Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Team Titans #21

Team Titans is an anagram for a tit stamen.

In this modern era, anything you say online can eventually come back to haunt you. But back before the Internet existed (or was mostly just drunk assholes and minors in AOL chat rooms), the main thing that could come back to haunt a person was writing into a comic book and asking for a pin-up issue. Sure, I had young person crushes on a few comic book characters. But I never wrote to Mike W. Barr and asked him to write a story where Halo spends most of the issue in her underwear. No, I wrote that letter to Jim Aparo.

"Come on, Jim! Just have her coming out of the shower in some scene! I can't prove this yet because it's 1984 but it'll probably become common practice to draw characters in towels getting out of showers when artists like David Finch and Tony S. Daniel become popular! And their renditions of adult women will look even younger than your rendition of Halo!"

I find the amount of "Ooh la la"s and "Ha cha cha cha"s I've had to read in the letters pages of The New Titans since they published a swimsuit shot of the women of the Titans incomprehensible. And I'd find it incomprehensible even if that amount were just one. Which it was not. I wouldn't be too flabbergasted if I didn't think mostly grown ass men wrote to comic books. I know kids did too! Take Roy Thomas as an example. But no way are young people the majority of letter writers.

Speaking of comic books, I just read Terry Moore's "Five Years" and it pissed me off. Mostly because eight out of the twenty pages were blank. After the first blank page, I thought, "That was a weird choice." But it kind of fit because it was squarely at the point in the narrative where the phi bomb goes off in Katchoo's dream. But then a few pages later, it was a double spread of blank pages. Being a Master Comic Book Reader, I thought, "This can't be right." And it wasn't right! Not at all! Now I have to purchase a new copy so I can see what I missed. And, no, I won't be taking this copy back to the comic book store. It has my greasy fingerprints all over that stupid glossy black cover that Terry Moore insists on doing!

Not that I think the store would resell it. But I do know they'd have a great set of my fingerprints to use for nefarious purposes. Or possibly legal purposes that would just get me in trouble.

At least "Five Years #1" had blank pages so I knew something was missing. It took me 20 years to finish reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman because I didn't realize there were something like eighteen pages missing from The Kindly Ones trade paperback I own.

This issue begins with the U.S. military surveying the damage from the Team Titans battle with Lazarium.

Being that Lazarium was only killing Titans, this means the Team Titans have killed 36 more civilians than Lazarium. Way to go, heroes!

Writer Jeff Jensen didn't have the balls to kill all of the extra Titans in the black hole so he decides to have most of the survivors attack Battalion and the other Titans. Enough comic book readers accept the premise that at least half of the battles in comic books have to be good guy against good guy, no matter how stupid the reason. And the reason doesn't get any stupider than having a bunch of Titans that were just battling alongside Battlion to suddenly decide the only sane reaction to Battalion suggesting they clean up the mess is to shoot Donna Troy in the face. At the very least, it gives Mirage a chance to mention that 500 Titans just died. After coming up with Wonder Boy and Two Gallon Hat and Liquid Joe, Jensen realized he was out of ideas so he just killed most of the others. And yet he seemed so excited to build a new Titans universe with hundreds of new characters! I wonder if he did come up with five hundred characters whose names were even worse than Liquid Joe and Two Gallon Hat, so the editors told him he was fucking crazy if he thought DC was going to use any of them.

The Titans seek refuges at the Justice League Embassy in New York. I forgot there was a time when the Justice League forwent their headquarters to run embassies all over the world. Giffen and DeMatteis must have thought there'd be big bureaucratic Marx Brothers type laughs in trying to run an embassy. And I suppose there could have been! Did they ever do a story with some Assange-like villain like Calendar Man or The Riddler seeking asylum from Batman's fists?

At the embassy, Donna Troy works out a sweet deal with the government to allow the Titans a life free from being blamed for every little problem that crops up in New York.

Great negotiating, Donna! "Do whatever the government wants or be hunted like vermin!" She's the fucking Trump of the Titans.

The government's deal amounts to the same deal the Team Titans had already accepted in their future life. The government will provide them with basic necessities and education in exchange for working in small military groups united under some mysterious leader. They all jump at the chance to not do anything different with their lives, especially considering that the other option was to be shot on sight whenever they mentioned their stupid names.

The government, with the help of gossip reporter Cokie Roberts, concoct a story to cover up the Titans murder of two hundred people. I know it was reported earlier by me that they only killed three dozen non-Titans. But it turns out, according to Cokie and the government, two hundred non-Titans were killed by the black hole. I suppose they're including all of Lazarium's henchmen and also all the people the government killed when they realized they had the perfect excuse to disappear them with the Titans' black hole. It's interesting that nobody worries about all the people killed in the black hole because that was an "accident" and yet everybody loses their minds when they think about Nightrider killing the guy ultimately responsible for it all. Maybe they're all just grossed out that he drank blood.

I'm just going to assume the Wonder Woman look-a-like's name is Frottage Girl.

Mirage feels badly about deceiving the public since she pretended to be Lazarium so that the world wouldn't know the Team Titans killed him. But Cokie Walters is all, "Don't fucking worry about it, slut! The news lies all the time!" I guess when you're a celebrity gossip reporter, you don't really worry too much about journalistic ethics. A proper reporter wouldn't have lied about this story. They would have just interviewed some government agent who would lie about the story and then they'd shrug their shoulders and go, "Well, I guess that's one side of the issue! If only there were somebody who could investigate the story to find out how true it is. I don't know who that would be though. A doctor? Or an astronaut? It's a mystery!"

While the Team Titans film another puff piece with Cokie Walters, Donna Troy approaches Wonder Woman with a problem: she wants her powers back.

If the graph of an argument doesn't look like an ouroboros, Donna Troy wants no part of that argument.

Donna wants to petition the Greek Gods to get her powers back and she needs Diana to be her arbiter. Diana says, "You have my support in everything you do," and now I don't know why I'm so aroused.

Maybe it's due to panels like these that I can't help reading out of context.

Donna confronts the Titans, pleading with them to return her powers. But the Gods have a law: "No take backs. Too bad, so sad." So they send her back to Earth where she lands in the yard of Terry Long's ex-wife. She looks in the window and sees a happy family scene starring Terry and his ex-wife and Terry's daughter and their son. She lets her low self-esteem get the better of her and runs away thinking her marriage is probably over before she can hear Terry yell at his ex-wife for being a snarky jerk. So a happy ending for once!

Team Titans #21 Rating:: C-. My main question for Marv Wolfman and Jeff Jensen is this: how the fuck did you manage to make a comic book with this much potential so fucking tedious?! Maybe you need to have a teenager's sense of drama to find any enjoyment out of this comic book at all. Killowat loves Mirage but he's a racist and she's all, "No way! Probably! We'll talk!" And Nightrider needs to eat people but he won't so he almost dies but then he eats a person! Donna Troy was happily married until she saw Terry and his ex-wife getting along for five seconds and now their marriage might be over! Battalion constantly calls people cheeseheads and their heads aren't even really made out of cheese! Terra loves Gar but Gar is all, "The boner you give me makes me feel guilty! Go away!" Redwing is all, "Prester Jon, my brother! We can finally hug!" But Prester Jon is all, "Ew! You're gross with the pointy ears and talons and veiny wings! Get away!"

Also, what happened to Deathwing? I really hope Mirage dismembered him. Hopefully Jensen will devote a full issue for a flashback of that scene.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

New Titans #111

The mystery is who thought sending Arsenal into space was a good idea and also who shit his pants?

If your superhero team needs spacesuits to survive in space, maybe send a different team of heroes on the space mission. It just makes more sense to leave Batman and Aquaman on Earth while Superman and Supergirl solve all of the space crime. I couldn't think of any other heroes that could survive in space. Hell, I'm not even sure if we're currently in an era where Superman is allowed to survive in space. Remember when DC thought it would be a good idea to reduce his powers so that even Superman had to wear oxygen when in space? Although even a Superman who can survive in the vacuum of space retains considerable plot problems. Sure, he can survive in space if he's within range of a yellow sun because that's how he gets his powers. Or was it simply that he lost his powers under a red sun and was just fine under any other sun? The 1986 Who's Who doesn't clear things up as it just says that Superman's Kryptonian cells act like solar batteries under a yellow sun. It doesn't distinctly say that the red sun weakens him so I guess he just grows weaker away from a yellow sun as his cell battery drains. Then again, I'm sure things changed after The Man of Steel series. And then again after Millennium. And then again after Zero Year. And then again after Infinite Crisis. And then again after The New 52. And then again after Rebirth. And then again after Doomsday Clock. And then again after whatever the fuck Bendis is doing.

Why the fuck am I talking about Superman?! I'm not even sure he knows the New Titans exist!

As I begin reading the first page of this comic book that shows Kory once again dressed in fraying threads, I remember that I already ranted about sending the Titans into space! In comic books, sometimes your last hope truly is the last hope. Nobody in the 90s wanted to have to rely on the Titans to rescue them.

The Terraist's satellite blasts the Brazilian rain forest as a means to get Brazil to stop razing their rain forests. I suppose it's a pretty good plan because if the forests are burned to the ground, Brazil won't be able to burn the forests to the ground. Reporters all over the world are asking the tough question: "Will governments give in to the Terraist's demands that they stop destroying the Earth before the Terraist destroys the Earth?!" My guess is that they won't because the Terraist's plan is fucking ridiculous. I wonder if the Terraist is also a landlord? "If you won't put up smoke detectors, I'm going to burn the fucking house to the ground. You have three hours!"

To save the world, the New Not-So-Teen-Anymore Titans have all crowded aboard some kind of space rocket.

The way Erlich is gripping that throttle and reaching for a wedge of cheese on the dash makes me horny.

You might have noticed Gar sitting in the back thinking while everybody else crowds around the controls in what I'm assuming violates several safety regulations. Gar's grieving his boring friend Cyborg. Red Star notices because Gar has made sure to do the contemplative hand on the chin while looking at an unfixed point in the distance pose. Nobody else notices because, I'm assuming, they're capitalists. It's a touching scene of a friend mourning the loss of another friend that isn't actually touching at all. But it does highlight Gar's mullet!

I'm not making fun of Gar's mullet at all. There was a time when we, as a society, accepted the mullet as a valid hair style. But then enough people began making fun of it that everybody had to back off and pretend that it wasn't a valid aesthetic. Maybe it had just too broad a base of people who generally wore the hairstyle. I mean, if you saw somebody with a mullet from afar, how were you supposed to know whether they were a working class butt rocker, a hockey player, or a lesbian?

Red Star brings up how the Titans have lost many friends.

Those friends are Terra (not a friend but a mole), Dick Grayson (not lost), and Starfire (also not lost). Would it have killed him to actually think about Jericho, Raven, and Danny Chase?!

Marv Wolfman intrudes on the fiction, musing about how this comic book is still fucking selling, with the line, "Sometimes I wonder why we're still even here." Me too, Marv! I was 22 and still buying this shit! Although there really was a time in my life where one of my main existential dreads was dying before seeing how different comic book stories ended. Imagine being so naive as to think any of these fucking things would ever have an actual ending!

Red Star says, "If we gave up, then our friends will have died in vain," without ever once thinking about one of their actual dead friends. Also without acknowledging that their friends died in vain. Maybe they wouldn't have died in vain if the Titans looked at their deaths and thought, "You know what? We aren't fucking helping anybody! Jericho was killed not saving the world but battling his father. Raven was killed not saving the world but being consumed by her familial darkness. Maybe we should stop fooling ourselves into thinking we're helping the world rather than harming it and just hang up our capes! That would be a fitting tribute to our dead friends!"

Garth interrupts the emotional stuff by pointing out that the Terraist's space station just launched a missile at them. I'm glad Garth, the undersea hero, is pulling his weight up in space by observing shit.

The scene shifts to the Terraist's satellite where I discover I'm not entirely sure if the bad guy is named The Terraist or Teraizer. What I am sure of is that his right-hand man is named "James." The Terraist states that public reaction is still on their side and I have no idea how that's possible. He's burning the fucking rain forests in an effort to save the rain forests. How the hell is anybody supporting this...oh fuck. I just remembered Donald Trump is president and the Republicans are burning this entire country to the ground in order to line their own pockets. Never mind. I totally buy it.

While Starfire flies toward the space station, she philosophizes about freedom. She's all, "It's ain't free, bitches! Some motherfuckers are going to have to die!" I'm not sure what this story has to do with freedom. It's more about saving the world from the most wrong-minded ecoterrorists to ever threaten to chop down the tree they're hugging. Maybe she's still hung up on her relationship with Dick and how she was never free while with him because he of his constant moralizing.

Meanwhile back in the burning rain forest, Dick Grayson comes to terms with his father/son relationship with Batman. Is this the exact moment Dick Grayson began to become a compelling character? Is this when he truly becomes Batman's equal? Instead of the whining brat trying to distance himself from Batman, he finally embraces what Batman represents and what Bruce taught him, both as a son and sidekick. I fucking hated Dick Grayson for so long because of this comic book, because Marv Wolfman needed to concentrate on the drama of teens rebelling against their parents and/or parental figures. But this might be the moment Dick matures. Which didn't mean I was ready to like the ungrateful turd. But I can see this as the experience needed before I could begin to change my mind about him.

Also, it probably helped when Dick began being written by writers other than Marv Wolfman.

The Terraist blasts Starfire into unconsciousness so it's up to Red Star to save her. Mostly because none of the other Titans have any real helpful super powers. I mean, Garth might try to summon a dolphin, or Roy might shoot an arrow with a rope tied to it, or Gar might transform into a space bunny rabbit. But mostly that shit would just waste time.

Look. I don't need my comic books to absolutely adhere to believable scientific standards, but what the fuck is Kory breathing?

The Titans invade the space station and defeat The Terraist as he inevitably winds up revealing that he's not interested in saving the world at all. He just wants cash. And since most of the world supported his terrible scheme, Starfire uses his camera link to the world to scold everybody on Earth. That probably won't help the Titans' reputation. Although she scolds them while practically naked, so my guess is not many people turned off the broadcast.

