Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #2
June 20, 2016
Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day 3
Turns out this story was just a poorly-thought out advertisement for San Francisco General Hospital.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. We continue our look at the miniseries that very poorly ended two beloved books.
(Cut to black)
Linkara (v/o): (dramatically) Last time on "Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day"...
(The cover of the first comic is shown as Linakra gives a recap of it)
Linkara (v/o): Everyone was an idiot, especially Nightwing. Let's just get this over with.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #2".
(AT4W title sequence plays. The title card has the theme from the Teen Titans series playing in the background. Cut to the first page of the comic)
Linkara (v/o): We open at San Francisco General Hospital.
Linkara: (sarcastically) No caption telling us what time it is?! But how can I follow this book without that critical information?!
Narrator: With the city lying adjacent to the San Andreas Fault Line, it's a facility prepared for disasters of all shapes and sizes.
Linkara: (narrator voice) Some disasters are shaped like trapezoids, which is admittedly kind of weird.
Narrator: So they are prepared for nearly everything. But tonight's emergency admission was a new one for them.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Scrubs, showing an x-ray of someone with a light bulb in their nether regions)
Doctor: So what do you think, Perry?
Dr. Cox: Well, I'll tell you there, Bobbo, either this kid has a light bulb up his butt or his colon has a great idea.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): No, the new thing is Nightwing doing the start of the "YMCA" pose and nobody continuing it.
Nightwing: Masks stay on! Unless it's medical -- I want masks to stay on!!
Linkara: (massages forehead) Nightwing, less than half of you wear masks. And that's being generous, since Jesse Quick's (makes an "air quote") "mask" is just a pair of frigging sunglasses.
Narrator: They are Young Justice, a team of heroes, just in their teens. And the Titans. Many years ago, they were the Teen Titans...
Linkara: (as narrator) And yet, Nightwing is speaking to them as if they were all still teens.
Narrator: But at the moment the common cord is that they've all had their collective heads kicked in by some freaked out robot.
Linkara: If your narrator is just gonna talk like a person anyway, why isn't a person narrating? (makes a waving motion with his hand, as if trying to jog someone's memory) You know, maybe Donna, that woman whose dream was the start of the miniseries? Narrative cohesion? Or just be incompetent; that works, too.
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, the doctors were a little overwhelmed by the superheroes, not knowing how to treat Cyborg, Impulse refusing to stay still and be treated, but then we get to a little problem from our old pal, the Not-Caring Fairy. Argent of the Titans and Empress of Young Justice are both injured.
Doctor: We've got them both stabilized, but I have to admit we're a tad out of our depth. They bear most of the symptoms associated with being electrocuted, but with unique physiologies...
Linkara: (holds up hand) Now, as I said last time, I'm really not that familiar with "Young Justice"'s characters. Fortunately, my viewers are and helpfully pointed out that that (scowls) makes no goddamn sense!
Linkara (v/o): Argent is indeed part alien, so I can see that, buuut Empress is not. Aside from some mind control and magic powers, her physiology is the same as any other human.
Linkara: (amused) Because why would somebody who was making a book featuring these characters bother to actually research them? (laughs) No, but seriously, why is Judd Winick writing this book?
(Cut to a shot of two later comics)
Linkara (v/o): Two books came out of this miniseries: Geoff Johns' "Teen Titans" and Judd Winick's "Outsiders". I'll get more into that next time, but aside from the robot, the only two characters from this to join the Outsiders were Nightwing and Arsenal.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Don't get me wrong, I don't think Geoff Johns would have done that much better a job, considering what the plot of this is, but at least it would make more sense, given more characters here went to "Teen Titans" than "Outsiders".
Linkara: And in case you're wondering, yeah, I'm still gonna use those clips!
(He snaps his fingers and we cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 watching a movie)
Tom Servo: They just didn't care.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): While the doctors aren't much help, Nightwing already called ahead and got some specialist help: Dr. Sarah Charles, a recurring Titans supporting character, who's coming in with S.T.A.R. Labs personnel, who are all apparently wearing body armor for some reason.
Dr. Charles: Hi Victor, how are ya?
Cyborg: Hey, Sarah. I'm great. Wanna go dancing?
Linkara: (as Cyborg) Turns out, with my leg separated, I count as (holds up two fingers) two people! We make great swing partners!
Narrator: One hour and twenty-six minutes later.
