Saturday, June 30, 2012

Justice League International #10

Should I even read this comic? Are the JLI just going to get beaten down again?

The Justice League International return from their vacation in Paris because New York is in trouble again. On the first page, August General in Iron gives a bio of all of his teammates.
Batman. Quiet. Determined. Driven.
Booster Gold. Irreverent. Brash. Leader-in-training.
Godiva. Lacks confidence. Secretive. A dark past.
Batwing. Enigmatic. Guarded. Cautious.
Guy Gardner. Forceful. Arrogant. Tries to hid the fact that he cares.
O.M.A.C. Young man in a monster's body--a breath away from losing control.
Here's my description of the team:
Batman. Competent. Intelligent. Bad-ass.
Booster Gold. Sell out. Failure. Not Batman.
Godiva. Creepy power. Boobs. Not Batman.
Batwing. Doing Batman a favor by associating with this team. Kind of Batman.
Guy Gardner. Green Lantern. Once knocked out by Batman in one punch.
O.M.A.C. Series canceled. Sucked Batman's dick to make the team.

How many issues before "the prospect of failure" simply become "failure"? I think it happened three issues back.

Guy Gardner is a bit upset that they had to go to France for no reason at all. I tend to agree with him. I'm pretty sure the Firestorms had things in hand. And they succeeded even after having to fight the JLI and the Rogue Firestorms.

If the Eiffel Tower was destroyed, how will comic book readers know when characters are in France?! It had to be saved!

Everyone had to rush back to New York immediately due to an emergency in New York. But once they get back, they have a little time off to visit their friends in the hospital. Guy Gardner visits Ice while August General in Iron somehow narrates the scene. Guy claims responsibility for whatever relationship they had in The New 52 falling apart. Big surprise there! Oh, but Ice is still in a coma so does that apology count?

David (Batwing) visits Mari (Vixen) in her hospital room where she claims she may never walk again. Who cares? She'll still be able to fly, right?

She must be delirious from the morphine. The world needs a team that gets its ass beat every mission? Hell, they get their asses beat when they're not even on missions!

The only reason the world would need the JLI is if the normal Justice League were too busy. I think the Justice League International needs to find their place and fight threats that are far less dangerous than the threats they've faced so far. Skeets needs to start running programs that estimate the danger of each threat. Then he can tell if the JLI should be called or everyone should just wait for the Justice League to take care of it.

Booster Gold and Godiva visit Bea (Fire) who is also in a coma. They nearly wind up making out on top of Fire. They don't, though, because instead of going for it, Godiva says, "Awkwaaaaaard." I think I remember the exact same scene between Booster and Beetle in Giffen's Justice League.

August General in Iron tries to convince OMAC that living like a monstrous freak has its good points. Most of those good points have to do with smashing other people's faces. But OMAC is more concerned about getting some poontang sometime in the future. I'm not sure why he's so concerned. There must be a group of women (and men) who would be more than happy to fuck a monster.

While they're talking, Batman drops out of the sky the way he does and tells them that the Justice League's monitors have detected Lightweaver's energy signature leaving New York and heading for Washington. So why doesn't the Justice League take care of it? Is it because Wonder Woman is on her Hell Honeymoon and Hal Jordan is in space and Barry Allen is in Gorilla City and Superman is, well, I think Superman is currently available. And Cyborg doesn't have anything better to do! I think they're all just too embarrassed to be seen with the Justice League.

When The Burners (that's the name of the terrorist group that killed Rocket Red and put Fire, Ice, and Vixen in refrigerators the hospital) begin their attack on Washington, the JLI are there to beat them up try not to get beaten up by them!

Look at how the industrialist billionaire deflects the subject by kicking him in the face! Typical fascist bully boy!

The JLI take out each member of The Burners one by one.

Oh, Godiva. So naive. Have you forgotten what comic book you're in? Just give it a few more pages.

Godiva and Batwing take out that guy who I don't know by name. August General in Iron takes out Lightweaver. Booster Gold takes out Breakdown. The only one left is Intersek (hee hee), the girl who looks like a pink Firstorm wearing Rogue's jacket.

Can anyone guess what is about to happen? Yeah, yeah. One character takes out the entire Justice League International in a few pages.

