JLA: Tower of Babel

This week on the show: Matthew’s medicated, Stephen’s flustered, and Rodrigo is angry… Plus – JLA: The Tower of Babel, zombie outlaws, and Magic the Gathering.


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Show Notes after the Jump!

Double sided cards on the way to your Magic deck

Zombie Outlaw
Matt Naismith and Will Simers thought they had this College thing figured out. One trip into the depth of Irvine State University’s library has them rethinking everything!! Witness as they unearth the Tomb of the ZOMBIE OUTLAW!!!
This one’s got it all! Books!! Boobs!!! Brains!!!
32 Pages | Full Color

Rating: ★★½☆☆

32 pages FC • $3.99 • Teen +
Written by MATT WAGNER
“Black & White” Retailer incentive cover by MATT WAGNER
Matt Wagner’s return to Zorro continues! This storyline introduces some
major new characters but also represents significant and catastrophic changes in Zorro’s world—events that cause him to call question everything he does and everything for which he stands. There’re thrilling times ahead as ZORRO RIDES AGAIN!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Teen Titans #100
Written by J.T. KRUL
1:10 Variant cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
In the bonus-sized 100th issue of TEEN TITANS, It’s all-out war as Titans old and new come together to face the greatest threat to their existence. Can anyone stop Superboy Prime from destroying everything the team stands for?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Over the years, the Doctor has had a number of travel companions, that get into trouble, keep the Doctor out of trouble, or just generally serve as eye candy for fans.  This week, Major Spoilerite Jason wants to know who has been the best from his short list

[poll id=”198″]


Trade Paperback of the Week
JLA: Tower of Babel
Writer: Mark Waid
Pencillers: Howard Porter, Steve Scott
Inkers: Drew Geraci, Mark Propst
Colorist: John Kalisz
Publisher: DC Comics
Tower of Babel deals with Batman’s perceived betrayal to the superhuman community by keeping records concerning the strengths and weaknesses of his allies in the JLA, including plans to neutralize his allies in a fight. His files are stolen by Ra’s al Ghul, who uses them to defeat the League through a coordinated attack to prevent them from interfering with his latest scheme.

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Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to the Robot Overlord. Robot Overlord may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds. The Robot Overlord contains a liquid core, which if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at. If Robot Overlord begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head. Do not taunt the Robot Overlord.


  1. I have to disagree with you about the whole visual symbols thing… what you are describing is no different from a language… in fact, there are many written languages that are straight up pictographs. Being able to see of someone holding up a hand with their fingers together and your thumb sticking out and knowing that it means ‘stop’ isn’t any different from seeing two lines forming an acute angle with a third line joining the other at their midpoint and knowing that it is represents the sound “ah” or “eh” depending on the other symbols nearby.

    Matthew is right, the symbols don’t change, but your ability to associate the symbol with it’s meaning would change.

    • Actually, no. Stephen is right – the parts of the brain that is used to decode straight up symbols versus a string of related symbols (ie, language) are different. Obviously only symbols that have acquired a shared meaning over time would be relevant, so given cultural differences, it would be pretty limited.

      As far as languages that are straight up pictograms – all written languages are a series of pictograms.

      • Actually Matthew is right. The brains main job is to take data thats being input and interpret it. It does this mainly by cross-referencing incoming data with data that already on file. So for instance when you hear a police siren you freak out and say “what the hell is that!” you brain tells you “hold on that crazy sound is a police siren”. Your brain does this with everything, symbols included. So if you could disrupt that process of your brain interpreting and associating what is seeing with what it has seen then it possible. Your brain could even be confused by Stephens example of holding up you hand to signal stop. If you see that but your brain cant properly cross-reference that with the bit of info it has that tells it that means stop, then you wouldnt know what it means, youd just think that guys holding his hand in front of him for no reason. There are neurological disorders that cause exactly thees types of problems.

      • I would suspect that the parts of the brain that *recognize* symbols like a stop sign or a hand gesture may be different from the parts that recognize language, but being able to connect that symbol with it’s associated meaning is the same thing no matter what the symbol is. that ability to form these connections is an important part of the learning process. The connections are actually hard wired into the brain when they are formed/learned, so the only way to do what is being done in the book is to interfere with the brains ability to somehow block the brain from ‘completing the circuit’ so to speak.

  2. Craptacular!

    On MtCG, so they ripped off the Rage: Werewolf Apocalypse card game from White Wolf? They had werewolves in 2 sided cards, human and werewolf form on the other side, which you can shift to after you take enough damage or because of cards effects.

  3. Oh my word, I’ve only reached the “Ask a Four Year Old” section, and cannot stop laughing. I must look like an utter lunatic to my coworkers as I cackle uproariously at my desk.

  4. You shouldn’t worry too much about the double face cards they probably wont extend out side the Innistrad Block.
    Personally my solution will be to use a crap card that I will never ever play (Viashino Skeleton I have 20 of the stupid things) as a backing by carefully sliding it behind my werewolves before the mach then once they hit the table I will just pull out the crap card leaving the werewolf still in the sleeve on the table.
    Also I can Imagine John Finkle wont survive that much blood loss…

    • Yeah, they’re definitely not here to stay, they’re an innistrad thing.

