This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée fight over custody of 1984's Batman no. 377! Bruce Wayne has finally found a suitable new Robin in Jason Todd, aka Diet Dick Grayson. Jason is everything Batman looks for in a sidekick: He's tough, smart, and his parents are dead. It should be a match made in vigilante heaven, but there's one problem: Brooding goth supervillain Nocturna also wants adoption rights, and the legal system in Gotham is corrupt enough to entertain this bit of ludicrous comic book nonsense. Will Jason Todd get to risk his life hunting deranged killers and amassing psychological trauma that will never heal, or will he just end up getting super into Bauhaus on vinyl? Maybe living on the street isn't such a terrible option after all.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée head down to the free clinic for a screening after reading the first comic book printed with real human blood, the KISS Marvel Comics Super Special! In 1977, trademark licensers and occasional rock band KISS decided to publish a semi-autobiographical comic based on their adventures. It's a pretty accurate depiction, except that the comic book version of KISS isn't a band, doesn't play instruments, and routinely battles supervillains and mystic demons. But they NAILED Peter Criss' feathered bangs! Plus, bestiality discos, Gypsy robots with machine guns, a sentient mountain that commits sexual assault, and the debut of horrifying trivia challenge "KISS Band Member or Convicted Serial Killer?"
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée microdose 1968's Doctor Strange no. 171! After joyriding around the mystic realms for a while, Strange decides it's finally time to settle down and starts thinking about Clea, the one that got away. Or, more precisely, the one he let get captured by a nefarious demon a while back. This seems to happen to every sorcerer supreme right around the time they turn 30. To right his past transgressions, he'll have to abduct an innocent woman and manipulate her feelings, probably getting her trapped in some otherworldly hellscape in the process. This is a good plan. But before the doctor can consider the possibility that maybe he's kind of a scumbag, he'll have to fight that staple villain of all bad trips: A skeleton man with fire hands! No matter who wins, one thing is certain: You've both got pretty dope costumes.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée join the babysitter's club just by reading Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane no. 57! When a de-aged Superman unexpectedly shows up and starts trashing stuff, Lois competes with Lana Lang to see which would be the worse mother. Rather than try to understand the situation and protect Superbabe, they immediately jump to brainwashing an innocent child in the hopes that he'll propose to one of them when he grows back up. Having not yet caused enough psychological trauma, Lois then travels to another dimension to make sure the lovesick alien she jilted in a previous issue is still miserable. Sounds like someone's sense of compassion needs a diaper change.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée give up on trying to make sense of 1987's Teen Titans Spotlight no. 11! It's another day, another dystopia when a series of almost unbelievably complex plot devices sends the Brotherhood of Evil into a war-torn alternate Earth! Don't worry, though, because this one has something no other Earth has: A jacked version of milquetoast Belgian comic strip character Tintin! Wait, what? That has to be a typo. The Brotherhood of Evil might be made up of a brain in a jar and a gorilla with a machine gun, but even they aren't gonna stoop to recruiting gingers.
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée celebrate what may be the last Earth Day ever with 1992's Captain Planet no. 9! Gaia's finally had just about enough of this shit and has chosen five kids to combat the world's ecological ills! If you think that sounds like child endangerment, then congratulations, you officially know more about being a parent than the spirit goddess of Earth. Luckily, the Planeteers have the ability to call upon bemulleted superbro Captain Planet to step in when things get a little too hairy, and also to fix the massive damage they accidentally cause while attempting to save the environment. Looks like you get what you pay for when you assume that a group of latchkey kids have enough education to preserve an entire planet full of countless incredibly complex ecosystems. Hey, you know who else would make great Planeteers? Adult scientists with college degrees. Take a break from your busy day of sobbing over the imminent collapse of society with the only podcast made from 100% recycled jokes!
This time on the Couch: Mike, James, and Shée take a rickety ghost train to the 1940s to check in on Will Eisner's classic Golden Age adventurer, the Spirit! Read along as the legendary hero snares criminals, fights birds, saves innocents, strangles a goddamn bird, solves mysteries, and refuses to confront the psychological underpinnings of his weird hatred of birds! Plus, pick up some style tips from the villainous Mr. Carrion, who's rocking kind of a fancy hobo pimp look. It's been almost a century and fashion still hasn't caught up to that level of steez. And don't worry if that all sounds like too much entertainment, because in typical 60s reprint fashion, there's also some unrelated filler trash to drag down the average. Seriously, who the hell is Honeybun? (Thanks to comicbookplus.com for hosting these old comics for free, including this very issue: https://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=62286)
This time, on three different Couches spaced at least six feet apart: Mike, James, and Shée practice social distancing while doing a remote read of Judge Dredd: The Judge Child Quest no. 4! Welcome to some weird backwards Dr. Seuss world where some idiot human went and got himself infected with the exotic and terrifying Jigsaw Disease! As perfectly formed pieces of his body disappear, the questions continue to mount: How long will he survive? Where are the pieces going? Are there sanitary wipes there? If so, can we get the hook up? Also, mustachioed space frogs, bumpkin gangs with cyborg parts, and pushy intergalactic salesmen. Oh, and Judge Dredd might show up as well, time permitting.
This time on the Couch: It's a double-sized quarantine special as Mike, James, and Shée try to find something to do to fill the long, existentially crushing days! In JLA: Created Equal, people are dying from a mysterious airborne virus, and the severity of it is denied by those in power until it's too late! That may seem oddly prescient, but it differs from our current reality in two important ways: It's only killing men, and it's totally stupid. Come along on a journey of bizarre facial expressions and disjointed storytelling as Superman has to figure out the logistics of impregnating millions of women to restart the population, all culminating in a final panel that may be the most bonkers thing ever discussed on the show. Lock the doors, wash your hands, and we'll let you know when the apocalypse is over!
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.