Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #3 (February 1990)

Beaten by yet another sign?

Two issues later and Hal Jordan has no idea how to use the most powerful weapon in the universe. What the fuck is wrong with the Guardians? Are they fucking masochists? It's the most powerful weapon in the universe and it can't download a user's manual into the brain of whoever it takes on as its new host? And, yes, the ring bearer is a host. This ring is a fucking parasite. It uses up the host and then flies off to find a new one. Doesn't even help them understand its power. Just protects them as best it can which isn't total because, well, there are always more assholes full of bravado!

This issue begins with Hal Jordan being choked by the adorable massive yellow space kitten while thinking, "What happened to my power?" I think he means the power given to him by the ring and not the power over his own life destroyed by alcohol and self-pity. It's a really dumb question to ask because one of the few things Abin Sur told him was that he had to occasionally charge the ring via a transdimensional lantern. Abin Sur's entire death speech was "You were chosen because you are fearless, just slightly closer to me than Guy Gardner, and you have to charge the ring by shoving your fist up a lantern that's stored in a pocket dimension on some poor planet of aliens who don't realize that once the lanterns and their juice are taken away, their entire society will collapse." No wait. Abin Sur told Hal far less than that. Some of that was my editorial on the encounter. Oops!

This issue is called "The Ring" because the adorable massive yellow space kitten wants Hal to get in the ring and fight him.

Oh no. I want to fuck the massive yellow space kitten.

The massive yellow space kitten nearly pops Hal's head off with its thumb before the ring completely powers down and Hal winds up in his street clothes. This fools the massive yellow space kitten into thinking Hal isn't the Green Lantern at all because massive yellow space kittens have no object permanence. Hal basically disappears in the grip of the massive yellow, and adorable, space kitten. It loses interest in its prey, the way massive yellow space kittens are wont to do, tosses him into a wall, and flies away to find Green Lantern.

Hal Jordan steps over the dying cops and walks away from his jail cell. I'm assuming that's legal, right? He didn't intend to break out of prison. It was just a lucky break, like winning the lottery. So technically he's free to do what he wants and what Hal wants to do is not help out the dying cops at all. Good on you, Hal!

I'm not saying Hal just apathetically stepped over this dying cop. Trigonometry and geometry are saying it.

Hal decides he should head back to the hospital so he, once again, hitchhikes. He doesn't have the ring to protect him from being arrested again and he doesn't panic when the driver approaches a police roadblock. Hal doesn't seem worried in the least that the police might be looking for him. I guess he believes he did his time. He did the right thing, turned himself in, and then the cop failed to keep him locked up. Is that his problem? If I were twelve, I'd probably view the world that way. But the confidence it takes to be a grown ass adult and think, "I don't have to hang around still being arrested once the jail is destroyed. I'm a free man! No worries at all anymore!" That's why Hal Jordan is fearless.

Hal discovers that the hospital has been completely destroyed. Andy and everybody within it are dead. Killed by some massive yellow space kitten which Hal couldn't stop. Looks like somebody just learned a little something about power and responsibility! Although Hal didn't have the power to stop the space cat so harbored no responsibility to stop it. Maybe this is more a lesson about with great power comes the need to fucking listen to the guy giving you that great power, especially the bit about charging your stupid power ring.

Ferris Aircraft has also been destroyed. The massive yellow space kitten seems to have destroyed every place where Hal used the ring. Well, at least that fucking yellow sign was finally destroyed. Hal realizes the only way to stop the massive yellow space kitten is to turn himself in to it. Is that going to be Hal's go-to move? Turning himself in to authority/massive yellow space kittens?

Hal finally remembers Abin Sur's words about charging the battery. He heads back to the crashed ship and finds the lantern into which he immediately sticks his fist. After it charges, the ring finally begins talking to him. Maybe Hal needed to fist the lantern so it could calibrate with his Earth language. Hal learns the ring must be charged every 24 hours and that the massive yellow space kitten is named Legion and that it has killed four Green Lanterns so far. Probably by accident. You know how reckless kittens can be playing with their prey. Also because Legion wants a Green Lantern alive so that it can take them to Oa.

The ring plays Hal a video (or 8mm?) of Abin Sur's death at the hands of Legion. The movie contains several clues that the green cannot affect yellow, like when Abin refuses to use the ring against Legion and when Abin finally does, the light just bounces off of Legion and when Legion says, "Have you forgotten what color I am? Yellow! I'm yellow! Ha ha! You can't hurt me due to my color which is yellow!" I'm sure Hal picks up on at least one of those clues because when Legion attacks him in the middle of the movie, Hal thinks, "I wish I had a nuclear bomb right now!" And guess what? He does have one! The ship's engine runs on nuclear fission! The ring leads him right to it and Hal, assessing the situation, decides it's okay to set off a nuke to kill Legion. He is in the middle of the desert, after all. He also figures he's going to die but he doesn't care because he's lost everything he cares about already, like his power and his dignity and his control over alcohol consumption.

To a kid growing up in the '70s, this was their third biggest fear. Right after quicksand and killer bees.

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #3 Rating: B+. Hal's paralyzed friend Andy's death got me thinking a bit about the death of minor characters to add drama to the main character's life. Gail Simone created a whole movement around this trope called "Women in Refrigerators." While that was actually more about the hero's love interests being killed or maimed to increase the drama and angst of the hero, it's mostly the same idea with what happened to Andy here, and, of course the original "woman in a fridge," Spidey's Uncle Ben. Minor characters die to teach the main character a lesson. It happens but my theory is that it happens more often for a way less radical reason than teaching the hero something, or creating some kind of intense drama for the hero. My theory is that the writer suddenly realizes, "I don't want to have to keep writing this awful nobody of a character! Let me just bring a hospital down on their heads and be done with them!" Gail Simone was looking at the problem from an artist and socially conscious person's view; I'm looking at it from a lazy writer's point of view! Who wants to read more about paralyzed Andy?! So boring! Either give him a ring and make him exciting or get him the fuck on the bus outta this comic book! I also don't want to ever again hear from Hal's brother, Hal's brother's girlfriend, Biff, or even Carol Ferris! Get thee to Oa already, Hal, so I can be introduced to some actually interesting characters!

Man, I'm really disappointing myself with this conclusion! I've never been more anti-Kurt Vonnegut in my life! I should appreciate the minor characters. If I were my own child, I would kick me out of my house.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #2 (January 1990)

This cover is a representational metaphor of the ending of the last issue. Please do not take it literally.

I'm not totally convinced that Hal Jordan didn't kill himself at the end of the first issue. He flew full force into a yellow billboard which the ring could not protect him from. Can a person survive that? Does the ring have medical capabilities that can keep Hal alive and regenerate any damage provided he did not die on impact? Perhaps the ring protected him from smashing into the wood underneath the layer covered in yellow paint so that he only received a nasty concussion instead of a shattered skull? What I'm saying is that Hal Jordan doesn't know how his ring works and neither do I.

This issue begins while Hal lies unconscious in the desert sands having very nearly killed himself. He dreams about being an experimental test pilot just like his dad. He dreams of finding himself in a crashing plane just like his dad. The first thing he says, because he's Hal Jordan, is "This isn't my fault." We know, Hal. We know. Nothing is ever your fault. You're the most responsible man in the galaxy. You're the strongest willed with the least fear. You're not pining for Carol Ferris. You're not a complete loser at your place of employment. And you totally don't have a drinking problem. Those are all things that other people, who don't know you very well, accuse you of. You are the fucking man. You are Hal Jordan, Green Lantern!

So heroic.

Hal tries to work out why he couldn't defeat a billboard but between the concussion and being absolutely ignorant on his new jewelry, he can't figure it out. He decides maybe he'd better not fly for now and instead hitchhikes back to town.

I wish this car had been yellow.

If the driver of this car hadn't been wearing his seatbelt, it wouldn't have been Hal's fault that he smashed his ribcage against the steering wheel and flew through the windshield, his decapitated head slowly rolling to a stop at the feet of a bewildered young coyote because remember when we learned earlier that nothing is Hal Jordan's fault? Reading comprehension matters, kids! Especially when you make up as much shit as I do while reading.

Hal gets a ride to the hospital where he bathes his friend Andy in the light of his ring to try to heal his paralysis. If the ring rots human flesh at large levels of exposure or creates cancerous tumors in soft organs, Hal wouldn't be responsible. How could Hal have known? Not his fault. Stop trying to make everything his fault. Especially all the stuff that definitely hasn't happened in this comic book but I keep speculating could have happened. Sure, Hal's a careless, selfish prick but, somehow, through the luck of the draw, he's not a murderer and a cancer causer. At least I don't think he's the latter one. Has anybody followed up on Andy thirty years on?

"This ring couldn't protect me from a billboard but I thought it might be omnipotent!"

The reason John Stewart exists as a Green Lantern was because Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil were all, "What if there were a smart Green Lantern from Earth?"

