Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Batman #2

What's up with the Batman logo? Is the name supposed to emulate the bat shape?

Batman is a very good comic book. That means I end up reading it and forgetting to blog anything. And now I'm stuck with a read comic book and I want to read #3 but I haven't said anything yet about Batman #2!

Batman #2 is a good comic book.

Whew! That was a tough review. By the way, what makes a good comic book? What makes a great comic book? My rankings off to the side there are just going to have less and less value as it fills up to all 52 titles. This is because I can't adequately compare the titles with each other to place them in actual order of best to worst. Mostly it'll just be the ten titles I enjoy the most on top, the ten titles I can't stand on bottom, and a bunch of titles in the middle that vary from pretty good to practically undreadable.

But what do I consider a good comic? A good story is probably first. But story can easily take a backseat if other aspects of the comic are good. For instance, the first Aquaman story was not enthralling. Cannibalistic fish creatures from the deep. But how Aquaman reacted made up for any disinterest I had with the fish things.

So maybe good characters are actually first! One of the reasons I loved the TV show Lost so much was the way it was told based around getting to know the characters. Each episode we got to see some of the character's past and the reasons why the character made the decisions they were making on the island. All the mystery stuff was just glitter and tinsel. It was the characters that made the show.

But even if the story is fairly awful and the characters are one dimensional and shallow, I can still consider a comic good if it is fun. Fun goes a long way in the comic book world. Mister Terrific fits well in here. I don't really care for the character. Maybe I would if the comic ran long enough (it's dead at Issue #8). And the plots resolve with a lot of scientific hoodoovoodoo hokum-pokum spewed forth by Mister Terrific. But the comic book is fun. I actually like that he gets to solve the problems with some pseudo scientific bullshit. I'd be disappointed if he didn't! Justice League International is also fun. Maybe that's just because it has a lot of characters I like and am familiar with.

The art I can give or take. I like good art! But a shitty read is still a shitty read even if it's pretty. A pretty shitty read!

Here's some of my favorite comics:

Transmetropolitan. An amazingly complex and thought out world. A believable future dystopia. And an awesomely cantankerous hermit curmudgeon journalist observing it all. Fun fun fun. Great character. Great story.

House of Secrets. Beautiful work. Beautiful to look at and to read. So well structured it would amaze me page after page. Another fuck you leave me be character. Maybe I just like those types.

Fables. Another fun comic that's told well and looks great. When I stopped reading comics back in 2003, Fables is one of the few comics I kept reading whenever a collected edition came out.

Sandman, of course.

Watchmen and V for Vendetta. Damn, V for Vendetta. Just. Just. Damn. Read it. And I'm not one of those fanboys out there who hate the movie because it's so different from the comic! The movie is also amazing. Every change they made in the movie was just right. They still both tell the same story, thematically. But they did what needed to be done and I think both works stand on their own as great stories. And they're worth contemplating side by side as well.

Watchmen the movie, on the other hand, I have a few issues with. I'm going to spoiler the fuck out of the movie right now, so, you know, I warned you. Whereas V for Vendetta changed everything that needed to be changed, Watchmen went for the "we'll make it as closely authentic to the comic book as possible until the end when it's more believable now to have a terrorist threat to band the people together instead of an alien threat". That's fine and dandy that they did that. But in trying to make the movie so close to the comic, they chose horrible actors just because they looked like the comic book characters. Seriously. These actors bored the measles out of me.

As far as Super Hero comics go, some of my favorites were Hitman (sort of a reluctant super hero?), Demon (um, not really but kind of), Justice League (Giffen), Suicide Squad (Ostrander), and The Outsiders.

Anyway, maybe I should say a few things about Batman #2 now that I've Nebuchadnezzared this entire blog post.

I don't care if that doesn't make sense. I think the fact that it doesn't make sense means it makes sense.

Bruce Wayne is gonna die!

So this happens in the 2nd issue. On the 2nd page. Which gives way to, you guessed it, a "24 Hours Earlier" caption. When time finally catches back up with the reader, we see that Batman was fighting some Owl Assassin guy the Batman doesn't believe in. He doesn't believe that he's an Owl Assassin, that is. He believes he's actually kicking Batman's ass.

So Batman gets kicked out of the window of a tower and is falling to his death. And then the assassin does this:

Yes. That's the assassin diving out of the window to catch up with Bruce Wayne and beat him up on the way down to his death. The assassin screams, "How I love killing Waynes" which might explain why he just couldn't resist killing Bruce with his bare hands instead of watching Bruce splatter on the ground. Except then why did he kick him through the window? Because as Bruce explains at the beginning, the windows are unbreakable "that is, unless--like the assassin who just kicked me through them--you know how to hit the glass just right." So the assassin kicked him through the window on purpose. And then dove out to join Bruce in his free fall to death.

