Message Recall

I had one of those experiences years ago where someone direct messaged me asking about coming onto the podcast. This is someone whose work I had been following and enjoyed, but I was extremely surprised that they had reached out (and no, I’m not going to reveal who). My show was (is?) not well-known, let alone for the specific content this person was producing at that time.

So, I had to think about it for a while. I hadn’t done many interviews with people whom I have not already met or known, but after some thought, I decided to throw caution to the wind and take a chance! I responded with, “Sure! I assume you want to talk about the new —?” While I waited for the person’s reply, I started doing my homework: detailing who this person was, what they had been working on, and coming up with questions.

A day or two passed, but no response. I began to wonder: was the request a mistake? After all, there are other podcasts with “Longbox” in their title (let alone “Review”). Maybe this person meant to message that other podcast, or, just as likely, someone in their social media list who was before or after my name and they messaged the wrong person. Given that I never heard back, I assume the latter. I can only imagine that after I messaged them back, they thought, “Oh, shit! I contacted the wrong guy/show! What do I do?! If I say, ‘Sorry, I meant to send this to —‘, I’ll look like an asshole. I know, I’ll just pretend I hadn’t sent the message…”.

I don’t blame them for not responding. Who hasn’t accidentally sent a message you immediately wish you could recall and hoping the recipient hadn’t seen it? Still, it would have been interesting and probably a lot of fun had they responded and we did the interview (after all, more coverage is always a good thing). Oh well, maybe one day….

Pull List Review: August 2022 Comic Books

Direct Download (29:32)

I talk about some of the 30 comic books I read in August 2022:

  • Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #8
  • Nightwing Annual 2021
  • Batman: Urban Legends #10
  • Bolero tpb (issues #1-5)
  • The New Champion of Shazam #1
  • and, briefly, a few others

Feedback!

Thanks for listening!

Justice #2

By Alex Ross, Doug Braithwaite, Jim Krueger, & Klein. Cover by Ross.

Overview

Justice was a 12-issue limited (or maxi) series released in 2005-2007 (published bi-monthly). It was conceived by Ross to be a “Superhuman war. The superhuman war.” Because I haven’t read this since it was first published, I wanted to reexamine this series. To read previous posts, click the link.

Synopsis

The Riddler has hacked into the Batcave computer via the Wayne Industries mainframe, and Batman arrives to retrieve the disk copy Riddler made of the information, which includes the Justice League satellite schematics and the Leaguers’ identities. As he chases Riddler, Batman tells Red Tornado that he will assist in looking for the missing Aquaman once he has the disk.

Elsewhere, Dr. Crane (aka Scarecrow) is curing patients with debilitating illnesses, allowing people “who were told they would never walk again” to “have left their beds and wheelchairs”, and he has done so anonymously.

Batman nearly captures Riddler at a nightclub, but the villain gets away and leaves the detective a clue: a preserved eyeball and ear inside a nesting doll.

Flash comes across the result of Captain Cold’s ice mountain, which has since melted and created an oasis. A witness tells Flash that there were others who helped, one of whom was Poison Ivy, who is elsewhere growing a fruit-bearing plant to help feed the local population. After she has done this, she mentions the “arrival of the Fall,” as tears stream down her face.

Batman traces Riddler to Gotham Cemetery and confronts and captures him there, but not before Riddler nearly straggles himself. He then declares, “What’s … wrong with me?” Riddler is taken to Arkham Asylum, where the Joker demands to be a part of the villains’ plan.

Aquaman awakens to find himself strapped down and unable to break free. It’s then that Brainiac tells him, “I need to understand you, and know you.” Brainiac holds up a bone saw, saying, “…I’m just trying to get inside your head.”

Reaction

The cover is striking. First, you have the white background — a color that is not normally associated with Batman, who is the central figure. Second, there are the countenances of the Justice League, with their heads turned down, perhaps in judgement? Guilt? Martian Manhunter, however, is looking straight at us, though with shaded eyes (given that he appears to be the focus in the next issue, is this Ross’s sly way of indicating that?). What are they hiding? This idea of concealment is accentuated by Riddler’s cloak and the light emanating from within it — it’s a lovely dichotomy: light is usually associated with truth, but he conceals it under a darkness, smiling as he looks upwards — usually a sign of hopefulness — in direct opposition to the Justice Leaguers. Just lovely work.

