Saturday, September 29, 2012

Superman #0

Here comes Scott Lobdell to change up Superman's origin! No longer will he have been simply shot in a rocket toward a solar system with a yellow sun. Now someone will have convinced Jor-el to choose the Sol System. This someone will also have programmed the rocket to land in Kansas. This someone will have placed the mutated lamb on the farm near the Kents and slipped some RU486 into Ma's morning tea so that she'd miscarry. It's all just one big elaborate plan by some secret antagonist to get Superman to exactly where he's found himself! And maybe that antagonist is Harvest!

The story begins with Jor-el.

How does Superman suddenly know so much about his father? Maybe Harvest told him. And why is Jor-el wearing Lex Luthor's power armor? I guess it was Kryptonian in design. I didn't really read much Superman so there's no reason I should have known. I simply owned the Lex Luthor in Power Armor Super Friends action figure!

Jor-el is exploring deep within Krypton to try and diagnose what is wrong with the planet. He comes to the same conclusion he'd already come to on the surface. KRYPTON IS DOOOOOOOMED!

But is this devastation due to the Clones destroying all the climate control towers or has it been caused by the rumored secret Doomsday cult that sprung up after the Clones' defeat. Only Harvest knows for sure!

On Jor-el's way up to the surface, he meets an entirely new race of being that eats and dissolves rocks and metals. What is this crazy creature? Could it be a manufactured species by a Doomsday Cult to bring on the destruction of Krypton? Jor-el doesn't have time to investigate because the slimy stuff begins eating his Power Armor. He has to speed to the surface and jettison most of his research. He comes up empty handed. But he feels like he was onto something. He needs to go back down.

The bureaucracy of Kryptonopolis keeps him from descending again. So he goes home to his wife who tells him she's pregnant. And then the Science Center with the passage into Krypton is blown to bits, killing everyone around and sealing the passage. And the terrorists behind it all show up in his home to demand he do what they want or they'll kill Lara.

But apparently Lara isn't that easy to kill.

Arana, the leader behind the attack, summons some reinforcements who break through a wall and begin blabbing all of their secret plans as they bicker with each other. Looks like a Doomsday Cult planning to bring the end to Krypton. And somehow Jor-el is accidentally making the process go too quickly for their amazingly complicated plan to go smoothly.

Ugh. So fucking dumb. "If you don't help us, Jor-el, we'll kill you. If you help us, everyone will be killed." The bad guys have already escalated to the end point: the death of everything. Maybe Harvest is the Eradicator!

As Jor-el and Lara defeat Arana, Jor-el reveals that he once had to break Lara out of the Phantom Zone. I bet that story is never told and completely forgotten except by fanboy trivia hounds. And then another stupidest moment in comics happens yet again! Since the New 52 has had so many great stupid moments, I am declaring there are more than one "stupidest" moment! And this is one of them!

How is this shocking twist supposed to be anything but stupid? Was I supposed to be floored by it? What a twist!

I bet Lobdell was writing this and somebody at some point asked, "How does Superman know all of this shit?" You know, like I did as soon as I began reading this stupid piece of shit. And at that moment, Lobdell had a stroke. I mean, he had a flash of inspiration! Superman knows because Superman was there observing! Fuck Flashpoint! Superman will time travel later when DC has managed to fix Flashpoint. Which of course doesn't make any fucking sense ever. Time Travel working before an event stuck in time and then not working after that event stuck in time and then working again later because some event in time fixes the other event in time MAKES NO GODDAMNED SENSE! Stop writing time travel stories if you don't fucking understand time travel, you fuckwits.

Anyway, even if Superman was there, half of his Narration Boxes talk about what Jor-el was thinking. So Superman being their doesn't explain anything. And I'm still not done reading this comic! Lobdell wants me to drop my underwear just a little bit more. Maybe bend over the desk a bit more, hunh Lobdell? Is this good enough for you? Yeah? How about a little more lube? That feel better? Oh yeah!


So Lobdell just created a being that knows all but somehow doesn't know if Krypton is going to be saved by Superman? Oh yeah. I'm super excited about this Oracle fellow.

Superman #0 Rating: The ass-destroyingest issue of the entire New 52 so far.

The Flash #0

The Flash is working in his lab when the place is struck by lightning. He's doused in chemicals and electricity and suddenly becomes bound to the Speed Force. The end!

