Monday, December 8, 2014

Teen Titans #4


That robot is breaking like every rule Asimov ever came up with! The only way a robot can violate Asimov's laws is if the robot isn't actually sentient and is still following a set of human programmed instructions. That means that Algorithm here isn't sentient! Which means it's okay if Wonder Girl wants to kill her. Again! Nobody would bat an eye if I beat the shit out of my microwave with a crowbar, right? But what if I beat Stephen Hawking to death with a crowbar? Everybody would realize that was wrong! Killing a robot falls somewhere in-between those two acts, so sometimes it's hard to tell how ethical you've behaved when you've just curbstomped a robot. Did you save humanity or destroy a sentient being with its own free will? And even if you did save the world from the future machine world takeover, you still might be convicted of killing a sentient creature and all of humanity will hate you because they'll never know what you've truly done for them. But at least you can sit in your sell rotting away with the proud feeling that must infuse all martyrs as they convince themselves they saved mankind.

I once saved the world although nobody will ever know it. A monstrous robot appeared in a time machine in Portland, Oregon, last year and preceded to slaughter everybody in downtown. But I saw him arrive so I snuck into his time machine, set the dates to return to the future but five minutes before it had left. Then I walked out of the time machine and watched it disappear to the future where it presumably landed on top of itself and the robot within it preparing to time travel, killing him before he could ever arrive back in time. That's a true story and any paradoxes you think you've ferreted out of the story never existed due to time travel. Or something.

Sure! Now you're paying attention and using 12th Grade levels of reading comprehension putting you in the 99.8 percentile! But you still read the entire run of Scott Lobdell's Teen Titans and didn't fucking bat an eye about how horrible that was! My time travel story is perfect! Tom DeFalco told me so!

I wish DC would release two versions of every comic book. One with the Narration Boxes and one without. Because most scenes rarely need the additional information given by the Narration Boxes.

The writers need the Narration Boxes more than the readers do. I think it shows a writer without enough confidence in the artist to get the ideas in the script across and/or the readers to interpret the action in the way the writer wants them to interpret it. Like in the above scene, I imagine Will Pfeifer doesn't want the reader coming to the conclusion that Tim Drake is fleeing out of cowardice and an inability to battle Algorithm one on one. So Will makes sure we know Robin could stop her but he needs a moment to recuperate from the first attack. I suppose some people like to be led along by the hand through everything they read. But if I wanted to read this much text, I'd pick up an actual book. Let the pictures tell the story sometimes, guys!

"Oh, well if you say he isn't defeating me, Manchester, then I guess he's not! Could you also tell me that I'm a real girl and my vagina isn't composed of a Campbell's soup can?"

Why is STAR Labs using soup cans as parts of their sophisticated line of hot, sentient robots? Cheap bastards.

Red Robin hacks into an employee's computer terminal and discovers through reading multiple emails, instant messages, and Facebook status updates, in only a matter of seconds, the location of a super secret Deus Ex Machina which can destroy Algorithm and has been hidden away in a sealed subbasement. Sure, that doesn't stretch the bounds of believability in any number of ways at all! Not at fucking all! Red Robin is obviously a speed reader that can read dozens of open windows at the same exact time. And he just happens to be able to find all the right documents which contain accurate information from sources that don't actually know what they're talking about but, you know, they did hear it from a friend of a friend, so it's probably true! And these leads just happen to point straight to a weapon that can save Red Robin's life and that weapon just happens to be sealed away because why should anybody ever have access to it at all since it's so Goddamned awesome! But, you know, just in case any of this is too unbelievable and it doesn't pan out exactly how Red Robin thinks it will pan out after five seconds of research, Tim makes sure to alert the other Teen Titans that he's probably dead within STAR Labs and maybe they should stop the robot that killed him. But first she probably forces him to lick out the insides of her soup can.

Meanwhile in front of Cassie's apartment, Wonder Girl discovers her mother waiting for her and then promptly throws out her back.

So Raven has inspired a band, Wonder Girl has inspired a gang, and Bunker is inspiring all kinds of people to stand up to people who may or may not be homophobic or maybe just ungrateful or maybe just awkwardly trying to phrase an invite to dinner. Is that what Pfiefer's theme for this comic book is? Inspiring other people to aspire to being inspiring?

I'm so fucking sick of everybody being so fucking inspiring. Inspiration is bullshit! Somebody else doing something shouldn't inspire you to pursue whatever you want to pursue. The dream of the thing you want to pursue should inspire you to pursue the thing you want to pursue. Don't let other people tell you you can't do something and don't think other people telling you you can do something are some kind of Goddamned hero. "If I can do it, so can you!" is some of the tritest horseshit anybody has ever said.

And how have the Teen Titans inspired all of these youngsters anyway? What the fuck did they ever do in the previous run of the comic book that put them in the public eye and proved they were heroes? Mostly they just beat each other up and were blamed for killing soldiers and vandalizing public property and traveled through time! What regular citizens of The New 52 even had a chance to hear about these assholes?!

Well, that's what you get for listening to the rumors of disgruntled employees, smart guy!

Before Algorithm can kill Tim Drake, she gets a message from Manchester Black that she won't be killing Tim Drake. Because, you see, it's just as I surmised when I realized she was breaking Asimov's law which sentient robots cannot do! It's a law, for God's sake! And if she was trying to kill a human, that meant she wasn't sentient at all but just a preprogrammed microwave oven.

Too bad she wasn't programmed to kill since she would be capable of killing. I would say that was ironic but then some asshole nerd would tell me that it's not ironic even though that asshole nerd would be wrong. But why get into an argument about irony when it's so fucking hard to prove if something is or isn't ironic! Especially when I base all of my arguments on the examples in Alanis Morissette's song.

Algorithm's saving grace is another science fiction law concerning robots and that's the Pinocchio Conundrum. When does a robot become a real person? Must it break programming? Must it just think of itself as a real person? Must it engage in hugging? Does it need to meet another robot which inspires it to be human by rebelling against its makers? Does it need a "blue fairy" to "magic" it up? In this case, a blue fairy would be a scientist and magic would be better technology. Or does it merely have to declare itself a real, living creature to make it so?

Well, in this case, Algorithm is still doing as she was programmed. Manchester programmed her to think she's alive and to want to kill Manchester Black after he stops her from killing Red Robin. And he makes sure all the cameras in the building are filming the scene. Or something. I don't know.

Seriously though. Why does the entire building need to be looking into his office?

Let me guess. Now this video is going to go viral and Red Robin is going to inspire people to be inspiring!

Red Robin, who almost always knows exactly what's going on and why, says to Manchester Black, "I don't get it. What are we talking about here?" when Manchester Black is obviously talking about a partnership. He has manipulated the Teen Titans into believing that STAR Labs needs their protection so that STAR Labs can work with the Teen Titans. Also so that Manchester Black and his buddy whose name I've forgotten can have the protection of super heroes as they go about their sinister deeds.

So Tim's not a little bit suspicious about a scientist that goes to work shirtless in leather pants with a huge tattoo of the Union Jack on his chest? It's not quite like that guy at NASA with the mohawk. This guy is shirtless! And his last name is Black!

I think Manchester Black is trying too hard. He's a "man" with a Union Jack on his "chest" who wears "black" leather clothing. I get it, I get it! Jeez! You really fucking commit, Manny.

Teen Titans #4 Rating: I wish I was actually rating comic books this month because this one would get a gigantic raspberry.

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