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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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Doomsday Clock #5

Nostalgia's branding efforts might be a little off the rails.

Today on Facebook, my cousin Laurie said, "Your thought process fascinates me." So I decided to give everybody an insight into my thought process!

My thought process: think something nobody should ever say. Say it. Pretend you were being hyperbolic and facetious when people get annoyed. Experience your twentieth shame spiral of the day. Eat a whole carton of Oreos. Fall asleep lonely and humiliated.

Or, if I wanted to be honest (which I never am! (although sometimes I am but I'm pretending I'm being facetious and hyperbolic so that when I'm judged harshly, I can distance myself from that judgment)), it's more that when I post something to Facebook, it's usually somewhere so far down the "thought process" that all context has been lost. I suppose I could explain every single thing that led up to me having a thought that makes me laugh but that's too close to just walking around naked in public. And I would never do that! Wink, wink.

So, um, Doomsday Clock! After last issue, I had forgotten that this comic book was meant to be a severe lecture to the fans who never wanted the whimsy and fun taken out of comics but are being blamed by Geoff Johns for DC doing it anyway. That might not actually be what this book is about but it's what my issues have decided it's about anyway. What made me spontaneously remember that was this scene in the hospital where Ozymandias wound up after falling out of the LexCorp building.

Dammit. I had almost forgotten how everybody blamed and mistrusted superheroes!

Of course there's always been a long history of Gotham Police mistrusting and hating Batman (if only because he does their job better than they do and obviously has way better pay and benefits). But DC really fucked up when they decided that level of mistrust should be applied more broadly so that every citizen suddenly turned against even Superman, the universally acknowledged boy scout. I'm not a comic book historian so I don't know when that attitude began but I think it's generally acknowledged that it was a byproduct of Watchmen and similar comic books of the time. "Look at how more realistic this is! Why should a world embrace and trust masked heroes?! And Watchmen was so popular, that aspect of it must be what made so much money!" But, of course, that's the kind of thing people who didn't read Marv Wolfman's New Teen Titans believe. Because if I had to pick a starting point for when the mistrust of heroes seriously got rolling (I'm not saying it wasn't there before! It just wasn't the standard reaction of the public), I'd point to Wolfman's work trying to adapt The X-men feel to DC's superheroes. In the X-men, the "heroes" were actually mutants enrolled in a school where they could feel safe and learn to control their powers. They were hated by the public due to bigotry and a misunderstanding of what they represented to humanity's future. They were constantly attacked by "evil mutants" due to a disagreement on what mutants meant to the world. This worked as a plot point because of the bigotry aspect and the underlying difference between mutants and superheroes. But translating that to DC's world where mutants don't exist completely missed the mark. Wolfman's world became a place where The New Titans formed to help the world but never actually did. They simply created a headquarters in New York where they were constantly attacked by family members. Of course the people of New York would begin hating them for bringing danger and destruction to the city. Because they were actually doing that! And since The New Titans became DC's biggest seller for quite some time, every comic book writer on Earth learned that Wolfman's model was acceptable to readers. Instead of having heroes exist for saving the world, they could just exist to be targeted by super villains. And if that's all super villains seemed interested in then isn't it true that heroes are the root cause of all the problems with super villains? It's one thing to comment on bigotry in America by portraying people's hatred of mutants. It's a totally stupid other thing to have people hate heroes because of the destruction caused by the heroes attempting to simply save themselves from their enemies. In the first one, you side with the mutants because the people hate them for irrational reasons. In the second one, you have to side with the citizens because who wouldn't be upset if their house was destroyed and their dog was killed because The Joker was trying to kill Batman?

I've said all of that before. Sometimes, I feel that's all I have left to say about DC. At least when Priest recently had the public hating the Justice League, it was because the Justice League was racist! Not in the regular racist way where Batman is using slurs and Superman is flying around in blackface and a sombrero but in the systemic way where they don't realize they're being racist but they just are. That was at least different (even if I still wasn't happy about it).

I don't understand people who prefer heroes who are mistrusted and hated over heroes who are inspiring, loved, and embraced by the public. Wasn't the latter version the whole point of them in the first place?

Dammit! I should really read ahead before I go on a rant! Although, technically, I think this somehow proves my point about how this is all supposed to fix what went wrong with The New 52.

