Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

Those Two Geeks Episode 194: With No Planned Topic… TOYS!

The two geeks chat about toys, preorders, and the irritation of companies not releasing things on time.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @FirstRonin4 if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on Twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Music by AlexGrohl from Pixabay

Underrated: Thrud the Barbarian

This column is a rerun from late 2018. Enjoy!

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Thrud the Barbarian


Another week, and yet another case of “Alex bought something for Underrated without knowing anything about it beforehand,” or it would be had Alex not received Carl Critchlow‘s Thrud the Barbarian  a few years  ago from the now defunct Comic Bento. Published by Titan Comics, the trade paperback collects the original Thrud the Barbarian five issue miniseries, as well as a couple of single page shorts from White Dwarf magazine, and was originally published in 2013. If you missed this when it first came out, don’t be surprised – I’m not sure it was ever released on a large scale outside Britain.

Thrud the Barbarian is what I’d consider a quintessentially British comic; it blends in equal parts the violence , chaos and destruction that one would expect from a Conan parody with the silliness and tongue in cheek humour that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Monty Python skit. But with a lot more smashed heads and limbs flying free of bodies. The Titan Comics collection consists of five stories that can be read independently of each other (seven if you’re counting the bonus strips), or in one go – which is what I did when rereading it recently.

Honestly, I reread it because I was reorganizing my bookcase and saw the cover again and wanted something fun, easy and not too deep or involved to read. Thrud was certainly that, and I loved every irreverent thought, every stunningly painted cover, and the computer coloured artwork. It was exactly the kind of book that I needed to read after a busy week, a book that I am glad I own, and one I am even happier that I noticed on the shelf.

Thrud2

As a fan of heroic fantasy books, I loved Critchlow’s send up of the genre; the visualization and sight gags and some brilliant punchlines across all the stories in in the collection. I loved every aspect of this book; the sound effects, the dumb-as-a-post hero just wants his beer and the cartoon-like hyper violence that ties it all together in such a lovely package.

Without a doubt this is one of my favourite books I’ve ever written about for this column, even if I did forget I owned it for a little while.

And yet, had it not been for the Bento box, I would never have heard of this book. Which is easily one of the best aspects of the online blind box subscription thingies – the introduction to new and exciting books and comics you otherwise would never have been exposed to. Consequently, this is a book I don’t see getting the love it deserves – that’s why the book is Underrated.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Those Two Geeks Episode 193: Saying Farewell To Kevin Conroy

The two geeks talk about their favourite episodes of Batman: The Animated Series in the wake of Kevin Conroy’s passing.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @FirstRonin4 if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on Twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Music by AlexGrohl from Pixabay

Underrated: Incognito

Time got away from me this week, so we’re rerunning an older column from yesteryear.

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Incognito


My local comic shop recently got the hardcover edition of Incognito in, and it last all of ten minutes on the table where it was in line for pricing as I picked it up and read what amounted to half the first issue before scooping it up before it ever actually made it to the shelf.

Written by Ed Brubaker, with art by Sean Phillips and colours by Val Staples, the hardcover collects both Incognito and the sequel Incognito: Bad Influences within its 360-odd pages as well an essay, a series cover gallery and some interesting process pieces. If you’ve read any of Brubaker and Phillips other work together, such as Criminal, Fatale or Kill Or Be Killed, then you probably have an idea what you’re in for. If you don’t… well, let’s just say you’re in for a very compelling story that you’ll probably want to read multiple times.

If you want to read the series’ synopsis, it’s below. If you don’t… well, skip the next paragraph, I guess. Either way, you’ll find the core premise of the comic below.

What if you were an ex-super villain hiding out in Witness Protection… but all you could think about were the days when the rules didn’t apply to you? Could you be a humdrum office clerk after being the best at years of leaving destruction in your wake? And what if you couldn’t stand it? What would you do then? 

This story is steeped in the pulp fiction of the 30’s and 40’s, stories that undeniably inspired the superhero fiction of today. Brubaker takes those early influences and fills out a world that has descended from them; there’s a very clear path in Incognito back to characters like the Shadow and the Spider (or rather Brubaker’s version thereof), and it gives the reader the sense that we’re barely scratching the surface with the characters and history revealed through the course of the hardcover’s 360-odd pages.

I was immediately taken in by the story as we learned more about Zack Overkill and how he went from a heavy hitting super villain to a lowly file clerk barely noticed by his coworkers. We see flashes of his mandated psychiatric appointments, the oh-so-real struggles he’s facing in a life that he’s not accustomed too. If you remove the super powered aspect from the opening part of the story, you can see a man struggling with his mental health amidst an unfulfilling life of boredom and depression. Is it any wonder that he eventually turns to drugs in order to find an escape?

