Monday, December 31, 2012

Legion of Super-heroes #15

You can tell when a comic book is desperate for a jump in sales because they shove a dinosaur on the front hoping that small boys wandering through the comic book stores will make their parents buy it for them.

Last issue, a bunch of Legionnaires were doing a bunch of stuff. There was a lot of drama. I think somebody cried. Now that I'm all caught up, DINOSAURS!

But first, the Legionnaires argue all morning about their missing comrade Glorith. She disappeared into a pink portal the night before but they don't know that. They just know she's missing. They spend the rest of the morning having the following conversation:

Dragonwing: "Glorith is missing and she was supposed to go shopping with me while I told her about how I can breathe fire and shoot acid venom out of my orifices."
Harmonia: "She probably went shopping without you. I can sense these things because I'm a natural elemental."
Chemical Kid: "But she wouldn't go anywhere without first saying how much she likes how I catalyze chemical reactions so well!"
Brainiac 5: "Using my 12th Level Intelligence, I agree with whoever is eventually going to be right."
Cosmic Boy: "But you're wrong! I should also remind everyone that I can manipulate magnetism."
Mon-El: "Until all of our fans send in their votes for a new leader, I'm still the one in charge! With my super speed and super senses and flight and invulner...."
Science Police: "Alert! Alert! Stop fucking arguing and go fight some fucking dinosaurs in future Barcelona! Alert! Alert!"


Brainiac 5 deduces that a Timestorm has hit Barcelona. People and creatures from all across time have ended up in 31st Century Barcelona. Maybe if Brainiac 5 studies this phenomenon, he'll be able to fix the Time Bubbles so they can bypass the Flashpoint.

Ultra Kid smashes some tanks and Mon Boy punches some dinosaurs and Harmonkey makes it rain and Brainiac 5 strokes his chin and eventually they figure out that someone is using Glorith to create the Timestorm. So they have her shield herself from the world with her magic and the trouble stops. Then Brainiac says, "We'll have to keep an eye out for who did this!" And life returns to normal.

Legion of Super-heroes #15 Rating: -2 Ranking. Why the fuck did I buy this issue? And just when I thought I was beginning to like this comic book. Blech!

Red Hood and the Outlaws #15

Just one more of these nearly identical covers left!

So far in The Death of the Family, The Joker has gotten Robin, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Red Hood to say that they're going to kill him. I don't think Nightwing said it but that's because he's really matured over the years and he's even been in Batman's underwear for awhile. So he knows better. But with all of the characters yelling "I'll kill you!" at The Joker, I'm starting to believe that was basically The Joker's plan. Make every member of the Bat Family think that The Joker knows who they are. Fuck with their lives so much that they want to kill him. Then gather them all together at a party in Arkham and watch how pissed off and hurt they get when The Batman takes The Joker's side and keeps them from killing him. Although I think it'll be okay if Alfred kills him.

At the end of last issue, Isabel was dying from a drug overdose which was probably The Joker's fault but I don't know her that well. She might be a big time drug user and it's just a coincidence that she's dying on the floor while The Joker taunts Jason Todd from the television and a bunch Gotham Police break into the apartment to arrest Jason Todd.

Jason Todd beats them all up.

According to Scott Lobdell's horrible Red Hoods #0, The Joker does know Jason Todd is The Red Hood.

If Jason Todd is going about being Jason Todd then The Joker absolutely knows Jason Todd is one of the Bat Family. And he could probably guess that he took up the name The Red Hood to connect with the psychopath that killed him. The Joker would know all of this because according to Scott Lobdell, The Joker created Jason Todd. He manipulated reality to such an extent that he was able to get Batman to take on Jason Todd as the new Robin. So fucking amazing! What that means for this comic book is that it's already the least interesting of the Death of the Family stories. The other stories kept it ambiguous as to whether or not The Joker actually knows their identities. But there's no ambiguity here! And if The Joker knows who Jason Todd is then maybe Jason Todd was the weak link that enabled The Joker to figure out everyone else's identity! And yet here that bastard is blaming Batman yet again.

Even if Scott Lobdell's crappy Joker back-up in the zero issue hadn't ruined the uncertainty, I don't think he could have handled telling a story that left the question up in the air.

While Nightwing suspected The Joker might know his secret identity, he still took the time to cover his tracks when changing identities or going about town as Dick Grayson. Here we see Jason Todd assuming his cover is blown, changing from Jason to Red Hood in a way that even Detective Bullock will figure it out, and then planning on driving straight to the fucking Batcave with The Joker in the backseat.

Jason Todd is lucky that The Joker gasses him in the next panel or he would have fucked up everything for everyone. Again. What an asshole.

Let's take a second to look at this scene from The Joker's point of view now. The Joker attacks Isabel in her apartment while the only connection she has is one date with Jason Todd (and most of that was off planet). Then he waits in the police car for Jason Todd who is now dressed as The Red Hood. So yeah. The Joker absolutely knows Jason Todd is The Red Hood. If it turns out differently, somebody smarter than me is going to have to explain how this isn't that.

Back on Starfire's mysterious island which is apparently "half a continent away" from Gotham City (fucking Lobdell. I guess the island is in Kansas), Roy and Starfire are flirting.

