Borders is closing, the Democrats are all about Reagan, and Superman’s Emo!
It’s been quite an amazing week, a lot more has happened than some ancient old Emperor “almost” getting hit by a fake pie (only to be saved by his Crouching Tiger-or was it a Hidden Dragon?) Let’s start with the once proud public restroom and free-wi-fi giveaway; I speak of Borders of course not Barnes & Noble’s (though their day will come). As much a victim of their own lax policies, like allowing people to sit for hours and read books rather than pay for them, as they are of the digital book revolution; Borders announced Monday that they were unable to find anyone dumb enough to invest in their public masturbation hangout and are shutting the doors on their remaining 399 stores across America. Effectively putting another 10,700 people out of work come the end of September and setting back the economy even more!
That is if there is an economy by the end of September. If the Tea Party ass wipes get their way there won’t be. The very small yet extremely vocal fringe of the Republican Party has effectively taken over the GOP, who weren’t very cool to begin with, now they have gone off the deep in. So much so that they have the Democrats quoting (the devil) Ronald Reagan to combat their lunacy! How far have we gone in American politics where the supposed liberals are now using the ultimate conservative symbol to try to reign in the far-far-right? What has happened that we have allowed Fox News, and the Tea Party bigots to dictate the conversation? It’s as if the progressives were either so happy or content with the election of the first non-white president that they simply sat back for the last two and half years letting the nuts have their day! I mean c’mon Reagan? Really? If that’s not bad enough it actually works, it puts this insane debt ceiling talk into perspective. This is almost nothing new, if not for the fact that neither side is actually doing this for anyone other than the banks and business community that got us into this crisis in the first place. And the only way out and the only way to prevent even more catastrophe is to further cow-tow and bend to the will of Wall Street. All this talk of socialist conspiracy has been merely to obfuscate the real agenda and that is the complete and total corporate takeover of the United States Government. I’ve said it before and I will say it again we do need a overhaul of our political system but not one that calls for less aide to the needy and more control to the religious right, but one that believes that its citizens should come before it’s corporations!
All right but let’s get to the DC that’s really got me pissy this week-DC Comics! Yes I know, I hate to turn all dark on you in the mist of such lovely talks. This week along with my usual helping of wonderful Marvel comics I received a free copy of the 52 preview. If you don’t know what that is or you haven’t been paying attention to my previous post on the matter, then you should stop reading right now and look it up I don’t have time to back-track for you, because you don’t want to pay attention! Anyhow, the 52 preview meant to hype the un-hype-able, god-awful, absolutely horrendous, need I say completely pointless, re-launch of the entire DC Universe; is nothing more than a point by point illustration of everything they are doing wrong. We’ll skip the cover for now and start with the first page.
We start off with a sneak peak at Goeff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League #1; in which we see a gassed up Gotham City Police Department aiming big giant guns at a armored up Batman racing across roff tops apparently able to leap twenty-feet at a time now. The first words are; there was a time when the world didn’t call them its greatest heroes. There was a time when the world didn’t know what a Super-hero was. That time is now. And then there is a little caption that reads; Five Years Ago. Now if the time is now how can it be five years ago? What I’m confused already! We’ll let that slide; we got burning buildings that the world’s greatest detective apparently saw fit to run on top of! Supped-up Military style helicopters in an urban environment and a pretty sweaty Bat’s doing battle with what is either The Creeper, or Killer Croc with goggles. We see old Bruce do his thing which apparently includes shooting rockets out of his wrist at police now, and firing a grappling line threw the calf of an opponent; Whom he then proceeds to tackle, and scream at, while the police are presumably still behind him, and despite the fact that his opponent is holding a mouth full of fire. Of course the bad guy blows up, and then magically reforms a panel later as some kind of flaming zombie robot! He then knocks out a few of Bruce’s teeth (try explaining that to the board of directors at Wayne Corp), only to be thwarted by a green light. Queue Green Lantern, showing that the awful Ryan Reynolds vehicle will have lasting effects on the DCU, by employing a giant green fire truck to smash the bad guy with! Of course he nearly missed Batman who he calls out to before exclaiming “You’re real!” With that the last ounce of respect I had for Jim Lee is gone and my worst fears about the re-launch are only beginning to be confirmed.
