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Wastelanders: Doom podcast

This is the fifth season in the Wastelanders podcast series about an apocalyptic world set in the Marvel universe. After four seasons about various aging and displaced heroes, this season follows Doctor Doom.

“After thirty years of imprisonment, Doctor Doom has freed himself and seeks revenge on the former allies who betrayed him on The Day The Villains Won. To achieve this, he teams up with Valeria Richards, the daughter of his most hated enemy, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four – but whose side is she really on?” *Some spoilers ahead*

A Super Hero Walks Into a Bar

Finally, the podcasts are starting to come together with an introduction that directly links this one to the first Wastelanders podcast about Star-Lord! We meet Valeria, who has the tools left from the F4 team and begins to work with Johnny, a former barkeep and hired gun. We also get a character from that first podcast that seemed to make a drastic turn toward evil in the last episode (their motives are very suspect).

A Fantastic Four

We are given some backstory to Doom and Valeria’s relationship- he is actually her Godfather, as he helped deliver her years ago. For 30 years he has been bidding his time and learning new skills as he was held captive and plotting his revenge.

Mask-less

The villain Klaw recounts what happened to the F4 family, and it was heartbreaking. We find out what Valeria’s powers are and how they prevented her from dying and why she still looks so young. We get yet another reference to the Wastlelanders series- in regards to Wolverine and Red Skull.

Destructive Interference

We discover the petulant Doom is stronger than he has been acting, and he has an evil plan (of course). But he could be an anti-hero as he seems to care about Valeria despite his bluster.

Truth Serum

Valeria takes Doom, Cora and Johnny back to her secret compound to regroup. She shows off her F4 and other hero gadgets she has been collecting, which should help them with their adventures. She is not sure of Doom’s plans, so she slips him a truth serum and gets him to admit that he is looking for the Cosmic Cube.

Thunder Sandstorm

The motley crew heads to the entrance to the Negative Zone and meets some other unlikely villains- Sandman and Kingpin. The Cosmic Cube seems to be a hot commodity.

King of the Negative Zone

This crew enters the topsy-turvy Negative Zone and discovers that Kingpin has found the Cosmic Cube himself. There is a battle of wits between everyone and suddenly the Shadow King (who had been the one who orchestrated the massacre at Professor X’s Mutant Academy due to how he manipulated Wolverine) appears and there is more mayhem and double-crossing.

Tee Off

Doctor Doom is held prisoner at Kingpen’s compound and learns that there are cracks in his empire. Not surprisingly he bests Kingpin and Shadow King and heads out to the neighboring Hulkland. In the meantime, Valeria and Johnny bond and have a brief romantic moment before they head to Hulkland too.

Getting Angry

Doom confronts various Hulks, including the She-Hulk, Amadeus and Bruce. Are there double crosses? You betcha! There is a sad death and Cora the Recorder realigns her allegiances. While there have been references to Wolverine and Star-Lord, no mention or tie-in yet with Hawkeye or Black Widow.

I Am a God

Yet another battle of the wits between Doom and Hulk, with each of them utilizing the Cosmic Cube’s powers. Cora the Recorder continues to be a problem, and Valeria shows up at the end for a confrontation between her and Doom. Her motives are a bit suspect, as she is still straddling the line between hero and anti-hero.

And then *finally* we get confirmation that the next season will tie in all the heroes from the previous Wastelanders podcasts: Star-Lord, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Wolverine!! I’m still a bit salty about how long it has taken for these seasons to tie in together. They should have added more links to one another and given previews at the end of each season regarding the next one. Maybe the producers read my previous blog posts and took heed 😉 I now forward to the next (and what I assume will be the concluding) season of Wastelanders.

Written by Mark Waid & James King and directed by Jade King Carroll

Voice Cast:

Dylan Baker as Doctor Doom

Rebecca Naomi Jones as Valeria Richards

Nadine Malouf as Cora

Danny Burstein as Hulk

Keith David as Kingpin

John Hawkes as Klaw

Kristen Johnston as She-Hulk

Elijah Jones as Johnny

Hamish Linklater as Sandman

Series Artwork by Steve McNiven (who illustrated the original Old Man Logan)

Wastelanders: Wolverine podcast

“Thirty years ago, Super Villains won. After killing the Avengers, the X-Men, and nearly every other Super Hero, the Red Skull assumed the office of President of the United States. Since that day, a traumatized Wolverine has wandered in a daze of survivor’s guilt and self-loathing over his failure to protect his fellow X-Men and their mutant students.”

