Magnus, Robot Fighter #2

Featuring more murder, more heels, and a fresh helping of racism. Objecting to any of this means you are literally Hitler.

We open this issue with our wonderful hero in the freaky white void that is future prison, because neither the writer nor the artist understood that this effect is only impressive when it’s a movie with real people standing in the void and not when it’s a comic book and accomplished by just failing to draw a background.

We learn that the future has reverse three laws of robotics that are all about how humans must not harm and must obey robots, and must prioritize both over their own safety. Considering we’re seen no sign robots want to hurt humans and at least one human who wants to hurt robots, having “protect yourself” as third priority doesn’t really come off as big a deal as it should. If anything it just reminds me of how much the traditional rules hurt robots.

See, like most comics, this is not a progressive book. Humans > robots. We’re told the main character lived in a wonderful community of equality, but we’re also told the humans owned the robots and we only see robots serving humans. When he came out of the fantasy and ran into the street to see robots rather than people, he freaked out. When the lesser robotic race dared lay hands upon him, he tore them to bits.

So this is not a clever way of pointing out that the three laws are a horrible thing for any creature to be forced, requiring not only that you sacrifice your life to protect another species from injury but that you kill yourself at their order. It’s simply saying how horrible it is that humans are the underclass now. (And unlike robots, the laws are just laws, with the option of disobeying and appealing them later, while an Asmov robot was forced to obey them. The one time a robot found itself in a position where it had no action that wouldn’t cause some form of minor harm to a human, its mind broke, effectively killing it – and this was done to it deliberately by a human because she was angry it had lied to her, when it had no choice in the matter due to those same laws.)

Perhaps realizing this is a weak argument against the current system, the next page shows another robot being accused of possessing “hereti-code”, get it get it do you get it it’s heretic code because the robots have religion but it’s robot religion. It’s then torn apart, because the government is evil. For some reason this offends the guy who spent last issue tearing robots apart, probably because the writer feels mass murder is acceptable only when mildly provoked first.

The very violence we see happening to the innocent robot serves only to hammer in that they’re lesser, because a comic would not casually rip random prisoners limb from limb to prove that this is mildly evil.

(Which is not to say comics wouldn’t have this happen to humans at all. Just that they’d linger on how incredibly horrible it is and maybe throw up two or three splash pages worth of gore, rather than it just happening.)

Then Magnus is hauled off for an interrogation headed by that terrible ice queen bitch who unreasonably shot him over all that murder.

She’s a strong female character! Look at how strong those pointy breasts are.

And the author may well honestly think that because by comic standards, she dresses like a frumpy grandma. Look at that pose! it’s probably humanly possible to bend your spine like that, especially if you keep a grip on something to avoid falling over, as she has. She definitely possesses vertebra and most of them aren’t even dislocated!

I’m not sure what to make of this bit. My best guess is it’s sincere and a matter of him feeling a personal connection to this particular issue that makes him think it’s a valid complaint, while every complaint other people have is PC police bullshit because it doesn’t offend him personally. Another possibility is he just doesn’t have much attachment to using “retard” so it’s no loss, and is throwing this in to have something to point to later for how much he does for you people and how dare you criticize him as being insensitive to the blacks and the females.

And this would be so much better in the non-Comics comic of this, which ends several pages earlier with him being arrested by the first robots.

We learn that friendly robot overmind watching you have sex is considered a bad guy by Strong Female Character, who shows us pictures of previous robot fighters murdering presumably innocent robots while screaming they want their life back. This time it’s a black teenage girl, so it’s less obnoxious than when he did it. Interestingly, he recognizes her as an older version of one of the students he was teaching, Sarah, despite the fact she was running around this city before he even woke up. While it was obvious he was in a simulation, this confirms that it wasn’t a shared simulation. Instead, it seems like the overmind uses the appearance of people it raised to populate the town for the next person.

