Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Red Hood and the Outlaws #33

I wonder if Ed Benes has ever seen a woman with average sized breasts?

I'm currently reading Lolita because I have some huge gaps in my first-hand knowledge of some of the more popular books by successful novelists. I've seen some film version of Lolita that I can hardly remember and I know, from that, how creepy and icky the main character Humbert Humbert was. But I don't remember the film version playing him as quite the pedo he actually is in the book. It seemed to downplay that and focus solely on a middle aged man ruining his life by falling in love with a very young girl. And having sex with her! Don't forget the bit where he's constantly manipulating and fucking her! I mean, sure, that seems like the movie is saying, "Look! This guy is a pedo!" But it also seems like the movie is saying, "Look! This guy just made a little mistake that we all could easily make, given certain circumstances and various dark moods." Although I really don't remember the film, so I probably shouldn't be speaking on it without any clarity of how it really seemed to portray him.

Anyway, I'm only twenty-nine pages in and Nabokov makes sure the reader knows unequivocally, through Humbert Humbert's own words and actions, that he is absolutely a pedophile. Here's a short moment that really allows the reader to identify with Humbert Humbert:

I remember handling an automatic belonging to a fellow student, in the days (I have spoken of them, I think, but never mind) when I toyed with the idea of enjoying his little sister, a most diaphanous nymphet with a black hair bow, and then shooting myself.

See? If you aren't already on Humbert's side at this point, Nabokov continues with the thought that led him to this remembrance:

I now wondered if Valechka [Humbert's wife who just revealed she was in love with another man because Humbert Humbert certainly hasn't been showing any interest in her unless she completely shaved her body, strapped down her bosoms, and wore a young girl's nightshirt.] (as the colonel called her) was really worth shooting, or strangling, or drowning. She had very vulnerable legs, and I decided I would limit myself to hurting her very horribly as soon as we were alone.

At this point, the reader must be thinking, "What a man of conviction! A man with a take charge, can-do attitude! No wonder Lolita falls in love with him! He's such a strong, adult male role model, something like a caretaker that was missing from her childhood or something but which she really needed."

Of course nobody is thinking that nor, do I think, anybody picks up Lolita to be surprised that the main character, who manipulates and corrupts a young girl, is going to be a likable, heroic everyman. But I have to say that if the movie is how I remember it (and I don't know that it is!), it's doing a disservice to the book by not revealing Humbert Humbert for the predator he is, and has been, for his entire life leading up to meeting Lolita. It's also quite probable that I missed the entire first half of the movie where that shit was played up and explained! Like I said, I probably shouldn't be comparing one thing that I've barely even begun to read with another thing that I barely remember.

Bah, why not though, right? America!

One last note about Nabokov's writing before I discuss Scott Lobdell's writing which is the complete antithesis to Nabokov's. I don't really enjoy writing character driven fiction. I just don't have the patience to show a character's character through their actions. I just want to put a gigantic arrow over their head that says "ASSHOLE!" or "NOBLE" or "SHEEP-FUCKER!" But I do enjoy the act of writing critiques on pretty much anything and everything. Short stories are fine too although they tend to revolve around a central philosophical idea rather than being driven by the characters. Anyway, I said I wanted to say something about Nabokov's writing, didn't I? Let me start by saying something about H.P. Lovecraft's writing! When I read Lovecraft, he makes me want to write. I tend to begin writing projects in my head spurred on by Lovecraft's prose and then realize I've read a page or two of Lovecraft without any memory of what I'd read because I was lost in my own writing projects. But Nabokov's writing makes me want to destroy all the typewriters in the world and hang myself. He's just so fucking good at the words. He make me hate mine ability to put things. Bad Nabokov! BAD!

Maybe that's why aspiring writers need a genius like Scott Lobdell! He stands tall and shouts, "Look at my works, ye less than mighty, and hope!" And with that, let us see what horrible turns of phrase and poorly written characterizations Lobdell has for us this month!

I've only just read the title and I've already choked on my own bile and shit myself a little bit.

The issue begins with a look back at Starfire's past after she freed herself from whatever aliens had enslaved her. I think all of them. You know, Daemonites, Czarnians, Thanagarians, Citadelians, Otakus, The Penile-Headed People of Vega III, the Tamaraneans, and probably all the others I can't remember at the moment. She's on a "goodwill" tour (hence the stupid name of the issue!) through the "Peace Corridor." I suppose the "Peace Corridor" is so named because it's not really peaceful at all. It's probably only peaceful because all the aliens which live within it are oppressed and forced to smile or else they're taken out back to an asteroid to be shot.

As we soon find out, even stupid faced cat guards that normally don't think about anything but guarding stuff know something isn't quite as it seems with Starfire's "Good Will Hurting" tour.

I didn't realize the cat people of Eseru Prime had opium and Groucho Marx.

