Saturday, February 18, 2017

Justice League #14

Just fucking great. Bryan Hitch is back to writing.

• I'm getting really sick of these artists who want to be writers! DC Comics usually hires them as the writer/artist of a series, probably because they can save some money. But inevitably, the lazy bastard realizes the writing part is so much easier than the drawing part that they stop drawing. But then they never put any real effort into the writing. Writing isn't just about thinking up some wild cosmic fascist for Superman to punch in one of its faces! Writing takes time and effort and thought and consideration. Look at Warren Ellis's plan for Wildstorm! He's already three years down the road with that story. Of course, it's Warren Ellis and three years of monthly books will probably wind up being stretched over a decade.

• Some artists can write. But most artists can't write. They just do it because they want to draw what they want to draw. You'll also find when an artist writes what the artist is drawing, the story can become garbled and hard to follow. Just look at Tony S. Daniel's work in The New 52. There's no consistent pacing or flow to his stories from panel to panel. And I probably shouldn't point to Rob Liefeld as an example of an artist who writes terrible shit because he's not really much of an artist either. Burn!

• Dave Sim was an exceptional writer who was also an artist although he also became (or originally was?) mentally unhinged. Evidence? He stopped masturbating!

• Wendy Pini is an exceptional writer who is also an artist! I don't have anything bad to say about her or a joke to make at her expense because I owe a lot to her for my ability to feel anything at all.

• Terry Moore is an exceptional writer who is also an artist! I feel like maybe I'm using "exceptional" too much when maybe I should be using "quite competent but they're no Steinbeck!" No, no. I don't have to believe one medium is somehow objectively superior than another. It's not like I'm a rational human being who understands science and mathematics and how The Grapes of Wrath is more complex in so many ways than any comic book I've ever read (including Sandman!). I am that! But I'm also somebody who read Elfquest in junior high and it will probably forever mean more to me than any of the books on my top ten all time best works of literature list (that's constantly changing depending on my mood and what asshole asks that tired fucking question upon first meeting me because they think it will reveal some essential bit of who I am (I mean, it might! But they won't be smart enough to figure it out if they're asking that question!)).

• This issue begins with the Justice League trapped under rocks. For some reason, Jessica Cruz is there as well. I thought she quit? She's been in every issue since she quit. That doesn't seem like quitting. I've quit jobs before and I don't remember still going back afterward.

• But that was the first page and I forget that comic book writers (especially ones who are artists and not good at the writing part) often waste the first page with a moment from the middle of the story before returning to the absolute beginning of the story on the next page. Which is where they should have just fucking began in the first place. If you're going to start in the middle of the story, fucking have some guts and start in the motherfucking middle of the motherfucking story, you motherfuckers. Um, anyway, a half-moon, half-ship half-thing has appeared in Earth orbit. It's pretty huge so it's probably caused a lot of gravitational shifts in the orbit of the Earth and the moon and all life as we know it will probably be dead soon due to the Earth's shift. But nobody is concerned about that because it's science and this is a comic book. Fuck science! Also, what do I know about science? I read comic books! This is probably totally logical and okay. The object is just hundreds of times larger than the moon! Or just way closer. Maybe that wouldn't have any physical effect at all, right? I can't do the math on it!

• The Justice League head off to explore the new object!

These asshole Green Lanterns can make anything they can think of and they choose to make Batman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and Flash squat uncomfortably in bubbles? At least create some kind of space stagecoach, you lazy jerks.

• The object shoots a green laser out of the part of it that isn't anything like a Death Star at all. It blows the Justice League back into Earth and into a huge crater in the city. That probably means a few thousand people are dead which means a few thousand super-villains were just created due to the Justice League failing to save their loved ones.

• And just like that, we're back at where the comic book fake began, showing that opening the comic book in that way added nothing to the narrative. It's almost as if the fifth page was mistakenly printed as the first page. I suppose the first page was going to be wasted no matter what since Bryan Hitch obviously meant for the real story to begin with a double splash page. And most comic books never print any of the story on the inside cover.

Oh. So now Superman can be defeated by sticking him in a windowless room?

• Cyborg's GPS was obviously destroyed in the blast. "Twelve miles below Canada" is not an answer to "Where are we?" I mean, it's an answer, sure. But it's not a precise one and therefore meaningless to the spirit of Superman's query.

• Just before Cyborg was shot in the face by a Death Star, he managed to hack that Death Star and learn all about it while also shutting down its main gun. So now he can fill in the rest of the League on what they're up against. The space object is a laser drill that goes from star system to star system strip mining everything in the system. It's too bad they always begin with the third planet out from the sun or else maybe the Justice League would have had some warning that they were coming. Or maybe all the planets out past Earth have already been destroyed because nobody believed the astronomers when they were warning everybody. They were just all, "I don't want to believe that so shut up."

Of course it took down Flash! He was in a stupid green bubble with nowhere to run!

• Oh, excuse me. Some of my snark needs to be corrected. Apparently the strip mining planet also breaks down red suns. That means part of its caloric intake is based on red sun matter which obviously means that any energy created from red sun energy is practically lethal to Superman. It's just science!

• The Justice League treats the situation lightly, as if thousands of people weren't just killed in a huge blast from a space drill that's threatening to destroy the entire solar system. Maybe a little sense of urgency would be appropriate. This isn't Giffen and DeMatteis's Justice League.