Linkara: (sarcastically) What, no seconds count, too? It's almost like we wouldn't care how long it actually took or something!
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, the group is mostly doing better.
Dr. Charles: But Argent worries me a little. I'm going to keep her on the vent until she's more reactive.
Linkara: (as Dr. Charles) It should only take her a few years to appear in another book. Nothing to worry about.
Linkara (v/o): They get Dr. Charles up to speed about what happened, and she'll contact all S.T.A.R. Labs facilities to see if they can track the energy signature of the robots' teleporting. Speaking of, we cut over to a nearby S.T.A.R. Labs facility in Silicon Valley, which begins running scans in their dark rooms with bright green screens in it. Because let's face it, the one thing that super scientists all like is eye damage. Also, Alé Garza, the artist, chose not to put anything on these bright green screens. That's normally fine. We don't need details like that for small panels, buuut this panel ends up being unintentionally hilarious as a result.
Female scientist [Cully]: Dobbs, what's that?
Linkara: (as Dobbs) Ma'am, that's the new monitor we bought the other day. It's not even turned on.
Linkara (v/o): They detect a robot's energy trace... and it's teleporting right into their facility, choosing to go into the lobby, I guess, given this establishing shot of a receptionist and some guy just waiting around, reading. The robot quickly detects what it's looking for and starts smashing at the ground to get to it. Fortunately, there's an entire squad of identical-looking cannon fodder waiting to go in and confront her. However, as the robot finally starts breaking into "The Chamber", as the security personnel call it, they just decide to break out a huge-ass gun to deal with her.
Soldier: If we miss this'll affect the structural integrity of the building.
Linkara: Well, then, maybe this shouldn't be Plan A. Gotta love how the premiere scientific research company of the DC Universe hires only the smartest people.
Linkara (v/o): Fortunately, they do not miss, and the... whatever the hell it is... Seriously, Garza didn't even draw an energy beam or anything; the gun glows or something... blasts the robot away. It continues to talk to itself, remotely interfacing with what's inside of the Chamber and then uses up most of its remaining power to initiate a plasma magnetic pulse... which might be a real thing...? I tried to do a Google search on this, but it's a lot of advanced physics and science I'm not familiar with, and even then I doubt it would work like this. But whatever. It's basically the off switch for all the guards and their weapons.
Linkara: And this is why you should have read Arsenal's report that said that the robot's weakness is bullets! Seriously, where's Unit when you need them?
Linkara (v/o): Having used up all but 1.78% of her power with that little maneuver, she begins to shut down... and of course, loudly exclaims that she's doing so.
Linkara: Who the hell programs a robot to loudly announce this stuff anyway, especially when there's nobody else in the room that it's talking to, and that talking would just waste more of its power? And yes, I know who she is and her backstory. That just means it makes less sense!
Linkara (v/o): Also, why the hell did she teleport away during the fight with our heroes when apparently she's got a bunch of tentacles that can spring out of her arm socket? But whatever. She collapses, but out of the Chamber emerges... Superman?!
(The Superman logo appears while the theme for the Superman movie by John Williams plays)
Linkara (v/o): (dramatically) Superman: defender of robot kind! (normal) Anyway, he picks up the robot and flies off with her. We cut back to the hospital, where Robin and Superboy are in a closet together and Superboy is putting his clothes back on. I'd give you context to this to eliminate the innuendo resulting from that, but I have none to give! The two are just in a closet together and Superboy is putting his PANTS BACK ON! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?
Robin: That was dumb.
Superboy: I know. I heard you the first three times.
Linkara: (as Superboy) How could neither of us have brought a condom?! What do you keep in that utility belt?
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, Robin is berating him over flying at the android like he did, especially after Impulse and Empress got themselves hurt, too, even their plan at least was working, and there was no way to know that the android would be able to blast them back like that. This is another big problem with this story: they're beating themselves and each other up over this stupid fight when honestly I don't understand what was so wrong about their actions, especially when Nightwing's plan was "Let's just stand back here and do nothing." Oversimplification, yes, but as far as they could tell, they were under attack, they got the civilians out, and the plans utilized were not bad ones. It's just the robot was given super special powers to counter them because that's what a lazy writer does!
Robin: There we were, shoulder to shoulder with the very inspiration for Young Justice. The Titans.
