Friday, June 26, 2015

Batman Loves Superman #21

I don't get it. Is this symbolic of the way The Joker keeps coming between Batman and Superman's love?

DC Comics continues to break all of the Annual rules and I hate them for it. I enjoyed the days when Annuals were optional. But Batman Loves Superman Annual #2 ended with a depowered Superman stabbed in the kidney on a remote island in the part of the world where the island was. That means that anybody reading this series will finish issue #20 and then pick up issue #21 and say, "What the fuck?!" Luckily an Editor's Note will let them know their mistake in not having picked up the Annual. They'll curse and spit for awhile, consider going to the comic book store to get the Annual, say fuck it, and finally throw this issue in the garbage where it probably belongs. Then they'll express their anger on Twitter and Tumblr with lots of annoying hashtags mucking up the readability of their post which will make me curse and spit and throw my computer in the garbage where it probably belongs.

I'm not excited to be reading another comic book written by Greg Pak. I've come to the objective conclusion that he's an awful writer. I haven't done any double blind studies or anything but, come on! We all know how those would turn out without actually having to conduct them, right? A bunch of scientists will randomly hand out comic books without knowing who wrote them, a bunch of people will read them without knowing who wrote them, and all of the comics written by Greg Pak will wind up in the garbage where they probably belong. So why waste money when I can imagine the results that I expect and desire?

This issue begins like this so I guess the Annual was an imaginary tale?

Now I'm even angrier because this issue didn't begin in the way in which I thought it would make me angry! What happened to Superman on Doomsday Island?! How did he survive being stabbed in the kidney by Janice? Did he convalesce in Doctor Frank-N-Furter's mansion? Did he have sex with the Doctor? Did he do the Time Warp? Again?

Instead of bleeding to death on a remote island, Superman is powerless in Metropolis and battling more xenophobes. It's shocking how many people other than Lex Luthor have really hated Superman all this time but were afraid to say anything because he might punch them in their stupid mouths. I think I have more respect for Lex Luthor! He's apparently been of the majority opinion all this time but he's the only one brave enough to stand against Superman. But now that Superman has hardly any powers and his secret identity has been exposed, everybody is crawling out of Greg Pak's woodwork to kick his ass. I'm not sure how the knowing his secret identity helps everyone suddenly know who Superman is though. Clark Kent went about for years looking exactly like Superman but nobody noticed. But now that people have seen pictures of Clark Kent (who looks exactly like Superman), they now instantly recognize him on the street?

To be fair, Clark is wearing a Superman t-shirt now. But even before that in the Sneak Peek, his image was causing him trouble. Hell, he was being recognized while wearing sunglasses and a hoodie when he used to be able to hide behind simple glasses. I bet he was recognized more because he was still hanging out with Jimmy Olsen! Although why would anybody recognize Jimmy Olsen? He was a photographer for a local newspaper whose circulation was circling the drain.

I've never been kicked in the groin so hard that I heard it go "KRANCH." I think Superman may have done two serious injuries to this guy.

Oh! I think I just figured out the story that takes place after Batman Loves Superman Annual #2! Was that the Superman Loves Wonder Woman Sneak Peek where he teleports up to the Justice League Satellite to fly a space ship into the sun? Was that how he healed himself? Why am I being forced to figure out the order in which I should be reading DC's stories so that they make sense?!

Superman beats up these guys while reminiscing about a bunny and how his father ran it over in a tractor and how he cried for an hour. Here's my story about a bunny: when I was five years old or so, my mom, grandparents, aunt and uncle, sister, and cousins drove to Kansas to visit my aunt's family. Some of the family were in a military bus my uncle had converted into a recreational vehicle, the rest of us were in my grandparents motorhome. My grandfather was driving and, excitedly, he yelled out, "Look! A bunny! A bunny! Whoops. There goes the bunny," as he ran it over on the freeway. I didn't cry for an hour. My family has been laughing for years over that bunny's sacrifice. Not because it died. That's sad, of course. Boo hoo and all that. Big show of empathy. But my grandfather's reaction was so perfectly timed. He couldn't have set it up any better.

Oh, your father never said that! Greg Pak is saying your father said that because it's such a popular thing to say in the current zeitgeist.

Enough with this blanket bullshit propaganda about never punching down. It's simply creating a generation of whiny assholes who want to be seen as victims so they can declare themselves off-limits for being criticized. Sometimes you punch down not because you're punching down but because debate fucking happens. This whole need to rank everybody in such a way to shut up anybody opposed to your point of view is bullshit that only serves to weaken your point of view because you never have to defend it. You just get to declare that your opinion is valid because you're punching up which makes it miraculously correct. Well, if that's the case, then I get to make fun of Muslims, Christians, and Jews as much as I want because I'm an atheist. And as an atheist, I'm fucking punching up when attacking religion. So fuck off! You can't attack me for my atheism because you're punching down!

Also, if Superman was told to never punch down, how come when he had his super powers, he was constantly punching everything? I don't think he really respects your advice, Jonathan Kent!

