Podcast - Episode 51: Kingdom Come

It's the first week of the Living Between Wednesdays Summer Book Club!

We're kicking things off with the 1996 DC Elseworlds event, Kingdom Come, by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. It's pretty! It's dark! It has everyone! It inspired Jay-Z to return to hip hop (don't tell me I'm wrong about this, I don't want to know)!

Before we get to all that, we cover a few news items.

We talk a bit about the tragic and very sudden passing on Anton Yelchin. Man, what a devastating thing. It's going to make it really hard to watch that new Star Trek movie.

I mention that Yelchin had a memorable role on ER as a child. Here's a screengrab of that:


If you want to read about the unending hell that was the Suicide Squad set, io9 has a pretty good list here.

Here is the Key and Peele sketch about Ray Parker Jr. It cracks me up every time. Especially when 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' scrolls up the screen.

I would post a link to some stuff about the Justice League set visit, but, nah.

We talk a bit about race in comics, and the lack of available comics by Black creators in particular. Also, the weird kinda racist depiction of Black super heroes in many comics. There is a really good piece about Black representation in comics and the death of James Rhodes by Thaddeus Howze here.

I don't even think we got into how messed up it is that Rhodes was killed (another Civil War starting with the death of a Black super hero), or the fact that almost no one is talking about it (the death of a Black hero is not as interesting as a white hero being a fake Nazi, I guess). We mostly talk about the weird racist meeting of all the Black heroes in Sam Wilson Captain America last week.

You can't watch Arty, the film that Dave is in, online yet, but you CAN watch the brand new documentary short, Monster Man, also directed by Nathan Boone, right here:

I'm not going to link to the Captain America porn, but here's a promo image to give you an idea:

I forgot to mention that Bucky does not have a metal arm in this porn. That's weird, right? I expect better attention to detail to be paid in my pornographic entertainment.

And if you want some softcore, here is a legit video of Sebastian Stan working out recently, posted by his friend (and trainer, I think?). Or, rather, here is a version that a fan edited so it's just Sebastian moments:

And if you want more Sebastian Stan (yes), here is the Q&A he did in GQ Style.

And if you want to see some super awesome Stucky art by J.Bone, check this out:

For real this time #stucky #captainamerica #wintersoldier #winterschildren #jbone

A photo posted by J.Bone (@originaljbone) on

Shriek!!!! I can't believe I didn't post this sooner!

J's Rocketeer comic comes out today, and I have it on good authority (his) that Steve and Bucky are hiding in the background somewhere.

Alright, let's get to Kingdom Come!

It's my boys! And my girl!

It was fun revisiting this book this week. I hadn't read it in awhile. And I am always here for silver fox Bruce Wayne:

And, um, shirtless farmer Superman:

Dave asked why people refer to this book as fanfic, and I don't think I explained it very well when we recorded. Basically, although, yes, all fiction written about characters that you didn't create and don't own is technically fanfic, this particular book contains more tropes of traditional fanfic than most (really, most of the Elseworlds did). This is what you might call a canon-divergent dark fic. Besides the premise, and the fact that, as I say, every character ever is worked in there somewhere, there is also the whole Alex Ross's-dad-as-original-character thing, the Superman/Wonder Woman thing, the pregnancy super happy ending thing...frankly that entire scene at the Planet Krypton restaurant read like fanfic. I'm saying this as someone who has read a lot of fanfic and a lot of comics. Some just seem more similar than others.

