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BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

ROUND 1, BATTLE 24

Follow the bracket here!

AGENT OF HYDRA HANK JOHNSON #1

111

VS

112

SECRET WARS SECRET LOVE #1

Well, it finally happened. It turns out that there actually is only so much amazing material in the Battleworld canon. This week, in reading Hank Johnson Agent of Hydra and Secret Wars Secret Love, it became very clear that even the comics with the best intentions could only be allowed to go so far. In a very odd side step from the face-melting action that has been the Battleworld Battleworld tournament, Marvel sees fit to release two comics that take super heroes and put then in various “normal” situations. Both books are played for laughs and attempt to show how the super heroic would deal with the super mundane. Unfortunately, with high concepts come high risk and both books fall into the traps they have, perhaps unknowingly set for themselves.

Just like bears. What's up, bear?

Just like bears. What’s up, bear?

In Hank Johnson, we see the everyday life of an anonymous HYDRA agent named Hank Johnson. He has a well intentioned, 50’s era nagging wife, three shitty kids and he really wants tickets to sporting events. Over the course of the first book he gets kicked in the face by Nick Fury, has “everyman” conversations with his co-workers, tries to get out of doing the shitty things every person has to do and gets kicked in the face by Nick Fury again. The scraps of action only serve as background to remind us that this dude’s job is bonkers. His boss is shitty, his family is shitty and he trudges through every day of his life trying to find a reason not to end it. Sounds like a fun read, no? No.

No! It is not fun!

Nope.

Then we have the nut balls world of Secret Wars Secret Love, a book that takes a look at various relationships in various stages of seriousness. We see Daredevil fight Satan while Karen Page comes to help, Danny Rand and his wife Lucy have a terrible date that is saved by fighting a giant T-Rex, a number of other B-level (and that’s being VERY generous) Marvel characters go on blind dates and then there’s a weird few pages of bug puns. Ugh. It’s a gutsy idea that falters in execution. Though watching Squirrel Girl and Thor reenact Disney’s Cinderella is a an amusing idea on paper, it’s less amusing when the paper is a comic book and you actually have to deal with all of the intricacies.

Original cover art for Secret Wars Secret Love.

Original cover art for Secret Wars Secret Love.

In a very weird way, this battle doesn’t come down to how these books treat the heroes but how they treat their concepts. Taking a HYDRA agent and putting him in The Honeymooners might seem like a great idea when you’re high as fuck and munching on Flaming Hot Cheetos, but having to make a readable story out of that seedling is nearly impossible. The jokes fall flat more often then they hit and the story ultimately ends up being a Warholian paint-by-numbers. At least with Secret Wars we get to see women be something other than a consummate punch line. Though Lucy and Karen’s motivations both stem from their ideas about their chosen mates, they kick the fucking ass off of anything they need to. And if you can tell me that you know where they’re going with any of these storylines, you are clairvoyant as fuck.

Yikes.

Yikes.

So dear Filterinos, in a battle as weird as it was hard to get through, Secret Wars Secret Love moves on for at least attempting to make all of its characters three dimensional. It wasn’t always pretty and it didn’t always work, but the effort alone will nudge Secret Wars into the next round of our bracket.

With love,
Jason R. Noble

Super Hero Hour Hour 8/29/15

Play

Finally, there’s another show! Ladies and gentlemen, Lord Teevee has bestowed upon all of us a Walking Dead spinoff, and despite the fact that it is based on a TV show, and not a comic book, Ryan and Mike tackle it anyway. OBVIOUSLY they talk about the latest Dark Matter, because they’re not B-Holes, and psych themselves up for the impending two-part Dark Matter finale.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BattleworldBattleworld

Round 2 Battle 10

Follow the bracket here

Civil War (#1-2)

CIVWAR2015002_cov

VS

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND THE MIGHTY DEFENDERS (#1-2)

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Welcome back to Battleworld Battleworld! Just a reminder before we get started – we’ve been doing the math, and a lot of you have been failing to turn in your defeated issues for destruction.  In particular, there’s a lot of issues of MODOK: Assassin that you seem desperate to keep. In fact we’re tracking about a 34% retention rate on MODOK.  He’s a lovable little imp, but we gotta keep this bonfire going, folks – if you don’t turn in your defeated issues, there won’t be enough sustainable fuel to keep burning future defeated issues.  I’ve even heard rumors of resistance cells forming, hoarding issues of Marvel Zombies and Planet Hulk in underground bunker and preparing for a final stand.  Don’t force our hands, folks!  We’ve got squads of Ray Bradbury ironic fire fighters on hand and we won’t hesitate to burn you along with your weak, inferior storylines if it comes to that.  So let’s accept that resistance is futile and get burning, folks!

smells like purity!

