Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The New Titans #61

Jericho is about to jerk off Speedy in the lower right hand corner.

A Lonely Place of Dying hasn't been as terrible a series as I expected. I figured the title itself would be my favorite part. It kind of makes me sad because it makes me think of a wounded cat going off to find somewhere peaceful to die. So I'm already emotionally invested because the saddest thing I can think of is a cat dying. The second saddest thing I can think of is an old man weeping about how he should have shot his own dog. Especially when that lesson is extrapolated to your best friend. That's pretty sad too, that George would just give up and shoot Lennie in the head before the murder squad chasing them does it. I wish Quentin Tarantino would remake Of Mice and Men so that it could end in a bloody shoot-out where George and Lenny blow the shit out of all the redneck farmers. He'd probably have to make a few other changes to make it palatable, like have Lennie framed for killing Curley's wife and maybe have her kill all of the puppies with the boot of her high heel. That way there's no arguable reason to put Lennie down! Of course then the ending has to be the failure of George and Lennie's rabbit farm. The final shot would be of the farm with an out of business sign and a pile of mangled rabbits.

Tim continues to try to get Dick into a Robin costume but Dick just yells at him and tells him to fuck off in the most Comics Code Authority way possible. He then rides off to find Batman.

I wish Judd Winick had believed this.

The entire story doesn't simply revolve around Batman's reaction to the death of Jason Todd and some punk kid presuming to think he can fix Batman because this chapter is in The New Titans. So the Titans get a few pages where they deal with a crank phone call.

Also Jericho comes on to Speedy. And judging by the cover, it works.

After not being able to find Nightwing last issue because the only thing they tried was paging him, Raven tracks him down instantly when Jericho needs to get rid of her to have some privacy with Speedy. She tracks him down using her powers of, um, feelings? and teleports directly to him. She has a recording of the message the crank phone caller left that can only be played on Dick's wrist computer (which I guess didn't have email in 1989? Not even Eudora or Lotus Notes? What good is Waynetech if they can't even make that shit portable?!).

Meanwhile, Speedy spurts all over Jericho's face. Don't worry, it's off-panel. But I pictured it in my head!

Nightwing figures out all the clues left him by Batman's crank phone call and meets up with Batman. No wonder Dick feels like Batman doesn't give a shit about him. What kind of a way is that to contact your son?! You can't just page him like everybody else? Oh! Nightwing's pager was presumably off. That's why the Titans trying to contact Nightwing was important! But Batman knew an alternate way of contacting Dick that wasn't too sappy or seemed too desperate or would end in some kind of intimate hug. Although the two do smile at each other when they meet up so I think that means they've reconciled?!

Batman crashes into the building to capture Two-Face (or fall into two traps) while Nightwing goes around back to block off Two-Face's retreat. I bet if Two-Face knew that Robin had recently died, he wouldn't be poking at the Batman like this. When Batman finally catches him, Two-Face will be glad that Nightwing was brought in so he can save Two-Face's life.

Nightwing turns on his homing beacon to let Alfred know they need help when he and Batman can't figure out Two-Face's plan. He's more responsible than I am. I'd never ask for help because I know Batman would yell at me afterward. I'd rather be dead in the collapsed building like Batman and Nightwing than have to face Batman's wrath. Oh yeah, Two-Face collapses the building on them! They're dead!

I mean, obviously they're not dead. But they need to be saved! And I'm sure Alfred will dress up like Batman to save them and not send an inexperienced young Master Drake in a Robin outfit instead. Right?!

The New Titans #61 Rating: B. Seriously, I don't know what's going on but Marv Wolfman's telling a pretty good story here. Although I wish it had a little more angst-ridden Batman rending his garments over poor dead Jason Todd. I know he's not prone to showing emotion but he can cry at least once, right?! I guess when he tells Dick, "I nee...I could use your help," that was him saying, "I'm so fucking lost right now, Dick. What the hell do I do now?! I can't even protect my sons!"

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Wonder Twins #6

Every comic book series needs one cover where the bad guy becomes over-sized to crush Earth in their hands.

Being a totally sexually active male who's totally into having loads of sex and doesn't misspell "sexuality" four or five times before getting it right at all, I feel uncomfortable reading comic books with young women in them. And it's almost certainly because I find them attractive and not because I would cry watching Sailor Moon during college because it would make me think, "That's what life would have been like for me if I'd been a girl!" Although sometimes it's really hard to tell while reading The Terrifics if I want to bang Phantom Girl or I want to dress up like Phantom Girl so that people want to bang me. Now that I've forced myself to think about it a bit more than "Am I gross for being so into Jayna?!" (and then instantly flagellating myself), I realize it's their attractiveness to others that I yearn for. Who doesn't want to be an adorable little elfin waif in beautifully constructed frilly clothing and smooth satin underpants? I bet 100% of everybody reading this has their hands up their own rectums right now yelling, "Me! Me! Yes! Yes! OH GOD YES!"

I should probably delete that and start over. Especially because now everybody thinks I'm turned on by cartoon drawings of fictional characters! Let's get this straight: I lie a lot in these commentaries (I almost called this a "review" but that's not accurate because I'll probably barely even discuss the merits or failings of this comic book. Not that it will have any failings seeing that it's written by Mark Russell!). I haven't been attracted to a comic book character since Elfquest! And not the fan-fiction Elfquest of Elfquest's later years! I'm talking about the original twenty issues! I know I read a lot of comic books but that's not where my perversions lie!

I probably shouldn't delete that first paragraph because it was a fitting way to start talking about the Big Scramble. I totally wouldn't mind if my personality were scrambled into another body! Sure, it's a crap shoot! But I'm a 48 year old guy who really stopped caring about his looks five years ago! I'm apt to get the better end of a personality swap! Let's do this! And I apologize to the poor fool who winds up in my body. On the plus side, it's comfortable and broken in nicely!

Looking at Zan and Jayna here, I just realized I could wind up in my sister's body. Gross. Please stop The Great Scramble!

I'm not saying my sister's body is gross (I'm also not saying it isn't! I'm not choosing sides on that debate!). I'm just saying I would be profoundly uncomfortable forever if my mind wound up in my sister's body. I would never be able to masturbate again!

But what if I could get my sister, in my body, to jerk me, in her body, off? That isn't weird, right? She's just doing what she always did and I don't have to touch my sister's naughty place (which is now my naughty place?). That's probably the only real solution to this problem!

Anybody grossed out by my sex talk can go suck on a dog turd because Mark Russell makes sex jokes too!

LOAD "Load",8

Superman is super worried about The Great Scramble because he could wind up in Aquaman's body. He calls for the Justice League to stop helping victims of natural disasters and concentrate on stopping The Great Scramble. I don't know what his plan is but I know it's not "give The Scrambler what he wants and make the world a fair and just place for every Earth citizen" because Batman would just shoot it down. He just wants to stop random violence in back alleys not upset the status quo which serves rich people.

