Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 7)

Looking into issue 50-54.  Issue 50 is a collaboration between McKeever, Johns, Wolfman, and Dezago.  This is also Johns’ last work on Teen Titans and after this issue, McKeever takes over by himself for a while.

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Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 6)

I’ll be looking at the One Year Later stuff now with issues 34-49.  And I’m going to say now that some of these issues have to be Johns’ worst in this series.

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Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 4)

Continuing on with another Retrospective with issues 20-26, and while last retrospective contained some of my favorite story arcs, this one has one of my favorite moments.  Part of this ties in with Identity Crisis.

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Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 3)

I’m continuing my Retrospective for the Teen Titans with the Teens Titans/Legion of Superheroes crossover and issues 16-19 (collected in trade as The Future is Now).  Handling a lot with these issues, so I’ll try to keep it from being too long.  I do want to state though that these issues are some of my favorites of this Teen Titans group and Johns is joined by writer Mark Waid for the Legion cross over.

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Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 2)


Superboy #1 is rebooting Superboy from scratch.  That and answers from Scott Lobdell in a Comic Vine Q/A session also points that despite the new Universe having a Teen Titans, that the last incarnation of the team is having their history completely erased.  So with that in mind, I’d like to continue with my retrospective taking a look at issues TT 1/2, and 8-15  (also collected currently in trade form Family Lost and Beast Boys & Girls).

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Review: Batman and Robin #1

Last week I felt Daniel had dropped the ball when writing Detective Comics #1 (though some newer readers like Comic Kata thought otherwise).  This week Tomasi is the one taking on the Batman oriented issue in Batman & Robin.


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Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 1)

I’m a fan of the Teen Titans, especially the latest incarnation that went from 2003-2011 and as this relaunch makes it seem their entire history may be erased, I wanted to give them a farewell starting with issues 1-7 (also collected in trade form as “A Kid’s Game” or the soon to be released Teen Titans Omnibus 1).  Like usual, beware of spoilers.

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Series Review: Planetary #9

Welcome to another installment of Billy & Mandy’s series review of Planetary, the best book you’ve never read about super hero books! We’ll be reviewing each and every issue, beginning with #1 and plowing all the way through to #27, whenever the hell that bastard ships. If you’re just joining us, it’s not too late to get on the ground floor. You can find the previous installmenst here.

WARNING: SPOILERS!!! If you don’t want to be spoiled, please read the issue before continuing. Or, read it along with us! We welcome your comments and hope that you enjoy ours.

Mandy: This is a flashback story. We’re in 1997. There’s another third man, Ambrose Chase… I recognize this name? Is there a reason for that? Alright, so the mystery of the week is the return of a vessel from Planet Fiction. The only survivor? The Fictional Man!

Billy: So, thoughts on Ambrose Chase.

Mandy: Tell me first. Have we heard that name before?

Billy: I don’t know. I’ve read this series too many times to know with any certainty.

Mandy: Blah. You’re no help.

Billy: So, Ambrose is the sexy? Sexier than Doc Brass for you?

Mandy: Nothing can replace the sex that is Brass but, Ambrose is alright.

Billy: He goes all “bullet time”, bending reality and shit. That’s pretty sexy.

Mandy: He goes all “Matrix” there for a second. What’s the deal with that?

Billy: We’ll get to that, but first, I want to make the point that this issue, more so than maybe any other issue in the series, is totally obsessed with the meta of itself. What did you think of that?

Mandy: I know!!! There was a lot of stuff going on in there and like I told you earlier, I’m a little confused. It’s just so much!

Billy: What parts confused you? Issue #9 is one of those simple, yet surprisingly dense stories.

Mandy: No. I think that’s why. I think that possibly I was confused by its simplicity. But also, I don’t know enough about comics to get all the meta-ness of it.

Billy: Okay, let me try to explain as best as I can. One of the ideas that Ellis is expressing here is the ultimately unfulfilling nature of work-for-hire… I think. Like, contract writers/artists for The Big Two, Marvel and DC, often seek 4-color immortality through the creation of works that are not their own, right? This is why some creators stay on books like X-Men or Superman for years, gaining fame and fortune in the relatively tiny community that is comics. But, most of these same creators never actually create anything original. No original characters they own and no original books where they retain the copyright. They mostly just rehash old stories and perform surgical, as well as disastrous, retcons. And, when their run is finished, the next guy to come onto the book will usually cast aside any and all changes the previous creative team made and then proceed to make their own changes that will inevitably be reversed by another creative team. So, Ellis obviously feels writing someone else’s ideas is a foolish and, in Planetary, an ultimately deadly endeavor. For example, the “firing” of the creative team behind “Planet Fiction”.