So that's Barry Allen's Preboot origin. Everybody knows it. Many people know it much better than I just told it! They know details and things. But I'm not into details. I just like to remember one or two main facts about something so that it sounds like I really know a lot about it. So if I'm at a really cool party full of really hot girls and athletic guys and I find myself in a conversation about Superman, I can nod knowingly and say, "Yeah. He's from Krypton." And they'd all nod in agreement because he is! But then really unattractive nerd in the corner might scoff and say, "EVERYBODY knows that!" So then I'll casually turn to him and say, "Yes but did you know that he's invulnerable to everything except Kryptonite." And his jaw will drop at my expansive knowledge of the character and I'll high five the athletes and make out a little bit with the women (and maybe one or two of the athletes if I'd had enough shots of beer). And he'll stand up and begin to walk away. But then at the last moment, like Columbo, he'll turn to me and say, "Aha! But he's also...." and I'll interrupt him and say, "Yes, magic. We all know he's susceptible to magic as well. Move on, sir!" And he'll hang his head in shame as he's bested by my superior comic book knowledge! Simply because I can utilize the few facts I actually retain about Suprememan!

So here's what I know about The Flash past his exciting origin story: He can run really, really fast! Yep. That's where he gets his name! But here's some stuff I'm learning about the Rebooted Flash!

The Flash's father is in jail for killing his mother and his father admitted to Barry that he was guilty five years ago.

Five years ago, The Flash was blasted by lightning and chemicals and ended up in the hospital as opposed to the morgue where he probably would have ended up if this comic had an ounce of realism!

Don't you just hate comics that tell a believable story? Yeah, totally. This guy should at least have some scars or something from the lightning and the chemicals and the emergency surgery to repair the internal injuries I'm sure he suffered. Oh well! Maybe I should suspend my suspension of belief.

The accident puts Barry into a coma where he sees his past flash before his eyes. No, no. It doesn't flash. It goes as slow as it takes the reader to read it. So in my case, it's really, really slow. It's just that there are so many words! And so many puns to catch!

See? "Don't rush through them." And a poster of a runner. Has the Zero Issue returned to the root of writing The Flash? Just throw as many puns into the dialogue as possible?

I hope little Barry Allen has to compete against little Leonard Snart at the Spelling Bee.

Proctor: "Leonard, your word is icicle."
Proctor: "Barry, your word is marathon."
Proctor: "Leonard, your word is hypothermia."
Proctor: "Barry, your word is sprinting."
Proctor: "Leonard, your word is asshole."
Little Leonard: "Wait...what?!"
Proctor: "Barry, your word is uxoricide."
Little Barry: "Can you use it in a sentence?"
Proctor: "Your father is going to commit uxoricide against your mother."

"Sorry, Barry. I can't make it. I've got to get the house ready for the crime scene investigators."

Barry's parents are arguing about a divorce and Barry keeps getting pushed aside to do things on his own. He's completely unaware that his parents are unhappy. Well, maybe he's a little bit aware. But he's deeply in denial.

Don't take your time, Barry! Tragedy will happen if you lollygag! Run! RUN!

After this flashback scene, Barry thinks while in his coma, "My life is flashing before my eyes." Ha ha! I beat you to that stupid pun that everybody could see coming. He finishes having his flashback and recalls coming back home to find his mom murdered. His dad claims he didn't do it and even though the spelling bee proctor foreshadowed it, Barry needs to believe in his dad's innocence. And at that moment, Barry Allen wakes up from his coma. In East Africa.

Three weeks later and Barry is all healed up and continuing with the puns.

And a woman running. Does that count?

Ha ha ha! Running around!

Later, Barry creates his costume somehow. It doesn't really make much sense. He says something about metal reacting strangely and thermal expansion created by the speed. So are we supposed to believe that his costume is really made up of tiny chunks of metal that expand when he uses the Speed Force and stick to him in the correct places? And he stores these tiny pieces of metal in a ring? A plastic ring maybe so it doesn't expand as well? I think my unbelief of dissuspension is breaking down again!

Barry visits his dad once again to let him know that he will continue to try to prove his dad's innocence even though his dad admitted his guilt. But Barry suspects his dad is lying simply so Barry can get on with his life. Also, Barry busts a guy named Danny West a few days prior to telling his dad he hasn't given up on him. Wally's criminal cousin? Iris's deadbeat bastard son? I don't know! Those aren't either of the two facts I've retained about The Flash over the last twenty-five years reading comic books! Oh! But that's what the Who's Who is for!

