Thursday, February 28, 2013

Catwoman #17

As a burglar and thief, it would seem having a really identifiable getaway vehicle would not be a super smart choice.

Whenever I hit a comic book convention in the last fifteen years, I've made it a point to always buy something from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. It's usually a shirt but one year at the San Diego Comic-con, I purchased some watercolor color guides from House of Secrets. I'm currently wearing the shirt I purchased from the Portland Comic Con last weekend that says, "I read banned comics." Except as I sit here with Catwoman in my lap (sexy!), I realize I should fill in the "NNE" so it reads "I read Bad comics."

This issue begins with Catwoman hanging out on girders in her shit-kicking, line-dancing girl's-night-out outfit. She's watching some kids in a playground and showing her age by judging them by their rattail haircuts. I would probably judge them too but not as no-good drug dealers. I'd just think they were twenty-five years too late to the horribly bad hair party. Which means these kids are probably new members of some Rattales (a woo woo!) gang run by some middle aged guy whose life peaked spinning on a piece of linoleum in junior high. Once Catwoman sees that a drug deal is going down, she realizes she should probably change into her crime fighting jewel-stealing outfit.

Am I the only person concerned with first draft, non-edited comic book scripts?

The fact that Gotham still has phone booths to be turned into toilets I can let go. I don't know the last time I've seen a phone booth in a modern city but Gotham is a fucking wacky place where I can believe a few non-magic Dial H phone booths have been left standing. What I have a problem with is Catwoman making an allusion to Superman's strangely iconic way of changing outfits. Which is a really weird thing for Catwoman to allude to since it makes no sense. Even if Clark Kent has been finding old, decrepit phone booths to change into in Metropolis, how would Catwoman know that unless she's in on Clark's relationship to Superman? And if Catwoman's thought doesn't have anything to do with Superman and the way he changes in phone booths, it makes no fucking sense anyway because why would anybody think a phone booth was a good place to change clothes? Even when, you know, you could find a phone booth? It would make more sense to look for an actual toilet to change in.

Even with her phone booth problem, Catwoman manages to change into her catsuit before breaking up the drug deal that just went bad. She lectures the kids before she drives their faces into the playground equipment, knocking them unconscious.

Has Catwoman always sounded this old and judgmental? By the way, not a single shoe was untied in the artwork.

The guy that decided to fuck up the kids because they were on his boss's turf is named Volt. Catwoman nabs him and tries to get some information out of him. He informs her he isn't a snitch just so she doesn't think he's a snitch when he vomits up the information she needs. Meanwhile she engages with the street kids in a great example of dialogue that shows Ann Nocenti is hip to the way the kids talk.

I am so fucking sick of gangbangers telling me my moral slip and slide has been set to loosey-goosey.

Meanwhile the Gotham Police are busy investigating Catwoman's theft of dozens of gem-encrusted dildos. They're busy questioning the doorman who was bribed with a huge double-sided, diamond-encrusted phallus. The detective working the Dildo Caper is a hard-nosed female police detective named Tammy who wants to bring back the electric chair to clear out the jail cells. I guess she gets to be Catwoman's next nemesister. She's working with Detective Alvarez who's been on Catwoman's tail for a number of issues now.

That double-sided dildo sure has been toned down since it last appeared! Now it just looks like a Subway footlong.

Later that night, Catwoman steals a bunch of paintings from a museum. I think that's the load of loot she had on her when she decided to sit on a roof in the rain and reminisce about the first time she met Batman. That happened in Young Romance #1. But she becomes distracted by a less dextrous and sexy thief that decided to rob the same museum on the same night.

More evidence that 95% of all Narration Boxes aren't needed. She describes what we can see is happening in the panel. And then she tells us her solution. It's par for the course if she just happens not to get shot by someone with a gun. But I didn't realize she can actively dodge bullets?! Holy fuck! That's nubile! Wait! Let me check my dictionary. Um, just replace nubile with something else. Anything else!

Just to explain my nubile joke for everyone except the three people who were there. My cousin Jason had decided that "nubile" meant "agile" from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I just told him he should probably invest in a dictionary. In high school, my oft-mentioned friend Soy Rakelson had decided that "decadent" meant sweet tasting because his sister described some ice cream as decadent. I'm not telling these stories because I'm immune from being the butt of anecdotes like this! I just leave those anecdotes for other people to tell! Hopefully people without as many readers as I have. You know? So like no more than five.

Catwoman takes down the fat thief and becomes best friends with him. Mostly because her fence and getaway driver didn't show. For a professional thief, Catwoman is kind of stupid. Shouldn't she have called off the job if all the pieces for a successful heist weren't in place? I guess she really does like crimes that go wrong so she can get her adrenaline fix. Since Catwoman's ride didn't show, she talks the fat guy into giving her a lift when they leave the museum.

