All-New Inhumans #9

comiXology summary:
All-New Inhumans #9. Gorgon stands trial! What crime could Gorgon have committed to land him in an Inhuman jail? And what does Ana Kravinoff have to do with it all?

The bait and switch 🙁

Last night at FNM (writeup coming to a Fetchland near you) I saw this week’s cover… All-New Inhumans #9.

Look at that cover for a second. Quick-like; like you were passing it on a comic shop rack, mayhap on the way to your second round of Standard. Note this is a Marvel comics cover. Seriously: What character do you see?

Wolverine, right?

I immediately moved to the rack. I thought Wolverine was dead* in Marvel Comics**.

I mean, I wasn’t necessarily going to jump into All-New Inhumans with the ninth issue, but I did want to know what was up with Wolvie. Curiosity, you grok?

How could it be anyone else?

I mean, the cover is an obvious homage to the various Marvel Comics Presents covers that Barry Windsor-Smith did in the early 1990s. There are many, but this seems like the most direct inspiration:

Marvel Comics Presents #78
Barry Windsor-Smith’s cover to Marvel Comics Presents #78

No beef with cover artist Stefano Caselli; seriously… But that All-New Inhumans cover sure smells like a lift homage to BWS’s classic, doesn’t it?


Per the ComiXology summary, it’s Inhuman Gorgon on the cover; I guess you would know that if you were a regular reader of All-New Inhumans… But as a comics cover (i.e. something that is meant to draw in potential readers who are not regular subscribers of a comic on a monthly basis) I didn’t know it was Gorgon. I thought maybe I’d get the DL on a once-central character who has been dealt a really raw hand in the comics universe [that in other circumstances would have grown right back].

Boo, All-New Inhumans #9 cover!

Boo… And well played.


* Except for Old Man Logan; another time.
** Wolverine being Marvel’s more-or-less most popular character… Whose film rights are owned by someone else.

Naya Burn

Two weeks ago I was able to land a Modern PPTQ with a Naya Burn deck, hopefully to set myself up for Pro Tour Dublin. Hopefully this short writeup will help you do the same 🙂

I. Your Cards Largely Cost One

Well, one and two. But almost all your guys cost one, and even your lone three mana spell (Rift Bolt) also costs one. This is extremely important as Modern is a wickedly compressed format… Almost every deck puts its opponent on the back foot (if not the grave) by turn four, so just having cheap one and two mana cards is a legitimate deck feature; and 2)

Imagine you’re a deck that plays three and four mana cards, don’t know what you’re up against, and start off on one (or even two) lands that enter the battlefield tapped… You might play all one spell before the game effectively ends. Naya Burn’s cards are less powerful, less card advantageous, maybe… But it will play four to six of them in the same window (which often will be lethal right there).

II. The Philosophy of Fire is on Overdrive in Modern

Remember the original Philosophy if Fire: Your average card does two damage; your opponent starts on twenty life; you start with seven cards… Ten spells wins the game.

In Modern your average opponent will start on fourteen and your average card does between three and four — not two — damage. Do the math! You will be able to win on as few as four spells and your opening hand, unopposed, will be lethal most of the time!

Combined with the first point — the super affordable costs on your spells [versus the gigantic or profligate costs of many other Modern options] Naya Burn is the most operationally attractive deck in the format.

III. Atarka’s Command Deals Three to Them… But Three to You?!?

Atarka’s Command is a cute, medium-powerful, redundant spell that can also play main-deck spoiler to Kitchen Finks or even a Hail Mary Siege Rhino. Sometimes you counter their Lightning Helix; sometimes you have two Swiftspears down and are living the dream.

However most of the time Atarka’s Command is three damage for two mana (in the running for the least efficient wannabe ‘Bolt in Naya Burn)… While also being the only green card in the deck. The corollary is: If you can ever get Atarka’s Command out of your deck between games, you probably should. The ability to start on sixteen (instead of fourteen, on account of being obligated to find Stomping Ground rather than basic Mounting with the same fetch) is often as valuable for you as it would be for an opponent staring down your hot hand.

Don’t get me wrong, Atarka’s Command is awesome when it’s awesome; but if it’s just Incinerate that can’t hit creatures, any number of your sideboard cards will be more effective, without requiring you to ever search for green (example, siding in Searing Blood and Lightning Helix or Path to Exile and Lightning Helix for the only four green cards in the starting deck).

Second corollary: This is the same reason Wild Nacatl is a suboptimal card choice in this deck; not only is it not particularly synergistic, it forces you to pay additional life a disproportionate amount of the time.

IV. Eidolon of the Great Revel Does Even Damage

Most of the creatures in Naya Burn can deal even or odd damage; Grim Lavamancer attacks for odd but shoots for even; Taylor Swiftspear starts on odd but buffs to even or odd. Eidolon of the Great Revel has both even power and even damage triggers.