Mandy: Yeah, I can see that. It’s better to work on your own stuff, because no matter what at least your editor won’t kill you.

Billy: At least, that’s what I got from my 20th reading of this comic. I tried to do research on this issue, to look up other people’s reviews and I soon realized that there is a dearth of reviews for this series on the net. Weird.

Mandy: It doesn’t really pre-date the internet. So, that kind of doesn’t make sense.

Billy: The later issues are around, like 25 and 26, but past that it’s the badlands, man. It probably has something to do with the perpetual lateness of the book. People just get tired of waiting.

Mandy: Like these Series Reviews?

Billy: Exactly.

Mandy: Moving On? Good. Dude! There’s a secret government program that designed and then created its own fictional universe! Which, is weird, since if it exists, is it really fictional? Which, I guess is the point, right?

Billy: Yeah, because it’s not a fictional world. It’s a brand new ecosystem and I guess you could say they just happen to base it on comic books. It could have been based on movies or literature or myths or whatever.

Mandy: Yeah, that is pretty sick. I want to move there.

Billy: Which is something Grant Morrison (the guy this is dedicated to) has dabbled with on more than one occasion: The Invisibles, The Filth, etc… this is also where the “bullet time” thing comes back. Ambrose is conceptually one of Morrison’s characters that Ellis is using here. It’s a character that predates “The Matrix”, so if there are any similarities, it’s not because those ideas were stolen from that movie. Oh, what’s also interesting is that I don’t think there exists another such dedication in the rest of the series… but I could be wrong.

Mandy: Cool. Also, I just love the name: “Planet Fiction”

Billy: It’s a really cool concept and the name sounds epic in its campyness.

Mandy: I really like Planetary but I feel like I’m going to have to read it ten more times.

Billy: Yean; you do have to read it all at least twice. Maybe, three times.

Mandy: Billy. I don’t have the time!

Billy: As long as I’m on the subject of allusions, the farmhouse in the beginning of the book, the one with the spaceship in it? I think it’s obvious that the similarity to the origin story of Superman is intentional. Also, the spaceship itself could be a reference to the original Legion of Superheroes.

Mandy: I got the Superman reference, but not the Legion of Superguys one. Who are they?

Billy: Heh, it doesn’t matter. Okay, let’s move. What was your favorite part? Mine was when Jakita opens the door and is like, “Oh SHI-”

Billy: Definitely had that “Star Wars” feel, that scene where Han Solo rounds the corner on the Death Star only to come face to face with a gaggle of Storm Troopers.

Mandy: Yeah, that was awesome. I’m not surprised. You love her. She is always your favorite.

Billy: Wait, actually, all the Jakita action stuff was cool this time! And every time!

Billy: What was your favorite part?

Mandy: Chase is so bad ass. I love when he tells Drums, “Keep your head down. Things are gonna get ugly.”

Mandy: And like, Jakita in the last panel with the one tear but she’s still all business.

Billy: “We’ll dig you up and work it all out in a couple of years.” Too awesome.

Mandy: For sure.

Billy: So, the creepy head scientist guy reveals that this project is actually headed by Dowling. Man, that guy is into everything.

Mandy: Yeah, he’s a badass extraordinaire.

Billy: By the way, “Fictionaut” is the coolest made up word of all-time.

Mandy: and I agree with you. FICTIONAUT. Good word.

Billy: And what happened to Ambrose? HE disappeared, but we didn’t see him die.

Mandy: Yeah, so where did he go? Do we ever find out?

Billy: I don’t know. There’s only one issue left, #27, and we still haven’t heard from his reality warping ass.

Mandy: Wait, WHAT?

Billy: I assume that the final issue will deal with Ambrose Chase and maybe the dude from Planet Fiction. I hope. I also hope that the lame Anna Mercury series Ellis is writing right now isn’t actually the manifestation of the Fictionaut idea that we’ve been waiting on since #9. That would be beyond suck.

Mandy: What’s Anna Mercury?

