Friday, January 31, 2020

Eclipso #4

The only joke Giffen gets to write in this series is the one on the cover where he writes, "The X of Vengeance!"

That caption isn't completely true now that Giffen added The Creeper to the story. Now Giffen gets to write terrible jokes blurted by a sane man pretending to be crazy. I prefer The Creeper when he's actually a crazy person not pretending to be sane. I super prefer The Creeper when he's written by Ann Nocenti, a crazy person.

The issue begins with Eclipso quoting Matthew Arnold. I don't know why Eclipso is quoting Matthew Arnold. I'd be less surprised if he were quoting Tom Arnold. Eclipso, being an immortal vengeance god, apparently enjoys the art of humans, having previously quoted Shakespeare's Othello. So now I have to wonder why he's so keen on killing them all. Perhaps Eclipso will be defeated when Bruce Gordon approaches him and says,

"It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel,
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion — none."

Then Eclipso will collapse and begin to weep dramatically, sobbing, "'Tis true, 'tis true 'tis pity and pity 'tis, 'tis true!" He'll apologize to everybody present and return to the moon to read "On an Infant Dying as Soon as Born" by Charles Lamb after which he'll never kill again.

Just in case you were wondering, the moon is still full.

Exploring caves might seem like a fun activity but it doesn't translate to a fun story. It's not like Cave Carson and his group are going to run into an owlbear family reunion or a troll lemon party. They're just going to wander through a bunch of dark caves for fifteen pages. Judging by the cover, they will have one exciting moment when they disturb some bats. But since that's the only exciting moment that ever happens in caves, it sort of dulls the edges of the excitement thingy. I didn't know what object to use as a metaphor for excitement that would have an edge because I'm too stupid to know what knives are.

Although the one spelunking expedition I've always found super exciting was the one in which Tom Hanks kills the Gorvil. I've loved the movie Mazes and Monsters ever since I was a kid. I was actually surprised when I got older and learned that it was supposed to be a critical view of role playing games. I thought it made role playing games look awesome!

Eclipso bats! Now I'm on the edge of my knife!

Eclipso's bats capture Carson and his crew while Eclipso quotes John Donne. How come Eclipso only quotes old English poets and playwrights? You'd think an immortal god of vengeance would have had a broader education. But I guess he's like my friend Soy Rakelson and only believes the Western Canon matters.

Eclipso continues to try to reform on the moon but he's probably severely hampered every time the moon swings around to show its ass to the sun. While he struggles to regain his composure, Darkseid visits. Apparently they play chess on a regular basis and it's always a draw. I guess now the audience is supposed to take Eclipso seriously. I'm pretty sure when I first read this 27 years ago (UGH. Fuck time), I let out a sharp exhalation of breath and said, aloud, "Whoa! Eclipso is as smart and powerful as Darkseid! I can't wait to talk about this with my huge nerd friends Doom Bunny and Upright! I wonder which one of them is the bigger nerd? No, no time to think about that now! I have to sit in stunned silence at the revelation that Eclipso is this powerful!" After that, I probably reread Elfquest, especially the part where they engage in an orgy.

Eclipso #4 Rating: C. Cave Carson doesn't make this story any more thrilling. The Creeper doesn't make this story any funnier. And Bruce Gordon is just a boring idiot who was lucky to be chosen as the guy who could defeat Eclipso in The Darkness Within. Oh yeah! And I can't ever remember Mona! Who the fuck is she again?!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Eclipso #3

This looks like my "friend" Bobby Henline.

I put the word friend in quotation marks in the above caption because now that he's a Trump supporter and he believes in God, he's not really the same guy I grew up with. I still wouldn't mind calling him friend (even with the Trump supporting) except, being a God-loving Trump supporter, he now treats me and everything I say as if I'm just another libtard. He always referred to me as the smartest guy he knew but suddenly I'm deluded by the mainstream media and too naive to understand that I should be a racist gun owner. Once when he was twelve or so, he saw a woman on the bus reading The Bible. So he sat behind her muttering "Satan Satan Satan." Even at the time, I thought that was pretty immature. Just a few years ago on Facebook, he responded to something I said with "Guns guns guns!" I reminded him about the Satan thing and how he apparently hasn't matured a bit in his debate tactics. He misunderstood my point, thinking that I was wondering why he didn't go around chanting "Satan Satan Satan" anymore, and told me, "I've grown since then." By "grown," I guess he means "suffered severe PTSD and survivor's guilt from the roadside bomb that took the lives of four other guys and now I have to believe in utter nonsense or their deaths would be meaningless." He seems to believe that more war makes the deaths of his comrades meaningful when actually their lives would have more meaning if he accepted that they died for no reason. Use their deaths to prevent the deaths of more young men by pointing out they didn't need to die and then — and only then — you give their lives meaning! Sure, it's seemingly paradoxical but sending more men to die because you want the deaths of some people you knew to be meaningful is fucking selfish bullshit.

I don't know that the creators of this comic book know how the moon works.

The Creeper begins this issue complaining about jungle drums but not giving a shit that the moon has been full for four months straight. Now I sound like an asshole on Twitter screaming that people are too busy caring about one terrible moment of our finite existence that isn't the terrible moment of our finite existence that the asshole thinks they should be caring about. But I'm not! I don't care what The Creeper is upset about. I just want The Creeper to simply fucking notice how long the moon has been full. Then he can go back to speaking gibberish (both as The Creeper and as Jack Ryder, news reporter).

My local news did a segment on the large boulder/small boulder Tweet last night and if I had owned a gun, I swear to God I'd need a new television set this morning. No I wouldn't because after shooting my television, I would have turned the gun on myself.

When I "joke" about suicide, they're not jokes. I really don't fucking care anymore about dying. Not that I'd ever take myself out. But if something were to kill me at this point and I had one moment to type one more Tweet, it would be that shrugging whatever emoticon that uses the Katakana for tsu. Mostly I'd choose to make that Tweet before I died because it would take a long time for me to figure out how to type it. Death would be standing over my shoulder saying, "Come on already. Just Google the fucking thing and copy and paste it. I've got a bloody schedule here! Literally!" Then we'd high five and I'd ask him one more time if maybe I could suck his dick for a few more years.

Ha ha ha! "It's funny because it's two guys going on a date," types the guy who just made a dick sucking joke.

To be fair, the worst part about my joke wasn't that it relied on homosexual sex. The worst part was that I assumed Death was male. But I had to! If I picture Death as female then I picture DC's version of Death. And if I picture me giving oral to DC's version of Death then I have to take a break to masturbate.

I'll be right back.

I get that my "comedy" seems crude and not very subtle. But that's because audiences only have the ability to read the surface layer of anything. They read the words and refuse to go any further. So my sucking Death's dick joke becomes simply a joke that relies on laughing at a man willing to perform a homosexual act. But what the joke is really about is how I just said I don't care about dying and yet I'm desperately willing to suck some bony supernatural hog to extend my life for a few more measly painful years. I suppose I could have come up with a less vulgar and demeaning punchline but we all understand that "sucking dick" is the last negotiating tactic to strike a deal that's almost certainly not going to happen. It's never the go-to! Which seems odd because I'd accept that offer immediately over a lot of other offers when negotiating! If I were selling a house and somebody offered me 400,000 dick sucks instead of 400,000 dollars, I don't know. I might take that offer!

By the way, I am not selling a house, you horny, shelter-lacking perverts.

Bruce Gordon and his friend go to New York to try to recruit the Justice League in their fight against Eclipso.

Most wars are started because some guy doesn't want to be thought of as a pathetic little man. Guy is a hero!

Guy Gardner is being the responsible one in the above scan, if a little high-strung. Obviously the Justice League isn't going to invade a sovereign country just because somebody who isn't Madame Xanadu told them to. Especially the guy that, in the past, was inextricably linked to Eclipso and his evil acts! I bet this scene is just the tail end of the conversation. Guy was almost certainly peaceful and compassionate while listening to Bruce's complaints. But Bruce probably kept pushing and pushing! "You have to believe my gut instinct and my hunch! I just know Eclipso has taken over Parador! You must invade!" And Guy, the avatar of patience, finally snapped. Poor Guy! He's always being treated so horrifically.

Bruce and his friend (I have no fucking idea who she is. I suppose I should know but I didn't reread The Darkness Within annual event before rereading this) decide to approach Sarge Steel for help. He runs Checkmate or the Suicide Squad or the DEO or something.

Why is Bruce so terrified about a disruption in cocaine distribution? Isn't Eclipso less of a menace as a drug lord than a vengeance god?

Sarge Steel directs Bruce and Mona (her name is Mona! I still don't know who she is) to Amanda Waller. She operates the arm of the government that infiltrates and disrupts other countries for the benefit of the United States. No, not the CIA. The Suicide Squad!

Meanwhile, Eclipso is busying cutting the fingers off of Mona's father's hands.

Either Simon Bennet has eleven fingers or one of those digits is his penis.

Amanda Waller offers to help Bruce, Mona, and the Creeper sneak into Parador. But that's her only involvement. To help them sneak in through a series of caves, she recruits Cave Carson to be their guide. Did Cave Carson seem expendable in 1993? I hope so because his death is the only thing making me excited for the next issue!

Eclipso #3 Rating: C+. At least something other than monologues and soliloquies happened this issue, like Simon getting his fingers and dick chopped off. Plus this issue had so many guest stars: Sarge Steel, Amanda Waller, Guy Gardner, and Cave Carson! That's a lot of cameos for a buck twenty-five! Thank God for DC screwing creators out of "created by" royalties! Can you imagine how much this comic would cost if DC felt obliged to pay France Herron and Bruno Premiani for using Cave Carson, let alone Bob Haney and Lee Elias for Eclipso, Gil Kane and John Broome for Guy Gardner, John Ostrander, Len Wein, and John Byrne for Amanda Waller, and Steve Ditko, Pat Masuli, and Joe Gill for Sarge Steel?!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Eclipso #2

Looking at this cover is the best sex I've ever had.

