Monday, June 30, 2014

Justice League Dark #32

At least John gets to keep his cigarette.

Tumblr's random page feature is bullshit. Haven't they heard of Get with the program, Tumblr! I'm sick of using my link to a random page on my site and only getting posts from March 2013! Do I have to wait until 4 PM before I can start randomly getting posts from April?! Your random number generation system is worse than Apple's!

Hey! Did you all know John Constantine is bisexual? Reader Locke wanted to remind everybody since John was sleeping with three women last issue. Actually, reader Locke wanted to remind me since, through experiential evidence from my eyeballs and my brain, I had noticed that he was sleeping with three women. Apparently I should have remembered that John was bisexual and pretended that one of the women was a man. Just to keep things straight. Um. So to speak.

I might have just sounded a little bit pissy in that last paragraph and my attitude is sure to be taken as if I have a problem with bisexuals because some people just want to preach at other people and point out that they're not as good people as the person doing the preaching even if the people doing the preaching have got the wrong end of the stick. But I just sounded pissy because I don't write the comic books. J.M. DeMatteis is on Twitter if you feel he should be reminded that Constantine is bisexual. I only report what I see! Also what I think I see! Also sometimes things I wished I'd seen but had to make up instead.

Okay, fine! I'm untrustworthy enough to have lied about John being with three women! But I don't like people assuming that I'm an Amateur Comic Book Reader! Haven't you read all of those times I've proclaimed that I'm a Master Comic Book Reader? You should trust that I know what I'm doing!

I also don't think John is a bisexual. I don't think he'd want to be labeled when it came to his sexual choices. Bisexual is too limiting for John. I'd make up a word here that describes his sexuality but, as I just said so recently there's no way you've already forgotten it, I don't think Constantine would want to be labeled. As a free thinking individual, he can give a toss what other people think of him or how other people want to control him through mundane categories. He's just John Constantine! Even that's probably too much label for him!

I like when reader's give bits of condensation nuclei to get my ranting bubbling to the surface but it often comes at the expense of sounding like I have something against the reader! I totally don't! I love Locke! And Natalie! And the other person whose name I can't remember but it sounded like I was a jerk to that person when I responded to that person in a commentary but I totally wasn't being hostile or mean-spirited at all and sorry that I can't remember your name [I think it was rebeccamartin2!]! Now do I have to list every other reader and say that I love them as well because I just don't have the time nor the inclination! How about I just say, "I love you all!" And I mean that in the most insincere way possible. I mean, it's sincere enough if you take "I love you" to mean "I'd gladly nod in your direction if you called out my name in public and waved at me like a maniac."

Well, maybe I love Artya. Or miss Artya. One of those.

Anyway, this was the basic conflict currently troubling the Justice League Dark.

Does it seem like Justice League Dark fights more amongst themselves than against other foes? Well they're doing it again! Luckily it doesn't last long before Constantine ends the fight by making all of their lives worse. He winds up trapping them all back in the Between. That's where stray thoughts go to not exist anymore. Or to both exist and not exist. Oh, who am I kidding? I don't know what it is! It's some kind of philosophical lint trap! And who am I to discuss philosophical topics when I dropped out of The Philosophy of Science after one day in the class because I realized I can't fucking stand wannabe philosophers. The whole first class was spent discussing whether or not what we see through the window is actually what's through the window. "Why don't you fucking jump out of it?" I muttered under my breath and began doodling penises and vaginas on my binder.

What I learned from my one day as a philosopher is that the greatest philosopher in the room is always the last one to ask, "How do you know?" The person resorting to punching the greatest philosopher in the face is not the greatest philosopher in the room although that person might be the biggest hero in the room. And I'm against all forms of physical violence! Unless the person committing the violence is wearing a cape. Then it's fun.

This is the new conflict after they sort out their internal issues.

Justice League Dark are now battling to not exist as the Between erodes their identities and slowly erases them from reality. Why fight it? Just let nonexistence wash over you! Let it embrace you. As the great poet Dylan Thomas wrote, "[G]o gentle into that good night." That's good advice!

Instead of letting them all stop existing, The Nightmare Nurse takes it upon herself to give the others time to get home. That's because she took some kind of a nursing vow at Nightmare Medical University to protect people in need. So she's going to remain in the Between to try to show it life is worth living and it's kind of a dick move to go around forcing other people to not live life in the same way that you do. Or don't. One of those.

So Zee is into three-headed parasitic demons! As the great poet Paris Hilton wrote, "That's hot!"

Did Nightmare Nurse and Zatanna spend an entire lifetime in Zatanna's head while Nurse was possessing her? Did they have a long relationship and a happy family? Did Zatanna learn how to play the flute? If not inside Zee's head then when did they get so close? Probably not during the Preboot!

Justice League Dark escapes and Nightmare Nurse returns to nothing. She says she gives her final power to her father. I don't know if she's speaking directly to the Between or she's speaking to a long lost father that filled her with Daddy Issues before setting her loose on the world.

Or maybe Asa isn't dead because Zatanna seems to have been keeping her under her tongue.

Which poet?! I've been correctly attributing my quotes! I'm going to guess it was either Rudyard Kipling or Nicole Richie.

Asa returns to Alice Winter's body but this time with Alice's permission and a promise to not bury her personality beneath Asa's voluptuous ego. And then everything is hunky dory! Even John seems to be welcome for the moment.

Justice League Dark #32 Rating: +2 Ranking. This was a well told issue that sorted out the Nightmare Nurse and her position on the team nicely. Although I'm still wondering about her father. Is he nonexistence? Or was he somebody else from long, long ago. Maybe Trigon the Rapist! I'm still not a huge fan of John being on the team since he's always been such a loner but maybe he'll work out okay in a support role and not as the leader. The one reason for him to stick around is to explore his connection to the House of Mystery and his room full of New 52 secrets. But I have a feeling that subject will never be broached again. It was probably just a little something for Forever Evil and now John just doesn't give a shit about his hero research anymore.

Larfleeze #12

And failure!

So J.M. and Keith gave it a shot. They wrote a clever back-up feature that was a lot of fun and then dropped seventeen characters that nobody remembered from the Preboot Era when they expanded to a full monthly series. I think that might have been their first mistake. Space Cabbie and Space Ranger and the Star Rovers were important elements of Larfleeze's early Reboot success. They actually had things to say besides "Mine" or "Mine!" or "Mine?" They brought some diversity to the comic book so that it wasn't just Pulsar pointing out how much it sucks to be Larfleeze's butler. Their second mistake was not writing more than four jokes across eleven issues. Even at a monthly pace, readers start to notice the jokes repeating over and over, especially when you use them three or four times in the same issue.

Now Larfleeze has one last issue to make me laugh out loud. But I'm not holding my breath. Because that would make it difficult to laugh out loud.

The issue begins with a dead beat robot dad joke followed by the death of one of the more interesting characters in the book, L-Frank!

Nothing strikes the funny bone quite like a divorced couple that can't stop arguing about money and children!

On the next page, we get the "my name is G'nort not gnat" joke for about the seventh or eight time since G'nort appeared two or three issues ago. As you can see, I hate to be too precise. Precision shows competence and I'd hate portray myself in a less than truthful light. On the page after that, The Wanderer continues to insist that Larfleeze is her beloved which is another joke that hasn't evolved at all. You'd think some of these jokes would head toward some kind of payoff instead of just treading water. Well, I'd think that anyway! I don't know what you'd think. I can't fathom what conclusions anybody willing to read this blog would actually come to.

On the page following, there is an explosion of orange light. That isn't a joke but it has happened quite often during the series. But for those that love to reread jokes, Larfleeze does declare, once again, that he isn't a monkey on the page after that!

I wonder if I can get DC to refund me $29.99 since this entire series really only used about two issues worth of jokes across twelve issues? I'd be willing to pay for the first and last issue. I think DC owes me a refund on the rest.

The page after this, we get the "don't call me beloved" joke again! And then the "everything is mine" joke comes around for another appearance. But Larfleeze only points out to everybody that everything is his so that he can defeat them and stop the battle. Finally, the Tuath Dan Clan give up. They flee the Planet of Depressed Robots leaving G'nort and Larfleeze to figure out what to do with the planet.

Larfleeze decides to remain king of the Planet of Depressed Robots even though all of the robots have been destroyed. He does plan on fixing them up though with a little help from his newly discovered cousin: G'nort!

I knew Larfleeze was a dog and not a monkey all along!

Is this canon now? Green Lanterns can't apprehend family members with links so far back that they're barely even family members? I think this means Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle can't engage any criminals on Earth at all! I'm sure we're all basically fourteenth cousins twice removed! I'd really be sure of that if I had any idea what it means! I always forget what the removed part and the numbered part and the word "cousin" mean. All I need to know is, "Can I have sex with a fourteenth cousin twice removed?" I mean, I know I can! But can I do it without the other family members judging me?

The issue ends with Pulsar having been completely forgotten. That was the best part of the issue because I'd really gotten sick of his pathetic "why me?" attitude! Although the best part of the series is the part that's never going to happen! The part where Larfleeze and Gnat ("It's G'nort!") team up to be the World's Bravest and Finest and Most Bold! It's probably a good thing that it ended with G'nort becoming Larfleeze's sidekick because now I can just imagine how good that could have been by ignoring how bad the rest of this was.

Larfleeze #12 Rating: -1 Ranking because I didn't laugh out loud. I almost did at one part! Perhaps a slight chuckle. But that's why it only gets one loss of rank instead of two.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Justice League #31

She'll probably become the Green Lantern that Hal Jordan used to be. You remember? No time for cosmic shenanigans. He just stopped bank robberies and muggings and such.

I'll probably spend most of this commentary fixing my image tags after typing "JL32.jpg". Maybe that's an exaggeration. I'll probably spend about 1/1000th of my time typing this up fixing the image tags. DC Comics should just skip a number when numbering this series so it can get back in sync with the other original New 52 titles.

Last issue, Lex Luthor paid a visit to Bruce Wayne because he's the only person in the whole world that somehow made the connection between Nightwing being Robin being Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne being Dick's ward. At this point, I don't think I'd be too impressed to be the smartest man on New Earth because it appears everybody else on New Earth is a complete moron.

This is when Alfred runs in excitedly wearing a Batman baseball cap and waving a Batman pennant and screaming giddily, "Master Bruce! Master Bruce! Batman is currently on the news battling The Sloth in downtown Gotham!" And Lex Luthor goes, "Oh? I guess I was wrong about you, Bruce. No way Batman could have devised such a cunning piece of legerdemain to derail my suspicions!" And Bruce will be, "Sorry you wasted your time, Lex. But I have some women to bang, so if you'll excuse me."

Bruce's first attempt to dissuade Luthor is to pull the "that's a preposterous idea" card. Act aghast at the unlikelihood of the idea and maybe Lex will buy it. Except that tactic is basically telling Lex Luthor he's stupid and he jumped to an incorrect conclusion. Even if Lex was wrong (which he isn't!), Lex couldn't be convinced that he's wrong because he's a narcissist. And if his genius and intuition has led him to a certain belief, he's going to believe that belief no matter what anybody says because he's so fucking smart that he couldn't have guessed wrong.

Bruce continues the "this is all too ridiculous to even consider" ploy even though it isn't working so he moves on to the exit plan I detailed above.

That sounds like a shotgun! Did Alfred forget to frisk Lex when he let him in?!

The "CHAK" sound effect was not a shotgun at all. It was the sound of Lex removing a pistol from his inner coat pocket. That's an odd sound effect but then I've never removed a pistol from a pocket, so I can't say it's not the appropriate sound effect. The important thing to remember is that Alfred failed at his job and should be canned immediately.

Lex thinks pointing a gun at Bruce Wayne will prove that Bruce is Batman. Hasn't Lex already seen footage of Bruce Wayne kicking ass? It happens occasionally! But Batman won't resort to it this time because it would seem to give him away. But isn't not kicking the gun out Lex's hand proof that he's Batman since Bruce has done it before in front of loads of witnesses. If he doesn't do it now, it's because he's trying to prove he's not Batman! So that means he is Batman!

Alfred comes to Bruce's rescue by putting a pistol to Lex's head. I don't think Alfred would make that mistake. I get that it's showy and cinematic to have the gun come off-screen to rest against the target's head but only idiots give up the advantage of having a gun by getting within melee range. Also, I think Alfred would have brought his shotgun. And what about Titus? Titus could have mauled Lex Luthor and saved the day! Although Batman has been traveling around the world lately with Titus so that might wind up being the last proof Lex needs to pin Batman on Bruce Wayne.

Lex Luthor blows up Bruce's grandfather clock because Lex smelled bat guano behind it. This reveals the passage down to the batcave. I knew Batman should have stuck with the Shakespeare's head button to open the secret entrance to the Batman and Robin poles. Now Lex knows for certain that Bruce is Batman! I guess he'll have to be killed and/or have his memory thoroughly erased. Again.

Meanwhile Cyborg and Shazam are bored with saving the world.

Now see, this is a more interesting question than which super hero can beat up which other super hero. Which hero would be champion of Ping Pong?

Also meanwhile, Captain Cold pays a visit to Lexcorp so that they can run tests on him to see if he's a candidate for Project: Wannabee. Not that Captain Cold knows that's why they're taking the tests. He just wants to be loved. He also might want a job that provides medical for himself and his family, just in case Glider catches another bad case of the comas.

I am so sick of everybody bringing up that goddamned story about the frog and the scorpion! We get it! Scorpions can't change their spots! And frogs are gullible assholes!

Here are some other things I'm sick of hearing about: the Native American that feeds wolves, and the person trying to kill people by eating poison. I'm sure there are a bunch more that regularly make the rounds on Facebook but they aren't quite on my mind right now. But if I've seen it posted by some dopey friend on Facebook, I sure as hell don't want to see a professional writer using it in their work!

Oh fuck. Bruce actually decides to retell the story. And then he even changes the ending to have some nonsensical stupid bullshit about a bat saving the frog's life. Jesus, Bruce. Talk about contrived! At least the original story makes sense since frogs always act as ferries to other wild creatures. But when do Bats ever save frogs? Hardly ever, that's when!

What Bruce is trying to tell Luthor is to fuck off. So Luthor leaves and the first thing Alfred asks is "What are you going to do about Luthor?" when he should be asking, "What the fuck was that idiocy, sir? Perhaps you should leave the trite moral stories to Facebook."

That's the real reason Batman keeps Alfred on! So that when the time comes that some antagonist has to die, Alfred will do it for him and he can pretend his hands are still clean.

Just imagine if Lex Luthor were found shot to death in Bruce Wayne's mansion! Now that's a story I want to read! DC needs their version of "What If..." for The New 52. And each issue should just continue a story that's recently been told in The New 52 but taking a very different turn at some point. So the "What If..." for this story would point back to this story with a one page synopsis of what led up to this point. Then maybe it would reprint a few pages of this comic book before having Alfred shoot Lex in the head and resulting chaos that would ensue from there.

After Lex leaves, the Justice League puts out the call to meet in Portland, Oregon because there's an asshole blogger there making fun of their stories. Luckily for me, there's also a woman that just transformed into Power Ring which they'll probably have to deal with first. Although they still might send J.T. Krul's Green Arrow to arrest me for being a dick on the internet.

But before the Justice League can get there, somebody else arrives. A group that brings tears to my eyes to finally see.

I love you, Cliffy!

I'm glad to see Niles Caulder looking much older than his previous appearances in The Ravagers. Hopefully the Niles Caulder from The Ravagers was a clone created by Niles that somehow got loose from him. It then went on to try to clone other people like Gen 13 so that it wouldn't be an alone clone. I am also excited by this line-up of The Doom Patrol. Cliff Steel. Negative Person or Rebis. Elasti-girl who is hopefully Rita Farr. And Elemental Girl who should fit right in with these guys. I can only assume that this is the Doom Patrol's first baby step to getting their own series.

Justice League #31 Rating: +2 Ranking. Firstly, I enjoyed the confrontation between Batman and Lex, a few pages dedicated to Captain Cold, and Shazam acting like the ten year old kid he is, Young Justice style. But even if I'd hated everything else, turning that last page to see the Doom Patrol with Cliff Steele would have been all I needed to make my night. I have a constantly changing roster of characters I love, mostly due to who's writing them or the point in my life when I was introduced to them. But I think I've always identified most strongly with Cliff Steele. Can Justice League #32 come out next week?

Catwoman #32

Who is the Mysterious Fireface?! To find out, you'll need to slog through twenty pages of complete nonsense!

Last issue, I decided it was taking too long to comment on Ann Nocenti's story like an actual critic critiquing actual writing. And since Ann Nocenti's writing isn't technically writing, I decided to just start listing all of the weird and incomprehensible things going on in The Race of Thieves! I may also interrupt the list for a nice bit of Scenes From Ann Nocenti. Ready? On your go! MARK!

Another List of Ann Nocenti’s Bullshit
By Grunion Guy

1. Funny enough, I accidentally guessed how Nocenti would begin the issue. Sure, it's a "race" so why wouldn't it start with an on your mark type of gunshot deal. But I'd forgotten this part of the competition was going to be a literal race.

2. To prove who is the best thief in the world, the thieves compete in a Wacky Race. None of them question this.

3. Vegas is running odds on the winner of the Race of Thieves. I suppose this isn't that odd since Vegas bookmakers will run bets on anything. But this is some kind of clandestine, invitation-only, outside of the law competition! Did Roulette hold a press conference at the Rio before sending out the puzzle box invites?

4. I guess Roulette is participating in this race? She's on a bullet train to the end of the line while the other racers try to drive through sandy terrain to beat her.

5. Mirror Master owns a rocket ship?

6. Rat-tail (woo woo!) has suddenly entered the competition and even though the race is straight along some tracks, he rides his motorcycle across the front of a tank and some kid named Big Wheel's truck. He's worse at driving than he is at doing his hair.

7. Rat-tail winds up in Catwoman's car even though the positions of all the vehicles make no sense for him to be able to hop to her car when his motorcycle is run over.

8. Catwoman decides to tell Rat-tail about her new job as an undercover coroner with the Gotham Police.

9. Coroner Bill don't believe in none of your highfalutin, modern day CSI nonsense!

10. Coroner Bill actually says "Jeesums." Just in case you weren't sure he was an ornery son of a gun what ain't got no time for all these computer doohickeys!

11. Catwoman and Mirror Master have no trouble conversing while racing. Perhaps Sam Scudder has gotten good at hearing things he shouldn't be able to hear so he can respond to The Flash's super speed one-liners.

12. Oh! That's what I've been doing wrong all these years of gambling! The smart money is to bet on the long shot! Shucks!

13. I think "stay on your wheels" is better advice than "don't use fuel." It's a fifty mile course! Who's going to be dumb enough to run out of fuel?!

14. I suppose he did have to drive all the way to this desert in South Asia on one tank.

15. Some smart-assed Asian guy points out the idiot that didn't refuel should have been using a camel because "their tanks never run dry." Piss off, old man!

16. An Interpol helicopter begins firing missiles at the contestants and Catwoman correctly guesses that the hearse in the race is asking for it just before it blows up. Why was the hearse asking for it? Where does she get such lovely intuition?

17. While missiles are flying all around them, Rat-tail (woo woo!) asks Catwoman to continue her story about Coroner Bill and his rival.

18. Catwoman notices details the other coroners missed. Like how the corpse of Rita's ancestor is missing a finger. She has such attention to detail!

19. If the family fortune still exists? I suppose he's talking about money other than all the priceless artifacts they found buried beneath the family home and frozen in blocks of ice. Also, I think every line of Coroner Bill's is supposed to be followed by a laugh track.

20. The missing ring finger was taken by Coroner Bill so he could solve the case and prove that gruffness and ill-temper are better tools for solving murders than gadgets and gizmos!

Scenes From Ann Nocenti's Catwoman: Scene Three

Catwoman needed to do some investigating. She was in a race but it was not a race against time because she had plenty of time to do some investigating on the side. She wanted to investigate Hunt Stone's house. "Gee," she thought ballooned, "Hunt Stone's billions are what we are racing for. Not because he wants to give them away but because he must because his child has been kidnapped. I will break into his mansion and do my investigating to prove that he doesn't have a child. I mean, to find his missing child. But I might find his child is not missing because he does not have one! The mystery will thicken!"

Catwoman cut a tiny hole in a window of Hunt Stone's Mansion. It was very small but since it was big enough to get her head through, it was big enough to get the rest of her cat body through as well. The first thing she investigated were the chairs. There was only one in each room! "A-ha!" she extrapolated. "Where did Hunt Stone sit if there were only one chair for his child? I must investigate further!" Next she looked in his photo album that he kept on a table in the hallway. It did not have any photos in it! "This mystery is so thick!" she exclaimed.

Next, Catwoman investigated the bed. "Hmm," she thought. "That is quite a big bed. But do not get me wrong when I say it is big because it is only big enough for one man without any room left for a child. I think I am beginning to solve this mystery!" But first Catwoman remembered something her coroner friend said. He said, "Dust is made of skin flakes." That meant she would collect a bag of skin flakes to perform DNA on them! And the DNA would say, "These flakes have 0% chance of being from a child!" That would really help to solve her mystery! But she thought she still wanted a smoking gun because those always blow cases wide open. So she investigated the creepy baby death mask. "Who could have made this?" she thought! But she knew she could find out the answers because of fingerprints! Her investigations were a success! Now she would just have to go to the lab and process her fingerprints and her DNAs. Good job, Catwoman! That was me, the narrator, congratulating her on her job well done. Or done well enough.

End Scene.

21. There is no possible way that this is a person in a disguise.

22. Catwoman causes the Interpol helicopter to crash. But she does it in the safest way possible so that everybody in it can survive.

23. The Interpol helicopter was actually Vice and Swindle. They argue about how they were getting paid by Roulette to kill the other racers. Catwoman hears them from one hundred feet away while racing at a hundred miles per hour.

24. The finish of the race makes no sense. I'm not surprised because the beginning of the race made no sense. Nothing made any sense. I suppose you don't buy an Ann Nocenti book hoping for a coherent story.

25. Here's how the race finished. Roulette's train was about to cross the finish line so Catwoman grapples it and climbs on top to squat on her knees and scream, "Yes!" Then Mirror Master decides to stop before crossing the finish line to throw up a mirror to stop the train because the engineer would think another train just like his suddenly appeared on the track. That doesn't work and the train crashes into the mirror anyway. Catwoman dismounts (having done her job. I think?) and asks Mirror Master if he got the girl. He says "Yes" instead of "What girl?" I suppose they're talking about Roulette. Alvarez and Keyes were also in the race because they decided investigating a race in South Asia was important to justice in Gotham. And finally the bearded guy in the dune buggy won because he was the only one left and he paid off 100 to 1. And since betting on the long shot is the smart money, he's who Catwoman bet on!

26. Rat-tail (woo woo!), Catwoman, and Mirror Master board Roulette's train to steal the prize money because of course it would be on the train. But it's not. And neither are Roulette or the engineer! So I guess it wasn't Roulette that Catwoman was talking about to Mirror Master. So who the hell was she talking about?!

Catwoman #32 Rating: No change. It's now the worst comic book of The New 52 because Johns and Romita are turning Superman around and making it interesting! And enjoyable! But this book? Holy fuck, my brain hurts.

Batman #32

The Riddler's spider has been drinking too much coffee.

My life needs to be reorganized. I can't remember the last time I finished reading a real book. Okay, so I've reread three out of the five Hitchiker's books so far this year. I'm currently on So Long and Thanks for All the Fish which may have been my favorite of the original four unless I'm misremembering my childhood. I know Life, the Universe, and Everything is my least favorite and I always forget the plot of it until the next time I begin reading it and am reminded of the robots from Kricket. I think it would have been a better book if the actual hero of the book, Trillian, had a lot more pages devoted to her. My favorite subplot of the entire series which resolves itself in Mostly Harmless is in Life though. It's the part where Arthur meets the creature he's been unknowingly killing over and over again across his life. And then Mostly Harmless eventually became my favorite book because I love its take on manipulating multiple timelines to create ones own desired timeline.

When did I become such a lazy reader?! I don't know what to blame but I'm willing to blame Scott Lobdell! Or Rob Liefeld. Or the large amount of time I devote to my Lord and Master, Satan.

This issue begins with Bruce Wayne hiring a new butler.

Cue Beavis and Butthead laugh.

If I were the street performer, I'd tell Bruce to shove it. "I don't need your lousy job!" I'd say, "I've got this fat stack of hundreds!" Although maybe I'd first find out what that one thing I'd have to do turned out to be. It could be playing video games! Or eating too much candy! Or swimming in a private swimming pool that hasn't been adulterated up by all the neighborhood children! That word really should be "childrenerated" since it's kids that really fucking mess shit up. Although kids don't mess up the important stuff, so I suppose the word can stand. Fucking adults and their selfish desires for power and need to prove to their fathers that they aren't wussy baby nobodies that aren't worth any hugs or bedtime kisses!

Finding out about Bruce's new help will have to wait because the story decides to change dates and locations so that we're now back to Batman, Jim, and Lucius's attempt to storm Riddler's headquarters. Or their attempt to fall directly into The Riddler's trap.


Do I even need to mention that Batman escapes? Not only is this story from Batman's past but, you know, it's the Jeezly Crow Batman! And not only does he escape but he rides one of The Riddler's flying machine gun robots back to where Lucius is hiding out just in time to save Lucius from being killed! He's terrific. Just marvelous! What a bat!

Although Jim Gordon and his band of hit-eaters are still patrolling The Riddler's sewers, so I figure a bunch of them are going to die in a few pages.

In the meantime, Batman figures out The Riddler's plan but he's still not sure where The Riddler's holed up. He has a guess but I don't have a guess because he's not showing me the pattern of The Riddler's electronic pings. My guess, although it seems way too obvious, is that the pattern is a question mark and The Riddler is holed up in the dot. Batman heads after him leaving Lucius and Gordon to somehow stop the air strike that will be hitting the city in forty minutes.

I don't know what destroying the city will do for The Riddler. I suppose all he really wants is for people to respect his intelligence. And if an entire city has to die so that other cities will say "Boy, Eddie, you sure are smart!" then by god that's what has to happen!

If Batman's "ONE CHANCE!" doesn't pay off, he decides to leave a message for Alfred.

Sexual harassment! Oh wait. Alfred doesn't work for Bruce anymore. I guess it's okay then.

Batman discovers The Riddler has been using the Egyptian wing of the museum as his headquarters. Because Edward is the Sphinx asking the riddles. And now all Batman has to do is break about two dozen of his bones to get him to give up control of the city. Although this is young, idealistic Batman. So he probably thinks he can talk his way out of this one. Another good reason for talking is that The Riddler might blow everything up if Batman lays a hand on him.

The Riddler has been one step ahead of Batman throughout this entire story and this final encounter isn't any different. He expected Batman to eventually find him and so he set up one last game to play. Batman will now have to walk the Seteh game board and win the day by answering riddles. Unless I'm misremembering how the game is played. Probably not though since Batman's adversary is called The Riddler!

Batman #32 Rating: No change. Zero Year has gone on for quite some time now and I'm ready for it to be over. Although I'm really enjoying the actual game between Batman and The Riddler now that's it's finally been set up. The problem is that Zero Year was not actually a Riddler story. It had several chapters detailing several different aspects of Bruce Wayne's early transformation into The Batman. But it was touted as a Riddler story from the beginning, so it's really felt extra long being that it took so long to get to the meat of the conflict. I've really enjoyed the story even if I complain sometimes about it dragging on. Here's the main reason I feel it's dragging though: I like shorter Batman stories mainly because I like seeing which crazy villain he's going to encounter next. So when he basically encounters one or two villains over an entire year, I feel cheated! And Detective Comics wasn't helping with all of that Man-bat crap going on!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Superman #32

I'm not a huge fan of John Romita Jr's art but I'm sure glad he's an artist and not a writer because the interview with him in the back of all the comics this week makes him sound like a dope.

Notice in the caption above that I didn't say John Romita Jr was a dope! I said that the All Access article made him sound like a dope. And anybody stupid enough to read any of the All Access articles in the back of every issue knows that they are the worst written and edited articles in the history of the world. In fact, they have so many bracketed words and phrases within Romita's replies that it's possible they made up a bunch of his answers for him! Now that I've properly defended myself so nobody thinks I'm unduly picking on John Romita Jr, I'd like to point out that this cover is insipid and uninspired. That's including the back cover which, I guess, I should include as well.

So Superman tears open his shirt and his normal clothes bubble away into nothing?

I'm such an asshole. Here I am finally facing a Superman book with no Scott Lobell and I'm whining about Romita's cover. I should be celebrating! I just don't know how to be happy. I suppose that's why I've read Samuel Beckett's Murphy so many times.

What I should be bitching about is how Geoff Johns is probably going to ignore any Reboot History of Superman established by all the previous writers in his attempt to write the newest, most definingest story about Superman that's every been written!

First things first! A parable about Superman to introduce a character whose roots are nearly identical to Superman's. Fifty bucks there's a baby in that bag!

When a writer wants to show how noble a character has become due to the choices they made in their life regardless of the traumatic events they suffered as a child, the writer sometimes creates a character with a nearly identical background but made poor choices and took the easy way and became a great big prick. You know, like Wrath and Batman. This baby from Dimension One (which is probably our Dimension 463) will now parallel Clark's life as he grows older. Although it is possible the child will be found by shitty parents. Or maybe this child will be found by the military instead of some local farmers. The possibilities are limitless! Except for the possibility to make this baby like Wraith because that story has already been half told and abandoned.

Why is it that Superman and Batman's morally opposite doppelgangers' names are so similar? Wraith and Wrath?

I realized I was really getting ahead of myself there and figured I'd better make sure a baby was in that satchel! It could have been Streaky! Fuck. Now I wish it had been Streaky!

Here's one more guess I was going to make and then failed to do it until I read that Chapter One was called "Ulysses." I was going to guess the name of the baby would be Ulysses! Of course, that was probably already published in the sneak peek that was in the back of all the comics last month, so it wouldn't have been that great of a guess anyway, even though I never read the sneak peeks. Although I couldn't help but notice Superman punching a huge cybernetic ape, so I know I've just entered the Sneak Peek pages!

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, is on hand to photograph Superman's defeat of Titano and maybe win a Putzlitzer! But when he develops the film (or looks at the digitized picture because analog pictures are for third rate free papers that rely solely on ad sales), it's just a blur of red and blue and an overexposed mess.

Why would a robot monkey have bad breath? Authenticity? Also, why breath?!

For anyone paying close attention, here is the point where you should be calling me a stupid asshole since I obviously called the ape "cybernetic" earlier and now I'm calling it a robot so that I can pick apart the statement about its bad breath. If you weren't paying attention, shame on you and your future children.

I don't know how many pages in the conversation between Perry and Jimmy takes place because I'm too lazy to flip a few pages and count, but it's at that point where I begin to have growing confidence in Superman and his retinue finally getting some justice done to them and their stories. In just a few panels, Geoff Johns turns Lobdell's story about Jimmy Olsen receiving millions of dollars from his missing parents into something that makes sense for the character. Jimmy may have been left the money but it was entirely on accident and he'll probably need to repay his parents when they suddenly reappear. It's also pointed out that they "disappeared" due to allegations against them. As Perry White notes, Jimmy's parents are dicks.

I know Lobdell gave Olsen lots of money then recanted and said Olsen's parents will be back and he's just been given power of attorney over the money until then, but none of it was explained in such a nonsense free way as these few panels. If it was, I may have missed it because my head was in the Lobdell Bucket I keep near my chair to catch the vomit which frequently forces its way out of my system when I read his scripts.

I wonder if Clark Kent will also get his job back! The final panel of this page has a character off-panel saying, "Mr. White?" I hope it's Clark come to get his job back. He's probably sick of showing Cat Grant how to turn her computer on.

It is Clark but he didn't come back for his job. He came back because Perry White wants to give him back his job. But Clark is going to have to think about whether or not he wants to be around Lois Lane every day knowing she's with that punk Jon Carroll. Maybe Carroll will die before the end of this issue! Clark would rush back to the job then! But not too fast! He doesn't want to look desperate. Or blow his secret identity.

That's because Ma didn't use heat vision.

Later that same night, a huge ship attacks Metropolis. The citizens of Metropolis must be sick to death of aliens and robot monkeys. They should do a citizen exchange with the people of Gotham who are sick of Joker Gas and Man-Bat attacks. Some citizen of Metropolis is probably dreaming about getting hit with a weaponized umbrella right now as his entire apartment block is getting lasered out of existence.

Some new alien robot thing comes out of the ship and hurts Superman because that's what John Romita Jr said he learned about Superman in his All Access interview: Superman has to lose. It's the only way to make him human! So essentially, Superman is the most powerful being in the universe except once a month when some other being that is more powerful attacks Earth. You know Johns, there are other ways to make Superman seem vulnerable!

Superman doesn't have to worry though because he's saved by a twenty five year old guy with super powers. I wonder who it could be?! Good thing he's about to tell me!

Aha! He's actually Earth's version of Superman! I guess his parents really did live in Dimension One, the most important dimension!

Superman #32 Rating: +4 Ranking. I know I bitch and whine and act above every creator's efforts at creation but I really enjoyed Superman for the first time in thirty two issues! Oh sure, I enjoyed his shenanigans in some of the other titles he's appeared in. But I think this is the first issue of his self-titled comic book where I enjoyed the story. I like where it's headed. Perez's first issue had some good points but that whole story just devolved into complete nonsense rather quickly (due to editorial, I hear). The only problem with this one is we've gotten yet another Superman wannabe. That's okay, I suppose. Perry White said Clark needs somebody he can talk to and now maybe Clark has found his better half!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Red Lanterns #32

Since the new Sandman keeps not being for sale every Wednesday, this cover is as close as we're going to get to the next issue.

I read Red Lanterns #32 without the will to comment on it. It was written by Charles Soule. It was good. He probably makes the angry Red Lanterns talk more than they probably should but I guess the Blood Ocean adds a bit of a philosophical bent to them as well as making them sane. That would make sense and would explain why Atrocitus is prone to a soliloquy or two. That fucker probably bathed in that thing daily for years. Anyway, Rankorr was saved although he's gone feral again. And Atrocitus trashed Ysmault and shit in the Blood Ocean. The place is a rank disaster now. The only thing that survived was a statue of Ratchet because he must have been doing some crazy sexy things with those tentacles to the Red Lantern leader.

The other big thing that happened was Supergirl was sent packing because Guy Gardner didn't want to see her hurt and believes she doesn't deserve to be saddled with the Lantern curse. He probably sees a bit of himself in her. Young and angry with a fuck ton of potential and plenty of years to make something of herself. He let his anger choose the course of his destiny and he doesn't want to see that happen to her as well. I know Guy thinks of himself as a hero but he also seems to believe he deserves his place on the Red Lanterns. I'm pretty sure it stems from his Daddy Issues.

Here's a picture because comic books use pictures. A lot!

Red Lanterns #32 Rating: No change. As I said, it was written by Charles Soule so it doesn't disappoint. Right now he's the anti-Lobdell. I expect one of Soule's comics to be good and believe it is before even reading it. The benefit of the doubt for Soule skews toward believing he knows what he's doing. When I pick up a Lobdell book, I already assume it's shit. The benefit of the doubt for Lobdell skews toward believing he's making each page up as he goes and barely remembers what happened in his own comic book three pages back. Also, he's too lazy to reread his script to figure it out.

So now that the comic book part of this session is over, you can go. Or you can stay and read another project I never finished. It was mostly to help me get a grip on Samuel Beckett's Murphy but it was also at a time when I was writing children's versions of modern literature novels. Why should adults be the only ones to learn that society is a ruthless, awful place that grinds down an individual until they can barely function anymore? They should learn that before they go through schooling, not after! Most of the books I was writing were meant for children who have had a year or two of reading under their belt. Get them the truth as soon as possible, I say! This version of Murphy was for older kids up to about sixty or so. And I only managed to get halfway through Murphy before it stalled (halfway on this read. I think I'd read it twice before I began this project). I also imagined grainy, unfinished pencil sketches of each of the characters as they were introduced.

By Samuel Beckett
Interpreted by Grunion Guy

There was a man named Murphy who didn't quite fit in. Or more precisely, he couldn't quite fit in. Or closer to the truth, he just wouldn't quite fit in.

There was also a man named Neary who couldn't teach Murphy to love in the unrequited way that Neary loved the woman who loved a man who loved a woman who loved a man who loved a woman who loved Neary.

There was a woman named Celia who couldn't quite make it work with Murphy. At least she couldn't get Murphy to work so that their relationship could. And the kind of work that Celia did worked completely against the bounds of a relationship.

The problem, thought Celia, was that Murphy wouldn't work. Work would keep them bound. The problem, thought Murphy, was that he had tried to work and it didn't. Work would be their undoing.

But Murphy allowed for one more chance at work, for Celia had become common in his life and he felt he should make a minimal effort to keep her around. He'd trust his fate to the stars except he didn't have the money even for a reading. Celia would just have to be happy with his thinking about an attempt at finding work.

Celia wasn't. So Celia and Murphy parted because she wanted him to be other than he was and he wanted her to love just what she saw. Murphy also didn't seem to be bothered one way or the other if Celia stayed or she went.

There was an old man named Kelly who dreamt of flying a kite. He advised Celia to be rid of Murphy but knew love wouldn't let her hear him.

So Celia brought Murphy his horoscope hoping it would help her side. But when Murphy saw that it bade him wait, Celia denied its portents.

And once again it would seem they would part if one of them wouldn't give. Murphy waited for her to give. And waited. And waited. She wouldn't. So Murphy sighed and put on a clean shirt.

Meanwhile the woman whom Neary loved grew tired of chasing the man she loved and suddenly accepted Neary's advances. But being completely happy did not make Neary completely happy and so he declared himself unworthy of love.

At that time, the man whom the woman Neary loved loved had grown tired of chasing the woman he loved and so Neary's love found love with the man she loved and things were set back to rights.

There was also a woman named Miss Couniban whose heart belonged to Murphy. Neary met her and fell in love and, once again, became completely happy in the abject misery of unrequited love.

Miss Counihan spurned all his advances because Murphy was meant for her. Even though she had not heard from him since he went off to find his fortune for it seemed he could not write and make good at the same time. Miss Counihan was understanding of the missing missives because she'd rather be hopeful than miserable.

Miss Counihan would not budge from love. Until four months later when she ran into Neary again and suggested that perhaps she might see her way to possibly advancing a romance with Neary if proof were shown that Murphy had renounced his love for her. She would also make exceptions for his death, poverty, unfaithfulness, possibly cleanliness, perhaps even if he'd grown a slight beard or had taken to wearing shirts she wasn't used to.

There was a drunk named Cooper who Neary sent to London to find out what he could of Murphy while Neary waited for word in Dublin keeping watch on Miss Counihan's hotel. Cooper searched many glasses of beer for Murphy but could not find him.

There was a man named Wilie who also worshiped Miss Counihan from afar. While Neary had only Murphy to deal with, Wilie also had Neary to be rid of.

Weeks later, Cooper lost Murphy and Neary despaired until an old student named Wilie came to his rescue.

Wilie concocted a plan that would remove Neary to London to deal with Cooper and Murphy leaving Wilie alone in Dublin to sing the praises of Neary to Miss Counihan.

There once was a woman named Miss Carridge who was the landlady of the apartment where Murphy and Celia moved in together. She was probably important in some way or another.

For five months, while Celia avoided the outside world because its debate argued strongly in favour of Murphy's anti-work philosophy, Murphy wandered within it, not quite looking for a job, but absolutely avoiding conflict with Celia.

There once was a waitress named Vera who was apathetically complicit in Murphy's defrauding a caterer of 0.83 cups of tea. But what was it to her should her employers not get the full amount of the highway robbery profit they extracted from simple customers each and every day? Besides, she could not resist Murphy's surgical quality.

There once was a post-alcoholic man who mattered little except as a playing piece to further Murphy's fate. Somehow, his name was Austin Ticklepenny and he had previously enjoyed writing non-rhyming rhymes.

There once was a German doctor named Fist who sent Ticklepenny to an asylum to find work in the hopes of curing him of his doggerel and his drink.

With no drink and no time to compose, Ticklepenny became a new man. But now, he told Murphy, his work as a custodian for lunatics was driving him mad. A vacancy in the position was needed as soon as a replacement could be found to fill it.

Murphy saw in this job a fulfillment of his star's wishes and agreed to take Ticklepenny's position, leaving Ticklepenny and Vera to settle the bill however they pleased.

Because Celia had Murphy and Murphy, Celia, old man Kelly now had nobody.

Because Miss Counihan thought she had Murphy though Murphy had forgotten about her, Neary now had nobody.

Because Neary and Murphy were both lost in London, Wylie had Miss Counihan all to himself. And although she insisted her heart belonged to Murphy, it seemed she didn't mind giving most nearly everything else over to Wylie's ministrations.

There once was a man who had no name. Celia knew him by the sounds he made pacing his room above her head. Until the day Murphy met Ticklepenny when the man with no name suddenly made no more sounds.

In the face of this shocking thing, the last thing Celia now cared about was that Murphy had found a job. And Murphy only cared about the job because Celia had cared about Murphy getting a job.

So here, in the middle, nobody was happy. Mostly because everybody wanted something from someone that didn't want something from them in return. But they all seemed to believe that having put some effort toward loving a person that had constantly failed to love them back was reason enough to put even more effort into pursuing that person until they no longer knew why they loved the person they loved only that they would be damned if all of their efforts were going to go to waste.

[unfinished. sad face]

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Flash #32

Mirror Master died last issue, you stupid cover.

This is the story about The Flash. This is also a story about The Flash. You might think that I'm repeating myself! You might think I'm repeating myself but you'd be wrong. You'd be wrong because there are actually two Flashes. "Two Flashes!" you are probably exclaiming loudly. Loudly exclaiming, I reply, "Why yes! One Flash from the past and one Flash from the future!" The Flash from the future has been going back in time killing his enemies. His enemies are being killed. Being killed sucks so they're trying not to be killed but what can you do when the fastest man alive decides to time travel and break all the rules and be a complete and utter dick?

Speaking of complete and utter dicks, Wally West has been introduced recently and he's a complete and utter dick. Complete and utter together probably is me repeating myself. It's just lazy writing. Sorry about that.

Currently twelve years in the future, The Flash is visiting a dying Captain Cold. It's not The Flash from the past! That one doesn't believe in time travel. Hell, he's just beginning to realize that his power is fucked the closer he runs to the speed of light. It's nice that he doesn't age at all when he runs halfway around the world at the speed of light to save a city from a volcano but it kind of sucks that the city is already destroyed by the time he gets there and everyone is already rebuilding. That's odd, isn't it? To think that his power is super speed so he should be able to do things faster than everybody else. But he's really doing things slower than everybody else! Unless it's all different somehow! Stupid physics! I suppose all those notes from my physics teacher saying how I'm not completing assignments or turning in homework were meant to help me learn this stuff that I didn't learn very well! I only took physics so I could go to Great America for free on Physics Day!

Past Flash is busy investigating a case.

Why does The Flash even bother to talk while running? Nobody can understand him!

The Flash fails to defeat Merge because Merge has Gravitor's gravity gun which introduces some more concepts of physics into the fight. I can barely even pretend to do calculus! How am I supposed to pretend I know the way gravity warps space and time and what effect that would have on The Flash's speed powers! Which are actually time powers. Which would mean they're also space powers. Which would mean gravity would warp them both causing The Flash's torque to become the momentum of the velocity over time and frosted with a delicate layer of relativistic spatial concerns!

In other words, The Flash goes flying through the sky due to complex reasons.

Well you're not going to fix it by going back in time to a point where it wasn't broken! It's space-time, you ponce! It breaks in one place, it's broken in all the places! Um. I think! Maybe you should just go about your business. It's worth a shot, right?

The rest of the scene between Barry and Leonard as he dies is touching. But I don't do touching! Unless it's Alfred touching Batman's dick!

Back in the past, The Flash manages to piss off Patty because he basically admits to her that he wants to bang Iris. He wasn't as crude as all that but he's a naive douche, so he simply told Patty he couldn't spend the evening with her because he was going to a ball game with Wally and Iris. After being shot by Gravitor's gun, I bet he didn't understand the gravity of the situation! Bwa ha ha!

Later at the baseball game, Barry tries to convince Wally that baseball isn't boring. He's unsuccessful until hometown slugger Cuntock hits a home run and then suddenly Wally loves baseball.

Making baseball look exciting is the most unbelievable aspect of this comic book.

The Flash #32 Rating: No change. Am I still ranking these comic books?! I like reading them. I like saying stupid things about them. But I don't like explaining why they're good or bad in a summary at the end of my reviews! It's like work! I actually have to concentrate on something for a few minutes? Boring! I'll try though! Brett Booth's art was often goofy. If he were a better artist, it wouldn't be so goofy. The goofiness of his art left a goofy feeling in the part of my brain that deals with goofy. The writing was pretty good though. I liked the Leonard dying part although not because Captain Cold died. Captain Cold is my favorite!

Batman Eternal #12

Batman only appeared in one panel last issue so this time he demanded the cover.

Once upon a time in Gotham City, a thug said, "Isn't that a funny name? Gotham? Like Got Ham! Except with a lisp in the middle!" Another thug said "BAM!" although he needed a gun as an interpreter. The first thug crumpled to the ground dramatically and whispered, "Tell mother I lo...." Then he died. The other thug had no idea what the first thug's last words were because hearing words is different than reading words. So you can read "tell mother I lo" and know exactly what was said. But the thug heard them and it just sounded like a bunch of syllables strung together nonsensically. And since the interpreter had killed the first thug, the second thug couldn't ask, "What was that you said?" Even though the second thug actually did ask, "What was that you said?" I guess I should have said he could ask the question but he wasn't about to get an answer. Although he did get an answer! The answer was "BAM!" because the first thug had his gun in his hand and when rigor mortis set in because he was dead, the first thug's finger whispered something to the trigger of his interpreter which translated to "BAM!" The second thug slumped to the ground and said, "Tell your mother I lo...." Then he died too! Nobody was around to not understand his last words. It was all very romantic.

That story is just one of the many stories in the lives of the people that never get their stories told in Batman Eternal! The stories are always about the leaders of the gangs or the people in costumes with funny names or the employees of the Gotham Police Department that have been given any name at all. Occasionally a thug will get a name and soon become a minor fan favorite of the most nerdiest comic book readers as they try to secretly show their knowledge of comic books by insisting that their favorite character is a recurring character that nobody else has ever heard of or even noticed because they're so insignificant. Like Wedge Antilles and that nerdy guy from Star Trek the Next Generation that always reminded me of the crazy member of the A-Team crossed with Max Headroom. Barkley or something! I can't remember because he's never been my favorite because I'm not one of those people that need to be the biggest nerd in the room. Also I don't own a yo-yo.

The other day as I walked past a bar, three guys were standing outside playing with yo-yos. It was more annoying than if they had been standing around smoking cow pies! Is yo-yoing an impressive skill? Maybe I should learn to yo-yo? Would that bring all the boys to my yard? Except I'd want the boys to be the girl type of boys! I'm pretty sure I want to do it with girls rather than boys. I mean, I know I do because I've done it so many times before and I was so good at it every time the girl said, "Thank you for putting your dipdong in my wheestack."

That Penguin's really a crazy clown!

Falcone's right hand man is named Roadrunner because he wants to be important some day. Starting out with a stupid alias is one of the best ways to suddenly become important in the world of comic books. Sometimes you don't even need a stupid alias! Just a stupid name like Ignatius Ogilvy!

Meanwhile Jason Bard has decided to go the "get famous by having a normal name but joining the Gotham Police Department" route. Sometimes you don't even need to join the police department! Sometimes you can just open up a detective agency and help the Batman as proven by Jason Bard (preboot version!). Although you might need a slight affectation to get the readers attention, like a cane or a Prince Albert.

Jason Bard has been investigating Falcone and The Penguin and has realized they are having a gang war. He has lots of evidence including dead bodies and photographs of the dead bodies on his wall and pieces of string connecting pictures of dead bodies with pictures of nameless thugs. And all the strings eventually connect to Falcone or The Penguin! With that kind of string theory, Jason Bard has an open and shut case against these crime lords! Maggie Sawyer and Harvey Bullock agree that having names is a good thing to have in the Gotham Police Department. They also agree that he has a lot of evidence. But they don't agree that he can convict Falcone or The Penguin because Jack Forbes had such a straight shooting regular person name that he became commissioner! And he's against arresting criminals. He only wants to arrest vigilantes that don't kill although they do cause an excessive amount of property damage.

This guard's sense of justice might be slightly skewed! Is a life really equal to the ability to walk? I don't think those scales would balance. Although the guard might be considering the hundreds of people who died in the accident. And maybe he's thinking about the millions of dollars in damage. And it's quite possible he's wondering why he didn't think of asking the other guard to mention his name on panel so his career could take off.

The other officer gets his name mentioned but he isn't actually on panel since Batman has disguised himself as Officer Smitty! I guess Smitty is duck taped to a chair in his undershirt and boxer shorts down in the boiler room of Blackgate Prison.

Elsewhere, Harper begins hacking Red Robin's systems because Red Robin needs to know that he's not the smartest kid to ever have lived in Gotham. He has been the worst written one though! At least the worst written kid that grew up in Gotham that has yet to die and come back to life because Red Hood has been written nearly as badly. It's as if they were written by editors over the last few years. But now Red Robin is going to get a chance to say things that make sense and do things that make him likable because he's joined in the Batman Eternal story. And Red Hood gets the same chance! He's teaming up with Batgirl while Red Robin teams up with Harper (although not just yet). Damian doesn't get to join because he's dead and Nightwing doesn't get to join because Batman convinced him to pretend to be dead. Looks like Tim Drake is the only Robin that has never died. Batman should probably rethink his policy on sidekicks.