Playing against Eidolon of the Great Revel is extremely challenging for most decks. Yes, it can be “dealt with” but almost always at an annoying cost. If it hits one time before it is removed, Eidolon of the Great Revel is already in Boros Charm range. Make no mistake! You really should probably remove it! But a mistake I saw opponents make over and over was around fetchland management. If you’re at seventeen and you take two you’ll go to fifteen. If you are at seventeen and you go to either sixteen or fourteen you’ve essentially let the Naya Burn player draw a card.

Don’t think this matters? I beat more than one opponent saving Monastery Swiftspear and friends with Boros Charm; Eidolons can be saved from death’s door…

V. Your Sideboard Cards Are Flexible and Powerful

One of the main things I learned from Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa in an article way back when is that one-color decks tend to have weak sideboards relative to multicolor decks. As someone who has spent years playing Patrick Sullivan Red Decks in Legacy, the contrast to Naya Burn in Modern is dramatic. This deck has specific answers to Leyline of Sanctity that can serve as card advantageous Time Walks against Phyrexian Unlife or Pentad Prism. It can lethally reverse an all-in Infect player who has Vines of the Vastwood back. It can — unlike almost every other Red Deck in competitive history — even remove big creatures!

You can re-work your deck in sideboard situations into a lock deck (say your Death’s Shadow opponent leaves you with Deflecting Palm with his Thoughtseize and you manage to stabilize at any point); you can go into mono-creature removal (generally with advantages across the board); or even plan for a progressive slow game around a Grim Lavamancer who will never die.

Oddly — and amazingly — the answer to the age old question of “Who’s the Beatdown?” in some games might be “Not me!”

VI. Corollary: Resist the Impulse to Side Out “Weak” One Mana Spells

Just remember that you need to have a critical mass of one mana spells. You will almost always be tempted to side out Lava Spike (the most narrow card in the deck) or Rift Bolt (the hands-down weakest card in the main deck). It will usually be correct to side out “some” of those. However the strength of this deck once you have three mana is to be able to make two plays per turn while the opponent is only making one play. However you can’t make two plays if you have three lands and all your cards cost two. You need some Rift Bolt suspends / Grim Lavamancer activations / Lava Spikes to the jaw or you are going to end up glutted, stuck, and raced.

That said, Path to Exile costs one!

VII. Know Your “Two-for-Ones”

Searing Blaze has two targets! You can’t counter it by sacrificing Insolent Neonate or shooting your own guy with Path to Exile in response. It will usually be right to leave unbroken fetchland(s) on the table to trigger future landfall on the opponent’s turn rather than just trying to “thin your deck” (especially at the cost of life).

Searing Blood only does two to creatures! It is in some sense less narrow than Searing Blaze but is way less effective against medium sized creatures, way less effective against any kind of tricks, and doesn’t deal damage to the opponent unless the opposing creature actually dies. For this reason it is usually not the right move to go all-in on creature removal using Searing Blood against decks with Mutagenic Growth or whose first play is likely to be a Tarmogoyf.

Destructive Revelry only does two! Don’t get me wrong… When this card is on, it is usually the worst possible card for your opponent to see; but it costs twice as much and does less damage than a Lava Spike. Having a card that only does two in your deck actually costs your goldfish math an entire card, on average while slowing you down a full turn. Yeah. Modern is quick, yo.

VIII. Let Goblin Guide be Your Guide

Always remember the Bella Flores reading of Goblin Guide. Goblin Guide is the best because it turns Magic into chess; you know what your opponent is drawing, so you can make the best plays. Card advantage be damned! The game is often compressed enough that the card advantage doesn’t end up mattering at all. However, the information might matter a lot.

In the deciding game of my PPTQ, my Goblin Guide revealed a Skullcrack on top of my opposing burn deck’s stack. That meant he was going to miss his next land drop and was going to draw a Skullcrack. So I played around the Skullcrack. At the end of my next turn, on queue, he played the Skullcrack just to get a burn spell out of his hand; I responded with Lightning Helix, essentially countering the Skullcrack, and putting him three points closer to death.


Post Script: Today Miles Rodriguez is playing in his first Star City Games Invitational Top 8. He played the same 75 to a 7-1 finish in Modern, with his only loss to the great Brad Nelson. Go Miles!

The list was perfect, no need to change anything. And thanks 🙂

Animal Man #6

comiXology summary:
Buddy Baker must face off against invading Thanagarians looking to conquer Earth! Can Buddy Baker stand up to the winged wonders or will he become the first casualty of war? Grant Morrison’s ANIMAL MAN epic continues!

In the new episode of Top 8 Magic (that comes out next week, actually) BDM and I talk about DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and the Dwayne McDuffie-driven Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited cartoons. Hawkgirl (or Hawkwoman) in some of her various incarnations is a central cast member of all those teevee shows.

That said, the woman swinging the Nth Metal Morningstar at Buddy Baker in this week’s Superficial Saturdays cover is not actually Hawkgirl, rather a Thanagarian soldier name of Kol (not Hol, or “Hall”)… But I doubt the marketing department or cover editor would have minded much character confusion… Any more than they would the shamelessness of that Thanagarian uniform.

You see, Animal Man — though considered the apex of Grant Morrison’s writing career by some critics — was not exactly a hot seller. As good as the story is considered — and as well as it is thought to hold up over two or even three decades now — interiors penciler Chas Truog is widely panned as the weakest artist Morrison was ever paired with on a regular book.

No problem for Superficial Saturdays fans, though! Brian Bolland handled covers for going on three years (this is, of course, not the first time Bolland has been the subject of Superficial Saturdays).

Lots of stuff I love about this one:

  • It’s nakedly eye-catching; Thanagarian uniform and everything else.
  • Bolland’s line work is impeccable, as usual. Check out the delta between foreground and background wings, the precision on the Nth Metal Morningstar spikes, and Buddy’s jacket… especially in contrast to the shadow across his right leg
  • The colors, circa three years before the garish explosion of “computer coloring” onto the industry, is subtle. Not perfect by any means, but subtle. One thing to keep in mind is that with 1980s level of coloring technology a penciler (or penciler / inker like Bolland) had to be way more skilled to look not nearly as good. Bolland accomodates, per usual.

To the surprise of no one, Brian Bolland won 1992’s inaugural Eisner Award for Best Cover Artist, largely due to his work on Animal Man.


Starman #33 by Tony Harris

comiXology summary:
Starman #33. Solomon Grundy lies dying and now Jack Knight, Batman, Sentinel, and the Floronic Man must band together to save the reformed criminal. However, to save the pale giant, they must face past incarnations of Grundy, all of which are evil to the core.

Okay story time RE: Starman #33:

It’s probably about 1997. Starman is one of my two favorite comic books that come out every month (along with Preacher; and they typically come out the same day). Haven’t heard of Starman? I’m not particularly surprised. Jack Knight is the son of Golden Age hero [also] Starman, and Starman is the story of Jack taking up the superhero business after his brother David (interim Starman between daddy and Jack) is killed. Jack doesn’t really want to be a superhero. He runs a second-hand shop and mostly gets tattoos. To give you an idea about a typical story, at one point his second-hand shop is attacked by a maniacal villain-to-be as Jack unwittingly has a Hawaiian shirt that is a magical teleportation portal in inventory.

The battle is resolved by, um, Jack selling the would-be villain the shirt.

Starman was offbeat and heartwarming. Sure there was violence, sacrifice, murder, and even galaxy-spanning space adventure, but it was a largely a comic book of small stories, albeit perfectly executed by James Robinson (who would later execute Sean Connery’s movie career as the screenwriter for LXG) and Tony Harris (Harris would later become my favorite active comic book artist). Today’s Starman #33 cover is of course by Harris.

So here’s the story:

In the mid-1990s comics were in a very different spot than they are today, fueled as they are by billion dollar blockbuster films coming out of Marvel Studios. The entire industry was coming down off of the 1992 bubble boom driven by the breaking of the Bat, the Death of Superman, and infinite chromium variant covers coming out of Image and Valiant. The nostalgia wave would not hit for another five years, and Iron-Man for another maybe eight after that. Comics for comics sake were in a precarious position, and telling small — if great — stories about a second-hand store salesman and his ex-superhero pops needed *ahem* some sales if they wanted to stay buoyed at studio like DC.

How do you bolster sales?

Look at that g-d cover.

Notice anyone standing behind ole tattoo’d Jack?

Starman #33 sold out basically everywhere.

That’s great, right?

Um… The average comic book store ordered like two copies of Starman every month. Some people — like yours truly — were the avid and loyal readers of this aforementioned title Starman. And these Batman fans bought up all our copies!

Even my friend Brian K. Vaughan — who had never read Starman once in his life — bought a copy of #33 (which I’m guessing even twenty years later he never even read). “What can I say? I buy any book with Batman on it.”

It took me maybe four months to hunt down a copy of Starman #33 to even out my collection. This was super shitty because the next issue was the beginning of a new story arc; also because Batman — who had been written as maximally grumpy while visiting Opal City — finally cracked a smile and revealed his favorite Woody Allen movie (Crimes and Misdemeanors, natch).

So if the definition of great comics cover is to sell more comic books — especially by attracting readers who wouldn’t normally pick up your title — there is no better exemplar than Starman #33.


The Batman Adventures #7

comiXology summary:
A new mobster enters Gotham City looking to make it big. But when Batman tracks this fugitive from Chicago underground, he encounters something else lurking in the depths: Killer Croc!

So Suicide Squad came out yesterday.