New Titans #111 Rating: D. The Terraist concocted this entire plan to make money. Why couldn't he be happy with the billions of dollars he apparently already had?! I'm fairly certain you can't build a space station of death while employing dozens of trained killers without having a pretty hefty bank account. It would make more sense if he did care about the environment even if his plan was completely contrary to helping the environment. Anyway, I hope the Titans decide to take care of his cat. That cat didn't choose to be owned by a huge dickhead.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Team Titans #20

Is it sexist to point out cameltoe?

It's been about two weeks since I read a Team Titans comic book so I can't remember what was happening, which is probably a good thing. It's nice to see that my brain apparently has some kind of organic Roomba that cleans up after I've soiled my mind with terrible media choices. Revamping my old Patreon page has kept me away from re-reading terrible old comic books. If you enjoy my take on comic books perhaps you'll enjoy my take on The Bible? Or if you don't like reading astoundingly insightful and probably pretty funny commentary on The Bible if it costs you as little as one dollar per month, you can still bookmark the site because you'll get three free song reviews each week too! But if you want me to review a particular song, you'll have to give me money. I don't give my wisdom away for free! I mean, I do! But only in certain circumstances.

I think what was happening in this comic book was a right-wing corporate and media conglomerate asshole (much like Rupert Murdoch) was preparing to time travel into the future where he could take the place of Lord Chaos and rule the world. It's the kind of plan only an idiotic super villain in a comic book could come up with. Any real life super villain would think, "I have so much money and power right now in a world I recognize, why should I risk everything by traveling into an unknown future where my biggest enemies await? Better to just buy a private island in the present and look at porn all day." But for some reason, comic book super villains are never satisfied. They never think, "I could retire with the amount of money it's going to cost me to create this death satellite!" The always think, "Man, having lots of money really kills your ambition. Maybe I should use it to endanger my freedom and possibly my life?" Idiots!

Based on these silhouettes, one of Lord Murdoch's henchman is just a gigantic sentient penis.

The Team Titans leader for the future narrates the big battle so maybe we'll soon find out who the mysterious leader really is! I think I've been guessing Terry Long throughout most of this re-read because who else could it be? Unless Terry's kid has one of those comic book experiences that ages him quickly, he probably won't be leading the team as a nine year old. Although I can't think why I'm ruling that out when I easily accepted Nightwing once driving a motorcycle straight up a skyscraper and Starfire falling in love with Wolfman-written Nightwing.

A few pages into the battle, a bunch of Team Titans members (not from the titular and most important team!) begin to die. First killed is Gunsmoke. You might not remember Gunsmoke because Gunsmoke was a terrible name and Gunsmoke never did anything except help provide some context on the plot. We learned from Gunsmoke that the Team Titans were spread out all across history because the Team Titans leader created a truly inept time machine. Gunsmoke's last words (aside from "Arrrggghhhhh!") are "Great. Don't tell me y'all saved my butt in the Old West just so I can get it kicked in 1994." I guess in 1994, creating a character that's simply a guy dressed like a cowboy didn't cut the editor's mustard.

The second character to die is Monsieur Poniard of Judge and Jury. He should thank his terrible name for cutting his comic book career short. "Mister Dagger," even in French, just isn't going to inspire the kind of terror that a super villain should inspire. And, yes, I'm aware of how many terribly mundane and crappy names exist within the DC Universe! I'm just saying, "One less is a good start."

The third Team Titan to die is a nameless Titan in the background of Monsieur Poniard's death. She (or he) has orange hair and wears a purple costume so I think we can all agree why he (or she) had to die. You know, because Starfire already had claims on that terrible color combination.

After Lazarium (Lord Murdoch's super villain name) takes down the main Team Titans in one blast, he jokes, "I love the smell of ozone in the morning." I know that's supposed to be a joke because he says, "Heh heh," immediately after. Earlier, Blue (unless it was Green or Purple or Yellow. Remember, the colorist of this current story arc is an idiot) quipped, "Yeah, and monkeys might fly outta my -- OOOOF!" So we have all the evidence we need that Jeff Jensen's main writing crutch is movie and television quotes.

The fourth Team Titans to die is Two Gallon Hat.

I often come up with characters for my stories that I know are stupid but I insert them into it anyway simply so that other characters can call them stupid.

While all of the other Titans from throughout history are being slaughtered by Lazarium's henchmen (where did he get henchmen who put such effort into henchmanning?! I bet he pays a living wage, offers great health care choices, and provides a hefty pension), Mirage remains stuck in traffic on the streets below.

If only Mirage could easily do something to keep from being recognized!

I don't know what she did with Deathwing but I hope it involved a hedge clipper and a blender.

Mirage steps out of the cab to find Cokie Walters staring at the corpse of Two Gallon Hat. Cokie apologizes for some reason which leads to Mirage threatening Cokie if she doesn't help Mirage save the Titans. Now how the hell is a bubble gum gossip reporter supposed to help with that?! "Mister Lazarium! Mister Lazarium! Is it true you pee through the gate instead of over the fence?!"

Realizing that the Titans have met their match, Terra resorts to pleading her case: "Lazarium! No! Please — you can't just kill us like this!" Lazarium, who is a super villain who has really thought out his plan and understands the power of a truly great one-liner, replies smartly: "Oh, yes, I can, Terra — especially you!" I just got goosebumps reading that! Although after the Wayne's World and Apocalypse Now lines from earlier, maybe Jensen stole this retort from a movie too. Wasn't this the great line from the end of Die Hard 2: Dying Ain't My Thing when Bruce Willis sets the airplane fuel alight?

Five hundred and thirty Titans got there asses handed to them by Lazarium and his goons. But not to worry because Prester Jon, Redwing, Battalion, Donna Troy, and just-out-of-a-coma Nightrider have arrived to save the day! And don't think they're going to do it silently! Battalion has a new battle cry that I can't believe didn't catch on with the youth of 1994.

How was this not one of the best selling DC posters of 1994?

Battalion goes down in one shot. Most of the characters will probably go down in one shot because Killowat will probably need to prove himself. Will saving the world from Lazarium be enough to make Mirage forget he's a racist jerk? Hopefully not!

The first person to nearly put Lazarium down is called Liquid Joe. Being that he's called Liquid Joe, you know he's not going to wind up being the hero. His blast of slime doesn't even faze Lazarium. Time for Cokie and Mirage to save Killowat so Killowat can save the day! Cokie knows where Killowat has been restrained because she's a tabloid journalist. This was the era where we all believed Geraldo was going to discover the secret of the universe. Now we know Geraldo's only goal was to uplift Geraldo. That fucker will say anything for praise and a paycheck. I suppose you can say that about anybody who appears on Fox News though.

After losing dozens of Titans, I have to admit that my plan would be to give Lazarium the time travel device so we could be rid of him. If he time travels into the future, he's not our problem anymore! Heck, he probably won't ever be our problem! The future no longer contains Lord Chaos so who knows what he's going to find in 2001. If in 1994 I were told that 2001 would be the beginning of some truly inspiring xenophobic bullshit masquerading as patriotism, I would have been all, "Yeah, I can buy that." Maybe that wasn't a good example.

Killowat defeats all of Lazarium's henchmen with one push of a button. Then he goes after Lazarium. Lazarium believes he'll win for the same reason all bad guys (and Deathstork (who is a bad guy but sometimes people begin to think maybe he's a good guy who was never actually convicted of statutory rape so is it really rape? (Yes. The answer is yes. I'm answering on behalf of a large percentage of male Americans who would get the answer to this question wrong))) believe they'll win.