Oh! Starfire! Pay attention to me! Does this turn you on: "I once scrittled a varmuntiulious brittlebox by shaxxing the polygluttonfelsh to the ambulatory sconce flow which up-jacked the ratio of invisoshock permutations to flattermodule levels."

So back with Jason Todd and The Joker, I have to say the whole Death of the Family crossover is ruined. The Joker torments Jason Todd with a crowbar through his Red Hood mask (which he stole off of Starfire's island an issue or two ago). He mentions how he manipulated Jason Todd throughout his life although in a way that confuses Jason Todd because he didn't read the back-up story in Red Hood #0. And if The Joker knows all of this, he knows everything else as well. It's no longer a mystery. The Joker knows everything.

The only thing keeping me from actually believing my previous paragraph is that Scott Snyder is writing the actual Death of the Family story and Scott Lobdell writes Hardy Boys Graphic Novels. I haven't read them. Maybe they're amazing. Maybe that's where he's putting all of his effort because he certainly isn't trying in the pages of Teen Titans or Red Hood.

Case in point:

The fact that The Joker was able to smash a crowbar through Jason Todd's nearly unbreakable Red Hood isn't the point I'm casing.

So that paralytic toxin that immobilized you long enough to be taken from the police car to the warehouse until you came to and which continued to keep you from moving a finger meant next to nothing to you?

If Jason Todd had enough training for a paralytic toxin to mean next to nothing to him then he never would have been in a position where The Joker could have killed him using one. The Joker had plenty of time to kill him while Jason Todd couldn't "move so much as a finger." Or is it possible that Jason Todd couldn't fight the toxin until The Joker told him that it was a toxin? And then Jason Todd did some mumbo jumbo meditative breathing technique which instantly cleared it from his system?

I'm just fucking sick of Scott Lobdell's reality changing from panel to panel for his story telling needs. I get it that the toxin doesn't work on Jason due to his training. But then don't have Jason realize he's paralyzed and wonder what it is! Have The Joker mention the paralyzing toxin and Jason pretending to suffer from it until he has a chance to strike, you stupid asshole.

Leaving my hatred for this tripe behind and beginning a new chapter of love for this respectable writer and his wonderful creation, Bullock makes a call from Isabel's phone. He calls the last number dialed assuming it belongs to the guy in the towel that kicked his officers' asses. He tells him he believes he was set up by someone and wants to help. Luckily Roy Harper set up a bug in Jason's phone and overhears the message, so he and Starfire are off to Gotham to help battle The Joker.

After The Joker knocks out Jason Todd with an electric crowbar and has put the Red Hood mask back on him, Scott Lobdell decides to backtrack and begin the ambiguous part of the story.

So The Joker calls him "boy" and "son" and this convinces him that maybe The Joker doesn't know who he is after all! Forget all of the evidence to the contrary like how he found him in Isabel's apartment while he was simply going by Jason Todd!

It's a good thing I decided to believe in this comic book when I did because now I can pretend that all of that other stuff didn't happen. You know? Like how The Joker captured Jason Todd in a way that could only mean that he was capturing Jason Todd and not The Red Hood? Now that Jason Todd doubts The Joker, I can too! Everything is right with the Death of the Family crossover once again!

But then The Joker proves that he does know who The Red Hood is because I forgot how The Joker manipulated Jason Todd's entirely life! How could I be so dumb? The Joker leaves a bullet for Red Hood to find as evidence that The Joker knows exactly who he is.

I'm not a doctor but I'm pretty sure the ass is a little bit lower.

The Joker continues to remind Jason Todd of major moments in his life, showing him scenes from his life and leaving meaningful objects for Jason Todd to find. And then Jason Todd finally understands the stupidity of this whole story.

Yeah, I can't believe it either, buddy! It's so ridiculous, right?!

And then The Joker opens up a pit trap and Red Hood falls into a room with an unconscious Red Robin. Above ground, Starfire and Roy Harper arrive in town just in time to save The Teen Titans from a bunch of Joker Thugs. And then this enjoyable tale will be picked up in Teen Titans.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #15 Rating: -3 Ranking. If The Joker ends up not actually knowing any of the Bat Family's identities (besides Jason Todd's, of course), then he really doesn't care and hasn't been trying. He obviously knows Red Hood's identity and always knew the 2nd Robin's identity, so he would have to be willfully ignorant or a complete moron to not have figured out the rest of them. It's possible that if you're really delusional and really fucking high and you really want to believe that The Joker still doesn't know who Jason Todd is, you can probably read this issue in a way that keeps the whole thing ambiguous. If you do, send me your essay and I'll point out to you every place you've made an error in logic and a biased assumption.

Wonder Woman #15

The distortion of Wonder Woman's face in Orion's helmet makes her look like Shannen Doherty.

The beginning of Wonder Woman makes me a little happy and a little sad all at the same time.

Wesley? Did Azzarello actually write Wesley Willis into Wonder Woman?

This was the first page and the look is absolutely Wesley Wills. And then the rock on. And the eat fresh. It has to be, right?

And then I saw the headbutt when I turned the page and grinned like an idiot.