Zach Overkill is an oddly likable guy despite never hiding (at least from us) what kind of man he used to be; whether this story is about his trying to find redemption, or a larger tale about whether a leopard can truly change its spots is one of the best parts about this book. Brubaker asks you not whether you can change for the better after making a horrible series of life choices, but whether others can accept your change. Whether they truly believe it, or if once they’ve labelled you a villain then that’s how they will always see you.

I should have expected good stuff from this book, but I wasn’t quite prepared with just how good it would be.

In a story that can be so much to so many, we’re left asking ourselves who we really are; are you really the person you think you are, or are you just a product of what this world has made you?


Join us next week where there will doubtless be another movie, series, comic or comic related thing discussed that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: By The Horns: Dark Earth #6

By The Horns: Dark Earth #6

Elodie, Sajen, and Evelyn land on the continent of Yalastra and reunite with their unicorn friends Zoso and Rigby. While they hug and prepare to track down pure magic in the Modtlomb jungle, the blight continues to spread on Solothus. Haru, concerned about the possible resurrection of the Augernaut, makes a rogue decision to take the fight to Yun Ma in the Middle Fields, despite resistance from the people of Wayfarer.

I somehow missed reviewing the last issue of By The Horns: Dark Earth, and only honestly noticed this when I picked up the physical copy at my LCS a week or two after it had been released (I had a hectic month, and so didn’t make it down on release day – and usually don’t know what I’m picking up till I actually get the issues in hand), and so I ended up reading both the 5th and 6th issues in one sitting.

Which was glorious.

Writer Markisan Naso, artist Jason Muhr, and Colorist Steve Cannon haven’t missed a beat with this series. The sixth issue is a vibrantly beautiful issue that underscores the point that comics don’t need to eschew colours in order to tell a story that has darker undertones, and Cannon pulls out all the stops to help Muhr’s artwork pop all the louder across each and every page. I can’t understate just how colourful By The Horns #6 is; this is a comic that really stands out against others when you flick through the pages (whether that’s the preview pages, or the comic itself when you’re holding it in your hands at you LCS).

Naso’s story is a freight train this issue as it flows from scene to scene without leaving any room for filler; this issue sees the reuniting the original cast of characters, pulling together an antagonistic crew of folks who have very legitimate and believable reasons for wanting to stop Elodie from her quest to return magic to Solothus. There’s a lot more to the comic than this brief summary thing, and I don’t want to go too far into it because it’s worth experiencing somewhat blind, so suffice it to say that Markisan Naso’s writing has been consistently brilliant throughout the series and that he remains one of the few writers whose work I’ll buy without question.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you REALLY can’t go wrong with this series; it’s so much fun – and yet emotionally heavy at the same time. With the next issue coming out in March, the wait is going to be a long one.

Story: Markisan Naso Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr Colors: Steve Cannon
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. Alex also purchased a physical copy of all comics referenced within the review.


Purchase: Scout ComicsZeus ComicsTFAW

Those Two Geeks Episode 192: We Actually Talk Comics With Matthew Klein!

The two geeks finally talk comics with Matthew Klein, author of the Crashing comic book from IDW. For more than a solid hour, we talk about the publishing industry, comics (specifically Matthew’s comic) and then leave room at the end for a liiiittle wrestling talk. But most of the two hour extravaganza is comics (which surprised us, too). This episode was recorded prior to the passing of Kevin Conroy, and so obviously we don’t talk about his impact on the Batman mythos this week.

Matthew can be found on Twitter @matthewklein316.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @FirstRonin4 if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on Twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Music by AlexGrohl from Pixabay

Underrated: the Batman: Arkham Knight comic prequel

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way.

This week: the Batman: Arkham Knight comic prequel.


If you’re a gamer and a comic fan, then there’s a really good chance that you’ve played the Arkham series of Batman games. Starting with Arkham Asylum, the sequel (and still my favourite of the bunch) Arkham City, to the finale Arkham Knight, the franchise also delivered Arkham Origins – though this prequel, released after Arkham City, was developed by a different studio and doesn’t compare as well to the other three despite still being a really good game. The games’ story is remarkably robust, and at the time caught a few people off guard with the quality and detail (remember, the first two were released before video game stories were up to the quality you see in God Of War or Red Dead Redemption 2), leaving many a comic fan with the first true experience of playing as the goddamn Batman.

Of course, being a comic based game series, there have been various tie-in series released over the years, which is where this column comes in, with a look at the prequel to Arkham Knight, the series finale.

Written by Peter Tomasi with art by an all star cast of creators such as Vikto bogdanovic, Art Thibert, Ig Guara and Julio Ferreira, this book is far better than your average movie or video game tie in. And yes, it did take me far longer than it should have to realize that this was the second volume, but that didn’t lesson my enjoyment of the story at all. If anything, the best way to really look at this book is as an Elseworlds tale (which ultimately it is, just under a different moniker. where you’re not going to know the full story unless you play the games as well.