Jason Bard's plan to stop the gang war needs to be run by The Batman before it's set into motion. So Bullock calls Batman's special good time number and Batman arrives to hear the plan. Jason Bard's plan involves arresting Batman which Batman doesn't generally approve of. One of the reasons is because being arrested in Gotham always involves a cavity search. One of the other reasons is that being arrested in Gotham usually means fingerprinting and mug shots and the loss of secret identities. So if Batman is going to agree to this plan, he's probably going to have to pay some two-bit actor to pretend to be him because Batman really dislikes cavity searches.

Maybe Batman can wear his Matches Malone disguise underneath the cowl and then everybody will think Matches Malone is The Jeezly Crow Batman! Or he can always trick Julia Pennyworth into wearing the costume for a night of sexy role play with Bruce Wayne. Although I have a feeling that kind of sexy won't do it for her. Maybe if Bruce can get Kate Kane to trick Julia, it could work.

Later in Blackgate, James Gordon gets a visitor.

Somebody owes Batgirl a big apology!

Batman Eternal #12 Rating: No change. Here's a new quote for the Batman Eternal trade paperback: "I realize it says 'Batman' on the cover and the adjective 'eternal' would make it seem like this story would be a never ending stream of Batman but he's really not in this that much. If you want to read about Batman, this isn't the book for you!"

Futures End #8

This commentary is an Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea Primer. Highly recommended for newbies and novices.

Another week of Futures End, another week where barely anything happens! I'm predicting that! I haven't actually read it yet. You think I actually read the comic book first and fashion a coherent essay extolling the virtues and exposing the flaws of the comic book? That's fucking silly! And difficult! It's easier to just read a page and then say, "Why don't Deathstroke and Faraday get a room already where Faraday can do that thing he's always wanted to do involving an empty eye socket, his penis, and a bowel movement?"

After such an erudite observation, I type out this next sentence where I hope that I used "erudite" correctly. Then it's on to the next page where Grifter and Fifty Sue are flirting. Then I say, "Why don't Grifter and Fifty Sue get a room already where Chris Hanson can introduce himself and ask Grifter to take a seat." Also, I get to point out how whoever scripted this issue stole my fucking line.

That's verifiable Grunion Guy copyrighted material, that line about Batman and Robin!

I'll continue to read a few more pages while avoiding the "get a room" joke so that I can use it once more at the end to tie the entire thing together. I'm sure the characters I'll be telling to get a room will be Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch or Frankenstein and Amethyst.

Back in Lois Lane's office building, I might point out the gigantic fucking watch she wears on her wrist which will probably turn out to be something to summon Superman. Or I might just whine for a bit about how she created a blogging empire while my blog is just a little shitty site on Tumblr with less follows than every high school student in America. Of course, they're all posting nudies and Supernatural gifs while I'm actually taking the time to carefully construct a seemingly rambling and incoherent, often offensive and mildly racist, essay that always has a subtle intellectual subtext and/or secret message to our lizard overlords. Currently Lois is trying to figure out what a bunch of random numbers are on a sheet of paper.

Usually I'll take a moment like this to brag about my past comic book achievements. So the numbers on the paper remind me of DC Challenge when eleven different DC writers and artists wrote a bunch of cliffhanger issues to try to stump the next creative team. Mostly each subsequent creative team ignored what came before and just introduced more and more of their own plot points until the entire story was a sagging, bulging sack of D-list characters running around with no motivations. In the first issue, Batman received a clue as a string of numbers, 51773173. Being a Master Comic Book Reader (even at that young age), I realized instantly that it was the name Eli Ellis when seen backwards in a calculator readout. Of course none of the other writers picked up on this because they were all narcissistic idiots that couldn't give a shit about the story that came before their part. The whole thing was a huge fiasco and I can't wait to dig it out of my long boxes and reread it!

Sure, it's hand to mouth for you Earth 2 chumps whom Lois threatens daily with deportation while she rakes in the big money on porn adverts!

Later Superman appears to Jason Rusch and tells him to kiss and make up with Ronnie Raymond. Normally whenever Firestorm is mentioned, I'll try to point out how the original series, "The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Men," was homosexual erotica masquerading as a patriotic story about defending the world from terrorists. But since Superman has now appeared wearing some kind of facemask, that would trump the Slash Fiction Matrix discussion. His chest is awfully huge as if he were drawn by Rob Liefeld or Superman were actually a woman with some kind of armor to disguise her breasts. And since the chest is so big, it must be Power Girl. Plus his ass isn't adorable enough to be Supergirl's.

Look! Thought balloons! Remember those?!

I've had a long standing continuous rant about Thought Balloons versus Narration Boxes. I'm not going to go into the specifics yet again but I will point out that I read comic books regularly from about 1983 to 2003. It was then that I stopped picking up monthly comic books and only continued reading The Walking Dead and Fables via trades. It wasn't until The New 52 started up that I decided I was going to fulfill a longtime dream of the young kid reading Crisis on Infinite of Earths which was to be able to read every single issue put out by DC Comics. It's also when I noticed some serious things had changed since I last read comic books. The thought balloon was virtually non-existent and had been replaced by first person monologues that were often ambiguous about where in time they fell. Were they the current thoughts of the character or the thoughts of the character later explaining to some unknown audience what had happened? Were they commentary tracks placed on the story which was somehow filmed for later perusal? Is the Narration Box like the dad in How I Met the Woman I Loved Who, By the Way, Was Not Your Mother doing a voice over for his or her kids? I don't know! Some writers definitely don't think it through and just write as if the main characters thoughts are from an omnipotent future viewpoint. It's fucking awful.

Also, I tend to swear a lot and disparage Scott Lobdell and Ann Nocenti.

Still the only dead characters so far in Futures End (not counting #0). Thank God that Hawkman was one of them! Oh, another important tidbit about me: I don't actually believe in God. But I do often thank him and scream at his son when I stub my toe.

Meanwhile in Southeast Asia, some "archaeologists" have discovered a hidden temple that portends evil things for the future. It also houses the creature on the cover which loves to kill stuff. I think its an insane Metron. Or maybe Beowulf!

Here's the temple and all its clues. Obviously it has a heavy Earth 3 theme with some minor Pandora Skull flourishes and what looks like a likeness of the Anti-Monitor destroying everything.

Futures End #8 Rating: +1 Ranking. Okay, nobody died but I still enjoyed it. This final paragraph is where I generally obfuscate how I really felt about the comic book by making some really lame jokes because I'm obviously ready to go play Call of Duty or Culdcept Saga. The +1 Ranking refers to the list on the right hand side of my blog. It's a current list of how I'd rate all the titles in The New 52. It's not very accurate and often doesn't represent how I truly feel because it's not scientific at all. The titles in the list are also links to pages that list links to all the reviews I've done for every issue in every series. Or you can just hit the "Random Page, Anybody" link at the top of the right hand column and peruse some of my past material to see if this is the kind of bullshit you might enjoy from day to day.

P.S. Everybody should reblog this primer so we can convince more people to participate in our super intellectual Disqus discussions that are probably way over most people's heads anyway. Also pretend I remembered to make another "get a room" joke to tie everything together!