Billy: It’s a book about a secret government program that sends real people into fictional worlds.


Billy: Anyway… at the end of the book we are presented with a number of questions, probably because Ellis knew how confusing the entire series has been up to this point and that we as the audience needed something to latch onto, and the most important question has to be “Who is the fourth man?” So, who do you think it is? Or have we not even met this person yet? Could it be Anna Hark? Running things from the shadows?

Mandy: Dude, if it is, I will die. I love her hot ass.

Billy: Your love for her is disturbing.

Mandy: Um, Jakita much?

Billy: Oh, maybe it’s Dowling himself! Maybe he’s not as evil as we are led to believe? Maybe he’s trying to take down the Four without them catching on? Makes sense that Planetary would find the Planet Fiction program if Dowling was the one to give up the info. Not to mention facilitating their access to Island Zero, Four Voyagers Plaza, etc…

Mandy: Dude, if it’s Dowling himself, it just compounds the confusion of trying to figure out who the good guys are. I never trusted Planetary. Not in the beginning anyway.

Billy: Obviously, I’m full of shit because I do know.

Mandy: Then who is it?

Billy: Not telling! Well, maybe I’ll just drop a picture hint below…

Join us next time when Planetary fails to discover the secret origins of the heroes that never were! If you haven’t read Planetary, you can pick up the trades at your local shop or order them online from at the following link:

Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories

Planetary Vol. 2: The Fourth Man

Series Review: Amazing Fantasy #1: “TORR”


The story of Torr is one of intergalactic frustration and interspecies penetrations:



…erm. Hrm. Uh, what? Did that—I mean, did that just happen? Amazing fantasies indeed.


Later, much later, after the rape, Paul Ramsey (that’s the blond guy in the rape scene) gets a hold of a policeman’s gun. What does he do with it? I’ll let Paul explain in his own words:




So, what have we learned? Sexual assault by a giant orange alien man will lead to “saving the world” and this:




No reason? Paul, did you hear that jive? Don’t they know about the anal ruptures? The bleeding? The pain and suffering that will last years after the insurance stops paying for the therapy?  Well, he gets his revenge at least, and that my friends, is something we can all get behind.

Get it? Yeah! Did you see what I did there? Oh, yes. I know you did. Perv.

Series Review: Planetary #8

Welcome to another installment of Billy & Mandy’s weekly series review of Planetary, the best book you’ve never read about the super hero genre! We’ll be reviewing each and every issue, beginning with #1 and plowing all the way through to #27, whenever the hell that bastard ships. If you’re just joining us, it’s not too late to get on the ground floor. You can find the previous installment here.

WARNING: SPOILERS!!! If you don’t want to be spoiled, please read the issue before continuing. Or, read it along with us! We welcome your comments and hope that you enjoy ours.

Mandy: Wait one second. Phone… okay, let’s go.

Billy: It’s so great to have you back this week!

Mandy: Hah. I know you missed me. Because I’m irreplaceable.

Billy: I mean, MANDEE-BOT did an okay job.

Mandy: Yeah, yeah. Whatever.

Billy: Speaking of last week’s article, what did you think of issue 7?


Billy: Um, guess not. Give us a quick recap of #8…

Mandy: So in Issue 8, we find out the real reason behind all those Sci-Fi B-movies of the fifties and sixties, obviously a by-product of the government experimentation to test the limits of the human body. Oh Americans. Your ignorance has a flavor. I mean arrogance.

Billy: Ignorance was funnier.

Mandy: Because my ignorance has a flavor.

Billy: Tastes like burning. So, Planetary shows up in the middle of the desert at a city that isn’t on any maps to meet a girl that glows in the dark? WTF?

Mandy: Dream date, right?

Billy: Okay. Before we get into the dense exposition that this issue provides, I want to talk about my girlfriend Jakita. HOW HAWT IS SHE?


Billy: I KNOW! She ripped its leg off!

Mandy: I know. She really is that awesome… like from birth.

Billy: And she was all GETTING OFF ON IT!!!


Billy: YAUS!

Mandy: I mean, honestly. Dude, she swept the leg. I just rewatched Karate Kid the other day. How is that movie so awesome?

Billy: I don’t know. Seems impossible.

Mandy: I know that is your way of saying that movie is terrible and I am an idiot but I reject you. FYI.

