Armies: Blah. Ninjas: Meh. Man-Bats: Eh. Armies of ninja-man-bats: Awesome. Mash-ups aren't only meant to liven up episodes of Glee. Comics've been throwing random crap together until it works for years. See the best monster mashes comics have to offer!
One of the things I like best about comics is they require no restraint. Most methods of story-telling benefit from some moderation. Comics are like the car pile-up scenes in the Blues Brothers movies. The more you add, the better it gets. No matter what the problem, it can be fixed by piling on a little more.
Problem One: Unpopular Subject
Let's start at the bottom of the barrel: Nazis. From the Batfamily to the Von Trapp Family, everyone hates Nazis. There is just no way to make them work. Or that's what you'd say if you didn't work in comics. If you did, you would see that Nazis are a starting point, a good, golden-age foundation that you can build up into something extraordinary.
Step One: Make them bigger. At first glance, this seems like the wrong way to go. All it does is make giant Nazis. That's no fun.
Step Two: Make them robots. Robots improve everything. Cops, rebellions in galaxies a long time ago and far, far away, Elmo dolls: there's nothing that can't be spiced up by adding robots. And yet, a giant robot Nazi still doesn't have the kick we need. What else can be done?
This. That's what. You take that giant Nazi robot, and you make it into an octopus. A land octopus. In a graveyard. Because, that's why.
Problem Two: A Plethora of Lame Concepts
Start with a shaky base: literally. When is the last time you saw someone on stilts? If you can remember, then I applaud your memory. Stilts are things that provide no value and make the act of walking both harder and more dangerous. They're a terrible concept all on their own.
Now take that terrible concept and make a supervillain out of it. Stiltman has terrorized the Marvel Universe since the sixties, presumably by nearly falling on people and then suing them for damages. Sure, the stilts are electronic and look like high-rises, but a crappy villain way, way up in the air is still a crappy villain.
Now rip off crappy villain with a sadass tribute character. A few weeks ago we saw the debut of Lady Stiltman. For those of you not paying attention, I will repeat the name: LADY StiltMAN.
This is bad piled on bad piled on bad. Nothing can save it. Except something worse.
I don't know how adding a pair of novelty high heels saved this concept, but it did. Some things just need a cherry on top to turn out delicious. I'm the last person in the world to champion putting more comic book women in heels, but when I see this I can only sit back in wonder. Touché, Marvel. Touché.
Problem Three: Gimmicks That Have Been Done to Death
"Who would win in a fight," is the kind of tired speculation that wasn't even fresh in Stand By Me. Now it's torturous. We've seen Batman versus Superman a thousand different times. We've seen Batman versus Captain America, and Captain America versus Iron Man and Iron Man versus Wolverine, and Wolverine versus the Punisher, and the Punisher versus Everydamnone. At this point, the horse is dead.
In comics, there is only one solution to that: Zombie Horse.
When Marvel pitted The Incredible Hercules against Thor for the second time, they just kept trying things until it worked. Last time they had to lift up the entire city of New York. This time, they just had the two heroes switch outfits. I don't know why that's even cooler, but it is. Last time it was a lot of pyrotechnics. This time there was more banter. Again, for some reason it worked. But it needed something more.
And this is why comics will always triumph over other media. When you see that literal purple nurple, splayed gloriously across the page, movie sound effects pale in comparison.
Problem Four: It's Not Crazy Enough Yet
You see, there's this thing called the Green Lantern Corps. They're space cops with battery-powered laser wish-rings. Sound good? No?
But wait! They're actually part of a larger Rainbow Corps, in which each color represents a particular emotions. Now is it good? No again?
The red ring is for rage. Red Lantern Corps members have rings that are powered by anger. And they can spew something that looks like blood but burns you like lava. And even though they are aliens, some of them just happen to look like earth creatures.
And so, without further ado, I present to you the crowning achievement of graphic novels to this date:
Ruffles the Rage Kitty.
Keyboard Cat, Ceiling Cat, and the entire population of I Can Has Cheezburger can go to hell. Nothing can match the genius of this. Nothing.