The Incomparable is a weekly dive into geeky media we love, including movies, books, TV, comics, and more, featuring a rotating panel of guests and hosted by Jason Snell.

416

My Favorite of the Chrises

Thaw yourself out of the ice and wave a flag, because we’re revisiting “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” as we continue our walk through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We discuss the charismatic power of Chris Evans, the smoothness of the Red Skull’s face, the unrecognizability of the Winter Soldier, our lack of trust in Robert Redford, and how Black Widow splits time between setting Steve Rogers up on dates and changing all the sizing tags on his clothing. Buy some war bonds and join us as we discuss that star-spangled man with a plan!

Jason Snell with Tony Sindelar, Joe Rosensteel and Aleen Simms


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Previous Episodes

415

Congratulations to the Flat Earthers

Take off your pants and prepare a long scene-setting speech about space mythology, because it’s time to discuss “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World” as we continue our Summer of Marvel. We praise the excellent casting of Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, as well as smaller players Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings, while wondering about what went wrong with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. (Hint: It’s mostly the writing.) Perhaps most importantly, Jason finally sees what other people see in “The Dark World” that he doesn’t… even if he remains unconvinced.

Jason Snell with John Moltz, Joe Rosensteel, Dan Moren and Dr. Drang


414

Credible Hulk

The Summer of Marvel continues our walk through the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008’s “Incredible Hulk,” starring Edward Norton. Released weeks after “Iron Man”, it’s often ignored, and yet it’s a fascinating look at the decisions Marvel did (and didn’t) make as it built its film franchises. Also just for kicks, we compare and contrast with Ang Lee’s 2003 “Hulk” starring Eric Bana, because gamma dogs.

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Guy English and Tony Sindelar


413

How Ironic, Tony!

The Incomparable’s Summer of Marvel begins with a look back at 2008’s “Iron Man” and 2010’s “Iron Man 2.” How unlikely was it that a B-list Marvel Comics superhero nobody had ever heard of would end up kicking off one of the most successful film franchises of all time? How did perfect casting and a light touch with the subject matter pay off in this unlikely success? And how does the sequel balance being a second “Iron Man” film and the launch of a much larger franchise?

Jason Snell with Brian Hamilton, Chip Sudderth, Jean MacDonald and Dan Moren


412

His Books Are Like Popcorn

Book Club

The Incomparable’s Book Club reaches the finish line of our annual SF/Fantasy award read, as we discuss the six nominees for the Hugo Award for best novel. From new series to concluded trilogies to standalone epics, this year’s list had a lot of variety. And for good measure, we throw in a few of the short-fiction nominees that we really liked.

Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Erika Ensign and Aleen Simms


411

In the Pay of Big Ultravox

Put on your leg warmers, insert your shoulder pads, and warm up your synthesizers. It’s time for us to take a time machine back to the 1980s, where our panelists will participate in a draft of their favorite musical albums from that decade. This is one episode that is guaranteed to be totally awesome.

Jason Snell with Kelly Guimont, Antony Johnston, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley and James Thomson


410

I Am Not a Crackpot

Inflammable means flammable? What a country! It’s a perfectly cromulent thing to do, to pick quotes from “The Simpsons” in draft form. So we have assembled a learned panel of people who haven’t seen the show in years, bribed them with plenty of Malk (with Vitamin R!), and set them to choose their favorite lines from the most quotable TV show of all time. We hope you find this episode excellent. If you don’t, don’t blame us—we voted for Kodos.

Jason Snell with Glenn Fleishman, Philip Michaels, John Siracusa and Monty Ashley


409

Marshmallow Traitors

Old Movie Club

Endlessly quoted, residing on every list of the best films of all time, you might think that “Casablanca”—released 75 years ago—is overrated and played out. Nope! It’s a fun film with romance, snappy ironic dialogue, and a stunning cast. And it’s also a fascinating historical document, given that it was written before Pearl Harbor and produced in the early days of America’s involvement in World War II, when the end of the war was anything but a foregone conclusion. We discuss the magical letters of transit, Captain Renault’s jocular amorality, Victor Laszlo the speechifying drip, Ilsa’s piercing stare, Major Strasser’s favorite cereal, Sam’s implausible piano handwork, the Ken Cinema in San Diego, and how the war was like a rap battle.

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Monty Ashley, Moisés Chiullan, Dan Moren and Dr. Drang


408

Sometimes You Need a Wookiee

Fresh from the movie theaters, here’s our flash review of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” In a world where there’s a new “Star Wars” movie every year, sometimes it’s a relief not to have the fate of the galaxy at stake. What are the rules of Sabacc? Are references the lowest form of fan service? Will casual fans be more enthusiastic than hard-core ones? Why watch droids fighting for entertainment when you have holograms? From train heists to floating space yachts to surprise cameos, we break it all down.

Jason Snell with Dan Moren, John Siracusa, Erika Ensign, Kelly Guimont, Tony Sindelar and Philip Michaels


407

Robot Lovin’

Book Club

Our Book Club has reconvened to take you on a tour of the seven novels nominated for this year’s Nebula Awards, honoring the best in Science Fiction and Fantasy. After you listen your summer book list will be replenished! We liked almost all of these books, so there’s a lot to choose from—and only one of the six is a later book in a series, so you won’t have to do homework to get reading. Read them all and Jason will give you a gold star and a pizza party, but he’s eating all the pizza.

Jason Snell with Aleen Simms and Scott McNulty


406

A Really Kinky Bunny

Climb aboard your sentient sailing ship, put on a high-fashion eye patch, and prepare for the big musical number—it’s time to talk about Season 3 of “The Magicians.” This is a series that just keeps getting better, and for our money, this was one of the best and most unexpected seasons of television we’ve seen in a long time. Along the way we mention Buffy, Star Trek: TNG’s “Darmok” and “The Inner Light”, and how the journey can be appreciated even when the story doesn’t quite stick the landing.

Jason Snell with Mikah Sargent, James Thomson and Glenn Fleishman


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