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Reading Marvel comics always feels like walking in on a group mid-conversation – you just nod and try to mimic their emotions. If you’re at least slightly familiar with Marvel Comics, it’s like walking in on a group of old friends mid-conversation at your high school reunion. You’re familiar with a version of these characters, but things have obviously changed a good deal since you last saw them. You’ll wander through their meandering stories and whisper “When did Captain America get a battle axe and a red Dinosaur” to yourself later on, feeling old and alone.

Sometimes you feel more old, sometimes you feel more alone

sometimes you feel more old, sometimes you feel more alone

Planet Hulk may be the worst offender in this category. Like of all time. I thought Planet Hulk was a Planet that Hulk was on, not a Planet (of) Hulk(s). The difference is neatly explained in a 10-page addition to the Planet Hulk storyline in which a wily employee of BannerTech Industries sacrifices himself to turn a gamma bomb, stolen from BannerTech and then launched at their own HQ, into a…different Gamma bomb? Like one that hulkifies everyone it touches rather than disintegrating them. It’s really a terrible design for a bomb – “Just so you know, before we sell this to you, it can be easily modified mid-flight into a gaint hulk ray that will turn everyone you just tried to murder into the strongest beings on the planet.” Also Planet Hulk really isn’t about Hulk, it’s about Captain America, who, as I mentioned, has a fucking battle axe and a pet dinosaur now.

not MY Captain America

not MY Captain America

Master of Kung Fu is refreshing in its limited scope. There’s a giant tournament every so often to determine who gets to be emperor, and the emperor’s fuckup son wants a shot at the throne so he can be less evil than his dad. The son’s been in hiding for years, reveals himself in the first issue, and papa sends some evil cronies after him – nice and simple. I mean I just summed the whole thing up in two sentences. Of course that also sort of betrays the story as being pretty bland. Being limited in scope is nice but less bombastic does not automatically mean better and Master of Kung Fu works through its non-bombastic paces with such a rushed, cursory tone that it’s hard to actually enjoy. Master of Kung Fu seems like an opportunity to get some storytelling into Battleworld that is isn’t burdened by a massive backstory but winds up being limited in scope like Saltines are limited in taste.

Saltines - Limited in Scope!

now with 30% less scope!

I’m not usually a big fan of The Hulk as a character, and it’s specifically because he lends himself too easily to dumb shenanigans like planets full of himself and whatnot. But this is part of Battleworld—the biggest, dumbest, most McGuffiniest thing Marvel’s undertaken in a good while. So I’m willing to give Planet Hulk a lot of extra leeway. There’s like two panels of a single page in which a giant group of Thors fight a giant group of Hulks and it’s just the tiniest aside from the real story. Since we’re already at a place where Marvel’s two biggest multiverses have literally collided and are duking it out on a planet called fucking Battleworld, why not let go of your reservations and see what it’s like to be an insane person for a bit?

shine on you crazy diamond

shine on you crazy diamond

And honestly, Master of Kung Fu felt…a little flat to me. He’s a pretty standard character in a pretty standard setting, and to an extent so are of the characters in Planet Hulk, but they’re in a big, dumb standard setting with lots more craziness going on. I love to root for the little guy, but Master of Kung Fu seems like a middleweight fighter in a tank battle right now. Winner: Planet of Hulks


Super Hero Hour Hour 5/22/15


This week, Ryan and Mike delve hard into the season finale of The Flash! They also let everyone know about how the rest of the super hero television shows went this week.

It’s amazing. Don’t believe me? Well…you’re wrong.

PopFilter Versus: Scalped


In this episode of PopFilter Versus, the gang returns to Jason Reads a Comic with an all new writer! Yes, having gone through the works of Brian K. Vaughan and deeming him worthy, Jason is now forced to read Jason Aaron. Ryan guides him through the crime series, Scalped.




Follow the bracket here!