Linkara: Okay, I may not be that familiar with "Young Justice", but I know that's bullcrap! They just happened to come together one day. Even the name (makes an "air quote") "Young Justice" was given to them by a reporter who misheard them. Why did you include these characters if you didn't know anything about them?!
Linkara (v/o): But Tim's point is that they've lost half of both teams.
Superboy: Tim, I bet they were a lot like us when they started.
Robin: No. I don't think so.
Linkara: You're right, you guys haven't abandoned your costumes for really lame reasons, joined a creepy old guy's peacemaking operation, and went to the moon on your way to Venus.
Linkara (v/o): In a nearby examining room, Nightwing and Troia overheard the two's conversation. Donna wants Dick to give some encouragement to the kids, but Dick is, well, a dick.
Nightwing: I'm not sure a kind word is what they need. They need some damned direction. When we were the Teen Titans, each of us fought at the side of our mentor. These kids... They need to be taught.
Linkara: Yeah, if only Robin worked alongside or Wonder Girl worked alongside Wonder Woman, (suddenly becomes angry) LIKE THEY ACTUALLY DID!
Nightwing: They need a leader.
Linkara (v/o): Uh, I'm pretty sure Wonder Girl is leading them. Maybe Robin? Why is this even a thing when the first two to leap into battle were from YOUR TEAM, DICK?!? Donna suggests he could be their leader.
Nightwing: I can barely lead this team.
(Linkara raises his index finger and opens his mouth, as if to speak, but then stops himself and ponders what he read)
Linkara: Yeah, yeah, that's about right. Then again, whose fault is that, Dick-wing?
Linkara (v/o): He changes the subject, asking about Donna's dreams.
Wonder Girl: They feel more like visions than dreams. They're achingly real.
Linkara: Emphasis on (The cover of the first issue is shown in the corner and he points to it) the "aching" part.
Linkara (v/o): Dick asks what Wonder Woman has to say about them, but she hasn't told her.
Nightwing: Why? This has been going on for months. You live in the same house. She'd definitely have an opinion on them.
Linkara: Well, that would be an intelligent thing to do, and we can't have that in this story. Plus, if she did, it might remove the stupid plot point that goes absolutely nowhere and makes no sense with the actual explanation.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, after she deflects the answer to that with a glib remark about Dick and Batman's bad relationship, we do get a good scene, probably the only one in the entire mini, where Donna and Cassie talk. It's a very humanizing sort of conversation and a hell of a lot better than the one between Robin and Superboy. Cassie is expressing her confusion and doubts about her superheroic life, how maybe she should just become a normal teenager, even though she admits she'd hate it. It's legitimate character development in layers, worrying about the future and not sure of one's own place and things. It's the kind of thing that a teenager would naturally be thinking about.
Linkara: But why would we want actual character development when we could have scenes of Nigthwing being pissy?
Wonder Girl: Cassie... we're different. We're not like the rest of the world.
Linkara: (as Wonder Girl) We have much better fashion sense.
Wonder Girl: And you have to consider your destiny.
Linkara: Destiny? The hell are you talking about? Is Cassie supposed to become the President or something? Or do you mean her copy of that (The cover of the video game Destiny is shown in the corner) video game?
Linkara (v/o): I'm guessing there was either a rewrite, because destiny is never brought up after this, or Donna is speaking vaguely of her future, but the problem in superhero comics is, your word choice is kind of important when some characters literally have destinies and stuff! But yeah, Donna says that they don't know what the future will bring, but that she's going to rise to meet it. Good scene; back to snarking. Cyborg has recovered enough to talk to the others about what happened.
Cyborg: She was damaged... in a fight... or fleeing someplace. She's from the future... over 2000 years from what I figure.
Linkara: (as Cyborg) She was babbling something about Ted Turner's son going back in time, too... It wasn't clear.
Cyborg: She was simply... just trying to contact other life forms similar to herself.
Linkara: I can barely get a program from over ten years ago running on my computer, and her first plan was to interface with technology that's 2000 years out of date?
(Cut to a clip of an IBM commercial with Avery Brooks)
Brooks: That's gonna take serious software.
(Cut to a message in the commercial: "IBM software can make 35 platforms work as one". Cut back to the comic)
Arsenal: That's why she ripped you in half? She needed a tuenup and this is how she asks?
Cyborg: No... No... She fell into a defense mode when... attacked. It was... a gut response.