The real opiate of the masses is free speech. As long as people feel like they have a voice and can post misogynist comments on YouTube videos, they feel free and in control! And as such, there is no need for rebellion or a desire to change the system. The most dangerous thing a society can do is tell people that they can't say certain things or use specific words in a game of Scrabble. That's when all hell breaks loose and the walls come crumbling down! A nice side effect of free speech being the opiate of the masses is all the infighting that occurs with the citizens of a country as they argue about which words are appropriate for general usage and which words shouldn't be said by anybody. While the populace bickers about trying to control an uncontrollable monster like language, the power hungry bastards trying to ru(i)n everything sit back and shove cigars up their asses! That's how the Reptilian Elite smoke cigars. It's a fact!

Look! An error in a Scott Lobdell comic book! *point emphatically*

Textual errors are the opiates of Scott Lobdell's writing. While everybody is distracted with the typos and homophone mistakes, nobody notices how awful everything else about Lobdell's script actually is.

Horrible feet are the opiates of Rob Liefeld's drawings. People complain so much about his inability to draw feet that they miss the bigger picture: he can't draw anything!

One thing Scott Lobdell has done this month that I approve of is his use of thought bubbles for Starfire's voice over Narration Boxes. That means her thoughts are in the moment instead of being spoken by some odd future version of her that already knows how this story ends. He has also chosen to go with the omniscient narrator for the voice in the Narration Boxes. Lobdell is just making old school choices all over the place!

I do wish that he'd stop using "so-called" to describe nearly everything though.

Anyway, Starfire is investigating some strange goings onses in the Aforementioned Catacombs beneath the Royal Palace. That's a strange name for a series of catacombs but who am I to judge what an alien race of cat people call things? Although I would have expected something like Vile String Catacombs or Ephemeral Red Laser Bug Catacombs or Shiny Shiny Shiny What Was I Doing Catacombs or Pet My Tummy Now You're Going To Die Catacombs or This Food Sucks I'm Going To Eat My Litter Now Catacombs or In Then Out Then In Then Out Then In Then Out Catacombs. Oh, that reminds me of a poem I wrote a long time ago.

The Cat
By Grunion Guy

Eat. Sleep.
Sleep. Eat.
It's in my seat.

Within the Aforementioned Catacombs are dozens of slaves! Kori has come to free them which she does. She frees them. She frees them all! Helping her are the crew of the Starfire, Depalo the Dominator and Kitt'n the Sexually Lubricated. Sorry. That sounded disgusting. I apologize for typing it and then not deleting it and then uploading it to the internet and then slipping it into the text sideways so that it waylaid you and you had to read it. My bad.

Anyway, Kori traveled up and down the Peace Corridor for years rescuing slaves on each of her "Goodwill Hurting" Tour stops. I guess interstellar communication and good old detective work hadn't been invented yet in the Peace Corridors since, for years, nobody ever noticed the pattern. Princess Kori stops by to tell everybody everything will be okay and then, later that night, all the slaves escape. I think I might have noticed that pattern after about one year or so, depending on how many stops she made each month. But then I'm as good a detective as Batman and also an Earthling, so I'm obviously smarter than any aliens. It's the ability to feel emotion and the never give up attitude of Earthlings that make us special, you know! At least that's what popular science fiction has taught me.

S.H.A.D.E. stands for that? I could see A.G.O.G.S.M.A.M.T.H.O.M.A.M. standing for that. But not S.H.A.D.E.

Kori has exited for from the Ant Farm leaving Red Hood and Roy Harper to figure out why she freaked out. I bet it has something to do with her Goodwill Hurting Tour!

Red Hood has more than one six? Is he extra-dimensional?

Within the capsule that arrived at the Ant Farm with a hologram saying, "Save us Kori. You're our only hope," are a bunch of dead alien slaves. Roy Harper starts throwing punches because Langstrom says something that upsets him (reasonable!) which forces Dr. Langstrom to turn into Man-bat so the Outlaws will fall in line. Jason Todd is surprised by this revelation because he never did his Bat-Homework. Also because I guess in The New 52 timeline, Men-bat are more associated with the League of Assassins than Kirk Langstrom.

Meanwhile Starfire finds herself in Mos Eisley looking for some information. She's not very subtle about it because she learned about extracting information from Jason Todd and Roy Harper. So instead of learning anything, she just finds herself in the middle of a battle with a whole bunch of aliens. But that battle will take place next week, same Red Hood Time, same Red Hood channel!

Red Hood and the Outlaws #33 Rating: No change. Holy Vatican Shit Stains, Popeman! I actually didn't despise a comic book by Scott Lobdell! Sure, there were some amateurish mistakes and a heavy reliance on common tropes and character reactions but you have to look at the bigger picture. It's a story that makes sense and is driven by Starfire's history and experience. And I applaud Scott Lobdell for not making me suffer through page after page of Roy Harper Narration Boxes. I think he's beginning to take my advice by bringing back thought bubbles and omniscient narrators (within limits, of course! Nobody likes those old school Narration Boxes that just describe what you can already see happening in the panel). The only thing I really despised about this comic book was the cover. What the fuck was that? It's not alluring. It doesn't draw my attention. It has no personality. It's just the three main characters engaged in action packing! That's something people engage in, right? Boring!

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