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Mar 12

House to Astonish Episode 153

Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2017 by Al in Podcast

We’re back, and this time round we’re discussing Astonishing X-Men, Darth Vader, Edge of Venomverse and Marvel’s current creative and sales position generally; the return of Zodiac Starforce; new creator-owned imprints led by Karen Berger and Shelly Bond, Image’s announcements from ECCC; and DC’s Looney Tunes crossovers. We’ve also got reviews of Grass Kings and Redline and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook deserves a big hand. All this plus the Champions pinball table, the YouTube Robber and quite a lot of bears wearing shirts.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player. Let us know what you think, in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. And hey, it’s pretty much springtime, why not break out those biceps and take to the beach in one of our incredible t-shirts?

Bring on the comments

  1. Tom Shapira says:

    I think the members of Tenants to Astonish (why is there no official name to the legions of listeners?) now need Paul to add virtual pinball reviews to his comics / kid’s TV / pop charts / podcast work….

  2. Jerry Ray says:

    Interesting to hear an outside-the-US take on Champions, and Marvel’s courting of the SJW market. 🙂

    I’m curious if either of you read America (the new America Chavez book). I picked it up to see what it was like, and my experience with it doesn’t seem to align with the reviews I’m seeing online. Practically all the reviews I found online were glowing, 9/10-type reviews. Personally, I found the art was not to my taste and the scripting was rambling and verbose. Plus, the whole package just seems to be trying too hard – look, she’s Latina! She’s lesbian! She’s literally named America, I bet that pushes your buttons! I dunno, it seemed like the “politics” of the whole thing were front and center, rather than just telling a story and letting the character be who she is, which is more to my taste.

    It’s also interesting to hear your take on Captain America. I don’t really follow the controversy online, so I’m just reading the story. It seems fine to me, as a long-time comic reader who knows that eventually everything reverts to the baseline. Still, given the choice between this and a more traditional, heroic Captain America, I’d choose the latter. Marvel seems to have decided that traditional hero vs villain comics are passe, which is probably why most of their books are sitting in the middle-to-bottom of the sales charts.

  3. Carl says:

    Al seems to be getting more and more woke, always attentive to any pain that could be caused for any imaginable marginalized reader, while Paul is sticking to a more traditional liberal (perhaps kind of libertarian?) approach, largely unmoved by the shifting expectations of social media and identity politics. I’m not taking sides, but it’s certainly an interesting dynamic to hear.

    I just hope you guys stay friends. If you only interacted on Twitter, you might have to become mortal enemies.

  4. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    Have you considered that Shirtless Bear Fighter may be about a bear who doesn’t wear a shirt, but can fight?

    @Tom: I like Tenants to Astonish. Some other possibilities:
    The Happy House to Astonish Hiking Society
    The Official Fandom of the Official Fandom of the Marvel Universe

  5. mark coale says:

    Come for the comics chat, stay for virtual pinball talk.

    I think i said this last show, but the cap/secret empire disinterested me from the get go and definitely now given the political climate now in the States.

    As i said to

  6. mark coale says:


    As i said to al in twitter, wouldnt Diggers natural foe be Frankencastle?

  7. I was provisionally ok with Spencer’s Captain America approach until the Bombshells issue of Sam Wilson Captain America. I think I got whiplash from the sheer force of eyerolling they induced. Nothing says “I’m doing a politically sophisticated story” like paper-thin caricatures of those who disagree with you.

  8. Al says:

    Tom: Back in the day, the term we used was “Housemates”. I still kind of like that.

    Carl: We’re good, never fear. Though I think you have just discovered the plot of Civil War III.

  9. Tom Shapira says:

    Crisis on Infinite Podcasts II: An Uncivil War- Housemates vs. Whatnots
    (an event in seven issues)

  10. mark coale says:

    “Back in the day, the term we used was “Housemates”. I still kind of like that.”

    Too bad Homies is already taken as the HTA awards.

  11. Si says:

    Aww, I like Champions. It has its problems, but there’s good stuff in there too.

  12. Jerry Ray says:

    I suppose I enjoy the character interactions in Champions, but some of the plot aspects have been a bit…heavy-handed, let’s say.

    Regarding Avengers, which was also mentioned early in the podcast, the writing has been fine, but I really, really don’t like the art. Is it just me, or is that art not particularly well-suited to a traditional superhero comic?

