Sunday, September 18, 2005

Chris' Reviews 9/13

Hey howdy, true believers! Been a long while since the reviews, but a lot of personal crap has gotten in the way of my little hobby. Psssh.

What a CRAPTACULAR week! And I didn't even buy any Marvel! (Hee! I kid because I love.) I'm serious, the crap-osity would overwhelm even the most high-flush capacity of toilets. It's like the comics were all written by Crappy Crapperson, and pencilled and inked by Crapson McCrappinghole. It was that bad. There was one semi-saving grace, but we'll save that for the end, because 2 Guys Buying Comics is allegedly all about the optimism.


Mother of God, what has this become? In this issue, Hawkman, Blackfire, and Hawkwoman try to break the Thangarian emperor (the good one, not the evil one) out of jail, while Adam Strange, Captain Comet, and Hawkgirl wait patiently for them to do so. In addition, for the zillionth time, Sardath, Alanna, and the kid flee to YET ANOTHER "Last Bastion of Safety Containing Zeta Beam Technology" (this makes like the 5th one in a row).

Oh, and Hawkwoman dies.


Now, I'm no purist, but Shayera's been around more than 50 years, and she sure as hell deserved better than a one and a half page sequence where she gets killed by Blackfire. Come on, people! This happens about halfway through the comic, which means we get to see Hawkman carrying around her corpse for the entire last half. Which would be sad and affecting if the comic weren't too busy saying "Yes, yes, she's dead---but what about the Rannians?"

Screw you, Rannians. You have done nothing but flee this entire comic. That's not a war, that's an ass-kicking.

And like none of the parties involved (much less us readers) saw Blackfire's treachery coming for the last three issues? Come on, HawkPeople! She's listed as a villain in the DC Encyclopedia, for crying out loud!

And apparently Green Lanterns are too busy terraforming Thanagar back into something resembling habitable to help in all this. Whatever. At least we're coming to the end of this debacle.

Best Moment: Realizing that if I can take one more issue of this, then it's over.

Worst Moment: Shayera Thal's cheap death. Fuck you, DC. Note: that won't be the last time I use that sentence in these reviews. Nice way to send off one of your more recognizable JLU characters, DC. (I know, I know, JLU's Shayera is Hawkgirl. You know what I'm saying.)

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5, again, strictly on art. I want this to be over so bad it hurts.


In this issue, "Asshole Batman At His Apex" kidnaps Robin and tries to scare, insult, and beat a 12-year old boy while placing innocent lives in danger, making no sense whatsoever, and needing a shave. And we get to see a shirtless Alfred carrying a nearly topless Vicki Vale in the rain.

Fuck you, DC. (Toldja.)

In the course of a single issue, we get the following:

  • Batman kidnaps 12-year old boy whose parents have just been murdered.
  • Batman punches 12-year old boy for being scared (yup).
  • Batman taunts, insults, makes fun of, and tries to scare 12-year old boy.
  • Batman kills or at least seriously injures about 100 cops
  • Batman generally acts like a madman, and not in the good way.
Seriously. Batman's got a creepy pedophile vibe going on in this comic, and it makes me feel skeevy just reading it. Add in the child abuse, kidnapping, negligent homicide, and other stupid stuff, and...and...fuck you, DC.

Frank Miller, stop it. Just stop it. I loved Sin City. I dug Martha Washington. Year One? Masterpiece. But you are absolutely trashing an iconic hero just because you can, and it's not fun, it's not "out there", it's not a "reimagining of a classic hero" or whatever other lame excuse you and DC can come up with for this shit. It's mean-spirited, it's nonsense, and it's insulting. Wanna write a Batman story out of continuity? Fine. But don't turn Batman into a reject from the show Oz, and don't make a hero a child abuser. Sugarcoat it however you want to, that's what it is. Stop it.

The Batmobile turns into the Batplane, the entire comic takes place in the cockpit of said vehicle with out-of-character narration and expressions, and shirtless Alfred can go away now, thanks, as can Vicki Vale. So can this whole friggin' comic. I'm done.

Best Moment: The admittedly cool splash page where the Batmobile sprouts wings. Which makes up for about .0000005 % of the rest of this shit.

Worst Moment: Batman hitting the child he's just kidnapped. Words cannot describe how inappropriate that is for a comic whose nominal purpose is to tell continuity-free stories to get the "kids back into comics".

Comic Book Goodness: 0/5. My first ever 0/5, but Goddamn, if anything deserved it, it's this pile of trash. I shan't be getting another issue. Fuck you, DC.


Charley Parker and Hawkgirl go and confront Satanna, the alleged mastermind behind most of this "Hush"-like enemy arc that was responsible for the death of Hawkman. Meanwhile, some shadowy figure using the Cloak of Cagliostro is going around to those enemies responsible for said death and exacting terrible, tailored revenge on each one. Finally, after getting knocked on his ass for trying to plant one on Kendra, C.P. reveals himself to be pretty much just a kook with an ego, who's a heel with technology and and, let's face it, a villain. Lucky for him Carter Hall reappears on the final page to do battle!