The fat guy just has a Faggio (trademark Grand Theft Auto), so Catwoman has to walk. She ends up on a rooftop thinking about Batman while waiting for a lift. Hopefully not from Batman. Catwoman's ride didn't show because Gwen is being hassled by the cops being that her fingerprints were all over that two-pronged dildo. And the fat guy returns to his boss who is just a pair of gloved hands with a cane with a bird on top. So it's either The Penguin or The Emperor Penguin! Right? Or is there a Batman villain named The Cane?

Catwoman #17 Rating: No change. If Ann Nocenti would just drop the horrible way everything out of everyone's mouth ends up being a minor oral report, maybe this book wouldn't be fucking terrible. It would just be terrible. Then get rid of the useless Narration Boxes and the comic might improve to not-so-terrible. Lastly, get another writer on it and it might end up being good!

Supergirl #17

Why is Supergirl wearing a wig and Wonder Woman's outfit?

Seriously. That face on Wonder Woman looks just like Supergirl's face. Although the butt looks a bit bony. That butt isn't good enough to end this commentary on! So I guess that really is Wonder Woman.

Last issue, the H'el on Earth plot really didn't move forward much. It was just Supergirl battling Flash. This month, Supergirl gets to battle Wonder Woman instead of moving the H'el on Earth plot forward. I have a feeling Tom DeFalco and Scott Lobdell didn't want to share their H'el on Earth ideas with Mike Johnson so they just had him write issues where Supergirl punches people. That's par for the course for Supergirl anyway.

Anyway, this is how this issue begins (just like every issue of Supergirl, really!):

Wonder Woman: "Hello, Supergirl!"
Supergirl: *POW!*

Supergirl can't afford to believe it or not?

Meanwhile the entire world is falling apart while Batman, Flash, and Cyborg perform meaningless heroic tasks. I'm sure some philosophers would say that heroic actions in the face of the end of the world are the most meaningful of all. But those same philosophers would probably argue that if the victim of a rape didn't know they were raped, did a rape actually occur? So fuck those jerks! Batman might as well be masturbating out of the satellite's airlock.

While Supergirl and Wonder Woman are brawling, Superman and H'el are engaged in their own fisticuffs.

This shot is for the ladies and/or the homosexuals and/or people who enjoy sexualized violence.

H'el punches Superman into space because H'el has levels of power never before seen in a comic book. He could have just teleported Superman into space if he'd wanted. Or teleported space into Superman. Or unraveled Superman's DNA. But he chose to simply punch him because that's the theme of Supergirl. Punching equals solutions.

Since this is mostly about fighting fucking and stalling for Superman #17 to come out in March, let's just enjoy some battle sex images.

Whoa! Nobody has ever made Supergirl's vagina go "FWABOOOM" before! Usually it's just a mild FWAAASH! Even Supergirl's Kryptonian Sun Vibrators didn't get this kind of reaction.

But even a gigantic orgasm can't defeat Wonder Woman. She's back on her feet in no time and smashing Supergirl into the ground. But what else could be expected? Supergirl is simply a girl. Wonder Woman is all woman.

Still a little wobbly from her big O.

Kara finally stops throwing punches and looks up to see the sun expanding and sending flares out all over the place. What Superman couldn't do with words and Superboy couldn't do with force and The Flash couldn't do with speed, Wonder Woman does with love. She convinces Kara that H'el is a fucking manipulative bullshit bastard. In other words, he's just another man.

You tell him, girlfriend! Don't listen to his bullshit no more!

That bastard H'el finally ends the relationship with an ultimatum. Now that Supergirl knows the truth, she must pick between Earth and Krypton. Although I'm pretty sure she's finally decided to side with Earth. Which leaves just one more issue of H'el on Earth before Superman saves Krypton! Or something equally stupid spectacular!

Except Superman #17 didn't come out the next week! It's late! It won't be out until MARCH! You know, the only reason I figure DC keeps Scott Lobdell around is because he makes his deadlines. And yet here he is, the first writer of The New 52 to miss a deadline! Fire his ass!

Supergirl #17 Rating: No change. Just be lucky I don't drop your cute sorry ass one rank, Supergirl, for participating in this stupid crossover!

Sword of Sorcery #5

Worst assassins ever. "There's our quarry! Be sure she sees us and has time to draw her weapon. We wouldn't want to murder her by silent or secret attack often for political reasons!"

Amethyst begins with Amy returning to Gemworld and telling her mother how she touched Timothy Hunter and "woke up his power." She and her mother must have a fairly close relationship to discuss things like this. I would feel kind of weirded out telling my mom how I touched some guy. Although I have no problem telling the entire internet how some guy touched me! The Ken part of Me and Ken is Doom Bunny, for those people keeping score. The me part is me.

She just told you she was off touching boys and you freak out about the pizza?!

Amethyst accidentally transfers the power of the Portal Crystal into the amethysts she wears on her person so she can travel between Gemworld and Earth more easily. When this happens, some bigot of House Citrine starts whining about how Turquoises and Amethysts shouldn't interbreed. Next she'll probably start pointing out how the members of House Onyx can't swim but are super good at assassinating. And how the members of House Diamond can't dance and love to stab siblings in the back. That bitch is racist. Or am I racist for coming up with all the racist stuff I imagine she believes?