Billy: Back to my fictional girlfriend: The full page spread of her leaping up at the three ants is in my Top 5 Planetary moments, btw.

Mandy: I’m sure it is. How sticky is your copy?

Billy: Okay, so Jakita is the supermans and stuff, but what about US Science City Zero? Once the glowy chick starts explaining about it, you kind of feel bad for feeling so good about Jakita’s asskicking. Like, total boner killer.


Billy: Dude, “women who slept with the wrong men…” Lucky you, huh?

Mandy: I KNOOOOOOOW! Wait, wow.


Mandy: I would say “low blow” but you’ll turn that around on me too.

Billy: Dowling… did you expect Dowling? OBV Dowling at this point, right? Of course this guy is responsible for all the evil shit in the world.

Mandy: Yeah, that guy’s fingerprints are all up in the trainwrecks. Disaster is his calling card. That and dashing good looks.

Billy: That sounds like something MANDEE-BOT would say.

Mandy: Agreeance.

Billy: I like that he isn’t a Nazi. We Americans like to blame the Nazis for everything, but Ellis doesn’t let us get away with that here. “I just killed you and brought you back. Can you understand me?” What a dick.

Mandy: Yeah. I liked that though.

Billy: Yeah, it’s an appropriate question. She might have brain damage. You gotta check.

Mandy: Dude, she sort of got lucky. I mean, yeah, she got shot. That’s no fun…but she could have been turned into giant-assed marshmallow chick whose flesh is all…soft.

Billy: Ann Hark is still looking sexy as well, but now she’s all tainted by evil. Sad times, or, sexy times?

Mandy: EW. Yeah, um. You can have Jakita. Ann Hark is my Planetary series girl crush. Because of her hotness. The hot Asianness.

Billy: Dude, what is Dowling holding in the panel where he says she has a radioactive half-life of 50 years? I like to think it’s some gizmo from another experiment, as if he’s already moved on to something else. Glowy chick is a total afterthought.

Mandy: YES. Makes it even more pathetic.

Billy: I like how they explain the issue of going blind while invisible. It sets up how Ellis uses Kim Suskind, the Invisible woman later.

Billy: ATOMIC DOGS! When I read that I could hear George Clinton in my head.

Mandy: OH MAN. I’m so glad you brought that up. Finally AN EXPLANATION FOR THAT AWFUL SONG. Blame America.

Mandy: DUDE. Amy Winehouse has crack-induced emphysema.

Billy: Bad beat for her, but what the hell does that have to do with George Clinton?

Mandy: Man. The crack. It kills.

Billy: Snowflake head was pretty cool too. I think more than half the reason Planetary is so balls good is because John Cassaday draws the SHIT out of it. A lesser artist and we may not even being doing these.

Mandy: Snowflake head made me sad. And he’s drooling on himself. And the overbite girl. I want to hug them all, and then take a shower.

Billy: What do you think of the line “…it was about seeing what they could get away with doing to us” as an explanation for City Zero’s existence?

Mandy: I think this speaks to the idea why the intelligentsia CAN NOT rule the weak. This is why humans cannot be trusted. No motive is pure. It isn’t about testing the limits of the human body, right? It’s about testing the limits of humans. THEY WON’T TELL US TO STOP.

Billy: Yeah, even when it’s implied that Hark wasn’t totally on board with his methods, it doesn’t change the fact that she is culpable.

Mandy: Yes. As a race, we will stand by and allow things to happen. I thought that was the most interesting line. I’m glad it was there because it made the most sense.

Billy: Going further, we know the Russians had these types of science cities and we know the Nazis and Japanese experimented on people… and although some like to deny it, we know that American doctors experimented on African Americans in the last century. So, question: Should it be obvious to anyone thinking with a logical mind that Americans probably had these types of science cities as well? We kind of have to come to this conclusion, right? Especially since after the War we employed so many ex-Nazis. Even if we weren’t before the war, we had to be after it, right?

Mandy: I have to be honest. It’s too horrifying to think about. 😦

Billy: Yeah, it is scary. Obviously, this is taking it to the extreme, it’s Science Fiction… not trying to say the US created a 60 foot woman or anything.

Mandy: I KNOW THAT. Silly.

Billy: Oh yeah, something else. US Science City Zero was what Dowling was doing before he got turned into Mr. Fantastic. That’s interesting. He’s been a bastard since the beginning.

