Friday, April 08, 2016

Green Arrow; Forgotten Man in an Increasingly Stupid JLA story

Meanwhile, in the shuttered planetarium where they've been sent by a disreputable Liverpudlian goon (Livergoon?), Barry decides the best thing to do is run around in total darkness at 1000 mph.

What could possibly go wrong?

See, this is how you can tell Barry is a superhero and you are not.  Because when you enter a pitch-black unfamiliar environment, your first instinct is not "must...break..sound barrier!"

Naturally, there's an electrified booby-trap that brrzzaps the Flash unconscious.  Batman, fully aware that it's a trap now, rushes right into to save Barry, and is attacked by a squad of Livergoons
complaining about how Batman's NOT making jokes while beating the crap out of them.

Even worse, they make BATMAN start doing it.

If there were a potion to make me forget the English language in front of me while I read this, 
I would have not only drunk it, 
sed etiam magis poti requaererem.

Why is this happening? Remember, how in yesterday's post, the narration box was trying to be 'meta' and 'cool'?  [As if anything could ever been cooler or more meta than the very concept of narration boxes!]  Well, remember, this is 1969  DC (and Denny O'Neil in particular) is trying to drag its characters out of the goofy conventions of the Silver Age and into the Bronze Age, where everyone is 'hip'.  In this story, they are trying to have their cake and eat it, too: they are retaining the goofy conventions of the Silver Age (needlessly expository narration boxes, identically dressed goons, a terrible terrible villain who I won't spoil for you, pun-based battle-chatter, obviously traps, etc.) while being hip by 'lampshading' them to acknowledge they are stupid  And it fails fantastically.

Anyway, the unmentioned villain shows up and shoots Batman with a tranq dart from the shadows and an ominous "SOON MY REVENGE WILL BE COMPLETE!"

Later (earlier? simultaneous? it's completely unclear, actually), Atom and Superman are showing the police why they are wrong about Green Arrow because...the murder arrow is made of wood and not titanium, like GA's actual arrows are.  And then they are interrupted by...

Well, it's too ridiculous to type. I'll just show you:

It's Two-Face, isn't it? I mean, who else would think of that?

I agree completely with Superman and O'Neil: this is truly ridiculous.  Pointing that out, however, does not make is less so.

As Superman leaves the earth (where on earth does he go?  I mean "off ea--" oh, never mind), he uses those super-peepers of his to notice the Tattooed Man's corpse (at just that moment!) arising from the morgue and scaring the beejeezus out of poor Chuck Lumley:

Of course, Superman can't TELL anyone this because he's got to leave Earth and it's 1969 so he has no cellphone. In a real Superman story, he'd just burn a message into a sidewalk somewhere with his telescopic and heat vision.  I remember one time in the Silver Age, Superboy had to get a message to the Legion quickly, but he was stuck in class as Clark Kent, so he used his microscopic and heat vision together to burn a message into a penny and then threw it out the window fast enough to break the time barrier and land in the future.  Killing Rao alone knows how many people in its way.

Though proper use, there is very little heat vision cannot accomplish.

But this is a Justice League story and the only thing that makes JLA stories work is rendering all its god-like members incompetent. If you are a Marvel fan who likes imperfect heroes and hates DC's stupid godlike heroes for being too perfect and powerful...then "Justice League" is the comic book for you.

"Frustrated"? Hm, I think the word you are looking for is "moronic".

Next, the (pathetic) identity of our master villain revealed!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Green Arrow; Wanted, In His Stupid Face, Repeatedly.

So, even Green Arrow is bright enough to realize when you are a wanted man a big yellow jet labelled "ARROWPLANE" is ...non-ideal.  So he stashes it at public airfield, because Ollie's a millionaire of the people.  

But don't worry; he's STILL too good to sign autographs.

He's set upon and captured by a group of identically dressed goons who talk way way way too much, and, who because they don't watch the CW, are surprised that Ollie can fight.

I hate these people.  I hate how they look and how they talk and how much they talk.
I hate every word Denny O'Neil has ever written or even thought and possibly heard.

Truly, goons should be seen and not heard.


Add 'citizens' to the list of 1001 Ways to Defeat Green Arrow.  Oh, speaking of "please shut up", note that the captions boxes from this era -- when writers like O'Neil were trying to be 'cool' and imitating Marvel -- are unbearably stupid (without conveying any necessary information):

Anyway, Bruce and Barry (who are, after all, the smart ones), go to the morgue and identify the corpse of the man who Green Arrow has been framed for killing: The Tattooed Man.  They don't identify him by just looking his face (and that stupid sailing cap that you KNOW they left on his corpse) and saying, "Oh, that's Abel Tarrant, the Tattooed Man, who we see every time the JLA has to briefly take on a battle-line of recognizable but disposable villains!"