For whatever reason, I’ve jumped into Battleworld Battleworld attempting to read these books as a first-time reader. Maybe it’s because some of the PopFilter writers working on this tournament are newbies, and I’m hoping they can enjoy these books without needing a lifetime of studying the Marvel Universe(s). Maybe it’s because I want a major comic book company to finally succeed in planning an event that actually does bring a new generation of readers to comic books. Whatever the reason, it’s made me re-focus on what it takes to create a first issue, or what a first issue needs in order to be successful. In the first battle of the first round of BWBW, we get an issue that nails it.


It seems like it’s going to be hard to reboot a universe with dozens of titles that are so attached to past Marvel events. That’s not the case for A-Force, which probably owes more to DC’s Wonder Woman than it does to anything from Marvel’s back issues. It tells the story of an island, located along the Wall that protects Battleworld from a bunch of Ultrons and zombies, that is the home to seemingly all of the women in the Marvel Universe. It’s not a secret island – all of the men know where it is – and yet they just allow it to be full of peace and harmony, somehow avoiding rubbing their proverbial penis all over it. One panel shows Luke Cage shopping at a farmer’s market, and I’d venture to say it is the best farmer’s market in all of Battleworld. The island is protected by A-Force, a team made up of many Marvel female characters. Like all of them. She-Hulk is the leader, Medusa wants to be, and Captain Marvel is the island badass. Even Nico’s there, which is always welcome. And if you don’t know who any of those ladies are (it’s not like they are in any of the Marvel movies that have been released yet), that’s O.K.


(Not from A-Force #1)

The book starts with a description of Secret Wars/Battleworld that does more in 20 words than I did with 2000 last week. And as our narrator walks us through a normal day of expositioning, we meet all of the ladies, complete with those little boxes that tell us their names and power sets. Six pages in and we get it all. It’s established that the island is perfect, then something goes wrong, then something gets worst. Sure, that’s how literally every story ever works, but here it gets put in the forefront, without the crushing continuity in the way. It’s a strong start, and exactly what I was hoping for.


(Not from A-Force #1)

That isn’t to say that its opponent, Deadpool’s Secret Secret War, was total bullshit. Writing Deadpool seems like it’s like constantly walking a tightrope: fans demand he be funny (which is hard on it’s own), but it’s very simple for those attempts at comedy to become incredibly grating. I think the key is moderation. No one should be demanding that every word bubble shooting from Deadpool’s mouth is legendarily funny. Too often, it feels like the author went back through his boring, vanilla dialogue and re-wrote each line so it felt more…Deadpooly. Cullen Bunn does a pretty good job here of toning down the banter, but ultimately we’re left with Deadpool running around roasting 80’s superheroes, and not much else. There’s some good takes on the over-exposition of 80’s Marvel comics, and the bloatedness of event comics and general, but it’s hard to compete against a comic as clean A-Force #1.


(Not from A-Force #1)

So congratulations to the ladies of A-Force, including writers Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson, as they move on to Round 2 and leave G. Waderow Wilson in the dust.


– Ryan Haley










* Marvel’s Mightiest Women finally get their own explosive series!
* In a secluded corner of the Battleworld, an island nation is fiercely protected by a team of Avengers the likes of which has only ever been glimpsed before
* Fighting to protect the small sliver of their world that’s left, the Amazing A-FORCE stands shoulder-to-shoulder, ready to take on the horde!










* Well…it is…but not THAT Secret Wars.

* Remember the original Secret Wars from 1984? And remember how Deadpool played a huge important role in it? Wait…you DON’T? Then you need to read this series immediately and be educated! From the team that brought you DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED comes the most Secretest War of all!

* Plus: a bonus Deadpool Contest of Champions tale!









* Welcome to the mystical land of K’UN LUN, where the study of martial arts reigns supreme!
* In a world where everyone is well-trained in at least some form of deadly combat, what becomes of a drunken, drop-out failure?
* If anyone speaks out against Emperor Zu, the price is their head! Good thing Shang-Chi’s a man of discretion and…oh, who are we kidding. This is going to get nasty.


