Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Justice League #11: Drowned Earth, Part 2

In this issue: the Justice League vs. water!

After my review of Drowned Earth Part 1, Internet user darksammieknite asked, "How…the…FUCK did you accurately describe this event from the first issue?!" Aha! The kind of question I love! The kind where I get to toot my own horn!

First off, I don't know how much I got right or wrong since I haven't read the series yet. But history suggests that I fucking nailed every single detail. After all, I was the one who first guessed that Red Robin would become Harvest! But the serious answer is this: I'm a fucking Grandmaster Comic Book Reader! You don’t waste thirty years of your life reading comic books and not learn a little something about, well, actually you don’t learn much. But I know comic books!


Man, I hope darksammieknite wasn't being sarcastic! I don't want to look like a fool on the Internet yet again.

Although if I guessed the entire story in the write-up on the first chapter, what's left to say about this one? I suppose I could drag Aquaman some more. That's always fun. I know people hate it because they always come at you with an argument they stole from somebody else because they can't think up their own unique thoughts and say, "Let people be happy about the things they love!" Well fuck you! Because I love dumping all over Aquaman! Let *ME* be happy!

Seriously. It's not like I look up AquamanLover6969 on Twitter and direct message them my degrading insults about Aquaman. This is my safe space to shit straight down Aquaman's throat! If you take away my safe Aquaman hating space then I'll have no other choice but to grow a beard (a longer and messier one!), move out to the woods (deeper and thicker ones!), learn electronics and chemistry, buy an old typewriter that has three specific flaws that will eventually lead back to me, write (more) threatening letters to DC (and Marvel! Namor fucking sucks too!), and eventually be nicknamed "The Dumb Unabomber." Do you want that on your conscience?! I didn't think so. Let me feel the joy of hating Aquaman!

It would be fun to troll Aquaman fans though. They think they're so much better than the people with brains who know Aquaman is stupid. They're all, "He's super dense from having lived under the sea!" But they don't ever say, "I wonder how he became so dense when he was born on land and raised on land and he never exploded like other sea life that's brought up from the deepest deep!" But now they're probably saying stupid things like, "He's just super dense because of his Atlantean heritage! And before you say he talks to fish like all the normies who think they're so cool when they shit on Aquaman, he's actually a minor telepath who excels in communicating with aquatic life! He can probably also 'speak' with spermatozoa!" And then I would be all, "Oh? Now I'm intrigued! Is Aquaman the gay hero the gay community has been waiting for?!" Then I glance at a poster of Jason Momoa and gasp, "Oh, why yes he is!"

What was I saying? Oh yeah! Aquaman is a dumb hero who speaks to fish! Take that, Aquaman fans!

I think I'm tapped into the spinal fluid of the universe because after writing that Unabomber stuff, I refreshed my Twitter feed and the top tweet was from Andy Richter saying, "Let Ted Kaczynski host the Oscars," and linked to an article about "The Unlikely New Generation of Unabomber Acolytes."

Let me translate: "Aquaman doesn't speak to fish, you stupid rubes! He's cool because he can plagiarize the abilities of people cooler than him! Idiots! Aquaman is the new Batman!"

You know how we all know that Aquaman sucks because all he can do is speak with fish? It's because every time a writer tries to show that Aquaman is cool, they say, "He's more than just speaking with fish!" It's like they realize all that we ever see is him speaking with fish and riding seahorses and so us idiots just seem to think that's all he can do. The only way I would enjoy this comic book and have any respect left for Snyder is if Aquaman saves the day by speaking with fish! Then everybody could accept Aquaman for who he really is and he can stop trying to desperately impress everybody! Just control a bunch of sharks to eat everybody's faces again so you can earn another edgelord meme, Arthur!

Great! So your powers work in super specific scenarios! Try saving this same day if it happened in Lincoln, Nebraska, you fishy twat.

Being that this is only part two of Drowned Earth, we're still in the "everything is going to shit" phase of a comic book story. So by the end of it, Aquaman has been impaled on Poseidon's trident, Batman is under attack by the Legion of Doom, and Mera, Flash, and Superman are being beat down by supersized Black Manta. Things will probably begin turning around late next issue!

Grade: B+. What the hell? It's kind of fun and feels fairly old school (aside from the threat to all life on Earth. But then that's kind of an old school threat too since nobody is actually dying. They're just turning into fish people for a bit!). Aquaman is a turd.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Green Lantern #1

I guess somebody challenged Grant Morrison to plumb the depths of the most shallow character in DC comics because we now have this title. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with being shallow! I don't want anybody thinking I'm just sitting around insulting myself at the same time I'm insulting Hal Jordan. At least Hal Jordan is shallow in a good way. He's shallow in that he's not complex. He has a simple moral code: do the right thing no matter how many people you have to punch in the face. He'll punch a whole damn planet if he has to.

It's also possible Dan DiDio just said to Grant Morrison, "How much would it cost us to get you to write the next Green Lantern book?" Then Grant shrugged, said a number that would probably blow my mind, and shook hands with DiDio while pretending he didn't see DiDio's boner.

The first ten pages of this issue are a confusing mess of hokey old cop serial dialogue and hard-to-follow panel transitions. The bottom line is that some anti-matter creature killed a Green Lantern while a space beaver, a robot, and a vegan spider alien escape from a Green Lantern paddy wagon (casual racism!) with a Venturan luck dial. I suppose all of this will come into play at some point, especially since the anti-matter creature seems to be merging with Hal Jordan on the cover.

Hal Jordan is currently moping down on Earth. He's probably on paid leave from the Green Lantern Corps for punching a Guardian in the neck. It only takes a few pages to discover Grant Morrison is on the same page as I am regarding Hal Jordan's character.

The panel before this has Hal saying, "You wanna fight? See, I like fighting. Aliens, humans...".

The crystal meth Green Lantern crashes the police transport on Earth after freeing the space beaver and his friends. Hal tells his horribly wounded coworker not to worry because Hal Jordan can get the job done in twenty minutes whereas other Green Lanterns, terrible at their job, almost die and crash on Earth attempting the same thing. I wonder if Hal knows you can be confident without being completely insulting at the same time? I guess it doesn't matter because being polite isn't going to save the universe.

After capturing the space beaver and letting it know that its luck dial is a fake (because the guy with the anti-matter creature, Commander Mu, has the real one!), Hal is accepted back into the Green Lantern Corps full time. And his first case is the Case of the Anti-Matter Killer! Apparently this guy Commander Mu is creating an Anti-Hal Jordan to defeat the Green Lantern Corps.

Rating: C+. Grant Morrison begins this series by saying, "Look, I know what y'all want from me. Big cosmic connections between modern ways of thinking and all the nostalgic history you nerds can't let go of! But first I'm going to write a bunch of terrible sounding dialogue that makes people think of old police radio dramas! Oh, sure, nobody reading this knows what those sound like so maybe this issue will completely miss the mark and people will think, 'Did Grant Morrison suffer a head injury?' But then I'll say, 'Did you read Batman Incorporated? Remember some of the fucked up weird shit in that? I tested your suspension of disbelief a lot more than asking you to believe space aliens speak like cops from the twenties!'" I wonder if Dan DiDio's boner shrunk three sizes the day he first read this script?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Drowned Earth: JLA/Aquaman #1

I'm guessing they're not a bunch of misunderstood ocean beings whose powers don't exactly mirror those of Justice League members on a one-to-one basis?

I haven't read a comic book in two weeks because this was on the top of the stack. Fuck you, Aquaman. Why haven't you been killed yet by DC? Oh, wait! I know why! Because it wouldn't have been a huge event because nobody fucking cares about you. Die in an underwater fire.

This issue begins with a flashback to Aquaman as a youth hanging out with his dad in Amnesty Bay. Ever since Geoff Johns began The New 52 in this exact manner, it has become the de facto method for beginning an Aquaman story. This is because comic book writers and editors aren't as smart as people who spend too much time writing comic book critiques online for no money at all. They saw that New 52 Aquaman had more success than Aquaman had had since he put on the blue waves suit, so they held a meeting to discuss why that happened. Was it because Geoff Johns decided to work into the DC Universe the knowledge that Aquaman sucks? Or was it because Ivan Reis (if he was, indeed, the artist. Why should I spend ten extra seconds checking facts when I can just plow ahead pretending I'm some kind of super intellectual expert? I went to school as a white male, so I'm sure I know what I'm talking about here!) painted some beautiful art for the flashbacks? Or maybe 2011 was peak concussive head damage in the comic book reading community? I guess we'll never know. Except we do know one thing (because I'm stating it as fact): Aquaman's success was not because the story opened with a flashback. Although you'd be right to think that's what it was by the amount of Aquaman stories that begin with young Arthur Curry learning some kind of lesson about the sea from his father. Like, "Kid, if you ever meet a mermaid, fuck her. Fuck her hard!"

Here's how the story opens: "Tom Curry knew the sound of waves." Wow. Brilliant. What a human specimen! Whenever I hear waves, I think, "What was that?! Did I just shit myself?!" And I'm fairly certain I'm pretty smart! So to be able to differentiate waves from shitting yourself must make a person a Goddamned super genius. Tom Curry: the man who could hear a wave and say, "Hey! That was a wave!"

The entire Earth has been flooded by space Aquamen because they're tired of being jokes. But people don't drown in the water because regular people in the DC Universe have been dying too much lately. Since every threat to the Justice League has to be a universe ending catastrophe to prove the Justice League's power, thousands (if not millions) of people need to die every time. It would be nice if the Justice League could save everybody but that wouldn't be realistic and realism is the most important thing in comics since Watchmen and it keeps comic book readers from losing their suspension of disbelief. If nobody died, comic book readers would never stop rolling their eyes or making jerk-off motions when discussing the Justice League. "Can you believe they saved everybody?! I mean, they're good. The best even! Better than the Avengers. But saving everybody?! Come on! So unrealistic. It's like when Ripley defeated the queen alien in Aliens. It just exposed the movie as the fiction it was! So unrealistic!"

