Tuesday, August 22, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 234: Highway to the Danger Room

Oh no! (he said, excitedly, because it's a Grant Morrison story and virtually anything could happen) The Justice League has been destroyed! By Darkseid! He's always pullin' that! Also, he's burning the American flag, so expect a stern rebuke from the right.

Panels from Aztek, The Ultimate Man #10 (May 1997), script by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, pencils by N. Steven Harris, inks by Keith Champagne, colors by Mike Danza, letters by Clem Robins

Now what are you going to do?!? No, this is not a Choose your Own Adventure story. (If you face Darkseid with a Mother Box, turn to page ten. If you escape back in time, turn to pahe 45. If you light a firecracker in Darkseid's pants, turn to page 906.) It's actually a dilemma for Aztek, the Pontiac mid-size the Ultimate Man! What will you do, Aztek, what will you do? (If you stab Darkseid with your pinty pointy helmet, turn to page 108.)

Surprise! It's all a Danger Room-style simulation overseen by the tactical master of the JLA (hold on, gotta turn my head and laugh a little)...Green Lantern. The Kyle Rayner version, with crab mask and all! Turns out this was part of the initiation test to join the Justice League (A), and Aztek's tactical plan has passed with flying colors. Other parts of the initiation test not shown here include tugging on Superman's cape, taking one punch from Batman, and going to all-you-can-eat night at Golden Corral with Wally.

The test is, in fact, a Kobayashi Maru of sorts. Unlike the real Starfleet thing, it is winnable — not by reprogramming the simulation, but by sheer force of the fact that nobody ever really dies in superhero comic books. These rules may not apply in dreams, imaginary stories (aren't they all?) or Elseworlds, but that's not because of the power of Aztek's conviction but rather of Warner Brothers merchandising.

Just as in Star Trek II, just like James T. Kirk with the glasses and all, this chapter of Aztek's short but illustrious career opens with a Kobayashi Maru test and ends not to soon after with him having to face the real deal. Join us tomorrow to see how we face death is at least as important as how we face life, Aztek.

No comments: