This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée finish up 1997's Batman/Aliens crossover! As the page count drops, things are looking bleak: The Xenomorphs have killed half of the book's characters (don't worry, they sucked), a cave-in has left the survivors with little oxygen, Batman hasn't aired out his codpiece in like three whole days, and one guy lost his helmet. Fortunately, the Dark Knight has no regard for the weaknesses of others and forces everyone to just walk that shit off like he's a high school track coach. But can even Batman cope with a power-mad soldier and a giant crocodile/alien hybrid at the same time? Actually, those two problems will probably resolve each other if you just kinda step back a little.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée celebrate their 100th episode the way comic book nerds celebrate everything: Quarantined in as small a group as possible while getting overly excited about drawings of bulky dudes punching each other in the throat. In this first half of a two-part special, they'll look at the first issue of 1997's Batman/Aliens crossover! This one hits every requirement on the Darkseid's Couch Seal of 'WTF?' Checklist: Crocodile rasslin', awkward sexual tension, a crew of forgettable soldiers who are clearly just showing up to be killed, and maybe, if we're especially unlucky, a Xenomorph or two will impregnate some dudes against their will in the most grotesque way possible. Hey, Xenomorphs: I don't know what's acceptable on your planet, but #timesup on Earth!
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée venture into international waters when they read 1990's Avengers no. 319! After a British submarine is hijacked, Captain America resorts to the "pick-up basketball game" method of team recruitment, since most of the real Avengers couldn't be bothered. Gathering whoever hasn't had their phone disconnected yet, Cap duct-tapes together a supergroup consisting of Sersi, Quasar, a Vision who's dealing with some sort of midlife crisis, and... Stingray. He's a guy who studies fish, and then decided to make a costume to go along with that. Okay, you know what, maybe just let the bad guys have this one. Sometimes defeat really is more humiliating than just not showing up.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée go looking for a good spooking when they read 1951's Tales From the Crypt no. 27! While some people may say that nobody's in the mood to read a horror comic right around Valentine's Day, those people fail to realize that this book isn't scary at all. It barely even qualifies as entertainment, actually: A misandrist wants to kill all men but will settle for just the really dumb ones! A couple of putzes put on a gruesome play because that's what was hot in the 50s! A woman beds a ghost who disappears on her in the morning, proving that dying doesn't necessarily mean you'll stop being an unethical dawg! Plus, (mis)remembering Patrick Swayze's 'Ghost,' trying out a new sign-off, and why does it take three ghouls to run a crypt anyway?
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée jump into the deep end of bizarre cross-promotional comic books with Swordquest: Waterworld! In the mid-80s, Atari put out a series of video games and corresponding comic books that, together, created a puzzle-solving real world contest. It appealed to everyone from children to tech nerds to that kid in high school who drew swords on all of his folders. Unfortunately Atari folded before the series could be completed, leaving several jewel-encrusted prizes unclaimed and a comic about the misadventures of a couple of creepy teenage siblings unfinished. We'll just assume everyone died, as is the Darkseid's Couch tradition.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée are inspired to cut abdominal holes in their shirts after reading comic book/70s fashion magazine Black Goliath no. 1! That's right; Black Goliath, the size-altering character you might've heard of once although you were probably just thinking of Giant Man, finally has the solo series someone must've been clamoring for! What a lucky day it was for that guy! Hopefully BG's biggest fan wasn't hoping for anything socially relevant, though, because this book pretty much just features our hero flaunting his wealth and superpowers in the decaying urban neighborhood he grew up in and then retiring to his fabulous condo. Sounds like perfect Avengers material.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée head to the Outback for Uncanny X-Men no. 229! The year was 1988. The X-Men were on the run after being presumed dead and America was experiencing a brief yet bizarre obsession with Australian culture, so Marvel went ahead and smashed those things together with all the grace of a direct to VHS Crocodile Dundee sequel. Plus, meet the Reavers, a gang of meth-mouthed half-robots who still managed to figure out teleportation. So why can't you manage to get a car loan? It's starting to get embarrassing, bro.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée get an early Christmas present with the Alf Super-Size Holiday Special! By 1988, the fuzzy little alien demon had successfully dominated all of American culture. Alf had a hit tv show, a Saturday morning cartoon, a line of comics, and an adoptive human family with whom he shared a complex psychosexual power dynamic. Maybe it's reading between the lines, but try coming up with another reason why an alien who has mastered space travel and weather manipulation would be slumming it with a gang of suburbanites who desperately needed some excitement in their meaningless lives. Plus, a Darkseid's Couch first, as someone finally walks off the show in protest, presumably to go find their lost holiday cheer.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée develop Stockholm Syndrome reading Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth no. 3! Well, maybe not Shée, who starts this episode with prepared remarks in re: primates and how much they suck. For the rest of us, it's Planet of the Apes meets golden-haired twinks when warring apes battle over who gets to make Kamandi their smooth-legged slave. What starts as a good old-fashioned dystopian interspecies brawl becomes a poignant meditation on toxic relationships after Kamandi starts to sympathize with the raging gorilla who was literally trying to cave his skull in, like, four minutes earlier. Gotta learn to love yourself first, Kamandi. Plus, Joe Rogan finally sits on the Couch, more Kirby praise, and a request for new sign-off suggestions. Oh, and start exercising. That's not a joke, just get yourself together. You want your heart to hold old long enough to see a Kamandi movie, work those lats.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée meet the Jade Giantess herself in 1990's Sensational She-Hulk no. 18! Created as a copyright-protecting security measure, Shulkie outgrew her modest origins to eventually... fight a dentist. It's a canon-irrelevant fill-in issue where She-Hulk has to put up with the whining of Dr. Doom's fifth cousin Bob, a successful dentist who won't be satisfied til he has his own country as well. Honestly, that's just a really naive thing to want: Think of the maintenance costs, the zoning laws, the periodic purgings... Everybody knows you don't want to own a country, you just want to be friends with the guy who owns a country. Also, remember that time Dr. Doom cried about 9/11? Don't let the mainstream media tell you it didn't happen.