So instead of killing people in this catastrophe, the writers have decided the water turns them into fish people. Also the water probably doesn't do any structural damage since it's flooding the entire world and it would be too difficult to have to deal with the repercussions of that kind of destruction. I bet the water isn't even really wet since it's magic. I'm sure once it all dries up, nothing will have changed at all and it will be like the story never even needed to be told.

Oh! That means I probably don't even need to read it! Or any comic books at all! Am...am I free from this obsession?! Did I just make a breakthrough?! I'll think about it after I finish reading this entire Drowned Earth story arc.

Jim Gordon turns into a fish monster in the first few pages which guarantees that every fish person will be back to normal by the end of the story. Am I supposed to continue to feel the dramatic tension knowing that Jim Gordon can't be a fish monster until the end of time because of this story? Stupid writers. Stop telegraphing the entire story. I bet Aquaman winds up saving the day as the only person left not an aquatic monstrosity by the end of this. I mean, he is an aquatic monstrosity but he's not the same type of aquatic monstrosity that this water would turn him into if he wasn't immune which he probably is.

Anyway, you know the story without having read it (which makes you smarter than me (and I'm pretty smart! I'm sure of it!)): the chips are way down and the Justice League are in their underwear (because it's both real poker and strip poker, I guess) and the poker table is on fire and a news report just came on the radio saying that Trump was still president. Things were looking bleak! How was the Justice League going to win this time?! But then a ray of hope: Wonder Woman appears! She'll save Aquaman and bring him back to Earth to save Earth while Batman saves Earth at the same time Mera saves Earth! But will we learn the secret of how The Flash survived the touch of the magic water?! I bet we will! I bet it will reveal the secret to saving Jim Gordon! And, I guess, the other billions of humans turned into aquatic monstrosities.

Grade: B. There's only one real reason to tell an Aquaman story in the DC Universe. And that's to scream, "Aquaman is more powerful than you fucking mocking fangenders realize! And the proof is in this story!"

See?! Black Manta just told us how powerful Aquaman is! And made a "speaks with fish" joke to boot! I mean, we'll probably never really see how powerful Aquaman is in the course of the story. Easier to just have somebody say, "Holy crap! Aquaman is so powerful!"

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Doom Patrol #12

Greatest cover of all time.

Because of this cover, I'm simply going to be disappointed as I read this. Because now I want to join an old school Dungeons and Dragons campaign where we play through all of the modules, beginning with B1: In Search of the Dark Star. I mean In Search of the Loch Ness Monster. I mean In Search of the Siberian Fireball. I mean In Search of the Abominable Snowman. I mean In Search of the Unknown.

You know what? I don't care about D&D anymore. Now I want to rewatch the entire run of In Search Of. But since I have to wait for it to be delivered (just purchased the box set on Amazon with reward points and free shipping!), I guess I'll read Doom Patrol, even though I'm not in the mood anymore.

Grade: B. This issue was like a lost script to the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon except without that sexy Sheila that I almost certainly did not learn to masturbate to. I know this isn't much of a review. I normally don't review Doom Patrol because I just like reading it but I had to scan in that cover. It's fucking gorgeous and it woke up a sense of nostalgia for the days when I could walk into Kiddie World and head over to the four foot long section of D&D modules and dream about buying every single one.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Batman: Secret Files #1

Most of the files are about masturbation.

Secret File #1: Superman gets sexually aggressive after just one margarita.

Secret File #2: Ever since Batman discovered Gotham had been fucking the Court of Owls, he wonders if Alfred has also become dissatisfied with him.

Secret File #3: Batman writes aphorisms and tries them out on his rogue's gallery's victims. Later, he sends them comment cards to find out how effective they were. This one scored particularly low.

Secret File #4: Batman doesn't help poor people and profits off of weapons of war. Oh wait. That one wasn't a secret at all!

Secret File #5: Gotham has snow-topped mountains.

Secret File #6: Batman sometimes feels alone (even though he totally doesn't) and he shoots dangerous weapons into the dark without knowing what he's shooting at (even though he totally doesn't) and when he kills a deer, he simply covers it with snow and hopes nobody notices (okay, I totally by he does that. Hell, he just did it to KGBeast in Batman #57!).

Secret File #7: Jordie Bellaire tells a Batman story the way Cullen Bunn tells an Aquaman story (meaning, sure, they told a coherent story about a person doing a thing but that person in no way resembled Batman (or Aquaman!)).

Secret File #8: Tom Taylor has the best name for a Batman/Detective Chimp team-up.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Witching Hour #1

Can somebody please hypnotize me to stop buying these crossover specials?

Remember that time Wonder Woman was raped by the priestesses of Hecate when she was a young girl and infused with tremendous magic power? Of course you don't because it's the latest and greatest retcon from Scott Snyder! I mean James Tynion IV! Maybe both of them since this whole deal where Wonder Woman needed to be pregnant with magic so one of DC's greatest heroes could fit on Justice League Dark without fangenders asking a lot of pointed questions began in that Justice League mini-series that broke the Source Wall. You know the series! It's the one I can't remember the name of right now. It starred Lobo? If that didn't jog your memory, I don't know what will. Who doesn't have a list of Lobo appearances somewhere on their person at all times just in case you stumble upon some cheap comic books for sale in some dingy estate sale.

So now that we've come to terms with Wonder Woman being one of DC's magic characters (yes we have!), let's discuss how much I dislike the way the magic characters have been written since The New 52. John Constantine can't cast one lousy spell without fifteen narration boxes explaining to the reader how the costs of magic are high. Not that we ever really see the cost in terms of story. No, it's good enough to remind the reader that it costs a lot so don't expect Constantine to solve all of his problems with spell after spell. It's like how Green Lantern's ring is always nearly out of charge. If Hal Jordan were to go into battle with a ring at 100% charge, there wouldn't be any dramatic tension! We know he can defeat anything he faces since the Green Lantern ring is the most powerful weapon in the universe. And since it lost the flaw where it can't affect yellow, it made Green Lantern's life too easy. So the ring suddenly had to be a pain in the ass to charge. And to do that, DC needed to tell that story about the exploited planet where the batteries were kept safe in interdimensional storage.

This is what's known as the Superman Problem. Or it's what will eventually be known as the Superman Problem after I write this. When a writer is given a character that has the ability to do anything they can imagine (like say a magic user or a Green Lantern or, apparently, Martian Manhunter. Who came up with the list of his powers? "Let's see...strength. Flight. Psionics. Intangibility. Um, you know what? How about everything? Just give him everything!"), the writer then needs to come up with a fairly easy way to limit that ability (like a high cost or a shitty battery or kryptonite or fire and an addiction to Oreos). Eventually that limiting plot device gets used to the point of ridiculousness and most writers, finally, realize that using the device is too easy. But if Superman stops having to deal with kryptonite as much, how do you challenge him? You simply escalate the danger. And to do that against Superman, you simply make him face more powerful enemies each time. So Superman comes on the scene and tells some weird alien to knock it off. Then the alien punches Superman and Superman thinks, "That actually hurt!" Cue the dramatic tension in the reader! Same with Green Lantern. Alien punches him in the face and he thinks, "I only have 3% charge on my ring! I hope I can defeat it in time!" Same with Martian Manhunter. The alien punches him and J'onn thinks, "Mmm, Oreos!" And that's how the magic characters of the DC Universe have been written lately. The alien...sorry...demon punches Constantine and he thinks, "I know a spell to defeat this monster but it's too high a cost! Let me smoke a cigarette and hold off casting the spell until I really need to cast it, all the time reminding the readers the high cost (which I'll never actually have to pay at the end (because it doesn't exist!))."

So then why am I reading this? Fuck you! I'll do what I want!

No! NO! Why didn't I listen to myself? Why must I always do what I want?!

Grade: D+. This grade doesn't reflect how other people might enjoy this comic book. It only reflects my own enjoyment of it. And since most of my time spent reading it was drowned out by my brain saying things like "Is it over yet?" and "Does magic cost more than freedom?" and "I'm glad that barn owl Madame Xanadu only had one small scene!", I found I didn't enjoy it much at all. Half of this issue was non-evil Hecate explaining the story to Wonder Woman so that the previous issues made sense. That allowed Wonder Woman to win the day using hugs. Not that Hecate accepts a hug from Wonder Woman which forces Wonder Woman to send the Upside Down Man to hug Hecate and eat her. I guess getting a god cannibalized by another god was the terrible cost of Zatanna's magic? That doesn't seem so bad.

Oh, I should also add that this story also contains the best comic book trope of all: the way everything played out was planned all along by the real evil villain: Circe! Ha ha ha ha! I mean, bwa ha ha!

If you don't know what's wrong with Zatanna's speech, we can't be friends.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Action Comics #1004

"Hey Kal! Stop fucking with the ducks and come rub my feet!" Superman's wife was reported to have said. -- Lois Lane, Daily Planet Op-Ed: "The World Would Be a Safer Place if Superman Rubbed His Wife's Feet More," 08-08-18.