PLANET HULK #14388389-planet_hulk_1_cover

* A forbidden zone of wild HULKS
* A battle-worn gladiator named STEVE ROGERS
* A journey that could break the spirit of a world’s greatest freedom fighter.
* PLUS: A back-up story by a surprise creative team!




Spinning out of the SPIDER-VERSE event, a team of Spiders finds themselves face-to-face with Battleworld! Starring SPIDER-GWEN, SPIDER-MAN NOIR, SPIDER-MAN: INDIA, MAYDAY PARKER, SPIDER-UK and SPIDER-HAM!





* MILES MORALES and the rest of the heroes of the ULTIMATE U face final extinction

* As the end of their world becomes inevitable, will the heroes’ heartbreaking sacrifices make any difference?

* The dramatic end of an era begins here!

PopFilter Podcast Episode 197


This week, the taste buds build an Actionbuster (TM) mountain for the years 2001-2005! Did your favorite new-ish school action stars make it? Listen in to find out!

They also dig into the fourth season of Veep and discuss the merits of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper! IS THAT NOT ENOUGH?! Fine! They also do their best to induct another entity into the PopFilter Hall of Fame.

(Editor’s note: The unused subtitle for this episode was “Now That’s What I Call a Podcast volume 197!”. But then again, that’s always been the unused subtitle. It’s hard out here for a pimp.)

Super Hero Hour Hour 5/15/15


This week, Ryan and Mike talk about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D! They also talk about all of the super hero television shows based on comic books. What’s better than that? Nothing. The answer is nothing.

The answer is nothing,

PopFilter Versus: Disney Rides Bracketology


The Magic Kingdom holds a special place in millions of hearts, young and old, around the world. But there are a lot of shitty rides there. Let’s be real– no one actually likes Small World, and if you say you do, you’re a damn liar blinded by misplaced nostalgia.

In this episode of Bracketology, Jason, Mike, and Ryan battle out the top 16 Disney Land rides to find the ultimate Disney experience!


Email us to get your opinion on the show:

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

Review us on iTunes!

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Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!




PopFilter’s giant summer event begins here!!!

The biggest pop culture event of the summer has already happened, as earlier this month the Avengers pulled together and somehow beat Ultron, something that I’m sure shocked us all. It was big and dumb and awesome. It promised to change the status quo, but then forgot to. It did, however, hint at how things could be different in the future. It jammed together all the characters it could, whether it made sense or not. It was a blockbuster of a fireworks show, delivering all the explosions you wanted. What it lacked in depth, it set-up solo movies in the future as places where you can get your depth from. At this point, most people know that all these characters are based on ideas that were made up in the three-color funny pages, but did you know that everything else I just described was taken from comic books too?!?

For decades, mainstream comic companies have used the summer as a time to unleash an AoU-like blockbuster on unsuspecting audiences. Each comic’s storyline is stopped dead in its tracks so that it can sort of touch on this other big thing going on somewhere else in the world. They’re always big, they’re always dumb, they never change the status quo as much as they want you to believe. The one thing they have over the movies is that Marvel still gets to use all of their characters when they’re in comic book form. That means in these events you get to see Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the Thing alongside all of the characters from the MCU. Every summer they say that this is the big one, and it’s never the big one. Although this might be the big one.

All summer long, PopFilter is turning their sights on to Marvel’s Secret Wars, their big summer blockbuster that doesn’t just gather everyone in their universe, but (supposedly) ends it. We’re going to throw every new title into a bracket and force them to do battle against each other. That way, you’ll know which new titles you should be reading, and which ones you can skip. The comic fan’s mentality of “I have to read everything to understand anything” is one that’s filled with disappointment and heartbreak. Don’t be that guy. Let us be those guys. You be the guy who stays updated on everything that’s going on, and just reads the good stuff. Before the bracket starts next week, let’s go over what you need to know about the old Marvel universe, what this may mean for the future, and what Marvel events are like in general.