The Scrambler is hiding out at Polly Math's place because she loves his plan. Plus I bet she gets immunity as his sidekick. Superman doesn't know the hell Polly Math is so he has no chance of figuring out where The Scrambler is hiding. He contacts the president to let him know the world probably isn't screwed but maybe be prepared for the worst?

I applaud Russell and Byrne's choice to let the DCU have a different president.

Zan uses his powers to become a disgusting fly to learn where The Scrambler is hiding rather than working a deal with the League of Annoyance. I wonder if Zan craves shit when he's a fly? Probably. But even though all the clues point to Filo Math's place, Zan can't figure it out.

Jayna does figure it out though and she goes to talk some sense into Polly and The Scrambler. But Polly logically suplexes Jayna's argument into the hospital. It's one of those scenes Mark Russell does really well where he explains social problems through character and plot in much the way good comic book writers have been doing for so long that Comicsgaters never really noticed until they felt their frail white masculinity threatened. I'm sure they'd read this, scoop out their eyes, roll them around the room, and then tweet death threats to Gail Simone. But if you gave them Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams early seventies run of Green Lantern/Green Arrow, they'd probably say, "Fuck those faggots too!" Hmm, that sentence really got away from me. I was going to point out that they probably wouldn't have had a problem with those stories even if they were absolutely non-abstract social justice stories but then reality slapped me across the face and said, "You know how those fucking assholes would really react, right?" So sorry about saying the f-word but I just got too into the character of a Comicsgater. It was worse than when I contemplated having to masturbate in my sister's body.

Seriously though, I can't understand the argument about comic books ignoring character and plot to simply put forth social justice agendas because when I think back at all the comic books I've read for the last forty years, the majority of them by a large margin were stories about increasing social justice. What the fuck were these Comicsgaters reading all these years?!

"With our bank accounts!"

If I knew the exact time The Great Scramble was going to happen, I'd leave my body sitting naked in a tub of chocolate pudding with The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick wrapped around my penis.

Lex creates an app called Lexema that will allow family members to stay in contact after The Great Scramble. I just figured everybody would stay in contact because they're still the only ones with their names and passwords on their social media platforms and emails. Unless most people don't know how to use computers in libraries and/or use those password apps to create passwords that their computer remembers for them. I guess Lex probably has a good point with that program. It's not like anybody memorizes phone numbers anymore (which would be useless, of course. I'm just using that as evidence and an example of how people probably won't remember all the passwords they need. I would expect, in The Great Scramble world, the first few months would be all about proving who used to be who and just setting everybody back up in their old lives. Lex's app should be a place where everybody locks in a secret password which they can use to prove who they were prior to The Great Scramble! Man, that would have been the better idea! I think I'm smarter than Lex Luthor!

The world governments actually are instituting laws to protect people all over the world when The Great Scramble goes into effect. So The Scrambler's plan is sort of working! Jayna realize that they can stop The Great Scramble and all of those laws will still happen. The Scrambler will be a hero! But before she can reach Polly and The Scrambler, the Justice League arrives and captures them. Because Zan did some detective work as a water molecule to find where The Scrambler was hiding. And with the capture of The Scrambler, the president and the rest of the world decide not to sign all the laws that would improve the world. Stupid meddling kid!

Wonder Twins #6 Rating: It's still being written by Mark Russell, right? So A+! And that Stephen Byrne guy didn't do too bad a job, whatever it was he does. Draws the boxes the stories go in or something. They were pretty straight! Good job!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Batman #441

Alfred listening to Dick Grayson describe how his cock just won't fit in the green Speedos anymore.

If I were Two-Face, my signature move would be plopping my ball's on Batman's bare chin after getting the better of him. Because I have two testicles! If I were Two-Face, would one side of my scrotum look like a disgusting mess and the other half look not normal?

While Two-Face tries to figure out how he's going to lure Batman to him so he can murder him, Batman tries to figure out how he can lure Two-Face out in the open to just almost murder him. I guess having the villain and the hero's plot arcs mirror each other somehow fits in to the whole Two-Face theme. Oh, it's like two sides of the same coin!

Can you "Too soon?" something that took place twelve years before the thing being "Too sooned"?

I debated saying "Two soon!" but figured I'd just confuse everybody on the Internet. Everybody wants to suspect errors before they suspect whimsy or facetiousness. You're all so Goddamned intelligent that you can't just let an idiot make a stupid joke on the Internet without worrying about the repercussions! You just can't make a grammar joke about the death of 3000 people anymore!

Batman as a hipster.

Now I feel the need to explain everything I type! He's pretending his Batarang is an old-timey mustache!

While Two-Face and Batman try to figure out the other one's next move, Dick and Tim visit with Alfred at Wayne Manor. Alfred does not punch Dick in the face and scream, "No! He shouldn't be here! Get this young man out of here! It's too dangerous!" Instead, Alfred and Dick just listen to Tim's story about how he learned of Batman and Robin's secret identities, both of them thinking, "Batman's going to get this kid killed some day, isn't he?"

I thought maybe Two-Face and Batman would come up with the same plan but that's because I didn't put much thought into how that would work. Two-Face's plan was to kidnap the Wright boys, a celebrity set of twins, and hold them for ransom. So what's the clue to Batman in that crime? Two Wrights make a wrong? Batman comes up with a better temptation to lure Two-Face out. He holds a poker tournament at the Gemini Club with a cash payout of 22 million dollars. If Batman were trying to lure me into committing a crime, he'd have to host the poker tournament at the Virgo Club with a payout of 69 million dollars.

Batman tells Commissioner Gordon that the kids will have to die because Batman has already set the bait on the trap. And also he doesn't know any other superheroes who might be able to help. Well, he knows some. But he burnt his bridge with The Outsiders and Batgirl's in a wheelchair and he burnt his bridge with the Justice League when he went off to start The Outsiders and he punched Guy Gardner in the face and I just can't keep listing all the ways in which Batman pissed off every other hero in the DC Universe. Not that they wouldn't help out the Wright kids if Batman contacted them to help! The problem is Batman won't contact them because he's stubborn and it would be an awkward conversation and, look, he's doing everything he can but he still can't save everybody. He learned that from his pal Spider-man.

Eventually Batman can't live with the guilt of two dead kids so he leaves his stakeout. And Two-Face can't live without 22 million dollars! So they leave their posts and exchange positions. Was this story was written by O. Henry?

Back at Wayne Manor, Tim continues to tell Dick the story of how he figured out the secret identities of Batman and Robin. But I don't think Dick is paying close attention.

