0:00-12:06: Greetings! Greetings and a long, perhaps too-detailed story about Jeff’s niece’s walkathon. So we discuss physical fitness for kids today, and what it was like back when we were kids.  SPOILERS: Graeme’s story is a lot like this:

12:06-25:15: And from there, we get into the comic book discussion, with Jeff talking about downloading the first trade of Power Man/Iron Fist Vol 1 by David Walker and Sanford Greene from Comixology Unlimited, in part so he can give a special shout-out to the double-barrelled Kurosawa tribute in issue #5.
Also discussed: the fact that Marvel is now on Comixology Unlimited, which is a news story from this week that nobody really seems that excited by but is kind of a thing. We also discuss Marvel Unlimited, and the pros and cons there.
25:15-55:24:  This was recorded on Free Comic Book Day, and so Graeme has a story about the differences between the print and digital copies of the FCBD books, as well as a review of his five favorite free issues this year.  (As for Jeff, well, you probably saw the picture making the rounds of Twitter from this year’s Spongebob comic, but if not, it’s at the top of this post!)  And then we go on to discuss, among other things, the Secret Empire FCBD issue and some of the confounding story choices that are made.  Graeme also covers some speculation concerning future issues of the event, as well as reception, rumors and what-have-you.  (Yes, the ever-fascinating *what-have-you*!)
55:24-1:16:01: Only tangentially related to Secret Empire (in that it involves the digital copies offered by SE #0), Jeff wants to talk about reading Mockingbird issue #6 by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk, and how that got Jeff to read the other two issues via Marvel Unlimited *and* about the unexpected retcon that messes with the West Coast Avengers story by our beloved Steve Englehart.  Come for the trepidation, stay for Jeff’s clumsy re-read of Mockingbird #8.
1:16:01-1:26:46: In other “Jeff is kind of a terrible person” news, please overlook his failed attempt to tease Graeme for seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (not in a press screening, but at an actual damn screening!)  I mean, Graeme was kind enough to overlook it, so you can too, right?  (FWIW, Jeff still feels terrible about it.)  But enough about Jeff!  Graeme saw GOTG, Vol. 2, and so we discuss the film.  There is a casting spoiler from 1:18:43 to 1:19:28, general spoilers about characterization from 1:19:28 to 1:19:52 or so, and then there’s a spoiler for one of the post-credit sequences we talk about at 1:20:44.  So this section is pretty spoiler-heavy for a movie that just came out this weekend (which is generally unlike us, I hope?).  Maybe skip over the whole thing and come back to it after you’ve seen the film, I guess?  No plot spoilers, but we do not couch talking about the film much at all.
1:26:46-1:39:52:  “But is it better than Suicide Squad?” asked nobody ever.  And yet that is the road we sort of go down as Jeff admits he watched Suicide Squad recently (thanks to good ol’ HBO Now) and he wants to revisit what he understood to be some of Graeme’s statements about it.  We discuss how the theatrical release was made, what things (no matter how slight) worked, all the many things that didn’t, and more.
1:39:52-1:55:29: Then, as a complete change-up to the way the conversation has been going, we finally get around to talking about a bit of excellent superhero stuff in a non-comic medium:  the first season of Legion (currently on Hulu) which we both pretty much love the bejesus out of.  Full spoilers for this one, right down to how Jeff thinks the cliffhanger at the end of S2 is going.  So if you haven’t seen it yet, just go see it and then come back and listen to us talk about all the stuff we found truly fascinating about it.  But for those of you who saw it (probably long ago), please hang out and listen to the blather.
1:55:29-2:08:23: Wow, has it been almost two hours already?  It has!  But we have barely talked about actual, you know, comic books, so we get a chance to chime in about a thing each we’ve read and loved, with Graeme being in the tank for the first two hardcover volumes of Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, and Jeff grooving on the first two omnibi of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order by Yukito Kishiro.
2:08:23-2:27:24: But we are just getting our second wind so Graeme jumps off of that to talk about the four collections of Strontium Dog by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and the amazing Carlos Ezquerra he has read recently and very much loves.  And Jeff follows up that up with a spoiler-free review of Walking Dead #167 since it’s a pretty major issue and also because Jeff can’t figure out why he is still reading the damn book considering how much he dunks on it.
2:27:24-end: And so but finally:  Closing Comments! Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast. PLUS: a beautiful little plug from Graeme which he quite appropriately calls, “a payoff for anyone who stayed with us two and a half hours.”  Oh, and you can also check out Jeff role-playing the mysterious and glamorous Cha-Cha X on the FCBD Exiled podcast episode.
Next week:  Baxter Building Ep. 29!  Covering Fantastic Four Annuals #14-18 and What If? #36! Read them, then join us here, won’t you?

