This week's reviews were written by fictional characters created by controversial French writer Michel Houllebecq.
Gotham City has but two types of people-those who wreak violence, and those who have violence wreaked upon them. The first type are all men, for the most part, although the occasional lesbian is permitted participation, as long as she has previously received approval from whomever currently holds the title of most cruel. (Said participation is usually considered an important story point, further cementing the little respect or interest that these stories have for women--there are few other places in fiction where "the bitch can stay" is considered interesting or dynamic.) Batman is their ubermodel, the sturm king who they look to for permissible behavior, be it the anarchic cruelty of a Joker or the crime-towards-system of the grotesque product of inbreeding called Penguin, the City is little more than a repository of bludgeoning, gunshots and death. Men who die are weak, women who are robbed are numbers, all that matters are the muscles that control the clenched fists: nothing can be of more importance than the blood, no skill is given a higher estimation than brute strength. All of the ancillary deaths are pure wish-fulfillment--parents, mostly, although the random spouse falls as well, as that allows for an acceptable frenzied orgy of destruction. (It has been claimed that these stories are not for children, a statement notable for both its pathetic origins in the trivial masturbation known in the West as "therapy" as well as its obvious wrongness--of course these are for children, because it is children who most actively enjoy fantasies about the death of parents. Adult children are already content with the knowledge that they just have to wait for the guilty to reject their withered husks.)
Beyond the nebbishy cries of the nostalgic and the old, this is why the Batman replacement idea cannot work, or does not--a Dick is not a Bruce, because a Dick is weak, a flaccid thing of tears who quibbles and enjoys actual pats-on-back. (Besides the general truth that Bruce would recoil from being "reassured" by another, Bruce's personality would have aborted any such ideas in those near him upon their initial moment of conceptions. Here, Dick not only accepts the grotesque physical touch of friendship, he quite nearly asks for it. Friendship has no place in Gotham City, that fact is the most contemporary portion of the Batman stories--relationships are brutish and mortal, as they are in the real world, where the first action at disagreement is the "block" or the "unfriend"--no longer do we pretend to care for others, we, like Batman, hold all to the one standard: in line, or dead-to-me.) Even worse, Dick lacks the mettle or taste for violence, he recoils from the joy his new Robin finds in the broken bones, the bloodslicked eyesockets, decay...all the worse that, due to his age, this new Robin will abandon violence when his diminished cock begins the biological call to fill its sac, for it is sex that the boy truly craves, and when he realizes that, his taste for gore will abandon him. That is, if he isn't forced into the stunted adolescence that captures his brother Tim, a child who has skipped puberty to become eunuch, with only the final biological slash left for completion. Here, one is given a Batman that is no longer a case and cause of violence, but merely a child in his father's clothing, a case of Home Alone screams at aftershave played out in a decayed memory of Anton Furst's Inferno. (Azrael, the only thing that resembles an adult man, is a tired shadow himself, but here, it is a shadow of a cartoon, a man with multi colored flaming swords and a hood--but with the inability to finish tasks, a lack of stomach for murder. A child's limits placed on man's behavior: repressed, pathetic.)
It is possible, one assumes, for rectification, but only with the most Oedipal (Damian slaughters Tim & Dick, eats their hearts, takes the City as his prize) or base (Bruce returns, kills hundreds and molds the City into Arabian fortress, complete with pedophiliac harem), but, as neither of those help the sales of merchandise and might attract the wholly unwanted attention of America's craven media, they will not take place. Instead, one will be treated to the continued neutering of the one fictional location that formerly most resembled our own: Gotham, the land where you could, and would, be prince--as long as you occasionally offered supplication to the King.
I cannot be bothered to learn their names, these foolish humanoid beasts, I can only say that they are indistinguishably dull, the lot of them. None capture a moment, excepting the ugliest one, a garguantuan deformity who quotes a pop singer. "Say my name", he cries, and I only recall him now for he reminds me of a Turkish youth who once told me, pride in his breast, that he had made the prostitute I bought for him orgasm. When I asked him why, his stupid mouth opened into confusion--because she said so, he claimed. It can not depress me that they are stupid, I thought, but the feeling of revulsion was so strong! Upon retiring, I knew the simple answer: it was his arrogance! That he would matter to the cheap, revolting whore! I felt the same for this Kilowog--oh that all their names allowed for such easy racial slurs, these weak and simple American stories might have a wisp of danger to them then--that he mattered, that his name did, that his pain did. As if he could not see the globes surrounding him! As if he could not know his singular uselessness! They say the environmental movement got its biggest burst of support when the pictures of our grimy planet were transmitted from the satellites, I know this to be a lie, as all things about the environment are a filthy lie, because the one thing those pictures always inspire is a reminder of our qualities--namely, that we have none. Watching this disgusting elephantine creature punch the undead, screaming for recognition, I thought of it again. We are nothing but husks, sacks of meat to be split and dumped into barrels. I once drained the fluid out of a dog's cracked open ribcage, his body so large that it required two of us tipping him, as the fluid needed measurement, the fiendish ghoul of a doctor hoping for a feature article on retention. As the pus and blood mixed with saline and urine--we had accidently pierced the bladder when removing the beast's shattered ribs--poured out into the plastic buckets, we listened to the grotesque shopkeep cry out the numbers as the level rose. Never have I looked at an animal since and seen anything but that moment. And we are they, the same, sacks of meat, waiting for the depraved to measure us into buckets. This is what the astronauts showed the world, the planet: a land where none of us matter, and all are the same. Say your name if you must, Kilowog. But do not pretend it is makes you any different.
I once shook a man's hand immediately after fucking his fiance. My hand was warm, having been pressed between her fleshy ass and the cheap carpet of the rooms he was jobbed with supervising, but he took no notice of it, assuming I to be yet another of those obese cretins whose hands are always coated in a sweat-slickened warmth. He also failed to notice the stink of her sex, which was painted across my mouth and chin, but I've always held to the memory that his eyelashes--he was one of those feminine men with long, cat-like lashes that take on a garish curl--quivered a bit, expressing recognition at the smell his brain must have long since labeled as being one he assumed sole possession over. As I smiled my falsest grin at him, my tongue flecked around the corners of my lips, tasting her sex still, while we forced out the sort of general conversation that was to be expected. The slut waited behind me, and when we sneakily found one another outside--he had another few minimum wage hours left at the desk, and I had not ejaculated yet--she demanded to know why I spoke to him, did I not realize this might arouse suspicion? Sneering at her ridiculous fake concern--if she cared for his feelings, why then had she accosted me a scant hour earlier, demanding that "we fuck right here, while he waits"--I informed her that, while I had no intention of directly informing him of our tryst, she could not expect me to ignore the chance to relish in this, my private drama of power and cruelty.
The Punisher is a character incapable of sexuality, as far as I can imagine, so his only method of exerting that same sort of power is in violence. Devoid of artistic interest or ability, he cannot even revel in creative engagement with this, his only task, so he finds his satisfactions in doing it on a monolithic scale. (The character is a misanthropic lunatic, if the description of his pastimes have not made this clear.) Disappointingly, he only kills "criminals", a ridiculous proposition when considering how impossible it is to find a single human being not deserving of slaughter in the world as it now exists. Born only so that we can die, this "Frank Castle" could work less as vigilante, and more as Platonic argument made flesh--prove your life, or watch it ended. Instead, he's another Good Samaritan, wandering around helping little girls on snowy eves while shooting "bad men" and sneering. However, one story does include the reading of a letter where Frank's daughter reveals her incestual dream to someday "marry her daddy", and that minor twist alone makes it far superior to the predictable "up with normalcy" attitude the rest of this doggerel consists of.
I am at a loss to understand what is "uncanny" about a father's authority being supplanted by a son, but I will assume that one of the five-hundred previous installments of this serial contains within them the reasoning behind the adjective. However, there is nothing to be found in this particular chapter that cannot be found in any of the generic "action" television products America defecates out of its strangled rectum. While it was somewhat difficult to navigate the hideous drawings that infected every page, I found eventual solace in the belief that the art was the collage project of a diseased adolescent, as the figure drawings most resembled the end result of smearing feces onto pictures culled from mass-mailed catalogs. The story is a simple one, following the decision of a younger man to ignore his surrogate father's warnings and embrace as brother another man the father does not care for, and may in fact fear. Because this plot is not enough by itself to maintain interest, the comic book includes a unforgivable tease of torture sequence involving a professional wrestler who wears mascara. Angry at him because he does not wear form-fitting spandex, the wrestler's captors place him in a plane headed for the psuedo Israel that the X-Men currently live on. It's not very intriguing--like the real Israel, the X-Men are certainly capable of dealing with the incursion of one plane, no matter what its payload consists of--but it does point towards a direction that could be far more worthwhile than the soap operatic of whether or not an old dog is capable of new tricks. One could imagine a delightfully candy-color depiction of the Gaza Strip, with the one-eyed Cyclops eating those who encroach the borderlands, while the women make the final move towards answering the burqa with head-to-toe nudity, a violent explosion of sexuality tangled up in threats of extermination and the death of childbirth. If these characters, these "mutants" really are the last of their kind, it is high time for them to act like it--move past the old rivalries, and celebrate the freedom guaranteed annihilation allows. I.E: they should all be fucking one another. Youthful virility has a timetable. Undergraduate ethics discussions are forever.
There are few things as obnoxious as reading what passes for political thought when the speakers are artists, and one of those few things is when the exact same thing happens, but the majority of the speakers are white male American artists. It would probably be tempting for some to claim "for a good cause" while quietly shuffling off to something they actually enjoy, like ultraviolent hobbit smut, but it's undeniably far more attractive to stop for a moment and imagine a world where those who call themselves artists are required to produce evidence that they, at any point in their career, have done something that could honestly be defined as "dangerous". On terms of the examples provided here, a general culling by way of legal attack might not only be necessary, but a more interesting excursion than the work itself. At the very least, one could be assured that the depositions would include at least one moment where the accused broke down into the copious sobs of the charlatan.
-Tucker Stone, 2009