.

John: This show notes and forum for the Podcast can be found at under the podcast and forums section for the website. Please email us at and let us know what you think what we've discussed in this episode. Thanks for listening.

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