This would be the archive details for Kingdom Come, were it published online as fanfic:

Rating: T

Archive Warning: Major character death, 

Category: M/F

Fandoms: DC Comics (All), Superman (comics), Batman (comics), Wonder Woman (comics), Justice League of America (comics), Captain Marvel (DC)

Relationships: Superman/Wonder Woman, Superman & Batman, Batman & Wonder Woman, OC (male) & Spectre

Characters: Superman (Clark Kent), Batman (Bruce Wayne), Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Captain Marvel (Billy Batson), Spectre, OC (male), Lex Luthor, The Flash (Wally West), Aquaman (Arthur Curry), Blue Beatle (Ted Kord), Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), Black Canary (Dinah Lance), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Power Woman, various OCs

Additional Tags: Future fic, dark future, retired Superman, religion, Superman needs a hug, Batman is a bamf, Wonder Woman is a bamf, brainwashing, pregnancy, mortality, first kiss, major character death, eventual happy ending

Summary: OMG, idk. This was suppose to be a super short scene and it totally got away from me! Can't shut the muses up LOL! Set in the future, Superman has retired and the Justice League has been replaced by younger, more violent heroes. Lots of angst but a happy ending! I just really wanted to see Superman and Wonder Woman kiss! *hides* Possible prequel coming!

OK, and I looked into it. There have been a couple of female writers of Batman and Detective Comics, but very few issues written by them. As far as I could find, Devin Grayson wrote two issues of Batman and two issues of Detective Comics, and at least part of one Batman Annual. Louise Simonson wrote three issues of Detective Comics and at least part of one Detective Comics Annual. And I think...that's...it. At least for Batman and Detective Comics proper. Becky Cloonan was indeed the first woman to draw an issue of Batman. IN 2012!!!!! And...I don't think there has been one since? Correct me if I'm wrong?

So when I say it's challenging to find a lot of classic mainstream super hero comics by female creators, I mean it's VERY challenging. I'm glad to see that changing finally.

Sadly, there is no video feed or any information at all to confirm the rumours of the physical altercation between Waid and Ross at ComicCon but please please PLEASE be real. Dave thinks it would look a lot like the fighting you see in this trailer:

Alright, next week we are talking about Gerry Conway and Ross Andru's Spider-Man: The Original Clone Saga. It's a long one! Get reading, everyone! I still haven't unlocked Spider-Man in my Avengers Academy game!

This Week's Haul: Vote Against DC Decisions

Man, I read so many comics this week. Here are some of them:

DC Universe Decisions #1 (OF FOUR??!!)

I'll just say this, because this could turn into a whole long thing if I get started: it's been done before and it's been done better.

All-Star Superman #12

Well...what can be said? This comic was perfect. The whole damn series was perfect and life has no meaning or purpose now that it's over.

Action Comics #869

Woah, except...holy wow! I enjoyed this just as much as All-Star Superman! Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are just so fantastic together, and this Brainiac storyline has been so awesome. And the really amazing thing about this story is that it takes place within Superman continuity AND it incorporates Supergirl in a way that doesn't suck at all! In fact, it rules!

Ghost Rider #27

In the comic shop yesterday I commented to someone who was buying the new Ghost Rider that I've been really enjoying Jason Aaron's writing on it. The customer disagreed, and felt that the story had gotten too silly. I really don't know how to respond to things like that. What level of realism are you looking for in a comic about a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle?

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam #2

This comic is just really, really great. This was a really good week for all-ages comics! Not only the ones I mention here, but also Tiny Titans and Marvel Adventures Avengers!

X-Men First Class #16

The last issue of this series, but not the end of X-Men First Class. In this issue we are promised an upcoming Giant Size special, and a new mini-series. I love X-Men First Class. I think it's a great idea for a comic, and I think it's really enjoyable every month. I'm sad to see it go as a monthly.

The Age of Sentry #1

At least Jeff Parker softens the blow of X-Men First Class ending by giving us an all-new awesome title in the same week! Parker shares the writing duties with Paul Tobin in a comic that gives us two delightful silver age-style stories that poke fun at some of the absurdities of the era without being a full-on parody. Nick Dragoda and Ramon Rosanos provide beautiful art. The colour throughout the book is just excellent. And check out that cover! It's an awesome comic. I can't wait for the next one.

Uncanny X-Men #502

Man I wish they would get someone else doing the art on this book. I really like this series but god damn...

The Spirit #21

Another perfectly good comic ruined by gratuitous T&A. Sometimes I wonder if these artists have ever actually seen women's clothing before.

The Amazing Spider-Man #572


This comic is actually making me want to read Thunderbolts. Almost.


