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Wait, What? 56.1: The Loneliest Number Since…

Jeff Lester


We are back!  With absolutely 100% less whining!  Well, 90%.  Actually, let’s call it 85–no, 82, 82% less whining!

Yes, with 82% less whining, here comes Wait, What? Episode 56.1, roaring around the bend, with Graeme McMillan and myself discussing strange and unexpected topics–topics like OMAC #1, Batgirl #1, Animal Man #1, Detective Comics #1, Swamp Thing #1, Stormwatch #1 and, of course… X-Men #17. (That really should have a ‘?!!?’ at end of that sentence, but you get the idea.) It’s one hour and one second of two-fisted soft reboot action!

Wise souls have perhaps already encountered this podcast on iTunes (in which case, I hope they were struck it down and achieved instant enlightenment) but you can, of course, listen to it here through the moderns of magic science:

Wait, What? Ep. 556.1: The Loneliest Number Since…

As always, we hope you and enjoy and appreciate your continuing patronage!


18 Responses to “ Wait, What? 56.1: The Loneliest Number Since… ”

  1. Detective Comics is rated “Teen” because people in this country can tolerate violence, and lots of it. Stormwatch is rated “Teen Plus” because people in this country cannot tolerate sex, especially not gay sex (or at least the implication of it, i.e., Midnighter and Apollo).

  2. By the way…did you guys discuss Action Comics #1 or did I miss it? Also, did Graeme forget to talk about the crazy comic book physics in X-Men Schism #5 or did I miss that part of the podcast as well?

  3. @Robert G: Both topics are in Part 2, which is coming Thursday! (Oh, and I totally agree with you about the ‘Tec/Stormwatch rating, frustratingly enough).

  4. I’m SO glad you guys talked about OMAC. It was certainly the surprise delight of the New 52 so far. Fun, funny, wildly imaginative in a Kooky Kirby way, and … oh my God… did I read a narrative caption or two? They still do those?!?

    I think that not only is Giffen channeling Kirby – I think Didio/Giffen are almost channeling Lee/Kirby. And I hope they continue, because they’re off to a great start.

  5. I am a huge Didio-basher, and I went into OMAC fully ready to bash it. I read it more for a laugh, expecting it to be astoundingly bad, and I was very shocked to find myself totally enjoying it. I am willing to eat my words and admit I was utterly and totally wrong.

  6. you guys wanna go back to typing your stuff?

    Who has time to wade through 30 minutes or was that 45? of audio these days? I guess the proof is in amount of comments…

    Well, just a suggestion, nevermind me.

  7. You really nailed the problem with Animal Man’s interaction with his wife. Before I read Animal Man #1, I kept reading all over the net about what a good job Lemire did on positively depicting a married superhero’s relationship. However when I actually did read the book I felt exactly like Jeff did. She came off like a real emasculating shrew. Yet throughout the conversation Animal Man keeps saying nice things about her throughout. And I thought to myself, does Lemire really believe just stating it’s a nice marriage is going to make people ignore the actual dysfunctional content of their conversation? But then again looking at the online response, it seems he may have been right.

  8. I agree with Graeme about fan reaction to Detective Comics. Sadly, fandom did seem to like the last page reveal. It was really depressing. Check the feedback on Bleeding Cool for example.

  9. Thanks for the podcast guys. Great review of Swamp Thing. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to give the second issue a chance yet.

    I passed on OMAC (which seems like it was a mistake). I don’t know if this is sold out so perhaps I check out on digital.

    Detective will probably sell a lot. Sure it’s a replay of Frank Miller (and average at that) but people seem to like that.

  10. I thought OMAC was very good. I agree about the inking though, it’s not distracting, but every few panels there will be a (questionable?) choice that catches the eye. I’m hoping that OMAC runs long enough that Giffen/Koblish can work it out. Failing that; I would kill to have Mignola or Palmiotti inking this. As for the coloring, I don’t mind the halo/steaking effects on OMAC (actually I quite like them) but I wish they used fewer “line holds”. I think it contributes to some of the flatness of the panels, it lessens the contrast of the image.

    As for Detective’s final page, it may very well be the epitome of writing a check that your story can’t cash. I don’t mean this in terms of maintaining a consistent tone of gore and cruelty. But in delivering a satisfying story that will justify such a macabre beginning. Given Tony Daniel’s track record, I just don’t see it happening.

    Before I forget, I wanted to mention that your discussion of both Detective’s final page and X-Men 17 called to mind Tim O’Neil’s theory of momentism. Detective is an interesting case as it is most likely putting the horse before the cart by using arguably its most “arresting” image at the beginning of the tale. Shooting its narrative wad if you will. “Fangasm” indeed.

    X-Men 17, in contrast, avoids the whole mess by shooting the horse and burning the cart. Jeff, I am so, so sorry.

