Sunday, June 30, 2013

Teen Titans #21

It seems Lobdell only knows how to write X-men stories.

I don't have time for your shit, Lobdell. Although I'm not sure I can completely blame Lobdell for this "Teen Titans seen as villains" crap. The Teen Titans have a fairly long history of not doing a lot of actual superhero team heroics. They just kind of hang out and get their asses kicked by a lot of people who hate them for some reason. Which means The Teen Titans were a perfect fit for Lobdell who wrote a bunch of X-men and X-men derivative titles back in his Marvel days. Those were the good old days! Because Scott Lobdell was at Marvel and I was reading DC!

Trigon's plan must have worked. He didn't want Raven to have friends so he invaded New York, manipulated Psimon into killing a bunch of National Guard, and somehow convinced everybody in New York that it was the Teen Titans fault that people died as opposed to the fault of the five hundred foot demons riding stallions of fire through the sky. Completely makes sense!

My theory is that only the Teen Titans could see Trigon and that's why they're going to be blamed. And even if that doesn't turn out to be the case, I suggest you believe it too so the story makes at least a little bit of sense.

Upon reading the first page, I'm reminded that Raven's brothers have now come to New York to fuck up some shit too. Because Trigon had to go home for some reason. I also notice that Tony Bedard is doing the Dialogue, so that's a plus, right? Although I'm not sure how much of a plus. I've been reading Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story and what I thought was just a quirk of Scott Lobdell's style of writing, I've learned is merely the "Marvel Style" of writing. Stan Lee would plot out a book and give it to Jack Kirby who would be responsible for the layouts and action. Kirby would basically be the director and turn the plot into a cohesive story. Afterward, Stan would go back and do the dialogue for the finished pages. That's how I read Lobdell does it and I thought, "That's not fucking writing!" I'm more sympathetic to Kirby's point of view that he should have been given a writer's credit in this kind of format. The artist is doing a shitload of the writer's job in this style. I can see the advantage it gave to Stan Lee in that it enabled him to find time to write all of the Marvel Titles. The whole "Marvel Style" just seems sloppy and haphazard to me. It's like a game of telephone between the writer and the artist. And I obviously don't like the style when it's being used by Scott Lobdell because the two comics he's currently writing, I have as the two worst comic books of The New 52.

But Tony Bedard doing dialogue! That's a step up, right?!

What good is Pattern Six supposed to be if everybody is going man to man anyway? Tim Drake sucks at coaching.

The Teen Titans just fought Trigon and won? lost? I don't remember exactly why the fight ended. I think Trigon just decided he needed a nap. So now he's sent his sons to kick some ass! Trigon's sons are getting an awful lot of pages in The New 52.

I should probably apologize to Tim Drake after reading the next page because "Pattern Six" apparently means "separate the enemies." It's code that I wasn't privy to! Which is the best kind of code, of course! The kind nobody understands.

Red Robin acts cocky because he's just a human against a bunch of demons which means love will win the day! Or something. That must be it or else he'd be worried that he has no defense against hellfire and magic. Beast Boy shields them from most of the demon assault by turning into a Tyrannosaurus Rex. And every school kid knows they're nearly immune to hellfire. Now that they've proven they have their defense down, they need an offensive plan! And that plan is to cover Superboy in Raven's Soul-Flesh so that he can attack the demons indiscriminately!

"Here, let me cover you in burning hot coals to protect you from the fire!"

The plan is a success even if Superboy says "your" when he meant to say "you're" when he punches Belial in the face. Since he's speaking, nobody could tell the difference anyway. I hope I didn't make the same mistake in my commentary somewhere or some jerk is going to point out the hypocrisy! As if I pay people to edit the crap that spews directly from my head while my fingers try to keep up. Please. The edits come next month when I reread this!

I wonder if the Teen Titans are every going to be actually wanted by the end of this comic book? Last month's cover with Red Robin being reborn never led to Red Robin being reborn! So this cover might actually be a cover continuing to describe the story that would have happened had Red Robin been reborn! Or maybe Red Robin will be reborn this issue!

DC should really try getting its act together instead of just shrugging their fucking shoulders each month and going, "Meh. We tried."

Bunker and Wonder Girl take their demon to Central Park while Kid Flash and Solstice take their demon downtown. Bunker and Wonder Girl's battle turns into a fantasy epic while Kid Flash becomes possessed so that he can beat up on the woman he once made out with loves.

Meanwhile at a classified elsewhere location, Amanda Waller and her suits have some really stupid dialogue to beat the reader's brains into submission so that they'll eventually just accept that this kind of bullshit makes any sense at all.

Yeah! We wouldn't want the public to see how these kids tried to save New York from a bunch of rampaging demons! Stupid jerks should be arrested for not saving the lives of all of the people! They're a Goddamned menace! Homo-superiors are jerks! I mean, people with Meta-Genes are assholes!

The battle continues with Superboy's Raven-skin trick fading quickly. Sheesh, Raven. You could have mentioned that your stupid soul-self manifestation would only allow for Superboy to throw one punch. As it fades, Belial goes in for one last blast into Superboy's face when Red Robin cuts off Belial's hands with his Inertron Wings.

By the way, where did Red Robin get the Inertron? Wasn't that material developed much later in DC's history? Like Legion of Super-hero thousand years later? After Red Robin cuts off Belial's hand, he actually warns Superboy that this is a temporary fix. See, Raven? That's how a team works.

More like the Necronomicomicon, amirite?

You can't steal "Necronomicomicon" because it's actually an Ancient Artifact in Grunion Guy's Roller Playing Game, Places & Predators. Here's the Copyrighted and Patented and Trademarked description of the Necronomicomicon:

This comic book written in Ancient Times is filled with comic strips on how to summon ancient demons and devils. No person in Grunionia has ever been able to translate this comic book. It’s either because the language is unknown and demonic or else it’s just that the book has been lost for so long that nobody has been able to read it and laugh at the comic strips’ punch lines (or demon summoning spells. Nobody knows for sure.).

The book is thought to be evil and those that read a comic will be possessed by that comic. The possession will be according to whatever the comic was about. So maybe they’ll just be funny or go on nap attacks or pretend their stuffed tiger is real or something.

There should also be a Cat Version called The Necronomnomnomicon. It's probably a recipe book about how to cook devils and demons and make them into delicious cheese filled pastries.

Meanwhile Beast Boy begins falling in love with Raven by telling her to get off the fucking pot and stop these demon bastards already! Also that she isn't alone or some other touchy feely crap.

I just noticed there haven't been any Narration Boxes so far! While Tony Bedard's presence hasn't really helped the story any, I do like that he's decided to go Narration Boxless.