Technically it's not rape if you say, "Here! Take it!" I'm just judging by American legal standards which have an even lower bar than that to declare something isn't rape.

Killowat gives Lazarium a bunch of his power which causes Lazarium to overload and explode into a smoking scorch mark on the roof. But we can't believe Killowat has just killed somebody (even though his name depends on the idea that he kills) so he makes sure to think, "The overload couldn't have killed him. His corporeal form must be around here somewhere." Well, wherever Lazarium went, it's clear that this story is winding down, so he's technically defeated. But he would have been back if this comic book hadn't been cancelled in a few more issues!

Oh wait! He's back a few pages later so Nightrider can feast on his blood. Now nobody has to worry about Lazarium anymore and nobody cares if Dagon murdered him because what's a vampire supposed to do? Not eat people?!

Anyway, the time machine simply opens a black hole in the sky which consumes hundreds of the poorly named Team Titans. Preser Jon shuts it down and now the Titans have to deal with being part of 1994 forever. I mean, at least until the end of the year when they'll have to deal with being a part of 1995 forever. Or for a year, anyway.

The final page of this issue reveals the leader and it's definitely not the leader anybody working on this comic book had planned it to be. Instead, it's Monarch because — guess what, motherfuckers?! — it's Zero Hour time!

Team Titans #20 Rating: A-. I'm only giving it a high grade because this issue was the start of Zero Hour. Not that Zero Hour isn't a completely flawed premise that was just another gimmick to allow DC's editors to fix shit that the fangenders kept haranguing them on. But it is interesting that this terrible little Titans off-shoot comic book is where DC decided to begin the entire Zero Hour premise. My other favorite part of this is how we find out that Monarch is the Leader. My supposition is that Zero Hour was thought up long after The Leader was already a mysterious presence in this book. I'm sure the writers and editors of this book had an idea about who The Leader should be. Maybe it was Dick Grayson, or Terry Long, or Starfire, or a reintegrated Danny Chase. But it certainly wasn't Monarch which meant they changed the goal line as the story proceeded. Which is a microcosm of what happens during the Zero Hour event! It was obvious throughout much of Zero Hour that Captain Atom was going to wind up being Monarch. But since so many fans had guessed it and expected it, DC decided that instead of continuing with a plot and character arc that made sense, they would simply reveal that Monarch was Hawk. Sure, it was a surprise! But it didn't make any fucking sense. Fucking comic books!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

New Titans #110

DC has been "unleashing" characters for over twenty-five years!

Twitter might be a smoking rectum of a filth and despair but let me tell you what it's given to me. I signed up to Twitter nearly ten years ago, mostly to secure the name Grunion Guy. I think my first tweet was "Why are they called Sixlets when there are only five colors?" Fucking insightful stuff, that. Anyway, at some point, a junior high school girl from Missouri followed me on Twitter. I followed her back and she lost her fucking mind because Grunion Guy started following her. It turned out, her and two of her best friends loved A Really Scary Story and some of Grunion Guy's other stories that were online (I say "Grunion Guy's other stories" and not "my other stories" because some of them (some of the best of them and certainly the first of them!) were not written by me. I just sort of took over the persona). Apparently the stories had been something fun they shared and they were excited to be acknowledged by Grunion Guy. They were funny and clever and I enjoyed reading their tweets and following their lives. Since then, I've watched them grow into compassionate, hilarious college students. I'm proud of them like I would be proud of my actual nieces if they were the kind of people to make me proud (ha ha! Just kidding, actual nieces! Whatever your names are!).

But there's a dark side to this other aspect of Twitter, this allowing instant access between writers and their audience. For the most part, it's what makes Twitter truly terrible. But long before Twitter, fans already felt entitled to the stories they expected. But if they didn't get them, they actually had to write a letter that would almost certainly only be read by some person whose job was to act as a firewall to the creator. Now when Tom King writes Batman stories where Batman actually has to deal with the existential ramifications of taking on the role as sole arbiter of justice to the universe, Batman fans can tweet directly at him saying, "You suck! Batman is about punching things, idiot!" I would like to believe that most creators ignore what the audience claims they want and just continue to express what they feel they need to express. Art isn't about feeding the masses what they want; obviously it's about stroking one's ego as if it were a massive cock that just needed orgasmic release. Mostly when people scream at me for writing shit they don't agree with, it doesn't bother me. On the other hand, there's a part of me that feels proud that when those three young kids from Missouri found something they enjoyed in my writing and subsequently followed me on Twitter, they were able to find that the person behind those stories was somebody they actually enjoyed interacting with, somebody whose beliefs they could respect and agree with. I can't imagine how disappointing it must be for, say, a Dilbert fan to get online and follow the douche that does that comic book only to be greeted by his terrible politics and inane philosophies. Actually, I can't even imagine somebody being a Dilbert fan so that was probably a poor analogy.

Ultimately I know that who I am doesn't matter when somebody reads A Really Scary Story (a story which, might I add, was once read out loud (by Daniel Heath Justice, no less!) before an audience that contained Connie Willis. So I'm practically a Hugo Award winner myself!). But I'd rather be seen as a somewhat enlightened, mostly compassionate moron than a selfish asshole who thinks they're the smartest fucker in the room.

While I'm rambling on about Twitter, here's a little free advice for debating online: only respond to the person angrily responding to something you've written if your response makes you laugh. And never respond more than twice (only once if at all possible. I just say twice for a little bit of latitude). I generally don't engage in "discussion" on the Internet. I "write" posts. If somebody responds angrily, I'll either ignore it, say something whimsically stupid in response, or will clarify once and leave it at that. Most people having debates on the Internet seem to think that they're arguing their side and that they really have to make sure their point is understood. But that's a huge mistake! Because nearly 100% of the time, the angry respondent has intentionally misunderstood what you've written, and will continue to believe that what they said you said is what you said. So even one clarification is probably too much but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Very occasionally, the misunderstanding isn't intentional and we can part on good terms.

Anyway, Dick is traveling through the rain forest looking for Kory this issue.

Dick seems shocked by the acrobatic oral sex customs of these indigenous peoples.

Dick finds Kory in the jungle telling stories of her homeworld to this Amazonian tribe. If Dick doesn't stop her, Starfire's stories will soon usurp the stories of the native tribe, being that they're far more exciting and filled with more aliens and space lasers. She's going to destroy this entire culture nearly as fast as a white Christian missionary!

Before Starfire can supplant the basis of the village's cultural understanding of their place in the universe by telling space operas, the stars of one of her space operas attacks the village! And just as the story begins to get exciting, the scene changes to the bureaucracy of Checkmate running the Titans.

Now that the Titans need the government's help to battle lawsuits brought against them for their familial disputes causing citywide destruction (which the Titans deny but, I mean, have they been reading their own comic book? Eighty percent of their battles are against family members and the other twenty percent are against villains who have a grudge against the Titans themselves), they're being given political missions by the government. On one hand, it's despicable that they're going to be used as pawns for political and corporate interests. On the other hand, there's at least a 50% chance they'll actually be helping to make the world a better place for once.

What a surprise. There first mission is against a guy who wants to make the world a better place by saving the environment! I wonder if the Titans uniforms will have Shell, Mobile, and Exxon patches added to them.

How do I not remember this guy? That was a rhetorical question that means "I love this guy! Why didn't I have a shirt with him on it?! Why did I spill so much semen over Lobo when this guy existed?!" What I really meant to say was "Terraist? No wonder nobody remembers this guy!" You know when something clever goes a bit too far into clever so that it becomes fucking idiotic instead? That's the name "Terraist." But he's cradling a cat and a rose and he's battling for the environment! How is this guy the bad guy?! Just because he lives in Zandia? Fucking racist, man.

Oh wait. Maybe I should have listened to the rest of The Terraist's rant. He plans on destroying the world quickly unless government's stop all pollution immediately. That doesn't seem insane and unreasonable at all! But I don't think his cat is into it. The cat just wants a few nice chin scritches and a plate of fancy food.

The lasers that hit the rain forest were part of The Terraist's attack to save the world by destroying it. Maybe I was wrong about judging the people of Zandia. Maybe they are all fucking assholes.

"We know you can't get into space but we need the Titans to stop Terraist and his death satellite!" "You know there are heroes that can fly into space?" "WE NEED YOU!"

Red Planet declares that they will help and Arsenal is all, "Are you fucking nuts?! I don't have a rocket arrow!" But Flash is all, "I used to hate you because you were a Communist and Russian, Leonid. I just wanted you to know!" Fucking Wally. Although in Wally's defense, I once said this same kind of bullshit. I once told Mistina La Fave of The Prids how I didn't really like their music the first time I heard them but that I loved the show I had just watched before saying that horrible thing to her. Now in my defense during Wally's defense, the first time I saw The Prids (way back in like 2000 or 2001, I think? Yeesh), I also saw The Faint for the first time (touring for Danse Macabre) and I can't be responsible for comparing everything else poorly in relation to that glorious spectacle. But I still suck for saying that thing.

The Titans decide to accept help from Alexander Luthor since he's the only private citizen with a ship that can get them into space so they can stop an eco-terrorist from saving the environment in completely the wrong way. This was twenty five years ago. It's like nothing ever changes! Why does anything we do matter if we're just repeating the same shit over and over again?! Oh God, I'm so tired!

New Titans #110 Rating: B-. If you were paying attention to the cover, you might be wondering when Baby unleashed his beest. It happened over one panel where he attacked Steve Dayton but Dayton instantly downed him with some neuro-laser. I'm not sure why Checkmate didn't hire Steve Dayton to take down The Terraist since, using the transitive property, if Dayton can defeat the Titans, he should also be able to defeat The Terraist. Also, he probably has a ship that he's not letting the Titans use because he's tired of being used by them. Also he might still be insane seeing as how he's working on another Mento Helmet. Maybe going insane is the cure for being insane? So a second Mento Helmet is the cure for a first Mento Helmet! Man, no wonder I'm not a genius. When I break my arm, I rarely ever think the cure is breaking it again! But then, I know I've heard doctors talking about rebreaking arms to help fix broken arms! So I really am stupider than I thought!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Team Titans #19

Team Titans is an anagram of Steam Taint.

I never learned the proper use of prepositions, or what they even are, because it's the most unlistenable to Schoolhouse Rock song.

Hmm, that was more of a tweet than the opening line to (of?) a review of (for?) a comic book from (in?) 1994. But then again, it's also a good example of how my reviews work. A thought strikes me based on something I just read or wrote, I have six thoughts more as the pinball in my brain bounces off of several bumpers, until I finally get control of the ball by resting it on an upraised flipper. Then I aim the ball and shoot it up the "Schoolhouse Rock Song" ramp and score the jackpot. I'm left feeling satisfied while everybody who just walked in and missed all the bumper action that lit up the jackpot are left thinking, "What the fuck is this asshole talking about?"

From now on, I'm only going to speak in pinball analogies. Or is the lesson actually, "Write more of your process, dumbie!"? Schoolhouse Rock also never did a song about punctuation inside and outside quotation marks so I'm never going to be any good that that shit either.

Avengers: Endgame has a good example of how I just write stuff that makes me happy without explaining why I'm writing that stuff. Without actually spoiling anything, there's a scene where some Avengers go to pick up Thor at his house in New Asgard. Taika Waititi's alien character lives with him and he's playing Fortnite. He begins to complain that some guy named SlutBanger called him a dick or something. At that moment, being a huge fan of Liz Lemon's terrible ex-boyfriend Dennis Duffy whose Xbox username is SlutBanger on 30 Rock, I now can't not think of 30 Rock as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So instead of going on Twitter and explaining my theory on how 30 Rock has been incorporated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and providing the SlutBanger evidence, I simply began tweeting things based on the assumption that everybody now understands it to be true. I could probably benefit from making my process more transparent.

War Devil's secret identity is Ward Evil.

Getting around to the comic book, a Team Titans team called Spectrum have arrived from the future to return the central-to-the-plot Team Titans back to 2001. I hate them immediately. One of them is all, "You deserve answers! But let's start with introductions!" Then instead of introducing herself as a person would when they say something like, "Let's start with introductions," she tells Terra that she's Terra, and Prester Jon that he's Prester Jon. And then when Terry is all, "Wait a second! That's not how introductions are done! What's your name?", she's all, "I don't have a name — I'm a color!" Well how about I just call refer to you as Fuck Off, You Stupid Puke Green Piece of Shit? Not that Terry Long would ever say anything like that! He's a wuss! Remember an issue or two ago when he was crushed by a grandfather clock? Hilarious!

Later, one of the Spectrum refers to one of the other Spectrum as "Green." So I think they indeed have names! Jerks.

I don't want to embarrass anybody who worked on this comic book but one of the creative team might be an idiot.

Spectrum have been traveling through time collecting all of the members of the Team Titans (that's like thousands and thousands of characters!). Now, to prove that they're not lying about working for the mysterious leader, they need to bring all of the Team Titans together. Hopefully these characters will be more creative than what the writers of Bloodlines came up with. Let's see, there's Carpet Boy, Lapidus, Wonder Boy, The Enforcer, Murder Master, and Hero X. So, um, nope. No more creative.

All of the Titans from throughout time head off to battle Lazarium, Lord Chaos's spy who has become the DC Universe's version of Rupert Murdoch. He's kidnapped Killowat to steal some of his power so that he can time travel back to 2001 and take over Lord Chaos's throne.

This whole Lazarium plot exemplifies why I can rarely identify with the bad guy (unless it's Lobo because I was also super cool and had long hair and looked hot in jeans and wanted to kill my entire species. Representation matters!). Lazarium's ambition has garnered him a life full of money and power. He could just build an evil lair and retire to play video games when he's not getting adult massages from in-house professionals. Instead, he's created this life so that he can accomplish some other stupid fucking thing that doesn't seem any better than the life he currently has. Why would he want to take over Lord Chaos's role in a future where everybody rebels against Lord Chaos? Who are these people who need to constantly introduce more drama into their lives? You're living the life, Lazarium! Take it fucking down a notch now and enjoy it!

Lazarium explains his plans like a good villain while Battalion, Redwing, Donna, and a comatose Nightrider have been detained by the government. It's a good thing Prestor Jon and his nearly infinite new powers is coming to rescue them.

Prestor Jon has spent every panel since he returned exclaiming how he needs to find his sister, Redwing. He loves her so much and he wants to make sure she's safe and he'd do anything for her and he'll destroy anybody who gets in his way! It's all been so touching and he's been so passionate and it's all been one big fucking batch of twaddle.

"Ew! Your ears and fingernails got pointy! Gross! Get away from me!"

Prestor Jon has an elastic body that's actually disgusting and he's over here judging Redwing's cute new affectations? Hell, even if he wasn't elastic, he'd be a hypocrite for finding Carrie gross now. He does realize he's a ginger in his new body, right?!

I should apologize to people with red hair and fair complexions but right now I'm drunk with the power of judging people on superficial differences! Is this what it feels like to be an incel online?! "Oh, nobody will fuck me, hunh?! Well, I wouldn't fuck you! Even if I had the choice! Which I don't! It's right their in my embraced nomenclature: involuntary celibate! But that's beside the point! People who are good looking enough to get fucked are shallow garbage monsters! What must it feel like to be just the other side of totally disgusting?! If only I were marginally less repugnant than I am! But it's impossible! In this society, there's no way a 1 or a 2 can pretty themselves up to a slightly fuckable 3! And don't encourage me to fuck other 1s and 2s! Gross!"

Hmm. Maybe I need to apologize to both incels and gingers now. Although my mocking incel rant was just encouragement! Don't accept being unfuckable! Do something about it! And that something isn't read a book about how you need to trick women into sleeping with you! That something is doing the best you can at cleaning up, dressing, acting like a civilized person, and just enjoying things you enjoy around other people. You also have to, in some way, prove that you're a responsible person who has something to offer. I once flirted with a woman all weekend at a party in some remote location without anything more than friendly banter. Then on the way home, the car I was driving home (a friend's girlfriend's car because she probably knew it was a deathtrap!) got a flat and we wound up stranded on 580 all night (because she had a spare in the car but no jack). In the morning, I got out of the car with the tire and flagged down a helpful man. His jack was the kind you slide under and the car was a low Camaro that it wouldn't fit under. The guy explained he had to get to work but since he was the only person to stop, I was all, "Please! We'll get this!" I then got my other friend there to lift one side of the front of the car as I lifted the other and we were able to get the jack under. I then preceded to change the tire in a few minutes and we were on our way. My friend said X (the woman I'd been flirting with!) didn't take her eyes off me the rest of the drive home. I dropped her off first and she practically forced her phone number on me. That's what impresses people you might want to impress: doing things that aren't meant to impress them. You just have to prove you're a capable human being who can get shit done when that shit needs getting done. She probably thought, "Look at the way he took control of the situation! Look at how he lifted up that car's front end and changed the tire so smoothly and quickly! I bet he fucks!"

I mean, she was wrong. I was terrible at fucking then! Really, really terrible! But that's a story I don't want to talk about! Even though it's a really short story.

Team Titans #19 Rating:: C-. It got boring again!

The final page of this comic book has a TV Guide mock-up for DC Comics if they were shows. Here are the actors the editors at DC thought should be playing their characters in 1994:

Aquaman: Keifer Sutherland
Atom: Michael Madsen
Blue Beetle: Jason Patric
Nightshade: Madeline Stowe
Batman: Brad Pitt or Cary Elwes or Peter Horton
Joker: Aidan Quinn
Lobo: Bill Paxton
Guy Gardner: Christian Slater
Ice: Meg Ryan
Hal Jordan: Dennis Quaid
Sinestro: Raul Julia
Kilowog: John Goodman
Ganthet: Paul Williams
Kyle Rayner: Andrew Shue

Friday, May 3, 2019

Team Titans #18

The original cover had Mirage holding Deathwing's torn off cock in her upraised hand.

The casual use of the phrase "Payback is a bitch" in 1994 causes me to suspect this cover is problematic. Also, Team Titans is an anagram of "A mint taste," so does that help prove my point? Anyway, it's not like Mirage hasn't not been written to seem like a terrible person. Yes, she's strong and confident and probably threatens some people's masculinity (like Terry Long, for sure!). But she's also kind of hateful and mean-spirited and takes the piss out of people just because she didn't get enough sleep. Also she raped Nightwing. I keep forgetting that not only is she a victim of rape but she's also a rapist! I suppose one doesn't forgive the other but I also suppose I would feel more empathy for her if she hadn't raped Nightwing. In fact, I'm beginning to think this whole Deathwing rapes Mirage plotwas way more thought out than just another writer using rape as a casual means for a character's emotional journey! Maybe the whole Deathwing plot was a convoluted A Christmas Carol haunting to show Mirage the error of her ways! So this cover is basically Ebenezer Scrooge leaning out of his window on Christmas morning to ask some urchin to have a turkey delivered to him for a half a crown! As if anybody in town would trust Scrooge to pay them for their services! If A Christmas Carol wanted to be more realistic, it would have the kid throw up two fingers at Scrooge and call him a cunt. Also it would have less ghosts.

My new favorite comic book panel: Terry Long defeated by a baby.

Prester Jon has arrived back on Earth in his new body. I'm not sure if the body came this way or if it was changed by his time traveling through space on his roundabout way home but Prester Jon has become the fifth member of the Elastic Four (the other members are Plastic Man, Elongated Man, Jimmy Olsen on his stretch serum, and some other chump). The ability to stretch his body into any shape translates into the power to defeat four powerful elementals. Elementals who are just trying to save the Earth, by the way. Terra's introduction into the current timeline has wreaked havoc with nature, and so she must be dealt with. But just like all heroes who can never allow for the possibility that maybe their very existence is the worst threat to the universe, Prester Jon decides to fight them. Just like when Superman learned Earth was the cause for all the trouble in the universe and he just shrugged and was all, "But it's my home, motherfuckers!"

I'm sure I'm remembering that Superman story correctly.

The elementals are defeated by a white panel with the word "blink" in it. Maybe Zero Hour just happened and it fixed Terra's time anomaly? I have no idea. Anyway, this is a good example of deus ex machina, nerds. It's not Arya Stark going on a multi-year journey learning how to be a deadly assassin that can wear the faces of other people and get around silently amazingly being the one that nobody at all expected to kill the Night King. And by nobody at all, I mean everybody who wasn't watching Game of Thrones and/or people who love to talk about how the book was so much better than the movie (mostly to prove that they're not as illiterate as they sound).

Redwing discovers that she's growing claws to match her wings and she freaks the fuck out. Before she can maul Donna, the US Government arrives to restore order. That means they shoot her with a tranq dart and threaten to shoot everybody else with far worse. No wonder NRA members are so scared of the government! They must read comic books!

Also, I mean, sure, the government can be corrupt and scary. But the people who claim they need their guns to defend against the government also seem to be the ones who don't mind that police use extreme force and who also worship the military no matter how many times it's used for illegal and immoral purposes around the world. Just, you know, as long as the people getting shot don't look like they do, or the bombs don't fall in their backyards. But if those bombs did begin falling, look out! They've got a fucking ArmaLite to protect them!

Donna, Battalion, Redwing, and Nightrider are all taken into custody. The government doesn't like any of their answers to their questions (even the true ones!), so they'll probably wind up in federal prison. Also there's one of those white "blink" panels. That probably means they'll be okay somehow. Like maybe they all now fit in the timeline and the government will be able to check up on their pasts.