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33 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 224: NCFD 2017!

  1. Jeff Lester May 7, 2017

    And for the cut & paste crowd:


  2. Rick Vance May 8, 2017

    Battle Angel is a funny thing because the original series doesn’t have a martial arts tournament in it and is actually a very different structure to your typical Shonen that Last Order leans into that stuff much harder has always been interesting.

    My overriding thought during your discussion of Lazarus is it feels like a slog if it takes till issue #11 to really get the main plot going, I feel like if you are going to take 10 issues to set up your world so that the ingredients all pay off later in the book the early stuff should still be worthwhile to read, (I read the first volume from a humble bundle and got rather bored with it).

    • Jeff Lester May 8, 2017

      That’s good to know about the original series, and not that surprising considering the first omnibus is such a strange mix of…not shonen. Like it’s got touches of so much going on, it struck me as practically Akira-esque. (But that’s just because I didn’t know how else to qualify it.)

      And your separate tweet about the first series coming back into print may be the best news I hear all week (which could be depressing, depending on how you look at it). Thank you!

      • I prefer the first series of Battle Angel by a country mile. Much more emotional, much more elegiac.

        I had some major issues with First Order’s pacing. The art is glorious as always, but the plot slows waaaaaay down to deal with the tournament, and in the process drops out a lot of the plot elements I found more interesting (like whatever the hell is going on on Mars, and the political situation in the solar system and the Scrapyard) only to rush everything to a finale. Plus you could get whiplash from the way Alita’s personality flipflops. I still enjoyed it, but the first series was much more satisfying.

        • Jeff Lester May 11, 2017

          Yeah, what’s crazy is the amount of groundwork that gets set up–growing complex almost exponentially–and then it’s like, “let’s hear it for the mecha-style schoolteachers!”

    • And on Lazarus, I agree completely. I’ve been buying it on cheap Comixology sales. I did not particularly dig the first two story arcs at all. But it gets much more interesting when you get to issue 11, and the characters start to develop personalities and have some charm. The interactions between the different family Lazari are pretty consistently the best thing about the book, and they really start to develop that angle in the third arc.

  3. Bruce Baugh May 8, 2017

    Now I want to hear you folks do your impressions of other ads. A Patreon tier, perhaps? Because now we need Jeff’s version of the Harry’s ad, and like that.

  4. Matt for Hire May 8, 2017

    I’ll say this about Power Man & Iron Fist: it gets dramatically (DRAMATICALLY) better after the first arc, including the wonderful Christmas annual where Power Man & Iron Fist team up with Spider-Woman, Santa Claus, and Damon Hellstrom to fight Krampus. Absolutely a joy of a series.

    • Jeff Lester May 8, 2017

      That is really good to know: I will check out the later issues (through MU, but I also have some digital copies of later issues tucked away somewhere, I think).

  5. I don’t profess to fully understand what’s going in on Secret Empire, but to answer Graeme’s question as to whether the country has been brainwashed, the answer is, yes. In Issue 1, Faustas reports to Cap that Hydra has changed the fluoride composition of the nation’s water supplies by adding an “undetectable level of mind-altering substances” that they believe will “increase docility and receptiveness” to their desired levels (at least until the chemtrail formula is ready). (That last bit was actually pretty clever). Makes sense, I guess, but it doesn’t explain why Cap is okay with that? Unwittingly drugging a whole nation seems more criminal than fascistic. Also, as Graeme points out, it doesn’t explain the resistance. Maybe they’re drinking bottled Fiji Water?
    Anyhow, the whole premise of Secret Empire is weak and faulty (mostly because it doesn’t seem very secret?). I’m not planning on reading any further. It feels like an alternate universe story. One that’s not being told very well at all.

    • Mike Murdock May 10, 2017

      I wouldn’t read those comments too literally. They’re jokes about paranoid conspiracy theories. Sure, it’s possible to use that as an explanation (I think some combination of brainwashing and overt force are the best explanations – and the teacher nervously looking at the camera shows that they’re being monitored for orthodoxy.

      • Interesting. That hadn’t occurred to me because I didn’t think Nick Spencer to be that clever or subtle.

  6. Rick Vance May 8, 2017

    The required tie in books thing was basically done for Final Crisis wasn’t it with Submit, Resist and Beyond.

    • Jeff Lester May 8, 2017

      Hmm, tough call. I don’t *think* they were required, because I didn’t bother with them at all until after they ended up in the collection.

