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JC Carter, J.M. Bell, Bob Easton, Bob Defendi, and Thom Floyd

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Lois Lane: Intrepid Reporter or Superman’s Greatest Enemy?

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Bob's Bloviating, HOLD322 | 2 comments

Hello, fanboys and fangirls, my given name’s Robert, but to all those dozens of loyal Hold 322 listeners I’m better known as Ultimate Bob. As our show’s “staff of writer” it is my obligation to bring to you a weekly blog containing my ideas and opinions concerning comic books and all other things nerdy / geek. This week’s blog will be about the current state of the monthly Superman comic book; in particular, the startling and disappointing new plotline involving Lois Lane revealing Superman’s secret identity to the entire world.

"Now, Bob," JC Carter says professorially to me as he reads this blog, "I only looked at you sideways because I was sitting beside you."

“Now, Bob,” JC Carter says professorially to me as he reads this blog, “I only looked at you sideways because I was sitting beside you.”

If you listened to our Free Comic Book Day episode of Hold 322 some weeks ago, you might recall JC Carter reviewing a huge stack of free comics. And if so, you might also remember him mentioning the three storylines previewed in DC comics’ Divergence #1. And in doing so, he was no doubt seeking revenge for the episode of Hold 322 many-many months ago when Jeff Bell and I hinted at (over-a-year-old-SPOILER-alert) Gwen Stacy’s death in the feature film Amazing Spider-Man 2, because he let lose revealing that in Batman #40, Bruce Wayne apparently died (to which Jeff replied something like: “Really? I’m obviously behind.”, and I felt the same), so in the Batman story previewed in Divergence #1, James Gordon was now taking over the mantle of Batman. Then JC said, as I best recall, something like: “Apparently, somewhere in the Adventures of Superman, Lois Lane revealed Superman’s secret identity to the world”, and when he said it, he may or may not have given me a sideways look (at least I remember it that way), that made me feel like he was miffed at me for not sharing that issue with him.

See, I thought JC meant this series, because I'm so smart... well, my mom thinks so anyways.

See, I thought JC meant this series, because I’m so smart… well, my mom thinks so anyways.

I was all confused. I haven’t read the current monthly book entitled “Adventures of Superman” since issue #1 way back in June of 2013, and I thought JC Meant that Lois had revealed it in that book, so I was thinking: a)—I don’t read that book, so how was I supposed to know? And b)—If it happened it that title, it has no relevance to the greater Superman continuity because the stories in “Adventures of Superman” are just random tales outside of continuity. But now I know, after finally picking up my comic book hold the following week and finally reading issues #40 of both the Batman and Superman titles, that I wasn’t fully following what the Radioactive Professor was actually saying. When he said “the adventures of Superman”, he just meant it as adventures-in-general, and if he was in fact miffed I hadn’t shared my knowledge of Lois Lane’s shenanigans, which he likely wasn’t, it was only because he wasn’t aware that I wasn’t aware of them. He may have assumed I had already read Superman #40, which as of Free Comic Book Day, I had not.

 

Anyhow, if you followed that opening tangent, well done, but now it’s time to delve into the heart of this blog which will concern events in Superman, though first I will quickly state that after having read Batman #40, it is my opinion that Bruce Wayne is not dead. His absence from his book will be temporary and in a few months he’ll return to reclaim the mantle of the Batman. And now for my thoughts on Superman:

Superman issue 40_Clark Ties One On

The Man of Steel is a light weight… who knew?

