Friday, July 22, 2016

The Coming of the Supermen #6

Neal Adams. Superman bleeding from his mouth as he shits himself, 2016. Oil on Canvas. 16.8 cm x 26.0 cm.

The Review!
Why, DC Comics, why? Did somebody somewhere promise Neal Adams that at some point in his career, he'd have carte blanche to write any Superman story he wanted without any editorial interference? How else did this comic book make it through the pitch phase? It's quite probable that it will eventually be discovered that Neal Adams had a minor stroke during the writing of this comic book and I'm going to feel really bad for panning it. But I don't currently have that information so I have to assume that Neal Adams is operating with his full faculties! And if that's true, he's just perpetrated the greatest religious crime in all of history! That may or may not be a hyperbolic statement, depending on whether or not you suffered through this comic book and not the Inquisition. I only suffered through one of them and I can only tell you which is the worst according to my experiences! I'd like to leave the possibility open that this comic book wasn't about Christianity at all but Adams slammed shut all the fucking doors on that possibility when he named the mystery demon "El" and had Superman proclaim that he did nothing and yet is responsible for everything. Ugh. This was terrible! And it wasn't even terrible simply because it was a Christian story! One of my favorite Alice Cooper songs of all time is "I Am Made of You" and that's as testimonial as fuck! Shit, that song makes me wish I could delude myself into believing nonsense! But this story? Abominable. Horrible. A travesty! I've read Lobdell's Teen Titans, Nathan Edmondson's Grifter, Ann Nocenti's Katana, J.T. Krul's Green Arrow, Scott Lobdell's Red Hood and the Outlaws, Howard Mackie's The Ravagers, Ann Nocenti's Green Arrow, Scott Lobdell's Superman, Ann Nocenti's Catwoman, Scott Lobdell's Red Hood/Arsenal, and Ann Nocenti's Klarion. And this book is still the worst series I've read in the last five years! If you're still thinking, "But Tess! It's Neal Adams! Have some respect! At least back-up your terribly harsh criticisms!", you might get some Answers! in the commentary portion.

The Commentary!
I can't wait to see how this comic book ends! Normally, being a Grandmaster Comic Book Reader, I know long before a story ends how it will all wind up. But being that this comic book is such a confusing mess, I'm completely bewildered by it! It's fascinating not knowing where things are headed! Is this what it's like to be a Regular Comic Book Reader? Thrilling!

Last issue ended with Darkseid disintegrating Lex Luthor as Superman looked on and applauded. This issue begins with the revelation that Darkseid merely destroyed a wax sculpture of Lex Luthor while the real Lex Luthor was standing behind him laughing. It's odd that Darkseid was so annoyed by the laughter that he would think Lex Luthor was the wax statue that obviously wasn't laughing. Darkseid isn't too smart, is he? The real beauty of the situation is that Lex Luthor continues to laugh at Darkseid! But at least now he's begging for his life at the same time. I think begging for your life goes a long way to keep Darkseid happy.

This issue is called "Answers!" Notice the punctuation was within the quotes which means it was actually part of the title and not just another of my often abused exclamation points. Normally I'd be happy that a comic book was going to answer all of the questions I have about the story. But in this case, I'm so confused I'm not even sure what the questions are. When this comic book first began, I thought it was going to be a meditation on the differences between Christianity and Islam. But now it's turned into an insane fight for territory perpetrated by two villains who have everything to gain while millions of people wind up victims. Holy shit! It is a meditation on the differences of Islam and Christianity! One is Lex Luthor and the other is Darkseid! And when the two battle, nobody wins! So you need a third option: Superman! And he

I don't think this tracks.

Maybe Superman just represents science and rationality and atheism. You know, truth, justice, and my dreamed of American way! It must be the New Kryptonians who represent Judaism. I mean, if you're Western Civilization minded, of course! New Kryptonians equal Israel. The Apokoliptian invaders equal the Islamic countries. And New Genesis equals Christianity. Although you should probably see the analogy as the New Kryptonians being the Islamic countries of the Middle East and the Apokoliptian invaders as the people of Israel being helped by their Western Civ allies (Superman!) to take over a large parcel of their land. And while they're at it, the white invaders may as well set up some military bases all over New Krypton too! Just to, you know, keep the peace and whatnot.