This week, we’ve got a fierce competition going between Civil War and Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders.  One of these two will be thrown into the unkind flame of history, as well as the unkind flame of actual flame, and the other will move closer to the ultimate prize: continued existence.  Let’s get started!

stand by, boys!

stand by, boys!

I personally spared Captain Britain a few weeks ago.  The storyline hooked me in, and the issue held some promise.  The second issue seemed to be a bit of a sophomore slump.  I loved the twist on Iron Man’s origin in #1, and the pieces it set in motion all appealed to me.  #2 just didn’t have the same zing to it.  For one thing it features two separate prison break scenes.  People, there is an epidemic of prison breaks in pop culture, and comic books have always been the biggest offender.  I understand that it’s hard to capture a hulk.  I’m not here to offer advice on how to do it, either.  But we all know that hulks can just snap through titanium handcuffs.  It’s not a surprise that the strongest being in the universe can break out of prison.  So why are we going to pretend to be full of suspense when they get captured? It’s artificial stakes-building, which you can say of almost everything in a comic book, but it’s also artificial to such an incredibly laid-bare level.  If your readers are already willing to suspend their disbelief to the extreme degree that comic books fans are, at least do them better than “hero captured > hero escape” as your main plot point.  And especially when the hero is all smug because they secretly knew they could escape the whole time.  That isn’t good storytelling.  You know what that is? Fuel.

Fuel. All of it.

Fuel, all of it.

Captain Britain also ends on a hopeful note, which I am fine with.  But it’s a hopeful not that isn’t the end of the story and doesn’t generate further interest.  It’s like having one of those leaping, victorious freeze frames just before a commercial break.  The first issue gave me an immediate, direct reason to want to tune in again.  The second ended on a tone that sort of felt like “don’t worry about the conflict, these guys are gonna solve it for sure!”  Well, great – I won’t then.

next time on Captain Britain

next time on Captain Britain

Civil War has won me over pretty thoroughly in just two issues.  The pacing, character development and world building are all well-done, avoiding the perfunctory feel a lot of other Battleworld stories have struggled with.  There’s an excitement to Civil War that really drew me in.  As if the writer was sort of bummed that the original, non-Battleworld storyline ended when there so much more to say.  The narrative fits nicely into the landscape of Battleworld, with Cap and Tony Stark establish two enemy nations that are in a state of endless, un-winnable war.

battleworld!

battleworld!

Issue #2 keeps up the pace established in the first, giving just enough little nuggets of information to get me excited about the next one.  There’s a bit of the usual “something’s not right about this planet full of other planets” stuff going on–and even that fits nicely within the story’s main narrative–but there’s also just a great, ticking time bomb feel to the plot, with both sides trying avoid a war while simultaneously feeling like a war is unavoidable.  It’s a super hero comic book with actual intrigue, which is hard to do.  Furthermore, it’s real, no-shit intrigue and not usual comic book intrigue where like, Captain America has to punch a computer until it gives him the codes to unlock a big giant gun he’ll use to blow something up or whatever.

I'm outsmarting you all!!

I’m outsmarting you all!!

So turn in your Captain Britain everyone, they’re done for.  And please, no more “add-ins.”  We’ve been getting a lot of people trying to throw Daniel Brown novels or Eminem CDs in our fire, and that’s not what this is about for us.  We’re not trying to burn ideas here, we’re trying to burn failure itself.  And if you’re reading this, and you’re the leader of resistance, turn yourself in now.  It’s not too late.  You don’t have to burn with MODOK.  But MODOK must burn.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

WEEK FIFTEEN PREVIEW

THIS FRIDAY:

ROUND ONEBATTLE TWENTY FOUR

SECRET WARS: SECRET LOVE




SECRETLOVE_CVR_flat

MICHEL FIFFE, FELIPE SMITH, MARGUERITE BENNETT, JEREMY WHITLEY, KATIE COOK & MORE! (w)
MICHEL FIFFE, FELIPE SMITH, KRIS ANKA, GURIHIRU, KATIE COOK & MORE! (a)
• WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, CAN THEIR LOVE SURVIVE?
• ROBBIE REYES/KAMALA KHAN!
• TYPHOID MARY/KAREN PAGE/MATT MURDOCK!
• AND MANY MORE SECRET LOVE AFFAIRS…

VS

HANK JOHNSON: AGENT OF HYDRA

HJAOH2015001_cov

DAVID MANDEL (w) • MICHAEL WALSH (a)
• Hey there, comic reader! Have you ever wondered what Hydra agents do during their downtime? No? Well…then, uh, go read HAIL HYDRA. For everyone else with a burning desire to see a Hydra agent letting it all hang out, THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU! BE THRILLED as Hank picks up his kids from school! BE AMAZED as Hank talks with Hydra’s HR department! And BE STUPEFIED as Hank wishes he had picked a different line of work! From CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM executive producer David Mandel, Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra will have you looking at faceless henchmen in a whole new light.