No, no. She's racist. You can see it in the way Aaron Lopresti drew her racist eyes.

Is it racist to point out that everyone in House Citrine is racist?

Amethyst and her mom take a road trip to visit the tomb of Amethyst's father in the Land of Turquoise. While on the road, Amethyst learns how her father researched how to open up a portal to Earth so that his family could hide there from Amethyst's Aunt Mordiel, if it came to that. During the story, Amethyst incidentally learns a little about Eclipso's history.

So the Black Diamond was brought to earth from Hell by Exoristo. Then somewhere along the way, it passed on into Gemworld (perhaps it was even instrumental in creating Gemworld?). And then Eclipso caused a bunch of fucking trouble and was kicked out and sent back to earth.

At her dad's tomb, Amethyst learns a little more. Like how her grandfather betrayed her mother and father resulting in her father, Vyrian, having to give up his own life to open the portal to earth to save his family. So Amethyst's aunt and grandfather are both assholes, although her grandfather seems remorseful. But it's easy to act guilty and remorseful after you've gotten all of your power back from your stupid dead son. She also learns that a couple of assassins are lying in wait to kill her mother.

In Dungeons and Dragons, two high level assassins can usually defeat a Level One teenaged girl.

Amethyst uses her Firestarter powers to kill one of the assassins. Except she doesn't create fire with her mind. She creates pointy gems and flings them through the air. She's not pyrokinetic; she's kosmimakinetic. Or something. I never claimed to be a linguist! I'm fairly decent at bullshitting though. It's very similar.

Amethyst kills the second assassin in the more conventional blade through the sternum way. She's become a pretty good survivor even though she isn't enjoying the killing. Probably because there isn't any loot to be had after the battle. The loot is always the best part and the main reason for killing! Killing for self-defense is boring.

After the battle, Lady Akikra of House Onyx shows up with some sketchy story about how she was there to make sure her "rogue assassins" failed. That must be why they were so awful at assassinating! They put all of their experience and skill points into thieving! Dumb dumbs! Lady Akikra gives Amethyst a Healing Ruby to help her mother and kills Amethyst's grandfather as an extra special bonus present. Gee, thanks!

No heir? Amethyst is sitting right there! Total heir-head! If Amethyst didn't suddenly fill up with Turquoise Power, that means her grandfather or her dad had a little bastard on the side somewhere before she was born. Otherwise she was next in line for the power.

Oh! And in the last two pages, we get to meet this bastard. He's a thief goes by the name of Preet. But the best part is he has a pet cat named Fuzzybutt! I sense a new favorite character coming on!

No, not fucking Preet. The kitty cat!

I can't believe this title is on the chopping block. I bet Didio hates it because it takes place on a world separate from earth and then hampers his ability to "world-build". It's building its own world with solid characters and an interesting history. And I like Amethyst! But I guess if it's sales aren't as good as Superboy's sales, I can only blame other comic book readers for supporting shit while despising fun. "Hey, Mr. Comic Book Store Owner! Can you put Shit, Crap, Vomit, and Excrement on my monthly pull list! Yeah, a little of Lobdell's and a pile of DeFalco's. Oh! And Ann Nocenti's pussy discharge." Pussy as in that yellow stuff that comes out of festering wounds, you misogynist gun jumpers!

Next up is Stalker! I claimed last issue that Stalker killed all across time for fun and has only recently met up with Lucifer, the person that owns his soul. But it sounds more like Stalker was doing all of the killing across time for Lucifer. And the story focuses on this killing because it could possibly be Stalker's final job for the devil. He has to find a woman name Clarissa Rowe that has something of Lucifer's. I don't know if Stalker is supposed to kill her or not. I also don't know if I should recognize that name.

Stalker finds her pregnant ass pretty quickly because this is only the back-up story. It doesn't have time to fuck around being that it only has eight pages.

As I mentioned last issue: this story would deal with his long lost family.

Even though letting Lucifer have Stalker's great-great-great-nearly-ad-infinitum-grandson would mean Stalker would get his soul back, Stalker decides to fight Lucifer by casting Rune Spell in Rune Speak (Rune Speak is, apparently, the proper name for DC's Alien Language which was last called (in Swamp Thing) "Old Portugese" [sic]). He escapes with his progeny and heads back to his shit-hole apartment.

Apparently the Ninja Turtles own their own pizza place now.

Stalker begins to help Clarissa deliver her baby when the devil and his host of demons appears for the big showdown. Which will happen next issue. And which I don't really care that much about. I'm not a fan of Stalker. He's like Phantom Stranger Lite.

Sword of Sorcery #5 Rating: +1 Ranking. I'm enjoying Amethyst in Gemworld more and more. And since I'm now reminded of it, I'll watch the DC Nation Amethyst cartoons!

The first one introduces us to Amy and her new problem. So cute. Love the Sailor Moon transformation.

The second part teaches us of her quest! And her ability to think under spiders!