But the assassin is dressed sort of like an owl and it does look like his outfit has little flying squirrel underarm wing things. So maybe he intended to slice Bruce up and then glide to safety.

Except it doesn't work and Bruce saves himself. The owl thing crashes to the ground, landing on a car. It's picked up by an ambulance and then, duh duh DUN!, comes back to life in the back of the ambulance, killing the EMTs and hijacking the ambulance!

We also learn the soon to be Gotham Mayor has a crush on Bruce Wayne:

Actually, this heart in the eye is because of some other tender this is how MY parents died story he tells. But he does act like he's got a bit of a crush on Brucy.

We also learn that Dick Grayson has a reason for why his DNA was under the murdered man's fingernails. And also that Batman has trust issues.

That's about it! Time to read Issue #3!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Batman #1

Finally! A Batman comic book. And Justice League comics don't count. Batman doesn't really interact well with the other super friends and I just want to read a story where he acts grim and scary and talks in a deep voice.

Batman #1 begins where it should probably always begin: Arkham. These are the people that make Gotham City a scary place. And these are Batman's problems. Problems brought on by being too highly effective at scaring away regular criminals.

It's like Roaches that become immune to the high powered poison used to kill them off. Batman has made Gotham a very inhospitable and scary place to be a normal criminal. So a vacuum appears in its place. Still lots of good crime to be had! But whose going to commit that crime when The Batman is lurking in the shadows? Crazy fuckers, that's who.

Scott Snyder uses the narration boxes a bit differently than the first batch of comics I've read. He's using synchronicity. The boxes are Batman's voice but he's speaking about something other than the action that is taking place in the panels. But the action and the boxes together produce a powerful moment. Captain Atom #3 did this with the best effect so far when Captain Atom was pondering his survivor's guilt while saving random people around the world. But that was the only good moment of Captain Atom!

Batman, via the narration boxes, is describing a feature that runs in the Gotham Gazette called 'Gotham is'. People are asked to describe Gotham City in three words or less. The narration boxes hover over Batman putting down an escape attempt in Arkham Asylum. So the reader gets to instantly see a whole bunch of Batman's crazy foes while Batman mentions how sometimes people describe Gotham by the names of the villains he's beating up.

And, of course, sometimes they use his name.

Oh yeah, and The Joker has teamed up with Batman. Why? Who knows? Because he's crazy? Or is it because he's Commissioner Gordon or some other plant in white make-up and a green wig? Although I think a comic book where The Joker replaced Robin would be a nice change of pace. Unless it's been done already.

The two most incorruptible men in Gotham city.

Gordon questions Batman about the night's events and mentions that the security cameras seem to show Batman fighting along side The Joker. "Tell me that'd be ridiculous," he says. "That'd be ridiculous, Jim," says Batman.

Any story in the DC Universe that has ever had Commissioner Gordon mistrust Batman or act in any way corrupt is an Elseworlds story. Never happened. Dream. Make believe. I won't buy it. He is the hope of Gotham and should never be used as shock value to see that the crazy and the despicable finally broke him. He is Batman's leash. Batman is his wild dog. They need each other but they fulfill entirely different roles in keeping the city from sliding into the abyss.

Turns out the Joker was Dick Grayson in some fancy new-fangled computery whatzit mask. He hangs out afterward to go to a party with Bruce and Tim Drake, the other ex-robin, and Damian Wayne, the current Robin. Batman is just The Boy's School for Adventurous Youth.

So Damian Wayne. Too painful to mention a Jason Todd, I guess. Interestingly enough, I have two Cabbage Patch Kids which my mom got me many, many, many years ago. She made Batman and Robin outfits for them. When I get to Batman and Robin, I'll take a picture of them because my mom can sew, bitches. Anyway, my Robin's secret identity is Jason Duane. Jason as in Jason Todd! And Duane as in, um, Damian Wayne said really, really fast!

Batman's secret identity is a little bit more embarrassing than Bruce Wayne. It's, um, ahem, Clement Woody.

Yes, I have dolls! But they're super heroes, asshole!

The banter between Batman and his Robins is really enjoyable. Maybe that's why Batman likes having a Robin by his side. Everyone else treats him like he's either a rich guy and kisses his ass or like he's the scariest motherfucker you can meet in an alleyway. But kids have a way of not caring about that shit. They can be real with him in a way adults can't.

