Monday, February 20, 2017

Doom Patrol #4

This cover is trying too hard to be incomprehensible.

• This issue begins with a guy way too old to be sleeping in the room he grew up in sleeping in the room he grew up in. It's obvious it's his childhood room because there's a poster of a Trans-Am on the wall and a poster of Bruce Lee on the wall and a lamp made out of a baseball and bat and a globe (only a kid's room ever contains a globe (unless it's the study of an explorer of Africa who's about to tell the story of his travels in Africa and the camera zooms in on the spinning globe and suddenly there's a plane heading to Africa and then the story begins)) and a bunch of trophies and a hamper full of socks that have probably been jerked off into.

• This guy, who might be Casey's coworker (although I'm not sure because I haven't read an issue of Doom Patrol since the beginning of January and I'm not sure her coworker was even in that one), has been awoken (unless he was awakened) by somebody chanting "Come back!" backwards. He thinks it's his son Lucius so that means he's living in an even more awkward situation than I thought. He passes his mother who fell asleep watching television while sitting in a recliner in the living room.

• Look. I understand the compulsion (and probably necessity, I suppose. If I wanted to be generous) to live at home because it's easy and cheap. But you' know...still living at home! With your fucking parents! In the room where you learned to masturbate quickly and quietly! In the room where you fantasized about your secret crush who sat across the room in Algebra but you never had the nerve to approach! In the room where you fucking cried because that one song on Disintegration (okay, all the fucking songs on Disintegration) reminded you that the person you love just spent the previous night mouth to mouth with one of your supposed best friends! Living at home past a certain age seems to have a number of benefits but you'll never know until you leave how none of those benefits are fucking worth it!

• I have a story that I've never told on this blog. I'm telling it now but know that what you should be thinking while reading it is "this is an analogy about getting the fuck out of the house you grew up in." It will begin in the next bullet point.

• When I was about eighteen, I noted a tiny little skin tag on my back. I had no idea what a skin tag was at the time but I noticed it and it was weird and it seemed like some kind of out-of-place hangnail. So I got some clippers and I tried to clip it off. It was awkward (being nearly the center of my back) and I couldn't really do it and the thing was hardly noticeable anyway. But I guess I damaged it in a way that made it say, "You know what? I'm going to grow into the most disgusting, vile, nasty bit of barf-cancer that you've ever seen." Which it totally proceeded to do. But it didn't happen quickly! It slowly grew over time. At first, it just looked like a small mole hanging by the tiniest little bit of skin. It was gross enough that it kind of embarrassed me when I'd go swimming. But I had long hair back then and it mostly kept it covered and I just didn't pay it a lot of attention. Throughout my twenties, it just got a little bit bigger by the year. Somewhere in my early to mid-thirties, I noticed it had gotten big enough that I could feel it under my shirt. People could see it protruding from my back, a little lump of disgust pushing out the fabric of my shirt. It's rough surface would catch on my thermal shirts. It finally went from being fairly innocuous to being unendurably noticeable. Late one night, probably a few hours past midnight, I decided to do something about it. I went online and began looking into removing skin tags.

Let me pause here to explain why I thought maybe I could remove the skin tag myself. For a short time, there was a television show on Fox whose name I can't remember. It was one of those shows adapted from British television, like Coupling or one of those shows with a large cast of young friends. A woman on one of the episodes had a massively grotesque skin tag on her upper shoulder that looked like a fried shrimp. She didn't mind hers though. She may have even called it her lucky shrimp, possibly because her grandmother had one too or something. I probably shouldn't remember this much of a show that I don't even really remember watching but I could identify with this thing on her back, and so I guess my mind was cataloging the entire thing. The resolution to the skin tag plotline happened when one of the characters tripped and, as he fell, he managed to grab her skin tag and rip it from her body. I don't remember what happened after that. I'm sure the skin tag flew onto a buffet table and somebody dipped it in sauce and ate it. That's the kind of joke American television would shove into a sitcom stolen from the BBC. But what I did remember was the skin tag was removed cleanly and, practically, effortlessly.

So back to the night I finally decided to do something about it. I found an online forum where people were discussing how to remove skin tags. People would ask about it and there would be responses of how to do it (lots of suggestions of using rubber bands to kill the blood supply to it so it would just fall off, like a farm animal being castrated). Inevitably, the initial person would post again expressing their success at removing the skin tag. I don't know if those replies were as euphoric as I now remember them being or if my memory has been colored by my own experience. Anyway, I read a lot of posts getting up the courage to do it. But each successful post I read gave me a little more inspiration to go ahead with the home surgery. I nervously went into the bathroom, got the scissors for cutting hair, and promptly realized I wasn't going to be able to use scissors on a skin tag in the middle of my back while looking into a mirror. I considered waking up the Non-Certified Spouse for help but abandoned that thought almost immediately. I would do this alone or not at all. After a number of attempts at contorting my body in the right way and figuring out how to guide my hand with the scissors while looking in the mirror, I maneuvered the sharp instrument into the correct position. All I needed now was the will (and a little more strength than I was expecting) to snip the tag off of my back.


