Sunday, October 26, 2008

Review of Failure to Review, by Johnathan

Boy, I suck. This has been the laziest weekend on record.

NOT APPROVED, and I'll do better, I swear.

(I am at least brainstorming Hallowe'en costumes...)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Super-Human Detritus of the Thirtieth Century: A Supergirl Week Special Conclusion of the Review of Satan Girl, By Johnathan

Hyah! Supergirl Week continues, with:

Yes, folks - today's the day that everyone gets to learn the truth about the would-be Legionnaire with the poorly-thought-out name! Plus: a bonus secret! Turns out that I'm not very good at condensing Silver Age comics, so you're going to have to strain your eyes on a super-long John-post, once more. *Phew* I tell you, it's good to get that off of my chest.

Okay, let's check in on Supergirl and the LSH. What's going on, Supergirl?

You know, this is a side of the male Legionnaires that one doesn't usually see. They're not usually so... open to receiving advice. Bravo, fellas.

I guess that that's a pretty good plan, especially in the DC Universe, where everybody has a weakness to something (like regular John, DCU John's weakness is beer and chicken wings. I tell you this for the same reason that Superman gave Batman that kryptonite ring: so that you can stop me if I ever go on some sort of rampage. Or am a wee bit peckish). I just hope, however, that Supergirl never has to go head-to-head with the Joker, say. Things could get ugly.

I know that pointing out logical flaws in any Silver Age comic is kind of like announcing to a beachful of people that the ocean is a bit damp, but I feel compelled - compelled, I say - to bring up the fact that Supergirl is disregarding the fact that Daxamites like Mon-El have access to serums and such that negate their weakness to lead. So Satan Girl could totally be a Daxamite.

*Phew* wow, man. That... that's a big load off of my nerd-shoulders. I feel a lot better.

The, uh, future that you're in right now, or the future of the future? Which is it, Supergirl?

Gah! I was going to make some point about how the term "Intelligent alien animals" technically covers everyone that Supergirl hangs out with on a regular basis, and then call her a shapeist or something, but those ball-things are creeping me out. Remember Madballs? Madballs had nothing on these things, not even the ones whose brains were leaking out. *shudder*



Okay, the ballbonations playing with Bouncing Boy is a little bit adorable.

You know, I'm always kind of impressed with Supergirl and Superman when they do something like this. Not because they can deus ex machina a solution to any problem out of dirt and spit, but because they manage to make such nice-looking stuff with their bare hands. Seriously, I've sculpted enough to know that if I had the ability to fuse sand into glass with my mighty John-strength I would consistently end up with big fingerprints and those spikes that you get when you squeeze too hard and stuff oozes up between your fingers. I would not produce any perfectly-faceted diamonds or factory-perfect android-paralyzing guns.


Why the hell is Bouncing Boy attacking this lady while Colossal Boy takes shelter behind some invalids? Is this how he lost the cowboy gloves, by not acting cowboy enough? Dammit!

By the way, Supergirl's awesome deductions re: Satan Girl's origin?

Totally wrong. Also, we're about due for "laughing with your fists on your hips" to make a comeback. Next time someone fails to thwart your schemes, give it a try!

Brought to you by the Society for the Promotion of More Interesting Nostalgic Trends Than are Usually Extant.

This is a boring panel. I include it only because of that "she can't use her power on animals" bit, which is important later on (ha ha, spoilers!)

So: the Legion flees the planet, leaving the hideous ball-beings to the tender mercies of someone named Satan Girl.

Did... did she just blow straight through that creature? What the hell? What power is it that she has that doesn't work on animals? Not "brain-removal breath", that's for sure.

Eventually, the ball-critters lose enough of their number to make for the hills, and Satan Girl makes a startling revelation! Could this be a clue to her totally secret identity?

Just where the hell did the Legion go, anyway!

Aw, yeah, the Puppet Planetoid. I was unreasonably excited when this place showed up after the Five Year Gap, let me tell you. Check out those hideous puppets, man! They're much more endearing than the hideous ball-things, really. Here, check out the secret origin of this place:

Now, I don't have children, and I don't get many chances to hang out with children, but I just got back from Thanksgiving dinner, and my niece and nephew were there, all full of beans. I would bet you one hundred Canadian dollars that if I gave them some puppets and told them to go play in a hole I figure I'd get my comeuppance pretty darned quickly. These giant blue extradimensional kids are weird, says I.