Jeff?! Who the fuck is Jeff?!

Jeff pleads with Dick to dress up like Robin and go to Batman. He's convinced that Batman is getting out of control without the calming influence of a young boy at his side. I guess the theory is that if Batman needs to make sure the young boy he brought with him into a dangerous situation doesn't get killed, he'll be more careful. So by endangering a young boy, the man who has chosen to throw himself in harm's way over and over again has better of odds of surviving. That seems fair! Good psychological detective work, Jeff Drake!

Tim gets upset that Dick won't dress up as Robin to go meet Batman. Instead, he takes off as Nightwing, leaving Tim with Alfred in the Batcave. Alfred pulls out his measuring tape and begins sizing Tim up to start on the alterations to the Robin costume.

Batman #441 Rating: B. The weirdest thing about reading this comic book is how Two-Face leaves puzzling clues for Batman to solve to find the Wright kids. And they make enough sense that after Batman explains them, I said, "Oh, yeah! Um, I guess? Good work!" I feel like Batman writers of the past consistently came up with imaginative clues for Batman's detective half to solve. You get that far less in modern Batman comic books. Sure, occasionally Snyder or somebody will write an issue that plays like an old Batman story. But more generally, one of Batman's villains just starts destroying shit or killing people and Batman reacts to the violence. And even though the old way meant the villains had some kind of weird desire to massage a beating out of Batman by leaving clues, it also meant that Batman could stop the villain before people were killed. Too often, I feel like Batman's failure to save all the people The Joker or The Riddler or Clayface kills just gets ignored. As long as Batman captures the villain at the end of the story, Batman has won and made Gotham a better place. But how can Batman not rend his garments over every fucking life lost? That's the whole point of his existence! To stop random violence against innocent and ordinary citizens of Gotham! I suppose he's just gotten better at compartmentalizing the deaths. People die not due to his failure to save them but due to the evil people in the world doing violent things. You can't blame Batman for not saving everybody! Remember that thing he learned from his pal Spider-man?! Sometimes when people die on your watch, the most noble thing you can do is shrug your shoulders and hurry out of the Commissioner's window to get on with your next story arc.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The New Titans #60

First time in my comic book reading history that I noticed how much Nightwing's symbol looks like the torso of a woman in a skimpy top.

It's difficult beginning a new New Titans comic book when I'd let myself believe I was finished reading them all. It's especially difficult to keep reading this comic book when the first page includes this warning:

You don't have to tell me twice!

Apparently my brain disagreed with its first assessment that the comic book didn't need to tell me twice because it reread the warning and idiotically read it correctly this time.

Dammit! Why did I already read Batman #440?! Now I'm practically locked into reading this!

Looking on the bright side for the second time in my life (the first time was when I realized that when I die, it'll most likely be in some horrible accident in which I won't have time to register that my life is ending and therefore I'll never actually know I've died, easing swiftly into the loving embrace of non-existence!), I thought, "Well, Batman #440 was written by Wolfman and it was a decent read. How terrible can this comic book be?!" But that pleasant thought was completely undone when the first panel reminded me of something I had yet to consider:

Fuck. Cyborg was still alive at this time. I'm fucking bored already!

Well, looking on the bright side who loves seeing a character yell "Booyah!" constantly, this comic book should be a real treat!

I do feel a little bit of white guilt creeping in around the corners when I voice my indifference of the most boring character in the DC Universe because he's black. Especially with Donald Trump's recent explicitly racist tweets and the GOP's rush to hide behind other members of the GOP in the hopes that they won't have to shrug apathetically on camera when asked about the tweets. But it's not my fault that DC Comics chose to make their most boring character an American black man! Would it help if I said some of my favorite DC characters were black?

Nope. Just heard how that sounds. Not better!

Paragraph breaks don't do as much heavy lifting as I need them to. Sometimes after I've written some commentary, I'll wander off to another part of the Internet to take in some sights. Then when I come back, I sometimes want to discuss what I've just experienced. But going from one paragraph to another, readers just think they're reading it in real time as I wrote it. What I need are paragraph breaks that represent the amount of time I was away (but not what I was doing while I was away or they'd all be variations on "Gone five minutes. Jerked off to Sailor Moon porn where Rei surprises Usagi in the shower and teaches her how to masturbate" or "Gone ten minutes. Watched an erotic massage video and spent most of the time fiddling with the sound so the downstairs neighbors couldn't hear it. Turns out 3 out of 100 is still to loud for some women's orgasms" or "Gone three days. Couldn't take reading another Wolfman New Titans comic book and wound up just playing thirty games of Apex"). Between the last paragraph and this one, I went on Twitter where Andy Richter posted Fats Domino's version of The Beatles' "Lady Madonna." My only response after hearing it was, "Holy fuck." Seriously, I never want to hear The Beatles' shit version ever again!

I also just noticed in the above panel, Cyborg accidentally stuck his penis plug-in to the side of his face! Whoops!

Back in 1989, Cyborg wasn't capable of contacting anybody in the DC Universe immediately. So he's having trouble finding Dick Grayson. He tried his pager and...well, that's about it! It was 1989! If somebody wasn't sitting by their phone, you didn't have many other options when trying to contact them! This is probably one of the moments where much later DC editors looked back at Cyborg and realized he needed to be more powerful. I'm not arguing that he definitely needed to be more than a white noise gun that said "Booyah!" but they could have realized he needed to be interesting as well. Hell, it's not long after this issue that Marv Wolfman completely gives up on him and smashes him into bits.

Having no other options but to risk exposing Batman's secret identity by putting calls to Wayne Manor on the Titans phone records, Cyborg gives Bruce a call. I'd understand interrupting Batman's hectic life if the world were on fire but the big emergency right now is that some weird kid looking for Dick visited Kory while she was practically naked (no wait. She had a towel on after showering so her body was more covered than usual). Batman is busy dealing with Two-Face even though it's the middle of the day. I think maybe Alfred lied to Cyborg. I bet Batman's taking a shit.

Dick has gone back to Haly's Circus to find himself.

I bet these two clowns are actually old white land developers responsible for the circus failing! Their next trick will be to dress up like ghosts and zombies to scare everyone away!

A third clown named Harry comes out of a tent and passes out in Dick's arms. Can you imagine blacking out as a clown? You'd probably wake up in an unknown tent with no make-up covered in lion spit and shame.

Dick meets with Haly and is all, "I read about the circus closing down and I couldn't figure out why. But now that I'm here, I totally get it!" And Haly is all, "Fuck you, Dick! You try running a circus in 2019! I mean 1989! Oh, yeah, I guess I should probably still have been able to trick idiots into thinking freak sideshows and abusing animals was still cool."

