Podcast Episode 107: Top 5 Magic Characters

Direct Download (2:01:34)

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Just in time for Halloween, Travis joins me to discuss our favorite magical comic book characters. Who will make the cut? Dr. Fate or Dr. Strange? Etrigan or Hellboy? Listen to find out! But first we briefly talk about the passing of Steve Dillon and then chat about the fantastic artist who’s coming to the 2017 Emerald City Comicon: José Luis García-López!

Who are your favorite magical characters? Let us know!

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, chat with me @longboxreview on Twitter, or visit longboxreview.com. Please subscribe, rate, and review the show via iTunes.

Thanks for listening!


RandoMonday: Legends #1

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Legends 1

Legends #1 by John Ostrander (plotter), Len Wein (scripter), John Byrne (penciller), Karl Kesel (inker), Steve Haynie (letterer), Tom Ziuko (colorist), Mike Gold (editor), and Byrne (cover) (there’s another name written on the cover to this issue, but I can’t make it out and it’s not listed anywhere that catalogs such information; if anyone knows whose name that is, please let me know)

Yeah! A number one issue comes up in the randomizer, and it’s the event follow-up to Crisis (in the editor’s notes near the back of the book, Dick Giordano is quoted as calling it “Crisis Two”)! Legends helped reintroduce some characters or new takes on characters and even launch new books post-Crisis. We get Darkseid and his cronies attempting to discredit the superheroes  in an attempt to make humanity “more compliant”. This issue focuses on Firestorm, the new version of Flash, aka Wally West, with Changeling taking on a supportive role, Captain Marvel, the Big Red Cheese, and Cosmic Boy from the Legion of Super-Heroes. At the very end, the Detroit era Justice League shows up to help Cosmic Boy take on new villain Brimstone. It’s also the first appearance of Amanda Waller and the hint of the Suicide Squad.

Even when I first read this series, I thought that the basic premise was a little weak. After all, how can humanity so easily turn its back on the superheroes that they admire and depend upon so much? Of course, there’s some subtle and not so subtle manipulation going on via Glorious Godfrey and other Darkseid minions, including convincing Billy Batson that he killed villain Macro Man and vowing that he would never become Captain Marvel again. However, the creators do a fairly good job juggling all the plots and characters while getting into the heads of a few to provide some much needed characterization and potential character development. I enjoyed in particular the talk between Flash and Changeling, where Wally talks about the pressure he was feeling to live up the legacy of Barry Allen. When Changeling challenges Wally to sidestep the issue by becoming someone else (for example, “Blue Bolt or Speed Demon or Charlie Hustle…”), Wally brushes that suggestion off by telling his friend, “If I do that, the legend dies, and I refuse to allow that to happen”. This is the series in a nutshell from the heroes’ perspective.

It was also nice at that time to see Byrne drawing more DC characters. Maybe half of his Man of Steel miniseries introducing the post-Crisis Superman had come out by this time, so I was hankerin’ for more of his work in the DCU. Karl Kesel does a good job at keeping Byrne’s line work in check and evoking Kirby with the Fourth World characters.

Despite my issue with the premise, I recall really enjoying this series, and I plan to do a spotlight on the whole series one day, either here or on the podcast.

Podcast Episode 47: Marvel NOW!.2

The Marvel NOW! initiative began about six months ago, and we discuss the titles that have launched so far in 2013, including:

  • Young Avengers
  • Superior Spider-Man
  • Avenging Spider-Man
  • Savage Wolverine
  • Captain Marvel
  • New Avengers
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Uncanny X-Men
  • Fearless Defenders
  • Daredevil
  • Wolverine

What did we like? What could have been better? Just how successful was this initiative? Listen to discover the secrets!

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, or leave voicemail at 208-953-1841. Please rate and review on iTunes. You can also visit the Feedback page.

Thanks for listening!

Direct Download (1:53:30)

Pull List Thoughts: 1/16/13 Comics

As I was reading my comics from the week of January 16, I kept noticing certain panels that spoke to me in some way. Here are my (not so good) photos and commentary.


Avenging Spider-Man #16 by Chris Yost (w), Paco Medina (p), Juan Vlasco (i), and Dave Curiel (s)

Spider-Man beats Wolverine?! Granted, Otto Octavious is in command, but it still shows what a bad-ass Spider-Man can be. And boy did Otto get lucky when the telepath declined to scan his mind. I imagine he’ll want to come up with some sort of anti-telepath field or something for any future encounters. Also, I really dug the reveal of the villain at the end of the story. It ties back to when I first started reading Spider-Man stories in the late 70s.


Batman and Robin #16 by Peter Tomasi (w), Patrick Gleason (p), Mick Gray/Keith Champagne (i), and John Kalisz (c)

This panel is awesome. I admit I was confused at first as to why Robin was crying out in pain, but then I quickly saw the shadows to his left depicting the reason. What a cool way to progress the action instead of just showing Batman tackling Robin. Possible SPOILER: while the story was pretty good overall, I question Robin’s inability to identify that this is not his Batman. First, this guy cold not fight like Damian’s father, even if he did have a similar build. Second, the guy was laughing all the time, so why couldn’t Damian tell that it wasn’t Bruce by the sound of his voice (maybe it was the sound of Batman laughing that through him off?). Despite these complaints, the heart of the story, of this title, is about the relationship between a father and son, so when Damian tells Batman, “It’s all right, Father … I’d rather die by your hand than you by mine.”, well, that just breaks my heart.


