Sunday, September 14, 2014

Futures End: Detective Comics #1

Five years ago, the world as we know it ceased to be. Luckily, the world as we know it from The Road Warrior came into being. Many people were prepared for this turn of events. Too bad those people were geeks and nerds without any real survival skills. Tragically, they were all rape-murdered by corporate CEOs who, it turned out, were the biggest sociopaths on the planet. Some nerds and geeks survived longer than others due to their proficiency at oral sex. But even these desperate, shameless nerds could not last for long. Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea gave and gave and gave but eventually, as he knew deep down would happen, he used a little too much teeth. He was thrown into Lightning Dome, a more terrifying version of Thunder Dome, where twenty combatants entered and nineteen left. Mostly because the nineteen were working together to fightfuck the lone other. Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea lasted thirteen minutes, a good showing but not good enough to be remembered for more than the long weekend.

As it turned out, some of the most depraved and richest CEOs were the biggest fans of Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea. When the updates stopped (for, you see, DC Comics continued to publish during these post-apocalyptic times although their market share was now worse than Dynamite. In their defense, Gail Simone was being forced to write all of the titles deep within Dynamite headquarters, and all of the titles featured naked lesbians as every character), the CEOs grew desperate for the only written entertainment they could stomach. A new Tess was needed. And who better to take over the job than the monster that delivered the death thrust to Tess, Goggles McDeathhurt.

And now, five years later, COMICSVERSE presents The Very, Very, Very Intriguing Show with Hosts Steve and The Tub!

Steve: "Good evening, fans of comic books! And you too, Tub!"
The Tub: "Thanks, Steve! Good evening fans and listeners!"
Steve: "We've got a very interesting show for you tonight. We'll be talking Batman as we review Futures End: Detective Comics #1 which was a very, very intriguing and interesting read."
The Tub: "Yes it was. In so many ways!"
Steve: "But first, we should welcome the small handful of new listeners to our show tonight coming over from that very, very horribly hard to understand show, 'HOLY F-WORD! Don't Put That There Chai Tea!'"
The Tub: "What kind of name is that for a show about comic books?"
Steve: "A very, very bad one, obviously. But don't worry.... Um, what is it that Googles called her listeners? Oh! Scanners! Don't worry, Scanners, you'll enjoy this comic book broadcast very, very much."
The Tub: "We'll try to keep it low brow for starters, okay? Ease you all into how we do things here at COMICSVERSE! We like to get truly in-depth when talking about comics, so don't let that scare you off. We appreciate all listeners across the intellectual spectrum! Even Mopers and Dopers."

[Few seconds of silence]

The Tub: "Did that sound insulting?"
Steve: "Not at all, Tub! There's a reason why they were listening to Google's gobbledy-gook transmissions and not our very, very smart and very well-focused show. Anybody that talks like that Googles is obviously of a lower intelligence than those of us whom speak proper English."
The Tub: "That would be 'who speak proper English,' Steve, ya spittin' mope!"
Steve: "Ahuh. Um, right. Um, what? Um, uh, oh, well, yeah! Ha ha! Of course, Tub! Shall we get to the review of Futures End: Detective Comics #1?"
Travis: "Let's bust this cherry!"
Steve: "Whoa, whoa. Be mindful that kids are very much listening, Tub. Shall we begin with a very in-depth look at page one?"

Steve: "Very intriguing right from the start with the very, very interesting and very unique villain, Calendar Man!"

The Tub: "Did you just say 'very unique'? Besides the expression being nonsensical, it doesn't really apply, does it? He's just like every other Batman villain that picks a ridiculous theme and then sticks to that theme no matter how little it helps in committing crime."
Steve: "Tub, this isn't really a debate show, you know? It's like improv. You don't negate the other person's views. Comicsverse has a very unique way of doing things that ensures DC Comics, subsidiary of Realfeel™ Sphincters, continues to send us free comic books to review and continues to pay for our space to broadcast. And enough cash to eat food that doesn't have "rat" as the first ingredient."
The Tub: "Well, sure, but calling Calendar Man interesting? Are you sure you want to have your artistic integrity tied to that statement?"
Steve: "Just...just follow my lead, okay? I know you're fairly new to this but that's exactly why you should trust me, okay? Take a deep breath, and let's continue."
The Tub: "Okay, okay. May I give my feelings on page one now?"
Steve: "Shoot a rainbow!"
The Tub: "What?"
Steve: "Um, go ahead."
The Tub: "The first page sets the tone. Gotham is still a dark, ambiguous place. On one hand, derelict buildings--covered in graffiti, weathered posters, broken boards, and a general miasma of filth and grit--seem to crowd their way past the sidewalks to overflow into the streets. And on the other, great big displays of high tech electronics and television screens attempt to light the darkness in a bluish-green glow from a constant barrage of media images. But they can only brighten the literal dark as the metaphorical darkness of the city is only compounded by the news reports flashed across every screen. Imminent threats. Dangers. Madmen. Fear! It might be the future but this is still the same old Gotham birthed years ago by the doula known as Edward Nygma."
Steve: "That's very, um, very astute of you, Tub! And quite an interesting take on page one. Although you failed to mention how exciting it is to see that this is going to be a Calendar Man story!"
The Tub: "Yeah, yeah. With Calendar Man."
Steve: "On to pages two and three which are a full spread of Batman flying through the rain on a new Bat-gadget which, as we'll see, doubles as a Bat-drill!"

