The Avatar Returns episode 41 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Book Four: Balance begins as we move into the final season of The Legend of Korra. Time jumps in fiction tend to be something of a mixed bag, but as our story picks up three years after the end of Book Three it quickly becomes apparent the device works like a charm here, in what Arlo dubs the strongest start to any season in the entire Avatar Universe. In chapter 401, “After All These Years,” Korra is missing and former Zaofu Captain of the Guard Kuvira has become “The Great Uniter,” using military force to bring order to the chaos in the Earth Kingdom in the wake of the Queen’s death. Chapter 402, “Korra Alone” answers where exactly the Avatar has disappeared to, and why. (Hint: it involved Nega-Korra.) And finally it’s Toph love in chapter 403, “The Coronation” as the O.B. Original Beifong returns to go all Yoda on Korra’s ass.
Paul introduces the podcast’s version of Cousin Oliver. He and Eric both wax rhapsodic about Star Wars Rebels. And Arlo compares Mako to Vin Diesel. Not in a good way. (IS there a good way?)
Next: the next three chapters of Book Four; 404, “The Calling,” 405, “Enemy at the Gates,” and 406, “The Battle of Zaofu.”
(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 41.)
Art from ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender – Vol. 4: Smoke and Shadow’ by Gurihiru.
The Avatar Returns episode 40 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
This week, a break between seasons of The Legend of Korra means a return to the days of old as we look at the fourth collection of the Dark Horse Comics Avatar: The Last Airbender series, Volume 4: Smoke and Shadow. Having reunited with his long lost mother Ursa, Zuko returns with her to the Fire Nation Capital City (which really needs a name) and wackiness ensues, some of which serves to remind us that Avatar has actually really always been The Zuko Show. Even with Mom back in the picture, daddy (and uncle) issues continue to dominate the story. Mai, Ty Lee, and Suki finally get some much-needed page time, even as we lose Katara and Sokka (and the comic relief that Sokka provides). We discuss how relevant this volume feels today with its look at totalitarianism and the struggle to balance security and freedom. And Azula is back and feelin’ good with a brand new Sisterhood of Evil Mental Patients in tow.
Speaking of character development, Arlo finally achieves his own Avatar State as a podcaster. And Eric makes a Hamilton reference! I’m Paul Smith and you’re listening to All Benders Considered on NPR.*
(*) Not really, but…yeah.
Next: the end is coming. This is it, we begin our exploration of the final season of The Legend of Korra with Book Four: Balance. We’re kicking it off with chapters 401, “After All These Years,” 402, “Korra Alone,” and 403, “The Coronation.” (And we are so deeply, deeply sorry for Arlo’s predictions on what those episodes will be about.)
(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 40.)
The Avatar Returns episode 35 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
This is a big one, kids. Team The Avatar Returns assembles to breakdown their thoughts on the final four chapters of The Legend of Korra, Book Three: Change. There’s a lot to cover, starting with the typical children’s television tropes of on-camera assassinations and Boxer Rebellions when Zaheer proclaims “Long Live the Queen” in chapter 310. In 311, “Ultimatum,” he may possibly have bitten off more than he can chew when he challenges Tenzin to a slap fight after airbending school. Bolin learns that the answers were inside of him all along in 312, “Enter the Void.” And Korra She-Hulks out all over Zaheer’s face in the final showdown of 313, “Venom of the Red Lotus.”
Paul gets weepy over the incredible fight choreography this season. Eric is positively giddy with anticipation for Book Four: Balance. And Arlo drops the knowledge we’ve all needed about Shadow the Hedgehog.
Next: as always the break between seasons of Korra gives us another opportunity to revisit old friends by exploring the official Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novel series from Dark Horse Comics. This time we reconnect with the Aang Gang as they face Vol. 4 – Smoke and Shadow.
(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 39.)
Gobbledygeek episode 299, “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 1: Unmanned,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
FIVE SECONDS AGO: Arlo cracks open the first volume of Y: The Last Man. FOUR SECONDS AGO: Paul berates Arlo for not turning on his mic. THREE SECONDS AGO: Arlo rolls his eyes, turns on mic. TWO SECONDS AGO: Arlo loudly eats into the microphone. ONE SECOND AGO: Paul presses record.
NOW: Gobbledygeek‘s 2017 Four-Color Flashback series is here. This year, the boys will be discussing all ten volumes of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s acclaimed Vertigo series Y: The Last Man, in which every male mammal on the planet drops dead at the same time…save one young escape artist cum layabout and his pet monkey. With Vol. 1: Unmanned, the boys dive into the adventures of Yorick Brown, the laconic Agent 355, and the many varied women they come across during their adventures. Under discussion are the series’ politics, its place in Vaughan’s career, and what makes Guerra’s simple and clean artwork so effective. Plus, Arlo was on a boat, Paul sang along to Moana, and they both struggle to find the joy in discussing pop culture during this incredibly despairing time in American history.
Next: the mythical episode 300 is upon us. Dr. Kenn Edwards, PhD will plumb the tender, fragile psyches of Paul and Arlo. The show will never be the same. They will never be the same. You will never be the same.
(Show notes for “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 1: Unmanned.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 298, “Grendel: Part 8 – Devil’s Reign,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Wait, what’s that? Not only did someone listen to our Grendel episodes…but they decided to join us on air?! Wonders never cease. Joining Paul and Arlo to finish last year’s Four-Color Flashback series on Matt Wagner’s Grendel is Chance Mazzia, who actually discovered the show thanks to Wagner’s whacked-out opus. The gang discusses “Devil’s Reign,” collected in Grendel Omnibus: Vol. 3, which is not technically the end of the sprawling series but marks a fine endpoint for their analysis. Orion Assante seeks to unite the world, but at what cost? Among this week’s subjects are vampirism and Elvis, Trump and Obama, and the subtle art of dick jokes.
Next: a new Four-Color Flashback is upon us. This time the boys will be discussing the presumably much more popular series Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. Up first is Vol. 1: Unmanned.
(Show notes for “Grendel: Part 8 – Devil’s Reign.”)
The Gobbledygeek hiatus special, “2016: The Buffy Season 6 of Years,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
We’re back! Sort of. Before Gobbledygeek‘s official return next month, Paul and Arlo explain the terrible real-life circumstances that led to the hiatus. The boys discuss grief, loss, tragedy, depression, and a whole bunch of other super fun and upbeat things! To end things on a positive note, they also discuss some happy news and the pop culture they’ve enjoyed during the hiatus (Westworld! Arrival! Moonlight!).
Next: the show returns toward the end of next month to make another journey to a galaxy far, far away with a discussion of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
(Show notes for “2016: The Buffy Season 6 of Years.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 295, “Grendel: Part 7 – God and the Devil, Part 2,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Vampires, bananas, and Weird Al-esque song parodies, oh my! Paul and Arlo may be winding down their coverage of Matt Wagner’s Grendel, the subject of this year’s exceedingly popular (ahem) Four-Color Flashback series, but the story shows no signs of letting up in “God and the Devil” chapters 7-10. A cosmetically altered face from the distant past returns, incest is rationalized, and produce is used in an attempt to rape the sun. The boys question some of the story’s leaps in logic, and the general coherence of the Grendel cycle, while admiring its utter batshit insanity and dynamic artwork. Plus, Paul watches TV (Arlo does too kind of) and Arlo’s life has exploded.
Next: fall is in the air and blood is on the silver screen. Gobbledyween 2017 kicks off as Kenn Edwards of So Let’s Get to the Point swings by to discuss M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs.
(Show notes for “Grendel: Part 7 – God and the Devil, Part 2.”)