Thursday, June 22, 2017

Detective Comics #957

Let's all read a bad comic! Let's all read a bad comic! Let's all read a bad comic! And curse James Tynion V!

That wasn't a typo in the caption. I'm like the Old Testament God. I never fucking waste my time cursing the person who did the terrible thing. Who wants to punish the person who deserves the punishment? No, better to curse the descendants of the jerko who looked at his father naked and drunk, or the jerko who ate the fruit God was saving for himself? I'd rather curse James Tynion's future child. And being that he'll be named James Tynion V, my guess is that the curse will manifest in many, many schoolyard beatings.

Today, I read Action Comics #980 and thought, "Was this written by a robot that has no knowledge of anything past 1986?" Then I read Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #21 and thought, "I totally called that Sarko was Kyle and Soranik's child. I am the greatest comic book reader that ever lived! Is that something that people actually aspire too? Has anybody else that has ever aspired to that been less pretentious than me? I don't mean arrogant! Obviously I'm arrogant since I'm constantly pointing out how I guessed the plot like three pages into the first part of every six part story. But I'm not writing comic books reviews that make me seem like the smartest person on Earth. Quite the opposite, actually!" That was a pretty long thought! I usually don't let them get that long before I lose interest. But later, I had another thought about Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #21! It went like this: "Why is Kyle so fucking sad that his child from a future that will now never happen was killed? Does he cry about every dying sperm whenever he ejaculates outside of a vagina?"

After that, I began reading Detective Comics #957 and I thought, "This is so terrible that I have to express myself!" So I farted onto the comic book. Then I thought, "Oh wait! I have an even better way to express myself! I'll go online!" Then a chorus of angels descended and sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah while I retreated to find a flyswatter.

Some of you may not have noticed the trend to portray Batman as complete and utter asshole who does everything wrong because he's ultimately a symbol of the patriarchy. He's been in control of Gotham for far too long and certain mediocre writers (whom I won't name IV!) have decided it's time to make him look bad. Now I've never been a huge Batman fan but I'm still going to try to defend him from the terrible way he's currently being portrayed in this comic book.

This issue begins with Spoiler, a youth (that's important to the story because youths never know as much as they think they know! Oh, sure! They'll argue with me about that and tell me I'm a huge asshole but someday in their mid-thirties while texting their mother an eggplant emoji, they'll suddenly think, "Oh my god. Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea was right! I was such an ignorant jerk! And I probably should have worn stronger deodorant!") who thinks she's figured it all out. So she's going to explain it to the reader.

Before we examine her theory, I'd just like to point out that her theory is predicated on James Tynion IV's knowledge of DC comic book history and how comic books are constantly telling the middle of the story (the origin gets told and retold occasionally and sometimes somebody will get to write a "fantasy" final arc story. But generally, it's a middle arc story). So Spoiler's theory of Batman is entirely unfair and unwarranted. Anybody can point to Batman being a complete failure if they look at the comic book pattern and apply it as if it's actual Gotham history. Joker is caught. Joker escapes. Joker challenges Batman. People die. Joker gets caught. Joker escapes. Joker challenges Batman. People die. Joker is caught. Between each "Joker is caught and escapes episode," we get the same arcs but with Penguin or Two-Face or The Riddler. So before Spoiler tells us readers what we already know, I just wanted to point out that it's meta-bullshit that Batman cannot be blamed for. Unless you're a writer with a grudge against the Patriarchy. I mean Batman! Who doesn't have a grudge against the Patriarchy, amirite?! Fucking dudes, man! Pshaw!

Anyway, Spoiler believes every thing is Batman's fault because he's fighting crime all wrong. See, he has become so adept at stopping crime the criminals now think they have to battle Batman first to prove that Gotham City is theirs. Not only is this a stupid theory that assumes all of the villains are delusional idiots who think they're going to beat Batman, it also relies on years of lazy writers completely fucking up the idea of superheroes. Of course Batman is to blame if every single lazy writer has decided that the bad guy isn't going to do anything except try to get revenge on Batman. But again, that's not Batman's fault!

Spoiler believes that the Bat-Signal is at the heart of the problem. People see it in the sky, they know Batman is on the job so they stop being responsible for their own lives. I guess Spoiler just believes in a world where everybody is a stupid piece of shit. "Oh! The Bat-Signal! Well, I guess I don't have to worry about my own safety tonight!" I have yet to see The Spoiler that people were so eager to get back into the DC Universe. If this is her, I hate her and everybody who wanted her back.

This right here is at the heart of what's wrong with the modern age of comic books. Superheroes are supposed to be inspiring! They're supposed to save people. Fuck this cynical bullshit where dozens of people die while the hero saves the day after which their relatives become super villains and blame the heroes. Then they attack the heroes and keep the cycle going because writers are lazy and/or think they're being clever by questioning things like "What if Superman had to fight in the real world instead of a stupid made-up world where he saves the day and makes people happy and causes readers to feel better about their lives and the world around them through the hope and inspiration of their actions?"