But there’s something even more interesting here – Sarah is apparently reacting just like he did, so while what we saw of his waking up suggested he was sent out early and without the full explanation, apparently that’s how they all get sent out. My guess is it simply keeps them in the happy simulation until it’s found, then dumps them with its standard “I’m so sorry I meant to explain but there’s no time now so all I can say is if you fight you can get it back.”

So I’m going to have to go with the terrible unfair ice queen bitch yet again on this. Regardless of what he says, the fact his chosen method is to release confused killers who tear apart dozens of whoever happens to be nearby suggests he’s just in it for the terrorism.

And here we see why it’s so especially disgusting this is getting tied to Frederick Douglass. The man is a racist. Upon seeing that people like him are regularly sent out to tear other people limb from screaming limb, his response is how dare she side with the robots – and her response is not “wtf you murdered two dozen people in a fucking temper tantrum, are you saying only human life has any value to you you bigoted monster?” it’s “but robots make better decisions than humans i love being a slave that is my only objection to murder!” because that is this comic.

Gee, Farla, you might be saying. Maybe that’s slightly excessive. The writer can’t possibly mean this. I mean it’s not like he’s actually

So yes. Failing to support a white man being allowed to do whatever he wanted down to killing lots of people with no consequence by virtue of who he is is exactly like a black slave supporting his white masters being allowed to do whatever they wanted down to killing lots of people with no consequence.

Can it get better from here? In terms of a more racist way to appropriate anti-racism thought, no, what’s coming is your more standard racist stuff. But in terms of much of a monster our main character can be?

In that, we have not even begun to plumb the depths.

As he’s brought back to his cell, he realizes that what he thought was the machines telling him everything they were doing is actually him somehow having a superpower to hear internal transmissions. And he also has the power to edit those. He immediately tries telling them that he’s an exception to the cameras and turns invisible. Now he can escape!

Or he could not escape and terrorize them instead.

It’s not just that he’s chosen to kill them for no reason here. That’s just your standard comics awfulness. No, Magnus works hard at this, making sure to turn off his own invisibility so they can spent that last instant knowing the blow was coming. To make sure they suffer.

But back to the non-fantastic racism. A robot labeled H8 then calls out for help, as it’s about to be dismantled, because for some reason the dismantling arms are still focused on imprisoned robots and not the guy smashing robots’ heads in.

I was not kidding about this.

What’s possibly the best thing about this scene is the robot being surprised a human would bother saving it. All “good” robots in this know their place as inferiors to man.

This is a supposedly integrated society that happens to have robots on top. Our main character has not said anything about thinking humans are better than robots in this robot’s hearing, he’s just attacked the guards imprisoning them both. Under those circumstances, this robot thinks it’s unlikely a human would help it.

And here’s the bit about how if you have a problem with the author writing a jive-talking robot sidekick for Mr. Aryan here, you’re part of the PC-police who hate black people and want to murder them for not conforming to how you want them to speak!

Believe it or not, this comes up all the time in comics. It’s more commonly used as a defense for the women’s outfits, where they ask how dare we object to how a woman chooses to dress! If she feels this is empowering, who are you to argue? YOU’RE THE REAL SEXIST FOR SAYING WOMEN SHOULDN’T DRESS HOW THEY WANT! And that’s why Powergirl is a) called a girl despite clearly being an adult woman and b) wears a spandex outfit missing most of its front.

And while I know it’s hard to get around the boobs that are clearly the point of that image, you’ll also see Powergirl here, like so many women in comics, has also decided the standard bathing suit was far too modest and went with the crotch strap that makes it clear that yes, she waxed today, just for you! Because that is what strong women choose to do.

(Incidentally, notice how very blonde she is? We will shortly see how race determines which woman is best and therefore should be given to the hero.)

We’re not done with today’s appropriation, through. Yes, Mr. Aryan keeps saying his life is exactly like a black slave’s, but he can do more.

