Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Phantom Stranger #21

If The Phantom Stranger is actually Judas Iscariot, why is he such a goddamned white guy?

I might have to reread this entire series because I'm suspecting, judging by this cover and last issue, that it's been a homoerotic romance novel this entire time. The only issue I have with that plan is that I don't actually want to spend any more time going back and rereading this series.

The Phantom Stranger has finally defeated the man whose life he stole, Sin Eater, and now feels guilty for having ruined the guy's life and having taken everything from him. So he's beginning an adventure to help redeem the serial killer, Philip Stark.

Come on, Stranger! You're not doing this for Philip Stark! You're doing this for yourself! The Phantom Stranger just can't live with the guilt of having stolen Philip Stark's family. Even though Phil was going to kill his family and The Stranger saved them by destroying Stark. So The Stranger doesn't owe this guy anything. Look, Stranger. Haven't you realized yet that nothing you do ever makes you seem like a good guy? Dog is manipulating you at every turn and you always wind up betraying and hurting somebody. Can't you just live with being a dick since Dog says it's for a good reason?

You know how people say God works in mysterious ways? That's such a fucking cop out! Not because they're basically shrugging their shoulders and accepting whatever crap God throws at them. But it's not an answer that points out that God is always working for the greater benefit of the human race. Somebody's family gets killed by a tornado and they accept it because God works in mysterious ways. Sure, if God planned the tornado to kill your family, you definitely don't know why he did it, so it's mysterious. But why do you accept that it's mysterious for a good reason?! Maybe he just fucking can't stand to look at your smarmy face and wanted to hurt you as badly as he could!

The Stranger brings the naked Sin Eater to the room of teenage babysitter, Chris the Redeemer.

No, it just speaks volumes for how far he'd go to soothe his guilty conscience.

I hate Chris the Redeemer. Not for any logical reason. I just think he's a shitty character and a shitty idea.

J.M. DeMatteis: "Hey! I know! Let's set up a character that's analogous to Jesus Christ!"
Stupid DC Editor Who Doesn't Know the Difference Between the Arctic and Antarctica: "I don't know. We might step on some toes and then we'd have to apologize because that's what you have to do if you accidentally step on somebody's toes or else they'll try to get you fired and turn the entire world against you."
J.M. DeMatteis: "What?"
Stupid DC Editor Who Thinks Ann Nocenti Has Writing Chops: "Oh, um, nothing. I mean, what's the twist?"
J.M. DeMatteis: "Okay, okay. Get this: his name is Chris Esperanza and he's a babysitter!"
Stupid DC Editor Who Tells Lobdell To His Face That His Run on Superman Was Epic: "I don't get it."
J.M. DeMatteis: "Chris! As in Christ! And Esperanza! Which means Hope? As in redemption? As in Redeemer?! Chris the Redeemer! And he's a babysitter because he's taking care of everyone!"
Stupid DC Editor Who Loved Rocafort's Design for Twat Lobo: "Um, sure. Okay. Hey, do you and Giffen have time to do another title? I was thinking of rebooting Boy Commandos except they'd be forced to have a girl join and wackiness could ensue as the boys have to deal with a girl trying to get by in the wilderness! Great idea, right?"
J.M. DeMatteis: "Have you looked at a calendar lately? 2014. Not 1961. Two thousand and fourteen!"
Stupid DC Editor Who is Stupid: "Come on! A great idea is a great idea! I can already picture one scene where the girl's tent falls down on her in the rain! Ah ha ha ha! Why aren't you writing that down? It's gold!"

I should submit a pitch for a rebooted Boys Commando comic book! Although I'd probably fill it with pedophilia jokes, so it'd probably fare better at Image.

Speaking of pedophilia jokes, I like how the florist in Bob's Burger's town is called Petalphilia. Speaking of puns, I like how the food cart down the street from my house is called Fried Egg I'm in Love.

The Stranger heads back to Terrance Thirteen's penthouse to find that he couldn't even handle taking care of one angel. He may be rich but I don't think he has a toilet big enough to flush Zauriel. So instead, he's handing the body off to a bunch of freelance angels.

So "What's grosser than gross? A truck full of dead babies" is another person's truth? And "What's grosser than that? The live one eating its way out" is somebody else's? People are weird!

Zauriel's body is taken to a ghost town in Utah where The Phantom Stranger and the angels cremate it. After that, the Mormons convert Zauriel to Mormonism.

The angels point out that Zauriel was also a fallen angel since he went against Dog's commands when he chose to help The Stranger put together an eighteen issue crossover.

Homosexual romance novel!

Apparently Zauriel was Judas's private guardian angel. He followed him from his birth. He was even there when he took up with twelve other white guys on some Canadian camping trip or some...oh wait! That's when he was a disciple of Christ! Why are they white guys?!

To bring Zauriel back from the dead, a human champion must fight for him. But The Phantom Stranger is all, "But I'm not gay!" Then he turns into a tornado and disappears. But Terrance Thirteen steps up and accepts the challenge! That seems a bit foolhardy. He's no Phantom Stranger!

Terrance Thirteen and The Phantom Stranger should star in a remake of television's Perfect Strangers. I wouldn't watch it but it's an idea!

Terrance Thirteen learns what his challenge is: spend a whole night in a haunted house without leaving. Or try not to be killed by a gaggle of evil angels. One of those.

At first Terrance seems to be doing a pretty good job but then he hears creaking on the stairs and a rattle of chains and then he sees the eyes move in the portrait over the fireplace and he says, "G-g-g-g-g-g-ghost!" As he runs out of the haunted house, The Phantom Stranger returns to clear things up and to convince everyone he isn't really a homophobic jerk.

I mean, he is. But he doesn't want everybody believing it!

In the end, The Phantom Stranger is told to forget the haunted house and the evil angels because he's going to be battling The Font in the Sky!

The Phantom Stranger #21 Rating: No change. I really feel like I've gotten a hell of a lot softer as a comic book reviewer over the last few years. This comic was decent enough to hold my interest and nothing about the story or plotting or writing annoyed me. So, you know, good job this month, J.M. and Fernando and Cliff and Gabe. But I feel like I'm not hating on DC Comics enough! I think they've warn down my feisty attitude! That's why I can't wait until this fall when they release the multiple disasters they're going to release! Twat Lobo! Deathstroke by Tony S. Daniel. Klarion the Witch Boy by Ann Nocenti! It'll almost be like the days of Rob Liefeld! Oh the joy! The anger! The unrepentant personal attacks on the family members of the writers and artists merely trying to earn a living! My heart swells with joy at the thought of it all!

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