I had a chance to headbutt Wesley Willis in 1999 or 2000. I forget the year exactly. I saw him perform in a small bar in Portland but was too shy to go over and headbutt him. Also intimidated by the big brown bump on his head from years and years of headbutting people. When I read Grifter #1, I wrote a song about it. That was my tribute to the big guy. I also created a card game about schizophrenia that I lovingly refer to as "The Voices In My Head Made Me Say Suck My Dick In Front Of A Lot Of People." What I loved about Wesley Willis was his joy. Perhaps the pure joy that exuded from him when he sang and played could only come from the pure terror and hell he suffered from his schizophrenia. Are ups like that worth the terrifying downs? I sometimes wish I knew instead of suffering from the middling malaise of emotional detachment. But then who needs all that constant drama? I'm pretty sure I'd rather just sit here in my tiny office with my funny books while people rush all around "interacting" and "living life"!

Who do I contact to get the original artwork for this page!? Never mind. Found it!

While Orion searches for whoever Orion is searching for with the help of the non-title WW, Lennox and the title WW are searching for their brother Milan in an abandoned subway in New York. Milan turns out to be Wesley Willis which is a good thing because he'll be sticking around for awhile. At least as long as this New Gods plotline goes on since he seems to be the connecting rod between the New and the Old Gods.

Lennox and Milan don't get along very well due to Lennox killing one of their sisters seventeen years previously. This sister was a particular favorite of Milan's but Lennox seems to have had to kill her to save a lot of people. Milan doesn't want to help Lennox and he has Orion to back him up.

Do all the Gods in the Universe get together once a century for some kind of convention? Some sort of meet and greet? Does Darkseid clog all of the hotel's toilets?

When Lennox mentions he's found the last of the 20th Century demi-gods, Orion completely flips the fuck out and demands to know where "the last of the line" is. Back in Justice League #6 (as a reader of mine reminded me recently), Darkseid claimed he was attacking Earth "for her" when asked his purpose for invading while Wonder Woman's lasso was wrapped around him. Later in the comic, Desaad or Kalibak or someone off panel states that Darkseid is searching for his daughter. Orion has now come to save the source of all-knowledge which may be tied in to the daughter of Darkseid deal. Perhaps Wonder Woman's parentage isn't completely written in stone yet.

The comic ends with Orion and Wonder Woman about to go to blows while Milan tries to stop it by vomiting trash and flies all over everybody. And the First Born is busy getting his things together in Antarctica.

Wonder Woman #15 Rating: No change. It looks like Azzarello is going to somehow unite the family of the Greek Gods with the family of the New Gods. I don't know much about the New Gods but I do know Orion and Kalibak are Darkseid's sons. If Darkseid has a daughter, I don't know about it. I mean, I figure he must have a daughter since he's searching for her but I don't know if he had one in the Preboot. The only way I can think to tie them together so that Wonder Woman is the central figure of both families is make Hippolyta the daughter of Darkseid. But I don't think that explains why Orion is so interested in the last of the 20th Century Demi-Gods being discovered. I guess I have to wait a month to find out.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Catwoman #15

I'm pretty sure every writer that mentions The Black Diamond in their comic book received a bonus from DC. "We don't care how you do it! Make this Eclipso shit popular!"

Why such a huge boner for Eclipso, DC? This "Black Diamond Probability" crossover has really just been a story in Team 7 about Eclipso with a few other comic books barely related to that story. The best uses of the Black Diamond so far have been in comic books that weren't labeled "The Black Diamond Probability." Like Demon Knights #15 where we learn where the Black Diamond was brought up from Hell by Lucifer's pawn, the banished Amazon Exoristos! Why wasn't that labeled?! The people actually interested in Eclipso will never know how the Diamond came to Earth! The Black Diamond gets a mention in Amethyst as well when a member of House Citrine is debriefing Amethyst's mom about her time on Earth. That seems like a logical tie-in, does it not? Gemworld? Black Diamond? See where I'm going with this?

And now Catwoman. This makes sense because Catwoman is a jewel thief and a cat burglar and batman's booty call. That last part fits in because Batman call's Catwoman's asshole his "Black Diamond." By the way, what is Catwoman going to steal? The Black Diamond hasn't been in one piece for a long time. This must be the biggest piece left although I have a feeling the Black Diamond grows like a crystal since the island that Team 7 is currently on (where Eclipso lives!) has cliffs made of Black Diamond. Oh well. This story takes place five or six years after the Team 7 battling Eclipso story, so maybe all of the Black Diamond pieces have been glued back together by Alex Fairchild.

The issue begins with Selina running people over on her new motorcycle. She pulls up beside Gwen who must have taken a job as Selina's mom. The conversation goes something like this:

Selina Kyle (not her real name!): "Why so mad? Jelly? Ain't a ho got a right to splurge on something other than her clients? That's a sick squirting joke, bitch!"
Gwen: "Okay, slut. But you are not going anywhere dressed like a non-existent stereotype that nobody has ever heard of ever!"
Selina: "Thanks dude! That's the look I was after!"
Gwen: "Let's get to that rich kid's party that I found out about via the Social Media Site That Cannot Be Named So I'll Call It By A Name That's One Letter Off. Do you want to go to Suncash for some coffee first? Hold up a second, let me upload some songs on my jPod."
Selina: "Hey girlfriend! Do you ever have one of those "uncomfortable days"?
Gwen: "I'm having one right now! *scratch scratch scratch*"
Selina: "Well try splashing some of this on your girl: Tom DeFalco! Clean you right up, home fritter!"

