Comic Book Men season 1 episode 2 review: Life After Clerks
Can street hockey, batmobiles and a cameo from Jason Mewes keep the show interesting after a slow start? CJ gets his skates on...
Last week's debut episode of Kevin Smith and AMC's Comic Book Men brought a few laughs but was missing something. Sunday's installment, Life After Clerks, thankfully brought more of the comic book of the show's title, but there was also more of Kevin Smith's posse. That's not a bad thing.
Comic Book Men is a mix of Smith's successful podcast format and shows like Antiques Roadshow or, if they're not careful, Bargain Hunt. The first episode, Junk, had the Secret Stash storehands head out to a local flea market and it was entertaining to see the trips outside of the store continue with a street hockey match. The show's beginning to settle into place.
This week, Silent Bob's mouthy partner Jay - a.k.a. actor Jason Mewes - pays an unexpected visit to the Secret Stash. Only, he doesn't so much pay as charge over a hundred dollars of Stash goods to Ming's card. The guys refer to Jay as Hurricane Mewes for good reason. Not even Bluntman and Chronic action figures are safe.
Kevin leads the gang in a street hockey showdown between their team, Puck U, and The Other Guys. It's not much to do with comics but if you're tuning in because you love Clerks that's not really a worry. Not the fittest of athletes, Puck U are soundly defeated. They were probably too terrified of The Other Guys goalie, McCutcheon, who dresses in a clown outfit resembling a hockeyfied cross between Jason Voorhees, a Juggalo and Stephen King's Pennywise.
One lucky customer gets a shock when Kevin Liell - Star Wars artist and host of the Star Wars Celebration Trivia World Championship - assesses a lightsaber hilt brought into the Secret Stash. Walt and the other guys watch as Liell lets down the young Jedi who thought he'd invested $60 in a prop from A New Hope with the terrible news that the former camera attachment is actually from The Empire Strikes Back, and worth around $7000. When this kind of valuation happens it's fun to watch.
The standout moment happens early on though, when a petrolhead drops by in his 1966 replica batmobile. The heroic vehicle's even signed by designer George Barris and living legend Adam West. Atomic batteries to power and turbines to speed! The Stash staff strike a deal to take it for a spin around the block and try to leave Ming to mind the store. Bryan advises him to imagine he's guarding Wonder Woman's invisible jet - I'm ashamed to admit it raised a hearty laugh from me. Poor Ming.
Comic Book Men shows some commitment to comics with another valuation. A budding filmmaker hoping to raise cash for equipment opens a box on the Stash's counter. It contained his complete run of the 12-issue crossover that defined DC Comics for a quarter of a century, Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Stash guys geek out over the series.
Small-press writer/artist Jonathan Baylis stops by too with copies of his autobiographical series, So Buttons. Walt cheekily asks to take a look at the Giant-Size Man-Thing pages Baylis brought along. After a little haggling the Stash hands over just under 200 bucks in return for the 1970s Marvel art and some copies of So Buttons to stock in the store. Good to see some indie comics.
This viewer was certainly pleased when the cover of Crisis #1 appeared. Hopefully more name comics will get screentime over the next four episodes. In the meantime, series artist George Perez will be signing at the London Super Comic Convention this weekend if any UK fans have their own copies of Crisis laying about.
Life After Clerks was a definite improvement on the first episode. It's not very often the deaths of Supergirl and the Barry Allen Flash get discussed in hushed tones on TV. We got to see the odd comics-buying patron too and more of Bryan's quickfire comments. Watch out for a review of next week's episode after Den of Geek returns from London Super Comic Con!
Check out our review of Comic Book Men's debut here.
If you like the show then download the Comic Book Men podcasts here.