Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Team Titans #9

I bet Nightrider has the fattest cock.

I wonder if vampire cocks have tiny little teeth so they can suck you?

If the only evidence of human civilization after its collapse was my blog, I wonder what future cosmic archaeologists would think of Earth? I bet they'd conclude that it must have housed the greatest culture of all time and space, even if they were a bit obsessed with their own genitals.

Ugh! Where's the Comics Code Authority when you need them?!

Between the end of last issue and the beginning of this issue, Mirage put on a bra. That seems like a weird thing to do when you're about to have sex with somebody. "Wait, wait! My breasts don't have enough support for the raw fucking you're about to lay down on my asshole!" Oh, well when I put it that way, it makes sense. I guess I'm just like every other comic book loving nerd. I eagerly await the chance to make excuses for poor plotting and continuity errors!

The vampire at the end of the last issue apparently wasn't Nightrider even though it looked exactly like Nightrider. My mistake for believing the odds of a vampire from the past looking exactly like Dagon were greater than they actually were. Apparently vampires in their vampire form all look pretty much the same. Or it could be Phil Jimenez's art. He sort of draws like George Pérez if George Pérez were drawing with the pencil shoved into his butthole. I'm pretty sure I've seen him do that at a convention for twenty bucks.

Bloodlines has begun to be advertised in the current batch of comics I've been reading and I now know what people mean when they use the term "triggered."

After some bullshit where Deathwing abuses Mirage and Donna Troy kicks him out of the house and Battalion is (probably not really) devoured by vampires, Dagon gets a chance to hear the lead vampire's origin story. He was a scientist studying the hole in the ozone layer. But instead of coming up with a way to repair the ozone layer or to stop its depletion, he decided to dabble in genetics. He figured the ozone layer was a lost cause because people weren't going to give up their hairsprays and refrigerators. So instead he created a way to alter people's DNA so they could live under the harsh light of a non-ozone shielded sun. I've got to give him credit for thinking so far outside of the box that I can't even think of an analogy to describe it. Science: it can do anything nobody asked for!

This scientist was so bad at sciencing that instead of manipulating the genome to create a race of people that could survive under the harsh rays of the vile sun, he did the exact opposite. He tested it on himself and he became a vampire. But not only could he not bear the sun's rays (which you would think, if he were an adept scientist and we readers were able to suspend our disbelief enough to think that any of this genetic tampering would work anyway), he could shapeshift and needed to drink blood. I guess all of those genes are interconnected.

Dagon drinks some blood not realizing it's Battalion's. Now he's one of the bad vampires! It's too bad he didn't go to school like the rest of the Team Titans so he could become a total heartthrob that all the girls would be dying to die for.

The Team Titans return to the Troy place to pick up Mirage but wind up discovering true terror: Terry Long in a robe. *SHUDDER*

Team Titans #9 Rating: This comic book isn't getting any better. I'm not really an art critic so I can't say what's wrong with Jimenez's art but there's something wrong with it. It's like when you look at a good painting and then your friend sends you a pic of their turd floating in a toilet bowl and then both images merge and you don't know what you've done with your life to arrive at this point. But I am a writing critic and Marv Wolfman's writing is the turd in your friend's pic.

Monday, October 16, 2017

New Titans #98

I'm hesitant to say this is the worst Titans line-up ever because it lacks Aqualad and Speedy but it's pretty terrible.

When I was in junior high, three songs would make my little love-struck heart dissolve into a weepy mess: "Against All Odds," "Total Eclipse of the Heart," and "Hello." The song titles don't actually include the punctuation but I think that's how Americans like to deal with punctuation and quotes. We're idiots. Usually I ignore the rule but sometimes I feel like toeing the line and doing the thing I'm supposed to do. I really struggled with whether or not I should leave out the totally optional (and especially useless in this case) Oxford comma. Did all of that grammar bullshit make you forget about me as a young boy weeping inconsolably due to a few pop songs that made me think about Marilyn Mendoza? Okay, good! Because that boy wasn't a soft boy at all! He was hard! HARD I TELL YOU!