Professor Logan

We are transported to Charles Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Youngsters thirty years ago when Logan was beginning his career as a teacher to mutant students. Jean Grey was trying to smooth out Logan’s unsophisticated teaching methods when a crisis occurs and all the students are shepherded to a safe location to escape. But we know almost no one survived Red Skull’s carefully orchestrated attack. Robert Patrick (always T2 to me!) voices him very well in this podcast with an authentic world-weariness.

Back to One

After a bad car accident, a disoriented Logan slips in and out of a dream fugue and wanders back to the school, meeting a young woman Sofia and her wolfdog. Sofia is an orphaned mutant who broke into the school a few years ago to hide out, and once realizing Logan is Wolverine wants to know where he has been for the last thirty years. He admits he was so distraught that he has been wandering the wilderness in a feral state.

On My Own

We get some insight into Red Skull and his colleague Crossbones, during a Christmas special, in which Red Skull wants to assert his dominance over his subjects. Sofia’s boyfriend Justin shows Logan an arsenal, however, the group is still in danger when a band of thieves breaks into the school.

Inakzeptabel

Red Skull and Crossbones are determined to find Logan and kill him for good and he utters Inakzeptabel which means unacceptable in German. Things go from bad to worse for Logan and Sofia when Justin abandons them and puts his interests first. But some intel from the Danger Room points them in the direction of a former colleague of Logan’s that he had thought was dead.

Trust Me

Justin sells out Logan hoping to have his father released who was taken in by Red Skull years ago. When things don’t go as planned Logan, Sofia and Fang head northward to Canada hoping to find Kitty Pryde.

Land of the Free

This podcast is moving much slower than the others. Logan and Sofia travel to Canada, where Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers (daughter of Cyclops and Pheonix) live. They all meet at the end of the episode, and Logan’s recollections of V-Day are much different than Kitty’s who is threatening to kill him.

Shock and Awe

When Wolverine is temporarily disabled by Kitty and Rachel, they tell Sofia what really happened that terrible day. As expected, this podcast is based on the Mark Millar story, Old Man Logan, in which Logan was mind-controlled into killing his friends when he thought they were villains.

The Other Side

Rachel and Kitty have built another Cerebro, so Rachel utilizes it and her telepathic skills to take her and Logan back in time to see what happened on V-Day. Red Skull’s collaboration with Shadow King enabled them to mask their intentions from Professor X. Now that his eyes are open to the truth, Logan is devastated. We are now close to the end of this Wolverine story, and it is not connecting with the stories of Star-Lord, Black Widow and Hawkeye which I am finding frustrating.

Awfully Sentimental

Logan processes his grief and plans to work with Kitty and Rachel to take down Red Skull at the White House. That’s all that happened- a lot of talking.

All That You Leave Behind

This was a rather anticlimatic conclusion- Logan, Kitty and Rachel go to the White House to fight Red Skull. Sofia is left behind, but then she has to fight Crossbones. Her mutant power was never really stated- I’m guessing it was being able to talk to/control animals.

Even in the last minutes, there was no connection to the surviving heroes in the previous podcasts. Are they supposed to? Is there one more story to tell? I read somewhere (I don’t remember where anymore) that there was going to be a Doctor Doom podcast- so will they all meet, after all? My interest in this series has been waning due to the lack of connectivity. I wish they left teasers like they do in the movies, so you’d be invested in the story and look forward to the next chapter of the podcast saga. So…I’ll keep an eye out if this Wastelanders series continues, but I am definitely frustrated with how it has unfolded so far.

Written and directed by Jenny Turner Hall

Voice Cast:

Robert Patrick as Wolverine

Isabella Ferreira as Sofia

Ashlie Atkinson as Kitty Pryde

Rachel Crowl as Red Skull

Jennifer Ikeda as Rachel Summers

Justin Min as Justin

Clarke Peters as Professor X

Wastelanders: Black Widow podcast

Just in time for Women’s History Month, we have the third installment in the Marvel’s Wastelanders audio epic, in which we meet Helen Black, the Black Widow!

“Almost thirty years after The Day the Villains Won (aka V-Day), Helen Black arrives at her new apartment in The Onar, a 161-story apartment complex in what used to be Midtown Manhattan. Owned and operated by S.H.I.E.L.D., The Onar has become the very embodiment of the dystopic wealth and inequality that’s engulfed New York City ever since V-Day.”

Houston, We Have a Spider

A young woman, Lisa Cartwright, starts a new job as a security analyst and clues in that Onar resident Helen Black is acting suspiciously. A co-worker Jordan shares his conspiracy theories that it could be Natasha Romanoff or Yelena Belova, but Lisa seems to have secrets of her own. Who is Lisa’s father and what is his connection?