This isn’t even particularly accurate – I think the author’s getting a bit mixed in with Japan, which just flat-out banned people from having weapons. Chinese martial arts were practised by people across society and generally were integrated with weapons. Also, Chinese peasants used swords all over the place and it’s generally impossible to keep your peasantry from having anything at all they can kill people with because of the overlap with farm tools.

Now, cultural appropriation is a tricky subject. Luckily, we don’t need to debate if it’s really wrong to have a white guy using Chinese martial arts, because the comic thoughtfully went on to appropriate the context and struggle too.

(But for the record, if comics, then yes. While all Asians in comics know martial arts, because racism, the superheroes best at martial arts are white guys, because racism.)

I sincerely hope he means day one of martial arts rather than human struggles in general, because that’s only wrong as opposed to creationist-level insane.

Robot overmind goes on to conclude that flesh always beats steel, as shown precisely never in all human history.

Anyway after this inspiring flashback explaining that somehow martial arts beat robots, he murders the dozen robots standing between him and the book he found upon waking up that he thinks proves he’s not crazy, despite no one so far suggesting there’s been any revising of history. Anyway, that’s worth murdering people for. Also, he could’ve just gone invisible and gotten it without killing anyone.

Hey look, I was wrong, I’ve managed to find another panel with more than one woman in it! I think. I’m not being sarcastic when I say I’m actually pleased to find this. They don’t speak or anything, but for comics, women as background ominous evil darkness council people is actually very progressive. I think there’s also an actual black guy there, who, since he doesn’t get to speak, isn’t saying anything offensive, and everyone’s wearing the same outfit, so this is possibly the best panel in the series.

Oh no, now they’ll…do what he’s been doing to them for two issues straight as opposed to trying to humanely capture him.

Also, it’s really important you see her legs here. And also how the artist has totally taken into consideration complaints about the high heels. Now she’s wearing high heel platform shoes instead, because she is a Strong Female Character who wears what SHE wants to wear.

You can tell she’s a strong female character by the fact she’s able to balance on those shoes while walking with her legs demurely together. That part’s extremely important – it conveys the vital information that although she’s assertive, she’s also a pure untouched flower worthy of being your girlfriend. And that, I think we can agree, is absolutely vital information to develop her character.

46 Comments

  1. Roarke says:
    H-8-Rs gonna hate!
    … I am so sorry (but seriously, if they named him that on purpose then I don’t even know what to say).

    The cultural misappropriation of stuff is really creepy. Like people used to think (or still think?) of America as this big cultural melting pot, but having white ‘Muricans be greater than the sum of their ethnic parts is just so Nazi. It’s kind of ironic that they approach White Power, the same destination, from the opposite direction; Hitler believed pure white folk were needed for a master race, but this dude evidently thinks every non-white thing is just plain better in the hands of a white guy.

    On flesh versus steel: I know Planescape: Torment is an Act recommendation and so I should avoid spoilers on this blog, but I can’t not talk about one of the coolest character arcs, in which one of your party members describes the philosophy of his people. One of the basic tenets of his people is “Steel marks flesh, but flesh cannot mark steel.” And the reason I mention this is because his people were slaves, to great fleshy monsters, and one day this dude finds an old sword in the ground of a field he’s plowing or something and when he cuts himself on it he realizes hey, steel beats flesh. Then he started a rebellion.

    But yeah, the PS:T writers were a lot more on the ball than this clown.

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    1. illhousen says:
      P:ST is perfect in every regard except battle system which is utter shit.

      Though I think the story of the rebellion comes from the general Planescape (as in, AD&D setting) lore rather than the game. Or even earlier, as Planescape incorporates some stuff created for different settings.

      1. Roarke says:
        Well, that specific version of the story is fabricated, but it still restores the character’s faith. And yeah, that Infinity Engine is just so, so bad. I still haven’t gotten around to beating Baldur’s Gate because I walk around town and get into one fight and it’s just like well that’s enough for a few more days.
    2. Farla says:
      Like people used to think (or still think?) of America as this big cultural melting pot

      I know that by the time I learned it, we were learning it was more like a salad, which even as an elementary schooler struck me as equally inaccurate.

