Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New Super-man #8

With an entire Bat-school full of Bat-men (Bat-mans?), Yang is probably going to turn Chinese Bat-man into Kenny from South Park.

• Just in case anybody forgot, this is currently my favorite Rebirth comic book that doesn't star Lobo.

• Continuing the drama from last issue (which is preferable to just going in a totally new dramatic direction (I mean, I can't speak for all readers. I'm sure some shitty 4chan users out there would rather have a plot as absurd as a Pokey the Penguin strip. But then they think knowing the secret message of an Internet meme is the height of humor because they're all basically sentient bean bags)), Kenan battles Master I-Ching. If Kenan wins, he'll be taken on as a student. But he isn't winning. He's currently getting his ass kicked. An I-Ching hasn't kicked this much ass since one helped write Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle.

• Continuing different drama from last issue, Bat-man of China battles his rival, Wanna-Be-Bat-man of China, to see who gets to keep being Bat-man of China. The wanna-be guy has been cheating so far but Wonder-Woman of China will straighten that shit right out. I sometimes wonder how the patriarchy came into existence when women are so much better at being adults and resolving conflicts. I suppose when you have two people trying to solve a problem where one of them has the fortitude and ingenuity to fix the problem and the other one is strong enough to physically threaten the problem solver if they don't shut up, the wrong people are going to wind up in charge.

• Holy shit! That reminds me that I had a dream last night where I was at my mother's house and my friend Doom Bunny asked, "Where is your mother? Why haven't we seen her?" And I thought, "Oh shit! Yeah." So I went to check the master bathroom and found a cabinet knocked over and my mom collapsed halfway out of the bathtub. She couldn't speak and just looked me in the eyes like a wounded animal, teeth chattering and scared. I fucking freaked out and took her in my arms to try to keep her stabilized. I yelled at Doom Bunny to call 911 while staring into the terror-filled eyes of my mother. As she struggled to slide back into the bath, I thought "This is too fucking much" and woke myself up. So for anybody who has read this blog and thought, "Geez, Tess. Why do you act like your relationship with your mother doesn't fucking matter?", you can have that dream as evidence that, apparently, it matters a lot. That may be the worst nightmare I've had in years.

• Continuing still different drama from last issue, Wonder-Woman of China battles Alpaca in the server room of the Bat Training Facility. He's (unless it's a she, hint hint! Baixi has a sister who is the only other student worth knowing about in this facility) the one who has been spray painting obscenities all over the school. See, the joke is that the Grass Mud Horse is a type of Alpaca. This is a good example of that 4chan humor I mentioned earlier.

• Excuse me while I turd. Have a panel to look at until I get back.

I don't know if that's a better question. It's just a different way of answering it.

• Hmm. I probably didn't have to mention the bowel movement, did I? Because of the way I comment while I read the comic book, I tend to forget that this blog entry isn't going out live.

• Back to the Kenan versus the ancient prophetic text made into a man, Kenan decides to move his qi up from his fists into his ears. That's so he can hear where Master I-Ching both is and is not. It's ancient Chinese wisdom.

• Speaking of Ancient Chinese wisdom, has Archie McPhee never sold fortune cookies with Sun Tzu quotes in them? That seems like a bajillion dollar idea! Imagine opening a cookie after dinner and reading, "Invincibility lies in defense, the possibility of victory in the attack." That's already better advice than any regular fortune cookie I've ever eaten!

Although this one was pretty good. The Non-Certified Spouse's mother once got this one at a Chinese restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska.

• Um, anyway, when Kenan moves his qi up into his ears, he begins to hear all of the noise all over the neighborhood around him. One of the things he hears is some kid bouncing a basketball. FUCK YES! That is one of my top hated sounds coming in through the walls of my house when I'm trying to write and I don't even have super-hearing! I just want to go outside, snatch the neighbor kid's basketball out of his sticky hands, and kick it over the roof onto the next block. The only reason I don't is I know that kid will soon be a teenager and he might stab me.