Meanwhile, Mirage has chosen to run away from her life but Detective Dick Deathwing is on her trail!

The hat and the trench coat don't make Deathwing less conspicuous.

Deathwing follows Mirage onto a train headed toward Miami. Once the train enters a tunnel (I think that's more rape subtext!), Deathwing attacks Mirage! At the same time, the artist's eight year old takes over art duties.

The tongue hanging out of Deathwing's mouth is the chef's finger kiss of this inspired scene.

Mirage locks the unconscious Deathwing in a bathroom and shoves some used toilet paper in his mouth before taking on his identity. Conveniently, she also intercepts a communication to Nightwing telling her exactly where the bad guy's base is! Because whenever I phone somebody about meeting me at my place, and I know that person has been to my place many times, I always still ask them if they'll soon be at 1990 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95050 USA.

Hopefully the next scene involving Mirage will be when she gets her nipple pierced. You know, to really nail down the Deathwing disguise! Although, will future panels showing Mirage as Deathwing make such flagrant use of nipple shots? Where does the Comics Code Authority stand on female shape-shifted nipples? I mean, they're still female, right?! If they are allowed in subsequent scenes, I can't wait to see if I'm aroused by them!

Back at the Long Family Farm, a bunch of rainbow people appear to tell Terra that the Team Titans will be going home soon. Are these another Titans Team? Or are they Zero Hour precursors?!

Deathwing's boss, Lazarium, steals Killowat's powers while he waits for Deathwing to arrive with Mirage. I wonder if he also stole Killowat's racism?

Team Titans #18 Rating: C. This was as average as a comic book could get. When the pencils and inks seemed unrushed, the art still seemed rushed. When the pencils and inks seemed rushed, the art was fucking terrible. And I'm a terrible artist, so I can say that.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

New Titans #109

"I wish she'd go back to sleep!"

According to the cover, Kynasf'rr is a reverse skin moisturizing ritual.

It was this cover that began my theory that Tamaraneans evolved from insects. It's not a very complicated theory; I pretty much stated the whole thing in this paragraph's opening sentence. And maybe I didn't think up the theory when I first saw this cover but when I just pulled it out of the stack two minutes ago and screamed. This cover is so traumatic that I actually remember buying it on the stands and thinking, "Why am I still buying this series?" That's a pretty serious critique seeing as how I was in my early twenties and could probably jerk off over nearly anything in a bikini.

I probably didn't need to add "in a bikini." Loose shorts and a nice breeze was a good time at that age.

Not that I ever bought New Titans because I was attracted to the characters. That was a joke! I bought New Titans because I'd purchased the first twenty or so and they just kept putting more and more issues out. What was I supposed to do? Stop collecting them?! Fucking nonsense, mate!

Also, did you ever see Jericho's ass? Me-ow!

The issue begins with Starfire describing Kynasf'rr and I'm beginning to suspect it's anal: "The Initiator led me down through tunnels black as the great dark hole just before our solar system's rim. I had no idea where I was. None who have submitted to Kynasf'rr speaks of it to those who have not. It's very mystery made it all that more alluring to Komand'r. And foreboding to me."

Komand'r is my kind of princess!

Ugh. No wonder 90s Batman didn't respect Nightwing!

That isn't really Dick saying those pathetic things. It's actually worse! It's Starfire hallucinating what she feels lame-ass Dick Grayson would say to her! She doesn't want to hear this sappy shit! She wants you to tell her how your thick dick is going to ruin her mighty Tamaranean vagina!

While Dick continues to mewl about how much he needs Kory, a hallucination of Komand'r appears to tell Starfire that anal fucking rocks. But Kory is all, "I don't want to be with a weak jerk that can't give it to me hard the way I imagine Bruce Wayne could give it to me, but I'm not sure if I'm ready for the dirty deed!" Komand'r makes some pretty solid arguments and I'm not just saying that because I think Kory should take it in the ass. Komand'r has historical evidence on her side! Their grandfather was bold enough to be rammed up the shit chute, so he fought off the Gordanians when they wanted his son. But his son was like Nightwing! He was all, "That's not the proper way to fuck! That's an exit only hole!" And because he wasn't strong and powerful, Starfire suffered. And now she's weak too!

I can't believe Cyborg is too dead to enjoy this!

A website must exist that's simply out of context panels of DC characters yelling, "DICK!"

X'hal and her son, Auron, appear to Starfire as she accepts herself and finally completes the ritual of Kynasf'rr! It's not as graphic as I thought it would be. It might not have even been anal! But then the images could have just been metaphor, seeing as how this isn't an x-rated comic book. I mean, this kind of looks like it could be a visual, non-sexual representation of anal, right?

I'm so aroused right now!

Starfire declares she is now a Shaman of Tamaran walking the Way of the Warrior! Oh yeah baby! Me too!

New Titans #109 Rating: A solid B. The best part was how it left out all of the terrible characters, like Red Sun and Wildebeest and Changeling and Pantha and Danny Chase and probably a few others that are so boring that I forgot about them. Oh, Arsenal! The most important thematic element of this issue was that a person shouldn't blame themselves for being raped. That's a pretty tough thing to come to grips with. But what's even tougher is learning that even when you overcome that feeling, you still realize that a stupidly large percentage of the population will continue to blame you for the rape. Assholes.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Team Titans #17

Team Titans is an anagram of Fuck Donald Trump.

The joke in the caption relies on regular readers knowing that I keep doing anagrams of the title except this time the anagram isn't an anagram at all! I know some people probably didn't even have to double check, especially the really observant ones who instinctively knew that "Team Titans" did not contain an "F". But the other point of that caption is to make readers who both enjoy Donald Trump and the stupid shit I write about comic books suddenly realize that they don't like what I write at all. In half a second, they'll realize how stupidly wrong they were about their opinions of this blog. In a half second after that, they'll admit that they've always thought I was a dumb asshole who has never written anything clever in his entire life. A few seconds after that, they'll probably be jerking off to another Hillary Clinton rant by Sean Hannity.

We all have to face the consequences of our beliefs and actions. One of the consequences of supporting the modern GOP lampreys attached to the tits and ass fat of Donald Trump is that you don't get to enjoy myriad entertainments. Pretty much all you've got is Last Man Standing and reruns of Home Improvement. Of course, you could try to ignore what you've now learned because I probably won't mention it again for quite some time. But it's also possible I might pull at your victim status trigger again by the next paragraph!

Speaking of triggers, the NRA can eat their own filthy asshole. Unless they like doing that! They seem like the kind of organization that would like doing that! And I don't mind kink-shaming people who love to eat their own filthy assholes because the Venn Diagram of people who can eat their own assholes and people who love to eat filthy assholes is nonexistent.

This whole nineties Teen Titans thing went off the rails a tiny bit when they introduced a rapist version of Nightwing with a nipple ring.

