Friday, June 23, 2017

Dark Days: The Forge #1

Sometimes when I see John Romita Jr. artwork, I think, "What did I ever have against Rob Liefeld?!"

These are dark days, my friend! Although, technically, you're probably not my friend if you're reading this (that includes you, Doom Bunny!). I don't know why they're dark days (although I know why you're not my friend. I only have room in my life for one and he died a couple of years ago. I've yet to reopen my heart for a replacement) but the cover says it right there at the top: DARK DAYS! I added the exclamation point because I don't think the phrase "dark days" should end in a period. I suppose, occasionally, I've run into a wise old biker type who has looked me in the eyes, shaken his head, and said, contemplatively, "Dark days, my friend, dark days." That definitely ended in a period! But this is a superhero comic book so almost every sentence or phrase should have an exclamation point stabbed onto the end of it.

If you prefer "exclamation mark" over "exclamation point," your mother is probably fat.

That was a standard "your mom" joke so I don't think I can be yelled at for fat shaming. Also, if you yell at me for fat shaming, I'll just assume you're yelling at me for being fat so don't do it or else you'll be fat shaming, jerko! Touché!

I mean, I'm not fat! I'm super sexy and hot and macho! Va-va-va-voom is what you'd probably say if you saw me. Then your eyes would pop out of your head and your heart would crash through your rib cage and you'd die. But your last words would probably be, "It was worth it! So hot!"

Four out of the five creators names on the cover do not induce blood flow to the nether regions. Scott Snyder has been a disappointment lately although I still have high hopes when I see his name. Unfortunately, I don't feel we get his best when he's working with the next name on the list, James Tynion IV. It seems that Snyder comes up with an idea and then chains James to an office chair that is bolted to the ground and tells him to write the script. John Romita Jr.'s work nauseates me. As I pointed out earlier, it makes me long for Rob Liefeld. Liefeld's bad art was fun! It was so chaotic and terrible that I could spend days pointing out the problems and laughing at his mistakes. But Romita's art is all straight lines and boredom! Look at Batman and Superman on that cover. Romita basically took a couple of rulers, set them beside each other, closed the lower ends a bit so the characters would taper to the horizon, drew a couple of straight lines, and then drew Batman and Superman as trapezoids. The look on their faces is the bewilderment of just realizing that fart had a bit of liquid in it. And finally, Jim Lee! I truly admire Jim Lee for his dedication to his craft and the work he did to help create Image. I admire him for continuing to grow as an artist and to as a businessman working in a creative field. But I don't admire his penchant for scribbling on everything he draws.

The other people on the list, I have no beef with. Love Klaus Janson. Love Danny Miki. Love Alex Sinclair (I guess?). I'm not sure I really have much of an opinion on Andy Kubert. I bet he's a funny dude.

The comic book starts out promising!

Hawkman's final journal? Hooray! Go to hell, you stupid prick! And I thought these were going to be dark days!

Does anybody else find it weird that Carter Hall records his journal on Swiss cheese?

Many years ago (I guess? There's no time stamp on the opening scene!), Carter Hall recorded the crashing of a spaceship on his lunch. But since he didn't know the word "spaceship," he wrote "sign written in metal." That will probably be important later but for now, it's time to move the story into the present. And where better to begin an adventure story than The Bermuda Triangle! Wait. I should rephrase that. "Where better to begin an adventure story in the 1970s than The Bermuda Triangle!" Oh boy! Eight year old me just came in his pants! I mean if that were possible. Nothing but pee would be coming out of there for at least another five years.

You know you can read and reread the data once you get somewhere safe? Or did you not save your data to the cloud? Idiot. You should use both terrestrial and cloud backups!

That scientist sounds like me in high school after first hearing Mr. Crowley: "There's something in the metal!"

Batman rescues the scientist whose name is Dr. Madison (MADISOOOOOON!). Batman tells Dr. Madison that the only to safety is back through the volcano.

