Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Gibberish!


You and me both, Arthur! The "marvelous Absorbascon apparatus" is utterly confused by this week's issue of Aquaman. Superfriends, put this in your supercomputers and see if can explain it all to me...

On the cover, whose hand is whose? Ordinarily, I wouldn't put up too much of a fuss about a cover where a man is forcing open Aquaman's mouth in preparation for kissing him (in fact, I once tried to commission a similar drawing from Ramona Fradon, but she declined). But the man seems to have Aquaman's hand?!?!?

Why do people in Sub Diego wear ties and skirts? Are they all insane? Do men get up in the morning from their kelp bed and think, "Mustn't be seen without a tie at my lack-of-a-job today! I might get excluded from a high-class sushi restaurant!" And skirt-wearing Amy Kingston? Her apartment has... a vase of roses? A drinking glass? An electric floorlamp? UNDERWATER!?!?!?

Does Aquaman have a labcoat fetish? He's wearing a labcoat over his regular outfit when he visits the coroner. Um, is that some kind of rule? It certainly looks silly and serves no purpose. Any way, still getting off on playing doctor, Arthur hightails it to Arkham to consult with the Scarecrow, just as an excuse to wear a labcoat again. Yes, if I were he, that would be my only condition: "Look, Dr. Niles, I am not going in there without a labcoat! Are you mad? I mean, yes, I'm Aquaman, but a man's got to be careful, for Neptune's sake!" I'm going to start wearing a labcoat as I wander the streets, because apparently it's very empowering.

People in Sub Diego breathe water but exhale oxygen? Uh..... Then what exactly are their bodies extracting from the water; hydrogen? I can come to no other conclusion. As Aquaman himself says in this issue, "Gibberish!" I call upon the good doctor at Polite Dissent to solve this biomarine mystery!

Does language in the DCU differ so dramatically from ours that the letter-tiles in Scrabble have different values? Y=10? K=3? O=2? C=2? Has anyone on the Aquaeditorial team ever played Scrabble? It's maddening. Then again, some how they managed to spell "DRFITED" in one of Aquaman's word balloons. Is this insidious subconscious metathesis, combined with the Aquahand clue on the cover, a secret message that Arthur himself is The Underwater Anagrammatical MouthBreathing Murderer?

"You smell like purple! Traffic light!" was just about the most comprehensible thing in the issue. What happened to Lorena going to Atlantis? Is Malrey not on the murder case at all? Has Aquaman finally started to get all wrinkly from being underwater so long?

Does Prof. Crane not know the meaning of the word "edify" or is it some arcane Lecter-like clue to Aquaman as the killer's identity? The only other explanation I can imagine is "Thesauritis" (an unhealthy expansion of vocabulary beyond a writer's actual understanding, a disease that sometimes affect authors writing about characters who are smarter than they are).

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF SCROD, if you have any theories to explain any of this, tell me immediately. Meanwhile, I'll just be laying here in a skirt and tie, wrapped up in a comforting labcoat, playing with Scrabble tiles, muttering, "You smell like purple! Traffic light!"

7 comments:

Shane Bailey said...

I voted for Thanagar twice, once on Thanagar and once on Rann so my vote counted on both worlds.

Shane Bailey said...

..and i posted in the wrong comment box! My bad.

I enjoyed the issue, but now that you point these things out...

Scipio said...

Yeah, I can laugh off everything but the "oxygen" thing, since that has long-term ramifications for the series...

Anonymous said...

"People in Sub Diego breathe water but exhale oxygen? Uh..... Then what exactly are their bodies extracting from the water; hydrogen?"

Actually they are extracting the minute amounts of gold dissolved in seawater, and then using it in nuclear reactions. Apparently Arthur's DNA was mixed with Damage's at some point. (Exactly how is explained in one of those mini-series that DC will never, *ever* print.)

Not that I wasn't thrown so totally out of the book by the "exhale oxygen" line that I didn't even care about the lab coat (but when you go to Gotham to have The Scarecrow [!!!] answer a riddle, how dumb are you?), but with a few hours of tortuous mental gymnastics, I could make it work. Sorta.

1) Sub Diegoans are still basically human in physiology, absorbing oxygen through their lungs. (Based on the limited physical changes they exhibit and the fact Aquaman can breathe air.)

2) Therefore their gills are not absorbing oxygen directly into their bloodstream as with fish (Oxygen dissolved in the water, not bound in the H2O molecule), but converting it into a gaseous form usable by the lungs. (This is where we wave our hands very fast, because if the lungs can absorb gaseous oxygen, why can't they breathe on land? Maybe they lack Aquaman's complete cotrol over his epiglotis.)

3) Sub Diegoans exhale, explaining all those bubbles, speech, and probably the need for neckties. Since our lungs don't use all the oxygen in a given breath, some of what they exhale is "pure oxygen".

4) Sub Diegoan metabolism has adapted to living entirely off of oxygen extracted through thieir gills. By adding oxygen directly into their lungs on top of that, their already compromised physiology shortcircuts completely, and we get hypoxia. (Or the pseudo-mutant equivalent thereof.)

5) The mad scientist is a jerk who doesn't care that you are stupid, so he just said "pure oxygen", when he really meant to launch into three pages of scientific exposition to rationally explain such a patently absurd mechanism.

Well, at least it sounds better than "The writer failed high school biology because he was too busy making up alternate scoring methods for Scrabble".

David Oakes

Scipio said...

Ladies and Gentleman, our new Honorary Mad Scientist, David Oakes!

It's going to take me a while to ponder your yeoman's attempt at rationalizing the story...

I'm still stuck on the imagery arising from "Arthur's DNA mixed with Damage's" added to "Arthur's complete control over his epiglottis"...!

Clinton said...

So, I do not really believe it will have effect.
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