Intersek (hee hee hee) can "intercept any signal [and] alter any form of communication that emanates from or is received by a mechanical object. Including the fiberweave circuitry of a uniform or power ring." In other words, she can use Booster Gold's suit and Guy Gardner's ring against them. And once again, the entire Justice League International is brought down and should all be killed. But The Burners are dumber than the JLI because they decide not to kill everyone immediately (at least kill Batman!)! No, Breakdown has a better plan for next issue (which will cause him to lose everything because earlier in this issue, Batman did some detective work! Which means he knew about Intersek (hee hee hee hee). Which means they're all faking being unconscious! Right?).

Breakdown apparently has super strength as well as the power to make things decay and recay.

Justice League International #10 Rating: -1 Ranking. If the JLI are faking because Batman did his detective work, then this comic deserves a -1 ranking for the whole "it was all part of the plan" garbage cliche plot. If the JLI really did get taken down by these jerks, the comic deserves a -1 Ranking. Any thing I type here means the Justice League International deserves a -1 Ranking. Why do they suck so badly? Why does Jurgens insist on writing them this way? Give them some fucking dignity already!

Worlds' Finest #2

Is Hakkou committing The Angry Dragon on Power Girl?

Last issue, I assumed that Power Girl and The Huntress made it to Earth 1 via Mister Terrific's Quantum Tunnel Backwash. But he appeared on Earth 2 in Earth 2 #2 in a totally different Quantum Tunnel. My suspicion now is that Steppenwolf tried to escape using a Boom Tube as all of the Parademon Control Towers were crashing from Batman's virus. This caused the Boom Tube to malfunction and open up in Earth 1 instead of Apokolips. Perhaps he's the "deadly threat from Earth 2" mentioned on this cover. Or perhaps that's someone else. But five years later on Earth 2 and nobody has found Steppenwolf, it makes sense that he'd be on Earth 1. And Power Girl and The Huntress will be the only ones to hunt him down because he's probably masquerading as a powerful business person whom the law can't touch.

Back to the action, Hakkou beats the crap out of Power Girl. He must be pretty tough to go toe to toe against Power Girl and remain standing. But he's really super duper tough since Power Girl tries to punch him and is blasted by his radioactive whatever, knocking her out cold. The Huntress mostly stood back during the fight telling Power Girl what to do. That didn't work so she resorts to her only other option: her crossbow.

Well some one just did hurt your best friend. What you probably mean, technically, is nobody hurts your best friend and gets away with it.

The Huntress's crossbow bolt pierces the side of Hakkou's head. He goes rampaging off in pain, breaking through walls as if they were built in Gotham City. I don't know if the pain was caused by the bolt short-circuiting his armor or if the bolt pierced his brain or if the bolt was an electro-bolt. It could be any one of those. Whatever it was, it worked. And now Power Girl and The Huntress are going to have to figure out who sent this guy to destroy their way back to Earth 2. I bet it was Steppenwolf!

The only part of France that exists in the DCnU is the area surrounding the Eiffel Tower.

It's flashback time! Once Helena arrived on Earth 1, she immediately burned her Robin Suit. Finally a place where she doesn't have to exist as that embarrassment! No wonder she doesn't want to go back. Nobody wants to be Robin! But Kara's suit wouldn't burn. Also, a fabulous belt that they found amidst the ruins of the Bat Plane and other detritus that came through with them wouldn't burn. But they don't know who the belt belonged to or if anyone came through with them. I bet the Belt belonged to Catwoman and she left it in the Batplane Cockpit. Or, you know, maybe it's Steppenwolf's.

Power Girl and The Huntress follow Hakkou's trail of radiation across Japan intent on capturing him and finding out who he works for. While they're busy, some guy at the Gotham City Bank has noticed some odd withdrawals from a certain Bat-Account.

Do you think Used Car Salesman in Gotham City dress up like The Batman or The Joker for their crazy adverts?

Joker Salesman: "Our prices our insane!"
Bat Salesman: "I beat the bad guys and my competitor's prices."
Penguin Salesman: "I kill the competition!" And then he actually kills the competition on camera because he's really The Penguin taking over the Used Car Business Territory in Gotham.

Meanwhile, Power Girl and The Huntress find Hakkou at another reactor eating up fuel rods. Maybe this guy is just cleaning up the Fukushima mess? Or maybe he's not since he shows he knew what he destroyed in Karen's lab was a gateway. And his fighting style reminds Huntress of the Apokolips warriors. And he does kind of look like a Parademon. But no answers are divulged in this issue because Power Girl gets her ass kicked yet again. Probably because she tries to fight him the same way she did earlier and he just blasts her yet again with his super powerful radiation. Which, once again, leaves The Huntress standing alone against him.