Grade: A. This is my kind of Superman comic book! A comic book where nothing happens. I mean, some things happen. But they're the kinds of things that most people think of as nothing because they don't involve Superman punching an alien menace in the face for twelve pages. This issue does a Superman story perfectly. The problems Superman has trouble dealing with must always be problems that he can't beat into unconsciousness. That's the simple trick of writing good Superman drama. Because he's fucking Superman, we all know he can defeat any criminal at any time without any problem (except Lex Luthor. We easily accept that exception). That's why he had to be killed by Doomsday, a complete unknown. Because fans would have picked apart anybody else killing him (except, again, if it had been Lex. Why couldn't it have been Lex?! It should have been Lex. Now I'm feeling sympathetic for that poor evil fat bastard (and, yes, my canonical Lex Luthor is fat). In this issue, Superman deals with family troubles and some work issues. During those real problems, he stops an escape at Iron Heights Prison which is portrayed as a two page splash afterthought. Also he has sex with Lois twice. Now that's a Superman comic book I can wank off to! I mean I can appreciate! Which I guess are kind of the same thing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Justice League Odyssey #2

Scanners have trouble with reflective surfaces. I wonder what would happen if I scanned a mirror?

Well, that's it for me! I scanned a mirror and the result was terrifying. I now owe Bloody Mary twenty dollars and am having the Candyman's baby. I'll see you all in Hell!

Ooh! Maybe I've accidentally transported myself into a mirror universe where I enjoy Joshua Williamson's writing! Although would that be a universe worth living in? It's not like I'd have become a different person where I had always enjoyed his work. I still have the memory of knowing he's a terrible comic book writer (even if he's not as terrible as Scott Lobdell, J.T. Krul, or Ann Nocenti. Although, in a way, he's worse because at least they're so bad that they're entertaining. Joshua Williamson's writing is as satisfying as cotton candy is to a raccoon). And if I'm reading Williamson's writing and thinking "This is enjoyable!" while also thinking "He's a terrible writer," I'm going to quickly begin hating myself (I'm assuming that in this mirror universe, I now totally love myself and don't think about death constantly). I guess there's no way to know if I've been transported into a mirror universe until I begin reading this comic book!

Ugh. This is, apparently, the same old universe. I still can't stand Jessica Cruz whose only personality traits are that she's a novice and suffers from anxiety. I also still can't stand Cyborg who's been around for nearly forty years and has yet to be given half the personality of a Jessica Cruz. And Azrael. I can't get started on how much I despise Azrael. Even if Knightfall had been the greatest comic book story arc to ever exist (which it is, by the way¹), I would still hate it because it gave us Jean Paul Valley, a character who is basically just a combination of Scrappy Doo and Cousin Oliver.

I think the main reason I'm reading this comic book that's written by a writer whose plots don't excite me and stars three characters I can't stand is that I forgot to drop it from my pull list.

Grade: C-. I suppose once you've read enough comic books, you've read all the comic books. This isn't a fault of the reader, of course! It's the fault of the lack of imagination of the writer! So here, once again, we have a villain (Darkseid) telling the heroes that they need to work with him to save existence. The heroes, being heroes, recognize the villain and attack him instantly. That's what makes a good hero, you know: a rush to a physical altercation! After Darkseid leaves because he told them what they needed to get the plot started, the heroes bicker because they're heroes that don't really get along. That allows for easy drama throughout the story! After that, they learn a little bit more so that the reader is left feeling like maybe they didn't waste four dollars on this bit of story even though they probably could skip every other issue and still follow along. And finally, the story ends with one of the heroes suddenly turning against the others.

This comic book is a good example of why ancient storytellers used "in media res." Because this is all boring set up. These first two issues were like going to a play and having to sit and watch them build the sets before being able to watch the show. We get it! There's no real reason for these four heroes to be working together, let alone for Darkseid. So Williamson has to spend a bunch of pages convincing the readers that they should buy into the conceit. Also, comic book readers are easily confused. If you begin a story in the middle of the story and don't immediately flash back to the beginning on page two to tell pages and pages of story that could have been guessed at had the story continued from page one, they'll go online and tweet about how shit your comic book is because it doesn't make any sense. None of us are very sophisticated readers! And my purchasing two issues of this comic book is proof of that!

¹ By the way, it isn't.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Batman #57

Who are the editorial geniuses who chose not to rebrand KGBeast as iBeast? And Microsoft Windows 10 Demon?

Tom King wrote this issue so should I grade it before even reading it? Very well, I will: Grade: A+! That should give the anti-Tom King fanatics conniptions!

One of the dumbest complaints I've gotten from people who love my blog so much that they can't stop calling me an idiot is that I'm biased. As if that's some kind of insult! As if other comic book reviewers online are somehow so above bias that they can actually read a Scott Lobdell comic book without needing the number to a suicide prevention hotline on-hand. Yes, I'm biased! I'm biased toward writers that can tell good stories. If Tom King wanted to change DC canon by revealing Batman has Down Syndrome, I wouldn't fucking care as long as it worked in the story. Also, can we get a superhero with Down Syndrome? Maybe the next Robin?

For the record, my reviews aren't as biased as critics say they are. If I want to point out that 80s post-Omega Men Lobo is the greatest character DC ever came up with, that isn't me being biased. That's me being gay. I want Lobo to fuck me. Can you imagine how beautiful his cock is? Unless that's the only body part of his that isn't exactly like a human. He could have a spork down there for all I know. But believe me, I wouldn't be disappointed. Who could be disappointed by a surprise spork? Especially when it's also a cock?!

Tom King's fifty-six previous issues of Batman haven't all been gems. But most of them have been so well written that when I see the unbiased Internet critics shitting all over them, I realize that some fans don't understand the difference between "unbiased" and "incredibly fucking stupid."

This issue begins with KGBeast's father telling him a story about animals heading to St. Petersburg to worship God. King leaves the story hanging as he gets back to the Batman bit that everybody purchased this comic book to read. Just like he left us hanging about Dick Grayson being shot in the head. What's going on with that?! Is he dead? Was he wearing a Kevlar wig? Fans who can't get past ever single aspect of a story being immediately explained and then justified as to how it fits into the overall DC Universe and decades worth of canon stories are going fucking nuts!

This is a good example of why bad guys with guns don't work in comics and action movies. Because I need to believe that the hero wins out through their skill and ingenuity. Being shot at by dozens and dozens of men (or one man dozens of times as in this Bat-example) and not getting killed means the hero wins out through mere luck. Nobody can argue Batman avoided these bullets through skill and training. Batman got lucky this time.

Meanwhile in the children's story, the God-loving animals leap into a pit because they're stupid. Or maybe they each had faith they could leap the pit even after watching the previous animals plummet to the bottom. In either case (faith or stupidity), they wind up in a worse position than animals that rely on evidence and science-based reasoning. Which probably means they're going to have to eat each other.

To be fair and balanced on the critique of weapons in action movies and Batman comics, I can't see how Batman's batarang is any better. Unless that thing was laced with Ketamine, what the fuck was it supposed to accomplish?

The hare and squirrel are eaten first after the fox proposes a singing contest to determine who would become dinner. This is probably some sort of commentary on Fox news, right? I bet next, the fox challenges everybody to a debate on Venezuela to decide who's next. Which is basically what happens. Lastly, the fox pretends to eat himself so that his viewers think, "Oh! That's a great idea!" And so the pig dies too. I guess the moral should be coming up in a few pages. I bet it's something like "The Batman always gets his man."

The twist at the end of the tale is not that the reader never finds out what happened to the fox after he ate the pig. The twist is that Bruce Wayne also like having that story read to him! Who would have thought?! Another example of Batman and his enemy being two sides of the same whatever! "I never get tired of that," I said as I was well past being tired of it.

The fight between KGBeast and Batman ends with Batman firing his grapple gun into KGBeast's chin and breaking his neck. Batman leaves him to die in the snow exactly like how he left him to die that time he took off his arm. So I guess when KGBeast next returns, he'll have a prosthetic head?

Actual Grade: C. Maybe if I thought about the animal story and how it relates to the battle between Batman and KGBeast, I'd understand this story better and it would get a better grade. But sometimes you just don't have the energy to expend on analyzing a piece of literature. Mostly I don't see myself having that kind of energy for another three and a half years, thanks to Twin Peaks: The Return. Anyway, I guess we'll find out why Nightwing was shot in the face and how he survived it next issue? Maybe a starving bluebird took the bullet for him because a fox dared it to!

Justice League #10

This is obviously going to be a terrible issue.

I'm not exactly sure why I continue to read all of the Justice League books. I suppose I still retain a small part of the comic book fan I used to be. The one that wanted to believe all of the hype surrounding every big change in the DC Universe, as if it were part of a larger story that would somehow, eventually, resolve into a coherent plot. It's like when you believe life means something because how could it not? Experiencing the beauty and tragedy of this world practically forces a person into thinking it must all be for some reason. But eventually, if you're paying any sort of attention and haven't been completely brainwashed and deluded by outside sources that want to control and manipulate your every action (or, simply, by your own selfish ego that insists on eternal existence), you see the truth and you say, "Fuck you, Keats! Truth is not beauty at all! What the fuck were you talking about?! Truth is a dark pit of despair washing away all hope and wonder and screaming in your face, 'Sentience is an accident that will ultimately betray you!'" And that's how I've felt about Scott Snyder since the end of "Death of the Family." The good shit he wrote was an accident and he, ultimately, betrayed me. Sometimes I'm thankful when he ditches a project to let James Tynion IV take over. At least then I get to write speculative conversations about what Tynion did to become Snyder's lackey.

