29th July 2022

Welcome, my friends, to The Full Lid, your weekly 5 p.m. chunk of pop culture enthusiasm, career notes, reviews and anything else that I've enjoyed this week. And believe me, despite it being an intensely busy seven days, there's been A LOT to enjoy.

It's almost the end of the month -- it's RIGHT THERE -- and we've got exactly what you need to get you into the weekend. Including this week's interstitials, which are the projects from last week's SDCC that have us the most excited.

Here's what else we've got for you:


Batman: The Deluxe Edition
Fermi's Progress
Signal Boost
Where You Can Find  Us This Week
So How Was Work This Week?
Department of Received Esoteric Print Goods
Signing Off / Playing Out
The Full Lid Banner in blue reads 'Comics'
The front cover of Batman by John Ridley shows Jace Fox in the Batsuit, with his helmet off

Batman: The Deluxe Edition


Editor's note: Spoilers. Batman: The Deluxe Edition carries content warnings for social injustice and racism.

Batman as a character has been marketed for years as brutal simplicity wrapped in a cape made of grief and rage. Fights crime, jumps from buildings. Dresses like a bat, and like a certain Samoan water god says, we dig it. The character has become familiar, safe even in its presentation, especially in the big crossover events DC love so much. The changes are always cosmetic, the end is always the beginning is the end.

But not this time.

Jace Fox is Batman and John Ridley, writing with a flotilla of great artists bringing his words to life, dives into just how different The Bat is with the sort of poise and grace his lead has... yet to achieve.
Jace Fox, the new Batman, takes a punch that breaks his mask and reveals he's a black man
Jace does not have an easy time of it.
Don't worry about the set up. All you need to know is Gotham, America's warzone with parking, has had enough and 'masks' are now outlawed. The Peacekeepers are an occupying army with rights of arrest and a licence to kill. Batman is now Tim 'Jace' Fox, the no longer quite estranged son of Bruce Wayne's engineer and confidant, Lucius Fox. As this book opens, Bruce is dead (doesn't stick, never does) and Jace has stepped into the batsuit, despite his family struggling with the aftermath of an attack that has left Lucius battling his own mind and Jace's mom very much on the Peacekeepers' side.

This is Batman on the ropes, fists still up but in a different type of fight - one with precious few resources or backup. So much so that Ridley has Jace use burner phones, each one seconds from being tracked to keep in contact with his few allies. The GCPD genuinely want Batman dead almost as much as the Peacekeepers do. At one point he has to hot-wire a car, and does so to drive two murderers across town so he can hand them over to the police who will arrest them but not kill them. He does all this wounded, having fought one of the murderers to stop them from making their escape. 

We learn their story, too - and why they committed murder. We know they deserve help, and deserve to do time. Jace helps them, and the GCPD, to get to the point where that can happen. Bruce's Machiavellian schemes inside schemes are long gone. This Batman isn't trying to save his city he's just trying to save one person at a time and stay alive long enough to do it again.
Jace Fox, the new Batman, faces down two terrified would-be gangmembers
Classic silhouette. Very different Batman.
This Batman's mask covers his face. You've probably figured out why by now - Jace is Black.

Ridley explores what it means for a person of colour to wear the Batsuit with a clear eye and an exhausted poignancy. Jace trades off the silhouette of the man he's become to stay alive and to get people to listen to him. The one time we see his face revealed by a villain, in backup story 'The Cavalry' illustrated by Olivier Coipel and lettered by Deron Bennett, he's derided for not being the 'real' Batman as a villain says 'THESE people are takin' over everything'.

Who Jace is becomes who Batman is, a situation much more interesting than dozens of versions of Bruce we've seen in the past. The opening story, illustrated by Nick Derington and drenched in Gotham streetlights by Tamra Bonvillain, has Jace save two gang members from both an initiation and the Peacekeepers. Clayton Cowles' lettering gives us Jace's internal monologue and again carefully shows the burden he carries and how he uses it to make other people's lives better.

The second story illustrated by Laura Braga, with breakdowns by Derington and colours by Arif Prianto, shows us just how complex the ethical skyline of this Gotham is. The backup stories, 'The Cavalry' along with 'Family Ties' and '3 Minutes' provide welcome context. In the first, Coipel takes on art duties, Deron Benett letters and Matt Hollingsworth colours as we see the Fox family, including Jace's superhero brother Luke, discover first hand just how terrifying this new, militarized Gotham City can be. The latter, with Dustin Nguyen on art, John Kalisz on colours and Tom Napolitano on letters serves as a counterpoint, exploring the first night Lucius Fox worked with Batman and how his improvisational skills and moral compass saved the day.