Not like that, you pervo.

The Darkening continues to darken everything in its path. Luckily it's only been a short path from Councilwoman Alderman to Future Nightwing. I'm certain the person darkening everybody must be some form of Raven having gone Full Trigon. I mean, she can't really be dead, can she? Phantasm can though. Anything plot developments that help erase the memory of Danny Chase are appreciated.

Pantha gets a lot of pages at the beginning of this issue. She uses most of them to make cat jokes about herself.

His excuse is that he's not bloody?

For younger comic book readers, what Pantha is doing in this scene is thinking to herself. That's a thought bubble. It's been replaced by character narration boxes. The main difference between the two is that thought bubbles are things the character is thinking in the current scene and character narration boxes are comments from the character as if they're giving a director's commentary track on the story to the reader. They're terrible for the comic book medium. The whole point of comic books is to allow the pictures to tell a good portion of the story. But a lot of modern comic book writers seem to write scripts that give no thought to the medium. So it's tons and tons of Narration Boxes describing the action and the plot and the intent of the character. It's fucking lazy.

Not that older comic books didn't do a lot of the same thing! Non-modern writers had their share of lazy writers too! It's just they used omnipotent narrative voices in their narration boxes. Plus maybe they thought the kids reading the comic books were stupid. So they'd write a panel where the art depicts Lois driving off of a cliff and Lois thinks to herself, "Oh no! I'm driving off of a cliff!" Placed just over this scene is a narration box saying "Lois Lane drives off of a cliff!", an obviously needed redundancy for all of those daft kids.

Also note in the panel above how Red Star enjoys the home shopping network. He's no communist! He enjoys all the perks of a capitalist system, even the most terrible ones.

Orange is as orange does. Or something.

I don't get Dick's threat to Pantha about spitting out hairballs. Is he going to force her to groom herself incessantly as punishment? "You're a dirty, dirty half-woman, half-cat beast! Clean yourself good! Make sure you get your butthole. Oh yeah. Get that leg in the air! Oh. OH. OH YEAH! I'm coming all over you! Now lick that up too until you choke on a hairball, you slut." Then everybody shames Pantha for months on end because she let Dick jerk off on her.

Meanwhile Kory spends the night at a club with Jason Priestley. Unless it's meant to be the short one with the forehead. You know! The guy who played Dylan McKay! Not that I watched that show obsessively because fuck you judging my choices as a younger person! Like buying this comic book well past the hundredth issue!

Jason Priestley gets darkened as Kory flees from the club when a fan asks her to autograph her picture in a porno magazine. The picture was the one taken of Mirage shape-shifted to look like Kory. Maybe Kory shouldn't be so angry at Dick and realize that Mirage is a terrible person who has completely fucked with both of their lives. Hopefully she'll be dead soon in Team Titans #9.

Nothing much happens with the Titans. They learn Garfield tried to steal the Mento helmet and then disappeared. He's been kidnapped by the Brotherhood of Evil who have a knew member of the team: Rita Farr! Gasp! Shock! Faint!

There's something so inappropriate about this picture that I have an erection.

New Titans Rating: Two and a half stars out of five. Generally, I like when comic books slow the plot down to establish more scenes where characters simply get to interact with each other in day-to-day life. But all of those scenes in this issue just seem to be inserted to delay the reveal of Evil Raven's identity. I suppose if the dialogue were better written, I'd have really liked this issue. But Marv Wolfman tends to write scenes that are superficial and one-dimensional. Half a dozen pages of Pantha making cat jokes followed by a few more of her finding ways to call Kory a slut. There isn't any evidence of why any of these people would actually stay together to be a team. Is there a rule in the superhero community that you can't kick somebody out of a team unless you're Batman? Why do the Titans even exist if none of them can stand each other? Gar is angry that nobody has helped Cyborg. Cyborg is less animated than the microwave. Pantha hates everybody, even baby Wildebeest (who everybody is annoyed by). Dick and Kory are constantly fighting. Only Red Star seems to not have any problems with the rest of the team. But I don't care about that because he's even more boring than the microwave. I mean Cyborg!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Team Titans #8

Deathwing's urine is black.

