Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dark Nights: Hawkman Found #1

I preferred when Hawkman remained lost.

Look at that cover again. Or better yet, find a version of the cover via Google Image Search that doesn't look like it was smeared with anal lube before being scanned. If your first reaction isn't "Why is that giant bird man hanging from the rebar trying to fuck the tiny bird person in the ass?" then we probably don't have a lot in common. Here's another way to find out if maybe we'd enjoy having a beer together: are you also a petty ass bitch who's super pissed off that Hawkman is coming back to the DC Universe even though it won't affect your life in the least and might even make Hawkman fans happy that they'll get to read terrible stories about their favorite stupid character? If your answer to that question is not a resounding "Of course I am!", you probably live by a philosophy so alien to me that I wouldn't even recognize you as human. I'd be sitting at the bar thinking, "What is this hazy, gibbering smoke monster trying to drink beer out of a mug and why does it think I care what it has to jabber about?! Where is my gun?"

The issue begins with Hawkman telling a story terribly. I think that's postmodern! He's doing what everybody who has ever written a Hawkman story has done: told a shitty story. Hawkman says, "Every night I dream I am a bird. No wait. Not a bird. A warrior. Who can fly. So why did I begin with that bird thing? That was stupid. I guess my point is that I'm not a bird, you stupid asshole readers. I'm not a fucking joke. 'Oh! Oh! Hawkman's big powers are that he can fly and that he votes Libertarian! What a stupid character!' Well that's not all I am! I can beat the shit out of people! That's what makes me bad-ass. I'm not just a guy in a dumb mask with an old-fashioned weapon who can fly. I'm a trained warrior that can beat your stupid mouth to a pulp!" In other words, Hawkman uses the same defense that Aquaman uses when somebody points out that they're a stupid hero that might have made sense when they were created because kids in the forties had a severely limited imagination.

Seriously, Aquaman is a dumb concept. I don't care that he's super strong and nearly invulnerable and can force sharks to jump out of the water to kill parademons. He's still an idiotic concept. Plus, I mean, that shark image from the early New 52 Justice League issues that people use to show how cool he is? Super dumb. It should have caused people to stop saying a thing jumped the shark, replacing it with the thing's shark jumped.

Hawkman's dream is the opposite of that Sandman dream story where the dreamer learns that there is a third option to fly. Hawkman begins by flying and winds up falling to his death. He also mentions a seemingly trivial detail about his teeth loosening. But dreaming about losing your teeth is a sign that you feel powerless in your waking life. Also birds don't have teeth. I guess warriors probably still have some. Which is why it's a good thing he wasn't actually dreaming about being a bird.

Hawkman awakens to Manhawks attacking his stone age community.

At some point, somebody decided that the antagonist of every superhero story should be a dark reflection of the superhero. So now every story is completely narcissistic with the hero disappearing up their own ass.

I hear what you're saying, jabbering smoke monster: "Who else should a comic book called 'Batman' be about if not Batman?!" Well, maybe it could be about justice or acting as a responsible father figure to broken children or saving a city on the brink of destruction or doing the right thing no matter how much you have to sacrifice. It doesn't always have to be about Batman seeing what he might have become if he didn't have the inner strength and intellectual clarity he somehow developed all on his own without any help from parents (no matter how much the butler tries to take credit for some of it). How many of Batman's villains eventually just became shadows of Batman himself? Wrath. Hush. Bane. Even The Joker became molded more toward being the antithesis of Batman rather than some psychotic maniac trying to make a bit of money. If the only enemies we're going to get are twisted versions of the heroes, at least make them whimsical or interesting, like Bizarro or Nam-Tab! I just made up Nam-Tab. He's an ex-Vietcong soldier who drank a Tab can mixed with napalm. He's super poor and his parents weren't murdered in an alley. Now he spends his life trying to murder parents in alleys because his life probably would have been better if his parents had been killed that way. He doesn't have a butler and has never taken in children as wards and has a dog named Eca.

The rest of the story is the just the dream repeated. Hawkman fights back against the Manhawks. Hawkman discovers the dark Hawkman keeping him imprisoned. Hawkman defeats him and escapes on newly found wings. The wings fall apart and he falls to his death, only to wake just before he dies. Basically his prison or afterlife or wherever he is is just a dark reflection of his life on Earth where he constantly died and was reborn.

Dark Nights: Hawkman Found #1 Ranking: The only reason anybody needed to buy this comic book was because they're completists and it said "Dark Nights Metal Tie-In" on the cover. Hawkman was never actually found. The reader just learns where Hawkman has been since his sales dropped through the floor due to terrible writers telling his stories (that probably weren't even worth telling even if a great writer had been on the book). Apparently Hawkman has been off trying to save the Multiverse by working the Dark Forge. That's important for some reason that I've already forgotten because it was dumb. This book didn't make me curious enough to go back and remember why that was.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Dark Nights: Metal #4

No. YOU got lube on YOUR scanner.

It's been five years since Metal #3 hit the stands but thanks to great planning by way of writing a blog entry about Metal #3, I remember exactly what was happening! Well, maybe not exactly since the plot points are punctuated by a bunch of dick jokes. I can't be certain, five years later, which dick jokes were actually part of Metal #3 and which ones I just made up. But at least I have a better than vague notion of what was happening!

This issue begins with the Sandman reminding everybody how the Metal story was interrupted by some stupid tie-ins that should probably have been left unwritten, ending their lives in his library of stories that were never told. I guess Sandman is in this tie-in because Scott Snyder was all, "You know what character would bring a bit of intellectual literary seriousness to this story? Plastic Man! Ha ha! Just kidding. Dream of the Endless! Why not give Neil Gaiman's coattails some riding time! We can give Alan Moore's a break for a week or two. Oh, that reminds me. Do we own any of Warren Ellis's characters and stories? We should monetize those too! And look in on Dave Sim and Gerhard's health. Cerebus is public domain when those fogeys die and I've got a great idea for a Cerebus/Ambush Bug team-up!"

Dream's prologue gives way to Batman being freed from imprisonment in the Dark Multiverse. His escorts off the Dark Multiverse battery are dark versions of Superman (one of them is electric blue Superman. He's now a dark dream of what might have been so I guess Rebirth couldn't bring that bullshit back into canon (although it did in that Action Comics Mr. Mxyzptlk story (sort of))). One of them wears a glove full of different colored Kryptonite because he's an idiot? I was going to begin a rant that starts out with "Who carries a weapon that can be turned against them so easily?!" before I remember police use guns. Maybe I can adapt what I was going to say as "Who carries a weapon that can only destroy a small percentage of people in the universe when you, the carrier of that weapon, are part of that small percentage?!" But I won't because that sentence is unwieldy.

You've probably already figured it out by my previous paragraph: Batman wrests control of this weapon (a glove, to be exact) to turn it against Superman. This is a comic book so I shouldn't ask for realism, especially when the story is already on such insubstantial footing as having Superman wield a Kryptonite weapon but can somebody please explain to me how Batman tears a glove off of Superman?! No wait! I can tell myself! This is what happens when you wear a glove practically made out of Kryptonite, Superman! Your hand becomes as weak as a baby's so that you can't even stop somebody from pulling it from your hand! Idiot.

Anyway, the battle never takes place because Batman (who has been strapped to the Dark Multiverse battery for thirty years and really, really needs to shit) calls to Dream for rescue. It's a good thing it's the Daniel version of Dream and not the Morpheus version of Dream. Morpheus never would have helped Batman. He would have just looked on bored and been all, "Really, really. I can't get involved. When I get involved, I cause...complications. I mean, I get involved sometimes but that's only if the thing I'm manipulating will eventually lead to my death. It surprises some people when they realize the entirety of the Sandman run was just one long, convoluted suicide." Daniel is more like, "I'm chipper and upbeat! Go go Sandman Dream Powers!" And just like that, Batman and Superman are pulled from the Dark Multiverse! Now if Batman could just get Destiny and Death to intervene, this story could end in just a few more pages.

With that done, the story returns to the heroes traveling the universe looking for Nth metal to save the day.

