Wednesday, June 4, 2014

CASEFILE OF THE CLOCKWORK FUCKUP PART 4

"Third base!"
V4.0 – A bag of wind living in a yoga studio

Bless the ever-loving hearts of career-comic book writers because - as inventive and colorful as these cats can be in their creation of limitless worlds of wonder - they’re also a tetch predictable.

So when Alan Moore revitalized the fully functional but slightly lachrymose Swamp Thing character, in part by making him an “Earth Elemental”, the other editors and writers heard that and naturally went “Oh, like the classical four elements of antiquity, got it, we’ll make more of those.”

What happens when you press his "eject disc" button.
Never mind that clearly that wasn’t what Moore had intended in using the term Earth elemental – his use of the phrase “Earth” referred to the planet as an interconnected vital biosphere tied in by the living vegetable kingdom, representatives of which thrive in every environment from grasslands to human guts to the valleys and peaks of the most distant oceans. Nope, he said “Earth” and “Elemental” and even very good writers were immediately hollering “Dibs on the Water Elemental!” (not to mention how even one of my favorite DC books, Bill Loebs’ Flash, dropped the hint that its title character had been a “lightning elemental”, and that one of my few favorite Neil Gaiman comics had dropped the idea of a “Doll Elemental” and even Captain Atom got tapped as a “Quantum Elemental” AND WHAT IS EVEN THAT SUPPOSED TO BE, that’s an Everything Is Made Of Star Stuff Elemental with laser beam hands is what that is).

Naturally, it was revealed that perpetual blank slate The Red Tornado wasn’t just an android evacuee from a parallel earth who’d housed battling alien tornado people inside his head, he was also THE AIR ELEMENTAL – and he was MAD! Mad at humans who’d polluted the air! Mad because wait why is he mad? Why would an “air elemental” care if there were other gases in the air, is he just really committed to the principle of a nitrogen-rich oxygen mix with trace amounts of argon and neon? Would he really get pissed off about extra methane and carbon dioxide in the air? It’s not like the "air elemental" is the same thing as an "earth elemental" which is a kingdom of actually living things - the air is just chemicals going all the way up to the troposphere, right? Basically Red Tornado what I’m saying is shut up and relax.

After Red Tornado was reinvented as the air elemental, he got into a slugfest with the water elemental and the fire elemental (Firestorm, briefly) and Swamp Thing unfortunately because the boundaries hadn’t yet been set up around the Vertigo properties, and I dunno man I like John Ostrander but what the hell.

With the Red Tornado now tacking another Summer job to his extensive CV of rapid career changes, he also took the opportunity – during this time period – to join a couple of new groups, the first of which being PRIMAL FORCE!

Is this air elemental bukkake?
Primal Force was one of those 90s comics that was literate, thought-out, uncomfortable with the existing tropes of the superhero genre and pretentious as a motherfucker. It’s an interesting phenomenon where - as superheroes lose the spandex and faux-Shakespeare and start to dress down in jeans and t-shirts, embrace self-doubt, show active disdain for the good-evil dynamic and the taxonomy of terms like “superhero” and “supervillain” – they also get so goddamn patronizing it’s ridiculous. How many of these guys owned leather jackets and were really into jazz, like, "the obscure stuff man, you never heard of it, I got this ultra-rare Miles Coltrane from before he blew his mind on marijuana?" Answer: All of them …

Focusing on the Leymen - a group of magical superheroes who were so awkwardly motivated to fight supernatural evil that you sort of wonder why they were doing it - the book was written by Steven Seagle (star of thrillers like On Deadly Ground and Hard To Kill). I've previously read where Seagle has said that he’s uncomfortable writing superhero books and doesn’t really know how, which he mentions every time he writes a superhero book. So go back to House of Mystery, man, I liked House of Mystery...

In Primal Force, Tornado was reduced to a hollow shell of rattling parts - he's still an air elemental but one of the first things he does on the team is to shove a young woman to the ground, so I guess he’s a heroic one?
I never get tired of the robot-with-tits
or the superhero pieta. It's a two-fer!

After Primal Force, Red Tornado was unwisely allowed to oversee the welfare of underage children in the team Young Justice, which is a good idea because he was built by a homicidal madman and has an evil tornado living in him. Was Charles Manson too busy?

It was sometime after this that we were introduced to the “Red Tornado Family”, being Red Inferno, Red Torpedo, Red Volcano, Red Foxx and Red Buttons ... because what we were clamoring for was more Red Tornadoes.

And now, a preview of the next installment featuring the New 52's awesome reinvention of the Red Tornado:

CASEFILE OF THE CLOCKWORK FUCKUP PART 5: 
A robot with tits.

Oh, no, wait, that was the whole thing.

5 comments:

Michael Hoskin said...

Back in part one's comments I made a Primal Force joke, but at the time I was genuinely astonished to discover Reddy had been a member of Primal Force; I wanted to joke he was too lame even for them, yet history proved me wrong.

>A robot with tits.

At last, the author of Cry for Justice has reimagined Reddy with the power of Rule 34 gender bending! Please, no one ask Goyer to comment on this character.

Calamity Jon said...

I really want them, at some point, to address in-story WHY the robot body for Lois Lane has enormous titanium jugs.

"So as to mitigate the shock of finding her human consciousness in an android body, we included the natural shape of the her mortal body so that she could still embrace her human sense of femininity."

"Well, why are they the size of Christmas hams?"

"We wanted her to feel just so super, super feminine, like a crazy amount."

neofishboy said...

"The wino knows no one direction..."

*raises glass*
Yer damn right!

Michael Hoskin said...

"And why doesn't she have a cape?"
"Again, sir, it helps her sense of femininity to know nothing is obstructing men's view of her magnificent titanium ass."
"You mad scientists are such pervs."

neofishboy said...

Now I know why the cover of The Death of Captain Marvel left me feeling vaguely unsatisfied. No Death titties.

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