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Killer Frost #1, Black Manta #1, & Listener Feedback – FIRE & WATER #65

Firestorm and Aquaman: The Fire and Water Podcast

The 65th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is now available for your listening pleasure! THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is the official podcast of FIRESTORM FAN and THE AQUAMAN SHRINE.

It’s Villains Month at DC Comics! Rob and Shag cover Killer Frost #1 (by Sterling Gates, Derlis Santacruz, and Brett Smith) and Black Manta #1 (by Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard, Claude St. Aubin, and Blond). We also spend time discussing Geoff Johns’ upcoming departure from Aquaman, the return of a beloved character, and Listener Feedback!

You can find the 65th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST on iTunes. While you’re there, please drop us a review on the iTunes page. Every comment helps! Alternatively, you may download the podcast by right-clicking here, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (40 MB).

As always, thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on these episodes! Opening theme, “That Time is Now,” by Michael Kohler. Special thanks to Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic original closing theme! This episode brought to you in part by!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

Check out the covers to Justice League of America #7.2 Killer Frost #1 below! Cover by Tony S. Daniel and Matt Banning! Click to enlarge!

Justice League of America #7.2: Killer Frost #1 by Sterling Gates, Derlis Santacruz, and Tony S Daniel

Support Firestorm and Aquaman! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

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  1. Siskoid says:


    Definition of SYMBOLOGY
    1: the art of expression by symbols
    2: the study or interpretation of symbols
    3: a system of symbols

  2. Kyle Benning says:

    Villains Month…ugh…not my taste. Looking back at previous clashes between the Crime Syndicate and the JLA, such as JLA vol. 1 #29 & 30, DC Presents Annual #1, or Morrison and Quitely’s JLA Earth 2 Graphic Novel, the clash was always exciting and interesting, because the heroes of the Justice League or Justice Society were very much polar opposites of the evil CSA. However, with the current state of the DCU and its heroes, especially coming out of Trinity War where some of them acted less than heroic, I think the clash and the dynamic between the CSA and JLA is missing some of its gravitas. Superman snaps people’s necks, Batman is at a all time high of broodiness and paranoia, and the Justice League as portrayed by Johns in the JL title (key there, the JL book vs. their individual titles) is that the heroes except for Barry, come across as very cold, almost arrogant jerks. My view of the current Justice League is that they are much more in line with their animated Justice Lords counterparts, so some of the effect of “woah the Crime Syndicate is evil versions of our do-gooder Heroes” is lost. Just my 2 cents and view on it, definitely not my “comic book joy” so I’ll stick to past incarnations of the CSA and their encounters with the heroes of the Justice League & Justice Society/All-Star Squadron. If people out there are enjoying the Forever Evil storyline, that’s good, the CSA is a great team made up of some great characters, and it’s great to see them discovered and enjoyed by a new generation of fans.

    Rob I’m bummed you didn’t get a chance to meet Paris Cullins, I had the pleasure of meeting him in May at SpringCon in St. Paul, MN and he was a blast to talk to. He’s a super nice guy, and a ton of optimism and a lot of great stories from his days at DC. Still sounds like you had a blast at the Con, glad it was a successful trip!

    Yay Listener Feedback! And a shoutout to Composite Superman as well! I feel like the Composite Superman is going to be to the Fire & Water, what Matt Damon as a guest is to the Jimmy Kimmel show.

    Great episode! Fan the Flame & Ride the Wave!

  3. Luke says:

    I had to skip ahead past the reviews as I have both of these books coming from DCBS and wanted to avoid spoilers. I did want to mention that all of the Villains Month books I have read so far — Gorilla Grodd, Two-Face, and The Creeper — were all strong-to-excellent comics, which I read more than once apiece. I also really enjoyed Trinity War and thought the first issue of Forever Evil was a blast.

    If that means I’m a “bad fan” now, because I *gasp* am enjoying stuff DC is putting out, so be it. I stopped giving a rat’s you-know-what about that a long time ago.

    Baltimore ComicCon sounded like a blast! Rob’s description of the show being first and foremost about comic books reminds me of my personal favorite show, HeroesCon up in Charlotte. It’s not as massive as some other East Coast shows, but there’s a very strong focus on comics, as well as making the show family friendly, which I really enjoy.

  4. Frank says:

    1) Does this mean Rob’s going back to the X-Factor podcast? That seems to be the established pattern, especially since he burned all his bridges at PADSMASH!