Meanwhile Bunker and not Wonder Girl takes out their demon proving that he's more than just a pretty face with telepathic Legos. He really needed to prove himself to me because he wasn't getting much action in this comic. Unless it was as Superboy's wingman. Or potential love interest.

Back in Downtown where Kid Flash has been possessed by his demons, Solstice manages to hit Kid Flash in the head with a teeny, tiny rock which, along with Kid Flash's ability to think fast, knocks the demon Suge loose from his head. And then things get confusing for Solstice! Because she wants to fuck Red Robin now!

Mmmm! It's like kissing a sulfur pit!

I'm pretty sure Kid Flash and Solstice have already kissed on the Mysterious Mystery Island of Mystery. But maybe he meant I should have kissed you a second time sooner. And he's right! He should have because while she was waiting to see what was going on between them, Raven-Possessed Red Robin made a move on her. She may or may not have fucked Red Robin. Hell, she may or may not have fucked Kid Flash but how would anybody but Kid Flash and Solstice's suddenly burning thighs know?

Raven pulls out Belial's heart and all the demon brothers are now subdued. But then Trigon comes back for some reason! Where'd he go? Did he need a cigarette break during his Seventh Realm Invasion? But now that he's back, he suddenly has possession of Bunker, Superboy, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl. Oh no!

Teen Titans #21 Rating: +1 Ranking. It gets a fucking +1 Ranking just because I'm encouraging the lack of Narration Boxes! But there is still too much stupid nonsense going on in this thing. And what happened to Psimon? Did he just slink off after Superboy dropped him? And what about how weird Red Robin was acting for a few issues? Was that due to Raven's influence? Or Trigon's? Or something else that will never be touched on again? And why does Amanda Waller not want any media outlets showing what's happening in New York? Doesn't she want Cyborg to notice so he can alert the Justice League? I guess she doesn't want her competition saving the day and looking like heroes. And she's not calling in Justice League of America because she doesn't want half of them dying. Although she really should have called in the Suicide Squad by now. It's always fun to send them into life threatening situations! And, once again, what the fuck is up with the cover?!

All in all, a bad comic that wasn't quite as bad as it usually is. Which really isn't saying much. It's like stepping halfway into dogshit instead of completely stepping into dogshit.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Justice League #21

His form on that Sleeper Hold is all wrong.

I guess it doesn't matter what the Justice League was up to last month since they're being preempted by Shazam. But what was he up to last month? Oh yeah! Getting killed by Black Adam!

Since this main story is usually the back-up feature and I usually keep my comments short on the back-up feature, I guess I'll keep this commentary really short!

First off, the Seven Deadly Sins are running rampant in Philadelphia. So what else is new?

The green guy must be lust because he has so many hands with which to masturbate.

How come only one of the Seven Deadly Sins is female? Gluttony is probably female as well. Lust might be female although it looks like Lust has a mustache. It's an interesting take on Lust to show him in a straight jacket as opposed to sucking off eighteen of his own twenty dicks. He's only sucking eighteen of them because the other two are penetrating two of his five vaginas. I'm pretty sure that's the classic way of illustrating Lust.

The Seven Deadly Sins are off to find the Bryer brother's father because they've been sent to find the most rotten soul in Philadelphia. And since that person needs to be somebody we already saw earlier in the story (okay, okay. It doesn't NEED to be but we all know how stories work, right?!), it's probably that dickbag. They leave Doctor Sivana behind, bloated and gassy from consuming too much magic.

Much more quickly than I expected (like the next page practically!), The Seven Deadly Sins enter into Bryer through his seven orifices and he becomes a monstrous, flaming devil with a pentagram burned onto his chest. I guess now he's going to trash the city by stealing, raping, beating, eating, and envying everything really, really slowly. And he'll be damn proud about his job!

Black Adam threatens to kill Freddy if Shazam doesn't release his power to Black Adam much the way Black Adam's nephew many, many years ago shared his power with Adam. It's the only way Shazam can save his family. Or is it? Being that he can share his power, seems pretty obvious what's going to happen next.

Oh! I thought he was going to just give up his power and go home.

Next up is the big fight scene where Pedro learns he can magically grow a beard and Mary learns she might need a bigger bra and Eugene learns the secret language of machines and Freddie learns he's Thor and Darla learns she has ADHD (unless she already knew that). I think that's everything they learn before Mary and Billy punch Black Adam into a probably famous Philadelphia landmark that I don't recognize.

Now that Billy has all of this firepower at his side, he tells them to go away while he takes care of Black Adam all by himself. The others decide to help evacuate everybody from the path of Mr. Bryer. But Mary decides to fight Bryer because she's the second most important Shazam there is!

Billy's fight with Black Adam leads them to the zoo because Tawny the Tiger needs a dose of Shazamamillin too.

I'm a bit disappointed that on the following page, Black Adam is merely being attacked by a gigantic, sparking tiger instead of a goofy cartoon cereal mascot with a cape.

Billy seems to have fucked up his spells after blasting Tawny and the entire Marvel Family begins to feel weaker. I knew his spell should have turned Tawny into a cartoon tiger! Now everybody is going to lose their powers and Bryer is going to raze Philadelphia and the rest of the world isn't even going to fucking notice a difference.

Billy realizes he can't beat Black Adam because Billy is too new to the magic game while Black Adam is a total dick. I don't know. Those two things seemed comparative enough for that sentence when I began it. Billy says the magic word and returns to his normal, childlike self just as, further off in the city, his brothers and sisters change back too. He then challenges Black Adam to a fair fight. In Billy's case, it doesn't bother me because what the fuck advantage does Billy have one way or the other. But usually when someone accuses somebody else of not fighting fair, it usually means that they want the fight to be unfair in their advantage. Nobody wants a level playing field. You're supposed to use every advantage you have. So when someone says, "Fight fair," what they're really saying is "Get rid of your advantage so that I can have the advantage!" Black Adam is almost smart enough to not fall for it but he's just too arrogant. Who wouldn't believe they can kick a young boy's ass even without magic? I'm pretty certain I could! Black Adam sees no way Billy could have the advantage in a "fair fight" so he says SHAZAM and reverts to normal.

Apparently Billy's winning advantage was youth.

Billy changes back and The Seven Deadly Sins are free to go on their own way now that Black Adam is dead and dusted. And everybody lives happily ever after because the school was destroyed in the fight. Everybody except Doctor Sivana who seems disappointed but I'm sure he'll get over it when he realizes he can become a super magical mad scientist and find a best friend in a worm.

Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea's Believe It or Not!: I wrote the last sentence of the previous paragraph before reading this page. I didn't even think they'd introduce Mr. Mind in this story.