• Wanna-Be-Bat-man of China loses the fight even though he conspired with Alpaca to rig the contest. So now he's decided to threaten the life of his schoolmaster by putting a Bat-Grapple up to his head. That seems wrong but I don't know anything about Schoolmaster O so I'll withhold my judgment. Schoolmaster O might be a huge prick.

• It doesn't work. Baixi, Bat-man of China, saves the day and remains Bat-man of China. I wonder if there will be a Manbat of China? See how I left out the dash in the same way they've been putting in a dash for the Chinese versions without one? Clever!

• I just wrote "clever" about something I just wrote. I also constantly call myself a Grandmaster Comic Book Reader. I wonder how many people are turned off by the seeming arrogance and completely miss the joke of it all? Dum-dums!

• Once Kenan invokes his super-hearing, he hears a kid about to be hit by a truck and ditches the fight to save the day. But in saving the kid, the driver of the truck is grievously wounded. So he rushes him to hospital and heads off to pout at a nearby shrine. Master I-Ching catches up with him there. Probably to punch Kenan one more time and win the fight.

• Alpaca winds up being Jiali, Bat-man's sister. She is tired of being controlled by China and all things communist. She's not even fighting for democracy! She's just an anarchist and my heart is suddenly pittering and pattering all over the place. Alpaca is the real hero!

• Oh, also she escapes to be Bat-man of China's Jo-ker. But named Alpaca.

• Master I-Ching doesn't punch Kenan in the nose and gloat and do a little blind man dance. Instead, he tells Kenan why Kenan has an octagon on his chest. And he explains Superman better than about 90% of all writers who have ever written Superman.

Never mind the third interpretation. It's not nearly as clever as the totality of this page.

• That previous page didn't make me cry but it has come closest to any comic I've read in a long time. It got me right in the belly trigram and the eye trigram.

• After a moment of showing what everybody is doing during the Year of the Rooster celebration, there's an epilogue. Somebody identified as Super-man Zero, locked away in the Crab Shell, is approached by a mysterious figure who claims to be the reason for Chinese super-heroes. The final page identifies this mysterious stranger, uh. See for yourselves!

Whew. I'm glad a genius grant Chinese American is tackling Ching Lung but I'm nervous about the comments I might make!

• I can't believe Ching Lung isn't in DC's late eighties Who's Who! They were trying to erase history, weren't they?!

• Seriously, though, I'm super excited about Gene Luen Yang taking on this story. I'm a huge fan of people examining the racist history of popular entertainment, talking about it in a frank and honest way, rather than pretending it never existed. And I especially like when a company decides to tackle it in-house. I'm sure DC Comics had to be nervous about this whole thing but if they didn't kill the idea, I can only imagine Gene Luen Yang (who has been writing the fuck out of this comic book (that was a compliment!)) will have some insightful and thoughtful opinions on the subject of Yellow Peril characters.

• Speaking of race in popular entertainment, I watched some thing on PBS last night with George Takei and Nichelle Nichols discussing Star Trek and how it was such major social commentary to have a diverse cast of characters in charge of the Enterprise. This made me reflect on watching the show as a kid. Something that was such a major issue when the show was produced in the sixties meant nothing to me in the late seventies or early eighties, whenever I began watching it. The diversity of the crew didn't have any kind of impact on me at all. That's encouraging, right? I know I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area which is probably the bubbliest bubble of all the bubbles (according to people who think embracing diversity and difference in others is somehow abnormal) so that's probably part of it. After school on KTVU, there were shorts produced by the television station between shows that showed non-white children living in the city that would end with the kid saying, "I'm proud to be a Chinese American!" Or "I'm proud to be a Black American!" Representation and diversity isn't just important for children who identify with the diverse characters in popular entertainment. It's also important for the white children to see that we're all a part of everything. We're all piloting the Enterprise to the future. Although what was meant to be a five year mission has gone ten times as long. Get it together, you non-bubbled bubbleheads.

The Ranking!
+2! It gets +1 for just being an overall well written book with great characters. It gets another +1 for the insight into Superman. Still my favorite comic book, beeyatches!

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