Tagged: Child Endangerment

The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll The Law Is A Ass #381


Now there’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Or three.

Dinah Drake, who when she’s wearing her super heroine costume and not her street clothes goes by the name Black Canary, found a new job in Black Canary vol.4 #1Black_Canary_Vol_4_1Black_Canary_0013

Now she wears a rock star costume – which looks like a shoddy version of the pre-Flashpoint Black Canary costume, goes by the handle D.D., and, oh yeah, is the lead singer for a rock band called Black Canary.

But behind the music, Black Canary is a trouble magnet. Did I mean the heroine or the band? Take your pick. Be it an armed rival rock band crashing a Black Canary concert or a group of overly aggressive “suitors” hitting on women, both figuratively and literally, five of the band’s last seven concerts ended in violence. Ended with D.D. getting into fights with someone at the concert. According to the background information for the current Black Canary series, D.D. is “more comfortable in combat than on stage” and that venues and promoters are “making noise about striking the band from upcoming bills.”

Well I should hope so. Otherwise, there’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I mean, let’s assume you’re a club owner thinking of booking Black Canary – the band not the super heroine; you don’t know the lead singer is the super heroine. (Although I don’t know why not. If Black Canary appearing as the lead singer of a rock band called Black Canary and getting into constant fights in which she displayed the same martial arts skills as the super heroine with the same name isn’t an open invitation to piercing her secret identity, it’s only because it lacked an R.S.V.P. card.) Why would you, the club owner, risk hiring Black Canary? Especially when the odds are 5 out of 7 – or 71.43% for the Vegas inclined – that the band will get into a fight which will cause damage to your club or injury to your patrons. Or, more likely, both.

Should that happen, you, the club owner, would have to pay for the damage to the club and would probably have to pay for the injuries to the patrons. Either pay now or be sued by the patrons and then pay later for both their injuries and their attorneys’ fees.

Once the word on Black Canary the band spread – and in these days of social media, the word would spread faster than schmear on a bagel – why would you, or any club owner, risk having Black Canary perform in your club? If your answer is I don’t know, you have what it takes to make a go of it as a club owner. Or in the legal profession. If your answer is I don’t know, that also puts you one up on all the club owners in the DC Universe, who gave Black Canary enough bookings to last through seven issues of her current series.

That, however, is only the first of the lawsuits waiting to happen found in Black Canary # 1. Let’s move on to more serious matters. The band Black Canary is made up of D.D., Lord Byron, Paloma Terrific, and Ditto; plus their manager Heathcliff Ray. I’m not sure how old Lord Byron is but I’m guessing late teens to early 20s. Heathcliff, was a student at Gotham Academy who left the school to manage Black Canary. So he’s a teenager. Probably 18 though, otherwise he couldn’t sign or negotiate legally-binding contracts. Paloma looks to be about 15. And Ditto is a little girl; 10ish. Oh and none of them have any combat or fighting training.

So, naturally, none of them were prepared when weird alien shadow monsters attacked one of their concerts. Black Canary, the heroine not the band, defeated the monsters and learned that they were, for reasons which will, I hope, be revealed later in the series, hunting Ditto.

What did Black Canary do in light of these events? Why she contacted Superman, Batman, the Justice League or some super hero capable of handling alien shadow monsters and let them know what was happening. Then she made sure that Superman, Batman, the Justice League or some hero capable of handling alien shadow monsters was going to protect Ditto from these alien shadow monsters. Right?


No, Black Canary the heroine agreed to continue touring with Black Canary the band knowing that she’d be putting the other members of the band in danger. Not to mention the fans attending their concerts. The only concession to common sense that Black Canary made was to insist that she train the other members of the band in combat; first hand-to-hand and then weapons training.

Because that makes so much sense. Let’s continually put a group of untrained amateurs – at least two of whom are minors – into dangerous situations without anyone to protect them except one super heroine – a lesser-powered super heroine armed with fighting skills and a sonic super scream called the Canary Cry. That’s it for the defense team, Black Canary and four kids who have a total of – what? ten? twenty? – hours training in combat. But no help from Superman, Batman, the Justice League or anyone who would actually be good in a fight against alien shadow monsters. (Hell, at this point, I’d have settled for Ambush Bug.) Not only did Black Canary’s actions court several negligence lawsuits, they were several counts of criminal child endangerment just waiting to happen.

This is not logical. Unless, as Mr. Spock said when he was trying to destroy an android’s logic circuits, logic really is “a wreath of pretty flowers which smell bad.”

Oh and while we’re at it, let’s have this group of untrained kids keep on performing in public concerts in public venues while knowing that they’ll be attacked by alien shadow monsters. That way you can pretty much insure that whenever the alien shadow monsters attack, it will be sometime when large numbers of innocent, and easily injured, civilians will be present. Because, short of shooting a gun into the audience, nothing screams negligence lawsuit like intentionally creating collateral damage. This was the Canary Cry of screaming negligence.

I’ve just gone over this column and found that I’ve given you some incorrect information. What Black Canary did wasn’t, as I said earlier, a lawsuit or three waiting to happen. I was off by a few dozen exponents.

The Law Is A Ass


Americas-Got-Powers-taps-into-TV-zeitgeist-4919II99-x-largeLet’s just say… I was disappointed.

