Thursday, May 31, 2012

Detective Comics #9

Hopefully this comic takes place after the action in Batman #8!

Or maybe it won't matter! Hopefully it's just an issue with the inmates of Arkham versus the Talons!

This issue is narrated by Doctor Arkham (I forget which Arkham is the modern one. Jeremiah? That doesn't sound very modern. Mackenzie Arkham?). The first statement he makes is that Arkham Asylum is the safest place in the world. Sure it is! Because the loonies and madmen are constantly getting out of it! Arkham feels secure inside the Asylum even though his name turned up on the Court of Owls' hit list. Cash, Arkham's chief of security, isn't so sure. I hope this guy Cash goes toe to toe with the Talons and protects Arkham. It would be interesting to see a non-super hero person who has a job in security actually do his job well even against the craziest ninja undead foes.

While Jeremiah Arkham is checking in on The Black Mask (The Black Mask sort of derived his powers by being bitten by a rabid raccoon! That's almost a radioactive raccoon! His False Face Society of Gotham had a really terrible motto: "Know that he mask destroys one identity while creating another of deeper drives and greater power." Lame! This information brought to you by Who's Who, the 1990 edition), the power goes out. The Talons have arrived!

That was the worst Talon of them all! Taken down by a Doctor!

But just as the Talons think they've got Jeremiah, Batman swings in from somewhere while a bunch of his freeze grenades go off at the same time, slowing down the undead Talons but only causing a slight discomfort to Doc Arkham.

The Night of the Talons clock says 8:51 PM. I think Alfred's message to the Bat Family went out at 7:40 PM. That means it took Batman about an hour to defeat the Talons in the Batcave while wearing his Batman Suit of Armor. Will that story be told somewhere else? Probably. But now I'll know that Batman survives and it won't have any tension!

Batman stalls the Talons and tells Arkham to run to one of his various secret hidey holes. Cash, the security guard, protects Arkham long enough for Arkham to get away. But he doesn't do as great a job as I'd have liked him to.

I guess that's all guards at Arkham are known for: taking a punch.

Arkham decides that his only hope is The Black Mask! With all of the crazies to choose from, I don't know why he's choosing a guy I know nothing about! I mean, I knew nothing about until a few minutes ago when I read his Who's Who entry.

Akrham gives The Black Mask his Black Mask so that he can become his alter ego. I don't know if that now comes with super powers or not. In the 1990 Who's Who, he really just seemed to wield a machine gun and a high charisma. Arkham (or somebody on the ward) also opens all of the cells. Arkham has another riot on its hands! But this one might be for a good cause.

Clayface emerges from the cell behind Batman and saves Batman's life. I was once in a brawl similar to this! I was at a bar in Santa Clara with a few friends. This bar was the first place I'd ever seen a whole dance floor of people doing the Macarena. We walked into the club and I saw everyone on the dance floor doing the exact same moves and I thought, "How the hell are they doing that?!" Anyway, this one time, my friend Paul noticed an ex-girlfriend of his was there with another guy. He was pissed and kept staring at them. The other guy didn't like Paul staring at them so an altercation ensued. This other guy had friends as well and when they stepped in to outnumber Paul, I stepped in to pull them off. Paul and the other guy went down and I tried to pull Paul back up. As I turned around while standing, one of the guy's friends was hauling back his fist to crack me in the face. Just then, Jimmy Arthur stepped out of the crowd and grabbed the guy's arm and pulled him back. Saved by the giant brute Jimmy Arthur! Now, Jimmy Arthur was the guy who I'd hit with my skateboard a few months before that. That story is here So this scene in Detective Comics is just like that moment in my life!

Batman, of course, represents me!

Batman seals everyone into the cell block so they can be sorted out by the GCPD later. He heads off to find Arkham but finds The Black Mask instead. And I guess the Black Mask's high charisma means he has the power of suggestion.

Dude! Batman! That might not have killed him but he's just a normal guy! Batman just gave him a partial lobotomy!

