Sunday, September 29, 2019

Black Condor #4

Another future friend of Black Condor!

At the end of Issue #3, the editor had a write-up about what to expect from the series and, after reading it, I was like, "Oh yeah! That sounds right up my alley!" Here it is:

I'm a bit disappointed that there won't be any Satan but I'll manage.

I like how they say there won't be any women in thongs for the gratification of adolescent nerds and yet Black Condor can't not cheesecake up every cover he's on! Even when he's unconscious, he's a delectable bit of man meat about to be ravaged by The Shark (I hope!).

I'm disappointed with my younger self because I categorized Black Condor as a "reluctant hero" as opposed to "an actual hero who doesn't let the idea of justice get in the way of actually doing the right thing who also has fantastic abs." I'm also a bit disappointed that I only collected half of the series. If I'm still enjoying this book after reading Issue #6, maybe I'll pick up the rest of the series at my local comic book shop, Excalibur.

The Shark (as seen on the cover) has heard about Black Condor and has decided the best way to meet with him is to run around Philadelphia being an obnoxious jerk until Black Condor notices him. Maybe The Shark needs help extorting a million dollars from an old friend of his too. Or maybe he's in love. I saw Eagle vs Shark. I know how this ends.

Speaking of Eagle vs Shark, I wonder how many reviews of the film called it "the Napoleon Dynamite of New Zealand"? I bet all of them.

Black Condor refuses to be called out in much the way Superman never does. Superman always falls for it! "Hey Metropolis!" says the bad guy wearing the suit made of kryptonite. "I'm going to kill one of you every minute unless Superman stops me almost immediately!" And then Superman punches the guy in the face five thousand times which is totally what the criminal wanted because why else would a criminal go to Metropolis to commit crime?! And taunt Superman while doing it? And sink millions of dollars into purchasing enough kryptonite to build a suit out of it? The only payoff is getting your ass beat by Superman which must mean that's what the criminal wanted which means Superman fucking fell for another masochistic criminal's kink plan. But not Black Condor! He knows he doesn't want his dick sucked by somebody named The Shark!

Fucking Ned! Nobody likes the friend who is also the conscience!

I just realized Superman's super-earnestness and super-sincerity, two of the things that make him an actual hero, are to blame for his always getting dragged into weird kink-related crime sprees. I shouldn't fault him for that at all! Even Superman has to live with knowing he was manipulated every time because he can obviously hear and smell the criminal ejaculate in their kryptonite suit thanks to his super senses. Poor Clark! Now I feel bad for him.

The person saying that shit about Black Condor being stubborn is the original Black Condor. He's somehow projecting an image of himself into Ned's bedroom so he can convince Ned to keep grooming Black Condor to be a hero. Why? Because it's Black Condor's destiny is Original Black Condor's answer. But I bet Original Black Condor is just concerned about his name and reputation. He probably even put The Shark up to this Philadelphia riot he's causing.

I was hoping this was the case! He's in love!

Black Condor rebuffs The Sharks advances which is a huge mistake in our patriarchal society! You don't tell a horny guy you don't want to fuck them without that horny guy completely losing his shit because how is he not getting exactly what he wanted?! How dare these sex objects have their own agency and ability to make their own decisions based on their own needs and desires?! Didn't they hear the part about how the guy was horny?! Now Black Condor has to defend himself by making physical contact with The Shark which is exactly what The Shark wanted in the first place. The only way to beat a masochistic kinkster is by living by the adage of the great philosopher WOPR: "The only way to win is not to play."

Black Condor notes the similarities in his and The Shark's powers and begins to think maybe his grandfather's Society is behind this bullshit. And he might be right because just before the fight started, some Society toadies dumped a woman from a mental institution on the streets of Philadelphia nearby The Shark's rioting. And this woman recognizes Ryan. She also has an afro with a diameter of about three feet.

The mystery woman has her own run-in with the kind of horny assholes I described earlier.

The Black Condor's attacker was a guy who was half-shark. Less believable are the mystery woman's attackers: black Nazis. I'm not sure what Brian and Rags were thinking in this scene. "What are some visual images that are really scary? Oh, a swastika! And black guys! And don't forget the yellow Polo shirt!" Maybe the colorist, Kak (wait. Kak? What?) just got caught up in making the background characters diverse (which he and Rags have done a great job on so far in this issue) and forgot to put any thought at all into his coloring of Augustyn's script which probably read 'White Supremacists threaten to rape Mystery Woman.' Maybe the colorist never even sees the script and just colors the pages as they're faxed to them. And maybe Kak also had no idea what a swastika was?

Anyway, I guess I was getting ahead of myself because the editor must have noticed the problem as the pages came back colored and made sure Kak corrected their colors.

I guess they were in shadow on the previous page.

Black Condor heard the woman think his name earlier and now he hears her screaming. He tells The Shark the fight is over and just begins to walk away while The Shark impotently tells him he can't do that. After which The Shark is tackled by police and tazed. Or mind-fucked by Black Condor. Or something. Whatever, the fight ends just like that and Black Condor flies off to find the mystery woman.

Black Condor finds a bunch of dead guys in the park but no mystery woman. Oh, and the dead guys are black again. No wonder I stopped reading this comic book! It lacked continuity!

Black Condor #4 Rating: B. Just last issue, I was told this series wouldn't be the typical sort of superhero series. And yet here we have a story where a villain rampages while calling out the hero and the hero takes the bait and subsequently beats the shit out of the villain. Then the villain gets away from police custody while the hero hasn't really learned anything. Also, Kak (and/or maybe Rags (and/or maybe Space! Who the fuck is Space? I don't know! They're just co-credited on the art!)) really wanted the Nazi rapists to be black when they were obviously meant to be white. Or maybe the alternating skin color was just some kind of meta-commentary on crime and how audiences see and react to it! It was like performance art! I saw it and I could't believe or understand it and I left thinking, "Wow! So powerful! But how? I don't know! I'm just a dumb non-artist! Those guys were artist! They must have just expressed a really profound point and I'm moved! I think?" Maybe their point was that no matter how obvious it is that white people commit most of the crimes in the country, people will still see most criminals as black! Even when they're white supremacists! Fuck Trump! Was that redundant? It just felt like it needed to be said! Sometimes it feels like it always needs to be said. Constantly. And forever.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1

My shadow is always an asterisk.

Everybody knows Batman villains were all named to represent pedophiles except slightly changed so as to not be blatant about Batman's anti-child fucking theme. So The Riddler is The Diddler and The Joker is the Poker and The Penguin is the creepy uncle and Man-Bat represents the National Man-Boy Love Association and Hush is "Don't tell your parents about this" and Bane is an engorged penis and Robin is the intended victim whom Batman must constantly keep safe (and not Batman's secret sex partner, you disgusting assholes who think it's so fucking funny to point out that Batman and Dick Grayson totally tongue kiss each other and call it "Bat Snogging"). Catwoman obviously represents the pussy that all the pedophiles ignore in order to get some of that sweet, sweet Dick Grayson. Poison Ivy, also a better choice to pursue than a young boy, is so named because all the kiddie diddler villains would rather avoid her touch. This whole paradigm was set up in the mid-twentieth century so you'll have to forgive them for thinking a "normal" relationship is one that's between a woman and a man (I mean, you don't have to forgive them. But calling them out on it isn't going to create a time vortex which will fix their outdated and patriarchal attitudes! You're just going to have to accept that's the way it was! Unless maybe the Scarecrow was the male version of an appropriate partner for the adult gay villains (it was the 40s! Of course the gay villain would be seen as scary! (and also the Scarecrow could have been scary because he was just another pedophile (and also the gay villains were pursuing Robin because they were pedophiles and not because they were gay!)))).

That doesn't have anything to do with this comic book. I'm not sure why I even brought it up since even the least comic book savvy person already knows it! It's a better known fact than the one about how Aquaman is only useful for interviewing fish witnesses at scenes of crimes.

Remember Brave and the Bold #68 in which The Riddler left clues like "If a man makes a spectacle of himself, what crimes will lurk in the heart of the ice palace?" and "What's totally illegal but so, so satisfying?" and "How many pairs of Robin's underwear can I fit inside of my mouth?" Some of Batman's other pedo gallery members appeared in that issue too. But luckily Robin was safely away on a mission with the Teen Titans. Instead, Batman had Metamorpho take the shape of a young innocent boy to trap all of his disgusting foes. Man, comic books were totally weird and inappropriate!

I only bring up this ancient history most DC fans don't like to bring up because this issue begins with The Diddler up to his old tricks.

The answer to this question is easy if you were alive for the Dead Baby joke trend in the eighties.

Batman knows some good Dead Baby jokes too!

A baby impaled on a globe!

The Riddler is upset because Lex Luthor hasn't asked him to join the whole Year of the Villains extravaganza. Of course Lex didn't! Why would he want anything to do with a pedo Batman villain? Okay, sure, he's working with The Joker. But that's probably because he's seriously afraid of The Joker. Also, maybe he's working with the one of the two Jokers (out of the three!) that aren't pedophiles.

But Lex Luthor does pay The Riddler a visit!

Hopefully Lex just came by to out The Riddler and punch him in his disgusting face.

I don't know what's on The Riddler's trophy that Lex is holding but I'm sure it will be important on the last page of the comic book. Sort of a Rosebud surprise that explains why The Riddler is the gross, incompetent jerk he is. I hope it's first place in a Dead Baby joke telling contest.

Lex tells The Riddler a story that's supposed to help The Riddler figure out why he's such an incompetent jerk. It's a riddle of sorts so The Riddler should be able to figure it out by the end of the issue. I hope he does because I'm sure not going to figure it out! It's not like Scott Lobdell wrote this issue where I'd have it all figured out by the third page (after the first two pages were done recapping the last issue and also changing some things that Scott apparently didn't like and figured nobody would remember a month later (that being said, his trades must be hell to edit together)). This was written by Mark Russell! I mean, I wouldn't say Mark Russell is smarter than me. But I would say that he thinks differently than me in a way that "society" might "deem" "more intelligent."

Tut (not King Tut because that would probably create legal troubles between whoever owns the television series characters and DC Comics) decides to join forces with The Riddler so they can catch Batman in an Egyptian-themed riddle trap! This is where I think up a bunch of dead baby jokes where the answer involves being able to fuck the dead babies but I'd rather not do that because everybody on the Internet will judge me. They'll be all, "Who would think up a joke about comparing a stack of dead babies to the pyramid at Giza and how you'd break your dick trying to fuck the pyramid?! Ugh! Cancelled!" I don't want to be cancelled! I don't want my last tweet to be, "Et tu, Internet?"

Tut and Riddler prepare for capturing and killing Batman so they can get their filthy hands on young, innocent, hairless Dick Grayson by sending a missive to Commissioner Gordon.

I don't know if this should make me feel closer to Mark Russell as a writer or closer to Mark Russell's idea of Tut who is a terrible writer?

While Batman walks into Tut's trap (which maybe should be in quotation marks because all traps should be in quotation marks when Batman is walking into them?), The Riddler thinks about the trophy and what it meant to him. It was awarded to him for solving some class mystery in under a minute. And it represented respect. But Lex says some sort of AA hoodoo about the mistake of living for the past and trying to prove you're not who you used to be rather than just getting on with living for the future which eats away at The Riddler until he just up and quits being The Riddler.

But what will he become?! Can any other writer figure out the answer to that riddle or has Mark Russell ensured that he'll have at least one more gig at DC in the future?! Maybe Tom King can answer the riddle. And I bet Brian Michael Bendis can make the riddle not matter anymore and just bring The Riddler back like he was. And maybe Dan Jurgens can answer the question by bringing back the 1986 version of The Riddler while ignoring the events of this comic book completely. Or maybe Geoff Johns can bring Scrooge McDuck into the DC Universe to fix The Riddler by offering him loads of gold to continue being The Riddler? Or maybe Garth Ennis can be hired on to make The Riddler step up and actually come out as The Diddler in a Vertigo Diddler series that would show The Diddler fucking up kids in ways that would make all the shit that happened to Herr Starr in The Preacher look like a fun day out at the local water park!

Or maybe The Riddler will just come back as a hero who asks villains riddles where the answer is almost always, "A kick to the groin, asshole!" I guess that version would be written by Mark Millar!

Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1 Rating: A+. I think I promised to always rate Mark Russel and Tom King books as "A+" because who else is writing stories of this quality in the DC bullpen? Fucking nobody, that's who! Okay, maybe Bendis but I'm not reading Bendis's books anymore. Except for Batman Universe which stars The Riddler but dumber (he's dumber because something in the story is clouding his mind and not because I'm criticizing how well Bendis writes The Riddler. Although making him dumber for plot reasons is a great way to obfuscate Bendis's terrible ability to come up with good riddles! So it's both smart and stupid in a way!).

Friday, September 27, 2019

Black Condor #3

Do they give out an Eisner for Sexiest Comic Book Cover?

I can't believe the Comics Code Authority could look at this cover and still approve it. This is pure fucking sex! And before you assume I'm sexualizing an innocent moment in Black Condor's life as he fights for survival, remember that this was drawn by a horny artist trying to get horny people to buy his horny comic book.

You can never use the word "horny" too many times in one sentence. It's the only adjective I ever use in Mad Libs.

It takes Black Condor five pages to crash into the river with the hypersonic disc stuck to his chest. That feels like five pages of story stolen from me since I expected him to crash into the river at the end of the last issue. Maybe looking at the cover of the following issue before reading the current issue just sets me up to be disappointed. I'm sure when I first read this nearly thirty years ago, I wasn't disappointed in it. I probably thrilled at the way Black Condor crashed through signs and windows as his nipples stood erect from the hypersonic sound waves.

That's a grimace worthy of Rob Liefeld.

With all his willpower and moxie and raw sexuality, Black Condor manages to remove the disc from his chest before he drowns. Then he bursts from the river like a penis escaping a vagina, covered in glistening vaginal juices and dripping semen all around him.

Don't blame me for the over-the-top sexual imagery. You saw the same cover I did!

Black Condor admits defeat at the hands of The Sky Pirate and goes home to rest leaving The Sky Pirate free to be a morally upstanding and righteously indignant menace to the innocent and unsuspecting people on the street.

I strongly disapprove of what that lady is doing to that baby.

Black Condor decides he doesn't give a shit about The Sky Pirate and that it is in no way his problem. This attitude attracts me to Black Condor more than the dripping, shirtless shots full of rippling muscles and overwhelming masculinity. No wonder I liked him so much in 1992! He's all, "Yeah, the fucker tried to kill me and I'm pretty sure I caught him blowing a hole in a skyscraper to rob it but, when you weigh it all out, what the fuck does that have to do with me?" How many other super heroes would simply go after Sky Pirate because he tried to hurt them? Pretty much most of them! They'd care less that he might be a menace and simply feel the need to punch him back. But not my hero, Black Condor! At least not until Ned practically guilts him into looking into it. But that's okay too! Because he's a reluctant hero, remember! He needs a little bit of motivation from others. And after he's motivated, he's concerned about doing the right thing and making sure nobody's getting hurt. Also, he'll probably become good buddies with The Sky Pirate because I also love The Sky Pirate. They're both such good guys driven to be people they never asked to be in the first place! Like my other hero, Billy the Kid! At least the version of Billy the Kid popularized by the movies Young Guns and Young Guns II which, if I'm being as transparent as possible, I simply believe is the complete and utter truth of exactly what happened during the Lincoln County War. I especially believe that he actually said things like "I'll make you famous" and "Why don't you pull the trigger and find out" after Doc said, "William H. Bonney, you are not a god" by Doc.

The leader of the Merry Men wants The Sky Pirate killed. But to do that, he's going to have to go through his new best friend, Black Condor!

These character interactions are almost as complex as those in Tom King's Omega Men.

For a long time, I simply couldn't remember why I liked this series. It's nice to be able to reread it and find that I agree with my younger self's enjoyment of it.

Black Condor decides to hang back in the shadows to make sure The Sky Pirate gets his money from Mr. Jerko without any trouble. After that, Black Condor will almost certainly become friends with The Sky Pirate and move him into Ned's Park Ranger Station so they can fund their group, The Reluctant Super Friends.

Everything mostly works out and Black Condor and The Sky Pirate part as respected acquaintances. I don't remember much about this book but I really feel like The Sky Pirate reappears before the series ends (or I stopped collecting it. I'm not sure which happened first (I just checked and I stopped collecting it first. I have six of the twelve issues)).

Black Condor #3 Rating: B+. I appreciate that Black Condor isn't a slave to justice and simply beats up The Sky Pirate because The Sky Pirate is committing crimes. There's nothing terribly different about what The Sky Pirate is doing and what DC heroes do every single day. Black Condor assessing the situation and playing it by ear (correctly, I might add!) explains why I have fond (if negligible) memories of him!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Black Condor #2

The Sky Pirate is definitely an incel.

I don't want to shit on incels because people who can't get laid aren't the only jerks who turn into monsters when they can't get their way. I also don't want to make it seem like not getting laid is the worst thing that can happen to a person but have you ever not gotten laid when you really, really wanted to fuck? It's the worst! Now think about not being able to get laid for thirty to forty years. Do you think you're going to give one shit about climate change?! Of course not! That's why Sky Pirate is carbon emitting all over the fucking place on the cover! Sky Pirate doesn't need Black Condor to punch him in the face; he needs him to suck his balls.

On the other hand, getting laid isn't that great, I bet.

I don't know why the guy isn't coming in his pants too.

