Monday, June 2, 2008

Science and Nerdery, Part the Second

Much like a late-eighties, strictly kayfabe'd WWF talent, I am a man thoroughly attached to my gimmick, and my gimmick, of late, is thusly: I am going to make my girlfriend read event comics and then tell you how insane these things are to people who don't have years of experience.

She did alright with Secret Invasion a couple weeks back, but Final Crisis? My God, that's a different story.

Page One:

Actual quote (I took notes): "...the fuck?" I guess she was not expecting cavemen.

Page Two:

"I am Meat-ron, and I look like the Silver Surfer in an egg chair." Unassailable point, there, really.

Pages Four through Seven:

She wanted to know why the cavemen were saying "exclamation point." Which is, actually, sort of a fair point given the great pains Morrison later goes to in order to make Mirror Master read as Scottish. I'd buy panels of cavemen saying "ut!" and "ag!" just as easily as one of, oh, I don't know, Dan Turpin saying "tzzaow!"

Page Nine:

Not a clue who Orion is/was. This isn't surprising, really - the New Gods have an amazingly low profile with non-readers, considering how important they're always supposed to be. She had absolutely no clue about any of them save Mister Miracle, and that's only because I love Mister Miracle to bits.

Page Nine, Panel Four:

I made the mistake of pointing out the Black Racer.

Her: So, he's just a guy on air-skis?
Me: Yeah. Death on air-skis.
Her: He's all 'fuck snow, you guys should get air-skis.'
Me: Yes. He is not a ridiculous idea in the least.

Page Ten, Panel Four:

Her: What's a 1011?
Me: the very next panel.

Page Ten, Panel Five:

Her: Oh, hah hah.
Me: Way to be impatient.

Page Twelve:

She didn't know who the Question was in the first place, much less that the current Question wasn't the original Question, much much less that the new Question was a girl and the old Question was a boy. In fact, when the Question was brought up at all, she thought they were referring to, you know, an actual question. I asked why they'd mention the gender of an interrogative at all and she got very confused indeed. I guess she thought they were being deeply philosophical.

Page Fifteen:

Her: Why are there midgets in space? Do they have feet? What's a LaGrange Point?
Me: They're the Guardians of the Universe. They have feet, they're just wearing space-robes, or something. A LaGrange Point is crazy science that really has no bearing here.

I had to explain what the Guardians of the Universe did, what the Green Lantern Corps is, and why Grant Morrison was shoehorning science-y words into police procedure. I don't even know what the Hell the Guardians meant with that LaGrange Point thing; there're, like, five of them for any given planet, right?

Page Eighteen:

Not a clue who Sparx, Empress or Mas y Menos were, which is entirely to be expected, because one of them is such a d-lister she had the wrong skin color the last time she made an appearance in a big event book.

Page Nineteen:

Had a little trouble with the massively abrupt jump cut from Light to the Justice League - there wasn't even a narration box to tell you where the scene was. In fact, there's no narration boxes anywhere at all, and like four establishing shots the entire book.

Page Twenty:

I swear to God, she didn't recognize Lex Luthor. I was like "bald guy, evil, wearing a suit with a giant 'L' on the chest?" She knows cartoon Luthor, with the business suit and the Shawshank Redemption voice.

Page Twenty-One:

"Who's the little douche in the ski mask?" Oh, the perils of hanging anything on characters that haven't appeared in my lifetime, I swear. Though I think Human Flame's Who's Who should just say "little douche in a ski mask."

Page Twenty-Two:

Now, remember last time, when the girlfriend was actually shocked and surprised by Iron Man's butler being a space alien, even though all she knew about Iron Man's butler was that he was, I don't know, Iron Man's butler? I don't think I've seen her care about anything less than Martian Manhunter getting kabob'd. I think it might be because it gets absolutely no set up, but I'm also under the impression that there's no Goddamn way Manhunter's actually dead and it's just so obvious from the writing that we're not supposed to think he is. Or this scene just sucked. I don't know.

Personally, I think Human Flame is J'onn and he's either using a psychic whammy or a mindwiped White Martian as a patsy, here. Or J'onn's Libra. Something's screwy, either way, and it's a Law of Crises that J'onn gets written out in a really inane way really early.

(The second Law of Crises is that Barry Allen shows up so people can weep into their beards a little.)

Pages Twenty-Four and Five:

So, yeah, wasn't really expecting to have to explain Darkseid by way of Seven Soldiers.

Page Twenty-Six:

Welcome to the First Page Wherein I Didn't Have to Tell My Girlfriend Who Anybody Was.

Page Twenty-Eight:

Her: What's a Multiversal Orrery?
Me: Oh, you got me, there.

I mean, I know what an orrery is, but you throw "multiversal" ahead of anything and I just clam up.

Page Thirty-Two and Three:

I don't even know. Seriously, could DC do a story that doesn't involve All Of Time? I don't care if Anthro and Kamandi are in continuity, I really really don't. And neither did the girlfriend. All she saw were two cavemen at some indeterminate point in time and space yelling at each other in a story that didn't seem to set anything up, and then a guy who was sort-of kind-of recognizable as the Monitor that got exiled four pages back woke up.

The girlfriend, she had no idea what was going on. Hell, I'm not even a hundred percent, myself. She much preferred Secret Invasion - characters she didn't recognize there weren't huge players and were always identified with little floating bubbles telling the reader at least what their names were. There's no such helpful narration, here, just the old trick of making characters occasionally identify each other by name out loud every once and again.

This is, very probably, a completely moot point, discussed to death and then resurrected each time DC trots out a new Crisis showpony, but DC crossovers are crazily impenetrable without an absolute ton of foreknowledge - they're counting on you to know the New Gods, the version of the New Gods from Mister Miracle from three years ago, and at least a vague idea of what's happened in two different fifty-two part miniseries. I can't even tell if the story's good, yet.


RadioSilence said...

I kind of feel that Final Crisis, or pretty much anything that Morrison writes these days should come with some kind of hallucinogen. At least the peyote would make for a more comprehensible storyline.

I would hate to be the be the poor bastard entering the wikipedia explanation for that issue.

Gyuss Baaltar said...

When I read this book I could only thank my lucky stars I'd spent the last year getting brought up to speed by the boys from the Podcast

Rob S. said...

"Fuck snow, you guys should get air skis."

Amen to that!

(Great series of posts, btw... can't wait for more!)

SallyP said...

Ok, so she didn't know who anybody was. On the PLUS side, she got to ogle Green Lantern behinds. There were some lovely ones.

Patrick C said...

I think most of Morrison's work doesn't make sense until you get to read the whole story. The first issue of anything he did, with the exception of JLA I guess, was somewhat impenetrable. His work is always the most rewarding on a reread though.