Friday, April 26, 2019

New Titans #108

I can't believe we had to wait 108 issues for Marv Wolfman's take on the trauma of rape!

The advertisement on the inside front cover is for the movie Blue Chips and I've never hated past everybody more. Shaquille O'Neal starring in a movie directed by William Friedkin with the tagline, "In your face." Maybe I'm judging this movie too harshly simply because my first thought was, "What fucking world were we living in where we decided Shaq needed a movie career?" But then, he's playing a basketball player in this movie so he probably nailed the role. I'm sure there's no difference between the way he performed his role and the way he answered press questions after a game. And I guess he was kind of funny and charming, so what Hollywood bigwig wasn't getting on the horn and yelling at casting directors, "Get me Shaq! I've got a script here for a basketball movie and he'd be perfect! Also maybe throw this genie script at him!"

Anyway, the Internet and Roger Ebert seem to think this movie wasn't too bad so maybe this isn't a hill I should die on. Not that I haven't died on a whole slew of hills that weren't worth dying on. Maybe not as many as Deathstork fans but I've still had my share. I don't remember any of those hills because I purge my memory of all the times I acted foolish so that I can continue to believe I'm the epitome of the perfect human being.

Also, maybe I shouldn't trust Roger Ebert's judgment as much as I do seeing as he began his review with this word: "Alot". Unless that indicates he despised editors too in which case I'm back to being his #130,503,227th biggest fan!

The issue begins with Starfire visiting Councilwoman Alderman in an insane asylum. Kory is dressed in torn rags because fuck you. You don't deserve a comic book that makes sense if you stuck with New Titans this long! My first thought was, "Is this a nightmare?" But I skipped ahead a few pages so that I wouldn't write a bunch of shit that didn't matter when it was revealed to be a dream and I don't think it is a nightmare. My second thought was that Kory broke in to confront Alderman but Kory mentions things the guard said to her, and references waiting for the guards to open the door leading to Alderman's cell. So she went through the proper channels for a visit and nobody seemed to care she was barefoot and wearing a torn sheet that was skimpier than her superhero costume. But then I remember this is a comic book from 1994 and even when a hot female character is dealing with the trauma of rape, the artist still must cater to the male gaze. You know how many comic book drawings of dead female heroes I've jerked off to?! I mean, obviously it's zero! That was meant to be hyperbolic and satirical!

So sexily satirical!

Comic book fans think they have it rough now, what with Tom King portraying Batman as a man who might actually have to deal with the psychological trauma of his entire life in ways other than beating criminals nearly to death. Back in 1994, we had to deal with poor misunderstood and tormented Raven turning into a rape monster just like her father! It was a hard lesson! Thankfully, the only people who had to learn it were the assholes who still kept buying The New Titans after the Wildebeest story arc.

Nightwing arrives to save Starfire from more trauma induced by Alderman's ranting. He appears in full costume because men are allowed to be dignified. Although, technically, with the way artists draw characters in spandex, Nightwing looks more naked than Starfire.

Starfire yells "Kynasf'rr!" and blasts through the wall, leaving Nightwing free to think about how Alderman said he was always second to Batman. I mean, Kory's pain is terrible and Alderman taunting her about a possible Trigon pregnancy is terrifying but second to Batman?! Below the belt, crazy lady!

Phantasm makes an appearance to say, "Trigon's seed has returned to Earth!" So now I'm thinking about Trigon's ejaculate, so thanks for that, Marv Wolfman! You dirty pervert!

Based on these two articles on the front page, I'm guessing nobody at the Globe knows what "landslide" means.

Beast Boy and Dr. Sarah Charles have a grieving session while packing up Victor's things in whatever space Victor kept his things. Garfield decides to remember things so that Marv Wolfman can show that Garfield has learned a lesson about inspiration and hope from Cyborg. Gar says, "Only [Cyborg] never complained. He just kept going on, even after what happened to Sarah Simms. Even after he realized he was going to die. He just took things as they were and changed what he could and accepted what he couldn't." Maybe I'm the one remembering things wrong but I felt like Cyborg was constantly complaining! He was constantly angry at his dad for turning him into a machine. He was constantly upset at his robot life because it didn't allow him to fuck his romantic partners. He was always saying "Booyah!" because what else is there to say when your body is a constant and painful reminder that you'll never again be human and you're bound to live a life of loneliness? I mean, I could be remembering wrong. And anyway, this plays much better. You want the dead guy to have left some kind of meaning filling the void his presence has left. Also, Garfield needed this moment to grow the fuck up.

It reveals too much about my inner character so I won't discuss the scene where I identify too strongly with Pantha's grousing about the Beast Boy/Dr. Charles scene just before Red Star almost beats the shit out of her. Those two are definitely about to fuck, right?

Roy Harper discovers that his bosses at Checkmate have found a non-Dayton Industries corporation to begin design Titan weapons systems and that corporation is run by Alexander Luthor. Not Lex Luthor! Alexander! The one with red hair and the beard. The one that was fucking Supergirl. But not the real Supergirl! The Supergirl made out of slime or computer data or something. I don't have a real clear memory of these post-Death-of-Superman Superman family histories!

And finally, Starfire travels to South America — the Tamaran of Earth, I guess? — to undergo Kynasf'rr. I don't know what that is but I bet it's sexy.

New Titans #108 Rating: B-. I almost gave this issue a C+ which is worse than a B- but feels more positive because our perceptions of things, as humans, can be fucking stupid. I was hoping for Marv to really plumb the deaths of Starfire's tragedy but instead he just scripted a few pages of Starfire nearly naked while Alderman tries to convince her to let Raven rape her again. Marv doesn't even spend much time on the Titan's grief over Cyborg since he had to deal with a bunch of Titans' bureaucracy over their current leadership and membership problems. This seemed like an issue where Marv could have really flexed some emotional writing muscle but he spent only a few pages superficially glossing over the Titans' grief and pain.

The Letters Pages!

Jeff DeMos of New York, NY, gave me a good laugh when he wrote, "Why is there a periodic need to overhaul a character that will 'change (them) forever?' Has Cyborg really become so boring and dated? Has he exhausted all possible storylines?" Why, yes and yes, Jeff! Thanks for asking the truly important rhetorical questions!

The editor's response to those obviously rhetorical questions was another good laugh: "Cyborg never became 'boring or dated.'" Ha ha! I suppose that statement is true if you consider Cyborg has always been boring and dated which means he could never become those things!

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