A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Monday, February 28, 2005

Profile: Loren

It was suggested in comments below that we share our credentials, so that you, dear reader, have reason to trust our reviews and nitpicks. Rather than merely append a mini-bio to posts, I thought it'd be best to for us to share a little more about ourselves upfront. And I'll also add some thoughts about what my personal philosophy on this blog is.

I'm Loren Collins, a 26-year old lifelong Georgia resident. I graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law last spring, and before that I got a B.A. in Political Science and Religion from UGA. I specialized in criminal law during law school, and during my third year I interned in two different prosecutor's offices. At the moment, I'm seeking employment in a district attorney's office. I discovered Robert Ingersoll's column archives last year, and have since wanted to emulate his work.

So my fields of expertise here are mostly criminal law and politics, but I'm sure to touch upon other legal issues or random trivia that I'm familiar with. For instance, as a metro Atlantan, I plan on taking Robert Kirkman to task for his treatment of Atlanta in Walking Dead.

Given the general theme of fact-checking and pointing out mistakes, does that mean I expect creators to put out books that are completely error-free? Of course not. I don't expect a comic author to consult the Federal Rules of Evidence before writing a courtroom scene. They're not lawyers any more than I'm a psychologist.

Some manipulation of real-world ways is unavoidable because of the restrictions of the medium. Consider the courtroom setting. Opening and closing statements must be a lot shorter. Allowing witnesses to give narrative answers avoids Bendis-esque back-and-forth dialogue. If the questioning of a witness is relevant on the whole, then it can hurt the scene to break it up with objections that would be overruled. Dramatic and storytelling demands can trump reality in these situations, just as they do on many a legal procedural drama on TV.

My expectations also vary depending on the publication. Manhunter is a serious, mature book whose title character and protagonist is a prosecutor. As such, I'm going to hold "The Trial of the Shadow Thief" to a much higher standard than a Kyle Baker-penned "The Trial of Woozy Winks" in Plastic Man. And if a comic's plot relies on an erroneous legal assumption (as a recent Gotham Central arc very nearly did), then that's worse than a bad throwaway reference.

Then there are certain errors that I never want to see repeated again, in any story, and which every writer should avoid. Perhaps the biggest one is when the prosecutor is shown calling the defendant as a witness at trial. Never happens. Can't happen. It's illegal, and in violation of the defendant's right against self-incrimination. Another biggie is that the prosecution always presents its evidence first at trial. If you can't get courtroom basics right, then maybe you shouldn't be writing a courtroom story.

Of course, I'm very willing to point out any errors, whether I actually mind them or not. Why? First, it helps to inform the reader. Things like "The Science of Star Trek" can both critique and provide tidbits of knowledge that people might not otherwise learn. Second, it might help someone from making a similar mistake in a future story. Getting something wrong may or may not hurt a story, but getting it right can only help. In other words, maybe we can help make comics better.

We expect our films and television programs to maintain a certain degree of accuracy. No respectable episode of "Law & Order" would be as error-riddled as Manhunter #7. No movie about archery would feature as many basic mistakes as you'll find in a archery comic. Comics should aspire to the same levels of accuracy as other entertainment media, and readers shouldn't settle for less.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Shooting three (or more) arrows at once...

In just about every appearance by an archer in comics, there comes a scene where he/she loads three or four (or more) arrows on the bow. Usually we just see the grim-faced archer with bow drawn, bearing a cluster of arrows. We seldom see the shot. Ironically enough, this is usually the one time in the comic where the bow is held in a proper vertical position, despite the fact that in the real world you HAVE to tilt the bow to keep the arrows from falling off.

So how well does this stunt work?

Shooting three arrows at once is fun. Pointless, but fun. You just have to accept that they are going to end up about 4-6 inches away from each other. If you do it right they will be in a nice line at the same angle you held the bow (assuming your arrows are all balanced and of equal weight). The distance between them is determined by the distance to the target and the angles of the arrows relative to each other on the bow. A 1/8" change at the bow results in a change of at least an inch at the target.

Also, and much more importantly, the amount of energy imparted by the bow is finite; shooting three arrows at once means that each arrow only gets a third of the energy a single shot would have. So if a single arrow goes 90 meters (Olympic distance), three arrows will only travel 30 meters each. They will hit with only 1/3 the impact. It's a supremely ineffective technique for anything other than extremely close distances.