      Hitler believed pure white folk were needed for a master race, but this dude evidently thinks every non-white thing is just plain better in the hands of a white guy.

      Well, Hitler was all about going after any supposedly magic thing so the proper race could use it too. If martial arts had been relevant, he’d have appropriated the shit out of that.

      1. Roarke says:
        Well, Hitler was all about going after any supposedly magic thing so the proper race could use it too. If martial arts had been relevant, he’d have appropriated the shit out of that.

        Er, yeah. What I really meant to say was that the ‘Murican white person was a sort of “All your powers combined” deal in terms of race, I guess. Not sure if Hitler thought that as well, but it would make sense.

        The more important part of my comment is the H-8-R name. That can’t be unintentional. It just can’t be.

        1. Farla says:
          H8R was a character from pre-reboot who bore no resemblance to this one as far as I can tell. So it’s a reference to an old character reimagined to be crazy racist! Progress!!!!!!
  2. illhousen says:
    Wait, I just noticed protagonist’s outfit. Is he Spider-Man? How did that happen?

    “Believe it or not, this comes up all the time in comics. It’s more
    commonly used as a defense for the women’s outfits, where they ask how
    dare we object to how a woman chooses to dress! If she feels this is
    empowering, who are you to argue?”

    Ah yes, because comic characters are real people whose adventures writers and artists merely record rather than create from scratch according to their own tastes.

    I think the big problem here is the lack of diversity. It is not impossible to imagine that some people would like to wear such revealing outfits, but when every woman dresses like that, it kinda ceases to be a character statement.

    Though I must say, I find the picture hypnotic.

    On steel against flesh. I remember one of Pratchett’s characters in Monstrous Regiment talking about how every good soldier learns that when steel meets flesh you shouldn’t be on the wrong side (that is, on the side of flesh). As I recall, it was said in regards to grand last stands which are pointless because it’s just more people dying without accomplishing anything.

    1. Farla says:
      How did that happen?

      COMICS.

      In all comics, the character WILL end up in an iconic superhero outfit, regardless of practicality or the simple question of how the fuck he even got it. Which WILL change to a different iconic superhero outfit at the whim of marketing.

      My favorite story is Azazel, a Batman character. So, he’s been trained and brainwashed by some cult so that he has max human strength and stuff, but only when he’s wearing a mask. This means that if you ambush him out of costume, he’s just an ordinary dude.

      Someone decided they wanted to draw him in a different costume, so they invented a bunch of reasons why he couldn’t wear the current costume, then ignored the fact that all those reasons should also apply for the new costume (which was basically a palate swap), then had him be struck by lightning to make the new costume work like the old costume in unlocking his hypnotism powers. Because changing his costume was that important.

      I think the big problem here is the lack of diversity. It is not impossible to imagine that some people would like to wear such revealing outfits, but when every woman dresses like that, it kinda ceases to be a character statement.

      More directly, only a group made up of white men (who were well enough off that they could buy comics then pursue a career at it) and those they’ve cowed into not arguing with whatever they say this week would think that made sense. No one else in the world takes “I the male author am writing this female character saying she doesn’t think comics are sexist while a male artist draws her in the clothes she chose to wear” as an actual argument. But within the community, that’s considered high debate.

  3. guestest ever says:
    Why are they throwing confetti at Ms Ovarypouch? I got everything else, even the dude being Spiderman, but the confetti confounds me.
    1. Farla says:
      When she says cue the fight music, she means literally begin the soundtrack for the episode. The bit I showed in the introduction is an actual thing happening in the comic. It’s even stupider than it sounds.
      1. guestest ever says:
        This is reality tv for the utopic robot society, robotdad and Ovarypouch are the leads, dark council of darkness is the ratings board, dude is the season’s baddie.
        [brilliant.jpg]
        1. GeniusLemur says:
          Gee, taking cheap shots at reality TV. THERE’s a bold, fresh idea.
  4. GeniusLemur says:
    Sorry, Minimus, I’ve seen what A1 and its creations do now. It IS a terrorist
  5. actonthat says:
    Holy crap those things are hypnotizing. Like, I want to do other things, but the boobs… they just stare

    Also, why is he in a Spiderman costume…?