Mixed feelings about this one. The revenge scenes (yes, it's Carter doing the revenge thing, and doing it well) are really effective, in that each character gets treated to their own Twilight Zone-ish brand of Hell, which is cool and really brings out the ruthless side of Carter. And seeing Hawkgirl knock Parker down after he tries to kiss her is priceless.

On the other hand, the Hawkgirl/Satanna fight scenes resemble two oddly contortioned praying mantises (mantii?) doing the limbo in zero-G, so it was hard to tell what was going on (or why). Also, since we all pretty much knew that Parker was going to turn out to be shady eventually, the ending isn't much of a surprise, and his motivations aren't entirely clear, unless it's as simple as "I wanna be Hawkman, dammit!" (Though I did like him mocking sidekick origins in general.) And I wanna know how the hell Carter Hall isn't dead, after we saw him get dismembered three issues ago. Depressingly, of course, it will turn out that Nth metal's regenerative properties were stronger than we knew! Sigh.

Best Moment: The scene where Hummingbird is consigned to a lonely, dark, isolated cage forevermore is really effective and chilling. You go, Carter!

Worst Moment: Charley trying to kiss Kendra, just because she's MINE, DAMN YOU! You hear me? Mine! All Mine! Erm....time to take my pills.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. I suppose a few people will rate this as one of the better books this week, but there was too much foregone conclusion spoiling the whole thing for me. Next issue should be better, as we're just about due for yet another "Hawkman kicks ass for 22 pages" installment.

JLA #118

Despero and Marty Manhunter take their battle to Earth, where, I shit you not, Aquaman steps in and joins the fight in a pretty damn cool manner. Like, almost (but not quite) to the point where I'd want to actively read about Aquaman again. Anyhoo, while this is going on, the JLA takes a vote on whether or not to mindwipe the SSoSV again, which is rendered moot since Zatanna walks out on them. After a while, we learn that Despero has taken control telepathically of MM and Aquaman, and on the last page turns Batman into one of his telepathically-evil minions.

I can't say this was a bad issue, though my brain tells me it was filler. It was nice to see Aquaman finally get some page time in this JLA series, and for awhile you think, "Hey! Aquaman's a pretty decent action superhero!"

Then we learn he gets mind-controlled by Despero (who --- let's face it --- is really just an evil Martian Manhunter with a third eye), and my estimation loses a bit, simply because Despero is a lame villain. Not your fault, tho, Arthur.

I could have done without the Zatanna/Wonder Woman/Supergirl self-reflection on Themyscira, as it was pointless navel-gazing and moping about the world in general. As regards the "voting" sequence, it was kinda stupid. OK, it was really stupid, since if I'm Superman, I'm saying "Yes, yes, we're a League and all, but I'm FREAKING SUPERMAN, and both me and the Batguy say we're not doing it because it's wrong. Anyone opposed who wants to get heat visioned and OMAC'ed up real good? I didn't think so. Motion denied, punks." Or something like that. I should totally write JLA just so I can use that Supes line.

Best Moment: "I have my Rook, I have my King, and now I Knight."

Worst Moment: Wondering why in the Hell Despero did all this in the first place. I hope that's adequately explained in the final ish, but I know it won't be. And the voting was lame. And the Themyscira scenes were drivel.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. Mainly for the cool Aquaman stuff and the positioning of the League vs. League fight coming up next issue.

Ye Gods, kids, let's hope for better luck this week! And yes, I lied about there being a saving grace. Apologies.


Blogger Randy said...

Hey, are the Rannians related to that one country in Europe that will hitherto go unnamed? You know, that one on the NW coast, across from England? The Channel. The Chunnel. But I won't go there. Chris, JUST FOR YOU, I"m gunna have to buy you more All-Star Batman and Robin. And hide them in random places at your workplace so you'll always see that at the most opportune times. You know you want more bare-chested Big Al.

9:36 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Batman hitting the child he's just kidnapped. Words cannot describe how inappropriate that is for a comic whose nominal purpose is to tell continuity-free stories to get the "kids back into comics".

In all the toing and froing over whether this is any good or not, this is the one thing that no one's yet pointed out. Well said.

And as I don't read DC, I have no idea what the difference between Hawkgirl and Hawkwoman is. Also, is the Mockingbird that gets caught in Hawkman the same one that's causing trouble in Villains United? I don't even really care about this stuff, but it's all very confusing to read about.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

KG, thanks for the info, but the top part of your comment reads "/* for some reason. What was that exactly? :)

And Mockingbird was a misprint on my part. The villain is actually Hummingbird. Hawkman's a regular aviary these days. :)

11:13 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Really? How very strange. I can read it fine.

I just quoted that bit that you wrote about how a kid's comic shouldn't feature Batman hitting a child.

There's been a huge argument in various places online about whether All-Star is any good or not, but I've not seen anyone mention the inappropriateness of the book given DC's stated objective with it until you did. It's a good observation.

Now let's hope this comment comes through properly.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Jacob said...

Among the other stupid weirdness in JLA:

Why are these seven people the voting pool?

Until Crisis of Conscience kicked in most of these weren't active Leaguers, and I don't remember them being made so. (Zatanna refers to herself as a reservist.) If, for some bizarre reason, it was decided that a League vote was the proper decision procedure, why include a bunch of reservists and not wait to gather votes from active Leaguers? from J'onn?

10:00 AM  
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