Well, that was an awkwardly placed Tom DeFalco is a douche joke. Anyway, Gwen and Selina arrive at some rich kid's party to rob the place blind.

You're right, Gwen! What was I thinking as a young person reading books, biking the Santa Cruz mountains, and playing Dungeons and Dragons! What an idiot! With all of that energy, I should have been curing cancer! Boy was I stupid!

Of course I didn't cure cancer last decade in my thirties either. When am I going to get smart and grow up? You know the best part about reading my comic book blog? I'm getting to that mid-life crisis age where I should be breaking down into some existential crisis soon and y'all will get to read about the entire train wreck as it happens! Whoo whoo! Climb aboard! First stop: What the fuck have I done with my life station!

Gwen did her research on what this family spends their millions on and it's apparently sex toys.

That solid gold french tickler belonged to Louis the XVI and probably was stolen from The Red Room where General J.E.B. Stuart would occasionally try it on to impress his soldiers.

Gwen and Selina are caught stealing by some punks with guns who offer to have sex with them. Is rape at gunpoint an offer? Maybe I used the wrong word. But seeing as how they're threatening Catwoman (or yeah! Threat!), I'm not too worried about how this encounter is going to turn out. It's pretty obvious.

Oh. I thought Batman was going to save her.

This issue of Catwoman is teaching me a whole lot about sex! Apparently I'm supposed to load my penis before using it? If I don't load it first, does that mean I can't get my partner pregnant? I mean if my partner is a female! I mean if my partner is a female human!

This issue of Catwoman is possibly one of the first comic books to actually be earning its Teen Plus rating. Not that I fucking care about ratings! Oh, speaking of ratings, if you're young, you probably shouldn't be reading my commentaries! We talk a lot about adult stuff here that you couldn't possibly understand because you're just not mature enough to really enjoy it. Like black coffee as opposed to those sugar drinks you kids like. Or hard alcohol as opposed to those fruity concoctions and wine coolers and Coors Lightses. Or rim jobs as opposed to hand jobs. These tastes need to be cultivated over time. So it's not that I think young people can't read my commentary. I just don't think you'll enjoy it as much. You might think you do! But you don't! Listen to your elders and go read a Scooby Doo comic book!

I wonder how many people who read my commentaries are actually older than me? I'm 41 and I just assume that everyone reading this shit on Tumblr is 12. I hope I don't end up in a cell with a glass of hemlock for this shit.

Somehow I fell off track because I forgot I wanted to mention the statue of the guy with the giant cock in the background and the dildos on the shelf! Those are why this comic is earning its Teen Plus rating. At least in America. I think in Europe those are standard objects on family mantles everywhere.

This next panel might explain (MIGHT!) a bit about what's going on in this story and why it's been so overtly sexualized to this point.

Ann Nocenti is older than even me so I know her dropping the phrase "Fear of Flying" is simply dripping with allusion and meaning.

Fear of Flying is a novel by Erica Jong and it's all about female sexuality and one woman's search to discover where her own beliefs lie within the convoluted societal portrayal of fucking and monogamy and a woman's role in the wet and messy dance. I've only ever read excerpts and it's been a long fucking time even then (15 years?! older than some of you!), so I can't really speak on the book much. But a writer, especially a woman of Nocenti's age (she was 16 when the book appeared in 1973), doesn't use that phrase without the entire novel standing right behind it. Selina is taking a bit of a cheap shot at Gwen's sense of spontaneity and adventure and (since everything about this job so far has been sexualized) her sexual attitudes as well. Gwen knows it which is why she simply says, "Shut up."

Having only been privy to Ann Nocenti's writing during The New 52, I'm not sure if she'll continue with this theme or she just wanted to make a bit of a statement here about Selina and her strength in every fucking area of life. No doubt Selina can handle anything. But The Black Diamond Probability part of the story hasn't even begun yet, so this might all just be a minor prelude that goes nowhere. From what I've read so far of Nocenti, I've got to believe this isn't going to mean anything to the larger story. It's really not a bad scene except that it suffers from what her other "not a bad scene" scenes suffer from: the writing is generally way over the top and the dialogue feels like the characters are constantly quoting a wikipedia article. Speaking of Wikipedia articles, here's a link to Fear of Flying! I link to this because Catwoman is always unzipped and now her mention of the book gives that an entirely different meaning.

I should also mention that the panel above happens after Selina and Gwen just jumped out of the window at the top of the building and safely swung down on a rope Catwoman had tied around her waist just as Detective Alvarez shows up and doesn't notice the rope hanging from the building. And one last panel to end this mini-adventure. This takes place just after the Doorman threatens to report these two trespassing women to Detective Alvarez.

She bribes him with a double sided diamond dildo. And look at that smile on his face! Selina can read her men!

After her successful job stealing sexual artifacts, she pays a visit to the orphan she pulled out of the Pawn Costume in Joker's big game of Roof Chess.

Merry Christmas!