Nope. No mention of a Danny West at least before 1992. I bet it's just a coincidence! Those happen all the times in comic books, right?

The Flash #0 Rating: Puntacular.

Friday, September 28, 2012

All Star Western #0

Before I begin reading All Star Western featuring Jonah Hex, I'd like to point out something Ann Nocenti pissed all over that was revealed in All Star Western #12. Last issue it was revealed that the Lord of Thieves from the Crime Bible Cult was named Lorna Kyle. Since she's a thief and named Kyle, one would assume she's an ancestor of Catwoman's. Oh but wait! Catwoman's real name isn't Selina Kyle anymore! She's actually Russian and nobody knows her name because it was entered into the English database in Cyrillic and Selina couldn't read it due to the backwards "R"s and the Phi symbols and the backwards threes and other nonsense. Yeah, I just disrespected another country's alphabet? What are you going to do about it? I'm a fucking American, dude! My shit don't stink and how the hell am I supposed to find the store I'm looking for driving down Foster Road in southeast Portland when all the signs are in Cyrillic?

Oh man, I hope the Russian Mafia is just a myth! I didn't mean anything I just said! It was all Ann Nocenti's fault! I actually love Russians and their beautiful language. Except if I may bring up one thing that I disagree with slightly: it's the tombstones.

Oh shit. This claims to be the tombstone of a Russian mobster! I'm sorry, Russian Mafia!

Do they have access to printers where you can slide in a slab of granite and have photographs and mediocre art turned into etchings? Because walking around certain cemeteries here in Portland, if a tombstone is in Cyrillic, it's usually black marble with this kind of photo-realistic etching on it. I'm not a fan. Unless, of course, the Russian Mafia thinks I should be a fan!

Anyway, I'm sure Ann Nocenti's stupid story will be easily fixed by saying her fake name was given to her in honor of the legendary Lorna Kyle, the masterestest thief to ever fight people in her underwear in Gotham city.

As Issue Zero begins, the reader is introduced to Jonah Hex's father.

A chip off the old block! For the denser readers, that statement means two things here! And for smart ass readers, I know it sounds like I'm saying the dad is a chip off the Jonah block. But it's the best I could do for the ambiguous meaning! Give a guy a break and holster that "Actually" once in a while!

Woodson's wife is giving birth inside their house when a bunch of asshole Mormon hunters come riding in. They're not Mormon and hunters! They're hunting down Mormons. When Hex won't let them in to investigate his property because his wife is giving birth, they threaten him. And that's when people start getting their dicks chopped off. Woodson manages to kill all but one of them. The last one is wounded and pleading for his life when Jonah is born.

"Take it like a man, son."

And those were the circumstances of Jonah Hex's birth!

Chapter Two: Misery in Missouri

Ain't that the truth? This chapter must be about summer in Missouri. I was born in California where people don't rightly know the meaning of "It's not the heat; it's the humidity." When I spent my first summer in the Midwest, I couldn't reckon why California ain't just packed ass to elbow with people realizing how fucked up living in that sweltering summer air is. How do y'all do it? Sweating for no reason weren't no fun 't'all. Had to git my ass back ta the west coast faster than a croup dog chasing a rabid raccoon up'n'down a tar slicked mud caked doohickey whatnot. Fer real.

Actually, the misery in Missouri is all caused by Woodson Hex who has turned to drinking. It's caused him to beat his wife and kid on a regular basis. Until Jonah decides to stand up to the old man to protect his mother. He doesn't do too good a job and his mother ends up having to pull a gun on Jonah's pa to protect her son. Woodson Hex realizes he ain't wanted and skedaddles for a night or two.

Chapter Three: Abandonment

"Ya see, Jonah, Mr. Dazzleby, he don't take kindly to no children born of drunk wife-beaters. So yer gonna have ta take care a' yerself from now on. Sorry, Ma's gotta choose the non-impotent rich man. Take care!"

Chapter Four: My Father Is A Fucking Asshole

After Jonah's Ma leaves, he and his father head to California to get away from the fucking humidity. On the way, they have to pass through Apache land. Pa don't want no trouble with the injuns, so he gives 'em his son in exchange for safe passage through their land.

Jonah's life isn't any better with the Apache. He gets teased and they shove raw deer hearts down his throat. But a woman named White Fawn sticks up for him. It's a nice move on her part for the moment but it just causes the other men to resent Jonah. They bide their time until the next chapter where it appears they're going to give him what for.