If anyone can defeat a super power radioactive monster, it's Batman's daughter. Right?

Worlds' Finest #3 Rating: No change. Not a whole lot happened this month. Well, Power Girl lost two fights in a row. That's pretty embarrassing. That's probably why she was in Justice League International so many years ago. And someone is finally realizing that The Huntress is stealing Batman's money. I hope the bank reports it and Bruce Wayne ends up just shrugging his shoulders and telling the bank he authorized the withdrawals because Bruce should already know about the thefts. And all about the woman stealing the money. But he might not know that it's his daughter from another version of him's penis.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Green Arrow #10

So he's been cornered by the editors at DC Comics?

Hopefully this issue of Green Arrow will have a blurb describing what's been happening. The only thing I remember is Green Arrow had sex with three women at once (triplets!) and Green Arrow never did recover that Polar Bear he was looking for. Oh! Speaking of Polar Bears! Join me in the next paragraph for a little bit of Lost (the television show) talk!

Everybody here? Great. Okay. I've mention before in these commentaries and to every bum on every street in Portland that would stay still long enough to hear me rant about it that the island in Lost was meant to be Purgatory. The writers and creators have all denied it but the whole fucking show makes complete sense if only they hadn't abandoned that story because too many people on the internet guessed it. Don't worry, I"m getting to the Polar Bear.

So, the Island was Purgatory. Don't spit on me for my horrible research but the following quote is from Wikipedia: "In addition to accepting the states of heaven and hell, Catholicism envisages a third state before being admitted to heaven. According to Catholic doctrine, some souls are not sufficiently free from the temporal effects of sin and its consequences to enter the state of heaven immediately, nor are they so sinful as to be destined for hell either." The Others were these souls. The passengers on the plane were also these souls. The ones that died outright were instantly sent to Heaven or Hell. The ones like Jack and Kate and Sawyer who were stuck on the island were yet to be free of the "temporal effects of sin." This is why the show was set up the way it was set up. We flashback to their lives when they were alive and the reasons that they ended up in Purgatory. Then on the Island, we see them enduring punishments or redeeming themselves and moving beyond the attitudes and personality traits, the flaws, that caused them to sin in the first place.

The Others are souls that don't want to play the fucking game. So they want to kidnap the best people on the island, the ones most easily redeemed or with the greatest amount of (for lack of a better term) "good". They have some means by which they can siphon off this good for themselves and thus enter Heaven quicker.

Now, Lost didn't get that far into the Purgatory plot. But most of what it did, it was heading toward that revelation. But most of all, they wanted Walt because Walt could do things with his mind. How this would help them, I don't know. But Walt had the ability to create things as seen in his old life in Australia when he's looking at the bird book and then that same bird crashes into the window. And then on the island, he's reading one of Hugo's Spanish Green Lantern comic books featuring a Polar Bear. And, lo and behold, a Polar Bear is on the island! It's created by Walt.

Of course, after Walt grew too much to keep him in the series and the plot changed course, the Polar Bear came from a zoo on the island. Don't get me wrong! I like a lot of what the series did after they changed course! But stop fucking denying that the island was Purgatory, fellas.

And in summation, I have no idea why Green Arrow wanted that Polar Bear!

This issue begins with a woman in love with cars trying to kill herself by riding a motorcycle off of a bridge. I've probably driven over that bridge but I'm really bad with my Seattle Locations Knowledge. Oh, and it also begins with a summary of what's been going on!

If you can't read that, it's okay. It's complete bullshit.

The woman Green Arrow just rescued is pissed off that he saved her from dying. She declares she's a robot and there isn't any law against a robot killing itself. Even if their is a law against a robot (or a human!) killing itself, it's a stupid fucking law!

Suicidal Suicider: "I felt like ending it all but I was afraid if I got caught, I might have to pay a fine or do some jail time."

Have you ever met one of T.O. Morrow's androids? Or Doctor Magnus's Metal Men? Free will all over the Goddamned place. And even if she is a robot without free will, maybe she was programmed to kill herself! I now know Green Arrow isn't a robot because he's dumber than an Atari 2600.