I haven’t seen it yet, but I know one thing… It’s got Killer Croc!


Killer Croc

Poor Croc. Is he a super human freak? A regular fellow with an unfortunate skin condition? A cannibal? A pretty nice guy who happens to live in the sewers? “Throw a rock at him [Batman] once”? In the comics and cartoons he’s been variations on lots of those things; but what crime did Croc commit to make it into Amanda Waller’s eponymous ‘Squad?

I don’t know either.

But they sure made him bumpy for the movie.

Anyway, in honor of the movie opening (featuring Croc) I decided to peel back the veils of years to a 1993 cover by Kelsey Shannon. 1993! I was in high school! Taylor Swift was four! Killer Croc was strangling the World’s Greatest Detective on the cover of The Batman Adventures #7!

I love this cover.

It is so g-d unpretentious.

Has Croc got scales? Not on the cover of The Batman Adventures #7 he doesn’t (explicitly). Shannon kind of lets you use your imagination on this one. Croc certainly has bumps on the top of his head; and the name “Croc” probably signals you that he is kind of lizard-y, skin-wise. Certainly his coloration is unusual.

The “acting” on this cover is also great.

I am so So SO a fan of form over detail. Shannon used minimal lines on this image. There are probably fewer lines on the entirety of The Batman Adventures #7’s cover than are contained in one square inch of the average Rob Liefeld pinup. But it doesn’t matter! With minimal lines Shannon is able to deliver so much drama.

We know Croc is strong. How can we know without infinitely rendered pectoral-deltoid-rectuses? Because of the pose, the angle on Batman, the implied bulge of tendons across Croc’s forearm.

We know Batman is desperate. How can we know without a bunch of narrating first-person word balloons? Because his teeth are grinding together, and his face is being compressed, and he is futilely trying to pry that left Croc-arm from around his esophagus.

The color is mostly flat. It’s not exactly flat; there are some gradations and implied shadows… But it’s pretty flat. I am a fan of flat color over “computer coloring” (or at least the look of what was called computer coloring in the early 1990s)… I point it out here because in 1993 it would have been really easy to fall into the garish trend coming out of Image and the X-Men books; but Shannon didn’t.

We thank you.

Batman thanks you.

And 23 years later, so does an immortal Killer Croc.


comiXology summary:
It’s a cosmic calamity as Rocket tries to fix his past… er… bad calls! Next stop, the dreaded Winter Planet! Winter all the time? Worst. Planet. Ever. Rocket Raccoon rockets into our hearts with the series beloved by Marvel fans everywhere!

There are multiple schools of thought around what makes a good cover. BDM likes a cover to tell a story. He is fine with word balloons all over it. I think that is his idea of good comics art bleeding into an idea of what makes good comics cover art.

For my part, I see the cover as the last refuge of portraiture in comics; static images; doesn’t necessarily have to tell a story… Fine if it just looks cool.

That said, I — and you probably know this if you know anything about my biases in Magic deck design — tend to be positively inclined to things that are different. Different-good better than “different for difference’s sake” but still willing to entertain a conversation around just different, especially if it pushes the design envelope.

Rocket Raccoon #7 brings together a lot of these threads and ideas.

For BDM… It kind of tells a story. Look at that image for a second. What do you see? “‘Rocket Raccoon in a snowstorm’ for $500, Alex.” Yes? Yes. Yes of course. Guess what happens in the comic?

What’s really cool in my mind is how minimally Skottie Young is able to accomplish all this. He uses, what? One color? That kind of teal? Not only that, but he incorporates the same design limitation to the Rocket Raccoon trade dress, and moves it from the typical top to make sense, almost as part of the cover’s landscape. Different; pushes the design elements; and a bit of story:
Rocket Raccoon #7 gives us an unassuming little cover (that happened to be on one of the most popular comics in the known universe Galaxy).


[For Preacher “He Gone” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
He Gone. Jesse’s actions alienate and endanger those closest to him as we glimpse into his past and finally learn the root of all of his guilt.

If you read any of OsypL‘s earlier recaps for Preacher… I’d guess that “He Gone” was where he was wishing the show would get to. Well, it’s here.

“He Gone” lacks an artful fight scene a la last week’s (um, two weeks ago, cough cough michaelj) “Sundowner” but instead brings together many of the plot threads and semi-developments from basically all of the characters to this point. At least three key mysteries are revealed, and the final scene teases a battle like we’ve never seen [yet] on this show.

And that’s saying something.

My Top 8 Big Reveals from “He Gone”:

First and Foremost, Eugene is, in fact, in Hell.

At the end of the previous episode it was a bit unclear if Jesse had actually sent Arseface into the fires of damnation. There were some good question marks planted, for example how he couldn’t get Cass to say something he didn’t know, or fly (both breaking common sense bounds of reality). For whatever reason those bounds didn’t apply with Eugene.