Back in 1992, we didn't have incels. We just had guys who understood they were never going to get laid so they memorized all the stats of Fiend Folio monsters no Dungeon Master would ever use, like the achaierai or the umpleby or the tween or the snyad or the twill or the tabaxi or the qullan or the mantari or the gryph. Those are actual monsters but I probably could have just made up a bunch of nonsense words and nobody would have fucking noticed. Fiend Folio had a lot of shitty monsters. You know who wouldn't know that? Somebody who was getting laid in 1992! Something else somebody getting laid in 1992 wouldn't understand? Jerking off to the caryatid column!

I had to steal this image from the Internet because I've packed away all of my D&D manuals.

We really need legalized prostitution in this country. Also, we need to remove any negative stigma for going to a prostitute. Also we need male prostitutes that are good at sex so that women don't have to hook up with random guys who are probably terrible at sex when they want to bust whatever the female version of nuts are. Inside nuts? It's got to be tough being an incel in that even if you think you might finally get the chance to get laid, you know you're going to be awful at it and probably ruin a second chance of getting laid. Because who wants to fuck a guy whose underwear looks like the aftermath of a visit from your friendly neighborhood Spider-man when you go to pull his dick out?

True story (I have to preface this story that way so that people actually think it's true even though they should realize I'm an unreliable narrator): when I finally met a woman who wanted desperately to fuck me, I obviously wasn't going to be any good at sex. I had learned to jerk off quickly in the quiet moments nobody was in the house (often to the scene in Return of the Living Dead (on VHS tape) when the punk girl dances naked on the crypt). So when this lovely and accommodating woman pulled my cock out and began kissing and sucking it, I wanted to explode immediately. But I knew I couldn't do that! I had to hold out! So I held out for like ten or fifteen seconds and, in my head, I thought, "That's good enough, right?!" Then I blew my load in her face and she was all, "Whoa. Um. Hey. What the fuck?" Actually, she wanted to fuck me so badly that she didn't care that I was almost certainly going to prematurely ejaculate every time we fucked until I finally decided I wanted to spend more time replaying Ultima IV than fucking poorly. Our sex actually did get better over time (and by "our," I obviously mean "my") but that was only because I'd come in her almost immediately and then, through pure will force rivaling that of Hal Jordan himself, I would just get hard again while trying not to let my flaccid member slip out of her. Luckily she could orgasm through penetration only because just imagine how bad I was at oral sex too!

Um, that wasn't really a true story! I just have a great imagination! But then, you knew that because of all the times I mentioned being a virgin. Which was totally a lie too! I've been laid lots! And I was always great at it.

Black Condor's grandfather can't get over his grandson not wanting to be a part of his old man secret society so he's sending an army of "shock troopers" out to capture him.

Has nobody told him about airplanes?

I can't stop staring at the look of pure joy on the woman's face in the panel where Black Condor is rescuing the campers. I'm actually fucking jealous of a fictional character in a drawing because how the fuck does she get to be so fucking happy?!

Nearly the entire first half of this issue is dedicated to the origin of The Sky Pirate. My guess that he's an incel wasn't too far off the mark. He was a nerdy college kid working in hypersonic flight who desperately wanted to be part of the free love movement. He was eventually let in on the condition that he do all the work and earn them all the money, like how Brian was only allowed to be part of The Breakfast Club if he wrote everybody else's essays while they all hooked up. In the end, he made them all rich while he was a fugitive from the government. They did the thing all of the fucking asshole Boomers did: they gave up their ideals and convictions for wealth beyond measure at the expense of everybody else. So, twenty years later, he's returned to destroy them.

So this guy's a hero! Why is Black Condor trying to stop him on the cover?!

Black Condor is a good guy so I bet he winds up teaming up with Sky Pirate after the initial Marvel misunderstanding. I'm almost positive he does because I purchased the third issue and there's no way I would have kept reading this series if my president The Sky Pirate was beaten and tossed in jail. Even as a randy twenty-one year old spending nearly every night of the week pretending I was a grey elf named Paladine Greystoke, I was completely sympathetic to the underdogs of our fucked up capitalist society.

Sky Pirate plans on stealing as much money from The Merry Men (what the asshole Boomers called themselves because they're so unimaginative they had to steal Kesey's groups' name) as he can. But to do so, he needs to use his hypersonic weapons. Black Condor's new senses are so powerful that every time Sky Pirate uses one of his gadgets, Black Condor is overwhelmed by pain. That must be why he needs to beat the shit out of Sky Pirate. It's less about justice and more about getting him to shut the fuck up. I get it! I once had a neighbor who hung up industrial sized wind chimes outside my bedroom window. And every time I snuck over to take them down, the assholes would just put them back up. They're lucky I didn't go Black Condor all over their asses and swoop in with a flurry of uppercuts! Instead I just cut out off the clapper and made the chimes impotent.

Black Condor shows up and asks Sky Pirate what he's doing. Sky Pirate is all, "Fuck you. I don't have to answer to you, you nipple exposing weirdo!" And then he flies off. But Black Condor won't let it drop, albeit reluctantly! He flies after him because he's a nosy jerk. Can't he just let it drop? The noise only happened the one time. I get how terrible noises can be; I'm pretty sensitive to a lot of sounds myself (fuck every guy with an acoustic guitar, by the way). But maybe wait to see if it happens again before really confronting this guy. Also, I'm sure he has a reason for blowing a hole in a building! He told Black Condor it was personal business and it's not like Black Condor has been deputized by anybody except maybe Park Ranger Ned. I'm totally on Sky Pirate's side right now!

Judging by the cover of Issue #3, Sky Pirate is going to blast Black Condor with more hypersonics and Black Condor is going to plunge into the river in a scary cliffhanger where the reader thinks Black Condor may have drowned.

Okay, I'm torn. I like Sky Pirates revenge on capitalistic Boomer shitheads. But I also empathize with Black Conder's sensitivity to noise!

Since this issue is definitely going to end how I predicted since, as I said, I'm looking at the cover of Issue #3 right now where Black Condor is emerging from the river, I bet Issue #3 sees Sky Pirate and Black Condor quickly finding common ground and working together to defeat the Merry Men. Also, I hope Sky Pirate becomes an occasional Black Condor teammate. Maybe he'll take up residence with Ned and Eileen in the Pine Barrens!

And then the issue ends with Black Condor plummeting into the river. But it also ends with possibly my favorite "Next Issue Blurb" of all time!

No wonder I bought issue #3! I had to see if the sun imploded! Spoiler alert: it didn't.

Black Condor #2 Rating: A-! Holy shit! A comic book with a better than average passing grade! I must really be feeling charitable seeing as how it's my 48th birthday. Yes, that's right, assholes. I'm fucking old! But I'm still cool, right? And totally sexually active, like a mythic beast!

Oh, before I go, here's the back cover because, yeesh. Put on some make-up, dudes.

I loved my Grandmother with all my heart. She was possibly the most perfect human being to ever walk this planet. She was Catholic but I'm fairly certain she practiced birth control based on the differences in age of her two (only two!) children. Her wedding picture was of her in a beautiful non-wedding dress and my grandfather in a suit standing on some spiral steps at the courthouse (not a church! She also had a church wedding photograph but mostly due to the pressure of social politics and religion (I like to believe, anyway!)). She distanced herself from the Catholic church because of the way church members treated and talked terribly about Jewish people. She was the greatest. But the only time she ever disappointed me was when Gene Simmons was on Donahue and she said, "My, that's a handsome man!"

Black Condor #1

After this caption, I'm going to pretend that I didn't buy this comic book because this guy looks fucking hot.

Man, why did I buy this comic book?! I never read All-Star Squadron! I remember asking my friend Sal back in the mid-eighties why he was collecting all of the back issues of All-Star Squadron because it looked so terrible and it wasn't even in continuity! Or maybe it was? Maybe it was forcing its way into continuity like a certain thing of mine I'm thinking of might, consensually, force its way into another certain thing of Black Condors. Maybe I bought it because the title was so slick. Check out that graphic design! Fucking beautiful, man. The, ripples are particularly nice. Plus the blurb assured me that this issue was thrill packed, even lobbing on an extra exclamation point, just in case I wasn't totally ready to believe it. Or maybe I just had an extra $1.25 to throw away that day. I guess we'll never know why I purchased this comic book!

The issue begins with some guy named Ryan Kendall being given the power of flight by his grandfather and his grandfather's Oompa Loompas.

If there was a Comics Code Authority symbol on the front, why then am I now sporting a boner?

After getting his powers of flight, Black Condor decides he's not going to use his amazing new power that is super unique and totally worth two hundred years of painstaking research and sacrifice for his grandfather or his grandfather's organization (called The Society, I think. Even though the building really just looked like S.T.A.R. Labs). Also, he's probably going to destroy them.

The one thing I think I remember about this book is that Black Condor operates out of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. I don't remember if he battles the Jersey Devil though. He'd better!