At no point does anyone have an easy time. But no one stops. And you don't want to look away.

If you've been burned out on Batman in the past, Jace's turn in the suit is a great time to consider picking it up again, and Jace is still wearing the suit as the Batman of New York right now. He's a more hard travelling Dark Knight and I really enjoyed reading about him. 

Batman by John Ridley: The Deluxe Edition is available now. Your local comic shop is here. Mine is here. Liz Gordon's rival (Who? READ ON!) is selling it here.
SDCC 2022: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
August 17th, 2022

It's genuinely amazing Disney+ hid cameras in our house for this long without us noticing...

Video description: Jennifer Walters becomes She-Hulk. Legal shenanigans involve her defending Emil Blonsky, the man who tried to kill her cousin Bruce Banner, ensue. As do Fourth Wall-breaking asides, training montages, intra-cousin rivalry, and hijinks.
The front cover of Fermi's Progress-Dyson's Fears shows the Fermi, a vast interstellar spaceship, racing away from an exploding planet

Fermi's Progress


Editor's note: spoilers. Fermi's Progress the series carries content warnings for gender dysmorphia and planetary scale genocide.

Liz Gordon has the world's first interstellar spacecraft. The Fermi was invented by an erratic science criminal whose two children; Samson 39 and Connor Brandt, are part of her crew. Joining them is Rajita Deb, a brilliant engineer and, much later, The World. Who is a world. The Fermi is a miracle. It folds space. Its built out of an old Russian space shuttle. Its the most destructive weapon in history. No one can turn it off.

Chris Farnell's four part series is what happens when you fire the exhaustion, terror, rage and compassion of life in the 21st century through every space exploration trope you ever loved. It's Waiting for Godot but Godot is a bomb: you know exactly when he's arriving and you can't stop him. It's Dave Lister's fever dream. It's Starfleet in a corporate-branded flight suit.

I loved every second of it.

Dyson's Fear introduce the Fermi and the world in a manner that's both hyper-realistic and hilarious. Connor and Sam, who is essentially Captain America if he was Oxbridge educated but somehow avoided the free sociopathy, are especially good fun. Sam is a supersoldier, Connor his brother and the control group of their father's repellant eugenicist approach to parenthood. Their relationship complex and bruised and desperately affectionate. One has become everything their father wanted. The other everything their father wanted to avoid. They aren't complete people without the other and Farnell uses that to ground Sam and give Connor some real edge and tooth.

Both were born in their father's shadow, whereas Gordon and Rajita just work there and even they can barely deal with it. Gordon's clear-eyed disaster capitalism is horrifying and pragmatic. Rajita's inconceivable burden of guilt numbs her (and us) to her genius. None of them expect to destroy the world and none of them deal with it well. But none of them stop trying, and The Fermi never stops, its drive killing every solar system in which it activates. Starting with our own.
The front cover of Fermi's Progress-Planet of the Apiaries, shows the Fermi racing away from the world its destroying in its wake
Now I've convinced you this series is grimdark with added space gore, let me reassure you it's not.

Farnell is funny -- instinctively funny in that way that captures how people speak without ever feeling performative or false. This is how people talk and think and act; funny and desperate and kind and sad and furious all at once, especially having gone where no one has one before.

This is especially true of the middle two stories, the splendidly named 'Descartemageddon' and 'Planet of the Apiaries'. The former sees the crew negotiating for supplies with a planet of sentient fungal life in return for weapons. It's a perceptual zombie apocalypse and also one of the kindest explorations of isolation I've seen. Rajita, trans and the only person of colour on the ship, is embraced by the 'survivors' in the exact worst way as she hides inside trauma and justification, shrinking her world view and convinced she's broadening it. Coupled with Farnell's exploration of apocalypse tropes and moments of aching poignancy, it has deep resonance.

'Planet of the Apiaries' initially plays like a light episode, cutting between Samson and World conducting a rescue from a vast living beehive and a nicely played 'alien guests aboard' plotline. That lasts about as long as it takes Samson and World to realize how much trouble they're in and Farnell to pull a rabbit out of a hat you never even see him carrying. He does this three times, cutting between World learning to embrace futility, hope, and stabbing space bees and three stunning nested reveals with the maniacal grace of Beethoven at a shopping mall. This one changes everything for the Fermi's crew, and its the strongest instalment of an intensely strong series.
The front cover of The Phone Job shows, once again, the Fermi fleeing the world its just destroyed
But my favourite may be the finale.