After reading Eclipso #1, I needed a three month break from reading Eclipso comic books.

After typing the previous sentence, I needed an overnight break from writing another sentence.

Eclipso has a plan to take over the country (which country? I don't know. Parador? Ecuazil? Cheru?):

Does he mean the gun or the packets of desiccant?

In 1992, crack cocaine was seen as more dangerous than a Vengeance God with an assault rifle. And I suppose when it's being used by the government to instill racial fear in middle class white people so they readily agree that an increase in incarceration times for poor people in urban areas (predominantly black) who happen to get addicted to the stuff because its availability in poor urban areas was proliferating possibly due to CIA interference and the Vengeance God in question was fictional, it was more dangerous. And since crack cocaine couldn't be use to defend your VCR from crack addicts needing something to sell for their next high, it was obviously more dangerous than guns. Also, the Founding Fathers never put an amendment into the constitution protecting crack cocaine use, mostly because of their lack of foresight.

Hopefully the theme of this Eclipso comic book is that everything that's wrong with America is due to racism. Every single thing. Because most people would absolutely get behind a society with generous safety nets that ensure people have the best chance at making it in this country. The thing that stops most people is that they don't want certain people to get the same benefits. And that's what it all boils down to. Just the term "entitlement programs" is a dog whistle. When people argue that they don't want their taxes going to programs that help people because they would rather choose where they give their "charitable" contributions, it's a dog whistle, whether they know it or not. Whenever somebody argues about their taxes going to a program they see as an entitlement, you can bet they'll clarify that they care about the issue but they want to be able to choose which charity gets their contribution. And even if they don't realize they're making a racist argument, they are. "I want to help the people I think deserve my help" isn't the great defense against paying certain taxes that they think it is.

A lot of people are tired of hearing about racism. But that's because they're all fucking defending racist policies, racist attitudes, and a country that's built on so many racist fucking beliefs that none of us can get out from the overwhelming shit avalanche of it all. And those people, when accused of being racist, use the accusation of racism as a defense to become more racist. It's like they read Twain's Huck Finn and completely missed the point of the "If I'm going to Hell, I might as well go whole hog!" bit at the end. All I see are a bunch of miserable assholes who can't admit nor embrace who they really are because they ultimately understand that who they are and what they believe is a huge fucking problem. So instead they embrace some kind of immature rebel attitude. "My parents called me a liar even though I'm not a liar! Well, if they think I'm a liar, I'll give them liar! I'm going to lie constantly now! That'll show them!" And, of course, the person was called a liar because they lied. But the parents had no proof so the person feels justified in their defense of being a total liar. It's all so fucking immature.

The craziest bit of all is that a lot of people are simply annoyed by things that they would never even have to deal with. They could easily take the "virtue signaling" side without making any changes to their lives at all! Hell, it's easier to simply support the underdogs of society than to contort logic thinking up ways to defend continuing to be a complete and reprehensible asshole. Being compassionate doesn't actually cost anything! Which is why it says so much about a person when they choose the side of patriarchal and racist authoritarianism. The real virtue signaling is ignoring actual compassion for fellow human beings to make sure that you signify to your tribe that you're part of that tribe. At this point in history, that kind of virtue signaling is all that the Republican party stands for (backed by corporate money, of course).

Here's a surprise for some of you: I don't think through the things I write. I write from the heart and off the cuff. Am I wrong in some of the shit I write? I don't know! I just told you! It's off the cuff! But that's why you don't have to fear me! You can just wave your hand and "Pshaw!" my arguments right out of your head! It's the people who spend loads of time constructing their logical argument traps who don't have anybody else's best interests in mind. I'd rather hear from somebody passionately speaking about the shit they believe then listen to some self-proclaimed philosopher and autodidact logician who believes they've created the perfect argument to defend imperfect beliefs. Fuck those people.

Oh shit! I forgot I'm supposed to be some idiot named Grunion Guy talking about stupid fucking comic books! Sorry!

I used to think nobody reads my comic book reviews because people aren't interested in comic books and didn't know my reviews weren't actually about comic books. But after so many years, I think I finally understand that people don't read them because both of those reasons!

Eclipso decides to stop beating around the bush and possess the president of Venombia. Now I bet he makes him masturbate in public! Or maybe he just floods the U.S. with drugs. Fifty fifty chance that it's one of those two things.

Apparently Eclipso doesn't actually possess the person infected by the Black Diamond. The Black Diamond just causes them to be fueled by whatever rage lives within their heart which they immediately act violently upon. After the president gets angry while holding the Black Diamond, Eclipso says, "Fortunately, the president's anger was directed at his own failure to stem the drug tide!" This causes the president to personally go around the country murdering all of the non-Eclipso drug lords. So now Eclipso has the entire drug trade of Argenaguay at his disposal!

One week later, Eclipso has taken over the country and the moon is still full.

Trust me: the moon was full in the first non-cover picture I scanned. I just didn't scan that much of the page.

Eclipso's plan is to poison the cocaine shipped to the United States. It won't kill people who ingest it for 30 days so I guess that means everybody will die? Because the chance of every American doing cocaine within a 30 day period is 100%? I thought he was going to cut the cocaine with Black Diamond dust so that everybody becomes Eclipsos. I guess that would be too much of a dumb comic book idea.

Meanwhile in Africa, Eclipso as a lion discusses how he plans to bring all of the tiny Black Diamonds back together in the Heart of Darkness before destroying the Heart of Darkness. I don't know that it makes much sense but I guess it's a plan and some motivation for the character. Aside from his main motivation which is to kill everybody.

Eclipso has a third motivation though: to get revenge on Bruce Gordon, the one man who has ever defeated him! And probably will again since Bruce has figured out Eclipso is back and has taken over Guylivia.

The issue ends with a moon-bound deformed mass of Eclipso jerks off over Shakespeare.

Eclipso #2 Rating: D+. Most of this issue is expository. Eclipso just explains things that are going to happen or have just happened while not actually doing much. It feels like the first two issues could have been a brief summary about how Eclipso has returned to the DC Universe and then jumped straight into the action. Maybe having Eclipso recite Shakespeare at the end is supposed to make the reader think, "Oh! This issue is mostly soliloquy! That must means it's intelligent and not boring at all!" But Giffen did expect a stupid reader who doesn't understand Shakespeare to be reviewing his boring comic book! Take that, Giffen!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Review of The Twilight Zone, Season 1, Episode 16: "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Rough Draft"

I saw Jacob's Ladder in a theater in 1990 when I was 19 and it blew my mind. Not a lot of things blow my mind because I think of those things before I experience them and then when I experience them, I think, "Yeah. No shit." It's why in my 20s I simply assumed I was the reincarnation of every major philosopher and writer that had ever lived and I was their vacation reincarnation spot where they could just relax and have a good time without stressing about their literary legacy. We were just going to read, play games, and drop acid. It's possible the dropping acid part of that was responsible for the "I'm the reincarnation of loads of super smart historical people and also probably Jim Morrison" part. Anyway, for some reason, Jacob's Ladder blew my mind.

If you haven't seen Jacob's Ladder, I'm going to spoil the 2019 remake for you because I can't talk about this episode of The Twilight Zone, "The Hitch-Hiker", without doing so. Jacob's Ladder is about a man returning from Vietnam and having a terrible time trying to live his post-war life, mostly because he keeps seeing demons and weird shit. But here's the big twist that some of you have probably already figured out without even having seen the movie yet because you were raised in a post-M. Night Shyamalan world: the guy's entire post-war life was just a hallucination he was having as he bled out and died in a helicopter in Vietnam. I might have some of the details wrong because I haven't seen the movie since that day in 1990. "The Hitch-Hiker" is the same story except a little looser with the laws of what dying people are capable of doing as they're dying. The guy in Jacob's Ladder simply hallucinated. The woman in "The Hitch-Hiker" continues to drive cross country trying to hook up with sailors after she died. But that's why this is a rough draft of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" which I haven't talked about but it's just another episode of The Twilight Zone that's basically Jacob's Ladder.

Finding that at least two episodes of The Twilight Zone were based on people living a little more life just after they died, I find it hard to believe that Jacob's Ladder blew my mind as it did (am I using that phrase too much? Maybe next time I'll say the movie made me shit my pants). I'm sure I'd seen both of these episodes of The Twilight Zone at some point, seeing as how I watched the show whenever I found it on television. Or, like Star Trek, I often had it playing in the background as I played computer RPGs on my Apple IIe. I suppose a large part of the movie making me shit my pants was that it completely duped me and I wasn't expecting to see anything so heady and thought-provoking. I'm pretty sure the only reason my friend Paul and I went to see it was because we thought it was a horror movie. And, I suppose, it was. Just not the kind we were expecting. This one definitely didn't have any teenagers fucking in the woods.

"The Hitch-Hiker" begins with a beautiful woman named Nan who is so beautiful that this sentence was supposed to say something else about her but now it's only going to be about how beautiful she is. She has just rolled her car off the side of the highway and died. But nobody knows it yet! Not even her! So instead of lying there and not saying or doing anything because she's dead, she thanks a mechanic for changing her tire for her and then follows him into town to get a new tire. It only costs thirty bucks!

On the way to the service station, and then again at the service station, Nan sees a creepy hitch-hiker that creeps her (and me!) out. The rest of the episode is Nan becoming more and more frightened as she continually sees this creepy dude trying to get into her car all across America. Eventually she gets so scared that she invites a sailor into her car for company. When he begins to suspect that she's crazy, he flees from her car even after she tells him she'll blow him if he stays. Remember this is 1959 so she says it 1959 language: "Look. I like you. I really like you very much, as a matter of fact. That's why I picked you up. Because I liked you. I thought that we could be friends and I'd kind of like for you to take me out." I mean, put it back in your scared shitless pants, lady! The sailor decides not to continue with Nan which is more unbelievable than Nan being dead, even for 1959.