Glancing at the cover to Issue #2, I see he battles the Sky Pirate. Don't tell me you don't know who the Sky Pirate is! Because I was just going to ask you who he is and I don't want to be disappointed when you shrug and say, "Who the fuck knows?"

Oh, I remembered another thing about this comic book as I was reading the part with the bad guys escaping into the Pine Barrens: Black Condor is a reluctant hero! That doesn't mean these bank robbers are going to get away with their crime. It just means Black Condor is going to punch them in the face while sighing and saying things like, "I didn't ask for this!" and "Stupid great power bringing stupid great responsibility!"

Intermission time: here's a fun game from Wyler's, the company nobody remembers:

I could only find one thing wrong: the fact that this kid gives a shit about baseball.

A reluctant park ranger, bored out of his mind while lazily searching for some missing campers, hears about the bank robbers and thinks, "I'm having enough trouble today! I hope I don't get mixed up in this!" Which is completely the wrong thing to think when you're in a comic book. Idiot. He instantly gets mixed up in it.

Ugh. Empathic sense must be the worst super power for a reluctant hero.

Black Condor's empathic sense leads him to the two missing campers. They're a bickering couple that I'm sure he'd rather leave to die in the woods. But he's a hero, even if only reluctantly. So he has to help them find their way back to camp. And after doing so, that means in nine pages, Black Condor did more heroic and selfless things than the Teen Titans in one hundred and twenty issues! Maybe that's why I kept buying this series. I was super impressed by how good this guy was at his job.

Black Condor stops by the Park Rangers Office to check on his friend Ned but discovers he hasn't checked in for a bit. That's because Ned was kidnapped by the bad guys because they needed his truck. The person who tells Black Condor that Ned hasn't checked in is Eileen, a woman who just ruined her underpants with her love honey. At least I'm assuming she did because look at that chest.

She's thinking of a way to accidentally suck his cock.

Look, if two people walking down the street can somehow accidentally get one person's chocolate bar in another weird idiot's open jar of peanut butter then I'm certain it's possible for a dick to accidentally get sucked in much the same way. Excuse me. I'm off to go jerk off to Reese's commercials on YouTube. BRB!

Look at that picture of Eileen again. It might be another Wyler's advertisement: "Can you find the two hermit crabs hiding in Eileen's skull?"

Ned's truck ran out of gas and now the bad guys are stuck in the Pine Barrens where they're terrified of being ass raped by the Jersey Devil. This comic book was written in 1992 so they didn't know it wasn't a great idea to mention rape in a comic book. Also, they didn't mention it but I'm writing about this comic as if it were 1992 so I don't know any better right now which is why I imagined they brought it up. Also if you check Wikipedia after I get around to editing it, you'll find that the Jersey Devil totally loves to rape the asses of hikers.

Anyway, it was nice knowing you, people who followed me after Gail Simone reblogged my Scarab #7 review! I'm sorry I was problematic! I try so hard not to be and then WHAM, my stupid brain goes, "Hey! This is funny!" And then my brain also says, "That's not funny and even if it was, it's not funny enough to deal with the backlash, brain. Maybe say the Jersey Devil likes to give purple nurples!" But then my brain replies by saying, "Oh, go ahead! It's not like you're ever going to enter politics anyway! Besides, you once wrote that terrible story about A Dolphin's Tale 2 or 3 that's super gross!" Then my brain poked my brain with its brain finger and said, "It was not! You take that back! That was satire!" And then I lost my place and I forgot which brain was on which side so my brain just said, "Satire is dead, idiot. Even if smart people understand who you're really making fun of in the satirical piece, the stupid idiots you're making fun of will just think you're agreeing with them! It's just not fucking worth it, brain." Then my penis said, "Hey brain, have you watched a Reese's commercial while imagining the chocolate bar was a penis and the open jar of peanut butter was a butthole?" And then my brain was all, "What? That sounds awesome. I'll delete the stupid rape thing after we watch some commercials." Then I watched some commercials.

So, now that I'm back from my nap, where was I?! I think I was going to do something? Oh, probably finish reading this comic book!

Oh look! They are worried about getting butt raped by the Jersey Devil! Grandmaster Comic Book Reader!

What's really weird is that nobody had even mentioned the Jersey Devil when I wrote that they were scared of it. I'm so good at reading comics! Man, I wish I was good at something that mattered! Like finger banging!

The lead bad guy shoots one of the other bad guys because every story about bad guys is basically a Coen Brothers movie. Black Conder hears the gunshots and thinks, "Ned!" I wonder if Black Condor is in love with Ned? I was hoping he'd be in love with Eileen, especially after I mentioned her love honey. I sort of developed a crush on her after I imagined her soaking wet underpants. Is that weird or is that why so much fanfic exists on the Internet?

Black Condor arrives to save Ned and the female hostage and the bad guys suddenly believe the Jersey Devil has arrived to do some untoward things to them! Really untoward even! Luckily it's just Black Condor, reluctant hero, and heroes don't do untoward things! Now that I've said untoward three times (four times!), I'm hoping I used it correctly. It doesn't even sound like a word anymore.

Black Condor saves Ned and captures the bad guys by using his "blow up a gun with his mind" power. That's a great power if a little specific. Maybe he can do that with other things too! I don't know how that fits into the whole condor theme. Maybe I just don't know as much about condors as I thought I did. Or maybe I need to update the condor Wikipedia page: "Condors can blow up guns with their minds, if they've recently filled their belly with love honey."

Black Condor #1 Rating: B. This was a really solid if a bit uninspiring start to this series. I guess I can see why I kept buying it. The guy has a great look, sleek and sexy. Plus he's heroic in the way the Teen Titans never were. And he's mysterious! The art was a bit weird at times but that weirdness also created some really striking panels. I might read it now and think it's uninspiring but putting it up against a lot of other comic books I've reviewed on this blog, it would probably be a solid A on story telling and character development alone. Plus, I mean, he stopped some baddies! I was like, "DC heroes are allowed to do that?! What a revelation!" Anyway, that's all. I'm going to go walk around Portland with an open jar of peanut butter now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Scarab #8

Scarab fucking Eleanor.

You know that toilet paper commercial with the bears who apparently use toilet paper? They constantly run around the house naked. Like that one commercial where the parents are afraid to touch the little one's underpants and he runs in and smears them all over his face, shaking his naked ass, and says, "They're clean because I wipe my ass correctly!" Then his parents nakedly show their pride in him while standing there naked. You never see them wearing underpants at any other time in those commercials which obviously means they're furries. Their clothes are under the bear suits. And while I wasn't going to purchase whatever brand of toilet paper airs those commercials based on the asses of bears being clean, I'm super not going to purchase any of their toilet paper while promoting the furry lifestyle. I have some standards!

If you are a furry and you're reading this, don't be a stupid idiot furry and claim I'm kink shaming. I didn't come into your Instagram feed full of disgusting pictures of foxes rubbing their empty nether regions on the faces of wolves and say, "This is gross!" I simply expressed an opinion on my own blog not directed at anybody! I can dislike kinks just like you can enjoy kinks! When the fuck did people get so stupid that they can't tell the difference between somebody expressing an opinion and somebody shaming somebody else for their likes? If I were to Tweet, "J.T. Krul's Green Arrow was a fucking disaster and terrible in every single way," somebody would probably respond, "Let people like what they like!" And then I'd have to hire a hitman to murder that person because I wasn't hurting anybody's enjoyment of an objectively shitty comic book by pointing out how shitty it was. Now if I'd responded to somebody proclaiming their love for J.T. Krul's Green Arrow (probably because they're a fucking dumbshit) with my tweet, the person responding "Let people like what they like!" has a point. The problem with the Internet is that nobody fucking understands context anymore. They see something awful in one context and simply extrapolate that lesson they learned to every other fucking context imaginable because they're fucking assholes who don't understand logic. I blame Tumblr!

Sorry about that. I mean, I'm not sorry for letting people know about how terrible J.T. Krul's New 52 Green Arrow run was. I'm also not sorry about disliking furry culture. Especially since I actually never really think about it one way or the other. I'm actually just upset about those fucking bears and their stupid bear cub who loves sniffing his disgusting underpants.

This issue is called "What the Rabbit Saw." One of the Cosmic Plumbers from the end of the last issue had a pet rabbit under one arm. So I guess we're going to get the story from the rabbit's point of view. Hopefully the artist, Scot Eaton, decided to draw all the characters as giant carrots.

It's hard to admit that I believe a toilet paper commercial was written better than this psycho-blather.

John Smith may have over-corrected on the balancing act between Vertigo phrasing and techno-gobbledygook used to explain plot advancements. When the Vertigo phrasing is used simply to show a character is fucking weird so it says stuff like, "Ergonomic celestial tampons bloated from the cosmic rays to staunch a black hole," you can let it go. But when it's used to explain what the fuck is happening, it just becomes another shitty episode of Star Trek. Although "Ergonomic celestial tampons bloated from the cosmic rays to staunch a black hole" makes for better plot explanation than "Agnostic angels of the quantum mesh safeguarding the integrity of the world-mind."