Captain Marvel #9 by Kelly Sue DeConnick (w), Filipe Andrade (a), and Jordie Bellaire (c)

Notice the guy’s arm. I know comic artists have their own style, but that forced perspective is just too much. And look at his really pointy index finger–come on! Despite my general dislike of Andrade’s art on this book, I really did enjoy this issue. I was actually going to drop this title after issue 12, but reading #9 may have changed my mind–I just hope there’s more issues like this coming up. It’s not that the series is bad, but until now I wasn’t getting enough character building, or maybe that it was non-stop superhero action until this issue, but this slow build-up to the reveal at the end and Carol’s interactions with various characters throughout really made me enjoy Carol Danvers a whole lot more. Granted, having Jessica Drew drop by for a cameo doesn’t hurt in my book.


Saga #9 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

The first panel is the culmination of a very touching moment in this issue, which is then undercut by the humor of the second panel. It demonstrates (in context), what is so good about Saga. There is such good character building in this comic, and I’m not just talking about the writing here. Fiona Staples just seems to be able to draw emotion and scene so well. It makes me want to be able to draw to try and emulate her ability (but knowing that I could never do so). I did want to address Mr Vaughan directly for a moment: How dare you, sir! How dare you tease me so with this (now bittersweet) reunion between The Will and The Stalk?! For shame, sir, for shame!


Threshold #1 by Keith Giffen (w), Tom Raney (a), Andrew Dalhouse (c); Larfleeze backup by Keith Giffen (w), Scott Kolins (a), John Kalisz (c)

So, first Stealth is back! I have enjoyed that character since L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89. Joining her on this little nostalgia trip is Ric Starr, formerly known as the Space Ranger, and there’s a mention of a “Hawkins”–perhaps Star Hawkins? This mash up of DC sci-fi characters reminds me a little of Twilight, the 1990 Chaykin/García-López mini that reimagined some of the same sci-fi characters. Perchance we’ll see Space Cabbie next? While I am intrigued about the characters in this title, but not so much with the setting. It reads like any other Giffen-penned future-world that I’ve read over the years. Certain elements remind me of other things, like the whole hunting premise (Hunger Games, more recently), and the interstitial vid commercials/ads (similar to Starship Troopers). I understand that there’s nothing really new under the sun when it comes to fiction, but these just seem like lame ripoffs and not homages. Unless something grabs me in the next few issues, I’m afraid Threshold will be dropped, and it’s too bad because I generally look forward to anything that Keith Giffen works on.


I only wanted to share this image from Superboy #16 (listing the artists involved would take up more space than this aside) because I found the fur-lined bat-cape hilarious! I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense given that Bats is in the Arctic, but I’m just imagining Bruce in the batcave pondering what to wear on this mission. “Excuse me, sir,” says Alfred, “but might I suggest the coyote-lined cape?” Hah!

I also read:

  • All-New X-Men #6: Yay for Kitty and Jean taking over!
  • Ame-Comi Girls #4
  • Archer & Armstrong #6: love this book!
  • Batgirl #16
  • Batman #16
  • Black Beetle #1: This was just ok.
  • Bloodshot #7: Like with Captain Marvel, this issue may have turned me around on this book.
  • Creator-Owned Heroes #8: end of an interesting experiment.
  • Daredevil #22
  • Demon Knights #16: I really liked the time jump, but I’ll miss not having Al Jabr be part of the group. Plus, I already read a Cain vampire story in I, Vampire; why do I need another one?
  • Extermination #8: end of a series that I was really enjoying at first, but seemed to wrap up too quickly and inconsistently.
  • Indestructible Hulk #3
  • New Avengers #2: loving this so far!
  • Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt #5
  • Suicide Squad #16
  • Team 7: yawn

What I’m looking forward to on New Comics Wednesday!

Just in the nick of time, here’s a quick look at some titles out today that I’m looking forward to reading.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #2: I enjoyed issue one well enough, despite the art. I’m interested to see where DeConnick takes us with Carol.

DAREDEVIL #17: Always a great read. I just found out that Chris Samnee (it’s pronounced Sahm-nee, kids–I just found that out today, too) is the new ongoing artist since Paolo Rivera has moved on to new things (which is too bad–no knock against Samnee, I just prefer Rivera’s work on DD).

EXTERMINATION #3: This title is on the bubble for me, but it improved from issue 1 to issue 2, so I hope that trend continues.

HARBINGER #3: This is a new addition to my Pull List (thanks Lee!).

MICHAEL AVON OEMING’S THE VICTORIES #1: So looking forward to reading this, despite the fact that the official title includes the creator’s name. :D

REVIVAL #2: Issue 1 started out strong and I hope the sophomore issue continues that.

SAGA #6: Again, just because it’s soooo good.

SHADE #11: Ditto. And Frazer Irving’s art.

WONDER WOMAN #12: I hear there’s a cool surprise at the end. Don’t spoil it for me Internet!