Batman gets to Arkham and hauls his butt out of the Asylum. It's 9:49 PM as Batman is leaving and he plans on dropping Arkham off with Dick Grayson on his way to find Lincoln March and the Birds of Prey (Birds of Prey #9 & Batman #9!). So now I know Batman survives his fight in the Batcave though I haven't seen how that fight turns out (maybe I never will!) and now I know Nightwing survives his battle with William Cobb Talon! Sheesh, DC! You can't even do crossovers without spoiling every single issue!

That's the end of the regularly scheduled feature. The backup story is about Two Face (ONE FACE!).
Oh yeah! Isn't this the second part of the previous backup story? I better look at last month's commentary to refresh my memory! Okay. Dent is supposed to meet with some other lawyer that's been a pain in his ass. They meet. The pain in the ass wants to work with Harvey. Harvey agrees. Harvey goes to find the guy blackmailing the pain in the ass. The word ugly gets thrown around a lot. Five times across two pages, I think. And then a bunch of people die and Harvey is captured by some samurais. I guess I have to read a third part to this story I don't care about but am paying an extra dollar for. What a stupid sucker I am!

Detective Comics #9 Rating: No change. I think this comic would have been worth a +1 if it were still $2.99. And then only because I have it rated so low, it doesn't have to be spectacular to move up the charts. But it costs $3.99 so fuck you, Tony Daniel and DC Comics!

Batman: The Dark Knight #8

I asked in another commentary why Batman has so many Wonderland foes. And now we get to see them all together! Maybe Finch and Harris will "make up" some new ones. I put make up in quotes because I really meant steal or plagiarize or borrow without asking.

This is my last issue of the New 52 until I'm technically caught up. Technically because it's currently May 31st and the only comics left in the stack came out in this May! Technically because that means I still have 50 regular issues and 2 Annuals left to read (I'm actually caught up on Batwing and Justice League International. This probably means I'll rush through the commentary on this one. Except it's about Wonderland, one of my favorite places, so maybe that won't happen.

First off, the cover gives credit to David Finch and Richard Friend. But that's all they did was the cover. The interior pencils are by Ed Benes and the inks by Rob Hunter and Jack Purcell. Just one of many editorial fuck ups on DC's part.

Commissioner Gordon calls Batman to take a look at a crime scene before the regular police get their hands on it. It's in the subway and dozens of corpses litter the platform and the train. And they all apparently killed each other and/or themselves.

Gordon continues to be hassled by Forbes, the idiot in Internal Affairs. Forbes has gone to the mayor and requested that Gordon undergo a psychological evaluation and Mayor Hady agreed. Gordon is a little bit pissed about it.

So the two parts of the story are tying together neatly with the title of this issue, "The Madness."
The Gotham subway is full of old closed-off tunnels which Batman has decided to investigate. The first foes he encounters are Tweddle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum prepare to have a battle.

Batman has entered Wonderland and they're all mad down there. Although, technically, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum roam the lands behind the looking glass. The Tweedles are acting loonier than usual so Batman decides they're under some for of mind control just like the passengers of the subway. Alfred, who is in radio contact with Batman, fears what this might mean for the rest of Gotham. And no sooner does he voice his fear, then he sees evidence on television that other people are being affected by the Madness.

Wouldn't Batman be investigating the subway much later than a press conference would be scheduled? This timing seems fishy and contrived!

And across Gotham, Gordon has already been scheduled to visit the shrink. Now that's really really convenient! Really!

Batman chases Dum and Dee back to their headquarters where he encounters the next Wonderland resident.

Who else when Mind Control and Wonderland are involved? And the cover highlights his participation.

The Mad Hatter has the Tweedle boys positioning a radio transmission dish over Gotham. The Hatter is spreading his madness and Batman, well, Batman stops it. With a little help from Gordon who arrives in a helicopter in time to distract the Mad Hatter. Yeah, he does it that easily. Just, you know, stops the Mad Hatter.

And that's the whole story! A story just to showcase more Wonderland villains because the White Rabbit has been running around Gotham for the last 8 issues. It also, sort of, compares Gotham to Wonderland. Are the people of Gotham prone to violence, crime, and madness simply because they live in Gotham? Were the residents of Wonderland mad because of the influence of Wonderland? Or is the madness already there in the heads and hearts of the people, just waiting for something like The Mad Hatter to tip them past the breaking point.