In this comic our hero gets riddled with bullets from Bullseye. Then Bullseye gets riddled with bullets! Oh the bitter taste of your own medicine.

Greatest Hits #1

A new series from Vertigo started up this week. The premise is a British superhero foresome operating in the 60s, whose fame and career closely resembles that of British rock bands at the time. It's a fun idea, and it's a fun first issue.

Run Away from Runaways

Runaways was re-launched (or continued with a new numbering system, or whatever, this week). The new run is written by Strangers in Paradise creator, Terry Moore. And the first issue was terrible. Really, really terrible. I wasn't really expecting much, but man...

Besides the fact that it was overall terrible, and numbered #1 for no reason, Xavin spent the entire issue as a dude. What the hell? Like...seriously...there wasn't even any mention of the fact that Xavin (a shape shifting Skrull for those of you who aren't familiar with the series) is in a lesbian relationship with Karolina. At one point Chase even asks Xavin "Dude, who wears the pants in your relationship anyway?" when Xavin wants to do something that Karolina won't approve of. Seriously...WHAT IS GOING ON? I need answers.

Plus, the art was no good.

People are dropping this from their pull lists like its hot...which it is not. And that's too bad because it's one of the few truly great original concepts for a super hero comic to come out of the big two in a long time. Plus it's one of the best teen books ever. If Marvel destroys this then I will never forgive them.

Review of Martians Manhunter, By Johnathan

Hello again, folks! Time for the second installment in our portion of the Paul and John Review/Living Between Wednesdays crossover tribute to our favourite dead Martian, J'onn J'onzz! Today, I'll be looking at some of the Manhunter's different appearances in Elseworlds yarns and what have you and trying to review how he looks instead of the book as a whole. Easier than you think, though, because I haven't read some of this stuff yet.

For comparison, here's J'onn J'onzz in his standard configuration, before he made his head pointy and started wearing that terrible uniform that he died in.

I'm writing these in no particular order, so first up is J'onn in an Elseworlds tale about the JLA, called Destiny (I think that I might have to do little mini-reviews of these things to keep my opinions about them from seeping into the main reviews. In brief, this one is about a world in which there is no JLA: no Superman, no Batman, etc. There are some really neat original characters and I remember liking it enough that I'm not going to spoil it more than I have to. Thoroughly JOHN APPROVED). As I recall (it's been a while), J'onn has been half-dead in a desert for years, and is slowly dissolving or something like that.

Or maybe it's his mind that's dissolving, since you can see him floating in the middle of the forehead there. In any case, for the purposes of this story, J'onn J'onzz is an immobile, intangible green giant lying in a desert and conversing with Destiny, the title character.

He acts as a sort of informant and clues the good guys into some of what's been going on in the world (if this isn't one of the 52, it should be. It's a damn sight better than that crappy Red Rain universe, I can tell you that.). It's really fun; I wish I could tell you more but there are ethical considerations. Read this one if you get the chance.

Oh, he's also really ugly, even for a giant. Even so, I enjoy the creative use of the character - this is the good kind of Elseworld, where it's not just Batman in a pirate outfit (not that that's necessarily a bad time, just that it's not as cool).


Here's the Manhunter from the much-maligned JLApe event (I haven't actually read this yet, but I like the concept and the name is kind of clever, so it's tentatively JOHN APPROVED):

I have to admit, I was hoping for some sort of Martian primate, or a weird lizard-man or something. This just looks like Beast Boy doing some cosplay or something. This:

terrific look/sound of surprise kind of makes up for that, but doesn't mitigate the fact that the Manhunter immediately uses his shapeshifting powers to become normal and wreck the whole premise of the thing. Damn internal consistancy.


Three quick ones:

First, Mr. Mxyzptlk takes him out in World's Funniest:

Nothing new, really, but it's a great comic, so I felt compelled to mention it at one point or another. (JOHN APPROVED!)