Mandy: I know. Definitely not all that “fantastic”. TO BE QUITE HONEST.

Billy: Marvel Mr. Fantastic – it’s funny, but realistically, even Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic had to be involved in shit like this before getting into that experimental rocket in 1961 with Sue, Ben and Johnny. That’s why I love Planetary. It forces you to look at all these pulp characters in a whole new light, a whole new perspective. Distorting what we perceive to be reality and revealing the actual truth.

Mandy: Yes. And the more background we get, the more I question my distrust of Planetary. o yeah, it’s definitely keeping me interested. I can’t wait to get into issue 9.

Billy: This is another one of those plot threads that will keep coming up. Like at the end, how she hands it over to Planetary to go through the records. The discovery of City Zero is a big find for Planetary. Almost as big as Island Zero or Doc Brass’ base in the Appalachian mountains.

Mandy: I’m so glad that the Bot didn’t steal my job.

Billy: Well, we still got 20 issues to go… hey, the sad ending? Did it make you cry?

Mandy: Yes. Snow is a woobie. I hurt for him. And I’m still anxious to figure out where he was all that time…and what was he doing? And why doesn’t he remember his life?

Billy: Yeah, where the HELL was Snow to stop all this shit?!

Billy: I think Ellis is a master of the “closing line.”

Billy: “It as only half a life, but I wanted it” and “I’m so glad I met you.”

Mandy: Yeah. I’m actually surprised you like that he always does that.

Billy: I LOVE IT! Why wouldn’t I? It’s one of the best parts of the book.

Mandy: Well I think that. But you’re usually so against the melodramatic lines that like SUM UP A STORY.

Billy: But it’s not melodramatic and I’ll tell you why.

Mandy: Tell me.

Billy: Okay, if you have noticed, most issues of Planetary, except when they are expositioning, are actually quite sparse when it comes to dialogue. Characters barely say shit about shit, and even when they do it’s only to make a point that’s usually one sentence long. The sum up, like you say.

Mandy: Yes. Fair enough.

Billy: Melodrama is when the writer completely belabors the characterization and DRAMA of it all!

Mandy: I can already see where you’re going with this…

Billy: Nothing in Planetary screams of melodrama, not in the least, and that’s why it’s okay to have those kind of “to sum it all up” lines.

Mandy: Yes. I agree with you. FINE.

Billy: And furthermore, even when he’s summing it all up it’s usually the most subtle or subtexty line in the entire book.

Mandy: FINE. You win.

Billy: The “I’m so glad I met you” line has10 different ideas in it!

Mandy: I KNOW.

Billy: HAHAHAH… dude, how does this issue compare to the previous 7 for you?

Mandy: I think this one might have been my favorite? Because it was so straightforward.

Billy: Yeah, that is a fair assessment. I think it was my favorite of the first 8 as well. But dude, issue 9? THE BEST ISSUE OF PLANETARY EVER!

Mandy: I cannot wait.

Billy: Like, we could talk about that one issue for hours and still only scratch the surface. It has the most re-read value of the entire run.



Billy: Dude, you let me know when this gets old… so we can stop.

Mandy: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Join us next Monday for the most exciting, explosive and mysterious chapter of Planetary yet. If you haven’t read Planetary, you can pick up the trades at your local shop or order them online from at the following link:

Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories

Planetary Vol. 2: The Fourth Man

Trade Review: Ex Machina Vol. 1-5 & DMZ Vol. 1-2

On top of the hundred or so comics I read every month, I also go through quite a few trade paperbacks. Recently, I started picking up Ex Machina in trade. I’ve finished the first five trades so I guess it’s about time I talked about them.

Ex Machina is the story of Mitchell Hundred, the first superhero of his world. One day, a group of terrorists decide to ram a couple of planes into the World Trade Center towers. In our world, we know exactly what happened next. In Mitchell’s world, events play out quite a bit differently. You see, Mitchell was able to save one of the Twin Towers. Soon after, Mitchell gives up playing hero and runs for mayor. Not surprisingly, he wins.

The book primarily concerns itself with Mitchell’s term in office, with the occasional flashback to pre-911 times to give up back story and villainous origins. One can assume that means this book is extremely politically motivated. It’s actually much like reading an episode of the West Wing, I would guess (since I never watched that show).