Batman: "The only way out is in!"
Dr. Madison: "Does that actually make sense? I don't think that makes sense."
Batman: "If we don't go back through the lava, we'll be covered in lava!"
Dr. Madison: "Do you ever listen to yourself speak?"
Batman: "Outside will also have flying debris! Inside is just, um, you know! Liquid hotness!"
Dr. Madison: "You mean lava?"
Batman: "If you want to get technical about it! Now get in my Liquid Hotness Proof Bat-mech (trademark and action figure pending!), sit on my lap, and don't ask me if that's a bat-grapple in my pocket or if I'm happy to see you! I'm never happy!"

So they had to go back through the lava to get to the ocean? Batman does know Dr. Madison was standing in front of a window overlooking the water, right? How was just crashing through that not an option? Especially since Batman loves crashing through panes of glass!

Whenever an editor tells Scott Snyder to make something more exciting, he should just say, "Shut. Up!"

Aquaman helps with the rescue and then he and Batman get into an argument about who's keeping bigger secrets. Batman probably wins that one because even if Aquaman had some really juicy secrets to tell, I'd never remain interested long enough to hear them. I'm already bored with this paragraph because I had to type "Aquaman" three times.

Apparently the Blackhawks have some super secret covert black ops shit going on again. Remember how they returned in All Star Batman? Oh, you got tired of reading that series too? Well, believe me. They returned there.

Meanwhile on Mogo, Cornelius the Guardian wants Hal to do something seedy to him.

"Don't tell Guy! I just got him to stop calling me gay!"

Oh sorry. His name is Ganthet. I must be thinking of Roddy McDowall's character from Scavenger Hunt.

Speaking of Scavenger Hunt, I caught an episode of Family Ties the other day when some actor walked on and I was all, "Hey! That's short sleeves, checkered shirt, black sneakers!" Plus his son in the episode was Chunk from The Goonies. Should I mark irrelevant passages like these with asterisks?!

Ganthet having once asked Hal to jerk him off is now canon.

Once again, everybody in the universe is gossiping about how Earth is going to destroy the universe. If only the Justice League would stop saving it already! Just let somebody destroy Earth for the greater good, you hypocrites!

Ganthet has pinpointed the threat to the universe in the Batcave so Hal Jordan decides to go invade it and not radio Batman saying, "Hey, buddy. I've got a possible issue that maybe you can help out with. Let's meet up in the Batcave." Instead he decides to sneak in and start going through Batman's things. I get it. It's the only way to ensure that a couple of heroes fight so all the fangenders can lose their shit over it. This part was probably Tynion's idea. "Hey! You know what I've read in comic books about five thousand times? That part where two heroes fight over a misunderstanding! Can we add that scene?!" And Scott Snyder snorts and wakes up and is all, "What? Whatever. Just write the script already! If I wanted to write it, I wouldn't have purchased you from your parents!"

Anyway, Batman isn't home so Hal has to fight Meadowlark. You know, Not-Robin. Duke!

What is Duke reading to get his Green Lantern information? The Who's Who books from the mid-80s? That's where I get all of my information too!

Is Green Lantern just fucking with Duke or is there something about the yellow flaw that I don't know about? I thought it was completely gone. Is this Snyder and Tynion trying to backdoor the flaw back into the ring but only if the person using the ring is inexperienced and stupid?

In the next panel, Hal Jordan says, "It's good to see Batman's still recruiting teenagers." Hey man. You better be careful with statements like that. At least he's not, you know, fucking them.

Duke Thomas admits to not having a code name yet. That's adorable. All this fucking time and he still doesn't have one. Why can't Snyder just spit one out already? Waiting to find out his superhero name is like waiting for Sting to come in your mouth. Not that I'd know and not that it was the worst sixteen hours of my life.

Meanwhile there's this place called The Campus underneath Philadelphia where The Immortal Men are headquartered. One of them is Immortal Man because of course it is. The other one is a guy in a robe with shaggy eyebrows that might be Carter Hall but I'm hoping is anybody else. Another one of their possible members would have been Elaine Thomas, Duke's mother. But she went crazy from Joker Toxin. They apparently know they need to save the world from something bad that's coming because it's always easier to tell a story about prophecy. It would be too hard to wedge these Immortal Men into the story if they didn't already know some huge Crisis was about to happen.

So the guy in the robes isn't Hawkman because Hawkman gets the next scene. He's been having visions during the times between death and reincarnation. Whew! I thought he wouldn't have some secret inside information to get him right into this upcoming Crisis! In his vision, he sees a gigantic Batman statue with lots of people tied to its legs. I guess somebody is going to have to kill Batman before he becomes evil!