This might be the worst cover of a comic book I've ever seen. Although if it were an underground comic book that was full of penises and vaginas, it would probably be acceptable.

This issue begins a day after Nightwing was attacked by Possibly-Not-So-Raven. What has he been up to since then (besides drinking the blood of women)? Here's how the Narrator chooses to describe the previous day's events:

Judging by the construction of the sentence, I'm guessing the pleasures were part of what would have driven most men to suicide. I'm racking my brain trying to come up with something pleasurable that would make me want to kill myself. Eating a chocolate bar that tastes like getting a blowjob? I'm sure one of the pains that would make me want to kill myself is eating a chocolate bar that tastes like giving a blowjob.

I don't want anybody to think I'm down on giving blowjobs! Thank the maker that anybody, male or female, wants to give them! They are the true saints of this world. I'm just not one of those people. I don't think. Not like I've ever tried to put a penis that wasn't my own into my mouth.

Deathwing has been leaving corpses around the city drained of blood so that the Team Titans can suspect their teammate, Dagon. He is a vampire, after all. Hopefully somebody asks him if he's been killing people and he gets super upset that they'd suspect him because I love bullshit drama! It's why I watch Arrow! Or watched it, at least. I haven't even checked to see if the DC superhero shows have started. I think maybe I'm going to skip them this year. If I'm curious later, there's always Netflix.

This is the naked butt of alternate timeline Nightwing. It's from a timeline where his ass was just average.

Deathwing decides to change his costume because now he's cooler. For some reason, he keeps the terrible hair and the huge collar. The way he makes his costume more bad-ass is by baring his chest and piercing his left nipple. Plus spikes!

Deathwing looks like a vampire from Salem's Lot trying to look like a vampire from The Lost Boys.

Deathwing isn't the only problem the Team Titans must deal with this issue. They also have to deal with how boring and unfair school is and, once more, The Judge and Jury. They're busy judging scientists and killing them. Deathwing arrives and hires them. When you become a vampire, do you automatically become an asshole who likes hanging out with assholes and doing asshole things? Judging by this comic book and The Lost Boys, I'm going to guess yes. Unless your name is Lestat and then you just whinge and cry about how tough your life is. Why was Lestat anybody's favorite in Anne Rice's series? Louis was the best vampire! At least in the first book. I seem to remember liking another vampire in another book but I don't really remember them that well.

The Team Titans find Dagon and his new coven of vampires. I guess Dagon is just as much a dick as every other vampire. At least this is a better twist than Dagon getting upset that nobody trusted him. He wasn't to be trusted at all, the stupid vampire.

Meanwhile, Miri stayed home to wait for Dick. He arrives and the book ends with him about to murder her as they fuck. That should be an interesting issue.

Team Titans #8 Rating: Five sexy vampires out of fifteen Salem's Lot vampires. That's a pretty miserable score because one Salem's Lot vampire can probably murder an entire coven of sexy vampires. They're way too image conscious. Better to just look like a scary, undead freak so you don't have to worry about what people think when you enter their bedrooms and feast on them. Most of the bad score is due to the story and the way the narrator speaks directly to the reader but a bit of it is due to Jimenez's artwork. His style doesn't work for me at all. That's my way of saying it's terrible but in a way that lets me off the hook if somebody disagrees with me.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Deathstork the Terminator #23

Janissary would have been a terrible name for a death metal group in the 80s that the group would have used anyway. You know, like just about all of them.

I had to look up Janissary because I'm not into tabletop miniature war games that deal with the battles of the Ottoman Empire. I thought maybe the Janissary was the adversary of Janis Ian. He definitely looks like what I expect that to look like: the front man for a Prog rock group that's decided he's going the glam rock route. You know, so he can still sing about Ayn Rand but also score the chicks with some ballads that talk a lot about love cutting like a knife.