In Superman #40 (written and drawn by John Romita Jr.), the Man of Steel enlists his fellow Justice Leaguers to help him study his new Super-explodey powers. If you are unaware of this new power, I’ll tell you what is known about it so far. In recent issues of Superman, (written by Geoff Johns, with art by Romita Jr.) our hero was locked in intense battle with a new super villain named Ulysses when his heat vision suddenly turned into a veritable super nova-like release of energy that laid waste to everything within a mile of where Superman and his new foe were fighting. This Super-explosion blast successfully knocked out the powerful Ulysses, but it left Superman powerless for 24 hours following the moment his new power was used. So, in Superman #40, Clark and his closest super-friends spend most of the issue running tests to determine all they can about Supes’ new ability, which meant Kal El had to go super nova again and again and again until they all felt they had learned enough about it. This repeated use of his new power not only lead to Clark getting drunk (and later hung-over) for the first time in his life, it also clearly took a great toll on Superman’s power reserves, meaning even more than 24 hours after going super nova, our hero is now seemingly incapable of returning to 100 percent—leaving him less than fully invulnerable and unable to fly—just able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, much as he did in the golden age and early on in the New 52 (see Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics, ya know, if you’re bored enough to).

No, Lois, Clark's not Superman. He's just terrible at shaving, is all.

No, Lois, Clark’s not Superman. He’s just terrible at shaving, is all.

Still, being Superman, he did not allow this to hold him back, so when a trio of goons started causing trouble by shooting up a neighborhood in Metropolis with high-tech blaster guns, he boldly leapt into action to save the day. At the end of the encounter, Superman was victorious but bloodied, and a bystander snapped a photo of him just before he leapt away—a photo that clearly showed a nasty gash on the right side of Superman’s head. The next day, at the Daily Planet, the bystander’s cell phone image of the bloodied Superman are on every TV in the bullpen, and when Clark Kent walks into the office with the right side of his face bandaged, it is easy for keen and astute reporter Lois Lane to take notice and instantly make the obvious connection.

 

Good cover, Jimmy! You should be Press Secretary or P.R. for the Patriots.

Good cover, Jimmy! You should be Press Secretary or P.R. for the Patriots.

After reading issue #40 of Superman, then I finally read “Exposed”, (by Gene Luen Yang, art by Romita JR.) the Superman story in the Free Comic Day copy of Divergence #1 that Mr. Carter had reviewed on Hold 322 the week before. Sure enough, Lois Lane had not only finally figured out that Clark Kent and Superman were one and the same, but she had gone on to let everyone else in the world know the very same thing. With his secret identity not common knowledge, and unable to fly off planet to hide, Clark Kent is forced into living on the lamb, as-it-were, doing what he can to change his appearance and stay incognito, but to little avail, as both fans and enemies alike constantly recognize him as Clark Kent / Superman. The incident shown in the story itself is when some meta-human bad guy recognizes Clark while he’s trying to have lunch with his pal Jimmy Olsen. This particular meta-goon reveals that years ago, before he had his powers, Superman had arrested / humiliated him, and now he was looking for revenge, which he tried to exact by throwing a food truck at our now exposed hero. Superman is able to keep Jimmy and the other bystanders from being injured by the thrown food truck, and easily defeats the vengeful meta-goon after a quick encounter, but the entire incident left him feeling clearly unsettled as he immediately leapt away to the sanctuary of his motel room on the outskirts of town.

The worst thing about all this? Clark dumb new hair cut.

The worst thing about all this? Clark’s dumb new hair cut.

Sometime later, Lois Lane shows up at the apparently not-completely-secret motel room, offering money and apologies for all the trouble she’s caused her one-time best friend, but Clark Kent is clearly not in a forgiving mood as he refuses her help and closes the door on her. Was he being too harsh? Should he have forgiven her? I don’t think so, on either account. Lois Lane may have thought she was doing her journalistic duty by revealing Superman’s secret identity to the world, and that may be so, but to my mind, what she did was inexcusable from a purely ethical standpoint. Clark was her friend—her very best friend, all things considered. He was also Superman, the greatest hero on Earth. Lois is not stupid. She must’ve known what would happen if people learned who Superman really was—what it would do to Clark Kent’s life—that it would not only strip him of his privacy and anonymity, thus leaving him unable to live any semblance of a normal life, but it would make it impossible for him to safely be around other people in any public place. His very presence, rather wearing his Super-suit or not, would endanger everyone else around him.

