Monday, August 24, 2015

Justice League #43

At least this Variant Cover allowed me to forget about The Darkseid War for awhile.

Last issue, Batman became God and the first thing he wanted to know was what The Joker's true name was. When he learned the truth, he whispered, "No. That's not possible." At best, this portrays Batman as a selfish asshole whose first question when he gains omniscience is used to learn useless knowledge that could not possibly help himself or the world or how to even stop The Joker instead of learning how to finally save the world from madmen and random violence. At worst, it's a cheap ploy by Geoff Johns to try to make the mystery of The Joker's identity more intriguing when all fans of DC Comics know that we will never have a real answer about who The Joker is that would be in any way meaningful. Obviously Batman is going to forget everything he learned while sitting in the Mobius Chair as soon as he steps away from it and everything will be put right. The Joker will be just this guy who represents the random chaos and death inherent in being a living being in a meaningless universe. But what won't be forgotten was how Geoff Johns used this moment to try to manipulate the audience into thinking The Joker's identity is absolutely important and interesting and that Batman, for a brief time, knew it and had his mind blown. Unless the Mobius Chair told Batman, "Abraham Lincoln" or "Jesus," I can't imagine Batman would have been so shocked by it. Most likely the chair would have said something like, "Garfield Clinton," and Batman would have been all, "Hmm. Disappointing. I guess I can simply kill him next time we meet." Even though he's, you know, supposedly already dead. But then so is Batman, amirite?!

This issue begins with Kalibak beating dogs to death, probably because he was humiliated by Titus in Batman and Robin. He probably has a separate chamber full of cows where he goes to shit on the floor so that they slip and fall on his dung. He probably isn't torturing cats because he's too stupid to realize that Alfred Pennyworth the Cat masterminded the entire Animal Defense Initiative in the Batcave that caused Kalibak so much trouble while trying to beat up a ten year old. When I type it all out, it seems like Kalibak had a really tough and embarrassing year.

You just lost yourself a job, buddy! Believe me, I know! "For Kentucky Fried Chicken." "For Tess!" "For Repo Depo." "For Tess." "For Sidemark." "For Tess." "For Netscape." "For Tess." "For Gallup." "For Tess." "For Ellington Leather." "For Tess." "For Academic Book Center." "For Tess." "For Tess!" "Damn straight 'For Tess!'"

While Kalibak is losing his job offer because he won't swear fealty to the filthy corporate persona that is already demanding precious minutes out of his less finite than most other's life, Batman sits in his freshly dubbed "Batchair" making the universal sign of arrogant know-it-all madman. You know the one! Where a person places all of their fingers of one hand against all of the fingers of their other hand? He's probably also begun to say "actually" and "meh" a lot too. He just found out that his Batchair won't answer the question, "Who is the anti-monitor?" He must have asked it every other question in existence before that because Batman now declares that the identity of the Anti-Monitor is the only thing the Batchair doesn't know. I wish he would give every Justice League member a turn in the chair because I want to see what all of the characters ask the chair first! I bet Aquaman's question is "What do the fish really think of me?" Captain Marvel would probably ask, "How do you have sex with a girl? Oh, ick. Okay. Um, and now just to be, you know, fair, how does one have, um, you know, sex with another boy? Oh, interesting. Um, chair, why is my penis doing that?!"

Everybody tries to cajole Batman down from the Batchair but Batman doesn't fall for any of their petty attempts to steal his Batchair. He's a god now and he'll be damned if anybody expects him to thank them profusely after forcibly yanking him from the chair after which he'll claim that no man should have that much knowledge. Then he'll point out to Diana that the Batchair taught him a way to make a woman come spectacularly by just the use of his tongue and her asshole.

Meanwhile Superman and Lex Luthor explore Apokolips where they were sent by Luthor's traitorous and Darkseid loving sister.

Whew. Good thing there isn't any lead! Proceed.

Superman and Lex are attacked by that caste of people on Apokolips who are just slaves. The nobodies or the lowlies or something. After the battle, Superman is bleeding because there is no sunlight. Yes, but there is also no red sunlight so he should be okay for a few weeks using back-up power stored in his muscles. Unless, of course, the plot calls for him to suddenly become weak to increase the drama and tension of Superman's trip to Apokolips!

The Batchair helps Batman explain some of the plot to The Darkseid War to the other Justice League members. Now they know that Grail is an Amazon, that her mother is Myrina Black, and that her father is Darkseid. They also learn another thing.

Go back to shutting the fuck up, Billy.

Mister Miracle arrives to gather up the heroes so they can convince the Anti-Monitor to fight Darkseid somewhere other than Earth. Batman and Hal Jordan decide to go on a space adventure in the Batchair which I hope becomes a spin-off title written and drawn by Sergio Aragon├ęs. Everybody BOOM Tubes out of the Rock of Eternity leaving Metron shackled to it. Which is obviously what Metron wants since Metron just goes around manipulating people into thinking they're doing whatever they want to do but they're really just doing what Metron needs them to do. He's a clever guy, that Metron! Much more clever than Harvest.