You know what? I take back the nice things I said about the boy Legionnaires earlier. They're all high or something in this issue, seriously. How the hell could Lightning Lad not be firing huge bolts of electricity at that lady as she flies in with a ridiculous amount of kryptonite? He and Cosmic Boy found Shrinking Violet's secret stash while they were packing her a bag to take to Quarantine World, that's how.

Also, does the amount of kryptonite present make any difference? Does this giant pile of the stuff just provide more coverage, or is Supergirl basically dead? Because she seems pretty calm about this event.

WHAT POWERS? The red beam thing? Because that doesn't seem to be working on anyone but superpowered women, Supergirl. Or do you mean the super-strength and like that, which very much did work on the ball-things - specify! And be wrong!

Not that calling in the Legion of Super-Pets isn't a good idea, mind you. Having half a dozen tiny versions of Superman can only help in most situations, I reckon. They should really be in on more super-cases - it would really speed up the average Superman/Brainiac fight, for instance.

Man, Krypto and Streaky have no idea what he's talking about.

Damn. I grew up around horses, and they were always trying to bite me or casually crushing me up against a wall or whatever, because horses are jerks. And so, I feel qualified to say that the prospect of a super-powered horse flying at me like Comet is doing in the above panel is frigging terrifying. Those things are huge. Satan Girl is a better person than me if she didn't just pee a little.

Also, it turns out that it was the red rays that everyone was talking about in the context of how they don't work on animals. Okay, say I, but based on all of the evidence given in this comic they don't work on male humanoids either. So why aren't the Legion dudes piling on top of this evil lady? Show your work, Supergirl.

Dramatic secret! Awe-inspiring revelation! Satan Girl is a red kryptonite boojum, like 1/3 or so of the Superman Family's Silver Age adversaries. Wooooooooo!

Blah, blah, red kryptonite. The more interesting aspect of this kind of story is the fact that it kind of underlines how DC super-heroes don't give two, uh poos about how the clone feels in this sort of situation. They get split into two and the new version of themself says "I want to live, Green Arrow!" and Green Arrow's all like, "Rarr, no! You are a Chartruse Arrowine double of me and you will hang around in the Arrow Cave until you cease to exist!" and then the double is a bad guy because he sees that as unreasonable.

Granted, Satan Girl carries things to extremes with her "mass murder" twist on the theme, but I still think I could write a decent essay on the subject if I weren't so lazy.

Okay, so that's why the dudes weren't affected. Still, Supergirl didn't know that.

Blah, blah, stupid plan (sorry, I went away to work and vote and then to drink a large gin and tonic. My wit is somewhat blunted).

"I take comfort in the fact that my costume was way cooler than yours *cough cough* even though I made it in, like, an hour..."

"Oh, well, she's dead. Now what's for lunch?" 


In closing, I'd like to say that the suit of lead armour is ridiculous. Yes folks, I just can't give the Silver Age a break. Don't worry, though: we're still on speaking terms.

Satan Girl, you're NOT APPROVED

(Due to the aforementioned gin, this review was brought to you by One-draft John, not proofreading since 1979)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Super-Human Detritus of the Thirtieth Century: A Supergirl Week Special Review of Satan Girl, By Johnathan

Ha-ha! After dragging out for more than a month, the thrilling conclusion to the gripping drama that is the review of the ever-mysterious Concentrator has been preempted due to my love of participating in the theme weeks that Rachelle occasionally proclaims from her mighty throne over at Living Between Wednesdays. Naturally, I chose to write about Supergirl palling around with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and in an eerie bit of synchronicity, the first Supergirl/Legion story that I felt like writing about - and that Super Future Friends hadn't already talked about much better than I ever could - was Adventure Comics No. 313, featuring Satan Girl, winner of the last Paul and John poll!

That sentence was too long and convoluted!

Okay, Satan Girl! 

The story opens on various female Legionnaires, doing their regular Legion business:

Lightning Lass, surprisingly, is actually using her powers in a logical, useful and helpful way, instead of breaking my ability to suspend disbelief by, say, using giant lightning bolts to pick up trash or entertain the elderly by making hobos dance. Suddenly: illness!

Saturn Girl gets sick, too, possibly due to those gross eye-tentacles. Or the discoloured patch on that old diplomat's crotch.

Note, though, that she's doing useful, important work, too. Could this be the beginning of a new era of respect and equality in the Legion?