I think the stress of “He Gone” — with Jesse lashing out and alienating those closest to him while acting in an authoritarian way towards his congregation — emanates from a fundamental notion of order. Eugene would not be in Hell but for God’s will / blessing (even if Jesse, via Genesis, was the catalyst). Ergo, it is just. As a preacher that allows Jesse to put on a particular face, but as a person… He just sent a kid to Hell. Jeez. Ouch. Pokey pokey. Internal discord.

To be fair, if anyone deserved it… It was probably Eugene.

Up until this point tv-only viewers did not know the true origin of Arseface. In the comic book, he essentially copied the suicide of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain… But that had a very different level of cultural relevance when Preacher came out in 1995. This version of Arseface carries a much different burden.

Tracy Loach was the prom queen, rodeo queen, and queen of Eugene’s heart. He eventually gathered the courage to confess his love to her… And was rejected. Eugene’s reaction was to put a shotgun to her head, and then turn it on himself.

Yikes! Well now we better know why the town bullies leave shotguns in his room, telling him to finish the job; or the level of violent reaction from Tracy’s mom when Eugene comes by.

Jesse blames himself for his father’s demise (and more).

Up until the middle of “He Gone” Jesse’s father, the previous Annville preacher, was depicted as always having done “the right thing”. This includes taking in the young Tulip O’Hare when her mother was in jail and her drunk uncle couldn’t take care of her. Sparks bloomed between young Tulip and Jesse, including their future partnership as tough guys even, but papa Preacher eventually had Tulip sent away to be a ward of the state.


Wasn’t she well behaved enough?

“She’s an O’Hare.”

Barf. Pure prejudice. That is about the opposite of what someone who always does the right thing would say.

Jesse reacted by praying for his father to be killed and sent straight to Hell. Jesse almost immediately got his wish!

Given his worldview at this point, we must believe that Jesse believes that 1) his father (an otherwise good man) is in Hell, 2) Jesse caused it via supernatural means even pre-Genesis, and 3) sending Eugene to Hell was no big deal… It’s not like he hasn’t done this before, and with a much better man.

Secret Origin Story: Jesse’s internal conflicts and guilt.

Tulip expects Jesse to love her and be with her “until the end of the world.”

Tulip’s attitudes toward Jesse have been hard to rationalize, um, rationally to this point. A girl this capable can’t really just be hung up on some guy who doesn’t want her right back, can she?

Except that both their lives, or pre-Genesis paths anyway, seem to fork from a shared childhood crucible. Jesse sent his father to Hell over this pledge; and Tulip has been pointed in a Jesse-direction ever since, still calling herself his girlfriend decades later.

V. Cassidy thinks he and Tulip “made love” (barf).

Tulip doesn’t.

I don’t actually know where this is putting any of the pieces on the board. Tulip, who hangs out in whorehouses, may or may not think coitus [alone] is that big a deal. She certainly has a transactional POV around it (i.e. drugs or violence in exchange for sex). He is a however-many-centuries-old Creature Of The Night. Is this going to be that big a deal?

There are three interesting concepts, total, in fiction: Sex, Violence, and Authority; Preacher has all of these woven into the strands of its fundamental tissue, BTW. When any two (if not all three) overlap is when stories get really interesting. TLDR: I can’t imagine this point ending… um… particularly gracefully.

Kid Tulip bit off kid Donnie’s nipple.


He’s supposed to be the tough guy! I almost feel bad for the broken-armed strongarm at this point. Almost.

VII. Odin Quincannon is not a Christian.

He demands Jesse’s father’s land and church, says that even given the “SERVE GOD” echo-voice treatment Jesse should have known better.

(We might also be able to tell he’s “not a Christian” [at least as defined by the collective unconscious definition of the town of Annville] by the fact that he thinks nothing of shotgunning visiting business partners over a brandy).

For that matter, Odin Quincannon is not a particularly good businessman.

His meat packing is less than 1/12 the size of the business in his father’s time; less than 1/52 the size of his grandfather’s. What the hell has old Quin been doing other than Civil War miniatures and novelty prostitute hunts around the sinkhole?

… Rallying a heavily armed South to rise up against one man in a church, if the final scene has anything to say about it, apparently.

Bring on the beatdowns.



[For Preacher “Sundowner” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Sundowner. Jesse finally comes face to face with Deblanc and Fiore and learns about the mysterious entity that has taken over his body.

Hi Fetchland faithful! This is MichaelJ; with OsypL partying like he’s 21 in Portugal, I’m taking over 2-3 Preacher recaps for the time being, including this one. Apologies on its tardiness by the way. Here goes!

