Saturday, January 4, 2020

Superman: Year One: Book One

I can't wait to find out why Superman shoved Jim Gordon's head up his ass!

Most of the time, I don't think, "I fucking hate myself." But then I'll purchase a comic book written by Frank Miller and drawn by John Romita Jr. and I think, "Well, obviously I'm wrong about that."

I haven't been reading too many comic books lately because I've been reading Alan Moore's Jerusalem which is not a comic book at all but a 1300 page book. The thing about a 1300 page book is that 1300 is a lot of pages to read. It's a daunting task! Just ask anybody you know who has read 1300 pages. You probably don't know anybody because you only know comic book nerds and they only read regular books if they're called things like Secrets of the Marvel Universe and DC: They Ain't Fucking Marvel!. I've read both of those books and, let me tell you, they don't actually exist.

Anyway, Alan Moore's Jerusalem was fucking fantastic. No, no. It was fucking fucking fan-fucking-tastic! It was like eating a half gram of magic mushrooms and then sitting on the floor in the middle of a raucous house party, just absorbing the frantic movements and warbling sounds. Unless it was better than that. Although I can't think of anything better than that. Possibly the best time I ever had was sitting on the floor while on mushrooms in the middle of my friend Jason Beymer's house while his sister's rager erupted all around me. I was fucking content. I was the Buddha under the fig tree. I was Christ on the cross. I was Mohammad wherever Mohammad found his bliss. With his cougar first wife, maybe?

Technically I have yet to finish Jerusalem. There's a chapter called "Round the Bend" which was Moore's attempt to write his own version of Finnegans Wake. It's fucking insane and I'm slowly making my way through it with copious notes. I've created a table with three columns for my notes as I read the chapter slowly, one sentence at a time. In the first column, I type the original sentence. In the second column, I type my literal interpretation of the sentence. And in the third column, I discuss what both the text and the subtext might be suggesting. It's a brilliant piece of writing that I think is worth the extended amount of time I'll be devoting to it.

All that being said, I need a little reading downtime before I begin A.R. Moxon's The Revisionaries. So I'm reading Superman: Year One! This probably doesn't have any non-white-supremacy subtext at all! So it shouldn't be too hard to get through.

DC Comics printed Superman: Year One as a magazine sized book for their Black Label, um, label? What is it with DC and redundancy? "Hey, people already call us DC Comics to differentiate us from other DCs even if pedants often complain about how redundant it is. What if we really piss off the pedants by calling our new adult comic book line 'Black Label'? Then people will have to refer to the DC comic with the Black Label label on it!" probably said Dan DiDio. And then Geoff Johns was all, "Man, I hate when I'm sexing my hot lover and my hot lover is all, 'Let's do ATM mouth!' Idiot!"

Dammit! I was making a point when I fucking interrupted myself with my DC offices fan fiction. I was going to point out how I'm going to be severely disappointed when there aren't any boobs or vaginas or dicks in this comic book. The only time I ever read magazine sized comic books was when I wanted to jerk off to cartoons and picked up a copy of Heavy Metal.

The story begins as all stories do: with the death of a planet and a small baby being shoved into a rocket and shot off into space. This baby understands way more than I think most babies tend to understand. It's hard to know for sure because nobody remembers being a baby and science doesn't really understand things like brains and babies and baby's brains. But this baby is a science fiction baby from another planet so I really can't complain if it already knows concepts like "partying" and "celebrating" and "donkey punching" and "billions of stars." Those are probably all concepts on the Kryptonian See and Say toy.

Before the baby exits the rocket after landing in a field in rural Kansas (that's the part of Kansas that isn't Kansas City or Wichita), the rocket speaks to him. I'm pretty sure it's his dad speaking to him in a recording since it calls him "my son" but I don't want to make any assumptions that might leave me vulnerable with Interent critics who like to criticize other Internet critics. Maybe the rocket thinks it's the baby's mother and is about to give birth to it on its new homeworld. Anyway, the voice tells the baby to wake up because "a world awaits. A world that needs you. A world you must save [...] from itself." I mean, really? Was that a necessary part of the story? Did the baby need that kind of pressure and meaning forced onto it so soon in its young life? And how, by the way, did the baby's dad or rocket ship know that this world needed to be saved? Was he (or it!) just projecting Krypton's terrible history onto this new planet? Obviously if it's a planet, it's going to need to be saved because the people on it are just going to ignore the mad scientists when they say the world is dying.