This issue is the prelude to Aquaman Month. It's not a coincidence that Aquaman Month is taking place in No Nut November (which, by the way, I refuse to believe is a real thing since isn't everything now just the creation of some wayward posting on 4chan or Reddit? The dark monsters posting there have become our true gods now). And now that I've mentioned not nutting, I'm suddenly not interested in Aquaman! Not that I was ever interested in Aquaman. That statement itself is not a wild proclamation. It probably ever needs to be written. In any description of anybody ever (like say an About the Author blurb or a Grindr profile), I automatically, in my head, append "Not a fan of Aquaman." Being a fan of Aquaman is the kind of thing you have to state and then restate after the person listening to you finally hears something you're saying and says, "What the fuck did you just admit to?" Also, they weren't listening to you up until that point because I'm assuming that if you're an Aquaman fan, you're boring as shit.

Oh, don't get me wrong about my dislike of Aquaman! I hate being on the same side of a debate as the people who make fun of Aquaman because they know you're supposed to make fun of Aquaman. Everybody knows he's the joke character of the Justice League and it's okay to make fun of him. I am the kind of Aquaman hater that Aquaman lovers despise. I am a well-informed Aquaman hater. I was there during his four issue miniseries where he got the blue waves costume and everybody thought Aquaman was going to be the next big thing in comics. It is true that series was worth a lot of money for the length of time it took everybody to read all four issues. But it didn't do anything for Aquaman. He still sucked. Now he just sucked even worse because he starred in a series that was basically a therapy session that he mostly just weeps in. I was also there for Peter David's attempt to make him angsty by giving him long hair and a hook. I would explain how well that changed Aquaman's standing if I could actually remember any of the series. In any case, he's just one of those things that keeps on sucking, no matter how many memes show him commanding sharks to jump out of the water to eat parademons.

Oh, sorry! I was going to speak about not nutting when I was rudely interrupted by my lack of reverence for Aquaman. Apparently people think not nutting helps a person to retain their chi and, thus, have more energy to accomplish things. I think that line of argument is true but in a way that nobody talks about. Refraining from jerking off while also not being able to get laid does not mean you suddenly have more energy stored up to accomplish greater things. But it's not about the saved energy at all. It's more about the distraction. If you want to jerk off, you think about jerking off until you've jerked off. Once you jerk off, your mind is clear. The desire has been satiated and you can move on without distraction. No Nutters live in a constant state of distraction. They constantly think about jerking off because they won't jerk off. And to keep themselves from jerking off, they need to distract themselves even further. So they do things that aren't jerking off while thinking, "Holy shit do I want to bust a load." I'd rather interact with people who have freshly jerked off (one reason I'm against shaking hands, by the way) or gotten laid because I know that whatever we're talking about, it's what they actually want to talk about. But if you're dealing with a No Nutter, you're dealing with somebody who is thinking about busting a nut the entire time you're interacting with them. It's disgusting. Go fucking jerk off, you gross withholder of self-gratification.

Anyway, enough about jerking off! Let's discuss the jerk-off, Aquaman!

In the prologue to Drowned Earth, Aquaman learns that evil water heroes that have also been rejected by their planets exist throughout the universe. They're angry at people thinking they're useless, especially when it comes to space travel and interstellar conflicts, and they're going to teach every person on Earth that water-based hero aren't jokes! Will Aquaman side with them or we will swallow his dignity and help those who can't stop cracking talks with fish jokes?!

Grade: C. Sometimes I wonder why expect this comic book to be about the relationships between the greatest heroes on Earth instead of realizing it's just about making them fight threats to the entire world (if not the entire universe). Sometimes I wonder if I spend money on this book because, deep down, I truly fucking despise myself. Whatever's going on, you can be assured that I'll be reading entire Drowned Earth story!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Lucifer #1

Lucifer's interpretation of "Dick in a Box."

This will probably be the only issue of Lucifer I purchase. That isn't a judgment on this comic book since I haven't even read it yet. It's just that I gave The Dreaming two issues and decided I didn't want to spend four dollars on the third issue. And I gave House of Whispers two issues but that's only because I bought the second issue before having read the first, after which I decided I was sorry I'd bought the second issue. And I didn't even purchase Books of Magic #1 because I hated Tim Hunter the first time he appeared. I'd rather have a series starring the Dead Boy Detectives.

Did anybody watch the television series, Lucifer? It mostly focused on what's wrong with television networks and the idiot executives who work for them. Somebody pitched a show about the Ruler of Hell abdicating his throne and moving to Los Angeles to run a club and somebody else said, "Can you make it more like Bones or CSI or, for you older assholes, exactly like Moonlighting?" What's worse, everybody nodded their heads enthusiastically and agreed that that would make it better. I suppose somebody had a lot of old Columbo scripts lying around that they wanted to get their money out of. So they passed them around to the jerks in the writer's room and said, "Update these with cell phones and today's modern language standards for more swears. You can probably cut a few minutes out of each episode because Lucifer won't be doing that thing where he says, 'One more question.' Fill in those spaces with some Hell stuff that will retain the interest of people seeking material about the actual premise of this show." Then a bunch of soulless writers (who were only now discovering how soulless they were) went to work turning a good idea into more dreary pap.

But enough about a terrible television show that, admittedly, had a pretty fucking charming Lucifer. Let's talk about how wrong I was about not purchasing the second issue of this series.

Oh, um, that was it. That was my talking about it. That was my positive review of this comic book. I'll write it more directly in the summation.

Grade: A. Writers of comic books don't generally know how to pace a story so that it causes intrigue. Rarely are the times I finish reading a comic book and think to myself while also speaking out loud to anybody within hearing range, "I can't fucking wait to find out what happens next issue, you stupid fuckers!" Mostly, I think either "This writer is trying to interest me in a second issue by not revealing anything at all," or "This writer just spelled out the entire theme of the series in an abundance of narration boxes and meticulous explication." Or I write online, "Scott Lobdell has no idea where this story is going." I remember when I was younger, I would often worry that I might die before the end of a story resolved in some comic book or another (as if I could somehow, post death, regret not experiencing the terminal issue). I can recall several story arcs in Hitman that affected me past the few minutes it took to read the comic. But that doesn't happen anymore. I can blame writers all I want but I have to reasonably assume most of the cause of my disinterest and lack of enthusiasm results from the death of wonder and the crushing wait of ennui that nestles softly over the aging person's face like a cat looking for warmth suffocating a newborn. And, likewise, I should assume that Dan Watters hasn't merely written something so grand and eloquent that I can't help but be infatuated by it. More likely, he has hit notes in the themes that resonate on my soul (which I must profess, using that term, that I don't believe exists but we writers use turns of phrase not because they're true but because, as I mentioned, they resonate). This is a story about Lucifer and there is suffering from the beginning. The suffering continues through to the middle. And the suffering races toward the end to proclaim, "Want more suffering? Pick up the next issue!" One might think that it's the most logical choice in the world, to write a thematic story about suffering around the character of Lucifer. But one might also forget that Ann Nocenti once wrote Catwoman for a few years without ever touching upon the theme of cats. So you might see how easily impressed I can be when a writer makes an obvious choice.

Of course, the choice isn't the main reason I'm impressed. Dan works the them in three separate stories: two involve Lucifer (one before he finds himself trapped in his own repeating Hell) and one about a detective whose wife is dying from a brain tumor. Being a story about Lucifer, Dan also makes sure to work in the conflict between fathers and sons. Since that's Lucifer's big chip on his shoulder, Dan has decided to explore the kind of father Lucifer became. And — big shock — it seems he's abandoned his son.

This is the paragraph of the review that speaks to the art, coloring, inking, and lettering. You can fill it out yourself. I'll just say none of it was so bad that it will keep me from purchasing the second issue. Although that's a really fucking low bar because I kept reading The Walking Dead years after Adlard came on board to draw characters that you could only differentiate by facial hair or sheriff hats. And I got all twelve issues of Michael Cray even though I'm fairly certain that artist was drawing during severe bouts of intense diarrhea.

Strangers in Paradise XXV #7

It looks like this should be called Strangers in Sparadises.

Terry Moore's newest take on the Strangers in Paradise women will almost certainly get your mind going with some serious questions. Like "Why are so many people in America fighting against a better country for all?" and "If gun lovers don't want to lose all access to guns, why aren't they striving for a solution to decrease gun violence instead of just shrugging their shoulders and saying, 'What can you do?'" and "If people in the media jokingly use racist gestures and Nazi dog whistles to piss off liberals, is it really any different than using them in earnest?" and "Isn't saying you're joking and not being earnest the best way to hide your earnest use of racist memes and turns of phrase?" and "This isn't a question but the modern Republican party is full of white supremacists."

It might also make you ask, "Who the fuck makes a pure black cover on a comic book since it instantly becomes a mass of greasy fingerprints?!" I mean, come on, Terry Moore! This might be the most important issue in America today! Stop making black comic book covers! Grade: A. Spoiler for the fans who just like lesbians: Katchoo and Francine haven't really interacted in this series. If this is a love story, it's more about a mother's love for her children. So this series might not be up your alley. Unless you're a sex pest with incestual tendencies! I mean, this book still won't be for you unless you're ready to work your severely warped imagination overtime.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Batman #50

Why is this an anniversary issue? Does DC not know how years work? Or weddings?

(If you want to know my thoughts on the Prelude to the Wedding story, you can read them HERE.)

I can't wait to get to the end of this comic book and think, "Well, that's that! Batman and Catwoman are now happily married and will be until one of them dies in a horrible bat-boating accident!" I'm overjoyed for them, taking this romantic step into a gloriously joyous future laced with dozens of annoying bat and cat babies! I hope Batcow gets to be the ring bearer!

The Joker has been trying to stop this wedding in every way he knows how because he wasn't invited. The big dumb-dumb should have just purchased a copy of this comic book like I did! It says I'm cordially invited right there on the cover! What does "cordially" mean, anyway? Doesn't it mean "injected with alcohol"?