And then I just sat down and shut up and finished reading the comic.

It's terrific. A nice mix of Batman fighting his oldest foes while contemplating what makes Gotham Gotham. A bit of Bruce Wayne interacting with Dick Grayson, his first Robin. A few pages of Bruce Wayne giving a speech at a charity fundraiser where he gets to talk about his father and his plans for the future of Gotham. And then back to Batman as he runs off to investigate a man killed mysteriously.

Snyder has tight control over this story. It's a first issue that balances well between not being a story that knows it's the first story. This could easily work as the first Batman story ever told. You don't have to know any of these characters. He gives you a feel for them all. Bruce. Batman. Dick. Even Tim and Damian get a few lines that show off who they are. Gordon. Harvey. Vicki Vale. Even some of the residents at Arkham.

And it all ends with Harvey (one of Gotham's detectives who is both familiar and unfamiliar to me at the same time) telling Batman what he thinks Gotham is. It's a mystery. And so this issue ends on a mysterious note. DNA found under the murder victims finger nails belongs to Dick Grayson.

Duh duh DUN!

Aquaman #5

Wrong element, Aquadumbass.

The comic begins:

Other wrong element, Aquastupidhead!

How did Aquaman end up falling from the sky? Did he steal some powerful being's map? Did he get caught up in a water funnel and become his own version of the Fortean falling fish? Was he stowing away in the wheel well of an airplane?

How did this happen, Aquaman?! Maybe Page Two will start with a caption that says, "24 hours earlier."

No Page two doesn't Page 2 & 3 are a gigantic splash page that shows Aquaman in a barren desert with the sun beating down on him. His costume is torn. He has a chunk of metal through one leg. And the title: L^O^S^T!

Is that how he got here? He turned the wheel on the island? So he's in Tunisia?

The fourth page shows him looking around. Then he looks down (at his crotch?) and says, "Uh-oh."

And then, AH HA HA HA, on page five:

So 12 hours earlier, Aquaman is up at night thinking about the Fish Monster Race. He gets a call from the military. They found an artifact lodged in the wall that Aquaman brought up with all the pods of kidnapped people. It looked like Aquaman's belt buckle (the 'A' which Aquaman says stands for Atlantis) and it began emitting a loud dolphin-like chatter.

Aquaman heads in to take a look. He realizes it is a very old data recorder. The kind people of Atlantis used before the island sank. But before Aquaman can figure out any more about it, some jerks in armor bust in and start shooting!

I don't recognize these guys but I bet they're members of Basilisk!

They get away in a helijet and it looks like my stowaway in a wheel well guess was pretty close to the mark as he jumps on and clings to it. Darn, I was hoping he had stolen the Map of Time.

Meanwhile, back in the desert, Aquaman sees a hallucination of his father. It's probably because Aquaman has a serious concussion from falling out of the sky. And because he's dehydrated. And from the loss of blood from the shrapnel in his leg.

Trying to break out of the hallucination, he sends out a telepathic message and a lizard seems to respond.

So did the lizard actually respond to his call? If so, why? It's not a sea creature? If not, what is it that allows Aquaman to telepathically control sea creatures but nothing else? It's not just fish he can control because he often controls other creatures as well, like cephalepods and crustaceans. Why can't he control land animals? He mentions in the diner that he doesn't talk to fish and that 'Dolphins are more complicated.' Well, Dolphins are mammals. So if he has the ability to speak or control them or even to ask for their help via telepathy, why can't he do it with other mammals? What makes his telepathy work only on sea creatures?

Back in his right mind, he concentrates and can hear the Belt Buckle squawking away in the distance. That's because he fell from the sky after the helijet he was on exploded. It exploded because he broke into it and ruptured a fuel line. He also punched the face mask off of one of those guys I posted a picture of earlier and water splashed out. So they weren't Basilisks at all. They were Atlanteans in their Reverse Scuba Gear!

Aquaman finds the Atlantean Belt Buckle and places it in some water from the Reverse Scuba Helmet of one of the Terranauts. A Princess Leia style hologram pops up and tells Aquaman the story behind the crashed Atlantean ship that he found deep in the trench.

They were in search of the enemy of Atlantis. Who is this? Aquaman doesn't know but the hologram seems to speak of the enemy as if the people finding their ship would know who it was talking about. This enemy planned to sink Atlantis and somehow the King and Queen of Atlantis are involved, either in a cover-up or in pissing off this enemy. Before the hologram can say anymore, the Atlantean behind the hologram is attacked and eaten by the Trench Fish Monster Race.