Maybe I should just see what Answers! Neal Adams decides to give before jumping to any more conclusions. Because I don't think Neal Adams means for his story to be any smarter than it appears to be. Although why did he name the Muslim kid's dog Isa if he wasn't prepared to write a story about religion? Was that the only comment Neal had to make? That Muslims think of Jesus as a dog? Not that they do! Why would they hate on Jesus when he's eventually going to come down from the sky and slay the Antichrist in the most spectacular bout of Mortal Kombat ever witnessed? And once he arrives, he'll be all, "Can't we all get along?!" And then all of the Peoples of the Book (as the Jews, Christians, and Muslims are referenced in Islam because they fucking understand that they all believe in the same God. Well, Muhammad did, anyway. But then that's the advantage of being the last religion formed from The Old Testament. You get to write in the other religions and make them, in a way, subservient to yours. But then again, at least Islam acknowledges that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all based on the same God and that when Jesus comes back for his encore, everybody will believe the same thing and they'll all be saved. Of course everybody will call it Islam but that's just a minor point, really!) will hold hands and embrace Jesus and Islam and hardly any Christian will say to hardly any Jew, "I told you so!" And hardly any Muslim will say to hardly any Christian, "I told you so!" They'll all just live happily ever after as the atheists burn in a fiery pit of hell and just about everybody will say to them, "I told you so!"

Don't get mad at me if I got any of that religious stuff wrong! I'm an atheist! Besides, I'm pretty sure I didn't get any of it wrong. If you think I did, that's your bias, praise be to God.

Superman continues to watch Darkseid and Lex Luthor battle for a bit since it seems Lex has found a way to not be killed by Darkseid's Omega Beams. I mean Wrist Blasters.

What level are you on?!

Darkseid gets to enraged that he lets a secret slip: he was born on Earth! I think. I mean, he seems to make some revelation about Earth birthing the greatness of Apokolips. But then when Superman and Lex try to nail him down on what he meant, he stutters and stammers like the fool he isn't and finally just tells them that he's stolen all of Lex's technology and will take over the Earth with it. It's about at that point when Lex realizes Darkseid is his enemy and tells Darkseid that he sold him defective technology to turn yellow suns into red suns. It's about that time that Darkseid realizes Lex is his enemy! Superman stands by confused like the rest of us.

I'm starting to believe I won't be getting any of the Answers! I was promised. Perhaps the only real question was, "Has Neal Adams lost his mind?" At least I know the answer to that is a resounding "Yes!" With the exclamation point, of course.

Superman foils Darkseid's plans, Darkseid punches Superman in the nose, and then Darkseid flounces off of Earth. But not before Superman can fly through Darkseid's Boom Tube first, pissing Darkseid off even more! I think that might be the end of the Darkseid/Lex Luthor subplot. Or was that the main plot? Did it even have a plot? Anyway, the comic book needs to answer some questions about Rafi and Isa and the winged demon Muhammad who is also called "El". "El" means "God", just in case you don't know your Bible as well as you think you do. So I guess the winged demon isn't the prophet Muhammad at all. He's just god.

Oh hey! I mentioned there would be Mortal Kombat earlier, right? I guess Superman is Jesus and Darkseid is the Anti-christ!

Maybe I should just forget all of the Islamic stuff and simply assume Neal Adams is telling a Christian story. Because it has everything it needs. Darkseid as Satan, El as God, and Superman as Jesus. There's also a dog named Isa owned by a Muslim but that was probably just to get everybody's subconscious mind thinking about Jesus and religion. Although, if I had to guess, maybe one percent of the people reading this terrible comic book know that Isa is the name for Jesus in Islam?

After Darkseid learns that he can change the outcome of whatever outcome has been set in motion, Supreman heads back to Lois and Rafi and Isa where he's promptly punched in the face by Orion. Why? Who fucking cares.

It turns out the puppy Isa is actually Highfather and Rafi is his grandson and I don't fucking care anymore. Not that cared much at the beginning. And I cared even less in the middle. But now that it's coming to an end, I'm just ready for the peaceful quiet of the grave. This comic book has destroyed my love of life.

But wait! My spirit hasn't been entirely crushed! I must know how Superman plans to keep Darkseid from invading anywhere he wants with the use of the Boom Tube! As long as the technology exists, Darkseid can be anywhere he wants to be!

Oh. Okay. Superman turns the Boom Tube inside out and destroys it. I guess Darkseid just had the one?

Stop thinking about this ending, you jerk! Stop thinking about Boom Tube technology as a technology to open wormholes in space! That obviously wasn't what it was at all! It was an actual tube that Darkseid built which could be programmed to exit at various points in the universe! Then you walk through it and arrive at the chosen destination! Duh! I can't believe anybody ever thought the Boom Tube wasn't a literal tube! Stupids.

Darkseid gives up his invasion plans after he sees his Boom Tube turned inside out and rendered impotent. He walks away embarrassed and Superman walks back to New Krypton, seeing as how it's now one-third of the same planet as Apokolips. Superman and Lois head back to Earth via Metron's Underground Railroad which totally isn't a Boom Tube at all. Superman acknowledges El's uselessness to the system of reality while also expressing his crippling need to believe in that uselessness. And then it all ends with Luthor thinking, "You're all human! All of you! Bwa ha ha ha! Because, you know, God made the people of Earth and the only way to have any other sentient beings in the universe is if they were created by God but only through humanity since Jesus saved humanity! Or something! Whatever, it's all very religious and Christian or something."

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