Who cares? The Mad Hatter is a big jerk that caused a bunch of people to kill themselves and then Batman knocked him off of a building. Batman seems awfully careless with the lives of villains in these Dark Knight stories. Is that why they're Dark Knight stories? Is he supposed to be a bit more ruthless in these than in the others? This story was also just filler until the Night of Owls story in Issue #9.

Batman: The Dark Knight #8 Rating: No change. So this is the comic where the creators pull an emotion or a state of being out of a hat and then write a story based on that?

"Fear!" "Oh! Oh! I can fill seven fucking issues on that! Easy!
"Madness!" "Oh! Wonderland characters! One issue story!
"Impotence!" Yes! More White Rabbit cameos! Four issues!

Batman: The Dark Knight #7

I hope this is the real final final battle with Bane. I know Bats won't kill him, but maybe he'll overdose on his Venom.

David Finch is back to being a co-plotter which I suspect was the case for the last issue as well. I don't think Paul Jenkins has really been taking part much in this thing. I think he's just adding his name to get a bump in his salary.

Batman was getting his ass handed to him by Bane last issue but this issue opens with Batman pulling a disappearing act on the gigantic idiot. Bane thinks he smashes Batman with a rock but what probably happens is that Batman is pushed out of the way by the rock displacing the water and Batman is washed up on shore away from Bane. Probably since it really just looks like Batman was smashed and then disappears.

Batman quickly assesses the situation.

Infinitely stronger? I think that's infinitely improbable! And smarter than the Batman? Because of the drug? He's just a big dumb oaf to begin with! How could Batman make this assessment of Bane's intelligence this quickly? Batman outsmarted him by getting away, right? Batman is stupider than Bane! Oh wait....

Batman searches the one building in the area not destroyed by his fight with Superman and discovers Bane has a prisoner.

Oh, there were clues! I forgot about those. Forget whatever I said about Poison Ivy being a dead end.

Poison Ivy was kidnapped because Bane may have needed her to help make the formula but he definitely needed her to procure the rare flower used in the making of the new Venom. I'm surprised Batman is willing to just let her go. I'm not quite as surprised that he knows about her involvement with the Birds of Prey or that he knows about the Birds of Prey operating in his city. But why allow it? Doesn't he usually frown on other vigilantes that aren't part of his Bat-Family and thus under his thumb a little bit?

Again I missed something though. The Virgin Star Cactus, the rare plant Ivy gave Bane access to, was used to create an antidote for the new Venom. It's what was waiting for him on the Batplane. It needs to be ingested to work, so Batman is going to figure out how to get Bane to open wide. It would be easy if it were Catwoman who needed to ingest the antidote! Or Robin.

Batman and Bane call each other chicken and resort, once again, to fisticuffs. Meanwhile, The Flash outruns the Venom by running too hard. Or something. Who fucking cares? It's all Comic Book Magic anyway! After he outruns the poison, he zips back toward Gotham to help Batman. Superman just stands around in a cornfield in Kansas because the comic book would probably end too quickly if he headed back to help Batman as well.

Back in Gotham, Bane is still going on and on and on about fear. Geez. This entire story did nothing to actually show Batman afraid of anything. Not once was there any emotion involved in the revelations of the things Batman might actually fear. And now he's admitting to himself that he fears Bane. But he fears failure more.

This entire story might have had something interesting to say about Batman and fear but the execution was atrocious. I should go back through and read the story without reading the Narration Boxes just to see if it makes any sense. Because a good comic about revealing Batman's fears would do it without constantly telling the reader about fear over and over and over. And every fucking enemy Batman met in this story harped on fear like they were all in on it together instead of just all randomly out on sprees while cracked out on Venom.

So, where did I leave Bane and Batman?

Oh yeah.

The Flash arrives just in time to catch the vial of antidote. After which, Batman punches Bane in the throat and throws the antidote into Bane's mouth. Yeah, I didn't skip anything. The Flash never gives the antidote back to Batman to toss in Bane's mouth.

I know The Flash could have quickly given it back to Batman. But that's just making excuses for the poor storyboarding.