Shut the fuck up. You're always out of your depth.

• By the way, Aquaman looks like he's coming after being fucked in the ass in that panel. Don't ask me how I know that look and why I own such a large mirror that rests on the floor.

• It's times like this when I'm reading a comic book by Bryan Hitch that I think, "I really miss commenting on poorly written comic books!"

• As the team regroups (see the title! It's all about regrouping!), Jessica Cruz needs another fucking pep talk because she's so fucking fragile.

Apparently Cyborg was even less precise than I realized. They're twelve miles beneath Canada! That's, um, uh, a long fucking way down! That's deeper than the deepest part of the deepest ocean. Aquaman was being literal when he said he was out of his depth! And according to the quickest Internet search I could manage, the deepest hole ever dug was seven and a half miles deep. At that point, the temperature in the hole was 180°C! And yet the Justice League seems pretty comfortable in their hole. Maybe they really are just twelve miles below the Canadian border and The Flash, who was unconscious and probably concussed when Cyborg mentioned where they were.

• Simon mentions how he and Jessica need each other to charge their rings. I forgot about that. Maybe that's why Jessica hasn't been allowed to quit like she wanted to. Also, maybe that time she quit resolved differently than I remember since she's maintained membership with the League ever since.

• Being stuck in a hole while the world is on the brink of destruction gives the Justice League a moment to pause and reflect on their relationship as a team. They're all, "Do any of us belong here?" And then they're all, "Yeah! We do! Let's do it, guys! Save the cheerleader; save the world!"

• But before the group hug, Superman brings up that thing about how Batman keeps files on every member of the Justice League and little boxes with weapons that will allow him to defeat them all. They all act shocked at why Batman would feel the need to defeat them. Batman is all, "Hello? Eclipso?! I just fucking had to defeat you all, you judgmental assholes. And how many times has Superman been turned against us in just the last five years? Too many to count, really! I'm fucking saving the world here!"

• Also before the group hug, Superman has to point out that they need to think of him as the old Superman or Rebirth is never going to work. Forget that whole Preboot thing and the death of the other guy that was stupid but had to be done because New 52 Superman had way too many poorly written moments to keep him alive. They need to think of Preboot Superman as New 52 Superman but without all the times Scott Lobdell wrote him and without all the stories written by Greg Pak and without any of the stories written by Andy Diggle and...well, I'm sure there were others that told fucking stupid Superman stories which made him untenable.

• Now that they're all buddies again and trust each other implicitly forever and ever, it's time for Batman to come up with a plan.

No. You cannot use that as an example for defeating this real life threat!

• Look, we've all known for years growing up that the Death Star having that flaw made absolutely no fucking sense. Which is probably a good percentage of the reason why Rogue One was written! To explain that nonsense! Which it did fabulously! Rogue One was like the corrections section of a newspaper but instead of admitting to the mistakes and correcting them, it just told a new story that effortlessly weaves in some new perspectives to explain away a bunch of stupid bullshit that has always plagued the Star Wars fandom. It was the best piece of fan-fiction I've ever consumed. Although I didn't jerk off over it like most of the other pieces.

• What I'm pointing out is that Batman's reasoning is flawed. This space drill doesn't necessarily have to have a flaw or weakness in its design. The Death Star only had a flaw in its design because it was sabotaged! This thing might have been engineered by the third smartest man on whatever planet it originally came from.

• Batman's plan is to have the strong, invulnerable members of the team punch the big gun while the others Boom Tube inside and punch the people controlling the gun. That sounds less like finding the space drill's weakness and more like just punching it into submission.

This is how terrible writers resolve conflicts. It's also how all writers utilize stupid Aquaman.

• Superman comes up with a better plan that's a bit destructive considering there are sentient beings aboard this laser drill. He's going to get the "world-breaking sphere" to shove up the "exhaust port" of the "laser drill." I got carried away with the quotes.

• I wonder why Superman didn't decide to just put it in the Phantom Zone along with everything else he puts in the Phantom Zone?

• The last page just shows that the Justice League won because this story was about them regrouping and not about them fighting. I hope the next issue follows the race aboard the space drill and how they float off to die now that they don't have the ability to gather resources to sustain their people. Superman couldn't have gone aboard to speak with them after destroying their drill? Maybe point out that they shouldn't strip mine inhabited planets? Or maybe any planets? Maybe they could come up with a more responsible way to get their energy needs? Maybe something renewable and more sustainable? I don't think Bryan Hitch meant for this issue to have that message. He was just happy to leave it at "The Justice League broke the space drill and the world is safe! Who cares where the Space Miners strip mine next? Or die before getting their drill repaired? Not the League's problem!"

The Ranking!
-1! Don't get me wrong! I don't mind the theme of this issue and what it tries to accomplish. The League needed a moment to tell the readers, "Look. We're done with all the bickering about trust issues. We're going to focus on saving the world now and put all those other tensions aside." It was basically an editorial mandate that the fans accept Superman as the real Superman and accept the new Lanterns as Hal's replacements since he picked them personally. Those points can't be criticized anymore because the team dealt with them! And that's fine with me. Writers need to shape their world by telling the reader what's what and stop feeling the need to constantly justify continuity shit. But the book drops in the rankings because it is full of terrible nonsense and also a lot of people in Canada died. Or people twelve miles below the Canadian border died.

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