Thursday, 23 September 2010

My house is gonna be like a motherfucking werewolf

Watching: Sons of Anarchy - terribly disappointed by the first few episodes of this third series, as no-one has yet uttered "You know how that goes" which is just my favorite macho line at the minute. Some guy asks about your dead wife or blind kid and you come back with "You know how that goes" - it's a man-ism for all occasions and never fails to make me laugh until my balls hurt. As ever, the manly men of the Charming chapter of the Sons Of Anarchy Motorcycle Club for Legitimate Businessmen man about in manly fashion with their tight leather and long hair and sweaty, tattooed bodies glistening under lens flares as they enjoy the company of other manly men as they go about man business like bikes, gunrunning and murder, but only so long as they can keep their bitches away long enough to get it done - you know how that goes. I did find it amusing that they made one character's death so gruesome that there's neither room for "is he dead?" ambiguity nor a pause for thought to consider why coppers would let a guy curb-stomp a man in their custody scant seconds later - the guy's brains are literally hanging out of his skull in close-up after he falls under the wheels of a speeding van with all the attendant crunches and snaps and like most of Sons of Anarchy it goes to too great a length to be gritty and instead ventures into parody territory.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
This movie's problem isn't that it sucks - well, not entirely - but that it's redundant. You see, the four colour version of Supergirl at the time of the current Supergirl's introduction in the comic books this movie is based upon was the product of many a year of construction, deconstruction, retconning, and all-round continuity cluster-fuckery to the point that trying to explain the character to any normal person was a lost cause and even the eminently capable Peter David couldn't make the character sell a book hinging his run on the idea that she needed a personality, an identity, and a palpable adult's view of the world and not just a short skirt that blows in the wind to show her knickers when she flies in the air. Peter David was wrong about that last bit, apparantly, though in fairness towards the end of his run on the title he realised as much and gave the readers what they wanted by returning the Silver Age version of Supergirl to the book and sales went through the roof. The sensible thing would, of course, be to continue to print this version of the book, but instead, much as he 'appropriated' Alan Grant's "Jason Todd is still alive and coming for Batman - oh no, wait, it's a Clayface fake-out!" cliffhanger in an either laudable or laughably blunt manner for the bloated and nonsensical Hush, Jeph Loeb appropriated Peter David's idea in an either laudable or lamentably blunt manner for the bloated and nonsensical Superman/Batman ongoing comic series and introduced a streamlined and much simpler version of Supergirl for DCs increasingly convoluted shared universe. And when I say 'simple', I of course mean as lowest common denominator a character as you could possibly get without having her splay her legs on a cover under the words "buy Supergirl". As trite, needlessly sexualised, misogynistic and aimless a character as the new Supergirl was, she was, with her lack of worldly experience and immodest clothing (disturbingly made for her by her male thirtysomething cousin) nonthreatening in a way that the previous version and attendant complicated backstory and literate twentysomething ennui was not. This teenaged, pederast-friendly version of Supergirl who often lost her clothes or took showers or was spied on while naked for some plot-related reason was a version of the character whose origins needed little or no explanation because she basically had Superman's origin, and as Grant Morrison's All Star Superman proved, you don't even need to tell people that origin it's become such an iconic pop cultural idiom.
Essentially making money for DC by becoming the comic book equivalent of sticking a hidden camera in the girl's changing room of a high school, the simpler character was necessary because there was an existing version that needed simplifying to become fit for purpose, but that necessity doesn't exist in the various animated canon since those versions of Supergirl have been laughably straightforward affairs since forever, with the Bruce Timm version of the character a cosplay convention staple for years. In short, nobody who watches the cartoons actually needed a reintroduction to the character, which was the only thing the story this movie is based on had going for it in the first place.

Despite being based on a comic book whose purpose was to clear up messy continuity, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse actually complicates the perfectly straightforward story of "girl in rocket lands on Earth and becomes superhero" with some appallingly basic takes on angst pushing a plot that flips between multiple worlds in a largely unnecessary effort to justify demigods jumping about while punching explosions in the face, and I mean that literally - there's a bit where Superman is attacked with a flamethrower and he punches the flames away with loud whacking noises. Supergirl retains her tendency for skanky outfits from the comics, too, and for losing her clothes for no reason at all to the point that you could be forgiven for thinking she's a character played by Summer Glau except Summer Glau in a metatextual nod to be proud of actually voices the character. There is some horrendous dialogue like "I thought I could hear your heartbeat - but you have no heart!" alongside some really inconsistent production design, such as when Supergirl makes friends with another blonde character and they're totally indistinguishable from one another to the point that it looks like Supergirl is inexplicably having visions of her own death, although this is actually another character called Harbinger having the vision, and instead of Supergirl's death it's Harbinger's death she's seeing - something harbinger makes a point of stating as being something she can't do. Is it explained? Is it heck. The whole thing jumps illogically from one big fight to another before just sort of ending with Supergirl putting on a cheerleader's outfit and being cheered for doing so by an island of radical feminists.
It's not that it's dumb, it's that it's moronic that makes this movie suck. It's redundant, moronic, I hate it, and I wished I'd watched something better.


  1. That's brilliant, Prof! The reflection of the city in the water is breathtaking. This is the most I've been excited about seeing a strip finished in a long time!

  2. Cheers, Matt!

    But if I don't break the one panel a day duck, it'll BE a long time before you see it finished!