There's no way that Wonder Woman's going to fight crime on a team led by a drunk who's constantly pissing himself. She's not going to face down evil standing side-by-side with Dogwelder. She's just not. She says so, right there on page two of All-Star Section Eight #4. But then she does. And it's hilarious.
Section Eight is a team made up of a bunch of losers, spun off of an old comics series called Hitman, which that took great joy in making fun of paint-by-numbers superhero tropes. Here's Hitman lead character Tommy Monaghan -- who, yes, killed people all the damn time -- busting the balls of then-Green Lantern Kyle Rayner during their unlikely team-up:
That guy with the purple mask and tiny bowler hat? He's Captain Sixpack, the delusional barfly who's assembled a crop of wannabe superhumans in a squad called Section Eight. After the Hitman series bit the dust years ago, it seemed like we wouldn't see anymore of the gross-out adventures of Sixpack and crew. But, to the surprise of almost everyone, DC debuted a new Section Eight series four months ago, reuniting original series creators Garth Ennis and John McCrea for more fucked-up stories.
Where Sixpack's old appearances happened on the fringes of a fringe book far away from DC's glittery centrepiece titles, All-Star Section Eight has delivered a parade of the publisher's biggest characters, all shown in the most embarrassing fashion. The going conceit has been that Sixpack's been trying to assemble an all-new team and needs one more member to make it an even eight. (Immortal phallic demon lord Baytor is the seventh member -- pun totally intended -- but isn't pictured below.)
So he's asking big-name heroes like Batman, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter to join. Each appearance has been a hilarious send-up. Here's Batman from issue #1, which used some of the most iconic artwork done on the character to spoofy effect:
Batman does not like getting parking tickets.
Issue #2 had a sort of non-appearance by Green Lantern, who wasn't having any of Sixpack's weird shit:
The running gag in issue #3's Martian Manhunter spotlight was that the last survivor of a lost Red Planet civilisation smells...different from humans.
But the big-leaguers of the DC Universe do, in fact, know of Section Eight...
As seen above, they know to stay away. So, when Wonder Woman comes to the seedy Gotham City bar that serves as Section Eight headquarters, she's determined not to get drawn into the same kind of humiliations that have met her high-profile colleagues.
Then she gets hit in the head with a hammer.
The bulk of All-Star Section Eight #4 basically revolves around a plot point from old cartoons like Tom & Jerry, where head trauma changes the personality of a character and makes them goofier. The way that Ennis introduces Wonder Woman in this issue -- haughty, dismissive and meta-aware that she's a subject of objectification -- riff off of the character's bondage-centric origins. But the addled Amazon who has tea parties and dreams up a wedding for Bueno Excellente and Guts -- the team pervert and an ambulatory pile of internal organs -- is another sort of cruel-yet-kind riff that comments on how Wonder Woman is also supposed to be a "superhero for girls."
All-Star Section Eight reminds me a bit of Marvel's Squirrel Girl, in that it takes the loopy logic of superhero universes and mines it for glorious absurdity. Btt it's gross where Squirrel Girl is cuddly. Both titles work well, though. All-Star Section Eight is a miniseries with two chapters left. If we're lucky, it will go out with the worst kind of bang.