Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teen Titans #8

Lost Boys movie pitch: "Imagine The Outsiders...as vampires!"

When I notice a person on Twitter who follows more than three figures worth of people, I assume they don't read their Twitter feed at all. They probably only read replies and direct messages. I only follow people on Twitter whose tweets I'm interested in reading and at forty-seven people, it's too much. I suppose if I stop following Gail Simone, my Twitter feed would be cut in half. That's an option I'm considering because I can't seem to not read all the new posts from the day before when I first get online. I'm too interested in everything the people I follow have to say and it takes too much time which usually means I need to drop people from my feed. It's all or nothing for me, I suppose.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm using social media haphazardly and incorrectly. I've got the wrong attitude when I think it's about the other people. It's actually about me, isn't it? I'm supposed to make it completely about me! It's the way I approach my comic book blog which is the lamest "social media" experience there is! It's all about the tweets and the status updates and the animated gifs! If I can't boil my comic book commentary down to 140 characters or one hilarious reaction gif then I must be a long-winded witless bore and not very internet savvy. Fucking blogosphere. More like lame-ass-curmudgeon-sphere, amirite?

I think staring at these Teen Titans Lost Boys has gotten my old man dander up! "I don't fit into this world anymore! What's happening?! Why is everything moving so fast?!" Last year was the first year I finally felt like video games have begun to leave me behind. I'm forty-three and I've been gaming since whenever Stunt Cycle came out. Princess Wikipedia says Atari released home console versions of it in 1976.

Here is Stunt Cycle for all y'all that have never even heard of the fucking thing. As Princess Wikipedia notes, these were the years when Evel Knievel was everywhere jumping canyons and Las Vegas fountains and whatever the fuck he could find. I had an Evel Knievel doll with a motorcycle that you placed in this gizmo which you cranked up really quickly and then hit a button to release the motorcycle and he'd fly off whatever huge drop you could find to launch him over. That's probably the toy I most wish I still had.

Anyway, last November the new Call of Duty came out and it's so fucking twitchy that I can't stand it. It's the first video game I've played that I can tell was made for a generation that has completely different attitudes toward gaming. Titanfall had jump jets as well but the pacing and play was smoother and more streamlined. But the Call of Duty jump jets just make everything erratic and insane. But the kids seem to love it, I guess. I'm not horrible at it, so at least I know I still have my gaming skills at middle age. But I just don't like it. It's like trying to kill mosquitoes with a water pistol. I'm assuming. I've never tried that but that feels like it would be as annoying as the new Call of Duty gameplay.

I long for the days of print pornography! End old man rant.

Who's ready to find out what Manchester Black and his buddies are up to?! Yeah, I'm not really that excited either. But I'm sure Kenneth Rocafort's crazy ass lines drawn all over the comic book page will get me pumped up for it! It's like reading a High School year book from the eighties! "We're wild and we're young and we've got zig zaggy neon pink lines all over the place to prove it!"

Why is Bunker declaring New York the greatest city on Earth? He must have discovered Chelsea.

Manchester Black continues to evade actually answering any of Red Robin or Raven's questions so they shrug their shoulders and continue to trust him. Why not? He has a Union Jack tattoo covering his always bare chest, he smokes constantly, he's a tomato goblin, he's purposefully mysterious, and he tells half-truths in a fancy accent. If you can't trust a guy like that, who can you trust?

Manchester Black asks Raven to transport them to a surprise location where the Titans totally won't regret having trusted him at all.

The location winds up being a celebration in honor of the Teen Titans having saved New York City. Manchester Black's proof that the citizens of New York love the Teen Titans is that they made signs. And who bothers making anything in this digital age, amirite?! The art of sign making went out with dot matrix printers and Print Shop, right? Please! Of course it didn't. What does Manchester Black think people do at rallies or concerts or behind the Good Morning America studio? Hold up their iPads with dumb messages typed out on them? Pshaw!

Manchester Black calls Red Robin "Tim" which seems like a bad idea. Tim Drake is supposed to be super smart so why is he being so carefree about his secret identity which can be traced back to Bruce Wayne by anybody that has been paying attention to any news out of Gotham City. Doesn't he know he has a responsibility not to tie Red Robin and Batman to Bruce Wayne? What a jerk.

Although, I suppose only Lex Luthor is smart enough to make the connection.

After the celebration the main characters of the Teen Titans (Josiah Power and Manchester Black), investigate Brooks' (the bad guy the Titans supposedly just beat but if you ask Brooks about it, he'd say it was "all part of the plan") escape on his way to prison.

Oh yeah! Because a maniacal genius that managed to live to 104 years of age wouldn't have the ability to fake his own death to this degree. Start thinking like you guys are in a comic book, guys! Because you are! Sheesh.

Of course the fame begins going to the heads of certain Teen Titans. That plot point is as expected as the power corrupts absolutely plot that constantly creeps back over and over and over again. Besides, these are the Teen Titans of the Me Generation! I'm not sure it's particularly fair to label this generation the Me Generation when the Baby Boomers did everything for their own selfish desires first. I mean, who doesn't? But still, they protested Vietnam because it was the right thing to do and, oh, by the way, they didn't want to die either. That's not a criticism! That's a good reason to protest war especially when the war is bullshit. But then they abandoned all of those hippie philosophies that paid dividends in their youth for wall street and high paying corporate gigs which could pay dividends in their old age. They were the assholes that thought up that fucked up slogan about not having a heart if you're not liberal when young and not having a brain if you're not conservative when older. Fuck you assholes. But labeling the current generation the Me Generation does fit in the social media and fame context. Every generation has been obsessed with fame, the famous, and becoming famous. But this is the first generation that has been told anybody can become famous for way longer than fifteen minutes and for no particular reason at all and with barely any effort. You just need the right people to see what you can do or film the stupidest fucking thing for the internet or steal just the right jokes on Twitter to amass a huge following. And corporations make so much money on finding "talent" that they keep broadcasting the message that fame is the greatest thing a person can strive for and that the only way to get it is by being discovered on national television.