The little hunk of flesh fell to the ground and my back immediately began to bleed all over the fucking bathroom. I didn't care. The skin tag was gone! It was...well, it was an awful lot of blood, actually. I grabbed a towel, pressed it to the wound, and leaned up against the wall feeling the greatest sense of relief and peace of mind I've ever felt. The bleeding eventually stopped and my back was smooth again. I flushed the skin tag with barely a thought of keeping the putrid thing as evidence. And I've been better off every day of my life for taking that extraordinarily difficult step. I freed myself from a thing I didn't realize was sapping so much of my confidence and happiness. It was so easy ignoring it and not dealing with it that I never would have expected how euphoric it would make me when I finally did do something about it. It's always better to make the effort to change something that you've convinced yourself isn't really that big of a deal, simply because it's just too hard to deal with.

• This is Lucius:

Death metal bands in the Doom Patrol universe seem to have a common theme.

• Lucius is a fifteen year old sorcerer who feels like a nobody and has Daddy and Mommy Issues! Sounds perfect for the Doom Patrol!

• Meanwhile, Cliff and Larry have touched the face of N'ihil (or whatever the Lord of Negative Entity Land is called) and entered into the negative courtroom where they'll be tried for their negative crimes. Man, I would be so guilty of negative crimes!

• Double meanwhile, Casey and Fugg have found themselves in Space Jail (Casey's words...although they probably would have been mine as well if she hadn't called it that so quickly). There they meet the Niles Caulder Robot that Niles Caulder made during last issue's Intermission (there won't be an Intermission this issue because I've already skipped it. Niles met a dog or something. Also, he was watching Casey through his robot's eyes). They also meet Ricardo, the friend of Danny's who has been searching for him so he can warn Danny that he's about to be invaded by an Evil Fast Food Franchise. They easily escape Space Jail using Casey's new powers which she luckily discovers just in time to escape.

• Back at Negative Court, Larry Trainor pleads "Make me Negative Man again." And so the court is all, "Cool! Way to be a good guy! You're a true hero, unlike some ex-racecar drivers who hate to be called by their superhero alias and are constantly going on about not being able to have a normal life, one of which might be in this room and listening to me and rolling his robot eyes.

So every time he lets the Negative Spirit loose, he'll get an extra Picard lifetime?! Awesome!

• Back in Vectra Space Jail, Casey and company discover Danny the Ambulance hooked up to a meat grinder so all of the people living inside of him can instantly be turned into fast food hamburger when he expels them. Casey finally realizes that maybe she shouldn't be upset about the way Danny created her. Although I'm still upset about the way my mom and dad created me. How dare they! I could have remained nonexistent and happy! Well, maybe not happy, but ignorant of existential terror. Well, maybe not ignorant, as I would never have existed to feel anything whatsoever. My father wearing a condom on that particular Christmas morning would have been the greatest Christmas gift of all time!

• To try to bond with Casey, Danny tells her about the last time he tried to evade evil people who would exploit him and how he was destroyed then as well. All that was left that time was Danny the Brick. And that brick was saved by...oh. Oh my. I'm having the tears.

My dear, dear Crazy Jane!

• I bet they completely drop the "crazy", society being the thing full of scolds that it is today.

• Danny went on space adventures with Jane until one day, they met a person who was only a white silhouette in a red cape. That person befriended them...up to a point. Eventually the friendship ended the way all friendships tend to end: one friend bashes somebody's brains out with the other friend. After that, Danny lost touch with Jane.

• Casey accepts her role as the hero Space Case so that she can save Danny the World. But to do that, they need to do a little bit of time traveling. That's because Danny the World has already become burgers.

• After Casey drives Danny the Ambulance away through space, it is revealed that her current nemesis is Torminox! He was also created by Danny to be Space Case's archenemy. He doesn't seem to mind that Space Case is getting away and might stop the whole Evil Fast Food Franchise thing because he has some other plan up his sleeve. It's probably super complicated. It definitely involves a synthetic being!

The Ranking!
+1! This version of Doom Patrol has my full approval! Although that could change at any moment! I'm one fickle motherfucker.

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