Speaking of Riddler, I love Ross’s version of him with that long, black overcoat and a green light shining from within it — he is the living embodiment of the riddle he leaves for Batman in the nesting doll! Plus, he now has a “light-based hologram generator” (the source of the light under his coat I suppose) that spewed out question marks with enough candle power to blind Batman in order to escape. Speaking of riddles, much of the issue has Batman pondering what Riddler is telling him, as well as what we “hear” Riddler saying to others. I shall have to remember to look back at this issue as this overall mystery unfolds to see how the enigmatic clues tie into it.

Then there’s the capture scene with Riddler straggling himself. He seems to be under some sort of influence — does this mean the other villains are as well? Cold and Ivy made the oasis, and Crane cured people, yet Brainiac is going to cut open Aquaman’s head to get at his brain (and why? Something to do with Arthur’s telepathy?)? (By the way, this is slyly foreshadowed just two panels before the final page with a chimpanzee’s[?] head on a tray in the background with the top part of its skull having been cut off and showing the brain.) I continue to love the slow build of the mystery and seeing the villains (for the most part) acting out of turn.

Finally, the tears. We see Poison Ivy crying, presumably about the forthcoming end of the world, but the Legion of Doom is trying to save the world — does she not believe their plan will work? Or is it because she knows that no matter what they do, even if successful in preventing the world’s destruction, people will suffer and die…? It potentially raises Ivy to a new level, at least in terms of empathy for other people. Also, in the previous issue we see Superman crying in the vision the villains keep having. Is this to be a recurring motif?

Private Files

This issue features Riddler and Brainiac (of course Bruce wouldn’t have a file on himself…). I love the revelation (at least it was to me) that Riddler’s compulsion  is possibly driven by his father’s demand that he speak the truth regardless of consequence. I think that elevates the character to something more than just a themed rogue for Batman.

Also regarding Ross’s designs, showing Brainiac with those electrodes or nodes or whatever as being embedded in his skin is brilliant. It accentuates the alien quality of the character compared to his Silver Age appearance. The whole mad scientist visual is a bit new and forced to fit the plot, if I’m being honest. And I’m not sure why Bruce (Ross) wants to have Brainiac embody artificial envy, greed, and hatred, as if the artificiality is somehow worse or more than “natural” envy, greed, and hatred?

I forgot to mention that the trade paperback collection I have are missing these Private Files, which is too bad because if you only have the collection, you are missing out on the pencil sketches of these characters by Ross. It makes me want to see Ross do a black and white series with just his pencil work, it’s that good.

Pull List Review: July 2022 Comic Books

Direct Download (33:22)

I talk about some of the 47 comic books I read in July 2022:

  • Faithless II (#1-6)
  • Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator
  • All-New Collectors’ Edition C-54: Superman vs Wonder Woman
  • Saga #60
  • Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite (#1-6)
  • and, briefly, a few others

Feedback!

Thanks for listening!

The Legion Project 38: The Greatest Hero of Them All

Direct Download (3:48:04)

“In this conclusion to the four-part Superboy crossover, learn why Superboy is ‘the greatest hero of them all’.”

Timestamps:
(00:45) Preamble, anniversary talk, and a new contest!
(10:11) Superman vs Superboy Part 3: Action Comics #591 synopsis and general thoughts
(23:44) Main discussion
(1:53:05) Who’s Who Update ’87 #2 entry: Flare
(1:59:57) Legion vs Time Trapper Part 4: Legion of Super-Heroes #38 synopsis, general thoughts, and cover discussion
(2:16:29) Main discussion
(3:25:13) Letter column reactions, feedback, and final thoughts
(3:42:07) Wrap up and outro

Please leave comments below, send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com or peter@thedailyrios.com, or chat with us @longboxreview or @peterjrios on Twitter.

Thanks for listening!

The Legion Project is a joint podcast production with Peter from The Daily Rios podcast (where you can also listen and subscribe to The Legion Project), where we discuss, issue by issue, the 1984 Legion of Super-Heroes (volume 3) series affectionately known as the “Baxter run”.

The Legion Project forum: https://justanotherfanboy.freeforums.net/board/19/legion-project

Intro theme: “Lost City” by RhoMusic