Saturday, December 31, 2016

Supergirl: Being Super: Book One

Ugh! A comic book about a girl?! Gross!

I'm only pretending to not like comic books with girls in them because I don't want people thinking I'm less of a man for not reading comics full of men with lots of muscles. You know the kind of man I'm talking about! The kind who would rather see the world destroyed than see a woman leading the team to save the day. You know! The kind of man who would rather build a killer magic deck than talk to a woman he knows isn't interested in getting naked with him. Come on! I know you know the kind of man I'm talking about! The kind that always vaguely smells of farts and Arby's. They're the keepers of the male dominated everything and have the fortitude to stick to their guns, no matter how detrimental those guns are definitely going to be to their future sex life. Not that women are only in the world for men to have sex with! What I mean is that if a guy thinks women are only in the world for men to have sex with, that man isn't going to have sex with any of them. It's a self-denying prophecy!

No, but seriously. Did I use that segue correctly? I want everybody to know that I was just joshing in that previous paragraph. Just a little light humor between friends and possibly future Internet lovers. I can't really grasp the reason to feel threatened by female characters taking the lead roles in action movies and science fiction and other previously male-dominated genres. How does it affect a person's life in any way at all? When I was in elementary school, two of my favorite series were the Oz books and Ramona Quimby books. It never even occurred to me that I somehow couldn't or shouldn't identify with Dorothy or Ramona because I was a boy. Obviously I read way more books with male leads in them because there were more of those. I couldn't know what those characters, being female, meant to girls who had a scarcity of female leads in books that didn't get people tittering about periods and boobies. And that's my point. More female leads in fantastic stories is in no way taking anything away from guys. But it is adding value to the world for young girls. The only reason to be an angry asshole about it is that you are probably, inherently, an angry asshole.

Plus I'd rather watch Felicity Jones for two hours than Mark Hamill. Sorry, Mark. That's not being sexist! That's just me being true to my heterosexuality! I'm allowed to discuss my interests even when they align with the patriarchy's agenda! I'm allowed to watch a movie and go, "Le sigh!"

Supergirl's story begins with a page talking about how to begin the story. My high school English teacher would have read this in front of the class and humiliated Mariko for it. He was always all, "Just begin your fucking story! Don't call attention to beginning your story. Just fucking begin it! If you feel you have to mention the beginning in some sense to get going, just cut out the beginning nonsense when you're finished! You fucking idiots!" Then he'd kick a desk or two just to show that he really meant what he was saying. I don't know if he was right or not. I just know I never begin stories by talking about how I'm beginning the story because I'm too scared to.

This is the second page of the story. It's a perfectly acceptable place to start! Although the first page did show a spaceship crashing in a field. Maybe that was needed for anybody who picked this up thinking, "I wonder who Supergirl is and where she came from?!" Of course if they're that ignorant of Superman and Supergirl, the crashing spaceship scenes aren't going to clear anything up for them.

This Book is also called "Where Do I Begin?", so I guess the whole "Where do I start?" question is thematic to the entire piece. I think Mr. Borror might have been okay with the opening of this comic. But just this once!

I've always thought that when people write things about how they don't know what to write because they feel they need to write something, they may as well not be writing anything at all. If all you have to say is, "I don't know what to say!", maybe that's a sign that you should stop thinking of yourself as a writer.

Kara Danvers (Supergirl!) has two friends: the Athlete and the Dyke. I suppose she's the Nerd. They're most of the way to their own Breakfast Club already!

That's not sexist at all! Like I said earlier, people have a right to desire the things they desire without being told they're wrong for desiring them! Jerko Athlete!

Being sexually attracted to a specific group of people doesn't make you sexist against those people. Of course, treating them as if all they have to offer is relief to your aching secret body parts is probably sexist. There are probably other reasons people are sexist but I wouldn't know what they are because my Wisdom score is like 4. I put all of my Attribute Points into Shaming Men Who Play Magic the Gathering. One of the flaws I took to get more attribute points was "Male who plays Magic the Gathering." It wasn't the best decision.

Kara's birthday is coming up. It'll probably be the birthday when she becomes a woman. A super woman! A super woman called Supergirl! Hmm, that probably makes more sense than it seems to. I bet whoever dates Supergirl must feel really awkward telling other people. "Oh, I'm totally talking with this chick named Supergirl. Um, but she's a woman! A grown ass woman! I mean, a teenaged woman but, you know, I mean, she's not like eleven! You know what? We're breaking up. Never mind."

Kara has been wondering where she's from lately because it fits the theme of this story. She knows she arrived on Earth in a pod and that she can fly and that Jimmy in math (Second row back, fourth seat over) makes her belly float and that she's super strong but that's about it. I guess she doesn't even know Silver Banshee yet. Unless Dolly Granger (the Dyke!) is going to become Silver Banshee.

"Moooooooom! Gross!"

The morning of Kara's sixteenth birthday party, she squeezes a Kryptonian zit and almost destroys her house. Now I'm wondering what happened the first time Kal-el had a wet dream. He could have killed somebody in the next room!

Kara's hands also begin to glow and she gets a fever and she feels tired. I think she really is becoming a woman. Don't females go through some kind of menopause at this age? I don't mean the old person menopause where the meno gets put on pause. I mean it's the start of the meno but it could be called menopause as well because you don't just press the pause button to pause a show; you press the pause button to get it going again! I once had that revelation while on LSD and it was, well, a revelation! It wasn't quite as spectacular the next day. I also thought triangles explained everything but I couldn't remember the logic behind it the next day. Taking hallucinogens doesn't make you smarter or more spiritual or wiser. But they sure are entertaining!

Later at the big track meet, an earthquake hits and Dolly almost dies by falling in one of those huge cracks that opens up whenever an earthquake hits. I'm from California so I can confirm that's totally true. I've fallen in like five or six dozen over the years. Comic books really exaggerate them though and make it seem like you fall all the way to hell. Usually you just fall into the sewer and get bitten by a rat or two.

After Kara saves Dolly without exposing her ability to do super feats, she begins looking for her other friend, Jen. Jen is knocked down by the stampeding parents and it looks like she's about to fall in a crack too when the issue ends. It would be just like Jen, the character who knows exactly what she wants from life and the talent to get it, to die so that Kara Danvers can learn a lesson about how random and chaotic everything is and how nobody should ever bother pursuing their dreams because life is a futile attempt to attain any sort of lasting happiness.

Or Kara will, like, save the day and shit. Whatever.

The Ranking!
I'm not going to say Kara and her friends are super adorable in this comic book because that would be sexist and reductive. But I will say, "Oh my god they're so fucking cute with their teenage problems and high school friendships!" That's okay to say, right?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Dark Knight Universe Presents: Strange Adventures #1

What kind of a shitty alternate universe is this if Hawkman is still alive? Zero stars.

I would pay good money to read a pornographic comic book drawn by Frank Miller. I would also pay good money to make everybody listen to me read it as I scream, "OH GROSS! THAT CAN'T BE WHAT A VAGINA LOOKS LIKE, CAN IT?! AND WHY IS THAT PENIS SO MUSCULAR?!"

For those of you who don't understand things unless they're completely explained to you (and then still don't believe them because you first thought something else and will never stop believing your own assumptions and instincts over mere facts and authorial explanations), I'm not saying vaginas are ugly. I love vaginas. They are beautiful and terrific and if anybody wants to introduce me to one, let me know. The joke is that Frank Miller's art is terrible and if he drew a vagina, I imagine it would look monstrous. Now everybody who instantly thought I was saying vaginas are ugly should look deep inside themselves and admit that they don't know everything instantly and their deconstruction of every statement they come across is probably distorted by their own issues and worldview.

The Hawkcouple are flying over the desert where they come across Hal Jordan wandering like a Bedouin. Unless Bedouins don't wander at all and he's just dressed like one. Unless Bedouins don't dress like that. Maybe I should never have mentioned Bedouins at all since I'm almost completely ignorant of them and their culture and their sexual proclivities.

Speaking of sexual proclivities, these two are into some really weird ass stuff.

This Hawkman and Hawkwoman are brother and sister. They might still be a Hawkcouple so I'm not going to go back and correct myself. Until I know for sure that they aren't fucking and spraying diarrhea farts into each other's faces, I'm sticking to my guns.

Hawkbrother doesn't wear a shirt so neither does Hawksister. Now that's equality. I'm all for other people's sisters not wearing shirts. But mine should always wear a shirt. Two shirts even.

The Hawkcouple are just in this comic book long enough to point out that they shouldn't be in this comic book. Then they fly off leaving Hal Jordan to search for his ring alone. Except that they come back to help him when he steals his ring from the new owner! So I guess they should have been in this comic book. It's just weird that they're all, "We can't help him!" Then they're all, "We need to help him!" So, you know, they help Hal Jordan recover his hand with the ring on it. He also winds up getting a light construct Batmite as a sidekick for some reason. It probably makes sense if you're as old as Frank Miller.

The Ranking!
The tile of this comic book was Strange Adventures and it was definitely a strange adventure so I should judge it accordingly. It definitely did what it set out to do! Also, I think I saw one of Hawksister's nipples.

DK III: The Master Race #7

Batman died last issue so, of course, here he is on the cover! It is called D(ic)K III for a reason! Nobody is buying it for just Superman.

I spent way too long making the following terrible Photoshop so I'm sticking it here or I'll feel like it was all wasted effort. I know, in the heart of my brain, that it absolutely was a waste of time and energy. But if I put it on the Internet, it means I'm doing something useful! That sentiment might be the exact opposite of the entire reason behind the following Photoshop. I am a failure.

"The only way to win is not to play."

Some people think the Internet has created a level of toxicity in our daily interactions that is quickly killing the humanity in all of us. But I think the Internet isn't the problem. The problem is access. People now have unlimited access to everybody else and they think that expressing their poorly thought out and bland opinions (generally in a hateful and disgusting manner) directly at somebody who also expressed a poorly thought out and bland opinion is a good idea. A better idea is to not engage with other people at all. Take my blog for instance (which just got a great review today: "this is THE MOST STUPID THINGS I'VE EVER READ." Note the critic ends that all-caps statement with a period. The critic probably decided an exclamation point would show that he or she invested too much emotion in another person's ideas. And that is tantamount to admitting fault to an insurance adjuster). If you think I've expressed piece of shit opinions, the best option is to move along and never read another word I write. I suppose if you generally like reading my idiocy but occasionally wince at some tossed off comment (probably about tossing off), you might think, "I should let Tess know that Tess just crossed over an imaginary boundary that I've created in my head which I don't think anybody should cross, and I'm going to try to get Tess to adhere to my standards with a comment." If you ever do think that, you should probably just move along. Your boundaries aren't a universal mandate that everybody needs to respect to be considered an upstanding person. Your boundaries are your own to manage and you should not expect everyone (hell, you shouldn't expect anyone) to respect them. Your concerns aren't my concerns.

And here's the problem with instant and total access. When I write something, in whatever context, I'm not directing them at anyone. I'm not seeking out any single person to tell them what I think. But when somebody responds to a person on the Internet, they do so as if the initial post was the start of some kind of dialogue, and then act accordingly. They speak directly to the person who wrote the thing that upset them, as if that person had come into their house and shit on their rug. But that isn't what happened. They just wrote a thing for whoever finds it to read and, if they didn't like it, to probably move on and never read again. But most people can't resist that instant access the Internet gives us. They have to comment as if their participation were an expected part of the original post. Even people who agree oftentimes post unbearable things that are just restatements of the original post, just less subtly expressed.

I know "Do not feed the trolls" is a common expression but nobody actually listens to it. Everybody is so desperate to add their opinion to the cacophony of the Internet that they can't be bothered to see the wisdom in not participating. When people say somebody or something is toxic, they don't mean you should wade into the funk of toxins to fix it. It's a carefully chosen term. The more you are exposed to a toxin, the worse you feel. You can't consume toxins to destroy them. You just need to avoid them. When you argue on Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook with somebody who you think truly shouldn't be allowed to exist, you aren't helping to save the world. You're simply destroying yourself.

Although I guess if I'm going to use a toxin analogy, I should admit that cleaning up a toxic environment should be the ideal goal. But that makes my analogy more complicated and people don't use analogies because they actually want to speak intelligently on a topic. You use analogies when you want to obfuscate the actual problem and try to pretend it's simple in a way that makes your argument so obvious that the people who still disagree must be total fucking idiots living in ramshackle huts made out of their own fetid opinions!

This digression was brought to you by noticing some Pepe the Frog motherfucker on Twitter reveling in all of the attention he gets from people who despise him. It was not brought on by the Tumblr Anon criticism which I didn't think was a negative criticism anyway. I totally agree that what I write is THE MOST STUPID THINGS! It's what I'm usually going for!

Well that belief must have gotten extremely complicated after finding out where Clark was really from. Ha ha! Not really! It's easy to come up with reasons to explain away any doubt about the belief you truly want to believe in, no matter how little evidence there is.

Superman once read a medical book super fast and then performed surgery on somebody to save them so I think he can figure out a way to save Batman. Unless this series is only supposed to be seven issues long and then it's okay if Bruce Wayne dies. But I'm not buying Issue #8 if Bruce Wayne isn't in it.

Batgirl who used to be Robin but is still Carrie Kelly learns that Batman didn't survive. So she falls to her knees and cries in the morning light. She also probably gets the first really good glimpse at the purple and green colors of her costume and thinks, "I never realized Batman was color blind."

As Superman flies Batman's cooling corpse to wherever it can be uncorpsed, he passes over Hal Jordan in a desert. Hal Jordan is missing his right hand. I bet it was bitten off by a Parallaxodile. At the same time, The Atom is sitting on an atom (not a real atom but the way we pretend atoms look to make them comprehensible to our stupid monkey brains) and thinking about science. I guess these two guys will play a part in the big finale that had better include Batman.

Meanwhile, the Kandorians are massing in the clouds to plan their next attack. The leader's big idea is to kidnap Superman's son from the Amazons. Let me get this straight! The Kandorians just got their asses kicked by one Kryptonian, a girl in a horrid costume, and an old man in a suit of armor, and their next course of action is to attack hundreds of Amazons to steal Superman's baby? Why don't they all just inject Kryptonite directly into their brains and be done with it quickly?

Superman tosses Bruce's corpse into a Lazarus Pit and Bruce returns to life. But he's probably come back wrong! You reap what you sow, Superman! YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW!

Also, the Kandorians attack the Amazons as Lara tries to kidnap her brother. Wonder Woman stops her because there aren't any more pages for a war this issue.

The Ranking!
-1 Ranking! This comic book is really kind of boring. It's too bad because Alternate Universe comic books have so much leeway to be as exciting and different and crazy as possible. You'd think they'd be full of entertaining ideas. Instead, this issue simply has Batman tossed in a dirty old pool, Commissioner Batgirl questioning if it's worth being a superhero without any real arguments for or against, and Hal Jordan who must now be wearing his empty ring on his penis. Oh wait! He still has his second hand. He's probably wearing it there. Unless it's on a chain around his neck or in the belly of the Parallaxodile.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #2

Why is the title full of glory holes?

This issue begins with Amanda Waller screaming, "Suicide Squad! You will do as I say!" I guess they just caught her not going on dangerous missions and they were all, "Why do we have to do them but you don't?!" And she's all, "Do as I say! Not as I do!" Which, when you're a stupid teenager, sounds like the most bullshit reasoning in the whole fucking entire world. But you need to understand where this comes from. If, say, a parent tells you to wash your dishes after you eat but you don't because you notice your parents never get right to their washing up either, you might think that's fair. But as a parent, you know you can leave shit lying around the house for as long as you want because you're eventually going to have to deal with your own shit. But when your kid does it, you know your kid is never again going to get to it and it's either berate them constantly until they scream about how much they hate you and possibly break the dish, or just fucking do it yourself. If you don't see the difference, you're probably a shitty teenager. Oh, and in the case of a parent who smokes who tells their kids not to smoke or drink? Why the fuck do you think they do those things and possibly heroin too? It's because of you, you little ingrate! You can smoke and drink and shoot up as much as you want once you bring a miserable little child into your life to completely destroy all of your hopes and dreams. But up until that moment, your parents are trying to keep you in a position where you fucking care about your future! They know they have none so they can tell you to do what they say and not what they do. They're talking from experience and you should listen because the best kind of experience comes from people who completely blew it. And you better believe your parents are some of those people. Why else would they have had you?

That shot of Waller is the first page. The second and third page are basically a repeat of the big double splash page from last issue when the Suicide Squad first clashes with the Justice League. It's just from a different angle to fool the reader into thinking the fight has progressed. I know the fight hasn't progressed at all because Captain Boomerang is still standing against The Flash. That fight should end at the one or two second mark. Shortly after that, Harley Quinn should fall. Then Deadshot. Then El Diablo. Then Killer Frost. Then Enchantress. And finally, Aquaman. Then the cover of issue three will be like Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 with all of the heroes attending the funeral of Aquaman. In the middle of the shot will be Superman dropping Arthur into a giant toilet bowl.

Why isn't Batman fighting Boomerang?

Deadshot's big plan to defeat the Justice League is to split up. He thinks that by splitting up the Justice League, the Suicide Squad will be able to defeat them. But, really, what difference will it make? It's not like anybody was backing up Batman while Deadshot was battling him. It's not like Wonder Woman needed help against Harley Quinn, or The Flash can't take down Captain Boomerang if the other League members aren't moving so slowly behind him that they're practically statues. Although it will mean nobody will be able to come to Aquaman's rescue. And I think Killer Frost might be able to take Cyborg since all she has to do is freeze the circuits on his White Noise Cannon and he'll be powerless. And when is the last time Superman defeated somebody who uses magic? So I guess Deadshot's plan is half right.

Meanwhile in the Swiss Alps, Maxwell Lord is trying to convince his Super Duper Suicide Squad that they're not being mind controlled into helping him even though he's mind controlling them into helping him. Lobo is all, "How do we know you're not manipulating us with your power?" And Max is all, "Because I'm too busy dealing with this bloody nose! Duh!" Luckily for Max Lord, nobody in comic books know about psychic nosebleeds.

Max dangles the carrot of killing Amanda Waller in front of the cosmic monsters he's assembled. Apparently they hate Amanda so much that they'd rather do what Max says than go their own way, accomplishing their own goals and fulfilling their own desires. I guess Amanda Waller was responsible for putting these villains away in The Catacombs. Why else would they hate her? Just because they've heard she's the biggest jerk in the DC Universe?

The battle begins and the first conflict is between Superman and Enchantress. I called this one for Enchantress and, so far, she's beating Superman. Because he's too nice and she uses magic. Pretty much what I said last commentary.

The second encounter is between Cyborg and Killer Frost. I said this match-up didn't matter but, if I'd been serious, I would have given the match to Killer Frost. Once again, a female villain uses her sexy girl wiles to manipulate the man and get the upper hand. I don't mean that "once again" as in "all female villains always do this and here we go again!" I meant that the Enchantress did that to Superman and now Killer Frost just did it to Cyborg. The encounters are so similar that I wouldn't have put them on facing pages.

The third encounter is between the Green Lanterns and El Diablo. Here's what I said last commentary: "Simon Baz encloses El Diablo in an airtight bubble and extinguishes his flame."

Grandmaster Comic Book Reader! Okay, fine. Even a Novice Comic Book Reader could have predicted this match-up. That doesn't take away my accomplishment!

I knew The Flash should win in a matter of seconds but I couldn't help predicting the old "missed me" returning boomerang shot to the head. I guess that doesn't work against The Flash who has probably seen it at least five dozen times before. He defeats Boomerang without even laying a finger on him.

The next conflict is between Killer Croc and Aquaman. I said who cares about this one and I meant it. Who fucking cares?

Batman is shot twice in the chest by Deadshot in their fight but he's got Bruce Wayne money to make the most advanced bulletproofing available. I mean, maybe not as good as Deathstork's Icon suit but it's still pretty good. Batman knocks out Deadshot in one punch after that. I guess Amanda Waller is going to have to blow the heads off all of the Squad members before they rat her out. Unless Rick Flag is arriving in some kind of Anti-Justice League Mechamonster.

Wonder Woman defeats Harley Quinn after the prerequisite pages of Harley acting crazy funny. Not that Williamson knows how to write funny but you can tell, as a reader, that he's trying. It's all we can ask for. Not that we'd get anything more if we asked for it which is why we should probably only ask that he try.

But all of the fighting doesn't matter because Waller has one big move that's the entire plan. Enchantress knocks Superman into the ground because, you know, magic! While he's down, Waller commands Killer Frost to absorb his energy because it's almost as good as absorbing Firestorm's Slash Fiction Energy. When she takes it, her powers explode all over the place and everybody on the beach is frozen. The Justice League has been defeated! Mostly because Waller is smarter than Batman. Or is she?! I bet Batman wanted to be caught so he could get his chance at stopping Waller directly!

The entire Justice League has now been caught by Waller and imprisoned in special cells that keep them from accessing their powers. How do the cells work? Well, there's the red sun in Superman's cell and then there's...well, it doesn't matter! The only thing you need to know about comic books is that when a plot point needs it, a hero's powers can be rendered useless! It's just a thing you have to accept if you're a comic book reader.

The Ranking!
No change. Isn't this exciting, folks?! It's just like a blockbuster movie! And by that I mean it's bland and predictable but full of punches and other punches! Plus, did you catch the scene with Lobo in it? That was pretty awesome, right? Fucking Lobo! Not Twat Lobo! Hell no! Real Deal Lobo! Right in this comic book! Man, I've got such a boner right now!

Death of Hawkman #3

I hope these two guys discuss archaeology for most of this book.

I hope Andreyko decides to surprise everybody and kill off Hawkman three issues early! The story would still have to deal with the aftermath of Hawkman's death and Adam Strange would have to overcome crazy odds to win (because he's, you know, just stupid Adam Strange. All he has is a laser pistol. Although it's better than a mace, I guess?). The only reason I can think to not kill Hawkman this issue is that it's the only reason most of us are probably reading this series. As soon as Hawkman dies, I'll be satisfied with the story.

Adam Strange is having trouble dealing with killing people. He's not used to being in actual wars where lives are at stake. The only thing he's good at is banging his students. He's apparently so manly that he nearly vomits seeing Katar's penis. Unless Thanagarians have disgusting looking genitals. That's probably a better explanation.

Seeing Katar's penis was where the flashback left off last issue. The story continues from there which is a shame because Hawkman is definitely not going to be dying in a flashback.

Aha! Strange is definitely intrigued by Katar's nakedness!

The woman who bedded Hawkman is named Seraphene so if I knew anything about DC Comics, I'd probably know how she's super important now or something. The only Seraphene I can think of is one of those Forever People. But I don't think she's white or blonde or into fucking Hawkmen.

Katar and Adam realize Despero is behind the attempt to set Rann and Thanagar on a path to war. But they're no match for Despero! They're only C-List members of Justice League Canada. What can they do to save two worlds from destroying each other?

Seraphene might not be as important as I thought she'd be. She's just a plot point so that the security forces on Thanagar would know where to find Adam Strange when the report goes out that he's wanted.

Cyborg is able to confirm that Despero is no longer in Belle Reve. Well, maybe somebody should have placed him in The Catacombs underneath Death Valley! That's where the truly dangerous cosmic villains are supposed to be held. I guess The Catacombs didn't actually exist at the time. Or maybe Batman forgot to tell Justice League Canada about the prison.

Before Hawkman and Adam Strange can begin their pursuit of Despero (without any help because, as usual, the rest of the League is "on a mission." And nobody cares if Cyborg joins them. It's going to take a lot more than a White Noise Cannon to stop Despero), some Thanagarian security guards arrive to beat the shit out of Adam Strange.

Back on his home planet, Despero kills the priests maintaining the stasis pods of everyone on Kalador. He then frees them and convinces them to be his army to take over some other planets. I hear Rann and Thanagar are particularly nice this time of the galactic cycle. I mean, I don't know where they're actually headed but Hawkman and Adam Strange are headed to Kalador, so maybe they'll run into each other along the way.

Meanwhile, Alanna is acting like an asshole. Maybe she's only now realizing Adam Strange's abuse of power and manipulation of trust in forming a relationship with one of his students. Or student aides. Nearly the same thing.

The Ranking!
No change. DC Comics has decided that all of their mini-series need to be six issues long. But none of their writers seem to be able to come up with a six issue long story. So the pacing is generally all over the place as they try to stretch what little story they have over 120 pages. This issue is absolutely a filler issue. Everything that happened this issue could easily have taken place in a couple pages at the end of last issue and maybe a couple pages at the beginning of the next issue. And I'm sure both of those issues have some pages they could have tossed out.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Death of Hawkman #2

Last issue was mostly a trip to the DMV. I hope this one features a more exciting errand.

Either this issue actually features Hawkman or DC figures people read the first issue and know what's up because this cover doesn't read "Featuring Adam Strange!" I still think this should be called "Adam Strange stars in Strange's Death of Hawkman featuring Adam Strange!"

For this next paragraph, I'm going to assume there are people who like Hawkman.

How would you like to be a fan of Hawkman and then have to read a book about Adam Strange? And, assuming as well that there are Adam Strange fans, how would you like to miss the biggest story featuring Adam Strange because the title was "Death of Hawkman" and all you could think was "Stupid!" as you passed it by to pick up Red Hood and the Outlaws? Well, you'd probably feel like an idiot for a multitude of reasons. But at least Adam Strange is on the cover, so as long as it wasn't a variant cover showing Hawkman fellating himself or an underage girl looking overly sexual, Adam Strange fans probably would have picked it up. Although they probably also would have picked up the comic with the sexualized young girl.

Just a second. My new pretend lawyer Pickle Boy just passed me a note. It reads, "That shot at Adam Strange fans being pedophiles was hilarious! Keep up the legal work!"

This issue begins with blood sloshing all over Adam Strange's head. Is he back at the DMV?

Why am I suddenly thinking about Brokeback Mountain? And why am I suddenly super interested in this fucking. Um, comic! This fucking comic!

Adam and Katar wind up in a battle against "assumed hostiles" before the flashback part of the comic book begins. This time, it's to see what kind of errands Katar Hol went on before winding up on Rann in the middle of a war.

Apparently he had to mail some letters.

Hawkman commits to apprehending a felon (or rebel (or jaywalker))) using excessive force. It's true the "criminal" fights back and even stabs Katar at one point. But it isn't as if Hawkman ever tries to deescalate the situation. I think his whole shtick is to re-escalate situations. It goes a long way toward making Hawkman fans uncomfortable for liking Hawkman so much. If you don't feel uncomfortable about your fangendering over Hawkman after this scene, you might be a bit of a prick. He's just not likable! Unless you like over-the-top violence. I mean, I like Lobo so maybe I'm a hypocrite. But then Lobo's hyperbolic violence has always toed the line between dark humor and outrageously poor taste. And since I like those more than I actually like violence, I'm okay with Lobo. But Hawkman is an authority figure who thinks the best way to fight crime is to bash it all into a bloody paste. You might not see the difference between enjoying a villain who murders indiscriminately and an authority figure tasked with keeping people safe who maims barely discriminately but I do! Mostly because it allows me to not judge my own likes and dislikes because I'm basing them as the norm and anybody's desires which differ too widely from mine is a perverse monster.

The flashback doesn't remain on Hawkman and his visit to the post office. We also catch up on what Adam Strange was doing when he first arrived on Rann at the beginning of this war story.

Dammit. I wish I hadn't seen this. I'm as shocked as you are lady. At least my lawyer, Pickle Boy, says I have even less to fear about litigation from those pedophiles. I mean Adam Strange fans!

Oh man. If you think that one panel was incriminating, wait until you see the two that followed it!


Adam Strange remarks that Rann currently looks like Dresden in World War II. I guess he couldn't think of any more modern cities that got the shit bombed out of them in his millennium. Or maybe he just thought better of bringing them up. Dresden is long enough ago that people can think, "Collateral damage was just a part of the world back then! It was necessary and it worked!" Saying that now might not be something you should say, no matter how much you like Hawkman and really want to say it.

Adam finds Alanna alive but Sardath is dead. That's fine because Sardath always winds up betraying people for scientific reasons and then going, "Who?! Me? But look at all the science I got done!"

Back on Thanagar, Hawkman gets dressed down for being too violent. Instead of saying, "Yeah, you know what. Sorry. Maybe I need some counseling or something," he thinks, "But in America, I'm celebrated for bashing people in the face with a mace!" And to drive the point home, he doesn't think about bashing some invulnerable villain into submission. Instead, he remembers a time when he bashed an innocent victim of Starro in the side of the face with his mace. What a fucking dick.

Katar Hol quits or is fired and storms out of the office. What an idiot! Now when he beats the shit out of somebody, it will be as a criminal and not as a badge carrying officer of the peace!

Back on Rann, Alanna decides to blame an entire race of people on the actions of two Thanagarians. I guess she's used to being an American hero as well.

After leaving his job, Katar and his penis decide to go to a bar and have a racy conversation with a lady and her vagina.

I may not know all the ins and outs of sex but I'm pretty sure wet is an innuendo for something that happens during it!

Pickle Boy just Googled "wet" and "sexy times". It turns out when a lady gets really horny, her vagina looks like it sneezed.

Adam Strange decides to investigate the site of the bombing. Luckily the computers weren't damaged by the explosion that made the rest of the city look like Dresden. He discovers that somebody used the Zeta Beam to teleport a number of mystery people to Rann! I bet one of those was Despero because I like to take easy bets that are practically foolproof.

I win the bet! Now who bet against me? Be honest! You owe me ten dollars. No wait! Twenty dollars!

Despero will always be the most dangerous DC Universe enemy to me. Because when I was first getting into comics, the Justice League was destroyed by him. Granted, it was a terrible version of the Justice League with Vibe and Gypsy and Vixen and Steel. But he still destroyed them all! Or at least he made them all feel so bad about themselves that they could barely limp through another few months before being completely dismantled during Legends.

Adam fights with Alanna because she's super racist and really into fear-mongering. But he thinks he has a lead so he tells her he needs to go for a walk and then teleports to Hawkman's apartment where Katar has apparently had the worst sex of his life.

Either it was truly terrible sex or Katar is a really disturbing individual who prefers to beat the shit out of people than to have sex with them. I don't mean the objects of those two statements are the same people! I'm not suggesting he goes out and fucks criminals.

Strange teleports in on Hawkman naked and now I realize why I was thinking of Brokeback Mountain earlier!

The Ranking!
No change! Oh fuck it. I'm enjoying this stupid comic book for some reason. It's probably the sweet anticipation of Hawkman's imminent death. I'm like that guy on the side of the Grecian Urn with an eager boner that will never get to be used. I mean, that might not be so great for the guy with the boner. But at least the lady he's going to put it in (or guy? No wait. The rest of this statement doesn't work if he's Greek. I mean gay) can enjoy the infinite anticipation of the approaching sex act without ever having to experience the terrible letdown of a shitty lover. Also, I won't have to live in anticipation of Hawkman's death for eternity. I just have to survive three more months!

Doctor Fate #18

This might be the first time I accidentally purchased a comic book with a penis on the cover. The word "accidentally" is important to that sentence.

Let me quote Shakespeare at the moment of this incredible event where I'm reading the final issue of this terrible comic book: "Let's git 'er done!"

The Internet is proof that everything has already been done so I'm not even going to check to see if somebody has performed a redneck version of King Lear. I know in my heart this has been accomplished.

The issue begins with Khalid admitting that his mother is a treasure-hunting, Imperialist looter of other countries national treasures.

I mean, it's no surprise. She is a white person who married an Egyptian, probably to gain access to places she could get her sneaky hands on more historic loot. But admitting she'd kill for them? Since Khalid seems to lack whimsy and imagination, I'm taking him at his word. His mother is terrible and evil.

Khalid encounters Thoth, the patron something of Nabu and the original owner of the golden helmet, who tells Khalid that his choices matter. Oh, thanks for such divine and unknowable wisdom, great God with he pointy beak. I hope this is all about Khalid choosing the wrong girlfriend. I don't want this Doctor Fate in control of anything more important than his own love life. Plus it's easy to see he's been making the wrong choice in that department for seventeen issues so far. So I can see it culminating in this huge psychedelic journey where he nearly goes insane from his blue balls.

Doctor Fate continues to express confusion on his inward journey. I get the feeling that Brendan McCarthy laid out this whole idea of a psychedelic inward spiritual journey that would teach Khalid how to master the powers of the Fate helmet and come to grips with taking the mantle. But then Paul Levitz took the script and old personed it. It didn't make sense to him so he stuck in all the Narration Boxes where Khalid states how nothing is making sense and how he's thoroughly confused by everything being plainly stated by gods and dream worms. The entire story loses any impact it may have had because Khalid is an imbecile with no ability to contemplate profound or interesting ideas. Not that I'm claiming any of this is profound! It might be! But that's for you to decide for yourself. I can't go around explaining the importance of every little thing to every single person because we all discover different bits of ourselves in different ways and through varied revelatory pop culture media. This garbage might actually be important to somebody. But they should probably be ashamed to admit it.

The Sphinx suggested that Khalid embrace the dreamspinners and their mother but Thoth calls them liars and deceivers. I guess maybe "embrace" was code for "crush them in a great big magical bear hug" because Doctor Fate decides to defeat the dreamspinners. But he's soon overwhelmed and finds himself back in front of Mr. Mind. I mean, Clothorooloohoo.

Khalid must have went to quite the religious school. It's called your penis, dear.

Fate is lowered into Mr. Mind's boiling cauldron. Maybe he finally realized this is what he's meant to do. He's meant to embrace his own destruction at the hands of a creature obviously created by the demonic love child of Dr. Seuss and H.R. Giger. Conversely, if I'm using that word correctly, maybe he's just going to die! Although I also wouldn't mind if after he's lowered into the cauldron, Khalid opens his eyes to see his neighbor leaning over him and wiping his semen from her hand. This entire series could have been like Jacob's Ladder except the main character wasn't dying. He was just getting a hand-job.

See? This represents sex, right? I guess Khalid is getting more than a hand-job! Praise Allah!

Ew. I just realized Mr. Mind's name in this story was Clot Horus. Gross.

Khalid wakes up in the park next to a pile of human feces buzzing with dreamspinners. Oh shit. I guess Khalid just had a random hook up in the park with a shit fetishist. I think that probably means he's gay because women tend to engage in sex with strangers in the park far less often than men do. I don't know if gender or sexuality has any bearing on whether or not somebody wants to include shit in their sexual escapades though.

The Ranking!
No change! I'm just glad this is over. And what an ending! Khalid stumbles through a few weeks of his life believing everything was a hallucination or he was going crazy. So then he wakes up in the park at the end of it all, puts his helmet away (see? sex occurred!), shrugs, and goes back to avoiding sex with the neighbor. The Doctor Fate helmet really chose its host poorly this time around. How the fuck did this comic book last eighteen issues? My guess is Paul Levitz sucked a lot of interoffice cock. Um, figuratively! My lawyer says I should point out that I meant that figuratively! Also, Pickle Boy is now my lawyer instead of my writing assistant and sandwich maker. He's really made a name for himself! I mean, it's drawn on a card that's meant to be a business card and he misspelled lawyer. But at least his services are cheap.

Doctor Fate #17

Fucking Christ. I can't believe I'm still reading this comic book!

I've been reading this comic book for a year and a half and I am not entertained by it at all. The only other things I've maintained for that length of time or more which brought me no joy were my relationships with family members. Ha ha! Just kidding, mom and dad!

Oh, who am I kidding?! Like they'd ever show any interest in anything I love! Although that's not entirely true. I love pizza and Oreos and my mom definitely notices when I'm loving those things. "Oh, you're going to eat all of that?" Yeah, mom, of course I'm going to eat a whole fucking pizza topped with Oreos. Now fuck off!

So, as usual, I didn't think much about the cover because I barely looked at the comic book as I picked it up sighing and rolling my eyes and hating the life I've chosen for myself. But then when I opened it up and saw the name of the artist, I perked up a bit. Brendan McCarthy? You mean, the Brendan McCarthy?! Not the one who co-wrote Fury Road! I mean, yes, that one! But I wasn't thinking, "Not the one who co-wrote Fury Road?!" I was thinking, "The guy who did the covers to Shade the Changing Man and the art for Rogan Gosh?!" And why, yes, it is indeed that Brendan McCarthy! I'm fucking stunned. I'm so glad I didn't simply give up on this comic book the way I'm giving up on so many others!

My feeling of pure unbridled joy doesn't last long. Fucking life. Fuck you! Can't I at maintain some kind of enjoyment for any length of time before you intrude and smash it all to pieces with more of the same Doctor Fate bullshit?! First off, the colorist looks like he just pissed all over McCarthy's art. It looks like a kid who just discovered the joy of creating light with an eraser. But on top of that, Khalid once more begins experiencing some weird shit and his first thought isn't, "This must be more magic! Like all of that other magic that has been intruding on my life! It's like I can't get a moment's peace or a handjob from the neighbor without magic fucking it all up!" No, instead when things get weird, he goes back to the whole, "Is there a weird but rational explanation for this? Are the cops drugging us? Is this a fireworks show? Am I having a stroke?"

The weird lights turn into multi-colored threads that pierce the tops of the heads of everybody at the rally he's attending. He thinks it's weird until one of them pierces the head of the girl who won't fuck him (so not the neighbor lady! The other one!). Now it's personal! Time to turn into Doctor Fate and have a strange psychedelic experience!

"At least not until I've known her carnally!"

Khalid winds up in some other plane that's really strange. He doesn't think, "Holy fucking hell! So cool!" No, he thinks, "This is utterly, totally, completely impossible." You are such a disappointing Doctor Fate, Khalid. You deserve to fail Medical School. And also Magical School. And also How Can You Not Have Noticed That Your Neighbor Wants To Suck Your Cock School.

Seventeen Goddamned issues of this attitude! Somebody revoke his Doctor Fate card already!

Here's how huge of a failure this Doctor Fate is. He just asked the weird bug thing what manner of being it is. It responds with a sound. Doctor Fate thinks, "Usually the magic works to translate--but all I'm getting is static...and the word dreamspinners... ...what are these things?" So he asks them what they are, they respond with dreamspinners, and then he asks himself again, "What are these things?!" You know what? He doesn't deserve a fucking handjob from the hot and horny neighbor lady. Khalid can live with his parents as a failure for the rest of his life for all I care. I think his next life choice should be getting a Playstation 4 and a medical marijuana card and just calling time on his ambitions.

Also, the punctuation in that quote is the fault of the writers. I wonder if they learned how to punctuate from Howard Mackie's School of Terrible--Really...Fucking, Terrible — and Awful; Punctuation..

Khalid loses Akila's thread and decides the best way to find it is to search at the other end. All the threads are entering a big dream egg, so that's where he heads.

Where he finds a giant caterpillar fucking a glowing cauldron.

The gigantic caterpillar is named Clothorus and it's been wanting to eat Doctor Fate for as long as it can remember (which I think is forever). But Doctor Fate does some whining and pleading to Nabu who comes to his rescue. I think. Khalid definitely doesn't do anything heroic himself. I know there's another issue but I can still hope that he gets eaten. The next issue might be twenty pages of Khalid digesting inside of Clothorus, right?

Doctor Fate escapes to another plane of existence where the pyramids were built by flying scarab ships. I guess it's the spiritual version of Egypt, or something even more profound that I'll never figure out in a million years because I'm constantly being distracted by my physical needs and desires.

Doctor Fate visits the Sphinx which tells him how to defeat Clothorus. It says, "If you would defeat the mother, you must embrace her and all her children." Then Khalid is all, "What?! Riddles! Just tell me how to defeat her!" And the Sphinx is all, "How can I be any more plain than that, you stupid fucking asshole!" Then Khalid, confused by the mere presence of words, is dragged back into the dreamspinner realm for the final fight of his life. Hopefully.

The Ranking
-1 Ranking. There have been some pretty shitty incarnations of Doctor Fate over the years and none of them can compare to the overall shittiness of Khalid. He's the fucking worst.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Flash #10

I don't remember a Flash villain called The Vaudevillian.

There have been a slew of celebrity deaths in 2016 that have been tragic and then there's Debbie Reynolds. I'm not saying she was the devil and we should celebrate her death! I just mean she's one of the celebrities that would have went whether or not the year was cursed! I'm not being mean (cynical, maybe! But not mean!) and saying people who loved her and remember her fondly shouldn't mourn. I just think when you bring up the list of unbelievable celebrity losses in 2016, maybe just leave off Debbie Reynolds. And definitely leave off Nancy Reagan.

After Carrie Fisher died, I saw a meme on Facebook that said something about how kids of the 80s are losing everybody who made their lives great. It was a collage of celebrities who were big in the time, including Nancy Reagan. What fucking kid of the 80s worshiped Nancy Reagan?! She nearly single-handedly ruined everybody's fun. What a fucking buzzkill! And how dare she drag Mr. T into her evil network of fun-killing downers!

I'm glad 2016 has never heard of me! It's like one of God's plagues. I think when one of Revelation's seals was opened, it mentioned a mass death of celebrities.

This issue begins telling the fairy tale of Shade Not The Changing Man. This is just the vaudevillian villain from the cover. I guess the most important thing to learn about Shade is this bit of wisdom he learned about life: "your life could be affected by the maliciousness of others." Whoa! Why the fuck didn't anybody tell me this earlier?! I've been walking around in crowds unsuspecting all this time that, at any moment, one of those faces in the crowd might be malicious to me! Or at me! Thank goodness this comic book filled that gap in my knowledge of survival. Now I'm going to make sure I beat anybody who comes near me with a lead pipe. You aren't going to negatively affect my life, you mysterious bastards!

Apparently Shade found a woman to fuck so he reconciled himself to an easy life full of calmness and heavy petting. Everybody was safe from his darkness! But that was a long time ago. That's an ominous way of saying his fuck buddy was probably taken from him in a totally unjust way and now he's out to make everybody miserable by affecting their lives with his maliciousness.

Barry is currently out jogging thinking, "The DC Universe is so stupid right now. I can't wait until it figures itself out and pretends it never Rebooted the stupid thing. Of course by that point, I'll probably have an itch to time travel or vibrate into a triple upside down dimension and everything will become fucked up again." While he thinks that, he's ignoring Iris who is trying to talk to him while they jog. Ugh. The only thing more annoying than jogging is when your shit breaks off halfway out of your ass. I mean, jogging with another person! That's what I meant!

Barry's too nice. I'd tell Iris to back the fuck off and call a Big Brother program for her problem nephew. Even knowing he's Kid Flash!

Last issue, we learned that Iris was a terrible reporter. She was getting sent flowers from an unnamed person every week and denied having a secret admirer. I mean, sure, she was right because it was actually Wally West who was sending them. But she never found that out and there's no reason to not believe you have a secret admirer when you get flowers constantly without anybody taking credit. In this story, Iris tells Barry that she asked him along to jog because she heard there were some "unusual muggings" (whatever those are) happening in the park and she didn't want to jog alone because it would look suspicious. Are you fucking crazy? Iris West is the worst reporter in the world and I won't listen to all of you Iris West fans making up stupid reasons for why her terrible statement makes sense right now. If you are going to defend this nonsense, you have to see that you're completely biased. She's an idiot and there's nothing more to say on that subject. Except maybe to say, a few more times later on, how much of an ignoramus she is.

Apparently the muggings have been unusual because they've been perpetrated by a villain known as Papercut. That's not unusual. That's ridiculous. His super power is to fold paper into origami ninja stars and then threaten people with them. So basically he's me in 7th grade.

Wally turns up to stop Papercut because Barry Allen doesn't act quickly enough. Get it?! He's the fastest man...oh, never mind. I can see why Flash comic books are generally 85% speed puns. They're hard to avoid.

No wonder Barry doesn't want Wally out fighting crime alone. His quips are terribly mundane.

Papercut doesn't remain unconscious even though he almost certainly has a fractured skull. No way Wally West has put in enough time training to calculate how hard he can hit somebody without exploding their brain. As he gets up, Papercut reveals that he controls everything made of wood and I bravely refrain from making an erection joke. Who says there aren't real heroes anymore? I mean, no American, probably, since they're all sycophants worshiping at the altar of military servicemen. I just want to throw my hat into the same heroic ring as people who risk their lives protecting overseas corporate investments. Oh, and, um, freedom too! Probably.

Using the distraction of everybody trying not to make a penis joke, Barry turns into Flash, punches Papercut the precise amount to knock him unconscious for a few minutes, and then rushes him off to Iron Heights where he'll be put in a cell and probably never go on trial and maybe even die on a Suicide Squad mission without ever getting the benefit of a trial by a jury of his peers.

Afterward, Flash and Kid Flash have one of those trust discussions that I'm sick to fuck of because I watch the CW superhero television shows.

Why does everybody have to know everything about everybody else? Respect people's right to have some Goddamned motherfucking secrets!

Wally decides that to earn the Flash's trust, he'll go behind the Flash's back and do a bunch of dangerous stuff the Flash wouldn't want him doing. He's going to solve The Mystery of the Speed of Darkness!

Wally doesn't solve it but he does wind up captured in Shade's shadow place (which isn't as gross as it sounds. Maybe). I wonder if Wally is realizing that maybe Flash knew what he was talking about?

The Ranking!
No change! One of the advertisements for The Flash collected stories says that Joshua Williamson's writing is on point. Is that really a compliment? I would rather somebody describe my writing as entertaining! Not that anybody would ever praise my writing as being on point. Unless the point was to show how often I could digress while trying to make a point. Anyway, this writing might be on point but it's not entertaining me anymore. I hate to give up reading The Flash comic book since it's usually the place where the whole DC Universe begins breaking down but I just don't have time for it anymore.

The Flash #9

Why is The Flash using Barry Allen's lunchbox?

The singer of "Last Christmas" dying on Christmas and now the star of A New Hope dying isn't being very subtle, 2016. We get it. The world is ending next year. Nobody can wait for this year to be over but I think 2016 is just the John the Baptist to 2017's Jesus Christ. I could go on to explain what I mean by that but, not being Christ-like, I don't explain my analogies and metaphors. Mostly because I assume people are smarter than the twelve idiots Jesus chose to pal around with on his Final Tour. Although having just skimmed Revelations (seeing as how it's practically unreadable, especially when you don't really give a shit about reading it), it feels like The Bible was written by a not too confident auteur who wants to make sure that the audience is getting every bit of their genius, so they explain every single image, analogy, and metaphor. "So, like, the world will be ravaged by locusts. But these locusts are wearing helmets and breastplates and carrying spears, if you get what I'm saying! Wink, wink! They aren't really locusts at all! It's an army!"

The rash of celebrity deaths almost seems like a purposeful smokescreen to distract everybody from the political nightmare that has taken place this year! I'm wondering if David Bowie's death was the canary in the coalmine that we all just ignored. He was too sensitive for the toxic atmosphere of 2016.

On a side note, did anybody else find some of the headlines of George Michael's death particularly insensitive? Who thinks starting an article with WHAM! is appropriate? "WHAM! Singer dead at 53! In your face!" It just seems...oh wait. I just got it. Never mind.

This issue takes place on Halloween. Has it been that long since I've read a Flash comic book? Sheesh!

Iris gets flowers every week without a note and denies she has a secret admirer? Worst investigative reporter ever!

The Keystone Bridge is falling down so Iris has to go look at it and write, "The bridge was fine! Nothing happened at all!" Wally and Barry also make excuses to leave Iris's office so they can go play superhero. While Flash is teaching Kid Flash the best way to save the day, he says, "We could spend all our time getting people off the bridge or we can rebuild the bridge!" Then he begins to rebuild the bridge. Um. Just because he's fast doesn't mean he can rebuild a fucking bridge! I suppose he rushes off to learn how, get the supplies, send Iris some more flowers for next week, and then rebuild the whole thing himself as it's falling into the water? Oh yeah! That sounds plausible!

I should probably either stop complaining about The Flash comic book being implausible or just stop reading it altogether. Oh hey! That's a good idea! This book is off my fucking pull list! Although I still have a few issues left in the stack.

The other Wally West shows up to help because this story is called "Kid Flash of Two Worlds!" I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not but then the title ended in an exclamation point and I found myself thinking, "This story sounds exciting!"

When Wally and Wally shake hands, Barry Allen has a mental breakdown and begins channeling The Comedian. He flips the fuck out and begins insulting the two Kid Flashes. He also reveals that Daniel West is actually Wally's father so that clears up the mess about needing a mysterious third West child who didn't exist. Not that anybody was still worrying about that since there's so much more to worry about like "Why the fuck do we need two Wally Wests?!"

Wally West points out how when he touched The Flash, it hurt him. But, he theorizes, what if both Wallies touch him at the same time?! Logically, that should...well, it should hurt them both. But instead it works! Barry stops flipping the fuck out! The day is saved! But the issue isn't over yet because I guess that wasn't the main conflict. It seems Second Wally finding out Daniel West is his father is the main conflict. Second Wally runs off crying because everybody has been lying to him his whole life. He decides to go meet his friend Chunk at a Halloween Party. Yes, Chunk is fat. How did you guess?

Chunk is a real nerd, you motherfucking poseurs.

First Wally is the guy saying "Wally?" It seems First Wally and Second Wally instinctively know that they're each a Kid Flash. Although Second Wally doesn't know First Wally is also named Wally. He just knows the dopey looking guy with the red hair in the over-sized green sweater must be the dopey looking guy with the red hair in the second rate Flash costume from earlier in the day.

First Wally teaches Second Wally about self-esteem or something. Who cares? If you need to be taught that you should love yourself, maybe you aren't really worth loving? You ever think of that?! I love myself because I'm entertaining and sexy. But I imagine I wouldn't love myself at all if I were a boring jerk! People would probably tell me, "Oh no! You must love yourself before others can love you! I mean, other people love you know matter what or something!" And I'd be all, "Liar! I suck!" That's probably how most of you feel, right?

Later, First Wally and Barry discuss the flowers that First Wally has been sending to Iris. I guess he wants to fuck his aunt. Weirdo. At the end of their talk, Barry mentions that he saw a winged metal cap in a vision when he was flipping the fuck out earlier. He said it filled him with hope and/or reminded him of the shitty New 52 Earth Two comic book. Unless the second half of that was just me.

The Ranking!
No change. I think this issue was only written to clear up Second Wally's parentage. Maybe it was a little bit about starting the whole Flash Family concept which people seem to like for some reason. I prefer my heroes to be loners with pets.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1

This series promises to have the best fuckfights in the history of the DCU.

I just glanced at a Starbucks napkin I'm using to wipe my runny nose (not because I'm sick but because I sneezed recently and have been too lazy to blow my nose. I was busy Photoshopping a bed onto the cover of this comic book!) and realized Starbucks is as old as me. That might be a boring way to begin this commentary but the other way I was thinking about beginning it was too depressing. You see, while many people have complained that 2016 has been a terrible year because of the heartbreak caused by the people who have died (ignoring the political disaster because can't I just ignore that? Please?), I have felt nothing. I knew when David Bowie died that I should feel something but I didn't. I just don't have that thing inside of me that other people have where they feel intimately tied to an artist. Love, I guess? Empathy? Compassion? Probably all of those. It's sort of the same blank void that exists in the space of my memory where the suicide of Kurt Cobain lies. I wouldn't have thought it was a big deal if not for seeing news reports of terribly sad people all over the country. But as 2016 went on, I began to feel something. Or the lack of something, really. Everybody was getting angrier and angrier at this year due to the celebrities dying and none of it made a blip on my emotional radar. In 2016, I began to realize that maybe something inside of me truly was broken and all of my cynical, self-deprecating posts about my inability to love weren't cynical at all. Because none of the tragedies of 2016 have meant anything to me. And yet George Michael dying on Christmas Day can't be anything less than our 2016 Christmas Carol moment when the Ghost of Christmas-Yet-To-Come points at Scrooge's grave to warn every one of us, without any subtlety at all or fucks to give, that if we don't change our ways, this will be the last Christmas for everybody. But if I'm the Scrooge in this Christmas Carol, I'm completely unperturbed and unaffected. I'm buying the fattest goose in the market for myself because, as I pointed out, I still feel nothing. And so if 2016 has been a terrible year for everybody else in one way, it was also terrible for me in another. This was the year I became completely disconnected from everybody else. It is the year I realized my apathy is all I, apparently, have left. Happy Boxing Day!

This issue makes a huge statement by beginning in Death Valley. See how it has death in the name? Ominous! It also has valley in the name which is less ominous, being just a low lying depression which — let's face it — if all you've got by the end of this year is a "valley," you're doing all right! The first panel also uses a quote from John Steinbeck: "Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts...perhaps the fear of a loss of power." I've probably said it before so I won't say it again.

No wait. That's a stupid thing to write! I'll just repeat myself for clarity's sake: John Steinbeck is this country's greatest writer and it's a fucking shameful catastrophe that he's overshadowed by hacks like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway and that jerk who wrote Moby Dick! I mean, maybe some of those previous guys weren't hacks. But isn't that the way to debate? I have to lie about the other side to prop up my argument? Not that John Steinbeck needs any propping up! Just go fucking read some of his books. I won't even recommend a specific book because you can pick up any of them and it will be the greatest book you've ever read. Sure, I have other books by other authors that I generally rank better than any Steinbeck book. But that's just a polling error! Sure, I fucking love and adore Catch-22 possibly more than any of Steinbeck's novels. But what else is Heller fucking offering me after that? Something Happened?! Get the fuck out of here with your bullshit, Heller! If you want a book you'll love which will lead to dozens of other books you'll also love, read Kurt Vonnegut. I mean, John Steinbeck! I mean, I guess Kurt Vonnegut will do in a pinch as well. But, while every one of Vonnegut's books is entertaining, they're like puddles of piss lying next to Steinbeck's Mona Lisas. That was a terrible analogy to make and now I'm ashamed of everything I've ever written.

I will say it's a smart move on Williamson's part to stick that Steinbeck quote in there early. Now this book has that kind of pretentious swagger that makes me start off thinking it can't be too bad, no matter how boring I usually find Williamson's writing!

Underneath Death Valley, a secret man with mind control powers (Max Lord, of course! I guess it isn't so secret since he was in that spoilery double page pull-out wall poster monstrosity of an advert) is breaking into a more secret prison.

This is a better idea than Liefeld's idea of Lobo being held in a regular old prison in Colorado.

For a super secret prison with probably the best security ever, they sure dropped the ball on protecting it against villains with mind control powers. I suppose just like every other security measure ever invented, the prison is simply about the illusion of keeping people safe from the worst cosmic threats to Earth's populace. Everybody knows no safety measure can be one hundred percent guaranteed to keep people safe so why even bother making those measures with a fifty percent guarantee? Or even a twenty-five percent guarantee? Just name the place the Catacombs, bury it in Death Valley, and try not to tell too many people about it's existence. Then find a nearby Roman with a bowl of water and wash your hands. Project done!

Max and his Monsters walk off into the sunset because he forgot to bring the pale horses or a car. Then there's a double splash page of the name of the comic book which just seems like DC trying too hard to remind everybody that this is a fucking blockbuster movie of a comic book, bitches!

After that is another double splash page of the Suicide Squad killing people on a beach while Harley screams something suitably "crazy trite" which just seems like DC trying even harder to remind everybody that this is a fucking blockbuster movie of a comic book! I didn't add the "bitches" this time because I'm trying to be more sensitive to the people who hate that word even though it's the perfect tagline of a word for when you want to not just say a sentence but stab somebody in the face with it.

The Suicide Squad's mission is to stop the Brimstone Brotherhood from destroying the island of Badhnisia with a stolen Quake Pulsar from STAR Labs. Nothing in that statement explains why this is a job for the Suicide Squad. It's more a job for the Justice League! Oh, maybe this is how they'll come into contact, right? Although that still doesn't explain why the Suicide Squad has been sent on this mission. There must be some kind of diplomatic entanglement that could ensue if pro-American superhero forces get involved. Although who is left on Earth who doesn't recognize the Suicide Squad at this point? Doesn't everybody just shake their heads and think, "Fucking United States. Getting around international law yet again by pretending to have nothing to do with this violent action!" Then they probably chuckle at how silly America is and how powerless they are to stop them.

Oh, there's the explanation! Although sending in the Suicide Squad would also draw attention to it, I would think. This was one Waller should have left to the Justice League entirely. Why wouldn't they stop the destruction of an island nation? Just leave a message on the Bat-Answering Machine.

The Justice League will need to get involved at some point, being that the title of this comic book mentions them a bit. So they'll probably arrive and blame the Squad for some kind of international terrorism. Or Batman will notice that Amanda Waller downvoted one of his comments on Reddit which will drive him to finally bringing up the Suicide Squad problem to the Justice League.

The scene on the beach gives new readers a quick overview of the Suicide Squad by punctuating their names with lame quips to flesh out their one-dimensional personalities. It also gives readers an opportunity to see that Captain Boomerang loves to harass the women on the team. I'm not sure if that's his personality or if Williamson just thinks all Australians are like that? It's okay to reduce Australians to stereotypes because it's basically just a country of white males. I mean, if you ignore the people who lived their before the white males arrived. And I think Australian women fit snugly under the category of "white male."

Having a new member, Killer Frost, in the scene also allows Harley to explain how the Suicide Squad are forced to do Amanda's work due to the bombs in their heads. And now that that's all set up and everybody is on board with what the Suicide Squad is, how it functions, and who its members are, it's time for the Justice League!

I haven't read Batman's "I Am Suicide" story arc yet but to sum it up, it sounds like Amanda Waller downvoted one of Batman's comments on Reddit. Batman worked with her and the team to get something he wanted. But when he discovered Amanda broke into the Batcave and went through his shit, that was when he decided she needed to be punished. What better way than convincing the other members of the Justice League that she and her organization are exactly the kind of thing they should be fighting? Nobody really questions Batman's statement about working with her. I seriously doubt anybody questions Batman on anything anymore.

So basically the premise of this book will be that the Justice League tries to stop the Suicide Squad because they're bad. But then they realize they need to team up with the Suicide Squad because Max Lord's Super Suicide Squad is even worse. Afterward, the Justice League will realize the Suicide Squad has a place and maybe they're less bad and more of a gray area which the heroes can simply pretend doesn't exist. They won't like it but they won't deny the efficacy of Waller's program.

Cyborg interrupts Batman to say, "Speak of the devil!" He then points everybody to a monitor showing the current violence on Badhnisia. Time for the first huge fuckfight of the series!

Back on the island, Deadshot shoots Apex, the leader of the Brimstone Brotherhood, in the head and ends the mission. But not before Apex used the Quake Pulsar enough to cause structural damage all over the island. The building Deadshot was shooting from begins to collapse.

Finally! An actual suicide in a Suicide Squad comic book!


