Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Nü52 Wishes Us All An Icky Valentine's Day!

This book actually came out last week, but I thought I'd save it as a special Valentine's Day treat. For whom, I'm not sure, but whatever. I give you DC's Young Romance #1.

(TW: Violence, lots and lots of violence, a shocking amount of violence really for a book called "Young Romance"?)

#1 One-Shot! Rated "T" for Teen!

The fun starts right on the cover, because ARMORED BUTT. I love that Wonder Woman's metal(?) armor has a built-in wedgie. Also, I love that her nipples are apparently located somewhere on the bottom of her gigantic breasts. And I love that they're straight-up dry-humping over the smoldering corpses of their enemies. And Superman's knee-pads. Oh God, Superman's knee-pads. I know this gripe is like a year-and-a-half old by now but... WHY DOES SUPERMAN NEED ARMOR? HE'S SUPERMAN! WHY, JIM LEE? WHY?!

So once you get past the cover (which, to be real, took me a few minutes), then you're forced to deal with the stories. And... hoo boy. They sure are something. Let's take a look, won't we?


Batman and Catwoman in "Think It Through" by Nocenti, Lupacchino, and Mendoza

Catwoman: Hella Emo
We kick things off with a story about Batman and Catwoman. Which I guess makes sense, as one of the defining early stories of this bold new era featured them fucking the shit out of each other on a rooftop. So there's definitely some romantic tension to be mined here.

Or at least, that's what you'd think. Instead, the story opens on Catwoman, having failed a robbery(?!?!), sitting on a rooftop being reflective and mopey. Because that's what I think of when I think of Catwoman, and also when I think of romance.

Catwoman starts to reminisce about the first time she met Batman. And I know it's common practice for me to say that The Nü52 gets everything wrong, but MAN, The Nü52 gets EVERYTHING wrong. Batman: Year One is basically the perfect Batman comic. Y'all just released it as an animated feature last year! Why you gotta' fuck with it?!

Turns out that Catwoman first met Batman when she and her teenage boyfriend attempted to steal some shit from some poor people. Batman showed up, knocked them around, and scolded them like they were small children.

Please don't say "huge spunk" again, Batman.
A few things came to mind with this particular panel. Firstly, all the little armor lines on Batman. Again, I know this is old news, but it's just so unnecessary and fiddly. Secondly, the fact that Batman addresses everything to the male character; He doesn't speak one word to Young Catwoman in this scene, as clearly she just got herself wrapped up in this mess because women can't make decisions for themselves. Thirdly, and this is the thing that stuck out the most to me: Batman is at least twice the size of the other two characters. This was a narrative device used by George Lucas in the Star Wars movies to foreshadow that Darth Vader was Luke's father (SPOILERZ!), and here it comes across like the kiddos just ticked off Big Daddy Batman.

Though, to be totally fair, in their actual first encounter, Batman uttered the immortal line "QUIET OR PAPA SPANK!" Batman and Catwoman have a complicated relationship, y'all.

So Catwoman karate-kicks Batman once or twice, he chases after her, and then they smash through a window. That's it. That's the whole story. Young... Romance?


Aquaman and Mera in "The Lighthouse" by Castellucci and Miranda

This is the least objectionable story in this book, but that's only because nothing happens. Mera finds a stack of old love letters hidden away in their lighthouse, and she and Aquaman sit on the couch and read them. The letters tell a tragic story of love lost at sea, and it makes them both reflect on how lucky they are to have each other. It was nice, I guess. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't skim it.


Batgirl in "Dreamer" by Fawkes and Gopez

Wait, who is this guy again?

This was an odd one. I'm guessing it ties into the narrative of Gail Simone's ongoing Batgirl series or something. Apparently at some point in the past, Batgirl kissed this random thug, Ricky (who has a single crutch like Tiny Tim), for some reason that was not related to romance. Maybe a distraction or something? They don't explain it at all.

The story opens with Ricky committing petty burglaries to get Batgirl's attention so that maybe they can kiss again. She shows up, and then some other thugs show up and threaten her and Ricky, so she annihilates them. Then he badgers her into a pity kiss, and she gets totes turned on by it, much to her surprise. Is this a fanfic or something? Who is Ricky?

Now, I'm just gonna' skip the stalking and the sexual harassment. They are what they are, and clearly she enjoys the attention (Oh my God that actually hurt to type!). What I really want to explore is the extreme risk that this Ricky guy was taking here. How did he know that breaking into cars would summon Batgirl? What if he got Batman instead, or Robin, or the Red Hood, or Nightwing? He'd have ended up in the hospital, all because he was trolling for hot makeouts with a superhero.

Lastly, I took great delight in the fact that Batgirl's hair kept disappearing and reappearing from panel to panel. It's that sort of quality artwork that makes folks like me have such respect for DC Comics and the Nü52.

Kissing criminals makes her hair get sucked inside her cowl for 30 seconds.

Apollo and Midnighter in "Seoul Brothers" by Milligan and Bisley

I actually had high hopes for this story. While I haven't read the Nü52 Stormwatch series, Apollo and Midnighter are fun characters, and I quite like Peter Milligan as a writer. I've loved the bits and pieces of The Authority that I've read over the years... except for all the rapey garbage that Mark Millar wrote, or course.

I haven't actually gotten any chances to say it on this blog yet - so forgive me this brief tangent - but seriously, FUCK Mark Millar and his stupid bullshit rape fantasies. If you actually enjoy that piece of shit's comics, you and I need to sit down for a talk.

ANYWAY. I was a little dismayed to find in this story that they retconned away Apollo and Midnighter's marriage. In a lot of ways, I actually find that more upsetting then the undoing of the Superman/Lois Lane wedding. And judging by this (albeit short) story, they aren't even a couple anymore!

