Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 13

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The Avatar Returns episode 13 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

The Earth Kingdom has fallen. Avatar: The Last Airbender Book Two comes to its Earth Kingdom-shattering conclusion. In chapter 219, “The Guru,” Aang zips right through chakra training to master his Avatar State, but can’t quite close the deal as he is drawn back into helping his friends. Then, in chapter 220, “The Crossroads of Destiny,” Azula ruins everyone’s lives. Seriously. She lies, she manipulates, she shoots blue fire like she’s a jet engine. Things look slightly less dire when we’re reminded that Toph is the greatest earthbender in the world. (And don’t you dunderheads ever forget it!) But then Aang gets burned. And Zuko takes possibly the darkest, most tragic turn in the entire series.

But hey, we talk about comics, so it’s not all doom and gloom. (Although AJ isn’t nice about them, so maybe it is.)

Perfection and power are overrated. I think you were very wise to choose listening to this podcast.

Next: the final season of Avatar begins as we get into Book Three: Fire! We discuss chapter 301, “The Awakening,” and 302, “The Headband.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 13.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 12

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The Avatar Returns episode 12 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Yeah, let’s break some rules! We radically shift the format of the show this week [Editor’s note: no, we actually don’t at all] as we reach the penultimate episode of our Book Two podcasts with chapters 216-218, “Appa’s Lost Days,” “Lake Laogai,” and “The Earth King.” Paul defends Dai Li dickbaggery, AJ identifies with Azula in a really uncomfortable way, and Eric finally likes a Jet storyline. And in a new regular feature [Ed. note: again, not really], the boys pitch spinoff show ideas; AJ imagines the Avatar/Bone crossover, Suki and the Veni-Yan, while Paul reveals his plans for The Young Sweepy Chronicles.

Next: we close the book on the Earth Kingdom with chapters 219, “The Guru,” and 220, “The Crossroads of Destiny.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 12.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 11

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The Avatar Returns episode 11 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

This week gets off to a weird start as AJ raises an existential question which, among other things, reveals Eric’s secret desire to totally mess up some random 16-year old kid’s life. Pretending we heard none of that, we move forward with Avatar Book Two. In chapter 214, “City of Walls and Secrets” the full splendor of Ba Sing Se finally begins to open up to us. We talk about the peaceful life Iroh and Zuko seem set to build for themselves here, while the Aang Gang are exposed to the ‘70s-era conspiracy element of the Impenetrable City as they cross paths with Clancy Brown and his Secret Police. And chapter 215, “The Tales of Ba Sing Se” impresses us with how well it manages to tell what are essentially six complete stories, including Def Jam Sokka going all 8 Mile, Momo’s graceful monkey dancing, and the heartbreaking homage to the late great Mako Iwamatsu.

Also, a listener ruins everything by pointing out our many errors. And there’s some controversy over who actually wrote the vignette “The Tale of Zuko.” (Note: there’s no controversy, Paul was just straight-up wrong.)

Next: our penultimate episode of Book Two brings us chapters 216-218, “Appa’s Lost Days,” “Lake Laogai,” and “The Earth King.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 11.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 10

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The Avatar Returns episode 10 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

The Avatar Returns returns! We’re back, having survived our various chemically altered holiday adventures. And due to some odd digital episode numbering, we end up with a bonus chapter this week which we hadn’t anticipated watching yet. But perhaps it all works out for the best, since it turns out chapters 210, “The Library,” and 213, “The Drill” bookend this discussion with more action-oriented, event-based stories, whereas the two middle chapters, 211, “The Desert,” and 212, “The Serpent’s Pass” are transitional, getting-from-place-to-place stories. We talk about giant owl-faced dick spirits, Aang almost going all Anakin Skywalker on some dudes, AJ asks Paul to dance (it gets awkward), and we forgo the usual Buffy the Vampire Slayer comparisons in favor of our first Doctor Who, Tarantino, Princess Bride, and Lost references.

Also there’s a pop quiz!

Next: a short week to make up for this week’s surprise fourth chapter, we’ll be discussion 214, “City of Walls and Secrets,” and 215, “The Tales of Ba Sing Se.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 10.)

Listen to the ‘Gobbledygeek’ Season Finale, “The Ford Awakens (feat. Eric Sipple, Kenn Edwards & Andrew Allen)”

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Gobbledygeek episode 261, “The Ford Awakens (feat. Eric Sipple, Kenn Edwards & Andrew Allen),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

For the season finale of Gobbledygeek, Paul and AJ turn to a little-seen, rarely discussed art film: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Joining them are Kenn Edwards of So Let’s Get to the Point, Broken Magic author and The Deli Counter of Justice co-editor Eric Sipple, and Star Wars superfan Andrew Allen, scum and villains all. The Force Awakens is strong with nostalgia for the original films, a fact which sits better with some of our panel than others. The gang discusses why the movie leans heavily on the past, whether or not the series is capable of looking forward, the film’s place in the established Skywalker mythos, and how it has the exact opposite problem of George Lucas’ efforts.

Next: we’re on winter break before returning in roughly three weeks’ time with a look at Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight; Eric Sipple and A/V writer-director Joseph Lewis bring us up to a Somewhat Disgruntled Four. In the meantime, thank you for a great 2015 and have yourself some happy holidays.

(Show notes for “The Ford Awakens.”)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 9

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The Avatar Returns episode 9 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

A rare celestial event on The Avatar Returns this week as all three hosts agree on all three chapters. In what could conceivably be dubbed the Zuko Cycle, chapters 207-209, “Zuko Alone,” “The Chase,” and “Bitter Work” focus almost exclusively on everyone’s favorite banished emo prince as he pulls a Caine from Kung Fu and walks the Earth…Kingdom. The boys talk about the obvious homages to classic westerns like Shane and High Noon, the care and transport of Jesus lizards, and the dramatic heft of characters with deeply emotionally rooted conflicts like Zuko and Azula. Fears that perhaps Book Two might flounder under the sophomore slump turn out to be unwarranted!

Next: we take a month off to wage war on Christmas like Fire Lord Ozai. Once the holidays are over, we pick up right where we left off, continuing Book Two with chapters 210-212, “The Library,” “The Desert,” and “The Serpent’s Pass.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 9.)

Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 260, “Bone: Vol. IX – Crown of Horns”

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Gobbledygeek episode 260, “Bone: Vol. IX – Crown of Horns,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

When the world was new, and dreams had not yet receded from the waking day…Paul and AJ had begun reading Jeff Smith’s cartoonish magnum opus Bone. Well, it hasn’t been quite that long, but the boys have been analyzing Bone all year long for 2015’s Four-Color Flashback series, and their journey has finally come to an end. After admitting frustration with the endless infodumps and constant mythological revelations in the latter half of the series, they have a lot of hopes for Vol. IX: Crown of Horns. Does Smith deliver on these hopes? Does the series work better when viewed on a macro level? Does the ending fit with what has come before? Should you recommend Bone to friends looking to get into comics? My tinglin’ scalp says the answers are all here.

Next: for our final episode this year, So Let’s Get to the Point‘s Kenn Edwards, The Deli Counter of Justice co-editor Eric Sipple, and Star Wars fanatic Andrew Allen join Paul and AJ for a discussion of the obscure arthouse film Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.

(Show notes for “Bone: Vol. IX – Crown of Horns.”)