I really wish somebody would use that as a plot point just once.

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Manhunter #7: The Trial of the Shadow Thief

"Trial By Fire Part 2: Witness for the Prosecution"
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artists: Jesus Saiz and Fernando Blanco

I haven't been following this series, but I have heard very good things about it. Since the current arc features a criminal trial spinning out of Identity Crisis, now seemed like a good chance to check it out. If I'm going to talk about criminal law in comics, I'd be amiss to ignore the comic that stars a criminal prosecutor. If it's good, then I'll be happy. If it's not, well, Mr. Ingersoll suffered through the awful Vigilante and "The Trial of the Flash," and this book at least guarantees me some very nice art.

Thus far, I'm happy about the art.

This issue is apparently the second to focus on the Shadow Thief's trial for murdering Ronnie Raymond, the hero Firestorm, in Identity Crisis #5. I didn't read IC (fortunately, so I hear), but my understanding is that the Shadow Thief stole the Shining Knight's sword and used it to stab Firestorm in the chest, afterwhich the nuclear-powered Firestorm exploded. (Howling Curmudgeons offers a critical analysis of this event from a physicist's POV.) This information puts me in about the same position as the jurors in the issue: they didn't see the crime, but Kate Spencer must have described it in her opening statement.

Andreyko does pretty well for the first little bit. Well, the first page. More like the first dialogue balloon. Actually, just the first eight words. By word nine, there's a big error, one that was inevitable given the high concept for this arc.

The word is "federal." Kate Spencer is a federal prosecutor, and Carl Sands is being tried in a federal court. Simply put, that ain't right. Sands is charged with murder, and 99% of the time murder is a state crime, not a federal one.

Short Constitutional lesson: Congress isn't allowed to pass any law it likes. It's limited to laws relating to certain functions layed out in the Constitution, stuff like granting copyrights and regulating commerce between the states. They've gotten looser in their standards over time, but most common crimes remain the jurisdiction of the states. Crimes can become federal offenses, and fall under federal court jurisdiction, in certain cases, though. This includes when a murder took place on federal property, or the victim was an agent of the federal government, or taking a victim across state lines. Certain murder-for-hire situations may have interstate communications allowing for prosecution in a federal court.

But, as best as I can tell, none of those possibilities are present in this case. Ronnie was not a federal officer, and the murder took place outside on the side of a road. There is no sign of there being any action between states. Unless the park was federal land (doubtful, except as a 'No-Prize' excuse for federal jurisdiction), this case ought to be tried in a court of the state in which the murder took place.

Even if federal jurisdiction were proper, it's unlikely that it would be proper in the Central District of California. Based on the events of IC #5 and Firestorm #1, Ronnie's death probably took place somewhere near Detroit, or at least in the upper midwest. Proper venue would be in the district the crime took place in, not half a continent away. Venue can be transferred at the defendant's request if the prosecution agrees, or if the court finds the first venue to be unfairly prejudicial or inconvenient. None of those appear to be the case here. Sands has nothing to gain and everything to lose by moving his case so it can be handled by an LA "star prosecutor" (though judging by her work in this issue, I don't know how Kate got that reputation).

Kate's first witness is Hawkman. That's her first mistake. Hawkman wasn't present when Firestorm was killed. He doesn't have any firsthand knowledge of the murder. As a witness in a murder case, he's pretty useless. That Kate only asks him two questions sorta proves this.

Her first question of the entire trial is "Is it true that Carl Sands used stolen technology from the planet Thanagar in his identity as the Shadow Thief?" This should have elicited an objection from the defense. For starters, it's a leading question, strongly implying the answer that Kate wants Hawkman to give (ie, "yes, it is true"). The question also claims that Sands committed the criminal act of stealing the shadow belt. Prior criminal acts are typically not admissible as evidence, and while there are exceptions (such as to show motive or opportunity), this use doesn't seem to fit any of them. So both her question and Hawkman's answer are objectionable on that basis as well, as is Hawkman's "When he wasn't trying to kill me" comment in his second answer.

(Continuity sidebar: Both Kate's question and Hawkman's answer contradict the Shadow Thief's Post-Crisis origin. John Ostrander established that the Dimensiometer Belt was used for spaceship repair, not police work, and was given to Carl Sands by Byth. Unless these details have been retconned, Kate's question becomes even more objectionable, as it suggests he committed a crime that he, in fact, did not. And Hawkman's answer is perjurious.)

Both questions should probably have elicited objections over their relevance to the murder charge, but I can't say how the judge would have ruled because I'm unsure of what Kate was trying to prove with them. As a juror, I'd be wondering why the opening witness had nothing to say about any murder, and thus calling Hawkman first was, at best, poor trial tactics.

It's during Hawkman's direct testimony that we get our one look at Carl Sands in the courtroom, dressed in orange prison garb and sitting in a tube. No one goes to trial in a prison outfit; it's too prejudicial to the defendant for the jury to see him dressed like a felon. A good lawyer would have him well-groomed and dressed in a suit. And I don't know what purpose the tube serves, unless Sands has retained his Neron-induced powers (in which case Hawkman's testimony about the shadow belt seems even more irrelevant).

Now for Hawkman's cross-examination. Again, just two questions, and both are objectionable. The first because it appears to be totally irrelevant (and even if defense attorney Logan had a good reason that I'm missing, Kate still should have jumped to her feet). The second is worse. Logan clearly wants to impeach Hawkman's credibility, and one way to do that is with evidence of a prior conviction. But Hawkman was never convicted, and evidence of a mere arrest is inadmissible. If there was only one objection in this entire issue, it should have been to this question. So what do we see Kate do? Does she jump up and object? No. She looks at the hero and thinks "Deep breaths, Hawkman."

Hawkman is also a terrible witness, to fly off the handle and damage the witness stand after a question he doesn't like. Kate's co-counsel says "It could have been worse." The prosecution began its case with a useless witness, asked him objectionable and irrelevant questions, failed to object to defense questions, and then had their witness threaten defense counsel. I suppose it could've been worse if he'd beat up a juror.

OK, now on to the second witness, Superman. We finally get an objection, but I'll leave it to someone with federal experience to call this one. But I'm inclined to guess that either the defense attorney or the judge, one of them, is wrong. In any case, Mr. Logan demonstrates a marked lack of professionalism with his final "Hmmph--No, sir." A good lawyer always, always says "Thank you" in response to a judge's ruling, regardless of who won. The grunt is totally out-of-line, and many judges would likely reprimand the attorney right then and there for it.

Superman's an even more useless witness than Hawkman was. Not only does he know nothing about the crime, but he has nothing to say about the defendant either. It's hard to tell with the flashback sequence, but it looks like Kate only asked one question, prompting a lengthy response from Superman about how swell Firestorm was. That's a narrative response, which is objectionable.

More importantly, Superman's testimony is entirely about the character of the victim. "Firestorm already had the heart of a hero," etc. Character evidence is typically off-limits during a criminal trial, because it encourages the jury to make decisions based on reputations rather than facts. The prosecution can't introduce character evidence of the accused unless the defense has already called the victim's character into question. That sure didn't happen during Hawkman's testimony. When we're shown Mr. Logan muttering "Crap" under his breath, we just don't see him thinking "Crap, I'm a lousy attorney."

I'm not sure what to make of Mr. Logan's cross-examination of Superman, other than to say that it seems to be just as pointless as his first cross. He's trying to impeach Supes' credibility, but why? Is he hoping to hang his defense on the notion that Firestorm wasn't a swell guy? Is he trying to play on the jury's prejudices against superheroes and secret identities? Does he hope to play the Astro City card and claim that Firestorm isn't really dead? Mr. Logan's questions should at least be eliciting objections from Ms. Spencer, even if she loses them, but she does nothing. Even when Mr. Logan starts rambling without asking another question, she still refuses to object, opting instead to grimace and angle her eyebrows.

That's about it for this issue. I could talk about the secret identity issue, but that's a whole article unto itself. I suspect the courtroom is laid out wrong, but we never get a distant enough angle to be certain. I could point out that Sands appears to have ended up on trial within weeks of the murder, but I'm willing to forgive that for the sake of the medium. No one wants to wait two years for the Shadow Thief's trial (like we waited for the trial of Kobra in JSA, which I plan to rip apart sooner or later). But this issue basically boils down to Kate being an incompetent prosecutor. Unless she can start producing evidence that says or suggests "Carl Sands killed Ronnie Raymond," she might as well give up now.

(And a shout-out to silogramsam for beating me to the punch on analyzing this issue. Good work.)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Royal Report: Judomaster.

Throughout the years, martial arts has been seen as some sort of mystical, magical vundun throughout all media. It has spanned the range of accurate (Ong Bak) to very ridiculous (Enough). The same can be said with comics. Back in the Golden Age, Yoga was considered THE fighting art. Men like Chandu, The Shadow & even Batman all were practioners. I still laugh when I think about how an art that trains you to be flexible & breathing was ever considered a "fighting" art. After World War Two, comics turned to more traditional japanese arts. More & more characters were masters of Karate & Judo by the start of the 60's. The notoriety was nice, but the actual understanding wasn't there. Let me give you an example.



Here we have Judomaster, one of the riculous martial artist created by Frank McLaughlin, who is said to have been a Judo enthusiast, but was probably getting his tips from a cereal box. First off that costume is a definite bullseye. I mean...it literally screams out "Kick Me In The Cash & Prizes!" Most japanese martial arts emphasis avoiding conflict by any means. The costume breaks that rule by being loud & outlandish. The mask doesn't do anything either because he's only seeing in one direction. Straight. His Peref. Vision is totally blocked by cloth so multiple attackers are pretty much hard to defend. He makes it easy for attackers to defeat him. If I was in CQC (Close Quarter Combat) with him, my options is to either get in a clinch, grab that ponytail of his & just knee his nose in & his jaw off OR go for a takedown, get on top of him & neck crank his head off his body using the 'tail as leverage. Either way, that ponytail just screams "Grab Me!" And who can forget the shoes. Judomaster does have some very sensible footwear. Too bad he tightly binds his ankles. It definitely makes it easy to break them with a couple heelhooks.

But enough about the costume, let's look at his meat & potatoes of his heroism, his martial art technique. Says here he holds "Judo's highest honor--The Coveted Black Belt". Sure, you got black belts in Judo, but the belts don't stop there. The highest belt in Judo is Red &White. Yep, Judomaster is an underachiever. He's also master of Zero-G by the looks of the panel in the upper right. His follow through doesn't match the throw. It's not a shoulder throw because he's holding the arm too high. It's not a hip throw because uki (the throwee) is too high & far out in the air. Definitely not a sweep because the foot position isn't right. This proves that his Judo is dodgy (or he's a mutant of some sort. Take your pick.). His karate seems dodgy as well by the looks of the lower right & upper left panels. Besides "Walls...don't hit back.", his punches are big & loopy. Now, it would be understandable if he was setting up a backfist, but he connects. Karate strikes are usually tight looped & they wouldn't leave their other arm hanging out like that, it would be tight and close in case of retaliation. Very sloppy Judomaster.

Finally we see his "stance" in the bottom left panel. Oh boy. Where to start? First of all, leaning forward with your chin out is a good way to lose you head. All it takes is a good kick or punch to the head. Secondly, his arms are really too wide. He must want to lose ribs too. Here's what happens when you leave you arms wide.



Yep. You lose a whole side of ribs...bad. Finally, his legs are too open. If I was a striker, I would definitely aim to kick the crap out of the knees & shins. If I was a grappler, I'd go for a single leg. The reason for that is even if he sprawled I'd still have his leg. I would then work a leg submission of some sort. Most likely a heelhook.

RESULT: Royal by KO & he gets to take the funny mask to parties.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Don't Try This at Home!

One of the most popular motifs for the "non-powered" superhero is archery; Robin Hood remains an icon and inspiration for comic writers and artists. Sadly, not many of them bother to learn anything about the sport, and it shows. It's like this: I will accept that Green Arrow can shoot an arrow through an ant's ass at 100 yards while swinging from a chandelier, but only if you show me that he knows how to hold a bow. Mike Grell and Scott McCullar get a pass here, being about the only Green Arrow creators to know their way around a bow; likewise Pia Guerra on Y, The Last Man. Everybody else gets it wrong one way or another, the most egregious being Todd Nauck and Peter David for their "Arrowette Goes to the Olympics" storyline in Young Justice a couple of years ago. Even putting aside the obvious absurdities (compound bows are not permitted in the Olympics, men and women shoot in separate competitions), Nauck just flat-out made up every bit of equipment out of his head, and clearly has not the slightest idea what's involved in shooting an arrow. He's at it again in last month's Teen Titans Go! (#14).

To be fair, the worst example of archery in this issue can't be laid at Nauck's pencil. The cover, by Dave Bullock, is the single most laughable example in quite a while. Worse, it falls into the category of "Kids, Don't Try This at Home." If any impressionable children try to shoot their Li'l Chief archery set using this picture as a guide, they are quite likely to injure themselves. I hope DC's liability insurance is paid up.



See how he's holding the arrow onto the bow with his index finger? Never do that. Let me repeat that. Never ever ever under any circumstances should you hold the arrow with your finger. If Speedy shoots that arrow, the next thing the Titans will hear will be his screams of pain. The fletchings (feathers on the back end of the arrow) are going to cut his finger to the bone. It's the mother of all paper cuts. That arrow will be moving at roughly the same speed as a .22 rifle bullet.

The reason he's holding the arrow that way is, he's holding his bow upside down. The bow hand should be thumb-up. The arrow then sits on a little shelf on the side of the bow (depending on the type of bow; some longbows have the arrow rest right on the hand, in which case a glove is absolutely necessary, and not the utterly useless fingerless things Speedy is wearing here). Of course, Speedy's arrow wouldn't fit on an arrow rest anyway, since it's roughly the thickness of a broom handle. A normal arrow is usually somewhere between 3/16" and 3/8" thick. But that's really beside the point. The point is, when Speedy releases that arrow, the string is going to smack him on the forearm and raise a heck of a welt all the way down just before the fleches half-sever his finger. Kids, don't try this at home!

Even if he were to turn his hand upright before he fired, he still would most likely miss whatever he's trying to shoot at, for three reasons:

First, he has the arrow backwards. There are three fletchings on that arrow, and the one that's perpendicular to the bow should be facing away from it. Otherwise, as the arrow passes the bow, the fletch will hit the bow and be thrown sideways a few inches.

Second, He has no rear anchor point. The string hand should actually touch the face. The idea is to put the rear end of the arrow close to the aiming eye (by the way, Speedy is left-handed here and right handed on page one), in a spot that can be repeated consistently. It works like sighting a rifle; there's a front and rear sight. For the bare-bow shooting Speedy does, the front sight is usually the tip of the arrow. The rear end of the arrow is the rear sight, and has to be put in a spot that can be found over and over. The hand hovering six inches away has no reliable anchor and the shooting is necessarily random.

Third, he isn't pulling the string correctly. For a recurve bow, as shown here, one usually uses three fingers to draw the bow, not just two. The string sits comfortably in the groove of the first knuckle, with one finger above the arrow, the other two below. For longbow, which DC Comics bows randomly morph into with alarming regularity, all four fingers are used (longbows take a lot more strength). The thumb stays the hell out of it. The fingers pull back on the string, not the arrow. Pinching the arrow or pulling on it will only mess up the shot.

Once we stop alternately laughing at and cringing from the cover, we get into the comic itself.

On page one, Todd Nauck reveals that he has still not bothered to take a look at an actual bow. The recurve part (the smaller reverse curve at the ends of the bows) is not decorative; it's there to increase the bow's power and accuracy, but only if the string actually connects to the ends of the bow instead of at the base of the curve as shown here. Oh, and once again the arrow is on the wrong side of the bow.

Moving on, we see on page two a repeat of the two-fingered shooting style and complete lack of an anchor point.

For the next several pages, Speedy just carries the bow around, until page 11, when he somehow manages to turn the bow sideways with the arrow on the underside without having it fall to the ground. By the way, can we declare a moratorium on that holding the bow horizontally thing? Nobody shoots that way. It's inaccurate. You will not hit the target if you shoot that way.

Finally, on the second-to-last page, it's time for that tired cliche, shooting three arrows at once. And again, all three arrows are on the wrong side of the bow, all three are backwards (fletchings AWAY from the bow, remember?), and at least one of them isn't on the string at all.

Jim MacQuarrie is an NAA certified archery instructor. Naturally, his arrows are green.

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tooned Out

In last weekend's episode of The Batman on Kids' WB, Bruce Wayne spent the day being followed by a "Day in the Life" reporter. At one point, during a fight between the Batman and the Penguin, the reporter tells her cameraman to keep rolling, saying "We'll win the Pulitzer Prize for this."

No, they won't. It doesn't matter how good their footage is. The Pulitzer Prize is the highest award for printed journalism. Excellence in television and radio journalism is rewarded with the Peabody (which is bestowed by the University of Georgia, my alma mater).

The State vs. Daredevil: Yellow #1

To kick things off, here's a look at a scene from Daredevil: Yellow #1, an issue that may not be new, but comes from a writer who seems to have repeated difficulties with understanding the law.

In the first issue of this Loeb/Sale mini, Jack Murdock is murdered after he refuses to throw a fight. His killers, who had stopped by the apartment before taking Jack away, are arrested and charged with the crime.

Loeb then writes "But on the day of the bail hearing, suddenly they had a Park Avenue attorney." The prosecutors ask for bail to be set at one million dollars per defendant. The defense attorney responds by moving that the charges be dropped and dismissed, harshly criticizing the merits of the prosecution's case, and arguing that "the case against my clients is totally circumstantial." The judge agrees, saying that she has looked over the case's particulars, and so she dismisses the case and tells the prosecutors they can refile charges once they gather more evidence.

First, there's nothing wrong with a case, even a murder case, being built entirely on circumstantial evidence. Fingerprints, footprints, DNA...all of these can be very incriminating, but they are still just circumstantial evidence.

Loeb has Matt suggest that the judge was paid off, but given the context and lack of any follow-up, corruption wouldn't seem to be the best explanation for the judge's action. If nothing else, it's overkill to pay off a judge AND hire a high-powered Park Avenue attorney (who doesn't do anything remotely impressive) for a bail hearing.

And that's the second, and more serious, error in this scene. The fact that this is a bail hearing is made clear both in dialogue and in a caption box. Bail hearings are only for setting bail. That's it. Charges are never dropped at a bail hearing, and if an attorney attempted to make a motion to do so, the judge would quickly put him in his place. No intelligent attorney would even attempt to make a motion for dismissal of charges at a bail hearing.

In fact, it's possible that the judge may not be able to dismiss the charges at all. If the charges against a defendant were brought by a grand jury, which found probable cause of the defendant's guilt, then the judge does not have the authority to second-guess the grand jury. Here, it appears that there was no grand jury indictment, because of the quick arrest, in which case the defendants would have a preliminary hearing to determine if there was probable cause. During that hearing, the judge would decide whether there was probable cause for the arrest, and the prosecution would be allowed to defend the charges. Here, the judge listened to a spiel from the defense attorney, and never even asked for comment from the prosecutor before throwing the charges out.

Finally, I find myself a little surprised at the prosecutor's initial willingness to allow for the defendants to post bail at all. The two defendants are charged with the most severe of crimes, they're involved with gambling, and a caption even says that the police were not surprised at the notion of their involvement, implying a history of run-ins with the law. The prosecutor should be asking for bail to be denied, not opening with an offer of a high dollar bail.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Welcome

Longtime readers of Comic Buyer's Guide may remember Bob Ingersoll's now-retired column The Law Is A Ass, where the esteemed Mr. Ingersoll reguarly examined legal issues that were broached in comic books. Today's online fans may be familiar with Polite Dissent, where Scott provides medical reviews of comics from a doctor's perspective. Both of these provide educated insight into how accurately comic creators present real-world facts and issues are within the pages of some of our favorite funnybooks.

But there are so many other real-world concerns in comics beyond the legal issues presented in She-Hulk or the medicine practiced by Dr. Mid-Nite. What about the psychology we hear from the doctors at Arkham Asylum? Does Chuck Austen have his Catholic theology right? Oliver Queen may know archery, but what about his artist? And how factual are "Flash Facts," really?

Thus, in the spirit of educating the public and the publishers, we here have created this group blog. We'll complain when creators get the facts wrong, and congratulate when they get them right (and we expect there will be no shortage of the former). Some may call it nitpicking; we prefer to think of it as accuracy. It's one thing to read about Gorilla Grodd kidnapping the President of the United States, but that same talking gorilla story suffers if the story has him abducting a supposed U.S. Prime Minister. Comics regularly expect us to believe the impossible. Making the real-world backdrop that they're set against truly realistic makes those impossibilities easier to handle.

So welcome to Suspension of Disbelief.