    1. illhousen says:
      …Get out of my head.
  6. actonthat says:
    Also also, the art here is… bad. The faces are all kind of wonky, and when they’re not they’re identical. I mean, the kid in the karate-punching panel… wtf! He looks like he has some horrible deformation.

    And that last panel…her hips are wider than her shoulders, and her feet are bigger than her head! I *think* the artist was trying to force a perspective, but her body itself is flat toward the camera (her bellybutton, ribs, and boobs are are clearly head-on) and just her chin seems to be tilted up, so I have no idea.

    1. Farla says:
      Comics, comics, comics!

      The final panel reminds me a bit of Bayonetta, but more incompetent, so that may have been an inspiration.

      1. actonthat says:
        This is why I rely on Japan for my visual storytelling. Like, I know there are mangas that are just as bad, but there are way, way more that are a billion times better so the odds of randomly hitting something good are actually in your favor.

        I was actually saying to Boyfriend at our local shop Saturday that my favorite thing about Japanese comics is that the premises are bizarre. Like, they have a reputation for the weird, but weird is good! Once you accept the premise, you have a really unique, interesting story, while American comics seem to just rehash the same few stories over and over as if it’s something to be proud of.

        Semi-related: Read the first Black Butler. Was a bit disappointed… nothing really happened? I expect more action and expos in my first issue and less lulzy side characters.

        1. illhousen says:
          If you want a weird premise, check out the Assassination Classroom. I’ve stumbled upon it recently. The premise is way out there, but it surprisingly works.
        2. SpoonyViking says:
          I think manga has a huge advantage over Western comics in that the books can actually end. Sure, often the only real development the protagonist had is that he can now blow up mountains instead of just a car, but at least he won’t be reset every decade or so to “present him to a new audience”.
          1
          1. Kaze says:
            As I understand it comic franchises are owned by companies that whore their superheroes out to different writers and artists (while keeping a watchful eye on the stories the author tries to run with, of course).

            Manga on the other hand generally have one singular artist and/or writer. They generally have a team of people to help out but most of it is the work of the mangaka.

            And that right there is why Manga is 1000000% more likely than comics to be internally consistent and have genuinely good and original ideas, as opposed to pandering to whatever crowd might shell out the most money at any given time.

            All hail the weeaboo master race.

            1. Falconix says:
              “pandering to whatever crowd might shell out the most money at any given time”

              I’m sorry, you were implying manga doesn’t do that? Because most, if not all, of the examples you might be thinking are more niche than the mainstream (or wannabe-mainstream, in this comic’s case) examples Farla and others use for American comics.

              Manga’s chief advantage is that the lower distribution costs in Japan compared to all of the US means that niche stuff have more of a chance to bloom. Also, because nearly everyone in Japan reads manga, there is a broader potential audience. Tellingly, anime lacks these advantages.

              1
              Reply
              1. Farla says:
                Also, because nearly everyone in Japan reads manga, there is a broader potential audience.

                But the reason everyone here doesn’t read comics is because comics is this sort of shit in the first place, alienating almost everyone.

                If anything, manga is better because it fucking panders properly, as opposed to one fan overidentifying with a character and ramming a retcon down everyone else’s throats and other comics getting canceled out of spite and the art having a 50% chance of being traced from porn at a given time and every single character that’s made to appeal to kids ending up sexualized and/or tortured to death.

                Even the non-mainstream single creator comics are stuck in the general superhero mold. It’s only when you get away from “comics” entirely and look at, say, webcomics, you can find stuff along the same lines as manga.

                I mean, you can say, “Sandman! Lucifer! Those were classics!” and I can point behind you to the avalanche of spin-offs about to smother you to death in crap.