'The Phone Job' sees The Fermi encounter interstellar capitalism in its most brutal and time-bending form, the scale of the series meshing almost seamlessly with the concept. The ethical choice at the heart of the Fermi's voyage, Gordon's uniquely clenched problem-solving ability, and Connor's talent to ask the stupid and obvious and dangerous questions combine with a couple of massive SF ideas and a truly frightening space battle. It all builds to a moment of vengeance and a moment of hope, leading the crew to a new perspective on what they do.

Nothing's easy, nothing is safe, but at last, they and their horrific engine are viewed in a different way. It's a great beat to end the story and the series to date on: poignant, exhausted, hopeful, and moving towards whatever their futures hold.

Fermi's Progress books one through four are available from you know where, but you want to get them from Scarlet Ferret because they come with cool extras! Check out this excellent trailer for the series and the upcoming print collection, and follow Chris on Twitter for updates.
SDCC 2022: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
March 2023

I mean come on now. It's a heist movie. With a stupidly charming cast. That include someone sheltering inside a Gelatinous Cube as a tactic. This looks FUN AS HELL. 

Video description: A group of endearingly terrible thieves including a fast-talking bard, an affably violent female barbarian, a mage, a very intense paladin, and a shape-shifting druid realize they have stolen the wrong thing for the wrong person and set out to save the world they have put in serious danger.

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SDCC 2022: Lower Decks Season 3
August 25th, 2022

STARFLEET'S GODS OF MEDIOCRITY ARE BACK, BABY! The entire show is gold but the Deep Space Nine gag at the end is next level brilliant.

Video description: With their Captain (and in Mariner's case, mom) under arrest for a crime she didn't commit, the Lower Decks team decide to commit A LOT of crimes to prove her innocence. Starship theft, action, adventure and swimming with your shoes on ensue.

Signal Boost


Editor's note: We have a bumper end-of-month crop this week, everyone. Enjoy!


Featured Boost

A pencil tied onto a leather journal in front of a world map. The journal is green and red. The title reads RAVENWOOD: THE UNEXPLORED CHAPTERS OF A GREAT ADVENTURE




Hashtags and Shenanigans




That's this week's Signal Boost! If you have a project you'd like to see here get in touch or check Twitter for my weekly call.
SDCC 2022: Wakanda Forever
November 2022

I cannot get through this trailer without tearing up and odds are good neither can you, as the MCU decides its audience finally deserves some time to process its Phase Four feelings. The trailer is breath-takingly beautiful, but its how openly emotions are on display that will stick with you. It's an impossibly hard thing to lose someone, but then to have to reflect that grief in the job you shared? Wakanda Forever looks to be raw, uncompromising, and essential.

Video description: As Wakanda mourns the loss of T'Challa, a conflict is sparked between the grieving nation and the Atlanteans, sea-dwelling humans with advanced technology who, like the Wakandans, have good reason to hate and fear the outside world. But this time, the Wakandans are the outside world...

Where You Can Find Us This Week


Accents for Fun and Profit

  • Malachi meets Ship (and Tarsul) and adorableness ensues in 'Names Down On The Papers', this week's fluff-tastic Roguemaker bonus episode! 
  • Voice reel in progress! Massive thanks to Andrew Jack and Marguerite for putting it together and yes it is already with a few folks. I'm in the middle of a website overhaul as well, so will let you know when both launch.


  • QUANTUM MOON CONQUERED! The action space archaeology epic of Outer Wilds continues!
  • NEW BLACK TABBY GAMES ALERT! Wednesday night we played the Slay the Princess demo and we WERE NOT READY. This is AMAZING and we're really excited about the full release coming next year. Add it to your Wishlists!

Podcast Land


PseudoPod 820: Off the Road

Two pairs of feet - one bare, one sandaled, at the beach.

Editor's note: Also we picked up our car. As a Californian who's been without a car for eleven years, our first journey was a foregone conclusion.

So How Was Work This Week?

Pretty great! PseudoPod and PodCastle were honored with British Fantasy Award Best Audio nominations again! As was this here The Full Lid in the Best Non-Fiction category!

It's an amazing group of finalists, top to bottom and it reminded me of something important: It's always a challenge, doing this sort of thing, to feel like it's seen.

It's seen.