Is it weird that I have an unrepentant love for Lobo and a slightly repentant love for Deathstork but I feel like I'd be crossing a line having any kind of love for Deathwing? I get why people love Lobo because he's over the top and his space jeans craft a nice package in his nether area. Plus the chains! So penis stiffening! And Deathstork was cool enough to have gotten an underage girl he fucked killed without the entire comic book community feeling disgusted by him. I think his old age helped. Deathstork is like a beloved grandfather who tells such incredible stories from his youth that nobody minds that 23% of them are racist. But if somebody told me Deathwing was their favorite character, I'd be frightened. Although I guess they could mitigate that fright by explaining they like the Rebirth Deathwing and then I'd just be, "Oh, sorry. I didn't know you were gay. Cool!"

That probably came across as me using gay as a synonym for lame but it was meant to express my feelings that Rebirth Deathwing should be a gay icon, if he isn't already. Like the Babadook.

In that picture above, Deathwing is coming out of a clockmaker's closet (so maybe he's a gay icon too?), probably to rape the clockmaker (Oh yeah! He's totally rapey, so probably not a gay icon!). Now I'm wondering why Superman doesn't stop more rapes? Or why he doesn't commit himself to stopping all rapes? He could end rape forever with his powers! I guess he just doesn't have the commitment to end rape. You know how fast rape would have been stopped if Bruce Wayne's parents had been raped in that alley? Considering how many murders still happen in Gotham City even though Batman has dedicated his life to stopping injustice, I'm guessing it wouldn't have been fast at all. Batman is a huge failure.

Meanwhile back at the Long Ranch, Nightrider (as opposed to Deathrider, his rapey twin), recovers from being shot by the neighbor. Granted, the neighbor also tracked down the wounded vampire to rescue him. He didn't realize he was shooting a living, feeling creature. He just thought he was killing a stupid bat!

I hope no bats read this blog! They might think I'm being insensitive to bats! And, I mean, I am! But I don't want them to know that! They might start sending me memes of their creepy little faces saying things like, "Bats have rights too!" and "Bats cry more than most human males!" and "Today is the worst day of the rest of your terrible life, motherfucker!" That last one would make a good motivational poster for the lunchroom at most offices.

Wait. Is "vampire" a derogatory term?!

I just watched a Kids React video on YouTube about whether or not "hell" was a curse word. Sydney took the opportunity to say as many near curse words as she thought she could get away with. I'm pretty sure if I were young or hip or with it (which I obviously am not as noted by my usage of "hip" and "with it"), I would now use the word stan somehow.

Why is there a Kids React for "How to Cure a Hangover"? What the fuck is wrong with the Fine Brothers?! Here are some more great ideas for your dumb Internet show:

"Kids React to Joe Pesci's Death Scene in Goodfellas"
"Kids React to Satanic Rituals"
"Kids React to Seeing Their Parents Murdered"
"Kids React to Goat Testicles"
"Kids React to Their First Blow Job"

I should stop listing these because I could do it all day and also I think some of them would actually work.

The "How to Cure a Hangover" video isn't actually a Kids React; it's an advice episode featuring all ages of reactors. The first question they must give advice for is "How do I get someone to kiss me on New Year's Eve?" According to a lot of the answers, nobody seemed to give much of a shit about consent in 2016. Although my stan Sydney is all, "Get your parents to kiss you!" Oh my God she owns the world.

The next question Sydney answers is "How do I touch a rainbow?" She says to get the biggest ladder in the world so she might be kind of dumb. I mean, a ladder doesn't have to be that big to touch a rainbow! Although she is just a kid so I'll let her slide on this answer. I suppose it's more important that she gives a cute answer than a correct one.

For "How do I cure a hangover?", Sydney says, "Why are you asking me this question?" After which, I'm assuming, she walked off camera and kicked both Fine Brothers in the balls at the same time.

Okay, back to Team Titans!

The neighbor tries to apologize by explaining that he wouldn't have tried to murder the bat if he'd known it wasn't a disgusting bat. Terry Long, the worst character in a comic book full of terrible characters (and I'm including Deathwing here!), blames the victim and Terra's angst meter tops out. She goes into a blind Tumblr rage without any regard to the neighbor's apology, explaining how Nightrider was only acting on his true nature. The row disturbs Donna's baby which becomes the worst issue of the night.

"Whith"? I've never noticed Donna's weird accent before this issue! I also love how she thrusts her baby at the others to show that they've upset it.

While the majority of the team take Nightrider to STAR Labs for treatment (can't they just let him suck the baby a little bit?), Mirage and Terra stay behind to protect Terry and the baby. Well, Terra stays behind to protect them. Mirage still suffers from the trauma of being raped while none of the others seem to give a shit. She's decided to run away and have her baby somewhere else. Hopefully she won't have the baby in the town where Deathwing grew up because you know what that would mean, right?! Ugh, I can't even type it!

Mirage was raped by her own time traveling son! Okay, it wasn't that hard to type after all.

Out in the yard, four elementals are approaching to kill Terra: an elemental of glaciers, an elemental of shit, an elemental of men's farts, and an elemental of lady's farts.

Over at STAR Labs, Doctor Velcro determines Nightrider's life can't be saved because he's already dead. He's a vampire! And Doctor Velcro knows because he's a not just a vampire specialist but a vampire himself! He's one of the Creature Commandos! His prescription to keep Nightrider alive is human blood. At this declaration, the rest of the Team Titans begin acting like Nightrider is a goner. So their first thought is that he's going to die if he doesn't drink human blood? Not one of them is all, "Drink from my veins, buddy! As much as you need! Well, maybe not too much! You know, just a taste! But there are like eight of us, so you can probably get your fill by sampling us all!" Fucking jerks.

The 90s had some pretty fucking nihilistic AIDS public service adverts.

As Terra protects New York as a Team Titan by defending herself against elementals that want to kill her, the rest of the Team Titans defend New York by battling a bunch of electric beings in thongs that want to kidnap Killowat. I laugh in your face, Councilwoman Alderman! Look at all the good these Titans are doing for the city!

The energy beings easily kidnap Killowat because he only had the majority of the Team Titans and Battalion defending him. Terra, all alone, just barely manages not to die in her battle right before a newly human Prester Jon (back from the Terminus Agenda!) manages to save her.

This might be my favorite panel from 1994. In case you couldn't tell by his idiotic hands or his stupid baby, that's Terry Long under the clock.

The person who kidnapped Killowat turns out to be the clockmaker's old beau, the one that taught her to work on futuristic Titans' communicators. He was a member of the Team Titans named Lazarium but he seems to have been a spy working for Lord Chaos. The leader of the Team Titans (identity still unknown!) sent him and his team back in time to die. But he survived and now he owns a good chunk of the media world. His name might as well be Rupert Murdoch because he has a media empire that's trying to turn the world against heroes and he has his own sexual harassment problems in his organization, seeing as how Deathwing works for him.

Team Titans #17 Rating: It took seventeen issues but I'm finally interested in this comic book! The Lazarium story arc has momentum and ties in to the overall history of the team, hopefully finally separating them from the Titans book for a bit. I know it still relies on garbage time travel theories but it also threatens to expose Killowat as a huge racist piece of shit! That should be exciting! It's also slightly heavy on implied rape which I didn't mean to add as one of the reasons I'm enjoying the book but just as a simple fact to say, "Look. This was a comic book from 1994! Rape was an important plot point to raise tension and pull on the emotional heartstrings of an audience that didn't quite understand how writers were just using rape as a lazy way of creating drama and emotional tenstion!" What I'm trying to say is: B+! Good work, everybody!