The third part is just fucking adorable.

The fourth part should end, "I'm proud to be a Skeleton-Gemworldian!"

The fifth part ends on a cliffhanger that I can't unhang from because I guess the next part hasn't aired yet?! Dammit! I watched them too soon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Batman Incorporated #8

Spoiler! Robin. Is. Pregnant.

I'm glad the cover has this big spoiler on the front because comic book nerds are the worst at dropping spoilers (just look at my blog!). Standing at the counter in the comic book store waiting to get my comics from my pull box and they're all chattering to the owner about getting in more copies of this comic book. Luckily I have a way to tune out people talking about comic books, especially since the co-owner of the shop has a way of spoiling any comic book you look at. If you ask her for advice on a good comic to read, you won't have to read that comic because she'll tell you all the pertinent plot points right there and then. While nobody outright spoiled the comic for me (and I still don't know if this cover is telling me the truth), the fact that the shop was sold out and everybody was looking for this book has me suspicious that Morrison might actually pull the trigger on poor Damian. That would leave a pretty huge hole in the cover of the monthly Batman and Robin comic book though! Perhaps we'll find out that Batman Incorporated was taking place on an alternate Earth! Or more probably, Talia will just toss the little prick into a Lazarus Pit.

I'm reading this comic book ahead of schedule because I'm sure Tumblr will be full of scans of the thing soon. And if not soon then immediately because you're reading this which means my scans of Robin's death are now online! Oops! I spoiled myself!

If Robin does die, what's going to become of Batcow?

Batman Incorporated begins with Robin donning his Super Boy Wonder Suit and flying into Gotham to rescue everybody. He gasses the evil kids and saves Dick. Then he flies on to free Batman from the safe at the bottom of the pool because who fucking cares about Tim Drake and Jason Todd? It's not like they have anywhere interesting to be if they die. And by "interesting" I mean "worth reading."

Except I guess Damian trusts Batman's ability to escape the safe even though he's no Calvin Rose because Damian flies right by and crashes through a lobby window of Wayne Tower to save Tim Drake.

And Dick crashes through a different lobby window to save Damian! The richest people in Gotham must be in the repairing walls and fixing windows business. Right after the setting bones, fixing teeth, and digging graves career paths.

And once Dick and Damian find a bit of cover, they remind me that I should probably pick up some Preboot collections highlighting Dick as Batman.

Dick and Alfred are going to feel so guilty for allowing Damian to partake of this adventure.

A lot of ass kicking happens in the next few panels and then Talia's Batthing comes down the elevator to put a stop to all of this sudden heroic nonsense. It tosses Nightwing aside so that it can go toe to toe with the real threat in the room: Robin the Boy Wonder. I wish I could go back in time and read that sentence to my fifteen year old self. He sure would get a laugh out of that statement. And then he'd tell me to get the fuck out and there's no way I was from the future if I thought Robin could ever be a bad ass killer. And I'd say, "No no! I really am you from the future!" And he'd sneer, "Prove it!" And I'd say, "Remember that time in 9th grade when we were in the library passing notes back and forth to our huge crush, Marilyn Mendoza, and she passed one to us that said, 'You're weird.' And we passed one back that said something that I can't fucking remember but then she passed the note back that said, "I love you anyways.' And then we totally chickened the shit right out and stopped passing notes and nearly died and fucked up our chances with her?" And he'd start crying because that happened just the year before and the pain was still too much to take. And I'd be, "Um, yeah, well, I'd better be going now."

This guy already killed Knight. Will Batthing score a second kill of the night?

While Robin and Batthing battle, Ellie (whoever she is!) gets away with the World Meta Bomb (whatever that is!). Batman escapes from his underwater safe during the fight. And then the fight is over.

I don't know if Batthing gets this kill or not. Robin could have been mortally wounded by any number of arrows or bullets he was hit with by Talia's other thugs.

Well, it looks like it's Lazarus Pit time! Since Robin was biologically engineered to be Ra's al Ghul's new body, he should be a perfect match for Lazarus Pit resurrection. Although that's fucking Jason Todd's story. I guess there's always Amanda Waller's Samsara Project. Or whatever resurrection techniques Regulus and Basilisk have figured out. And you can't forget DC is full of magic types! Also, you simply can't count this kid down yet! He's a tough little bastard and I haven't turned the page to see if he gets decapitated or anything. Alfred still might be able to heal him by brewing an extra strong pot of tea.

Well, at least he's not pregnant.

Batman Incorporated #8 Rating: +1 Ranking. I'm telling you all: Grant Morrison plays by a different set of rules than all the other writers at DC. This (or something similar) is how Death of the Family should have ended! All the hoopla over that crossover and DC doesn't give the green light on killing someone. But over here in Batman Incorporated, Grant Morrison stealthily kills yet another Robin. Unless I'm wrong about the stealthily. Although I imagine this would have been spoiled for me a lot sooner than looking at the cover if it had been more widely known. I did notice that the cover on DC's website for the comics out this week was a different cover than this big old RIP thing.