I really don't think she is a robot so Green Arrow is correct about her being human. But he just had a lucky guess. She, on the other hand, is a logic spewing firecracker! Which might mean she's a robot! Or a Vulcan!

I want to die every time I read Ollie's comic book adventures!

Psycho Pauline bashes her face against a wall and knocks herself unconscious so Ollie takes her to the hospital. At the hospital, they find wire filaments embedded under her skin and a bar code tattoo on the bottom of her foot. The bar code has the name of a company: Nacrotics. That's the stupidest name of a company I've every heard! It sounds like they sell drugs made from corpses. While they examine her, she comes to and begins TMIing all over the place.


The next day, Oliver Queen heads off to find this Nacrotics place to take a look at the robots and maybe purchase one. Or all of them. The salesman tells Ollie that each Robot is based on a real person. I'm thinking the guy digs up bodies and moves the personalities into the robots. So it's a kind of Robot Purgatory! And the guy named his business Nacrotics because Necrotic (Necro + Robitcs) is already a word and a dead give away to what he's doing. So Nacrotics with an "a" and then people read it and think "Narcotics" first!

Oliver Green visits Suicidal Pauline's parents to discover she was adopted. But she was young and has grown, so how could she possibly be a robot? This looks like a job for Green Arrow! He heads back to confront the Nacrotics guy.

Green Arrow the Detective: "I'll interview the parents first and then I'll...fuck this! Detective work is hard! I'll just go back to the Robot Store and demand the truth!"

But he doesn't get the truth. He just gets into a big fight with a bunch of robots. Or a bunch of people who think they're robots. Or a bunch of robots who think they're people. But when Pauline shows up and threatens him with his life, he spills the cogs.

Sir, you cannot disconnect from life and still enjoy it. If you want to disconnect, you aren't enjoying it anyway. See the problem?

So this jerk developed a chip that limits a person's emotions. And, I guess, it takes their free will away and tells them what to do. He says he "removes the anxiety of free will." No, you remove anxiety. The two don't necessarily go hand in hand. And free will is just an illusion anyway. If two roads diverge into a yellow wood, you're going to take the path you fucking take. It's a choice in one moment and then inevitable a few moments later because you've chosen. Don't fucking stress over it, robot people.

Maybe this story is a criticism of the status quo? Or maybe it's a criticism of robotics? Or maybe it's just a not very elegantly done minor story modeled off of any one of Philip K. Dick's books.

Oh! The company name was "Nacrotics" because it's basically a Robot Narcotic dulling the senses of the individual undergoing the process!

Green Arrow #10 Rating: No change. This wasn't a bad story. But it was handled amateurishly. She seems to have more than enough writing credits to her name to be submitting something this sloppy. Perhaps the deadline for the story rushed Ann Nocenti through the process and she didn't give this story the proper attention it needed. It definitely could have used two issues at least and been a little more subtle and a little more focused as to its point. Having the guy confess everything when he's threatened to be killed effectively just drops the whole synopsis and idea of the story on a single page. That needs to be stretched out and told through dialogue and action, not instant summary. But Green Arrow isn't dropping in the ranks this month because the gem of the idea could have worked.

Animal Man #10

When I look at this cover, "Who Wants To Live Forever?" plays in my mind. This is one of the least convoluted connections my mind tends to make so I'll explain it (many of you possibly beat me to it and don't need this explanation): Queen did the music for the movie Flash Gordon. Just before ordering the Hakwmen to attack, the lead Hawkman, Mr. Feathers, says, "Who wants to live forever?" And thus the Queen song playing in my head.

The above caption is a good example of why knowing things is better than Googling things. When you know things, your brain connects everything to everything else. By only being curious about things that involve you and your narcissism, you quickly become a one-dimensional Googling machine that needs to access the Hive Mind for the answer to anything you come across. But that answer is ephemeral and insubstantial and of the moment. Without retaining it to use later, it means nothing. You, in effect, become a Future Retard.

When I last was hanging out with Animal Man, we were drinking fuckin' PBRs and running around in the fucking Red. It was amazing. He was all, "Dude! Check out that fuckin' island of Rot! It's literally killing this place!" And I was all, "Hells yeah! Totes, mo fo mo mo!" And then he was all, "Whoa, wait a second. I gotta rock some fuckin' texts to my boys." And I was all, "Coo, coo." And he spat beer out his nose and was all, "Fuck man! I thought I was Animal Man! You fuckin' channelin' a pigeon, bitch?!" And then this Goat guy hangin' with us and sportin'' this rippin' big amazing beard was all:

"SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU MORONS!" And he literally killed me.