Always remember: there's regular logic...and then there's BAT-logic.

No, they DEDUCE it's the Tattooed Man because of the tattoo removal scars on his arms.  Because they DETECTIVES, meng.  They HAVE to be. They're the smart ones, so they have to solve this case through their detectiving.  It's not like someone is just going to walk up to them and...

Jeez, Barry; buy a Crime File, why dontcha? Or just call T.M. Maple.

Oh. Well, then. THERE's a lucky break. A tip.

And from such a clearly honest and reliable source, too.

Well, that's a face only Dr. Mid-Nite could trust. So, instead of, say, calling the cops (because heroes simply don't DO that), Batman and Flash show up at an abandoned planetarium after nightfall based on an anonymous tip given by a self-confessed underworld underling in British biker drag.  What could possibly go wrong...?

Leaguers may be stupid but they are always punctual.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Green Arrow, Wanted Man

While we're waiting for the cinematic dawn of justice to bring some sunlight to the gloomy films of the Snyderverse, let's recall just how stupid the Justice League can be with a look at JLA Vol 1 #69.

"You have failed this city!"

Our story opens...

I was kind of hoping that paper airplane was headed right down his throat, 
choking him to death in broad daylight as the beginning of a grim and gritty comeback for Kite-Man.  Ah, well.

Here, in a Silver Age early example of decompressed storytelling, DC takes an entire silent page to have someone throw a paper airplane out a window.  Stupid? Wasteful? Maybe.  But you will never forget this page now.

Add "paper airplane" to the list of 1000 Ways to Defeat Green Arrow, please.

But DC loved these "Silver Age Set-Ups": odd, unlikely, covers or openings that left you achingly curious and unable not to buy/continue reading.  "Why is Batman holding up a gorilla?"  Well, child, you'll have to buy the comic to find out, or wait until the internet is invented.

"Would"? \Hey, letterer, I think you misspelled "could".

Ah, the subtlety of the Silver Age; Average Schmoes were always given demeaning names like "Charlie Sneed".  I guess in a world where your god-like heroes are named Bruce, Clark, Oliver, and Bartholomew you have to go extra far to designate someone as a regular joe.

Meanwhile, a corpse is found elsewhere in this unnamed city by members of the Dr. Occult Fan Club....

Look, not even Ollie is stupid enough to leave behind his hat like that. And "not even Ollie is stupid enough" is NOT a phrase I use lightly.

When this news goes public, Charlie Sneed, unencumbered by gum, snaps into action!

Flash Fact: 60% of wives on Earth-1 are named "Martha".

Diana Prince, out of costume, reports this turn of events to the JLA, who respond with characteristic serialocution:

Bruce and Barry were always the smart ones.  But Clark is very pretty.

I love the fact that this panel implies that Diana waltzed into JLA HQ and tells some winding tale about the people's case against Green Arrow BEFORE anyone hits her with a batarang/heat vision/ boxing glove arrow/teeny tiny fist or asks how she got in.  By the way, this is the beginning of Wonder Woman's "powerless period"--the mod boutique, the white pantsuit, the hate-hate relationship with I Ching

After delivering her astonishing news ("Green Arrow is wanted!  Whooda thunk it!?"), she takes a sabbatical from the League, to which Barry, a true comic book fanboy, reacts thus:

"As Aquaman has lost his wife Mera, 
and Green Lantern has lost Carol Ferris, 
so are the Days of Our Lives."

At that point, there is ZERO narrative basis for Barry's assumption that Superman might marry Wonder Woman; he's just shipping.  Barry's a longtime fanboy who's concerned about changing continuity and how it means he getting old and will be dead in the not too distant for future.  Well, dead for 23 years, anyway.

This being comics, the cops are slower than even a de-powered Diana, and finally issue an APB on GA after she leaves by means of a staccato rasp:

"Green Arrow? Kill someone?! Nonsense; this is DC, not the CW."

Dark Musings.  Staccato Rasp.  If you need to name your metal band, look no further than Silver Age narration boxes.  The League, who finally have an excuse to get rid of Green Arrow, make him leave quickly before they receive orders to arrest him, because they are loophole-loving vigilantes rather than actual cops.  Except for Barry, who's just lazy.

So, leaving JLA HQ, Ollie goes undercover...Green Arrow-style.

Never change, Ollie; never change.