DC Universe Presents #17: Speedy

Since Scott Lobdell won't be writing this whole thing from Arsenal's point of view, I might actually enjoy it. Man. The next time Lobdell does a Red Hood and the Outlaws book narrated by Speedy, I'm not going to read any of the boxes. I'm just going to get the neighbor boy to fill them all in with a marker before I read the comic book.

The issue begins with Joe Keatinge trying to mimic Lobdell's take on Jason Todd and Starfire. Except he's awful at it. Because this first page was decent! At least when Adrian Nathan Edmondson was writing Grifter he captured Brandon Choi's flare for writing the shittiest shit he could possibly come up with.

This page also stars Bolt! I don't know who the other guy is. Probably someone whose name goes with Bolt somehow. Nut?

But Keatinge nails Roy Harper's Narration Boxes! I wonder if the neighbor would mind me knocking on the door at 3:45 AM to see if little Alex is awake to color in my comic book? I guess I should read all of the boxes to see if they improve. I can't fault Joe Keatinge's (is it pronounced KEY-TINGE? or KEY-TEEN?!) choice to write Roy Harper the only way he's been portrayed so far in The New 52. In much the same way Nathan Edmondson continued making Grifter spout profound nonsense in the vein of Brandon Choi, Joe Keatinge makes every Narration Box of Arsenal's feel like electrodes on my brain.

Although they do quickly begin to get better! Maybe these first few were an homage to Scott Lobdell's penchant for inducing migraines in his readership.

I'm tempted to ask, "Who thinks like this?" but fuck it if my own thought processes don't come perilously close to this garbage. Maybe that's why I hate it so much! I hate my stupid brain. Which means my brain hates itself! It's a self-loathing organ.

His Narration Boxes don't actually get much better. Tolerable, maybe? No, not even tolerable. Simply annoying. But they don't add anything to the story. So they really might as well have been left out. Or marked over! Stupid sleeping neighbor kid.

Arsenal has been captured by some guys known as the Triad. I think the Triad is actually a conglomerate of Hong Kong gangs. They're a bit pissed off about what Red Hood and the Outlaws did to Suzie Su. Jason Todd killed a lot of Hong Kong gang members so maybe The Triad is simply one of the gangs and maybe Suzie Su led them. Whatever the case, Roy Harper is going to be killed out of revenge for Suzie Su's murder.

As noted on the cover, Killer Croc is also here and he's with the Triad. Although apparently against his will.

Does this mean Killer Croc survives getting all of his Hydra heads chopped off by Wonder Woman over in Batwoman?

Killer Croc is actually Roy's reason for being in Hong Kong. Since Killer Croc helped Roy get into AA (or NA, I guess) to kick his heroin addiction, Roy decided to help Killer Croc when Roy heard he was being held against his will in Hong Kong. I guess Roy didn't mind Medusa using Croc since sponsoring a guy for AA isn't the kind of favor you pay back by battling Medusa and a bunch of Urban Legends. But traveling to Hong Kong to shoot some arrows into street gangs? No problem!

Did you know Arsenal's name is Arsenal because he can use anything as a weapon? I didn't know that! Maybe that's because I always refer to this jerk as Speedy. And that nickname didn't fucking mean anything so I figured Arsenal didn't really mean anything. Unless this is a new twist on the New 52 Arsenal since there have been 17 issues of Red Hood and the Outlaws and I don't think this ever came up. He just shoots his arrows and smarts off. And when I say "smarts off", I don't mean to imply that anything that comes out of his mouth is the least bit smart or witty. He's just one of those assholes that loves the sound of his own voice and believes if something is coming out of his mouth, it's funny. Except everybody else either gives a polite and awkward golf laugh or just rolls their eyes and pretends they were busy doing something other than listening to him.

Here are some of the things he says up to and during his escape:

Speedy: "Sucks to be me."
Speedy: "Holy crap, dude! You learned Chinese?!"
Speedy: "Do you guys offer some sort of special Triad Chinese Tutor?"
Speedy: "Word was you started holding international criminals against their will, but no one mentioned the educational component."
Speedy: "What's your health care plan like?"
Speedy: "A whole 'skyscraper's worth'? Really? Oh, wow. That's a lot of new faces."
Speedy: "Seeeee yoooooou soooooon...!"
Speedy: "And knock it off with the guns! They're so lame!"
Speedy: "Murdering's for wimps."

Speedy says the murdering is for wimps line after he impales this man like so:

See? All the way in!

with this screwdriver:

Yeah. I'm pretty sure he just pierced that asshole's heart.

Speedy finally "disables" a skyscraper's worth of henchmen and arrives at the Boss Room. Inside is the leader of the Triad and the thing Speedy thought was Killer Croc. It's not. It's some Chinese Dragon version of him. Speedy has simply wasted his time. And mine! Thanks a lot, DC, for blowing another issue of DC Universe Presents on a character from one of the shittiest comics of the New 52.

