TGH: Welcome back to the world of comics horror! Last time, Captain Atom’s arch nemesis Monarch came back from the dead and started saving lives, which pissed Atom off to no end. Breaking into his compound by pretending that Firestorm is dying, Monarch reveals himself as none other than Also Captain Atom! Perhaps, even, a BETTER Captain Atom! How will Atom handle the fact that the person he hates most is himself? Will we see two Captain Atom deaths? Does the world love us that much?
BW: From that cover? No. On the other hand, we do get to see Captain Atom as a lady, which is a nice change of pace.
QP: A lady and also suddenly a Green Lantern.
TGH: Props to Steve Lightle for showcasing two of David Bowie’s most influential artistic periods.
DN: Well, we can’t beat that. So, issue 9?
TGH: Oh, if only. The issue opens where we were last time, except Captain Atom is no longer shocked that Monarch is him, and is just back to his usual chest-puffing.
DN: Platique’s perm is just going to annoy me on every page, isn’t it?
QP: And also as usual, he dives in headfirst without a plan, because that’s real leadership.
BW: In fairness, it’s hard to be intimidated when your opponents are all wearing hospital gowns. Okay, random goons in hospital gowns with Cable guns. Slightly more intimidating.
QP: They must’ve gotten a helluva deal at the medical scrubs outlet.
TGH: The highlight of this little episode is him getting immediately sucker-shot by one of the goons.
QP: Fortunately, or not, Firestorm is there to save his ass, which Atom is immensely ungrateful for.
DN: Beetle randomly cannonballs his way through the nurses wearing flannel. Thanks, the ’90s.
TGH: The writers really want Beetle to be Spider-Man, so much that they’re referencing the shitty ’60s cartoon.
TGH: Proportional strength of a person rolling!
QP: Man, Spidey is hella flexible.
QP: Captain Atom uses some precision lasering to heat up the goons’ guns enough to melt them, without damaging their fragile hand meat. That’d almost be impressive if I didn’t have my suspicions he was aiming for their heads.
BW: Which makes me miss all the more the days that Firestorm would turn dudes guns into flower bouquets.
DN: The artist’s only consistent thing is Plastique’s perm.
TGH: Firestorm locks everyone in a radioactive cage, giving them all cancer. Thankfully their leader is basically Jesus. Or at least Half Jesus, what with resurrection and healing. I’d like to have a look at what they’re drinking.
BW: Kool Aid. No question.
QP: I mean, turning water into Kool Aid is pretty miraculous.
DN: And delicious.
QP: Oh yeah.
BW: Does this mean Extreme Justice is going to fight Kool Aid Man? Because I’m all over that.
QP: Please please please please please.
DN: No, that would be entertaining.
TGH: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” -Kraft 26:28
QP: Some more goons show up and shoot Plastique with vague rectangle shapes. Fortunately, Monarch stops them from…I don’t know, doing whatever the hell rectangle shapes do when you shoot someone with them?
DN: Her shocked face is pretty great, though.
TGH: Monarch comes waltzing in, even though I’m pretty sure he was in the room the whole time? Did he run away during the issue break?
BW: Had to get some water backstage. And, y’know, heal the sick or something.
TGH: Monarch then decides to tell his life story, since we’ve got plenty of pages left. I guess when he was blown up and got his powers, everything but his awful underpants blew off and he went into space. This checks out.
DN: Because reasons.
BW: So now he know Captain Atom waxes. Which isn’t necessarily the fun fact I wanted to discover today, but here we are.
DN: No thanks.
QP: Could be worse. Could be commando day.
TGH: Wrong military branch.
BW: Your mother was right. Always wear clean underwear.
TGH: Then Monarch shows up, and Not Captain Atom saves him or something? And then he gets his costume because reasons? But regular Captain Atom was a hero this entire time so Not Captain Atom set out to get his life back by dressing up as Monarch and calling the mayor to get permission to heal people out of his spaceship (PS he got a spaceship somehow)? I now fully believe that literally anyone can write a comic book.
QP: Yeah, he didn’t really explain why he’s also Captain Atom but whatever. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of sophisticated sci-fi from this book.
TGH: Catherine comes in and tells everyone that Monarch healing people has given everyone homes and stopped all crime, so if Captain Atom can’t find any crimes being committed (besides everyone being shot at with unregistered space weapons) then maybe he should get the fuck out. Atom just puts his hand out like “COME OOOOOON!”
QP: Most of the crimes he’s found so far have been ones he’s committed sooooo…
TGH: Everyone leaves in shame, so this issue hasn’t been a total loss.
QP: …did they leave Beetle?
TGH: Beetle’s in the radioactive spaceship that Firestorm made.
QP: Oh. That’s some good art.
TGH: He gave him a steering wheel to create the illusion of control and everything.
BW: Monarch has to toss in his two cents of, “I’ll grind him under my BOOTS!” So yeah, subtlety Monarch. SUBTLETY.
QP: Now that they’ve been defeated by Monarch, maybe time to regroup and make a plan of att…nope, Coney Island, motherfuckers!