Framed in such a way that isn’t immediately as accessible to mainstream readers like Y: The Last Man was, Ex Machina is an educational if not always entertaining read. Sometimes, it feels too much like homework or watching some dude’s hastily produced Youtube diaries. No jokes, Vaughan comes off like a politically snarky know-it-all and it can get on your nerves. Maybe this plays better if you collect this book as a monthly, but reading 5-6 issues in a row can be tedious. If you can stand being preached to regarding the hot button issues of the day, then this may be the book for you. As for me, I like the main character to stick with it for now. It passes the ultimate test: I would vote for Mayor Hundred.

Oh, and the art by Tony Harris is pretty sweet too.

Switching gears slightly but still staying within the realm of social commentary, I’ve also been catching up on Brian Wood’s DMZ. This seems like the prototypical book that no one is reading, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. It’s so fucking good. It’s got the mainstream appeal of a Y mixed with the politics of an Ex Machina. It’s controversial, honest (maybe I’m biased) and on top of all that… it’s a fun read! Brian Wood, is really, really good. And so is his partner, Riccardo Burchielli. His figures look great and the grim and gritty backgrounds truly propel you into this world. Oh crap, I haven’t even said what the book is about yet…

With overseas wars bogging down the Army and Nation Guard, the U.S. government mistakenly neglects the very real threat of the anti-establishment militias scattered across the United States. Like a sleeping giant, Middle America rises up and violently pushes its way to the shining seas, sparking a second American civil war, coming to a standstill at the line in the sand – Manhattan. Or, as the world now knows it, the DMZ.

Matty Roth, a naïve aspiring photojournalist, lands a dream gig following a veteran war correspondent into the heart of the DMZ. Things soon go terribly wrong, and Matty finds himself lost and alone in a world he’s only seen on television. There, he is faced with a choice: try to find a way off the island, or make his career with an assignment most journalists would kill for. But can he survive in this savage war zone long enough to report the truth?

The first trade is all about getting you, the reader, and Matty, our protagonist, acclimated to this brave new world. He builds friendships as he gets to know the players on each side of this civil war. In the second trade, shit gets flipped on its head as we learn not everything or everyone is what it seems. Expectations are reversed and Matty sees that it’s not about which side is right; it’s about the people stuck in the middle. His people. One of the great things about DMZ is Wood’s ability to stay impartial. One side is never portrayed as more evil than the other, or vice versa, and I think that’s where the power of this story truly lies. Shit, the entire story is summed up in the title. A demilitarized zone… that’s all it’s really about.

Series Review: Planetary #7

Welcome to another installment of Billy & Mandy’s weekly series review of Planetary, the best book you’ve never read about the super hero genre! We’ll be reviewing each and every issue, beginning with #1 and plowing all the way through to #27, whenever the hell that bastard ships. If you’re just joining us, it’s not too late to get on the ground floor. You can find the previous installment here.

WARNING: SPOILERS!!! If you don’t want to be spoiled, please read the issue before continuing. Or, read it along with us! We welcome your comments and hope that you enjoy ours.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, Mandy couldn’t be with us today. She decided to be self-involved all last week with school, work, lame TV shows, boys… but, that doesn’t mean I’ll be flying solo. Joining me for this week’s episode is the fabulously fantastical MANDEE-BOT 2800. What the hell is a MANDEE-BOT 2800? The latest in science fiction made fact, is what the hell it is!

Billy: Hey MANDEE-BOT 2800, welcome to the Planetary Series Review!


Billy: Want to do a quick recap of this week’s issue for the audience?


Billy: Riiiight… okay, I guess it’s up to me.

Billy: This issue opens with a dreadful phone call. Jack Carter is dead. Jakita is sad. But, why?


Billy: Jakita must really like London, aye?


Billy: Yeah… Jakita convinces the crew to head off to London for her old boyfriend Jack Carter’s funeral.

Billy: But still, who is Jack Carter?


Billy: FYI, Jack Carter equals John Constantine… with black hair.

Billy: I love how homeless Death and her brother look.


Billy: If you hadn’t quite figure it out by the cover, this issue of Planetary concerns itself with the long and muddled publishing history of a well-known DC imprint: Vertigo.


Billy: I don’t know, I wasn’t in England during her “reign”, but from what I’ve studied, this sounds about right? What do you think MB?