“Sundowner” refers to the Sundowner Motel, a no kitchen / no room service hole in the wall… That ends up with many holes in its walls. Angels Deblanc and Fiore (the mysterious cowboy-clad-but-British-sounding “clones” from the past several episodes) are staying there, and are tracked down by a Seraphim [much higher order of angel] who looks like a cross between White Canary from Legends of Tomorrow and every sensibly-shoed soccer mom from every weekend minivan ever. The Sundowner is the site of an epic battle near the beginning of, ahem, “Sundowner” where the aforementioned Seraphim, Fiore, and Deblanc keep killing each other, magically producing more and more bodies, while Jesse and eventually Cass just try to keep their heads above water buckets and buckets of blood. OsypL has referenced intense fight scenes in many of his Preacher recaps; I found this to be one of the most inventive and interestingly shot of the show so far. The angels “re-spawn” video game-style every time they are killed, so Cass’s “clones” pile up as three of our five combatants (including solo soldier on the other side) keep getting killed. It’s a cool experience and unique in the sense that it only works because of the local magical system (that is, angels re-spawning new bodies), kind of like what makes every Brandon Sanderson book so good.

Anyway, I decided to borrow a quill from BDM and write this OsypL recap through the lens of “My Top 8 Favorite Quotes from ‘Sundowner'”:

“If by ‘baby,’ you mean the most powerful entity ever known, the singular force that would shift the balance of power, threaten all of creation, then yeah, it’s a baby.”

This quote from the more talkative of our two angels came in response to Jesse’s pretty understandable query: “So, you’re saying this Genesis is some sort of… angel/demon baby?”

TV viewers finally learn in “Sundowner” the nature of Jesse’s magical voice, and the entity that seemingly possessed him in the Preacher “Pilot”. “Genesis” is not just the name of a Phil Collins band but a cosmic entity combining an angelic soldier and a demonic one, drawn together carnally despite an endless war between Heaven and Hell that made them enemies. Fiore calls them traitors; Deblanc just wants to cram this Genesis back into a coffee can, and Jesse still thinks he’s been chosen by God for some greater destiny.

“Genesis isn’t a power. It’s a scandal.”

Deblanc and Fiore are the Genesis entity’s caretakers… Or maybe jailers? It left the confines of its coffee can, presumably under their collectively incompetent watch, and now they are down on Earth against angelic rules, trying to get it back.

There is a wanted poster with their faces on it, which is why the Seraphim is hunting them (setting up the brutal confrontation at the Sundowner). Fiore and Deblanc are extremely dismissive of Genesis as anything but an embarrassment and implore Jesse to never use its powers. Never ever.

“It’s our first time. We didn’t know what we’d need.”

"First Time"

“It’s our first time. We didn’t know what we’d need.”

Body armor? Chainsaw? Hitachi Magic Wand?

In a moment of levity amidst the stress and violence of this episode, it is revealed that Deblanc and Fiore are packing a veritable Bag of Holding’s worth of gear, including plug-in vibrator.

“Clones! Bloody clones!”

"Clones! Bloody Clones!"

“Clones! Bloody Clones!” -Cassidy

After multiple occasions of killing Fiore and Deblanc, but then encountering them again, and now taking a bird’s eye gaze of the carnage at the Sundowner, it’s easy to see why Cass thought he was encountering a government cloning concern. I mean, why would his mind flock to Minecraft-style angelic spawning tech?

“And you’re just a person! A sinful human being!”

Jesse sure is.

From his perspective, flawed as he may be, God chose him for this destiny; Genesis is in his mind his burden to bear… But also tool to use to save Annville (and maybe more). It is interesting that this preacher rejects angelic authority, acting under his how conscience.

“Pretty nice lady actually. Just a super shitty tipper.”

Tulip busts into Emily’s house, raging that she stay away from her boyfriend. We assume she means Jesse (whom Emily is around all the time, obviously), but it’s hard to imagine this is anything but a reaction to her own hookup in the back of the Chevelle with Cass last week.

After an initially raging confrontation where Tulip breaks Emily’s kid’s “art thing” the two make nice; Tulip talks about slashing a famous actress’s tires (presumably on account of her being a shitty tipper), and actually ends up mending the “art thing” as well as her fences with Emily, even doing chores and errands for her.

Cute as this make-up might be, the Cassidy-Jesse-Tulip love triangle is looking to be a barn (and relationship) burner. Tulip is obviously still in love with Jesse. Cassidy is in love with Tulip. And Jesse? He’s got bigger problems than love or friendship.

“Didn’t even need to bet your daddy’s land or bribe ’em with a tv neither.”
-Emily Woodrow

Jesse’ master plan is about to fall into place. The church is going to be packed. Jesse will be able to use his magical voice to “save” the whole town (like he did Quincannon?) … But should he?

It was probably his Christian-making move with Quincannon that reinvigorated the town’s admiration for the Preacher; Emily is referencing the bet he used to get Quincannon to Sunday services to begin with (his daddy’s land) and the flat screen tv that he got as a raffle giveaway to drum up attendance.

“Go to hell Eugene!”

Uh oh.