  11. I ran to the comic shop last week as early as possible to pick up my new52 books. I didn’t have high hopes, I just wanted them to be fun and I was excited. I was completely and totally depressed by *every* book I read (although I skipped OMAC – sounds like that was a mistake). Batgirl #1, without hyperbole, forced me to stop reading the giant stack of comics I had for about 2 days. I don’t know where I’m at on the new52 at this point. Part of me really wants to just stop buying them now and part of me really wants to read Frankenstein and JL Dark.

    That said, the new issue of Thunderbolts was AWESOME. I fully recommend it to everyone here. That’s the type of superheroing I enjoy.

  12. Y’know, being an adult, I don’t really care about the rating of Detective Comics – why does it affect you’re enjoyment of it?
    I didn’t have a fangasm, but I thought it was a good cliffhanger for the issue – I didn’t see it coming, it shocked me, and I wanna know what the Joker’s plan is.
    And clearly, lots of other people feel the same way – I don’t know why that puts us in a special category of scorn, and not that it is just a good cliffhanger.
    I think this is one of those things, where people reading the trade won’t understand any of hubabaloo about it.

    I’m also shocked you guys didn’t dig on Animal Man #1 more. It was a first issue, and it set up Buddy, his family dynamics, showed off his powers, and set up a longer running arc, ending in a creepy cliffhanger.
    C’mon, so the guy didn’t get a 10/10 for the interactions between Buddy and his wife – he had a lot of other stuff to get done, and he did it well.
    As for the art, honestly, if people can enjoy Morrison’s Animal Man with Troug on art, then they have no business giving Foreman grief – his art was perfectly fine. I liked the way it referenced the style of early Vertigo books, but with some modern touches, particularly the colouring.

    OMAC was boss.
    That said, did that last panel have one word balloon too many?
    It seems weird that Brother Eye would care.

  13. “you guys wanna go back to typing your stuff? Who has time to wade through 30 minutes or was that 45? of audio these days? I guess the proof is in amount of comments…”

    That’s funny– I actually was listening to a podcast interview the other day with some comic creator or another. One of the more indie ones, granted– I don’t remember who. It was one of those podcasts that the Box Office Poison guy co-hosts. (I don’t know– I listen to a LOT of podcasts lately because I’m either stuck indoors at night working on a thing or I’ve had a lot of long drives for work this year. Mostly comedy podcasts, not really comic ones that often, this pointless anecdote aside). (I really like one I’m listening to lately which is just about breaking into acting, which I have less-than-zero interest in– it’s cohosted by the blonde girl from Garfunkel & Oates– it’s called like Making Out, Making It, Breaking In, something like that– one of the nerdist ones… I like a bunch though.) (I just can’t figure out how to get Superego to play in my car though… Frustrating!)

    ANYWAYS, anyways, anyways: I was listening to the podcast and the guy was talking that he actually has noticed more business now than in the heyday of internet reviews because of podcasts– he estimated 70% of the people approaching him at cons were from some podcast I’d never heard of (ifans and … the eleventh something), and that’s what’s actually driven people to his books in a way that just plain text reviews never have … Just because people form very different relationships with podcasts than they do with reviews. There’s more of a, like, tip from a friend quality to a podcast review than a written review, that people take more seriously…?

    So, yeah, I almost found that interesting. But I find all sorts of dumb shit interesting. Silly puddy. So, I don’t know.

  14. Great podcast as always, gents – a podcast so nice I listened twice. (That’s actually true – I was stuck doing boring shit at work and didn’t throw anything else on the Nano after you, so I just let it loop.)

    Minor quibble, though – I personally read “fangasmic” as a lazy combination of the words “fantastic” and “orgasmic”, which to me points out more that Tony Daniel is a not-very-good writer than it does any kind of meta commentary on the scene itself. (Why does the Joker combine two words expressing joy, Tony? BECAUSE HE’S CA-RAAAAAAAZY! Why does one of those words have to be “orgasm”, Tony? BECAUSE I’M GOIN’ FOR DARK, EDGY, MATURE MATERIAL! ORGASMS ARE MATURE, RIGHT?)

    Also, loved OMAC. Almost as much as I loved ANIMAL MAN, which was my number one with a bullet for this week of releases. :)

    Looking forward to the second half!