          2. actonthat says:
            That’s what drives me so crazy. I literally don’t understand *why* American comics feel the need to tell the same story over and over and over (edit: I mean, money is the answer, but still) . As a lover of stories, it’s mind-numbing. Yes, I get it, superheroes etc etc. Please write about something else.

            No matter the reasons, the fact that something like Attack on Titan or Fullmetal Alchemist is allowed to become such a phenomenon in manga while here they just keep resurrecting Spiderman and no one cares is the main reason I just don’t have the patience to sift through comics.

            That said, I did just read a wonderful feminist satire aimed at kids called Princeless, so there are obviously exceptions.

            1. SpoonyViking says:
              Honestly, Act, I’m a huge fan of superhero comics, and I don’t get it either. I stopped reading mainstream comics a decade ago, simply because it’s so tiresome to not see any changes in the status quo!

              Now, what you’re saying is a bit different – you think the superhero genre itself is old and tired. I don’t think it really is; I mean, it is, but only because the writers and editors (mostly editors, I think, but the writers aren’t blameless either) aren’t willing to fully explore the genre. They’re afraid of trying new things, and, to play Devil’s Advocate for a bit, they aren’t wrong, since nerds in general are opposed to change, and comic nerds even more so.

              Basically, I think the only way the industry can get out of its rut is to change on a fundamental level, and the Powers That Be, fools that they are, don’t want to risk it.

              Reply
              1. Farla says:
                I think the genre is tired because it’s exhausted every story it’s allowed to tell – nothing can stick for longer than a writer’s run on something, because the first thing the next person does is remove the supporting cast and reset the character, and even if you’re super lucky and the next writer doesn’t, then the next one will.

                There’s lots of people doing new things, but it’s like fanfiction having a million first chapters – we’re seen the beginning of every possible good idea and almost none ever have a decent conclusion (and the ones that do are the ones that get told into the ground).

                It’s like the Thunderbolts. I read all of it up to the Ellisbolts. The Ellisbolts were different, as all new writers made them different, but they were written really well. Then he went off the title again. The next person wasn’t as good at this, which I could’ve forgiven, if only he hadn’t immediately fucking reset everything down to remurdering this guy’s sister immediately after she’d finally been resurrected.

                From Wikipedia, it seems they ultimately resolved that plotline by killing the brother as well.

              2. Falconix says:
                I admittedly didn’t read the end of Ellis’ run, but wasn’t Andrea resurrected in the same arc she was killed (meaning by the same writer who did the Secret Invasion tie-in)?

                And yeah, killing off Swordsman was such a waste: his regression under Ellis could at least be explained, since his personality would have required more guidance for redemption and Osborn didn’t care about redeeming anyone, but he was unceremoniously killed off in the Secret Invasion epilogue (and not even in the Thunderbolts book proper, so his death didn’t even have the tinge of “sacrifice so that Songbird may live”).

              3. Farla says:
                Ellis had set up his arc of trying to get his sister back, down to the resolution of it. I thought it was pretty neatly done, really, to give the next person choices in what they’d do next.

                A) Have Swordsman keep getting strung along with promises, continuing his arc of trying to get his sister back, because the writer liked that setup.
                A1)Have Swordsman feel satisfied he’s going to get his sister back, stop obsessing, and start to grow as a person in whatever non-sister-obsessed direction the new person wants, if the writer hates the whole idea and wants a semi-graceful out to Ellis’ entire character arc for the guy.
                B) Have Swordsman get his sister back and move to a new arc, because the writer wanted to move the character to another point.
                B1) Have Swordsman get his sister back and then blow the joint if the writer just somehow didn’t appreciate the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Incest white supremacist twins and wanted to ditch the character completely.

                The writer picked C) BURN IT TO THE GROUND AND SALT THE EARTH

                I don’t think the writer-by-writer setup is ever going to be perfect, but you can really see the difference between writers who try to take the previous run as a jumping off point and writers who say fuck it rocks fall everyone dies gets amnesia conveniently resetting them to whatever point the writer’s familiar with.