If Jesse did in fact banish Arseface to Hell with these four words, that would be a radical departure from the plot of the original graphic novel.

We got a whooshing sound effect in this scene; and a piece of paper Eugene was carrying floated to the floor in his absence. Did Jesse just teleport an innocent kid to Hell? This would seem a supreme abuse of absolute power leading to absolute corruption in my mind; I really, really, hope our headlining hero stays on, ahem, the side of the angels!

“Sundowner” answered some questions — like who Deblanc and Fiore are, and what the nature of Genesis is — but also posed some interesting questions. Here are two:

Is Genesis more powerful than God in the Preacher universe? Heaven and Hell seem to be locked in an eternal struggle, so theoretically at parity; with Genesis potentially the tiebreaker. Note Deblanc’s words… Most. Powerful. Entity. Ever. Known. So… Not God then?

What are the limits of physics and reality? When Jesse commanded Cass to “fly” he just jumped into a wall (as he can’t fly). Cassidy could answer questions he knew the answers to, but not ones he didn’t. By the same token, can Jesse’s command actually teleport Eugene to Hell? Does Eugene have the intrinsic ability to teleport? (we’d guess not) Similarly interesting physics conundrum… Conservation of mass anyone? I’d get it if the previous angel-bodies disappeared when the new ones appeared; but they don’t. There are just potentially infinite angels based on killing (not wounding, maiming, restraining, or — ew — dismembering apparently).


Battle of the Bastards

[For Game of Thrones “Battle of the Bastards” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Battle of the Bastards. Latest episode of the hit series.

Did you read BDM’s recap of “No One” from last week? I loved it and decided to steal the format for the extended epic battle that was “Battle of the Bastards.” In that vein…

My Top 8 Favorite quotes from “Battle of the Bastards”:

“Thank you for the armada; our queen does love ships.”

When we left Meereen last week it was under nautical siege by the combined Masters of the other Slaver’s Bay cities. Grey Worm dictated that our heroes hole up in the Great Pyramid (the only place he and his Unsullied could reasonably defend)… And then mommy came home.

The Mother of Dragons appeared and all of a sudden there was hope for the lone “Free City” of Slaver’s Bay.

Tyrion asks Dany what her plan is, and she has one:

I will crucify the masters. I will set their fleets afire, kill every one of their soldiers, and return their cities to the dirt. That is my plan.

Tyrion, who Dany keeps around for his wisdom, cautions her against the kind of behavior we might more closely associate with her father; he presents a different strategy. Dany’s court at Meereen parlays with the assembled Masters, who think she is there to discuss terms of her surrender… When in fact it is to be theirs.

Dany sends her dragons — led by a now-enormous Drogon — against the Masters’ armada. Personally, I thought they were going to burn the whole thing into Slaver’s Bay, but they just really, really incinerated one of the ships; prompting Tyrion’s quote. So while Dany lost her ships a few episodes ago, she ended up way, way up on ships by the end of “Battle of the Bastards”.

“You’re going to die tomorrow Lord Bolton. Sleep well.”

Don’t forget that Sansa might call herself a Stark now, but she is a Bolton by marriage (and was previously a Lannister, also by marriage). And you know what they say about Lannisters and debts…

“Did you really think that cunt would fight you man to man?”

Prior to the Second Battle of Winterfell (the eponymous “Battle of the Bastards”, as Jon and Ramsay are both Snows) there is a parlay. Jon suggests that they can save a lot of bloodshed if Ramsay just fights him man to man. Ramsay, of course knowing Jon’s reputation as a master swordsman, declines; he has an army twice the size of the assembled Stark forces.

Jon gets a mental game jab in — a kind of “you have the numbers but how hard will your men fight for you when they find out you wouldn’t fight for them” … But hey, math.

“Rickon is Ned Stark’s true born son, which makes him a greater threat to Ramsay than you, a bastard, or me, a girl.”

Right before Northmen, Wildlings, and Giants start swinging, Ramsay trots out young Rickon Stark. Remember, the heroes don’t necessarily know that Bran is still alive. To the best of their knowledge Rickon is likely the legitimate Warden of the North.

When Ramsay starts making threats about Rickon, Sansa immediately ends the parlay. As Ned’s trueborn son, Rickon is a clear and present threat to Ramsay’s claim on Winterfell. Jon and Sansa might have had a hard time rallying the houses of the North, but Jon is a bastard and Sansa isn’t just a girl — and girl she is — but twice married to her house’s greatest enemies… Lannister and traitorous Bolton. Rickon might be another story.

Ramsay sets Rickon free but tells him to run; run to his brother and the assembled loyal houses. Before he can get to Jon, Ramsay puts an arrow in Rickon’s back. It’s a devastating end to a Stark boy we haven’t seen for several seasons. It also puts Jon on complete tilt, and the charges six thousand men alone, losing even his horse to a Bolton arrow.