Afterward, Catwoman returns to Trip Winter for another assignment. If I went to temp agency and they sent me on an assignment where I ended up naked and abused and nearly torn to bits and run over by an ice truck and manhandled by a guy with a face stapled to his face, I probably wouldn't go back to that agency for another job. But then I'm not Catwoman and she did make no money on the Joker gig. Maybe she made a lot of money on it. I think she was paid up front since it wasn't about stealing stuff it was just about moving gigantic chess pieces. I guess the risk versus reward was exactly what she was looking for.

While visiting Trip Winter, Catwoman nearly has sex but Trip Winter is completely appalled by her.

"Oh god the sex! It is too desirable!"

I don't think he's flinging himself away from her in that panel. I think he's having an orgasm. Hell, he lasted longer than I would alone in a motel room with Catwoman!

The job Trip Winter has for Selina is to steal The Black Diamond out of A.R.G.U.S.'s Black Room. Oh fuck! No problem! The best way to do that is to go in as someone nobody at ARGUS has ever seen before and convince them that you're an expert with the smarts! The best way to do that is to put on some glasses, put your hair back in a pony tail and wear a bunch of frumpy layers to hide all of your sexy layers.

I forgot about the nerd chic cat purse and the horrendous name.

Like most analogies, Selina's doesn't hold water here. She should say, "Would I call you, Sergeant Major, 'Tom Bedoit'?" Or, um, whatever his actual name is. If I ever use an analogy in my commentaries, I'm probably doing so out of humor and hilariousness (if I might be so bold as to categorize my own work as such!). Usually people only use analogies because their side of the debate has too many points of attack. So they'll say, "Murdering your parents is like rubbing the tummy of a puppy!" Because murdering your parents would almost universally be seen as a bad thing but if they describe it as rubbing the tummy of a puppy, the person debating them would look like a jerk to condemn that!

Catwoman, sorry, Professor Catwoman is allowed free range in the nerd section of ARGUS. She meets up with some Dungeon Master named Darwin and they ogle old maps that just the mention of make Hitler's rotting penis erect. And then some other weird stuff happens that is too weird for the artist to convey so Darwin has to narrate it as it happens.

I wish more comics were done in this style! Every panel could be the back of a bystander's head as the person explains what they're seeing. "Omigod! Superman is now punching Darkseid in the wiener! And Wonder Woman's boobs are jiggling so much! And that fish guy just shoved a giant fork into Darkseid's head! Now Batman is going to do what Batman trained for:telling everyone how to defeat the bad guy! And they all work together and do it! Way to go, Batman!"

Darwin then mentions that the Black Diamond is the biggest Black Diamond in the universe (how the fuck does he know that? Fucking exaggerator!). He also says it might possibly be from Hell (it is!) which distracts Catwoman enough to get her to rant about how the proof that there is no hell is that this guy's name is Darwin. She really does have an attention problem, doesn't she?

And then there is a double splash page that just makes me angry. I know I shouldn't be since the shot of The Black Room in this comic book matches up to The Black Room portrayed in DC's Free Comic Book Day Comic (that I still need to do commentary on!). But over in G.I. Combat's Haunted Tank story, they call the place where the Haunted Tank is kept The Red Room. The Black Room is for mysterious mystical artifacts and The Red Room is for unknown known unknown not known things. Or something. I fucking forget. Anyway, it was established there were two distinct rooms. But I have to believe that G.I. Combat fucked it up since that comic book only lasted eight issues.

But that's not the only problem! In the Free Comic Book Comic, Pandora mentioned seeing the Black Diamond. But if it's in a safe, how did she see it? Also, in the picture of The Black Room in the Free Comic Book Comic, under a tarp there is what looks like the big diamond that houses Eclipso in Team 7 #3. A small corner is uncovered and it really looks like that although I could be wrong. But that matches up better with Pandora having seen it than this "it's in a safe nonsense."

Anyway, somehow Darwin and Catwoman walk into the Black Room from the Cartography Room. Nonsense but we'll go with it. Then Catwoman begins asking about all the shit in the room and Darwin gives her a nonsensical tour as Ann Nocenti has him just make shit up. But why is he in The Black Room with her anyway? Was he suddenly mesmerized by her tight fitting catsuit as she lost the frumpy clothes and the fake nose? And Catwoman rebuffs all of his explanations of the things in the room as if she asked, "Help me find something that I can fight with?" instead of "What is all this junk?" He finally tells her about a sword that cuts monsters and she decides to go with that. I don't know how much any of the items he mentions have to do with real or historical people or places but I'm pretty sure that none of the items reference anything in DC's history. That would usually be the way to go especially with a place as important as The Black Room which houses all of DC's weird and wonderful stuff from the Preboot that might not fit in anywhere now but writers can't help mentioning.

Then from out of nowhere, the reader is shoved violently into the mind of Darwin. This might be one of those zipless fucks Erica Jong was talking about!

She never once called you "Dudwin", Douchewin!

Darwin just Narration Boxes a few panels to let the reader know what items were being damaged by the bullets ricocheting off of the safe that DOES NOT CONTAIN THE BLACK DIAMOND! But then it's all okay because I'm comfortably back in the mind of Catwoman where everything is cozy and familiar.

Hey! That sounds like a personal remark about my obsession with playing Call of Duty and my girlfriend's need to rely on her Eighteenth Century Solid Gold French Tickler Steam Powered Vibrator! Put me back in Darwin's thought boxes!

