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Friday Five: 5 superheroes I want on my football team


Right, my actual football team and my fantasy football team both suck this year, so I need some sort of distraction. Which means - naturally - trying to think of which superheroes would make the best football players. 

The rules, because what's the point of thinking about this unless you overthink it?

  • No weapons or external 'bits'. So surfboards, repulser beams, grenade launchers - out. Armor is ok, because that's on you, but you can't use it to shoot stuff from your hands or whatever. Natural defenses - claws and teeth - are fine.
  • No pulling in stuff from off the field. (Also known as the 'Magneto Rule'.) You can't use your powers to bring on bleachers or chairs or passing 747s or anything like that.
  • You have to fit on the field. So Galactus is out, and the all-Celestials defensive line is a no-go.
  • Flight is ok, but the rules of football apply. You have to land with feet inbounds, etc.
  • I think that's it. Further rules may apply when I think of them.

With no further ado, presenting five members of my imaginary team...

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Chicken Soup For The Soulless


You know those self-help books that people get, well let's just say 'enthusiastic' about? The ones that feel about one step removed from the foundational element of a cult? Like that one founded by a former pulp novelist, for example? Maybe that's what they really are. And maybe there's something even more disturbing going on that it might be better for us all not to know about.

Clearly Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt think this stuff should all be out in the open, and have created Clean Room to document it. So it's only polite that we give it the One Comic treatment and share their findings with the world. Which leads nicely into discussing some old Vertigo series in this show's 3&1.

New Releases - Sam Wilson: Captain America

Sam_wilson_captain_americaDo you ever read something and immediately think “Well this is going to cause trouble”?

Sam Wilson: Captain America #1

Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Daniel Acuna
Published by Marvel Comics

The new Captain America lands in the ‘Eight months later’, post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe with something of a bang, and not only in the pages of the comic. We join our hero in an uncertain time: on the outs with SHIELD, working on a shoestring as a private operative in partnership with Misty Knight, and suffering public and media fallout from his decision to stand up. The cause? He's dared to stand up and say that, in essence, things are far from perfect in the US, inequality is rife, and that Captain America’s job is to stand for, and unite, all Americans, not just those with money or power. So you can imagine how well that goes over.

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Week of Ones


This week was widely noted by the comic news sites and many comic stores as an especially big one as far as volume of new publications is concerned, and also, given that this was the week Marvel began rolling out its new post-Secret Wars series, a week when a particularly large number of the titles published were first issues.

In the grand tradition of "I read them so you don't have to", following are my pick of the best of the bunch.

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Friday Five: 5 Comics About the Magic of Everyday Life

This week's Friday Five features five comics books that talk about magic. And life. And where the two intersect. Or don't.

Wicked + Divine

The Wicked + The Divine (Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, Image, 2014/15)

This is absolutely a capital-G-Great comic, with stunning art and an exceptional high concept premise: perpetually reincarnated divine avatars, reappearing (briefly and wonderfully) every generation to inspire the mundane. The whole thing, see, is a metaphor for art, y'know - with the gods as creators, living their (literal) fifteen minutes of fame and bringing magic to the masses. And, in WicDiv (as the tumbleyoot say), that's hammered home in pretty much every conceivable way: the gods are artists, and use their holy platform to make everything from dance videos to long-form Medium-esque rants. 

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That's One Impressive Pair Of Ironies

Red One

Team One Comic tries its best to be alert to the subtleties of its subject matter as well as trying to bring some political awareness and sensitivity to bear. Issue #1 of Red One from Image Comics offers a challenge or two on this front. If you're being ironic about sexism in a visual medium it's hard to avoid it looking like sexism, and that's assuming it's meant to be ironic in the first place.

Red One herself is a Soviet-era super-agent, so Jared takes the opportunity to have a rummage around among the various Soviet and Russian super characters scattered across the comics landscape for this show's 3&1.

Not a Hoax! Not a Dream!


This issue, an X-Man dies!

They didn't use that cover line, as they didn't want to give it away, but at the risk of spoiling something thirty five years old, One Comic spends some time with the issue that gave the world the (first) death of Jean Grey: Uncanny X-Men 137. Double-sized and ending a story years in the making, this is one of the most famous Marvel comics of all time. But how does it hold up? And how much difference does the editorially-mandated change to the ending make?

And to round things out, we consider the best and worst of the X-Men retcons - mostly the worst, because they're all pretty bad.

Holy One Comic, Batman!

Batman 43

So Batman's not Bruce Wayne, there's a new man (with a terrible haircut) in a new Bat-suit, everyone knows Clark Kent is Superman, he's hanging out with Alfred, and Bruce has a new girlfriend with "fridge fodder or secretly a villain" written all over her. Plus, there's a new villain in town and he's pretty creepy. Say hello to Mr Bloom.

Batman #43, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo is the latest One Comic. Highly acclaimed as a highlight of the New 52, their run has taken a definitely different turn with this new status quo.

And for this show's Three and One, Bex looks at superhero origins, in anticipation of yet another telling of Batman's in Batman vs Superman

The Gardens of Ladies - One Comic Gets Its Euphemism On


The One Comic team tries to avoid being too continually mainstream in our choice of comic to cover, and in pursuit of that goal we've landed on Volume 1 of Sunstone, from Top Cow/Image.

We marked this one explicit for a reason: in Sunstone there's nudity, there are "adult themes" (as they say on the film classifications) and there's some graphic language. Much of this - though not the nudity - is shared in the team's discussion.

But it's not all smut. Sunstone surprised and provoked us in a number of ways. No, seriously.

Zot! The Complete Black & White Collection by Scott McCloud

Cogolj3cB8gXEthAl52IhcKIKW2pmYA+Gl!w8rbMsYH!BRIAG5OUet9tcq9F2XjffXkZsjELHH1dotzfe59Az0QlsOj5uNIjDVK!VrUaAbeWsW1OYzkgsRAdZgmVYczuThe first two-thirds of Zot! (1987 - 1991) are certainly enjoyable enough. Scott McCloud creates a fun, thoughtful, and zany superhero pastiche featuring the invulnerable teenaged Zot and his Earth-pal, Jenny.

Zot fights surreal foes who are rarely menacing, except in their ability to provoke existential crises. The 'villains'  often embody abstract concepts, and rare do little more than rant and, er, make art. These portion of Zot! are oddly charming, although not spectacular - perhaps because, as a superhero epic, we're expecting more in the way of action. Or, at the very least, palpable tension.

The superhero stories pick up some assistance from the notes at the end of each arc. I'm generally not so fussed about this sort of whatnot, but McCloud is nothing if not a thoughtful creator. Especially as a reader that's not familiar with art and its history, having McCloud explain his influences and ambitions was surprisingly useful. Similarly, McCloud draws thoughtful connections between Zot! and its autobiographical inspirations as well - how his personal life changed his work (and possibly vice versa).

If Zot! stopped two-thirds of the way through, it would've been an educational read, and an enjoyable one. And that's about the end of it.

But... then there's the final third of the collection, the 'Earth Stories'. Which elevates Zot! to being one of the best comics ever created.

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