“Our fathers were evil men.”

If the Masters’ armada weren’t enough, Dany gets even more ships in “Battle of the Bastards”. Yara and Theon arrive in Meereen with the one hundred best ships of the Ironborn navy, offering them to Dany. They will help transport Dany’s enormous army of Dothraki Bloodriders, Unsullied, and Second Sons to Westeros… and for a less steep price than Uncle Euron would.

Yara and Theon will support Dany’s claim to the Seven Kingdoms, but in return would like the return of the Iron Islands (which it looks like she will oblige, despite Tyrion’s caution that “everyone” might start asking for sovereignty). They would also like Dany to help them murder “an uncle or two; who doesn’t think a woman is fit for the throne.”

Dany and Yara have a short moment; after all, Yara is “up for anything”.

But Dany’s price is steep: The Ironborn will cease reaving and raping, essentially giving up their entire way of life. Yara agrees.

All four of them — Dany, Tyrion, Yara, and Theon — had evil fathers. Tywin was a cruel, cruel man who tortured Tyrion; both the Greyjoy children and Dany had awful kings for dads, megalomaniacs or madmen. Rather than leave the world in a worse place, Dany pledges they will use their assembled power to improve it.

“We’ll just kill our own men! Stand down.”

So horses are smashing into each other. Jon Snow is alone in the center of the battlefield, ready to start swinging his Valyrian Steel sword. Bodies are colliding, both human and equine; there is violence and velocity in every direction, with mud flying and bodies piling up. Ramsay, with superior numbers, just has his archers launching at the scrum of bodies. Who knows who will be hitting what? Davos, from the other side of the field, realizes his men will not be able to aim particularly well, and is much more pragmatic.

“Your words will disappear, your house will disappear, your name will disappear; all memory of you will disappear.”

The Knights of the Vale charge in, essentially worldlessly. We just get an overhead shot of their cavalry effortlessly destroying the Bolton shield wall, Sansa next to Littlefinger.

Ramsay — his army eradicated — retreats to Winterfell, but is pursued by Jon, Tormund, and Wun Wun. Wun Wun gives his life bashing down Winterfell’s front door, finally dying to an arrow in the eye by Ramsay himself. But it’s all over. Jon beats Ramsay unconscious with his fists, and leaves little sister to a last conversation with her doomed husband.

Sansa makes a point throughout that to Jon, Ramsay is just a man, and nowhere near as dangerous an opponent as he has faced in the Night King and his wights. But to her Ramsay was so much more… and none of it good. You have to wonder, though, what the motivation of a man like him is. He’s already Warden of the North; he’s got Winterfell; he had — at various times — “the girl” and the heir to the Salt Throne under his power. Why destroy everyone?

Sansa correctly identified that Ramsay is primarily motivated by a sense of significance. He plays with his food. To him, the thing is never just the thing. Sansa’s words are horrifying to a nobleman. He will not only die, but everything about him — including the name he murdered into — will disappear. He threatens that Sansa will never forget him — can’t ever forget him — but it really looks like he’s going to be proven wrong.

“My hounds will never harm me.”



Grip of Desolation

A new… (or at least new-ish) Top 8 Magic Podcast was posted on this week!

Billed as “The Grand Unified Theory of Comics, Basketball, Magic, and Television Part 9: The Epic Conclusion” Top 8 Magic podcasters MichaelJ and BDM joke about their collective long absence from the Canadian mics.

Mike and Brian attend a Friday Night Magic at Montasy Comics in NYC, with Brian playing Limited and Mike playing Constructed. This episode contains extensive Magic: The Gathering chats, plus an after-tournament trek to Korea Town for a round of #tauntingjonbecker

For those interested, Mike played a B/R Control deck featuring draft superstar Grip of Desolation in his sideboard. We here at Fetchland will leave you to the podcast to find out how he did. To wit:

Rakdos Control, by Michael J Flores

3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
4 Goblin Dark-Dwellers

1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited
1 Chandra Flamecaller

1 Dark Petition
4 Fiery Impulse
4 Grasp of Darkness
2 Transgress the Mind
4 Tormenting Voice
1 Ultimate Price
4 Read the Bones
3 Ruinous Path
2 Kolaghan’s Command

4 Blighted Fen
4 Drownyard Temple
4 Foreboding Ruins
4 Mountain
4 Smoldering Marsh
6 Swamp

4 Reality Smasher
1 Dark Petition
1 Duress
2 Grip of Desolation
1 Infinite Obliteration
3 Languish
1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited
1 Ruinous Path
1 Virulent Plague

Read the full blog post “The Grand Unified Theory of Comics, Basketball, Magic, and Television Part 9: The Epic Conclusion” on

Listen to “The Grand Unified Theory of Comics, Basketball, Magic, and Television Part 9: The Epic Conclusion” here:

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