Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Secret Origins #8

Featuring Dick's greatest mid-air poses!

We were already told Dick Grayson's Secret Robin Origin. How much more do we need to learn? Are they just going to recap Forever Evil? Will we get to see how Batman coerced Dick into leaving behind everybody he loved to pretend that he was dead and join the amoral organization known as Spyral? All to simply protect Batman's secret identity?

And now after two and a half hours of Comcast Xfinity Gateway bullshit funtime wrist slashing party entertainment, I'm not in any mood to read my comic book! And yet I have to clear the stack because DC Comics has ignored all of my pleas to lighten the schedule and release fewer books per month. In fact, they've increased their book count! It's as if they have no respect for me! No! It's like they have anti-respect for me! What is that? Disrespect? Animosity? That feeling that makes people in video games do that thing after they kill another player where they squat up and down on their face?

DC, if you do not reduce the number of books you publish per month, I will no longer publicly enjoy any of your product! I'm going to remember, as I read each comic book, how I feel every time I hear or read or think the word "Comcast." Hell, even the individual letters in the name are beginning to piss me off! Is it possible to write a review without any "O"s or "A"s?

So this asshole named Dick Grayson was just this guy, you know? And then he had a secret origin! And everybody was aghast! Or thrilled. There was much rejoicing! Or complaining.

Thanks for the unasked for English lesson, you condescending twat. Hey! Did you know "twat" has two definitions?!

Granted, Helena was talking to an irascible, possibly petulant, teenaged student of Saint Hadrian's Finishing School. She also could have been a different adjective than the two I used since she really didn't say much. It's also probable she may have been an employee of the school instead of a student since her clothing didn't look like a school uniform. She also could have been a male instead of a female because I never saw her face.

Matron Bertinelli enters into the Eye of the Spiderweb. That's just a cool way of saying Spyral. As she travels through Spyral's Black Lodge inspired halls, a voice constantly reminds her where she's at. It's all very silly and whimsical so that we get the sense that Mr. Minos has a good sense of humor. That's why I couldn't call Spyral an evil organization earlier. They're just an amoral bunch of pranksters trying to have a good time while maybe making a bit of money, growing in power, and quenching their thirst for world domination. See? They're not all bad.

I bet if you walk through the halls of Comcast, it would sound like entering System Shock. "Look at you, customer. A pathetic creature of meat and bone. Panting and screaming as you run down my corridors. How can you challenge a perfect, immortal monopoly?" One time I called up Comcast Customer Service to troubleshoot a problem on my router and a harsh, computerized female voice said, "Your flesh is an insult to the perfection of the digital." Then they hung up and I not only still had router problems but cancer as well. Comcast is the worst!

Helena Bertinelli nominated Dick Grayson to be her new partner after the loss of Agent 25. That was probably her old partner! Her reasons for nominating him are that he's a super hero, he worked with Batman, he has no other familial contacts, and he has a superb, tight, supremely fit, unblemished twenty-one year old ass.

And now we know why Barbara never stood a chance! Let this be a lesson to all you young girls reading this: when you have a crush on a guy, put out immediately or you'll lose him!

That was an interesting page! The Teen Titans did exist before The New 52 Teen Titans existed! They just never came up with a stupid name for their occasional team-ups! Well, Arsenal probably did. Constantly. "We should call ourselves 'The Sex Busters!' No wait, that sounds like we stop sex. How about the 'Youthful Youngsters'? No wait, that's dumber than a sidekick named 'Speedy.' Hey, Dick? You know what that fancy blue and yellow costume needs? A huge fucking collar!"

Helena mentions some other things that would make Dick Grayson a suitable replacement for Agent 25 (who was, admittedly, pretty fucking cool himself! He must have been! His Agent number reads the same upside down as downside up!), like how everybody thinks he's dead and how he isn't dead at all, actually. But Mister Minos has other ideas! Mean ideas! Horrible murdery ideas!