Batman shoves Bane off the cliff where he just stands at the top with The Flash and they watch Bane, unconscious with his Venom about to wear off, slip into the water and disappear. Batman casually says, "He'll be back." Yeah? Or he's going to drown. For someone who refuses to kill, it seems awfully irresponsible to just let an unconscious man disappear under the water. And why let him go anyway? The Flash could easily run down and drag him off to whatever prison can hold this beast. It seems a huge failure on Batman's part to let Bane go, only to cause more destruction and loss of life. Especially when Batman fears failure. This ending is stupidly duped.

And then there's the epilogue which is probably meant to be a twist (which is why I call this comic "The Dark Knight Shyamalan."

Okay. Raise your hands whoever called it that Jai was the White Rabbit? Everyone!? Well, la de fucking da!

Batman: The Dark Knight #7 Rating: -1 Ranking. That negative one reflects my feelings on the overall storyline. A concept that maybe (MAYBE) could have been interesting but was just put together terribly. Snyder's Batman deals with Batman's fears so much better than this one. SO MUCH BETTER!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight #6

Notice the "With Respect to Kelly Jones" on Bane's wrist? Yeah, yeah. Forget that and just keep playing the What Did Finch Plagiarize This Month?! game.

Last issue ended with Superman beating the jizzly snot out of Batman. Now where I come from (Earth), that means Batman is dead. Or at least has some serious broken bones. Maybe some internal bleeding. But this is Earth One Panel Doesn't Follow Another Panel. The ruler of this Earth is David Finch. And, I guess, if I'm a comic book fan, I'm supposed to overlook shit writing for the privilege of being allowed to read DC's super hero comics.

Of course, Superman is a goody two shoes ultimate boy scout. So he would have punched Batman in all the right places to not leave any bruises (just ask Lois) and he would have thrown him gently against the ground. And I should just read the comic instead of making up reasons to hate David Finch before even getting to the comic book. But oh boy I can't wait for some honest to goodness real reasons to hate his stupid face.

The credits appear on page two. And now Paul Jenkins name has gone from co-plotter to story with David Finch merely credited with Art. Although Dialogue Assists are being handed out to New Firestorm Writer, the racist scumbag Joe Harris (might not actually be a racist or a condom). So I guess I can only make fun of David Finch for the art now!

The first thing Paul Jenkins does is try to fix the stupid thing where Flash is trying to outrun the toxin in his body by somehow forcing himself to not metabolize shit by expending a ton of energy running. So the first thing Batman does when he regains consciousness is realize his mistake. Batman has counteracted the drug by this comic book reasoning: the drug is activated by adrenalin. But once the adrenalin in the body stops, the person hemorrhages the way Two Face (ONE FACE!) did. So when Flash stops running, he'll collapse in a bloody mess same as Two (ONE!) Face. But Batman counteracted the drug how? By having TOO much adrenaline! Yes! Superman pushed Batman past the adrenaline limit of the drug and deactivated the process! So now Batman is sending Superman to go beat up The Flash too!

Superman is drawn like a girl.

Batman really does send Superman to beat up The Flash. I thought maybe they would think up a better plan. If it were Green Lantern they were trying to save, I could see him telling Superman to not hold back anything. But what did The Flash ever do to Batman?

And why has The Flash been poisoned by the Venom toxin anyway? Batman just supposed that Poison Ivy was behind it because of the rarity of the plant needed and then he just assumed that she had put the toxin on the thorns of the plants. But Poison Ivy has been off with The Birds of Prey in a really horrible story that makes no kind of sense whatsoever, so I think Batman may have been wrong anyway and The Flash has been ping ponging around the East Coast for months for no good reason.

Back to the comic, The White Rabbit shows up and challenges Batman to follow her. She thinks he's scared. Oh yeah! There's one thing Batman isn't and that's scared! I mean, there are other things he isn't as well. But he's definitely not that. I wonder if the Scarecrow will ever show up again in this story?

Now I get it! This is a story about nonsense! And they got it exactly right!

This is less Batman than Jenkins trying to figure out an angle for The White Rabbit besides the obvious angle of having a half-naked bunny woman running around in every other panel. But Wonderland isn't full of nonsense characters. It's full of characters that seem nonsensical to an outsider invading each of their stories and lives. I would categorize the characters in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as whimsically philosophical.