You See More

Lisa comes on too strong on surveillance with Helen and is found out. Helen, who claims to be Yelena, threatens Lisa and forces her to be a mole. Jordan is also acting suspiciously, so he’s now a wild card as to not knowing where his allegiances are. I have to say, Helen doesn’t seem to be covering her tracks that well, but I’m sure it is just part of a big con.

Subtext

Helen goes on a date with Stanley, who might be a drug dealer. Lisa learns some fighting skills from Helen, who asks her to dig deep for Yelena’s case file. Jordan catches onto a conspiracy among some of the Onar residents that includes some high-tech nanorobotics. Although set in President Red Skull’s realm, so far this narrative is less cosmic than the previous podcasts about Star-Lord and Hawkeye, with no mention thus far of the Avengers or X-Men besides Iron Man.

By The Way

An enamored Stanley takes Helen out to a swanky nightclub to meet an associate of his, but her information gathering is cut short when she is arrested for brewing alcohol. Lisa had reported her for this small infraction hoping to throw her work supervisors off Helen’s scent fror the bigger issues. But now Helen is under house arrest, so she blackmails Lisa into doing more for her. Jordan is still suspicious of Helen, but his boss seems unconcerned. At this point, I’m not really digging this podcast. Helen is unlikable and it is not tying into the previous two Wastlanders stories yet.

I Thought About Letting Her Know

Lisa and Jordan continue playing different sides of the investigation of Helen, and more double-crosses are hinted at by other characters involved with the nanotech reveal. Judy and Hank, the bosses at Panopticog Solutions, are playing dumb, but I’m sure it’s a ruse. Who is conning who at this stage?

A Very Melancholy Answer

Why is Helen out of the action for so much of this podcast? Her house arrest means she sends Lisa out to do all her dirty work. Stanley’s partner Crispin and his fiance Samantha are now under watch, with suspicious motivations. Stanley finds out the truth about Helen and is devastated, as he claims he loved her. Jordan keeps poking around for answers.

Temet Nosce

Temet Nosce is a Latin phrase translated as “Know Thyself”. That leads us to Lisa- whose side is she really on? It’s obvious she’s keeping her own secret. An enormous hurricane is on its way to NYC, and the Onar apartment residents scramble to prepare.

Bonus

We finally get some intel! Helen reveals to Lisa who she really is, and explains how it could be and how she lost her anti-aging properties. But…suspicions remain because would the Black Widow reveal the truth 100%? Another secret identity is revealed, and yawn. Jordan and Samantha face off.

The Entertainment

Helen, Lisa and Judy team up, and utilize Jordan, to help them fight Samantha. Now we know who is Natasha and who is Yelena but they are at odds, with Yelena willing to let thousands of people die for her cause.

The Future is Mysterious

The finale did not make any sense! It was a muddled mess and there was no resolution or moving forward for any of the characters. It didn’t connect with the previous Star-Lord or Hawkeye podcasts, so this third in a series was a real disappointment, despite Susan Sarandon voicing Helen. I believe there will be two more- for Doctor Doom and Wolverine, so I hope the final installments will bring it all together in a satisfying manner.

Check out the previous two Wastlanders podcasts: Star-Lord & Hawkeye

-Nancy

Written by Alex Delyle and directed by Timothy Busfield (who is the voice actor of Star-Lord!)

Voice Cast:

Susan Sarandon as Black Widow

Chasten Harmon as Lisa

Eva Amurri as Samantha Sugarman

Nate Corddry as Jordan

Amber Gray as Judy

Melissa Gilbert as K.I.M. (Laura Ingalls aka director Busfield’s IRL wife)

Michael Imperioli as Stanley

Justin Kirk as Hank

Wastelanders: Hawkeye podcast

“Thirty years ago, the villains of the world rose up and killed all the heroes. Well, all the heroes that mattered. The sole survivor of the Avengers, Hawkeye is now a sideshow freak, re-living the worst day of his life for paying audiences. When the Brotherhood Traveling Circus, Carnival and Ringmaster’s Road Show arrives at the Kingdom, Hawkeye gets an unexpected visitor.”

This is the second season in a podcast series about an apocalyptic world that started off with Star-Lord, and will also include Black Widow and Wolverine. Will these scattered heroes be able to find one another and rise up against the villains who took over the world?