Just as Scarab begins suspecting these two guys aren't what they seem (although what they are seeming to be is too confusing for me to even bother with contemplating that it's an obfuscation of their true selves), Eleanor begins to wake and he flies off to make sure he doesn't help out at all. Maybe everything that has gone wrong so far is because of Scarab's blue balls. It'll all right itself when he and Eleanor finally fuck (as depicted, grossly, on the cover).

Is he suggesting these feelings are similar? I'm going to throw up now.

Eleanor has transformed into some sort of ectoplasmic vagina which must be what Louis is into because he rushes into her room naked.

That's what a vagina looks like, right?

I'd really like to say that the last few pages of the series are just Louis fucking that thing. But even non-Comics Code Authority approved Vertigo probably couldn't get away with that! Also, the rabbit wasn't around to witness it, so it wouldn't fit the title.

Okay, so he's fucking it on panel. But I wasn't wrong! This doesn't continue until the end of the comic book! Also, Harvest was definitely meant to be vampire Tim Drake from the future!

I just scanned three panels in relatively quick succession so I'm going to pass on the panel I really wanted to scan: another raccoon! Scot Eaton is quickly becoming my favorite artist from the 90s!

While the entire world begins its end in Iceland, Louis and Eleanor fuck. They fuck and they fuck and they fuck. And it's fucking gross. I can't believe my caption on the cover was correct. It was supposed to be a joke, John Smith! A FUCKING JOKE! I did not want to see Scarab fuck his greasy ectoplasmic bubbling oil slick of a lover!

While Scarab and Eleanor fuck, the rabbit goes mad, Bobby Dazzler dies, and the portly guy with the hands for wings passes out. When he awakens, the chrono-storm has subsided and their sea horse drones begin to fix the collective unconscious of everybody in Reykjavik to make it seem like nothing happened. Much like the rest of this comic book.

The Cosmic Plumbers were from the Labyrinth (which they called the Gyre) which is why Scarab sort of recognized them. So I guess the Labyrinth is sort of like where The Endless live but for Time Soldiers? Eleanor tells Scarab that he's the Minotaur, so I guess he's the main Time Soldier. He just doesn't know it yet. And he never will because this series never went any further than eight issues.

Scarab #8 Rating: C-. Scarab achieved nothing in this series. He merely sat around waiting for Eleanor to get better and she eventually did. Then they fucked. The end!

Scarab #7

What a surreal cover. Babies don't have skeletons.

I just got blocked by Mark Millar on Twitter. "How is that possible?" those of you new to this blog are asking. I know, right?! Sure, sure. I have a history of being a dick when I'm reading something written by a supposed professional who decided they would waste everybody's time by not putting any effort into a product that they knew people were going to pay for. The audience has a right to be angry at the lack of effort put into something the audience loves, right?! But even then, I still have never directly interacted with any of the creators to tell them how I feel. That might be the one rule I have! I don't mind theoretically discussing how many genie wishes I'd use on making sure any writing instrument Scott Lobdell touches turns into searing hot melted sugar or what kind of abuses I'd do to the timeline if I had a time machine simply so Ann Nocenti wouldn't exist in the 21st century. But I'd never @ them on Twitter because I don't want to hurt their feelings (unlike Cullen Bunn's apparent dick friend who used to tweet him all of my Cullen Bunn reviews. Cullen blocked me for that when he should have considered punching his friend in the groin instead)! I once Googled Howard Mackie to see how old he was because his writing was so amateurish only to have Google present to me a picture of an old man which meant I now had to feel awful every time I harshly and vulgarly criticized him! You might be thinking, "You know, Grunion. You could have not criticized the old man, you know?" But then you'd just expose yourself as somebody who has never had to suffer through his terrible writing and punctuation!

Anyway, we're not discussing bad comic book writers here! I'm talking about a great writer! And if not exactly great, at least better than decent and quite marketable: Mark Millar! Why would I ever say something so awful that he'd block me when I've read and enjoyed so many of his comic books?! The answer is probably that he doesn't have a sense of humor. No, no! That's probably not right! The real answer is that he probably gets people trolling him on Twitter and being generally awful to him all the time so obviously he isn't going to spend any brain power trying to decide if the person responding to his Tweet was some stupid jerk or a totally hilarious genius jerk.

Here's the tweet he sent out that I replied on:

And here was my reply:

I don't blame him for blocking me. Twitter is a giant shithole where nobody should be spending any time at all and the block feature is all that makes it bearable. He probably couldn't see just how funny I was being about how boring his fact was because he was — inexplicably — fascinated with it! It was so boring that I'd already forgotten it the next day when I discovered Millar had blocked me! And since he blocked me, I couldn't see the tweet which I had responded to. Which worried me because I thought, "Damn. What kind of a dick was I being?!" But then my friend Doom Bunny took a screenshot of the boring fact and I was relieved. I read it and thought, "Oh yeah! My response was hilarious! That fact was so boring I'm going to forget about it again almost immediately!"

I guess I should apologize to Mark Millar. But should I be sincere or should I do one of those wise-ass apologies where I say something like, "I'm sorry you were so thin-skinned that my totally hilarious joke on Hellspace...I mean Twitter hurt your stupid feelings." Or I could just go on living as I had been living where I never see anything Millar tweets anyway because I don't follow him and haven't cared about anything he's written since he did the whole Todd McFarlane thing and started having other people write Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass while still somehow taking all the credit. Some day in my reading of old issues, I'll get around to The Ultimates and then I'll remember this day! I remember loving that series back around the turn of the Millennium but oh boy will I give it what for this time around! I'm already remembering that it probably sucked!

My brain is really terrible with remembering names and even words that I often know I want to use but have to reverse Google search them by looking up the definition to give me the word I can't come up with. So when I was trying to remember who wrote Spawn, I just couldn't come up with Todd McFarlane. So I Googled him and this is the picture Google decided was the fucking Platonic ideal of Todd McFarlane:

I believe I own zero comic books by Todd so this is the only chance I have to look at his picture and think, "Really? REALLY? No, no. But really?!"

You know who I blame for me thinking I'm funny when I'm probably just a huge Internet troll that's making life miserable for a ton of comic book creators? Fucking Gail Simone! Why did she have to have such a good sense of humor about my blog?! Now I expect that kind of good natured ability to laugh at oneself from all creators instead of this tired pretentious bullshit that their art is above making dick jokes about!

I should get blocked by somebody on Twitter every few days! It really gives me something to write about!

Apparently the "Scream Over Hiroshima" story isn't finished. I guess Scarab still has a chance to do something — anything! — before this is over.

Russians super excited that their pacifist weapon destroyed London and taught everybody that war is Hell.

British Madame Xanadu fills Scarab in on what's happening so he can stop the next Scream Over Hiroshima attack. Not that she's worried about it destroying Reykjavik. She's more worried about what it's going to do to the astral plane. And, well, we all know how important the astral plane is having spent all those years playing Dungeons & Dragons instead of jerking off some peer in the bushes outside of the junior high school cafeteria. The astral plane is like the connective tissue of all the other planes, like The Happy Hunting Ground and the Abyss and the Negative Plane and Acheron and Gehenna and all the elemental planes too! This Scream Over Hiroshima situation is dire! It's also a good idea for my next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

Louis isn't really worried about saving the astral plane. Remember, he's spent the last six issues not giving a shit about anything except saving Eleanor.

See? Exactly like that barn owl Madame Xanadu!

While Scarab begins to realize that Madame Xanadu (even the British version!) always gets her way because how can you prove she's not being totally honest and just manipulating you for her own ends unless you risk the entire world by not doing as she says, one of the Russian scientists begins to have doubts about their plans for world peace. He's suddenly gotten philosophical and he's all, "How many dead babies is world peace worth?!" And his assistant is all, "All of them, you idiot! Every single one! Because all of the new babies won't have to worry about war anymore!" And the one feeling doubts is all, "But why do we have to be responsible for killing all of the babies?!" And the other guy is all, "We're not responsible! Science is responsible! Fucking murderer! But, you know, a necessary murderer! Because science is important!" Then the other guy starts losing his doubts and he's all, "You're right! Science is important! Imagine not having toasters! I'd probably kill three or four babies just to make sure science created toasters!" And then the other guy is all, "That's the spirit! Let's kill more babies for world peace!"

Just to be clear, I was paraphrasing the actual conversation in the comic book! I know it was probably hard to tell because I used the word "fucking" and discussed killing babies and since this is a Vertigo comic, those kinds of things are totally expected.

Actually, the scientists never really have time to come to grips with what they're doing before the Russian General shoots them both in the face. His mind has been taken over by the Glory Boys which probably means the entire world is in some serious shit now.