Catwoman suddenly begins acting strangely (having been "Eclipsed" at this point) and finally begins calling Darwin "Dudwin." So either editorial decided that other page should be moved forward in the story or Ann Nocenti wrote the "calling him Dudwin" line and then thought that was a good idea! Darwin believes the evil in the room is making Catwoman act weird and he believes the evil influence is also why he let her in because he wanted to see the artifacts too. It still doesn't explain how he let her in or why only these handful of guards are currently trying to stop the intruder.
As is typical in an Ann Nocenti comic (remember that bit about the weird dialogue earlier), Catwoman begins over explaining her tricks.

"Ever hear of an uppercut? That's where I swing from down low and connect with your chin as my fist is on its way up! I'm the upper crust of the uppercut! Ever hear of a left jab? That's a quick punch with your left fist that gives up strength for speed! I was right to choose my left!"

So Catwoman beats up the guards and acts goofy and ignores Darwin and fails at picking the lock. So she wishes she can just cut it open and that magic sword flies into her hands. And you can read the last page yourself because I am done with this thing.

I hope the black arm of Dan Donelly gets its own comic book. Look him up in Wikipedia as well, if you'd like. It's Ann Nocenti's idea stomping ground. I'm pretty sure she just hits "random page" for her story ideas. She may or may not be a walrus.

Catwoman #15 Rating: -2 Ranking. There were so many messed up bits in this comic book that any editor at DC could have taken care of with just a quick read through of the comic. The main one is that Eclipso's Black Diamond was definitely not kept in a safe in the Black Room. Another one is the mess Ann Nocenti makes of the artifacts in The Black Room. She just grabs ideas that may be linked historically to some name or item but have no relevance in the DC Universe at all. The Black Arm of Dan Donnelly? Go read his Wikipedia page and you'll see why she added that. But it has no context in the DC Universe at all! "The Plutonium Sphere!" "The Mogi-Antiky Thera!" "The Duke of Qin's Bo Bell!" "The Devil's Codex!" "The Snow Globes!" "The Monster Cutter of Dojigiri Yasutsuna!" Maybe she just didn't get the go ahead to name any real DC items in The Black Room so she just made up a bunch of shit that nobody will remember. Good work!

Supergirl #15

And now H'el's chest is scarred again.

H'el has nearly killed Superboy. He's beaten Superman even though Superman can lift six times the Earth's weight and fly faster than a speeding bullet and leap and shit. Supergirl has fallen for H'el's pale charms and shaved upper pubic area. So she's going to help reestablish Krypton 27 years after it blew up. Sounds like a fairly easy task!

This issue begins in a flashback as comic books are wont to do. Kara is flying around with her best friend in a flying car because Krypton apparently keeps its promises about the awesomeness of the future.

Oh what luck! Supergirl's best friend is still alive. If she survives this crash, of course.

If Kara only knew that Tali was alive and well and much, much smaller! Kal showed Kara that he has Kandor and he's trying to figure out what to do with it, so maybe Kara does know she's alive. Or maybe Kara isn't sure she even moved to Kandor before Krypton exploded. While Kara is feeling all sad and vulnerable, H'el shows up to flash his bald upper pubis.

And no scar. I'm pretty sure DC editorial came out and told everyone to remove the scar as this isn't going to be The New 52 Bizarro. But the covers never get copies of memos or are done so far in advance that they didn't bother changing it.

H'el takes Kara to the arctic to visit the Fortress of Solitude. Looks like they're going to go on a little field trip to Kandor! I don't know how time works in Kandor. Have 27 full years passed? Or is time moving slowly there to keep the exhibit fresh for Brainiac? My Doctorate in Comic Book Science says that time would actually speed up because their metabolisms would be ramped up like a bunch of Gerbils, living their full lives in just a few years. So many, many, many, many generations would have passed across the 27 years (or maybe a little more?) that Kandor has been bottled. By this time, they would have invented a ship to explore Outer Bottle and would be exploring the Fortress of Solitude and building outposts in Kal-el's medicine cabinet.

But being that comic book science is flexible, it's more important that Tali still be alive for Kara to interact with. It doesn't matter if she's remained the same age or is older, although I feel if she's lived 27 years raising a family inside the Bottle, it will be more apt to sway Kara into not messing with the past.

Meanwhile, Superman has been locked out of The Fortress because he's just a baby Kryptonian compared to whatever H'el is. H'el can benchpress something like 800 Earths compared to Superman's measly six or seven.

We need the Goddamned Batman!

Back inside the Fortress, H'el uses his powers that are in no way Kryptonian at all by zapping Kara inside the Bottled City of Kandor.

I had to take a time out from reading this comic to listen to That's Really Super, Supergirl and Brainiac's Daughter by XTC (and, technically, The Dukes of Stratosphear). Okay, back to reading Supergirl!

The people of Kandor are merely sleeping. That's a boring exhibit.

H'el can't shrink himself but he sends an astral projection of himself into the Bottle to interact with Kara. His astral image looks like a normal Kryptonian and he claims this is what he used to look like before he was turned into a scarred, pale industrial rock star from outer space. He doesn't remember how it happened but I have a feeling it was drugs and whisky.