I probably shouldn't have glossed over what the Janissaries actually were because — holy shit! — it made me say, "Holy shit!", after reading it. From the Wikipedia entry:

[The Janissaries] began as an elite corps of slaves made up of kidnapped young Christian boys who were forced to convert to Islam, and became famed for internal cohesion cemented by strict discipline and order.

It sounds like they were the real life inspiration for The Unsullied. But what's really intriguing me is why did this Deathstork enemy take that name?!

I thought Issue #22 was a standalone story but apparently this is the conclusion. See, Deathstork pissed off some people who were using him because it backfired and he killed the people trying to manipulate him (as well as some neo-nazis). This issue begins with the government man responsible for pissing off Deathstork hiring a mercenary (probably the Janissary, right?!) to kill Deathstork.

He's paying you in outdated thousand dollar bills! Of course it's a set up!

I can't tell if the cover artist fucked up on Janissary's gloves or the regular artist did. I'm kind of hoping the cover artist did because fingerless spiked gloves fits the glam rock model better.

The Janissary doesn't explain why he took the name in his introductory scene. My guess is that once in junior high, he read a bit about how bad ass they were as a military unit and it stuck with him. So when his life fell apart as an adult and he desperately turned to killing people for money, he recalled the Janissary and took it as his own. It's not like he's made any real effort to model his uniform after them. At least as far as I can tell from the page of images Lord Google dumped in my lap when I did the least amount of research I could possibly do. You know, typing "Janissary uniforms" into Google and glancing quickly at the results.

The Janissary and Deathstork beginning fighting fairly early in the comic. But that's the least interesting part of the book. Eventually you're going to get to a paragraph in this "review" and it will go from me bitching about some minor detail to "Deathstork beats Janissary and we never find out why Janissary chose that stupid name."

By the way, here's a minor detail that bugged the hell out of me:

Did somebody forget they only have one eye?

If you only have one eye, do you blink? Or is just every blink a wink? Or is it the opposite? Can you never actually wink when you have one eye because it's just a blink?

Janissary catches up to Deathstork on a train after their initial fight is interrupted by the police. At one point, Deathstork says, "What did you say your name was again? The Janissary? Let's finish it." How does he ask him that and not ask him why he chose that name?! I'm so angry at Deathstork right now for not sating my curiosity!

Deathstork beats Janissary and we never find out why Janissary chose that stupid name. But Deathstork doesn't kill him so maybe Janissary made another appearance eventually and we learn why he chose it then! Looking him up on the DC Database, this was his only appearance. But apparently the name was taken up by a woman in later years. She's a Muslim woman so in one sense it fits the name better. But in the other sense that The Janissary began as kidnapped Christian boys forced to convert to Islam, it doesn't fit at all!

Deathstork the Terminator #23 Rating: Five Christian boys out of fifteen Muslim boys. I'm not sure what the exchange rate is between Christian and Muslim boys so you're going to have to figure out the math on whether I liked this issue or not. I'm fairly certain you can make a more than educated guess.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Deathstork the Terminator #22

This comic book was popular enough to go biweekly?

There's not way I kept up with this series once it went biweekly. At twenty-one years old, you have a sense to avoid people and things that are trying too hard. Why? I don't know why! I just made that fact up to explain my behavior!

Anyway, I'm fairly certain I purchased one issue of this after this one and gave up on it. Apparently I was beginning to be a discriminating comic book reader! But not that discriminating because I kept buying New Titans.

Deathstork the Terminator #22 Rating: Six corpses out of nine. In this issue, Deathstork kills a bunch of neo-nazis and then kills the government agents behind the recruiting of the neo-nazis. If this were a story out of today's headlines, it would be much better. Where is Deathstork when we truly need him?!

New Titans #97

"Darkening" is a stupid word and its use here makes me think this is a parody comic book.

I think I just hit on why this run of the Titans was so terrible! It was an inadvertent parody comic book. In DC's effort to create their own X-men franchise, they attempted to paste together all the things they thought made the franchise so popular. What they got was a Frankenstein's monster of ideas and poorly written characters. I can't say that the X-men was any better at the time since I didn't read it. But it didn't translate very well to DC's piss poor clone.