Lois Lane knew what would happen, and still she made the decision to go ahead and do what she did all the same.

This Lois Lane one-shot from last year actually made me want her to have her own ongoing series. It was damn good.

This Lois Lane one-shot from last year actually made me want her to have her own ongoing series. It was damn good.

“Hey, Bob! Lois Lane is a fictional character! She’s not real, you jerk!” Yes, I know. Lois Lane is no more real than Clark Kent or any other comic book character, but the people who write the comic books they inhabit are real, and I feel it is their responsibility to treat them as realistically as possible. In the past, at least in recent DC continuity, Lois Lane would never have perpetrated such a betrayal against Clark. Her love for him and her respect for his role as Earth’s top hero would’ve prevented her from even considering such a thing. In the post crisis / pre-new 52 universe, Lois was married to Clark, and was fully aware of his dual life as Superman, but she kept his secret; she defended it with all she had, because despite her drive to be the world’s greatest reporter, she also had a strong moral and ethical center that placed doing the right thing above doing the most professionally imperative thing. This is why I’ve always loved the character and been just as much a fan of her as I was of the Man of Steel himself.

How can I post a blog about Lois Lane and not include a pic of the beautiful Erica Durance? I can't.

How can I post a blog about Lois Lane and not include a pic of the beautiful Erica Durance? I can’t.

Previously in the new 52, even though Lois and Clark were not romantically linked, their friendship still seemed clear to me, and I thought she was still the noble character she had been before. I even thought she had long known Clark’s secret, but was keeping it to herself—not at all wishing to betray her best friend or hinder his ability to live his important dual existence—but clearly, I was wrong. Clearly the new Lois Lane is not the Lois Lane I thought she was. She may have apologized to Clark for what she did to him, but that does nothing to undo the damage already done; unless of course she makes a deal with Mephisto or something—ala Mary Jane just before Brand New Day—which is highly unlikely since Mephisto is a Marvel character. And until DC launches yet another crisis to restart the overall continuity yet again, this is how Superman’s life is going to be. This is going to be the new normal, and as a lifelong fan, I am not looking forward to it at all. Still, I’m willing to give it a fair chance. I’ll just have to read it all and see how I feel about it later.

What say you, fearless comic book / blog reader? Is Lois Lane still the intrepid reporter whom Super-fans have always known and loved, or has DC allowed her to turn to the dark side? Let me know in a comment below.

Well, I think that concludes this week’s blog. Remember to subscribe to this here blog so you can join us for next week’s awesome bloviation from yours truly. Be sure also to listen to each and every episode of Hold 322, available every Tuesday from iTunes, Stitcher and Hold322.com; and if you wanna be just as cool as all the other cool kids are, you can follow me on the Twitter for all my insightful and zany tweets @Robert_A_Easton. Thanks for reading, friends.

Up, up and... wait, did Superman leave Jimmy to pay for lunch?

Up, up and… wait, did Superman leave Jimmy to pay for lunch?

Ultimate Bob

Alons-y!

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169 Hold 322 – Ode To Sam

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in HOLD322 | 0 comments

Here you go! The most special of specials!

JC went out of town over the weekend and left his little show in the hands of his former sidekicks … former as in – they did such a good job, that they’ve taken over JC’s Fortress of Onan, as it were, and they’re making their own show: “Stuff We Already Own That We Lend One Another Until We Run Out Of Stuff And Have To Come Crawling Back To JC So That We Have Something To Read” … still working out the kinks on this one …

Anyway – revisit some classic comics milestones with Jeff and Robert in this week’s issue – as well as some new stuff – and enjoy the sounds of two guys making fun of another guy who isn’t there to defend himself!

#269 – A SPECIAL Hold322

SHOW LINKS!