So now Aquaman has an Atlantis mystery to solve! Who sank Atlantis and what did the Atlantean royal family have to do with it?

After this, Aquaman is saved by the U.S. Navy and everybody has a good time making Aquaman in the desert jokes!

Next issue:

This comic continues to be well put together. Because of the foundation Johns has made in the first few issues (the first one in particular, which started nice and slow and didn't introduce a big bad enemy until the last page), this comic can begin to meander. It can take its time because it doesn't waste time. Supergirl is the opposite of this. It's wasting time and not giving anything to care about.

Aquaman has his relationship with Mera, his relationship with his father (which encompasses a whole bunch of issues including his mermaid mother and what happened to her), hell, his relationship with the public. The first storyline left a nice bunch of questions about the Atlanteans and what they were doing so deep in the ocean. This comic follows up on that and also includes some moments with Aquaman and his father. Although it's a hallucination, we still get to see how Aquaman perceives himself through his father's and the public's eyes.

And we get some more jokes at Aquaman's expense to show that the public is ready for Aquaman to just be a giant embarrassment!

And at only 20 pages per comic, Johns has packed a lot of history into this comic so far. History that makes a difference to the character and isn't just mentioned because it makes a good bit of writing and then it's forgotten. I'm looking at you, J.T. Krul and the opening to Captain Atom #3 which would make for a really good starting off point for the character! But noooooo, it's forgotten almost immediately to be replaced by the whole "I'm so fucking lonely" routine.

The Flash #5

That's never stopped The Flash before!

Last issue, we learned all about the lameness of Mob Rule! And one of the issues before that, we learned that if The Flash learns how to meditate just right, he can think super fast which somehow allows him to see the future!

He also had a minor crossover with Captain Atom over in Captain Atom's comic. I'd stay away from that stinking pile of manure, if I were you Flash! Run far away from that comic! Ha ha! There was also something about a tank that was in the middle east where Flash met Captain Atom and then it appeared in the Badlands in South Dakota in The Flash comic. I have no idea how the tank got there. Perhaps Captain Atom isn't turning things into other things at all! Maybe he's teleporting things away and teleporting other thing in to take their place. Hmm? HMMM?!

Fuck Captain Atom. His comic doesn't have much longer anyway. Let's get back to The Flash!

Here's an early page that shows the super villains breaking out of the high security jail. And the female journalist who was caught up in the whole shebang.

I really like the panels set over the image of the tiny people climbing down the cliff to the bay to escape jail.

I really like the art in this comic. What's more, the artist and the inker are co-writing the book. So just about everything you see on the pages is the work of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato (Wes Abbott does lettering!). And the comic has some fun stuff going for it. I actually think this comic can make the biggest jump up the rankings as soon as this Mob Rule storyline is over. The only reason The Flash is currently ranked 12 out of 16 comics I've read is they're spending way too much time on Mob Rule. Hopefully this comic will end that storyline and we'll get a real Super Villain of the Month in these pages instead of this friend of Flash whose clones just want to live crap.

Thankfully, Flash notices the ice in the river and he heads off to investigate the prison. Because ice always means Captain Cold! It also means The Flash gets to run into some actual super villains that aren't nice guys! Here we see him doing something to The Folded Man, Tar Pit, and Girder!

This is the same thing that crazy inmate did to Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs.

Actually, I think The Flash removed all the ice from the frozen guards and then threw it at the villains. It's hard to tell exactly though because The Flash unfreezing guards looks like this:

So far, I think The Folded Man is the only new villain name I like. And I like the way he looks! I'm excited to learn more about him. Of course, he may not be new. But I'm taking a wild guess he is since Girder and Tar Pit sound like stupid new villains!

Bukakeing the villains left them in an unconscious and disgusting heap for the guards to take care of. But Flash does explain that he used friction to thaw the guards. Who would have guessed?!

Oh, and I'm giving this issue 2 Speed Force Points for Iris West (who Flash saves from those villains he splooshed) saying that a story she was working on 'got put on ice' due to Captain Cold and her telling The Flash, "Guess you've gotta run."

I didn't know he could give speed piggy back rides. Won't her face melt off?

Afterward, The Flash hunts down Dr. Elias and Manuel and Mob Rule. Elias has a set-up that will use Manuel's body as a source to rewrite the DNA of Mob Rule so they stop dropping like flies. But something goes wrong. The machine is working but it's also about to explode.