Linkara (v/o): Um, no, she fell into defense mode after she was already to forcibly interface with you!
(Cut to Phelous with Linkara)
Phelous: Great continuity! (gives a double thumbs-up)
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): One of the S.T.A.R. Labs soldiers runs in and switches on a TV.
News reporter: --for over an hour. Witnesses have said that building suffered several explosions, the first of which took off part of the roof. No one from Contesto, the computer gaming company that occupies the building, has been reached for comment.
Linkara: You see? You see what happens when you try to develop virtual reality technology after the debacle in the '90s? This is what happens!
Linkara (v/o): Actually, it's a front for the S.T.A.R. Labs facility. The news report mentions that Superman is on the scene, working in a laboratory, naturally confusing our heroes. Nightwing instructs everyone who's well enough to follow along, also telling everyone to really bad in this side shot. Seriously, Nightwing's upper body is puffed up, but his arm looks short and stubby. Donna looks like she's trying to strut. Tempest looks okay, but Robin has huge thighs and hands.
Nightwing: Robin, get your battle armor ready.
Linkara: (as Robin) Thanks, Dick. I guess I'll just... pull that out of my ass. (as Nightwing) Well, that's where I've been keeping mine. Why do you think I've been so grumpy lately?
Linkara (v/o): And indeed, the Titans and Young Justice members who aren't injured arrive... with Arsenal also having a chin guard, the most important piece of armoring, I guess... and yet Omen does not have any armor... and go inside, standing behind Superman. Superman doesn't acknowledge them and they realize something's wrong. Impulse wants to try to do something, but Robin points out that, well, it's friggin' Superman; they can't do anything to him. However, Omen points out that she can't read his thoughts, almost as if he's in a trance. She thinks she can break him out of it with physical contact. Nightwing starts to object, but she thinks she'll be fine since she doesn't sense any aggression. She even loudly announces to him that she's going to gently touch his shoulder, the kind of approach you do when you're trying to get the attention of someone welding or something.
Linkara: (sarcastically) I don't see how this could end badly! (beat) Yeah, this ends badly.
Linkara (v/o): Superman suddenly turns around and grabs her arm. In a moment of hesitation, no one goes to intercept Superman, even as Omen manages to scratch across his face. Aaaand our first major misstep that I mentioned last time: Omen's neck is snapped, and she's dead.
Linkara: (applauding slowly and sarcastically) Thanks, "Graduation Day". A pointless character death for no other reason than to show the situation is serious. You're really demonstrated how the characters of "Young Justice" need to change... by killing off someone they didn't know very well in a situation they already realized was serious and were otherwise exercising good sense and caution. (beat) Or you know...
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Attack of the Eye Creatures)
Crow T. Robot: They just did not care!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And before you think that Superman is responsible for murder, nope, the caption informs us what the deal is.
Narrator: This is a Superman robot. One of many created to wield nearly as much power as the man they identically resemble.
Linkara: Yeah, they really need to fix that murder glitch in the next patch. It's starting to become a real problem.
Narrator: Long ago, they proved to be unreliable. For safety's sake, they were all deactivated and put in storage. Until today.
Linkara: (writing on a clipboard) "Note to self: Disassemble the Shades on board Comicron 1 ASAP. P.S., if unable to dismantle, put them in humorous poses. At least, that way, if I die, it will be hilarious."
Linkara (v/o): And so, the second issue ends, as I pointed out last time, with another "TO BE CONTINUED" box.
Text: ANOTHER SHALL DIE!
Linkara: Which makes this death even more pointless, because Omen doesn't get a miniseries that brings her back to life. (closes comic and holds it up) This comic sucks! Come back next week for the craptacular finale and, spoilers, (holds up two fingers) major misstep number two: (scowls angrily) the other death!
(End credits roll)
If they're still in STAR Labs at the end, why did the Superman robot fly her out? Did she just need some fresh air?
I'm sure you can see how killing off a longtime Titans character equals "graduation."
(Stinger: The panel showing Robin and Superboy together in the closet with the latter putting his pants back on is shown again)
Linkara (v/o): You can't even say he's getting dressed again because of the fight. He wasn't injured that badly and his clothes weren't damaged in the fight. There is no other way of interpreting this scene!
(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang again)
Tom Servo: You see, they just didn't care.