Eventually, Nan decides to check in with her mom and call home. That's when she discovers her mom has been hospitalized for shock after finding out her daughter died on the highway after a blow out caused her to roll her car. And it's at that moment that Nan realizes the hitch-hiker was just another dead guy trying to get a lift to Hell. Or he maybe he was Death personified. Probably that one. Although I really like the idea that he was a hitch-hiker that she crashed into and killed when she died and he's been chasing her all over the country trying to get a ride-share to Hell.

I once picked up a hitch-hiker while driving North up the Pacific Coast Highway in my 1972 Volkswagen bus. He was all, "I'm going to Arcadia!" And I was all, "Tough shit! I'm going to Eureka!" And he was all, "Oh man!" And I was all, "Look. I really like you. Very much. That's why I picked you up! Because I liked you. I thought we could be friends so I guess I'll take you to Arcadia and then turn back around to Eureka." And then he blew me. As a friend, of course!

That story about me didn't have anything to do with the theme of this episode. But it was pretty sexy, right?!

This episode didn't really impress me much but I have to give it credit. If Jacob's Ladder could blow my shit in 1990, I suppose this story probably freaked the fuck out of a lot of people in 1959 (and earlier when the radio drama of Lucille Fletcher's story was first broadcast). And I bet in 1959 more people actually believed in ghosts and the afterlife! Although they were less afraid of hitch-hikers. Back then, hitch-hikers were just people trying to get from one place to another, probably to see a sick relative. But now we know 95% of all hitch-hikers are serial killers, rapists, or the personification of Death.

Anyway, my point is that Inger Stevens, the woman who played Nan, was scarily beautiful.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Review of The Twilight Zone, Season 1, Episode 15: "Astronauts Were Fucking Dumb in 1959"

I know in this Internet day and Internet age, we're not supposed to shit on other people's creative projects. I know we're supposed to bite the holy fuck out of our tongue and just try to say around the gouts of blood, "It just wasn't for me." Well, let me begin by saying, "The episode of The Twilight Zone entitled 'I Shot an Arrow into the Air' was not for me. Not at all. Not even fucking close." You can stop reading now if criticism makes your blood boil to the point that you can't not begin a terrible debate and hashtag about it on Twitter.

The title of this episode (the real title and not my more apt but not real title (also, since only seven men were considered "astronauts" in 1959, I'd like to apologize to them and their legacy and say, "It was a joke title referencing the fictional astronauts in this television episode and not Misters Carpenter, Cooper, Glenn, Grissom, Schirra, Shepard, and Slayton. Luckily none of them are alive to beat me up for feeling insulted although I'm sure, even dead, some of them could take me.")), "I Shot an Arrow into the Air," was taken from a Henry Wordsworth Longfellow poem. It only uses the first sentence of the poem because if they'd included the second sentence, it would have spoiled the surprise twist ending. That sentence is "It fell to Earth, I know not where." Well, I know exactly where after watching this episode: 97 miles outside of Reno.

The "Arrow" of the title is an experimental space craft. It's so experimental that, as Colonel CalmDownEverbody says, it doesn't even have a prototype. Does that mean it was the prototype? Who flies into space in the prototype?! Or, should I say, who flies a little ways into the air and then crashes in the Nevada desert in the prototype?! Because that's the basic plot of the story. A bunch of astronauts in an experimental ship crash immediately back to Earth after which they prove why they were the most expendable military men when they begin trying to figure out where they might be. Which is when I really began to have a problem with this episode.

Obviously the heart of the story is man's humanity and/or inhumanity to man when faced with imminent death. Two characters remain reasonable and kind, compassionate and giving, while one character becomes a giant murdering selfish asshole. It's possible this entire story is simply a critique of capitalism and I missed it because I was busy punching holes in my wall and screaming, "Why are these astronauts such fucking imbeciles?!" If that's the case, I won't apologize because the writing was terrible and also punching the wall was cathartic.

Four of the eight astronauts were killed in the crash. I suppose the four killed were the science officer, the engineer, the bookworm with glasses, and the guy with only a third grade education. Of the four who survived, one dies almost immediately from either his wounds, a lack of water, or the bitter sting of rejection he felt from Corey, the capitalist maniac. The three who survived didn't know they were dumb as rocks because people who are as dumb as rocks never know they're dumb as rocks. But, believe me, they're dumb as rocks. Maybe dumber. With their limited scope, education, and perception, they begin to ponder where they might be and they decided they've crash landed on an asteroid.

Okay, fine. I don't know how long an experimental craft in a fictional 1959 takes to get airborne. But let's assume it took three days to reach the edge of space because what else am I supposed to believe? That these men riding in the spacecraft couldn't tell that the ship crashed almost immediately which couldn't possibly mean they made it into space and crashed on a nearby asteroid. Let me also assume that the creators of the show didn't mean to have any shots of the Nevada desert that included scrub brush because plant life would mean water which would mean hope, even if these men still thought they were on an asteroid. I'm really making some fucking concessions here! But I'm about at my limit. Because another clue these dolts figure out is how the sun is basically the same size as they remember it. So their conclusion? No, not that they might be in an Earth desert. They decide the asteroid they're on is in the same orbit as Earth! I'd ask if any of these assholes had ever heard of Occam's Razor but the guy with the third grade education died, remember? So why bother asking?

So these fuckwits think they're stranded on an asteroid with five gallons of water between them and no hope of being rescued because they were in the prototype spacecraft which took four years to build. And yet, even though they're all fucking doomed, Corey decides murdering them all so he could last ten days instead of three would be the best option. Never mind that when one of them decides to try to pinpoint their location using the stars, he points out that he can't because the sky was overcast. OVERCAST?! That means you have fucking moisture in the atmosphere! Wait. Atmosphere?! On an asteroid?! Not to mention Colonel ISaidRemainCalmEverybody has a fucking watch but doesn't notice that the day and night cycle seems about the fucking same as on Earth. Hey! Did you notice the sun went down at exactly the same time it did yesterday, you stupid motherfucker?!

Anyway, Corey panics and murders everybody because that's capitalism, baby! When other people play by the rules, you win by playing by not the rules! But then when people ask, "Hey, did you play by the rules?" You just say, "Of course! Also, let's change some of the rules in my favor so I don't have to cheat as much as you think I did which I totally didn't." Eventually, Corey climbs over a hill instead of living it up with his five gallons of water and sees highway signs for Nevada and Reno. Then he goes on and on about telephone poles and apologizes to the men he killed. Because if he'd known they were still on Earth where murder is illegal, he obviously wouldn't have done it. Colonel See?IToldYouToCalmDown!NowLookWhatYou'veGottenYourselfIntoEverybody and Pearson, being dead, probably forgive him because what do they care now? Corey almost certainly goes back into the desert to make it look like Pearson murdered the Colonel and also to get his precious five gallons of water. Later, when he's awarded a Medal of Honor for his bravery in difficult circumstances, he'll begin fostering the delusion that, of course, it absolutely was Pearson who murdered the Colonel and he, Corey, behaved in an exemplary fashion.

But eventually, one of Pearson's children, suspicious about the entire ordeal, will start a Podcast which examines the happenings of this unfortunate beginning to space exploration. She'll uncover the truth through lengthy interviews with people associated with Corey and also maybe some DNA evidence because obviously Corey had sex with bookworm with glasses' corpse when he thought he'd never see another living sexpot again, what with being stranded on an asteroid with an atmosphere and moisture in the air and desert plants all around. By then, Corey will have been dead many years from liver failure as he found his delusions losing their strength of conviction and had to replace them with the blissful dark ignorance of nightly scotch blackouts.

Boy, astronauts really were fucking dumb in 1959.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Review of The Twilight Zone, Season 1, Episode 14: "Jody Leaves Her Date to Die"

Amanda Halley of The Ultimate Fashion History YouTube channel helped me better understand fashion with her constant reminder, "Fashion is not an island; it's a response." I'm one of those men who has lived 48 years in t-shirts and jeans (disregarding the few years in late elementary where I wore corduroy pants for some reason. I think that reason was that my mother didn't understand exactly how serious my inability to change my clothing style was and, in a major struggle to get me to not wear jeans to some family function, didn't realize she was constraining me to years of swishing corduroy pants once I accepted the change (I do remember how I got back into jeans though! While playing at my cousins, my corduroy pants zipper ripped (or the button popped?) and they just wouldn't stay up. So my aunt had some old jeans from Peter Martin (the neighbor boy from across the street) and said I could wear those. Of course, I adamantly refused to wear another boy's pants and decided to struggle through holding up my pants for the rest of my life. A little while later, my mother (she was there because it was probably Thanksgiving) came out with some jeans and said they were a pair I had left there previously. So I acquiesced and put them on, only realizing as I was putting them on in the bathroom that they were fucking Peter Martin's jeans and I had been had. But in a burst of maturity and insight into saving face that I can't believe came out of a youthful me, I made the cognitive decision to go along with the sham. And after that, I never wore corduroy pants again and it was jeans all the way down once more (sure, sure. As I got older, I wore a variety of different kinds of pants. But probably 95% jeans)).

That was a pretty good digression so let me remind you where we were: I've basically only worn t-shirts and jeans my entire life so Amanda Halley's The Ultimate Fashion History YouTube channel has taught me more about history in a year or so than I knew in the previous 47. And her quote, "Fashion is not an island; it's response," struck a chord with me because, as an English major, it's how I learned to better appreciate poetry. Or, at least, how I learned to better appreciate poetry that I did not like. It's one thing to read William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow" and think, "What the fuck? Stupid. Whatever." It's another to learn about the other artists whom Williams discussed poetry and their theories about what modern poetry should be, and how it should differ from the previous generation. Although I don't know much about that because after reading "The Red Wheelbarrow" and thinking, "What the fuck? Stupid. Whatever," I had no interest in learning more about William Carlos Williams. But even poems that people think they love as a stand-alone experience, like Yeats' "The Second Coming," cannot truly be understood without context and reading multiple essays discussing Yeats' secret language and ritualistic metaphors. Poems, like fashion, are not islands. Every single one is a piece of dialogue in a generational conversation. Good luck ever feeling like you really understand anything after accepting that fact.