Fact: Snickers' vampires grow their canine teeth in the wrong place. No wait. The fact is the artist of this piece is a dolt.

The story begins with Kite Man getting the crap kicked out of him by Batman and Catwoman because Tom King's hard on for Kite Man is legendary. It's so big and thick and veiny! I wonder what part of Kite Man Tom King likes best? Is it the kite part? Or the man part?

Batman and Catwoman decide to get married on the blood spot where Kite Man was defeated at the break of day. Because that's when bats and cats are most horny. It might also be the place least likely to have a Joker ruin it.

"Isn't it 'the' Joker, Grunion Guy?" you probably aren't now asking. But if you were, I might have to remind you that there are three Jokers in the DC Universe. Nobody has really elaborated on that too much. Maybe nobody was ever meant to. Perhaps it's just an easy way for DC editors to answer huge nerd critics of their comics.

Huge Nerd Critic: "How come the Joker wasn't act...."

Batman finds a judge for the marriage ceremony. His name is Wolfman and he's known as the Raping Judge. Not because he's into rape! That's a terrible thought and nobody should think it. It's because he's named after Marv Wolfman who is totally into rape.

Catwoman's witness for the marriage (her and Batman each get to bring one) is Holly Robinson. Not the Holly Robinson of 21 Jumpstreet fame (is she still famous for that? Or is she famous for marrying Barry Sanders?!) but the one that murdered all of those people who Catwoman was blamed for murdering. She has to break her out of Arkham for the experience. Batman should be totally cool with that and definitely won't be thinking, "What the hell?! How many times do I have to tell her, 'No crime! Bad kitty! You're going to be punished for sure!'" Then he'll think about her whip and smirk a bit and think, "Oh yeah. I see why she keeps doing crime now."

If you read that last paragraph and began developing a hot take on what I'm not saying around the words I am saying, just stop now. I'm just reporting what Batman was probably thinking. I'm not agreeing with his need to control Catwoman's thoughts and actions! That's all Bruce Wayne, baby!

The issue is made up of a lot of pin-ups by various artists. Laid out over the pin-ups are Batman and Catwoman's words. They're probably their vows but since I'm not done reading, that's just a guess. Anyway, the layout, where everything is kind of a mirror of the opposite page, is pure Tom King which probably pissed off all the Tom King haters. "He's just repeating everything in that way that means nothing except he's trying to be smarter than us! Why the fuck does he have to use form?! And tones?! And theme!? What's wrong with Batman punching stuff for eight pages straight?! So obnoxious!"

I began this review with the joke that the wedding obviously won't work out. This is comic books. Everybody read that initial paragraph and rolled their eyes and thought, "Yeah. We know this is a huge farce. It's going to end in disaster." But how many of you thought, "Grunion Guy probably really means what he's writing here. The big fag." First off, such language! Come on, imaginary reader. Be better! Second, I did mean it. I do mean it. I really hope that Tom King surprises us and he allows Batman and Catwoman to be happily married. Why not for as long as he's writing this book? Why can't they have part of their middle story be one where they get the joy of being together? Who is that going to harm?!

So now you know my secret. No, not that I'm a big fag! Sheesh. You people are terrible. I mean, yeah, that's my secret! But I wouldn't word it that way, you gross jerks.

Selina and Bruce have their big wedding kiss in the exact middle of the book which can't be a good sign for how it's going to end. I mean, they haven't had the wedding yet! They just get all dressed up and then meet, right in the middle, right there on the staples (okay, not exactly because the staples come the page before. But I blame an error in the layout of the advertisements. I see what you were trying to do, Tom King. I got you!). The big loving embrace. The big kiss in their wedding finery. The moment they knew was coming. And hopefully not the last moment they were happy. Don't you dare, Tom King, with your shitty mirror image story telling that everybody hates (I mean, not me! Just the dumb critics!), do that mirror thing with this story. Don't you begin hopeful, get to a middle that's the peak of happiness, and then descend into chaos, despair, and destruction! DON'T YOU FUCKING DO IT, TOM KING!

This is the page immediately after the big kiss (and the pin-ups, of course! Every two page spread of story is followed by two pages of pin-ups and wedding vows). Things are already tumbling down the story's climactic peak!

Of course Alfred is Batman's witness. Even Alfred knew it would be him but he was too polite to assume so he still gets emotional when Bruce asks him. Or, rather, casually tells him like it's no big deal.

On the subject of the pin-ups: they tell the story of Batman and Catwoman across DC's history. It even feels like, in many cases, they use artists chronologically along the way (there are obvious places where this doesn't hold up. But it, mostly, feels fairly close to the mark). They even eventually get to the New 52 on the roof sex scene, and the recent double date with Clark and Lois. It's really quite sweet.

The wedding vows have a lot to do with one partner's thoughts on the other partner's eyes. It's romantic but not in that way that makes me think, "Oh boy! At the end of these vows, they're going to declare their undying love for each other!" The tone feels more like they'll cause me to exclaim, "Oh no! It sounds like they're both reaching the conclusion that maybe they shouldn't get married! But they'll still probably keep up the tradition of fucking on rooftops!"

Also, I'm nearing the end and not a single whiff of Batcow.

As Selina and Holly head to the wedding, Selina mentions that she's currently writing Batman a letter. So that's what the "vows" have been. Her letter. And Batman's letter to her (I'm assuming on the next page which I have yet to read, he'll confess to Alfred that he's also been working on a letter!). Both of which, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, seem to be heading to the conclusion that neither one will want to go through with the marriage because they feel it will go against, and possibly change, the very nature of the other person. So. You know. Shit.

And so, Selina declares, in her letter, that she can't marry Batman because it will kill him. And Bruce declares in his letter, that maybe he can become somebody happy. Maybe he can change. Which isn't exactly what I expected. I thought they would both agree. So, at least, Tom King surprised me on that level. And, apparently, that was the point since Holly goes back to Arkham to discover Bane and a bunch of other people who have been highlighted in Tom King's run (along with Poorly Shaved Batman. I don't remember if that's somebody or if that's Batman and this is all a hallucination of some kind or maybe Tom King is speaking through Bane or maybe...well, I don't know!). Bane says, "The Bat is broken," (which is a terrific pun that somebody once thought up and now Batman writers can't stop using!).

Rating:: I guess giving Batman hope that he can be happy and then taking it away is supposed to break Batman? But isn't the whole point that Batman's unhappiness and grim misery and obsession over justice are the only things keeping him Batman? Won't this devastating loss just make him even more Batmanier?! Or do the members of Batman's rogue's gallery all believe he's going to become a pouting emo baby for the next few months? A total pushover which they can take advantage of?! Anyway, it was a good story well told. The only flaw was that the staples were off by one page. Stupid layout editor! Somebody should fire whoever's job it was to place the ads!

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Man of Steel #3

The maniac was Uncle Bushido zombie David Bowie Lobo?!

I get the feeling when Brian Michael Bendis was designing the character of Rogol Zaar, people kept asking him, "Are you trying to make him like Lobo?" And Bendis's answer was always, "Why do people keep asking me that? Of course I am! Now I have to make him even more like Lobo so they stop asking!" Because at first, he just sort of looked like him with the white and black motif and the facial hair. But then readers were introduced to his love of genocide. Then when people were thinking, "Geez, Brian. You know Lobo already exists, right?", he let us all in on Rogol Zaar's unique method of getting around space: a space Harley! At that point, there were few people defending the blatant rip-off of Lobo in the character design. But those few who were left were all, "No way. Totally different. It's not like Rogol Zaar loves space dolphins and has a skull belt buckle!"

Game, set and match!

Rogol Zaar trashes the Fortress of Solitude before finding the Bottle City of Kandor half full of Superman's late night wees. There's no guessing what he's going to do with it! Except this comic book isn't being told in the world that I want to live in so there are probably just a few guesses that could be true. Fucking it until all the Kandorians drown in Rogol Zaar cum probably isn't one of them.

Superman hears the Fortress of Solitude alarm and leaves Batman to investigate the arsons in Metropolis. Superman is a boy scout and not a detective. Superman can start a fire but he can't tell you who started one. I hope there isn't a "Man of Steel Tie-in!" issue of Batman where Batman has to leave Catwoman on their honeymoon to investigate arson for twenty pages. But I do hope there's a Catwoman "Man of Steel Tie-in!" issue where Batman has to go investigate arson on their honeymoon so she spends twenty pages masturbating in a heart shaped bed.

Superman grew up with the most cerebral parents. "Stuff is just stuff" and "Fire is fire!" You don't get this kind of down-on-the-farm wisdom growing up in a coastal elite bubble!

Superman finds Kandor smashed. Supergirl arrives ready to punch somebody in the face and blast them with her vagina.

Some of you might be new to my reviews so I should remind you that there are around four thousand previous entries. I will occasionally refer back to that library of work. When doing so, I will probably confuse the new people and they might think, "Well, that was rude and sexist." I don't mind. It goes with the territory. But if I know there is at least one old school reader who remembers how often we saw Supergirl FWAAAASH an enemy with her exploding vagina, I'm content. Also, remember how Superman stole Supergirl's exploding vagina power? But he couldn't handle it and it always made him lose his powers for twenty-four hours? What a non-pussy.

We get to see a little bit more of the moment Lois and Jon disappeared and while, last time, I thought, "Has Brainiac decided to become a giant robotic caterpillar?", this time I'm left thinking, "Holy fuck. Mister Mind kidnapped them?" Now, sure, Mister Mind is a little bitty caterpillar thing. But it seems maybe now he's a full grown humanoid who rides around in a robotic caterpillar mechazoid. I could be wrong but I'm probably not. I am a Grandmaster Comic Book Reader, after all. Plus, if I am wrong, I have a catalog of four thousand reviews to obfuscate and hide my failures. Nobody will remember this one! I mean, how many people remember how adamantly I proclaimed Harvest was Red Robin from the future who had been turned into a vampire? Like probably nobody, right?

And, also, Harvest absolutely was Red Robin from the future who had been turned into a vampire.

Rogol Zaar leads Superman and Supergirl back to Metropolis so they can have a big street battle. I guess Rogol Zaar wants to remind everybody of Doomsday as well.

Rating: When a big name comic book writer is lured over to another company to shake things up, I always imagine the editors need to offer up something to sweeten the deal. Sure, Bendis was probably excited to take lead on Superman for a bit. Who wouldn't want to write Superman? I mean aside from all the writers who have written him whom you could tell weren't really interested in writing him. I would name some but you all remember how much I can't stand Scott Lobdell's writing.

Editors: "Look. If you sign this contract, we'll let you bring Ambush Bug back into mainstream DC continuity."
Bendis: "I was going to do that anyway."
Editors: "You can have your own creator owned title! Just please fix Superman for us!"
Bendis: "I can get that at Image any time. But I'll take that too. I just need a little more."
Editors: "What if we let you change the entire history of Krypton's destruction?!"
Bendis: "Wait. Weren't you expecting that from me? Look, guys, you really need to sweeten this deal before I let you suck my dick while fingering my asshole?"
Editors: "You can kill Kandor!"
Bendis: "Oh. OH. Oh yeah. Okay. Also, never mind the dick sucking because I just came in my pants so hard."

That wasn't a standard comic book review rating but it's all I got. Sue me. But not for sexual harassment because you might win that lawsuit. Sue me for something frivolous and dumb that will immediately get thrown out of court, forcing you to pay for my lawyer's fees. Also my lawyer will be me so if you want to skip all the hassle, you can just cut me a check.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Man of Steel #2

"Happy birthday, son! We got you an alienating back story!"

Over the years, I've had a lot of responses to my comic book reviews. While a few of them were "Why do you hate my I mean Cullen Bunn's writing so much?", most of them were a version of "So I just finished your review and I was wondering what you really think of the comic book." This has always intrigued me. Why would somebody actually want to know a stranger's opinion on what was almost certainly a shitty comic book? Maybe ten of my four thousand reviews were actually meant to encourage people to read the comic book I was reviewing. Most of the reviews were an experience unto themselves. Whenever somebody would ask what I really thought, I realized that person didn't read the review correctly and probably had a learning disability. I mean, it was a Batman comic book! You already know what 95% of that experience is going to be! And if you need the other five percent to be whether some terrible writer on the Internet liked or disliked it, maybe you've got issues trusting your own judgment.

What's even worse is when people argue with me. There was that one guy who totally wasn't Cullen Bunn or his wife who argued incessantly with my Twat Lobo reviews. He then went on to argue with my Not-Twat Lobo-centric Justice League of America reviews. On a number of occasions, I simply responded, "You don't understand this blog." He would invariably answer, "What's to understand?!" which he probably meant as an insult, right? "Your opinions are so simple-minded and biased! Sorry not sorry!" But I refused to explain the magic trick and instead just continued to boggle at his inability to understand exaggeration for effect and obvious bias disguised as impartial critique.

Not that I should be surprised by that response and then insult their learning disability that I'm sure they've been struggling with for years when the whole point of my reviews is that they're supposed to sound like an arrogant yet somewhat stupid asshole who doesn't know how to write reviews! Did that sound convincing? Do you now believe that it was a purposeful fictional voice created all those years ago? I finally fired my therapist and I'm trying a new strategy to get people to like me. Right now I'm trying "Oh, you thought that was my real personality? Silly!" My previous attempt to get people to like me was to not care if they really thought I believed the horrible things I said. Spoiler alert: they all thought I really believed the things I said and hated me for it!

That last statement isn't entirely true. That one time when some petitioner on the street asked me if I wanted to save the pandas and I said, "I hate pandas," she flirtatiously stuck her tongue out at me and I'm fairly certain I only imagined her mutter "Cunt" from behind my back as I walked on.

"So, um, Man of Steel #2?" you might be asking. "Yeah, yeah!" I say charismatically. "I'm getting to that!" That's the segue into the actual review part (which, as I pointed out so that you don't retain any high expectations, will barely be a review).

These four panels basically explain the premise of the entire series. My review of them? "If I have to read this many words in every panel, I'm going to kill myself publicly."

Let's pretend that Rogol Zaar is Bendis's Mary Sue and Krypton is America so that we can theorize how Bendis is anti-America. Who else is on board with that interpretation? To completely understand it, you might have to remember how Rogol Zaar's reasons for destroying Krypton was that Krypton was a threat to the entire fabric of DC continuity. Just like how Bendis thinks America is a threat to world peace. In Bendis's mind, America must be destroyed if we're to save the rest of the world.

Not that I'm saying I agree with Bendis because I live in America and please don't destroy me but it's a compelling theory, right?!

But that whole Rogol Zaar crap doesn't matter yet! The thing that matters is that Lois Lane an Jon are missing and everybody is all, "Did Clark Kent murder them?" Even Hal Jordan was all, "So, I heard from Oberon that things in the Kent-Lane home aren't so great?" But instead of telling Hal, "Well, maybe I could use the Justice League's help because there was this incident last week where this thing appeared in our kitchen and then I was on the moon and...well, I'll tell you more as the story unravels across six issues. For now, that's all you need to know." Then Hal could have been, "Oh, um, excuse me. I need to be on Planet I'm-Not-Making-Up-This-Name in like a nanosecond. Thanks for whatever!"

I wasn't sure how I felt about Bendis and then I got to this page:

He's the greatest comic book writer of our generation!

Ambush Bug is saying, "Dsagfds! Jgfh hgfdhdfg gfsdd." I guess he can only speak using letters in the home row. In the next panel, he exclaims, "Ljkl!" as he drops the items he's juggling. I guess "Ljkl!" is Homerowese for "FUCK!"

In the galactic bar where Ambush Bug has declared his DC continence (don't argue with me. That wording works better than you think!), Rogol Zaar wanders in to have his once yearly drink. I guess he's been slumbering for thirty something years and only wakes up once a week or something. While there, he sees the symbol of the House of El and learns that there's still a Kryptonian out there. Apparently his rage wasn't that the race of Kryptonians would destroy the universe but that they existed at all. Because he's still super angry about one superman left in the galaxy. His racial animosity flares and, I'm pretty certain, he's planning a trip to Earth. Or what are the other four issues going to be about? Superman looking for Lois and Jon? How much punching will be in that story? Boring!

Maybe Bendis is less the greatest writer of our generation and less angry at America's abuse of power on the world stage and more of a MAGA type. Why are all his homeless people minorities?

I apologize if Bendis isn't as racist as that page might seem. It could also be Doc Shaner or Steve Rude or Alex Sinclair who are the racist ones.

So, um, anyway, Rogol Zaar decides to hop on his space motorcycle in an attempt to be even less like Lobo (that was sarcastic because Lobo rides a space motorcycle and is also black and white and also loves genocide!) so he can zip to Earth and kill Superman.

Rating: My interest is still being held! There's a story here which is better than all of those comic books that don't have a story. The only problem is that the antagonist has been seen before in several different versions and parodies of those versions. And there's always a new version of how and why Krypton was destroyed. But at least Lois Lane has been kidnapped so that's, um, not yet the different thing I was looking for. What about the Daily Planet going under or being sold? No, no. Seen that. Anyway, Ambush Bug made an appearance! That's got to count for at least fifty cents of the cover price!

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Batman #48 & #49: The Best Man

I like what Tom King has done in comics. I truly like the way he tells a story. But he's got one major problem. He doesn't seem to know when a story doesn't need to be told. This is that story.

The easy reason for why it didn't need to be told is that we've seen this premise before. If Batman is happy, he stops being Batman. Got it. Understood! Thanks for making sure Batman remains grim and unbearable for the sake of hardcore fans who don't know the definition of whimsy. Anyway, Snyder, who retold the story most recently, took over a year to tell this story so at least I can say Tom King's version is shorter.

The hard reason for why it didn't need to be told will take a convoluted while for me to tell. So let me start with why I know why it needed to be restated as prologue to the wedding of Batman and Catwoman. Comic book readers, who know this marriage will never take and is just another big nothing in the life of a comic book character whose basic attributes and life situation can never truly change, needed to be reminded that they knew this marriage wouldn't work. We've had months of Bat this and Cat that lulling us into this fantasy world where Batman and Catwoman would suddenly be fighting crime together at night and ruining the sheets Alfred keeps bleaching by day. What a wonderful world this was going to be! So romantic and fun!

But then the Joker had to show up and shit all over it in the most disturbing way possible. If you're thinking the most disturbing way possible to shit on Batman's wedding is to shit on Batman's wedding, you're wrong by a factor of a spree killing in a church.

Oh, but before I continue with that thought, let me answer the question I keep hearing from all of my imaginary readers: "So, Grunion Genius, you're saying this story didn't need to be told but that the previous Booster Gold story did?" No, you fucking idiots, that's not what I'm saying. Christ, it's like I have to constantly hold the hands of your tiny brains when I say anything at all on the Internet so I don't have to hear your incessant and imagined stupidity! Obviously no comic book story ever needs to be told. But I don't want to get into the philosophical weeds where we keep getting back to the main question of how we tell the nature of reality through our meager and insufficient means of experiencing it. If I accept the Booster Gold story can be told, I suppose I need to accept that this story can be told. Except I don't want to. Which leads me back to the reasons why before you interrupted me.

But first let me interrupt myself! Way back when I was a virginal teenager (much different than today because now I'm a virginal adult), I remember having this distinct thought about a comic book series I was reading: "I hope I don't die before I can finish reading this story." I'd like to say it was something like Watchmen or Elfquest or even Crisis On Infinite Earths. But it's sad to say it was just as likely to have been Blue Devil or Blue Beetle or Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. The important thing to realize is that I was once an age where each individual story seemed important. I was passionately invested in any garbage turned out from month to month because I was invested in the characters. Back then, I didn't follow writers or artists or Gnostic visions brought on by the ingestion of psilocybin mushrooms. I just wanted to read more stories about Skywise banging Foxfur in a starry meadow. But I'm more sophisticated now! I mean more cynical! I mean more understanding of the way comic books work and how they never really get to the point of anything. They're just one meaningless drama after another as each writer takes a turn to express why they feel the character was important to them twenty years before they finally got a chance at writing that character. It turns out a lot of writers just want to say the same exact thing.

And that was my first and easiest to come up with reason for why this story didn't need to be told. My second reason was, essentially, that no story actually needs to be told so that seems to make my first reason moot. But it doesn't! Because if no story needs to be told then all stories can be told. Which means none of them truly matter. Which brings me back to the difficulty of expressing the point of this essay: Tom King didn't need to tell this story.

I think it's important to try to understand why Tom King thought he needed to tell this story though. Did you read The Sheriff of Babylon? I'm going to assume that you did. In it, Tom King seemed to be expressing the absurdity of this world in a truly serious and awful story about how war and the clash of cultures and greed and desire and need and corruption and all of the human accessories piled upon us to fuck us all, forever. It's absurd that so many people suffer from global conflicts that we all feel powerless to avert, as if they're a volcano erupting or a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake. We're all swept up in unnatual disasters we treat as natural. What can you do? This is the way things are. We have a role and we must play our part. *shoulder shrug*

In The Sheriff of Babylon, we discover a group of people caught up in this existential farce. But we also see them trying their best to do the right thing. What can you do in the face of absurdity except to try to do your best? I mean aside from, like most people, to do their worst by making everybody miserable simply to get what they want. There is that choice, after all. That point will probably tie back in when I get back to Batman but my main point here is trying to highlight that, I think, the world cracked Tom King and he can't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all as he treats it as deadly serious.

Take a look back at the Booster Gold story in the previous Batman arc. It's nothing if not a deadly serious situation told in an absurd fashion about one guy trying to do the best he can to improve that situation. That's also The Sheriff of Babylon (except the one dude is two dudes and a lady). That's also The Omega Men (except the one dude is a tiger man and a princess and a robot and an orphan and the worst Green Lantern (in his best role)). That's also Mister Miracle (except the one dude is one New God and his wife and baby). And then, there's Maude. I mean Batman.

Maybe I should sum up "The Best Man"? The Joker murders a bunch of people in church to get Batman's attention. He then defeats Batman so that Catwoman has to step in. This is when we learn that his main reason for this nonsense is to convince Catwoman to not marry Batman by killing her. Or maybe just convince her by almost killing her and then dying. Whatever his reasons (which, let's face it, are unfathomable because he's The Joker, right?!), the main point is to keep Batman sad and grim so that Batman will keep punching The Joker in the face.

Wait! I don't think I told that right! The Joker points out that if Batman is happy, he can't be Batman (as we saw in Snyder's story and all the others that I'm certain exist but I don't have time to research and I can't remember due to all those Gnostic visions). And if he can't be Batman, he can't stop the Joker from constantly killing people in Gotham churches. Not that Batman stops that anyway. I guess what Batman really does is stops the Joker from killing everybody in two churches (or killing everybody from two poisoned reservoirs (or killing everybody from two Joker-tainted Justice Leagues (or killing everybody from two massive gas attacks (or from killing everybody from two machine gun filled parades (or, well, you probably got the point twenty years ago))))). What is left ambiguous is whether the Joker wants Batman to stop him because, as Catwoman via The Riddler's logic points out, he's not really crazy and needs to be punished for what he knows are evil actions, or if The Joker just loves Batman and would miss him if he stopped being there to punch Joker in the face. What isn't left ambiguous is that the Joker convinces Catwoman of this by the end of the story. Batman says, "We don't know what the Joker wanted but he didn't get it." And then Catwoman laughs because, literally, what he wanted was Catwoman to laugh. Of course his main agenda was to get Catwoman to not marry Batman. But that, of course, is why Catwoman laughs at Batman's suggestion that the Joker didn't get what he wanted.

So that's the story! The Joker does a horrible thing while saying shocking stuff to Batman and then nearly kills all the main characters before Catwoman finally gets the joke. And after all these words, I haven't really stated why this story didn't need to be told (aside from the fact that it's been told and we, as comic book readers, already understand that Catwoman and Batman will not wind up in a happily ever after (since, you know, comic books don't have an after! They just have an eternal almost now).

The reason the story did not have to be told seems to be because it made me uncomfortable. It really is an unpleasant read. I can see the regular Internet critics who hate Tom King right now feeling justified: "He's trying to write funny dialogue in a deadly serious situation! What a hack!" But it made me think, "Has this version of The Joker ever been done before?" Sure, the Joker's made readers uncomfortable by killing randomly. He's made people uncomfortable due to his unpredictability. And he's made people uncomfortable by trying to suck Batman's dick. But has he ever made people squirm because of the things he's saying in a way they shouldn't be said? And then I thought, "Am I the Joker?"

Example: the Non-Certified Spouse and I were watching season one of Project Runway Junior. When Victoria gets kicked out, she says, "It's been such a great experience being around kids that all share the same passion." And I said, "What? Masturbation?" At that point, the Non-Certified Spouse looked at me as if I'd just shit all over Batman's wedding.

I don't know. I guess I just can't defend my own premise. The Joker's actions are absurd. Batman's reaction and the way he lets the Joker lead him to defeat is absurd. Catwoman's blasé attitude to Bruce possibly being killed and then bleeding out with the Joker is absurd. Is this a retelling of The Sheriff of Babylon in microcosm? Is Batman Christopher? Is Catwoman Saffiya? Are they just caught up in an endless man-made natural disaster called Gotham?

At the end of the first half, The Joker tells Batman to head toward love because all else is chaos. But his whole point is to end Batman's love. Is it because the Joker's love is chaos? Is he, finally, admitting he doesn't love Batman at all? If that's the case, I might have to scrap my original premise that this story didn't need to be told. Because I've grown tired of the Joker as Batman's disgruntled and rebuffed boyfriend. The whole idea that the Joker loves Batman has become a parody of itself. I think the Lego Batman Movie finally put the fork in that one. You can't keep alluding to it if everybody begins stating it outright. But what if Tom King is saying, "No, wait. The Joker doesn't love Batman. The Joker actually does love murder and mayhem and chaos. The Joker loves those things. But what are those things without an audience? It becomes masturbation if there's nobody there to witness it. And so, in that way (and that way only), the Joker needs Batman. He needs a serious and grim and the opposite of absurd witness to the chaos." If that's what Tom King is saying (and I don't know for sure because I haven't asked him because every time I'm at a con where Tom King is signing, there's a picture of me warning security to keep me at least fifty feet away from his table (I mean, seriously, you tweet at a guy a non-insubstantial number of times that you'd like to suck his dick in appreciation of all the great stories he's told and you get blacklisted for it!)), you know what? Maybe this story did need to be told. But if he's not saying that, fuck him! Just kidding! I mean, seriously, if he's not into getting his dick sucked, he certainly won't be into full coitus! Maybe he's been hinting around that what he really wants offered is a hand job? Hmm.

Rating: If you'd read my introductory paragraph and thought, "Grunion Guy is really going to let Tom King have it by describing why this story shouldn't have been told," you're now finding out you were wrong. What you should have thought when you read my introductory paragraph was, "Grunion Guy really doesn't know how to write essays, does he?" Because I liked this story. It was awkward and uncomfortable and disgusting and all the things the Joker should be. But it still shouldn't have been told. Because I like my Joker crazy and violent and chaotic. This Joker knows way too precisely exactly how fucking creepy he's being. And if this version of the Joker sticks around, we're all fucked.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

The Man of Steel #1

Imagine trying to get fans rabidly excited about a new Superman event and the only adjective you can come up with is "weekly."

I've never read anything by Bendis (aside from that Superman advertisement in that twenty-five cent comic book). I'm only saying that because if Bendis Googles for reviews of this comic book, I wanted to warn him right up front that some writers haven't been able to handle my comic book reviews. Some reactions have been "I'm Cullen Bunn and you're terrible!" and "You're the meanest jerk and I should know because I'm Cullen Bunn!" and "You have no right to say those things about me, Cullen Bunn!" On the other hand, I have had some positive reactions like these: "I want to take you out behind the handball court and get you pregnant with my Gail Simone babies," and "Yeah, security? This is Tom King and that guy offering to suck my dick is bothering me again," and "I don't know who this guy is but I, Scott Lobdell, like him a lot!" In other words, there's a fifty percent chance that I'm about to forever ruin any chance of becoming Brian Michael Bendis's new best friend.

Maybe I should change that from a fifty percent chance to a ninety percent chance because before I even read this comic, I'm already biased against it. I can't stand any comic by a hot shot creator comes on the scene and knocks all the pieces onto the floor before shitting on Dan DiDio's desk and saying, "I'm going to do whatever I want!" Don't get me wrong! I like that scenario a lot! But it definitely biases me on the comic. I mean, are we really going to get yet another comic book by a writer who says, "You thought you knew everything there was to know about Superman's past! But you were wrong! Now eat it, DiDio!"?