Haly actually blames the failing of his circus on too much TV and too many video games. Obviously Super Mario, Tecmo Bowl, and Duck Hunt (hee hee! You thought, "Cunt!") were way more fun and interesting than sitting in a smelly tent being terrorized by people in greasy face paint but Haly really should take a little responsibility for his own business failings. Dick arrives and in ten minutes, he's already washed an elephant and kept a drunk clown from breaking his neck. Maybe get off your ass, Harry Haly, and fix up your shit.

Haly also mentions that there's been a rash of accidents that have kept the selling price of the circus down. I bet it was those fucking clowns!

He's talking about his penis so yes, Dick, he has to ask.

While at Haly's Circus, Dick Grayson witnesses the origin of Clown Batman!

Later, after Bozo Wayne grew to an adult and was wondering what direction to take, a clown crashed through his window.

Tensions are running high at the Haly Circus as some performers want to circus to be sold so they can move on and others just want things to remain unchanged.

Finally, a clown that makes me laugh!

During the show later, Wilhelm the lion tamer gets his throat ripped out before Dick can save him. Dick was disguised as a clown so Wilhelm probably bled out as Dick was struggling to take off the stupid shoes. Tim Drake is in the audience watching because he's smarter than the entire Titans team put together.

Later, Tim and Dick team up to find out who's been sabotaging Haly's Circus. It turns out it was the little person and the strong man. So typical! It's totally who I thought it was and not those two clowns from earlier. That was just a red herring I was throwing out to confuse you.

The team-up doesn't make me like Tim Drake any better. But then Tim makes an admission that warms my heart and I can't help but love the kid.

Wolfman knew what he was doing.

At the end of the day, Dick Grayson buys half of Haly's Circus to help keep it afloat (with Bruce's money). Then Tim shows him the pictures of Batman battling Ravager that he took in Batman #440. He pleads with Dick to go back to help Batman cope with the death of Jason Todd. "Batman needs Robin!" he argues like a nerd doing his thesis on Batman's inexplicable need to endanger minors. Dick takes the kid seriously because who else has ever figured out that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson are Batman and Robin?! Only the smartest man on Earth and he won't do that for another twenty five years!

The New Titans #60 Rating: B+. Apparently it's the Titans that make the Titans comic book suck. Concentrating on Dick Grayson and his relationship with Batman and the circus (and even this new upstart kid that loves Dick) causes Marv Wolfman to be at his best! My guess is that it's the lack of Cyborg that really makes the book shine.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Batman #440

Look at this beautiful cover! I don't know why I even read modern comics.

The bad news in uncovering A Lonely Place of Dying, Part 1 is that means I've also located Parts 2 and 4. If you actually wore a Swatch and had blonde highlights in your hair in the 80s, you have no fucking idea what that means so let me explain it to you: I STILL HAVE TWO FUCKING NEW TITANS BOOKS TO READ! Those of you who wore Members Only jackets and were hanging out at the roller rink on Friday night finger banging for the first time aren't going to have a follow up question to that statement. But I know the people who all picture the same thing when I say, "Thri-kreen," were probably asking, "Why the fuck didn't you just store the Batman comics with the New Titans run? Better yet, you should have gotten two copies of this story arc to store with their respective titles!" All I can say is that I didn't collect Batman so I don't know why the fuck these comic books weren't in the New Titans stack. Now I have to account for my actions as a teenager?! Next you'll say I need to also take responsibility for the things I did as a teenager! No way I'm going to bat for that monster!

This issue must have come out late in 1989 because I remember buying this story arc during my first year of college from Pegasus Comics in Portland, Oregon. At 17 or 18 (depending on when this came out, September or October), all of my comic books still fit into one old-timey footlocker. Now that footlocker is full of old console video games and my comic books are in boxes stacked all over the house. In an organized way, of course! I mean, I probably won't die trapped under boxes full of Ambush Bug and Lobo comic books.

The issue begins with Batman mortally wounded while fighting on the top of a dam.

But don't worry! He's The Batman! He doesn't know what the word "mortal" means!

Some kid on a bike stood off in the distance taking pictures of Batman battling Ravager. At least I'm assuming it's a kid simply because he rode their on his BMX. He might also be a DUI. Whatever, the kid slash drunk with a suspended license rides seems to know Batman is actually Bruce Wayne and that Dick Grayson is Robin and/or Nightwing. Hopefully he captured the moment Batman kicked Ravager off of the dam and into the churning water below so that when The Ravager's body turns up, Batman can finally be exposed for the fraud he almost certainly is! Nobody fights crime for years, beating the shit out of everybody he meets, without killing a couple of criminals! Batman just can't admit that he's killed anybody at this point because Superman would have a field day lording it over him.

Oh! I wonder if the little girl spelled the name of my blog?! Good for her!

How is a conservative supposed to enjoy this Batman comic book after Wolman takes that shot at George Bush?! Ha ha! That was a rhetorical question. I don't really care if a conservative can't enjoy this comic book now. Get fucked, snowflakes!

Some guy's radio convinces him to kill Batman. Again, I guess, since it looks like he's the one who sent Ravager after Batman. Is he also the guy on the bike? I don't know! It's possible I'm supposed to have figured out who this guy is six pages in but I'd hate to truly believe that because then I'd have to admit I'm stupid. And there's one thing a stupid person will never admit to being is stupid! Just try it! Call somebody you know is stupid stupid and see how quickly they retort, "I am not! I'm smart!" Then call a smart person stupid and watch how they just smugly laugh in your face and go about their business. It's the easiest intelligence test in the world!

By the way, I'm not stupid!

Batman crawls back to Wayne Manor where Alfred is ready to give him a good doctoring.

Oh, did I say "doctoring"? I meant "buggering".

Look, I said I wasn't stupid! I know Alfred isn't really fucking Batman in the ass in that picture. It's actually just Batman vomiting up the bed sheets he ate earlier.

Alfred looks on at Bruce sleeping after the "doctoring" and thinks, "He looks so tired. He has since Jason passed away." "Passed away"?! Jason was brutally murdered by The Joker! Stop being so passive in your language! I mean, you even say "he looks so tired" instead of admitting the man is fucking exhausted! Fuck, why do I expect anything but passivity from the man who allowed a traumatized child to turn into a violent, obsessive, death-wish holding, bat-cosplaying maniac?! Send that kid to counseling, you idiot!

My version of DC's Zero Hour would have led to a Batman had counseling as a child and became more noble and non-violent than even Superman. A man who used his money to help his community to actually get better rather than reliving the pain and trauma of his youth night after night. And Superman would been found by the Kents who wouldn't have taken him illegally into their family. They would have run him through the system where he would have become a bitter and cynical child of the American foster program. He'd be even grimmer than Return of the Dark Knight Batman! Wonder Woman would still be Wonder Woman but instead of using the invisible technology for her jet, she'd have used it for her costume.