Stan Lee $5,000 T-Shirt Contest – LINK HERE
Universal Studio head shoots straight – LINK HERE
Marvel going day and date line wide – LINK HERE
Special Editions in time for the Holidays – LINK HERE

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A Fond Farewell to the Fantastic Four

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Bob's Bloviating, HOLD322 | 1 comment

Hello, fanboys and fangirls, my given name’s Robert, but to all those dozens of loyal Hold 322 listeners I’m better known as Ultimate Bob. As our show’s “staff of writer” it is my obligation to bring to you a weekly blog containing my ideas and opinions concerning comic books and all other things nerdy / geek. This week’s blog will be about the supposed end of the Fantastic Four comic book series, and my thoughts on the state of Marvel’s first family in general.

Fantastic Four_The End

1st issue from 1961... wish they could still be ten cents.

1st issue from 1961… wish they could still be ten cents.

This month a fairly significant event in comicdom occurred, but like most people you may not have even noticed, or even more disheartening—at least to my point of view—you might not have even cared. The event I speak of was issue #645 of the Fantastic Four (written by James Robinson, drawn by Leonard Kirk), which gave us not only the conclusion of the iconic team’s most recent—and possibly one of their darkest—storylines, but also what Marvel’s editorial and marketing departments are steadfastly claiming to be the fabled franchise’s final issue ever. I doubt it will actually be the last new issue of the FF ever published, but it’s safe to say it will be the last one we’re going to get anytime soon.

Fantastic Four old film cast

I may be the only person who liked those first two films….

Why, you may ask, has Marvel decided now was the right time to pull the plug (at least temporarily) on the self proclaimed “World’s Great Comic Magazine”? (A claim I strongly agree with and very much endorse.) Was it because of low sales? Well, In part, but not really. Recent sales of Fantastic Four comics are not as high as they should or could be—certainly not like they were in Marvel’s silver-age-hey-days of the early 1960’s when they were not only the company’s bestselling book (made back then by Stan “the man” Lee and Jack “King” Kirby), but were also revolutionizing the way super-hero stories were told and perceived—but what really has compelled Marvel to cancel the series is their longstanding pissing contest with Twentieth Century Fox over the film rights to the fifty plus year old comic book franchise.

Fantastic Four new film cast

The young new cast for the upcoming reboot

As you may be aware, a reboot Fantastic Four film will be released later this summer, and it will once again be produced by Fox, not Marvel Studios, and that fact has Marvel and their parent company Disney so upset that, in protest, they are willing to end actively publishing the comic book that started it all for the House of Ideas. They clearly don’t want a new issue of the monthly Fantastic Four comic on the shelves the same month that the Fox produced film is released, because they want to make it clear that they are not endorsing or promoting the film in any way what-so-ever. They want the film to fail because they want Fox to finally drop the property so they can have it back.

Defeated LoganFox also owns and refuses to relinquish control of the X-Men films, but Marvel has not, nor will not announce plans to cancel all their monthly X-books—though they did kill off Logan (Wolverine) a few months back. You see, unlike Fantastic Four, the X-Men books are usually high selling enough that Marvel comics would sorely miss them, so, much to the chagrin of diehard FF fans like me, they get sacrificed while the mutants don’t.

Fantastic Four 645 Sue and Val embrace

I can’t blame Marvel for wanting the property back, but I am disappointed that it has to all go down this way. I started collecting monthly comic books back in 2011—after a break from doing so that had lasted almost 16 years—and the Fantastic Four has been a part of that ever since issue 600. Many other books have ebbed and flowed in their quality during these past four years, but for my money at least, the adventures of Marvel’s first family have never failed to disappoint me over that period of time. The Fantastic Four was the one book I always looked forward to reading each and every time it was in my hold box. I guess it will be nice to save an extra $3.99 at the comic book store every month, but I’ll miss the series greatly while it’s gone.

Sue Storm Richards in the ruins of the Baxter BuildingIn the meantime, I can read and reread all the FF stories of the past; happily indulging in the team’s high concept and farfetched adventures from over five decades of storytelling given to us from dozens of different creative teams, and furthermore, as a cockeyed young-but-not-so-young optimist who still dreams of one day writing comic books for a living, I can also spend that time fantasizing and even preparing myself for not only the return of the series, but the meager chance I could be given the opportunity to write it. Crazy thought, I know, but a fella can dream, right?