Star Attraction

We are introduced to a new section of the Wastelanders world in the southwest, this time in the kingdom ruled by Zemo. Improbably, we discover a blinded Hawkeye (Clint) is the star attraction in a traveling circus, which makes him relive the day that the heroes fell to the villains, leaving him the only Avenger left. The smarmy ringmaster’s narration gives us background on the last few decades, and an edgy teenage girl watches the show in disgust. In the concluding minutes of the episode, we learn her name is Ash and she is the estranged daughter of Hawkeye. After finding him, she asks her poppa if he will help her kill someone for revenge.

Cards Up

Ash explains why she has sought her father out after ten years apart, she wants vengeance against someone who killed her high school best friend. She has figured out that someone in the circus is selling a drug that is dangerous and led to Max’s death in an explosion. Clint, of course, doesn’t want to help her become a killer, and we get some backstory on why he left her years ago. Details are such that you are not sure if she is adopted, and who her birth mother is.

School’s Out

Clint teaches Ash how to shoot, and baits her, pushing her to the edge, but she proves her mettle. We get a bit of Ash’s past, from her loving adoptive mother Bobbi, formally known as Mockingbird, to her high school life and romance with Max. We also learn a secret about Hawkeye and his long wait for revenge.

Trick Shot

It is revealed who Ash’s biological mother is, and I’m not surprised. She says something enraging to Bobbi, and also clues her into Clint’s hunt for members of the double-crossing Thunderbolts. It was interesting to learn more about the Thunderbolts, a sometimes villain/sometimes hero group that were mutants, and I ended up doing some internet sleuthing to find out more about them.

Leap of Faith

A bit of a filler episode- we get some backstory on some of the other circus performers and for Kate Bishop. Everyone is rude and sarcastic to each other and their banter annoyed me, plus I am not warming to Ash as a petulant teen.

Straight to the Heart

Kate is pissing me off! While she might be Ash’s biological mother, she is not her “real” mom, Bobbi is 100%. Kate just wants to sweep in and have Ash fall into her arms, but that’s not how it works. While she wants to throw Clint under the bus with the morally grey things he does, she is the one who choose Clint and Bobbi to raise Ash, whose full name is Natasha Cassandra Bishop Jones (nice shout out to Natasha Romanoff & Cassandra Lang). There was some food for thought in this episode- as Clint’s thirst for justice and consequences does make him a killer, and he choose that life over raising Ash with his wife Bobbi- yet, I could see the validity of his arguments.

Two Graves

“Seek revenge and you should dig two graves, one for yourself” proves true, as Ash discovers someone who she thought dead is alive, and that Clint’s sabotage runs deep. Has he gone too far in his quest for vengeance?

Shot in the Back

Kate and Clint continue to bicker because it is obvious that Clint has something huge planned for the next day when Zemo will be visiting the circus, and Kate hopes to dissuade him. Ash is back after learning what Junior is up to and she continues with being a hot head herself. I hate to say it, but I dislike almost everyone except for Bobbi.

Bullseye

The day has come for the circus performance with Zemo in attendance. Clint is trying to stay the course despite pleas from Bobbi, Kate and Ash to stop, plus details are slipping out of his control. I do appreciate that there are some characters in the circus that are morally grey, who make bad decisions for their own ease but don’t seem like evil people.

Justice is Blind

The ending was predictable- Clint came to realize blind vengeance benefits no one. There is a surprise about Zemo, and a change of leadership occurs. This will now put cracks in the villains’ hold across the former USA, making it easier to overthrow in the future. I thought there would be a lead-in to the next season, but nothing new was revealed in the final end credits.

While I didn’t engage with this season as much as the one about Star-Lord, or some other Marvel podcasts, I am still very much invested in this series and look forward to the next few seasons!

-Nancy

Written by Rachel Chavkin and directed by J. Holtman

Voice Cast:

Stephen Lang as Hawkeye

Sasha Lane as Ash

Michelle Hurd as Bobbi

Tracie Thoms as Kate

Bobby Moreno as Junior

Joe Morton as Ringmaster

Wastelanders: Old Man Star-Lord podcast

“In a post-apocalyptic future, Marvel’s Wastelanders: Old Man Star-Lord finds Peter Quill and Rocket a little paunchier, a little slower, and a lot saltier than they were during the glory days of the Guardians of the Galaxy. They quickly discover the Earth isn’t what it used to be either when they crash land 30 years after all the world’s super-villains seized control.”

I’ve been very pleased with Marvel podcasts- Wolverine: The Long Night, Wolverine: The Lost Trail, Marvels and Black Widow: Bad Blood. On a whim, I checked if a new podcast was out and was pleased to see that Wastelanders had just started. Not typically a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy, I gave it a try because I had felt the same way about the Fantastic Four and still enjoyed Marvels.

