Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Batman Loves Superman #26

Vandal Savage is a pimp.

Superman, Batgirl, Dick Grayson, and Jason Todd have traveled to Siberia to rescue some meaningless villages from Vandal Savage's clutches. These villagers are being forced to extract uranium from old Russian missiles that were lying around unused. If the villagers don't comply with this dangerous task, Vandal Savage will murder them and their families. The men of the village don't want their families put in unnecessary danger so they're doing whatever Vandal tells them.

Also they're bringing their families to the dig site where, at any moment, one of these missiles can be mishandled and explode! But I think that's necessary danger!

The little boy is probably on location to teach the adults that they shouldn't fear Superman! Because children understand things better than adults! They say wise things and never lie and aren't afraid of strange people giving out free candy. If you don't follow the lead of the children, you're an old fuddy-duddy without any sense of wonder! Although you'll probably have a better grip on reality and survive longer if you just tell the children around you to shut the fuck up already.

The man sees four shapes coming out of the snow and assume it's Vandal Savage coming back to murder everybody. Sure, he said they had a week to get the uranium but you never know when an immortal psychopath is going to change his mind. Although why would Vandal kill them before they've finished the work? It's not like Vandal is going to want to do it himself.

Startled by the figures, the men of the village pull pistols out of their parkas and begin shooting. It's at this point that I don't care if these villagers manage to survive. What if the figures coming out of the snow were pizza delivery guys? It seems kind of stupid to shoot at anybody who approaches you. Even if it had been Vandal Savage, why the fuck would they now decide to rebel against him? They fear for their families' lives enough to work as slaves for Vandal but not really, I guess?

I guess the comic book begins this way to seem exciting but it just loses me instantly and reminds me that I hate Greg Pak's work on this comic book.

Superman introduces himself and his Bat-friends to the villagers (speaking English, I guess? Bah! It's comic books! It's easier to simply pretend everybody speaks Interlac) and they respond in the appropriate manner. The little kid loves Superman because he's only there to teach the grown-ups to not be assholes (and to probably die from cancer in ten years due to the high levels of radiation leaking from the discarded missiles). And the grown-ups react like assholes.

And yet when you thought these guys were Savage, you believed shooting him in the face was going to fill him with figurative hugs and kisses?

Hey! Remember how Superman cracked two molars in his battle with Vandal last issue? Has he been to the dentist yet? Doesn't his stupid mouth hurt? Or when Batgirl bandaged him later that issue, did she also fix his teeth?

The aggressive man needs to have his life saved by Superman before he'll believe Superman can actually help because that's how you write comic books by the tropes. So the missile the men were trying to move snaps its support cables and begins falling to the ground. The man tackles his wife and son and yells, "Why did I bring you out here?! Why was I so stupid to endanger your lives so recklessly?! I'm as bad as Vandal Savage!" But Superman catches the bomb so the man can live with his shame.

While holding the bomb, Superman complains about how heavy it is. Because he's lost most of his strength, remember?! But he still has enough to hold up a two ton missile! It's just that he has to explicitly point out how heavy it is now. That's the new version of Superman! He can still manage to do everything he used to do (except fly!) but while he's doing it, he always reminds the readers how difficult it is now. Plus he has a stupid fucking haircut that looks stupid. Who's idea was it to lose the spit curl?! At this point, why not just make Superman an extremely strong monkey? He'd be just as recognizable.

With the help of everybody, the missile is stood upright because I guess that's the most efficient position to remove the uranium from it? I would think leaving it lying down would be easier since isn't the bomb in the cone? Isn't the whole rest of the missile just fuel? I'm not a rocket scientist but I know how to have thoughts and then believe those thoughts so I think I'm probably right.

Compared to everybody else in this room, Babs? You're a fucking genius. Don't downplay your strengths to Bozo Superman! You're ten times better than he is! If not more, depending on whether or not I put the decimal in the right place during my calculations.

Superman introduces Dick as the guy who makes fake ideas and Red Hood as the "mean Robin." What the fuck, Superman?! I thought you were supposed to be the guy who lifts up everybody's spirits and makes them want to be better people. But no. You're just the guy who points out that Jason Todd had some issues and was a big fucking jerk who probably deserved exactly what he got! Asshole.

Although, seriously, Jason Todd totally deserved what he got.

Do Siberians know what "light spring rain" is?

While Batgirl tries to figure out how Vandal's teleportation pad works and Dick is creating fake IDs and Red Hood teaches the men how to shoot to kill (or to just hit kneecaps, just in case Batman is currently giving you a sour look), the little kid is stabbing Clark with a fork. And it draws blood because this is one of those moments where Clark is just vulnerable enough to prove that he's not invulnerable. But don't worry! Vandal Savage apparently punches softer than a ten year old kid can stab with an eating utensil, so Clark should be okay.

Red Hood tries to get Superman alone so he can get him excited about the prospect of murdering Vandal Savage. But Dick and Babs overhear and they're all, "No way! We don't kill even if it means saving the lives of probably hundreds of billions of people across Vandal Savage's future!" Plus Batgirl is all, "I was his teammate and he's actually not that bad when he's forced to do what you want him to do. Maybe we can get Stargirl to trick him into being nice again?"

Some of the Shadow Monsters from the Truth story show up because there's been way too much talking. Plus everybody is allowed to get out their aggression and kill these things because they're not sentient (which matters for some reason). During the battle, Commissioner Batman shows up because his name is on the cover. That's the only reason I can think of why he'd leave Gotham where he works as a police officer keeping peace in Gotham to come to Siberia where he isn't authorized to act as a peace keeper of any kind. But I guess Superman asked him to come by, probably to take the villagers back to Gotham even though none of them have passports or visas. At least not legal ones that weren't printed up by Dick Grayson.

So Superman tells Batman to shove it last issue and then he sends him all of the data Batgirl came up with about this place because why? Oh yeah! Because his name is on the cover! Also, I still don't have any clue as to how Batgirl discovered this site.

Apparently the Nazi War Wheel is buried under the ice and the missiles were meant to power it. But then the Dawn Command were able to steal Waynetech's miniature sun and that became the primary power source for the Nazi War Wheel (which isn't actually the War Wheel but I'm going to insist that it is because that would have been so much better). I guess digging uranium out of the missiles was just to fuck with the nearby villagers. An immortal has to get his kicks somehow.

Batman Loves Superman #26 Rating: -1 Ranking. If you love comic books with great characterization of even the most ancillary characters, superb plots that rise out of the motivations of the villains and heroes, and engaging themes that really make you think about tough ethical dilemmas, this is totally not the comic book for you. But it has Batman in it! Do you like Batman? Then maybe this is the book for you! No, no! Wait! I just remembered. It doesn't even have Batman in it anymore. It's just Commissioner Gordon in a suit that locks up every few pages. I'm not even going to pretend that Superman is in it because I haven't seen Superman in a DC Comic book for years.

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