The facing page is the now infamous first look we were treated to a month ago of the re-vamped JLA (now minus the A) of the rough trade Aqua-Man in his goldfish shirt, an eyeless Superman in a weird turtleneck, Wonder-Woman needless stuffed into leather pants again, Green Lantern wearing some sort of Gatling-Gun cod-piece, an armored Batman fresh of the 1993 toy shelf at Wal-Mart, and the Flash covered in lightning bolts! Which I can only assume is Jim’s way of showing he’s moving fast but not too fast for him to draw! They conveniently covered the worst re-launch offender Cyborg (i.e. the token black person on the team) with a unfinished Batman splash page that like much of Jim Lee’s current offerings looks far too busy to make heads or tails of). There’s a quote on the page from Mr. Lee stating that “This really is the ultimate book” I can only take that as a thinly veiled reference to Marvels highly successful Ultimate’s which their entire, highly successful movie franchise is based on! This is almost as big a joke as Dianna’s comically endless golden lasso, swooping across the page! I could only imagine the big wigs at DC taking one look at this image and being like “You’ve done it again Jim! This will show those guys at Marvel whose hip!”
Turn the page and it gets worse (I should stop saying that now and you should assume this is a given), we see the Justice League International! Made up of mostly the same people that it was comprised of in the 90’s when under Keith Giffen and called Justice League Europe! This made since when paired with JL America! Now that the JL has dropped the A aren’t they essentially all international? Why the need for the two teams? I assume it’s so DC can ruin more characters. In this title we see the wolverine of the DCU Batman who despite still having some of the Bat Inc thing going on (more on that later) still has time to join every team and star in ten titles of his own. I bet when he does find time to appear as Bruce Wayne people must think he looks like shit! I mean when does this man sleep? Alongside the ubiquitous Batman is Booster Gold who DC will not quit insisting is an interesting character! Guy Gardner who actually is an interesting character despite the fact that this new version doesn’t look as gruff and cool, they’ve shaped up guy’s face to try and make him just another generic pretty boy superhero. But he’s Green lantern with a vest and no mask! Why on Earth if superheroes just popped into existence five years ago do we need a second lantern here on Earth already! The existence of Guy only makes sense in the larger context of the pre-existing Lantern Mythos! I’d like to see them explain that one-on second thought I don’t! The International cast is rounded out by Fire and Ice (of course) a new Red Rocket (so does Soviet Russia still exist in this new DCU?) A version of Aqua-man who looks like an Armadillo, I have no idea who this guy is because like most sane people I have never read an Aqua-Man book in my life! Oh and the token black person for JLI-Vixen who is from Detroit?
Speaking of Aqua-Man he’s on the next page looking like he’s trying not to pinch one off while the fish are looking! I don’t know what could be said about Aqua-Man that hasn’t already been the punch line in a thousand and one SNL jokes in 1975! Despite having some clean Ivan Reis artwork I highly doubt anyone is ever going to care about a blonde haired pretty boy that talks to the fishes! I actually thought DC was doing something interesting with the character when they cut off his hand and let him grow a beard, but alas that was long ago and seemingly forgotten. Had they let the character move in that direction I would actually consider buying the book every month. Peter David’s run was spectacular; this just looks like underwater gay porn!
Next up we get a look at old Wonder Woman who low and behold is back in the short-shorts! I guess she only has to wear pants when she’s hanging out in the boys club! She’s carrying a bloody sword and floating amidst a sea of arrows! She only seems to be able to stop a couple so I hope who’s ever behind her is okay with that! There’s a unfinished page in the corner suggesting it’s a young lesbian in her underwear and some flannel which says all you need to know about the new Dianna I guess! I don’t understand the senseless need to keep trying to stuff her in pants that Jim Lee seems to have! We know she comes from an island of Women who spends their free time “wrestling” but more importantly she is MADE OUT OF CLAY! This means that she most likely doesn’t even have genitalia unless her “mother” was a real stickler for detail!
That’s all we have to go on for Wonder Woman, the next page starts off with the quote; “If you don’t know who Barry Allen is and who the Flash is, then this is the perfect comic for you!” Now if you don’t know that there have been three or four guys called the Flash that wore the exact same costume (more or less) and looked roughly the same then this statement is already meaningless to you and yours. You see in the old DCU Barry was the one that died a bunch and everybody loved him for it, by everybody I mean the four or five people that gave a damn about the guy that could almost run as fast as Superman! Also it would appear that Jim Lee’s use of lightening as a means to show that he’s fast going to be the standard. Personally I loved the way Alex Ross illustrated his constant motion in Kingdom Come and would have hoped that blurring effect would set a precedent, alas I am let down again by DC. Seeing as how it was Flash Point that leads us into this mess of continuity I hope that this title holds the key to ending it a few years down the road.