Oops! I was wrong! I forgot Jenkins is going to make sense of this thing!

And it already makes sense with this panel and the knowledge that Bane will be appearing any second now. The Scarecrow develops some toxin (Venom!) that makes people crazy strong and muscular. The toxin is tested out on inmates at Arkham by the White Rabbit. Tested and used to cause a diversion. While Gotham explodes in insanity, every single law enforcement officer and hero is busy trying to stop the wackos. But a trail is set up to get Batman to this island. I don't know why the Scarecrow gave the toxin to Batman. Maybe he just wanted to try one last time to defeat Batman himself before he gives him over to Bane. And then the culmination of the plan: Bane kills Batman! Yay! Rube Goldberg would be proud!

Ouch! Hiss! Mrowr!

Oh, and Batman admits to being afraid again. Can't he even remember that he's not afraid of anything? Except living. And the people he loves being harmed. And what his enemies can do.

He caught her! He caught her!

Meanwhile Superman catches up with The Flash and casually flies alongside him as The Flash sprints around the planet. Superman is a bad-ass! Superman casually uses the word 'venom' while describing the toxin and this, for some reason, strikes The Flash and he has a Dr. House moment of insight. He claims Batman has it all wrong and he and Superman head back to Batman. They should be back to him in a few seconds, right?

Back on the island, Batman finally meets Bane!

This should be a poster! Batman Knocked Out Under a Full Moon.

I guess Batman meets Bane again. I sometimes forget that this New DCU is really just the old DCU with some stories ejected and some new things added. But most of the old stories still somehow took place. At least whenever a writer needs one to have taken place. Which accounts for the reason The Flash reacted to the word Venom. He realized Bane was back before the stupid Dark Knight did.

Who would be? Look at the mutated idiot pinhead. Fuck, I hate Bane.

Up until Bane appeared, I was actually enjoying this of The Dark Knight. But Bane just keeps running his mouth and finally ends by letting Batman know the new mix of Venom makes him smarter. Great! So now he's got the intelligence of a below average person.

Hey Bane! Guess what! Batman's absolutely right. You may have broken your back but he's never been afraid of you because all you are is a super strong imbecile. Now you're a super strong D student. The only reason you beat Batman in Knightfall was because he was dehydrated, sleep deprived, and fatigued from beating every other Arkham villain in town in one long marathon round-up. This is nearly the exact same story just not as drawn out (remember the Plagiarizing Game?) . That's why everyone was let loose. To make Batman tired and weak again so that Bane would have a chance of defeating him. But Bane, you're an idiot and you've never been anything but a minor Batman villain with extra muscles.

Batman: The Dark Knight #6: No change. I almost gave it +1 because it was getting better. But then when Bane appeared and the first thing he says to Batman is, "Your fear is mine alone." Shut up already. Enough with the fear theme. Seven issues of "Is Batman afraid of anything?!" and it's not even explored very well. It could have been done better if the Narration Boxes were dropped and the art and dialogue were allowed to tell the story. Batman's fear in confronted by the Court of Owls and Talon and the possibility that Gotham betrayed him is communicated a whole lot better in Snyder's Batman book. This comic wasn't even needed. Just too many Batman titles in The New 52. How many books does DC have to throw in the reader's face screaming, "Look at what we created! The coolest character evar!"

All Star Western #8

Punch her in the pussy!

Last issue, I was just going along with whatever the story was telling me even though I didn't quite understand why events were transpiring the way they were. Hex was forced to help Cinnamon and Nighthawk find the guy blowing up buildings but how that immediately led Hex to try to get in the Arena and then accidentally hook up with the guy behind it all (probably), I don't know. Is this all a great big coincidence? And why is Hex suddenly going to fight Z.C. who is friends with Mr. Coy, the man Hex has struck up a friendship based on a shared sense of racism? And was I calling Nighthawk "Knighthawk" all last issue? I really wasn't paying much attention!

While Cinnamon and Nighthawk patrol the city and Hex fights to the death against a sexy woman, Arkham has found other diversions to occupy him.

What the hell does an Arkham hallucinate?