TGH: Reeling from an embarrassing defeat, Captain Atom decides that this is a great time for a date. Atom tells Bette about how he used to fuck Catherine, but he ruined it by being a superhero just like he did with Plastique. I guess Catherine didn’t pick up when he called her.
BW: I’m pretty sure she saw Captain Atom on casual Friday and that was what killed it.
QP: She was his boss and his lover, and he screwed up their relationship by being good at his job. This is why inter-office romances are always a bad idea.
TGH: Captain Atom also fails at the shooting game and calls himself old. Bette says he’s barely…34?!?!?!?! THIRTY FOUR. THIRTY. FOUR. FUCK THIS COMIC. I didn’t realize we were reading a fucking manga.
QP: We are all dead and dying.
BW: Just moldering here. Don’t mind me.
DN: 34 here, can confirm, am old and dying.
DN: Plastique says shes not the type of woman you have to impress. Which is good, because you’re fucking Captain Atom.
TGH: Bette tells him she loves him and that bald guy can’t believe what he’s hearing. I feel you, man.
TGH: Meanwhile, Ronnie is making out with some random lady while Ted is dressed up like he’s auditioning for a VH-1 comedy special.
QP: He just needs the flip glasses and he’s in Dwayne Wayne cosplay.
DN: Also, Ronnie Raymond is fucking Fabio.
BW: We have achieved peak ’90s.
TGH: Ronnie declares that he puts the Kool in Kool-Aid, which actually does not make any sense and I demand the writer resign immediately and ruin the timeline.
BW: It’s too late. Far, far too late to save this timeline.
QP: Clearly foreshadowing the upcoming sneak attack from the Kool-Aid man, tho.
BW: OH YEAH!
QP: So I guess Ronnie is also a model? This is the first of this that I’ve heard (or cared).
DN: Firestorm has to pay the bills somehow. Being a C-lister don’t pay.
TGH: While everyone is having a good time, mysterious ooze pours out of everything and monsters attack!
QP: This dollar bin knock off Brood seems dangerous I guess.
TGH: William Howard Taft is caught unawares.
QP: Unfortunately, some of our heroes are too busy awkwardly initiating sex to worry about bargain-basement X-Men villains menacing New York.
TGH: Atom and Bette arrive at the upper west side, where the average family income is higher than your zip code. So, higher than $99,950. In New York City. Wow.
QP: Or about $10,000 if you’re going by NYC zip codes. Which…yeah, no.
TGH: Wasn’t DC based out of New York? Hey guys, I don’t think you were getting paid a whole lot!
QP: I don’t know what the average American household income in the 1995 was, but surely it was higher than many people’s zip codes.
TGH: So anyway, Atom and Plastique are about to fuck, so that’s why I’m really trying to focus on household incomes and zip codes.
TGH: Mercifully, we go back to the rest of the gang before we’re scarred for life.
QP: At a bar, Ronnie’s busy chatting up two models and Lucille Ball.
DN: One model doesn’t even get a face!
TGH: Some dude hits Ronnie up for money. Can’t he just turn a chair into solid gold or something?
BW: In hindsight, I think THIS page is where we achieve peak ’90s.
DN: Did you wear a lot of pastel blazers in the ’90s?
BW: I wore a LOT of questionable clothes in the ’90s. Lets say that.
QP: Daytime talk show hosts and pimps did. So I’m assuming this guy was on Good Morning The Bronx or something.
DN: Now I’m just thinking of Regis Philbin as a pimp.
BW: “How will we know there’s trouble?”
“Oh, we’ll know.”
Arguably the best dialogue of the issue.
QP: Fortunately the bar blows up, so we don’t have to spend much time thinking about this side plot they’re trying to shoehorn in.
TGH: The lizard monsters apparently have the power to explode windows but are real stingy about using it.
BW: Save it for when it counts, I always say.
TGH: Meanwhile, some lady is taking her baby for a walk really, really late at night. She offers to make the baby a bite to eat, instead of just breastfeeding him. The lizard monsters are those assholes who think they know what’s best for everyone and their kids, and decide that if she’s not going to take care of her baby the right way, then maybe she doesn’t need the baby at all!
QP: So they’re all from a Facebook mommy group? Makes sense.
DN: I think one of them eats the baby. Art isn’t super clear.
BW: Clearly she’s offering the baby to the monsters to eat. Clearly.
TGH: The jokes on them. Babies who are formula/sandwich/not breast milk fed smell/probably taste the worst.
QP: Also they will grow up short and un-athletic and not get a full ride into Harvard.
DN: Is…is that how babies work?
TGH: Meanwhile (if dreams exist in the kind of temporal plane that can be measured in a way that can be described as a “meanwhile” relative to other real-world events), Captain Atom has a nightmare with really stupid dialogue, even for dream standards.
DN: To be fair, “I DO EXIST!!” is how I wake up from every post-sex dream.
BW: From the art, I wasn’t sure if Captain Atom and Plastique had ended up back at her place, his place, or in an alley.
QP: Could go either way.
DN: Eh, it’s sex with Captain Atom, who really gives a shit?
