Monday, December 29, 2014

Supergirl #37

Best cover of the entire New 52 ever.

Can you imagine a DC Universe based on Darwyn Cooke's variant covers? I suppose that would be a kind of Golden Age era where the heroes mostly enjoyed their lives and smiled a lot. But Golden Age comics are so hard to read! I want a modern writing sensibility with writers that know the majority of their audience are intelligent adults (or, at least, adults) but with happy heroes that enjoy doing what they do! Like a Batman that revels in breaking bones and giving his enemies internal injuries! Okay, maybe he revels in it now. But he never smiles! I want to see him smile while he dislocates The Mad Hatter's jaw!

Last issue, Supergirl found herself in an exclusive school called The Crucible. They'd given her the pitch and she was ready to sign up but they never did tell her how much tuition was. She's going to be buried in loans when this is over. And she'll probably be living off of a Galactic Credit Card which she signed up for outside of the student union. I suspect by the time she completes her courses and makes it back to Earth, Superman is going to give her yet another of his interminable lectures.

Have you noticed how Superman can't stop telling Supergirl what she's doing wrong and how she should be acting, and Batman does the same thing to Catwoman? There should be a word for when a man thinks he knows better than a woman and treats her like a child. Some man should tell a woman to get on that.

This issue begins with Supergirl writing in her diary. The comic book doesn't say anything about a diary or a journal, but her Narration Boxing has increased to Scott Lobdell levels and the only way I can deal with it is to read it as if she's writing down her experiences at the end of the day. Maybe I should read it as if she's telling me her story because we're a couple and she's sitting next to me in front of a warm fire telling me about her experience at the Crucible!

Luckily Kara has been teamed up with some other students so they can have hilarious adventures in Study Group. And she's quickly pegged her companions so the audience knows exactly what their quirks and foibles are! Maxima is smart but emotionless so Kara guesses that she "doesn't play well with others." Tsavo, being animal-like, is "quick to pounce" but he's sometimes misguided by his emotions! And Comet is "clever and thoughtful, but preens far too much."

How long has Supergirl been around these students since last issue? She's either quite perceptive or she simply makes up back stories to everybody she meets and subsequently ignores the real person. I think Kara is one of those shallow assholes that don't really pay attention to the world around them but they wholeheartedly believe they're some kind of an old soul with amazing intuition and an incredible ability to read people. Meanwhile they spend an awful lot of time nodding their heads at everything everybody says while grunting out noises that show they're interested, all the while thinking up things they think the other person is really trying to say.

Ugh! Forget Mike, Kara! You're at school! Long distance relationships are fantasies! It'll never work out now! Dump him!

At Tactical Class, Kara shows up her know-it-all teacher and puts him in his place while teenagers everywhere cheer. Good for you, Kara! Standing up to that teacher that isn't listening to a student that offers no proof to go along with her contrary account of the teacher's lecture! Don't let the patriarchy continue to spread its bullshit lies! Let the young people spread poorly fact checked "truths" that sound great and back their positions so thoroughly that there's no way they could possibly have been made up or twisted in some way! Go young people! Fight the power!

Of course Maxima's account is going to be correct because this is a fictional account making a point about how teachers don't know everything and a good teacher listens to everybody instead of staunchly refusing to veer from the same old way of looking at things. Especially since the story of Planet Y57 is a story about indigenous peoples being removed from their homes by an invading force because the indigenous people's home was full of resources that the invaders wanted. It sounds vaguely familiar. As if it were the invaders Manifest Destiny and Y57's natural resources already belonged to them. Totally understandable! What older person doesn't believe in Manifest Destiny? Stupid young people losing their futures by believing they have to endure debt to get a proper education! Maybe they should have paid more attention to that Manifest Destiny thing instead of becoming victims of the old loop de loop reversal stolen future Manifest Destiny perpetrated on them by greedy old people! Ha ha! Naive suckers! You thought you were learning to think and gaining knowledge for a future career but instead you were being pickpocketed by your parents and grandparents!