Well, I'm not saying that this is a positive "No.", this is a bit suspicious. Frankly, it sounds like the setup for an elaborate prank. "And then I turned on the engines! It was awesome! She was so embarrassed that I haven't seen her since, though I did find one of her shoes on the roof for some reason."

Even poor Night Girl is affected, when she comes over to help look after the sick'uns:

Sheesh, really? Quarantine World? Well, I suppose it is contagious... yeah, quarantine can't hurt, even if it doesn't seem to be much worse than a bad case of mono.

Okay, that's pretty harsh, Superboy. Seriously, they don't seem that bad. Look, they can stand up, all by themselves! 

This is why Superboy isn't allowed in the Smallville Old Folks' Home any more, by the way.
("Happy Thanksgiving, you're all doomed! Old and doomed! Let's hope you can finish your turkey before you die!)

So, the female Legionnaires are all sick and exiled. Then:

Satan Girl shows up! Satan Girl! 

Satan Girl!

This is... this is just the worst idea anyone ever had. Seriously, she might have had a slightly better chance of getting into the Legion if her name was Bad-touch Lass, or Kid Hate-crime. Or Duck-Murderer Damsel. Even circa 1992, a character named Satan Girl would have a tough time getting into the Legion - I think that the best she might hope for would be a solo gig as a "troubled loner". With a dark, secret past. 

And yet she's upset when she doesn't get in. Despite her impressive cheekbones, Satan Girl just isn't the sharpest peach in the pie. Note, for example, the immediate confession of evil deeds.

The Legion is thwarted, since they only have the one ship, and certainly don't have access to teleportation or time-travel technology (or the awesome might of the Concentrator, which remains a secret, bwa-ha).

(damn it, I forgot to add a joke about Sun Boy being the one who's shouting "Grab her!" Please supply your own juvenile snicker-fest, this time)

Since Superboy and Mon-El are off doing stuff, the Legion calls in Supergirl, and makes her Honorary Legion Leader because she's the only one tough enough to take on Satan Girl. All the boys wear their best doofy grins to meet her.

I sure do like these robot-nurses - they're exposition machines! I bet they make that little non-joke about knowing their professions about three hundred times per day - note the expression on Saturn Girl's face.

Hey... I just noticed that the robots have skirts on. Because... because they're nurses? I guess I am more attracted to them now that I know that they're female, so I'll let it pass.

That's how I want to go - spewing exposition to the very end. Rest in peace, foxy robot lady.

Anyway, it's time for the most important part of this comic: 


FLASH! WHIRL! SOCK! POW! Time for a hug!

Aw, Supergirl. Heat vision is against the Girl Fight rules. Round One to Satan Girl.

Actually, I'm pretty impressed with how this scrap was handled. Satan Girl's hair-pull in the above panel was the only "girly" move pulled by either contestant. And frankly, if someone was trying to eye-laser a mask off of my face? I'd be doing some hair-pulling, too.

Since Supergirl figures that Satan Girl must be a rogue Kryptonian of some kind (and surely not a Daxamite or any of  thirty or forty other super-powered races that've shown up by this point) she rounds up some still-incredibly-common-even-in-the-future kryptonite, to... well, when you get right down to it, to give Satan Girl a dose of radiation sickness. That's actually really harsh, Supergirl.

Too bad for Supergirl: Satan Girl is immune to the effects of kryptonite. Which is good, actually, because since that box was full of dust it's probably all through her clothes and in her lungs and everywhere - if she were Kryptonian, she'd totally be dead, I think. 

Also luckily for Supergirl, Satan Girl hides in a cave, instead of coming over for another super-hug. Supergirl cunningly waits out front...

... while Satan Girl blasts out the back! Damn, Supergirl - I think that Satan Girl is winning on points, so far. But can she keep up the pace and unleash enough dastardly maneuvers to win this one? We'll see, in Part 2!

Okay, forks. I'll see you in a day or so for the stirring conclusion - soon you will know the mysterious, unguessable secret of just who Satan Girl is!

Happy Supergirl Week, one and all.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

High-Tech Tomorrow: Review of the Concentrator, Part 3, By Johnathan

Wa-ha-ha! I didn't forget about this, nope nope. Wasn't it cute back when I thought I'd get around to doing it all over the Labour Day weekend? Oh, One-Month-Younger John. Such an innocent. 

Oh! This seems to be the appropriate place to report that I picked up Jimmy Olsen No. 72, "The World of Doomed Olsens" last week. In terms of Legion chronology, this is probably as close to owning Adventure Comics No. 247 as I'm ever going to get, so I'm savouring it for all it's worth.