    2) I’ve commented on this before, but I have to draw up my stern voice and browbeet* Rob over his distasteful lack of periodical fortitude. Maybe there’s an element of reverse psychology Rob is trying to employ to guilt readers into sticking with Jeff Parker like a Jewish matriarch, but oy gevalt! The previous Aquaman volume survived an aimless, joyless premature relaunch and limped along for nearly five years as a consistent low seller. The most recent numbers have Aquaman as DC’s #11 title, among readers already acclimated to Paul Pelletier replacing Ivan Reis. Jeff Parker is a very fine choice for replacement writer, and the character has been embraced by new fans, so let’s give the man the courtesy of starting his run before gnashing our teeth and rending our garments. Personally, I’d be dancing a jig if that creative team launched a book about my character.

    3) There’s no argument that Geoff Johns did more for Aquaman than Peter David. I was disappointed in both of their runs and dropped them, but Johns at least restored the Sea King as a classic super-hero in the upper hierarchy of esteem and sales. PAD sold Aquaman out as a grim’n’gritty Golden Mullet for chump change, doubling down on the damage already dealt the character by Keith Giffen. David’s castle was built on sand, which contributed to the book’s inability to survive his departure. Every creator that followed wasted a substantial portion of their runs “fixing” what PAD broke, whereas Johns wisely cleared the decks with Brightest Day and moved forward. Also, no more puns, hallelujah.

    4) All kidding aside, Slipknot’s time is now, as part of the New 52. A dude who lynches people as standard method of operation is so very Didio.

    5) A peeve of mine in the New 52 has been the radical alteration of Bronze Age incarnations of legacy characters. It’s like, if we’ve already had three separate secret identities for the Cheetah concept, why create a second version of Barbara Minerva when you can just build a new character under the brand. I favored Louise Lincoln over Crystal Frost, but this is a brand new Killer Frost, so let it be Caitlin Snow. Let us progress instead of hallowing the same ground trod by Mork & Mindy, the Bee Gees, and men wearing short shorts with knee socks. I think Sterling Gates’ new origin is very timely, with the horrors inflicted upon female contractors protected by legal ambiguity and corporate amorality well documented. I really liked Tony Daniels’ cover, especially the face (a rare thing.) That lame costume has got to go, though. It would be neat to have her embrace her geekiness (proxy vengeance for online talking points) instead of remaining Poison Ivy on ice.

    6) Wasn’t the Rashomon effect a big part of Secret Wars II and Millennium tie-ins? Ahem.

    7) I never felt like Black Manta’s murder of Arthur Jr. was adequately addressed, so his viability benefited from the New 52. Unfortunately, I’m already over him again. He just won’t go away long enough to be missed. That said, he’s been one of the darkest and most brutal villains in DC Comics dating back to at least the ’70s, so I figure he can chop people up without raising eyebrows. I don’t mind gore if it’s appropriate to the book/character.

    8) I think Manta needs a redesign to update him for modern audiences, but he was the Darth Vader of Challenge of the Super Friends, so casual fans think he’s cool. Devil Ray took it too far, as Manta’s simplicity and inhumanity is part of what makes him scary. I don’t think he’s ever been broadly regarded as a joke.

    9) Re: The cultural dominance of the Who’s Who Podcast: I told you so from the very beginning. Also, I’m available to take the Shag position in the OHOTMU Podcast, if anyone wants to do all the actual work involved. I say “so” and “um” for fifteen out of every sixty seconds, and really really “really” a lot.

    10) Speaking of bootlegs, Siskoid’s “Comics Recollected” and my “Comic Reader Résumé” are now available on YouTube.

    11) Michael Golden charges $175 for a head shot. I want a Tim Truman. Wasn’t as into the con experience this year, and haven’t been able to motivate myself to write up Comicpalooza or Space City Con.

    12) Not to belabor a joke, but nobody caught that I was referencing Sugar & Spike’s guest appearance in The Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer?

    13) I think fans spent nearly two years being primed by Blackest Night and Brightest Day for spin-off books that would continue ongoing storylines. The New 52 completely destroyed the momentum of Deadman, and forced the long beleaguered constituencies of Firestorm and Hawkman to start over from scratch yet again. Thanks to creative team consistency and a less pointed revision, only Aquaman ultimately benefited from all that effort. The Nuclear Men had a solid debut, but I think the early troubles behind the scenes and the resultant instability shook off readers.

    14) I was averse to reading comics in public when I was younger, since it heightened the probability of verbal and physical violence being inflicted upon me, not to mention the theft of said comics. Books were more portable and less problematic. As an adult, I’m shameless about reading trade paperbacks and comic-themed books at work or publicly in general. Between my being tougher and the medium being more accepted, my main worry is someone using comics as an excuse to make tedious small talk. I’m trying to read here! Anyway, and this is directed at Shag, comics are as cool as the people reading make them. Longboxes belong in the closet, not fans.

    P.S. Cute young women compliment my comic-themed shirts when I’m out and about. The shame ends after our generation.

    15) Great dad-son domestic violence podcast, gang! You have to admit, it makes sense that heroes who solve social problems with their fists learned that technique in the home.