Oh! I just realized the stupid kid on the bike is Tim Drake! I think I remember him getting his Robin series with the fancy covers during my first year of college. I probably would have remembered this earlier if it hadn't been thirty years since I read this comic book and also I was better at retaining DC history!

This was the clue that made me remember Tim Drake!

If I scan all of the panels where Dick Grayson's first name is used innocently in a way that makes me laugh, I won't have time for any inciteful commentary! And yes I spelled it that way on purpose. I've been doing this gig for eight years and I'm fairly certain I can take credit for five different riots.

Sometimes?! SOMETIMES you wonder?! You should be kissing Alfred's ass every fucking morning you wake up alive, you ingrate!

Alfred lectures Batman about how careless he's become since Jason's death. Instead of responding by saying, "No, you're right, Alfred. I've been a wreck," or "It might be twenty years too late but maybe I should look into therapy," or even, "Alfred, I know you care. But somebody has to protect the people of Gotham," he doesn't say a thing. He just sits there grinding his teeth angrily pouting. Alfred must not have perfected his tough love approach pre-Zero Hour.

Alfred's words have an effect on Batman. He slows down the next night and thinks with his head instead of whatever he was thinking with before. He said that, not me! He was looking at his fists when he said it but you know what his head was thinking about. Using the detective part of his repertoire, Batman finally realizes that Two-Face is behind the attempts on his life. He curses himself because it should have been obvious. But it's only obvious after you realize Two-Face is behind it! I mean, I almost figured it out on the second (2nd!) page when Batman thought, "The Ravager, in the past two weeks he had killed as many policemen." If only I had gone on the rant I was going to go on about that only being two cops (which, obviously, is two too many! Whew! Good thing I said that before the Blue Lives Matters bullies descended upon me!). Maybe I would have been all, "Only 2 cops! Over 2 weeks! And this clue on the 2nd page. OH MY GOD! Two-Face!"

Tim Drake decides to hunt down Nightwing because he knows how much Batman needs Dick. But he doesn't find him at Titans Tower nor at his apartment which he shares with Starfire. Although Tim does remain on stakeout watching Kory through his binoculars until after she's showered. I think Tim Drake just discovered a dick he hadn't been looking for!

Is that inappropriate? He's like twelve or something right? I think making a boner joke about a twelve year old is okay. I just thought, for a second, he might be eight or nine. That would be crossing some kind of imaginary line that I can't see but everybody else seems to notice for me all of the time, judging by all of their judging.

Batman #440 Rating: A. Yeah, I know, right?! I gave a comic book written by Marv Wolfman an A! But it was co-plotted by George Perez who probably had all the good ideas, like the Alfred lecture and the Two-Face reveal and keeping Tim Drake's identity a mystery by having the reader look through his eyes and avoiding putting him in rooms with a mirror. Not that anybody would recognize him! I mean, they might. I think he was introduced a few issues prior to this. But who pays that close attention to comic books?! Fucking nerds, that's who! I'm using the term "nerd" in the 80s sense where it's a devastating insult that means your head is about to be shoved into a toilet bowl hopefully devoid of urine or feces and not the modern use of the word nerd where people use it as some kind of cutesy brag that they're into nerd culture. "Oh, I'm such a nerd! Tee hee!" Man, I wish every ticket to Avengers End Game came with a surprise swirly on the way to the theater! Just for the, you know, authenticity! People should have to remember the actual consequences nerds had to once deal with!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Superman: The Man of Steel #37

I wonder which of these Batmen is the one who battled Spawn?

Apparently Frank Miller claimed the Spawn/Batman team-up was part of the Dark Knight Universe. So now I know which Batman on this cover battled (and then later teamed-up with after realizing all of the punches were misunderstandings) Spawn!

I thought I liked Superman until I read the first page of this comic book.

Clark Kent is a real square!

Man, that's exactly the kind of talk I'd expect to hear from a mullet-headed Loverboy fan! Shredding Metal rocks! Go chaos! Fuck God! Get fucked by Satan! Whoooo!

I don't even know who this guy in the Shredding Metal jacket is! I wish Scott Lobdell were writing this so I would have a narration box saying, "My name is Jeb. I'm the manager for Shredding Metal. And a living weapon created by N.O.W.H.E.R.E." I'm assuming he's the manager because he looks like a fucking old man.

Batman comes to Metropolis and contacts Superman the only way people could in the 90s.

It's not like Superman wears a pager.

This Batman turns out not to be the real Batman. He uses words like "hippie" and "expedient" and uses a mirror to reflect the sun's rays to contact Superman with Morse Code. He also doesn't remember getting his back broken or understand why Superman has long hair. Plus, he shook Superman's hand! What kind of pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths gentlemanly Batcreep is this guy?!

Frank Miller Batman used punches and skulls cracking for his Morse Code message.

Old Timey Batman arrives next. I hope he brought his gun!

Superman and the Batmen can't figure out what's going on so they stop a bunch of terrorists from ruining the concert instead. It's just like Clark Kent predicted! The concert did bring a bad element to Metropolis. Fucking kids!

After the concert is over, the Batmen continue to morph into different Batmen, faster and faster, until they just disappear. That's when the real Batman appears and I realize this comic book was just twenty pages of filler and nonsense. The alternate Batmen didn't even do anything entertaining! I suppose their one trick worked though: they got me to buy this stupid comic book.

The issue ends with Jor-el and Martha-el arriving at the Kent farm in Smallville to bring their son home. But they're so dumb that they think Pa Kent is Kal-el. Even I know that parents who really love their children could recognize their infant son if they never again saw him until he was an eighty year old man. That's just common sense!

Superman: Man of Steel #37 Rating: D. I don't even know why I bought this comic book 25 years ago! Maybe I thought the coming of the Batmen was going to end in an orgy. Apparently if you put a dozen Batmen on the cover of a comic book, my 23 year old self will buy it and prove he's an idiot.

Superman: The Man of Steel #30

This is what the cover of this issue looks like in the bag.

And without the bag!
This comic book came with a batch of vinyl stickers (that's the generic term for Colorforms!) that you could stick on the cover scene. But just like any kid, I seem to have misplaced my Colorforms. Never mind that I was 23 at the time. Hopefully they'll turn up in a different comic book box because I'm really angry at the 23 version of myself right now. Fucking idiot. Why did he even open the sealed bag?! Oh, that's right! It was a Lobo story! I had to get as much Lobo as I could!