Seriously though! Why begin the comic book by telling Superbaby that he needs to save this world from itself? It seems like a clunky way of trying to force all of what makes Superman special into a few brief lines. "Hey, reader! Superman is here to save the world! It's his destiny!" How about just letting Superbaby have a father who was grateful that he could save his child from Krypton's destruction? Then you let Superbaby grow up and learn, from his Earth parents, right and wrong. Let him learn about truth and justice. Let him learn empathy and compassion. Then when he makes the choice to sacrifice a huge part of his existence in making Earth a better place, ita actually means something. But having a recorded message tell him he needs to save the world from itself before he's even learned not to shit his own pants seems a bit of crap writing desperate to make thematic points.

Jonathan Kent isn't a kind and generous man who wanted to take care of a baby. I mean, maybe he was but what does it even matter if something else is manipulating his actions?

Do audiences enjoy stories where characters are manipulated by Gods or destiny to become the thing they're meant to become to do the thing they're meant to do or is this just writers being too lazy to let a story tell itself along the way? My view of audiences would be severely diminished if it could get any lower and also if I were to believe they preferred stories about Chosen Ones rather than regular people who rise to the occasion to do something heroic. What makes a story better if we learn that the hero was always meant to be the hero? Isn't it more rewarding to have heroes like Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee who struggled to do what was right with no guarantee that they were cosmically destined to succeed? The only thing this whole idea that there has to be some thing (or Thing) manipulating events from behind the curtain is remove free will from the hero's actions, thus making the hero nothing more than an automaton programmed to succeed.

Jonathan brings the baby home and Martha is all, "Whelp! I guess we have a kid now! Praise Jesus!" And Jon is all, "Praise Jesus and his might rocket ship from Heaven!" And both of them feel slightly guilty because of all the times they cursed God for giving them faulty reproductive organs. Jon and Martha are still young so at least they can pretend that they kept faith that God would provide them a child. But I bet if they had been creeping up on the age of Abraham when he finally boinked the help, they would have fucked up God's plan too!

Jon and Martha quickly begin calling each other Ma and Pa because why not? It's not like anybody is going to somehow come along and take their new space baby away from them! They found it and so it's as good as theirs. It's not like Kansas has any laws on the books that say you can't keep a baby you found in a field that fell out of the sky in an alien rocket ship. Are there? Probably not, right? And even if there are, nobody in town seems to question where the fuck Jon and Martha got a kid.

Oh yeah. I'm supposed to believe Clark can feel hot oatmeal. What flavor is it? Kryptonite? I mean, it is green.

Stupid penis! Every time I turn the page, it keeps thinking we're going to see thick chicks on space motorcycles with their tits flopping out and huge bushes streaming out from between their thighs! This isn't Heavy Metal, you stupid organ! I blame my brain for constantly thinking while reading this, "This comic book magazine sure would be better with more tits."

Between being a toddler and the first day of high school, nothing important happens. I mean, some important things probably happen. Like Clark's first wet dream. But Frank Miller doesn't think that's important enough to make the story. I don't know why. I want to see Ma asking Kent why he hid his sheets out in the field and also why he was re=plastering the ceiling of his bedroom.

In high school, all the kids start talking about how amazing Clark Kent is. But he hangs out with the fat kid and the goth kid and the other kids that are probably losers in ways that I can't tell by John Romita Jr's art. They all just kind of look like John Romita Jr people. I think they others are misfits because one wears glasses and the other one is black and the other one is Latino. That just means they don't fit in with the white rural farm kids, I guess? I don't know how high school works in rural America. I grew up in Silicon Valley. Our nerds were the white kids who played Dungeons and Dragons. Our popular kids were the Filipinos who were style conscious when most of us still weren't wearing deodorant or washing our hair regularly enough. I would see them hanging out at lunch and think, "How do they get their hair to stay so high and look so good?!" If only I had known that part of that answer was simply, "They wash it regularly," maybe I wouldn't have been a big misfit loser jerk!

