Thursday, April 10, 2008

Final Crisis Preview--AAU Superstar

As we approach the unavoidable Final Crisis, I look back and see some of the changes I've been forecasting for the DC Universe: the return of forgotten heroes, comedians with their own comics, real-life Western heroes, camp teenage heroes (hey, I asked for Prez, and Morrison is giving us Anthro...oh so close!!), and Superbaby.

But I realize that there is one venue I forgot to tap to revitalize the DC Universe: advertisements. No, not those wonderful Hostess ads (although...). No, I'm referring to the glory of shoes, and specifically the AAU Superstar!!

More action in one panel than the past 2 years of New Avengers!As presented on the inside cover of Adventure Comics #457 (1978), this ad presents, I think, the greatest chance to bring the glory of heroism back to the DC Universe via a Grant Morrison dialectic. Unlike many other decompressed comics of today, the very first panel of this epic throws us into the deep end of villainy:

Boston Murdock? Matt Brand??Don't question how possession of the "Miracle Medicine" would bring the world to its knees (unless that was the only vial in existence, and if so, why are we wasting it on a punk like Tommy?). Instead, revel in the Morrisonian irony of using a character who is clearly a composite of Deadman and Daredevil (symbolically merging the two giant companies in the field, using images of death and evil), yet making him the villain, an obvious indictment of the industry's cold capitalism!! And at the same time, using him to present a devastating critique of the U.S. health care system!?! Fortunately for Tommy:

I miss Miracle Man...Clearly, Flex Mentallo was at least partially inspired by this, right?

PROTIP: When plotting world domination, spring for a rental car...on foot is no way to conquer civilizationNote the sound effect: by presenting "ZOOM" sideways, it becomes "MOON," suggesting that AAU Superstar's powers are not natural, but alien in origin. And given the state of amateur athletics, an obvious allusion to steroid use!!

Edna was right--NO CAPES!!...whereas in this panel, the "YANK" sound effect is an obvious dig at Americans, trying to keep their life-saving medicine away from Third World nations (that being, in and of itself, a reference to Kirby's Fourth World, and a pre-preview of Morrison's Fifth World!!)...note that said Third World is portrayed as "Sinister," yet the surname "Sole" indicates the author believes these other nation possess more "soul" than the greedy Americans, no matter how superior their steroid-enhanced running ability ("Shupernatural," indeed).

If bad puns were gravity, this panel would be a black holeThe banal dialogue of this panel, together with "America's" foot driven into the back of the "soleful" Third World, completes the critique of the comic industry and international relations. Or does it?

Mom and AAU Superstar are sooo doing it...That's right, the health care conundrum. In this universe, we must depend on capitalist, HGH-pumped ubermensch to provide us health...and don't forget, consumerism solves all health problems ("thanks to your shoes!"), as long as you don't stay too long in the hospital, you resource sponge (I'll be on my feet in no time!")!

So, if Grant Morrison didn't travel back in time to write this ad, he certainly should have. So I can practically guarantee* that Final Crisis will result in AAU Superstar becoming a part of the mainstream DC Universe!!

*guarantee has no value. Void where prohibited. No wagering allowed. Kids, if you read more comics than you can afford, join the club.

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