Justice League #21 Rating: +1 Ranking. It didn't have any Justice League in it but it was a good ending to the Shazam story. Especially the part about Shazam screwing up the spell on Tawny because that means to get the spell right, Tawny has to turn into a silly anthropomorphic talking tiger! So that's something to look forward to if you're a fan of whimsical shit in comic books. Where else does whimsical shit go best? Keith Giffen agrees with me: "Actually, do we really need another dire, depressing, grim comic book in a market already saturated with the like? C'mon. Lighten up. These books are supposed to be fun." That was about Larfleeze but it's what I keep saying! Let's have more silly, fun shit! Comic book reviewers need to stop wishing for "serious" and "edgy" and "arty" in their fucking comic books. All that gets you is dead superheroes. Let's all take a step away from the ledge and enjoy this shit. There are other ways to prove you are intelligent than by panning humorous stories because they didn't engage your super smart mental acumens and shits.

Anyway, Happy Shazam Is Over Day!

The Green Team #2

The images in the camera lenses shouldn't be of her face. I'm pretty sure we all know what the Pappies would be focusing on in this shot.

Cecelia didn't have a pink robot arm last issue! She must be Pink Green Team Ranger #2! Why are they going to make the girl the Pink Ranger? They should make Mo the Pink Ranger so the comic book can be full of insensitive gay jokes! I don't see why the woman always gets to wear the pink suit.

To punch up my work uniform (which is not really a uniform. Just jeans and a shirt with the logo on it), I put pink shoelaces in my boots. One of the clerks at a store whose floor I clean asked, "Did your daughter get you those?" Really, kid? I keep thinking generations after mine are going to drop all the gender roles shit and I keep being disappointed. I also have a pink Nano and a pink Superman symbol keychain. When my hair was long, I had the bottom layer in the back dyed pink. I have issues with the color pink having been co-opted by the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign although it is nice to be able to buy nearly any item ever invented in pink now.

This is my hair about seven years ago.

Anyway, when we last saw The Green Team, they weren't much of a team yet but that didn't stop Riot Act from attacking them. But then Riot Act is a bit more sensible than The Secret Society of Super Villains and their main goal isn't to just taunt super hero groups. Riot Act wants to torment rich kids! And probably kidnap them for a large ransom so that Riot Act's kids can be rich too. Commodore 64, the leader of The Green Team, stuck a disc on his chest and he became an armored Super Hero like Iron Man! But he was green instead of red and gold. Commodore 64 had a bunch of other discs in his pocket as well, so those will probably got to J.P. and Cecilia and Mo and maybe L.L. And possibly Bubbles.

Last issue was narrated by Mo. This time, we get Cecilia's viewpoint on the action.

Currently her viewpoint sucks.

It looks like Riot Act is a bit derivative of Mob Rule in power and name. They should form a Super Villain Team and call it Crowd Control. They could get Multiplex to join them! And maybe an evil, time traveling Duplicate Damsel! That team would be a confusing mess.

To save Cecilia, J.P. slaps Disc #2 on her hand and she transforms into Gold Green Team Ranger #2! I could say I was wrong about her getting the Pink Armor but I have a feeling that #2 was meant for J.P. and he simply slapped his disc on her because it was the only way he could think to save her life. She's actually slightly cut by the knife but the disc seems to have self-repairing Nanobot technology which instantly heals the cut. She has no idea how to control the suit so she ends up firing the feet rockets and shooting up through the skylight with J.P. and one of Riot Act's rioters hanging from her. Commodore 64's rockets fail but he's still got an escape plan ready to go!

Can this be considered a crossover? Or just grand theft auto?

Cecilia finally manages to work the weapons on her suit (after dropping J.P. Whoops!) and electrocutes the Riot Actors hanging from her. And apparently when one Riot Actonian is electrocuted, they're all electrocuted! Even their leader and/or original vacationing in Monaco.

Commodore 64 and J.P. have a bit of a text conversation now that all the Riot Actors have been ditched or turned into goo. I'm amazed that I understood everything they texted back and forth except for "hxc". Commodore tells them to lay low for a bit and they'll meet up later once they figure out what to do next. Here's my translated transcript of the phone conversation:

Commodore: "What's carrot? Walrus?"
J.P.: "Out by heads up display, Rhinovirus."
Commodore: "You okay?"
J.P.: "Got rid of psychedelics...hard time crashing."
Commodore: "Grate!!!! United States Two."
J.P.: "Why?"
J.P.: "WALRUS? We damaged heating and air conditioning - Did your walrus think mine understood Swahili?"
Commodore: "No. Hide. Find a hotel."
J.P.: "How long?"
Commodore: "Call you when we get two guns."
J.P.: "Cool."
J.P.: "Big time walrus. Carbon copy want to kill walrus. How to get Armor Off?"
Commodore: "Ring for good reasons. REALLY HARD."
J.P.: "THX!"

While J.P. and Cecilia go walrus hunting for some reason, Commodore and Mo and L.L. and Abisha take refuge in one of Mo's New York apartments with all of his items he purchased on eBay. Or meBay since this is a comic book and you can't seem to mention actual real companies or products in a comic book.

Mo owns Brother Power the Geek?

At the apartment, Commodore 64 gives his big speech about how he wants to use his money to change the world for the better instead of using his money to change the world by exploiting the masses and hoarding wealth. He wants to get weapons off the street and he's ready to form a super team to do so. But he's not sure his friends are willing to risk everything like he is. Abisha knows somebody who might be able to help out though. I don't know who it is because the scene ends so that we can see J.P. and Cecilia make out. I don't know how she can think about sex when who the fuck knows where Bubbles is. Doesn't she care? Oh, I guess when you see your pet as an accessory and not a friend, you can misplace it for days and not really worry too much.

I guess having Nanobots restructure your arm might make you forget about your poor little Ocelot also. Although she didn't have this excuse earlier!

The Green Team #2 Rating: +1 Ranking. I hope Brother Power the Geek gets some life zapped into him so he can hang around with the Green Team and tell them how awful they all are. Or he can join the team because it seems like Mo and the Commodore aren't just spoiled rich kids. Maybe he can be their hippie moral compass, cooking lentils and calling everything a drag.

Justice League of America #5

They want you to think Catwoman is in this casket. But I bet Stargirl is!

When this comic book was announced, wasn't it supposed to be a big deal that David Finch was doing it? What did he last? Three issues? Not that I care. Fuck David Finch. He may have won some of you over with his "awesome art" but he hasn't fooled me! If you like to do the arts, Mr. Finch, do the fucking arts. Don't just spend all day making sure the women look good and then put some crosshatching and fish lips on the males and call it good. I'm pretty sure when you were doing The Dark Knight, Mr. Finch, the only part of your drawing you put any effort into was when drawing the White Rabbit. Then you slopped out a Bruce Wayne and an Alfred and a Commissioner Gordon until you could draw the White Rabbit's ass again.