Chapter Five: Jonah Gets What For

The Apache boys are facing their final test to become men when the biding plan takes effect.

"And they dressed him up in injun clothes!"

Chapter Six: Jonah Fights for States' Rights

This is just another chapter where things don't work out too well for Jonah.

When does he end up in a post-apocalyptic future devoid of all humanity and light? I mean the light of human kindness and not the other kind of light because there's actually way too much of that when he ends up there. Probably too many cannibals too.

Chapter Seven: Jonah Takes a Cruise

Set a course for adventure!

Chapter Eight: Jonah Returns to the Apache to Kill the Sonuvabitch That Betrayed Him

And that happens. Believe me! It happens a lot! But the battle is tainted because the Apache cheats. But he does it in an undetectable way. The only thing left for Hex to do is cheat himself. He pulls a blade when it's supposed to be just tomahawks and stabs the jerk in the throat. The rest of the Apache cannot allow Hex to shit all over their traditions, so he must be punished.

Chapter Nine: In Which Jonah Finally Gets His Fucking Scar

There it is! The real Origin of Jonah Hex!

Chapter Ten: The Closing Credits

Present Day Gotham. Well, Present Day according to this comic book's timeline. Jonah has been telling Amadeus and Tallulah and the guy that works for Dr. Jekyll his life story. Everyone is suitably horrified and Jonah is completely wasted. Which is probably why his tongue suddenly got so loose about his past. Dr. Jekyll's man explains why he needs the help from The Scooby Hex Gang. Apparently Dr. Jekyll has created a formula to suppress aggression in criminals. The serum has been stolen and is coming to Gotham and Jekyll's man has reason to believe it's going to have the opposite effect on the populace.

When did this comic book become The Extraordinary Gentlemen?

Chapter Eleven: A Couple of Sub-plots Begin to Develop

Haly's Circus is setting up in Gotham and a man approaches with the stolen Jekyll formula. So Haly's Circus is going to begin creating and selling it as a panacea.

That word reminds me that I hate newscasters! That's because one once said that something was "a panacea for everything." Ha ha! Fuck you, dumby.

The other developing sub-plot is a woman just arriving by ship come to reclaim her mother. I don't know if I should remember who this is. Perhaps Arkham has a sister.

All Star Western #0 Rating: Jonah Hex's life has just been shit piled on more shit.

Aquaman #0

Issue #0 takes place six years ago while Arthur's father lies dying in the hospital. His father's last wish is that Arthur find Atlantis, find his mother, and tell his mother that his father loved her. Which is what Arthur does after his father dies and the media begin hounding him to know more about his super powers. Too bad he didn't just answer their questions. They would have quickly grown bored and wandered away.

Aquaman: "Yeah, I can breathe underwater. That comes in really handy in all sorts of situations."
Reporter #1: "Wait. You actually breathe water like a fish? So you have gills?"
Aquaman: "No, no! My lungs are specially adapted to filter out...."
Reporter #2: "And you speak with fish?"
Aquaman: "Not in the way everyone seems to think I do. I sort of give them a telekinetic push to make them think they want to do what I need them to do."
Reporter #1: "So they don't help you of their own free will?"
Aquaman: "They think it's their own free will. So, really, what's the difference? Besides, they're only fish!"
Reporter #2: "Would your mother hate to hear you say that? What kind of fish was she?"
Aquaman: "No, no, no! My mom wasn't a fish at all! She's actually a...."
Reporter #3: "Aquaman! Aquaman! Can you speak with lobsters?!"
Aquaman: "Yes. Anything in the ocean."
Reporter #3: "What if an elephant fell in the ocean? Could you speak with it?"
Reporter #1: "So you swim really fast and rape the minds of the denizens of the ocean? How do you plan on helping save the world with those powers?"
Aquaman: "Well, sir, the world is mostly made up of ocean so that's a lot of...."
Reporter #2: "Yeah but how many banks are on the ocean floor?!"
All Reporters: *laughter*
Aquaman: "I'm also very fast and strong on land due to my Atlantean physiology!"
Reporter #1: "How come you don't explode on the surface due to the difference in pressue?!"
Reporter #2: "If you're only half-Atlantean, will you be crushed to death if you try to swim down to Atlantis?!"
Reporter #4: "Hey everyone! Superman has been sighted in town!"
Reporter #1: "Now THAT'S a story!"
All Reporters: *high five and high tail it into town*
Aquaman: "Fuck you all. No more interviews!"