The cops are looking for Hal because he nearly killed a bunch of people while driving drunk. So Hal decides his Green Lantern costume needs a mask. Ol' Johnny Law be way too stupid to find him now! He barely escapes from the cops by turning incorporeal and flying through the hospital window. He then decides to float in the air for awhile blaming that stupid sign.

Hal, you big dumb moronic idiot. The sign isn't a sign! It's a sign! You know, a signifier! Of something deeper that's wrong with you!

The metaphor encapsulating the reason Hal's life has fallen apart couldn't be any more literal. He's just too stubborn to see it. While he's pitying himself, head in the clouds, an experimental Ferris aircraft passes him by. Life is making this shit way too easy for Hal. Why can't the metaphors, signs, allegories, and analogies in my life be this easy to understand? Instead, I have to smell something rotting, move the furniture, discover the dead mouse my cat dropped behind the couch who knows how long ago, and link all of that to my fatherly abandonment issues! But Hal gets a fucking sign as a sign that his life is falling apart and a plane he should be flying flying past him and leaving him behind. Who needs the ability to reflect on one's self when life just puts it all out there for you?

Hal almost causes the pilot to crash his jet by appearing outside his cockpit. Hal uses the ring to save the plane and land it safely after which he expects to be greeted as a huge hero. He's not. The pilot calls him out on almost making him crash and Hal, upset that nobody sees the hero he knows he is, and really fucking angry at that Goddamned sign, flies away saying, "To hell with you. To hell with this." That leaves everybody on the ground confused because nobody knew it was Hal Jordan so they have no idea why he's acting so pissy and entitled. If they knew it was Hal, they would all be going, "Oh, yeah. Him. What a jerk."

Meanwhile on the moon, a massive yellow space kitty dreams about crushing Abin Sur into kitty litter.

This guy is cute here. Later he looks more like Venom, for some reason, probably editorial saying, "Why the fuck is this alien so cute, you assholes?!"

I realized I haven't mentioned that this issue was not written by Priest. It's written by Keith Giffen and Gerard Jones. I had to check the cover several times before I was convinced this was definitely the second issue of this series. Why did Priest leave after one issue? I feel like he dropped his pen after writing the bit with Hal slamming into the yellow sign and was all, "Owsley out!" Maybe he meant for Hal to die in his story! You know how every writer needs to attempt the "last" Batman story? Maybe Priest was writing the "last" Green Lantern story (while also being the first)? It makes sense! If there's any character out there who would be reckless enough to die immediately after donning the superhero mantle, it'd be Hal Jordan! He was a test pilot, after all. And a failed one to boot, at least in Priest's story. Fuck. I really love Emerald Dawn #1 in that light!

Hal decides to own up to his responsibilities and turns himself into the police. He shoves the ring way up into his prison wallet and walks into the police station to be arrested.

This is Hal when he realizes he should have shoved the ring into his prison wallet. Instead the cops took it with his other personal possessions.

The next issue begins, "Five years later." No, just kidding! It's just a DWI! That's basically a slap on the wrist! He could have killed people and he'd be out in no time. See, the thing about laws and what kind of prison time you'll do for breaking those laws is that they're adjusted by the possibility of a senator or congressperson being arrested under those laws. So most congresspersons know they're never going to sell crack on the streets. So if somebody breaks that law, they can throw the book at them. But congresspersons also know that there's a pretty decent chance that one day a cop who doesn't give a shit about the congressperson's position of power will arrest them for driving drunk. So a DWI needs to be easy to get out of through wheeling and dealing and, probably, bribes. But even if the congressperson has the worst luck ever with a punishing judge and a rabid prosecutor, they still won't serve that much prison time. And it definitely won't be hard time! Fucking assholes.

Also, there's still nine pages left. Hal will probably get broken out by the massive yellow cat alien. And his ring, although he doesn't know it yet, pretty much has a mind of its own. It'll find him when he needs it.

Is Gerard Jones writing some sexist pig cops or do these sexist pig cops reflect Gerard Jones' beliefs? You know what? It doesn't matter. Because Gerard Jones is a fucking disgusting human being.

Just as these cops are really settling into their whining about how women don't want to fuck them, the massive yellow cat alien breaks through the wall. Hopefully it just killed these two guys. They sound like those guys on Twitter who are always confessing about how bad they are at sex. "From my experience, women hate sex." "I've had loads of women and they never get wet down there. It's a myth!" "I just cum in my pants immediately when a woman looks at me because women can't cum so why should I bother?" I think two of those tweets were from Ben Shapiro.

The ring does not fly to Hal's finger. Maybe it hates him. He has to run out of the smashed cell and dig through the evidence locker to get it. Not that it helps him. I thought maybe he'd learn that his ring doesn't work against yellow here. But instead, the ring just decides, "Fuck it. That guy is too yellow. I ain't doing shit."

I guess it could be out of juice too.

The massive yellow kitty cat grabs Hal in its paw and demands Hal take him to Oa so he can hiss at the Guardians. Hal just says, "Duh?"

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #2 Rating: A. Solid characterization of Hal Jordan, really laying into his strengths and weaknesses as a human being. My guess is that this is the first Green Lantern title I ever read which probably explains why I think of Hal the way I do. His human flaws probably eventually get filed down a bit so that he doesn't seem like such a stubborn jerk. I do love that, to help build the heroic side of his personality, Jones and Giffen allowed him to turn himself in and take responsibility. Maybe he did so because he knew the cops, ultimately, couldn't contain him. But I also think he's showing remorse and wants to move on. He definitely doesn't want to live a life where this incident constantly haunts him. If Hal Jordan didn't take responsibility, he'd probably wind up being MAGA. My theory is that most of the people who go all-in on MAGA have some dark, horrible secret that they've never actually dealt with and they know that if it ever comes out, everybody will see them for the horrible person they truly are. Which is crazy because if they'd only dealt with it, they actually could move on from it. Instead, they want to live in a world where they get to bully anybody whom they know would see them for the criminal (or maybe just utter asshole) they truly are if their past were to see the light of day. Trump, somehow, makes them feel exonerated from ever having to redeem themselves of their pasts. He's their garbage Jesus. Oh man, I haven't really read many modern comics. Guy Gardner isn't MAGA, is he?!

Friday, March 22, 2024

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #1 (December 1989)

Hal Jordan: Messiah figure.

I know the writing credits to this series say "James Owsley" but when I refer to the writer, I'll call him Christopher Priest, or just Priest. Just thought I'd start with that before it became confusing to those who didn't know he later changed his name. It's not me losing my mind! It's just me referring to the writer as he's chosen to be referred to. I will not be referring to M.D. Bright as "Doc" though. No, you know what? Maybe I will. It's easier than typing "M.D."

The comic book part of this blog began in 2011 with DC's New 52 because I thought I loved comic books. I own enough of them to fool anybody into believing that. But as I read more and more of The New 52, I began to realize that maybe I didn't love comics. At least not in the way most comic book fans love comics. Because if I truly loved comic books, wouldn't I remember all those comic books I read when I was younger? It's true, I did remember some. But not all and by no means even the majority of them. It was only then that I realized I loved stories, be they comic books or not, and they had to be well-written and intriguing and impactful. I began to notice commenters to my blog actually remembered so much more about the past comics they read, as if all the comics had been impactful, as if — gasp — they truly loved the medium. Perhaps I just loved some of the art and some of the stories and the fact they were about a buck a pop. I became disillusioned, depressed, and distraught about what I'd been doing with my life. And, so, I stopped purchasing new comics (again!). My mediocre love for the genre left me wondering why I was spending nearly five dollars for a comic I could read in five minutes, half the time telling a mediocre story with middling art, when I could be purchasing or reading actual books! With fantastic plots and intriguing characters! Books! That I could read in public and look smart as opposed to, well, I don't want to denigrate people who read comic books in public! I've done that plenty of times because, in truth, I don't care if I look smart while in public. I don't care if I look smart writing this blog! If I'm caught reading Gravity's Rainbow in public, it's simply because I fucking love that book and probably need to read it a fourth time! Plus I look smart reading it.

What all that was meant to say was this: I have no fucking memory of Emerald Dawn! Wasn't this supposed to be the big return of Hal Jordan into the post-Crisis world? Don't people still talk about it to this day?! And here I am, owner of the comic book, a person who read it off the shelf, and I can't fucking remember one moment from it. Oh shit. Oh shit. Here comes the despair and depression again. What good was my life if I can't even remember doing the things I did during it?! I might as well be an amnesiac waking up from a 35 year coma! Fuuuuuuuuck.

Oh well! Let's see if I remember it while rereading it! Won't that be fun! Plus I can destroy the value of the comic by dripping weepy snot tears all over it as I contemplate my squandered opportunity and complete waste of existence.