So Dick was present for the entire, um, presentation? So he knows Spyral knows Batman is Bruce Wayne! Mission accomplished? I think?

Without hesitation, Helena puts a crossbow bolt in Dick's forehead. Because surprise! It wasn't really Dick! So mission no longer accomplished! See, it was a ruse! A misdirection! A speculative chicanery! Ha ha! Oh, Mister Spyral! You're a card! A cut-up! A comedian of caliber unmeasured! And because Helena did not hesitate to kill Dick Grayson, she's allowed to have Dick as her pet. Erm, partner!

Mister Spyral (I'll call him that if I want to call him that!) has a good sense of irony. Or something.

And then Dick accepts because Batman told him to accept! And it's happily ever after between Dick and Helena even though Helena doesn't have red hair.

Just give me a monthly title of Batman and Robin stories told from Dick's point of view! Remember when DC Comics was putting the "fun" back into Cofunmic books?! Maybe their slogan was just "We've Made Comics Fun Again." I like mine better.

Grayson Secret Origin Rating: +4 Ranking. I remember when I couldn't stand Dick Grayson. But that was way back when I only knew him in Marv Wolfman's Titans books. Then I missed out on all the comic books where Batman began treating him like an equal and Dick took the mantle of Batman and fucked around with Damian night after night. But because of The New 52, Dick Grayson has become one of my favorite characters. Possibly my favorite character. Maybe. He's kind of boring since he doesn't have super powers but that's his only flaw. And it is a flaw, no matter how many of you are currently shaking your heads and saying, "No! That's what makes him so great!" I won't argue against that! But no super powers? Boring! I might as well read super hero stories starring the guy that makes my burritos for me down at Pepinos!

Animal Man
Animal Man's secret origin was that time he was tricked by the Parliament of Limbs into thinking he was being abducted by aliens so that he'd accept his power better than if a cat just came up to him and said, "Yo, dude. You're like our Avatar and shit. Stop eating meat and start sharing pictures of Pit Bulls on Facebook that claim they're no more violent than other dogs and to think so means you're a racist scumbag." I bet this origin revises that origin because if there is one thing Animal Man has a history of, it's sniffing butts. Also, it's having his origin retconned.

For being the One and Only True Hero of The Red, and being the person that saved its very existence, The Totems didn't think much of him at first, did they?

I guess that's the way when you're The One True Hero. People look at you and think, "Gah! A lowly hobbit! Bullsacks!" Or, "Really? Fucking Ted Theodore Logan? Butt trauma!" Or, "A stubborn brat of a girl that can shoot a bow? Holocaust jokes!" Maybe one even goes, "A drunken Edward Scissorhands? I didn't really see all of those pirate movies so maybe not?!"

Buddy Baker was just a lowly stand-in for the real Avatar of the Red, Maxine Baker! But if you had a little kid in charge of the animal kingdom, you'd have a lot of weird stuff going on. Like she'd probably allow penguins to fly because they seemed so sad grounded on the Earth. But she'd forget to teach them not to dive into the water from a great height and they'd break all of their little bird bones trying to catch fish and then all the penguins would be dead in a matter of minutes. And she'd probably be upset that lions and tigers were eating other animals, so she'd give them lollipops and licorice to eat and they'd all die of malnutrition. So to prevent Maxine from accidentally ending all animal life on the planet, Buddy took the job.

And eventually, Buddy's position became permanent and Maxine was free from her obligation!

And that's the end of The Red's Horatio Alger story. I hope the slug is the next Animal Man!

Animal Man Secret Origin Rating: No change. This was just a retelling of the entire Animal Man series which I'd already read! So it was of little interest to me. It could have at least given me some new information, like how long Buddy Baker's penis is and if he occasionally likes to put it inside other animals.

Dammit! I was hoping to get this commentary finished within the next half hour so I could post it before watching Gotham and then heading off to work. But that was before I realized it was about Katana and that it was written by Ann Nocenti! I can't rush this! I have to give it my full concentration! I guess I'll pause here and get back to this after work. Don't worry! You won't notice any difference! In fact, you can continue immediately with the next paragraph!