              4. SpoonyViking says:
                They did, in a completely off-hand manner. On the other hand, Ellis completely reversed the characterizations of Moonstone, Swordsman and Radioactive Man.

                But yes, I completely agree with the main point: “[…]nothing can stick for longer than a writer’s run on something” is probably the main issue with superhero comics.

              5. Farla says:
                Yeah, but that was after Civil War when Iron Man was a torturing fascist and Captain America a quitter, so nobody was IC and at least Ellis’ characterizations were entertaining. Especially Moonstone screwing with Osborn’s meds.

                If the guy who followed him had been an awesome writer, then he’d have similar leeway for messing with characterization. Maybe he could’ve made she’s-back-nope-she’s-dead-again work – like, if it caused Swordsman to immediately have a psychotic break at the universe transparently fucking with him like that, and also have there be more of a point to it – like, maybe Osborn’s all oh fuck another one just slipped his leash, gotta kill her so I can keep dangling her resurrection in front of him, but instead of Osborn getting control back, Swordsman goes berserk, killing everyone he thinks is involved before dying with a grin.

                I mean, X-Factor managed to weather a ton of crossover bullshit by the writer being really good at rolling with it and making it into an actual story, while crappier authors just say “And then that happened. Oh christ, this? Never mind it, this happens to make it go away. Then someone gets a sword in the chest. Is my time on this title over yet? No? Okay, another thing happened.”

              6. SpoonyViking says:
                Which X-Factor run are you talking about? Peter David’s?
              7. Farla says:
                Yeah. I mean, it did end up going off the deep end with the whole fake pregnancy dupe baby thing, but I think that was the writer just losing it for unrelated reasons, and Siryn’s haha yeah sure Dad’s dead *wink wink* remains the gold standard for blowing off comic book deaths.
              8. SpoonyViking says:
                Ah, that was the third X-Factor series, I think? The one with Maddrox as the team’s leader. I read it up to the part where they fought Hel in Las Vegas. It was a bit polarizing for me. I enjoyed parts of it immensely, while also disliking other parts quite a bit.
                Ironically, considering Banshee was never that popular a character, I think it’s probable he’ll remain dead for quite some time.
              9. Falconix says:
                Wait, I can see Moonstone and Swordsman (even though I could also pull a No-Prize-worthy explanation for why they regressed), but how did Chen Lu regress? He was the one on Songbird’s side through Ellis’ run, from what I remember.
              10. SpoonyViking says:
                Yes, but not only did he write Chen Lu as a lot more flippant regarding everything going on around him, he also disregarded the bits introduced by Nicieza, like how he had become aware of the damage his powers inadvertently caused to his own people and how that knowledge affected him.
              11. actonthat says:
                It’s not even that I think the genre has inherent issues– I actually like the superhero idea in theory– but no one does anything interesting with it, for the reasons you said, and as a result I just do not have the initiative to give any of it a shot. I mean, I could read the billionth issue of Superman, or I could try out a coming-of-age story about exchanging poetry in a garden. One of them at least has a reasonable chance of being interesting given the current respective climates in which they were created, and it ain’t the superhero comic.

                But yeah, the whole industry is really shooting itself in the foot, and unfortunately its reaction to needing to change is to dig in and insist harder that things are fine, so… IDK. It’s not like traditional publishing houses that are getting undone by their own hubris because people go elsewhere, as fanboys are so mindlessly dedicated that they keep it afloat. If webcomics are going to force change, it’s going to take a very, very long time.

              12. Farla says:
                Oh, webcomics won’t cause change, they’re just going around the whole rotting edifice.

                I’m honestly not sure the whole shared universe superhero thing will survive at all – it’s too incestuous and has such variable quality. With kickstarter making publishing easier and the internet letting anyone promote their ideas, no one needs a system where cool character ideas first appear in the middle of a totally different story, and then when they get their own story random people keep popping in, and sometimes stuff happens somewhere else and we don’t get to see it. Coupled with the fact they’re doing everything wrong they possibly can, and it looks like the whole affair is going to go under soon.