Remember when Krypton exploded for reasons that weren't due to a genocidal cosmic maniac insisting that all Kryptonians needed to be wiped out to save the universe? That was before the first four pages of this comic book were published. We're in a new era now: the Brian Michael Bendis Era! Tell me how it really went down, Mister Bendis! I never did like the pansy ass passive way the world blew up due to whatever the Kryptonians did wrong. Too much fracking or sodomy or whatever. This is so much more exciting to make one monster behind it all! It'll finally give Superman somebody he can punch in the face to relieve him of his pain from the loss of his family! Not that he really focuses on that pain much. But he will once he hears the name "Rogol Zaar" and also about three or four hours of new Kryptonian history which should really get him wound up!

Rogol Zaar is a combination of Lobo, Battalion, and Perry White.

The part of the story we all still know because I'm assuming it's the same is that Superman escaped the death of Krypton. That means Rogol Zarr is probably about to learn that a baby survived and he's going to blow his frontal lobe. He's going to have such a murder boner going to complete his act of genocide that Superman is going to be all, "Whoa, dude. I think you have the wrong idea about me and my sexy body," when they finally meet.

In the opening scene in Metropolis, Superman makes friends with Killer Moth and Firefly. Then when he deals with a fire in a high rise, he imparts some of his mother's wisdom on the reader: "Fire is fire." So I guess in Bendis's retelling of the Superman myth, Ma Kent was a simple woman.

At the scene of the fire, Superman meets a female firefighter with whom he flirts. He's all, "You should call Clark Kent and tell him all about this tomorrow. Don't call Lois though! Lois can't find out Clark is talking to you and probably having lunch with you maybe?" Then he flies off and female firefighter Melody Moore causes more water damage to the smoldering building.

You understood that was a filthy joke, right?!

I'm beginning to see why people like Bendis. He has characters talk a lot. Talking a lot is always good. It's much better than characters shouting shallow one liners at one another in an attempt to fool the reader into thinking the writer knows what they're doing. In this brief post-fire scene, we see that Superman is kind and thoughtful and not averse to stepping out on Lois Lane.

Most of the issue is Superman and Clark Kent going about their day to day business. It's really all I ask of a comic book! Especially when those things are filled with conversations that build characters rather than first person omniscient narration boxes which tell the reader exactly what's going on and leave no room for ambiguity. Like if this were written by Scott Lobdell, Superman would have thought, upon meeting the firefighter, "She really wants to lick my butthole! But I would never let her because I love Lois Lane so much!" But without the narration boxes, the reader simply gets knowing looks and crooked little smiles and I think I might have noticed a slightly larger bulge in Superman's red underwear. Bendis allows me to jump to the awful conclusions I want to jump to rather than reining me in and telling me exactly what's going on so I can't have any dirty fun.

Filling in the negative spaces of Superman's life is the story of Rogol Zaar and how he wanted to destroy Krypton but the Council of Eternal Elders tells him he can't. He probably still will but that's for another issue. By the end of this issue, Lois says something that's actually funny and then Superman, Lois, and Jon all disappear in a fade to white. That's supposed to keep you excited for the next weekly installment of this weekly Superman event. So week!

Rating: I so wanted to shit all over Bendis's writing the way Bendis shit all over DiDio's desk but instead I wound up enjoying this story. I sincerely appreciate when Superman is written as a kind person with a subtle sense of humor and a raging hard on for redheads. Hopefully Issue #2 will suck so I can let loose this shit that I now have to hold in! Quick! Somebody get me an Ann Nocenti comic book so I can relieve myself!

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Unexpected #1

You really only have a limited number of times you can use the catchphrase, "Nobody expects...The Unexpected!"

I'm not surprised I don't recognize anybody on the cover because you know why. You read the same title that I just read. Stop playing dumb.

The woman in the front who is about to engage in oral sex with the reader is named Firebrand. I vaguely remember her getting a scene in one of the previous "The New Age of Heroes" comic books (New Challengers, I think). She's a fighter who loves to fight in and out of the ring. That's a secret shortcut to writing a strong female character. You can tell she's strong because in the first page, she knocks out Killer Croc with one punch. You can tell she's female because of the boobies. I know that joke risks alienating the trans community due to erasure but sometimes you have to take risks to become a leading comedy writer known for their third grade humor. Plus it's empowering to the trans community that I think they're way too smart for my stuff, right?

Speaking of society's double standards for boobies, remember that scene in Mad Men when Ginsberg cuts off his nipple and gives it to Peggy? What if Peggy had cut off her nipple and given it to Michael? Would it have been too obscene for television to show the nipple in the box once it's been detached from Peggy's breast? Where is the line drawn between being able to show a nipple on television and not being able to show a nipple on television? What if Peggy had just found a detached nipple left on her desk? Would ambiguity make the nipple offensive to a censor's tastes? Can a trans man's nipple be shown? What about a trans woman's nipple? It can't just be that the nipple on fatty tissue is obscene because remember that show The Biggest Loser? There were a lot of exposed nipples on large breasts in that show but they were deemed acceptable for some reason. Why are nipples such a contentious aspect in the discussion on vulgarity and human body?

Don't misunderstand me! I don't think there is anything vulgar about the human body at all! I mean as long as I'm attracted to the specific human body we're talking about. I don't want to see stuff I don't want to see! You know the stuff! Gross!

I would describe the stuff I don't want to see but I don't want to be called a fat shaming homophobe. Anyway, I just got rid of all of the full length mirrors in my house and solved the problem.

Firebrand was a civilian killed during Metal. But she got a new futuristic heart that only keeps working if she gets into a fight every twenty four hours. Don't ask how it works. That's boring detail that doesn't really matter. Just know that her heart is called "the Conflict Engine" which is the only reason you need to understand why something this stupid would be developed.

Weird Doctor: "We have some good news and some bad news! The bad news: we brought you back to life by giving you a new heart. Welcome back to the pain of existence! The good news? You legally get to beat somebody's ass once per day to keep yourself alive!"
Firebrand:: "Wait. What? Why?!"
Weird Doctor:: "No time to explain! I have to rush off to give somebody a fake rectum who will then have to eat three large linguiça and jalapeño pizzas per day or they'll die! Good luck!"

Firebrand currently explains her life by being so contradictory that I don't care anymore. Not that I cared at all from the beginning. But I needed some way to end that initial sentence that didn't take a lot of effort to construct.

Every scumbag in New Jersey knows where to find her but the CIA and some black ops corporation have no idea where to look. *shrug*

I get it, lazy writer. The heart wants what it wants and what your heart wants is for readers to simply accept the scenario you've created without thinking about it critically at all! Although I will allow myself to be wrong in this instance. Because generally what comic book writers have found is that readers are so willing to accept every idea that they'll do all the critical thinking they can to contort reason and logic until they can explain away anything in a comic book they like. It's just too bad nobody has any reason to like this comic book yet! Unless you're one of those people who read one word from a new character and instantly claim "THIS IS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER!" just in case the character becomes super popular. Then you can claim to be the character's biggest fan! Good for you!

What I'm trying to say is that Firebrand is totally my new favorite character.

An evil guy named Alden Quench wearing a Project Runway outfit comes to take Firebrand's heart. He spouts a lot of stuff that would make people who read Metal think "That sounds familiar!" which ties everything together and satisfies my need for closure. It might not provide the link to Metal that other people need but remember how I said I don't care anymore? That makes me easier to please than other readers of this book.

Alden Quench calls himself Bad Samaritan which is a totally racist stereotype of Samaritans. The only reason Jesus tells a story about a Good Samaritan is that everybody in Jesus's time simply accepted that all Samaritan's were terrible people. He might as well call himself simply "The Samaritan" (except I think that bad guy was already taken by an enemy of The Outsiders (unless he was also called The Bad Samaritan! (double unless this is actually him!))).

A huge fight breaks out between The Unexpected (who arrive to help Firebrand for selfish reasons) and the Bad Samaritan putting everybody in the hospital at risk. So because Firebrand exists, regular people are endangered. I really don't want to be on the side of the argument that claims heroes endanger everybody but come on! I can't get any stories that don't prove the paranoid civilians are wrong!

The leader of The Unexpected is a guy named Neon who is probably an Aurakle like Halo because he gets cut in half and rainbows slosh out. The Bad Samaritan splashes this rainbow blood on Firebrand and then chops her in the heart with Viking Judge's axe (Viking Judge might not be her real name but I sincerely hope that it is). In so doing, he kills himself and creates a new Nth Metal isotope.

Meanwhile beneath the surface of Thanagar, a guy named Onimar Synn eats a dinosaur guy and then settles down for a nice long pout. I guess he wants to eat Firebrand's heart but its too far away. FOR NOW!

Anyway, The Bad Samaritan created something called Destruction Metal. It's going to blow a hole in the multiverse if Neon and Firebrand don't do something about it. Viking Judge and Ascendant (the woman with the horns and the blue guy on the cover) apparently died in the conflict. I'm glad I didn't declare they were my favorite characters!

Rating: You know what? Going against my screaming brain, I'm going to buy the second issue of this comic book. It's interesting even if it's relying on that same old lazy premise that I keep shitting all over: heroes that exist only to be targets of super villains. In this one, people want Firebrand's heart and they'll hurt the entire world to get it. Neon might be trying to save the Multiverse though which is one reason I'll hang around for a bit. I would like The Unexpected to be some kind of multiversal freedom fighters. Apparently they haven't been doing too good a job so far though because worlds keep dying around them.

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