There's one more thing about me before we get to how the issue begins: I hold nothing sacred. Don't misunderstand me; I have beliefs. I believe a lot of shit! But I don't care if those beliefs are skewered by somebody else, or by me even. Sometimes that makes me entirely the wrong person to write about a comic book, depending on what that comic book is about. Like, say, Bitch Planet. That's like playing fetch with your pit bull by tossing a hand grenade. I know (knew? I already did Bitch Planet reviews!) I'm gonna say some disrespectful shit if I find something funny. Some people think of it as being an edgelord but it's just stuff I find funny that inches into other people's sacred territory. Stuff you don't joke about. A lot of people have those boundaries and they think if somebody makes a joke outside those boundaries, they're doing it to get a rise out of people within those boundaries. But it's not like that at all. I don't even seen the boundaries when something is funny. Frankie Boyle describes it well in his current podcast, Here Comes the Guillotine, but I can't remember how he says it or what episode he says it in but I do remember nodding vigorously at his comment. Again, it doesn't mean I don't have strong, compassionate beliefs. And it doesn't mean I'll joke about offensive shit. That's boring, low hanging fruit best left to immature assholes and insecure adult white men. It's just that sometimes I can't help laughing at something horrible. Like that video from some terrible Fox show many, many, many years ago where an Australian teacher is filming two girls walking along a thin trail on a cliff that gives way and they begin tumbling down a near sheer cliff. That's not the funny part. That wouldn't make me laugh. But what got me, what truly made me break down into tears, was the teacher continuing to track their fall with the camera and yelling, "I told you not to go out there!" I mean it's horrible. But it's some darkly funny shit. Like when this moment happens:

I don't know what got me: either the hat or the over-exaggerated sound effect.

That's little Hal Jordan watching his father die in an experimental plane crash. Ha ha! Pretty fun, right? No, of course it isn't! It's supposed to be horrible! Priest creates a scene with bookended parallels, one depicting the Brightest Day of Martin Jordan's first successful pass of the sonic plane, the other depicting the Blackest Night of Martin Jordan smashing down on the runway and incinerating right in front of his boy.

Oh, I should also say, those two girls wound up being okay. Obviously they wouldn't show a tourist's snuff film on television! No, wait. That isn't so obvious because that show was on Fox in the '90s. I think anything fucking went back then and on that network.

Anyway, Hal's dad died in a fireball of airplane fuel and braggadocio and Hal's all, "I want to be just like my father!" Cut to twenty years later.

Carol ready to eat some dick.

That three panel scan above looks like 1/3 of the comics that used to be in the newspapers when I was a kid. They were the ones I'd always skip over because I didn't read the comics daily and, even if I did, who could follow a long form story three miserable little chunks at at time? Although if Mary Worth gave that look Carol Ferris was giving, I'd probably have read it more. That look would have intrigued me at 12. That look intrigues me at 52!

Carol isn't currently Hal's girlfriend. Carol is Biff's girlfriend which means I pictured her eating the wrong dick earlier. Apologies to everybody involved except my brain who got to see some images of Carol eating a dick and didn't care whose dick it was. Good stuff!

Hal, upset that he got called a momma's boy and a non-pilot while also having his hat sarcastically called "nice," decides to prove to Biff, who isn't there because Carol is eating his dick somewhere else, that he basically is a pilot by driving his jeep as fast as he possibly can on curvy mountain roads.

Well, I don't know if he's a pilot or not but he's certainly not a driver.

Cut to twenty years later as Hal wakes up from his coma. Okay, maybe a little bit less than twenty years later. Like 175,196 hours less. Hal learns he's crashed his car while drunk. Carol is there in his room to glare at him and slam the door as he explains that it was the sign's fault. Since the sign didn't jump out in front of his car, he must mean he saw the words "Happy Tymes" and couldn't help but think about Carol eating his dick. That would cause anybody to crash. Just ask Billy Halleck.

I guess Hal didn't get anybody killed and Ferris Aircraft swept the incident under the rug because Hal Jordan is at work the next day. But not to fly real experimental aircraft. That would be irresponsible. No, he's testing out a flight simulator. And somehow that flight simulator rockets off its mounting, flies through the wall, and takes off into the sky. I'm going to guess that wasn't built into the simulator and this is how Hal Jordan winds up meeting Abin Sur, post-Crisis. If that's not the case, and this isn't Abin Sur pulling Jordan to him, this will wind up replacing Nightwing driving a motorcycle up the side of a sidescraper as my go-to example of how unserious comic books are.

As Hal flies off in his simulator, he hears Abin Sur in his head describing how the Green Lantern Corps was formed. It goes something like this: "Order begat chaos which was actually order because order is the way of things. But then out of that order came sentient life and sentient life was all, 'Fuck order! Eat my dick!' And because the eating of dicks was not logical, order had to be restored. Which is why the Green Lantern Corps was formed. To stop all the dick eating in the universe."

That's a whole lot of words just to say "fascist."

Abin Sur tells Jordan that knowledge is power and Lolly's got some adjectives and some kids with weird names took a fucking rhinoceros on a bus and The Monkees are a fucking person, place, or thing. Unless what he actually says is that power without knowledge is violence. But he never really defines power with knowledge. Unless that's his definition of order. Which, again, just sounds fucking fascist. Power with or without knowledge leads to violence and thinking you have the knowledge simply excuses yourself for using violence as the means to your end. Sixteen pages into the first issue of Emerald Dawn and I'm beginning to remember why I hate Green Lantern and especially Hal "Always Quick to Fisticuffs" Jordan.

"Be sober." Abin Sur throwing shade.

Hal tries to rebel against being a Green Lantern because that's what makes Hal such a great Green Lantern. He refuses to follow orders when he thinks those orders are stupid or go against true justice. It's one of two things I like about Hal. The other is that he loves to punch people in the face. In reality, I'm not big on people who do that seeing as how I was once punched in the face by stupid jerk Jimmy Arthur. But in a comic book, it's always nice to have a lead character ready to spring into action and break up all the damn speech bubbles.

Just to be clear, after Jimmy Arthur punched me in the face and knocked me down because Jimmy Arthur was fucking massive, I jumped up and hit him with my skateboard. Was that fair? Do I care? It worked and he ran off bleeding all over the place. According to the police who questioned me later that night, I was the absolute winner of that encounter! And you know you were the most violent asshole in an altercation when the cops point it out. Those guys are super violent dickheads.

Man, if I were a Green Lantern, every issue would just be me hitting another alien in the head with a gigantic green skateboard.

Hal Jordan continues to refuse to become a Green Lantern but it's no use. The ring has decided. Abin Sur turns into an hourglass without the glass and the ring flies onto Hal's finger. It immediately puts him in the green and black uniform and Hal is appalled. I don't know why. It's actually one of DC's better costumes. Maybe he's just upset at the responsibility. He doesn't seem to be too big on responsibility at this stage of his heroic journey. This is Stage One: Like Father, Like Son. Pretty sure that's what Campbell named it.

Hal figures out the ring can make him fly and since he's always wanted to be a pilot, he begins to enjoy it. Not knowing what else to do, he calls Carol to check on his job, his brother, and his friends. His job seems to be done because they think he somehow stole the simulator rather than thinking the simulator almost killed him. His brother and his brother's girlfriend are fine. But his friend Andy, Carol tells him, will be paralyzed for life. Angry and unwilling to blame himself, Hal decides to take his anger out on the "Happy Tymes" sign. The yellow "Happy Tymes" sign.

Now this, I think, I was supposed to laugh at. I mean, while also being awed at the beauty of Priest's writing. Both of those things, right?

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #1 Rating: A+. How great is that ending? Is this what people who read this in 1989 remembered for the rest of their lives because they were much smarter than I was? They were all, "Look at Hal! Refusing to take responsibility for anything! His job. His friends. The Green Lantern ring. His drunk driving accident. What a fool!" And then the symbolism of the sign that wrecks his life and smashes in his head because his ring is powerless against it having the phrase "happy times" emblazoned on it. As if Happy Times are something he's not allowed anymore. The Happy Times died when he was a child in a fireball of airplane fuel and braggadocio. And now the thought of them only causes him pain. The sign's fault. The happy times now long past's fault. Always somebody else's fault. Never Hal's. What a great re-introduction to this character. I love it so far! Of course, it's just one issue. Can Priest keep it up for six issues? I mean, probably. I do love Priest's writing. He especially loves that thing where he drops the title at the end because the title means so much to the overall theme. He knows you'll forget it if he drops it at the beginning, and also it will sort of be a spoiler to bits coming up. So instead, he's all, "Here's the ending where Hal runs into a sign and the issue is called 'The Sign' and can you think of other ways the 'sign' theme appears throughout the story? No? What are you, an idiot? Maybe think about the comic a little bit before putting it away. No wonder you didn't remember any of this, you fucking dolt! You moron! You nincompoop!"

Hey, man! Geez! Give a guy a break, fake only in my head Christopher Priest!