Since Arkham is narrating the story, I would expect it to get sort of loose and wacky and full of opiate delirium. But I think it's going to remain in his normal, non-intoxicated voice. Arkham reminds me that the group Hex and his cohorts are trying to find call themselves the August 7. They like blowing up businesses that use immigrant labour. Maybe that's why Hex went to the Arena. It's probably well known that they have a white woman killing immigrants in battles to the death. But that would be tough to find the guy behind it all amidst an entire stadium full of racist assholes! What if they're all in it like the Crime Bible Society of Gotham! Now Hex will have to take on all of New Orleans!

Gratuitous shot of Arkham enjoying himself.

Like most months in-between issues, a fight breaks out. Most of the fight takes place while the reader is away. Normally I don't mind. Go ahead and skip the first big action scene between Batman and Superman in The New 52. Nobody's going to feel cheated! But you know what? I feel cheated here. I really wanted to see Hex get his ass kicked by this bird:

I hate when people ask two part questions like this. I always just answer the first part and ignore the rest.

They do continue the fight for a bit in this comic. Here are the highlights:

You didn't think I was showing you all the tits and ass shots because I was a pervert, did you?! It's because that wasn't a fight! It was foreplay!

The fight pleases more people than just the combatants. Mr. Coy bids on Jonah Hex by flashing a Seven of Diamonds. Is he the 7th in the August 7? The bidding might be a way for the August 7 to collect henchman and bodyguards.

Meanwhile in the Opiate Den, a raid is commencing!

Arkham pleads research! Is it legal for doctors to take illegal substances for research purposes?! Why didn't anybody tell me! I would have went to medical school!

Amadeus is thrown in the clink despite his protestations that the pipe in his mouth was for research purposes and his dick in the Chinese girl was a diplomatic summit.

Jonah Hex receives an offer from Hiram Coy to join the August 7 but first he needs to prove he can be trusted by sinking a steamship full of people before it leaves port in the morning. If he doesn't do it, he'll never know who the other four of the seven are (currently he knows, Coy, the woman with Coy, Lenore Robin, and the battle babe, Z.C. Branke). Hex is going to go through with it but Cinnamon and Nighthawk won't let him. Until he steals Nighthawk's necklace and threatens to shoot them both in the head. He then storms out telling them to find Arkham. Hex probably has a plan that doesn't quite involve killing hundreds of innocent people. But then again, you never know. He's got a job to do and he's going to do it, by gum!

Meanwhile, Arkham is busy psychoanalyzing inmates in the jail. Captain Eider lets him out saying he put a call in to Gotham and they corroborated his story that he was in town with a bounty hunter searching for a felon. But when Arkham mentions the bounty hunter's name and describes the scars all over his face, Captain Eider draws his gun. It looks like Arkham found the fourth of the August 7! Good job! Kind of. Except I think y'all need a new plan now.

One of the 7 is a sailor scout!

Arkham and Hex are tied up and rowed out to the ship that the August 7 are going to sink. Looks like next issue is going to be a short one.

The back-up story continues with Nighthawk and Cinnamon trapped in a mine with a single lantern. This time, Cinnamon tells her story. While she tells it, they wander around the mine until they find a crack in the rocks. It leads to a tomb where two ancient corpses lie, each with a golden necklace. Nighthawk and Cinnamon rob the grave, wear the necklaces, and escape. They notice Robertson and his men headed toward New Orleans. So that's where they're headed since Robertson killed Cinnamon's dad and maybe he did something to Nighthawk as well.

All Star Western #8 Rating: No change. Still nothing special, either in a good or a bad way.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

All Star Western #7

$0.50 Shave. $1 Haircut. $5 Bath. $20 Suck and Fuck. $50 Fight to the Death.

Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham have traveled to New Orleans chasing after Thurston Moody, the man behind the child slave ring used to build the Gotham sewers. Who else was Moody supposed to get to build the sewers? Some of those passages are pretty small. I guess the trouble he brought on himself was forcing the kids to work without pay. If he'd just given each one a nickel a day, he probably wouldn't have been breaking any laws.

This is Jonah and his horse and Amadeus and his horse arriving in New Orleans.
This is the boring caption to the picture of Jonah and his horse and Amadeus and his horse arriving in New Orleans.