Scarab travels through the astral plane to arrive in Russia so he can stop the Glory Boys from destroying the world. It'll probably be the easiest fight of his life because I'm sure the Glory Boys simply want to die.

Except Scarab fucks it all up and his kill shot on the General just knocks the General into the lever which fires up the Glory Boys and releases the Scream Over Hiroshima over Reykjavik. That's where all the world leaders are meeting for some summit. The whole purpose of the Scream is to hit them with their own abuse of power. So maybe Scarab fucking up is good. Fuck the politicians! I hope the Scream Over Hiroshima makes them feel as bad as I felt when I realized Mark Millar blocked me on Twitter!

The Earth is fucked and Scarab couldn't help. The issue ends with two cosmic dudes walking out of the chaos to fix everything. They claim they're Bobby Dazzler and Benedict Creed. They're cosmic plumbers or something. They work for the Cosmic Coincidence Control Center. Sounds like some real Doom Patrol shit.

Scarab #7 Rating: B-. Once again, Scarab doesn't do shit. He's mostly just an observer of the horrors of the cosmos. He didn't even have to be in this story! And it looks like he doesn't need to be in the next issue either because those cosmic plumbers are there to stop the astral plane from overflowing into our reality. Unless they're actually the bad guys and Scarab needs to punch them a few times!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Scarab #6

I don't know what's happening on this cover but I definitely have a new sexual fetish.

It's difficult to engage in your new sexual fetish when you're not entirely clear as to what it is. I think I'm horny for being compressed, upside-down, in snot, naked like the day you were born, in a spinning tube almost certainly on display at a Midwestern state fair.

This issue begins with the bomb exploding over Hiroshima (you know which bomb! Don't make me get technical!). It's almost as if time died on August 6th, 1945 and the only thing anybody should ever talk about any more ever is the capacity to end all life on Earth in the shrug of a pair of shoulders. It's almost as if every story after that date is really only about one thing. When people bitch about postmodernist art, I always scream at them, "WHAT DID YOU FUCKING EXPECT?! WE CAN ALL BE OBLITERATED AT ANY SECOND! WHY AREN'T YOU PAYING ATTENTION?!"

Not really speaking about postmodernist art but having typed the phrase "postmodernist art," I recently say It Chapter Two. Since I know you're intelligent since you're reading my blog, I know you're now thinking, "How do the two halves of that sentence relate to each other, you fucking asshole?" (I also know you're vulgar since you're reading my blog.) (I don't know how to punctuate statements in a stand-alone parenthetical reference that don't end in an exclamation point or question mark. Do you leave them without punctuation as you would in a normal parenthetical reference? Or do you need to punctuate them because they're standing out all by themselves without any support from punctuation outside the parentheses?!)

Let me try again: So, I recently saw It Chapter Two. I have two main criticisms of the film. First, if you don't already feel tremendous love and nostalgia for the book, I'm not sure the movie would do anything for you. But if you do, the movie invokes so many moments that make you think about how well they were done and portrayed in the book that it actually works by making you remember how good the book was. My second criticism is that when Bill tells the kid with the skateboard, "Be careful," the kid doesn't reply, "You can't be careful on a skateboard." I'm lucky there was only one other person in the balcony at the theater it was playing who was there to hear me yell, in anticipation of saying it with the kid, "You can't be careful on a skateboard!" But that's not what I was going to talk about when I mentioned postmodernist art! I think I have to start this paragraph again.

Whenever I list my five all-time favorite books, it's riddled with postmodernist literature and also Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (and the sequel, of course! But I include them as one book, really). And yet, Stephen King's It is absolutely one of my all time favorite books. I don't do a lot of repeat readings and/or viewings of media I love. But I think I've read It three times which is more than I've read my other favorites like Catch-22 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Hell, I've only read House of Leaves twice (which is probably four times more than I should have read it (I think that was a postmodernist joke because I don't really get it but it kind of makes sense?)). And yet I never include It in my list of favorite books. And watching the movie (see? I've gotten back to my point somehow!), it finally dawned on my why it just doesn't fit. My other top books are about the protagonists escaping a broken and terrible system or reality instead of battling back and changing that system and/or reality. But It is the exact opposite of that! A bunch of kids who escaped the worst place in the world to become successful adults actually risk everything to go back to that terrible place in order to change things for the better for future generations! It's also about a scary clown from outer space or some other astral dimension but that shit is believable compared to the premise I just described! In the movie, the motivation for the characters is partially that one of the Losers has seen the future where they all die young and horribly if they don't stay to fight Pennywise. I hated that because it takes away a large part of why you love these characters and what they're fighting for. It gives them a selfish motivation that works against everything the book tries to convey. I mean, it's also Stephen King so I think the book is really about nostalgia and listening to 50s songs and drinking pop out of a bottle or something. It's also about the loss of innocence and adult responsibility and the transition from childhood to adulthood which, in the book, is represented by the one female friend fucking all of the male friends in a filthy sewer. Stephen King makes weird choices sometimes.

The movie also makes sure to talk about how Stephen King's endings are terrible which is really weird because the movie changes the ending to actually make it even worse than the book's ending (which I still don't think is all that bad. How else do you expect to defeat an immortal cosmic horror if not by yelling "It thrusts its fists against the posts and still insists it sees the ghosts" at it over and over again while an even greater cosmic presence, in the form of a turtle, doesn't help at all because it choked on its own puke sometime after the kids left Derry. I mean, sheesh. Some people are so overly critical about everything!).

Yes, I see the irony in me calling people overly critical. You don't have to point it out, jerko.

Anyway, this issue is called "Scream Over Hiroshima" and begins with a quote from somebody who was there. Don't worry about the quote of a survivor. It's less important than this thing about myself I want to discuss. In some ways, I'm always envious of people who have survived near death experiences because of the excitement of it and the story and the feeling that, "Yeah, dude, I totally just lived life to the fullest, man!" But then I think, "In many ways, you have to intentionally risk death to gain a death defying experience and maybe fuck that? Fuck it a whole lot?"

Now it sounds like I'm comparing a survivor of Hiroshima to somebody who free climbs Half Dome in Yosemite! And maybe I am! Would that be so completely inaccurate?!

I don't even think the quote was real. It reads more like one of Douglas Coupland's end-of-the-world short story scenarios from Life After God (see? More postmodernism that is about the only thing worth writing about since August 6th, 1945!). It might be a character speaking whom Scarab will meet later and not help because he's busy thinking about Eleanor's lifeless corpse leaking long ribbons of oily black bubbles.

This comic book stars a raccoon. Rating: A+.

Most of the weird dialogue in this comic book probably comes from John Smith's high school notepads full of terrible poetry. I mean, this part about winter isn't too bad! I kind of like it. It's almost as if William Carlos Williams and H.P. Lovecraft were caught in a Star Trek transporter malfunction where their minds were melded but they had to overcome the horror of their new two-dicked physical existence to continue writing poetry.

I knew John Smith was English from his previous work on 2000 A.D. and other British comic book periodicals but then he uses the phrase "Chinese whispers" in this issue and I think, "If I hadn't already known he was English from his previous work on 2000 A.D. and other British comic book periodicals, I'd now know he was English by his use of the phrase 'Chinese whispers.'"

Here are some of the ideas John Smith throws into a two-page account of Scarab's recent adventures that he couldn't bother writing into full scripts but wanted everybody to know he thought up anyway: a television at the Waldorf haunted by the 20th Century, a pervert breaking the spirits of kids with his Zoo of Shame, The Phantom Barber stealing scalps from runway models, the world's sexiest man raped by Tarot cards, and the Electric Fetus Machine which manifests as a large organ whose music foments rebellion in fetuses. Is this how the British writers took over DC's adult comic books? By occluding our minds with so much random and weird pseudo-philosophical garbage that we couldn't think straight? Sure, I guess an Electric Fetus Machine sounds like a way better story than Batman beating The Riddler near to death. But is there really any substance there? I suppose there could be if the idea were fleshed out and some kind of theme built around the idea of fetuses rebelling. Maybe all of these ideas John Smith throws out are just a game of Chinese whispers where he takes, say, a story by John Barth from Lost in the Funhouse about the thoughts of a sperm considering how the race toward life is pointless and, maybe, they should all just give up, and he turns it into the Electric Fetus Machine so that when I read it, I don't instantly think, "Isn't this a John Barth story?" Instead, I think, "That's a better sounding story than the one where the guy is raped by the Three of Wands!"

Meanwhile, Scarab spends his downtime watching Eleanor turn into a Dr. Seuss tree. Or a mushroom cloud (because remember the theme established by the beginning quote and title?!).

Try to ignore Scarab's ass in the previous scan. It's phenomenal.

If you're training to be a comic book artist, you need to spend a lot of time getting the ass right. And once you do, you'll never get an ass in pants right again because all you have ever learned to draw is a naked ass which readers will know is actually under skin tight Lycra unless the colorist completely shits the bed.

The guy in the jar on the cover is a Russian experiment in psychotropic warfare called a Gloryboy. There are three of them and they're some kind of pacifist dream come true. They constantly mutter Vertigo phrases in a tonal frequency that makes normal people vomit and shit themselves. It's the Brown Note theory of winning battles but taken to the Vertigo extreme. Instead of a whomping bass sound system, the noise comes form a naked albino in a jar composed of dream matter.

Maybe they're not composed of dream matter. And maybe they're not about pacifism at all. It seems they've been altered and experimented in such a way that they can give voice to "the Scream over Hiroshima!" That sounds pretty bad. It's probably some form of psychic bombardment, comparable to a nuclear blast, which drives everybody in the vicinity completely insane. Or maybe it really will just be a thing that pacifies everybody because have you ever tried to do anything while shitting yourself? I mean other than read the ingredients in your shampoo. And even then, I bet you take your eyes off the bottle for a moment to really be in the moment.

As an aside, do women find shitting as enjoyable as men or is it just the fecal matter pressing up against our prostate as it passes that makes a big shit feel so good?

The Russians test the Scream Over Hiroshima on London. What it does is project into the minds of everybody who hears it the entire reality of what happened in Hiroshima. It's the truth of war. It's pure horror and death and consequence. It probably also makes everybody shit themselves. But when it's done, they'll all understand, on a physically primal level what war is. And the assumption is that everybody will finally be against it, I guess? I've been on Twitter for many years and the one thing I know is that even physically experiencing the horrors of the bombing of Hiroshima isn't going to change the minds of most idiots. I mean, if you didn't become a vegan pacifist hug machine after hearing Sting's song, "Russians," why would you become one after living the horror of fifty thousand lives snuffed out in an instant?! Some people, you just can't reach.

London turns into a burning chaotic mess as everybody flips the fuck out from suddenly experiencing the most painful thing they've ever experienced. Scarab arrives after it's all over and everybody is afraid of him. Surprise! There's nothing he can do. He just observes the mess and meets a psychic who tells him that Eleanor is coming back. And isn't that the most important part of this eight issue story? That Louis the Scarab's love returns to him while the rest of the world falls into death and chaos?

Scarab #6 Rating: C. Smith seeded this issue with more story ideas than story. The main story is an idea that really goes nowhere as well. It's a thought experiment. It's a minor philosophical musing. And Scarab doesn't do anything but distract himself from his wife's condition. But it also wasn't uninteresting. So I think that means it's a C? What am I, a high school teacher? I don't know how to grade shit!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Scarab #5

Scarab just learned how to use "whomst'd" correctly.

Don't fucking bother me asking how "whomst'd" can ever be used "correctly" because I've never fucking galaxy brained, okay? I live over here in "peaks and valleys on an electroencephalogram so mild that they look like rolling hills." Whomst'd you expect to know how to use "whomst'd"? Me?! Fuck off!

It's only been a week since I read Issue #4 and I've already forgotten everything about this comic book except that it featured an old man named Louis Somethingorother and his dead wife Eleanor's ghost. I also think Scarab might have been a member of the Justice Society but only in the Vertigo version of DC Continuity. It's basically the same continuity as the regular DC Universe except with more female nipples and the occasional use of the word "cunt."

As I begin reading this issue, I start to think, "I'd love to get addicted to fucking opiates." I'm a pretty relaxed person as it is contrary to all the evidence in my comic book reviews that suggest I've had two or three strokes a month since 2011 due to reading comic books by Scott Lobdell and Ann Nocenti and J.T. Krul. But a few times, I took Vicodin after having a root canal. I was at home playing around on the computer the first time so my initial reaction was, "How do people get addicted to this shit? I don't feel any different." But then later that week, I took one at an old 9 to 5 job I used to have and it was fucking glorious. My annoying bosses maniacal cackle was like a gentle cat purring and nuzzling me on the back of the neck. My idiotic coworkers who made me realize that shoving sharpened pencils into my ears might one day be a legitimate option were suddenly silent ghosts passing softly beneath me as I floated about the office on a serene cloud of cotton candy flavored fuck-it-all. And that was just from one lousy Vicodin! From that one single experience, I know why people get addicted to opiates and I don't fucking blame them one bit. It would be so nice to just shuck the world and tend to your own little garden of no shits given.

Now I'm annoyed that I'm not on opiates! You know what would quell that annoyance?! Damn right!

Maybe the sudden need for drugs was due to this character with my name trying to kill himself.

I hadn't actually gotten to the part where the guy notes he's on drugs or that he's surrounded by poppies so I think I just have to give credit to John Smith's writing for setting up a real "I'm fucking overdosing on pain killers" tone. Now I'm also jealous of a fictional nobody. If only I had too many painkillers right now, um, well, I'd probably never hit publish on this blog post and all five of my readers would be wondering, "When the fuck is Grunion Guy (or Tess (or Jeff (or whoever the fuck this asshole is))) ever going to finish reading Scarab?"

According to my Non-Certified Sister-in-law, nutritionists have to report people for suicidal ideation. She told this to me because she's a nutritionist and I said to her one night at karaoke that my current retirement plan was to do whatever the fuck I wanted until my bank account was dry and then kill myself. But she never reported me so I guess she doesn't realize that's actually my retirement plan.

Speaking of karaoke, I knocked another song off of my karaoke bucket list this week: "Like China" by Phil Collins. I fucked that song so hard on stage, some woman high-fived me and some other guy came up to me and thanked me for reminding him that the song exists. He was super drunk. Super drunk guys love me at karaoke. One time this guy whose name I believe was Creepy Kevin asked me, after I'd just sung "Everybody Knows," if I was doing it in the style of Leonard Cohen or Concrete Blonde. I said Concrete Blonde and he said, "Your voice really suits it." Which is when I stabbed him in the throat and tossed him in the dumpster out back with the leftover spring rolls from the night before because how dare he insult Johnette Napolitano! She has the voice of an angel and I have the voice of the person the angel walks on so that they don't have to get their feet dirty at the angel orgy.

I know nobody is reading this and thinking, "What the fuck are you talking about?! What has happened to Scarab this issue?! Has Eleanor found her way home?!" How many people even remember that this comic book ever existed?! I just read four issues of it a week and a half ago and I almost forgot it existed!

This issue is called "Paradise Defiled" which I just read although maybe my subconscious read it earlier (due to the comic being opened to that page and just sitting there on the scanner) which is why I was thinking about angel orgies.

This guy Jeff is somebody Louis knows. An old woman — maybe his mother? — phones Louis to ask if he's seen him. So that's how Scarab gets involved with Jeff's suicidal problem. Meanwhile, Eleanor is sprouting ecotoplasmic rivulets. It's super gross.

But this issue isn't about Scarab and Eleanor! At least I don't think it is. It's about Jeff waking up from his pleasant and relaxing overdose to find himself in an afterlife torture garden sex party. He totally hates it and I understand why. The place is first described as "a literal incarnation of a littoral world" and I have to stop myself from Googling "home lobotomy." The first tortured sex victim he meets is a guy strapped to a wheel with a bunch of knives in him spouting "Vertigo phrases." I explained "Vertigo phrases" in a previous commentary (or all of my previous Vertigo commentaries maybe?) but for those who somehow just stumbled upon this commentary because "every blog post is somebody's first" (although why Scarab #5 would be somebody's first is beyond comprehension), here's a nice example of "Vertigo phrasing."

It doesn't have to mean anything. It just needs to sound weirdly profound while making the reader feel like a real fucking smarty pants.

Jeff is taken to some Herod-like angel named Lord Colouris. He's also a bit like a cross between John Lennon and Jabba the Hutt. Did I just describe David Crosby? Lord Colouris declares he's going to make a new man out of Jeff and I don't think he means it figuratively.

In the middle of the Garden stands the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It bears the fruit of truth and whispers as skulls pile up beneath it from those feeding on its devastating pronouncements. Also, I sort of agree with what it's saying here:

Ninety-eight percent of this blog is me screaming from the anguish of losing the bliss of nonexistence.

Not that I think I'm evil. Nor do I believe in souls. But that whole anguish over the loss of nonexistence? That hits me fucking hard, bro. Look, it even made me call you bro. I'm hurting here, dude. See? I said dude too!

The rest of what the tree says is meaningless gobbledygook. Something about sex tearing the flanks of God and a snake jerking it into a pot of clay like my junior high school classmate Chris Huff beating off in a breadbox. Maybe it makes sense to guilt-ridden Catholics but it's all wasted on me. I'm just wondering if I should do a Google search on a snake ejaculating. I've done it before for bats and let me tell you: there's a great video of a bat at a zoo sucking itself off in front of some kids! Truly a work of art. So privileged to live in this modern age and able to experience such wonders of this world!