Which brings me to this episode of The Twilight Zone, "Third from the Sun." While not as unfathomable as T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" without understanding the references or contemplating where Vivienne Westwood's punk aesthetic came from without knowledge of previous years and decades of fashion, "Third from the Sun" relies on the viewer understanding the context in which this story was told. Based on a Richard Matheson story (because of course it was), "Third from the Sun" is a modernist response to living in the nuclear age. Obviously we still live with the threat of nuclear war because genies and bottles and idiots and whatnot so the story doesn't need as much context as maybe some of the other The Twilight Zone episodes that haven't aged as well. But the way it's told exemplifies the needed subversive nature of Rod Serling's television program for 1959. It comes with a sort of safety valve that allows a viewer to remain blind to the criticism of the United States. I'm sure what Matheson and Serling do in this story has been done before and since but it struck me as quite clever, and made me realize that possibly the only other example of this cleverness that I can currently recall with my muddled and aged brain is the ending scene of Get Out when the police car pulls up as Chris kneels over the woman who betrayed him and she begins calling for help. Although that scene maybe doesn't have quite the same safety valve. In fact, it refuses the safety valve completely. That scene is all, "See how you felt when that police car pulled up, you white? That's it. That's fucking living in the U.S. as a black man." But it's still sort of the same visceral reaction that the creators are expecting the audience to have at the end of the story. I should probably explain what that reaction is in "Third from the Sun."

William Sturka helps build hydrogen bombs. One day after work, he learns that the bombs are going to be launched in 48 hours. The world is essentially over. He can no longer justify his career by pointing out he's just a replaceable cog in a gigantic war machine because that cog has helped bring it all crashing down. Luckily for him and his family, he has an escape plan! Unluckily for his daughter Jody's date and everybody else living on the planet, they don't have an escape plan! But that's okay because this is how stories work. The audience is given the main characters and encouraged to simply care about the main characters because caring about people who haven't even been written is a stupid waste of time. Sure, Jody's date exists but you never have to look at his face so who cares if he blows up or is later torn to pieces by the mutant post-apocalyptic zombie monkeys. This is about the Sturka family and how they will survive another day!

The Sturka escape plan is to take an experimental space ship to a planet they've discovered in a nearby galaxy. They've learned that the people on that planet are similar to them and even speak a language quite closely related to theirs. This brings up a lot of other questions that can't be answered in a twenty five minute television show so just shut up. Some other drama takes place with a bad guy who wants to stop them but none of that really matters. Okay, fine, it matters but in a way that I don't want to get into. It matters because it demonstrates wrong-headed loyalty to a dangerous government and obsessive patriotism and cigarette smoking men who just want to see the world burn. But the terrible man trying to stop them is really just an obstacle to be traversed so Sturka and his family have something to do for twenty minutes, aside from discussing their plans of stealing a government aircraft while playing Bridge or Pinochle or whatever stupid card game for couples they played in the 50s.

The main theme is that Sturka and his family are living in a world teetering on the edge of nuclear Armageddon and they're desperate to escape to safety. At the end of the episode, as they escape in their space ship, William and his friend discuss their destination. William learns the planet they're headed to is the third from its star and that it's called Earth. I think this is where I'd insert a gif of universe brain if I was that kind of Internet writer. I am not. Although since I'm more of a 'zine writer, I should at least be doing my own art for these reviews. Fuck. Now that I've thought of it, I've just made more work for myself for future reviews. Also, I think I'm going to turn these into physical 'zines.

So that's the twisty bit going on in this episode! The entire time, the audience is thinking this is a tale of Earth because, well, we're living in the shadow of complete and utter annihilation brought on by the whims of our leaders. So the big surprise is that this was a different planet entirely! But the part that I think is clever and subversive and based in the context and dialogue of the time is that it relies on the audience to understand it and make the mental leap of logic for one final gasp of awareness. They aren't going somewhere safe! They're headed right back into the same on-the-brink-of-disaster world they just left. Which is why it reminds me of the final scene of Get Out which relies on the audience's pre-conceived notions of police and violence against black men. I suppose in 1959, you couldn't watch this episode of The Twilight Zone and not gasp at the realization that this poor family hasn't actually rescued itself. They're still in danger because our world has become that dangerous place. We believed they were fleeing Earth because Earth has gotten as frightening as the world in this episode and Matheson and Serling double down by saying, "Ha ha! Nope. They're going to Earth!" Perhaps there's a bit of hope in the story in that we still have more time than 48 hours. But I don't think that's the point. And much like Get Out, even people who pooh-pooh Black Lives Matter protests, must have had a visceral reaction to the police car pulling up while the protagonist knelt above the bloody body of his fiance and tormentor. It's a scene that forces a person acknowledge, by their own reaction and assumption about what's going to happen, that, even if they will vocally deny that police violence against black men is an epidemic, they understand the truth of it. I can't imagine a person exists who could watch that scene and not immediately understand that Chris's life has gone from one dangerous experience to another serious threat to his life. Just another scene that relies on the context of the time, and dialogue across decades. None of this shit is an island. Like the jeans I've worn my entire life, it's simply responses all the way down.

Final Thought: I apologize for taking this review in two directions at once without properly knitting them together (the whole "it's a response thing" and the comparison to Get Out) but one came to mind as I was enmeshed in the other and, in the end, I don't have an editor and I'm not being paid for this. So if it's all poorly knitted together, I can only hope that you view it from the appropriate distance to hide its serious flaws. Thank you!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child

Darkseid pees out of his eyes.

"For a person who isn't a fan of Frank Miller's writing, I sure do purchase a lot of Frank Miller comic books," is my planned opening line for next Tuesday's therapy session. I hope I have a breakthrough and gain some insight into why I keep doing this to myself!

This book probably begins where DK III: The Master Race #9 left off. I say probably because I'm not good at remembering things. The thing about remembering things is that you actually have to pay attention to the thing. So while reading DK III: The Master Race #9, I should have been thinking, "Oh my! Yes, that's just like a Kandorian!" and "Why, that Lara, being half-Kryptonian and half-Amazonian, probably has a tight anal sphincter," and "Try to remember that Superman and Wonder Woman now have a male child who will be important in the next Dark Knight returns comic book." But I didn't think any of those things at all (except for maybe the tight anal sphincter thing). Instead, I was reading DK III: The Master Race #9 and thinking things like, "Making snide comments while reading comic books doesn't really help one ingest the full meaning and scope of the comic being read. It's like watching somebody you're attracted to do something talented while constantly thinking, 'I wonder what that butt smells like?' You know how that is, right? Afterward they're all, 'So, how did I do?!' And you're all, 'My pants are ruined!' Then they make that face that says, 'We probably won't be talking for awhile.' And then you go home and change your undergarments while crying a snot river of your own making. By the way, that never happened to me and if you say it did, I'll delete this from the Internet and say, 'Oh yeah?! Prove it!' Boy, won't you look stupid!" which is remarkably close to the things I was thinking while I should have been reading (and thinking about!) this comic book! Is it possible that across four thousand blog posts, I've only written about three dozen new thoughts?

The issue begins with Superman and Wonder Woman's daughter Lara speaking with Superman and Wonder Woman's son whose name I don't remember or simply never knew. I'm fairly certain the first five pages are out of order. They would go better ordered 1, 2, 3, 5, 4. Normally I complain how Frank Miller's confusing script loses me. But I'm generally able to follow the comic for the first five pages! It's not like this is an old man Neal Adams story.

As the Super Children observe the humans of Gotham City, a riot breaks out. According to Batgirl and the local media, everybody protesting Donald Trump are violent and crazy. Yeah, that's exactly what's happening. Way to buy into the right-wing media hype that anti-Trump and anti-fascist protesters are violent. Some Antifa kid punches a Nazi in the face and the right-wing media never shuts up about it, acting like all protesters are violent. Run a protester over with your car and the right-wing media never speaks of it again except to maybe point out some people are mentally ill and they're not representative of the hate espoused by all the non-violent people just trying to protect history (where history is a bunch of statues of historical figures, statues which they all conveniently ignore the history of why they were cheaply and quickly erected in the first place). I wonder if my comic book store would let me return this book if I pointed out how fucking terrible Frank Miller's writing can be. Probably not. They'd probably say, "Look. We know you knew how terrible Miller was when you bought this comic book. You can't now plead ignorance. Sorry, pal." Then I'd probably mutter, "Foiled!" and walk out with a few more Frank Miller comic books.

I guess I'm just being reactionary! Maybe Miller's point is exactly my point about how the media always gets the headlines wrong in their desperate need to not appear biased (which, of course, causes them to seem biased in the opposite direction while not appeasing the side that continues to call them biased). Because what actually happens in the story is that a bunch of people are protesting the mayor's re-election when a bunch of Joker's minions attack the protest. I think they represent the racist, pro-fascist, MAGA dimwits. They cause the violence and then the media reports, "Protest gets violent because protesters are totally violent jerks!" And just to make sure everybody knows that Donald Trump is the baddie, we see The Joker and Darkseid wearing MAGA hats. Okay, maybe he doesn't go that far. But they do have a Trump doll. And after I draw MAGA hats on them and I reread this comic book in twenty years, I'll go, "Holy shit! Donald Trump is so obviously the baddie because The Joker and Darkseid are wearing MAGA hats!"