As soon as Hex and Arkham and their horses step off the steam ship, a building explodes! Hex is a great big schleprock! Jonah Hex runs into the flaming rubble to rescue a bunch of women and children.

When Hex emerges, he's greeted by a young Stan Lee. 'nuff said, bitches!

Hex collapses and isn't breathing. Luckily Knighthawk and Cinnamon, in their non-stripper guises of Hannibal and Kate, are there to meet up with Hex. Hannibal puts a necklace around Hex's neck to save his life. That doesn't seem normal. The necklace gives the wearer extra strength and speed and, I guess, keeps him from dying. Knighthawk and Cinnamon both wear one and have become Wild West Super Heroes! But they still need Hex's help to find the person blowing up buildings in town. It takes some convincing to get Hex to help out.

Arkham doesn't need convincing because he's a pansy who wants to help da widdle chiddrens.

Hex ends up investigating an arena in town where they hold gladiator style fights to the death. He meets a man who can't stop talking about the invasion of foreign types into his southern homeland, stealing jobs and committing crimes. Jonah pretends to agree (or really does agree. But probably just doesn't give a shit one way or the other, actually) while they watch a waif of a girl take down a gigantic Roman foreigner.

I want to know what she calls that move in the upper right panel.

As you would expect, Jonah gets his chance in the Arena. Acting as if he's in need of money, the man he's with, Mr. Coy, suggests that Hex try his chance in the arena. Hex confirms that it isn't always to the death and he agrees. It's not that Hex is afraid of being killed! He probably just doesn't want to kill someone who's just trying to make a buck himself. By, you know, killing other guys trying to make some bucks.

Jonah defeats his opponent fairly quickly and then the girl, Z.C., challenges Jonah.

This issue didn't take much time to read at all. Between Hex fire fighting and then fighting with Knighthawk and then watching Z.C. fight and then fighting his own fight, it's mostly just a bunch of punches getting thrown. Hex hasn't even had time to investigate Thurston Moody because Knighthawk and Cinnamon keep beating him up whenever he tries to go do his own thing. So he's stuck in this storyline until its end, I guess. Hopefully that will be next issue.

The back-up story is about Knighthawk and Cinnamon. It sheds light on Knighthawk's early years. Same old, same old. While he's busy littering the panels with Narration Boxing, Knighthawk and Cinnamon are beaten down by the Robertson Gang. Then they're carted off and thrown in a mine to be dynamited in. During the next half of the story next issue, I imagine we'll get Cinnamon's background. And it won't be exciting enough to mention either!

All Star Western #7 Rating: No change. Lots and lots and lots of action this month but little else.

Monday, May 28, 2012

All Star Western #6

Bat, Giant. Frequency: Uncommon. No. Appearing: 3-18. Armour Class: 8. Move: 3"/18". Hit Dice: 1-4 hit points or 1. % in lair: 50%. Treasure Type: Nil. No. of Attacks: 1. Damage/Attack: 1-2 or 1-4. Special Attacks: Nil. Special Defences: See below. Magic Resistance: Standard. Intelligence: Non-. Alignment: Neutral. Size: S. Psionic Ability: Nil. Attack/Defence Modes: Nil. Level/X.P. Value: I/5 + 1 per hit point or I/10 + 1 per hit point.

I had to dig out the Fiend Folio to find a Giant Bat. How the hell could a Giant Bat be overlooked in the first Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual? Some Module writer or Dragon Magazine writer had to make one up. You know Dungeon Masters were demanding it. They probably made up their own while waiting for some official version. And I'm willing to bet all of the homemade versions of Giant Bats were way more bad-ass than this official version. This Giant Bat sucks! 1-4 or 1 hit point?! Really? A normal sized fucking bat is going to have 1 hit point! Wait wait wait. I'm digging out Monster Manual II now.

Ordinary Bat. Same armor class (except without the 'u' in armour). 1-2 hit points! So I guess it's half the size of a giant bat. Meaning a giant bat is really more of a fat, overfed bat. An ordinary bat is the same size, S. You would think the Giant Bat would be an L. It does only 1 point of damage which is half as much as the wimpy Giant Bat. I think somebody really fucked up on the official version of the Giant Bat. I'm sure absolutely nobody ever used one with those stats.