If I hadn't read so many James Tynion IV stories in which Batman was portrayed as being wrong while his youthful sidekicks all knew what was right and how to do things better, I might just think, "Spoiler will surely learn a lesson here! At the end, she'll be thinking Batman is the bee's knees!" But I'm fairly certain this will end with Spoiler proving something to Batman while Batman eats crow and admits he could probably be a better person. Because that's what the Patriarchy should be doing, right?! Shutting up and listening! Although I don't know how they can shut up and just listen if the shit they have to listen to is akin to the shit coming out of Spoiler's mouth in this comic book.

By declaring she's no longer a superhero, Spoiler decides that her way is better and it'll allow her to save people from becoming innocent victims of Batman's war on crime.

After Spoiler Narration Boxes her speech to whomever the fuck she's speaking, it's time for Wrath to do the same thing! He's also going to explain how Gotham City works and he's going to agree a bit with Spoiler. He agrees that the first thing you have to do as a super villain is to defeat Batman. You can come up with a criminal plan after that!

Wrath is the anti-Batman. He's usually used in Batman comic books to show what Batman could have become if he allowed himself to use the tragedy in his life as an excuse. I bet this time he'll be used to show that there isn't really any difference between Wrath and Batman at all!

Even as I was typing that, I was thinking, "Don't type that! That's such a stupid conclusion to make! There's not way even James Tynion IV would write that story!"

You mean you attempt to solve the hardest problem first and then you spend the next few years in Arkham Asylum wondering why you just didn't rob a bank on Staten Island.

At the beginning of the Wrath scene, he kills one of his own men. Later, he threatens to kill one at random for every minute they go over a deadline he gives them. Who would work for this asshole? The pay and benefits must be unfathomably generous!

So you constantly lose? Because there's no way you got through the level of Arkham Asylum that I grew bored with and quit because you have to be stealthy or you start over! And I'm fairly certain some levels of Thief, even when playing on the "Oops! I've been noticed and have to now murder an entire castle full of guards!" difficulty still forces you to be stealthy on some levels.

That previous caption was where I exceeded my "This comic isn't too bad!" threshold and decided I needed to vent.

Spoiler continues to mention how so many innocents got hurt due to Batman and his Bat-Family stopping crime. She thinks (or Narration Boxes, actually), "Who's there to stop my friends when they go too far?" Um, you could be, you coward. She continues, "To say how many losses are acceptable?" Have you met Batman? Zero losses are acceptable! I mean, you know, in Bat-Theory! If anybody dies, it's not because Batman did something that caused their death. It's because somebody else did something that caused their death and Batman wasn't able to save them. I suppose in the world I described earlier where lazy writers only ever have villains attack Batman directly, you can, if you want to be a dick about it, put the blame on Batman. But once more: that's not Batman's fault! It's the fault of shitty writers!

Spoiler's conclusion is that super heroes brought about super problems. Fuck you, you idiot. This is the worst hot take in comic books and it has continued to hang around for decades. Writers who continue to use this trope should be shunned from the comic book community.

Spoiler is all, "I'm going to use my super training to prove that Gotham doesn't need superheroes!" And Batman will, hopefully, be all, "Fuck you, dummy!"

The last story arc was to show that Cassandra was better than Batman. This one is to show that Spoiler is better than Batman. How is she better? I'm not exactly sure since she takes out Wrath pretty much exactly how Batman would have taken him out. I mean, if Batman were being written by somebody who didn't have a grudge against the Patriarchy. I mean Batman! I suppose Tynion's Batman would have exploded all of the walls and toppled the building with his raging hard-on to battle Wrath and all of the hostages would have died. Afterward, Batman would have been all, "It's a shame that Wrath killed so many and it wasn't my fault at all! I had to stop him by any means necessary!" Which totally isn't a Batman thing to do so I don't actually know how Spoiler thinks her version of stopping Wrath was better than the way Batman, being written honestly, would have done it.

Spoiler's entirely plan is to save the day and let the police take the credit. So she's trusting that the police will be dishonest bastards who lie about their jobs? That's a great message! Anyway, she somehow thinks that if super villains think the cops are stopping all the crime, they won't want to do crime anymore! Especially since — thanks, again, to the lazy writers — all they actually want to do is beat up super heroes. She'll see how stupid her plan is when super villains continue to do whatever they want (even more so!) when they think all the heroes have left Gotham.

Anarchy shows up at the end to be all, "That was great! What a great idea! This story wasn't stupid at all! Spoiler isn't a terrible character with stupid thoughts after all!" That's when I throw up. The end!

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