Next, the Manhunter in an Elseworlds called League of Justice, which is a fantastically creative name:

I haven't read this one, but the J'onn-analogue is really creepy looking, so I felt like including it here. Bug eyes and veiny head? ugly is one thing, but this guy is ugly-ugly.


And here's the funny animal version of him, from Captain Carrot No.14:

Martian Anteater? Mediocre at best - better than Rat Tornado but nowhere near Elong-Gator. Though it wouldn't have quite as effectively hammered home the THIS IS AN ANIMAL VERSION OF THE JLA message, I feel that calling him the Martian Anthunter would not have caused panic and rioting in the streets. NOT APPROVED

Here's the Manhunter in Kingdom Come:

He's a shell of his former self, but he doesn't deserve this:

Real tactful, Spectre.

I have a theory about why J'onn ended up this way here (and it applies to his similarly neutered state in Dark Knight Strikes Again): Ross (and Miller) had written his great big epic featuring a conflict between Superman and Captain Marvel (or Superman and Batman's brain), the two most powerful forces in the DCU, and then remembered that there was a third, slightly more green guy floating around in the same weight class. Thus, the telepathic self-lobotomy is born (or the nanotech-to-the-brain. Nanotech that both invalidates mental powers and makes someone all hard-boiled and Sin City-esque). It kind of makes sense, but it's an ignominious end for the noble Martian.


Here's a non-pathetic-looking Ross Manhunter, just for the hell of it.

Guh. I'm done for the day. Turns out, though, that I have enough of these pictures for a whole 'nother day of this. Tune in next time for J'onn J'onzz as a kid, as a cowboy and as a lady!


SARLSH, Part 6, By Johnathan


I know I'm pretty casual about the ol' spoilers when the stories that I'm writing about were printed 20+ years ago, but in this case I'm going to make an exception. The mystery of who Sensor Girl actually is is kind of a neat one and I wish that I hadn't known going in. So fair warning: if you don't already know and you think that you might be reading through the relevant Legion comics some day, skip this review.


Okay, on with the review. Sensor Girl joined the Legion at the same time as Polar Boy and so forth, without any testing or auditions. Saturn Girl merely read her mind and vouched for her suitability. This occasioned no small amount of comment, but Sensor Girl made it in. Her powers and abilities weren't spelled out right away but rather revealed piece-by-piece over the course of a fair number of issues. As I recall (I'm not at my own computer as I write this) she showed a wide range of enhanced senses, plus the ability to remove the senses of another, plus the occasional anomalous occurrence of super strength and suchlike.

Eventually, everyone was going nuts trying to figure out who she was - half the team thought that she had mind-controlled Saturn Girl or was Saturn Girl herself and the other half thought that she was somehow the recently-Anti-Monitored-to-death Supergirl, especially poor Brainiac 5. Ultra Boy tried to peek at her with his Penetra-vision (and my inner English major pegs this as possibly the ultimate expression of the Male Gaze) only to discover that she was apparently an empty costume, just flying around! The Legion was wracked with consternation!

Who was she, you ask? Turns out, she was Princess Projectra, filled with sadness over Karate Kid's death and unable to just hang out on Orando but not quite square with the Legion after, you know, murdering Nemesis Kid. The super-senses were new - she got them from ancestor spirits or something - but everything else was skillfully-applied illusion power. And the Legion must have enjoyed the mystery enough to overlook one little murder. Actually, the same thing happened with Star Boy, didn't it? He killed someone, waited a little while, put in an appearance in a new costume and ka-pow! all is forgiven and forgotten, murder-wise. Maybe it's just the novelty of seeing a new costume around the place?

Speaking of costumes, I like this one. As a Canadian, a red-and-white colour scheme evokes feelings of a patriotic nature within me (this is why I always vote for Santa Claus). As well, I am inordinately fond of double-breasted uniforms like Captain Marvel's and though this isn't quite that, it mimics the style enough for mine eyes. The only thing that I don't like about this costume is the super-wide shoulders, but it wouldn't really be a mid-Eighties costume design without some hint of that decade's awful, awful fashion sense.

Shoulders and all, she's: