984: Space Launch System
SLS, which stands for Space Launch System is the new launch program being designed by NASA to replace the retired Space Shuttle launch system. In the first frame, Cueball is showing Black Hat something about the SLS, possibly a video on his phone or other portable electronic device.
As usual with his appearances, Black Hat is causing trouble. Here Black Hat would appear to be telling the truth because Nazi scientists like Wernher von Braun, who was one of the developers of the Saturn V launch vehicle, came over to America (from Germany) and helped develop NASA's space program.
Black Hat's assumption in the last frame is obviously a bridge too far (which is where the joke is in the comic), but he gets his desired reaction out of Cueball, who is hanging his head (or staring him down- Randall has left no details to distinguish). First he makes it clear that the lesson is that you should put the Nazis in charge (and we saw from world war two what that could lead to.) Then when Cueball thinks this is a terrible lesson, he puts salt in to his wound, by suggesting that the only way find a better lesson, is to ask a Nazi for a better one - a consistent move if you apply his lesson, but a logic bomb because he suggests to put a Nazi in charge of finding another lesson other than "put a nazi in charge".
Shania Twain comes into this comic in the title text because in her song "That Don't Impress Me Much", she sings: "Okay, so you're a rocket scientist / That don't impress me much". But, the title text argues that if she stood under the new SLS prototype, she would admit it was in fact, impressive. And it is thus the SLS head engineers plan to invite Shania to do just that. Although he could still understand if she did not wish to date him, but he would be surprised if she was still unimpressed.
- [Cueball, is holding something up to show it to Black Hat. It is small and rectangular with a black line in the middle (possible a rocket).]
- Cueball: Check out the SLS — 130 tons to orbit. Finally, rockets that improve on the ones we had 40 years ago.
- Black Hat: Are we getting Nazis to build those ones, too?
- [Text is written between two frames, with two smaller frames below. A line comes up to Cueballs first comment, showing that it is still the two from the first frame talking, but off-panel.]
- Cueball (off-panel): What?
- Black Hat (off-panel): When we first captured von Braun and his team, we had our engineers interview them, then we built the rockets.
- Black Hat (off-panel): But our rockets kept exploding.
- [First small panel below the above text: A soldier with helmet and a machine gun is guarding von Braun who is tied to a chair, while being interviewed by an almost bald scientist (hair along the back of his head), who takes notes on a piece of paper.]
- [Second small panel below the above text: The same scientist standing with the paper, watches as a launching rocket explodes. The landscape behind shows a hill.]
- [A black frame with white text above the white Saturn V rocket flying through space.]
- Black Hat (off-panel): Eventually we gave up and had the German teams do it, and they built us the Saturn V Moon rocket.
- [Cueball is looking down, his hand with the thing he showed to Black Hat in the first panel hanging down. Black Hat looks at Cueball.]
- Cueball: I'm… not sure what lesson to take from that.
- Black Hat: "If you want something done right, learning from the Nazis isn't enough. You have to actually put them in charge."
- Cueball: That's a terrible lesson.
- Black Hat: Then I guess you should get a Nazi to come up with a better one.
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