Earth 603

"The comic book podcast that sis, booms AND bahs!"

Month: November, 2012

Quantum Reviews: Bart Simpson’s Pal Milhouse #1

Everything's Coming Up Milhouse!

Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse!

Alf may be back in Pog form, but Milhouse never really left us, did he?  Everyone’s favorite proud-to-be-nerdy second banana of Springfield finally gets to star in his very own book.  At least he got a star turn before Bumblebee Man.

CousteauOften times, when a secondary (or as is often the case of The Simpsons, tertiary & quaternary) character comes to the fore, we’re often reminded why they work best in small doses.

Bart Simpson’s Pal Milhouse #1 gets an A from me.  You could say I’m bias because I’m such a hardcore and longtime fan of The Simpsons (which is in the midst of their 24th Season!).  This is truth.  However, being such a huge Milhouse fan made me hold this issue to an even higher standard.Aladdin

The issue is broken up into 5 different stories, which helps a little Milhouse go a long way.  I was worried that the writers would lean too heavily on Bart and was happy to see that he was used sparingly.  Three characters I wished had more interactions with our young Van Houten were Lisa, Homer and his father, Kirk.  Lisa and Homer are seen briefly – with Homer getting a chance to call Milhouse, “Poindexter!” (calling back to one of my favorite episodes,  Summer of 4 ft. 2)Kirk Van Houten, one of Springfields most dignity deficient characters, was nowhere to be found.  Perhaps he’s off remixing, “Can I Borrow a Feeling?”

But I’m ok with some of these missing characters due to the time given to characters such as Martin, Ralph, Apu, Snake, WarlordSherri & Terri and the RARELY used Database!  But enough about the characters that may or may not have been featured!  How were the strories?  They were great.  And each one would have been at home in an episode of The Simpsons.  The lead story and the arguable heart of the book is, “The Imaginarium of Milhouse Van Houten”.  A Springfieldian take on, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, Milhouse flits in and out of his daydreams and pulls various residents of the city into his flights of fancy – some of them more begrudgingly (Bart, Apu, Snake) than others.  We see Milhouse as Spartacus (“Spartahouse”), a Skywalker-esque hero on the ice planet Toth, a Jacques Cousteau-esque underwater adventurer, Aladdin, and a British Skywalkerbig-game hunter.  We also see him try on the tuxedo and shaken, not stirred (grape soda) as, “Agent Double Zero” in Gail Simone’s James Bond send-up, “Octo-Weenie” (whose faux movie poster is one of the issue’s highlights.  Simone more than earns her Simpsons cred by giving Ralph Wiggum (as, “Agent R”, the, “Q” to Milhouse’s, “Bond”) a series worthy line to describe the underwater bike he designed for Agent Double Zero:  “I made it submerfable!”

BondAnother highlight of the issue is artist Nathan Kane’s approximation of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s artistic calling card Rat Fink in imagining Milhouse’s, “Bonestorm” identity:  THRILLHOUSE.  (Or, as Bonestorm called him, “Thrillho-“)  Thrill HouseThe Thrillhouse page is a giant sticker and is the pay-off to one of the greatest comic book cover boasts of all time:  “Freaky, Sticky Surprise Inside!

Kung FuJames Lloyd’s art in, “Octo-Weenie” is by far the closest to the animation we know so well from over 2 decades of the Fox show.  But Dean Rankine’s work in the closing story, “Feets of Fury” is certainly a departure from the show’s house style but also one of the funniest bits as well.

I highly recommend this one-shot to any Simpsons fan, whether casual or hardcore.  At only $2.99 (cheap for comics these days), this isn’t just a great comic from Bongo, this is one of the best one-shots of 2012!  Get it.  Read it.  You can thank me later.  If Milhouse isn’t already one of your favorite characters from The Simpsons before you read this, he will be after you read it.