Steve: "At this point, we learn Calendar Man is a real threat that even Batman is taking seriously! Very intriguing stuff! You literally have to ask, 'How did he get so powerful?'"

The Tub: "Well, you don't literally have to ask yourself that. But you might be literally yawning after this moment."
Steve: "Ha ha! Oh, come on now, Tubs! We've seen not very interesting D-List villains turned into major bad guys time and again! It's a literal staple of the comic book industry! It's a very intriguing device!"
The Tub: "Yeah, okay. You know what this moment also sets up? It sets up the end where the person Calendar Man wanted all along was The Riddler although this moment makes it seem ambiguous and the reader is expected to believe that Batman is the person Calendar Man wants."
Steve: "Tub! Spoilers!"
The Tub: "How are we supposed to do in-depth, intellectual reviews if we can't spoil the story? That's nonsense. Look, for this story to work, Calendar Man can never give any kind of details about who ruined his life. The story breaks down if he says, 'I want the person that is responsible for the blackout because my wife died due to the blackout and that's when my life ended.' But the story has already broken down when we are expected to believe that the Gotham Police haven't asked any appropriate questions to determine who that person is. It would take just one small detail from Calendar Man to destroy the entire conceit of this story."
Steve: "But Batman says right here on these pages, he says, 'The GCPD can't even get into Arkham Island to negotiate.' See? How can they learn more?"
The Tub: "Stop filling the gaps for the comic book, Steve. If Calendar Man can get the message that he wants the person responsible for destroying his family into their hands, he can easily point out who that person is. According to the end of the story, he knows he wants The Riddler. But the story has to keep it ambiguous to make the reader think he wants Matches Malone."
Steve: "But didn't you at least find it very interesting how The Batman used Edward's own ego against him so that The Riddler would agree to come along to Arkham Island with Batman?"
The Tub: "I did like that the story was written in such a way that you can tell Batman knows that Calendar Man wants The Riddler and thus manipulates The Riddler to come along with him. But at that point, you also have to accept that Batman barely cares about his vow to never kill. He knows what's going to happen to The Riddler when he gives him up. Even The Riddler knows, as evidenced  by the scene where Edward points out that Calendar Man is going to kill Batman. Batman, once again, uses and manipulates other people so that they wind up with blood on their hands just so that he doesn't have to wash."

Steve: "But wasn't the very interesting revelation by Calendar Man about his motives very intriguing?"

The Tub: "Oh Jesus Christ, you know what? Fuck Calendar Man. And fuck this horseshit."

[Several seconds of frantic, hushed whispers, and the scraping of a hand trying to cover up the microphone. Then the loud, easily recognizable sound of a pistol being cocked]