 

THIS MONDAY:

ROUND THREEBATTLE THREE

FUTURE IMPERFECT #1-3

FUTIMP2015003

PETER DAVID (w) • GREG LAND (a/C)
COME AT THE MAESTRO, YOU BEST NOT MISS!!!
• THE THING captured?
• LAYLA MILLER knows stuff…like how to infiltrate MAESTRO’S keep!
• But can RUBY SUMMERS and her rebels trust Layla at all?

VS

CAPTAIN MARVEL AND THE CAROL CORPS #1-3

CMCACORPS2015003_COV

KELLY SUE DECONNICK & KELLY THOMPSON  (w)
DAVID LOPEZ (a/C)
• Chasing secrets and dissent among the ranks has left one of the Carol Corps out of commission.
• To make matters worse, trouble is quickly converging on Hala Field…
• Scramble Fighters! WE’VE GOT INCOMING!

\?

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BattleworldBattleworld

Round 2 Battle 9

Follow the bracket here

1872 (#1-2)

VS

KORVAC SAGA (#1-2)

This battle pits the two kinds of stories Secret Wars has been telling against one another. They’re spitting fire and going for the throat. They’re drinking ice water, and then spitting that ice water in each other’s eyes. It’s weird how they’re mirroring their opponents movements, and weirder still how the crowd loves it. Especially spit in the eyes… that kind of gross tomfoolery hasn’t been allowed in any other fights since the 1927 Accords. But this is Battleworld Battleworld and anything goes. Except nothing below the belt, because come on!

Funny_Pictures_2897

The only way I fight.

In 1872 we have a genre-specific re-imagining of our beloved characters, as Sheriff Steve Rogers fights for some sort of justice in a cruel western world ruled by Mayor Fisk and Governor Roxxon. In the other corner, The Korvac Saga fleshes out the relationships and strains of Battleworld as Michael Korvac and Wonderman play political mind games as rulers of neighboring kingdoms, while dealing with a virus that shows the infected the truth behind Doom’s creation, and then turns them into giant fucking monsters.

shutterstock_jenny_mccarthy.jpg.CROP.original-original

Thanks anti-vaxxers.

What both books do right is care as little as possible about what’s going on Secret War. There are insular stories here, and the creative teams on both sides are obviously trying to play in the sandbox this event has created, rather than push against said sandbox or just scream the definitions of the sandbox. They’re also trying to avoid looking at the kid who’s obviously playing with catshit he found in the sandbox. The Korvac Saga mentions the bigger picture more than 1872 (which ignores it completely), but that’s not a mark against it, even though most of us here at PopFilter tend to bitch about the forced tie-ins. But that’s what’s so great about this book– instead of sitting around explaining how crazy Battleworld is – Abnett, Shmidt, and Co. use the current state of affairs to steadily increase the tension and raise the drama. Doomgod and his punishments are brought up, but in a way that shines a light on how powerless even those in power are. While Korvac and Wonderman are swinging their dicks and their super-teams at each other, their kingdoms are going to shit and both could be obliterated if they don’t fix it. While there’s potential (this turns into yet ANOTHER series where certain characters realize the truth and try to fight against Doom), right now the status quo is to ignore that truth completely and fix the problem that’s staring them in the face. And while they do that, the book gets to explore the pressures of leadership, the dangers of ego, and the celebrity that comes with politics (and how that can all hinder actual ruling). That’s in two fucking issues, kids.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 10.44.55 AM

It’s always just about popularity.

 Over in 1872, Duggan, Virella and pals aren’t interested Doomgod OR in digging into the repercussions of high status modern politics. They’re just a bunch of Western fans that think it’d be cool to see Tony Stark and Steve Rogers take the reins that formerly belonged to Gary Cooper and Clint Eastwood. And they’re totally right. There’s an elegance to the simplicity of this story. And while it’s one you’ve seen a thousand times in a thousand ways and parodied a thousand times over, it’s a classic tale of good sheriff against the bad leaders above him. They even manage to throw a couple of twists and turns that you wouldn’t expect. Without getting into too much detail, it’s rare to see John Wayne take the Drew Barrymore role in a movie.