While H'el explains that Kandor can only be saved by going back in time (okay, he doesn't explain much. He just says, "Kandor can only be saved by going back in time"), Kara is attacked by 1980s action figures called Terminauts. That was a cartoon back then, right?

I bet the one on the left is called "Tiny." And the skinny one is "Princess." And that one flying above the other two is probably "Jason."

Supergirl is blasted across Kandor, landing next to Tali. Supergirl touches her inappropriately and decides that she's going to find a way to save her best friend ever no matter what stands in her way! I think that means she's going to help H'el try to go back in time. But this also means she's going to be on the wrong side. Not because she and H'el are wrong but because Batman is going to join forces with Superman. And nobody can beat Batman. Except maybe The Joker every now and then.

With her new found commitment to Project Pretend Flashpoint Doesn't Exist, Kara defeats the Terminauts and steals the "Quantum Crystal" power source of Kandor. H'el needs the power source to fuel his time machine and Kandor doesn't need it because they're all just sleeping and besides, they'll never have been shrunk down to a microcity once Supergirl and H'el fuck with the past. Although it kind of depends on when they end up saving Krypton since Kandor is micronized by Brainiac before The Multitude show up. And Jor-el saves Krypton from destruction by the Multitude simply to have Krypton eventually blow up due to the Cult of Let's Destroy The Entire Universe Starting With Krypton. I don't know exactly how much time lies between those two events but if H'el screws up, then Krypton will be saved while Kandor is gone. The time difference on Earth was somewhere around five years between the visit by Brainiac and the visit by the Multitude. I think. It's hard to figure out where in time Action Comics is taking place especially with Vndktvx fucking with Superman across all points in his life.

Also, I guess Earth is going to be fucked by the Multitude if Krypton is saved and Superman never gets shot to Earth. Oh well. Fuck those assholes. I never liked them much anyway.

Whatever the problems changing the past will cause, Supergirl is on board! Because look at that naked upper pubic area! SWOON! FWAAAAASH!

Supergirl #15 Rating: +1 Ranking. This has been the best issue of H'el on Earth so far because the ridiculous plot about saving Krypton is only the framing of the story of a girl being seduced by a monster with a terrific body. I bet all the ugly monsters are freaking out right now. "Fucking chicks! They never go for the 'nice' monsters! Give a monster rock hard abs and amazing scars crisscrossing a FWAAASH-worthy face and they're all, 'Oh! Oh! I'll go back in time with you! I'll save any planet you want!' But a nice fat two-headed monster with oozing pustules? Not a chance. Nope. No nice ugly monsters for her. Fucking bitch."

This issue also had so many great panels to use as my "The End" picture! But I think I'm leaving you with the best of the best of this issue.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Guardians #15

Do crossovers ever crossover? Can't we have a Death of the rise of the Hawkman:Rotworld:Wanted Third Army Family moment? It wasn't an accident that I left out H'el on Earth.

My gut instinct was that learning Selfishness should be the easiest lesson for Kyle Rayner to learn. It's easy to want what you want and be led by your desires. After all, Kyle Rayner is an American. He should have this down. But then I realized the guy that is going to teach him how to harness the power of Selfishness is the biggest, most selfish bastard around. He isn't going to want to share. So maybe that's how Kyle will eventually gain the power. He'll realize he simply has to take it and make it his own.

I can't wait to hear the wisdom bombs Larfleeze drops on Kyle Rayner! "Selfishness can't exist without selfishness!" "The heart wants what the heart wants but the hand takes it away and punches the heart in the throat!" "The secret of life, the universe, and everything is mine!" All of his nuggets of wisdom must end with an exclamation point.

Kyle, Carol, and Arkillo are currently descending on Larfleeze's home planet of Okaara. Unbeknownst to them, the Borg Lanterns are not far behind.

Why is Carol telling Kyle not to be cocky immediately as he's going in to learn avarice? I'm pretty sure you have to be an arrogant, cocky bastard to believe everything in the universe is yours!

When they land, Sayd, Larfleeze's pet Guardian, greets them and bitches about how love is such a pain in the ass. This sends Kyle into a memory of two years ago when he first came to Oa and observed the way Ganthet and Sayd treated each other.

Oh Kyle. He didn't mean the misunderstanding was about how he and Sayd feel about each other. He meant the misunderstanding was the "girl" in girlfriend.

As I figured, Larfleeze is less than willing to share his power with Kyle. Carol uses her Blazing Love Chain Power to uncover something that Larfleeze doesn't even know that he wants in the hopes of striking up some kind of trade. Her discovery turns New Guardians into a sappy after-school special in which Larfleeze lost the one thing that ever meant anything to him a billion years ago: his family. Sniff! Sniff! Carol promises him he can find them for him! I guess it just isn't the power of the ring that makes Larfleeze so long-lived. He must come from an immortal race of Goat Gods (the third best kind after Kitten Gods and Raccoon Gods). Larfleeze decides the deal is a good one and begins Kyle's training.

I think I should just stop wasting time reading these comics and just guessing at where the story is going. I'd probably get about 60% right and the 40% I got wrong would be better than the truth.