I wonder when the White Rabbit will return? She was such an important part of that first Dark Knight story! Not as important, of course, as Deathstroke loaded up on Venom dropping out of the sky and onto the Batplane to punch Batman in the face for a bit before disappearing from the comic book forever. Jeez, that story was awful.

These humans need to stop being so disrespectful to B'dg. I can't wait until the humans meet a race of aliens whose shit looks exactly like homo-sapiens so that the aliens will keep referring to them as feces.

Baz and B'dg are touring Justice League of America Headquarters when Doctor Light's coin explodes. This causes the Green Lantern's energy to be sucked into Doctor Light's body. Just like in Catwoman #21, it's another person whose random superpower just happens to fit with the person's name! What are the odds that a doctor by the name of Light should suddenly have the power to manipulate light? It's crazy! It's such a crazy coincidence that it can hardly be called a coincidence at all! I see the Will of God in this! Or the Will of Geoff Johns, at the least. Or perhaps just stupid random chance at the very leastest.

I just stole that last paragraph from my Catwoman #21 commentary and changed it slightly. Exactly how I did reports in Junior High and exactly how Scott Lobdell plagiarizes his own scripts!

Over in the most opposite place in the world than ARGUS Headquarters, people are riding Space Mountain. But that has nothing to do with what's going on in THE MANOR which is the super secret headquarters of the super secret society of super secret super villains. Their pale purple leader wants Signalman and Copperhead to prepare Catwoman's corpse for delivery to Batman's Batcave. But Signalman is getting cold feet and, being Signalman, he knows that's a signal for being afraid to continue on the current path he's on. To be fair, most people get cold feet when they think of playing a prank on Batman and this prank is pretty messed up. But Copperhead tells him to HISSSS HISSSS HISSS HISSS. But before they can do as Copperhead suggests, Catwoman's blood begins roiling back into her head and her eyes glow red and she says, "I have heard enough."

What the hell? Is Catwoman really Metamorpho?!

Oh no. It's the shapechanger without a sense of humor.

I wonder if it's difficult to shapechange blood gushing out of a bullet wound to your head? J'onn had me fooled! Although now I feel a bit weird having masturbated to Catwoman being shot in the head last issue. I mean, gross. She was really a guy!

You know, I never promised I'd always make tasteful jokes! Besides, that joke passes muster because the butt of the joke are people who wouldn't have a problem sexualizing a woman being shot in the head but would completely freak out when they found out that the woman wasn't born with female genitalia! It's okay to make those people the butt of a joke on Tumblr, right? Can't we point out the stupidity of even that 0.00004% of the population? Or was I engaging in Fetish Shaming? Maybe I should just keep reading the story instead of pointing out that I'd fuck J'onn J'onzz no matter what shape he was currently in. Mostly because he'd have Oreos. I'll do anything for Oreos.

When and how Martian Manhunter and Catwoman made the switcheroo will be described in this month's back-up story, so don't think I'm just passing up the explanation for it.

And before I continue with the Justice League of America's assault on THE MANOR, I have to wonder why The Secret Society of Super Villains wants to destroy the Justice League? I guess they figure if the Justice League is out of the way, they'll be able to bully the world into doing whatever they want to do. But don't they realize that the Justice League is only composed of nine of Earth's heroes (maybe more or less if my calculator is broken)? They'd still have all the others to contend with? The Pale Purple Man believes that they'll get dozens of recruits based on their destruction of the Justice League, so maybe that's how they figure they'll deal with the other heroes. It just seems kind of stupid. Signalman was right to be worried about "kicking the hornet's nest." If I were a Super Villain, I'd just try to find a nice out of the way city in Canada and rob a bank or two and then go into hiding. I may have even already done that.

Is this The Joker's Daughter mentioned in that stupid Channel 52 that I really shouldn't be reading because it's full of spoilers? Also, I probably shouldn't put any of my thoughts or speculations into the form of a question because invariably some reader thinks I really want to know the answer before I learn the answer by reading the fucking comic book the way you're meant to learn the fucking Goddamn fucking answer. There's a reason I don't read solicits or Comic Book News Blogs or even follow any Tumblr Blogs that are heavily about comic books. Here's a good hint to posting in Disqus: If you want to speculate on things based on the comics that are out, please! Go ahead! If you want to tell me who the character is at the end of Batman Loves Superman #1 because you saw it on DC's website or read it in a solicit, hold your tongue. You're not allowed to speculate once you know through other means.

I know doing this comic book blog is going to cause me to get spoilers from DC fans who are just trying to engage and enjoy the comics as well. I'm not really pissed but I thought I would put it out there as to how I'm reading The New 52 and how I'd like people to respect that aspect of it. What good is reading my stupid speculations if I already know what's going to happen, right? No fun for anybody. Although now that I state it so soundly, I have a feeling I'm going to get people dropping a lot of fucking spoilers just to be jerks funny.

Please don't.

Oh yeah, back to that panel up there! Who's moving THE MANOR? I have no idea. The best I can come up with, and believe me, it isn't any good, is Bolt! Because he teleports! I'm sure it's a magical guy though. Like Doctor Magic. Or Mister Spells. Or Madame Zeroni.

The Shaggy Man is still having trouble with Hawkman but you know Hawkman is about to lose when he asks the stupidest question that is always asked by the current loser of a fight.

"That's the worst you can dish out?"

Is it arrogance that makes them ask that? Because the answer is almost always, "Nope. Got some more here for you." In this case, The Shaggy Man gets some back-up from Ivo's Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg, and Green Lantern robots. But then Stargirl finally shows her soon-to-be-dead face and disables the robots with one swing of her Cosmic Staff. Although for some reason, Hawkman doesn't ask her to disable The Shaggy Man as well. He wants to just keep fighting it, I guess.

The New 52 Shaggy Man must not be as powerful as the Preboot Shaggy Man.

As you can see, Professor Ivo gets taken down by Green Arrow because that's pretty much the only guy in THE MANOR that can be taken out by arrows. Star Girl frees the rest of the gang and then I suddenly know how Star Girl dies! Amanda Waller kills her for disobeying orders!

Fighting in the other room, Catwoman knocks the hat off of the Pale Purple Leader and he's developed male pattern baldness, so it might not be The Joker's Daughter. But he uses an electric joy buzzer to shock the hell out of Catwoman so maybe it is because that's kind of a joke! Although it might also be The Puzzler because his name is a secret and my Who's Who lists The Puzzler's alias as Unknown! J'onn tries to read him as Green Arrow finds out how THE MANOR shifts locales and Stargirl tries to bring down The Shaggy Man. See it all for yourself!