1996, SCREAM

Like this. But with a cowboy hat. 

 Even though on the first read 1872 won me over more than Korvac, it’s an unfair fight. The Western book makes  “aim small, miss small” its motto, and does; the political-contagion story swings for the fucking trees, so it has some missteps. There’s far more clunkiness in Korvac, because it’s trying to do something so much more ambitious than its opponent. Critiquing society is usually handled by the indie funny books, not the Big Two, and never during the fucking blockbuster summer event. That’s when everything get’s thrown in a blender and we get to stare at the splatter on the walls. While both books are thoroughly enjoyable, The Korvac Saga moves on because it (fairly) subtly slipped some kale and spinach into that blender and pulls it off while juggling a cast of a couple dozen brightly colored faces.-MG

 

NEXT BATTLE:

CIVIL WAR vs CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND THE DEFENDERS !

Battleworld Battleworld

BattleworldBattleworld

Round 1 Battle 23

Follow the bracket here

Howard the Human

HOWTH2015001_cov

VS

House of M

HOM2015001_cov_col

This battle is brought to you by your own sense of crippling uncertainty.

What this battle brings you is one Howard the Human.

 

The moniker is a very clever play on the 80s movie Howard the Duck because, why not?

download

80s mega hottie!

 

 

Howard the Human, on the other hand, is a man in grittly drawn world populated with anthropomorphic animals. This is a one-shot, meaning the entire story is told in one issue. That is a tall order for any comic book. Though he spells his name annoyingly, Skottie Young is a very strong storyteller. You can remember him from earlier in this bracket as the writer/artist of Giant Sized Little Marvel.

b

Remember Marvel Babies?

 

That was a comic that did very well in the first round, but failed to impress with its second issue. Howard the Human isn’t burdened with a second issue. It tells its entire story in one swing. And it does so beautifully. The fascinating thing about Howard the Human is that he is a Philip Marlowe character, which means he plays a hard-boiled detective who often talks or lucks his way out of a jam. Philip Marlowe is a character popularized by Raymond Chandler novels; the role has been played on the big screen by Humphrey  Bogart, James Garner, and my favorite interpretation, Elliot Gould in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye

Also played Monica and Ross's dad on Friends. Fun Fact.

Also played Monica and Ross’s dad on Friends. Fun Fact.

 

This comic leans heavily on its influences. Howard is a private investigator who has some crazy stories to tell. The most remarkable thing about him is how he can maintain an effortless cool in the most diabolically stressful circumstances. This man will stare down the barrel of 8 high powered assault rifles and calmly finish his whisky neat and wax on about his day. I believe people in my great-grandfather’s generation would refer to him as, “a very cool customer.” Not a bad guy to protagonize a story.

1

 

The artwork is sketchy, although not unpleasing and certainly true to the story. One of the things that many of the comics in the Battleworld summer series do so well is match storytellers to artists who understand the story the writer is telling. The less-than-straight lines of this comic wobble together the world of a city’s seedy underbelly, of secrets just waiting to be uncovered. This is the world of the detective novel. The artistry brings that to vivid and compelling life.

2

Its easy to be taken off guard by how “shitty” it looks. But it is shitty in all the right ways. It’s a carefully orchestrated mess. A mess that comes together to tell a story that is tighter in 22 pages than many other comics in this bracket will be able to do in 4, 7, or even 10 issues.

 

The other comic in this battle is the first issue of House of M, a wildly incoherent mess that barely warrants mentioning.


So back to Howard the Human.

 

Another thing hats great about this comic is how well in melts into the Marvel Universe without intruding on its carefully constructed identities. It does so in an almost satirical way: it pokes fun at Marvel without dishonoring it. Daredevil makes an appearance as a rodent named Mouse Murdock. It might have been better to make a blind character a mole, but whatever.

mouse

When all is said and done with this battle, Howard the Human moves forward, and House of M is soon to be forgotten.

 

Congratulations Howard the Human! See you in round two!

 

-Stephanie Rose

Super Hero Hour Hour 8/21/15

Play

This week, Ryan and Mike discuss the Dark Matter, in what will, forever be known as the final episode of the SHHH…that only discusses Dark Matter. They also relearn how to do The Issues, relearn how to talk about Daredevil and relearn what it’s like to be friends.

