Monday, January 28, 2019

Team Titans #15

Team Titans is an anagram for Matte Saint.

What is it about the early art of Phil Jimenez that I can't stand? I would like somebody else to tell me what's aesthetically displeasing about it because I can't figure it out. I'm assuming it has something to do with the uncanny valley. Is it that he's drawing the characters as realistically as possible but just slightly missing the mark? Kilowatt is the best looking character on this cover so maybe I have a problem with his noses? And eyes? And mouths? And leg muscles? And Terry?

Some people probably read comic books because they love the combination of the art and the writing. But I read comic books because I'm an idiot. You know how long it just took me to read Frankenstein? I began reading it in May and it's now the end of January. It's only 220 pages but Shelley packs a lot of words into those pages. In comparison, comic books have much fewer words! It only takes me a few hours to read a comic book. I suppose if I read it straight through, it would only be a few minutes. But I sometimes read terrible comic books like Team Titans so I'm including the time I spend avoiding reading it in the time it takes to read it. So sometimes it takes over a week to finish one comic book!

My point is that I don't generally read comic books for the art. The art is just a bonus if I like it and barely a blip on the radar if I don't. Sometimes the art skews into so bad I love it territory but that's pretty rare. It usually happens with artists who insist on doing their own writing and they're a big enough comic book celebrity to be left alone by an editor. Then you get some legendary Rob Liefeld or David Finch shit where you can't follow the action from one panel to the next. Some comic book fans might bristle that I put David Finch and Rob Liefeld in the same category, and I understand why. A lot of you are dopes who think David Finch is a great artist. I won't deny that he draws well. But to be a great artist, I think you have to be able to draw men who have actual human lips instead of fish lips and women who might sometimes look older than fourteen. Also maybe tone it down with the double page splash pages?

But I'm not here to criticize Phil Jimenez at the beginning of his career, especially when I can't articulate what it is about his art I don't like (at least with Liefeld, I can argue with his supporters by typing in all caps, "DYNAMIC?! HALF OF HIS CHARACTERS STAND LIKE POORLY MOLDED ACTION FIGURES!"). Besides, I don't think you're allowed to call anything terrible anymore. You have to just say, "It doesn't do it for me!" After that, you wink and make a jerk-off or gagging motion (or both!). Besides, judging by the letters pouring in, some idiots love his work! I know they're idiots because they also think this comic book is good.

I mentioned I just finished reading Frankenstein so that people will think, "Ooh! Grunion Guy reads actual literature! La dee da!" I jotted down some of my thoughts while reading it.

"The doctor's name is Frankenstein. The name of the monster is Frankenstein Jr."

"First three chapters of Frankenstein: 'I'm about to seriously challenge your suspension of disbelief so here's a bunch of science and magic Victor studied that probably explains it all.'"

"'She also might turn with disgust from him to the superior beauty of man; she might quit him, and he be again alone, exasperated by the fresh provocation of being deserted by one of his own species.' — The moment Frankenstein's monster would become an incel."

"I hope Mary Shelley gets the credit she deserves for being the first to write about incels. Frankenstein's monster is a text book example of a guy who does horrible shit because he's desperate to get laid while laying the blame for his actions on everybody else."

"In Shelley's Frankenstein, Frankenstein hesitates to create a bride for his monster because he imagines she might have a terrible will and desires of her own and not be the perfect obedient bride. As if a man would ever come to that conclusion! Suspension of disbelief ruined!"

"Somebody needs to tell Frankenstein about the birds and the zombies."

"Apparently every sentence in this book begins with 'alas!'"

I had some other notes but most of those were just me wondering when Abbot and Costello would be introduced.

Let's get back to the Team Titans by examining the inside front cover.

I am now on eBay trying to get a copy of this disaster.

Dark Joker? How many writers at DC Comics have looked at the character of the Joker and thought, "Why didn't somebody make this guy more evil?" With The Batman Who Laughs, Scott Snyder must just be the latest in a long line of writers who have based all of their work on the most famous line from Crocodile Dundee.

In this issue, Councilwoman Alderman's grandchild from the future has returned to the past to launch a negative public relations campaign against the Team Titans. Some of that previous sentence is speculation. But I'll assume it's true because I know comic books. The bottom line is Jeffrey Jensen (the writer!) seemed to believe that this comic book needed to be exactly like the New Titans: a group of superheroes that don't do any actual superheroing are being smeared by the press. At least the Team Titans aren't purporting to help people. They've already done their job by defeating Lord Chaos and now are just trying to live their lives. Although they did make the mistake of completely trashing a mall. I suppose the millions of dollars in damage to the mall was worth stopping the theft of one hourglass. I don't see why the media should suddenly paint them in a negative light.

Except maybe for Kilowatt. I thought maybe he was a black man that was transformed into an energy being, probably because his Aunt and Uncle in this timeline were African American. Which is why I thought he was going to be in for a shock when he discovered why the Longs' neighbor was flying a confederate flag. But it turns out, Kilowatt is simply racist and was trying to make friends with another good ole boy.

I guess he has a crush on Mirage because she can just turn into a white girl?

The evil jerk plotting the Team Titans' downfall via bad press is a bald white guy in a purple suit. But he's from the future so he's not the bald white guy in a purple suit you're thinking of.

Team Titans #15 Rating: Who knew comic books from the early 90s were so full of social justice?! The B-story was all about a Jewish woman and how she survived Nazi Germany with the help of a Team Titans group that Battalion doesn't recognize. I think there was some moralizing in there about how it was bad to be a Nazi. Weird how nobody was pissed off about this kind of stuff in 1993. The Internet teaming up with white guys who can't get laid has ruined everything! Even if I was bored, at least I can give this comic book a high ranking because it was anti-Nazi! The problem is that it was also boring. Maybe if Jeff Jensen had made being anti-Nazi less boring, we wouldn't have Nazis again! Fucking jerk.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

New Titans #104

At first glance, this cover seems really exciting! "The Final Fate of Cyborg" probably means that he's going to die, right?! The artist corroborates the theory by showing Cyborg receiving a bullet bukake. And the name of the story is "Terminus" which is basically just a fancy Thomas the Tank Engine way of saying "the end"! But then you begin to notice the cracks in this vision of paradise! First, this is only "part one" of the story. While that doesn't erase the thrill caused by the presumption that Cyborg will be dead at the end of this story, it does mean I'm going to have to read more than one more issue featuring Cyborg. The other problem? "Now Biweekly!" Two New Titans featuring Cyborg every month?! Who thought that was something to be trumpeted?! DC must only hire sadists.

The New Titans have been transported to Terminus by a rogue computer being so that they can save Cyborg who was kidnapped by the other computer beings. Except I'm sure that can't be right because this issue begins with Cyborg (controlled by Prester Jon) arriving with the other New Titans. Except because I was sure I couldn't be right, I pulled out Issue #103 to confirm that I was right and Marv Wolfman had decided, between issues, that maybe things should be different somehow? Look, it's only the first thing I'm going to be confused by in this issue. Would you like to see the second?

Pantha is now the funny one.

To fully understand the previous caption, you have to understand that Changeling used to be the funny one before he became depressed by his friend's transformation into an appliance less useful than a toaster (I suppose toaster's aren't technically "useless." But they're so specific in their purpose that I don't understand them on a fundamental level. How can something (or somebody) be that confident in their place in this world?! Doesn't a toaster want to experience other things?! Doesn't it worry that maybe it made a wrong choice? Sure, I understand that a toaster never actually had a choice to be anything but a toaster! But that's why this digression would be considered a metaphor!). And when I describe somebody as the "funny one," I don't actually mean they're funny. I'm using the phrase to denote that Marv Wolfman thinks they're funny but every reader of this comic book who wasn't developmentally arrested did not think they were funny at all.

Pantha makes a Tarzan reference five years before Tarzan would be released by Disney meaning she's, once again, making a reference an old man would make (and realize that when I'm calling the Marv Wolfman who wrote this in 1993 "an old man," I'm the same age now that he was then). But that's not too bad because Pantha is a mystery and we don't know how old she actually is. She might be a hybrid of a teen girl and a seventeen year old cat which means she's like 93 or something. But she's also including the name "Simba" which means she's keeping up with her current pop culture references too (that's where the teen girl half comes in!). In the age of the Internet, two pop culture references is roughly equal to one funny joke. But this wasn't written in the age of the Internet so Pantha had to add a little bit more for her routine. So by the time she says "loincloth sandwich," you should practically be in hysterics. Also, I probably shouldn't use the word "hysterics" seeing as how this is the age of the Internet.

The premise of Pantha's joke is that Tarzan once met up with a lion (not really named Simba!) who said, "Rooooaaaar! Roooaaaar! Rooooaaaar roooooaaaar!" But knowing that readers remember how Tarzan could talk to the animals (and this being the Internet, I don't have to make a joke here. I can just say "Doctor Dolittle!" and everybody reading this in groups of two or more will excitedly high five each other), we realize Tarzan hears, "We're here to help you!" But that was a lie because the lion was (being a LIE-on! Ha ha!) really just hungry for a loincloth. Fuck. Now I wish there were somebody nearby to high five.

I won't even mention the poorly edited stuff aside from this aside where I mention it.

But Pantha trying to be funny and snarky isn't the worst part of this panel (it can't be! Because I totally identify with Pantha!). The worst part is the way the light-being chooses to appear to the New Titans. What the fuck is that shit?! It's like Lobo and Image Comics fucked, got pregnant, chose to abort the baby, looked at the fetal tissue leftover and said, "Whoa! That would make a great Image character!" You know, exactly how all of the early Image characters were created. I bet his name is Bloodorgasm.

The Titans discover that the world of Technis is dying. The Technicians realized the only way they could be saved was to claim a soul. They learned this due to a story in Swamp Thing that I didn't read. I guess Swamp Thing fucked a Technician which caused her to gain a little bit of soul. I didn't realize that my soul could be expelled from my body through my semen. Also, whenever I use the word "soul," understand I only mean it metaphorically. Don't think I believe in anything so optimistic as life after death! I should be so lucky to be dumb enough that I could mistake my desires for actual truth.

Changeling realizes that the little computer people need Cyborg's soul if their civilization is to survive. But Changeling doesn't want to give it to them even though the request is equivalent to asking somebody if they can dismantle your toaster to use the parts for their life support machine.

Some of you might be wondering, "What's been going on with Baby Wildebeest? You don't discuss Baby Wildebeest enough!" And to you, I say, "Fuck off! Baby Wildebeest is the worst character Marv Wolfman ever came up with (and yes, I realize he came up with Pariah and Cat Grant). Baby Wildebeest spends every comic simply repeating famous lines from pop culture and expressing his love of video games. Occasionally he gets mad because somebody threatens "Momma" and then he Hulks out while Marvel lawyers get raging litigation boners.

New Titans #104 Rating: The Titans haven't done any real superheroing for about eighty issues. I might be engaging in hyperbole with that number but even if I had said "Forty issues," it would still be too many for a group that espouses to be heroes but should really just be guests on an episode of Jerry Springer. Was that an old man reference?!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Batman #63

King does Snyder's "Batman is happy/Last Temptation of Christ" story in one issue. And instead of the insufferable Commissioner Batman, we get John Constantine! King also lets slip he's on the side of the right: Snyder's happy Batman was all just due to Scarecrow gas.

I'm afraid I'm going to forget what was happening in the non-Batman dream part of the story by the time King gets back around to it. Also, what happened to Dick Grayson after he got sniped in the face? Does DC actually expect me to read Lobdell's Nightwing to find out?! Fuck that! I'd rather not know!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Team Titans #14

Team Titans is an anagram for Meat Taints.

This issue begins with a fart joke and while I'd like to criticize writer Jeffrey Jensen for that, it would probably come off as hypocritical. Have you seen some of the immature shit I write? Just today, somebody on Twitter wrote, "A virus has spread around the planet. You are locked in at home. You must survive for 30 days. The last thing you ate is what you will eat until the virus passes. What are you eating for 30 days?" and I answered, "My own semen." At least, like everybody else on the planet, I didn't answer it seriously. As if the guy asking the question just wants to see an endless scroll of "Pizza!" and "Beer!" and "Chocolate!" Maybe not all people are so quick to lie like I am. I mean, the last thing I ate was not my own semen. If that virus actually did hit, it would 30 days of eating my girlfriend's asshole.

On the plus side, I didn't try to intimidate an elderly Native American Vietnam vet with my stupid friends who, judging by the video I'm referencing, are just a bunch of apes in Catholic school sweatshirts. I don't think I was ever friends with somebody who was a racist asshole. But I was friends with this one guy who was just a normal kind of asshole. And sometimes he would do something that you would expect an asshole to do. And in those times, I never backed him up. He once got his ass beat at a park for being a prick and I just stood by and shrugged. Maybe I even put on a lousy Maine accent and said, "You reap what you sow," as I watched him take his fucking medicine.

For those reading this who know me from high school, yes, I'm talking about Larry.

But now I'm a responsible adult who has decided instead of needing to make ethical and judgment calls based on your friends' actions, I would rather forego having friends. Comic books never look at me with a deep hurt in their soul because they feel betrayed by my friendship. They just sit there stupidly as I call them the worst names I can think of and express my extreme disappointment in them. So in a way, comic books are exactly like my friend Doom Bunny!

After the fart joke, the Team Titans enter a mall. I'm going to scan the first two panels to open them up for discussion. The main topic of the discussion is, "What the fuck? Did I just have a stroke? How dumb am I that I don't understand what just happened here? Please let me die."

Maybe Mirage developed echolalia due to her recent trauma? But that still doesn't explain why Battalion says distracted in the way he does.

Hopefully somebody else understands what just happened in these two panels because I've spent way too much time on it already. You might think I've only spent the amount of time it took to read it, scan the pictures, and type the previous words. But I first read this comic book in 1993. So now you know why I never amounted to anything.

Conveniently, the time criminals have decided to rob the mall. Time Commander's hourglass has wound up with some clock repair person who works in the mall and I guess super-villains can't just do a normal errand without robbing somebody. Not that they successfully rob anyone. At least I don't think they do. I'm confused by a bit more than the previous scans.

Chronos begins the comic book with just one arm even though I'm fairly certain he had two arms last issue. But then when he's battling Kilowatt, there's a "blink" and suddenly he has his arm back and he's saying, "Huh? Where the hell am I?" Maybe it will be explained next issue because the clock repair woman seems to have some kind of link to time travel. But even if she somehow manipulated time to give Chronos back his arm, where was it in the first place? I mean aside from on his body on the cover.

After the Team Titans destroy half the mall without even needing to (because apprehending these jerks was simple enough without Kilowatt destroying the roof and Terra destroying the foundation), Terra suddenly becomes a philosopher and psychologist. She realizes these criminals deal with time because they're obsessed with their own mortality. She then spends a page or two explaining why this is but all I read was "I'm Jeffrey Jensen and I have ideas, man! IDEAS!" You know, what everybody translates my reviews into as they read them. But just like every young person who thinks just because they have a hot take on something that they're great at deconstructing any text that crosses their path, Terra is just fucking wrong with her assumptions. I know this because I just read the Who's Who entry on Chronos and it explains why he's obsessed with time. It's because he saw how terrible he was at plotting crimes but was then inspired by the clockwork efficiency of the prison system! So he decided to learn how to make clocks. Although mostly he just learned how to make bombs that looked like clocks and guns that looked like clocks and deadly projectiles that looked like clock. He's basically Batman if Batman had had a neighbor who wanted to see time fly.

Team Titans #14 Rating: Terrible. Practically incomprehensible. Sure, overall I understood the story. Inept villains fail to rob mall while heroic team of teenagers destroy mall while stopping them. There's also a costume parade taking place in the mall but that never becomes a plot point like you would have expected it to. But following the story from panel to panel was too hard a chore for this Grandmaster Comic Book Reader. At least this issue has a letters page so I can read the terrible takes on why this comic book is great. That always makes me feel smarter than the five people who wrote in.

Friday, January 18, 2019

New Titans #103

Tumblr is definitely going to flag this as adult content.

Cyborg fans (I'm assuming there were at least two) were having a shit time in the 90s because Cyborg was out of commission for about two years. But if you really think about it, Cyborg fans were having a shit time every other decade as well because Cyborg is the most bland and boring character in the DC Universe. Sure, he says "Booyah!" occasionally but that's only worth it if you happen to be reading a Teen Titans comic book next to somebody else reading a Teen Titans comic book and you both read the "Booyah!" line at the same time so that you can reach over and high five. That's only happened to me like three times so I shouldn't use it as an example of the one thing that makes Cyborg interesting.

The shit that really makes Cyborg interesting are the things that are too serious to be discussed with my facetious and ham-handed approach to life. Like how Cyborg's character arc is that of a black American that had to be emasculated to be accepted by his white peers. He's sort of the Rankin/Bass Abominable Snowman of the Teen Titans. The only way Santa and his white capitalist regime will accept the Abominable Snowman (whom they refer to by a pejorative one word name, by the way. You know, the B-word (Also, the stereotype suggests that Abominable Snowmen can't swim)) is if they defang him and put him in chains. Then they use him to do the physical labor, like putting the star on the top of the tree. Fucking Santa was a racist scumbag piece of shit.

Anyway, I don't (and can't!) understand the things that really make Cyborg interesting. I mean, I can understand them when they're explained to me! But I can't come up with any of them because I find him too boring to contemplate in any serious way. One thing I do know: Marv Wolfman didn't fucking know what to do with him other than as a model for all the stereotypes Marv Wolfman knew. Oh, and smash him to bits in a rocket to Russia.

Marv Wolfman predicted Twitter

Just when you thought the Teen Titans had run out of relatives to attack them, Rita Farr shows up with the Brotherhood of Evil to disrupt the Titans' mind probe of Cyborg. During the fight, Terra finds time to remind Gar that she loves him because this comic book is ultimately a teen drama. It definitely isn't a super-hero comic book because the Titans never save anybody. It's simply a metaphor for being a teenager in nowhere near the same way Buffy the Vampire Slayer was. I mean, Buffy was as well but it was done competently which is why this is nothing like Buffy. Wolfman only knew that to be a successful teen drama, you need young people crippled by crushes, engaging in sex, and fighting with their parents. That's this entire series in a nutshell.

I once wrote a teen drama and here it is:

Canada Junior High

The fat kid ran up to the hot girl on his first day of Canadian School but not because he was hoping to become a man but because it was his sister.

"Hey sis! We're going to Canada School together now!" bothered the fat kid. His name was Fatkid.

"Don't talk to me, you mopface!" screamed his sister completely irrationally just like a junior high school girl would act. Even in Canadia which just goes to show that communism isn't any better than whatever America has because teenage girls are mean and nasty everywhere. Especially to their mothers and fat brothers.

"But Sis! We need to stick together because our parents don't live in the same house and neither do we for some reason that isn't because our dad is a fish but some other reason. I think it is because he likes jokes and whoopee cushions. And chicks old enough to get married and do it don't like those things," expostulated Fatkid to Sis (that was her name in case you didn't catch that).

"I don't care! You're making me unpopular! Go bug someone who isn't me, you mopface!" re-emphasized Sis who immediately went into the bathroom to change into her popular clothes. That means she made herself look like a whore. While she did that, Fatkid went and got himself locked in a broom closet by Jacob Jacoby, the shortest kid ever to go to Canada School.

"Ha ha! That mopface sure fell for the old get yourself locked in the closet routine!" high-fived Jacob to Lizard and Spokes who were off to write one song for their band and play it every episode for the next five years.

"I think I'm a lesbian!" dreamed Spacelin during the big slumber party. Unless she had a medickal seizure instead. Either way it doesn't matter since both things probably make for good character development.

After that, Lucky did some shoplifting with that one girl who never returns after Christmas Break (unless it is called Boxing Day Break in Canada School). And then the cool girl got pregnant at a party just like all the cool girls do. You can tell she's the cool girl because she has hair that can put ten people's eyes out all at once.

Then some foreign exchange student named Doctor Somebody saved the world from inside a phone booth and some people asked for money while other people answered phones. That was weird but it's probably important to the story so if you're an editor, don't even think about taking it out. I think there were some really scary puppets who only ate vegetable soup looking for treasure while riding in a hot air balloon too but I don't like to think about that because it gives me the creeps and this isn't a scary story; it's a coming of age story!

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that Fatkid was rescued from the broom closet by the Asian kid, Bob. Bob and Fatkid become really good friends and enjoy a good flashback in the cafeteria to get everyone caught up on all of their shenanigans like the time they cheated on the male enhancement test and the time they had to do oral reports on cheap pottery.

Then the twins ran around pretending to be each other but you could always tell which was which by the gross plaque that Prude had on her teeth and Skank didn't. It's really disgusting and I think that paints a pretty good portrait of them so I'll move on to the big dance finale!

At the big graduation dance, the school caught fire and burned down. Unless it was destroyed by a giant snake instead. It was very exciting and initiated a new phase in all of their lives.

The End!

Rita and the Brotherhood of Evil wind up being blobby light creatures from a technological world creatively called Technis. They kidnap Cyborg because he's some kind of human/machine interface and they need him to wipe out a virus infecting their sister Zavior. One of the Technites has second thoughts about the kidnapping and remains behind to help the Titans travel to Technis for a four issue story arc that is going to completely suck.

Meanwhile, Pantha continues to suffer the worst existential crisis in the history of sentient beings: is she a cat that became human or a human that became a cat?! My guess is she's a cat that became a human because she's too stupid to realize that, being created by Project Hybrid, her issue should be "Am I the offspring of a cat that fucked a human or a human that fucked a cat?!" Oh wait. That's the same thing. Anyway, Pantha should buy a dictionary.

New Titans #103 Rating: Boring. It was a Cyborg issue! And the only thing more boring than a Cyborg story is a Cyborg story where he isn't brain dead. So this Cyborg story was actually a bit better than the usual ones. Plus Pantha freaking out about not knowing if she's a cat or a human was lamer drama than that found in any episode of CW's Arrow.

P.S. The Letters Page!

Ingrid Nuernberg substantiates my claim that Titans is nothing but a melodrama when she writes, "The current story arc is better than any soap opera." But she isn't criticizing the comic book! She's actually praising it! Weirdo.

All of the letters were in regard to Issue #100 and not one of them mentioned the rape of Starfire by Raven. Although Johnathan Mark Campa of Glendale, California, had this to say, "...the lip-lock between Raven and Kory (HOT STUFF)...". I feel you, Johnathan! I hate when comic book artists draw the women so hot that you don't realize something terrible is happening in the story! How am I supposed to know I should feel shocked and horrified when I have a boner stirring in my pants?! You know how many dead heroes I've jerked off to?! Stupid artists! Make terrible things look terrible so I stop acting terribly!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Team Titans #13

I'm not saying there should be a version of Let's Make a Deal where awful things happen to people who choose the wrong curtain but I am saying I'd lie to people's faces when I told them I absolutely do not watch it.

This issue begins with a bunch of rainbow silhouettes trying to time travel. I bet their superhero team name is God's Covenant.

I was visiting with my youth pastor the other day and he was all, "Grunion Guy, don't you think you should include more Biblical references in your writing? Maybe less references to blow jobs and gay sex?" And I was all, "Hey! Lay off! I don't tell you how to do your hand job!" Then just to let him know I was upset, I didn't make eye contact while he finished.

But the Biblical references thing was a good idea! I need to cast a net to catch a wider audience. That was probably a Biblical allusion right there! It was definitely an allusion to Spanish dancing.

After the rainbow kids fail to time travel (but when they get it right, I bet it'll be super exciting! They're probably the children of the Team Titans who need to go back in time to poke holes in their parents' condoms), Clock King escapes prison. He's teaming up with Calendar Man. I assume they're starting a wedding catering business.

I just lost the ability to orgasm.

It's too bad I can't orgasm now that I saw Deathwing's nipples and tongue because the next few panels are of Mirage bending over in her underwear! Sure, she's traumatized and puking from the time Deathwing raped her. But she's in her underwear! If artists didn't want me to masturbate to hot characters in their underwear, they shouldn't draw them so sexy! They should make them obviously horrified and in pain and anguish which probably means concentrating on their face instead of their asses and pudenda. Like the way they drew Deathwing in the above panel. Nobody is going to masturbate over that! Unless they're a gay male into really flamboyant men just barely exposing their rock hard nipples and hiding in showers. They also need to love sharp spikes just over the mouth giving them a thoroughly satisfying blowjob.

Just because I was turned off by Deathwing's appearance doesn't mean I can't recognize his blowjob expertise.

Donna is concerned that Mirage needs to see a doctor and maybe a therapist because of her traumatic experience. But Battalion, being a rational male who knows the inherent manipulation within all social justice story arcs in super hero comic books is...well wait a second. Isn't social justice the point of all the story arcs?! What the fuck is the point that comicsgaters are trying to get across? "We just want to see people punching each other in tight costumes! I don't want any of that shit where the heroes are trying to make the world a better place! Just stop the robberies and leave the racism and sexism for your feminist romance novels!" scream the comicsgater strawman character I just invented (whom I'm certain isn't actually a strawman at all and pretty close to the mark). Um, anyway, Battalion's reaction comes off a bit cold and patriarchal.

Here's a small hint about the word patriarchal for the anti-feminists: it's not the same as saying men. The majority of mothers in the 70s would probably have had the same reaction as Battalion to their child being sexually assaulted. "Oh dear. It's just boys being boys. Run some water over it and have some ice cream. You'll feel better in a few hours."

Donna, being a social justice Titan, can't let Battalion have the last word. She's all, "She needs to see a doctor! And probably a therapist! And get an AIDS test!" And just like that, it's an after-school special on HIV!

This was in 1993. Is this what Comicsgaters mean when they want to go back to old school comic books? Because if that's their argument, I don't think they have an argument! Although if their argument is that this kind of thing ruins the comic book, they obviously haven't read the rest of the comic book. This might be the best bit!

So the conversation about whether or not Mirage should see a doctor and a therapist after being sexually assaulted ends with Battalion declaring he doesn't want to talk about it anymore. Why isn't this guy the poster child for the Comicsgate movement?

Ugh! Enough about those creeps. I'll save really discussing them when I reread Cerebus! If you want to see what happens when a guy believes feminism means completely overthrowing the patriarchy and establishing a matriarchy and what he thinks that would look like, you'll love Cerebus! I love a lot about Cerebus but Dave Sim doesn't come across as logical as he believes he is. It seems a large part of his anti-feminist philosophy stems from the fact that he doesn't believe relationships benefit anybody and since he's a cis-hetero man, that means the problem is women. He claims he's not a misogynist but then acts offended (or whatever the "rational" expression of "offended" is (because he's not emotional!)) when somebody calls him one after his conclusion from research on Mothers and Daughters is that women are dull and uninteresting if he doesn't want to fuck them. I mean, a lot of men are dull and uninteresting too but he doesn't see that as a problem because he never wants to fuck men. If a man is interesting and he enjoys being around that man, the man becomes a friend. If it were a woman, that woman would become somebody he wants to fuck. I'm not sure what his thoughts on a woman who he isn't attracted to that's interesting. Maybe he never finds out because he's all, "Ugh! I don't want to fuck that! She sucks!" Also Dave has been celibate for like twenty years or something so, at the very least, he's putting his dick where his mouth is.

Oh man that sounded hot.

Calendar Man and Clock King break out Chronos to join their catering business. If they wind up just being criminals, I'm going to be severely disappointed. They could really start a fantastic business by combining their powers. Stiff competition? Just go back in time and start your business earlier! Need to provide products by a certain time? Who better than these jerks?! Need additional resources? Travel to the future and borrow against your future earnings! They could be such a success! But I have a feeling they're just going to rob a bank.

And then the SJW hits just keep coming! Fucking Team Titans! I'm trying to avoid noticing social justice concerns in comic books the Comicsgaters hold up as the pinnacle of the genre!

"Look! A confederate flag! That just means we'll have lots of southern things to discuss!" says Charlie who is in for a racist shock about what the flag really means, at least in our timeline.

Dressed as women, the Time Buddies pick up Time Commander from an insane asylum.

Aha! This is more like it! Back to the days before male nurses existed!

Later that night, Donna Troy and Terry Long fuck and I finally think, "Writer Jeff Jensen, you've gone too far!" And Jeff Jensen replies (I imagine), "Too far? Wait until you hear Terry's thoughts on the sex!"

I hope the "Mmmmm!" is because of something he found in the fridge and not a memory of what Donna did to his dick.

Team Titans #13 Rating: A few other things happened but does it really matter? I can't actually retain anything else after Terry Long thinking about how wild his sex life is. I know I'm not speaking for anybody else and that this might be a little insensitive but the above panel is more traumatic to me than Mirage being sexually assaulted by Deathwing. I'm not saying it should be more traumatic for everybody! I'm just saying it was for me and nobody can deny me my pain and suffering! On the other hand, it's canon that Calendar Man enjoys wearing bras. So this was a pretty historic issue of DC Comics.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

New Titans #102

Why couldn't this have been Starfire on the cover?

One of the big changes to the New Titans post Issue #100 involves Gar Logan's powers. It was okay to be a character that could turn into all sorts of cute and lovable animals in the eighties. But this was now the fucking 90s, motherfucker! Nobody is going to be impressed by Changeling turning into a raccoon to steal Gizmo's batteries out of his World Destruction Gadget. This is the era of people named Deathblow and Deadkill and Murderfuck! So Marv Wolfman pulled on his "I'm Keeping Up With the Times!" pants and decided Gar could now only turn into the most vicious and scary looking demonic creations. So instead of becoming a bear and getting Deathstroke in a bear hug to save the day, Gar now has to turn into a creature with three mouths full of teeth and seventy thousand dicks. The dicks aren't in the mouth specifically. I mean, with seventy thousand of them, I'm sure some of them are in the mouth. But I didn't mean for the description to sound like all of them were in there.

Since Councilwoman Alderman went insane and died, she's been replaced by Councilman Quirk. At first you might think he's basically the same character because has he got a huge bee in his bonnet about stopping the Titans before they get any more citizens of New York hurt or cause millions of dollars more in damages. But then you realize, "Oh! He's got a dick!" So that's probably why the change.

Or maybe because it would be hard to sympathize with Arsenal if he were screaming like this at a woman? Not that it's at all easy to sympathize with his terrible position. Screaming at a guy making salient points to just shut up and "lissen" to you? Maybe chill out a bit, Roy. Have you tried opiates?

I can understand how Roy would like to clear up this mistake that Sinn is a Titan. But I'd argue that he should allow the misconception. Sinn has now saved more New Yorkers from criminal harm than the Titans have in 101 issues! I think this situation can be spun in a positive direction! Roy should have been all, "Sure, Titans don't kill! And Sinn didn't kill these scumbags. They were merely killed in the commission of a crime against the people of New York. Sinn couldn't know they didn't have invulnerability! If you dress as a super villain to commit crimes, you have to expect that you're going to, at some point, be punched by Superman. You think people would blame Superman for killing somebody who acted invulnerable and was putting people in harm's way?! He'd punch that fucker into outer space without a second thought and be proud of the lives he saved. Why would anybody spend a second thinking about the dumb criminal who died doing dumb criminal stuff?! It's the criminal's own fault, really!"

If you have any problems with that line of reasoning, don't argue them back at me! That was Roy Harper saying that stuff!

I shouldn't even bother discussing the Titans and their adventures. Liz Alderman (I decided to finally use her first name because I think I'm the only one amused by the phrase "Councilwoman Alderman") and her male replacement, Leonard Quirk, quickly become the most intriguing aspect of Marv Wolfman's Teen Titans. Marv wants so desperately to create a public persona who condemns the Titans while obviously being on the wrong side of history. And yet, she's absolutely proven right every step of along the way. If one were to go through this entire series and count the number of times the Titans saved people from danger which the Titans were not ultimately responsible for, the number would be far less than the amount of story arcs within the last hundred issues. The Titans bring danger and destruction to New York City. Liz Alderman has valid complaints about their proximity to the city. She should be praised as a hero trying to save her community. Instead she's vilified and treated as a mere nuisance and public relations nightmare.

Ultimately, I think Marv Wolfman realized Liz might be more sympathetic than he expected. So what does he do? He reveals that she's being manipulated by Raven gone evil. Which, when you think about it even a little bit (which is all I can generally muster), doesn't invalidate her previous complaints! It just shows she was under the influence of evil when she was trying to get the Titans shut down. But that doesn't mean the Titans shouldn't be shut down! It just means terrible reasons to shut down the Titans line up with plenty of good reasons to shut them down! They're a fucking nuisance to the city and they, rightfully, should be banned from New York.

By the end of this issue, we learn that Councilman Quirk has been manipulated by Sinn! Oh no! Once again, good arguments against the Titans operating in the city will be overshadowed by the evil manipulating this poor man! The Titans sure do get lucky!

New Titans #102: Once again, the threat to the city isn't actually a threat to the city. Sinn is actively targeting the Titans. If they weren't there, she'd be off doing something else. I mean, sure, maybe she would be murdering people and looting the city because it wasn't protected by the Titans. But that's just rampant speculation on the part of Titans' lovers! Ignore them and just acknowledge the facts! On the plus side which is actually another negative side but I'm trying to be more positive, Cyborg might soon get his personality back! Unless he already has it back? It's hard to tell because he's so fucking boring.

The letters page is back and it's full of "did this person's brain get pierced by a screwdriver" compliments like this one by Jesper Christiansen: "The New Titans is definitely the best super-hero comic book on the market today. Marv Wolfman is an exceptional writer. While reading New Titans #97, I felt the same as when I was reading Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings; I couldn't get enough, and I didn't want it to end." Jeremy Norris sends in a list of questions and two requests, one reasonable and one because he loves boobs:

"1) Is Solar Flare Red Star's new name?
2) Will Aqualad ever get a new name?
3) Can you please bring Speedy back with a new name? How about Longbow?
4) Please get rid of Cyborg.
5) Will we ever see Aqualad, Troia, Nightwing, Flash and Speedy fight side by side again?
6) I would like to see a Titans action-figure set that includes Starfire and Redwing."

It sounds like Jeremy has an issue with some names! But Longbow? Ugh!

One reader whom I think I'd probably get along with great sent this:

Not lose Changeling. Not change Changeling's name. Not even a "please" kill Changeling. This guy understands communicating thoughts.

Team Titans #12

Didn't the Team Titans change the present enough to erase the future that wants them dead?!

You can tell Marv Wolfman read the X-men story introducing Cable while massaging a gigantic boner because this comic book exists. The "gigantic" part of that previous sentence is pure speculation on my part. I'm assuming Marv Wolfman has a big cock because he had the confidence to write the Teen Titans in a way that portrayed them as a hazard to New York City and then had the nerve to invent the character of Councilwoman Alderman and portray her was a villain. That's some fucking chutzpah. She was the most sensible and level-headed character in the entire 120+ comic book run of The New Teen Titans!

But this is the Team Titans and it's so much worse. So, so much worse. The Team Titans is composed of characters from both the future and an alternate timeline. Mostly they had to be from an alternate timeline because Marv Wolfman had the tremendously huge cock gall to make them from the year 2001, only ten years into 1991's future. Who fucking writes a story about time travelers and then has them only travel back in time ten years?! The problem that Marv was dealing with was that he had Donna Troy's baby grow into an adult about five seconds after leaving her womb. That meant he began his evil villain machinations before he knew how awesome sex was. Not that the Lord Chaos we see in this comic book ever had sex anyway since he was, at most, ten years old and even Marv Wolfman wouldn't have written a story where a ten year old boy has sex with an adult woman! Who would ever think that would be a great plot point for a movie?!

Rest in peace, Penny! That pointed critique was for you!

Even though, as I pointed out, the characters in Team Titans realize they're not in the past of their timeline but in a completely different timeline altogether, Battalion decides it would be a good idea to introduce himself to the woman who was never actually his wife.

It doesn't go great.

This goes a long way toward exposing one of the worst tropes in romantic comedies. It puts the emphasis on the man's feelings of love. His love being reciprocated by the woman he adores is more important than the woman herself. Romantic comedies nearly all have one message: if the guy tries long enough and puts in enough effort, the woman he desires will eventually fall in love with him. It doesn't matter if the woman just thinks of him as a friend or is already married or has told him to fuck off numerous times simply because she's not interested and he's being a fucking creep. By the end of the movie, she'll have seen the light! His love is the truest love and he deserves to be fucked by her. But when the woman is the protagonist, the guy she loves and desires usually winds up being a fucking dick so she settles for the guy who loved her all along and she just didn't notice. Why can't the woman's love be so powerful that the good looking asshole she totally wants to fuck eventually comes around and falls for her? Oh, that's right. Because good looking assholes don't write sappy wish-fulfillment romantic comedies!

Anyway, Battalion, who looks like a gigantic fantasy dwarf, decides it's a good idea to go to this stranger's place of work and introduce himself as the man an alternate version of her loved. It only takes two pages for Essie to come around and be all, "You know what? I'm not afraid of you for some reason! I think I might even love you, you big brute! Make like a rapist nerd in a teen comedy and eat my pussy!"

"Please, Essie! Don't be rational! Listen to your love box! It knows you want me!"

The creepy woman watching is Kole, the most boring Titan (somehow just edging out Danny Chase, Aqualad, and Cyborg). She's come to stop Battalion from kidnapping and raping Esther. Or maybe to just watch? Because, even though I said earlier that in two pages Essie falls for Battalion, she doesn't really. She just decides to trust him. Which winds up being a huge mistake because Battalion freaks out and runs off with her. But she eventually convinces him that she's not the woman he thinks she is and they part amicably. She's a better person than I am! I would have at least tried to gouge out his eyes and cut off his dick.

While Battalion fails to shove his face in the first vagina he's ever been in close proximity to (because he's pretending to be that nerd from Revenge of the Nerds who, somehow, knows how to provide an excellent oral sex experience the first time out!), the Team Titans destroy another block of New York while fighting a person who arrived from the future to destroy them. So, you know, they're just like the Titans. They aren't actually protecting anybody in New York from harm. They're just saving their own asses and putting New York residents in danger. Councilwoman Alderman for president, please!

Team Titans #12 Rating: Battalion learns a little something about consent with the least amount of consequences ever. And the Team Titans learn that if a new character is introduced into a comic book with too many characters already, that character will be dying as quickly as possible. RIP Sunburst, we hardly knew your ballbag hanging slightly out of your boxers during the fight. I think Terra's tribute to him should go on his gravestone: "He was a whiner. Maybe even a loser. But Sunburst was cute." Has a writer ever captured the experience of being female as well as Marv Wolfman?!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Justice League #15

Did the Nth metal enhance Hawkgirl's tits?

Last issue ended with Superman declaring that they had to evacuate the Earth because Starman was going to explode. This issue begins just a tad less dramatically.

Wonder Woman's so diplomatic. This must be her way of saying, "Evacuating the Earth is a bit much, Kal. This should suffice, you stupid farmboy."

Was Luke Skywalker a huge hero in the farmboy community? Did a whole bunch of farmer's kids in the 70s suddenly gain a huge amount of self-esteem and bravado? "Fuck yeah! We saved the universe! All those city dwellers are fucking garbage imperials!" I wonder how many of them got beat up after wearing tights and mini-kimonos to school after seeing Star Wars? They must have identified with him, right? I know I always identify with the son whose divorced mom still confusingly has glasses of wine with his dad as they watch Creature Features on Saturday Night while his sister plots fucking every boy in junior high.

Starman screams in pain as every cell in his body overloads with cosmic energy. But he still finds the composure to say, "Yo! The universe needs to be mended. Get to it, Justice League!" Lucky! Otherwise Wonder Woman would just kick him in the balls as Batman sticks a dozen razor-sharp Batarangs into his head and Superman punches him so hard in the stomach that Starman's colon blows out his backside. And then they'd never know what it was all about and the universe would implode while they were busy scratching their heads.

Hawkman is so savage that he chokes up on the mace to decrease his power. Because being savage means he's stupid, presumably.

Meanwhile on Hawkworld, characters I've never cared about do more things I don't care about.

No wait! I do care about what's going on because it's poorly written. At the end of last episode, Shayera told Hawkman to kill Kendra. She said, "Now kill her," not "Kill her but first let me say about five thousand words about how I don't relish doing this but, you know, politics!" It's a good thing she interrupts Hawkman's killing blow with her speech because it gives the Hawkguard who Hawkman was about to kill enough time to break through Martian Manhunter's mind illusion. It wasn't Kendra at all! It's like nothing Tynion wrote at the end of the last issue was true!

Be right back. Masturbating.

Um, so, J'onn learns the big secret: the current DC Multivers is a lie and the creator of the previous one, Perpetua, is coming back. I don't know who she is but I bet she's bringing some kind of crisis with her.

Back on Earth, Earth isn't destroyed by Starman. The huge threat that had Superman wanting to evacuate the entire Earth ends off-camera with Wonder Woman simply lassoing Starman. But you can tell it was a huge, tense, exciting fight because the Hall of Justice is now full of debris and dust. Also Wonder Woman's and Batman's cape (two different capes!) are shredded.

Justice League #15 Rating: I feel like DC released two versions of this comic book and I got the "Battle on Thanagar Prime" version. It was probably better than the "Trinity Battle Starman" version seeing as how that fight simply ended with Wonder Woman wrapping Starman in a rope. But I still can't help wanting the version I didn't get, like a sad, lonely, nerd version of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. My main gripe with this comic book (and probably almost all DC comic books at this point) is that the conflict is always escalated to the nth degree. Now the Justice League isn't even simply fighting for the fate of the entire universe; now they're fighting for the fate of the entire multiverse! At least nobody is calling it the omniverse. Ugh. Why did I remind myself of Scott Lobdell?! Now I need to drink until I vomit.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New Titans #101

Dick Grayson probably should have been smart enough to realize Starfire would have taken the term "jerk-off" literally.

