Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Justice League #21

Death is really into studded leather friendship bracelets.

• This story is called "Endless" because I think Bryan Hitch has stumbled onto the greatest comic book writing idea. If you write a story that never ends, you never have to come up with another story! And if you base the story on an incident that will eventually be stopped due to time travel, the story automatically falls outside of continuity. Because if it ever ends (which it won't), it will be like it never happened at all! Holy fuck. The guy is more genius than I previously thought. Previously, I thought he was less than 0% genius. Of course, that means he has to keep this story going until somebody at DC says to another somebody at DC, "Hey. Have you seen what Bryan Hitch is doing to Justice League? Is anybody going to put a stop to that?"

• This comic is about an event that the Justice League will stop from ever happening. So nobody needs to read it. I only say that because it's a comic book. If this were a story in another medium, there would be a universal theme that lift the story above its mechanical parts. Or it would have characters learning something while the readers, emotionally invested in them, come out a little more thoughtful at the end. But being that it's a comic book, the story is only here to take up another month's worth of space and the characters never actually learn anything. It's not like the next story will feature a Flash who learned something profound from his experience and applied it to his life. No, The Flash from the last story is the same Flash as the one in this story who will be the same Flash as the one in the next story. Characters in comics rarely grow so their stories barely matter. So stories about stories that never actually happen matter even less than the normal stories which already exist as mere pop culture Styrofoam packing peanuts.

• I might seem a tad overly critical about a medium I spend a lot of time engaged with. But I like Styrofoam packing peanuts!

• The issue begins with a scene containing people who aren't the Justice League. It's the guy who will destroy everything with his Cosmic Jackhammer and his wife who is sleeping with his boss. Maybe that's how Flash will change time! He'll expose the affair and Mr. Cosmic Jackhammer won't be able to destroy the world because he's dead from having blown out his brains after smothering his wife and children in their sleep. That could be considered a win for the Justice League, right? Just one family ruined as opposed to all the families ruined?

See? Take her out of the equation and he loses all motivation! And maybe he doesn't murder them and kill himself! That's like a triple win!

• The Flash goes further back in time so that now he knows the Justice League caused the explosion by trying to stop the explosion. So now he can try a different tactic to save the world. This story isn't just Memento, it's also Groundhog's Day.

• Since The Flash has so much time at his hands (being that he keeps getting time travel do-overs), he decides to waste a bunch of it explaining what's going on to Batman. Batman is all, "Look at you! Time traveling without your Little Blue Pill!"

• Batman decides to team up with The Flash. Not because he knows The Flash can't solve the mystery without him but because he knows if there is any time travel going on, he wants to be a part of it. He's tired of being erased out of existence and replaced by new versions of himself as The Flash wanders higgledy-piggledy through time.

Grandmaster Comic Book Reader!

• Okay, so I didn't know Mr. Cosmic Jackhammer already knew about the affair. But knowing there was an affair there at all was pretty perceptive, right?! I suppose I have to give it up to Bryan Hitch, for once, for making the not so subtle clues not so subtle!

• Batman, Flash, and Cyborg (who was roped in to hack all the computers and read all the emails) pursue the mystery and save the day. I mean, they'll probably save the day. This story is called "Endless," after all. So it probably has about infinity more parts to it. I'm just guessing at what the end might be if it could have one.

• In the end, Batman and Flash don't solve the mystery at all. The creature they thought was the bad guy was actually a good guy and the Cosmic Jackhammer was his Starheart. By stopping the supposed bad guy who was actually good, the Justice League almost destroyed the world. Why haven't they learned that, in a Bryan Hitch story, everybody who seems to be good isn't and everybody who seems to be bad isn't. At least they are and aren't right up until Hitch needs a shocking twist ending and they suddenly aren't and are. Or something.

• This was another Hitch story that was exactly the same. A regular person becomes bad due to the Justice League failing to save his family. Plus a character they thought was bad or good turned out to be the opposite of what the Justice League thought at the beginning. Those two stories are the only stories Bryan Hitch appears to be able to write.

• I don't know what the fuck the cover has to do with this story. But Batman does say at one point "Even the Reaper invasion." Is he referencing a story that was supposed to happen but never actually did? It must have been a time travel story and time was fixed before I got a chance to see the broken part of it. At least Batman remembers.

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