I wouldn't be surprised if Frank Miller's actual point to this story was "Why be right or left, sucker? The only way to win is not to play the game! Big ups to my main man WOPR! Centrists for life, yo!" Pretty sure I nailed Frank Miller's voice there.

"It's 2020 and Frank Miller is still doing 'Not' jokes" is the only review of this comic book you probably need.

The Joker and Darkseid are cumming in their pants over the engagement in the election cycle. I guess people who want to stop terrible politicians from making the country a living hell for a vast number of the population are simply falling into their trap! Stupid people who want a better world! Can't they see that the only way to defeat The Joker and Darkseid is to disengage from the circus of election cycles and simply live their own life without any concern for others? Doesn't the electorate know the best life to live is the life that leads to Ayn Randian defenses of their own selfish needs? Just shut up and take what they give you, you dumb fucks.

I should probably finish reading this story before I continue to jump from conclusion to conclusion about Frank Miller's point. His ultimate point might simply be that the children will save us all! Or that it doesn't matter if the children change the world or not because the adults will all be dead by then so who fucking cares?

Supergirl Lara confronts Darkseid by blasting him with her heat vision. He dies multiple times or something but doesn't somehow. He applauds her rage the way bad guys always do and then calmly sits down to tell all of the children a story. He's going to be sensible and rational which means it will be the truth, I think. Obviously if you have any emotional attachment to your beliefs, they're garbage beliefs. Until you can squeeze all of the humanity out of yourself, the things you believe won't hold up in rational debate! So divest yourself of your rage, children! It will only make you more logical and intellectually stronger! But also divest yourself of your joy and your despair and your other emotions I can't think of! There must be more, right?

While Darkseid is distracted regaling everybody with his tale of the anti-life equation, Superboy sneaks up behind him and takes over his Omega Effect. He turns it back on Darkseid and Darkseid disintegrates into non-existence. Unless he was transported back in time. I don't really know how his eyeball lasers work.

Darkseid doesn't stay dead for long. He returns as the Omega God, as the end of everything, as the final death of everything on Earth.

But maybe later, I guess?

Batwoman beats up some Jokers and shuts down Trump's ability to broadcast to Gotham. It makes Darkseid angry enough to return for some reason. Probably a metaphorical reason. Or an analogical reason. I think maybe my attention span is seriously slipping! And right when I'm getting to the part that's probably going to explain what the fuck is going on in this comic book.

Superboy destroys Darkseid by calling him an old fart. Also maybe a little bit by blasting him with a new super power: neutron vision! Darkseid has now had his powers stripped so far back that a human bouncing a rock off of his head makes him bleed. But still he thinks, "I will manipulate these fools with my lofty words!" But then Greta Thunberg clenches her fist at him and Batwoman says, "You have no power here! We're thinking for ourselves now!" And then that's the end somehow.

Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child Rating: I can't comprehend what I just read. Maybe the point was that we shouldn't comprehend what other people want us to comprehend? Maybe it was an anti-propaganda story? Maybe it was just terrible writing pretending to be art? It's so hard to tell because it's trying so hard to be complex! Is it's complexity real or a facade? I can't tell! Maybe I should stick to easier things to understand, like James Joyce's Finnegans Wake or Alan Moore's 1300 page novel, Jerusalem, which I finished. Maybe that's Frank Miller's problem. Maybe he just didn't have enough pages to really get to the point he was trying to make. But then if he did have more pages, how many would he waste by simply repeating the same things over and over again? For those of you who haven't read this (or Superman: Year One), he does that a lot. Not in the good way that Tom King and Gertrude Stein repeat themselves. Just in a way that makes you think, "I got it! Superboy is right in Darkseid's brain." Maybe that's a poor example from this comic book because repeating that over and over works to show how painful Superboy's presence in Darkseid's brain is. But I assure you there were many other examples that I can't make excuses for. I just can't be bothered to dig back through the comic book to find them.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Superman: Year One: Book Three

Here's the back cover instead because I misread it as "We serve one purpose: Jesus," and I was ready to accept that.

Now that Frank Miller wrote Superman into a relationship that's going to fail last issue, do we need to spend half of this issue reading about the break up? Shit. Now I wish Gertrude Stein had done a Superman: Year One in the style of her short story, "Melanctha." That would be a Clark Kent I could really identify with. Constantly unsure about the life he truly desires, he spends most of his time complaining that his current life isn't it until he finds himself alone and unloved with all of his potential squandered. I guess it wouldn't be a great Superman book. But it would at least be true to the Superman I would wind up being.

My hope is that Lori becomes dissatisfied with Clark's sexual techniques and kicks him out of Atlantis. Then she tells Aquaman all about it. Aquaman's knowledge of how bad Superman is at boning then becomes the only reason Aquaman makes it into the Justice League. Superman spends years defending Aquaman as a good choice until, completely weary and humiliated for having gone to bat for the undersea joke that Aquaman is, Superman finally admits to fucking poorly so he can stop pretending to admire Aquaman.

The issue begins with Lois Lane piloting a submarine as she searches for Superman in mythical Atlantis. But then there's a terrible accident which Frank Miller describes with the pathos and gravitas the situation demands.

Due to the amount of lava and debris, I would have gone with "sharts."

Superman saves Lois Lane from dying under the ocean which probably means she's going to reward him with her big city sexual prowess. But before Superman can accept his reward for being a nice guy, he has to defeat a troop of Navy SEALS who have come to capture him. So everybody's looking for Superman now because he showed off a few too many times while training in the Navy and his commanding officer became jealous that the mermaids let Clark fuck them. So Superman's big enemies are the god Poseidon and the American military, both because Lori Lemaris chose to fuck Superman instead of them.

You might think I'm concentrating too much on Superman fucking the women he saved, and people being upset that they didn't get to fuck those women. If you are thinking that, it's probably because you haven't actually read Frank Miller's Superman: Year One. You'd totally understand that it's not me who is obsessed with Superman getting laid for fighting for truth, justice, and the American Way (honorably discharged version). It's apparently the entire theme of Frank Miller's Superman story.

I just realized that I was going to make a Batman sucking Superman dick's joke based on the cover but then I didn't scan the cover. Oh well! Lesson learned!

Any time somebody says, "Lesson learned," you should immediately ask them, "Oh? What was that then?" I bet most of the time, they won't be able to explain how they learned anything.

The good thing about the cover of Book Three is that it was drawn by Frank Miller. And no matter what you think of Frank Miller's art, you have to agree (or at least better agree or we're going to have a problem) that it's better than John Romita Jr's art and better than Frank Miller's writing.

After beating up the Navy SEALS and rescuing Lois Lane, Clark Kent winds up graduating from college and interning at the Daily Planet. Don't ask me what happened to Lori Lemaris and Atlantis! I guess it was such a terrible break-up that even Frank Miller doesn't want to write about it.

You can tell how dumb a person is by how much they defend Trump and blame the mainstream media. The fucking mainstream media bends over backwards not to point out just how fucking ignorant Trump is about everything!

Stepping away from the comic itself for a moment, here's what John Romita Jr had to say about this comic book after it was announced amidst a lot of "eye-rolls and groans" at San Diego Comic-Con. "The cynics that don't like my artwork or Frank's work were everywhere on the social media. Now we'll see what they have to say, because this is damn fresh, and I'm really proud of it." Well, I didn't have anything to say about it before reading it. I even bought it mostly knowing that I wasn't going to enjoy it even though I always hope that I enjoy everything I purchase as entertainment! Why else would I bother if not to hopefully be surprised and elated? Well, let me tell you, I was not surprised nor elated. Superman in the Navy might be fresh but it's also pretty fucking stupid. The whole idea was that Superman would join the Navy so he could see the world? But then he spends his entire time training in California where he learns he doesn't want to kill people after battling pirates in the Pacific waters off of the coast of California? Also he fucks mermaids during that time because why the fuck not? Now imagine reading all of that while looking at John Romita Jr's terrible facial expressions. The announcement of this comic book with this creative team should have garnered a lot more than groans and eye-rolls. There should have been jerking off motions as well.

Working at the Daily Planet with Lois Lane (who, if you remember from the part where I said she wants to fuck him, wants to fuck him), Clark Kent realizes he needs a disguise. So Frank Miller makes sure to explain how the hat and glasses work as a disguise. The hat "changes his silhouette" and the glasses are just "the geek factor" he needs. The whole "dress to unimpress" angle is the disguise. Fucking bullshit. We all know that the glasses and the outfit are the least part of the disguise. He needs to discuss how he changes his posture, how he acts clumsy, how he puts on the air of naive farm boy, how he's terrible at pleasing a woman in bed. These are all aspects that work to make it unbelievable that he could be Superman. Christopher Reeves in Superman nails all of these aspects and I wish writers would be more upfront about how Clark Kent's disguise is less about the accouterments and more about the act Clark puts on.

Superman begins deciding how to fight crime now that he's come to Metropolis. And his logic goes like this: "What do criminals want? Money! Where is the money? Banks!" And just like that, he becomes the protector of corporate America! He even thinks, "Never mind the third rate muggers and street swindlers." No wonder Batman doesn't respect this asshole! A third rate mugger killed Batman's parents and Superman is all, "Bah, they're harmless! Better get the guys going after the money that's insured!" Fuck this Superman!

Next Superman goes after street level drug makers. That's better, I guess, but couldn't he go after the pharmaceutical industry itself?

What the fuck is "factory brand duct tape"? Having managed a warehouse on the Netscape campus back in the 90s, I'd say they should be wrapped in shrink wrap.

This morning, I discovered Carrot Cake flavored Oreos. It was nice living without diabetes but I must say goodbye to those years now.

Later, Superman stops a man from abusing his wife and kids. I don't find out if she thanks him with her sex. But from what the previous chapters of this story have taught me, she did.