Lobo has heard that Superman was killed and came back to life. So he's come to Earth to kill Superman. I don't expect logic from Lobo but I'm still going to ponder why he's mad at Superman for coming back to life (which Lobo thinks is treading on his brand) and he's not mad at Doomsday for doing what Lobo couldn't. Doomsday's actions humiliate Lobo more than Superman's, at least from the Lobonian perspective that every action in the universe must be viewed through the "How Does Lobo Make This About Lobo" lens. But then I guess Doomsday didn't come back to life (at least not yet! I hope there was an issue where Lobo went after Doomsday when he heard he was back) so what choice does Lobo have except to kill Superman?

Come on! Both Superman and Clark Kent decide to grow mullets at the same time?! What terrible fashion trends descended on Metropolis that nobody questioned this?!

Lex Luthor is shown a few panels later coming his full head of gorgeous red hair so that explains that. Everybody probably just figured Lex set off some kind of super growth hair bomb during some dust up with Superman while Clark Kent was nearby getting the scintillating front page story.

This must have come out at a time when everybody was trying their hand at writing a Lobo story. Louise Simonson's tack is to make Lobo say "bastich" and "geekoid" a bunch of times. So a pretty good depiction of the character! Although he also responds to Superman's "Hey Lobo" with "Hey is for hor..." (he gets punched before he can finish) which wouldn't be on any Family Feud survey of "Things Lobo Would Say."

This is the part of the movie where all of the Superman fans cheer! It's also the part of the movie where I mutter "Bullshit. Fucking Superman can't do that to old 'Bo. So stupid" under my breath in the back row.

I don't know what Lobo was thinking when he let down his guard to get sucker punched. He just dunked Superman in a fountain and acted like he'd won the battle! He must have gotten some shoddy information about Kryptonians from his murder agent.

While Lobo rubs his jaw and compliments Superman's violence, Superman thinks, "Okay! Now that I've got Lobo's attention, I can reason with him!" Obviously Superman got his shoddy Czarnian information from Lobo's terrible-at-research murder agent.

Instead of reasoning with Superman, Lobo kicks Superman in the nuts. This is a good example of dramatic irony because when Superman was all, "Let me help you up, Lobo, and we'll talk reasonably about your problem," all of the readers were giggling and thinking, "He's going to kick you in your stupid goody-goody nuts!" It's also possible that I'm the only reader who was thinking that and I have nothing in common with the rest of you.

Maybe Louise Simonson was just too kindhearted to write decent Lobo dialogue.

My new theory on Twat Lobo is that he grew out of the tooth Superman just knocked out of Lobo's face. I know Brainiac 5 or somebody did some kind of scientific hoodoo voodoo to keep Lobo from regenerating from every drop of DNA he left in his path. But maybe somehow that one tooth didn't get the treatment! Maybe it had already died and was turning brown in Lobo's mouth and not really attached to the rest of his system when Lobo was dosed with the magic non-regeneration goop! But it couldn't rightly grow into a new Lobo right in Lobo's mouth so it had to bide its time. Or maybe Lex Luthor dug it up at the scene and thought, "I can grow a Lobo body to replace this new young clone I'm living in that's already losing its hair. Lobo has tons of hair! Look out ladies, L.L. Cool Lex is gonna get laid!"

Everybody in 1994 was calling themselves "L.L. Cool" whatever. It was just a thing!

I'm generally surprised Bibbo wasn't just off panel saying, "Geez! Why ain't youse two get a room a'eady!"

I'm the biggest Lobo fan on the Internet no matter what all those way-too-serious Lobo fans on Twitter and Tumblr say but I'm not ashamed to admit I didn't know he had pointy ears. His hair is so luscious and thick, why would I have ever noticed them? Also, what? Am I not going to stare at his crotch and ass most of the time?!

While Lobo and Superman battle, some aliens that Lobo pissed off on his way to Earth arrive. They zap Lobo and Superman with, according to Lobo, a "force-twelve disintegration beam." That sounds powerful! But it doesn't even faze Lobo or the Main Man. Oops! Sorry, Lobo! I meant the Main Man and the Remains of Superman! Does that work as a witty play on words? No, you know what. Don't tell me if it doesn't. I would rather live in my delusions.

Superman punches Lobo into orbit where Lobo crashes through the alien's space ship. Then Superman looks at his fist and thinks, "Oh yeah, baby. Daddy's powers are increasing." Meanwhile, Lois Lane feels a disturbance in her vagina. That's not a reference to Star Wars and the explosion of Alderaan. It's my subtle allusion that Superman's new power allows him to fist Lois so well that she orgasms in the past.

I feel like reading a Lobo comic book has reduced my mind to that of fifteen year old me. Although fifteen year old me would probably have been all, "Wait. You can get a whole fist up there? Why would you want to?!"

When Superman flies into space to force the aliens away from Earth, he's worried about how long he can hold his breath. But he discovers, thanks to a laser knocking the breath out of him, the after being resurrected, he no longer needs to breathe! His theory is that one single breath has so oxygenated his blood that his body is all, "Whoa. Slow down, dude! We're good down here!" My theory is that Superman is a fucking zombie.

On board the alien ship, Lobo finds himself battling a whole bunch of aliens who he's already fragged once before. More zombies! Does that mean Superman is allowed to kill them? Also, if we consider Superman a zombie, is Batman in the right to kill him as well? I'm pretty sure Batman's "no kill" policy has certain limits, like he can kill non-sentient creatures or reanimated corpses.

Superman helps Lobo kill all of the aliens but only because they are robots. Superman lets Lobo think he didn't know they were robots to gain some cred with the Main Man. Or maybe Superman didn't know they were robots and his zombie blood lust got the better of him? I suppose it's 50-50 which it really was.

Here we see Superman giving his tacit approval of genocide.

Superman: Man of Steel #30 Rating: A+. Look, there are three reasons a comic book automatically gets an A+ from me! If it stars Lobo, if it's written by Mark Russell, and if I was paid in sex for a good rating. This time, only one of those reasons came into play. But I can't wait for the day that all three of them do! Hey Mark Russell? When are you going to write a Lobo comic book?!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The New Titans #0

At first I thought Beast Boy had a tiny erection.

Steel seems upset that Arsenal's new roster of Titans are just kids because he obviously hasn't been paying attention to the adjective before "Titans" during the last several decades. I can see why he'd be upset though. He wants the Titans to sign a contract to work with the government and teenagers probably can't sign the contract legally without parental consent. And how is he going to get that?! One of the other major features of the Titans over the last several decades is that their parents were all assholes and psychopaths. Looks like The New Titans can't work for the government! The government probably should have figured out all the details before paying off all of the Titans' debt and giving them a satellite.

I don't mean to sound ableist but Changeling is fucking disgusting.