You know what? Speedy mentioned the "murdering is for wimps" thing a few pages ago. Does that mean he's against killing and guns in Red Hood and the Outlaws? So he's against Jason Todd's entire method of fighting crime and yet he backs him up? What the fuck is the difference, Roy Harper? You might as well be killing people too (and he may have in Red Hood but I don't specifically remember him killing anyone, so I'm going to assume he hasn't because this comic book shows he thinks murdering is for wimps).

So we come to the part where Roy Harper fights Chinese Killer Dragon.

This panel may be a joke but it exemplifies everything I hate about Narration Boxing. Obviously the Narration Box isn't needed here. That's maybe the intended joke. Or the intended joke is that when a character is being punched in the face, "Oof" is definitely all they should be thinking about. They shouldn't be going over shopping lists or thinking about how Chinese Killer Dragon was a little off-balance when throwing that punch. Whatever this panel actually intends, it's really quite the argument for why Narration Boxes suck. It's also totally meta!

Joe Keatinge obviously didn't mean for that last panel to be commentary on how stupid it is to have characters thinking complex and smart ass thoughts while getting pummeled in the face repeatedly because that is exactly what Roy goes on to do in the subsequent panels. It does show that if I'd had the neighbor boy mark out all the boxes, I wouldn't be fucking missing a thing.

Here's what goes through Speedy's mind as Chinese Killer Dragon punches him bloody and throws him through a window!

Speedy: "This certainly stopped going well."
Speedy: "I'm pretty sure this window had bulletproof glass."
Speedy: "It sure felt like bulletproof glass."
Speedy: "All of my insides are in all kinds of pain."
Speedy: "But let's give a round of applause to balconies, am I right?"
Speedy: "Sure beats falling to my death."
Speedy: "My squishy, squishy death."

Roy manages to destroy the inhibiting collar on Chinese Killer Dragon and gains an ally.

Speedy decides to go all Wolverine on his adversaries.

After the fight, Wolverine discovers that the Chinese Killer Dragon is named Fin Fang Foom or something. When did I start reading Marvel Comics?

Roy makes friends with Fangfengfoom and leaves him with some words of wisdom that could have been uttered by Christ himself.

"Do better, douchebags. Do better."

DC Universe Presents #17: Speedy Rating: -1 Ranking. I'm simply giving this comic book a negative ranking because I can't stand Arsenal and his Narration Boxes. I have a feeling the comic would be better without the Narration Boxes. Just a second.

Yep! I just read it without the boxes and it was much improved. They added nothing to the comic book! These things are like training wheels. If a writer relies on them too much, that writer will never be able to get on without them. I think they can be used adequately if used sparingly. But mostly it just seems like the writer thinks they need to be shoving words in panels that don't need words. It's a lack of confidence as much as it is lazy writing. Maybe if characters said really interesting things in their Narration Boxes, I wouldn't mind so much. I generally didn't mind it when Shade thought stuff in that way. Whatever. No use continuing to complain (although I will!). I guess I'm stuck with them!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nightwing #17

Please no more Bat Crossovers for at least another year.

Even though this doesn't have a Death of the Family tag across the front of the comic book, it probably has more to do with Death of the Family than some of the tagged comic books. This one begins close enough after the aftermath of The Joker's little party that Dick Grayson is still beat to shit and needs tea and butlering.

Yeah, well thanks to Nightwing's close association with Haly's Circus, the Joker pretty much nailed it.

Alfred asks Dick if he feels all right. He says, "Yep!" Commissioner Gordon asks Dick if he's okay. He says, "I'm cool!" One of the members of Haly's Circus (everyone lived except James the Joker Clown and Raya the Nightwing Love Interest Slash Assassin) tells Dick to shut up and listen and informs him that everybody in Haly's Circus is getting the fuck out of Gotham the instant they all heal from the Joker's poison. Christina the girl Dick lied to about everyone being safe asks Dick if he's okay. Dick says, "Why wouldn't I be? Dick Grayson is o-kay!" Lucius Fox tells Dick he's lost everything and asks if he'll be okay. Dick says, "Fine and dandy!" Sonia Branch asks Dick if they can fuck later. Dick says, "I'll be all over that later!" Barbara Gordon tells Richard it's all going to be okay. And Dick says, "Will everybody just get off my fucking back already?!"

Every time Nightwing lies to somebody about how he's feeling, Robin is hanging out in the shadows watching.

Robin can tell when somebody is lying to everyone so that he can fucking kill some scumbags later. It's pretty much all he did in his eighth year.

So later after Nightwing shakes all the people who are making slight overtures towards him, he descends on some mystery men digging up something in the ruins of Amusement Mile. Robin shows up in time to keep Dick from killing anybody. But Dick never investigates what they were looking for. Instead he decides to Parkour around Gotham with Damian for a bit.

I was hoping his advice would be more along the lines of "I hear doing it with girls makes you feel better. Right? Does it? You know when you do that thing to girls that we both know you do? You know what I mean, right? Describe it for me and I'll tell you if that was what I was thinking."