“Remember the time he ate my goldfish? And you lied and said I never had goldfish. Then why did I have the bowl, Bart? Why did I have the bowl?” – Milhouse Van Houten

– Zach



Quantum Reviews: Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #14

Welcome to our new feature – Quantum Reviews!  (They’re quantum!)  Stu and Zach will – from time to time – write reviews for books that might not be featured on the podcast, need a more in-depth review, or maybe just a second try.  Or maybe they just like typing the word, “Quantum”!  Either way, we start our inaugural Q.R. with our old pal, Frankenstein.  Was #14 enough to win Stu back or is it curtains for our Rotworld second banana?  Let’s find out.

We’re glad this isn’t a special Scratch ‘N’ Sniff variant cover.

     When I first met Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E in issue #0, I thought we could go the distance. He looked at me with those dead, beautiful eyes and seemed to say, “It’s you and me baby . . . till the end of the world . . . which is probably tomorrow . . . but still . . . I like you”.  The last two issues of Frank have left me a little cold.  I appreciate Matt Kindt as a writer and really enjoy Alberto Ponticelli’s art, but the thrill is all but gone.

     I understand that Kindt doesn’t want to mollycoddle his readers with buckets of exposition, but if the #0 issue is a breakfast with tea and muffins, issue #13 is a strong static shock when you open your car door, and issue #14 is the great defenestration of Prague.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that defenestration, but do I want it that soon after breakfast?  I do not.

     The reader, if they haven’t been reading Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. since #1 is pretty lost by #13, which is unfortunate because the #0 issue was so inviting.

     Make no mistakes,  #14 is action packed and extremely fun to look at.  Frank is as gruff as ever and he has an annoying sidekick which makes for some fun banter.  There are also a ton of panels with him flying through the air with a sword and jumping on top of monsters, which fans of Final Fantasy 7 will appreciate.  There’s a good amount of humor in this issue and in general it’s a fun read.  It’s not horrible, but it’s not going to leave you anxious and excited the way that Swamp Thing and Animal Man – the main titles of the “Rotworld” crossover – tend to do.  This hurts the book more than anything.  Frankenstein is now part of the, “Rotworld” crossover, and rabid fans of the crossover (myself included) will jump at anything that has, “Rotworld” on the cover – especially because Swamp Thing and Animal Man come out just once a month.  I’m sure that I am not the only person that jumped on to Frankenstein because of its connection to the Rotworld storyline and the evil machinations of Anton Arcane, and I’m going to stick the series through until its final issue in January.  Listen:   If you are sloppy thirds after Animal Man and Swamp Thing, you really have to deliver if you want the reader to cuddle in the morning.

– Stu

Earth 603 Podcast – Episode #20

Books Covered:  Locke & Key Omega #1, Batgirl #14, Catwoman #14, Hawkeye #4, Indestructible Hulk #1, Captain America #1, Wolverine & The X-Men #21, Deadpool #2, X-Factor #247, Avengers #34, Clone #1, Fables #123

Top Five:  Favorite Female Characters

Listen, everyone.  Come around to our cyberflames and let us tell you a tale.

Ok.  Here’s the tale:  We made it to 20 episodes!  (Technically 21 if you count the 10th episode 2-parter – but we don’t.  So you shouldn’t either.)

The End.  That’s the tale.

But we’re not about to rest on our laurels!  Oh, no!  No laurel resters we!  We know we’re not the first piece of quality entertainment to make it to #20.  We talk about others who have made such a distinction near the end of this week’s episode.  But here’s some top shelf gems that can’t – NO, SHAN’T – be left out:

Factoid: This issue was scripted from a lost work of Shakespeare.

Factoid: This cover depicts a recurring dream of Stu’s.

Factoid: Zach wishes this was a recurring dream of his.

Factoid: This is what the Earth 603 Christmas Party looks like.