After Aquaman dives into the ocean, he spends the next couple of pages swimming around in silence as the credits roll. He then spends a few pages battling a Great White Shark which he eventually defeats by simply telling it to go away with his Talks With Fishes power. And then he surfaces to seemingly take a breath. So maybe he can't breathe underwater. Or maybe he hasn't learned how yet because he and Mera swim pretty deep in that Trenches Storyline.

When Arthur surfaces, he notices a ship about to crash on the rocks.

The Lighthouse Keeper dies and all the boats immediately begin crashing.

When the people he saved are curious as to how he did what he did, he tells them his mother was the Queen of Atlantis. Being a sailor and sure to have heard a tale or two at all the salty taverns he frequents, the father has heard of a man that claims to have come from Atlantis. Maybe this man, Vulko, can help Arthur to find the lost city.

Arthur swims directly to Norway to speak with Vulko. I think Aquaman can eat plankton to survive these long swimming trips.

Well then. That was easy enough.

Turns out, Vulko was the adviser to the Queen. He's able to tell Arthur everything that happened to the Queen beginning with when she met his father all the way to her death at the hands of Arthur's half-brother, Orm. Orm now rules Atlantis. But Arthur is the rightful heir to the throne. Vulko gives Arthur a bunch of gifts and then they hit the road. Or whatever.

Vulko and King Arthur reach Atlantis and then the issue ends. I guess the story of his confrontation with his brother and his assuming the throne and his finally deciding to leave the stupid city are all tales for another month. But not next month since next month Aquaman needs to kick Black Manta's stupid teeth in.

Aquaman #0 Rating: Fishy.

Teen Titans #0

The comic begins with Batman telling Tim Drake's origin story. It sounds like Batman has just pulled up a seat at the bar and decided to blab all of his and Tim Drake's secrets to the bartender. Or the drunk guy sitting next to him. Who would Batman actually be telling this story to? Maybe he's trading stories with The Joker. Joker just told him how he was the brains behind the creation of Jason Todd's Robin persona and Batman decided to tell Joker how Tim Drake came along.

Apparently Dick has already left the nest cave and Jason has already bitten the farm. Bought the bullet? And even though Alfred completely thought the last two Robins were a bad idea (and Jason's death kind of, maybe, proved that?), he's now decided to shop around for a new one for Master Bruce. I guess this is similar to buying a kid a new puppy after you backed over the previous one in the driveway.

He's come even closer than Dick Grayson who figured out your secret identity the first time he ever met you? Don't worry, Batman. That speech bubble can be edited in the Trade.

So Tim Drake spends every waking moment trying to figure out who Batman is? I guess while he's training to be an athlete and doing gymnastics and his constant studying, he's thinking about who Batman could be. All this statement tells me is that Tim Drake isn't very smart. If he's doing that much research and he can't figure out Bruce Wayne is Batman, then he's just a stupid chump. Especially since Dick didn't do any research and didn't put any thought behind it at all and he figured it out after meeting both Bruce Wayne and Batman just one time each. Tim, you suck at sleuthing.

Batman admits to having shitty detective skills. Oh, wait. I think this was meant as a compliment to Tim! Nevermind.

Batman sure is laying it on thick. No wonder Damian hates Tim Drake. Batman has a gigantic hard on for this kid. In a totally platonic way, of course!

Immediately after saying how close Tim has come to discovering his identity and how he spends every minute researching Batman's identity and then compares Tim's detective skills to his own, he continues the story which contradicts all of that.

I'm also digging Batman's change of tense. He's no longer telling the story; he's now narrating the action live!

Batman meets Tim at this location allowing Tim to believe he figured out Batman's identity. But then Batman points out that he planted all of the information for Tim to find so that Tim would come to this conclusion. Batman also apparently knew that Tim wanted this information so that Tim could meet with Batman. Which is how this whole meeting thing happens. This is pure Lobdell yet again. Long term plans that count on many random factors out of the plotter's control and yet they're successful every time. Tim wants to be the next Robin but he mentions Jason Todd and drives Batman away. Batman doesn't want t kid with a happy family life anyway.

Actually, he does get to decide for you when it comes to being his sidekick, you arrogant prick! Go be Red Robin and leave Batman out of your poorly written stories!