For a long time now, both Marvel and DC have functioned in a Multiverse. In each Marvel universe there is a different Earth, a different Spider-Man, a different Stan Lee cameo, etc. This concept takes stories like 1602, which is a reimagination of the Marvel Universe in Elizabethan times, and changes it from a cool story that you can enjoy separate from the mainstream comics, and turns it into a different universe that exists concurrently with the mainstream universe. Mainstream Marvel is Universe 616. MCU is Universe 199999. And the Ultimate universe is, of course, Universe-1610.

15 years ago, everyone was tired of all of the continuity in the 616. It was too hard to have the characters do anything without reading 1000 other books beforehand, to make sure that you weren’t betraying the characters or their history. So Marvel had an idea. They could just start over. Peter Parker back in high school. Charles Xavier starting to round up mutants. Reed Richards building a rocket to space. These wouldn’t just be among the countless re-tellings of these character’s origins, but would reset everything. Readers could start fresh, and writers and artists could tell these classic stories with whatever updates they wanted. The problem was that regardless of the balls it took to create the Ultimate universe – a name that lets you know exactly when it was created – Marvel had shrinkage when it came to also killing the 616, with all of the rich history and characters it had spent the last 40 years creating. So they decided that both lines would run at the same time. Horrible idea? Absolutely.

But it totally worked. It turns out Marvel readers had no problem reading stories about a married Peter Parker in his early 30’s, and a Peter Parker in high school with the dumbest hair you’ve ever seen, all at the same time. The Ultimate-line launched with Marvel’s hottest writers, and it was awesome. It sounded like it would be baby comics for babies, and instead it was great. But most of those hot writers left (Brian Michael Bendis is still writing Ultimate Spider-Man, 15 years later), and that lack of continuity all of a sudden became 15 years of continuity. The newness wore off, but when newness is your main commodity, how long do you really have anyway. So Marvel, always the last to know, finally figured out that no one cared about the Ultimate line anymore, and something had to be done.


Well, Ultimate Spider-Man has the second dumbest Peter Parker hair you’ve ever seen.

The problem is that the Ultimate line has Miles Morales, Peter Parker’s Blatino replacement, and a popular character – far too popular to just kill off with the rest of the Ultimate line. Also, the Ultimate line has the Nick Fury that the MCU Nick Fury was based on, the one that was originally based on Samuel L. Jackson. You can’t get rid of him – he’s a movie star! So Marvel had no choice. They had to create an elaborate storyline, essentially ending the 616 as we know it today, so that they could salvage whatever pieces of the Ultimate line they wanted and get everyone into the same universe. It’s so dumb. I’m so excited. I’m so dumb.



Time travel is an easy way to make stories possible, and so superheroes, and their writers, use it alot. But what if there were repercussions to all of this time/space manipulation, other than readers rolling their eyes at a tired trope. It turns out, in the 616, there are. All of these egomaniacal, douchebag super heroes fucked around with time and space so much that they essentially broke it. That means that instead of different Earths occupying the same areas in different realities, multiple Earths are in the same reality.  I might be a little fuzzy on all of the science, but basically two Earths are about to slam into each other. And, as luck would have it, those two Earths are the 616 and the Ultimate Universe.


The 616 Illuminati has known about this for some time. The Illuminati is a brain trust of genius dickheads, including Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Beast, Namor, and Dr. Strange. They allegedly have been working on a way to keep this incursion from happening, but have realized that the 616 has no choice but to destroy that other planet. Either the other planet dies, or everyone does. So they make their planet-destroying weapon, and attempt to lay waste to billions of people. But instead of our Marvel universe destroying that dirty Ultimate planet and creating 40 more years of continuity-filled stories, parts of the 616 and the Ultimate universe, along with parts of dozens of other Marvel universes, continuities, and storylines, are all sucked up and taken to a place called Battleworld.


This room smells like dickhead.