So Damian decides he wants to hang out with Dick more often. Probably because everyone is avoiding Bruce right now. And Damian secretly looks up to Grayson. It must be secret since Damian is always such a jerk around him. Kind of.

After Nightwing feels better because Robin reminded him that The Joker is a fucking lunatic, they plan a video game date for the next week and go their separate ways. And in some other part of town, some guy named The Dealer is receiving one of the items dug up at Amusement Mile. It's a Flying Grayson's suit with a Joker face spray painted on it. The Dealer apparently deals in items from recent catastrophes. He must make a fucking fortune in Gotham.

Nightwing #17 Rating: No change. The art in this issue was a bit weird but passable for comic book art. The only thing I wish had been different about the story is more dialogue between Nightwing and Robin. Most of the dialogue with other characters was unemotional and flat, simply there to update the reader on all the shit going on in Dick's life. And to make Barbara Gordon appear a bit snarky and jealous. Between the DeFalco appearance and this one, she's not looking too good in this title! Although maybe she has a right to feel a bit jealous but to let it show at a funeral? Come on, Babs! Have some class, you sexy tomato goblin! Anyway, the dialogue! Yeah, I wish there had been more than two pages with Dick and Damian. And I wish Damian sounded more like a ten year old kid and less like a wise little Alfred. All in all, it was mediocre!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vibe #1

Vibe should be thanked for helping kill the Silver/Bronze Age run of Justice League of America so that Giffen and DeMatteis could bring about the best Justice League of America ever. You heard me, Grant Morrison! Feck off! Keith and J.M. did it better!

I suspect the interior of the comic book will explain why Vibe is such an unlikely hero. Is he perhaps a juvenile delinquent that hates authority? Perhaps he's a brain dead kid in a coma? Maybe he's a NAMBLA member with a love of justice and young boys? Perhaps he's a porn star known as Fingers McBang? It could just be that what the cover is really saying with a sly wink and elbow nudge to the comic book audience is that this is "The Unlikeliest Comic Book." It's almost as if Geoff Johns and Dan Didio and whoever else is in charge at DC are running DC by accepting dares. Nobody has been clamoring for Vibe to star in his own series. I'm almost certain everyone was fine with his body decaying wherever Martian Manhunter shoved it after his death in Justice League of America #258.

After he succeeded at making Aquaman appear to be less lame than he actually is, Geoff Johns decided he needed an even greater challenge. He dug through 25 cent comic boxes at conventions and scoured the internet to find the character most reviled by fans and George PĂ©rez! But I'm sure before even beginning his search, he was aware of who he would pick It had to be a member of the worst incarnation of Justice League of America ever put together. Gypsy. Vixen. Steel. Vibe. The team was basically Martian Manhunter's last hope of keeping the "family" together (although now that I list the names of the characters in that JLA incarnation, they seem the perfect mix of heroes to represent Americans. A gypsy. A vixen. Steel which can be read both as the building blocks of skyscrapers and getting pick-pocketed while visiting those skyscrapers. Martian Manhunter which kind of sounds like a pseudonym for anti-immigrant xenophobes). Geoff Johns probably flipped a coin and Gypsy lost her chance at her own title. At least until another wave or two when Geoff Johns has handed the reins of Vibe over to somebody else and he moves on to his next challenge.

I'm actually interested in a Gypsy comic book. More often than not, my hyperbole tends to betray my actual feelings.

Enough blather. Time to find out why Vibe is such a fucking unlikely hero!

This is Vibe five years ago before he was Vibe and he was just plain old Cisco who must be thirteen years old or so even though he's probably malnourished because he lives in poverty in Detroit which is why he looks eight.

Get it? He's full of potential! Energy! Like a gigantic vibrator!

Immediately after his eldest brother tells him this and his other older brother explains how he's going to be a super villain later (especially since he's already got a cool Super Villain name: Dante!), one of Darkseid's Boom Tubes opens up right on Cisco's face.

A lesser commenter than me might make a "Taste the Painbow" joke right here, but not me. I'm above stupid shit like that. I'm more of the "Darkseid just Boom Tubed straight in that kid's mouth" kind of guy.

It turns out getting Boom Tubed in the face gives you super Vibratory powers. Fuck, why not? Why not make every aspect of this secret origin porn-related? Vibe already sounds like some kind of sexual lubricant.

Cisco's eldest brother, Armando, is killed by a Parademon as he pulls Cisco free. But even more evidence stacks up that Dante is going to be a super villain as he backs away, more concerned with his own life than his brother's. And then the story moves five years into the future to drop it a year behind all of the other comic book titles! Have Johns and Kreisberg forgotten that a year and a half has passed since all of the other comic books began? Or am I supposed to believe that comics don't actually move through time much? Perhaps one year in real time is two months in comic book time?