    16) Earth 2 Chris and Michael Bailey have a different perspective on sympathetic villains than myself. I love it when a bad guy has a believable motivation and is presented as a flawed human being, because it makes them more interesting as characters and enhances the complexity of their conflict with the hero. The breakdown is when they cross the line to become anti-heroes, which overshadows the actual hero and corrupts the narrative. Too often, publishers confuse popularity with starring viability, and then the ’90s happen.

    *See what I did there?

  5. Tim Wallace says:

    Baltimore Comic-Con is a blast! I’m friends with a lot of the con staff, and have been volunteering there as a staff member myself for years, and I can tell you one of the goals has always been to put on a show that puts comics ahead of anything else!

    Just like Rob, I was disappointed that Paris Cullins didn’t show. I was looking forward to chatting with him again about Blue Beetle, and get some of my books signed…just as disappointed that Rob didn’t mention that he’d seen me, or given me my FOAM pin…I know I didn’t smell…I showered every day of the con, I swear! It’s because I too am a fan of Peter David’s Aquaman isn’t it? I’m feeling blue now…like my beetle! lol

  6. @Frank – “Too often, publishers confuse popularity with starring viability, and then the ’90s happen.”

    I would say, “and then MARVEL happens.” I firmly believe their philosophy is “Since every character is someone’s favorite, every character is worthy of a series,” and that just ain’t so. I love the Sub-Mariner; he’s one of my favorite Marvel characters, but he’s not a headlining hero or anti-hero. He’s a foil. I’m not interested in Namor’s adventures. I’m interested in how the Fantastic Four are affected by him.

  7. Keith Singh says:

    I’d like to add, that I think that Paul Norris has done more for Aquaman than both Peter David and Geoff Johns! :p

    Still haven’t finished the podcast, so wait for some more esteemed comments later from myself!

  8. Frank says:

    Keith, by that logic, I’d say Bill Everett has done more for Aquaman than anybody. Speaking of which, Count, don’t forget that the Sub-Mariner not only carried his own feature way back in the day, but he was one of his company’s top three stars. I actually think Namor is a stronger character and easier to write than Aquaman.

    Like the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman was “made” by the Justice League, in the sense that he was treated as a co-founder of DC’s Silver Age. Unlike J’onn, Arthur got to exploit that visibility by jumping from a try-out run to an eponymous title to co-feature in an animated series with Superman. Only then did Aquaman emerge of the Sub-Mariner’s shadow.

    Contemporaneously, Namor was revived as a Fantastic Four foil, a Johnny Come Lately Avenger, and then got his own series that managed to take everything Aquaman ever did wrong and steer directly into it. Divorced from a universe, Namor is the easier sell. However, Aquaman is now the aquatic super-hero and a core player in his comic book universe, where Namor remains a respected satellite within his own, still suffering from one misguided non-starting bold new direction after another that fails to properly utilize the character. And he still had solo series whose runs challenged Aquaman’s without anywhere near as strong a creative pedigree.

  9. Kyle Benning says:

    Sorry Count Drunkula but I disagree, as a Namor Fan I definitely think he can support his own series and it can be damn good. Check out Byrne’s run on the character, that was awesome and proof thst not only can Namor support his own ongoing, but it can be the one of the best that Marvel produces. I also love Thomas’ run on the character, he had a great 1-2 punch with the Namor solo title + the Invaders series. I’m stoked about the upcoming Robinson Invaders series. I agree with Frank, I think Namor is easier to write and approach than Aquaman, while Arthur may be King of Atlantis, he still has to answer to the Justice League and their code of ethics, Namor does not. He can actually rule Atlantis and strike back at the surface war when they strike or impede upon his sovereign kingdom, and since he’s the resident a-hole of the Marvel Universe you never no how far he’ll go. While I dig Namor as a foil to the FF, I think labeling him or classifying him simply as a “foil” character really takes away from some of his depth and puts him in a 2 Dimensional character role.

  10. I read a lot of the Byrne run and a lot of the Jae Lee stories. There was some good, but a lot of “meh” to me. And I agree that he is the resident @$$hole of the Marvel Universe, but it’s also for that reason that I don’t think he can really work as a protagonist of a series. Again, I love the character. This isn’t meant to be a knock on him, but I think he serves a particular purpose and that’s as an occasional villain, sometime rival love-interest, and frequent-but-frustrating ally.

    Back to the podcast: “…like the last bite of a cookie” is not a metaphor. It’s a simile.

  11. Siskoid says:

    Jerks can make good protagonists. It’s why I love Vril Dox so much. A real manipulative bastard.