Record of a Fallen World

Quill and Rocket are sent to Earth on a mercenary mission, under threat of death to find a sacred object called the Black Vortex, just to find Earth in ruins and controlled by Doctor Doom. An alien-created “skinbot”, nicknamed Cora, accompanies them, and it is through her narration of record-keeping that we find out a lot of background information. This introductory episode gave us a lot of worldbuilding but in a way that didn’t seem like a huge info dump and seems to correlate with the Old Man Logan graphic novel timeline.

The Wastelands

Bickering constantly, Quill and Rocket explore South Dakota’s Badlands and are helped by a local named Red. Past trouble is inferred, but we are in the dark about what happened to the former Guardians of the Galaxy or the fates of their former teammates. At times the actor’s voice are hard to distinguish between Quill and Rocket, as they sound very similar.

Blood Farmer

Red gives them refuge on his farm, where he shares what happened thirty years ago, and how this apocalyptic world came to be. They lay some traps and lay in wait for the local thugs to come looking for them. After defeating them and taking their horses, Quill, Rocket and Cora head into the hills to begin their search for the Black Vortex.

Deer on a Spear

As Quill and Rocket head towards the contact that Red gave them they pick up on a signal for a broadcast that is televising Kraven the Hunter following the very man they were hoping to speak to in a Running Man/ Hunger Games type of scenario. Quill tries to save the man to no avail, and now their contact is gone, and Kraven is on to them. The broadcaster was so wonderfully smarmy, you could really visualize the hunt from his commentary.

Heaven and Hellfire

Although this duo is older, they are none the wiser, and luckily a former X-Men Emma Frost who owns a local bar comes to their aide. But she is keeping her cards close to her vest, so they are unsure if she is there to help or hurt them. I do need to add that Emma’s overuse of the word darling became grating. She sounded like Joan Collins from Dynasty and isn’t how I imagined she’d talk.

Trust Exercise

Splitting up to see if they can obtain the Black Vortex and get their guillotine collars off, nothing goes as planned (of course). But Cora ascertains that Emma is there to help, so there’s that.

Catching Fire

A Quill-centric episode establishes that Emma’s powers are fading as she ages, but she has given Quill and Rocket a window of opportunity after putting Kraven the Hunter out of commission for a few days. Quill thinks he has a lead on where the Black Vortex is located after interviewing the town’s forgotten librarian. Hell yeah- a librarian to the rescue!

Buried

Some backstory on what happened with the Guardians is established showing how Quill is racked with guilt and wants to atone for the deaths of his friends. An ally returns, but so does a foe, so all paths are converging as they try to infiltrate Doom’s compound.

Kraven’s Hunt

In this penultimate episode, Quill and Rocket are moving towards discovering the Black Vortex with Kraven on their heels, in another narrated hunt. Cora and Emma Frost rally their allies that include the Ghost Riders to prevent Kraven from killing the duo. Rocket’s poor health can’t be hidden anymore and he tries to prepare Quill for a future without him.

Dawn and Doom

Sacrifices are made, with a devastating death, but Quill and Emma Frost prevail. So although they have scored a victory, we know it’s not over, as the episode is only half over. There is a surprising double-cross with a new villain emerging, with definite tie-ins to what has happened (or will happen-I’m unclear exactly of the timeline) in Logan’s story. I am left wanting more, but that’s good storytelling, for I will definitely tune into future podcasts.

I started this podcast apprehensively, as I’ve never been a big fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the bickering between Quill and Rocket was annoying to me. Yet, this podcast grew on me so kudos to Benjamin Percy who also wrote the two Wolverine podcasts I enjoyed last year. In fact, I recently read a short story horror collection by Percy, Suicide Woods, that I found excellent. This podcast is supposed to be the lead-in to a new universe set in the Old Man Logan future with Hawkeye, Wolverine, Black Widow and Doctor Doom. I’m excited, as Susan Sarandon will be voicing Black Widow and I can’t wait for that story and how they will all tie-in together!

-Nancy

Written by Benjamin Percy and directed by Kimberly Senior

Voice Cast:

Timothy Busfield as Star-Lord

Chris Elliott as Rocket

Nadine Malouf as Cora 

Patrick Page as Kraven the Hunter

Vanessa Williams as Emma Frost

Danny Glover as Red

Elizabeth Francis as Joanna Forge

Dylan Baker as Doctor Doom

Hawkeye, Black Widow, Wolverine, Star-Lord- art by Steve McNiven

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