Which meant Animal Man and the Goat Guardian were left to deal with the Island of Rot infestation all by themselves. As Buddy and Goat Guardian smash the Rotlings living on the island, Goat Guardian gives Buddy a history lesson just like Socks is currently giving Maxine a history lesson in the real world.

And that's really sort of the last piece of the puzzle on why The Rot has become so powerful.

While Animal Man and Goat Guardian wait for reinforcements (the flying dogs on the cover except live ones), Ellen and Cliff enter a hotel room with John Constantine. That's a phrase that never ends good for anyone except John Constantine. But this time I think it's okay because Xanadu and Zatanna are waiting in the room for everyone.

Is it really rude to stare at a woman who fights evil in her underwear?

After being kicked out of the room where Xanadu's tits are hanging out of her dress and Zatanna's leather pants are riding up her cooch (images and language entirely Cliff's and not mine at all), Cliff heads back to the RV. But on the way, he runs into his dad hanging out between motel units. Well, it's not his dad. It's the fake Buddy Baker. It's Hunter One or Two or Three. I don't remember which one he is.

The feeling this scene gave me is the feeling Swamp Thing was going for. That smile on Fake Buddy's lips. The foreshadowing from the Annual about what The Rot has done to Cliff. It's like the scene in King's novel, Pet Sematary, where the family is having a picnic and enjoying a truly good day and it's all just too good and that knowledge enters at the back of your brain and bores right through to fuck your cerebellum. Because you suddenly know (not guess, not assume, you KNOW) that Gage Creed is going to die. It's like that moment in television series, The Walking Dead, when the barn has been emptied and everyone hears one more zombie beginning to shuffle out. And it all comes crashing in and you suddenly know and the air leaves your lungs and you quietly mutter, "Oh shit." It's like that. But here. In one page.

I've been a bit hard on Animal Man for being a quick read from month to month. That the plot was sort of meandering and not going anywhere. But most of what came before helps to create this moment. All the casual time spent with Buddy and Maxine and Ellen and Cliff help to make this moment of inevitability that much more tragic.

Here's Cliff. Here's the danger. And nobody's there to help.

Back in The Red, Goat Guardian and Buddy Baker get a lift from the Dog Warriors to the Totem's castle. That's what's happening on the cover but much less aggressively!

Animal Man is still being schooled on The Red.

At the motel, Xanadu explains to Ellen that she had a vision of the end of the world where just Ellen and Maxine were left. And she explains that it's Ellen's fault that things turned out this way. Ellen doesn't want to listen and storms out of the room.

And he doesn't mean Swamp Thing. Seriously. He says so himself after Ellen leaves. So he must mean Frankenstein. Or Hulk!

Ellen tears out of the parking lot in anger when her mother says, "Where's Cliff?"

Yeah? Maybe he's off masturbating to the image of Xanadu's boobs hanging out of her Power Girl imitation dress.

Buddy Baker finally gains entrance to the Totems and they're a little bit pissed off at him for failing. They tell him he can't return to his body because one of The Hunters is currently using it. And the Hunter has Cliff. Now Buddy is even more desperate to get back to save Cliff and protect his family. And while the Totems would rather construct a new Champion to protect Maxine, they don't have time. Socks the Cat can't protect Maxine unless they attack with laser pointers and catnip mice. So they decide to construct a new body for Buddy Baker! I can't wait to see it. I hope it's cute!

Animal Man #10 Rating: +1 Ranking. I think the comic has found its pace. Now I can only hope the editors at DC don't fuck up the story by demanding silly crossovers. If Frankenstein is who Constantine was talking about (who else could it be? J'onn J'onzz? Green Lantern?), then that crossover is fine because both books are written by Lemire. He's already had Franky investigating the hunters in Frank's own book. And, yeah, that story sucked. But I'm going to remain optimistic!

Swamp Thing #10

How bloody can it really get? Arcane's fighting a plant.

Well, it's bloody because Anton Arcane has just tortured the reader nearly to death. Well, not the reader. The listener because Anton is telling a story about Abigail Arcane to the victim at his feet. But I said the reader because the comic is from the point of view of Arcane's soon-to-be-dead victim.
This is how Abigail's story begins.