  12. Luke says:

    Frank sez: “13) I think fans spent nearly two years being primed by Blackest Night and Brightest Day for spin-off books that would continue ongoing storylines. The New 52 completely destroyed the momentum of Deadman, and forced the long beleaguered constituencies of Firestorm and Hawkman to start over from scratch yet again. Thanks to creative team consistency and a less pointed revision, only Aquaman ultimately benefited from all that effort. ”

    Very true. I remember how I felt at the end of Blackest Night — all fistpumps and “Yeahs!” and all that — over the return of the Hawks, Aquaman and Mera, the Martian Manhunter, etc. And I remember how I felt at the end of Brightest Day — all fistpumps and “Yeahs!” and all that once again — now that Johns, Tomasi, and company had re-established all of these classic B-list folks, priming them for solo runs. Heck, when the New 52 was in rumor stages, the title of “The Savage Hawkman” had me nearly convinced that Carter’s savagery was going to be due to the loss of Shiera at the end of Brightest Day.

    Needless to say it did not happen, and while I still have very much enjoyed the New 52, I agree that this functioned as a complete loss of momentum for Hawkman, Firestorm (who had a FANTASTIC cliffhanger in Brightest Day), Deadman, and even Hawk & Dove, all of whom had been built up to feature-star status by BN/BD.
    Tellingly, 3 of those properties had launch titles which are now cancelled, with two of them folded into team books but not really getting much to do (Firestorm being more visible than Hawkman by a good margin even at that). Deadman had a launch feature in DCUP, but at least found a nice niche in a team book.

  13. Luke says:

    Addendum: And honestly, though I know his Brightest Day story was not really your cup of tea, Martian Manhunter was primed and ready for a nice run of straight-up Alien Atlas superhero comics after his turns in Blackest Night and Brightest Day. That he got shuffled off into Stormwatch instead of getting a starring turn was a shame. At least he has his backup strip in JLoA.

  14. Luke says:

    Addendum Addendum: I think Namor can carry his own title, but I also think he is a difficult character to write in a way that is both appealing to readers over the long term while still being true to his imperious, jerky nature. I’m reminded of something Arn Anderson said once of the return of the Four Horsemen — “Be careful what you wish for… we don’t wear white hats… we’re NOT nice guys!”

    Siskoid’s point about Vril Dox is well made, as is Kyle’s point about Namor’s lack of oversight compared to Aquaman.

    I thought Stuart Moore did a good job handling Namor in his last solo series, and even though the title was strangely tied to the X-Men stuff going on at the time, Namor got to acquit himself nicely. One bit which I really enjoyed in that series was that Moore explored the complicated friendship between Namor and Doctor Doom, which I think is ripe for more stories.

  15. Siskoid says:

    A good Namor book right now is X-O Manowar.

  16. Luke says:

    “A good Namor book right now is X-O Manowar.”

    Holy crap, is Siskoid right about this. This book is a perfect example of how to have a not-nice-guy as your lead. And it freaking rocks, to boot.

  17. Anj says:

    Thanks for great show guys.

    I left comments on Killer Frost on Firestorm Fan. I have to disagree wit Shag about the Deadshot issue. I much prefer his original origin of rich socialite boy raised in crazy family with a penchant for being a marksman. If you haven’t ever read the Ostrander/McDonnell Deadshot mini-series from the late 80’s, I highly recommend it.

    My real reason for writing is about the ‘reading comics in public’ discussion. Like Rob, I have very little opportunity to read comics in public. But since becoming a dad and especially raising three daughters, I have gone out of my way to show them that I am happy with who I am and have little use for people who would judge me superficially.

    So while I might not be reading comics, they see me out in public wearing Supergirl and Red Lantern shirts. They bought me a Superman lunch bag which I use when I pack a lunch. They bought me a Superman tote bag to bring to the comic store so I don’t use plastic bags. I walk with them proudly. My office has original comic art on the wall. And everyone in my office knows I am a huge comic book/sci-fi/etc geek.

    I let them know that if someone thinks less of me because of the shirt I wear or because I like comics, that isn’t my problem … it’s theirs.

    As a result they don’t hide that they like comics as one of their hobbies. They are just as likely to wear a Wonder Woman shirt as they are to wear something from Justice. And I love hearing when they say they needed to join into a bus conversation about Green Lantern, quote The Rocketeer to their friends, etc.

  18. Keith Singh says:

    OK finished the episode. I haven’t had the chance to read 99% of the Peter David Aquaman run, but I was never a fan of the hook hand! I feel he was really “90’s-ified” with that look! Especially the metal one arm shirt. But I did like that Peter David gave Aquaman’s powers a bit of a boost!

    P.S. Namor’s a pussy! He got taken out by a whale! – DC vs Marvel in ’96!

  19. Keith Singh says:

    Oh and just so I don’t offend anybody, I don’t really think Namor’s a pussy… Just showing love for Aquaman!… But Namor is a jerk, and I agree with Siskoid, Jerks do make good protagonists!

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