Lord Colouris turns Jeff into a monstrosity because he's trying to reform the lost souls that wind up in the Garden of Pain into his image before he fell from Heaven. But he can't do it because everybody who enters the Garden is tainted by their boring and uncreative lives. To finally make a work of art equal to his previous state of being, Lord Colouris releases all of his Frankenstein monsters into the world to hunt down a truly innocent and beautiful person who can provide the raw material for Lord Colouris's sculpture. Jeff is now one of them.

Being uncreative morons, the monsters raid nurseries all over New York. Idiots. How many babies does it take to create an angel? Probably like millions!

Some of the monsters seek out Eleanor because her leaking bodily fluids smell succulent and, I guess, virginal? I don't know. Like I said, she's gross. I hope they take her.

Instead of Eleanor, the monsters accidentally take Scarab back to the Garden where he's quickly defeated by Colouris with a tree grown up through his guts. Then Scarab, like a true super hero, remembers that he can't be defeated if he just summons one last burst of strength and hope to overcome his enemy! Which he totally does by biting Lord Colouris's tongue off (because Lord Colouris was doing naughty things to Scarab. So naughty that I was embarrassed to discuss them). Then he punches Colouris in the throat and he barfs up the keys to all of his monsters' souls. Plus the key to his own soul which Monster Jeff helps Scarab find. Scarab recognizes him and thinks, "Fuck. Okay, I guess I'll just have to tell Jeff's mother he's dead." Then Scarab sticks the key in Colouris's head and the Garden dissolves into an empty room with a ticking metronome. That probably makes really smart people go, "Holy fuck! That's fucking brilliant! What a great reference or theory or idea or intelligent bit of philosophical scat!" And, um, that's totally what I said too. I'm not one of those morons who don't understand Vertigo comic books. Pshaw! Can you even believe uncool losers like that exist?!

Scarab #5 Rating: You know how many things I had to look up on the Internet while reading this comic book? At least two! Maybe more but even two is a lot! Remember, I first read this in 1993 when most people didn't have Internet (and those that did were spending their time in AOL and Prodigy chat rooms with names like "Horoscope Lovers" and "Remember The A-Team?!"). So that's two things I definitely didn't understand when I read it the first time because you can believe that I was too lazy to pick up a dictionary in the middle of reading a comic book. And that's even assuming that I'm the type of person to own a dictionary! Man, stop embarrassing yourself with your lousy assumptions!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Scarab #4

Is this child porn? I hope this isn't child porn. I bet it's not child porn because this is a fetus.

Fuck. I just realized that the above caption will probably cause an auto-block on Tumblr because Tumblr eats shit. You can't even have a rational discussion of child porn without the automatic censors instantly banning your debate about the benefits and drawbacks of child pornography! Can't people in this country even engage in healthy debate?! Sure, the healthy debate on child pornography should look like this:

Pedo: "If you get the child's consent and make sure the pornography only passes through online pseudonyms on the Dark Net, nobody is hurt!"
Anybody Who is Not a Pedo: "Fuck you, you sick bastard. Go to hell!"

But if you're really into free speech and you're not just a namby-pamby pseudo-free-thinker who only thinks moral and upstanding beliefs should be expressed and acted upon, you'd be upset when a pedo couldn't express his love for fetuses! If you don't stand up for the pedos, who will be left standing up for you when I and my army of 8chan incels accuse you of whatever thing you like to do that I can twist into seeming wrong and perverse? Certainly not the pedos! So maybe think twice before you decide not to debate a pedo on Twitter and instead block and report them, you fascist. Whenever you block an intolerant monster on Twitter, you become the intolerant monster! Think about that!

That was me playing the character I just invented "MisterOgynist69". He's a greasy weasel who knows he's smarter than everybody else because he's taken the red pill and he can laugh at gifs on Encyclopedia Dramatica of actual people killing themselves in front of webcams. His catch phrase is "Empathy and sympathy are their weapons of mass control to keep you from enjoying the most graphic and disturbing images and ideas in the world, you fucking sheep. Also, fucking sheep is hilarious!" He's never had sex because he's not conventionally (or non-conventionally) attractive which has given him an excuse to be a total bastard and an unrepentant prick because obviously, even if he were the nice guy he thinks he is, women still wouldn't fuck him. Granted, he's never tried to get to know any women and he treats unattractive women the way he believes he's treated without any awareness of hypocrisy. He would absolutely shoot up a school but, you see, Control just came out and it's really quite genius and then Gears of War 5 is just sitting there and, well, he hasn't got his daily intake of being enraged at losing twenty-five Apex games straight because his fucking suck-ass teammates sucked, well, ass!

I know everybody is wondering, "What happened to Marty at the end of the last issue? Stop fucking writing all this stupid bullshit about an abhorrent person and tell us!" Okay, okay! I'm getting to it in my own time! Let an old man digress every now and then, for Christ's sake. Hmm, just typing "for Christ's sake" now has me doubting the lack of an apostrophe when I, last commentary, I typed "for fucks sake." I guess the "fuck" in that phrase isn't a proper noun and, besides, the fucks doesn't own the sake. It's just an expletive inserted for emphasis, right? Fucking English. Fuck you! Here's a stupid comic book panel:

Apparently this is why Marty was so bloody. He beat an old woman to death. Or to miscarriage.

Marty claims the old woman wouldn't stop screaming so he had to beat her. But why wouldn't she stop screaming? Was Marty raping her? Probably. As I mentioned before, Marty believes the women of this town deserve physical violence. Although he ended last issue screaming, "Look what it did to me," which doesn't make any sense in this context. Maybe he just means Pan drove him crazy by not allowing him to kill himself? So this violence is Pan's fault and not part of Marty's toxic masculinity?

Marty goes on to explain the entire story to Scarab so that the reader isn't confused anymore. All the men in town were castrated by Pan who then pissed in their mouths. And afterward, either due to visions of heavenly glory or the ripest of all embarrassments, they marched into the sea and killed themselves. Except Marty had a broken leg so he didn't get to experience the beauty and wonder of castration followed by ritual suicide. But earlier this evening, he glimpsed Pan and came in his pants. I think the "Look what it did to me" while opening his pants before Scarab was to demonstrate he'd lost his balls. Then he beat the old woman to death because she couldn't stop screaming after seeing his mutilated manhood. So now Scarab feels like he needs to put things to right although it seems like the women of Whitehaven are happy with how things are going. And the men are dead so what do they care if somebody destroys Pan?

I guess this is why I'm not a superhero because my first reaction to seeing dozens of naked women engaged in a passionate orgy is to think, "Things look good here! I guess I'll be off! After staring an inordinately long time. You know, to just top off the wank bank."

Meanwhile, this pornographer happens upon the scene and decides to join in. Little does he realize, it's Pan's fetuses who are in control. He's fucking the fetuses!

Scarab seeps into the ground to confront Pan and to nobody's surprise, Pan threatens to fuck his arse off when they finally meet. This is another reason why I'm not a superhero or Jesus Christ. Because I can't resist temptation.

If I were Jesus Christ, Kazantzakis's The Last Temptation of Christ could probably still have been called that. But, just to clarify, it would also have been The First Temptation of Christ. Satan would have been, "Look. Knock this shit off for a handful of Fizz candy and a Snickers bar?" And I would have been all, "Ooh! Fizz!"

Scarab punches Pan and Pan responds by saying, "Hey man! Why so violent?! Sheesh. Let's be civil. Come inside my lair and let's talk. Watch out for the puddles of semen. Don't touch those socks. I apologize for the stench."

Pan reveals his real name and exposes himself for the vanilla sex monster he really is.

Why would Pan joyfully claim he's the missionary position?! At least be "The Beast Whose Penis Looks Like a Backwards Woman So I Can Stare Straight Up Her Butthole as We Fuck!"

It turns out Pan is dying. Probably because he only fucks in one the worst position. Scarab can't convince Pan not to die so Pan dies. Some hero.

After Pan dies, the women of the town begin realizing they don't want to be pregnant with a smell goat god's disgusting progeny so they begin to perform abortions on themselves or scream until they miscarry or simply go insane. Pan told Scarab that Eleanor will be taking care of his children. I don't know if he meant because they're all going to be killed now or because they'll be born into the Net or any number of other stupid reasons I can come up with through my terrible ability to speculate.

The pornographer turns out to be Sidney Sometimes, the Fortean publisher, who I completely forgot about because I read that section of this comic book yesterday. Maybe he'll become the Scarab's lead on weird things to investigate.

The issue ends with one more revelation: the "it" in Marty's "Look what it did to me" was indeed impregnation. I'm not going to rule out the castration as well but that wasn't ever explicit. So Marty wanders off to ignore what's going to happen when he gives birth because it certainly won't be a lot of fun finding out.

Scarab #4 Rating: C. I think Pan fucked up this entire town just to get a few more months of life. I can respect that. People act horrified at the thought of bathing in baby's blood to stay eternally young but, I mean, seriously, if that were an actual option, we'd find out a whole lot of people were way less concerned about the welfare of infants.