If people wonder why I've been conditioned to think Cyborg is boring, Beast Boy is a sexual predator, Nightwing is a whiny asshole, and Starfire is a raging rageaholic, look no further than this series! I read over one hundred issues of this shit for some reason. I think it's because my brain wasn't fully formed! I began reading this comic book at about thirteen. By the time this issue comes out, I'd be twenty-one. I guess my brain was formed enough at this point that I probably should have realized it was terrible. But to be fair to my brain, it was now being inundated with alcohol and LSD. So it was having trouble communicating to me how terrible Marv Wolfman's writing was.

The issue begins with Garfield stealing his father's Mento helmet for The Brotherhood of Evil. They've promised to restore Cyborg in exchange. More like they're probably going to put The Brain inside Cyborg's body! Think these things through, Garfield!

Next, Kory gets angry at Dick because he was raped by Mirage.

Kory is gross.

You might think I'm coloring the past by today's standards but I read this nearly 25 years ago when it was new and it was just as terrible back then. You can't be angry at a guy for liking the rape sex! I don't think. Can you? Now I'm confused. I suppose Kory is masking her victim blaming by taking the whole "you don't love me enough to recognize my vagina" tack which still seems cruel. I'm pretty sure if I was blindfolded and you stuck a bunch of vaginas on my penis, I don't think I'd be able to tell which one was the Non-Certified Spouse's vagina. We should probably test my theory! I wonder if the Non-Certified Spouse would be up for some science this weekend?

Kory decides to break up with Dick while telling him that he deserves to be with his rapist. Stay classy, Starfire!

"If I had a girlfriend like that, I'd totally avoid being raped!"

In all seriousness though (because rape is a serious subject), a guy being fucked by a woman without his consent isn't always the worst thing in the world. Sometimes it's just as bad which is why I'm not supposed to say things like that previous sentence. But sometimes? It's just more sex with women that a guy wasn't expecting! That's nearly always a good thing! I'm speaking from personal experience so you can't attack me for that opinion! Unless I'm just suppressing my pain and anger at waking up to that woman fucking me that one time. No, no. I don't think I am. I'm not suggesting women should use that move though! At least not for a first time. I actually am suggesting that move for people who are already in an intimate relationship because it's pretty hot.

Aw geez. Now Dick's blaming himself! Good fucking job, Kory!

Marv Wolfman has no idea how to deal with rape sensitively! I should know. Have you been reading the way I've been dealing with it?!

So this is how darkening happens! You make deals with criminals to save your best boring friend's life. You get super angry that your boyfriend was fooled into fucking another woman. You get blamed for enjoying the rape sex by your girlfriend! And probably some other things although I don't know if there are really any Titans left after that Titans Hunt story arc. I guess Pantha and Baby Wildebeest?

However much sympathy I had for Dick as his days were beginning to darken, it all went out the window after he calls Alfred to help solve his problems.

"When you talk to her, her head echoes"? Fuck you, Dick! I stand with Kory!

On the next page, Raven decides it's time to take care of Councilwoman Alderman once and for all. So she rapes her. Look, Marv Wolfman wrote this comic book and he called it "The Darkening." Did you expect less rape?

This is how Kory wanted Dick to react, I guess.

Nightwing meets with Speedy (now going by Super Special Secret Sauce Agent Roy Harper of Checkmate) to discuss how the government hates the Titans. I don't blame them. They're almost to issue #100 and I think they've maybe acted heroically about four times? Every other time they're called into action it's simply to defend themselves. The city would be attacked less if they simply moved to the country.

There's a scene in Azarath where the person I thought was Raven stomps on Raven's bones and destroy's Phantasm's mask. So unless it's Evil Raven trying to separate herself from her humanity, I suppose I was wrong about accusing Raven of raping the Councilwoman. I don't remember who this is. I hope they don't spend twenty issues revealing who it is. They already did that bullshit in the Wildebeest story.

Finally, Plasmus reveals the plans of The Brotherhood of Evil. They will use the Mento helmet to revive The Brain and take over the world!