After that, Superman frees some hostages from a hostage situation that was set-up by Lex Luthor so he could meet Superman. Lex manipulates Superman into working for him to stop Batman. Why does Lex care about Gotham and Batman? I don't know! I don't even really know how Lex manipulates Superman! And I don't think it's because I'm too stupid to follow the story. I'm pretty sure I'm smart enough to understand a comic book! But this comic book feels like a bunch of pages are missing. Hell, Superman's first words to Lex Luthor upon meeting him for the first time are "You're a damned liar!" What did he lie about? When did he ever say anything to Superman? What the fuck is going on?!

Over in Gotham, Batman uses a gun. Okay. Whatever. Let's wrap this shit up.

Here's a terrible picture of Superman since I can't write about a story I can't follow.

The gist of the rest of the story is that Lex Luthor is tired of Batman and Superman foiling his crimes. So he decides to convince Superman that Batman is a jerk. After they get done killing each other, Lex Luthor will profit. Not that he isn't profiting already. But he'll profit more, I guess?

Superman lands in Gotham to speak with Batman and Batman instantly tries to kill him. Oh yeah, Frank Miller totally understands these characters. Batman wants justice but is willing to kill Superman because Superman wants to talk to him. And Superman goes around doing good while constantly thinking, "I'll show them!" and "I could kill these guys!" and "Which other woman should I save so I can fuck her?"

Batman tries all kinds of violence on Superman while telling Superman smarts are what counts. If only he'd use some and realize he can't hurt this guy. This might be the dumbest version of Batman I've ever seen.

Eventually Wonder Woman arrives to point out to these two blockheads that maybe they should stop fighting and work together to make the world a better place. Batman is all, "Well, I can't hurt him anyway so I guess I'll work with him." And Superman is all, "How is she stronger than me? She doesn't need rescuing from anybody. Has she ever gotten laid?!"

The issue basically ends with Wonder Woman telling Superman that she's ready to fuck him after he goes into space to learn to fuck (by fighting Brainiac?) and Batman telling Luthor he hopes he gets raped in prison. So exactly the way I'd expect a Frank Miller Superman comic book to end.

I wish I were right popular in high school.

Superman: Year One: Book Three Rating: What I learned from this comic book is that every woman in the DCU wants to fuck Superman and every man in the DCU is jealous of all the women Superman gets to fuck. What I also learned is that I should have read this series before purchasing Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child. I'd still like to know what happened between Clark and Lori. I guess he just left her the same way he left Lana and the same way he left Wonder Woman (who he fell in love with immediately, I guess?).

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Superman: Year One: Book Two

John Romita Jr finally giving up and sending this cover as finished: "Maybe all the fucking teeth will distract from Superman's leg."

Last issue ended with Superman joining the Navy. I know. I'm still fucking reeling from that revelation myself. Superman. In the Navy. I would type out the lyrics to The Village People song now but I'm afraid I don't actually know any of them and my version would just be a bunch of gay jokes. Oh, what the hell.

In the Navy! You can sail the seven seas!
In the Navy! You can get down on your knees!
In the Navy! In the Navy!

I should stop before I get too graphic about the Navy. I've had friends in the Army and the things they say Navy men do with sheep is simply disgusting. Although where do they get the sheep? Wouldn't those stories be more believable if they were about dolphins?

Maybe it was my friend in the Marines who told me the Navy's relationship with sheep. Probably to distract from all the rumors about what the Marines get up to with Navy men and their sheep.

My friend who was in the Navy never said anything about sheep which seems suspicious, right? Like he was hiding something! But he does have a habit of reciting poetry to people at parties which — let's face it — is more shameful than sheep fucking.

Hopefully nobody was upset about me seeming to make a joke out of being homosexual. Because I wasn't doing that! The Village People are gay so their songs are about gay lifestyle. Sure, I don't know the actual lyrics but at least I was keeping to the spirit of the group! Anyway, I don't think a man sucking another man's dick should be considered a gay act. It should simply be considered a lovely humanitarian thing to do for a friend.

No razor made by humans can cut Superman's hair! I bet he had to will his hair to fall out as they attempted to cut it.

The Navy officers pick Clark to train as a sniper because Clark doesn't know how to not be perfect at everything he does. I guess when Pa told him not to show off or to stand out, Clark wasn't really listening. But now that he's in the Navy, I guess he's contractually obligated to kill loads and loads of non-Americans with his super abilities.

I don't get this whole "Clark Kent joins the Navy" story arc. At first, I thought it was a way for Clark to meet Aquaman. Now I just think it's a way for Miller to showcase his weird sea-fucking kink.

If you've ever been to the ocean with Frank Miller, you've swam in his jizz.

I could never find the ocean sexy. The most terrifying experience I've ever had was getting caught on a boogie board out past the breakers of the Pacific after the sun went down. I had to constantly stop myself considering what might be lurking under the black mirrored surface of the ocean as I tried to keep calm and paddle back towards the lights of Santa Cruz. I was out there with my buddy Larry who killed himself earlier this year. My theory is that he never could get that nightmare experience out of his head. Or maybe it was depression. Sure, you're probably putting your money on depression. That's exactly something somebody who never floated on the ocean in the darkness of night would do.

Clark notices mermaids swimming out in the ocean and one of his officers is all, "Yeah, boy. Mermaids! Sometimes guys try to fuck 'em but then they drown and we report them lost at sea and nobody asks no questions. You got me?!" And Clark is all, "Yes, sir! Don't try to fuck the mermaids, sir!"

Clark decides that since he isn't allowed to fuck the mermaids, he should head into town and start a bar brawl. Clark meets a woman who's working on publishing a story about Navy guys who hang out in bars and defend women from civilians who get too handsy with female reporters. Clark once again finds himself overwhelmingly horny. Oh, not for the woman! But for the idea of being a reporter! He's just too young to realize that he's not into woman; he's into bylines and columns and exposés. But before he can fuck a newspaper, Clark blocks a punch some jerk throws at him, breaking the guy's arm (just like that fight he got in high school! Is this good writing where we see echoes of the character's past history or bad writing where the writer just can't think of new plot points? Who can tell?!), and starting an all out brawl. He walks the reporter home afterward, dreaming about that black ink coming off on his cock and balls.

The next day, the training officer threatens to shoot him for causing trouble. Seems like an appropriate response. I guess Clark is learning that the military doesn't keep anybody safe. It's just a violent place where young people with no real hope of succeeding in civilian life go to gain instant meaning and heroic praise from others. That's like the opposite of journalism where young people with lofty ideals about changing the world by exposing truth and justice go to never actually do that and instead just parrot the lies told them by politicians because they don't understand the difference between being impartial and simply being a loudspeaker for misinformation.

I don't know what I'm talking about anymore. Frank Miller has me so confused. I mean, Clark Kent is in the Navy! What the fuck is going on in Superman's First Year?! Wait. This is all happening in just one year? It's because Superman grows super fast under a yellow sun, right?

After being treated like shit by his commanding officer, Clark decides to go fuck some mermaids. That'll show him!

Just another reason why Aquaman is a redundant piece of Justice League shit.

Why did DC decide to call this comic book "Superman: Year One"? I would have called it "Frank Miller's Stupid Version of Superman by Frank Miller."

Underwater, Clark Kent meets Lori Lemaris. She leads him back to Atlantis where an experimental submarine has crashed into the city. Also, I don't know if this will soon be an important plot point but Clark Kent is suddenly wearing a huge watch on his left wrist. Up until the moment he dives in the ocean, Clark has never worn a watch in this series. How else is he going to be dealing with Atlantis's problems when he'll suddenly look at his wrist and say, "Jeezly crow! I've got to get back to base! I'll be back tomorrow night to fuck more mermaids! And help rebuild if I'm not too sleepy afterward"?

"The smell of fish poontang washes across Clark's senses, threatening to remove him from Atlantis and plop him down in Boner City."

What kind of an editor takes a look at the previous panel and doesn't ask, "Why, out of nowhere, are you discussing Clark's ability to stifle his sense of smell to keep from being distracted in a panel that depicts Lori Lemaris's ass?" It's a fair question.

Clark looks at his watch and thinks, "Jeezly Crow! I've only got a few hours before bugle! I guess I can help rebuild Atlantis before then!"

Once again, Clark's reward for saving a woman in trouble is sex with that woman. This might be a problematic message. Clark saves Lana from violent men. Clark bangs Lana. Clark saves the reporter from violent men. Clark bangs the reporter. Clark saves Lori Lemaris's ruined city from violent men and their submarines. Clark bangs Lori. I always suspected that sex was an expected reward for acting chivalrous! Thanks, Frank Miller, for justifying all the times I called a woman a bitch because she wouldn't sleep with me after I saved her by beating up a guy that had just called her a bitch!

This is the Internet so I should probably explain that the previous sentence was a satirical critique of Miller's problematic message. I mean, sure, impressing a potential sexual partner is a good way to get that person interested in becoming your sexual partner! So the Lori Lemaris plea for Clark to fuck her hard after he helps isn't the worst depiction of a relationship. But having two other women saved by Clark from brutes who are threatening non-consensual sex reward Clark with sex is the worst depiction of a relationship. Also, the story doesn't explicitly state that Clark and the journalist from the bar have sex. But I can read between the panel breaks!

A critical review aside: Frank Miller's narration in this series is confusing. Sometimes it's in third person and then it flips over to first person without the current narrative thought changing at all. It reads as sloppy, probably because it is sloppy.

Clark and his fellow Navy SEAL recruits go on an emergency mission to kill some pirates. Clark watches a bunch of pirates get shot in the head but he doesn't pull the trigger so nobody can accuse him of having killed a man. In fact, he saves a bunch of men by holding a grenade in his hands as it blows. But because he refused to kill on command, he's discharged from the Navy. I guess the American military doesn't have time for people who won't follow an order to murder.

Before Clark leaves the Navy, his commanding officer decides to give him some good advice about using his talents to help put fires out instead of causing more. Odd advice coming from a guy so hell bent on threatening to kill Clark and screaming at Clark to kill everybody he meets. I guess he's a complex character!

After Clark leaves the Navy, he walks into the ocean to battle Poseidon for the hand of his daughter, Lori. Poseidon doesn't want Clark fucking his daughter because he wants to fuck his daughter. That's not something I made up the way I make up so many other things. Frank Miller made that bit up. I don't know why. Couldn't Poseidon have just not wanted his daughter marrying a non-Atlantean instead of making it about Poseidon wanting to be the only person fucking his daughter? Luckily Clark defeats Poseidon's Krakens so no father fucks their own daughter in this series, no matter how much I bet Frank Miller's original script read, "Poseidon fucks his daughter. A lot. Over and over. Oh boy! What a hit this comic is going to be!"

In the end, Poseidon leaves the throne to pout and plot his revenge against Clark and the entire surface world. Clark and Lori settle down to rule Atlantis for as long as it takes me to read the third and final issue where, I'm certain, Clark will leave Lori to pursue his true love: writing opinion pieces about Superman for the Daily Planet.

Superman: Year One: Book Two Rating: The first issue wasn't so bad that I didn't not want to read the second issue. But this issue was so terrible that I'm not sure I'll have the patience to write about the third issue. If I never post a review of the Book Three, it's because I just couldn't bare to think more than superficially about Frank Miller's writing. Also I might have simply thrown myself off of a building because John Romita Jr's art was so fucking terrible.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Review of The Twilight Zone, Season 1, Episode 13: "Just One Guy Actually Dies"

Certain eras of television and movies make various uses of visual signifiers to indicate to the audience that they're supposed to believe something that isn't actually happening. The one that annoys me the most in our current times is gagging a person. To indicate a person can't speak or yell or make any noise whatsoever, a character will simply put a piece of cloth around somebody's head so that it is clenched in their teeth like a horse's bit. Obviously that won't stop a person from screaming at the top of their lungs. But I don't think non-horse-bit gags work as well as television and movies want us to believe they do for conveniences of plot anyway, so who really cares, right? I'm sure actors were tired of having duct tape wrapped around their faces to at least seem somewhat believable which led to some really uptight actor saying, "Can't I just hold this in my teeth and pretend that I can't yell? Acting!" And some director was all, "Fuck. Fine. Whatever. Just get the fucking scene shot already!" And then everybody saw it and was all, "Wait. Audiences will buy that that person can't make a sound now? Fuck yeah! No more duct tape, baby!"

In the fifties, one of the worst visual signifiers was saved for two people kissing. Instead of actually kissing, they just pursed their lips and smashed their faces together, with little to no movement, for an amount of time depending on how passionate the kiss was supposed to be. I've kissed my own grandmother more erotically than a 50s era television kiss. I bring this up because there's a kissing scene in The Twilight Zone episode, "The Four of Us are Dying," that looks like a child took two dolls and mashed their faces together for an awkwardly long amount of time. Actually, a child with two dolls would have been more dramatic. Maybe I shouldn't blame the 50s entirely. I'm pretty sure Ward and June Cleaver shared kisses that sometimes made me think, "Hugh Beaumont is enjoying that a little too much."

This episode also contains the signifier of loads of neon signs floating about the protagonist's head to indicate he's in a big city. I have no idea who first came up with that one but it's actually pretty good. I'm sure it was first done in some stage production of whatever early to mid-century play sees the protagonist go from a rural area to New York. Does that happen in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? What about Poor Little Ritz Girl? Or maybe it was first done in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

I thought that by the time I was done discussing the terrible kiss that I'd accidentally find a way to talk about this episode but it didn't happen. I don't know what George Clayton Johnson's original story, "All of Us are Dying," was actually like because I'd have to find a collection of his short stories to learn but I can't imagine it was lacking in as much substance as Serling's teleplay seemed to be. I was hoping that my brain would figure out the point of this episode so that I don't expose my own ignorance when somebody on the Internet decides to "actually" me and make me look stupid. And since I never received an "A-ha!" moment from on high that truly satisfied me for the reason this episode had to be filmed by Serling, I guess I'll just try to flesh out the only thought that came to me.

I'm sure people have made categories for all the different kinds of The Twilight Zone. Some are about the existential terror of loneliness, some are about nostalgia, some are about terrible disasters, some are about Kojak taking the piss out of his step-daughter's stupid doll, some are about a terrible person getting their comeuppance, and so on. I haven't figured out all the categories myself! But this one seems to be one of the comeuppance ones which introduces the audience to an unlikable guy and then kills him at the end so the audience learns not to be unlikable.

Serling's introduction to Arch Hammer is thus: "His name is Arch Hammer. He's thirty-six years old. He's been a salesman, a dispatcher, a truck driver, a con man, a bookie, and a part-time bartender. This is a cheap man, a nickle and dime man, with a cheapness that goes past the suit and the shirt; a cheapness of mind, a cheapness of taste, a tawdry little shine on the seat of his conscience, and a dark room squint at a world whose sunlight has never gotten through to him." I haven't heard a string of petty insults so beautifully rendered since Thurl Ravenscroft took The Grinch to task for being such a huge asshole. Sometimes when you're in the Twilight Zone, you don't have time for ambiguity! You just need to know, right from the start, if the protagonist is an asshole or a hero. Also, you always need to know that the male lead is actually thirty-six.

Hammer, a man who can change his facial features to look like whomever he wants, decides to use the power to accrue love and money. He uses his power as shortcuts to getting the things most people desire. He looks like the lover of a woman who believed he was dead (I mean, the actual lover was dead. But she readily accepts that it was all a case of mistaken identity) so that he can get some easy loving. Then he pretends to be a criminal betrayed by some other criminals so he can steal some stolen cash stolen from the guy he was pretending to be. But in the end, as he takes on the identity of a stranger he sees on a poster in an alley, he discovers that pretending to be other people comes with their terrible baggage as well. He runs into the guy he's pretending to be's father who hates him for knocking up a nice girl and ruining the reputation of the family. The father shoots him in the gut and pisses on his dying corpse. That sounds like maybe it wouldn't have aired on a 1950s television show so maybe I dreamed that bit later.

I guess the point is that there are no easy shortcuts because some shortcuts lead through bear country and you're liable to be mauled by a bear when you use one of those shortcuts even if that shortcut leads to tons of money and pussy.

Apparently in the original story (which I still haven't read but I've now read about!), Hammer couldn't control how he looked. In the end, he dies not knowing who he is, awash in the memories and lives of every person other people saw him as. There's probably a moral in that about being who we are and not who other people expect us to be lest we lose ourselves in the process. But who knows? Not me! I didn't read the original story! And Serling seems to have heard the treatment and thought, "Yeah! That'll be terrific! The man who could be anybody! Just think how much easy money and pussy you could get doing that! And how many cigarettes you could smoke!" Then he needed a way to show that maybe that wasn't the greatest life so he had to introduce the psychopathic father figure. Audiences would have nodded sagely when Hammer was shot, and probably said things like, "That creep had it coming!" and "Just goes to show you!" and "Just think how much more pussy he could have gotten if that jerko dad hadn't murdered him for practically no reason at all!" That last one would have been said by me after I time traveled to the 1950s.

The writer of the original story, George Clayton Johnson, also wrote the script for the first Star Trek episode, "The Man Trap." It's pretty much the same story except with an alien whose only desire is the luscious salt within the human body.

In conclusion, I am concluding this review by suggesting that perhaps this story wasn't meant to have much of a point at all. Perhaps Rod Serling was just sitting around one day and thought, "You know what I want to make? An episode that's a metaphor for jazz!" And that was this episode!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Superman: Year One: Book One

I can't wait to find out why Superman shoved Jim Gordon's head up his ass!

Most of the time, I don't think, "I fucking hate myself." But then I'll purchase a comic book written by Frank Miller and drawn by John Romita Jr. and I think, "Well, obviously I'm wrong about that."

I haven't been reading too many comic books lately because I've been reading Alan Moore's Jerusalem which is not a comic book at all but a 1300 page book. The thing about a 1300 page book is that 1300 is a lot of pages to read. It's a daunting task! Just ask anybody you know who has read 1300 pages. You probably don't know anybody because you only know comic book nerds and they only read regular books if they're called things like Secrets of the Marvel Universe and DC: They Ain't Fucking Marvel!. I've read both of those books and, let me tell you, they don't actually exist.

Anyway, Alan Moore's Jerusalem was fucking fantastic. No, no. It was fucking fucking fan-fucking-tastic! It was like eating a half gram of magic mushrooms and then sitting on the floor in the middle of a raucous house party, just absorbing the frantic movements and warbling sounds. Unless it was better than that. Although I can't think of anything better than that. Possibly the best time I ever had was sitting on the floor while on mushrooms in the middle of my friend Jason Beymer's house while his sister's rager erupted all around me. I was fucking content. I was the Buddha under the fig tree. I was Christ on the cross. I was Mohammad wherever Mohammad found his bliss. With his cougar first wife, maybe?

Technically I have yet to finish Jerusalem. There's a chapter called "Round the Bend" which was Moore's attempt to write his own version of Finnegans Wake. It's fucking insane and I'm slowly making my way through it with copious notes. I've created a table with three columns for my notes as I read the chapter slowly, one sentence at a time. In the first column, I type the original sentence. In the second column, I type my literal interpretation of the sentence. And in the third column, I discuss what both the text and the subtext might be suggesting. It's a brilliant piece of writing that I think is worth the extended amount of time I'll be devoting to it.

All that being said, I need a little reading downtime before I begin A.R. Moxon's The Revisionaries. So I'm reading Superman: Year One! This probably doesn't have any non-white-supremacy subtext at all! So it shouldn't be too hard to get through.

DC Comics printed Superman: Year One as a magazine sized book for their Black Label, um, label? What is it with DC and redundancy? "Hey, people already call us DC Comics to differentiate us from other DCs even if pedants often complain about how redundant it is. What if we really piss off the pedants by calling our new adult comic book line 'Black Label'? Then people will have to refer to the DC comic with the Black Label label on it!" probably said Dan DiDio. And then Geoff Johns was all, "Man, I hate when I'm sexing my hot lover and my hot lover is all, 'Let's do ATM mouth!' Idiot!"

Dammit! I was making a point when I fucking interrupted myself with my DC offices fan fiction. I was going to point out how I'm going to be severely disappointed when there aren't any boobs or vaginas or dicks in this comic book. The only time I ever read magazine sized comic books was when I wanted to jerk off to cartoons and picked up a copy of Heavy Metal.

The story begins as all stories do: with the death of a planet and a small baby being shoved into a rocket and shot off into space. This baby understands way more than I think most babies tend to understand. It's hard to know for sure because nobody remembers being a baby and science doesn't really understand things like brains and babies and baby's brains. But this baby is a science fiction baby from another planet so I really can't complain if it already knows concepts like "partying" and "celebrating" and "donkey punching" and "billions of stars." Those are probably all concepts on the Kryptonian See and Say toy.

Before the baby exits the rocket after landing in a field in rural Kansas (that's the part of Kansas that isn't Kansas City or Wichita), the rocket speaks to him. I'm pretty sure it's his dad speaking to him in a recording since it calls him "my son" but I don't want to make any assumptions that might leave me vulnerable with Interent critics who like to criticize other Internet critics. Maybe the rocket thinks it's the baby's mother and is about to give birth to it on its new homeworld. Anyway, the voice tells the baby to wake up because "a world awaits. A world that needs you. A world you must save [...] from itself." I mean, really? Was that a necessary part of the story? Did the baby need that kind of pressure and meaning forced onto it so soon in its young life? And how, by the way, did the baby's dad or rocket ship know that this world needed to be saved? Was he (or it!) just projecting Krypton's terrible history onto this new planet? Obviously if it's a planet, it's going to need to be saved because the people on it are just going to ignore the mad scientists when they say the world is dying.

Seriously though! Why begin the comic book by telling Superbaby that he needs to save this world from itself? It seems like a clunky way of trying to force all of what makes Superman special into a few brief lines. "Hey, reader! Superman is here to save the world! It's his destiny!" How about just letting Superbaby have a father who was grateful that he could save his child from Krypton's destruction? Then you let Superbaby grow up and learn, from his Earth parents, right and wrong. Let him learn about truth and justice. Let him learn empathy and compassion. Then when he makes the choice to sacrifice a huge part of his existence in making Earth a better place, ita actually means something. But having a recorded message tell him he needs to save the world from itself before he's even learned not to shit his own pants seems a bit of crap writing desperate to make thematic points.

Jonathan Kent isn't a kind and generous man who wanted to take care of a baby. I mean, maybe he was but what does it even matter if something else is manipulating his actions?

Do audiences enjoy stories where characters are manipulated by Gods or destiny to become the thing they're meant to become to do the thing they're meant to do or is this just writers being too lazy to let a story tell itself along the way? My view of audiences would be severely diminished if it could get any lower and also if I were to believe they preferred stories about Chosen Ones rather than regular people who rise to the occasion to do something heroic. What makes a story better if we learn that the hero was always meant to be the hero? Isn't it more rewarding to have heroes like Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee who struggled to do what was right with no guarantee that they were cosmically destined to succeed? The only thing this whole idea that there has to be some thing (or Thing) manipulating events from behind the curtain is remove free will from the hero's actions, thus making the hero nothing more than an automaton programmed to succeed.

Jonathan brings the baby home and Martha is all, "Whelp! I guess we have a kid now! Praise Jesus!" And Jon is all, "Praise Jesus and his might rocket ship from Heaven!" And both of them feel slightly guilty because of all the times they cursed God for giving them faulty reproductive organs. Jon and Martha are still young so at least they can pretend that they kept faith that God would provide them a child. But I bet if they had been creeping up on the age of Abraham when he finally boinked the help, they would have fucked up God's plan too!

Jon and Martha quickly begin calling each other Ma and Pa because why not? It's not like anybody is going to somehow come along and take their new space baby away from them! They found it and so it's as good as theirs. It's not like Kansas has any laws on the books that say you can't keep a baby you found in a field that fell out of the sky in an alien rocket ship. Are there? Probably not, right? And even if there are, nobody in town seems to question where the fuck Jon and Martha got a kid.

Oh yeah. I'm supposed to believe Clark can feel hot oatmeal. What flavor is it? Kryptonite? I mean, it is green.

Stupid penis! Every time I turn the page, it keeps thinking we're going to see thick chicks on space motorcycles with their tits flopping out and huge bushes streaming out from between their thighs! This isn't Heavy Metal, you stupid organ! I blame my brain for constantly thinking while reading this, "This comic book magazine sure would be better with more tits."

Between being a toddler and the first day of high school, nothing important happens. I mean, some important things probably happen. Like Clark's first wet dream. But Frank Miller doesn't think that's important enough to make the story. I don't know why. I want to see Ma asking Kent why he hid his sheets out in the field and also why he was re=plastering the ceiling of his bedroom.

In high school, all the kids start talking about how amazing Clark Kent is. But he hangs out with the fat kid and the goth kid and the other kids that are probably losers in ways that I can't tell by John Romita Jr's art. They all just kind of look like John Romita Jr people. I think they others are misfits because one wears glasses and the other one is black and the other one is Latino. That just means they don't fit in with the white rural farm kids, I guess? I don't know how high school works in rural America. I grew up in Silicon Valley. Our nerds were the white kids who played Dungeons and Dragons. Our popular kids were the Filipinos who were style conscious when most of us still weren't wearing deodorant or washing our hair regularly enough. I would see them hanging out at lunch and think, "How do they get their hair to stay so high and look so good?!" If only I had known that part of that answer was simply, "They wash it regularly," maybe I wouldn't have been a big misfit loser jerk!

Clark sees the bullies picking on little Pete Ross (you have to say that in a high-pitched sneering voice. Unless you don't want to be a bully. Do you not want to be a bully?) and decides, "Enough is enough!" Even though he's not supposed to stand out or else the government will take him away to do experiments on him, he has to end the rash of bullying at Smallville High School! This looks like a job for Clark Kent! I don't think he's decided to call himself Superboy yet.

Apparently nobody in town knows how to stop a bunch of asshole kids from bullying other kids. It's just one of those Earth problems that can't be solved by Earthlings! It must be Clark Kent's destiny to stop bullying once and for all! And that's what Clark does. He takes the novel approach that nobody thought of and asks the bullies, "Hey? Could you stop picking on my friends?" Sure, that doesn't work. They just see it as Clark starting a fight. So they oblige him and throw a few punches. Clark blocks one and the bully's wrist breaks. So now the bullies realize they can't win and stop bullying! Yay!

Except they don't. They just bully even harder because why not? They're shitting on other people because their life is shit. Why would they not increase the shitting if something happened in their life to make their life even shittier?! Something like Clark "Break a Boy's Bones" Kent!

Why do they seem so happy about Carlos being called a spic and getting his tooth knocked out?! Fucking asshole weirdos!

Lana tells Clark she has a plan to stop the bullies. Her plan involves journalism! She has pictures of the bullies assaulting the weirdos and she thinks they can get the police to listen to them. But the goth weirdo overhears their plans and he's a big weirdo traitor! I guess if he snitches on the weirdos, he doesn't get beat up. I bet he's going to become a supervillain some day.

When Lana leaves her house at night thinking she's going to meet Clark, she's set upon by the bullies! They steal her pictures and threaten to rape her. These aren't just bullies! They're criminal psychopaths and I'm sorry I tried to understand their bully behavior earlier! I was thinking, "Maybe this story will be about the ambiguities of youth and how hard it is to navigate the world between childhood and adulthood, especially when you have serious issues with your parents and home life and self-esteem!" Instead I should have been thinking, "Clark and the weirdos are Good with a capital "G" and the bullies are Evil with a capital "E"! Hopefully the story will make this explicit so that I can truly just hate the bullies and not mind when Clark drowns them in the reservoir! And the best way for a narrative to help me understand how evil they are is if they commit attempted rape!" Whew! I sure am glad to know that whatever Clark does to them now, they totally deserve it! I'd hate for Clark to have to come up with a real life solution that stops the bullying and teaches the bullies how to cope with their own problems without resorting to small violences against other kids!

After saving Lana from being raped, Clark seems to insinuate that maybe Lana should fuck him as thanks. He's all, "Let me court you!" And she's all, "Whatever." And he's all, "Sleep tight!" And she's all, "Yeah. Sure. I'll sleep. Tight." I think that means she's going to masturbate? I'm not good at sexual innuendo but I figured it must be because the very next panel begins like this:

That's definitely sexual innuendo!

Kent forgets that he's supposed to be stopping the bullies because he starts dating Lana. They sneak off and Clark closes his eyes and pulls out his penis and is all, "Just touch it Lana!" And she's all, "Mmmph mmph mmmph!" And he's all, "Please! Just touch it!" And she's all, "Mmph mmmph mmph!" And he opens his eyes and realizes his penis is in Lana's mouth and he blows her brains all over the field with his load.

Later, after my fantasy is concluded, I return to the actual story where they only kiss. Lame.

After high school ends, Clark joins the navy. But not after banging Lana Lang all night! And that's not something I made up! It's right there in the comic book!

Superman: Year One: Book One Rating: It was a bit treacly but not super bad. Ha ha!. But I still don't know if the bullies ever got their comeuppance! Was I supposed to be satisfied with Clark bloodying a few noses and then saying to Lana, "We'll use reporting to get them good!"? How disappointing!