  13. Jerry Ray says:

    Regarding Digger and Deadpool, wasn’t there a recent Deadpool story where there was an evil Deadpool made up of bits of Deadpool that had gotten amputated in the past?

  14. Niall says:

    The “social justice” aspects of Champions didn’t put me off but the treatment of Amadeus Cho quickly put me off. Cho acting like an idiot does not read true.

    Secret Empire runs from being interesting to boring and predictable. I’ll read the book but half expect it to not be great

  15. Si says:

    Cho’s not so much an idiot as an alpha male jerk, which still isn’t exactly in character.

    I think the thing I like most about Champions is the concept. I want a team that’s out to be classic superheroes with classic superhero motives and just having fun with the concept. I haven’t seen that since before Invincible started punching peoples’ guts out. But yeah, some of the execution has been a worry.

  16. Alastair says:

    I have always thought Iceman would be good solo star, he is always overlooked but as huge potential. Not for the whole is he the most powerful mutant storyline that gets raised and dropped every three to five years. Not for the gay stuff but he does owe Lorna a big apology for being a dick about her in the 2000s. But he is the only major superhero accountant and in the right hands that could be good, like Slot’s she hulk or waids daredevil

  17. Ben says:

    Man, I really like that Astonishing X-Men roster. Soule however is just kind of a serviceable hand.

  18. Julia says:

    I don’t know if I see a big political rift between Paul and Al. For a while now, it seems like Al is more engaged with the ongoing conversations of the liberal side of comics twitter, while Paul isn’t. I have a number of comics-reading friends who don’t tweet/tumblr at all, and they’re often surprised when I recount the latest controversy. Nazi Cap is a big deal on social media, but I don’t think many less-engaged readers are aware there’s even a issue. And without the social media context, it can be hard to convince them of its significance. (I know, I’ve tried.)

  19. SanityOrMadness says:

    Didn’t Terror have a Good Hand from his dead girlfriend that kept him on the straight and narrow, which was destroyed early in his Deadpool appearances?

  20. Chris McFeely says:

    I don’t think Champion is a “stinker,” but Paul’s on point about it’s “Aw, bless” qualities.

    Now, as Jerry Ray mentions above, America, though, woof, I’m SO bummed out about how little it did for me after all the positive buzz. It’s like literally every line of her dialogue is about how she’s either a woman, gay, latina, or some combination thereof. “Holy menstruation!” That’s… that’s now how America Chavez *talks.*

  21. Adam says:

    Anybody who uses the term “social justice warrior” in a negative way… man, what kind of prick are you? If anything’s worth fighting for, it’s social justice.

    Meanwhile, no, Champions isn’t very good, sadly. And I was really excited about it when it was announced.

    It feels like there’s a bunch of stubbornness happening at Marvel. Maybe the Inhumans could have carried one monthly, but we’ll never know, because they gave us four (five?) instead. The “Thor isn’t Thor anymore” story is great, but coming out at the same time as “Captain America isn’t Captain America anymore” story and the “Bruce Banner isn’t the Hulk anymore” AND the “Tony Stark isn’t Iron Man anymore” story, right after a “Peter Parker isn’t Spider-Man anymore” is making the universe unrecognizable.

    If the characters don’t look like themselves, and they don’t act like themselves (like whatever the hell they’re doing with Doctor Doom right now) (just generally, Bendis has no handle on the voices of FF-related characters), then why should any of us care about those characters anymore?

    I read the first three issues of Civil War II and was a little stunned about how quickly it was able to make me stop caring about characters I cared about before that event started.

    Phew. That was a nice vent. Thanks for the outlet.

  22. Will Cooling says:

    Why was my post moderated? Was only a joke.

  23. The original Matt says:

    Soooo… Inhumans tried to take X-men’s place in the line, and the outcome of IvX is “no more inhumans”?

  24. Luke says:

    I agree with Paul on the HydraCap thing, but I tend to agree with both of you equally in general.
    More importantly, though, just like how Paul started writing about X-Men and transitioned into CBeebies, charts and Chikara I would be very happy if the podcast degenerated (evolved?) into the two of you talking about pinball and bears and whatever else took your fancy.
    I don’t remember the last time I laughed out loud so much to any podcast.

  25. Kelvin Green says:

    <i. Bendis has no handle on the voices of FF-related characters

    Bendis has no handle on the voice of anyone except Ultimate Spider-Man.

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