Back on Apokolips, Geoff Johns gives an example of European film versus American film.

In the European version of the film, we get this perfect moment with just the right amount said. The reader gets it. Lex would never have finished his sentence with "human."

But the American version always assumes the audience needs everything completely spelled out for them. That first panel said it all. It was enough. But the American version always adds just a little bit more to be sure it's understood by the apparently goofy yokels buying the tickets.

My favorite example of how America ruins European movies is Let the Right One In, the movie about the little girl vampire living next door to a boy whose constantly picked on. I forget what the name of the American version is. I think it's "That Little Girl Living Next Door To The Boy Is An Ancient Vampire And Not Actually A Little Girl So She's Really Had Centuries To Learn How To Manipulate Humans Into Becoming Her Living Servants And Not Actually The Little Boy's Friend At All Like It Might Seem Which Might Not Be A Great Title But At Least It's Not Ambiguous Like The Original Title Which People Might Think Is Advice For the Young Boy But Is Actually A Rule Of Thumb Of The Ancient Little Girl Vampire." The original movie is a genius take on abusive relationships and how abusers manipulate their victims. It works so well that most people could easily walk away from the movie feeling uplifted and happy, never once realizing they've just been fooled (probably yet again!) by an abuser. The little boy and little girl are so cute together! Aww! She helped free him from his bully tormentors and his generally crappy life. She isn't going to use him up like her previous thrall and throw him away after living a long, meaningless life as her slave and servant at all! God how I love that movie! The American version, of course, spells out the entire thing instead of leaving it to be figured out by the audience. It completely ruins the experience.

I was curious as to the name of the remake since I sincerely couldn't remember it. It was Let Me In. Jesus Christ, America. Anyway, I glanced through the Wikipedia to see what negative things critics had to say about the remake since everybody seemed to generally really like it (and I'd agree if Let the Right One In didn't already fucking exist). Here's what Beth Accomando wrote about Let Me In: "[It] makes obvious all that the original film made subtle and does so with less complexity." I quote her here because she's a genius saying exactly the same thing I've been saying about the film. Good job on being a total genius, Beth!

The Titans...I mean, The Justice League arrive at the Anti-Monitor's side just as Darkseid and Kalibak and Steppenwolf and thousands of Parademons arrive too. Fight! Fight! Fight!

As opposed to the queer of Messina? Ha!

I remember those monsters! Scissors and Charcoal! I bet Wonder Woman goes on to describe how sailors (represented by the Justice League here) had to carefully navigate between these two monsters (represented here by the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid)! It's a totally apt analogy that probably wouldn't have to be thought about while in the middle of the action but is totally cool to think about in a literary setting.

Wonder Woman thinks about how Odysseus chose which monster to sail past since he couldn't avoid them both. She says his story doesn't matter and that sometimes no matter what choice you make, you lose. But she also mentions that six of his men died while sailing past. Being that the choice was to sail his boat directly into a whirlpool of teeth where everybody would have died or sailing it past a monster with only six mouths, I'd say the choice was obvious and that Odysseus and all but six of his men made the right choice and won! So if that's her analogy, the Justice League had better figure out which one of these cosmic assholes represents Scissors and choose that one as the less dangerous opponent to back in the fight.

So that fight is about to begin next issue. All that's left of this issue is to see Superman's cells charged by the pits of Apokolips.

Who knew solar energy could have an "evil" charge?!

Justice League #43 Rating: No change. I can see how Geoff Johns became the personal god of some comic book fans, especially considering how many crappy, phoning-it-all-in writers work in the super hero comic book trade. He's absolutely more than competent as a writer. He has an ability to tell a coherent story. He treats his characters mostly honestly and fairly (at least the ones he's particularly interested in within any given story). He's sometimes prone to stupid jokes and tired tropes but that's fine because not every reader is a forty-something year old who's seen it all before. The main issue I have with his work (and I know this is a plus in many people's books) is that it's generally all spectacle with little substance. Spectacle in comic books is, of course, a grand thing. Sometimes it's all there is and people will eat that shit up like shit-eating machines created by some fucked up weird mad scientist. I'm now going to resort to poorly thought out analogies so that I sound like a real comic book critic and, with a little luck, can turn this into a blurb for the next Justice League trade! "Justice League is like eating a big bowl of sugared cereal while watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. I know I'm not getting anything out of it, and I'm not accomplishing anything, and my stomach will hurt later. But my life will seem exciting while I'm doing it. The self-loathing will come later, which I'll deal with just like I've dealt with it my entire life. With more cereal, more cartoons, and bigger and grander Geoff Johns super hero stories."

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