Tuesday, April 30, 2013

All Star Western #19

Booster Gold making the most minimal effort to adopt the look of the current culture and time.

I suppose we'll find out if this is the Booster Gold that disappeared at the end of Justice League International Annual #1 but I'm hoping it's actually Booster Gold before he arrived in the New 52 "present". Maybe he's dressed up Skeets in a raccoon outfit and he's going from town to town solving mysteries. Or maybe he's busy recruiting for a super team made up of heroes from across time. Or else he's desperately trying to graduate from San Dimas High.

What I like about this issue is that the big surprise cover doesn't instantly expect you to ignore it as the story inside gets underway. Unlike some of the other covers that blow their wad on the cover and expect that moment to also be a surprise reveal on the final page (like Katana!), All Star Western begins with Booster Gold confronting Jonah Hex.

I suddenly feel tempted to stick Ted Kord's Blue Beetle face over Jonah Hex's face in every panel.

Hex and Gold! The new comedy super team! I think Booster Gold has finally found the man to replace his forever best friend Ted Kord. Maybe Booster can even convince Jonah Hex to wear the Blue Beetle outfit and they can head back to the present where a bunch of wacky hijinks will ensue. Jonah Hex might kill a lot of people instead of cracking jokes but that's kind of funny if written in the right way! Maybe Booster Gold can time travel Jonah Hex to the moment just before Ted Kord gets his head blown off and Jonah Hex can blow out Maxwell Lord's brains instead! Then Ted Kord and Jonah Hex can both run around in Blue Beetle costumes while Booster Gold designs a new costume that won't clearly show his penis constantly erect from the sheer bliss of having his forever best friend back!

I keep getting lost in my own fantasies of the way I think DC Comics should be. I imagine if I was creative director at DC, the company would go bankrupt in three years. It would take three years because that's how long the company would be able to stay in business supported by all of the Teen Titans, Superboy, and Catwoman fans continuing to buy my crazy stories in the hopes that they'll one day return to the characters they were before I ruined them by turning them into cupcake swilling philosophers that spend most of their time discussing the benefits of rice paper while drinking tea in hip cafes or cheap beer in sleazy bars. Technically before Scott Lobdell and Tom DeFalco and Ann Nocenti ruined them!

Amadeus Arkham would be so jealous right now.

Looks like Booster Gold found a new friend and Jonah Hex found a new pain in the ass. Jonah seems to think it was the Clem Hootkins Gang what shot these poor folks down. Booster Gold will probably need to deputize Jonah Hex since Booster needs somebody willing to shoot a gun to help hunt down these killers.

I wonder where Skeets is? Since the only appearance Skeets has made in The New 52 was one panel of Stormwatch, I'm willing to bet that was a mistake and Skeets doesn't actually exist in The New 52. So I guess it's a good thing that time was rewritten in the Stormwatch comic book so that moment no longer happened. Although fixing an appearance by Skeets that never should have happened by rewriting the entire timeline is like cleaning up spilled milk with a flamethrower. Sure, nobody is going to yell at you for having spilled the milk but now what are you going to do with all the burnt baby corpses? DC loves extravagant fixes to relatively innocuous problems.

Not that I think the Stormwatch Magenta Timeline thing had anything to do with Skeets! But it could have!

The Clem Hootkins Gang looks like an illustration from a 1970s text book trying to be more inclusive with its representation.

Except they forgot the female Asian and nobody is laughing.

On second thought, they look more like the back-up judges for The House of Secrets. This is the crew that deals with the really nasty dirty horrible secrets instead of the uppity white bullshit secrets that the other fancy judges preside over.

While Booster Gold is off palling around with Jonah Hex, the Clem Hootkins Gang kills everyone in Booster's town while robbing the bank. And then they blow the town to hell on the way out because this is the type of gang that has a crazy guy who walks around with dynamite strapped to him. The Fictional Old West was a dangerous place! I think the only thing that kept this kind of thing from happening in the real Old West was the instability of nitroglycerin! Gangs like this would have exploded mere seconds after the first "Giddyup!" or "Let's ride!" was shouted.

That's usually the kind of information Skeets would feed to Booster! I guess Booster doesn't need a Skeets if he can remember this stuff himself. Maybe he has some kind of Skeets implant in the Reboot.

Jonah Hex plans on taking a night off before chasing after the Hootkins Gang and killing them all. Booster wants to tag along and Jonah agrees if Booster tells him how he knows so much about Jonah Hex's history. So Booster Gold tells him his story of time travel and Batmen.

Actually, the story is about the previous sheriff and only includes Booster right at the end when he mysteriously appears from out of time to witness the sheriff's murder. So the story included no actual time travel and no actual Batmen. But I only lied as much as any DC Comic Book cover might have to sell issues!

The part I don't believe is the part where the townsfolk accept this weirdo as their new sheriff.

And so they head off to find the Clem Hootkins Gang, Jonah nicely buzzed and Booster Gold completely hungover. This should go well.

The back-up Stormwatch story is about Cody Barrow, Master Gunfighter! He's apparently DC's version of Blade but he uses pistols instead of, you know, blades. He was bitten by a vampire but didn't turn which is what I basically just said in the previous sentence. Now he hunts down vampires and other hellbeasts which is basically what I said two sentences ago. He's also like the Lone Ranger because he uses silver bullets! Oh my God! The Lone Ranger's main job must have been ridding the Old West of werewolves! That's why Tonto helped him do that since Werewolves were probably just Skin-walkers which were Native American witches! Perhaps Tonto was along to try to help the skin-walkers and then The Lone Ranger was there to put them down if it came to that.

So Cody Barrow saves a group of women pioneers from an attack by outlaws and then from an attack by werewolves. And when he's saved all that he can, Cody is approached by Adam One to join (or rejoin!) Stormwatch.

All Star Western #19 Rating: +1 Ranking. Booster Gold is a fitting replacement for Amadeus Arkham. For now! I hope Amadeus rejoins Jonah after Booster Gold time travels into the Demon Knight comic book.

Batman Incorporated #10

This cover broke my Recursion Alert.

Hopefully we've put the death of Damian Wayne behind us now and we can get busy with the business of killing Batthing. Or how about an issue devoted to Halo? We haven't seen enough of Halo in this thing. It would do everybody a lot of good to see Halo on an ice cream adventure. Nobody could be sad after that. Especially if it ended in a hot bubble bath.

Batman's first stop on his long, three issue road to vengeance is to pick up Azrael. I'm pretty sure this is a different Azrael than the one I remember. I think I remember the first one. For some reason, I picture him as Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch. This Azrael is named Michael Lane so that's different than Jean-Paul Valley. I didn't remember that. Lord Google told me the original's name because I wanted to see if he looks like Cousin Oliver. He kind of does!

He's a little crazy but it sounds like he's got the uniform for the task.

While Batman is busy recruiting religious wackos, the al Wacko family discuss Damian's death. Ra's congratulates Talia on becoming a monster by having her son killed. Talia bitches that Damian wasn't supposed to be there and wouldn't have died if only that stupid fucking butler could have kept Damian on his leash. Talia gloats that her plan is perfect and Ra's fills her full of doubt by suggesting she missed one vital detail. There's some yelling and some laughing and some dirty looks. It's practically an episode of Leave It To Beaver.

Bruce Wayne is taking inventory of Batman Incorporated technology at Wayne Enterprises when he discovers something interesting.

So that's the big plan to keep everybody from figuring out Batman is Bruce Wayne? Damian is "out of the country"? But what about the rumors? Were those started by geniuses that finally made the connection between Batman & Robin and Bruce & Damian Wayne?

Even though that piece of shit Mayor Hady has given Leviathan everything it wants, Leviathan is still demanding more. Talia now wants Batman to surrender at 11 that night. How Hady is going to give her that, I don't know. I bet Hady is wishing he had a better relationship with Batman now instead of always wanting to arrest him or shut him down.

Red Robin and Nightwing are busy searching for Talia so they can destroy Leviathan once and for all. Ranger and the new Knight are busy searching for Wingman (that's Jason Todd!) and they think they may have found him. But since he's currently being used as a sex toy by the Women of Spider Island, I very much doubt he cares if he's rescued.

See? He's faking Stockholm Syndrome so he can continue to have lots and lots of spider sex with them.

I have no idea what Jason Todd knows. Perhaps if I'd read the Preboot Batman Incorporated, I might have some kind of an idea. Or not.

Meanwhile Batman has paid a visit to Kirk Langstrom and is now ready to surrender to Talia. But he's not going to surrender as Batman! He's going to surrender as Manbatmanbatmanbatbatmanmanbatmanbat. That certainly is terrifying!

Make that Armored Manbatmanbatmanbatbatmanmanbatmanbat in Armor.

Batman Incorporated #10 Rating: No change. Batman did visit Langstrom and he did inject something into his neck but he doesn't look very much like a Manbat in that last picture. Perhaps he's just emitting Bat Pheromones which is why he's being followed by an army of bats. Or perhaps the serum just gives him added strength or echo location or something. Or maybe it simply gives him the added strength to control the experimental bat skeleton armor Lucius Fox created for him. Whatever the case may be, Talia seems pretty shocked and upset that this is the way he decided to dress for the surrender.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Teen Titans #19

Of course Beast Boy would team up with Raven. I guess Terra already betrayed him to go off with Deathstroke in Team 7?

Last issue was a steaming pile of maggots decaying under a hot desert sun, so it's best if we just forget about it and concentrate on the good things in life. One of those good things is not having had to read Teen Titans for a full month. But that bliss is now at an end. It's time to see what Trigon and Raven have in store, once more, for the Teen Titans.

The issue begins with Wonder Girl asking a very reasonable question in an extremely unreasonable way.

This is what happens when you raise kids on timed threats and microwaves.

Tim Drake is a greater genius than me so I won't question why he gives Cassie ten seconds before trying to get her death grip off of his throat. I'm pretty sure she's strong enough to crush his neck into sloppy goo in a fraction of a second, so time is of the essence in removing her hand. Meanwhile Kid Flash ineffectively runs around Cassie groping her and hoping she'll be too distracted to kill Red Robin. At least I assume he's merely groping her because anybody with super speed should be able to do more than simply tickle her and tell her to stop it.

As they try to sort things out rationally on the second page, I notice two confusing bits. First off, Solstice and her wacky thought bubble.

Me especially what? What the fuck are you thinking about?

And the credits:

Does this mean Jerry Siegel's family can pull the plug on DC's use of Superboy? Because if so, I've got some fucking letters to write!

Red Robin simply snaps at them and tells them that they'll do what he says without question or they'll get the fuck out of his Yacht Mansion Headquarters! Superboy says, "I only have the mind of an eight month old but that was fucked up, right?" But nobody has time to agree because suddenly Trigon is destroying New York.

Wonder Girl comes upon him trying to make friends with the "Drop Dead" kid. She punches him in the jaw and Trigon marvels about how he felt the punch as he flies across the street and into a bus. I wonder why more characters with near-invulnerability don't die more often in one shot. They get so used to never being hurt that by the time somebody comes along that can hurt them, they don't even bother to defend themselves. And then, dead! Too bad Wonder Girl didn't take Trigon's head off in one punch. That would have been a pretty sweet comic moment. And then the team could have gone home and kicked Red Robin's ass for being such a complete prick. But that kind of story in a comic book would be cutting edge and risky. And I think I remember Scott Lobdell's name on the cover of this thing, so I suspect the fight will continue for a number of pages with really shitty snarky dialogue.

Cassie is Lennox's daughter?

If Cassie is the daughter of Lennox then that means she's actually Wonder Woman's niece. But it also means that she doesn't need the stupid silent armor for her powers. She's a demi-demigod. I think this falls under the category of too many origins. But since I like this origin better than that piece of shit story about Diesel and the Silent Armor, I'll accept this one easily enough! Usually this kind of rethinking of a character's origin doesn't happen so quickly after the original origin's revelation. And usually it's a different writer coming in with a different take on the character. But here Scott Lobdell must have been unsatisfied with how the story revealed itself to him the first time so he decided to toss the dice and try again. Lucky for him, he hit his point this time.

Next Superboy begins punching Trigon in the face while Bunker trips him up with his psychic bricks. Wow, that's pretty odd! The Titans are actually working together instead of taking turns! Trigon spouts the usual "This has ceased to be amusing" mantra of the extremely overpowered finding they're not as invulnerable as they expected to be. And Superboy attacks with a "Get ready ugly! Here comes the boom!" I would have preferred he spoke a comma in there but it's hardly the horror of a Ravageresque speech bubble. Kid Flash saves Superboy before he's incinerated by Trigon's Hellfire Eyebeams. So the team seems to be having a successful go at one of the most powerful enemies to grace the pages of DC's Reboot so far.

How could Madre de Dios help? Put him on a time out? Weep blood? Flaunt her freedom from Original Sin?

Hopefully telling Red Robin that Trigon is an "elder god" is enough intel for Tim to formulate a plan. I'm sure it would be for Batman but I'm just not confident enough in Red Robin's abilities to believe he'll come up with something with so little information. Harvest would have planned Trigon's downfall before Trigon even appeared! I can't wait until Tim Drake is bitten by a vampire and lives for one thousand years and then returns from the future to save humanity and make sure that Tim Drake is bitten by a vampire. If DC's writers can constantly ignore everything they've written from month to month then I don't have to believe that the final word has been said about Harvest's origin. Especially since, like Cassie, he's been revealed to be two different people in two different stories by two different writers. So I'm just hoping for the third (and correct!) writer to come along and reveal Harvest is Tim Drake.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Gar Logan is waking up in the rubble of Non-Doom Patrol Headquarters with an editorial note to see Ravagers #12. Excuse me for a second while I reference a book from the future. Oh shit. I forgot my time machine so I guess I'll just have to trust that Deathstroke really did this. I do like that the Doom Patrol has yet to exist in the Reboot but they've already had one headquarters destroyed! Ain't that just like them?

Raven is there to greet Gar as he wakes. She takes over his mind and teleports them to New York to battle at Trigon's side. Poor Beast Boy just keeps getting used by these women. When Beast Boy and Raven arrive, Beast Boy turns into a mass of tentacles. I guess when he's being controlled by a demoness who knows all the monsters of hell, Beast Boy's powers can be used to replicate creatures of the damned as well as gerbils and tortoises.

And then the army arrives and begins by shooting Solstice and some of Beast Boy's tentacles. Then they warn everybody to stop fighting or they'll use deadly force. Or more deadly force! And the non-aggressors had better hope the aggressors stop fighting or else the army is just going to kill innocents and trouble-makers alike! But nobody worry! Psimon the new kid's got this!

Meanwhile, Red Robin is simply standing around saying, "Interesting."

Because the comic book only has one page left, Beast Boy's shapeshifting power somehow cancels out Psimon's drop dead power and they both fall unconscious. Because that explains that! Perhaps Gar shapeshifted into something immortal so Psimon's power overloaded as it tried to make an immortal creature drop dead and both Gar and Psimon were knocked unconscious from the backlash of energy. Or perhaps Scott Lobdell just sucks at writing and he needed the big confrontation to end with a lot of dead soldiers so he could create this contrived and bullshit situation seen on the last page:

Yes. Because I'd blame the bunch of kids in spandex for the destruction of the city and the lost lives before I blamed the fifty story tall, six-eyed horned demon riding the three-headed horse with the fiery breath. Obviously.

Teen Titans #19 Rating: -1 Ranking. I think I hate the X-men. I blame the X-men for this constant and bullshit recurring theme of making the normal human populace distrust and hate super heroes. Why the fuck do we as comic book readers love super heroes and admire their pluck and courage and excitedly follow their exploits as they constantly save the world but the fictional people in the world of the super heroes constantly turn against them and hate them even when obviously just saved from catastrophe by them? I especially hate the end of this comic book where that's the first thing Red Robin thinks when he sees all of these dead people. "This is all about us! His plan was to discredit us all along!" Fuck you, you narcissistic asshole! "All these people are dead but we fucking look bad! What a horrible demon to do that to us!"

I'm beginning to take this bullshit personally, Scott Lobdell! That's your plan, isn't it?! To make me lose my mind! You're writing shittier and shittier comic books each month and DC is selling them to thousands of innocent people who are traumatized and driven to the edge of madness by your books. And it's all to destroy me and my reputation, isn't it?! The more I rant about your awful books, the more I tend toward personal attacks like saying you have a stupid face and calling your asshole a home for wayward gerbils! And every time I make a personal attack that has no basis in how awful your writing is, people will think of me as a monster! I see your plan, you evil fucking genius! And guess what? It won't work! I will destroy you and send you back to whatever hell dimension spawned your hideous form!

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #19

I knew his other problem was the Bureau of Bureaucratic Assassins!

Judging by the cover, it looks like I got three of the identities of the shadowy figures right: Killer Frost, Black Bison, and Plastique. And maybe I got four right if that Hyena guy is actually Jurgen's version of The Weasel! But then, all I had to do was vomit forth a bunch of Firestorm's traditional enemies! Anybody who wasted their youth reading Firestorm comic books could have done the same thing.

Last issue ended with Firestorm believing he had just saved his mom from Multiplex's trap. What he didn't know was that this trap came in multiple parts and now he was going to have to face the 2000 Committee. Or the Bureau of Bureaucratic Assassins. Or whatever Reboot name Firestorm's rogues' gallery decided to take.

Turns out the Hyena guy I thought might be The Weasel is actually The Hyena. Seems like an appropriate foe for Firestorm.

The Hyena wants Firestorm dead. Black Bison wants him to research his power so they can learn to wage war better. Killer Frost insists on making temperature related puns. And Plastique has yet to be introduced as she just stands around in the background gawking. Firestorm simply wants to get his mother to safety. But he winds up dropping her due to Bison's mystic winds and he crashes into the bay and gets knocked out. Will Jason Rusch finally learn that he can control Firestorm when Ronnie Raymond is unconscious?

Jason's father and Tonya, the girl Jason is pretending to be in love with, are racing to the warehouse where the battle is taking place. Tonya is a bit of a genius and has traced Ronnie's mom's cell phone to the docks. And since Firestorm might not be powerful enough to save her, the high-school girl and the one-armed man are coming to save the day.

After the cut scene, Ronnie wakes up to Jason yelling inside his head. I guess Jason just has to sit by in his incorporeal state and watch as they die if Ronnie is ever unconscious and in mortal danger. Can't Jason at least end the merge himself and then rescue the unconscious Ronnie from danger? That would make more sense than watching Ronnie drown while yelling at him to wake up.

While underwater, Ronnie meets another eyeshadow enthusiast.

After his brief foray underwater, Firestorm returns to land to dump Hyena in the bay and grab his mom. But before they can escape, Killer Frost freezes them to the docks. Firestorm can't alter the ice and Jason believes it's because it might have some kind of organic component. But, um, Firestorm can still generate heat, right? He should still be able to melt it without worrying about transmuting it. Right? Unless Killer Frost should be called Killer Polycarbonate Mixed With Some Organic Component. And, well fuck, that should melt too with extreme heat! Although I guess getting the heat high enough to melt plastic would probably kill Ronnie's mom at the same time.

Meanwhile, Plastique still hasn't been introduced properly and really hasn't shown her face since looking confused during the initial reveal.

What was Ronnie's mom, the racist, about to call killer frost? "Bisexual beauty"? "Bigoted hussy"? "Bipartisan cow"?

Watching the battle from a top secret secret war room of secrecy, General Eiling watches the battle. But he's tired of just watching the battle! He wants to win the battle! But a battle can't be won simply by watching the battle. One must participate in the battle if one wants Firestorm's head to eventually end up on a platter at one's feet! So he sends in his super secret agent of secrecy because Dan Jurgens just loves showing shadowy figures to be revealed later. I get the feeling Dan Jurgens is the kind of guy that makes love for hours, constantly keeping his companion at the edge of sexual ecstasy, teasing and teasing until his partner can't take anymore, grows bored, and stops reading his fucking comic books.

Luckily the 2000 Committee can't help fighting amongst themselves and Multiplex stops Killer Frost from killing Ronnie's mom. And then Jason comes up with a plan to free Firestorm from the ice! But I have to scan it in if you want to know how the plan worked because I haven't got a fucking clue.

By making eye contact with Multiplex, it caused a metaphysical link between all eighteen souls in the two different bodies which overloaded the biochemical circuits in Firestorm's pituitary gland which enabled him to fire a blast from his hand and into Multiplex's right kidney causing the organic ice to shatter into a majillion pieces.

After Firestorm frees Ronnie's mom, Typhoon nearly drowns them both. It's at this point in the battle that Ronnie's mom is having serious regrets about having children. And now that Multiplex is full of Firestorm hormones, he's turned into four copies of himself all with super strength. Multiplex has done the math and realizes that if he makes fifteen of himself, they're all at normal human strength. So I think I overestimated the amount of souls in Multiplex's body by one!

After Firestorm finally defeats Multiplex for good, the final member of the Bureau of Bureaucratic Assassins introduces herself.

Zings? What ze fuck are zose?

As Plastique promises (and possibly why she's told to remain in the back where she can't hurt anybody), everything fucking explodes. Firestorm. Ronnie's mom. Multiplex. Hyena. Killer Frost. Typhoon. Black Bison. Plastique. Everything! BWHOOOM! Gigantic fireball! And Jason's dad and Tonya arrive just in time to see the explosion. Luckily they stopped a block away so they could run through the streets slowly instead of continuing to drive. Perhaps they ran out of gas. After the explosion, a burning fireball of a person crashes down on Jason's dad's car. And Tonya the medical expert makes a snap judgment call on the condition of the victim.

Well, I guess that's that then! The Final Battle will be between Tonya, Jason's Dad, and General Eiling's Secret Man of Secrecy. Since, you know, they're the only people left alive.

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #19 Rating: No change. I can't believe how quickly the romance in this book took a back seat to constant action. I guess strong bonds are formed in battle, so once Jason and Ronnie have some downtime, maybe they'll be able to lose themselves in each other. They were married in the Zero Issue and I don't think they've even had their first kiss yet! Disappointing.

Katana #3

I thought the second half of the cover would say "...while sodomizing her dog is just fucked up, man."

I have no comment about The Creeper oozing out of Katana's broken katana because I'm hoping that this cover is a big lie and none of it actually takes place.

At the end of last issue, Katana was being dragged back to Gotham City by Steve Trevor to deal with Catwoman. But I haven't read Catwoman because Catwoman references Justice League of America #3. Justice League of America #3 seems to be the first of DC's comics to be delayed. Hopefully Katana will just continue along in this comic book as if her trip to Gotham never even happened. Nocenti isn't a very good writer so it's possible she forgot Katana even went on that interlude, even though Nocenti is also writing Catwoman. When a writer fucks up causality enough times, I can't begin to guess what they're going to write next.

The issue begins with some dragon guy entering town because he wants Katana's katana. This guy probably isn't Killer Croc which means it's possible he's Fin Fang Foom's DC Cousin from the Speedy and Starfire issues of DC Universe Presents. Or maybe he's an entirely new dragon/crocodile/alligator villain. This may be racist to scaly skinned reptile people but they all look alike to me.

That part was a little bit confusing because I don't know who the dragon guy is. But at least I know he wants Katana's sword because it killed the last dragon a long time ago. But the next part is just stupid. Katana is working the sake bar run by her landlady. Apparently the sake bar is also a bowling alley. Well that's got to be fucking annoying! I'm pretty sure Katana's apartment is next door to this place. That isn't the confusing part though.

Some guy named Two Pin forces another guy in a business suit to drink. They then mention something is going down at a boat graveyard concerning The Dagger Clan but neither of them mention what it is. And then Two Pin gets up to go bowling telling the business suit guy to continue drinking alone even though he never drinks. It's at that point when the landlady sends Katana to follow Two Pin into the backroom so Katana can "earn her keep." So Katana goes in the bowling alley and throws a bowling ball on Two Pin's feet. And then the scene changes.

Why the fuck does any of this happen?!

After this nonsense, Tatsu buys a spiral sword like Coil's sword. On her way home, the Drunken Master takes the sword from her and teaches her how to use it. Now she just has to practice for ten thousand hours to master it.

This makes no sense. She already defeated Coil but then she let him go to run around the San Francisco Zoo like a fucking idiot. I guess she knew she couldn't win unless it was with the stupid fucking slinky sword.

After Katana fails at learning to control the Slinky Sword, she makes a raid on the Dagger Clan using the information about the vague something that she got from the drunk guy that deserved to have his feet smashed by a bowling ball for some reason. And what's her goal on this raid? To "fight them to judge their numbers and skills." A lot of villains like to use this plan! They attack a super hero simply to find out the hero's strength and tactics.

I hate this fucking plan. Stop fucking attacking people you're not sure you can defeat only to find out if you can defeat them! Or to get information so that you can defeat them the next time you attack them. It's one of the many stupid fucking plots that comic books should shove in a vault and throw away the door knob. The problem with this stupid plan is that if you can defeat the enemy, then fucking defeat the enemy immediately. You don't need to judge their strength because you'll defeat them as you're judging them. But the other reason it's stupid is that if you can't defeat them while you're judging their strength, they're going to defeat you and your whole plan is over. Say the plan does work and you do get the information on their tactics and get away. Guess what? They just saw your tactics too! Sure, you could have been using false tactics but then you don't know what their style of fighting and their strengths are against your real tactics so you haven't gotten much information anyway.

Katana gets into the fight with the Dagger Clan and quickly learns that they don't have invulnerable shins. She cripples a bunch of them immediately and makes some stupid assumptions as to how they'll act. And then she learns something very important about their numbers and skills: they're better than she is with the amount of them there are.

Why does he say this? Is it sexual innuendo? Does he actually want her to work as a waitress in one of his bars? If that's it, how does he know she's a waitress since he can't know this is the woman that threw a bowling ball at him earlier.

Killer Croc (yes, it's Killer Croc) climbs aboard the ship and saves Katana from the Dagger Clan which he hired to lure her here. But he just wants her sword so I'm not sure why he doesn't just let them kill her.

Oh yeah. Because even Killer Croc believes that stupid bullshit about Crocodiles preferring rotten meat. Fuck you, Ann Nocenti. All you do is fill your comic books with stupid facts and you can't even get those right.

Killer Croc manages to bite Katana's sword, shattering it so that the surprise ending isn't actually a surprise because it was on the cover as a surprise. And apparently The Creeper that is ejected from the shattered sword claims to have been acting as Katana's husband all along. That's the worst lie ever. Since a bunch of other souls also escaped, it's obvious the sword actually does steal souls. And since all the souls in the sword would have heard Katana speaking to Maseo, any one of them could claim that they were pretending to be Maseo when Katana heard the sword talking back.

Who is The Creeper going to possess with Jack Ryder having become monster food in The Phantom Stranger?

Katana #3 Rating: -2 Ranking. I'm sure Maseo's soul is still in the broken blade. And the blade will be fixed by The Drunken Master since Katana realized earlier that he smelled like a blacksmith and he lied about making trinkets and bells. Also, Ann Nocenti is a worse writer than Scott Lobdell. This comic book is some of the smelliest excrement I've ever witnessed in my life full of various encounters with excrement. This one is the worst. Even worse than a toilet bowl the morning after Jalapeno and LinguiƧa Pizza night.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Justice League #19

I thought these covers were supposed to be surprising.

The League finally had their big recruitment drive last issue. They didn't so much as pick the best of the bunch as took whoever agreed to join. Most of the experienced heroes have their own lives and comic book titles and issues with Batman and so decided to pass on the offer. But Firestorm's comic book isn't long for the shelves, so he joined. I don't know why Batman and the rest want two high school kids on the roster. Every time the main group heads into deep space for some cosmic battle, the satellite is going to be used for a house party. They also accepted Element Woman who has a Preboot history of depression and suicide according to The Sandman. So that should be fun! And the Reboot version of The Atom joined because every team needs a teeny, tiny person that's useful in less situations than a guy that speaks with fish.

Like you'd expect, this issue begins in the Batcave with Red Hood hanging out with Alfred Pennyworth.

It's nice to see Alfred grieving. I mean, it's not enjoyable. It's not giving me joy. It doesn't turn me on or anything. Next I want to see him angry and punching Bruce in the face for risking kids' lives.

A mysterious man in a black body suit and red goggles interrupts the mourning process by shocking Red Hood into unconsciousness (didn't the All Caste teach him how to not be incapacitated by electricity?) and throwing Alfred through a glass case. He then enters some secret secret sanctum of the Batcave by pressing his hand into the WayneTech Palm Reading Security Scanner and clicking the secret button hidden in the rocky outcropping of the secret rock button wall. He then uses his eyeballs on the WayneTech High Definition Eyeball Sensing Sensor Scan to get himself into the vault which contains items to use against his best friends when he really, really needs to win an argument with one of them.

Only Batman could possibly figure out a way to defeat every other hero and have that solution fit in a box the size of a briefcase.

Superman's method of defeat is easy which is why, I suppose, Johns decided to show similar boxes for the other heroes. A Kryptonite Ring fits nicely in a briefcase. But what could possibly be in the other cases? Aquaman's probably has super concentrated fish food to slip into one of his meals so that he overeats and his belly explodes. Cyborg's case contains a great big super-powerful magnet to stick on the side of his head. Wonder Woman's case probably has a Big Book of Insults to Women so Batman can hurl them at her as they fight and get her off her game. Green Lantern's case might have contained some yellow powder at one time but now I imagine Batman probably just has his own Green Lantern ring. And Batman with a Green Lantern ring powered by willpower is the definition of unbeatable. The Flash's case probably just has a bunch of piano wire that Batman will string around Central City so that The Flash simply decapitates himself while going out for tacos.

After this mysterious man infiltrates the Batcave the way nobody but Batman could, the scene shifts to The Atom playing computer games. But she has to leave her guild on their raid because she has a meeting with the Justice League. Her guildmates call her a traitor and I think that might be some kind of foreshadowing. Or else it's Red Herring Foreshadowing. It's one of those which means it doesn't really help nail anything down except that half the people who guess one of those things will be able to tell the other half of the people guessing, "I told you so!"

The Atom meets up with Firestorm on the Justice League Satellite as they await the main group so they can get their Passcards and Teleport Authority Codes and the Justice League Manual on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. I wonder who handles Human Resources in the Justice League? It's not like when they had Sue Dibny to take care of all the non-catastrophic related issues. She was probably the most important part of the Justice League and now Johns expects me to believe that this League can run without someone like Sue handling the day to day matters? Maybe Cyborg simply has an App for that.

The current Justice League are all busy taking care of busy business. Superman and Wonder Woman are in Khandaq dealing with the Sons of Adam. Does that mean that Captain Atom's version of the future is going to come true no matter what Captain Atom managed to accomplish in his comic book's stupid time travel story? No, no. This is Khandaq which is Black Adam's country. Or will be. Or was, at least, in the Preboot. Besides, the revolutionaries wear patches on their uniforms showing Black Adam's lightning bolt.

Cyborg, Batman, and Aquaman are investigating the break-in at the Batcave. While Batman lies to Aquaman and Cyborg about what the intruder may have stolen, Cyborg gets a news alert that could mean trouble.

This is exactly the type of thing Batman warned Superman about. They can't be fucking with world politics without causing more trouble than they may be preventing.

Superman and Wonder Woman have a conversation about interfering with humanity to make the world a better place. Superman mentions how he made the decision a long time ago to inspire and not to interfere. Well, technically Batman made that choice for you, Supes. But Superman seems to now understand it's a short trip from helping people for their own good and Supreme Dictator of the World. And just in case he's unsure on some points, Batman appears out of thin air courtesy of Cyborg's new Non-Boom Tube travel technology.

And then Batman breaks out the Justice League Handbook on Interoffice Dating.

Batman lets them know that they need to be careful how they represent the Justice League Organization when they're out living their own lives. So I guess Batman is in charge of the Justice League's Image. Sure, leave it to the guy that thinks having a good image is scaring the shit out of everybody. How is it Batman is the one telling others how to act appropriately in public? This is some mixed-up shit right here.

While this Justice League meeting of the three top CEOs is happening, Firestorm and The Atom are trying to find the Watchtower's kitchen. Or bathroom. Or any room that a normal office building might have for the comfort of people who actually need to eat and/or defecate, unlike Superman and Cyborg and Batman. And that's when the mystery person shows up to kill whatever it can find!

Now that was a surprise. I didn't expect Despero seeing as how just recently in JLA or perhaps this comic, Waller or Trevor mentioned, in passing, how the Justice League had already battled Despero and Starro. I was disappointed that the Justice League was fighting each other and Cheetah and Ocean Master and an old writer with cancer while just flippantly having them deal with Amazo and Despero and Starro. Do all the most powerful enemies have names that end in "O"? Eclipso!

Next, Chapter 11 of Shazam wherein the children search the subways for the great Wizard that can take the magic away from Billy Batson. Or, you know, spread it out amongst them all (including a tiger). During the search, Billy once again encounters Francesca, the woman in the reflection. She tells him Black Adam's history and how Black Adam also received the power of the lightning when he was a child, although many, many years ago. And this makes Billy think he can talk to Black Adam as equals, having gone through basically the same thing: Adam through slavery and torture, and Billy through foster care.

Not the best plan. Although out of all of Billy's plans throughout this entire story, it was better than the others.

Justice League #19 Rating: +2 Ranking. I can't believe Batman is running around telling Superman how to behave in public. And in the meantime, Firestorm and The Atom are going to have to defeat Despero all by themselves! Hopefully Element Woman will arrive to not be any help at all. What would happen if Firestorm used his transmutation powers on Element Woman? Would she just be able to instantly change back to whatever she wants? Or could he even manage it because she's technically organic? My guess is that the universe would be destroyed.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Birds of Prey #19

Intact Freeze Gun. Undamaged Leg. I guess this takes place prior to Batwoman #18.

Now it makes sense that Mr. Freeze was able to leave a message for the other Birds of Prey on Starling's cell phone! How could I not have seen it before? The two are working together. That's the only explanation for Mr. Freeze having Starling's number. Well, maybe there's one other explanation that has to do with Mr. Freeze picking her up at a bar by buying her fifteen shots of whisky and laying down some really strong game. But I highly doubt there are any other explanations! Besides God. God is always an optional answer to questions that can't yet be answered by science or smart people.

I don't know how Black Canary doesn't figure it out immediately though. The first thing she should have asked was, "How the fuck did Victor Fries get Starling's number!?" Then the next question she should ask is, "Is Starling's phone number listed?" And then she should have realized all of their secret identities were at risk because she allowed a fucking drunk to hang out with them. And since I'm tired of this train of thought, let me finish with this non sequitor: I hope Condor dies.

The team stands around The Birds of Prey's soon to be flooded headquarters wondering where they're supposed to meet Mr. Freeze. He left them with a riddle even though he's not The Riddler. If he really wanted them to bring the Talon to him, why didn't he just say, "Bring her to the Starbucks on the corner of 5th and Jackson. The one on the Northwest corner, not the one on the Southeast corner." While they are discussing where to go, Batgirl uses the phrase "mad-on" and I'm suddenly sorely disappointed in Christy Marx. Fuck how I hate that saying. And Batgirl says it with her stupid chin strap face mask. I hate that chin thing on her mask as well!

At least the other thing I hate, Condor, has some important words for the group.

These cell phones are serious security risks.

Strix runs away while they're bickering which is probably for the best. Now Starling and Strix are gone! They just need to ditch Condor and they'll be rid of all the members I can't stand! Of course it'll just be Black Canary and Batgirl after that. But there are plenty of female bird heroes that can join the group! Like...well, I can't actually think of any right now. But I'm sure there are bunches!

The rest of the group all split up to track down Strix. Good thing they have their hacked cell phones so they can stay in touch.

While Black Canary gets some parkas and comforters together for their fight against Mr. Freeze, she reminisces about her first days with Team 7.

So it was just a coincidence that her sonic scream that would manifest later just happened to match up with her Team 7 codename? Not that canaries are known for blowing up people's heads with their bird songs. But you know what I mean. Right?

The team quickly tracks down Strix who just ran away like a scared kid when she heard they needed to go back to the Court of Owls' lab. But to save one of her new best friends, she's willing to be brave and lead the way. Damn. I was hoping she'd simply disappear.

I understand that "Birds of Prey" is also a pun on the slang term of "bird" meaning female which is why the team is traditionally all women. But I think it's time for Black Canary to fire everybody and have an all male Birds of Prey team! Because there aren't enough male-dominated super groups out there! Plus the women have had their chance in this Reboot and they couldn't pull it off with Duane writing their exploits. But now that a female is writing the comic book, she should fill the team with males! It all balances out perfectly. Maybe the name can be changed to Cocks of Prey! And it could become a slapstick horror thriller erotica mystery tale!

I'd fucking buy that.

Anyway, they're off to find Starling!

Fucking Bruce Wayne. Just think how many homeless people he created with this new fucking project to make money on turning another district of Gotham into a swanky, high-priced condominium hellhole.

On the way, Black Canary describes her fishnet technology to Condor. I have a feeling she's exaggerating a bit when she describes them as "kevlar-carbon-fiber-polymer mesh with self-repairing nanobots". Really, Black Canary? You have nanobots crawling about your under things? I think that's creepy. Or sexy? No, no. Definitely creepy.

When the team arrives at the Court of Owls' lab, they only find two Owl Scientists experimenting on the corpse of a young woman that had jumped into a river. No sign of Freeze or Starling which is when Batgirl realizes what just happened. Mr. Freeze was looking for information that the Talons were not giving up: the location of this lab. So he tricked the Birds and Strix into leading him to the place. Very nice, Mr. Freeze! A+ on the Super Villainry!

Hmm. Now I just wonder who Mr. Freeze was working with last issue!?

Of course this deteriorates into a brawl immediately. And even though Mr. Freeze has a gun that sprays ice all over the place in every direction and could fill the entire room in next to no time, he still begins to lose and calls out for help from his big surprise twist sidekick!

Surprise! What a twist!

Birds of Prey #19 Rating: +1 Ranking. Starling's loyalties have just been all over the place in this comic book so far. But if she is working with Waller, then maybe Waller has Mr. Freeze on a bit of a leash and the whole plan is to deal with some Court of Owls' shit. Here's hoping that this story arc kills the current roster and we get a fresh direction from this comic book soon.

Batwoman #19

Is Kate's grey skin going to be explained by being related to Director Bones?

From the very first page, my earlier assumptions are flushed away like so many Indian food fueled hopes and dreams. That was a tortured simile, if you were wondering what one of those might look like. The only reason I'm on the internet is to provide examples of horrible writing and devastatingly awkward turns of phrase that wind up in suburban dead ends where little towheaded white children play street hockey with soft balls and full padding and the streets are named after characters from vague and long forgotten fantasy novels. Although that is a misrepresentation of the actual truth which, for the time being, shall remain obfuscated by over one thousand entries on comic books and my pitiful existence. Entries which probably double back, repeat, run on and on, and go nowhere while spewing hyperbolic vitriol on anybody that doesn't think exactly as I do. But I continue to move forward (if moving in an ever dwindling spiral can be considered forward progression) for no reason at all, with no destination and no goal in sight. Because what else is there? I suppose I could be sitting on the porch of a well-mortgaged house with an ever-expanding gut as I smile proudly at my children stomping about the yard. Is that a loftier life than continuously escaping into comic books? No, no. Do not answer. I have lived amongst the social normies long enough to anticipate the harsh, critical judgment of those following in the footsteps of those following in the footsteps of those following in the footsteps of dim figures lost to time. We shall see, in the end, what matters most.

Ha ha! No, no. That was a joke. In the end, there will be no answers, no regrets, no remembrances of a life well (or not so well) lived. It will just be an instantaneous return to the state we left behind when our parents gave us life in the first place. That is to say, endless nothing.

And so Batwoman begins with the reader being introduced to Cameron Chase's sister and a mystery!

The mystery is how does anybody surf in Gotham Harbor?

Oh, mystery solved! Apparently this isn't Gotham Harbor at all. Cameron has flown out to . . . well, somewhere, to speak with her sister. The other actual mystery that I really meant before I skewed the perceived direction of my narrative flow was how Cameron's father wound up dead in an alley. Apparently he was The Cockroach in a superhero group that included Leopartard, Peace Fascist, The Portlandia Strongman, The Hooded Martian, and The Happy Harpy. Oh, here. Have a look for yourself.

I'm 97% certain I nailed all of their names.

Cameron's talk with her sister doesn't really go very well. Or go anywhere, really. They discuss how their dad and his superhero shenanigans fucked them both up for life. It's the driving force behind Cameron's need to shut down the whole super hero game. I always forget about the Department of Extranormal Operations when I think of all the organizations in the DC Universe. But this is just another one like ARGUS and Team 7 that are a reaction against super heroes and the government's need to control everything. But at least this organization isn't run by Amanda Waller. I hope Director Bones doesn't have any secret ambitions to run more than this one fucked up group. Anyway, Cameron has decided to set Black Alice (or Beth. Or whatever! I still need to read the Preboot Batwoman series!) loose on Batwoman. I think.

In other news, Maggie and Kate have finally moved in together and Kate is trying too hard to be the sexy, compassionate, comforting, underwear wearing half of the couple. Just because she's the superhero in the relationship, she thinks she needs to be strong for Maggie when Maggie is going through a rough time in the aftermath of a confrontation with The Scarecrow. But Kate needs to remember that Maggie is just as tough and individualistic as Kate, and acting like the strong one is only going to drive Maggie away. Plus I think Maggie has issues with her kid not being with her and she needs to figure out how to reconcile her life with her child and her life with Kate. I think it's time for a day at the amusement park for everyone! Too bad Amusement Mile was burnt to the fucking ground.

Meanwhile Kate's father Jacob is busy telling his wife all about his and his daughter's and his niece's secret lives. And she apparently wants to be the Alfred in this set-up.

Wait. What? Director Bones, right?!

Later Hawkfire and Batwoman go out on the town to capture a woman named Shard that is beating up on DEO agents because they stole something from The Religion of Crime. Just like they stole Mr. Freeze's freeze gun, right? What are they up to? That's what Hawkfire wants to know. I already know what they're up to but I don't want to spoil it for anybody. When their plan is finally revealed, I'll just nod my head knowingly and say, "Yup." But since Batwoman can't tell Hawkfire about the DEO, Hawkfire tells Batwoman she can't be her partner anymore. And Batwoman says, "Fuck you! You were my sidekick, bitch!" Hawkfire puts a tracer on Batwoman as they say goodbye. I'm surprised with all the tracers on things in Gotham City that they don't just completely interfere with each other so that nobody can find anything.

Part of the reason Batwoman can't answer Hawkfire's questions is because she doesn't know the answers. Hawkfire won't work with Batwoman because she can't trust the DEO. Batwoman can't even trust the DEO but she doesn't feel like she has much choice. So she goes to have a word with Director Bones about this whole fucked up situation. Bones tells her: he wants Batman's secret identity.

Oh come on! Batman just lost a kid! Bruce Wayne just lost a kid! They're inextricably tied together and you can't make the fucking connection?!

Director Bones threatens to put Kate's father in prison if she doesn't help. But she doesn't care about that anymore. She won't be manipulated anymore. Which is when Director Bones lets her in on a little secret that might change Kate's attitude: he has Beth.

Batwoman #19 Rating: +1 Ranking. This book still looks fantastic. Mostly. The Walden Wong inked pages weren't so great although they maintained the usual "back-up look" of this comic. I guess that's sufficient. I hope at some point this book brings Helix into the Reboot Universe. Maybe have Director Bones attend a Helix Reunion. Spend a full issue on that while Kate is on her honeymoon or something.