 

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

WEEK FOURTEEN PREVIEW

THIS FRIDAY:

ROUND ONEBATTLE TWENTY THREE

HOWARD THE HUMAN #1

HOWTH2015001_cov

 

SKOTTIE YOUNG (w) • JIM MAHFOOD (a)
• Spend a day with Howard, a private investigator and the only human living in city full of animals. But not, like, criminals and lowlifes. We’re talking elephants, apes, ducks and kitty cats. Catching a case, grinding a few gears, dodging some bullets and almost getting killed by an anthropomorchic monstrosity. It’s just another Monday for Howard the Human brought to you by Skottie Young (ROCKET RACCOON) and Jim Mahfood (MIAMI VICE REMIX).

VS

HOUSE OF M #1

HOM2015001_cov_col

 

DENNIS HOPELESS (w)
Marco Failla (a)
• The House of Magnus controls all, having crushed all resistance to their reign. Magneto rules with an iron-fist, while his children and grandchildren live their lives as royals—with all the privileges and pit-falls that come with that title.
• But is Magneto’s control as all-encompassing as it seems? And what happens to a conqueror when there is no one left to conquer?

THIS MONDAY:

ROUND TWOBATTLE NINE

KORVAC SAGA #1-2

SW_KORVAC_SAGA_2 (1)

DAN ABNETT (w) • OTTO SCHMIDT (a/C)
• As Lord Michael Korvac handles a crucial peace summit with his rival, the Wonder Man Simon Williams, Korvac’s loyal Guardians struggle to find the source of the madness plaguing the kingdom.
• The truth is closer to home than anyone could have realized, and the revelation will shake the kingdom to its foundations.

VS

1872 #1-2

1872_2

 

GERRY DUGGAN (w) • NIK VIRELLA (a/C)
DEAD MAN’S HAND!
• BULLSEYE!
• ELEKTRA!
• GRIZZLY!
• DOC OCK!
• ‘NUFF SAID, PARTNER!

THIS TUESDAY:

ROUND TWOBATTLE TEN

CIVIL WAR #1-2

CIVWAR2015002_cov

 

CHARLES SOULE (w)
LEINIL FRANCIS YU (a/C)
• Skirmishes between each side continue in the wake of a failed attempt at peace. General Rogers and his forces in the Blue continue development of Project Bellcurve, the top-secret effort to win the war in one epic stroke, while Iron President Stark discovers deeply troubling data about the course of the nation’s history since its division.

VS

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND THE MIGHTY DEFENDERS #1-2

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AL EWING (w)
ALAN DAVIS (a/C)
• Mondo City breaks out its biggest gun – the multi-story murder-dozer they call the WAR MACHINE!
• Meanwhile, Captain Britain faces Mondo’s toughest lawman, Boss Cage – from the inside of a cell!
• Once the brutal Boss System is done with the Defenders… will there be anything left of them to arrest?

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

ROUND 3, BATTLE 1

Follow the bracket here!

A-FORCE #1-3

AFORCESW2015003COV_col

VS

Ultimate-The-End_3

ULTIMATE END #1-3

 

Most readers of Marvel’s Secret Wars summer event have realized that a sense of cohesion amongst the dozens of spin-off titles – or even a need to make them make any sense whatsoever – is just not a concern for the publisher. At this point, people are most likely reading to not be left out, cutting as many titles as possible while still keeping that feeling of inclusion. If you’re looking for a title that keeps you in the Secret Wars loop, then A-Force continues to be the one. Every issue gives off the feeling that, outside of the main Secret Wars book, it’s the best place for SW world-building, and it also feels like it’s going to deliver some sort of way out of this mess. A-Force wins this battle by a hundred kajillion billion, even though you could argue that it’s going up against the most important, necessary book in all Secret Wars.

 

It’s also the worst. From the first issue, Ultimate End has been an absolute mess, and with the third issue, it becomes abundantly clear why that is. I don’t have any proof of this theory, but if it’s not the case, then Bendis has simply gone insane. It’s clear that Ultimate End was written a long time ago, most likely before Secret Wars was even a thing. It would be like writing a eulogy for someone not just before they died, but also before they got a sex change and became an astronaut, and then simply not including that when you deliver the eulogy. There’s a couple of truths throughout all of the Secret Wars books that care about being part of the larger story:

 

  1. Doom recreated the world, based on his love of Marvel summer events.
  2. Seven or so heroes in the Marvel universe recently landed here, and know that it’s a sham.
  3. More and more heroes are starting to realize that every day.
  4. Thors are police.

