Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Superman #9

Why is Superman saving a sub? Where the fuck is Aquaman? Next time an asteroid is about to strike the Earth, Supes gonna have to take a back seat and let Aquaman deal with that shit.

You know why old people hate the young? It's never anything personal. It's just that youth is a standing wave which we all pass through. So once you've passed through that wave and are on the downslope to the grave, you have to constantly be reminded of youth by those currently at the peak of the wave. It's just like at the top of a roller coaster. Their arms are up and they're screaming and making a ruckus and having a fucking grand old time of it all. Meanwhile, the old guys are getting off the ride and looking back at every car going down that first magnificent hill. And you resent every single one of those bastards for all of the potential they have. They have yet to go around that track. Every corner is new. Every regret in the future.

Not that I'm old. Well, I'm old in the eyes of that twelve year old boy that wanted to stay twelve forever. I remember walking past a house on Homestead just before you got to Scott Blvd. in Santa Clara with the address of 1983. It was the same as the year at the time and as I walked along, the numbers steadily increased. And I thought about how fascinating the year 2000 would be! And then I did the math, realized I would be right on the verge of 30 at that time, and decided 1983 was good enough. Fuck the future!

Superman didn't remind me of any of this! I started playing Lily Allen before sitting down and she sang the lyrics, "And I'm only twenty-two." Age is an interesting thing. When I was in college in my early twenties, I began watching Sailor Moon. And I loved it because it brought me back to being that young. One secret about getting older is that you never actually lose the way you felt at every age. So when an old man kind of crushes on a fifteen year old, it's generally because he can remember being that fifteen year old and not because he's a drastic pervert. Although that scenario exists too!

The scenario also exists that maybe the old man is in love with a young girl who is actually an ancient vampire who he fell in love with as a young boy. Yeah, that's the plot of Let the Right One In, probably the best and creepiest vampire movie I've ever seen. This was remade into the American Version, Let Me In. But that one isn't subtle and graceful and, I think, loses the creep factor. I highly recommend watching it twice, directly one after another if you can stand it. I'm going to spoil it now so I can discuss it, so go watch it before reading the next paragraph or just skip the next paragraph altogether and I'll get to Superman there.

Let the Right One In can be seen as a cute story of a boy falling in love with a strange girl. I'm sure many people watch it and feel happy about the sweet relationship building between these two characters. But this, maybe more than any other movie I've seen, is a terrific example of child abuse. This is not a little girl. It is an ancient vampire using and manipulating this boy because she knows she needs a new handler, if not now, soon. Her current handler, an aging man, must have gone through this exact ritual decades prior. These are not two young children falling in love. This is an old vampire manipulating a young boy into emotions that will bond him to her for years. He doesn't realize it yet but he'll be providing the blood for her in the years to come, going out and killing to keep his "love" alive. It is not a happy ending at all when they're seen taking the train to some new place and they're playing their Morse Code game on the side of the box. Just brilliantly done.

So, Superman is back in Metropolis! Let's see what he's up to! Oh! He's underwater trying to rescue a crashed Russian Submarine!

Thanks, Conan!

It must be a female submarine. Okay, everybody raise their hands if that slang for that body part makes the bile rise in their throats a little bit?

Superman gets personal with the submarine. And then he "fixes" it!

Apparently the Russians are up to no good because they're afraid that if Superman finds out what they're doing down there, he'll kill them all anyway! Those Russians must have heard a lot of bad propaganda about Superman! He wouldn't kill them at all. Maybe he'd put them in the Forbidden Zone though.

Walker, Texas Ranger?!

I know, I know! He's talking about The Lone Ranger. I placed a Glossary in the Basick Rules for Places and Predators which defines Kemosabe:
Kemosabe: This is an Indian word that means ‘I’m hungry’.
Okay, I'm going to go play Tuesday Call of Duty now. While I'm gone, you can listen to some music. Just read the following line over and over again for about three hours before continuing.

Sun is in the sky oh why oh why would I want to be anywhere else

Anyway, I hope you read that line for 12 hours because that's how long I left this post sitting unfinished. But now I'm ready to concentrate fully on Superman versus the Submarine!

I wonder if this Submarine has a bunch of vampires on it like that episode of Angel! I bet that's what the big secret is. Or maybe it's just full of Pokemon. But we don't find out immediately because as Superman brings the sub to the surface and then goes to open it to check on the sailors, the scene shifts to Lois Lane's office at Planet Galaxy News.

Lois is having a meeting with a blogger named Victor Barnes. He has a wild theory to share with her!

Does Lois keep her cocaine in those earrings?

I really like this take on the secret identity thing. As comic book readers, we're all trained to just imagine a hero has either a secret identity or his persona is known to the public. But why must someone like Superman go about by day pretending to be a normal human? It really doesn't make any sense to just presuppose that! And since Super Heroes are relatively new to the DCnU (about five years since they appeared), the whole idea of secret identities hasn't really been established. And since Superman is alien, nobody imagines that he's been on Earth since he was a baby. This feels like a fresh take to me. I like it.

I can't believe Lois isn't jumping all over this! Didn't she already suspect something between Supes and Clark?

Meanwhile, back at sea, Superman is politely escorted away from the submarine and out of Russian waters by a bunch of military helicopters. Since Superman is Mr. Nice Guy Boy Scout, he leaves without incident. But he knows something is up. He just can't prove it because the sub has too many lead lined chambers inside of it. So he heads home.

Back in Metropolis, some woman with Daddy Issues and super strength and intangibility steals a necklace from a savings deposit box. I don't know who she is. She's probably from Wildstorm since it sounds like she's a good guy with an authority problem. That describes just about everybody from the Wildstorm Universe.

Also back in Metropolis, Victor Barnes sees Superman on television returning from the Bering Strait so he hurries to try to catch him as he gets back to his office building. But he's already there!

Notice all the reader gets to see are the suspect's feet? That means Victor Barnes thinks Superman is somebody else. Maybe Lex Luthor? No, Lex would know someone was secretly taking photos of him and have him killed.

Victor Barnes takes the information to Morgan Edge and Morgan decides to run with Victor's story even though it's mostly conjecture. The only proof Victor really has is that he took a picture of somebody after he noticed Superman was returning to Metropolis! That's some great reporting, sir! But then again, he is just a blogger! And I bet he posts his stories on Tumblr! I bet all of the photos that go with the story have LOLCAT captions!

Another meanwhile later, Superman catches up with the bank robbing woman and learns that her name is Anguish. That fits the Wildstorm profile! She manages to kick Superman's ass just as the jumbotron in downtown Metropolis begins reporting Morgan Edge and Victor Barnes' news story.

I think the medium of comic books confuses the writers with all the speech bubbles and they don't realize that screens in city squares don't blare out the news. How fucking annoying would that be?

The news reports that some mild mannered software programmer named Spence Becker is the alter-ego of Superman!

I'm not sure Spence's wife is going to understand what he's really been doing in those alleys when it's discovered he's not Superman!

Superman #9 Rating: +1 Ranking. I liked the flow of this comic a lot. Giffen and Jurgens have set up some Russian mystery menace for later. And now Superman is going to have problems with this Anguish person who thinks Superman has a wife and kids and is going to punish them for Superman attacking her. But at least Clark Kent comes out of this smelling like not Superman!

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