So five years later, Cisco has not gone to college like Armando told him he should. Instead he's working at a Comic Book Version of Best Buy or Fry's Electronics. That does make him a pretty unlikely hero! As Vibe, is he going to go up to random people on the streets and ask, "Have you been helped?" Dante stops by to visit Cisco and beg for money because Dante is a soccer playing bum that has yet to figure out how to be successful at super villainry. Although as soon as he realizes his Super Villain name should be Purgatorio, he'll jump right in! Oh! Maybe Inferno would be even better!

Currently Dante's way to make money is to borrow it from Cisco's college fund or to talk Cisco into gambling his college fund and then borrowing from the winnings. But I guess there aren't too many games of chance where vibrating helps you cheat. Unless Vibe is so good at controlling his vibrations he can get the roulette ball to drop in any number he wants. He'd probably have better luck jumping the other winners at the casino as they headed to their cars.

More Super Villain Origin stuff.

I don't think Cisco realizes he has powers yet although he shows up as a blur in cameras and film. Am I supposed to believe that Cisco has no friends with camera phones? Or does Cisco and his friends just laugh at how he's always fucking up their photos because he's so jumpy? Someone close to Cisco should have noticed by now since Amanda Waller has! She's now hunting him because Waller apparently runs every super hero organization in the DC Universe.

Agent Dale Gunn of ARGUS drives up in a couple of humvees and a compact car all covered in ARGUS symbols. I'm not sure what the ARGUS symbol is supposed to represent. A backwards looking bloodshot eye [It's actually shown clearer later. It looks like a forward looking bloodshot eye shooting needles out of it!]? Anyway, this Dale Gunn convinces Cisco to hop in his government kidnap wagon with him by mentioning Armando. Well, that was fucking too easy. Stupid kid.

Let this be a lesson, children! Do not get into a car with a stranger! Especially if that stranger mentions he's a member of a Government Agency! Especially if you're a minority! I'd rather take my chances with a serial killer because at least people would believe you when you tell them he tried to kill you! But just try to tell everyone that a Government Agent tried to touch your Hispanic privates! They'll roll their eyes right off their fucking faces.

ARGUS gives Cisco some information that apparently Cisco didn't know as well. They have pictures of a blurry person defending a woman at an ATM. Cisco might not have known that he was exhibiting strange powers when he kicked the thugs asses. Or maybe he did know. He could just be acting coy around the government agents. Whichever might be the case, ARGUS wants his help.

So Apokoliptian farts give Vibe a headache? Is that what I just read?

Inside the house is a Parademon. Agent Gunn says it's the one that killed Armando. But Agent Gunn works for Amanda Waller and Amanda Waller wouldn't tell the truth unless the lie she told was a paradox that actually made the lie true. It's possible Waller had this Parademon set free to get Vibe to learn to use his powers. Or it could be this Parademon truly has been roaming the streets eating homeless people for five years like Agent Gunn says. The Agent also mentions they've "been tracking it since it first came here." So you knew it was eating homeless people and you just let it fucking roam free? Who's the real monster here?

Cisco takes the bait, learns to control his vibratory powers, and kills the Parademon. Actually Cisco just punches it with a Vibro-Jab, but the Parademon is pulled apart because he's knocked in-between his "vibrational dimension" and Earth's. Hopefully that doesn't happen every time Vibe punches somebody since Vibe is caught somewhere between those two dimensions. If he punches an Earthling, will he infect the Earthling with Apokolips Vibrations and tear them apart as well?

Aha. So that's what happened to Detroit.

Vibe agrees to be trained by ARGUS and become a member of the Justice League of America. Of course none of the members of the Justice League of America have any idea what Waller wants them to do because she's a big liar, remember?

Waller should try telling the truth sometime. How effective is lying when everyone knows everything out of your mouth is a lie?

But now the readers know why the Justice League of America exists because of the ending of this comic book! Waller needs a team to defend her and one of her current projects from Darkseid since Waller knows he'll be back.

To rescue his daughter, Upside Down Horseshoe Girl!

My favorite part of this comic book was when it was revealed that inside the Detroit Branch of ARGUS, Amanda Waller has a shitload of metas in captivity because they refused to work with her. And it's not like she put people in cells who simply exhibited superpowers and didn't want to be a part of her League. These are metas that already have names and costumes! And I think a bunch of them are also some of those "creatures" that came from other dimensions. Like some captive from Qward. Or Pariah.

Why did Pariah appear? What great evil is going to befall the DCnU that he would be drawn to it? And then Amanda Waller captured him and put him in a tube, so now how is he going to lead everyone to the evil?!

There's also some guy with a sword by the name of Something-orman. And a woman Cyber-something. And some cereal mascot named Krakkle. And a hand pressed up against the glass of one cell that looks like Plasmus. And the last one that holds a captive waiting for her chance at a monthly title!

Geoff Johns next pet project.

Vibe #1 Rating: Like Threshold, I'll start Vibe off at 26 and let it rise or fall from here on out. So far, I liked it. I don't know how much I like the idea of the superhero Vibe but I thought Cisco was a decent enough character. I'm not sure why he's so unlikely though. He seems like any fair-minded, good-natured person that gets soaked in Boom Tube Juice and ends up with magical powers.