TGH: I think her apartment just has a beautiful alley view. $2500 a month.
QP: Studio. No bathroom.
BW: And a roommate.
QP: Literally just a closet.
TGH: I can’t help but hear Plastique’s plea for Captain Atom to stay in a super sarcastic voice.
QP: Doing her best Willy Wonka impersonation.
QP: Apparently Plastique’s apartment was really close to the bar everyone else was at, because Atom pops outside to find the team punching lizards.
DN: That eat babies.
BW: And scare dead ex-Presidents. The monsters.
TGH: Amazing-Man and the lizards almost have the same outfits. In a better comic I’d assume they were in cahoots, but I know that the character design is just lazy.
BW: Amazing-Man and the Lizards would be a great team-up book.
QP: It’s nice that they were progressive enough to put a black guy on their team. It would be more impressive if they managed to consistently color him as a black guy.
TGH: It’s not his fault he keeps brushing against everyone and absorbing their whiteness.
QP: Oh ok, that makes more sense.
BW: To hold the lizards, they’re throwing them into garbage trucks. Which really isn’t terribly flattering of them as villains, I have to say.
TGH: Beetle gives Atom a status report. Firestorm’s powers don’t work, so he gave them to Amazing-Man, which made them work less, and now here they are!
DN: Firestorm punches some of the lizard dudes with energy hands that have brass knuckles. Like…does that do more damage?
QP: Sure, why not?
TGH: Amazing-Man decides to steal a lizard’s powers and completely rips off The Incredible Hulk.
BW: Does that mean he sadly hitchhikes away from this book?
QP: “What is his body made of?” I dunno, guy, you’re the one who absorbed it, you tell us.
TGH: That’s not even what the lizards look like, so I’m not sure how he ended up this way.
QP: Dunno, I’m sure it’s yet another plot point being introduced into this issue in such a stupid way as to make sure we completely forget about it.
DN: Atom is having some trouble with the lizard people, but that’s fine, because Plastique shows up wearing a straight up LIEFELD outfit, complete with dumb headgear and pouches. Her perm now majestically flows out of her costume.
QP: Well that’s a requirement of any Liefeld costume.
TGH: Plastique is now canonically stronger than Atom. I’m pretty sure Maxima could break him in half, too. Seriously, why are the ladies not running this team?
DN: The ’90s.
QP: Atom is so concerned about her even though her entire thing is she blows shit up, which in this case is a pretty useful skillset to have on your team. But fragile ladies, I guess.
TGH: Atom isn’t sure how they’re going to stop these lizards, which is good, because Monarch shows up and just kind of melts them away, saving everyone.
QP: Such a bad guy.
TGH: Atom asks how he did it, and he he responds that he knows how to use his powers, unlike SOMEONE.
DN: Captain Atom fucking sucks, you guys.
BW: It’d be fine, I guess, if Monarch didn’t keep mumbling “murdermurdermurder” under his breath.
QP: Monarch points out that he has the situation under control, unlike the team, and then taunts Atom for being about to lose his shit again. Like, he’s not wrong.
TGH: He says Atom should go away before he explodes like he does in every issue, killing everyone. Again, not wrong.
QP: They never even tried to call the other Justice League for help.
DN: Even Vibe is too good for this book.
BW: There’s a reason that Booster and Maxima didn’t appear in this issue.
TGH: I bet The Yazz could’ve stopped at least one of them, unlike our illustrious leader.
QP: The lizards would probably have all killed each other trying to get in its pants.
TGH: Just 15 pages of horrifying dinosaur/lizard orgy.
DN: I can’t decide if I’m grossed out or turned on…
TGH: Nobody is at fault for wanting to fuck The Yazz.
TGH: Anyway, Atom and Bette are about to be engaged, which is why I’m really trying to focus on pterodactyl genitalia.
QP: It’s a cloaca. You’re welcome.
TGH: Again, it’s amazing that being humiliated so badly makes him think that this is a good time for something like this.
DN: He proposes with something he won at Coney Island. Captain Atom fucking sucks, you guys.
QP: It’s the kind of thing that would be cute in a stupid rom com, but here it just reeks of desperation.
TGH: He’s a man out of time, with a life not of his own making, which I’m pretty sure is from one of the shittiest Smiths songs, “Marry Me (It’s Over).”
DN: Is it really a good idea for 2 explody people to get hitched?
BW: Be out of state on the wedding night. ZING!
QP: Maybe he should find a lady with fire extinguisher powers.
DN: Ice and Icemaiden are too fucking good for Captain Atom.
QP: Well one of them is dead and the other doesn’t swing that way, so he’s a bit out of luck.
DN: Pretty sure Icemaiden is bi.
TGH: Either way she’s absolutely not Atomsexual.
QP: Really, deep down, aren’t we all not Atomsexual?
TGH: It goes against God and nature.
DN: SO, ISSUE 9?
QP: Sure, why not.
TGH: Will Bette come to her senses? Can the Extreme Justice team convince Captain Atom that he would make a garbage husband? Will Monarch show her what a real version of Captain Atom is capable of? Tune in next time!