I get that maybe "gym selfies" represents pride but what does pushing nuns down stairs represent? Oh! Lust, of course!

Wonder Woman and her gang defeat the seven sins while Aquaman and Deathstork climb into Arion's crypt seeking the Nth metal below Atlantis. Over on Thanagar Prime (a planet heretofore unknown to even Hal Jordan (as if that's supposed to be surprising to anybody but Hal Jordan. He doesn't strike me as the studious type), Hal and Mr. Terrific learn that Lord Synn has taken over the planet with help from his buddy, Starro. Starro's big reveal is that he no longer needs the little stars to take control of the populace of a planet. That's just stupid! That was the best part of Starro! Plus it allowed him to control multiple planets all across the universe and it allowed me to rationalize it! But I can't suspend my disbelief if the little stars aren't stuck to people's faces and yet they're still being controlled while Starro is a thousand light years away micro-managing one of his other holdings. Lord Synn explains that he can't help them because he already knows how to deal with Earth after the Dark Multiverse has taken it over.

He does mean razing, right? If not, I don't know what he's talking about.

Scott Snyder's Starro speaks like a character from one of Grunion Guy's novels. He ends a lot of sentences with "idiot" or "moron" or "jerko!" Well, maybe not "Jerko!" since I've trademarked that. At least I told my assistant, Pickle Boy, to put in the paperwork. I'm sure he got around to it.

Back in The Dreaming, Daniel tells Superman and Batman a story which explains what's happening. At the beginning of the universe, a couple more beings than the Monitor and Anti-Monitor were created. One was the forger and the other was his dragon, Barbatos. The Forger created every world in DC's universe and Barbatos destroyed the ones that weren't selling well. But then Barbatos killed The Forger and forgot to keep doing his job, letting terrible worlds survive. That probably explains The New 52. But now he wants to destroy the Rebirth worlds as well! And DC can't have that because they've invested quite a bit of their reputation in fixing their stupid fucking universe that they keep breaking by way of fixing it. So, eventually, this fix will be seen as the next break that must be fixed. But for now, Barbatos must be stopped before he destroys DC Comics!

Wonder Woman's team's plan goes off the rails when...well, I don't want to say. If you haven't read this comic book, you'll be left thinking, "Why are you always making shit up, Tess? Can't you ever just explain the plot in as straightforward and boring a way as possible? You know, the way the Weird Science Blog guys do it?" And I don't want you thinking ill of me! I'd scan the scene in but I've been known to present some pretty amazing photoshops before so you still might not believe it. But maybe...just understand how Scott Snyder writes comic books. He understands that they're supposed to be ridiculous and the more ridiculous they are, the more people he can convince that they're good. So considering that, I guess I'll mention what happens. Kendra whips out the Anti-Monitor's brain so she can whip it into the center of the Multiverse which will destroy the Dark Multiverse (along with Batman, Superman, and Hawkman). But before she can do that, she turns into Lady Blackhawk. Not the military Lady Blackhawk that is probably a lesbian but some weird Hawk and Dove type birdlike manifestation of god-like powers. Then she's all, "All roads lead back to darkness!" which totally isn't true because some roads lead to the light bulb factory. I mean, they must, right? Anyway, after that, Black Adam appears and incinerates Doctor Fate because the other things were just too boring to hold a comic book reader's attention.

And finally, Batman and Superman arrive at the World Forge in the hopes to save the world by, I don't know, forging a new world? But they find the forge has gone out. And guarding the forge, they find Hawman spouting nonsense.

So Barbatos the dragon has a dragon of his own in Hawkman? Okay. I guess!

Metal #4 Rating: I have two ratings for this book! If you're a big stupid comic book fan that laps up every exciting tie-in that you know is exciting because the people making and selling the comic book have gone on record as saying, "I haven't felt this good reading a book since I jerked off while reading a different book!" then you'll probably love this book. Five out of five stars! But if you're a person who has realized in middle age that maybe comic books are far less intelligent than you used to give them credit for, this comic book rates as two giant hawk turds out of however many hawk turds equals a good book. Two hawk turds means it's not a good book, even in hawk turd terms.

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