Ben Grim clears debris after final battle

“What a revoltin’ development…” Ben grumbles as he clears debris after the battle to once again save NYC.

Well, I think that concludes this week’s blog. For more on the Fantastic Four—including JC Carter, Bob Defendi, and Jeff Bell’s insightful thoughts on the series and its cancellation, be sure to listen to this week’s episode of Hold 322, available, of course, elsewhere on this website. Remember also to subscribe to this here blog so you can join us for next week’s awesome bloviation from yours truly. Be sure also to listen to each and every episode of Hold 322, available every Tuesday from iTunes, Stitcher and Hold322.com; and if you wanna be just as cool as all the other cool kids are, you can follow me on the Twitter for all my insightful and zany tweets @Robert_A_Easton. Thanks for reading, friends.

Fantastic Four 645 final panel of main story

Ultimate Bob
Alons-y!

Ben Grimm discouraged

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168 Hold 322 – Don’t friendzone the Hulk!

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in HOLD322 | 0 comments

Secret_WarsThis week on the World’s Greatest Comic Book Podcast… We answer some criticisms of Avengers: Age of Ultron and add some of our own. A casting notice reveals that Gambit and Wolverine are in X-Men: Age of Apocalypse. Jem and the Holograms get a movie, don’t give up on an Agents of SHIELD spin-off. and Harry Shearer has left the Simpsons. In comic book news, Dark Horse has an awesome He-Man book coming, Archie is looking good in his reboot and we attempt to explain Secret Wars. Bob asks: ” “?

All this, and Leeroy Jenkins! Face front, true believers! It’s Hold 322!

268 Hold 322 Podcast.

168_Hold322_500

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167 Hold 322 – All Comics Considered

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in HOLD322 | 0 comments

SPECIAL BEST OF ISSUE! The very first episode of (what would become) The World’s Greatest Comicbook Podcast.  At the dawn of The New 52 – two men tried to have a conversation about sequential art stories … well, one of them did.

167 Hold 322 Podcast – BEST OF 

167_Hold322_500

THE HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS

Welcome to the astonishing first issue of Hold 322! The podcast that’s about the comic books that are in my hold and on the shelves of my local comic book store each week.

This week: Marvel continues its countdown to the inevitable changes that will come as a result of Fear Itself, X-Men Schism and Spider Island; and Hawkeye gets some love.

Jeff and I discuss the All New Ultimate Spider-Man

DC’s 52 first issues continue (and remind Jon why Wednesdays are so important in comic books) and get naughty!

 

Links for Naughty DC

Catwoman is a baaad kitty!

Starfire propositions Arsenal 

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Natasha’s Got Next

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Bob's Bloviating, HOLD322 | 0 comments

Hello, fanboys and fangirls, my given name’s Robert, but to all those dozens of loyal Hold 322 listeners I’m better known as Ultimate Bob. As our show’s “staff of writer” it is my obligation to bring to you a weekly blog containing my ideas and opinions concerning comic books and all other things nerdy / geek. This week’s blog will be about how I feel it’s high time that Marvel Studios finally gives the green light for a solo Black Widow movie—one she won’t have to share with any of the other Avengers.

Avengers__Age of Ultron_posterI saw the Avengers: Age of Ultron twice this past week—first on Thursday night with the Radioactive Professor (JC Carter) and his non-radioactive son, and again on Saturday (Free Comic Day) with several good friends of and from both Hold 322 and the Left Show—and you better believe I loved every second of both viewings, true believers. The film had everything: spectacular action sequences, an abundance of humor, and the right emotional chords were struck as our beloved characters had great moments of further development through well acted interactions with one another. In particular, I enjoyed the growth in the relationship between Dr. Bruce Banner (the Hulk) and Natasha Romanov (Black Widow).

SPOILER ALERT! (Sorta)

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