Um, anyway, Garfield Logan has been tapped to host Saturday Night Live (or whatever the stupid fucking DC Comics version of it is. Just use the real world names of things, you assholes) and he's getting all kinds of attention from stupid fucking pieces of shit that say things like "the business we call show!" I didn't mean to insult Hedwig with that line because I love Hedwig but come on! Just say show business!

Apparently the band based on cosplaying Raven has also become famous overnight. DUE TO A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL!

A riot almost breaks out at the concert but Raven stops it with her Feelies Power. Then the lead singer is all, "And people constantly ask me why we started a tribute band for her. I mean, actually they ask me, 'Who the fuck is Raven?' And I'd be all, 'You don't remember that person with the feathery clam face mask that nobody knew about but we somehow discovered somehow or something?' And they'd be all, 'What the fuck are you talking about?' And I'd be all, 'That night that demon attacked and nobody knew what was going on but the military died and everybody blamed the Teen Titans who nobody had actually heard of before that? You don't remember?' And they'd be all, 'Show me your tits.' And I'd be all, 'Ugh!'"

Later, Wonder Girl deals with a Glasshole.

Where do these superheroes actually keep their phones? For once there's a good reason to have at least one of those pouches from the nineties and they're nowhere to be seen! I guess Power Girl's teensy, tiny jacket probably has at least one teensy, tiny pocket somewhere on it.

If I were Wonder Girl, I'd be a little bit upset after kicking this guy's ass to look over my shoulder and see everybody checking their phones instead of watching my awesome body slamming moves. And they call themselves obsessed stalkers fans! For shame!

Last issue, I was happy that the Teen Titans were being recognized as a team of heroes fighting crime in New York. This issue, I'm saddened by the immediate turn it took into a look at obsessing over fame. Couldn't Pfeifer have dragged this out more? Did everybody have to instantly be skyrocketed into stardom fifteen minutes after saving the city? I suppose that's the way it seems to work nowadays and I'm letting my old man show again. But it's shit like this following panel that just annoys the fuck out of me:

Fuck you and "going viral." Nobody cares about actually creating anything anymore. They just want a million views for any fucking thing.

"Going viral" is a pretty apt term for internet fame. Just like a virus, nobody can guess who it's going to infect. And once infected, a person passes it on to everybody they come in contact with for a few days. Then they shake it off and forget about it and go on with their lives. I think the term should be called "shooting up." Because it shoots a person's fame into the stratosphere and makes them feel like they're on heroin. But the high only lasts so long before they need another hit.

And this idiot that is going to "become famous" for being a guy that ran up on stage and was beaten by Beast Boy? How does that fame work? Is he going to get future jobs where he gets beaten down by famous super heroes? Or is he just happy to be recognized on the street? The only thing this guy makes me want to do is to stop being lazy and shave. You now how fucking horrifying it is to walk around Portland with a huge beard? It's embarrassing! I haven't shaved since my cat Judas died. Not for any particular reason but I could barely be bothered to shave before he died and fuck if I care at all now. But when people see me and think my beard is an aesthetic choice as opposed to just not being able to bring myself to shave? Ugh. I feel like a creep!

Oh fuck off of my lawn already!

Everything that I find the Batgirl crew are doing right in their comic book by letting Batgirl interact with an actual modern Gotham City as she tries to find herself outside of the Batfamily and amongst the people of her generation, I find being used like a hammer here. I get it! People want fame! People want to exploit other people's need for fame for money! Beast Boy and Bunker are fame whores and idiots! People want to get beat up by Wonder Girl on camera for their YouTube Channel! Red Robin is probably going to start a podcast which will be an instant hit! I think I really am more interested in Josiah Power and Manchester Black now!

Speaking of Manchester Black, he's decided to go point out to Red Robin that all of Red Robin's friends have become instant celebrities and are enjoying their fame because they're stupid fucking assholes. And now he's wondering why Red Robin isn't having fun being a stupid fucking asshole too!

Red Robin, being a genius, is busy trying to fight crime and uncover secrets to stop future crime! He doesn't care about internet fame. But just wait until Trigon releases the Red Robin sex tapes he filmed while possessing him! Everybody will want an interview with Red Robin after that. But since iPhones have taken the place of the ubiquitous televisions in the background playing the news, Manchester Black has a new plot thread right in his hand!

To be fair to cell phones, finding out about plot threads via cell phones is way more believable than those fucking televisions constantly on everywhere reporting exactly the news that the heroes need to hear.

Teen Titans #8 Rating: No change. I actually want to drop this a few ranks but I think I'm too close to it! My bias is a radioactive cloud turning me into a sort of rampaging, half-hearted Hulk. Other people can determine if they enjoy this kind of portrayal of the Teen Titans. Power Girl, Wonder Girl, and Raven really didn't get enough attention this issue but I think they'll be more on Red Robin's side about all this fame being a distraction. But I can't stand to see Miguel and Gar treated like stupidly shallow, fame-obsessed assholes. Especially since their friendship is supposed to be a shining light in this comic book. But now Pfeifer is putting them at odds on their quest for fame. Bah. I don't need more friendships falling apart in comic books! I need more friends in comics backing each other up and always being their for one another and showing that their love for each other exceeds all other bullshit! Ugh. Whatever! I'm off to make a viral video that involves Star Wars figures and my asshole.

One last thing that pissed me off was the closing blurb: "Continued in the Teen Titans Annual!" Fuck. I was hoping with all this Convergence stuff that we wouldn't get fucking annuals in April.

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