When did Mallah go punk? Or is that New Wave?

New Titans #97 Rating: Zero stars out of one star. You might think that's a better score than zero stars out of a million stars but you'd be wrong. Zero is a funny thing, you know? Nothing in this issue interested me which means it's a mystery as to why I purchased issue #98. I guess because I couldn't not find out how The Darkening ended?! It's so mysterious!

Who thinks anything in comic books is an accurate representation of anything in real life? Paul N. Hicks, I'm shaking my damn head at you from twenty five years in the future.

Team Titans #7

Judging by their horrified expressions, Dick must have gotten a larger collar.

Hey, terrible Internet writers who yammer on about how terrible they are but secretly think they're actually pretty good at writing! You might find some hope in the way Marv Wolfman begins this comic book:

"New York City has been known as The Big Apple. And as such, it has its occasional worm!"

I think the exclamation point after worm really sells the line, making it seem like Marv Wolfman is standing right next to me nudging me with his elbow going, "See? See what I did there! See?"

Now, if Marv Wolfman can make a career out of schlock lines like that, who's to say you, terrible Internet writer, can't make a career of it as well?!

I know. I shouldn't be criticizing Marv Wolfman. The man is a legend in the field of comic books! And rightly so because get a load of the title of this issue: "The Darkening Night, Part One: Heroes Aren't Born, They're Unmade!" Wait, what?

I'm embarrassed that I was reading this at 21. Don't purposefully misunderstand me like everybody on the Internet makes a career of doing all the time with everybody else on the Internet! I don't mean I'm embarrassed because I was 21 and reading comic books. I'm not even completely embarrassed that I read this comic book. I'm embarrassed that after reading this comic book, I still picked up Team Titans #8!

Jimenez drew this guy perfectly seeing as how his big line is "Here's yer show-biz right here. I'm Arnold an' I'm gonna terminate ya! Ha ha ha!"

The other gang members aren't much better with their threats.

So basically he's threatening to shoot her through the cheek?

After Nightwing beats up the thugs and flees the scene, the bystanders sodomize the criminals.

"Whatever we want"?! Is that guy crazy? He's in New York, not Texas!

Nightwing gets a major boner beating up criminals and rushes off to find Mirage's vagina and/or butthole. That sounds like the kind of thing I'd generally make up because I think it's funny but when Marv Wolfman is actually writing it, it's kind of creepy.

Maybe I should take a closer look at what I find humorous!

Most of the issue is spent acclimating the Team Titans to school in 1993 (they're from 2003 so it's super different! Also they're from an alternate timeline so, you know, super different!). Some down time is spent on the Troy-Long farm that's mostly just to show that Mirage and Nightwing love to fuck. They fuck so much that Terra is all, "I want to fuck an old man too!" And you know where that leads! More time travel and statutory rape! I think. Understanding DC continuity is harder than understanding why Lost thought John Locke's character arc should be a circle going from loser back to loser.

I don't know why I brought up Lost after all these years. I think I might be bitter. Or it might be because it's on my mind having purchased the Lost board game at an old junk shop a few weeks ago.

The Darkening of the title must refer to the spooky person hunting down future Nightwing to turn him into Deathwing. Since there's only one spooky person in the Titan's universe, it must be some crazy ass version of Raven.

Oh, I shouldn't forget to mention that Battalion swears a lot and continues to try to be the next big character hit sensation of the 90s. He's obviously a tryhard attempt at creating magic with the fans. Too bad Marv Wolfman didn't realize in 1993 that what fans really wanted was a teenage boy who was killed and then resurrected to be super angry about the way Batman didn't bring him back to life. A young kid who felt unloved and was super rebelling against his parental figure? Angst-ridden teens eat that shit up!

Team Titans #7 Rating: Some stars out of more stars than that, maybe even double as many. I can't judge this book by how heroic the Team Titans acted since they aren't technically a superhero team (despite their name!). Their mission to the past is over and now, like every other teen in 1993, they just need to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. My prediction is they're going to get darkened!