This story follows Apollo as he searches around Seoul for Midnighter to confess his feelings for him, but Midnighter is too busy kicking the holy hell out of a bunch of dudes with guns to really pay attention. When they finally get a moment alone together, Midnighter completely blows off Apollo's feelings.

Apollo then leaves, and the story ends with him hooking up with some Korean dude he met in a bar for some drinks and meaningless sex, while Midnighter presumably goes off to cave in some more heads. Young Romance is the title of this book, BTW. Just thought I'd remind y'all.

Unlike the others in this collection, this story actually was well-written and well-drawn, but... I still can't shake that Nü52 feeling. This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. Well? How did I get here?


Nightwing and Ursa Minor in "Another Saturday Night" by Higgins and Greene

I seriously have no idea who Ursa Major is.
Nightwing's story opens with him being dumped by his girlfriend over an invisible telephone while he kicks a bunch of Asian-looking badguys in the face. I guess the Asian-looking badguys are attacking some white dude in a suit, whose bodyguard, a young lady in a ridiculous outfit apparently named Ursa Major, leaps into action. I have no idea if Ursa Major has ever appeared in another comicbook, for the record. She has no entry on Wikipedia, that's all I know.

I DO know that Ursa Major is a fucking AWESOME character over in the Marvel Universe. Also, my title isn't a typo: The title of this story refers to her as "Ursa Minor" but she is referred to as "Ursa Major" during the actual story.

At any rate, Ursa Major somehow overhears Dick's side of the conversation over all the screaming and kicking, takes pity on the poor dope, and decides to spend an evening leaping around on rooftops and eating takeout with him to cheer him up. It's actually a sweet little story. At the end of their super-date, Ursa Major says "Maybe we should do it again sometime." Nightwing suggests the next night, and she agrees.

He shows up the next night with a box of pizza in his hands and a smile on his face. AND SHE TOTALLY STANDS HIM UP.

That's fucking COLD, Ursa Major. You're demoted back to Ursa Minor.
I love the "END." It just drives home the emotional brutality of the whole thing. Romance!!!


Superman and Wonder Woman in "Truth Or Dare" by Diggle, Rocha, and Ferreire

Quit name-dropping, Hipster Wonder Woman.
Here we are at the meat and potatoes of this whole thing. Superman and Wonder Woman. The greatest romance of The Nü52 DC Universe. As might be expected, this is absolutely the most fucked-up story in the whole damned book.

Clark Kent and Diana are out on a date, at a romantic outdoor restaurant in Tuscany. They're having some light conversation about Diana's family, and OH MY GOD CLARK KENT JUST TOOK OFF HIS GLASSES IN PUBLIC.

He's clearly trying to make some sort of romantic gesture, with the whole "I can just be... ME," thing, but for serious: Clark Kent just can't take off his fucking glasses in the middle of a restaurant, no matter how comfortable he's feeling. That bald waiter? PROBABLY LEX LUTHOR IN A FAKE BEARD, ASSHOLE!

I suspect Clark was just too distracted by Wonder Woman's enormous breasts to realize his error in judgement.

So as they're sitting in a romantic outdoor Tuscan restaurant, they are listening to exactly the type of band you'd expect to see performing at a romantic outdoor Tuscan restaurant: Two punk-rock chicks with extremely erect nipples called "The Mantic Sisters".

Pony-Mohawk FTW!
To be fair, I've never been to Tuscany. Maybe this is totally normal. However, like most leather-clad Italian women, they turn out to be Sirens who are trying to enslave Superman and destroy Wonder Woman (again, I've never been to Tuscany, so I'm assuming this is what happens there). While their song takes its mental hold on Superman, one of their mentally enslaved minions attacks Wonder Woman with guns. Which... isn't that great of a strategy?

"Dammit! I totally didn't expect her to deflect the bullets with her magic bracelets!"
Wonder Woman nabs the dude in her Lasso of Truth, setting his mind free from the Sireens that loved him up and turned him into a horny-toad. Alas, they've already sunk the daggers of their evil feminine wiles into Superman, and he attacks Wonder Woman. Even the Lasso of Truth isn't enough to snap him out of it for... some... reason?

Thankfully, the nameless dude with the guns has awoken from his brainwashed stupor, with a truly hilarious "THE TRUTH... HURTS!" and he puts those uppity, dizzy dames in their place tout de suite, because god dammit he's a MAN! A man with GUNS!!!

How short are this guy's legs, anyway? Does he have no thighs?!
Then for some reason he takes a shot at Superman anyway? And Wonder Woman gets really worried? About Superman getting shot? With a bullet? But it's okay, he caught the bullet. Because apparently, and this is pretty wild you guys, but apparently... Superman is faster than a speeding bullet. I know, right? It blew my motherfucking MIND.

And then Wonder Woman and Superman say some sappy romantic things to eachother, which is really sort of the only romance in this entire comic.


Bonus: Perforated Tear-Out Valentines! For the Kids!

(click to embiggen)
This is where I couldn't really tell if it was satire or not. I mean, this is a T-for-Teen-rated comic full of blood, violence, betrayal, heartache, and some ginormous Wonder-breasts... and then it ends with this. I'm willing to believe it's a joke, but... It's awfully hard to tell. The Swamp Thing one is pretty excellent, and I'll admit I nerd-chuckled at "You've got Grayson beauty," because it was just so goofy. The self-referential reboot joke made me a little grumpface though, and I thought it was an... interesting... choice to use a slightly toned-down version the infamous butt-picture from Catwoman #0.


So there you have it. The Nü52's Young Romance #1. If you enjoy bad comics (and I most assuredly do), you should definitely pick this up. It came out last week for some reason, but I can't imagine that too many people bought it.

Happy Valentine's Day from OpinionsAboutThings Dot Com!

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