It's a White Martian! Or someone from another Earth, maybe.

The Pale Purple Leader activates Chronos and THE MANOR freezes in time as the Earth rotates under it. And moves through space away from it! I guess that part doesn't happen though for some reason. Only people with a Magic Coin travel with the house, so The Secret Society of Super Villains escape. And nobody seems to be dead to be shoved in the coffin on the cover! Maybe I was right! Amanda Waller IS going to kill Stargirl!

Also, as THE MANOR phases away, The Pale Purple Leader says, "It was good to see you again, J'onn." So yeah. He's maybe a White Martian or he has ties to Stormwatch which I doubt because Stormwatch is all Magentafied right now.

The JLA rescue Chronos who was apparently an agent of ARGUS trying to locate Booster Gold. And they capture Professor Ivo. But Amanda Waller still wants to disband the team. I bet she wants her team filled with heroes whose comic books sell well!

Oh yeah! I forgot Puzzler was an ARGUS Agent! Whoops!

Oh no! Trinity War time!

The issue ends with nobody dying. But Doctor Light is all, "Help me! Oh my God! What happened to my penis?!"

The back-up issue is about Martian Manhunter heading to Earth to get revenge on the creature that killed the Martians with his infected thoughts. It's name is Thoth. Martian Manhunter kills it and it's spirit wanders off to find another body to infect. I guess it found a Pale Purple Man who is obsessed with proving himself to The Joker.

Justice League of America #5 Rating: No change. The cover shows a coffin and nobody dies. Was it supposed to be symbolic of the death of the Justice League of America which Amanda pretended to want to end? Or is it foreshadowing Stargirl's death in Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1? I don't even think Stargirl is going to die! I think it's going to be Steve Trevor.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Red Lanterns #21

The other Red Lanterns might as well retire now.

The ending of last issue left everything as if the Red Lanterns were finally going to get their shit together and make something of their Corps. Atrocitus felt better after killing a Guardian. Rankorr had come to terms with his Red Lanterness. Bleez had shown true leadership when she pointed out the Inversions were about as effective as a stale fart. It all seemed like they were going places! But I guess it all fell apart when Peter Milligan left. And now I can't even speculate as to how this issue will begin. Probably Atrocitus over-analyzing some philosophical fluff.

3 out of 10 for my guess? It's Atrocitus! And the other Red Lantern is fluffy!

Atrocitus declares that the Red Lanterns are done being tools of the Guardians and the other spectrum corps. Now they will concentrate all of their power on making their one true enemies bleed!

Um. Who are those enemies?

The scene shifts to Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner in a garage. Judging by the juxtaposition of the two scenes, I'm guessing that motorcycles are the enemy of the Red Lanterns. Oh! Or Green Lanterns!

Since Hal asked Kyle to keep an eye on the Guardians, perhaps he'll ask Guy to keep an eye on the Red Lanterns. That would make a lot of sense especially if the Green Lanterns are the one true enemy of the Red Lanterns. But I don't know why Guy would accept a crappy job like that. Who wants heartburn twenty four hours a day. Or longer if you happen to be on a planet with a slower rotation than Earth!

Hee hee. Hal called himself dumb. And Guy laughed. I love you, Guy!

Hal informs Guy that, like it or not, Hal is now leading the Green Lanterns. And that they might need somebody with anger management issues to maybe go undercover in the Red Lanterns to make sure that the Red Lanterns aren't planning on attacking them. Guy Gardner is understandably hesitant about the entire ordeal, having spewed lava vomit before. He's willing to think about it though. That seems crazy. I never read any stories in which Guy was a Red Lantern but I'm guessing he was a bit more coherent than the majority of them or why would he even agree? The Red Ring might make him crazy angry but as long as he retains a semblance of Guy Gardner, it might not be a bad idea. Perhaps, like on the cover, if he keeps the Green Ring as well, he'll have even more control over his mind and actions.

Meanwhile on Ysmault, Atrocitus has sent out ten more rings to find ten new recruits. And he's about to begin Red Lantern Boot Camp where Rankorr will teach everybody how to make Red Light Constructs! Well that should be easy if all it takes, as Bleez believes, is for a Red Lantern to taste Rankorr's blood.

Get it?! Not bloody likely?!

Back at the Warrior's Bar on Oa, Guy Gardner decides to reenlist with the Red Lanterns because of a red and green drink that doesn't sound like it should taste good but does when all of the ingredients are mixed together just right. It's some kind of zen bartender thing. So Guy returns to Ysmault to volunteer.

That's a keen observation, Guy. Not the Dex-starr thing! The other thing!

The previous Narration Boxes and the ones that follow are all things Guy is thinking about to get himself worked up and pissed off enough to earn a Red Ring. My list of things that make me irrationally angry is pretty short. Mostly it has to do with mechanical or technological items not doing what they're supposed to. So I suppose if I were living in a time with humanoid robots, I'd be arrested the first time my robot encountered an error in its programming and did the wrong thing. Because then I'd beat the shit out of it and probably be arrested for Technological Domestic Violence.

Some of Guy's rage inducing thoughts are silly and there for the reader to smirk at. And then he hits you with this one.

What kind of Lantern do you turn into when you cry while reading comic books?

Guy Gardner's real rage, though, comes in his belief that nobody has ever thought he was good enough. Not Abin Sur. Not Hal Jordan. Not the Baltimore Police Department. Not his father. With his ring's power quickly draining, he manages to defeat Atrocitus and take Atrocitus's ring. Which, of course, will kill Atrocitus.

This is all wrong! Dex-starr would more probably, being a cat, allow Atrocitus to die and then feast on his tasty meaty goodness. I know every time one of my cats licks me, it's just checking to see if I'm done.

And thus Guy Gardner, once again, became a Red Lantern and everybody lived angrily ever after.

Red Lanterns #21 Rating: +2 Ranking. If Guy Gardner hadn't interfered, The Red Lanterns actually had some direction for once. And now that he has interfered, they still probably have a direction! I'm happy to have Guy Gardner in this comic book and I think Charles Soule did an excellent job here. Except for maybe having Dex-starr speak. He is just a normal cat, after all.

Catwoman #21

I must not be the typical comic book fan if looking at this picture merely makes me think, "I wonder what fucking farmyard animal I'm going to have to draw for this commentary's Ann Nocenti's Knowledge Fun Farm?"