So The Flash makes a choice. They don't show him use his super thinking see the future power, so maybe he's giving that up for now since it almost got him killed. So he makes a spur of the moment choice.

Manuel doesn't want to be saved because the machine is working. The Flash is afraid Manuel is going to die if he doesn't redirect the blast. I'm guessing the DNA rewrite takes some time to work and as soon as The Flash redirects the energy the machine is emitting so the blast is redirected, the DNA rewrite stops working.

So The Flash chooses to ensure that Manuel lives. He chooses to let all of Manuel's clones die. And he apologizes to Manuel for choosing Manuel.

I don't know if The Flash made the right decision. The clones were autonomous beings who never asked to be born in the first place. They just wanted to live and Manuel was trying to help them. The Flash could have grabbed Dr. Elias and rushed him out to safety. But instead he interferes so hundreds of people die.

I guess The Flash can live with it by doing some philosophical mental gymnastics. They weren't real people since they weren't born like real people. They weren't real because they were just clones of a single guy.

But The Flash propels the blast up into the sky. The clones drop dead from their DNA flaw. And Manuel isn't happy.

Looks like The Flash has just created his nemesis! Manuel still has the power to make clones, so look for him to return in a costume next time!

And the comic ends with a revelation that is instantly going to boost The Flash up the rankings. It answers the question I mentioned earlier about the tank. And it answers the question about where the EMP blast came from in the first place that knocked the plane out of the sky. And it shows that The Flash is just a big fat menace to DC's continuity!

Very nice!

I'm a bit disappointed that Barry doesn't seem the slightest bit perturbed by the fact he chose to let all those clones die. Hopefully when Mob Rule returns, Manuel will get Barry to think about the fact that he actually just chose to save one man over hundreds simply because that one man was practically family to him.

Batman never would have done that!

I also think I'll let the Speed Force Points Rating drop. Manapul and Buccellato seem to have gotten a firm grasp on this character and don't feel the need to drop sly asides every few pages about the fact that The Flash runs fast.

So good job, fellas. And even though I found all of the Mob Rule extras boring, and I think his name suckity suck suck sucks, I like the overall arc of his story here and his relationship with The Flash. Now when he returns in costume, he'll be bringing substantial amounts of meat to the feast. In honor of Mob Rule's name, I used a shitty metaphor!

Also, yay! Captain Cold next issue!

Captain Cold toasting to The Flash's imminent defeat with Green Coleman Lantern.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Firestorm #5

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this never happens.

Between comics, Jasonstorm apparently goes with Ronniestorm to the Zithertech compound. At the end of last issue, Ronniestorm was all hyped to join up with them. But Jasonstorm was not and still is not. He's under observation by Zither Cobrina and her assistants.

Now we are all sons of bitches.

Is science good for man? Quite a question, really. And I think it mostly boils down to whatever context the question comes up. I've heard it said, "Can you imagine if Dolphins had thumbs? How advanced would they be?" But what about the other side of that coin? What if humans did not have thumbs? How much happier might we be?

Oh, and Miss Zither brings up this quote by Oppenheimer simply to call Oppenheimer an idiot and show that she has no regrets over her involvement in this Firestorm mess.

As Jason gets ready to go out and meet his nicety-nice captors, he recalls some things his dad said.

That would have been so much quicker to just type out.

I like Jason's dad! He's my kind of guy! In a philosophical way, not in a gay way! Although he was pretty fit. Missing an arm though. And apparently, not very good at living by his own words:

Hopefully they didn't move him in next to Ronnie's mom or she's going to have to move to another cul-de-sac.

Oh, and I was apparently wrong about Ronnie and his dad possibly being vegetarians:

Back to the Oppenheimer and Bainbridge stuff. Our generations. The Baby Boomers and beyond. We owe nearly everything to that day at the Trinity site. I don't mean just the threat of nuclear war that hung over many lives across many decades (and still does, just more like background radiation). Our way of thinking and being in the world has radically changed since that day. "Now we are all sons of bitches." It's just about the truest statement ever made. We are all bastard children of that moment. I like to believe that Bainbridge said it immediately after the flash and cloud. That he just turned to Oppenheimer and those words fell from his lips.

I've been kicking around making a pilgrimage to the site. I thought my 40th year would be a good time so I may plan it for the summer. I just realized when I do go, I think I'll bring my Firestorm action figure and leave it at the site. A nice gift to the moment that changed it all.

In the comic, Jason is hooked by Zithertech. A combination of his dad being happy, a new truck being given to him, and Ronnie convincing him they can do some good while nothing serious really happening convinces him to join up. And they're sent on their first mission to stop a Quraci terrorist at a concert. They think it's a big Public Relations stunt but when everything is said and done, they realize they're in over their heads.