The next few pages are filled with a bunch of guys few people have cared about and few ever will; Firestorm (who is now three people apparently-one of them black), Captain Atom (who is now bald or has smoke for hair I’m not sure), Green Arrow (who stole his costume redesign from Smallville), and Hawkman (who despite now being covered in gold prickly armor, still looks really, really gay, like Fulsom Street Fair Gay-look it up), Deadman (who could be the coolest character left with Man in his name) and Mr. Terrific (The African-American who has the dubious honor of being referred to as the 3rd smartest guy on Earth). Then there’s the big Big Blue!
The week started off with word from DC that old Supes was going to be single again! No more married life for the world’s First Superhero! On top of that they were taking away his Ma! Meaning no more trips back to the farm when times got too tough! Superman was also going to be all emo and whine about being alone all the time. This of course did not sit well with anyone and then the show us this; Superman in Action Comics numero uno sporting some tight wranglers, work boots and a tight t-shirt. He’s wearing this outfit on the cover of this preview as well, complete with patches on his jeans. His cape is barely big enough to call a towel and he’s running from the cops with a big shit eating grin on his face! It’s written by Grant Morrison so I will feel obligated to read it despite the damning visuals. He at least still has the spit curl, but for some reason over in Superman #1 (drawn by famed George Pērez) he has a full on mop-top like he’s trying out for Twilight! His costume which we’re told is some sort of traditional Kryptonian armor! How on Earth his dead real parents knew to pack some traditional armor in just his size when they rocketed off their little blue eyed baby, we may never know!
This costume has been one of the biggest pet-peeves I’ve had about this re-launch. It looks like the old suit from a distant, minus the big red under-u’s yet still a need for a belt! It’s just covered in lines, like it’s ribbed for no one’s pleasure. George’s Superman however doesn’t appear to be a sullen “why am I so alone” Emo kid, but a pissed off red eyed alien/Sun God with knee-pads on! I still don’t understand the turtleneck aspect of the suit but then none of this makes sense to me! Such as if Supe’s is the first and he just came on the scene 5 years ago how do we have his teenage Cousin here wearing the wildest fetish boot’s I have ever seen and his teenage robot/clone already? And how alone is he if there is a Supergirl and Superboy for him to chill with? That’s it though just four titles in the Superman line. Now I have always been under the impression that Superman was the cornerstone of the DCU and that this re-launch was supposed to show that again and blah, blah, blah, but if you flip the page you will find that times have changed. I guess if you have a really successful movie franchise then you are way more important than the guy who had a box-office dud five years ago! While Superman’s corner of the universe has but four books only two of which actually feature him as the main guy; Batman has taken over with a family of 11 titles!
There is Batman for starters, Detective Comics, Batwoman, there’s also Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman and Robin, Batwing (the black batman), Batgirl, Nightwing, Catwoman, Birds of Prey, and Redhood and the Outlaws! Add those to the fact that Bats is going to be in both Justice League titles and you’ll get the joke I made earlier about Bruce never getting any sleep. What can you really say about Batman, ‘s the Goddamn Batman and he always will be they can fool with the costume a little, basically erasing a lot of the changes that David Finch did in the redesign from a couple of months ago, they can take away most of the brilliant work Grant Morrison did over the last five years realistically explaining some of the stranger 1950s elements of Batman’s continuity, and do away with most the amazing work he was doing with Batman Incorporated, but deep down you can’t change the fact that this is a psychotic billionaire who saw his parents die in front of him and decided to punish the rest of the world for it for the rest of his life! The thing just goes back to again; if all of this just started five years ago-how does Batman have three ex-sidekicks, two female counterparts, a teenage son, and an African doppelganger! Not to mention an equally psychotic lover/villain/sometimes partner who dresses up like a cat rolls around on roof tops?
Needless to say if you like Batman, September is going to be a busy month for you and your wallet so save up! I could go further but I’m running way longer than I normally go already. The remainder of the preview I will tackle in my next post I will save Green Lantern and the rest of the previews for another day I got to get ready for Captain America: First Avenger midnight screening! Yeah I know it’s gonna suck, but if I don’t give them my 12.50 they might not finish making Avenger which I really want to see! Don’t worry though I will not see it in 3D! Look I’m not going to Comi-Con, I’m still stuck here in L.A. for another week so just give me my midnight Cap fix! ‘Nuff Said!