 

So, you can be like Weirdworld, and just tell your shit-crazy story that doesn’t have to with anything, and sell a few more copies than it would outside of the event, or you can play with the pieces of Secret Wars, and have some Thors and make some characters begin to remember their own world. That’s it. Those are the only two options. And if you pick one of those options, we here at PopFilter will decide which comic books are the best. Ultimate End, however, sees no need to pick one of those options, and it has to be because it was written before Secret Wars.

 

The reason this is a shame is because it is the final story of the Ultimate line. The Ultimate line had faded since it used to own the sales charts, but it’s still not hard for comic fans of the last decade or so to be reminded of some pretty sweet stories. The inclusion of some of the Ultimate characters (mostly Miles Morales) into the main 616 universe seems like the entire reason for Secret Wars. But if someone decided to combine the death of the Ultimate line with Secret Wars, or if someone decided at the last second that the death of the Ultimate line should be a much bigger deal than a five issue mini-series written by Bendis, than Ultimate End should have been scrapped. As it stands now, it feels so chopped up and forced, as if elements of Battleworld have been added to the book after it was finished. It doesn’t make any sense in relation to the bigger event, and it doesn’t really make sense on it’s own. For A-Force, the exact opposite is true. It completely feels like part of this event, but would also stand on its own (and it will have to soon, as it is slated to become a regular series after Secret Wars). If the book was a little slow in the second issue, or a little too reliant on “Doom Doom Doom,” the third issue adds a classic plot device (“There’s a traitor amongst us”) to ratchet up that tension for the final escape from Battleworld over the next two months. So a much deserving A-Force moves on to the elite 8 to for a showdown against Infinity Gauntlet, while Ultimate End starts its path on being forgotten as soon as possible.

 

PopFilter Podcast Episode 208

Play

This week, the Taste Buds (TM) are back and better than ever! Tune in as Jason, Ryan and Mike all discuss the merits of the Netflix original(ish) series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp as well as the Hulu original series Difficult People. It’s a show full of almost TV!

If that’s not enough for you, you can lick a snake’s butt. Also, they build a mountain in honor pop culture’s best campers and attempt to induct another member or two into the illustrious PopFilter Hall of Fame.

It’s GREEEEAT!!!!

Super Hero Hour Hour 8/14/15

Play

Tonight, and for one night only, Mike and Ryan talk about Dark Matter…until next week. Then that will be the last week they only talk about Dark Matter. After next week, they will have other things to talk about (zombies are coming). They decide to fill the time with a new segment. Tune in, turn on, watch Dark Matter. Please? That way we will have something to talk about.

PopFilter Podcast Episode 207, pt. 2

Play

It’s the exciting conclusion to the PopFilter education assignment on modern horror films! Listen in as Jason, Mike and Ryan all complete their six week course. See which one goes on to become a senator, who ends up working mid-level management and has a beautiful family and who ends up eating poop at the dump.

Oh, poop at the dump. It’s the phrase that keeps on giving.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

WEEK THIRTEEN PREVIEW

ROUND THREEBATTLE ONE

A-FORCE #1-3

AFORCESW2015003COV_col

MARGUERITE BENNETT & G. WILLOW WILSON (w)
JORGE MOLINA (a/C)
• She-Hulk has violated the most sacred rule of Battleworld…
• …and now A-Force is on the run from the planet’s protectors: The Thor Corps!
• And while trying to prove her innocence, She-Hulk discovers that one of her own may have engineered her downfall…

VS

ULTIMATE END #1-3

Ultimate-The-End_3

BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (w) • MARK BAGLEY (a/C)
THE BATTLE YOU THOUGHT YOU’D NEVER SEE!
• The mash up of the ULTIMATE UNIVERSE and the MARVEL UNIVERSE reaches its tipping point.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

ROUND 3, BATTLE 1

Follow the bracket here!

 WHERE MONSTERS DWELL #1-3

WMDWELL2015003

VS

INFG2015004_cov

INFINITY GAUNTLET #1-3

Oh Battleworld, my Battleworld, our fearful trip is nearly done. We’ve weathered almost every rack, the prize we’ve sought is nearly won. Before that Walt Disney poem can be seen to fruition however, there are a couple more fistfights that need to be fist fought. Up next on your undercard is the powerhouse mêlée between Where Monsters Dwell and Infinity Gauntlet. Let’s get ready to grumble.

Grumble indeed...