Fine, I did mean to sound ableist. Changeling's new disability makes me sick. I didn't mind when he would turn into an elephant or a rhino or a gorilla because then he only had one giant swinging dick. Now he's 95% penises! Sorry, I don't mean to sound homophobic but did I also mention the penises are also green and that one of the newer commercials for a class action lawsuit against a diabetes drug asks if you suffered from genital gangrene? See, now you're sick too!

These two guys from New Jersey are trying to catch a few of Gar's penises in their mouths.

Crimelord (remember him from Deathstork the Hunted #0? I guess he's the new evil nemesis of the Titans universe. And maybe the entire DC Universe!) is causing chaos in America, almost blowing up the World Trade Center seven years before it's supposed to get blown up. But the new New Titans are out to stop his henchmen. Those Titans are Arsenal, Damage, Terra, Mirage, and Changeling. The henchmen are men in giant robot armor, some jerk named Slagg, and a misshapen woman named Coven.

I didn't think she was misshapen until this panel.

Although maybe it's not Coven's fault. I think maybe there's something wrong with my eyes.

Is there an optical condition that makes you see people as having giant thighs?!

If there were an optical condition like the one I described in the previous caption, it would probably be call Brettbootharacts.

Is Mirage still pregnant with Deathwing's rape baby? What are the negative consequences of battling super villains while being pregnant? I bet it's worse than drinking too much alcohol while pregnant! Notice I said "too much alcohol"? You can drink while pregnant. Non-American adults do it all the time! I mean, not "all the time" because that's actually the problem. But in moderate quantities, your baby will be fine! Probably! And even if it isn't, it's just a stupid new baby! You just met it! How attached can you be?

I have to admit: I thought about all the people who would probably get choked up reading this line about the World Trade Center and said a little prayer for them. Poor bastards. They're the real victims, having to be sad for the rest of their lives.

There's this terrible conservative game show on Fox called Spin the Wheel. Here was my first reaction to it which I wrote on Twitter or somewhere else on the Internet:

Spin the Wheel is right-wing fantasy of what they wish television was. The only people who get a chance to win lots of money are ones they think deserve the chance. When discussing the Las Vegas shooting, they just call it a "tragedy" and never mention what actually happened.

It's called "Spin the Wheel" but it should be called "Touch the Wheel." Um, that's evidence that they ignore reality while still believing things are what they are because they say they are (and also the audience chants the "truth" the entire time).

Although the best part is the rift they're causing in these "deserving" families because the idiot trusted family member keeps costing the family millions of dollars. Oh, sure, they act like they don't care on television. But that fucking wound is permanent! Ha ha!

See, the rift is caused because the final four spins of the wheel work like Deal or No Deal. The show offers the person a deal to walk away. But the person doesn't get to pick. Instead, a loved one makes that decision. When the person spins the wheel (I mean touches the wheel), the ball inside the wheel can either land on some money or a Back to Zero wedge. If the ball lands on Back to Zero and the loved one didn't take a deal, they lose all of their money and go home humiliated. But if the loved ones takes the deal on the first or second or third spin, the person spinning can still win millions of dollars which are then lost because the loved one took an early deal. It's a fucking rigged set-up for the family and I'll tell you why.

The only thing for the loved one to do is to never take the deal. You might go home with zero dollars but you avoid something even worse: rooting against your loved one. As soon as the person who can take the deal takes the deal, they have to hope that the person spinning loses everything. They have to. Otherwise, they made a poor choice and cost their loved one millions of dollars. And I can't help but think that anybody rooting for their loved one to crap out on the wheel is a fucking piece of shit. Now, you might be saying, "Hey, they took the deal as insurance! Even if their loved one wins millions, they couldn't have known. They did the smart thing!" But here's the thing about being a human: you know the loved one who took the deal wants proof that they made the correct choice. They don't want to be responsible for all the money lost if their loved one never hits a Back to Zero wedge. Therefore anybody who takes the deal is a fucking traitorous rat and I, for one, would never fucking forgive them. "You took the second deal?! That means you wanted me to fail every spin after that, you fucking asshole! Get out of my life!" is totally how I'd react on national television. Not that Fox would ever think I was deserving of touching the wheel!

That was a digression because the rest of the comic book was just idiotic Teen Titan banter. You know the kind! "I want to fuck you so bad, you ugly shitstain!" "Ew, you make me so mad that I want to stick my tongue in your butt!" "Will you two knock it off already because Changeling is masturbating again!" "Gross! All of his dicks at once?! Gag me with a spoon!" Oh wait. This comic was from 1994 and not 1984. Although didn't Wayne and Gar bring back gag me with a spoon?! Probably! Not! Ha ha!

New Titans #0 Rating: C-. Boy howdy was this an average comic book! The best part about owning this series is that I have conclusive proof of when I became a man! Between New Titans #114 and New Titans #115 when I finally grew up and realized this comic book was terrible and I should stop reading it. But I didn't stop reading all terrible comic books so maybe I became a man later. Or, more apt, will become a man later! Hopefully soon because I can't wait to see what a woman's ding dong looks like!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Deathstork the Hunted #0

For a comic book that I'm fairly certain will chug mild to average amounts of donkey semen, this cover is pretty cool. Except for Deathstork's elf shoes.

Holy fucking fuck balls with spicy fuck sauce. I know in my Team Titans Annual #2 commentary I mentioned how much DC and Marvel wanted to be Image around this time but I sincerely forgot just how much. I think I can rest my case with this advert for a new Doctor Fate comic book.

"This is what our audience wants, boys! I guess we have to give it to them!" To be fair, I actually love this cover and I really want to fucking read this comic book now.

The cover of Team Titans was proof of my argument much in the same way that the low-level Chernobyl radiation detectors were proof that there'd been a radiation leak. This is like finally getting their hands on something that could measure extreme levels of radiation and everybody suddenly shitting themselves.

I could make the argument that this is just DC still trying to capture that whole X-Factor X-men hype and McFarlane's Spider-man days. But that's all really just the precursor to Image. For whatever reason, these guys made art that made fangenders ruin the couch they were sitting on. Not that I ever ruined a couch I was sitting on over their art. But I know a few jerks who definitely did! Anyway, that Marvel stuff was just the prologue or the opening chapters of Image. And DC definitely would dip their toes in this fucked up poison art well many, many times before the industry nearly collapsed under the weight of all the extra stress lines drawn all over every character's face. And also maybe the pouches and the bullets. Oh, and maybe the variant and foil covers.

Currently, Checkmate and other government agencies are hunting Deathstork because he did the worst thing in all of history. I don't know what that thing is yet but I'm sure there'll be a flashback. Remember, Zero Hour was all about touching up everybody's origin stories and slightly recontextualizing the current story arcs. Maybe some changed dramatically but since I certainly didn't read many of them and I've done no research, how am I supposed to speak with authority and also know I'm speaking the truth?! Let me just state facts in a way that sounds like I know what I'm talking about so I don't have to do any real work and not be embarrassed by constantly being called out by Actually Nerds.