Maybe I should write like a normal comic book reviewer? They all seem to have columns on well-respected comic book news blogs and I'm just over here in my dark, moist corner of the internet being looked down on by Google Ads. Fuck you, Google Ads! I didn't want your shitty revenue anyway! You can take a big fat cock right up your clean shaven ass and/or cunt and/or other orifice (most probably around the face area) depending on your gender and the way in which you don't like taking cock! And if you love taking cock in all of those ways then I hope you do something else that you really don't like! I bet stubbing your toe is a good suggestion! Nobody can like stubbing their toe, right?!

Hmm, maybe it's rants like those that caused Google Ads to judge and despise me? Maybe its spewing that kind of vile garbage that has kept me from excelling at my job? Maybe the lack of contact with any family isn't the fault of those fucking mooching bastard family members?

Could I be the problem?

Maybe I should practice writing normal comic book reviews! But first I should read a few to get a feel for them. I'm going to read some reviews of Catwoman Annual #1 now!


Ugh! I thought reading Nocenti was bad! If I have to wade through another cat and/or bird pun again, then I'll...well, I never really have an answer for this kind of set-up. Why don't I just begin with "I hope I never..."? But no! I have to set up an if-then statement and completely fail to come up with a then half!

Not that all the other reviews were bad. One (which I won't be linking to because it's the competition! Sheesh. You think I'm a schmuck?) was actually decent. What I mainly learned was nearly everybody despises Ann Nocenti's run on Catwoman. But if that's true, why is it still happening? Maybe it'll get better with this issue! I'm going to try really hard to like it!

The issue begins with The Penguin's war on the Badlands having been escalated to a small war. An Umbrellacopter is raining bullets and missiles down on all of the Rat-Tales (Woo--oh shut up) and Selina is trying to help out. Or save her own life. Uh oh. I know I'm in trouble when I'm already apathetic about the reasons for what's going on and I'm only on page three.

Oh, she feels guilty for having set this shit-storm in motion. Also, Joe Pazzo was possed! Who Edits the Editors?!

See those catapults? Catwoman is an expert with them! Of course she is! Duh! She's also probably an expert at catering and inserting catheters! Oh shit, am I making Cat Puns? I'm glad I never committed to what I'd do if I had to wade through any more! But it isn't my fault! It's not like I thought, "You know what would make an entertaining and witty review? If I made cat puns throughout the comic book!" No, no. The comic book made the pun itself!

She must have played a lot of Artillery on her Apple IIe.

In a coincidence so grand it would be labeled as not a coincidence and thus Proof of God, the man named Volt lands in the water on an electric fishing line and gains electric person super powers. It's fate! Destiny! Intelligent Design! Contrivance!

Wasn't there already a female character named Volt in an earlier Catwoman comic under Judd Winick? Oh no. That was Reach although she did have electric powers! And then there was the male character named Spark who had electric powers. What the fuck is up with Catwoman and characters with electric powers? I guess they rub her the wrong way!

Later there's a scene so we can see The Penguin's ladies in their underwear. It's fairly...what's that? Oh, okay.

I'd feel less pervy scanning this in if I at least knew the character's name!

Next is a scene at the morgue where Mayor Hady is telling Detective Bullock to sit this one out. He wants the gang members to kill themselves. What he's most curious is who's winning the war so he, obviously, consults the coroner. "Coroner Bill" (I guess that's his super hero name) makes a quick count of people in tuxedos versus people with crappy hair cuts and determines that the Rat-Tails are winning. He must have other facts at his disposal as well like how many Rat-Tails there are and how many men The Penguin sent in to fight and how many bodies are just innocent victims. I really have no clue why Mayor Hady needs to know who's winning though. Perhaps he doesn't want The Penguin to lose and he'll send the police in if The Penguin seems to be losing. Which he is. Because he doesn't have Catwoman on his side.

Back in The Penguin's lair, The Penguin wants to know why he's losing. Lark, his second in command, tells him it's because the Rat-tails know their turf too well. Her suggestion is to move the war to neutral territory. Well, that's a stupid fucking idea. Why don't you begin bombing an area of Gotham where the Rat-tails don't live? Then they'll move over there to be bombed and they'll lose! Why don't you think before you speak, Lark? Why would the Rat-tails leave their turf to fight the war somewhere else when they're not actually interested in fighting anyway? They just want to stop being bombed!

As bombs are falling and people are dying and newspapers are running off extra after extra (by the hour, I think!), there's still time to take a break and reminisce about our youth.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s before Recycling was a huge deal and before society really began cracking down on underage drinking, the trees lining the field of the local junior high near my house used to be filled with bags of empty beer bottles. My cousin and I would walk along the border between the trees. We'd find a bottle to be our champion, sometimes choosing by color, sometimes by label, and sometimes just thinking a 40 ouncer would be unbeatable, and we'd kick them as we walked along. We'd try to smash the other guy's bottle by hitting their bottle broadside with the neck of our bottle. We probably left thousands of shards of glass all over Wilson Junior High. Sorry for everybody who was lacerated because of us!

Back to the war, The Penguin is tired of his soldiers being killed so he decides to load up in an Umbrellacopter and go after Catwoman himself. Actually, he decides to fly near her and tell her he's going to kill everybody she cares about. Well wasn't that what was fucking going on already? Well, if it wasn't, it's going on now! The Penguin has heard a rumor that maybe Catwoman is friends with King Rat-tail, so The Penguin arrives to blow a hole in the ground which King Rat-tail disappears into. Amazing how The Penguin's rain of bombs does nothing but now that The Penguin is here to aim and fire just one missile, he takes out King Rat-tail. Now he's hurt Catwoman's feelings and defeated the leader of the Rat-tails! Two birds with one stone!

The Penguin also threatens to kill anybody else Catwoman ever gets close to. Good luck! How about starting with Batman?

Catwoman #21 Rating: No change. I suppose now that Rat-tail fell underground, Catwoman is going to have to visit the little goblin's kingdom! Oh, it'll be a grand adventure! Also, I didn't like this comic book but it wasn't so terrible as other Catwoman comic books. It just wasn't any good. And it wasn't interesting. It was just pages with pictures on them. You can probably tell I lost interest fairly quickly. Probably right about the time I said I was losing interest!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Batman Loves Superman #1

Of course Batman gets top billing.

In this episode, Batman's getting his Batcave pressure washed, so he moves into the Fortress of Solitude with Superman. But Superman gets tired of finding panties and cum stains all over his shit, so he runs a line of tape down the middle of the Fortress to keep Batman on his side and out of his things. Hilarity ensues when they realize the Kryptonite is on Superman's side but the Deadly Nocturnal Man-eating Plants from Vorageal 5 are on Batman's side. Also the toilet is split right down the middle and the handle is on Batman's side, so Superman leaves a gigantic super poop just sitting in the toilet for Bruce to find.