Justice League #5

Oh Jim Lee. Do you ever disappoint in your ability to disappoint? To many comic book readers, this cover is the epitome of comic book art. Sure, it's glossy and slick. And I know why this over the top style took off.

Here's the style you could expect from comics in the late eighties and early nineties:

Ugh. Oh god!

Those two images are taken from DC's Who's Who in the DC Universe Update from 1993. These are from artists who were still working the eighties style and look a lot like most of the entries from the 1990 edition. But in the 1993 Update, you can already see some of the new style coming through from emerging artists. You're getting more of the 'more lines on the face makes them look grimmer' style like we see on Aquaman's face on the Jim Lee cover. For example, the Darkstars, new upstarts on the block in the early nineties:

The Darkstars were Green Lanterns without rings. Who wants to bet the guy with the 'stache on the bottom was a Chicago cop?

So if comic buyers in the early nineties were choosing their comics by what the cover looked like, you'd be picking up Jim Lee's stuff. Dynamic. Slick. And you can respect that he's putting the effort in to make it look good. I see the appeal. And it is eye candy.

So let me get to why I find it disappointing already so I can read about Darkseid kicking their asses!

First off, if you give Jim Lee a super group, he's going to pack the cover with all of them looking off over your right shoulder as you look at them. I don't know how long this has been a standard pose but it has definitely been done to death.

Second, why is Cyborg so fucking huge? Aquaman could curl up in a fetal position inside Cyborg's chest. And his fist is as big as Green Lantern's head. Did the Apokolypsian nanobots turn him into a ginormous robot?

Wait. What's that, Spellcheck? Why didn't you put a line under ginormous? It's actually in the dictionary?! Since 2007? Interesting.

Back to the cover. Why is Green Lantern creating a multi-flail to fight Darkseid? And what is Wonder Woman going to do with that dagger? And look how they're all making fists! Try making a fist with your thumb exactly 90 degrees to your other fingers. OUCH!

But still. Jim Lee makes a pretty and dramatic cover. But what's with Cyborg flying the American flag? An homage to when this title was Justice League of America?

I better just open the cover of the comic now. I suppose even with all the stuff that disappoints me with this type of cover, it's still better than going back to those half-assed days of this:

The action starts off with the Justice League lying in a pile of rubble because of whatever Darkseid did when he arrived. I thought maybe he caused an Earth Bounce. I'm going to go with that as one of his powers. And it turns out, Darkseid is this size:

That's a much bigger difference than my Super Friends action figures would have me believe.

But Superman gets up almost immediately and then Darkseid fires his Omega Beams at, well, at something. It's hard to tell what he's actually shooting at because they always zigzag all over the place. Which seems like an odd way to aim a weapon. Shoot at what you're looking at and then have the trajectory of your missile go flip flopping all over creation before it locates the thing you were just previously looking directly at.

But since Flash is so fast, he gets Superman out of the way. Just in case it was Superman that was being shot at. But apparently Darkseid is wall-eyed because one of his Omega beams locked on to Superman and one of them locked on to Flash! I think Darkseid's secret identity is Marty Feldman. It's the internet age, kids. Look it the fuck up.

Flash gets away from his beam by vibrating through a parademon. The beam blasts the parademon. Or disintegrates him. But Superman isn't as lucky.

He actually survives an Omega Beam blast and is captured by parademons. Maybe Superman was strong enough to survive because it was a shot from only one eye.

Darkseid then turns his attention to the others. You know, the ones who stand no chance against him. Batman. Aquaman. Cyborg. Except I guess Batman killed Darkseid in another universe! But he had some special bullet or something. Now he just has his Batarang.

While Darkseid is fighting Green Lantern, he answers my question about his Earth Bounce power. Basically, it's an Earth Bounce. He powered up his hands and then smashed the ground making a large BOOOM and knocking everyone off their feet.

Green Lantern speaks some amazing dialogue while fighting Darkseid. He's just the dumbest piece of shit on the basketball court. Green Lantern smacks him with his stupid triple flail and it shatters. Then Darkseid Earth Bounces Green Lantern onto his ass and Green Lantern says, "That...all you got? Not all I got."

What would make you assume that was all this cosmic monster had? Especially if you just attacked him with not all you had? But seriously, if all Green Lantern had was a green light medieval weapon, that would be pretty sad.

So Green Lantern goes back for more and gets pummeled. And he says, "I'm not through with you yet. I'm not--"

Oh look! He's not done with you either! I love it when people get along.