Grumble indeed…

With three issues of each under their belt, Monsters and Gauntlet are both giving us titillating glimpses into their act one and how their stories might play out. Both books are adept at hanging their readers off cliffs while simultaneously earning their suspenseful endings. So how can this battle of great books be decided? Who has the authority to banish one while championing the other? Me. It will be decided by me and I have the authority.

Just the right shoe.

Just the right shoe.

Where Monsters Dwell is a fucking nutballs look at what probably happened to Amelia Earhart back in the 1830’s. Plane goes up, plane hits storm, plane gets displaced to an Amazonian, pre-historic island replete with leviathans and more ladies underwear than Buffalo Bill’s closet. The transformation of a “helpless minx” (their words) into a “ball-busting bad ass” (my words) is helped by the over blown ridiculousness of the situation at hand. Why would this flirty, tiny English woman, who clearly needs the help of a man to do anything, flip a switch and become a lesbian powerhouse of epic proportions? <– That is not a question you ask when you’re watching a T-Rex chomp 15 tiny tribal men while your protagonist is screaming through a forest covered in blood. Don’t get me wrong; they don’t cover up a bad story with cuckoo crazy insanity. On the contrary, they infuse a good story with awesome imagery and an impressively strong cadre of characters.

But the dinosaur shit is fucking haunting.

But the dinosaur shit is fucking haunting.

Well how the fuck can Infinity Gauntlet hold up to that shit? The answer is, quite simply, pretty Goddamn well. The first couple of issues of the Gauntlet (which is what I call it because we’re really good friends) are rough. They lack cohesion at times, character motivation and chemistry is, at best hit or miss, and the artwork tends to muddy the story line instead of clarify. Basically, whoever thought it was a good idea to let this book get so far in the tournament was either a dumbass or Nostradamus because this third book puts all that shit to great use.

Nostradumbasses

Nostra-dumbasses.

 

The slow play of the first two books is matched only by the fever pitch story telling that the third book hurls at you. The characters grow into themselves, the storylines are taught and the inclusion of Thanos, who seems to be a pretty bad dude, all make this book plainly awesome. Plus, as a bonus, because someone has an orange diamond or some such shit, this book can go back in time whenever it wants! That’s a banana! Do you not like what you just saw? Fuck it. We’ll go back and play it again but this time…it’s personal. Do you not like how it played out this time? Fuck you! We’re not going back! Grandpa’s dead. Mom’s mean. Your dog will never walk again. This book is oozing potential and I cannot wait to see what sick shit they make us endure knowing that at any moment, all of our emotions were wasted because that time thread is no more.

 

I dont know. He seems like a nice guy.

I dont know. He seems like a nice guy.

So who wins? This is a question that I have answered countless times over the course of our Battleworld Battleworld tournament but none have been this difficult. Both books show huge promise. Both books artwork is as interesting as it is necessary to the style of story telling. I suppose that, by virtue of intrigue and ingenuity, I give this round to Infinity Gauntlet. It is with a heavy heart that I must push Where Monsters Dwell out of the tournament. I love a crazy book about giant lesbians and dinosaurs as much as the next guy, but when Thanos can fuck your throat and then reverse time because he would prefer to do it harder, that is something I have to tip my hat to. So to Infinity Gauntlet, I say congratulations you beautiful bastard. You just won yourself premier entrance into the elite eight.

 

With Love,
Jason R. Noble

PopFilter Podcast Episode 207, pt. 1

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This week, the Taste Buds (TM) all get a serious education in the new millennium of horror! That’s right Filterinos, the Buds take a serious PopFilter 101 look at six films in the horror genre, all released in the meta, go-go world of the 00’s. Get ready to be blown away by insights, analysis and poop jokes!

Part one sees them digging into SawBubba HoTep and High Tension. Stay tuned next week for part 2, when this thick of it gets…thicker…

Super Hero Hour Hour 8/7/15

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Play

This week, on a very special episode of the Super Hero Hour Hour, Mike and Ryan discuss the latest episode of Dark Matter. OK, it’s only special if you haven’t been listening for the last seven weeks, but it’s summer, so cut us some slack. Jerk. They also discuss the new Flash castings, and debut a new segment: TV 101!

PopFilter Versus: 2015 Emmy Nominations

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Look, it’s just a fact that award shows won’t always get it right. They’ll straight up flub the nominees, and other times they will out right snub them. The Emmys are notorious flubbers AND snubbers, and this year is no different. Ryan and Jason and a special new member of the extended YPF family dish the dirt and gab the gossip on who should’ve gotten what instead of whom!