Clark sees the bullies picking on little Pete Ross (you have to say that in a high-pitched sneering voice. Unless you don't want to be a bully. Do you not want to be a bully?) and decides, "Enough is enough!" Even though he's not supposed to stand out or else the government will take him away to do experiments on him, he has to end the rash of bullying at Smallville High School! This looks like a job for Clark Kent! I don't think he's decided to call himself Superboy yet.

Apparently nobody in town knows how to stop a bunch of asshole kids from bullying other kids. It's just one of those Earth problems that can't be solved by Earthlings! It must be Clark Kent's destiny to stop bullying once and for all! And that's what Clark does. He takes the novel approach that nobody thought of and asks the bullies, "Hey? Could you stop picking on my friends?" Sure, that doesn't work. They just see it as Clark starting a fight. So they oblige him and throw a few punches. Clark blocks one and the bully's wrist breaks. So now the bullies realize they can't win and stop bullying! Yay!

Except they don't. They just bully even harder because why not? They're shitting on other people because their life is shit. Why would they not increase the shitting if something happened in their life to make their life even shittier?! Something like Clark "Break a Boy's Bones" Kent!

Why do they seem so happy about Carlos being called a spic and getting his tooth knocked out?! Fucking asshole weirdos!

Lana tells Clark she has a plan to stop the bullies. Her plan involves journalism! She has pictures of the bullies assaulting the weirdos and she thinks they can get the police to listen to them. But the goth weirdo overhears their plans and he's a big weirdo traitor! I guess if he snitches on the weirdos, he doesn't get beat up. I bet he's going to become a supervillain some day.

When Lana leaves her house at night thinking she's going to meet Clark, she's set upon by the bullies! They steal her pictures and threaten to rape her. These aren't just bullies! They're criminal psychopaths and I'm sorry I tried to understand their bully behavior earlier! I was thinking, "Maybe this story will be about the ambiguities of youth and how hard it is to navigate the world between childhood and adulthood, especially when you have serious issues with your parents and home life and self-esteem!" Instead I should have been thinking, "Clark and the weirdos are Good with a capital "G" and the bullies are Evil with a capital "E"! Hopefully the story will make this explicit so that I can truly just hate the bullies and not mind when Clark drowns them in the reservoir! And the best way for a narrative to help me understand how evil they are is if they commit attempted rape!" Whew! I sure am glad to know that whatever Clark does to them now, they totally deserve it! I'd hate for Clark to have to come up with a real life solution that stops the bullying and teaches the bullies how to cope with their own problems without resorting to small violences against other kids!

After saving Lana from being raped, Clark seems to insinuate that maybe Lana should fuck him as thanks. He's all, "Let me court you!" And she's all, "Whatever." And he's all, "Sleep tight!" And she's all, "Yeah. Sure. I'll sleep. Tight." I think that means she's going to masturbate? I'm not good at sexual innuendo but I figured it must be because the very next panel begins like this:

That's definitely sexual innuendo!

Kent forgets that he's supposed to be stopping the bullies because he starts dating Lana. They sneak off and Clark closes his eyes and pulls out his penis and is all, "Just touch it Lana!" And she's all, "Mmmph mmph mmmph!" And he's all, "Please! Just touch it!" And she's all, "Mmph mmmph mmph!" And he opens his eyes and realizes his penis is in Lana's mouth and he blows her brains all over the field with his load.

Later, after my fantasy is concluded, I return to the actual story where they only kiss. Lame.

After high school ends, Clark joins the navy. But not after banging Lana Lang all night! And that's not something I made up! It's right there in the comic book!

Superman: Year One: Book One Rating: It was a bit treacly but not super bad. Ha ha!. But I still don't know if the bullies ever got their comeuppance! Was I supposed to be satisfied with Clark bloodying a few noses and then saying to Lana, "We'll use reporting to get them good!"? How disappointing!

No comments:

Post a Comment