I have a name for my disappointment and it’s America’s Got Powers #1, the first issue – hey, with the screwy numbering system American Comics use nowadays, one can’t be sure # 1 is actually the first issue – of the new mini-series from Image. Disappointing because it was such a cynical and negative portrayal of America. So let’s proceed that I might give voice to my disappointment.

In the not too distant future, to borrow a line from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 theme – because “borrow” sounds so much nicer than steal – something happened. Which, makes America’s Got Powers better than most mainstream comic books, where super heroes can take four pages just to get their mail – and you only think I’m making that up – so as to stretch out some skimpy story out for the six issues suitable for framing or collecting into a trade paperback.

What happened? A big blue crystal fell from outer space and landed in the middle of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Then, in a real break from mainstream comic books, something else happened. Yes two things happened in the same issue. Every pregnant woman within a five mile radius of the crystal went into labor. (Good thing that crystal didn’t land in Arizona where the new abortion law says pregnancy starts on the first day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Under that definition, girls who’d never had sex would still be pregnant and might have given spontaneous, virgin births. The theological implications are staggering.)

Now you might think that’s enough for the first issue of a comic book. “But wait!” I say in my best Ron Popeil imitation, “There’s more!” Every one of those babies was born with a super power. And that’s where the fun began.

After all those super babies were born, the country endured the Power Riots, whatever those were, which “destabilized the entire country.” In order to calm the public, the US government rounded up the children who got super powers from a crystal, or “Stoners” as they were called, then put them in camps and a training school. The government conducted research on the interred Stoners and trained them how to use their powers, all, ostensibly, in an effort to “re-integrate them” into society. The government funded this facility with the TV series America’s Got Powers.

What’s America’s Got Powers? It was the country’s newest mega-hit reality TV show. The show’s premise was simple. Imagine a reality show which took the best parts of American Idol and American Gladiators, tossed them out, and presented a mash-up of the rest. In other words, in America’s Got Powers, Stoners fought both mechanical adversaries and each other in televised combat all in an effort to be the last one standing. America’s Got Powers was kind of like The Hunger Games but with less food. The winners got to join the world’s only super-hero team,“Power Generation,” while the losers who survived went “back to the camps.”

As the story opened, America’s Got Powers was about to start its seventeenth season. Each of the shows’s first sixteen seasons had become increasingly brutal. With its seventeenth season, the producers decided to reduce all the safety protocols in the combat arena to the minimum settings and to handicap the Stoners with secret treatments or devices that slowed them down. The result was the Stoners couldn’t fight their robotic opponents effectively and were pounded on until they looked like Wile E. Coyote on a particularly bad day.

Now, you might have noticed that I used the word “ostensibly” when I said the purpose of the government’s program was to re-integrate the Stoners into normal society. We’re dealing with an agency of the United States government in a comic book. In today’s comic books, any government agency that doesn’t have a secret agenda is underachieving. America’s Got Powers’ evil secret agenda was confirmed by the producers of the show; an Army general, a United States Senator, and a corporate CEO. We’re not quite sure what the secret agenda was, but we’re pretty sure it was up to no good. After all, what fun is a secret government agenda that’s up to good?

(One point about this trio of producers: Creators, when you set up a government agency with an evil secret agenda, you risk both having your political motivations questioned and having subtlety points deducted from your score by drawing the politician to be a dead ringer for Sarah Palin.)

“But, Bob,” you ask in one of those marvelous imaginary conversations between reader and columnist which I pretend can happen as a way of making a transition, “why fret about the subtlety of political caricatures when this story postulated that the US government was rounding up differently-abled minors, putting them into camps and training them to become involuntary soldiers or some such? We have the Emancipation Proclamation and the 14th Amendment. And child endangerment laws. And child labor laws. Those sorts of things can’t happen, can they?”

Of course not. Those things can’t happen. That’s why colleges and high schools all over this country televise football games. Games in which young men get injured, seriously injured, catastrophically injured, and even fatally injured. And that’s just college and high school. Imagine if a government with a secret agenda got involved. Because that sort of thing can’t happen.

Of course not. Those things can’t happen. That’s why this country never had a Selective Service Commission or a draft and it never conscripted minors who couldn’t even vote yet into the armed forces to fight wars in North America, Europe, Africa, western Asia, southeast Asia., central Asia, and anywhere else where those conscripted minors ended up in the path of enemy bullets and fragmentation grenades. Because that sort of thing can’t happen.

Of course not. Those things can’t happen. That’s why the PATRIOT Act doesn’t exist and has never been used to abolish the Writ of habeas corpus or to justify rounding up people and confining them in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely without trial. Because that sort of thing… Oh you get the idea.

And before you argue that Gitmo is used to house – or warehouse – foreign nationals and such confinement can’t happen to United States citizens, I remind you of the Japanese Internment Camps of World War II. You know, the program where thousands of people who happened to have Japanese ancestry but who were born in this country and were unquestionably United States citizens, were removed from their homes, deprived of their property, and placed in indefinite confinement in internment camps without ever having been charged with a crime. Without, in fact, ever even having committed a crime.

And I guess that’s why I was so disappointed with America’s Got Powers and its cynical and negative portrayal of America. Given what we know about what truly happens in this country, I don’t think America’s Got Powers was anywhere near cynical or negative enough.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: From time to time I have been running columns I wrote years ago which, for one reason or another, have not been widely published. This is another one of them. This is, in fact, the last such column I have in my files. So I guess I’d better get busy writing the next new column, because I don’t have any more old ones with which to buy myself some time.