Justice League America #83 (December 1993)

Corbett. Corbett is next. How can you forget his name?! It was only said 18,000 times across the last three issues.

Last issue, we learned Guy Gardner is a murdering jackhole that can't stop trying to put his dick into Wonder Woman's butthole. I've extrapolated some of that information from Vado's text as the reference to Wonder Woman's butthole wasn't explicitly stated. But it's there if you do the work and read closely between the lines. It's also possible that I just see Wonder Woman's butthole everywhere I look. It's not the most terrible mental illness in the world. As long as you don't explain why you're poking your finger into every hole or gap you encounter, other people don't think much about it. They just think I'm curious and I've got terrible asthma.

I'd be willing to bet my mother's life that editorial mandated this story about the Guy Gardner imposter after Dan Vado's terrible depiction of the character. "Look, we know Guy's a jerk," Brian Augustyn said, "But he's not a murdering psychopath who can't stop hitting on every woman he encounters. He's a hero, you idiot. Who hired you? Make this right or DC will have to fire you. And then what will you do? Make a living with your little Slave Labor Graphics gig? Nobody wants to read that alternative press crap." And Dan Vado was all, "Alternative Press? Fuck yeah. Now that's a convention!" And the next year, I was handing out copies of The Galactic Hero Corps at the first Alternative Press Expo in San Jose and hanging out with Too Much Coffee Man.

I had seriously forgotten that Dan Vado started Slave Labor Graphics and began the Alternative Press Expo! I knew his name was familiar, being that I'm from Santa Clara and drove by Slave Labor Graphics when it was on Bascom Avenue quite often and attended the Alternative Press Expo at least twice. But all I really knew about Slave Labor was that they published Milk & Cheese.

After Blake is murdered by Guy, Corbett cradles him in his arms and weeps. I thought they were just guy pals but now I suspect something a little more Wildean about their relationship. Guy's murder of Blake lets the fish space police gain the moral high ground which they immediately use to condemn Wonder Woman and all the people of Earth.

I actually believe this fish space policeman because he did everything he could by the book. Except for shooting Crater. Which was a total accident. Probably.

And that's it for the saga of Blake and Corbett! What a story! Full of twists and turns and attempted rapes. It showcased Diana's upstanding defense of truth and justice. Which ultimately led to her protecting violent criminals and then having one of her employees murder one of the violent criminals that they were supposed to be giving asylum to. I'm not totally sure if the story was supposed to make Wonder Woman look heroic or a naïve pushover? Anyway, it's over and now it's time to hunt down Guy Gardner!

Captain Atom informs Wonder Woman that the government will probably want to prosecute Guy but I'm not sure how that's going to work. He killed an alien who only just arrived to Earth and then his body was transported off of Earth, leaving no sign of the crime or the victim except the witnesses. But does the law even apply to extra-terrestrials? If the government prosecutes Guy for murdering an alien, don't they also have to prosecute themselves? I've seen the alien autopsy video! I know what this government's been up to!

I know I've made fun of Kevin West's art a lot, being that he's got a lot of the '90s tropes happening in it, but I feel I should state this plainly: I actually really like a lot of it. He draws a fantastic Wonder Woman. I have a feeling that some of his worst panels are because he's modeling characters off other artists of the time. When West isn't drawing everybody standing like an action figure with legs akimbo, I actually fucking love his art. There. Is everybody happy when I tell the truth and drop the facetious, angry idiot act?

I actually added that last paragraph so that people will think most of what I write is an act and I'm not an angry basement dwelling virgin idiot! Ha ha! Fooled you!

See?! See?! The legs akimbo thing! What's wrong with everybody? Do they all have juicy loads in their pants?

This is the final issue of Justice League America that I purchased way back in 1993. What series should I read next? Which series will I read next? Nobody knows! Not even me! Whatever's in the next box I open, I suppose. I really want to reread Transmetropolitan which is on my shelves and technically probably should be the next thing I read but do I really want to write about it? Most of my posts will look like this: "Yes! Oh my God! Hilarious! How does Warren Ellis do it?! When did Darick Robertson get so good?! His art was so mediocre in Justice League Europe!" Then there will be six paragraphs, alternating, of "Ha ha ha!" and "Mind blown!" Then I'd rate the issue five big hard dicks out of five and try to score some futuristic drugs.

While Guy Gardner runs around the city probably murdering jaywalkers, Booster Gold decides to shit all over his friend, Ted Kord. Ted has been squirrelled away in his basement lab working day and night on a suit of armor for Booster so Booster can get back to doing what he loves: being in the public eye. But is Booster grateful? Does he see that as Ted Kord being part of the team? Of course not!

Is Dan Vado trying to make me hate every member of the League?

How is Beetle turning his back on the League? He just made you a major piece of technology to get you back into action, you piece of shit! He's been through major trauma! Too bad The Sanctuary wasn't up and running in 1993. Maybe Ted Kord could have gotten back into the Beetle suit sooner. Or maybe it's a good thing The Sanctuary didn't exist in 1993. Ted Kord is fine playing the combined role of Oberon and Kilowog. The world doesn't need one more costumed rich guy who doesn't have any powers and also probably has a long term brain injury thanks to Doomsday.

There's a few pages of the drama going on in Ice's homeland but that's the B Story and since I didn't stick with this comic book until it became the A Story, I don't really care about it. Is that the story where Ice dies? If so, I'm glad I never read it. Fuck Dan Vado if it is! If it isn't, I'm sorry I said, "Fuck Dan Vado," Dan Vado.

Oh no! The B Story is rearing its head too soon. Shoo! Shoo! Get back!

I guess I have to acknowledge the Ice Battles Her Brother for the Throne of the Northern Lands subplot if it gets Blue Beetle back into his costume. It looks like this Ice rescue mission is turning into the first I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League story! Especially since Guy Gardner comes strutting into the room while they're discussing it. Which causes them to all freak out because Guy constantly murders people now and always tries to fuck Wonder Woman. Eeep!

Guy acts like everybody should be impressed with his murder ability but they're all, "We have to stop you!" At least this time, Guy attacks Booster Gold first. Unlike last time when it was the Real Guy and he stopped by to see Ice and then everybody began to beat the shit out of him.

Wonder Woman shows up with her lasso but Guy uses his ring to keep it from touching him. That's suspicious! Why doesn't Guy want to tell the truth?! What's he hiding?! I can't even imagine the shit I'd tell Wonder Woman if I were caught in her lasso. I'd probably be all, "I can't stop watching Sailor Moon! And not in a weird pedo way! I'm pretty sure I'm envious of the Sailor Scouts! Why can't I be a pretty soldier in a sailor suit?! I want to flirt with boys and wear short skirts and eat Japanese snacks and shower with my friends! Hmm, okay, maybe there's a little weird pedo stuff in there. But only because I want to be a cute young girl!"

Anyway, the team defeat Guy Gardner. As they're deciding what to do with Guy Gardner, Guy Gardner walks in looking like '90s Image trash and sporting a '90s Image gun.

At least now I know why I never bought Issue #84. This image made me so sick, I threw up, had a mini-stroke, and forgot all about this series.

I hope the next series I read is Guy Gardner, Warrior!

Justice League America #83 Rating: C. In the same way that Crimson Fox wound up being two people instead of one to satisfy letters being written about how her accent kept disappearing, this whole two Guy Gardners story feels like an editorial mandate to fix continuity issues. The continuity issues this time were probably Guy Gardner acting so much worse than he usually acts in Justice League America while he was probably being his normal terrible self which was more charming than disgustingly irritating. Letters were probably pouring in saying things like, "Sirs, I have talked to the pooch and it has accused you of anal penetration. You have created an untenable situation in the characterization of that anti-hero, Guy Gardner. I would be remiss not to send this missive chastising your company for the way you call two different characters by the same name and expect the readers to somehow fix the anomaly within our minds as we read. I assure you that this is too large a discrepancy to handle in the usual fan way, i.e. simply ignoring it and screaming, 'La la la la,' whenever your brain begins, 'Actually...'." Editors hate that shit. That's when they pull the Cat o' Nine Tails out of the secret wardrobe in their office and begin stalking the halls of the DC offices looking for writers to whip into submission. "Fix this, you dumb bastards! I can't endure this idiotic thirty-plus year old man babies thinking they're smarter than us! Make this right in a way that shows they were fucking wrong or I bring out the Pear of Anguish!" Anyway, I don't know how this resolved. I think I own Guy Gardner, Warrior #15 which might be where this story finishes. So I might learn how it resolves some day! Maybe Guy Gardner, Warrior will be the next comic I read! I think I only have 17 issues of that because whenever it became simply Warrior, it was always sold out and I never saw it on the shelves again and then I completely forgot it was even a thing, simply believing it was cancelled in the middle of a story arc.

Overall, I can see why people disliked this volume of Justice League America. Even when Dan Jurgens came in to make it more serious, it simply seemed like a standard villain of the month comic biding its time until the Death of Superman. And Dan Vado and Kevin West did not do it for me at all. So much so that I stopped reading the series with an issue that says "Part 1" right on the cover. I never fucking did that! I always had to know how stories ended! I must have really vomited a lot after that Guy Gardner last page appearance. And also the mini-stroke. Unless my brain simply blocked out this series as if I had suffered some serious physical trauma. Maybe it was so bad that I blocked out the existence of Guy Gardner, Warrior as well! What if all those months, the comic book was on the shelves on new comic book day but my brain just blurred it out of existence, turning it into one of those 3D paintings of a schooner that most people only pretend to be able to see!

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Justice League America #82 (November 1993)

Kevin has levelled up his '90s Image style to include loads of lines on male faces, no pupils, and scads of teeth.

Other things Kevin West has in common with this awful trending style of the times: all pants are painted onto muscular legs while joining up in a weird diaper crotch area that all but screams "I used an articulated art figure or a small G.I. Joe as a model for this!"; thumbs that simply look like a smaller finger but is somehow longer than the other fingers because how do you make fingers come out of a hand?; when not drawing a fist, draw a claw (like the one on the cover where the hand becomes much too wide because they don't know how four fingers fit on a normal-sized hand and also the first two fingers are basically the same exact finger); when something blocks part of one of the character's limbs, completely forget how long or short or extant that limb should be on the other side of the obstruction.

Dan Vado's instruction for this cover was probably, "Guy Gardner loves killing. He can't get enough of killing. So show him absolutely thrilled that he's killing somebody. To make sure you know he's trying to kill Blake (or Corbett. You choose which hair style is easier for you!), Wonder Woman should be trying to stop him with one abnormally long arm. Try not to show any feet at all!"

I wouldn't bet on Vado having added the feet part of the instructions. How often do feet appear on a cover anyway? Unless the cover is by Dan Jurgens because he loves drawing people flying in a foreshortened pose so their weird atrophied legs can dangle beneath them.

If you're going to advertise the new Robin comic this way, I'm going to expect Robin to masturbate every issue.

"Finally some peace and quiet," exclaims Robin as he pulls his gay and straight porn out from the only place Bruce never looks: an old family photo album. "Bruce is in Metropolis flirting with Superman and Alfred's at some old SAS reunion in London that will probably wind up becoming a six issue mini-series because at some point Alfred had to not only be the butler who took care of his employers' mourning kid and refused to get him therapy but also a super duper bad-ass himself. Then Robin masturbates for twelve pages while Two-Face sits around bored wondering why Batman didn't get the clue about his heist which he wrote on the back of a Macy's bra catalogue. "Was the whole 'Double D' theme too subtle?" he asks and then answers, "Yes, Harvey. You're an idiot."

New readers to this series are greeted by the always useful trope of a newscaster explaining the situation from last issue.

Really, really, really new readers, like those born in the 21st century, might wonder what's up with those weird scan lines. That's what standard definition television looked like, kids. Only worse.

So aliens want their fugitives back and the government wants the aliens to go away so they want the Justice League to give the fugitives back and Captain Atom just wants to collect his paycheck without a lot of guff from his bosses so he wants the Justice League to give the fugitives back and Max Lord doesn't want his property destroyed so he wants the Justice League to give the fugitives back and Wonder Woman wants to make sure she's not delivering innocent fugitives into the hands of monsters for execution so she's decided to give the middle Amazon finger to everybody else. That's the bow pulling back finger and also the clit stimulation finger. It's a very suggestive Amazonian finger to give somebody. Also confusing.

Max Lord is all, "Please, Wonder Woman. Forget about the name of our organization for one minute. Pretend we're called the 'We Don't Want Our Headquarters Destroyed League.' It's just the lives of two aliens versus our property which cost like a lot of money. Please do the right thing." And Wonder Woman is all, "Those aliens have names: Blake and Corbett! Haven't you been paying attention to how often Blake and Corbett's names, Blake and Corbett, have been used in the script? That's probably to help humanize them with the reader so that the reader will be all, 'Please save Blake and Corbett! I don't which is which but I love them so much!' Which probably means they're super evil and Dan Vado is a conservative trying to pull a whole 'Law and Order wins again, you hippie peaceniks!' gotcha moment. But still, I must serve truth and justice before property!" And Captain Atom is all, "Sigh. I guess I'm going to have to bust Wonder Woman in the face."

Hey! That's pretty much exactly what I said! You didn't raise no illiterate here, Momma!

Also look at how long Max's legs are. So long. As Naomi Smalls would say, "They go right up to his asshole." Which, I mean, that's what all legs do so I don't know what the fuck Naomi Smalls was talking about on Ru Paul's Drag Race Season 8. Depending on if you understand anatomy or not, legs might even usually go past the asshole! I don't know where the leg legitimately ends although I'd say above the genitals which are about the same place as the asshole, roughly.

Captain Atom and his team of cardboard cutouts of every '90s character ever created have been tasked with investigating the alien ship, just to make sure it isn't harming the city by hovering over it. You know, the way Captain Atom harms the city by hovering over it blasting gamma rays and radiation into everybody's brains.

Apparently there was a time in the history of comic books when these characters were exciting and dynamic as opposed to boring and stupid. I, personally, don't remember that time. I've hated them forever.

Crater has five fingers not counting his thumb in that picture. If I were being charitable, I'd say the extra finger was a mistake by the colorist but why would I be charitable when I fucking hate these characters and the way they're drawn and their stupid single color outfits and their Goddamned fucking glasses and their gritted teeth and their stupid geometric guns that Rob Liefeld should have trademarked when he had the chance. Was there a school of art at the time competing with The Kubert School where a whole slew of up and coming terribly lazy artists were getting an education? Because how did they all draw everything so fucking similarly? How often were readers obligated to see people in the same pose as Cinder in that panel? Especially if you were reading Marvel at the time.

I already forgot the names of Crater's companions so I had to look them up. While doing so, I discovered The Peacekeepers had six appearances in total. About half of them were here in Justice League America during their first appearance. Hopefully the other appearances were where they were killed in battle.

Crater gets shot out of the sky by the space fish police but he's saved by Maxima. Man, I hate Maxima! Now this jerk is going to get another three appearances somewhere!

Every garbage human being thinks "just following orders" is an adequate explanation for doing whatever the fuck they want.

The space fish police in charge of the lasers didn't actually mean to shoot Crater in the skull. He was just following orders except poorly because he wasn't actually supposed to hit Crater is what I meant. So his commander yells at him which might be a joke by Vado because the previous panel with these two space fish police had them expressing their dismay about how much humans yell at each other. Or Dan Vado just isn't paying particular attention to what he's writing as he goes.

The space fish police commander mentions Blake and Corbett by name again when he suggests that maybe they leave Blake and Corbett to the Earthlings and just go home. Meanwhile, Blake tries to rape Fire. Unless it's Corbett trying to rape Fire. No, no. It's Blake. Obviously Fire says his name like eight times on one page.

At least Fire finally put some pants on.

My mention of Fire's clothing has nothing to do with Blake's attempt to rape her! Just in case that wasn't clear and if you're coming from tumblr, it almost certainly wasn't clear. I only mention it because the last time Fire was on panel, she was simply wearing a barely-long-enough-to-cover-her-ass shirt. Actually, it was the shirt she was wearing in this scene, I think. And I suppose if her legs weren't bright pink, it might look like she were walking around with no pants on. Hmm. I think this was another case where the colorist fucked up. Personally, I think the colorist fucked up by putting pants on Fire in this scene. I much prefer my Fire without pants.

Fire kicks his ass and almost learns that Blake and Corbett are pretty fucking guilty, making Wonder Woman look naïve and stupid and lame. Dumb compassionate people who believe in justice and freedom and turning hawks into doves! Dan Vado just showed them! See how Blake and Corbett were actually guilty and terrible people? The Justice League should have listened to the cops and the military and the government right from the start. I probably stopped reading this comic book because of Dan Vado's pro-authority attitude!

"No, Blake! It's me, Corbett! There's no time for rape! Otherwise, you know, I'd be all, 'Go for it, Blake!' It's just, you know, no time!"

Blake and Corbett try to run off but they run into The Ray. They try to kill him while Fire yells to stop them. So it should now be clear to everybody that Blake and Corbett are totally bad assholes. I hope all the readers have learned their lesson about helping out people on the run from authority. It's always a bad decision and the authorities are always in the right and boy, you sure wouldn't want to look like a total chump being fooled into doing the right thing, would you?!

Fire runs out and yells, "Boy, did we ever misjudge those two." Which seems like, maybe, the weakest observation she could make at this juncture. "Gosh and gee willikers, Ray! How'd we ever get fooled so bad? Hee haw!"

Blake and Corbett don't get far before The Ray stops them and Captain Atom shows up. But still, Wonder Woman won't give them up. She has Guy take them back to headquarters where she assures everybody that everything will be wrapped up nicely in the last few pages. Everybody trusts her because, you know, she's Wonder Woman!

Look at Guy using the third person pronoun even when it's not necessary. So considerate of others and their possibilities!

Back at headquarters, Diana tries to point out that Blake and Corbett's guilt or innocence doesn't matter in this case because it's the general principle of granting asylum that she's trying to protect. Yes, Blake and Corbett will be dealt with as necessary but not without the same basic rights to due process and not getting instantly murdered by Guy Gardner.

Well, maybe Diana can apply her theories to Corbett.

Well, well, well. It looks like some editors finally got hold of Dan Vado and were all, "Um, you know Guy isn't this big of a jerk, right? I mean, yes, he's a jerk. But he's not a murderer and he shouldn't be sexually harassing every female member of the League every time he enters a scene." And Dan Vado was all, "Oh, um, yeah, um, I know! I've got this, um, story? Idea? That, well, this is Guy's evil twin! Right? Always has been. Totally my idea all along! Big shocker right?!" I'm assuming that's what happened because I don't dare believe that I was wrong about Dan Vado's preoccupation with making Guy Gardner an absolutely terrible and unforgivable caricature of his already pretty shitty self. And there's no way editorial would be okay with having Guy commit outright murder in front of everybody. Therefore, this isn't actually Guy Gardner which allows Vado to pretend it wasn't Guy Gardner the entire time.

Also, it was going to be too boring writing a bunch of pages where the characters talk out their problems and settle on a good diplomatic solution. Easier to just have Guy kill the alien (Blake) that tried to rape Fire. Ultimately, nobody's going to be upset about that.

Justice League America #82 Rating: C-. The big twist was that the space bad guys on the run and being protected by Wonder Woman really were the bad guys. Vado spends one panel on Wonder Woman considering how she might be racist in that she sided with the human looking aliens over the space fish police. But that just shows that Wonder Woman is willing to question herself and do some real soul searching to uncover any possible flaws that might keep her from doing the best job of serving justice and truth. In the end, whether Blake and Corbett were actually terrible criminals, Wonder Woman did the right thing. It's the kind of right thing that nobody is willing to get behind anymore because it's more important to never be tricked by somebody presenting themselves as something other than they are. Internet trolls are huge on that. They won't believe any truth at all because they don't want to ever look stupid. Although they will believe the most farfetched conspiracy theory currently making the Tik Tok rounds. But that's mostly because you can't really prove a terrible Internet conspiracy false. So they never have to look stupid! I mean, obviously they look stupid believing shit like The Mandela Effect and Wayfair sex trafficking. But you can't prove that they look stupid until you prove those things aren't true! And good luck proving something everybody knows is preposterous anyway! You can't prove a falsehood, nimrod! Ha ha! Checkmate! I look super smart now by simply believing the dumbest shit!

Friday, March 15, 2024

Justice League America #81 (October 1993)

I'm not an artist and even I can tell The Ray's right foot has been ripped from his body.

There's just no way The Ray's right foot can be in that position and still be attached to his leg. Unless, of course, you're an artist who tends to draw overly long legs. That would mean The Ray's knee is much further from his crotch than normal and could bend down to place his foot into that position. I don't know why I'm being so critical of this cover that shows two men scissoring. I should just sit back and enjoy it.

This issue begins with Wonder Woman somehow keeping her shit together even though her leg has grown inordinately long.

I don't know. Is that too long? It's not like I'm an anatomy expert.

I looked up how long a person's leg should be according to their overall height and it seems to be 50% of their height is leg. So measuring Wonder Woman's leg from the heel (and not the toe, perspective adding a full actually drawn foot of height) to the top of her leg, her leg is equal to 150% of her upper body. Way too long! Even if I measure from her heal to her vagina, her leg becomes equal to her vagina to the top of her hair. Closer but, I mean, she's got a ton of hair! But maybe that's how Kevin West measured her? Although taking measurements is work. Just drawing a dynamic lady that feels right and looks hot is way easier and, according to readers in the '90s, apparently exactly what they wanted.

Some people might find it strange that I nailed every single way Kevin West's art was going to be wonky after simply seeing Wonder Woman's face on the cover of the last issue. I suspect those people are nowhere near old enough to remember when this art style swept comic book shops across America. Comic books fans were pulling their dicks out on the carpeted floor over Gen-13 covers and Mary Jane bending over on the cover of Spider-man (with her way too long legs, tiny waist, huge fucking rack, and 13-year old girl face. Fucking comic book nerds. You can't trust them and, trust me, a comic book nerd, I should know).

Captain Atom, standing in the super sweet '90s Image style pose that says either, "I'm falling forward because I have inner ear issues," or "My balls are so fucking sweaty it's beginning to chafe," assures Wonder Woman that he is dead serious about beating the shit out of her to send some space refugees asking for political asylum back where they came from. He totally gets America in 2024.

After describing the pose, I figured you might be interested in seeing it. It's the pose that fooled everybody into calling this style "dynamic."

Because Captain Atom is covered head to toe in shiny, radioactive metal, he gets to be drawn with the 13-year-old girl look. What I noticed last issue, although the women are drawn super clear skinned as they continue to be in this style, the men have yet to be drawn full of lines and a huge fish mouth. The lines show they're masculine and have done loads of yard work and other outside stuff (like, um, doing oil changes in the driveway? What do guys do when they go outside? Aside from catcalling women?). I think the fish is simply because the artists only know how to draw the big pouty lips of a woman and to differentiate between a woman's mouth and a man's mouth, they wind up just flattening out the mouth and making it too wide. Perhaps it's also because men aren't supposed to smile. Smiling is feminine and might get you called gay by a guy who will absolutely smile after he calls you gay while high-fiving all the other guys who suddenly know how to smile.

I don't like bad mouthing my gender but they make it so fucking easy and also I kind of do like bad mouthing my gender after all the fucking shit they gave me in the boys locker room in junior high when I was fat. Assholes. Trying to be as male as possible when you're male is the biggest mental health disorder in America. Calm down, dudes. You'd probably really love Sailor Moon if you gave it a chance! Especially that one where Venus is upset that the Witches aren't trying to take her pure heart and she's all, "Why won't they take it?" And Artemis is all, "Probably because of that thing you do with your electric toothbrush." And Venus is all, *boots Artemis to the moon.* But then when the witch finally does take her heart, instead of collapsing, Venus grabs it and goes running around like fucking Gollum with his Goddamned precious. It's so fucking adorable and it's one of those episodes that explains why none of the scouts are my favorite. They all have such adorable and entertaining moments throughout the series that I could never pick a favorite planet baby.

This is the 3rd scan from the 1st page. I have nothing to say about it except I love her.

That face Wonder Woman is making isn't because Guy Gardner just said, "I'd love to trowel your back garden, babe!", it's because Captain Atom, working for the government, thinks he's in the right. He might be because we don't really know much about Blake and Corbett except that their names are Blake and Corbett and they're kind of indistinguishable from each other. But Captain Atom won't win the "I'm right" argument if his only evidence is that he's with the government. He'd be better off arguing, "I'm in the right because my friends Deathkiller, Gunpistol, and Murderbang's weapons say I am, Wonder Bitch!" Okay, okay. He just lost the argument again by calling Diana "Wonder Bitch." Man, he can't catch a break, this guy.

Apparently Deathkiller, Gunpistol, and Murderbang aren't threatening enough to scare Wonder Woman away, probably because all of their arguments are bullets and Wonder Woman deflects bullets the way I eat Oreos. That analogy makes sense if you've ever seen me eat Oreos.

What this group looks like is my dream orgy.

I love to insult Kevin West's art as much as I can because I'm a hateful prick but even I have to admit he gives great hair on Diana.

Wonder Woman says she doesn't want to fight but will to defend the political space refugees so it's Atom's call if they're going to fight. And Captain Atom, not willing to take responsibility, is all, "So you're not giving them up? Then you've made my call for me!" Then he says his famous battle cry: "Let's get hot." He doesn't even use an exclamation point because that would be seen as emotional and Captain Atom is a man and men don't get emotional except that they do all the fucking time but their main emotion is rage and men don't think that counts as an emotion. That's just being a tough guy! Crying is what makes a person emotional. Pee-yuke! Who would ever cry?! Except maybe if they watched Pig and then welcome to snotty time weepsville, Mr. Macho!

The fight breaks out and immediately everybody uses the worst tactics possible.

Look at this mess! Only one person doing the right thing!

Wonder Woman's the only fighter using her strengths to her advantage. She's super strong and agile so close in and start punching. She's punching a normal human being so Gunpistol's skull has just been exploded but that'll win her the fight. Guy Gardner should be projecting his bubble around Deathkill, I mean Cinder, instead of going on the defensive. Enclose her and she's done! I guess Cinder is doing what she should be doing. Her only really poor tactic is choosing to battle somebody with a power ring. Maxima has mind powers and the ability to manipulate metal which I assume that gun is made of (could be plastic but I doubt it) and she chooses to grapple with him? Deathpistol and Murderbang should have already fired off some shots instead of losing advantage by not shooting any bullets at all while the heroes close on them. And what the fuck are Captain Atom and The Ray doing? I guess they're desperate to get the scissoring going because these two idiots have super powerful long range blasts!

Booster Gold tries to enter the fray and Captain Atom finally remembers he can blast things and does. Booster Gold's suit short circuits, trapping him in Ted Kord's hideous looking death trap.

Guy Gardner decides to sexually harass Cinder instead of defeating her and he pays the price when she uses her suit's "sonics" option. Some other options: cannon, beams, small arms. The military is so imaginative.

"IKEA"? How cute. He must be thinking about Tora.

According to Dan Vado, Guy Gardner can't stop lewdly asking women to fuck him and he's also dying to kill somebody. It's weird because those really weren't attributes of Guy before this. Were they? Pretty sure he loved threatening to beat the shit out of people but he wasn't constantly drooling over killing somebody. And, sure, he's dropped a line or two that could get him in trouble with Human Resources, if the JLA had any. But every line he's said to a woman since Dan Vado has taken over has essentially been, "Let's go fuck, babe."

Gunpistol's actual name is Crater and Murderbang's actual name is, um, Zach? Apparently Crater wasn't too hurt by Wonder Woman and also Wonder Woman ran away from him after punching him. And Maxima ran away from Zach after grappling with him. Because the next time they're all in a scene together, this is happening:

Yeah but why are they incoming? Why did they outgo earlier when they were already incomed?

Captain Atom defeats The Ray while Cinder defeats Guy Gardner. So it's hilarious that Wonder Woman criticizes Atom's team by saying, "They don't operate very well as a team. Our group could learn from their bad example." If your group can't learn from its own bad example, they're never gonna learn, Diana. And immediately after this happens, Maxima flies off on her own to stop Zach and Cinder and winds up blasted into unconsciousness by Captain Atom. Maybe Diana was just helping Maxima to learn.

Blake and Corbett set the self-destruct sequence on Blake and Corbett's ship. Blake and Corbett then try hoofing it across the snow while their ship explodes all over Zach.

See? 13-year-old girl face.

I guess escaping out the service hatch after you've set the self-destruct is an old military trick because that panel was right after Zach told Captain Atom, "I guess they escaped through the service hatch." There's no other evidence that Captain Atom should have panicked so quickly. But there he is. Hearing the word "service hatch" and freaking the fuck out. Maybe he just has some post traumatic stress from the military where somebody did something horrible to his "service hatch."

Captain Atom rescues every member of his team because they were all more terrible than the Justice League. I wonder if Crater is nicknamed Crater because he craters his pants every fight. And Cinder is called Cinder because she cinders her pants every fight. And Zach is called Zach because he always hides the evidence of shitting in his pants after every mission and that's the only way anybody ever gets a nickname in this squad.

I know "cindering" your pants doesn't make sense but why should I care? I just foofled my pants and I'm too distracted to make any sense right now.

The Justice League get away and Captain Atom decides to let them go. He doesn't want to have another battle with his nitwit '90s Image team.

Meanwhile somewhere in the Arctic, Tora's brother kills their father before their father can declare Tora the rightful heir. So boring.

Back at JLA Headquarters, Wonder Woman tries to make the political space refugees at home.

Why isn't Fire wearing any pants? And why is she standing like she just cindered herself?

Guy Gardner and Maxwell Lord don't think Wonder Woman should be providing asylum to these guys. But isn't political asylum a moment to make sure people are safe before learning the truth of the situation? Aren't we supposed to care about other people and give them the benefit of the doubt, especially when we know how terrible people in power can treat their subjects? These guys may be alien space murderers. But what's the harm in protecting them from the unknown threat of the space fish police while they sort that out? Seems like the right thing to do. Which is basically the name of this story: "Do the Right Thing." Catchy title, right?

Bill Clinton even gets on the act, threatening the Justice League with harsh laws that could restrain super hero activity in the United States if they don't buckle and give up Blake and Corbett. I mean Corbett and Blake. For some reason, everybody decided their names should be said that way around this issue. Max is all, "We have to give them up. It's the law!" And Wonder Woman is all, "Fuck the law. I am the law here!" Then she head bangs for three minutes straight and says something about truth trumping laws. Max does not continue to argue by singing, "But what is truth? Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths. Are mine the same as yours?"

Captain Atom arrives with his noobs and Max tries to talk him out of destroying the building. While they're negotiating, the space fish police move their ship over the building. It's a very big ship. Huge. Massive. A space fish policeman once came up to me, tears streaming down his face, and he said, "Sir, you've never seen a ship this big. Just the most terrific ship." Anyways, Max sees the ship and what do you know? Massive cinder.

Justice League America #81 Rating: B+. Pretty decent space political conflict happening in this one. Nobody knows what's the right way to act in this situation. Except for Dan Vado who is going to write the ending and then everybody can decide who was right based on how Dan finishes the story. Except obviously Wonder Woman is right in this situation. Everybody is using threats and violence to get what they want. All she is doing is saying, "Calm the fuck down. Let's take a breath and see what's what." And why doesn't that happen? Because the space fish police don't want them knowing what the truth is. So they twist Bill Clinton's arm and he's all, "I don't want to get blown up. So who cares what the truth is, return those people who might be innocent victims. No skin off my back." And Captain Atom is all, "Just following orders! I could get fired if I don't kill Corbett and Blake!" And Zach, Crater, and Cinder are all, "Um, yes, sir! Ditto, sir!" And Max Lord is all, "I don't want our building ruined again so who cares if these guys are taken back to space fish prison and shot in the head? Just get them out of here!" But Wonder Woman doesn't have a personal agenda. Hell, she's not even on the side of Corbett and Blake. She's just willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and get to the bottom of the situation. Exactly what fucking asylum is for. Not that anybody would know that in 2024. They barely knew it back in 1993!

Wait! I just realized what Wonder Woman's personal agenda might be! Didn't she fuck Steve Trevor because she gave him asylum on Paradise Island when everybody else wanted to immediately cut his dick off? I mean, she at least got to fuck him because somebody gave him asylum. So she might be thinking with her pussy! It might be subconsciously but Wonder Woman's pussy is all, "Hey hey ladies!" (The ladies her pussy is talking to our her boobs.) "I'm getting all engorged here because the last time we heard the word 'asylum' this much, we ended up getting some spectacular dick all up in us! This time we got two to choose from! Or why choose, right, Ms. Flowers?" (Ms. Flowers is Diana's butthole.) So there you have it! Wonder Woman might not care about truth as much as she wants everybody to believe! She's just super horny!

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Justice League America #80 (September 1993)

Oh no! It's happening. Wonder Woman has '90s Image face!

I think I'm beginning to suspect the real reason I dropped this title and its name might be Kevin West! I'm not being insulting. I'm just expressing my taste for specific art styles. And my taste does not include overly long legs, grimacing men, clenched fists because fingers are hard to draw, scenes littered in rubble to hide feet, and women with whatever the fuck Wonder Woman's face is doing on this cover. Some of you who didn't have to look at the new comics wall in your local comic book shop in the early '90s might be asking, "What's wrong with Diana's face? That's perfectly acceptable, and possibly beautiful, art!" Yes, outside of the context of the art that was trending in the '90s, you wouldn't think twice about Wonder Woman's face on this cover. But sitting on a comic book shelf side-by-side with dozens of covers where women look exactly the fucking same as that, you'd lose your fucking mind. Which is what I did in the '90s. I fucking hated that art trend so much. Which could explain why I dropped this book just a few months after Kevin Smith took over art duties.

You might also be wondering what the fuck I'm talking about because if you weren't hyperaware of that fucking '90s woman face on Diana's puss, you could almost mistake this cover for anything out of the ordinary. But that face leads you to Diana's leg which leads you to everybody's fists which leads you to Booster's grimace which leads you to no feet (except The Ray's left foot which, if you look at it closely, you might just guess why Kevin West didn't draw any of the other nine feet that should be on this cover). If this were a non-'90s Image art style comic book (and, yes, I know the art trend happened before Image. But it was the fans getting their cocks so hard over the styles of McFarlane and his imitators that made them all think, "We are making so much money for Marvel and DC, we should own all of this shit outright!" And so Image. Based on this art trend. So '90s Image art), I wouldn't have been derailed by it and would definitely have spent three paragraphs on how Booster Gold's dick is about to be fried crispy golden.

The issue begins with two aliens, Blake and Corbett, on the lam from justice. Black and Corbett, who are named Blake and Corbett, are being chased by aliens who love to add the names "Blake" or "Corbett" to every single thing they say. I get the feeling Dan Vado lost a bet to his friends Blake and Corbett and was forced to put their names into this comic book a certain amount of times. Which he did. All on the first page.