I'm back! Wasn't that a painless wait? Well, now get ready for some painlessless writing! Do two "less"es make a "ful"?

I don't remember Katana's origin. Something about a sword that steals souls and her dead husband Maseo or something. I'm sure this origin will be much more exciting and I'll, if I'm lucky, remember it forever!

The first line of Ann Nocenti's first Narration Box is "The ghost towns of the Old West." Ooh! Guess what time it is, kids!

Special Old West edition!

"Hey kids! Have you ever heard of g-g-g-g-ghost towns?! Pretty spooky, right?! Well, don't be too scared! They aren't towns full of ghosts like you might imagine! They're actually towns that died (ooooh! scary!) because the railroad passed them by or sometimes the water just up and dried up on them (funny how that happens in desert landscapes, right kids?!). And sometimes they were Boom Towns striking it rich on the gold found in mines nearby only to become Bust Towns when the mother lode stopped bearing nuggets! Sometimes they just became lawless hellholes and everybody fled! There were many ways to become a ghost town in the Old West! And just imagine the names of these towns! What's that? Oh! You don't have too! Aunt Nocenti has a list for you! Places like Grinder Gulch and Gravebone Yard and Hopeless Junction and Buzzard's Bend! Pretty exciting times! Now all you good little children take my knowledge at face value and don't go fact checking it, okay! If there's one place you can trust the truth, it's at The Knowledge Fun Farm!"

Katana is currently leading a girl possessed by a demon down some train tracks. When are they going to play poker? This story was called "Full Deck". Maybe they're going to hit a party with most of the action taking place out back on the wooden structure attached to the house! It's almost certainly one of those two things. Unless, and this probably isn't even close to the mark, it has to do with somebody's sanity!

The demon is Mona Shard and she's currently in the body of a little girl (although the little girl isn't so little. Maybe Mona Shard made her look more adult so the tons of sex she was having wouldn't be so weird). Mona Shard thinks being in the body of a little girl makes her safe but Katana points out that the little girl isn't really worth saving. Because, as Katana says, "she's a bully. A novice in the art of sadism. A bad seed." I'm sure glad Katana says everything three times so that I'm sure to understand one of them!

Mona Shard is a whiny little bitch.

Katana gets tired of hearing Mona and the girl whose body she's in squabbling. So she says, "Two brats fighting over who's the bigger brat? Don't kids get to have childhoods anymore?" I wish Katana had said each of those sentences three ways because I don't understand what she's getting at! They're acting like children but they haven't had a childhood? Oh wait! I think it's profound! I only know that because I don't understand it, so it must be philosophy!

Katana tells Mona Shard her Secret Origin story about how she liked collectible card games. She also liked forcing brothers to compete for her affection. The only way to collect the weapon cards she was currently collecting was to wait for a visit from the Ghost Train full of Living Weapon Freaks! It was a super tough set to finish!

I'm sure this is some kind of metaphor for how the Soultaker Sword tore the Tatsu, Maseo, and Takeo apart since it's just a story being told by Katana. Because as a true story, it's fucking ridiculous!

Later, Tatsu gets some wise advice from an old man. I know it's wise because it's so stupid. Tatsu takes it all in and promises to eat more carrots. I think that's some kind of perverse old man innuendo.

After the story, the Ghost Train reappears! Katana stabs Mona Shard and the train at the same time and Mona Shard winds up on the Ghost Train. But she doesn't have a card? After that, Katana and the bully become best friends and go on to have many wild adventures in the old west. The end!

Katana Secret Origin Rating: +1 Ranking. I hated it so much that it was the best Ann Nocenti story in a long while! I bet it would make sense if I thought about it but who wants to ruin such a magical ghost trainwreck of a story! I wonder if she gave an interview with somebody where she explains the story she wanted to tell before fucking it all up in the script?

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