Now let's see if Jonah Hex can easily defeat this Giant Bat attacking him and Amadeus Arkham. I think Jonah Hex is at least Level Six, so he should take care of it with a casual backhand.

Okay, it took a hit from a torch (improvised weapon, negligible damage), a kick (probably 1-3 damage) and a punch (again, 1-3 damage) to take it out. This must have been one of those 4 hit point Giant Bats. Which means 40 XP for Jonah Hex!

The underground natives are impressed by Jonah Hex's ability to kill one of the weakest monsters ever created in Dungeons and Dragons. This whole underground tribe must be Level 0 Natives. Since Jonah Hex managed to kill such an enormous threat to their people, they show him and Amadeus the way out. A giant hole hundreds of feet above their heads with vines hanging down. Time to start climbing!

The hole opens up in the backyard of Wayne Manor. What a surprise!

Luckily, the Waynes are a few of the nice people of Gotham. Nice People of Gotham: Frequency: Very Rare.

The Waynes suggest going to the police and for once, Jonah Hex agrees with this plan. Does he agree because someone other than Amadeus Arkham suggested it? I think he agrees to this plan because that big fat child kidnapper still has Hex's guns and what the fuck is Hex going to do without his guns? Bringing the police in at least gives Jonah some borrowed guns. And possibly he was deputized as well. Wait. Was he already deputized? I don't think so. The original sheriff hated him. But now that sheriff is dead because he wouldn't join the Crime Bible Criminals. I wonder who the new sheriff is?

This is the song I hear in my head during this scene entire raid.

While Amadeus helps corral the kids, Jonah Hex goes after his hat. While he's recovering his hat, he tortures the fat guy and asks him about Thurston Moody's kid.

It doesn't make sense to me either! I hope the next few pages will be exposition telling me why the story I just read occurred!

Jonah Hex tracks down the family he met at the orphanage with the sick boy that escaped the mines. They kidnapped Thurston Moody's kid because nobody cared about poor or orphaned kids disappearing. They didn't hurt the boy and the boy acted as if it were nothing more than a vacation. But the parents knew that people would listen if a rich kid's son went missing.

I just took a look back at Issue #4 to see how this all started since remembering this shit is sometimes hard. Thurston Moody was the guy who first approached Jonah Hex to find his missing child and he offered Hex 50,000 dollars for the job. It was at that moment that I should have realized Moody was lying! No way Hex was going to earn fifty thousand dollars! And the only way Hex wouldn't get the money is if Moody were a big fat stinking liar. Because everyone knew Hex was going to get the job done once he accepted.

Sean and Moody's kid have gotten close during the kidnapping. But Sean, the poor people's child that escaped and gave Jonah all of the information he needed to find the children forced into building Gotham's sewers, dies. And Hex tells Moody's kid that it was his father's fault that Sean is dead.

I don't know enough about Gotham's major players. Is Moody a big name in the present? I bet the name was in the list of people the Talons are killing and I just don't remember. It's probably a name I've read multiple times but I've just forgotten. Or it's nothing. But I doubt it's nothing!

When the boy is brought back to his mother, Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham discover that Moody has fled to New Orleans. Jonah fixes to go after him for two reasons: Moody promised him money and the trip will get Hex the fuck out of Gotham. Road trip!

The Barbary Ghost back-up story ends with Yanmei Tsen (the Barbary Ghost!) killing the man who killed most of her family. But while doing this, she learns that her mother is still alive and has been sold to a circus as a prostitute. That's a pretty good attraction! So the story ends with The Barbary Ghost and her grandfather riding off to search for Yanmei's mother.

All Star Western #6 Rating: No change. Next issue is going to introduce Nighthawk and Cinnamon to Jonah Hex's adventures. I wish I knew more about DC's cavalcade of western heroes. If only I had my old Who's Who comics with me, I could probably look up a lot of these characters. I guess I could look them up online but that just doesn't interest me as much as digging through old comic book boxes to pull out comics I haven't looked at in over twenty years. The main story was decent enough. But the back-up story has been really vanilla. I'm hoping for something a little more exciting next time.