Look at Blake and Corbett! How can I talk about anything else except that they look like clones of every male character Liefeld has ever drawn in his life?!

Maybe Dan Vado uses the names multiple times so that the reader will easily identify which alien is Blake and which alien is Corbett. Although if that was his reasoning, he might have thought to make them look slightly different from one another. I guess Corbett is the one with the flippy bangs and Blake is the one with the spiked hair. I'm actually surprised both characters have two normal eyes each. It's a lot easier to draw a face when you've got a distracting dead eye or bangs hanging over half the face so you don't have to think about the usual symmetry of faces because symmetrical faces are harder to draw than fingers or feet.

Blake and Corbett crash their ship on Earth and the fishy aliens chasing them give up for now. Being super into justice and catching criminals, they don't to accidentally break any of the local system's laws. They move off to research Earth and monitor the situation.

Elsewhere on Earth, in New York City where Blake and Corbett didn't immediately crash, a woman is giving a tour of the entire fucking city to some kids, ending in Justice League America headquarters.

I know some smart ass on the Internet will be all, "Look at all the fingers and feet on this page, you stupid piece of shit asshole!" But might I also point out Rick Burchett was doing the inking? He probably fixed all the really fucked up hands and feet.

I'd also like to point out how the woman has her arms crossed thus hiding her hands. We'll see so much of that that I'm not going to bother to scan in every scene with somebody hiding their hands in this way. The fishy alien already did it once and his hands are way easier to draw because he only has three fingers per hand. Also, I don't mean to suggest Liefeld and West and all the other couldn't draw hands and feet. Of course they could! You get people defending Liefeld bad art all the time by posting a picture where he drew feet and captioning it, "See? Feet! In your face, people who love actually good art!" My theory is that they're really just fucking lazy. Why draw feet if you don't to? Why draw fingers when a fist will do? Why learn what an actual body looks like and how it moves when you can just pretend your art is "dynamic"?

For some inexplicable reason, the Justice League have opened up a lobby to the public as an information center and a hall of fame. Currently the only notable member the League has had in recent times is Superman so he's the only guy in the hall of fame. It's a pretty lame set up.

See? This kid agrees with me.

Booster Gold and Fire, having absolutely nothing to do and apparently not having been given access to alternate, non-public ways into headquarters, wander through the lobby where they're exposed to teenagers who speak like an adult thinks teenagers speak. I don't blame Fire with getting instantly annoyed with Dan Vado's weird teen speak. But I do blame Booster Gold for being a total misogynist.

Firstly, I don't think this kid does know how women are. Secondly, I don't think Booster knows either. Thirdly, Fire never looked so '90s.

Here's a fun game! Compare Fire's face in that panel to Wonder Woman's face on the cover. What do you know! It's the same face! Now imagine that face on every comic book cover on the rack every fucking new comic book day! What are the symptoms for post traumatic stress disorder?

Oh shit. I mentioned the too long legs thing so I should probably give an example of that.

Look how fucking low her knee is! And how do both knees basically line up when one leg is bent?! Why do I suddenly hear helicopters and machine gun fire?!

Fire gives Booster some what-for about his sexist remarks until he apologizes. What a cuck! Although after he apologizes, he and Fire seem to get along a lot better. As if, maybe, taking responsibility for your words and actions, and making a heartfelt and sincere apology, can make the world a kinder, better place? Did this comic book fall through a temporal vortex from the future because from what I understand from the Comicsgater, this is woke bullshit that never would have appeared in a non-modern comic book? Where'd this agenda come from?! Treating women like individual human beings?! I'm fucking shook, man!

Booster and Fire seek out Blue Beetle who has just finished the first build of Booster's new armor. He was also apparently working on a way to get Fire's powers back but creating an accident that somehow gives a person super powers is somehow different than using math, science, and technology to build a huge suit of armor. Ted tells Fire she's out of luck and she hugs him for trying and he apparently thinks she's absolutely in love with him and wants to fuck him because she decided to hug a close friend in gratitude.

See? Kevin West isn't a bad artist at all! He totally nails Ted's "Oh my God Fire wants to touch my dick" reaction.

I'm serious! That's a really beautifully done panel. Which comes back to how I'm not trying to say Kevin West sucks at art. What I'm saying is that I can't fucking stand all of the lazy tropes that this "dynamic" '90s art style set up. It's weird how a lot of it tended to lazy art when McFarlane arguably began by cluttering up every single panel with all sorts of weird details. As a point of historical detail, I think Marc Silvestri is credited as being the old school guy who began the trend that became the '90s Image style. But I don't know for sure because I never paid much attention to the Image stuff. And I wasn't really buying Marvel where the Image style took off.

There's been a second plot happening in the background of the last few issues that I haven't discussed because it's been so boring and hack. It's about Tora heading back to her kingdom where she's the daughter of the king. He's sick and her younger brother has all but taken over the throne. But he's a dick so when Tora shows up again, her father is all, "Tora is older! She shall take the throne!" And her brother is all, "Ew! I'll show you! I'll get even!" Then he slams his wine down on a table and walks out.

He slams it down with his left hand even though he's been holding it and drinking from it with his right hand across several panels, and gesticulating angrily with his left.

Often when I'm angry and want to show my anger by slamming an object down on a nearby table, I take the time to switch hands, especially if I'm being drawn by an artist who doesn't give a fuck about a scene's continuity.

I love Ice and I know she was a member of the Justice League for a long time but this comic book is about Justice League America and it should concentrate on Justice League America members and not on some tired battle for the throne story arc. Also maybe they should concentrate a little bit on Blake and Corbett since I was forced to learn who they were earlier.

Several pages into the comic book and Dan Vado hasn't had an opportunity to make Guy look like the biggest pig on the planet.

Oh, there we go. Immediately as he appears in the comic for the first time.

The Justice League should have taken all the money they spent on that stupid, useless lobby and information center and used it to hire a Human Resources department. How the fuck does anybody let Guy remain on the team when he can't refrain from suggesting lewd things to Wonder Woman and Maxima? I've said the same about Justice League Europe when Wally couldn't go a single panel without trying to get Power Girl to suck his dick. Why do the writers of this comic book think this shit is cute? Does Vado actually hate Guy and just wants readers to hate him? Or does Vado think this is charming rebel talk, just like he thought the teenager speak earlier was off the cuff. Or chain. Or whatever. I'm not pretending to know how kids in the '90s spoke!

Yeah, he has gotten more annoying! Fucking Dan Vado.

Why is Wonder Woman getting angry at Maxima? This is like that time Ernesto was bullying me on the playground in elementary school and I called him a fucker and the teacher heard so we both got in trouble. Stand up for the right side of history, people! Stop getting angry at the people fighting back against oppression and suggestions that they want to suck somebody's dick! Also, Guy Gardner should sue Dan Vado. Is that a thing that could be possible?

Oberon has alerted the team to Black and Corbett's crashed alien ship in Alaska. The government wants the Justice League to escort them to the site and see what's up. Booster Gold, having not tested his armor yet, demands to go on the mission. Wonder Woman, being a terrible leader, agrees to let him go.

Meanwhile the space fish decide to recover Blake and Corbett through legal means by contacting the American government and simply asking that they be returned. It's hard to remember what America was like in 1993 but I'm pretty sure we still took the idea of taking in refugees seriously. So the fish aliens might not have a lot of luck with getting Blake and Corbett returned to them. Although Black and Corbett fire on the Justice League when they approach the crashed ship, so maybe it'll be an easy decision to give them to the space police fish.

Eventually the Justice League disarm Blake and Corbett and hear their story. They've escaped from a prison planet and claim to have been political prisoners. Wonder Woman is all, "Oh, then we should grant you asylum!" But then the American government is all, "No, no! We are extraditing these jerks!"

Captain Atom and his weak-ass ankle, returned from the dead or his trip to the past or wherever the hell he was, represents the American government.

Captain Atom didn't come alone. To make sure he can secure the prisoners from the Justice League, he brought along a top squad of government soldiers that are not exactly like every other group of high technology soldiers in every single '90s comic of the day.

Their names are probably Deathkiller, Gunpistol, and Murderbang.

Why do these guys look like every G.I. Joe figure that was ever sold that either didn't have a distinct personality or maybe got a name but never appeared on the cartoon?

Justice League America #80 Rating: B-. So many things are beginning to annoy me about this series. I only collected it for three more months, possibly to finish out this story line, or maybe I just wasn't as astute when I was 21. But it's nice to know that I'm still mostly the same person seeing as how I'm reading it now and thinking, "How much more of this shit am I willing to put up with?" Most of the "this shit" is simply the way Dan Vado has decided to portray Guy Gardner. If he got him so wrong, how can I trust that he understands any of the other characters that I'm not too familiar with? It's also possible that I've simply had too much Justice League over the last few years. I look forward to reading something entirely different in a week or two!