Tim continues to try to find ways to become Robin. He continues to look into Batman's identity. And Batman continues to tell the story in odd ways. At one point Batman says, "I know now that I was not going to stop him." Yeah, that's obvious, isn't it? He follows this with "But it didn't stop me from trying." Wait. What didn't stop you from trying, Batman? The knowledge that you learned later after he became Red Robin that you obviously weren't going to stop him? Is that what didn't stop you from trying? At least Scott Lobdell can make his deadlines.

Later, Tim transfers one hundred million dollars out of Oswald Cobblepot's bank account. Alfred learns this and lets Batman know although Alfred doesn't tell Batman where the money was transferred. Just "to the poor," I guess.

While at home, Tim's house comes under gunfire by The Penguin's thugs. Batman swoops in to save the day. Nobody ends up dying that night.

No, you almost died because you stole from The Penguin.

Tim's parents are placed in the Witness Protection Program so that The Penguin won't continually be going after them. But they had a meeting with Batman and told Batman to take their son because he deserved more than "a life of anonymity in the middle of nowhere under an assumed name." No, they felt he'd be better off with a life of anonymity in the middle of Gotham under an assumed name. And Batman agrees for some unholy reason.

So Tim Drake joins the team and decides to wear his own costume out of respect for Jason Todd. So he becomes Red Robin! And Batman already seems to know some of the people Tim will meet later in his life because he's looking at files on his computer of Skitters painted on ancient cave walls and Bunker and some guards from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. But then Batman did say earlier that he knows everything weeks before anyone else knows it. Maybe he gets information from the future from his Brother Eye satellite. Perhaps it hacked into Skeets?

The Teen Titans #0 Rating: I'll let Scott Lobdell give the rating for this comic:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Justice League #0

So Billy Batson is finally going to get blasted by the magic lightning, hunh? He's currently investigating the inside of the Wizard's Lair, a place where all the magic in the world has been locked away for safe keeping. Well, not all of it, I guess, since a whole bunch of it is being wasted over in Justice League Dark. I think it was meant to keep Black Adam in check but he's been freed by Dr. Sivana. So now Billy Batson needs to get that lightning power.

Billy wanders around until he enters the Chamber of the Seven Deadly Sins. Isn't the Rock of Ages or something in here as well?

Dammit, Billy. Why didn't you hit the Lust button?

After this, Billy does run down the line hitting all of the stone buttons. But still no Lust!

Lust would probably end up being a fat guy with a giant erection surfing for porn anyway.

The Wizard scolds Billy for touching his seven sins and tells him to hurry the fuck up and ride the lightning, bitch boy. The Wizard calls Billy a child, Billy calls the Wizard a child molester, and much fun was had by all. Also, the fortress is called the Rock of Eternity. My memory doesn't like to remember things too exactly.

The arguing and the bickering turn into a debate in which the fifteen year old gets the better of the ancient wizard. Hey, it happens! The wizard is looking for a purely good person. Billy's experience has shown him none of those exist. The wizard's belief in his quest blinded him to that possibility. So he looks into Billy to see if he has the potential to be purely good and he has that in spades as the wizard sees all of the times Billy has stuck up for the weak and the helpless and the downtrodden. And anyway, the discussion really doesn't matter. Black Adam is on his way to kill the wizard and the wizard will never survive to find another person to house the magic. So he gives the magic word to Billy and WHAMMO! I mean, SHAZAM!

Billy's gonna get him some sweet poontang now!

I wonder if Shazam's physique is because he's compensating for a small penis? I wonder if Billy needs to poo and then transforms into Shazam, he'd blast lightning out of his ass and destroy the toilet? These two questions aren't on Billy's mind at all. He just begins smashing things and enjoying his power. But the wizard has a few more things to say before he drops dead.

So Billy's secret power is the ability to assign powers to other people? But since he's not Captain Marvel but Shazam, what will Mary Marvel be called? Shazama?

After the wizard's revelation, he dies. There's an explosion of lightning and Billy (as Shazam) returns to Freddy in the normal world. Freddy is frightened at first but just needs to look in Shazam's eyes to know it's really Billy. And the first thing Billy does with his new Shazam powers is destroy the car of the father of the kids who picked on his foster brothers and sisters.

Well, he did gain the powers because he had the potential to be good. Which means he also has the potential to be a major asshole as well.

And this is their second plan!