Larfleeze and Kyle Rayner fight amongst themselves for a bit until their battle is interrupted by the Borg Lanterns. Larfleeze sends his Orange Lantern Corps against them since they can't be assimilated. Probably. And Sayd keeps them at bay with whatever crazy powers Guardians have. I always forget they can do things other than acting self-righteous and judgmental.

The Borg Lanterns grab Carol and begin trying to rip her ring off so they can ungender her. She calls for Kyle to help but then Sayd offers some of those words of wisdom that I expected Larfleeze to bestow.

Eww! How could I have missed this one?! It's such obvious wisdom for avarice! Although my nuggets are still better.

Kyle gains the power of Selfishness and has a bit of a temporary meltdown. But once things are under control, he uses the Indigo Teleport Power and VOOOORPS Larfleeze, Carol, Arkillo, and himself elsewhere. I don't know where because that's the end of the comic book! He leaves Sayd with the Borg Lanterns since they can't assimilate a Guardian of the Universe.

But they can kill Sayd! Sayd dies as the other Guardians of the Universe watch on via satellite television. Ganthet watched Sayd die and the other Guardians are worried. But Ganthet remains unemotional and decides to go take take of Kyle Rayner himself. How many comics in a row has there been a "shoot your own dog" theme now?!

Green Lanterns: New Guardians #15 Rating: +1 Ranking. I still think this is the best of the Green Lantern books. It's been more of a Kyle Rayner book than a New Guardians book for awhile but at least four different colored lanterns are now traveling together. So it's getting back to the whole New Guardians theme.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sword of Sorcery #3

Why doesn't Beowulf get the cover once in a while?

Any comic book I read, I tend to want to play as a turn-based computer role playing game but none so much as Amethyst. It could be part RPG and part dating sim, taking place across two worlds, Nilaa and First World. What's First World?

Don't worry about making sense! The wackier and more surreal, the better!

The game could be filled with tons of mini-games to represent all of the things Amethyst has to learn in Gemworld, like magic and fighting and diplomacy and arranged marriaging. Plus there could be mini-games back on Earth as well like Spin the Bottle and Sexting and Fumbling with Your First Cock Under the Bleachers at the Homecoming Game. I'd probably spend a lot more time in high school on First World dealing with my accidental pregnancy while Gemworld fell apart and was taken over by evil.

How the fuck did this happen? I put the condom on the banana just like in class!

While Amethyst trains her magic skills in the least exciting mini-game of the entire RPG, someone named Niyati from some clan named Ghaggra in some place beyond the settled lands is being banished from the clan for disobeying the leader. I guess the Unsettled Lands are composed of people who have chosen not to take part in the silly gemstone theme of Nilaa. She wants to get revenge on whoever killed her mate. I suppose the only reason to really include this single page is if the mate that was killed was the single person that Amethyst has ever killed. Isn't that just the way? You kill your first person in self-defense as you're defending yourself from an ambush and now you have to deal with the person's spouse as well?

Do the writers at DC get a bonus if they're able to refer to the stupid Eclipso crossover in their comic book?

Amethyst's mom interrupts Amethyst while she is teaching her new Gemworld friends what "sucking" means on Earth. They have to go meet Mordiel on neutral ground to discuss the future of House Amethyst. Except Mordiel will probably actually be those assassins from House Onyx and the only thing they'll be discussing is murder!

Or not. I guess I would suck at the subtleties of Gemworld. When you take a hit out on someone, you have to meet with them first and warn them that you're going to kill them if you won't give up your power and your daughter and everything that makes your life worth living.

This issue ends with war declared between Mordiel and Graciel and Amethyst jumping through a portal into the Justice League Dark Annual. Now it's time for the really interesting story!


Mother Machine tells Grendel that the world had been destroyed by a conflict between normal mankind and super powered men. Regulus, the leader of Basilisk, was behind a super soldier program to give ordinary men the power to fight back against super heroes. Beowulf is the end result of that program. Mother Machine's work spawns from Amanda Waller's Samsara Project. This is how she created the new life, Grendel. So the conflict between Basilisk and Amanda Waller reaches far into the future.

Mother Machine attempts to hypnotize Beowulf over to her side, asking him to kill the boy. The boy hurls his spear at Mother Machine to break the spell.

"Abort" actually means "blow this fucking place to pieces."

Mother Machine destroys the Eyrie and everything within it including her child Grendel. Beowulf manages to escape with the boy, Wiglaf, and they return to Hrothgar's Hall as heroes. The end.

A note says that Beowulf will return in 2013 as a new back-up story about "Stalker: The Man Without a Soul!" begins next month. Beowulf hasn't fought the dragon yet so maybe that'll be the next story. I really like the post-apocalyptic New 52 of Beowulf. The ancestor of Regulus roaming the world destroying what's left of the super heroes. And what's left of the super heroes is whatever Mother Machine decides is left of them! Using Waller's Samsara Project, she can bring any of them back to life and apparently in whatever combination she wants since Grendel was part Buddy Baker, part Gar Logan, and part Rot. I'm sure Mother Machine has survived to combine the DNA of Apollo and Killer Croc and Apache Chief to create the Dragon that Beowulf will need to kill next time.

Sword of Sorcery #3 Rating: No change. I'm curious about the next back-up feature about Stalker the Man Without a Soul. So what? He's just like everybody else!