                Which is a shame, because comics stories crisscrossing can be really great the rare times it works, and I think with a substantially smaller number of titles, a functioning editorial department, and less fanboy bullshit it can produce cool things.

            2. Farla says:
              That said, I did just read a wonderful feminist satire aimed at kids called Princeless, so there are obviously exceptions.

              And that if that ever becomes popular, comics would attempt to subsume it into itself, draw them sexy, and kill them, because how else will you teach little girls to stop giving you money?

              Reply
              1. actonthat says:
                It’s chugged along quietly, going out of print once and then coming back, and the third volume has just gotten into production after more than a year hiatus. I really recommend it if you can find it, but local comics shops might not have it– I had to go to Comicopia, basically the most diverse shop in Boston, to find it.

                It’s a shame, because it’s really wonderful– perfect story, gorgeous art, and surprisingly not too heavy handed even though it’s really aimed at kids.

                I think I’ll do a post on it eventually, though it’ll probably be of the short “go read it now” variety.

              2. Farla says:
                I read it a little while ago! And it’s great, and, sorry creators, but I hope it keeps being right on the edge of profitability and no one else gets their claws in it because they would unleash zombies or rabid ebola or rabid ebola zombies then everyone dies except for maybe one girl who becomes the girlfriend of whatever character is involved.
        3. Farla says:
          Like, they have a reputation for the weird, but weird is good! Once you accept the premise, you have a really unique, interesting story, while American comics seem to just rehash the same few stories over and over as if it’s something to be proud of.

          And some of the weirdness is just that they have more than one genre with its one form of weird standards, while everything unique to the superhero genre gets run into the ground within minutes because everyone’s doing it.

          Read the first Black Butler. Was a bit disappointed… nothing really happened? I expect more action and expos in my first issue and less lulzy side characters.

          The first book is pretty odd. I think it’s about trolling the readers by really building the idea it was a regular supernatural butler story that’s full of loyalty and devotion before surprise it’s an evil supernatural butler story and actually he’s planning on eating the kid! Then there’s a bit more of the normalish supernatural butler stuff in the opening of the Ripper arc, then murdertraumamurder.

          The lulzy side characters all eventually get development, but I’m unsure how much of it was planned and the best reveal, with Lizzy, takes absolutely forever.

  7. EnviTheFool says:
    1. Martial arts beat robots.
    2. Robots become (self-)aware of this.
    3. Robots adapt martial arts. (Or create their own, even).
    4. Oh shit.
    1. Roarke says:
      Application brucelee.exe requires administrator privileges to run. Please enter administrator password below.

      **************

      Password accepted. You may now KICK SOME ASSSS

  8. Elisabeth says:
    Boy, that escalated turned racist quickly! I’m dumbstruck. I’m not even sure what I can say about the “Uncle Tom” reference and the robot’s Stepin Fetchit impersonation (I groaned out loud at “Dayuuum”).

    https://33.media.tumblr.com/37f68bc82ffac8a15d5b7ea3a31db23a/tumblr_n9lpqqzGni1sdsiw0o2_500.gif

    The way Generic Sexpot Action Hero’s suit clings to the inside of her bellybutton both creeps and grosses me out.

  9. Nerem says:
    Man this comes off as if the writer just played Mists of Pandaria because he ripped off the Mists of Pandaria version of Chinese mythology (which was pretty well-done because they were entertaining a request from China’s government to make the entire game be MYTHOLOGICAL CHINA: THE GAME, and it’s neat for it) where the ancient Pandarians were conquered by a race of stone and steel robots who were slowly becoming organic, and the Pandarians finally rose up and overthrew them by learning literally magic martial arts and also ambushing the robots all at once.

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