Good thing the wizard is too dead to see what a colossal mistake it was to give this kid so much power. Although I'm sure something akin to Peter's Uncle Ben getting killed will happen to straighten this kid out really quick.

As Freddy and Shazam are considering what to do next, they hear a mugging nearby. And Billy can't help but get involved because of all of those potentials the wizard saw in him. He's a sucker for protecting the bullied. He punches the mugger who flies across the street and into a car. He's lucky he didn't kill him. But Billy is quite aware of that and it's probably a good lesson for him learning his strength.

And he makes an easy buck out of it.

Geoff Johns has written some of the best scenes across his various titles that have made me laugh out loud. That first panel with Shazam quickly proclaiming he's an adult is one of them. And then these closing two panels also made me laugh.

And big credit to Gary Frank for Shazam's face in that first panel and his pose in the second.

The back-up story begins with Pandora about to once again open her box. Pull up your pants, sicko. This comic is merely rated "Teen" not "Teen Plus!" Anyway, her box is shaped like a skull and she's fiddling with it in some back alley. Ahem. Pants.

Pandora believes she can correct the evils she unleashed upon the world in the past. But her box is sealed tight. She's visited by the wizard who apparently didn't die. He apologizes to Pandora for punishing her simply because she was curious and couldn't resist diddling with her box.

Seriously? What grade am I in?!

The wizard informs her that "only the strongest of heart or the darkest" can open the box and claim its power of transformation. But before he can tell her what that power is, he disappears in another crack of lightning. That guys got to be the most annoying guest at any party.

Wouldn't it have been embarrassing if the steam had been in the form of an exclamation point?

Justice League #0 Rating: Shazammy! I really wouldn't mind if this title just suddenly became Shazam with Justice League back-up features! There's precedence for that, right?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Batwoman #0

Batwoman's Narration Boxes in this story about who she is are directed at her father. It seems she used to leave a message for her father every time she would go out on patrol or on a mission just in case she was killed. He'd have a final goodbye from her a message telling him how much she loved him. But she hasn't done it for a long while now.

This happened in the Preboot. Beth was her sister.

But now that Batwoman is about to face off against the real life gorgon, Medusa, she feels it might be time to start leaving messages for daddy again. There's a few pages of really emotional crap about what Beth meant to her and what she went through when Beth and her mom died and how her father was always completely there for her no matter what. And then how she began emulating her dad because she knew she needed to be in control like he was and so she got good grades and was super awesome at gymnastics and then was accepted into West Point. It's a lot of words that people can read and might like. You know, if you're into that well-written stuff that pulls at your heart and makes you feel for the character and really pulls you into her story. Or you can just skip to the good stuff!

Oh, don't make that face! I know why you read this comic book!

At one point in her message, she says she couldn't make it with Rene. Is this the first time Rene Montoya has been mentioned in The New 52? I'm not sure if Kate Kane mentioned her relationship with Montoya before this but if not, here's proof it took place. She also reveals that her father will never hear this message. So either she knows that she's not going to get killed (highly doubt that!) or this confession is just catharsis for her. And then Batman.

I had a fiddle with the image a bit so the red writing would be more legible against the background.

Kate became a vigilante, trading booze for adrenaline. And eventually her father found out. Not that she was trying very hard to keep it secret from him. But he sent her with his crew (I don't know "his crew" is. He calls them his murder of crows. One even looks like Matches Malone, maybe!) to train all across the world. She was beaten down and punished, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. And at the end of it all, she still chose to fight. She still wanted to be Batwoman. So her father sends her on one more mission: to save a family held hostage in Prypiat, the city ruined by Chernobyl. But she arrives too late and finds them with their throats cut and a man in a devil mask wielding a knife.

Of course it was all a set-up by her father.

The man in the mask turns out to be her father. The bodies fake. The knife a prop. It was simply a test to see if she'd step over the line and go too far. But she doesn't. She drops the knife instead of trying to kill the man she believed just killed this family. And then her father believes she truly is ready to become Batwoman.

But Kate Kane says she didn't come back from her training as Batwoman. She simply found out who Kate Kane was. The moment she became Batwoman was that moment the she found out her sister was alive and the her father had been hiding it from her all these years. And then her sister chose death. And Kate knew she truly was all alone. And that's when she became Batwoman.

Batwoman #0 Rating: Having just read Red Hood and the Outlaws, I can't help but compare these two stories. There are many similarities between the way they were told. But this story was well told. That probably doesn't come across in my commentary because I was being whimsical and unfeeling while in truth I was weeping and rending my garments. But the tone is spot on. Whereas Jason Todd's tone while telling what was very much a tragic time in his life is informal and chatty as if he's talking with a friend about the club scene from he night before. Sure, that's how Todd is. He's flippant and acts like he doesn't care. But telling the story like that makes it sound flippant and then I don't fucking care. But Batwoman's story is full of pathos and revelation and the kind of truths that are hard to tell even your own self. And it's directed at a target audience so what she says means more since you know it's all for her father, even if he'll never get it. While Jason Todd's Narration Boxes are just directed to nobody or, worse yet, the reader.

Or maybe I'm just biased against Scott Lobdell. Except when he writes a good page, I'm right there pointing it out! So seriously, it isn't that. I have nothing against any writers in The New 52 when they write well. So why don't they all just write well?! Get on with it already!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Legion of Super-heroes #0

This issue should just be 20 six page panels all with an individual member's origin crammed into a single panel. No, wait. That's bad math. They'd probably have to cram two or three origins in each panel if they did it that way. Fucking Legion and its infinite roster.

Fuck me. I still laugh every time I read Phantom Girl's alias, Tinya Wazoo.

The original three Legion members (at least in my head. It might be different. But they made Heroclix out of these three, so I've totally got to be right) have headed to Colon to fight off a swarm of ass locusts. This is Brainiac's homeworld. I'm sure he's really, really tired of the Colu/Colon jokes.

Oh, you know what? I'm completely wrong about the original three members and a misogynist to boot. Even though I pointed Phantom Girl out specifically, I was still thinking of her as Saturn Girl. "Oh look! Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, and a female! It must be the original members!" But I don't think it's my fault I sounded sexist. I think this time it's Legion's fault for having so many Girls on the team.

Wait! I mean so many team members named "Girl"! Not too many females on the team. Although seriously, they do have way too many females on the team. Also way to many males. This team is just too fucking big! No wonder I'm so Goddamned confused!

Who needs females on the team when this kind of thing is going on anyway? Sproing, indeed.

No really. What the fuck is going on with these two?

This is a surprise origin! I never knew these guys were so close.

The big fight against the Coluan Locust problem is just the backdrop to a romantic weekend on Colu. Even Phantom Girl and Ultra Boy are paying more attention to the caressing and the dick sucking than the saving and the helping.

I think that's the entire point of this comic and why it has so many characters. It's simply a stage for relationship drama stories. So why can't I like it?!

I forgot about the title of this comic until just now. I was going to complain about what kind of Original Sin Brainiac could have since Original Sin is sin you are born with. I thought the title was going to use the phrase incorrectly but it turns out the Robot Locusts and other problems are a result of an ancient cache of the original Brainiac's weapons being discovered. So he's paying for the sins of that robotic jerk that had the coolest action figure in the eighties. Although it was kind of strange that the figure had "kicking action." Here comes the smartest robot in the universe about to kick Superman's ass! Umm, literally.

Or maybe the cache wasn't just discovered. It may have been a vault or a sealed museum of all of Brainiac's dangerous weapons. But it suddenly opened up. A technology thief beamed down and entered to steal some items but was transformed by Mini-Brainiac Guardians into some strange villain. They call it "Tharok-Human" which sounds familiar. Was this the thing from an earlier issue that they were trying to prevent from escaping its multi-dimensional cell. Or something? I could look it up but why bother? Legion has so many characters and so much history, I'll probably spend a few hours digging up the information. Or I could use the internet!

Oh yeah! He was the leader of the Fatal Five which was mentioned and I don't know anything about! And in another issue of Legion, a few members were trying to prevent someone from getting some technology to create a new Fatal Five. That's about all I've learned in my single web search and all I can remember from the only twelve issues of Legion of Super-heroes that I've read.

So Tharok escapes to cause trouble later. But the Vault remains open and deadly robotic creatures continue to spill out. Brainiac 5 decides the Vault should be thrown into space using Cosmic Boy's magnetic powers and Ultra Boy's strength where the Vault can then be destroyed by starships. The plan works and Brainiac 5 joins with Legion to head to Earth and consider becoming a member.

On the ride to Earth, Brianiac 5 begins preparing to bury his memory of opening the vault himself and stealing the research within before he gets within range of Saturn Girl's mental eavesdropping power.

Legion of Super-heroes #0 Rating: Less members than usual.