Monday, September 14, 2015

Action Comics #44

I hope this story turns out to be a big hallucination brought on by Scarecrow Toxins!

Walking to the grocery store around midnight last week, the Non-Certified Spouse and I ran into a couple of raccoons climbing some trees. I stopped and baby talked at them for awhile before continuing on to the store where they were playing "Hey Mickey" over the sound system. On the way back home while crossing the street where the raccoons had been, I sang, "Hey raccoons! You're so sneaky! Don't you understand? You take me by the heart when I see your little hands." The raccoons did not come out and applaud. Fuckers.

The Non-Certified Spouse posted a picture of one of the raccoons in the tree staring at us and one of her friends went on a rant about how all raccoons are crow murdering bastards. So I called her a "raccist."

Last night at work, I saw a raccoon crumpled up in the middle of the road and I cried off and on for the rest of the night.

I hope there are some raccoons in Action Comics #44. Happy raccoons though! Not poor pathetic raccoons brought to rack and ruin by big city living! I wonder if you can teach a raccoon to smoke? Although I'm in Portland, so I'd probably have to teach it to vape.

Last issue ended with Superman attacking the Metropolis City Hall because the mayor and her goons are all Shadow Monsters. That must be why most everybody hates Superman so much. Because they're being influenced by their local government and everybody knows how we all take our cues from the mayors of our cities and our other elected officials. I constantly hear people say, "What would Joe Biden do?"

Joe Biden is a politician, right?

I think Vice Presidents are only "elected officials" by the slightest of technical margins.

The cape wrapped around Superman's fists is the perfect symbol for the problems DC has been having with Superman's portrayal. He loses his powers and the only thing he needs to continue to fight evil is an indestructible piece of cloth wrapped around his fists so he can punch the problems unconscious.

The mayor is the leader of the Shadow Monsters and she goes by the name of Wrath. Hopefully she's a shadow with some substance so that Superman can "solve" this problem too.

Wrath is feeding on everybody's anger much like the Ultra-Humanite was feeding on everybody's fear in Greg Pak's previous story arc. So once again, Greg Pak steals more ideas from himself. I wanted to like you, Greg Pak. I really did. I was all, "This guy's name is easy to remember!" That was it. That was the only reason I wanted to like you.

No wait! I wanted to like you, Greg Pak, because I wanted to read enjoyable Superman stories. And since your name is easy to remember, I would have been, "How about that Greg Park guy on Superman? Great work, right?"

How does anybody in the DC Universe get convicted of anything when all a lawyer has to do is bring up the probability of mind control?!

If I were a citizen of Metropolis or Smallville, I think I really would be pissed off at Superman by this point. If it isn't Wrath making us do stupid shit like attacking innocent people or lapsing into comas, it's Brainiac, or The Ultra-Humanite, or Mongul, or Xa-Du, or Hector Hammond, or Queen Bee, or Lois Lane. Maybe a super hero that can defend against magic and mind control should move into Metropolis as backup because this shit is getting old.

How have I never come up with this awful turn of phrase? I've read so many Scott Lobdell comic books, my insides would be like a gory garden!

In the Ultra-Humanite battle, Superman had to feed too much fear to Ultra-Humanite so that Ultra-Humanite's belly hurt and he had to stop eating. That's a pretty standard battle tactic in comic books. When a creature feeds on something (like the Parasite feeding on energy), the hero just has to feed the creature too much of the stuff that makes it powerful and it breaks down. It's at least as old as The New Teen Titans #27 from January 1987 where Starfire pumps lots of Starjuice into Plasmus until he can't take it anymore and must flee. But I'm sure it's older than that. It's about as standard as a hero being swallowed whole by a giant monster and then exploding out of that monster's stomach. Starfire did that one a few times too!

Anyway, what I was getting at before I was derailed by my own thoughts, Superman is probably going to have to get super-angry so that Wrath feeds on too much anger and explodes into little hunks of concentrated evil which will appear in microwaves all over the world after which parents will touch it and explode. I've never been so thoroughly confused by the ending of a movie than by Time Bandits which I saw at ten years old. I didn't know movies could end ambiguously. At least the kid fell in love with that fireman.

Meanwhile Lee Lambert, Superman's current Double-L acquaintance, is battling the residents of Metropolis who couldn't resist Wrath's Shadow Monsters. They've basically turned into a zombie mob and are going around pissing off other people so that those people will then join the mob. Lee will probably resist because she's into Transcendental Meditation. Maybe. I bet if all of these people were Scientologists, they'd be able to resist the anger.

So is Superman nearly powerless or not? Because I don't think I could even stand up a motorcycle that has fallen over. Although that might say more about me than Superman.

Wrath disappears before Superman can overfeed her, so Superman returns to his neighborhood to battle Lee for awhile. Her right arm has been taken over by the Shadow Monsters because it was angrier than the rest of her body. It's also possible Aaron Kuder just found it easier to draw her with a gigantic arm so he wouldn't have to worry about her proportions. That's totally understandable. When I was in second grade, I drew a lot of characters kneeling on rocks or with their feet in holes in the ground because I would screw up an aspect of their proportions.

Lee manages to use the Angry Shadow to her own purposes and saves a bunch of citizens before a building can collapse on them. The rest of the Shadow Monsters have disappeared for the time being. Lee decides she doesn't want any help curing her of the Angry Shadow because she's hoping to get a short-lived comic book series like that Doomed kid.

The people in Clark's neighborhood begin to clean everything up and take care of each other. But a bunch of them still hate Superman even with the Shadow Monsters gone. So I guess not all of the xenophobia was generated by Wrath. Although where did all of this hate come from? They knew Superman was an alien before. I guess they just didn't realize he was stealing human journalism jobs too. Superman decides to ignore them and go find out where Wrath ran off to.

Wrath has headed back to her own dimension in a seedy hotel. But on the way, she's accosted by a man who tells her to smile because Greg Pak desperately wants Tumblr to like him. "Look! I wrote a thing where a man tells a woman to smile and then he's killed for his insolence!" Stop being so trite, Greggy! That's low hanging feminist fruit, that one! You should have had her kill a guy on the subway for sitting with his legs spread too wide while you were at it!

Wrath meets up with her gang members but they don't show their faces yet because Comic Books. You'll have to wait until next month for that exciting reveal even though it would be perfectly acceptable to reveal them here which would also garner excitement to see how they're going to attack Superman.

Her three gang members are obviously Jesus Christ, Professor Zoom, and HORDR_ROOT.

Action Comics #44 Rating: No change. I'm not sure anything was actually resolved in this issue. It really just came to a place where the story can finally be honest with everything that's happened to Clark in the pages of Superman. Most of the last four issues have just been stalling as Superman battled the mystery Shadow Monsters. I suppose all of Wrath's gang members will wind up being enemies that have been hassling Superman to bring him to the point where he can be taken down in the next story line. He's now full of anger thanks to Wrath. HORDR_ROOT has helped expose his identity and steal his powers. I guess the other two mystery figures will be revealed in the next issues of Batman Loves Superman and Superman Loves Batman. Although being that Greg Pak likes bringing back Xa-Du, one of them is probably him! And maybe the other is the Ultra-Humanite. Can we just get past all of this bullshit and get back to the point where Superman has all of his powers again? I'm so sick of going through this bullshit with Superman every few years. He loses most of his powers because writers think it will make the series more dramatic or more interesting. Finally that wears thin because Superman needs to be Superman and he regains his powers. But that only lasts for a few years before another writer gets the novel idea to depower him! Back and forth, back and forth. We get it. Nobody fucking knows how to write this guy.

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