On to the merriment and interrogation!

We open with Saturn Girl, who as you may recall (strain those memories, folks, it was a while ago) had Superboy pretty worried, due to the fact that she had a whole 'nother way to screw up and give away the Legion's secrets... with her mind!

Okay, okay. I guess that the thought-sensing headband validates some of Superboy's kind-of-chauvinistic-seeming fears (though I don't quite see why the Commish didn't just slap that thing on and question Ultra Boy, say. He'd just have to wait for nature to take its course). 

But, surprisingly, Saturn Girl is ready for this particular tactic, and so starts thinking about the fantastic feats of the Legion to keep the oh-so-tantalizing secret of the Concentrator to herself.

(note: the Commissioner has placed Saturn Girl under a Joan Crawford beam)

Let's watch:

Not a bad trick (and look! My favourite gloves!) but I'm tormented by thoughts of where exactly he got that giant net. If this were a Batman comic of the same era I'd guess that it was from a billboard or something - maybe this particular distant world caters to off-planet fishing enthusiasts?

Also, that looks like a really awkward way to stand, particularly whilst straddling a city.

By Jove, is that G'nort?

So is Invisible Kid juggling too, or is he just moving a couple of extra balls in circles in the air? Either way, I guess that it would be a pretty good show, especially if he was trying to make the leap from 'busker' to 'soothsayer' - it's possible that someone flubbed the briefing on that mission, as far as explaining the fact that there are a few different kinds of magician out there.

Note the brilliant, Batman-esque use of disguise, as Element Lad puts on a suit coat over his uniform.

I would bet a hundred dollars that this "feat" was just a ploy to keep these two lunkheads out of trouble. I dare someone to claim that the Legion doesn't have a closet packed full of Meteor Simulation Guns or cages full of Andorran Fireball Hornets or something like that, for just such an occasion. 

The bit with Matter-Eater Lad and the Giant Mouth Creature happens here too, by the way.

Again: Superboy is proven to be a big tool.

Okay, Mon-El! Step up to the torture-plate!

I like Mon-El, but this sort of thing is why I don't think we could be close friends. 

"Hey Mon-El, could you turn up the heat? It's freezing in here!"
"Whoops, sorry. I'm invulnerable to everything - I didn't notice the cold."

"Mon-El, man, your couch is really uncomfortable. I think that every single spring is poking through."
"Damn, John, I'm sorry. When you're invulnerable to everything, so is your ass."

"Ag! Watch your cigarette, Mon-El! You almost set my shirt on fire!"
"Yeah, that happens a lot when you're invulnerable to everything. Shirt-fires are just another part of your day."

Speaking of friends:

I'm guessing that either Planet Zirr is some sort of haven for particularly dull-witted aliens or that Garl and Englen are super high in this panel, because they are way too happy about the situation that they are in. "Mon-El! Word up, brah! I see you're hangin' out in some poison gas - still enjoying being invulnerable to everything, huh? Man, Garl and me, we were just talking about you yesterday, just before we got kidnapped by this orange guy here, and now here you are, in some orange gas! It's like, kismet or something!"

Actually, maybe only Englen is high. Garl looks more scornful than anything else, like he's been kidnapped and used as a pawn to try to get his invulnerable friends to spill the beans about super-weapons dozens of times and they've all been more impressive than this.

I'm choosing to ignore the fact that the Legion has the technology necessary to take photos of the past and am instead picturing Superboy doing a brief photo-essay on his dying friend before sticking him in the Phantom Zone. 

That's just terrible, Superboy.

Good lord! this picture is worse than that one of Shrinking Violet! Mon-El looks like he just saw his puppy get run over by a clone of his puppy, who then got sent to prison, leaving him puppyless. He looks real upset, man.

The fact that he didn't point out their abnormal happiness is proof of everything I said up there. I feel so validated!

Last one for today. Phantom Girl!:

Given the emotional state of most Legionnaires (about as prone to melodrama as any three Dawson's Creek characters, combined), this is a pretty good tactic. Those kids'll turn on each other more readily than they'll make out at the behest of the big computer. It's worse than turning your back on a rooster, I swear.

Et tu, Saturn Girl? 

On the strange note of Superboy being the level-headed voice of trust and solidarity, I leave you. No promises, but I'll try to wrap this interminable review up soon (projected completion date: June 2012).