This is making me suspect Anton is Abigail's father and grandfather.

While Anton tells his story (which really doesn't tell much of anything new except that part there where Abby killed her mother), Abigail drives Swamp Thing back to the swamp where he can recuperate. But that's where Anton is waiting. He senses she has arrived and cuts his story short.

Is that it? Am I dead now? Is that all there is? Can I keep reading? What's the protocol here?

Abby and Alec pull up to Abby's old Swamp Mansion. She leads him out back into the swamp where she notices a small grove of saplings. Alec explains that they're the Parliament of Trees; he pulled their essence out of the earth and brought it here once he's was fully transformed into the Swamp Thing. Alec then warns Abby that once he lies down in the swamp to heal, he won't be able to wake up if she needs him. Uh oh. Because I think she's going to need him as soon as he falls asleep.

I've got just about every other combination of person kissing person, so I figured I should post woman kissing plant for all of your Floraphiles.

Or maybe Swampy will need Abby's help as soon as he closes his eyes! Anton Arcane goes after Swamp Thing first. He tells him he wants him awake to see what he's going to do to Abby. And then the scene cuts to inside the mansion. Abby hears a noise and pulls her gun. But it's no help. Her house is filled with Un-Men, Anton's beast friends. And Anton enters soon after.

I wish this were somehow truly terrifying.

Swamp Thing #10 Rating: No change. This story will probably play out much better in a collected trade. But in the single issue, it was flat and boring because nothing really happened. As I said in the previous caption, I wish it were scary. I think the mood is supposed to be creepy and tense and unheimlichy. But the art was flat and monotone. Probably on purpose to set the mood and tone but since I felt like the mood failed, the story didn't do anything for me. But the comic isn't bad at all, so I won't drop it a rank. Maybe I should have read it in a dark room with creepy noises after having dropped acid.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stormwatch #10

The weirdest thing about the creature attacking Apollo is its haircut.

Stormwatch is currently researching Super Heroes. After Red Lanterns #10, they feel like they've got a pretty good handle on ways to defeat Green Lantern. Now they're investigating the other big names. If Stormwatch is so good at watching and controlling everything, they should have already stolen all of the information Voodoo stole from the Black Razors about the super heroes. Maybe the Eye of the Storm, Stormwatch Headquarters and a Daemonite ship with a Daemonite A.I., has been protecting Voodoo from the prying eyes of Stormwatch. But since they don't have access to every form of media anymore because Harry Tanner kidnapped The Projectionist, the team needs to hit the streets to do their research.

In the middle of a spat about secrets while researching Superman's secret identity in Metropolis, Apollo and Midnighter are interrupted by The Engineer to declare there is trouble in France. Apollo's spandex is bunched up about all the secrets going on. Perhaps he has never come out to his family, so the whole secret organization and secret identity crap is weighing heavily on him since he's also living a secret sexual life. Although, it could just be that Apollo is the bright light, day, optimistic and open side of the duo, so secrets just rub him the wrong way. But that's the kind of rubbing Midnighter likes, being the dark, dirty, realistic, shadowy half of the pair.

An archaeologist in Northern France has dug up a strange, futuristic device in an 18th century battlefield.

I see he's a fan of David Graves.

As he's examining it, he presses a button and the device zaps the fuck out of him. It probably turns him into some rampaging creature (like the one with the bad hair on the cover?!) but the comic cuts away to Stormwatch coming out of a Teleport Door nearby. Although two hours after the archaeologist is zapped.

My guess is this guy unwittingly activated a phreno-module! Although that hasn't happened in 250 years!

Oops. I meant 248 years! By the way, what the fuck is a phreno-module?

As you can see, I'm pretending to know stuff I only really know by having already read it. It's a trick that a lot of people use, like those jerks who pretend to talk to the dead and psychic phone advisers. I mean psychic advisers you talk to over the phone, not psychics who advise phones of their love lives.

I also could pretend I know what a phreno-module might be but I only know the prefix phreno from phrenology which is, I think, the study of the head to predict shit or something, like palm reading. Looking up "phreno", I see it also means diaphragm! That's confusing!

Doctor: "I'm sorry but you've got a severe case of Phrenoitis."
Patient: "Oh my God, Doctor! Will I lose my uterus?"