Not just what we do here and at EA but in general across every creative field. The production of your work, whatever it is, however it's produced, helps. Whether it helps you or countless others is irrelevant. It helps, it's worthwhile and you deserve to feel that recognition and to be rewarded for your time and effort. 
A tweet from the PseudoPod twitter account that reads "Hey folks, guess what?  It's been exactly five thousand, four hundred and eighty days (yes, 15 years!) since the magnificently mellifluous  @AlasdairStuart  became the voice of PseudoPod.  Raise your voices with us to send him some love!  We have something special coming up soon..."
This week is my 15th Anniversary as the host of PseudoPod.

I am... startled by how time flies when you're close to this many nameless horrors. I love my job. I love the team I work with. I love the life I have now as a direct result of doing it. I met my partner (and editor, love you baby!) through PseudoPod and the man I am now arrived when he did because of her. Because of my weird, glorious, ever so slightly eldritch job.

I'm writing this before listening to the episode which releases today which I did not host, and I am bracing for total emotional destruction. I am incredibly grateful and happy to be where I am, thank you.

And like all our stories, I promise you, that's true.
SDCC 2022: Picard Season 3
Early 2023

I've written about this elsewhere, but this trailer knocked me on my ass. Not just seeing the crew again but how emotional it is. Geordi's line in particular, to say nothing of Starfleet's finest pizza chef's tiny little smile. But it's the end, the line about hope played over Picard smiling to camera that kills me. This seems to be a last ride for this crew based not on a blaze of glory but on kindness and community. Picard's long career of the soul is over and this final season will, I suspect, be very different.

Video description: We see flashes of the original NCC 1701-D command crew. Geordi is a Commodore, Worf has silver hair, a sword and is somehow even cooler. As we see Will, Deanna and Beverly the trailer cuts to Picard who smiles conspiratorially to camera.

Department of Received
Esoteric Print Goods

The front cover of Hocus Pocus Issue 5 is subtitled Levitation and shows a mysterious woman, hovering, and levitating a shrouded form.
Friends of the Lid Rik Worth and Jordan Collver sent through the last issue of Hocus Pocus! Thanks, chaps!

We loved the issues to date (check out our review) and were over the moon to see them pick up an Eisner nomination. We're proud of you folks, great job!
A collextion of art prints of the different planets in Outer WIlds
Look at these brilliant Outer Wilds prints, Friend of the Lid Mur Lafferty got Marguerite for her birthday! Gorgeous work from SelRosebyCharlie!
A collection of illuminated harbook notebooks along with art prints and washi tape
We are deep stationary nerds in this house and Marguerite backed these stunning notebooks from The Creeping Moon. Look at their prettiness! And the washi tape! And the stickers!

Find me on The Online

A drawing of Alasdair Stuart trailing pop culture wherever he goes
Image by the multi-talented Jen Williams
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Hugo Voting
Two Weeks To Go

We're in the final stretch for Hugo Awards voting, which closes on Thursday, August 11th. The Full Lid is a finalist in the Best Fanzine category, and you can find our free for all voter's guide at my website.

All the details how how you can cast your ballot are on Chicon 8's website. It's not too late to purchase supporting or attending memberships (either virtual or physical), which include voting rights. Supporting memberships start at $50 USD.

Regardless of whether you're a voter or not, thank you so for your support and engagement. Signal boosts of myself or any of the brilliant finalists is greatly appreciated, especially the fan categories. As I've talked about before, fan creators are the stellar nurseries of genre, the birthplace of the new. This year especially these categories face starch opposition including under-voting and in some cases, calls to redefine the categories beyond recognition which will exclude many it currently seeks to honor. Your support makes literally all the difference to them, myself included.

Signing Off / Playing Out

Thanks for reading, folks!  I hope the week was good and that Silver Targ Worf stops by for cookies. Glory cookies. Of Victory.  Probably with a lot of apostrophes in the name.

TFL returns next week. Check my Carrd for all the places you can find me, including the Twitters, where it turns out that robot vs human chess has always been a full contact sport. Follow us on Twitch to be notified when we go live.

TFL is a free weekly newsletter. Here's how you can support it and me: And thank you! As you can see, we're right around the corner from our first bonus article!
Playing us out this week is the late, great David Warner in an epochal moment from his turn in Star Trek VI. Thank you for everything, sir. And we'll see you next week folks, because this?
is a Full Lid.

Video description: Dinner scene from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Copyright Alasdair Stuart © 2022 -- All rights reserved

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Agathon Towers · Cheapside Road · Reading, Berkshire RG1 7AG · United Kingdom

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