      On the other hand, maybe they were required because I feel like Final Crisis really didn’t make much sense to me until the third reading. And that was after significant help from…somebody’s annotations? I know Wolk did some, but didn’t David do annotations for Comics Alliance or something?

      • Rick Vance May 8, 2017

        Yeah there was like 3 different parallel annotations happening.

        CA and MindlessOnes and there was a third site I forget about that was a bunch of people adding to it.

        Regardless as what those book ended up being like the SE things were marketted as essential for the event.

  7. Owing to the retcon, does this mean Phantom Rider is no longer a rapist? If so, no one tell the MRA.

  8. Zak Smith May 8, 2017

    Alternate title if you get tired of “Wait, What?”:
    “There Is That Level of Like…”

  9. Bengt May 9, 2017

    I saw two episodes of Legion and was put off by absolutely everything feeling like it could delusion/dream/whatever, I guess I want some kind of anchor point. And while my first thought was Rogue (with it being an X-Men related thing and so on) for the Syd character, the interactions between her and David reminded me more of Pushing Daisies (at least in those first two episodes).

    And you guys are lucky if you quickly fall asleep when going to bed, I’ve only found it harder to fall asleep as I’ve grown older.

    • Jeff Lester May 9, 2017

      The anchor point moves a lot, but it does start to settle down.

      So much so that by the time, the reality reverso card is played in ep. 6 or whatever, it doesn’t really stick.

      And I had to do a lot to work on falling asleep when I was supposed to. Now, the hard part is waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep…

      (Also, if you heard the hours that Graeme worked, you wouldn’t be surprised he falls asleep easily.)

    • I had the same reaction to the initial episodes, but the visuals and the tone kept me on board, and it does settle down later.

      (Also, side note, Kerry/Cary Loudermilk aren’t Madrox, they’re a dual-bodied, semi-gender-swapped Hank McCoy. The little circlet thing Cary designs to contain David’s power is just the signature on the reference.)

  10. Matt M May 9, 2017

    “It feels like James Gunn decided to ditch therapy and make Guardians 2 instead” is a weird criticism to make of what’s essentially a Jim Starlin film.

    But I’m reminded that maybe Graeme isn’t a big Starlin fan, either, right?

    • Jeff Lester May 9, 2017

      WHAAA? IF ever there was a phrase to get me into the theater, it’d be “essentially a Jim Starlin fan.”

      And Graeme isn’t really a fan but, as you know, I’m into it. Thanks for selling me on it, Matt!

      • Matt M May 9, 2017

        Oh man, now I’m afraid I oversold it. I mean, tonally, it’s still a Gunn movie.

        But yes, if there’s one creator that’s the touchstone for what Gunn’s going for here, it’s Starlin. Beyond the general emotional/psychotherapeutic nature of the story, there are some *very* clear Starlin nods.

        • Mike Loughlin May 15, 2017

          I saw the movie this past weekend, and it doesn’t do trippy bombast the same way as Jim Starlin. The nods are certainly there, just not the tone or style.

  11. Person of Con May 10, 2017

    I independently thought the same thing about the Gazoo appearance. I’d have to go back to see if it holds for his previous depictions, but it felt very Dredd to me.

    The Mockingbird retcon is very weird. I don’t think Cain would have expanded on it if the title hadn’t been cancelled, but at least a few more issues to the series would make it stand out a little less.

  12. Good episode, guys. I checked out Mockingbird on your recommendation (well, the last arc) and really enjoyed it. The last issue was a little bit, er, “last issue,” and too much pushing of geek buttons as opposed to actual humor, but the cruise ship mystery was sharply done and Kate Niemczyk’s art is terrific.

    I do feel a little guilty for not checking it out earlier – if I had, maybe it would’ve lasted beyond eight issues? But the reality is that Marvel’s $3.99 price point and their “flood the market” strategy both work against getting readers to try new titles about marginal characters. I wouldn’t have read this at all if it hadn’t been for Marvel Unlimited, and that’s a shame as I’m pretty sure the compensation for the creators can’t be anywhere near as good as a print sale. But four bucks for twenty pages is a tough sell, and with so many titles competing against each other on the shelves it’s hard for good work to get noticed. Thanks for pointing this one out.

    • Jeff Lester May 11, 2017

      Glad we could help out, Marc! And thanks for mentioning Kate Niemczyk’s art–it is indeed great stuff.

  13. Could you guys provide a link tot he Star Wars article you referenced toward the end of this ep? I think it was by a female blogger?, about Rogue One and how every Star wars character has a story? Thanks.