This gives the Arkham universe a unique interactive element to them not found in either comics or videogames alone. There’s no harm in not reading this book if you’re a gamer, just as there’s no real reason not to give this a look if you’re a comics fan – though if you’re not familiar with the game’s story then you may have a slightly harder time, but no more so if you started reading a series at the beginning of a story and not at the first issue.

If you’ve been reading comics, especially superhero comics, for some time then you’re going to be used to starting a story without knowing everything that came before, and so if you pick this book up with that in mind then there’s something here that you’ll be able to enjoy.

This a solid story, and one that I’m glad I found on the shelf.

This isn’t one of the defining runs or stories in Batman’s history, but it is a lot of fun – and that’s why it’s a great candidate for today’s Underrated column. Check it out if you ever get a chance.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Those Two Geeks Episode 191: The Ghost Who Walks?

The two geeks didn’t get a chance to record together this week, so Alex goes off on a semi planned tangent about the Phantom.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @FirstRonin4 if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on Twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Music by AlexGrohl from Pixabay

Underrated: Daredevil: No Devils, Only God

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way.

This week: the multi-part crossover event Daredevil: No Devils, Only God


Daredevil is one of those characters that I’ve heard a lot about, but haven’t really delved into his history and stories on a consistent manner – the one miniseries I own is Daredevil: End Of Days, which is good, but probably not a solid indication as to what to expect when starting to get into the character. Indeed, most of my exposure to Daredevil probably comes from the Netflix TV show rather than the comics, and so I didn’t delve into this run for quite some time – it wasn’t until a couple of friends effectively forced me to read it that I finally did (and if you listen to Those Two Geeks, you’ll know Joe has been insisting I read this for awhile).

As I said, the Daredevil I’m most familiar with is the one from Netflix, and so for me this was a perfect starting point. No, I had no idea what came before – and it didn’t really matter – but the series, written by Chip Zdarsky, seems to be geared toward those more familiar with the live action series rather than with a deep knowledge of the character. Again, I could be wrong, and maybe the comics had been more closely aligned to what I’m familiar with before the first issue of Zdarsky’s run.

So welcome to the second part of my read through of Zdarsky’s Daredevil. I’m told it’s excellent as far as Daredevil comics go, and while I can’t speak to that, I can say that I didn’t want to stop reading after the final issue in this volume to write this column.

No Devils Only Gods, drawn by Lalit Kumar Sharma (issues 6-9) and Jorge Fornes (issue 10) and coloured by Jay Leostan (issues 6-9) and Jordie Bellaire (issue 10), picks up where Know Fear left off with Matt Murdock having hung up the mask and focusing on his normal life. The snyopsis for the arc, taken from Comixology, reads “the Man Without Fear is missing! Daredevil has disappeared from Hell’s Kitchen — and in his absence, the real devils are starting to come out to play. Detective Cole North may think he’s stopped Daredevil, but there are bigger problems coming his way! Meanwhile, Matt Murdock has emerged from his recent ordeals a changed man — but has he changed for better or worse? As he faces up to the choices he has made, Matt grapples with who he is and who he wants to be. Can he truly live a life without the suit?”

Zdarsky uses this arc to explore what happens after a hero hangs up the mask. What happens when he still has the drive to do the right thing, but doesn’t want to be the vigilante he once was? We see Matt Murdock questioning his faith quite a lot over the course of this arc, and as in life, he never gets an answer. Rather, he has to look for and interpret the signs he sees around him to find the answer he seeks, much as I imagine you would do in your daily life if you were going through the same crises of faith (as an atheist, this was an interesting part of the story to read, because while I couldn’t relate on a spiritual level, it did resonate to me on a mental health scale as I’ve had some skirmishes with depression over the last couple of years).

It’s the internal conflict and struggle that really elevates this chapter in Zdarsky’s run, because there’s very little Daredevil appearances in costume, and I think the arc is stronger for that. There’s no clear cut ending to this arc, either, with Zdarsk’s writing leaving you in a moment where you’re not sure if the chapter is over or if you should be picking up the next issue – it’s a very fitting ending for a story that doesn’t offer any black and white answers.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got the next volume of this underrated gem to check out. Whether Zdarsky’s run on Daredevil will be held in the same esteem as Bendis, Nocenti and Miller, well only time will tell. But I bloody love it.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Those Two Geeks Episode 190: We Won’t Talk About The Haslab. The Sky Is Green.

The two geeks weren’t going to talk about the Engine of Vengeance Haslab… but they do. And then collecting in general.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @FirstRonin4 if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on Twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Music by AlexGrohl from Pixabay

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