Factoid:  You will enjoy Episode #20 because it’s the best Episode #20 our wizards could conjure!  Earth 603 #20

Earth 603 Podcast – Episode #19

Books Covered:  Fantastic Four #1, Thor: God of Thunder #1, All-New X-Men #1, Wolverine & The X-Men #20, Batman #14, Great Pacific #1, Think Tank #4, Saga #7, Punk Rock Jesus #5

Top Five:  Favorite Sidekicks
Happy Thanksgiving Week to all of our Earth 603 listeners!

May your yams be radioactive and grant you the heightened strength, speed and agility of 17 turkeys!

Now it’s time for the Episode that George Lucas called, “exploitative and undercooked”.  We still love you, George.

Enjoy:  Earth 603 #19complete

Where does Saga end and Zach’s pink shirt begin?!

Earth 603 Podcast – Episode #18

Books Covered:  Freelancers #1, Colder #1, Animal Man #14, Swamp Thing #14, Storm Dogs #1, The Manhattan Projects #7, Deadpool #1, Fairest #9, Avengers #33, AvX: Consequences #5, Daredevil: End of Days #2, X-Factor #246

Top Five:  Favorite Comic Book Robots

For those of you that we didn’t totally turn off with what The New York Times dubbed, “the shittiest bag of shit that’s ever shit in a bag” – a.k.a. – Episode #17, we welcome you to the red hot brainfyre that is EPISODE #18.

There’s not a lot of prep needed for ol’ Episode #18.

There’s really only one thing you need to know.  Zach finds a robot sexy.  Not just any robot.  Please.

Zach finds Jocasta sexy.

Too Hot for Robot TV

If you think that’s pretty F’d up, wait until you see what robot Stu finds sexy.

Yup.  You guessed it:  Roboto of Eternia.

Mildly Hot for Robot TV

So.  Yeah.  Sexy Robots.  That’s all you need to know.

Have fun:  Earth 603 #18

Earth 603 Podcast – Episode #17

Books Covered:  Happy #2, AvX: Consequences #4, Wolverine & The X-Men #19, The Winter Soldier #12, Bedlam #1, Swamp Thing Annual #1, Debris #4

Top Five:  Favorite Writers of Superhero Books

Gentlemen & Toughwomen –

It happens.  It just does.  They can’t all be zeniths.  No, no.  For a zenith to exist (and in our eyes, it’s the last 10 minutes of Episode 12), then so to must a nadir.  And Episode 17 is filled to the gills with radioactive nadir.  You’re just not going to be able to wash this stank off of you.  Nope.  Not even with the Magic Eraser.

To be fair – both Stu & Zach had just returned from an especially torturous time-traveling expedition when this episode was recorded.  And the French Revolution doesn’t lend itself well to Podcast Prep, if you know what we mean.  [We mean that, “the French Revolution doesn’t lend itself well to Podcast Prep”.]

We’re not alone.  Many great works take a tumble in the mudgrass.  We like to think of Episode 17 in those terms.

It’s our, “Stranger in a Strange Land” from Lost (aka – Jack’s Tattoos)

It’s our, “Black Market” from Battlestar Galactica (aka – Lee Adama takes on the Mob)

It’s our, “Luxury Lounge” from The Sopranos (aka – Ben Kingsley and Lauren Bacall are there for some reason)

It’s our January Jones hosted Saturday Night Live (aka – the worst SNL ever)

See?  We’re not fooling around here.  Zach spends most – if not all – of Episode 17 barefoot.  What kind of podcast decency is THAT?!  Zach also hadn’t shaved in 3 days.  Of course, this holds no follicle candle to Stu’s not having shaved in 25 years.  It’s just a damned mess from start to finish.

But, hey – if you like trainwrecks (specifically in the, “trainwreck as metaphor for shitty podcast”) – then, PLEASE, go ahead.  Enjoy.

Seriously. Comic Book Guy’s t-shirt isn’t going to lie to you.

Enjoy.  Or don’t.  We don’t know.  It’s too late for Episode 17.  We need to regroup and stop trying to ruin all of our lives.  But mostly yours.  So.  Yeah:   Earth 603#17