I'm actually much more sympathetic to the plight of young people trying to get an education in a greedy, everything-for-profit nation state that they're currently living in than that previous paragraph might suggest. I think children need to learn at a much earlier age that adults constantly lie to them and that the world they live in is not one they simply have to accept. By the time they're in college, they're already like a rat deep in the trap. Even by the time they're in high school, it's very nearly too late. They learn to be full of sound and fury but they've already become entrenched in the system. Actually extricating themselves and making real changes is tough when all the trappings you're used to are pieces of the trap containing you. That's why I'm writing adaptations of college level novels for elementary school children! Those are the years kids should be learning the lessons taught by One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Catch-22 and The Grapes of Wrath! But even elementary school might be too late by now! Because one of the biggest hooks the trap employs is attached to one of the most irresistible lures: the cell phone! Before kids can even understand what a contract is, they're hooked to phones that, generally, demand contracts. By the time they learn about the monthly bill and the contract, they can no longer do without their phones. And no matter how full of sound and fury they are against the system, it fucking signifies nothing because they're already inside the trap. And it's just a matter of time until the trap dulls their edges and they become a complacent adult just trying to get by and raise their children and pay their mortgage and pay their car payments and pay their (for the first time ever and possibly more insidious than the rest since you cannot opt out of this one by just not living (okay, you can, I guess)!) mandatory health care payment.

Oh yes, young person, you think I'm deluded? Look at how passionate your hippie grandparents were. And look at what happened to them.

Seriously though, I'm rooting for you. But I fear the trappings of capitalism are just too much to battle against. And I fear you also will fall to them, and fail.

Not that I ever fell! I'm still fighting the good fight! Fuck, um, corporate America! Fuck, um, things! Bad things especially! And, um, fuck -isms! I mean the bad -isms like racism and, um, the other ones! And fuck people afraid of being -ismed by the very people they fight alongside so they quell their rage when they should be, um, even more ragingier! Fuck censorship unless it can theoretically prevent rape and then I, um, guess it's okay, right? Stick it to our parents, man! They never fucking understood us anyway! Fuck our parents right in the buttholes! Mmm, yeah! Take it, mom! Take it, dad! Yeah! Individual rights! Freedom from oppression! Unless it's the good kind of oppression teaching me the proper way to act and the right words to say! In your face, everything I should be against! It's about time we should all believe in everything in which we should all believe! Freedom!

Later, Kara has Sparring Class with Comet.

So now Kara thinks he's "cleverer and more thoughtfuler"?

Kara has some other classes with members from her study group and it's just as hilarious and wacky as Community has taught us to expect from study groups!

Later, the Preceptor and Vice-Preceptor meet with Crucible's Alumni Benefactors. Or the High Council. Something like that. It's a secret meeting that the study group isn't privy too so I bet it will be full of crazy secrets about the true purpose of Crucible! I bet all these elite super heroes are being trained for nefarious purposes! Wouldn't that just be typical?!

So the Crucible is like Mormonism (is that one of the bad -isms?!)! The students here have to go on missions! And they're going to be cloned! That's what goes on in all of those Mormon temples all over the West Coast that look exactly alike, right? They clone people there?

Later Supergirl is shocked to find that Maxima is only at college to find a mate. That is shocking! I thought people went to college to find lots and lots of mates on a near constant basis! And to even experiment with mates that they normally wouldn't mate with!

Supergirl hugs herself in her dorm room. I did a lot of that in college too!

While the Preceptors discuss plans to kidnap Superboy and turn him into a living weapon, Kara and her study group head to Tsavo's home planet to help quell a rebellion. Or start one. One of those! It's a war and they're on one side of it and it might not even be the right side because the Crucible is shady!

Oh no! The rebels! I hope they don't teach the study group what they're really fighting for and turn them all around on the civil war and make them unsure about trusting the Crucible any longer! I sure hope that doesn't happen!

Or maybe the rebels really are the bad guys even though that seems ludicrous because they're fighting against the traditional powers that are almost always guilty of oppressing certain groups for the benefit of others!

Or they're just led by a super villain with Daddy Issues. That was my second guess!

How come the old school last page reveal of the evil super group is still so satisfying?

Supergirl #37 Rating: +1 Ranking. At first, I thought I wasn't going to enjoy Supergirl being yanked off of Earth to have college adventures in space. But this is kind of what Supergirl has been doing during her entire run. She's shuttled off to one unfamiliar environment to the next as she backpedals and tries to figure out how she fits in. This is just another one of her fish out of the barrel stories! And so far, I think I like it. Do I like it? Can someone please tell me if I should like it?

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