Sunday, July 27, 2014

Batman #33

This is less like a finale and more like a fine ale. Or something.

This is the end! The end of our story! This is the end! The high-priced extra dollar end of our story!

This final issue comes down to a personal battle of wits between Batman and The Riddler. Batman must answer twelve riddles where the answers will be things like "Scorpion!" and "A goat!" and "Green Arrow!" If he answers them all correctly before Gotham is blown to bat-pieces, he'll get to punch The Riddler in the face. But I think Gotham will still be blown to pieces. So the only difference in answering the riddles is the satisfaction of breaking The Riddler's eye sockets. Gotham City must rely on the police commissioner and an inventor and a handful of black ops military men to save it now. But when has that ever been enough? I tell you when! Never, that's when! Gotham needs the Batman!

This paragraph is in invisible ink that can't be read by Batmen because I didn't want to hurt his feelings but here's the truth: Gotham City doesn't really need Batman at all! What it really needs is a good bombing! Barring a good bombing, it could probably make due with an aquatic super hero who's also a writer. He could write scathing articles about the corruption on the police force while stopping all the illegal weapons and drugs from entering Gotham through the harbor. Of course, being a water super hero, he'd have to make sure the Gotham airport was shut down and the train tunnels filled in. And I say "he" because I really mean Grunion Guy! Give a guy a chance, okay, DC Comics?

Anyway, on to the most important part of this issue, the Game of Riddles!

The answer to The Riddler's first riddle is "louse." I could be The Jeezly Crow Batman!

That one was easy! House without the "H," lies without the "ies," stitched together to become "louse." I haven't read Batman's explanation yet but I did see he said louse on the next page. After coming up with it myself, of course! I am a Master Comic Book Reader, after all! Okay, so that doesn't translate to Master Riddle Answerer but it's close enough. I solved the DC Challenge after the first issue! Although none of the other writers solved it so it didn't resolve the way it should have and my solution became null and void since the other writers of the series were idiots!

Also, I probably only solved this riddle because it was wordplay. If I am The Batman and The Riddler asks a riddle that forces me to think around a corner, Gotham is dead.

I see Batman discovered the riddle had more clues pointing to the answer plus Eddie dropped a further hint before even asking the Riddle. So many clues to come up with one answer? The Riddler must be calibrating The Batman's ability with the first question.

How am I supposed to play along at home if Batman keeps interrupting?! Jerko!

Batman must have trained under a Grandmaster Riddler Asker on his travels around the world to become the best at everything because I certainly wouldn't have jumped to the "bee" conclusion so soon! I was leaning toward a baseball game! But that's because I can only answer riddles generally asked by third graders. Here's a horrendous riddle I heard in fifth grade that I remember because I didn't fucking get it: "Why can't The Go-Go's get pregnant? Because their lips are sealed." I just thought that it meant they couldn't get married because they couldn't say "I do" or answer "yes" to a proposal which meant they could never get pregnant because that kind of thing doesn't happen out of wedlock! I bet the kid that asked me the riddle didn't actually understand it either. I also didn't know what boner was slang for, so there were some other jokes I didn't understand.

The Go-Gos?

Does the answer to this riddle have something to do with the incorrect way he phrased it? "My greatest of my strengths"? Is that a hint? Shouldn't he give more hints?! His first riddle had a dozen clues! This one has two lines? The only thing that knows its own worth is the brain. But how does it hug itself tightly at every birth? Because it's squished coming out of the birth canal? Maybe the answer is a kitten! Kittens surely know their own worth! And they're always getting hugs! Practically all the time!

See?! That's a clue, right? It's kittens!

Unless the clue part of that statement is the tongue part! Maybe the answer is a French kiss! Or a scream! Or a philosophical statement denoting the pain and ecstasy of sentient life?

I guess that's the end of the riddle game!

Like Alexander the Great and WOPR, Batman realizes the only way to win the game is to not play it at all. It looks like Lucius figured out a way to jam The Riddler's robot bodyguards leaving Batman free to break some bones. "Riddle me this, Riddler? How many broken bones can a human have while still remaining alive? Let's find out the answer together! ONE! TWO! CRUNCH!"

Meanwhile Jim Gordon grabs a reflective surface, paints a bat on it, and then uses it to try to blind the fighter pilots so they crash before releasing their bombs. The pilots aren't blinded but they do notice the bat painted on it and decide to stand by for new orders while the officers back at the base try to figure out what it could mean.

Once The Riddler has been curbstomped by Batman, Batman has to reboot the city by sticking some doohickey on his chest and sucking down 1000 volts of voltage. At the same time, he's having a memory of going through electroshock therapy. Is that something that was touched upon earlier in the story that I've forgotten? Are we about to learn that Batman's entire existence was just a sanitarium dream, like in that episode of Buffy or, years previous to that, the issue of Doom Patrol where Crazy Jane is stuck in an asylum hallucinating the Doom Patrol and the Kingdom of Chairs? Is DC Comics going to retire Batman completely here and show that he's always just been a nobody inmate in Arkham Asylum?! Will DC destroy its cash cow for the sake of one story?!

I think I should probably just keep reading to find out why Bruce decided to go through electroshock therapy!

But first, Alfred needs to save his life.

I'm glad Alfred was smart enough to know that you don't start a stopped heart with the defibrillators that Batman used to stop his heart! You restart a heart with CPR! I mean, of course Alfred knows that! What kind of a genius battlefield surgeon would he be if he relied on television medicine?

Oh, and Gotham never gets bombed. Even though Bruce could have made a shit-ton of money helping to rebuild! That's an opportunity squandered. Anyway, everybody gets around to rebuilding after Bruce Wayne says some really inspiring things and hires Lucius Fox to help run Wayne Enterprises and makes friends with the new Commissioner. Gotham is about to go through a renaissance and not be plagued by horrible madmen at all! And all it took was one small death wish and a whole lot of elbow grease!

I hope the electro-booted Bruce and his fake Alfred exist on one of the other Earths.

Lastly there's a bit about Alfred's dreams being crushed under the heavy heel of The Batman, and thus begins, well, you know.

Batman #33 Rating: +1 Ranking. This issue is the perfect issue to jump on board if you don't know anything about The Jeezly Crow Batman! What's that? What about the "finale" right there on the cover? You're afraid you won't understand it and you'll need to read the previous five hundred issues of Zero Year? No! Don't worry about that. All you need to know is right here in this issue! Everything from Bruce's realization that he needs to realize stuff to Alfred's codependent beginnings to Jim Gordon's coat's origin to Lucius Fox's raise to the importance of the Batcave's giant penny to even more declarative statements separated by the preposition "to." It's a cavalcade of cavalcadian proportions! Although the one thing that won't be explained is the cover. When did Batman go roaming about the city with a pride of lions?! Maybe the cover is simply a memorial for the lions who died earlier in the series. Or maybe it's a riddle!

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