This issue is called "There is no God." I'm guessing at the capitalization because the font actually reads "THERE IS NO GOD". But it doesn't end in an exclamation point (or any other kind of punctuation, being a title and all) so I'm assuming it isn't meant to be yelled and it's just DC's perverse avoidance of lower case letters.

Anyway, "There is no God" is the perfect title to ruffle religious feathers. But I bet it's a set-up! I bet Geoff Johns is going to write a story about how God does exist, even if only in a metaphorical way that gives hope to people who need more than a few decades of random, chaotic life! I mean, I would like more than a few decades of life too! But I wouldn't mind if it remained meaningless. Who needs a purpose? That's just adding obligation to this precious gift! Why do people want that?! I think that's why "being inspiring" has become such a huge achievement for so many people. Because it seems to give meaning to your life without you having to actually do anything except exactly the thing you want to do. So, say, I was coming up with a completely hypothetical situation where a guy I know survived an IED attack in Iraq but the four other people in his Humvee were killed, he might want to find meaning in why only he survived. He might feel somehow responsible for carrying on in a meaningful way to make their deaths less random and nonsensical. He might also become religious because it's too painful to believe that those four other guys simply winked out of existence in a meaningless war that didn't do anything for anybody (aside from some people making a lot of money (and aside from opening up the country to more chaos and instability)). And the meaning he might find in his life is becoming the center of attention just like he always wanted but could never attain. He became a comedian who also inspires people because he's so badly burnt and disfigured, how can he tell jokes?! Now his life has meaning even if his jokes and his poetry never get any better because the people who hear and read them are Christian and patriotic supporters who can't be critical of anything he does. So if he says in a poem that his daughter is crying "alligator tears," nobody tells him that they're "crocodile tears" and that if his daughter is crying them, it means she doesn't actually care that he's off in Iraq. And when his only joke is that he was blown up and set on fire, nobody minds because he was blown up and set on fire and—look at that!—he can still stand up and tell jokes! So inspiring!

Now if my thought process were better than it is, I would delete all of that so that I don't sound like a jealous and bitter friend. But I explained my thought process earlier so you can judge me but I've got my Oreos ready to go after you misunderstand the hyperbole and facetiousness. Also, I'm not jealous and bitter. I'm supportive but critical! Which is why I didn't post what I just wrote on his wall. Because he can take supportive but I don't think he's up for critical. Especially hyperbolic and super truthful critical. Hypothetically, I mean!

Back to how this comic book is doing its part to reset the DC Universe into the Post-Zero-Hour, Pre-New 52, Post and Pre a bunch of other stuff I can hardly guess at because DC Continuity is super fucked, a news report on a hospital television reports on Hawk, Dove, Red Star, and the Rocket Reds. So maybe I was wrong about Post-Zero-Hour! Maybe this reboot is post-Crisis only? And I might be wrong about that too! Isn't the current Superman from the Crisis timeline where they actually beat the Anti-Monitor? It's hard to remember Convergence because it was super boring and terribly written. It rated 5 Flaccid Penises out of 5. Unless you're totally into flaccid penises and then it rated zero of them.

Along with the Rocket Reds and Red Star gearing up for an anti-west battle, Pozhar has stepped up to the plate as well. Or whatever you step up to in Russian baseball. Do they have something akin to baseball in Russia? Maybe cement-block-call? If we're going by themes, it's beginning to look like we're headed back to the eighties cold war, so a reboot to pre-Crisis levels of continuity isn't completely off the table! If I didn't know Geoff Johns was writing this, I'd be tempted to guess it was Dan Jurgens.

The Cold War of this ear isn't about nuclear superiority but about metahuman superiority. But that's just a superficial difference, really! What's actually happening in Watchmen 2: Doomsday Clocks is identical to what was happening in Watchmen. Which means everybody will get along at the end not when Mister Terrific teleports a fake space creature into the middle of New York but when an actual cosmic threat attacks Earth and all the American and Russian metahumans have to team up to save the day. Then everybody will be inspired and begin fucking. Right on panel! I hope.

In Moore's Watchmen, there was a thread with that kid reading the pirate book. I wasn't smart enough to know what that was about. Maybe it had something to do with how, to survive, the lead turned himself into a monster the way Ozymandias did. Or maybe it was just about the kinds of things media used to distract the populace. Who can tell?! Not me! Anyway, this series has Nathaniel Dusk stories as the story within a story. I guess it's the only way DC could get people to read them. So boring! You can tell they were boring if you read them in 1984. Also because an old man really loves them in this comic book. That old man is Johnny Thunder! His name makes him sound exciting but you'd be wrong! More boring! And he's trying to get the Justice Society back into continuity. Most boring of all!

Some of you might be bristling at my description of the Justice Society as "most boring of all." But you've forgotten about the hyperbole and facetiousness! There's a twenty-five percent chance that I actually liked the Justice Society and own a bunch of their comic books!

The Superman Theory states that the American government is in the business of making metahumans to make sure they retain control on the world stage. Most of the heroes deny that they were made by the government because they were actually made when they were exposed to Nth Metal. Duh. Everybody who believes The Superman Theory must not have read Metal. How did they miss it? It was the biggest and longest blockbuster ever produced! Anyway, Lois thinks Lex Luthor is the one behind this propaganda. But Lex denies it. In fact, he says somebody in the government is creating metahumans and that person was once a member of the Justice League! So, um, like Lex?

Hopefully the reveal of the person behind The Superman Theory doesn't wind up being somebody like Commander Steel. With a twist like this, it's got to be somebody you generally associate with the League, like Martian Manhunter or Gleek.

Here Ozymandias lectures Batman thanks to years of terrible comic book writers.

By the end of this issue, Rorschach and Saturn Girl have caught up with Johnny Thunder who finally found Alan Scott's lantern. Batman has been captured by The Joker. And Geoff Johns is well on his way to telling comic book fans how dumb they've been accepting the bullshit narrative they've been fed for years that super villains only exist because super heroes exist.

Rating: This issue was called "There is no God" and it had nothing to do with the story inside. But it was used because it was part of the Eugene O'Neill quote that closes the issue: "When men make Gods, there is no God!" Is that how every issue has been titled so far? Using a bit of the quote at the end? I haven't been paying close enough attention to know. Anyway, I have a few issues with that quote. First off, you shouldn't capitalize "Gods." I suppose you can argue that you would capitalize "Johns" but if you choose to do that, I probably don't like you and would discount your argument on that basis alone. I mean, the point is that men are making little gods which kills the proper noun God. Second, why does it end in an exclamation point? Is the second half of that statement such a huge twist that it needed the surprise element of the exclamation point? Maybe Eugene knew it was a fairly week turn to the phrase and thought the exclamation point would bolster the sentiment. I know that trick! The third problem I have with it is that I don't understand it in the context of this story. Is Johns saying that super heroes have replaced God? Are fans now supposed to feel reprimanded for being blasphemous monsters?! Am I supposed to believe that if we rely on heroes, we have lost our faith in God? Is Johns saying inaction through faith is better than relying on super heroes? Or is he saying that we lose our own motivation and free will when we expect heroes to save the day? How is that any different than expecting God to save the day? I guess in that context, I understand the quote! "When we come up with something more entertaining that still doesn't actually help or save humanity, we've forgotten the original concept we came up with that doesn't actually help or save humanity!" Hmm, good quote! I've won myself over! Five out of five stars! Not for this issue but for my twisted logic!

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Terrifics #4

The killer squid is Plastic Man's fingers. I mean, ew, I hope it's his "fingers."

What does "the new age of heroes" mean? Shouldn't it read "Hey! We really are sorry about The New 52! And we know Rebirth didn't quite convince everybody that we're trying to apologize profusely for The New 52 so will this work? It's a new age of heroes! That means we at DC are recommitted to telling quality stories about heroes you don't give a shit about simply because Scott Snyder used them in that stupid Metal comic book. Not that we think it was stupid! Nobody at DC is rolling their eyes at this statement right now at all! We loved Metal! I mean, it was metal, right?! And 'metal' isn't a category of music that hasn't been relevant for thirty years, Scott! Everybody totally still thinks it's way cool and parents totally suck and jean jackets with 'Slayer' patches never went out of style! So, um, anyway, enjoy this comic book with that idiot Plastic Man in it! And if you think it's wacky that we've brought him back, just wait until you see who's a member of the new Justice League Dark: Detective Chimp! Dan DiDio may never have a boner again. And it's all for the fans!"

That might be a bit too much to put at the top of every new DC comic book. "The New Age of Heroes" probably works better.

If you haven't been reading this comic book, here's a quick summary: Phantom Girl's ass is succulent.

I just looked up the definition for "succulent" because I suspected I might be calling her ass a plant of some sort. But I used it as an adjective which is defined as "tender, juicy, and tasty." So, exactly the word I wanted!

Phantom Girl has a new diary in which she isn't writing secret sex stories about her hand's love affair with her vagina. Instead she's writing silly stuff like how she calls Metamorpho "Rexamorpho" because, I guess, that's cute or something? It makes it sound like she's too young for me to be salivating over her backside. What is Lemire trying to do here?! Make me feel uncomfortable about my lustful feelings for a fictional character?! As if I don't have enough reasons to hate myself. He could have at least allowed Phantom Girl to begin her diary entry with "According to Bgztl orbit around its sun, I'm only sixteen years old. But that's forty-five in Earth years! So a 45 year old Earth guy could totally eat my ass if he was into that even though I'm going to keep writing in this diary and acting like I'm sixteen. That might seem a little gross to certain people on Tumblr who don't know the definition of 'fictional' but what are older guys reading comic books supposed to jerk off to? Aunt May?! Get with the times, man!"

The Terrifics are on their way to Bgztl to learn how to pronounce it. While they're traveling there, I'm going to watch Drake's video, "I'm Upset," one more time. I'm just really disappointed that Caitlin wasn't in it (just in case you were wondering if I was actually into age appropriate women and their butts).

Tone down the sex talk, Phantom Girl! Geez!

The Terrifics decide that going on an original adventure would be too difficult so they decide to reenact the trash compactor scene from Star Wars. In this day and age, that's an acceptable plot because fans feel smart when they can make the connection between an original work and the thing plagiarizing that work. They call it a "reference" and it elevates a written piece from boring garbage to intelligent pop culture commentary!

Metamorpho brings up the fact that Mister Terrific always called himself the "third smartest person on Earth" and Mister Terrific begins to backpedal on that fact. He's all, "Third smartest?! Why, that's just hyperbole and facetiousness! I'm not really a terrible comic book reviewer that jerks off over young fictional super heroes! Sheesh! Can't you tell the difference between somebody just being entertaining and somebody who's an actual disgusting pervert?!"

The Terrifics bond a bit in the trash compactor while battling the trash squid. It's the perfect amount of letting the readers get to know the characters and letting them bond realistically so the team doesn't seem as forced as the premise that they'll blow up if they separate balanced with just enough action for the people who like to read comic books. After they escape, they arrive on Bgztl to discover that Phantom Girl was trapped in the Dark Multiverse for thirty-two years which means she's really older than I am and I'm totally allowed to think about putting my tongue in her ass. In your face, judgy judgers!

Rating: You know how I often read comic books and think, "Why am I still reading comic books?" Well this comic book didn't make me think that! It was well put together, had great art, and was an enjoyable read. And that's my praise before I even add in Phantom Girl's butt! It also had a sweet message in a saccharine kind of way that some of you emotional nitwits might enjoy.

Plastic Man #1

Plastic Man is a smarmy bitch.

With the return of Plastic Man to the DC Universe, DC Comics is declaring they don't give a fuck about being taken seriously anymore. Which is a good thing! Plastic Man is a sign that DC is daring to have fun again. They completely lost their sense of humor for awhile and then doubled down on not ever having a sense of humor ever again with The New 52. "Ambush Bug and Detective Chimp?" spat Dan DiDio into the faces of every writer who dared to mention that they chuckled at Giffen and DeMatteis's Justice League one time. "They're out! Put them in a stupid news feature in the back of the comic book! Make sure everybody knows they're out of continuity!" he declared as he wrote on the white board in the staff meeting room, "Continuity is king!" But after being criticized for a number of New 52 years and realizing that maybe they weren't making the barrels full of cash they had anticipated, Dan DiDio erased the white board and wrote, "Fans are stupid jerks." Then he put Tom King in charge of Batman to make sure everybody knew continuity was less important than great story telling.

By the way, that was a compliment for Tom King! It was also a criticism for all the people who can't stand Tom King's Batman because they wouldn't know a good story if Scott Lobdell knew how to write one.

I'm pretty sure I made my point in one of those last two paragraphs so I'm just going to move on without rereading them.

So. Plastic Man. He's perhaps the goofiest comic book character in the DC Universe that isn't named Aquaman. But he has to be taken seriously now because Scott Snyder said so. Although maybe I'm wrong about that because why would DC give a serious character to Gail Simone? She's just going to make him revel in fart and dick jokes.

You know what I just realized? I'm terrible at comic book reviews.

The issue begins with Eel getting his ass kicked by some low life thugs who used to be his friends. Then he makes a dick joke.

I might not know how to review comic books but I know how to spot somebody who loves a good dick joke.

For somebody who thinks they know a good dick joke, I can't even think of one right now. And the more I think about it, the more I realize maybe I've never told one in my entire life! What constitutes a good dick joke? Is it just referencing a penis like in the panel above? Does that count? Is emphasizing Grayson's first name when Bruce is scolding him technically a dick joke? Is the bill for the therapist I hired because the first woman who ever put her hands down my pants chuckled a dick joke? Oh wait! I just remembered a couple of dick jokes! The first one is that one where the guy wishes for a seven inch pianist (which seems weird because why not wish for an eight inch pianist? Is that too much?!). The other one I first heard in fifth grade and I didn't understand it but I pretended to because I didn't want to be embarrassed. It had a really strange premise where a cop was arresting me and a friend and somebody we didn't like (for purposes of the joke at the time, the person my friend and I didn't like was Paul Avila (sorry, Paul, if you're Googling your name!)). For some reason, the perverted cop decided he would let us all go if our penises measured thirteen inches. So I pulled out mine and it was six inches. Then my friend Daniel pulled out his and it was six and a half inches (of course he got the biggest penis! He was telling the joke!). Then Paul pulled out his and it was half an inch. Just enough so that the cop allowed us to go free. Afterward, Paul said, "Whew! Good thing I was popping a boner!" I laughed even though I was in fifth grade and didn't know the slang term "popping a boner." Maybe I was just a late bloomer and had never popped one before. It's hard to say because I didn't keep a boner diary when I was younger.

That last sentence makes it sound like I keep a boner diary now. But that's none of your business.

Anyway, Plastic Man works in a strip club where the strippers dress like superheroes. I hope most of the comic book takes place in this location. A few years ago, I met a stripper who called herself Princess Unicorn Pants. I still regret not running away with her because now I just sit alone at night searching for porn that never exists on Tumblr.

I'm so disappointed in you, Internet.

Later, after Plastic Man has a nightmare about the guy he thinks he killed when he was a criminal, a woman named Obscura shows up in his apartment. She works for Spyral which is probably important because she might know Dick Grayson and Dick Grayson's first name is Dick. Get it?

They get it!

I'm glad Gail Simone deals with the elephant in the room in this first issue otherwise I'd be reading every issue thinking, "So, how big is Plastic Man's penis? Big, right?" And I think this answers the question! Just look at Obscura's face! That's not the face of a woman looking at a tiny penis. I should know because I've never seen that face before.

Obscura wants to discuss the kind of conspiracy you'd learn about if you read Rosanne Barr's Twitter feed. And just as Plastic Man is learning about this conspiracy, he's drawn directly into it! His old criminal pal Benny is murdered and before he dies, he writes, "IT JLA," in blood on the wall. So Obscura was right! The superhero teams have been infiltrated by baddies! I hope they aren't Manhunters again. Or white martians! Although when your team has Lobo on it, would you really be surprised if people began winding up slaughtered for no reason? Seriously, Batman, maybe try Zip Recruiter next time.

Plastic Man is fingered for the murder which sounds sexier than it really is. He'll probably get away next issue or else this series is just going to be Plastic Man telling dick jokes from a prison cell for fifty issues.

Rating: Three and a half inches out of five inches. Is that enough to satisfy readers? I don't think so. Maybe I should say seven inches out of ten inches. That sounds like a better system, right?! Now to see if maybe PorhHub knows what Sleestaks do in the privacy of their own caves.

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