So if Marvel is going to take all of their characters from all of their universes and pit them up against each other, we’re going to do that same thing to their titles, writers, and artists. Starting next week, every single new title that comes out will be entered into the second biggest tournament of the summer. Just the first week alone sees an all-female Avengers team taking on Deadpool, a world of Iron Fists taking on a world of Hulks, and every Spider-Man taking on the end Ultimate universe. The rest of the summer will take us back to Civil War, Old Man Logan, the Siege, the Korvac Saga, Marvel Zombies, Age of Apocalypse, and many other Marvel events and storylines from comics’ past, some of which were good. 5 PopFilter writers have been tasked with reading and writing about everything that’s come out, with their Marvel experience ranging from lifelong fans to interested noobs. Their Marvel knowledge levels might be different, but their goals are all the same: eliminate the dreck, elevate the great, and band together to find the one Secret Wars comic you need to go back and read. Because, as always, there can only be one.


PopFilter Podcast Episode 196


On this episode of the PopFilter Podcast, Ryan and Jason discuss Snoop Dogg’s latest in Bush as well as Julian Moore’s apparently Oscar worthy performance in Still Alice. They also continue their Actionbusters ™ Mount Rushmore, declaring the four most amazing stars of action films from 1996-2000. It’s a hoot for your ear boot, which is “cool kid talk” for headphones.

Super Hero Hour Hour 5/8


This week, Ryan and Jason bid adieu to the masterpiece that was Gotham. Join them as they go through the roller coaster that was the big finale and the season in general. Plus, Powers renewal news and reviews of every comic book show this week! Get into it!

PopFilter Versus: Modern TV Romance Bracketology


In a very special episode of PopFilter Versus, Ryan and Mike kick Jason out of the studio and get romantic. Listen in as they drink, and scream, and fight each other to find the best Modern TV Romantic Couple in an all new Bracketology!

PopFilter Podcast Episode 195


On the 195th episode of the PopFilter Podcast, Ryan and Jason discuss the merits of a 1970’s made-for-TV movie in Duel and then try to decide why Happyish is a show that exists. They also continue their “actionbusters”(tm) Mt. Rushmore with the four best action stars from 1991-1995 being carved into a badass mountain. After all of that, they scream at each other about some shit that’s getting to big for its britches, telling everyone what to settle down about.

Aaaaaaaaand they get pretty drunk.

The Super Hero Hour Hour 5/1


This week, Ryan and Jason really dig into The Flash. And I mean REALLY dig into it. They also talk about all the amazing television shows based on comic books! Is it awesome? Of course. How dare you even ask.

PopFilter Versus: Their 2005 Selves


The Taste Buds get caught in a time loop and have to face their 2005 selves in a mind-bending, death defying battle royale! Or you know, they all countdown the 5 things they’re fans of now that Them ten years ago would hate to find out. This time, like it always is with time-travel, it’s personal.

PopFilter Podcast Episode 194


The taste buds are back and better than ever! This week, they tackle “Behind the Iris” by Canadian musicians Braids and the new Yahoo Screens show Other Space! They then attempt to bring a new member into the coveted PopFilter Hall of Fame. And as if that isn’t enough, they also find the time to build a mountain to the greatest action stars from 1986-1990. It was sculpted using only punches and kicks.

And dynamite.


The Super Hero Hour Hour 4/25


This week, Ryan and Mike talk about all of the amazing television shows that are based on comic books! The board thought it would be funny to make them really dig in to Powers, so they do. Spoiler alert: Powers is not the best. Sorry.

PopFilter VS. March TV


On this episode, the taste buds (plus Stephanie Rose!) widdle down the 16 television premiers in March to one champion of them all! It doesn’t just get weird…it gets super weird.

PopFilter Podcast Episode 193


This week, the taste buds get into some the most important discussion of their life as they are given a fictional opportunity to create a network that airs all of the best television shows that were cancelled too soon!

They were not told it was fictional…it gets heated.

The Super Hero Hour Hour 4/17


Daredevil has finally debuted on Netflix. Mike and Ryan bemoan the fact that they are going to watch one episode a week instead of binge it like the rest of America. They also cover all of the other new episodes that came out this week, including Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, The Flash, iZombie, Powers, and Gotham. Who will be number one?


As a bonus here’s the video Ryan mentions:


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