After that scene, John Romita Jr. takes over on the art. I should probably snort some Ativan before continuing.

Mister Terrific is helping Batman with the Mystery of the Dark Days. Hopefully they'll explain it in long, large word balloons that cover up most of the art. Something has been interfering with the harmonic frequencies of Earth-Main-Earth and Earth-2 (which I guess is back to its normal self? Or maybe Mister Terrific just got off before he wound up in that whole World's End mess? For some reason, I can't remember the story well enough to know if Mister Terrific was in any of it. Thank Jesus!) but neither Batman nor Mister Terrific know what's going on yet. To help them figure it out, Batman decides they must let Plastic Man out of his prison cell. They say they agreed to lock him up because he was too powerful but I think they just got sick of his stupid jokes.

Back in the Batcave, Duke and Hal are investigating the Mystery of Batman Investigating the Mystery. It all started when somebody said, "That whole electrum in the tooth thing that resurrects the dead Talons is stupid! It's not scientific at all! Who comes up with such dumb shit?! DC Comics sucks!" Then Scott Snyder was all, "Wait! Wait! You haven't heard the whole tale of that! You shouldn't believe everything you see at first sight! You should wait for the second sight! Or maybe the third sight if everybody on Twitter complains about the second sight! But I don't think they will because this is going to be a huge Crisis! You'll love it!" So instead of electrum being in the teeth, Batman found a metal that shared the same energy signature as the helmet of fate, the quintdent of Aquaman, and the bracelets of Diana. To investigate this metallic mystery, Batman created a team that everybody forgot about. Everybody except me, of course!

Halo's costume is terrible. But Geoforce had better stay away from her anyway!

Duke has no idea who the wobbly speech bubble is. But that didn't stop him from saying, "Dick? Is that Dick? You know, Dick Grayson? Nightwing? Is that you?"

So the metal is probably Nth Metal which would make it more believable that it was resurrecting the Talons. Because nobody is going to say, "Nth Metal can't do that!" I mean, they might. But they'd be wrong because Nth Metal isn't real and it can do whatever the fuck it needs to do when the writer needs it to do it. Although if it were Dionesium, nobody would say, "Dionesium can't do that!" Because that's exactly what it was made for! It's just that Nth Metal works better, plot-wise. Why would Aquaman's five-pronged trident have Dionesium in it?

Deep in Batman's secret Batcave, Duke and Hal come to a door. Apparently the owner of the voice is behind it. I hope it's not The Joker. I hope it's Detective Chimp. I also hope it's revealed before this issue is over!

Batman has also been keeping another secret in Superman's fortress. With the help of Mister Miracle, he unlocks the unopenable room it was stored in. It's a big yellow tower that Mister Miracle recognizes but I don't. Maybe it's Qwardian! It could also be something from Final Crisis which I've never read. Or something from an obscure 1967 Batman story. Or maybe it's something that, when it's explicitly named, I'll say, "Oh yeah. Fuck. I totally remember that thing now!" Anyway, I don't think it's important enough to reveal this issue. Because The Joker needs to be revealed in the Hal Jordan scene!

Oh look! The Joker was the voice! What a surprise! Surprise! Are you surprised? Oh! You should also keep in mind how there were three Jokers, remember? That was a dumb bit that had to be thrown in so that Batman would say, "Impossible!", when he asked the Moebius Chair what the Joker's name was. Remember how that one guy on Tumblr got all pissy with me when I said they'd never reveal The Joker's name and how could I know that and I don't know what I'm talking about and all that shit? Fucking stupid kid. I didn't even get to say "I told you so!" to that kid when the reveal was that the Chair's answer was that there were three Jokers! Well, I'm doing it now! I fucking told you so, kid!

So that's the end of Dark Days: The Forge! Maybe that thing Batman revealed was The Forge. I guess the next stop in this series is the event, Metal. It'll probably be about Dionesium and Nth Metal and how, when combined, everything is destroyed! What will this Crisis be called? Not just Crisis in Dark Days, right? How about Alchemical Crisis on Earths Starring Plastic Man?

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