Billy: Meh, I don’t think Planetary looks silly yet, and it’s been more than 10 years since the first issue. Not to say Ellis isn’t right. Some of the Vertigo concepts are pretty lame by today’s standards, but in this issue for instance, I think some of that is exacerbated by Cassaday’s purposely silly take on these characters.


Billy: Well, not to be totally derisive, Ellis has Jakita come to their rescue. She says, “England was a scary place. No wonder it produced a scary culture.” Fair. Kind of like the US today… oh, politics! Really though, I feel like you kind of can’t even talk about Planetary without talking about politics—


Billy: Right! Anyway, next, Jakita tells us one of her creepiest stories about Jack Carter from the 80’s. About a time Jack saw a man that wasn’t there…

Billy: So, Jack strikes up a conversation with the “spook” and discovers that he’s no ghost at all. The invisible man explains that he’s this year’s metaphorical “Herod”, the guy from the bible that ordered all the babies killed in an attempt to kill Jesus. Herod tells Jack he’s off to kill some unborn that might be the second coming. Anyway, Jack’s heard enough.

Billy: Bam, just like that, Jack Carter curses the poor bastard.


Billy: MB, is there something wrong with your speech transcription software?


Billy: Jakita, Snow and Drummer want to check out where Carter died… and lo and behold, Drummer smells the magic! The cheat codes for the world! I like that metaphor.

Billy: Drummer hacks the world and they discover that Jack Carter has faked his own death. That bastard! But who “fake” killed him?



Billy: Shit is getting way to meta right here! Self-reflexive reflections doubling back on themselves! My brain asplode! Like this guy’s guts…

Billy: Confused?


Billy: Don’t be. Jack Carter faked his death in order to go underground. Okay, you can be confused now. Wait, I’ll let “Jack” explain it himself:

Billy: Wait a sec, isn’t that Spider Jerusalem?


Billy: Wow, way to rewrite continuity. See, I liked how this issue started out as a comment on pop culture from the 80’s to the 90’s… but I hate how it ended. Ellis, you self-serving bastard. Although the writing is superb, it’s probably my least favorite of any issue in this series. So, in the Planetary corner of the Multiverse, John Constantine and Spider Jerusalem are the same person. I guess that works for John as it only adds to his coolness, unfortunately, it has the exact opposite affect on Spider. UGH. What did you think MB?


Billy: Shut it, MANDEE-BOT 2800!

Join us next Monday when Ellis and Cassaday take us on a trip through the seedy underbelly of the Cold War. If you haven’t read Planetary, you can pick up the trades at your local shop or order them online from at the following link:

Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories

Planetary Vol. 2: The Fourth Man

Series Review: Planetary #6

Welcome to another installment of Billy & Mandy’s weekly series review of Planetary, the best book you’ve never read about the super hero genre! We’ll be reviewing each and every issue, beginning with #1 and plowing all the way through to #27, whenever the hell that bastard ships. If you’re just joining us, it’s not too late to get on the ground floor. You can find the previous installment here.

WARNING: SPOILERS!!! If you don’t want to be spoiled, please read the issue before continuing. Or, read it along with us! We welcome your comments and hope that you enjoy ours.

Billy: Wasn’t it the FUCKING juice?


Billy: YES! Then do me a recap, fool!

Mandy: There are spacemen and then there are SPACEMEN. The SPACEMEN are doing some crazy shit and Planetary wants to shut it down.

Billy: Do you feel like this issue was a proper payoff for the last five issues of QUESTIONS QUESTIONS QUESTIONS!?!

Mandy: No. I didn’t. But I don’t think that can be helped. I think that’s what happens when you spend five issues asking questions. HOW CAN YOU PAY THAT OFF? I mean, the LOST finale was HUGE AND AWESOME this week but even it can never regain the ground it lost being lame for so long.

Billy: Well, this issue does kick the story into high gear.

Mandy: I agree.

Billy: Finally, we know who the “bad guys” are, right?

Mandy: YES.

Billy: Did you see the snowflake on the first page? In the eye?



Mandy: Agreed.

Billy: Did any of the history stuff not make sense? The science stuff particularly?

Mandy: No. It made sense. I’m teh smart.

Billy: Did you notice Four Freedoms Plaza was a giant Obelisk?

Mandy: Yes!