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

WEEK TWELVE PREVIEW

ROUND THREEBATTLE TWO

WHERE MONSTERS DWELL #1-3

WMDWELL2015003

GARTH ENNIS (w) • RUSSELL BRAUN (a)
• Karl Kaufmann, the Phantom Eagle, finds himself prisoner of a tribe of beautiful Amazon warriors.
• His dreams of such a situation always involved less pain and solitude. Live and learn…

VS

INFINITY GAUNTLET #1-3

INFG2015004_cov

DUSTIN WEAVER & GERRY DUGGAN (W) • DUSTIN WEAVER (A/C)
• It’s all-out war for the Infinity Stones with the Bakian family at the center of it.
• The fate of Battleworld hangs in the balance, but so does the fate of one family that has been torn apart.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

ROUND 2, BATTLE 6

Follow the bracket here!

 CAPTAIN MARVEL AND THE CAROL CORPS #2

Captain_Marvel_and_the_Carol_Corps_Vol_1_2_Textless

VS

Angela1602_2

1602: WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #2

I think at this point I’m enough of a grizzled old vet when it comes to Battleworld that I know when to keep my head down and push through.  Whenever there’s a Thor Corps sighting or a scene where the characters decide to blaspheme in secret and get immediately discovered, I just hit the dirt and give all the new guys around me a wry “you’ll get a lot of that here.”  Then we all share a nervous chuckle, one of them sticks his head up to high and bites it, and the rest of are properly sobered.  That’s just how it goes in Battleworld. Welcome to the shit.

 

 

 

the chow is awful and the commentary is tasteless. Dig in.

the chow is awful and the commentary is tasteless. Dig in.

Captain Marvel and Carol Corps has the same achilles’ heel that apparently all the Battleworld series are going to, which is that apparently nobody bothered to check if anyone else was writing a nearly identical story. It runs deeper than just Thor Corps and God Doom appearances – nearly every Battleworld story falls way too neatly into “something’s not right here” whodunnit stories or else feels like an endless stream of cameos with meek twists.

not good company to be in.

not good company to be in.

Captain Marvel’s narrative falls into that first category, and tells the story of Captain Marvel deciding to commit heresy and fly into the forbidden zone of the sky.  The beats are familiar if you’ve read the other 15 versions of this that happen in Battleworld.  Captain Marvel is a defender of the realm, proud of her role in protecting the people from invasion.  She gets ordered to do something suspicious, it turns out she was lied to, and so she decides she’s gonna stick it to Doom after a little convincing from a more blasphemous friend.

every Marvel character needs one.

every Marvel character needs one.

With that said, Captain Marvel moves through it’s admittedly familiar beats with something that is severely lacking elsewhere in Battleworld: pacing.  And it makes such an incredible world of difference.  It makes enough of a difference that I’m willing to say the too-familiar storylines pouring out of Battleworld are a result of the model Marvel has set up and gives this series a pass.  More importantly, it made enough of a difference that when I finished reading one issue, I was actually excited to start the next.

you know, the way these things are supposed to work.

you know, the way these things are supposed to work.

So then there’s Witch Hunter Angela.  This series falls into the cameo-upon-cameo genre of Battleworld offerings and only knows pace as a mediocre brand of salsa.  On like page three of issue #1 Angela kills the king of England and then it just goes on from there.  The series is so intent on diving into its arc that it hasn’t even finished introducing its characters before it starts having them snowball into insanity.  Issue #2 is no better. Looking for a bit of character development and stakes building, I got an appearance by the Guardians of the Galaxy and more runaway, off-the-rails plot-racing.

the author?

the author?

The art is some of the best I’ve seen so far – good enough that I actually took note of something I’m almost always completely oblivious to.  It’s a very cool, slightly distorted look that’s a tad reminiscent of Ben Templesmith.  And I don’t want to be too harsh on the writing just for being rushed.  The story being told in Witch Hunter Angela isn’t inherently bad, it just never gives me an “in” to actually care about it.  Like I said, it’s a problem that is all too common in Battleworld, which as a whole seems like it’s trying wrap up as quickly as possible.  Given that Battleworld began as an exercise in multiverse maintenance, then promised to at least make that maintenance fun to read, giving off the feeling that you’re writing as a chore is…no good at all.

next week on Battleworld!

next week on Battleworld!

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps seems like a series that actually wants to tell the story it’s telling.  For that alone, it wins.

PopFilter Podcast Episode 206

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Filterinos! It’s DRAAAAAAAAAAFT TIME!!!! That’s right! This week, the Taste Buds (TM) draft a super team of super side kicks. Listen in and get ready to have your sidekick face kicked in!

Hurray!