Before Deathstork dies (or kills everybody chasing him, more probably), he remembers what happened to him three weeks ago. He was visiting the Hmong whorehouse in New York (where Rose and a bunch of other children were being raised) to find out what happened to one of them that was seriously injured. She told a story about tying up a senator and then making him wait while she sat in the bathroom. While waiting, some guy in an omega outfit broke in and shot him dead. She jumped out a window, landed on her face, and blacked out.

Ahem. She landed on her face, artist!

The prostitute must have noticed the assassin was a big dumbfuck because how could he not know a prostitute was in the house? The senator was tied up and the assassin made a crack about the senator's wife knowledge of this event before killing the senator. Anyway, Deathstork will probably be framed for this. And maybe the murder of a few other senators because why would it be such a big deal if he killed just one?!

It turns out the senator gets replaced by a double who has access to Clinton. His plan to blow himself up while jogging with Clinton is foiled by Deathstork when Deathstork shoots him from a helicopter. Afterward, the government thinks Deathstork was out to kill Clinton as well so now he's Deathstork the Hunted. The whole thing was some plot by some guy from Zandia named Crimelord. I think Zandia is where Brother Blood is from. It's sort of like Qurac. It's just a place where DC can house all of their terrorists so nobody gets upset when they use the wrong race of people as terrorists. It just makes comic books easier! Although it really seems more like a dog whistle of sorts. "We all know that every person living in specific countries are total terrorists! That's why people buy into places like Qurac and Zandia and Latveria. Wink, wink!" Which is kind of a weird way to go about things when, in comic books, you could easily just have a super villain be from any country without automatically being a representative example of the people from that country. It's not like everybody blames every American for The Joker! Or do they? Oh man, what an international public relations nightmare that guy's been! No wonder people in Europe can't stand Americans! Fucking Joker!

Deathstork the Hunted #0 Rating: C. So that's the big Zero Hour twist on Deathstork! He's now the most wanted man in America where before he was just the greatest assassin in America but also kind of a good guy so people like Batman and Superman mostly just shrugged their shoulders and let him be. Although once every few years, they have to battle him, just to show that they're keeping an eye on him so he doesn't get too out of control. Although isn't Batman at least partly responsible for every one of Slade's murders simply because Batman never tries too hard to bring him in?

Team Titans Annual #2

In this alternate version of the DC Universe, the Team Titans were marketable.

That caption above was either a joke or a lie. Because even though I believe there's a universe where DC didn't completely fuck up this concept, I know it's not going to be portrayed in this annual.

I should have looked closer at the guns and faces on this cover before saying I was joking or lying. Because the caption was nearly spot on! I should have said, "This is the DC Universe where DC stole Image's look hoping that they could get a piece of that Image cash." How could DC not think that the only reason Image was selling so many comics was because of the art style of so many of their artists? It's not like the writing was any better than the writing at DC! And oftentimes, it was super duper way not better! If only DC realized that Image's main selling point was that every issue was an investment, maybe they wouldn't have spent so many years trying to capture the Image ascetic and simply failing. I'm glad Image survived and I'm supportive of the ideology behind the creation of Image but I was never fucking interested in reading any of their comic books. Maybe I would have liked some of them. But I was never a fan of the squinty face people with lots of stress lines scrawled on their faces standing in uncomfortable poses with thighs bigger than their torsos. I was kind of into pockets and guns but not enough to buy a shit book like W.I.L.D. Cats. I mean Wild C.A.T.S.!

Of course nowadays, Image puts out the best comic books on the rack. That's because why would a writer or artist give over the rights to their most passionate ideas to a big company?! Of course they're going to save their best stuff for a place that honors creators' rights! If they're writing for Marvel or DC, they're just going to half-ass this one idea they had when they were a teenager about how maybe Blue Beetle never really liked Booster Gold and he only hung out with him because Guy Gardner stopped being his friend after recovering from the concussion Batman punched into his head. You can tell when a creator is writing out of passion and when they're writing for a paycheck. Sure, Scott Lobdell hits deadlines and keeps a story moving. But it's less of a linear plot and more of a stream-of-consciousness zig zag that often repeats up to three pages of material from the end of a previous issue at the beginning of a new issue (if he even remembers where the story left off and hasn't decided to go in a totally different direction!). Look at what Cullen Bunn did on Aquaman when DC was giving him a paycheck. He forced shitty John Carter plot ideas into Aquaman's body, completely ignoring the boring person Aquaman was always meant to be! He just didn't seem to care much at all about DC's characters and history. For more terrible Cullen Bunn examples, see Sinestro and Lobo.

The interior art isn't done by the cover artist so I don't know what the appeal of this issue was supposed to be after all. Maybe DC was just hoping to trick all the dumb kids that were dumb enough to be tricked into buying Wild C.A.T.S. #1.

In this Elseworld, Lord Chaos has taken over Earth and turned it into Battleplanet which seems like a completely original idea that nobody should tell Len Wein or Jim Starlin about.

I know some of you just read that and are thinking, "Len Wein is dead, idiot." Well, my response is, "Have you ever heard of Ouija boards, jerko?!"

This annual is super thick and probably really boring, so I should probably just sum it up and give it an F Rating as quickly as I can.

It doesn't take too many pages for me to realize I shouldn't have compared Battleplanet to Warworld but to the Death Star. Hell, the cover gave the game away but I was too busy thinking about Image comics. This is just "What if the Team Titans did their version of Star Wars?" Lord Chaos destroying planets with his super planet. Prester Jon starring as the plans to the Death Star. Redwing escapes from Darth Chaos in an escape pod with the plans. Mirage is captured on her ship, The Rebellion. Killowatt plays the role of the orphaned Luke Skywalker except way more racist. Battalion is everybody's only hope.

The long version's runtime is about 121 minutes.

Nightrider and Terra are Han Solo and Chewbacca but I'm not sure which is which. Also maybe they're a little more into the whole rebellion thing than Han and Chewy were. At least I think Chewy wasn't really into it at first and came around later. It's hard to know when everybody just had to trust Han was translating honestly for him. Also, can we all agree that the term "Fuzzball" is problematic at best and totally racist at worst?

The Millennium Falcon is played by a giant bat which means Terra is the Wookie.

A whole bunch of Star Wars inspired stuff happens before the big finale! You'll be surprised at what the finale looks like, I bet!

Team Titans Annual #2 Rating: D. The chances of discovering an annual worth reading are 1 in 1000. This is just another one of those 999 annuals that never needed to be made.