After the fight, Superman meets up with a cop who he recognizes from events in Action Comics #42 which, once again, I missed due to my time machine having been stolen because I left it unlocked in front of that 1983 Red Barn I visited last week to pick up a Foghorn Leghorn glass.

The police apparently hate Superman as much as the rest of the DC Universe. They've been given orders to let him get his ass kicked by whoever wants to kick his ass. They're all just so angry at all the trouble he's caused over the years. Normally I wouldn't want to agree with that but for quite some time (decades, maybe?), comic book writers have often gone the lazy route where they tell stories about villains whose only motive is to attack the super heroes. So most of the time, Superman is battling creatures who are only in Metropolis to battle Superman. Which, you would think because Superman is a hero, would cause Superman to go live in his Fortress of Solitude after taking out advertisements on all the Metropolis bus benches letting the villains know where he can now be found.

Clark figures Lex Luthor must be behind the police attitude toward him, so he goes to visit Lex. Why bother, Clark? The people obviously hate you. Why blame Lex at this point? Lex was the only one who allowed his hatred to be public. That doesn't mean he's managed to cause everybody else to hate you too. Although according to Batman Loves Superman Annual #2, Xa-du has the power to make everybody in the world hate Clark Kent. Also Xa-du knew Superman's secret identity. So why is Superman confused about everybody knowing his identity?! Why was his first instinct in Superman #41 to blame Jimmy Olsen when he knows he has villains who know his identity? If they knew it would have caused Superman this much trouble, they probably would have beat Lois Lane to the punch and exposed him themselves.

Lex hasn't done as much research as he might think if he still isn't convinced Clark Kent is Superman. He figured out Batman's identity with even less to go on.

Lex points Superman towards Gotham just to get him out of his hair. Um. Sorry, Lex. No offense intended. Superman doesn't trust Lex but he figures he should probably go see Bruce anyway. He probably should have gone to see Bruce after attacking him due to being poisoned by The Joker. But I guess he was too busy to make sure Bruce was okay after that. Now he's going to be surprised to find out Bruce didn't survive at all!


Superman is beat up by Commissioner Batman but Lex Luthor flies in to help. Remember that bit? The whole thing was about how Superman broke a bunch of laws which he didn't actually break? Superman slinks off while Lex and Commissioner Batman have a chat about how awful Commissioner Batman's gut is. Just like every police officer's gut. Gut isn't evidence, assholes. Following your gut really just means being led by your bias, bigotry, and prejudice.

Imagine that. Asking questions! Following the evidence! What a novel approach to police work!

Superman takes a bus out to the Batcave to find Bruce. But all he finds is a one-handed Alfred. And although the first panel seems to show Alfred missing a right hand, it (and the rest) are laid out in such a way that maybe he isn't missing it. Perhaps the first panel where it looks like the hand is not there as the arm disappears behind Clark's head was a mistake. You know, if Snyder decides to later put Alfred's hand back on. Superman jumps to the conclusion that Alfred is grieving so he asks Alfred to talk to him. Alfred explains that Bruce is dead. After Superman leaves, he remembers that Alfred was trained as an actor so Bruce is probably still alive. Alfred is a really good actor if he could make Superman believe Batman was dead simply by greeting Superman! Although he's kind of a shit actor because after doing his monologue about burying Bruce, Superman stops believing that Batman is dead.

I wonder how difficult it was to allow Greg Pak to have the first moment with Alfred? I bet DC Editorial were really strict about how this scene was handled because Bruce's disappearance had to remain a mystery. And I think that first panel which really shows Alfred missing a hand was a mistake on the artist's part. I think Alfred's arm was supposed to have disappeared behind Clark's head completely so as not to give a definitive answer to whether Alfred was still missing a hand or not.

Clark calls Lois for some reason but he's not sure how to get out what he was calling about. So Lois monologues for a long time about her life and when she finally asks him what he called about, he pauses for a moment. Apparently it's too long a pause because Lois hangs up on him for keeping secrets. Fart noise.

Superman spray paints one of Batman's motorcycles red, analyzes the evidence he got from the Waynetech break-in, then goes to the Gotham City Junkyard to blow up an old car because he knows, for some reason, that will attract Commissioner Batman. I guess they need to work out a way to work together because both of their names are on the cover of this comic book. It can't be constantly about Superman or all of the Batman fans are going to stop reading. Oh wait. Commissioner Batman isn't really Batman so all of the Batman fans are probably going to stop reading anyway.

Batman Loves Superman #21 Rating: -2 Ranking. This whole truth thing is kind of annoying because so much depends on things that haven't happened in front of the reader yet and so nothing can be explained to any reader's satisfaction without spoiling the other comic book stories. For some inexplicable reason, I don't like that. It's not like this story is supposed to create tension as the reader wonders what happened but knows they'll eventually find out organically in the telling of the tale. No, this is just a story that isn't allowed to say a bunch of stuff which is important to the telling of this story and that stuff will never even be revealed in this story because it's part of a different story in a different comic book. It's just a poorly thought out mess that I'm finding I care less and less about with every letter I type. So I should stop typing because now I care about forty-eight letters less than when I began this sentence.

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