Okay, that was a bad example since the patient in my little play didn't know any meaning of phreno. But I bet if I keep reading Stormwatch instead of rambling like an idiot, Peter Milligan will tell me exactly what the Phreno-Module does! I bet it turns people into raging black skeletons with bad hair cuts!

That guess wasn't as surefire as it may have seemed! DC rarely gets the cover art correct.

While Apollo keeps this creature busy, Midnighter searches for the phreno-module that created it. The P-Module was created for an older version of Stormwatch in a time of crisis. That's what Engineer says and it doesn't really explain anything about the stupid things. How about some useful information, Nanotits?

Midnighter finds the P-Module but he gets too close to it even though Engineer specifically told him, "Don't get too close to it!" The Phreno part of the P-Module seems to have to do more with the mind than the diaphragm because Midnighter starts flashing back to being abused as a child and then he completely freaks the fuck out. Do I use that phrase too much? I'm going to make it my catch phrase.

Meanwhile somewhere under Antarctica, Harry Tanner and The Projectionist are making their first appearances since they disappeared in Stormwatch #5 (or #6. Or somewhere around there).

You can tell it's Antarctica because penguins are watching instead of snow bunnies. Also, the tag that says, "Antarctica."

I wonder if Harry Tanner knew the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.? He's lucky his base wasn't destroyed when NOWHERE's headquarters blew up and everyone escaped by tunneling through the Earth in every direction.

Harry Tanner has a pet project he's working on to destroy Stormwatch. I forget exactly why he wants to kill them. Maybe because he's just a power hungry liar who made a deal with some moon beast and then stole the creature's knowledge to help him defeat everything. The Projectionist doesn't really want to help him but she wants to die even less. So, you know, she teams up.

Meanwhile in Iron Heights Penitentiary, I'm reminded why I love writers like Peter Milligan. The Fox is busy mumbling to himself about the moon. Remember The Fox? He was the guy The Projectionist pinned all of the weird moon nonsense on. He had a single panel back in Stormwatch #2 where Booster Gold was busting his ass. I really liked the idea because Stormwatch was manipulating the heroes of Earth in ways they barely even noticed in order to keep themselves secret. But The Fox was now wrongly imprisoned by real super heroes that think they're helping keep the world safe. It's all such a clusterfuck and a conspiracy theorist's wet dream. And the fact that Peter Milligan remembered and decided to use that throwaway panel with the big idea is what great writers do.

Great writers: Turning obscure moments in comics into major plot points.

After Harry Tanner breaks The Fox out of prison, the action returns to France to find out what the P-Module did to Midnighter. I bet whatever it did, it will somehow prove that Apollo was right that secrets are bad news!

Midnighter is struggling to keep control as the P-Module accesses his inner demons when Jenny Quantum enters.

Even to Apollo? Maybe that's why Apollo's been so pissy this issue.

Jenny Quantum: Deus Ex Machina. But in a fun, light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek way.

Shutting down the machine also shuts down the Archaeological Monstrosity. They take him back up to the Eye of the Storm to examine him before setting him loose back on Earth. The only side effect from the experience is a 68% greater chance that he'll develop paranoid schizophrenia. Oh, okay. No big deal! Everything is good.

Engineer also reveals that she knows more about the history of Stormwatch than she's been letting on.

Apollo must have been studying up on his Stormwatch history as well since he joined five minutes ago.

When Stormwatch went public, it was a disaster. Nations fought over whose side Stormwatch was really on. I'll let The Engineer do all the 'splainin'.

Who is Helix Bubble Head?

Please. Remembered history is the easiest thing to change!

Looks like I was wrong about Midnighter learning a lesson about the danger of keeping secrets. It looks like Apollo is going to learn a lesson about why secrets are sometimes necessary. But I now think Apollo is angry at Midnighter for keeping a secret from him. He'll probably tell Midnighter in the last few pages and then Midnighter will do that thing he never does: apologize.

Oh, looks like my first supposition from the beginning was correct.

And Midnighter's fatal flaw is he can't be emotionally close and give Apollo the great big hug Apollo needs right now. Awww.

Stormwatch #10 Rating: +2 Ranking. I think Peter Milligan taking over Stormwatch has been a great success. He hasn't come on the book and changed everything. He's using what Paul Cornell and Paul Jenkins wrote before and weaving it into his stories. And he's doing it really well. Characters in Stormwatch (and this goes for all three writers that have worked on this title) can easily become flat and one-dimensional but this hasn't happened. Their group dynamic just continues to get better. I really like this group. Oh, and they're from the Wildstorm Universe, so, yeah, I can like Wildstorm characters too! Just write them well and I'm on board!