      Your fix will probably work, except that it will actually make your card thicker. People could accuse you of cheating.

      • You could always just ok it with your TO before-hand… casually no one would care, because EVERYONE and their crazy uncle is going to have their own homebrewed answer for their kitchen table games. The tournament scene is going to be more interesting, as I believe the current rules don’t allow any proxies other than the checklist card.

        Personally, I am going to put the proxy/checklist in my main deck in opaque sleeves and the transformers in a separate pile with clear sleeves, which I leave in my deckbox. (which is where I keep my token cards for constructed decks.)

        I’m very curious to see what drafts are going to be like… I don’t think it will matter much in sealed though, as it’s not so important to hide/disguise any DFC’s you recieve.

        Interesting rules corner-case – a DFC can never be turned face down (like Morph creatures) as both sides are considered to be “face up”. The other interesting tidbit is that foil DFC cards are foil on both sides… which I think the proverbial new player will think is very cool.

  5. Matthew’s actually quite entertaining when he’s on his meds. I know, it’s not the most constructive comment ever written; but it’s not false either.

  6. Despite pointing out plot holes like turning Earth into a radioactive wasteland or coffins which refuse to decompose, I’m slightly disappointed no one mentioned the fact that many of Batman’s plans are just plain terrible!

    Batman needs plans that: 1. Are non-lethal (this Batman has a prohibition on killing); 2. Are likely to work; 3. Do not require super powers to execute (meaning Batman can perform them). Several of his plans fail this criteria. Take, for example, his plan to take out Flash…

    Wally first needs to be surprised. Then he needs to be immobilized. Then he needs to wake up enough to perceive you shooting at him. Then he needs to choose only to vibrate and allow the bullet to pass through his spine. THEN the plan works. Can you see how this falls apart? You need Flash to be surprised and immobilized for the vibrational bullet to even come into play… if you can surprise and immobilize The Flash to begin with, who needs a fancy bullet? Then you need for Wally to be JUST awake enough ONLY to vibrate… he can’t be so unconscious that you shoot him in the spine and kill him… he can’t be so awake that he blitzes you and stops you. Then you need for Wally to ONLY vibrate… not dodge, not steal speed, not block, not stop the gun, and not vibrate and move slightly to the side… the bullet has to go to the spine through a Wally who’s already moving fast enough to vibrate through a bullet! The chances of such a plan working are ridiculous!

    A lot of Batman’s plans don’t make sense according to his criteria… if you don’t have The Flash to put Plasticman together, then your plan essentially kills Plasticman… but if you have The Flash, doesn’t a plan deploying his powers and abilities to stop Plasticman make a lot more sense (like stealing his speed to freeze him)? Less collateral damage, trauma to Plasticman, and risk of non-League members (like R’as) using the plans? If you don’t have Martian Manhunter to deprogram Kyle or Arthur you’ve essentially maimed them for life… but if you have J’onn, doesn’t anti-GL/Aquaman plans using J’onn’s abilities make a lot more sense than maiming them? When Wonder Woman is a supernatural goddess of Truth, why is a technological VR bug a reliable stopper? Isn’t it probable that her supernatural powers, nature, or sponsors allow her to see through, defeat, or be delivered from a technological lie / illusion?

    The real forehead slapper is that Batman’s ultimate plan against Superman was… a rock. A rock is not a plan, it’s just a weapon… and if all it took was Kryptonite to take down Superman then Metallo, Lex Luthor, Intergang, etc. would have all done it long ago. The mere ownership or development of a weapon doesn’t provide for its effective deployment. Superman didn’t give Batman the Kryptonite ring because it would make Bruce any more effective at taking down a rogue Superman than Flash, GL, MM, or Wonder Woman… he gave it as a sign of two-fold trust: first, that Batman would use it when necessary; and second, that Batman would have a plan in using it… not simply showing up with the ring and expecting things to work out!

    I get that the point of the story is to exalt Batman and in spirit I appreciate what it is doing, but the actual plans themselves don’t make Batman look like a planning genius at all.

  7. Is it just me or did it seem like Rodrigo was about to confess that he has plans on how to take out Matthew and Stephen if they have their minds take over. Things almost got 90’s Batman gritty on Major Spoilers.

    If I remember correctly Batman starts making these plans to take people out, in continuity, because of what happened to him in Identity Crisis. TEGROF!

    • You sort of remember correctly in that is the retcon that Identity Crisis tried to spin onto Batman’s increasing paranoia and isolation, but those were more applicable to Brother Eye specifically… the need to monitor all heroes at all times- including himself, to account for any possible lost time Batman would experience.

      That retcon wouldn’t make much sense applied to Babel because despite the betrayal and ejection, the story followed a really well executed larger character arc that lead all of the team to forgive Batman, for everyone to reveal their secret identities to one another, and work as a team. After a short 3-issue Wonder Woman filler arc, Waid explored their secret identities and bonded the team as persons, not just power sets, and in the following arc forged them together against the White Martians- a group literally more powerful than the League if not for their recent trials and team development.

      The point is, yes, Babel was a slap to the face, but the League turned the other cheek and for the next half-decade plus, Batman was a trusted and valued team-player… not a paranoid psychopathic loner plotting in the corner like Identity Crisis tried to retcon.

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