Yes, we know it's February, but we still say Happy 2016 at the start of this, our first show of the year. We're somehow managing the trick of getting all retro with a brand new comic in this one, as we take a look at the return of Swamp Thing's original writer in issue one of the new Swamp Thing limited series. Given the wealth of different takes and additions to the mythology that have some along since Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson first created the Thing in the Swamp, what's it like having Wein back?
Seeing out the old year and welcoming the new, we’ve succumbed to the lure of nostalgia and done a review show of all the One Comics to date. Which of the series we said we’d stick with did we follow? Have we changed our minds on anything with hindsight or the benefit of more issues? What is the secret to the perfect One Comic? Based on this view it’s a combination of smut, Bex and Jared sniping at each other and a healthy disregard for received wisdom. About *anything*.
Also to note that with apologies, the technical challenges that plagued us at the end of the year affected the sound quality of the new parts of this. We’re hoping to have resolved this for our next session. Thanks for listening - Happy 2016!
Season's Greetings! Feliz Navidad! Nadolig Llawen!
This is a long one, and partly that's due to Jared's idea of "three and one" going even more off-piste than usual into his "nonagon of naughtiness'; the "nine stage trail of fail" as he looks at the various levels of intersection between comicbook reality and, well, reality.
We may as well get this out of the way up front: this is that rare show where we all agree with each other. A lot. But bear with it - it’s not as dull as it sounds, honest.
It’s issue one of Clean Room, out this week from Vertigo, created by Gail Simone with art by Jon Davis-Hunt. We won’t give anything away here except to say that the last time we reviewed a Gail Simone book it was Red Sonja, and you may remember we raved about that, so we went into this story with high hopes. This is Vertigo back in creepy horror mode, so there’s that heritage to play for too.
And in the spirit of the occasion, (our) Jon does a 3&1 on Vertigo limited series. Turns out that not everything you think of as Vertigo was actually Vertigo. And he’d like to point out that he remembered The Witching Hour five minutes too late to make this a 4&1, which it absolutely would have been. Also, there is too much comics trivia in this man's head.
This one's a bit of a puzzler. When you tell the story of a sexy woman super-agent set against a backdrop of the California porn industry, featuring lots of prominent cleavage and a very male gazey perspective, even if it's meant to be ironic, is it actually still just a bit sexist? And more importantly, is it actually any good? These and others are the questions we face in reviewing issue one of Red One from Image Comics, by Xavier Dorison, Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson.
Time for another Blast From The Past, as we go back to issue 137 of the first comic book series called The X-Men and the double-sized conclusion of the Dark Phoenix Saga. Having been corrupted by The Hellfire Club and almost incidentally destroyed an entire planet of intelligent beings, original X-Man Jean Grey is on trial for her life and creators Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin tell one of the best-known and most lauded stories in Marvel history. Thirty-five years to the (cover-dated) month later, how does this classic hold up?
And famously, the outcome of this was subsequently undone by means of one of the biggest retcons in that same Marvel history, so in the spirit of the subject, Jon shares his Top Three and Best One Ever X-Men retcons. Well, not exactly that way round as it turns out.
Time to dip into the DC Trinity for the first time, with a look at this month’s Batman #43, part three of the Superheavy story which introduced a new man in the Batman suit, a new Batman suit (or two), a new version of Bruce Wayne, and a new Batman villain in the form of Mr Bloom. So there’s a LOT going on here, including a great deal of back story to get caught up on. The last couple of times we delved into the DC Universe we didn’t have such a good time. Will things be better as we get to grips with the acclaimed Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo run?
And almost as importantly, what will Bex select as her Top Three/Worst One Ever superhero origins?
Let’s get this right out there up front: this one’s marked explicit for both subject matter and language. The first volume of Sunstone from Top Cow/Image is on one level a romance comic, but on a completely different level it’s a story about a BDSM relationship with quite a lot of graphic nudity. This one challenges us, particularly the male participants (and yes, we nearly typed ‘members’ there… there’s a lot of struggling with language here) in a number of ways: how do we feel about what we’re seeing? Are there limits to what seems appropriate for certain types of creator to create? Can we objectively assess the objectified? And what are we to make of the industry when we consider this comic?
One of those discussions where the basic question of “is it any good?” takes a back seat to a lot of others. Like "How many euphemisms for women's genitalia can Bex come up with?"
In comic book terms, there are few characters (and certainly few non-superhero characters) more iconic than Archie Andrews, so the launch of a brand new Archie #1 seems like a suitable occasion for us to mark. This first issue also includes a reprint of the very first Archie short story, which is… different. So how does this relaunch by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples measure up to the Archies of Jared’s youth? Back in show 3 we looked at the new horror version of Sabrina, which showed a different version of the Archie universe - how well or badly does a relatively traditional take play?
And in the return of Top Three/Worst One Ever, Jared takes us through his Top Three (actually Five) Enduring Comicbook Romances. It’s safe to say we don’t all agree with his choices.
Also: don’t forget to vote for the kind of comics you’d like to hear us talk about at onecomicpodcast.com