Darkseid breaks Green Lantern's arm and then retreats like a big fat cosmic coward. Or maybe he walks off victorious. I think I was just blinded by Green Lantern's machismo.

Next up, Batman does what Batman does. He gets the situation under control. But first, he exposes himself to Green Lantern and peels his bat emblem right off the front of his suit. Really, Batman? Is that Velcro or Felt?

Just I like I told the Teen Titans to do! Kind of.

So after Batman tells Green Lantern to act like a team, Batman goes off on his own just like a fucking Batman. He allows himself to get caught by a parademon so that he can go after Superman. And ends up through a Boom Cube Gateway and on the planet Apokolips.

And that's 20 pages of comics at $1 extra! So let's see what that extra dollar got me after the end of the story.

Oh. Yay. Six pages of sketches and costume concept detailing Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg.

Fuck you, DC! I'm glad my comic book shop gives me 25% off all my titles! So I'm only paying $3 for your stupid $4 book! Jerkos!

The Savage Hawkman #5

Why call this comic book 'The Savage Hawkman'? Is calling a comic these days 'Hawkman' just too weenie? Are people only going to read about Hawkman if he's got a mean temper and a killer instinct?

Here's what happens in this comic. Gentleman Jim's Ghost wants a book translated. This book will tell him about the Mortis Orb used to control undead. This book was what H.P. Lovecraft based the Neconomicon on. The book is sent to Carter Hall to translate it. Carter Hall begins investigating the man who brought the book to him for translation. Hawkman ends up battling Gentleman Jim's Ghost and a host of apparitions that can phase in-between the spiritual and physical realm. This means Hawkman can't hurt them but they can hurt Hawkman. On the last page, Gentleman Jim's Ghost confronts Hawkman.

There is a lot of less than mediocre art throughout the 20 pages. There are 78 panels total (and that's a generous count in that I gave the benefit of the doubt to some negligible panels). So less than 4 panels per page. Just glancing through a Vertigo title I have nearby (House of Mystery), it looks to average about 5 panels per page. So that would mean 22 more panels to flesh out the story.

House of Mystery is a really good, solid read.

The Savage Hawkman is crap.

At five issues in, I'm expecting a lot more foundation to the characters than most of these books have given me. I get that DC is starting over (sort of). They want to dump all the baggage of the old characters and start some fresh stories.

So why the fuck don't they? Why am I reading about a bunch of comic book characters that I already know about yet they're supposed to be new? I get that they want to keep the characters relatively the same. But look at what Grant Morrison has done over in Action Comics. It's working. A little bit of the old. A little new attitude. Some changes in the history but not so much that it'll upset the character. But, you know, why not change it all up? Go for broke! Don't half ass it like you've done here.

Now maybe they have done that with Hawkman. How should I know? Like I ever cared about him in the old DCU! But if the big difference here is having his Nth metal be inside him so he doesn't have to change costumes then they really aren't doing much of a reboot. We got some hints an issue or two back that Carter Hall is actually Katar Hol from Thanagar. So maybe that's the big difference. They're just merging the Golden Age and Silver Age Hawkmans. Hawkmen?

But right now, the worst thing about the bad comic books is that they have no foundation and they aren't building one. They're just moving the super hero from conflict to conflict instead of slowing it down a bit and giving us a story to care about.

I'm pretty sure the Head Editor at DC just told all of the creative teams to 'hit the ground running' and that's what a bunch of them did. ACTION ACTION ACTION! That'll draw the kids in to read the books!

But Supergirl could have been so much better if they didn't just keep throwing her into one disaster after another. Let her get her footing. Don't make her an adversary of Kal-el's. Have them talk about Krypton. About family. About what it means to suddenly be on Earth with these powers. Don't give it one page of shitty dialogue across two giant panels and call it good. Build a foundation. A framework. Get the fucking furniture in the house before you start kicking everyone's ass. I couldn't think of a good house metaphor for kicking ass. Before you start painting the garage?

Right now, I don't care about Hawkman. Tony S. Daniel has given me no reason to. Here's what we know about him:

He became Hawkman somehow.
He hated being Hawkman so he burned the suit.
The suit entered him and is now part of him.
Carter Hall knows alien languages.
Unless his name is Katar Hol and he's a Thanagarian.

So here are some mysteries. Let's see more about why Carter Hall was burning the Hawkman suit. But instead, we just get a man who sort of shrugs it off and goes, "Oh well! I tried to stop being Hawkman but it didn't work!" and then gets on with being Hawkman.