Red Lanterns #10

Last issue I thought The Red Lanterns were ready for a plot. But now they've been distracted by Stormwatch! Good going, Apollo and Midnighter!

While the Red Lanterns, once again, fight amongst themselves (although this time in space since the planet Ysmault is breaking up beneath them), Atrocitus heads off on his own special mission to find Abysmus. He feels an energy that seems to be the warped, strange energy of his first, mutated and retarded Red Lantern.

Atrocitus rages his way into Hyperspace.

Atrocitus finds the Eye of the Storm hidden away in Hyperspace by vomiting on Physics and raging against Reality. That anger can really take you places!

I think the simple fact that you're ship is already sitting in hyperspace fucks up Minkowski's Law of Spacetime, whatever that is. Besides, Atrocitus is really, really angry!

Hmm, looking up Minkowski, he introduced the term spacetime in 1909. I think he might have missed the part where if you get really, really angry, you can distort space and time, opening a wormhole into an alternate area in space where arrogant assholes live.

Once inside Hyperspace, Atrocitus easily breaks into the Eye of the Storm and begins exploring for the source of the strange Red Lantern power reading.

This looks like a scene from a children's adventure story. Dibs! I'm writing The Angry Adventures of Atrocitus and his Kitty Kitty.

Apollo, Midnighter, and Martian Manhnter attack Atrocitus from out of a Teleport Door. Atrocitus is able to stand toe to toe with three of the most powerful super heroes in the universe. Apollo manages to punch him throw a half dozen walls of the Eye of the Storm but it just makes Atrocitus angrier and more powerful. J'onn and Apollo lose sight of Midnighter during the melee but nobody's really too worried about what Midnighter might be up to.

Best fight so far in The New 52! Even though it makes me sad.

Meanwhile, J'onn does one of his Spockian mind melds on Atrocitus and discovers Atrocitus' history: how his family and people were massacred by the Manhunters, how the Guardians of the Universe are complete pricks (as are the Green Lantern Corps), and how Abysmus is killing the Red Lanterns. J'onn tried to convince Atrocitus that Stormwatch has nothing to do with any of this and then Atrocitus senses the Red Power Ring of Skallox on board!

With Atrocitus' help (or rage. Or something), Skallox's ring breaks free and returns to him. He attacks but Engineer opens a Door which he flies through. She suggests Atrocitus follow after him which he does. But he does so angrily!

What about Dex Starr?! Don't forget kitty!

On the other side of the Door, Skallox rages and Atrocitus tries to calm him down since the Red Lanterns only have a limited amount of time. Acting rationally and coolly, Atrocitus is losing himself piece by piece. And then Dex Starr is flung out of the Door, probably by that jerk Midnighter. Atrocitus convinces Skallox that they need to find Abysmus fast or the Red Lanterns will be dead in mere days.

Meanwhile, the other Red Lanterns are descending on the planet of the Star Sapphires.

Bleez believes the Star Sapphires are behind the poisoning of the Red Lantern Battery.

I'm not sure why Bleez thinks the Star Sapphires are to blame for the poisoned battery. I probably missed something somewhere. But it makes sense since every other Lantern Corps is facing a possible extinction event except the Star Sapphires. I mentioned that they were probably getting a free pass because the Zamarrons are the ex-wives of the Guardians and why would the Guardians want to poke that beehive? But here it is! The Star Sapphires big problem: the Red Lantern Corps itself! Anger versus Love! I bet this conflict ends in an orgy.

Red Lanterns #10 Rating: +1 Ranking. I think a lot of weird, wacky stuff happened in this issue that I enjoyed. I also think I've come to grips with the Red Lantern Corps never quite having a coherent plot or mission. They should be ruled by their anger and just fly the handle at any little provocation. Which is really what Atrocitus has been doing from issue to issue. I think Milligan is writing an issue and then rereading it and thinking, "What in this would really piss off Atrocitus?", and then he moves the story in that direction. From the beginning, I wondered how you write a story about a bunch of raging, incoherent monsters that mostly just fight amongst themselves. And I finally have come around. Milligan is doing this thing absolutely right.