The problem with acting cynical and above it all and mentioning how DC is just trying to sell as many comic books as possible by sticking Batman and Superman in this book...the problem is that I still want to read a book focusing primarily on the relationship between Batman and Superman. I was barely even reading comics when this title appeared last time and I still managed to pick up the first trade because I'm a sucker for gimmicks. As long as, you know, Batman is the gimmick. Okay, that's a lie since I hardly ever read Batman comic books before The New 52. But someone did tell me it was pretty good, so I picked it up. And I was like, "Lex Luthor is president?! What the fuck happened?!" I think I was reading a lot more Marvel than DC in my last few years of reading comics before The Long Hiatus (that's the period of time between Cerebus ending and The New 52 beginning).

I will probably be referring to this comic book as Batman Verbs Superman for the entirety of its run because "Batman Superman" just sounds like a new hero whose secret origin has to do with a horrible Watchtower teleportation accident.

I hope Issue #2 begins with this same shot except Bruce on a farm being hassled by livestock. "My father always warned me about Smallville. Growing up in a city, you learn that human beings are pushy and smelly. We only survive by pushing back and smelling better. But when people come to Smallville, the smells push back even harder."

Look at this beautiful opening! Clark Kent, small town farmboy, nervous about visiting the city! Except he lives in a big city, so he's not nervous at all. He's simply being a judgmental prick, isn't he? "Oh, look at the mess Batman lives in! My city is so much cleaner! My city's drug dealers and prostitutes stay in the poorly maintained old downtown district abandoned by most white middle class residents years ago! What has Batman been doing? Goofing off with that sidekick when he should be cleaning up this city, that's what. Well, he's a reasonable Bat. He'll probably readily accept my offer to help make his city more like my golden home!"

Jeezly crow, even when I begin a paragraph ready to praise what I'm reading, I spiral into descent and madness and cynicism and can't help but bust Superman and Batman's chops. What I was trying to say was this: "Wow! This book is banging!" Ugh, no. Fuck no. I wasn't trying to say that at all. I think I injured my gag reflex by typing that. But seriously, I love Jae Lee's style on this thing.

Meanwhile Bruce Wayne is sitting in a park watching some bullies pick on a smaller, browner kid. He just watches, seeing that the boy is about to take matters into his own hands, change the way everybody looks at him, gain some real power of his own.

Not everybody wants saving, Clark.

What a superb moment for the meeting of Clark and Bruce and to shine a light on one of their inherent differences. Bruce knows the power to be gained by rising up on one's own. This boy had the power in him to stop the bullying once and for all. Clark's interference makes sure the boy doesn't get a bloody nose today, but the boy is still in the same place he was before. Just next time, Clark won't be there to save him. Bruce's world is one full of callouses and rough patches but it's one where people are more capable of surviving by their own hands. Clark's world is soft and tender, full of people who expect to be saved. It's not Clark's fault though! He believes in the good of everyone and that the world can be made cruelty free. So why not save everybody when they need it? Eventually, in Clark's eyes, nobody will need saving and peace will reign. Bruce sees it very differently, having grown up in Gotham. Batman can't be everywhere, so he needs to choose the people most vulnerable and in need of rescue. The others need to fend for themselves and, as Bruce sees it, a bloody nose or two goes a long way to self-reliance.

Clark's stance in that first panel is brilliant. It screams, "Nope! No way I can be Superman! Very awkward nerd here!"

Bruce Wayne's next Narration Box should be, "Am I going to have to kill him?" But right now he doesn't need to worry. Clark is simply in town investigating three murders of Wayne Enterprises employees that occurred in Metropolis. But Bruce Wayne isn't interested in helping Clark Kent. All Clark has done is put himself on Batman's radar. And, I guess, inform The Batman that some detectiving needs to be done!

All in all, it's a really nice opening to Batman Loves Superman.

Batman winds up in Metropolis keeping an eye on the one Wayne Enterprise employee that refused to relocate for the night. A crazed Catwoman attacks the employee, scratching his face just like the previously murdered employees. I suppose Catwoman must be being controlled by somebody because even if she's already fucking Batman at this point in history, she can't remain free after murdering three people. Or is she really that good? Will Batman just turn his head so he can get some late night, rooftop, super criminal in heat action? Batman crashes through a window to stop the murder because even in Metropolis Bruce Wayne must have investments in construction.

The entire rescue kind of goes tits up when the employee's kid comes out and the employee activates experimental Wayne Enterprises technology. Oh, and of course when Superman crashes through a wall. Really, Clark? Do you also have investments in construction? Because there was a perfectly good open broken window you could have flown through.

Isn't this always the way? You see a gorgeous, talented person dating somebody you have a crush on and the only hope you have is that the person isn't too terribly bright. And then you find out they're a doctor. At least Batman will eventually find out Clark Kent is a journalist and, at this point in world history, there may not be a worse profession with which you can be associated. Bunch of fucking slackers! Where are the real life Lois Lanes and Clark Kents? But not Jimmy Olsens. Who needs 'em?!

Superman has arrived late so he jumps to the conclusion that the man dressed in the bat suit is the murderer. Apparently Ma and Pa Kent raised him to be a sexist bastard because he doesn't think for one second that the woman dressed in the cat suit could be the murderer. Even though Clark Kent had, you know, photos of dead people with cat scratches on their faces. I take back what I said about him being a good journalist! I did say that, just in a roundabout way!

Superman hesitates because nearly every option he has will end up killing Batman. His Narration Boxing makes it sound like he wants to do it since he mentions that he's getting angry. But this is possibly Superman's biggest problem. Unless he's fighting something invulnerable, he has to be really careful in a fist fight. Imagine getting into a fight with a toddler with a gun and explosives. You have to subdue the toddler before it can seriously hurt someone but without seriously injuring the kid. That's actually a tough fight!

So while Superman is thinking about it, Batman blows him through another wall (the structural integrity of buildings in Metropolis have to conform to the Superman Code: the building must be able to stand with two full walls blown out and in rubble) and Superman plummets to the ground. I guess he's yet to figure out how to fly. And you know, Grant Morrison never did do a story where it showed Superman's progression from leaping to flying. Now I'm really beginning to wonder if he flies due to a Legion Flight Ring! But where does he keep it?!

Once Superman hits the ground, Batman begins pushing appliances on top of him while Catwoman watches. And speaking of Catwoman and her funky eyes that Batman noticed but I didn't make mention of:


The ghost thing flies in as Superman leaps up to punch Batman in his stupid appliance dropping face and there's a loud BOOOOM and they all disappear.

Next up on my stack of comics is Ann Nocenti's Catwoman, so these will probably be the three best Catwoman panels I read all night.

The BOOOOM sends Superman to the future? Where he appears in Smallville and falls to the ground next to future Batman? Superman is at least as confused as I am and he attacks Batman who he thinks is responsible for the teleporting. And if so, this Batguy also knows his secret identity. The fact that he turns and calls him "Clark" is a big clue to that as well.

Batman has also been teleported to the field but, for some reason, he's the current Batman. So where is "Years Ago" Batman? Did he wind up in the future? And then things get even weirder as Superman, weakened from Batman's use of his emergency Kryptonite, beats the crap out of Batman without having to hold back. Thanks, Kryptonite! Oh yeah, the weird part:

I have no idea who this is. The New 52 Maxima? Mrs. Mxyzptlk? Lexie Luthor?

Batman Loves Superman #1 Rating: "Goddammit, I hate Batman and Superman! But I really liked Batman Superman! It was Aces the Bathound!" -- Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea blurb for DC to use when the Trade Paperback is released. You're welcome, DC!

Larfleeze #1

This is almost like getting an Ambush Bug monthly title. I said almost!

After reading the first back-up story in Threshold starring Larfleeze, I wrote this: "Based on only the second page of the Larfleeze back-up story, I want a full sized Larfleeze comic book." So you're welcome! And then later, when I knew Larfleeze was getting his own comic book, I hoped that Robert Loren Fleming would be removed from DC Cold Storage to assist in the writing duties. I think DC probably thought that might get too silly and outrageous and really might become like having an Ambush Bug monthly title. So instead, they brought in J.M. DeMatteis for the co-writing duties. They may not have listened to the letter of my suggestion here but they definitely got the intent right. Will this comic end up being as important as Giffen and DeMatteis's run on Justice League? Well, that's just me being optimistic. Other people might not even see the late eighties Justice League as being "important." But I can't express how much it meant to me to have a rich, funny, whimsical Justice League full of very human characters. Dare I say their Justice League wandered into Marvel territory with the amount of pathos and interrelationship drama involved?

Hopefully the book retains all the sense of whimsy it had as a back-up feature. If it disappoints me the way the New 52 Justice League International disappointed me, I'm going to be very disappointed. The New 52 needs far more comedy and I hope this is just the beginning.

Now that all of that is said, I imagine I'm just going to be scanning a bunch of panels now with captions saying, "I thought this was really funny!"

Just the title and credits made me laugh out loud five times.

The story begins with Larfleeze and his space butler, Stargrave, floating toward an annihilating point at the edge of the universe. Larfleeze's ring will be out of power in fifteen minutes and he's just recently lost all of his stuff, including his Power Battery. And by lost, I mean he threw it all in a black hole and destroyed it. And he did that because he treated Sayd the Guardian like crap and she fucked with his head before she faked her own death and ran off to live with Ganthet.

Larfleeze has nothing left, so he's willing to die. And he's going to take his space butler with him. I have a feeling that Stargraves is going to convince Larfleeze that he can figure out how to recharge his ring on Oa since Larfleeze attacks Oa over in Green Lantern #21. Also Larfleeze can't die because his name is on the cover and DC can't cancel a comic book just after Issue #1 because they have to see how many jerko fans don't buy my new favorite comic book and make it fail almost instantly simply because Jason Todd or Tim Drake or Batman or Cassandra Cain or Wally West or Stephanie Brown aren't in it.

Before Larfleeze can save himself and Stargraves from certain doom, he decides everybody needs to hear his origin story. Of course! This is issue #1! I wouldn't have it any other way!

This is the most believable origin story yet.

His birth might be the only part of his origin story that is true and even the where and how of that occasion was probably bullshit. Eventually Larfleeze gets to the part of his story where he finds the Orange Ring and Power Battery on Okaara. This may or may not be repeat material for people who were reading Green Lantern for the last decade.

There was some other stuff in-between birth and becoming the Orange Lantern but why should I spoil the story just so you don't buy Larfleeze #1 and the comic book fails? Parasites!

Stargrave interrupts Larfleeze at about this point (and others! It's just he's finally successful now in his interrupting) to find out the time. Larfleeze tells him it's 8:15. I wonder if that's Mars Standard Time according to the universal chronal chart established by Salvator Grotto in 1856? Whatever time it refers to (probably Okaaran Swamp Standard Time), Stargrave realizes that Larfleeze's charge should have died fifteen minutes ago. Stargrave theorizes that Larfleeze has somehow become the battery himself. And then Starjumper leaps from the void of creation and attacks.

"He's clumsy, that hunter. One day he'll trip and the great wolf will catch him." "You see all that up there? I just see stars."

Okay, I don't know the last time I read Elfquest and that quote is off the top of my head. I'm going to grab Elfquest Book One and see how close I was! The first thing I notice is the distinct smell of this book. My copy of the color volume from 1981 and that smell just brings me back. Okay, here's the quote:

Skywise: "The Great Wolf chases the hunter across the sky! He's clumsy, that hunter! One day he'll trip, and the wolf will get him!"
Cutter: "You see all that up there, Skywise? Strange...I just see stars."

Damn. I suck at quotes and that's fucking close. It just goes to show how much Elfquest meant to me and how many times I probably read it over the years. I think I'm about due for another reading. It's probably been over a decade since I read it.

The Cosmic Wolf (it's Starjumper!) eats Larfleeze which means we all now what is about to happen. But I can't blame the Cosmic Wolf for not trying like all the other giant beasts that simply just swallow the hero whole. The Cosmic Wolf chews on Larfleeze for a while before swallowing him. It's not the wolf's fault that Larfleeze's ring protects him from mastication. Having survived being eaten, Larfleeze, of course, explodes out of Starjumper's stomach, a little bit angrier than prior to having been eaten.

Stargrave is not the boon, loyal companion that Alfred is.

Just after this exchange, some gigantic purple fiery creature called The Laord of the Hunt emerges from the Void of Creation. He's a bit peeved that his dog was just killed. But more importantly, he has a bunch of little goblin servants carrying a bunch of material objects along with him which Larfleeze decides is treasure. Lots and lots of treasure. So Larfleeze admits to killing the dog and then attacks the gigantic cosmic monster man.

Larfleeze #1 Rating: I'll begin Larfleeze just under Threshold. It wasn't as funny as the back-up stories but then those stories packed a lot of crazy crap into eight short pages. But it's entertaining and I like Stargrave and I'm glad we've got a comic whose title character is basically a greedy, amoral, narcissistic asshole. I think I just described Bruce Wayne.