Billy: OH MANZ!

Mandy: I know that word Obelisk from the final issue of Y:The Last Man. I LEARN THINGS FROM COMICS.

Billy: Are you starting to notice all the symbolism? The eyes, the triangles, etc… The snowflake.

Mandy: Yes. Definitely.

Billy: Anyway, I love the panel with the gun and Sputnik. Heh, just the though of that actually happening makes me giggle.

Billy: So, the plot, Snow and Jakita break into the FF Plaza and totally check out all the crazy shit inside, like…”The Subterrans”

Billy: The Gateway to the Negative Zone…

Billy: Which, to me, was such a great re-imagining of the classice Lee/Kirby idea. It’s not some fancy science stuff. No, it’s just this huge portrait on a wall that you can just WALK INTO! For those that don’t know, this entire issue (or entire series?) is the ultimate nod to the epic Lee/Kirby run on the Fantastic Four. The Subterrans = Moloids, The N-Zone portal, the way Leather burns away his beard is the same way Torch burned away the amnesiac Namor’s beard, etc, etc….

Mandy: That’s so ill. I liked that a lot. Dude, so I like how we very subtly learn that Jakita is indestructible. She gets TORE UP… and then he’s like, “Oh here, give her this Band-Aid.”

Billy: Yeah, she is very tough… I def want to ask her about Broken Earth – A.

Mandy: I bet you’d like to ask her about a lot of things.

Billy: So, we have Dowling (Mr. Fantastic), Greene (The Thing), Leather (Human Torch) and Suskind (Invisible Woman)… I like how Sue Storm is a Super Nazi. So, how do The Four, as they will come to be known, get their powers? They fly directly into the Snowflake, OBV!


Billy: What happens to them!?!?! What are their powers?!?!?!

Mandy: Awesomeness?

Billy: We know Leather is like Torch, but he’s got this weird blue flame and he can phase through walls. He’s also super strong. We know this by the way he just “handles” Jakita. So basically, the Four are more than humans and they actually kind of fancy themselves gods. Question for you: if Leather is so powerful, why does he let Snow kick him in the balls?

Mandy: He wasn’t expecting it? He knows Snow. His guard was down… or, he likes it.

Billy: Or, he let him?

Mandy: Yeah, alright fine. I don’t know.

Billy: Leather kind of echoes the shit Brass was saying last issue, right? About who benefits from Snow’s amnesia? Does that make us trust Brass or Planetary less?

Mandy: I always trust Brass. He has a hot bod. I mean…I don’t trust Planetary. I just don’t trust them.

Billy: What do you think of the basic idea behind “The Four”? That idea being, “what if the Fantastic Four has gone the other way? What if their powers made them believe they were gods and that they used those powers not to help people, but to secretly rule the world?”

Mandy: I think that is most likely what would happen if people had superpowers, and I think it’s a comment on what the smartest and the most powerful people actually do in our society.

Billy: So controlling the world by denying it the wonders of modern science? Control by denial.

Mandy: It’s all about control, right?

Billy: HAH. I knew you’d say that, smartass.

Mandy: It’s why you love me.

Billy: So, this is it, this is what the rest of the series is about. These are the guys Snow has to take down/expose… what do you think?

Mandy: I think this would make a better movie than Fantastic Four. I like that we know who the bad guys are but we still don’t really know who we can trust.

Billy: Yeah, it’s awesome. We literally have no idea what’s going on for five issues and then Ellis finally spills, and now we have focus, but even more questions! And I love that we only really know one of the Four so far. I mean, we literally know nothing about the other three, arguably the more powerful members.

Mandy: Yes. I mean, I don’t think Snow is going to be kicking the Nazi in the balls. I’m just saying.

Billy: I feel like all the lost writers were taking notes.

Mandy: Hah.

Billy: What do you think of the pacing so far? I think a lesser writer would have made issue #6 the first issue. Do you think you would have liked this book more if #6 was issue #1?

Mandy: No. The questions and suspense have made the book for me.

Billy: Yeah, that’s what makes it such an epic read.

Mandy: So, one last question?

Mandy: Got milk?

Billy: Was that your question? You’re so stupid.

Join us next Monday when Ellis and Cassaday take Plaentary on a walk through the weird side. If you haven’t read Planetary, you can pick up the trades at your local shop or order them online from at the following link:

Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories