Sunday, March 30, 2014

Red Lanterns #29

The most important part of Kara's new look is the Red Ring which she seems to have left on the bathroom sink. Also, what the fuck is up with the index finger on her right hand? It's probably been broken so many times due to punching people in the face, it's never healed correctly.

Look at that chump Superman! Still trying to control Kara and keep her from making her own choices. Not that wearing the Red Ring was really her choice. But sometimes things happen to people that they didn't choose but they still accept those things. So Superman needs to accept whatever Kara is accepting and lay off. Or maybe he can save her and her mind will be clear of the rage and she'll thank him for forcing his choice on her! It's a tough call! When does interfering with and trying to control a loved one's life actually become help and rescue?

Guy's the man though! Letting her make her own choices and take control of her own life! Sure, his motives might be a bit selfish since his team now has a Kryptonian Red Lantern! But at least he's respecting her life decisions! Even though Kara is possessed by a Red Ring that keeps her rage at a constant heightened state of pure anger, she's obviously still able to make her own rational decisions about what is best for her. I guess if she had a sexually transmitted disease that was slowly driving her insane because spirochetes were digging their way into her brain, Guy would have to respect her choices then too. So when Superman flies up with a Kryptonian syringe yelling something about antibiotics, Guy would have to stop him and say, "Only if she wants the shot, Kal."

Currently it doesn't matter what anybody wants because Zox and Skallox are firing neutron-star-tipped missiles at Kara. For fun.

Le sigh.

After Kara proves she can take a neutron-star-tipped missile to the breadbasket, she joins Skallox and Zox at the Red Lantern Bar. It's an adorably messy place with No Cats signs and a banner that reads "One of Us" on the wall. The weird thing about living in the internet age is knowing that something like "one of us" speaks to far more people than it did before everyone had access to the internet. I generally expect everybody to have seen Freaks at this point but there was a time when it actually was simply a cult classic. Do cult classics even exist anymore? I remember in the early to mid nineties (you know, before the internet really took off and most people were relying on AOL or Prodigy or Whatever), I was steadily making my way through the Cult Classics movies section at a local Hollywood Video. I watched a lot of movies I'd never heard of simply because I hadn't heard of them through word of mouth (the internet before the internet!). Most of those movies are probably now run of the mill flicks that everybody has seen because everybody has now heard of everything thanks to the internet. I'm not putting a judgment on things having a wider audience! That's great. I just find it strange. Now videos go viral and everybody sees them. Back when I was growing up, viral videos were literal VHS tapes that were copied and passed around from person to person. I saw my first footage of a person eating shit out of another person's ass from one of those! I also saw Parker and Stone's "Spirit of Christmas (Jesus vs. Santa)" via VHS tape before it hit the internet and everybody knew about it. In fact, I was surprised one day when one of my auto-responses on a MUSH, "You can't say pigfucker in front of Jesus!", was recognized by another player. That was when I truly realized the internet was changing everything. Information, all of it, was being released from its cage. Now you didn't need to know the right people, or be curious enough to actually get the fuck to a library. You could just sit in front of a screen and soak it all in, following link after link until you're waist deep in information you didn't even know existed just hours ago. Remembering it all is a whole different problem! Just like television is the shitty brother of movies, the internet is the half-assed brother to the library and books. It's tougher to retain data when you don't take a break to reflect and absorb.

Gooble Gobble! Gooble Gobble!

Oh yeah! One last thing I wanted to mention although why do I think I need to mention it since everybody knows about everything already on the internet? Anyway, if you haven't seen the documentary Winnebago Man, I am suggesting it here because it captures quite a bit of that feeling of the time when you had seen a strange bootleg video and then suddenly you run into a complete stranger that has also seen the tape. It just widened your world in such a spectacular way that doesn't really happen anymore. Now when you mention something fascinating you've seen, the main response is "Meh" and "That's fucking old" and "Really? You'd never seen that?" Fucking attitudes, man.

Guy Gardner stops by to ruin the party because he's Big Daddy in this unit. I guess he doesn't respect Kara's decisions as much as I made it seem earlier since he won't allow her to partake in a drink with her new family. He's probably not wrong! Not because she shouldn't be drinking due to her age; she probably shouldn't be drinking because she could destroy the planet if she gets out of control.

Does Ysmault have a yellow sun? Just, you know, wondering.

Kara points out that the Red Lanterns don't have a leader but come on! They all secretly know Guy Gardner is leader! But he's the kind of leader that basically lets them all do their own thing. He still tells them what needs to be done but they don't mind because none of them want to do any of that organizational shit. So Guy needs to figure out what to do with Kara because she's eventually going to attract the attention of Superman and who needs that self-righteous superdick fucking up their sweet deal to rule Sector 2814?

As Skallox points out when he finishes his statement on the next page, the whole planet is filled with lunatics. Although that doesn't really support his argument at all! It supports Zox's! Maybe he should just stay away from the entire place. Go find some other alien that is willing to fuck a creature with the head of a long dead goat.

While Zox and Skallox keep Kara busy (which they were doing in the bar but Guy had to break that sweet deal up), Guy heads to Earth to have a chat with Superman. Superman doesn't quite recognize him with the long hair and the porn stache and, probably, the red suit. So Guy introduces himself as having been on that disaster of a team, Justice League International. Superman is a good guy so he doesn't laugh right in Guy's face.

Charles Soule is pretty adept at these one on one conversations, so I'll just scan it here instead of paraphrasing it poorly with intermittent dick jokes.

It was Clark Kent's own website that broke the news and he's going to blame Barry?! What a dick!

As Kara flies up, the predicted chaos happens. Guy gets shaken down by Superman as Supes tries to figure out how Guy defiled his little cousin. Kara exclaims she's a big girl that can make her own choices. Skallox points out it wasn't really her choice and she's going to be this way forever or she'll die.


Superman tries to fix his cousin the way he's always trying to fix his cousin. This time instead of her fist, she hits him with a cargo ship. It's a nice, cathartic moment for her and she's ready to tell both Guy and Kal why they need to fucking butt out and stop trying to solve her problems. And even when she's right about how they've been treating her, Superman comes right back with the rightest fucking shit to say just like Superman should. He lays it all out. He understands that Kara has wanted him to leave her alone. But he's family and he couldn't just do that. He saw that she is angry and now she's become pure anger while he tried to help her accept what has happened, heal, work through the grief. But Supes also realizes he can't keep pushing himself or his way of doing things on her. She's young and she's not him and she needs to deal with her problems the way she needs to deal with her problems. Superman only has one last thing to say to Guy before leaving Kara in his hands.

How come so many other comic book writers can't write shit like this? Try harder, assholes.

This is a really interesting dynamic between Kara, Kal, and Guy. The entire situation could easily cause any one of these three (or all three) to come out looking like a fucking asshole. But Soule manages to portray them all in a sympathetic light in this confrontation. Superman could easily come off as the worst here. But he's been trying to be a parent to Kara ever since he met her. He's just now worked through all the stages of parental grief and he's finally realizing he can't control Kara nor can he live her life for her. He has to let her go. But he still feels protective of her which is why he reaches out to Guy for assurance that she'll (and everybody she might accidentally harm while angry) be all right.

Kara could easily come off looking like a snotty rebellious brat that's just ignoring any advice given to her by the adults. But we feel the pain and trauma she's been through since issue one of Supergirl. She didn't need Superman telling her to forget things and fit in. She needs to cope with this pain. Perhaps being away from Earth where everything has simply been chaotic and confusing will give her that time. And she'll be with peers instead of people trying to be parents.

And Guy just comes across as the Guy I always love to see rise to the surface. That's the Guy that the Green Lantern Ring chose. He and Kara are a lot alike so he might be the best person in the DC Universe right now for her to be around. Hopefully he'll take her back to Ysmault now and let her have that drink.

Superman mentions once more that Hal's been slagging off the Red Lanterns before he tells them he'll trust them to keep his family safe. And Zilius Zox points out that the Red Lanterns are family. A very angry family with severe acid reflux problems. Then Zilius Zox throws a beer at Superman and yells, "You can take your family and shove it straight up your ass!" Then Superman leaves and the Red Lanterns head back to Ysmault where they find Bleez at the bottom of a crater muttering, "Atrocitus."

Red Lanterns #29 Rating: +3 Ranking. Whereas a lot of writers would have had Guy's confrontation with Superman wind up in a brawl, Soule keeps it to a very nice conversation. Except for the one hit Kara gets in with an ocean liner. But that hit was definitely not gratuitous. Kara has been needing to do that to Kal for a long time. She wasn't about to leave home with any less violence than that. I'm just glad it didn't come to any more. This was as elegant a way as any for Kara to truly join the Red Lanterns and become part of their family. One of us, indeed.

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