It's been awhile since I read New Titans #100 but I think it was the wedding issue where Raven raped Starfire while everybody watched. It was also the issue where the Titans didn't make the world a better place in the way you would expect a super hero group to do. Once again, they just caused a lot of drama while an innocent person died. But this comic book was targeted at teenagers and not at middle aged men so I can see the appeal since "causing a lot of drama while an innocent person dies" just about sums up the life of a teenager.

Speaking of rape (which I probably shouldn't be speaking of but here we are), what the fuck went down in Detective Comics #666?

Kelly Jones should, contractually, only be allowed to draw Killer Croc and Swamp Thing.

I read Knightfall but I don't remember Azrael sucking Bane's cock. It seems like something I would have remembered.

Starfire struggles with what Raven did to her and, to help her fight the trauma of Raven's rape, Phantasm forces his way into her mind. I guess it's like when you're afraid of spiders so some smart-ass therapist sticks you in a box full of spiders to cure you of your fear. Although it seems like being stuck in a box full of spiders would be the cause of my fear of spiders. Also, I might have just made up that scenario and nobody has ever been shoved in a box full of spiders except on Fear Factor. But I feel like I've heard about fighting phobias with phobias, so I'm guessing everybody reading this has heard an anecdote or two about it as well. Also I think it was in the Bible. Anyway, it's a really exciting scene because Starfire is naked on every page! But only sickos and pervs thought it was sexy. I can't believe anybody can have a boner while reading this! Although it's true that my penis doesn't understand context as well as I'd like it to. But I can't totally blame my penis for enjoying inappropriate images! Comic book artists need to stop drawing dead females as if they were sexily waiting for sex!

After everybody watches Phantasm rape Starfire to help her cope with her rape, they rush in and hug her because she's cured! Although she's probably still pregnant with a demon from Azaroth.

This issue is called "Aftermath" and it's broken up into chapters so we, the reader, can get a handle on all the relevant plots that will be dealt with post issue #100. I hope one of those plots is not Cyborg getting his mind back because I've got to admit that I find him more entertaining as a mindless automaton. At least he doesn't shout "Booyah!" every other page. I also would have hoped that the next chapter wasn't about Arsenal but I already turned the page to discover that it was about him.

Arsenal invented the Pocket Chaps for 80s heroes trying to transition into the 90s style.

The government wants Roy Harper to become leader of the Titans because the Titans are practically a terrorist group. Roy is all, "No! No! It's not the Titans' fault that the minister exploded! It was Raven's fault! And, yes, I know she's a Titan! But we thought she was killed when her father attacked New York! Which technically wasn't the Titans' fault either! Yes, yes, I know they also battled Jericho's dad and Changeling's dad and Starfire's sister and Wonder Girl's son from the future. But it's not their fault they were too busy dealing with family problems to actually do any good!" But the government was just too insistent. They just wouldn't back down from getting Roy to lead a team that was a complete hazard to New York because the only other alternative would be to shut the team down. And that wouldn't do anybody any good, especially DC Comics!

When Roy tell's Dick that it's best for the team if Dick took some time off, Dick attacks Roy because, as he says, "Friends don't turn on friends!" Newer comic book fans often find it hard to believe there was a time that Dick Grayson was the worst character in the DC Universe. But then they don't realize there was also a time that Dick Grayson was mostly written by Marv Wolfman.

Roy and Dick both keep using the pronoun "us" when arguing about the government's desire to control "metagenetics." These two privileged fucks! They don't have one metagenetic gene between them!

Chapter three is about Changeling, or Beast Boy as he was previously and postviously known, once everybody realized that "Changeling" was a stupid fucking name. Not that Beast Boy is going to win any Pulitzers. Fuck, hardly any superhero names are any good, really. Superman? Batman? Spider-man? I guess they didn't get good until the 90s when everybody had to have a name composed of two of the following words: blood, death, shot, and kill.

Big deal! One Titan possibly saved one life in 101 issues! I've saved more lives than that (if you count all the people I haven't killed (which is a lot more than you'd imagine)).

Changeling can hardly turn into animals at all anymore. Now he more easily turns into Lovecraftian nightmare creatures that drive people insane. But nobody needs to worry about that. He saved one cop!

New Titans #101 Rating: The Titans mostly just fight among themselves this issue. The world isn't much better off for their existence. Two cops may have been saved (although their car never explodes so it's more like zero cops were saved if you want to be a cynical asshole about it (and I do)) but four criminals were driven insane. I guess if you're a Republican, that's a pretty sweet trade off. But if you're not a monster, you might still think the Titans are more of a hazard than a benefit to society. Hopefully things will change around for them in Issue #102 when they get a leader who isn't a self-obsessed prick with a severe Batman-daddy complex.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Justice League #14

"Okay! Everybody smile and look violent!"

Only one thing happens in this comic book that I want to talk about.

What hack writer put this fucking scene together? Let's see...oh, it was James Tynion IV! I suppose the Justice League is all about huge threats and terrible consequences. But does Superman have to be so stupid that he would suggest evacuating the planet as opposed to calling for his portal to the Phantom Zone? Or maybe just flying Starman into space? Or maybe asking a magic-user to send Starman to a dimension where he could cause a ton of destruction and nobody would care, like Gemworld? What about getting on the phone to Plastic Man to encase Starman in a Plastic Man cartoon-powerful invulnerable cocoon? Or maybe just have Batman solve the problem with a bat-thingy? I suppose I could continue to list options that would be much quicker than "evacuating the planet," but why am I over here trying to do James Tynion IV's job for him?!

I get this scene isn't really that important and it's just supposed to tell the reader, "Fucking hell! The Justice League must save the entire world yet again! But not this month! Ha ha! Huge cliffhanger!" But what the scene really does is just make Superman look stupid. And I'm tired of Superman looking stupid.

Grade: Fuck you. Other than that, it was pretty good because Hawkman was revealed to be a huge jerk again. And J'onn J'onzz got a martian boner and had to run from a dance. It was like watching Degrassi Junior High all over again!