Just so everybody knows I'm not a complete and utter fool like it says in my future Wikipedia page, I typed up the code for the second image and the "Dammit" caption before turning the page and while scanning the image of Deadshot killing himself. Because we all knew what was going to happen there, amirite?

The rest of the Justice League save the innocent people who most people would have saved before saving Deadshot but Superman is special in that way that makes most people think, "I can't stand that fucking idiot."

Batman confronts the Suicide Squad and says, "What if we hadn't been here to stop that building from collapsing?" Whoa, whoa, whoa! That isn't on Deadshot or the rest of the Squad! That's on STAR Labs for not immediately reporting the stolen Quake Pulsar to the Justice League so that maybe they could stop this disaster from happening! What the fuck is going on at STAR Labs? Who the fuck is in charge of the dangerous earthquake devices that maybe STAR Labs shouldn't be creating in the first place? Maybe fire people who aren't ready to accept responsibility for their errors instead of pretending that the Quake Pulsar wasn't stolen at all and just covertly calling up one of their friends at Task Force X to see if they could resolve the problem on the DL?

Lame is an ableist term, you disgusting piece of human garbage that should immediately be thrown out of the Justice League and never given any kind of opportunity at a life again without the constant reminder that you once used an ableist term!

Waller commands Deadshot to not let the Justice League take them alive. I don't think Batman is going to be too happy about that. I hope the last panel of this entire series is just a silent panel of Bruce Wayne, Max Lord, and Amanda Waller enjoying appetizers at a Karaoke Bar in Gotham City.

The first major fuckfight begins and here are the double page spread match-ups and their probably results:

Wonder Woman vs Harley Quinn: Harley unconscious in one second. She may be smart and athletic but she's not super fast, super strong, super invulnerable, or super hot. I mean, okay, maybe these two match up well there.
Deadshot vs Batman: Batman wins on both the physicality of the encounter and the quips.
Captain Boomerang vs The Flash: Captain Boomerang wins because The Flash stops to say, "Missed me!", before remembering that boomerangs come back.
Simon Baz vs El Diablo: Simon Baz might not be the best Green Lantern but he's still a fucking Green Lantern. Simon Baz encloses El Diablo in an airtight bubble and extinguishes his flame.
Superman vs Enchantress: Enchantress uses magic and Superman doesn't hit women. He's fucked.
Jessica Cruz and Cyborg vs Killer Frost: I don't think this match-up matters. I think it was just the "Who do we have left?" match-up.
Aquaman vs Killer Croc: Oh, who cares?

Meanwhile, Max Lord is briefing his new team while his nose bleeds. I think that means he's controlling them with his mental powers so that they don't instantly kill him. His new team is composed of the Emerald Empress (who is in the 21st Century for who knows what reasons), Doctor Polaris (who appeared in Futures End which was in the future so, um, again...why is he here now?), Johnny Sorrow (who was like on a whole other world or something, wasn't he?! What is going on?!), Lobo (who isn't a twat anymore so at least that's good news even if everything is super confusing), and Rustam (who I can't remember if he's made an appearance since The New 52 began. I just searched my Blogger for "Rustam" and came up with nothing, so I guess he's still angry at Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad from the Preboot universe). Apparently Max Lord thinks all of these villains will work for him because they hate Amanda Waller so much. Do they? I hope that's explained at some point! Anyway, Max Lord thinks he's going to save the world with this crew. I guess in Max's mind, "saving the world" and "destroying all humanity" are the same thing. He apparently doesn't understand that what people mean when they say "Save the world" or "Save the planet" is that they want to ensure a world where humans can continue to live well. He's taking the statement way too literally, I think!

The Ranking!
So far, so good! I like it in the way I like my comic books. It's sort of stupid with many of its premises but Lobo is in it.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Justice League #11

Oh boy. It's time for Bryan Hitch's take on the already told way too many times Amazo versus the Justice League story!

Amazo has the powers of the entire Justice League but has he ever used Aquaman's powers? Why would he need to? The League probably just assumes Amazo has Aquaman's powers for the sake of Aquaman's pride.

Superman: "Great Caesar's cow patties! Amazo is too fast utilizing Flash's speed!"
Wonder Woman: "And my punches can't get through his Green Lantern shielding!"
Batman: "Watch out for his Superman heat vision!"
Aquaman: "He's deflecting all the shrimp I throw at him with Wonder Woman's projectile deflection thing she does!"
Cyborg: "Oh, um, I hope he doesn't, um, you know, call forth some sharks or something with his Aquaman fish ta...."
The Flash: "Telekinesis! His sea creature telekinesis! He's tough enough without that super scary thing happening!"
Jessica Cruz: "What are you guys talking about? We're in Colorado! Who cares if he even has Aqua-powers!"
Simon Baz: "Yeah! I mean, why did we even bring Aquaman on this mission?"
Aquaman: *tears silently run down his face*

The best part about having Aquaman on the Justice League is when they go into space and the writer desperately searches for something he can add to the story so they usually have him communicate with the aliens because they have gills or fins on their heads or something. He's really just Justice League eye candy, isn't he?

The Justice League have been attacked in a neighborhood in Denver. Last issue, Batman mentioned they should probably take the fight elsewhere but do they even try? No. They just decide destroying the neighborhood and putting more people at risk as they fight to defend their lives is justified. They're as terrible as the Teen Titans.

This whole thing about collateral damage from super hero battles shouldn't even be a talking point. But because heroes no longer battle alien menaces or threats to the public safety and only seem to battle antagonists bent on destroying them, all collateral damage subsequently becomes the fault of the heroes simply existing. Why hasn't Batman created an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the pros and cons of the Justice League remaining in operation? I suppose he already has and just hit delete after realizing there was no way they were really protecting anybody. Superman alone should pull a Doctor Manhattan and just go live on Mars due to the multiple times he's been manipulated by super villains and threatened the world himself.

Why did bad writers have to make me so cynical of superhero comic books?! Fuck them all!

For one sweet second, I thought Maps Mizoguchi was working with the Justice League!

Yeah Flash! Evac the houses because the Justice League are about to set this fucking neighborhood on fire! No wonder Batman thought it was a logical when he believed a collateral damage victim had turned into a supervillain.

Scarecrow has decided to add a dance routine to his villainous monologue.

The guy in the background, James Palmer, knocks Scarecrow out with a baseball bat because he's afraid of losing his kids. Once Scarecrow is unconscious, his fear gas stops working and Batman comes to his senses. Unless Batman was just faking so James Palmer could find the hero within him! That's probably what was happening. I'd hate to think Bryan Hitch didn't know what he was doing.

While the Fearsome Five discover the Genie AI, The Flash has become The Midnighter. He's calculating odds and running scenarios and seeing patterns and figuring shit out because his brain works so fast. Barry decides the biggest threat is Major Disaster because he's forgotten that Amazo has shown up.


The Flash decides to stop Major Disaster by knocking an unconscious Giganta on top of him. But if he still has his force field, it's not like that's going to put him out of commission. He can still think about making natural disasters while under Giganta's ass! Oh. I see. He's probably masturbating now. Good work, Flash!

Superman hasn't responded to help the Justice League because he's dealing with a Phantom Zone breakout. Apparently Genie did that too. Maybe Superman shouldn't keep the Phantom Zone attached to his wi-fi? Oh, you know what? It was probably hacked by the malicious code that was programmed onto photons and so invaded every single thing ever.

After a couple issues of fighting, the entire neighborhood is destroyed and not one villain is out of commission. Instead, they've got the Justice League and the Palmer family surrounded and they're ready to take Lily and her uPad with the Genie AI. Amazo has, frankly, not been a factor even though he was the big cliffhanger plot point at the end of the last issue. This is one of those situations where there's only one chance left!

This ten year old is as smart as Batman. Fuck you, DC Universe.

Lily hacks Amazo and turns him against the other villains, defeating them all instantly. So, um, Amazo is better with the Justice League's powers than the Justice League is? Batman awkwardly hides his sidekick boner while Alfred reacts to the "Sidekick Boner Alarm" he installed in Batman's underwear by preparing a speech to convince Batman that he's already put enough children in danger.

Alfred's speech had better be a doozy.

The Ranking!
-1! My favorite part of this story is how Lily, who really should know nothing about Amazo, comes up with a plan to hack Amazo at the same time Batman does. Isn't she just a precocious little precious ball of genius?! Apparently DC's favorite deus ex machina is young people. They can fucking do anything in the DC Universe! Fuck all that technobabble that used to be needed to explain away the science which saved the world. Now just introduce a teenager or pre-teen character who is labelled a genius and let them do whatever needs doing. Totally fucking believable and not overdone in any way at all. Just all around great character building!