Let's see some meaningful dialogue between Hawkman and this Emma Ziegler woman. They have some sort of relationship but it's all Carter running away from her every chance he gets.

And what the fuck is wrong with Hawkman's neighbor:

He even says shit like "Can I get her digits?" and "Hate the game, not the playa'!" I'm so glad DC brought in an extra writer on this issue JUST TO WRITE THESE WORDS!

And all of the narration panels that give us an insight into Hawkman's thoughts are nothing but him worrying about whether or not he's going crazy. Every. Single. Narration. Box. For the whole 20 pages.

Okay, that's a lie. The last page of narration boxes has him becoming happy again that he isn't going crazy because the ghosts have made him bleed. So they still are about whether or not he's going crazy. But he's finally decided he isn't.

But I am! When I first started this project, I was mainly going to give every title a chance for five issues. Hawkman would be done for sure.

But as long as the blogging of the comics keeps me interested, I'll keep reading even the shittiest titles! Because they can't stay shitty forever! DC will dump their asses. Do you hear me, Captain Atom, the 46th worst selling title!

This was the most exciting page in the comic:

I hope Giffen takes over even more titles!

Supergirl #5

So her super power is to hold power?

Supergirl begins this issue blasting away from Earth and heading back to dead Krypton.

How long can she hold her breath? How many light years does she expect to fly to get home? Somewhere in one of these comics, it was mentioned that Krypton was further away than any Earth telescope could reach. And even if her super powers allow her to somehow survive the frozen vacuum of space, what happens when she's flown out of the influence of the yellow sun? Does she maintain a solar battery charge? If so, how long does it last?

Since I'm only on page one, I hope some of these questions will be answered and not just ignored.

Oh yeah! Also, some things are following her. Some things that came with her on her first journey to Earth.

Immediately after turning the page, I was greeted with Supergirl asking all of these same questions. She was holding her breath. She knew she wasn't going to be able to get very far at her current speed. She was worried her powers might suddenly stop and she'll just die.

But instead of getting any answers, her, um, Sunstone begins to, ahem, vibrate.

Okay, it begins pulsing light. Close enough.

The Sunstone activates some giant metal warp gate floating out in space. Supergirl dives in and ends up somewhere else, next to a blue star and a city on a floating chunk of rock. Krypton?!

No, it's just a piece of Krypton. Kara's home city, Argo City. She's able to access the message on the sunstone. It's her father. And he basically does the same thing Superman's father did to him. So if Superman's dad believed Krypton was about to die and rescued his son, and Supergirl's father believed Krypton was about to die and rescued his daughter, do you suppose there are dozens of children saved before the planet exploded?

I'm guessing as many people survived Krypton as will be needed by writers writing Superman stories for the next 50 years.

During the message, Kara sees her father killed by some unknown assailant. And then Reign shows up to talk to Kara.

Never engage Supergirl in conversation.

And takes a few punches for her audacity.

This time, though, I guess her attack was the right thing to do.

Reign continues, "BECAUSE I AM ONE!"

Yes, big surprise, she's a Worldkiller! And it sounds like Supergirl's father had a hand in the Worldkiller's creation. Possibly.

Reign also notes that her big issue, the big problem she's having and the reason she found her way back to Krypton, is that she doesn't know WHY she's a Worldkiller.

Oh, boo hoo! Another pathetic being who can't just get on with it! It being living. "Why am I here? What's the point? What's my purpose?" Oh, wait, Worldkiller Reign knows her purpose! Just like Superboy! But that's not enough. Reign was born to slaughter and conquer and the desire to do so "burns like a million suns" inside her. So go fucking conquer some planets already and stop futzing around with looking for answers to the meaning of life.

On the other hand, I could tell her why! If she's a weapon created to destroy worlds, then that's why she was created: to destroy worlds.

I think what she's really searching for is to find out who she is. She's more like an amnesiac who is following a broken trail along a fuzzy path toward her past to see where she came from. All she remembers is waking from an ancient slumber. She doesn't mention where she woke. But she does mention she thinks Earth holds the secrets to who she is and why she was created.

So she's going back to conquer it. Meanwhile, she left Supergirl unconscious and pinned to a rock while Argo City's orbit around the Blue Star slowly decays.

And that's that! Michael Green and Mike Johnson, the writers of this comic, seem to think that every issue needs a big fight scene. I just wish they'd get through all of this prologue and do without the fight scenes as they do it. Let's work out Supergirl's past a bit before having her battle the Villain of the Month every issue.