  15. Really enjoyed this podcast, and your reviews of the DCnü books. I enjoyed the fact that I both agreed and disagreed with some of your takes. It seems to be the consensus about these books: people are liking different things and that’s sort of refreshing.
    I can’t comment on ANIMAL MAN because it sold out before I got to the shop, but this seems to be the big buzz book that caught everyone off guard. Critical response is mostly favorable, but divided, old readers want to check it out, new readers are really digging it, and retailers are kicking themselves because they didn’t order enough.
    There was enough to enjoy in SWAMP THING that I could overlook the convoluted Alec Holland back-story (and I think it’s time to bury the cliche that everyone unsure about their direction in life can go get a construction job).
    DETECTIVE COMICS was the one I bought as a fanboy kneejerk reaction and expected to hate. And I liked it. The “fangasmic” line put me off, I mean, what did that really mean? Other than that, I thought Tony Daniel brought his ‘A’ game to this in terms of writing and art (and I am very much not a fan of his). Yes, he was channeling Miller’s Dark Knight Returns in places, but it worked for me. It was very dark, extremely violent, very disturbing even before that final page.
    And here’s where I agree with you: Teen? WTF? This really should be a Mature Readers book, and I think DC is doing a disservice to its audience if they are trying to bring in the broadest audience to this former Mass Media. Batman has clearly trumped Superman as a public icon. I see neighborhood kids running around in their Batman t-shirts flying their Batman kites and swimming in the pool with their Batman boogie boards and reenacting the latest Brave and the Bold. And I’ve seen interviews where Didio and Lee are asked about what the new 52 means for younger readers, and they stammer and look at their feet before revealing that their definition of younger readers is teenagers. Looking at the New 52 preview comic, DC Editorial had a perfect opportunity to group the titles according to content. The Dark and The Edge are more mature titles. Justice League, Superman, Batman should be OK for at least a younger teenage audience. Young Justice might skew a little closer toward All Ages. Easy-peasy for everyone, right? But the first Bats book out of the gate, the relaunch of their flagship title from which they took their name, is pretty damn nasty. I’m surprised at the length I’m blathering on about this, not being a moralist, or someone who thinks kids should be sheltered from everything. But I’ve seen lapsed readers posting on blogs that they’re excited about getting some new comics that they could read with their kids, and I hope they didn’t buy ‘TEC, because they won’t be coming back.
    I also liked Graeme’s new echo-y sound, because I can pretend he’s the singer from Flash and the Pan.

  16. I was glad to hear this round-up of the New 52 titles. There are a few titles I planned to get all along because of the creative teams involved, but I knew there’d be a couple of good ones that I would miss out on because there’s no way in heck I’m buying all 52 #1s. I was expecting to read a lot of “New 52 sux!!! Bring back the old DCU!!!” stuff, but mostly the responses I’ve seen are “IT’S ALL GREAT!!!!” Which doesn’t help me, because a) I don’t believe they’re all great, and b) even if they were, I can’t afford to pick up 52 DC books a month; I need to choose. You guys convinced me to pick up OMAC the next time I stop by the store. I’d totally skipped it because, well, who would have guessed it’d be good?

    One of the books I’d planned on getting from the start was Animal Man, and I liked it a great deal more than you guys did. I agree Ellen was abrasive, but I found that snapshot of their married life a lot more believable than what we’ve seen of Clark & Lois or Peter & MJ’s relationships. I hope that in the near future we get to see another side of Ellen.

    I didn’t get Detective Comics, and hadn’t heard about the shocking last page until your podcast. I googled it. And yeah, yuck. But I don’t know if I’m wringing my hands over the idea of kids seeing that image. It reminded me a lot more of E.C. comics than Vertigo, and the kids who read E.C. Comics grew up without any sort of long-term psychological damage. That generation now holds responsible, respectable positions in society, like in U.S. foreign policy, for example.

    The mix of hard and soft reboots, and the fuzziness of continuity makes this old fanboys head itch. Like, Dick Grayson went from Robin to Nightwing in less than five years, and there’s apparently no Wally West or Donna Troy. And Cyborg is a founding member of the Justice League, so apparently he’s older than Dick Grayson? So I guess there was no original Teen Titans? Or New Teen Titans? Even though they’re publishing that Wolfman-Perez Titans gn from 20 years ago next month? But then that Red Hood book has Roy Harper and Starfire, so was there some Titans teams after all?

    It makes me wish DC had put out a book called “DC Comics: The Ultimate Character Guide” to help me keep it all straight. And then I see an ad for just such a book on the inside back cover of Action #1!!! Yay!!!! Except … it looks like a guide to the PRE-Flashpoint DCU. The one they JUST ENDED TO GREAT FANFARE. Thanks, DC Comics.

  17. Superawesome and chat-tastic as ever! You really rattled through stuff this time. I guess not being inches away from a shrieking psychiatric meltdown due to techical issues helped.

    Mr McMillan is right about Giffen’s DOOM PATROL, it is totally worth sticking with or just plain reading. I am totally buzzing for my copy of OMAC! I am special! I am ready! Well, I’m ready.

    Wishing to understand Mr Jeff Lester’s strange and troubling love for D-Listers I have just been reading the Wikipedia page on SKULL THE SLAYER. I did not know about him but had the 5 year old me chanced across one of his 8 issues I think I would have been very happy indeed.I liked Monark Starstalker – he still crops up, I hear, but I like him best when Howard Victor Chaykin does him.

    I enjoyed Mr Jeff Lester’s inarticulate rage in the face of today’s page filling joy sapping blah blah blah comics.
    Thanks as ever.

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