The Tub: "Shut the fuck up, Steve. I've fucking had enough of your Comicsverse method of reviewing comic books. Not every single fucking thing is 'very interesting' or 'very intriguing.' You can't just fucking do a review by saying things were 'intellectual' or 'depressing' or 'inspiring.' You have to fucking tell the listeners how the comic accomplished those things. Be fucking specific, you asshole. Stop praising the fucking comic book companies because you want them to spread their fucking legs for you and your little shit review site. They don't fucking care about you or the fans! All they fucking want to do is make money, so when they're trying to make money by horseshit, like portraying Calendar Man as some kind of serious threat to Batman and Gotham City, you have to call them out on their shit! This shit is crazy stupid, okay?! He's a fucking asshole that got his shit beat in the dirty men's room in a lousy bar by a fucking madman in a fake mustache! He is not The Joker. He is not Bane. He's not even fucking Emperor Penguin! He named himself after a fucking piece of shit, throwaway, bank freebie pile of papers with pictures of frolicking kittens on it that you hang on the wall so you can fucking remember when to pay your fucking bills! He is an idiot."
Steve: "Whoa, whoa. Sorry, Tubs. Sorry, man. But, um, you can put the gun down, right? We're good here. We're okay. We're just talking about a comic book."
The Tub: "That's another fucking thing that drives me crazy. Have you looked out of a window lately? Why the fuck are we discussing comic books when that...that...that...fuck! I don't even know what to call what's going on out there! We may as well be calling it The Dusty Stretches ourselves. It's like entropy just squatted down over the Earth and took a big fucking dump on all of us."
Steve: "I, for one, am just trying to survive, okay? I...we get paid for this, Tubs! This gives us a life. Why would you be willing to throw that away for artistic integrity? You'd rather live down on the streets with the psychopaths and the mentally ill and the ones that have just given up all hope? It's a crap shoot down there and the only way to survive is to keep rolling seven every hour on the hour or you're done. You are done! If I have to suck down buckets of DC Comics' jizz to keep myself safe and fed, well gargle gargle gargle, okay? OKAY?! You think I'm proud of this Comicsverse bullshit? I'm just fucking scared, all right?! I'm goddamned frightened every fucking minute of every fucking day and this is how I'm getting by!"
The Tub: *laughing*
Steve: "What? Is that...oh thank God. Thank you for putting the gun away. Jesus Christ, Tubs. What the fuck?"
The Tub: "That's better, Steve. Now that's fuckin' radio. People don't want your shit, happy-go-lucky reviews. You think, DC Comics thinks, Marvel Moguls Inc thinks, Dynamite Jizzbang thinks, all this popular media thinks, every one of them...they think what the masses want is denial and distraction from the overpowering despair closing in around us all. But what the people want...what those 'lower voices' solidarity, man. They need to know we're all feeling it. And that we're all ready to do something about it. Also, they might just love to fucking crucify a scapegoat every now and then."
Steve: "You think? A scapegoat? Like...what? Like a modern day crucifixion?"
The Tub: "That's what I was thinking. But the people that need to be crucified? We'll never find them."
Steve: "I'm going to lose my job, aren't I?"
The Tub: "Sometimes, you don't know what you've got until the lousy fucking thing blocking what you've got is finally fucking gone. Be glad. But your Comicsverse broadcast is probably going to be shut down as soon as DC Comics can send some Press Troops down here. So let's use the time we have left for one simple message to the lower voices."
Steve: "What's that, Tubs? What's...oh shit, did you hear that?"
The Tub: "Listen up, Scanners! Lower Voices! All you downtrodden and tired and miserable. This city, Old York, it ain't yours. None of them are yours. You might seem to cover every surface like a sticky, sugared kitchen full of ants. But the people running this town and reaping all the benefits? The ones that can afford to sprinkle just enough sugar to keep you around, keep you satisfied, keep you busy with the things they need from you? They're hiding deep. They have luxuries you wouldn't believe. They can hide from you until the cows evolve sentient intelligence. We'll never crucify not one of 'em. But there's something they can't run from. Fire. Burn it down, mother fuckers. Burn Old York to the fucking ground, you hear me?"

[Sound of cracking wood and shouting. Small pops, possibly gunfire]

The Tub: "Burn all the fucking cities down because they aren't yours! Remember old Saint Lois, you Mopes! In the first round trip? That's the only way to get rid of these parasites, these louses, these fuckity fucked up bed bugs! Ya gots ta burn this city...all the cities...right down to its bare bones. And git the fuck out. Git out ta tha countrysides. Git out ta dem rolling fuckity hills and plains, ya feels? BURN THIS SHIT DOWN AND GET THE FUCK OUT!"
Steve: "Who...who the fuck are you?"
The Tub: "Been known as Dayton. Some called me Reaper there for a few round trips, most recent. But those knew me best, thems what I keeps close in my hearts...they almays called me The Prof."
Steve: "Wait...what are you doing?"
The Tub: "Just take it. You can pull a trigger, right boy? I'm getting the fuck outta here alive. You wanna live? Come along, Steve. I find you very intriguing. Just remember when they break though: aim for center mass. Ain't no Kevlar made can stand up against Old Prof's homemade bang-bangs."

[Loud cracking followed by gunfire, screams, shouting]

The Tub, voice fading with distance: "Damn. Fine shooting, Steve. You'll do great, if you survive that wound. Come along. There's a girl I want you to meet. Got a way with plots, plans, and secret messages. Best I ever di...."

[Hours of silence before another voice can be heard]

New Voice: "It can't be him. He was gone long before her gang obliterated all traces of St. Louis. If he's alive...if she's been playing us this whole time.... Fuck. We've got this shit still on?"

[Loud gunfire followed by static]

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