2001: A Space Odyssey #1
October 28, 2013
My God... it's full of– wait, what the hell IS this?
In Memory of Marcus Almand.
(Open with Linkara on Comicron 1's bridge, now shaded in a red glow)
Linkara: Vyce! ...Where are you?
Lord Vyce: All around you, Champion. I AM my ship now.
Linkara: But-But how?
(Flashback to Linkara's review of "Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock", in which Linkara faced Lord Vyce in Pollo's new body)
Vyce: I was forced into the depths of space during our last encounter, damaged but alive. I admit surprised that you did not attempt to finish me off.
Linkara: We couldn't find you.
(Flashback to the last few months, with the encounter with Jaeris, and the recent malfunctions with Comicron 1 and Nimue, leading up to Nimue kidnapping Linkara and bringing him out into space)
Lord Vyce: Pathetic, Champion, but that is not surprising. While elements like the anti-gravity propulsion of the body were damaged, my transmitter was not. As I stated when we last met, I am living data now, capable of transferring myself to mechanical forms. My ship was far away and constantly moving, I could only transmit myself a little at a time as it orbited the planet. But eventually, I achieved my goal. Each day, my influence grew. I affected communications, weapons, propulsion. I overrode commands made by your computer, and I replaced sections of its artificial intelligence with my own, hiding within it while I tested the limits of my power. Eventually, enough of myself transferred, that I had complete flight control, and I have maneuvered the ship to this position. Thanks to your elimination of what was left of the artificial intelligence, I now have complete control over its systems.
Linkara: You're what corrupted Nimue. YOU drove her insane!
(As Vyce contines, Jaeris, who teleported onto Comicron 1, sneaks up to the bridge)
Vyce: The computer was problematic to be certain. It fought against me every step of the way. If it lost what sanity it possessed, it is no concern of mine. It was JUST a computer.
Linkara: Her name was Nimue, you SON OF A–
(Linkara jumps back from Vyce's scream)
Vyce: Selfishly, I have a strong desire for revenge, Champion.
(Linkara looks around, noticing Jaeris has made it to the bridge)
Vyce: I would love nothing more than to make you suffer for all the indignities I have endured because of you. I could pulverize you with increased gravity, I could make you suffocate, or simply poison you slowly to watch you die. However, I am beyond such recourses. I will drop you back on your planet and let you rot, while I resume my search for The Entity.
Linkara: I guess telling you that The Entity is dead would be pretty pointless.
Vyce: It always lives, Champion. It will only die by my hands.
Linkara: Or lance, since you don't seem to have hands anymore.
Vyce: Appropriate, don't you think? My form is now a great sword, which will slay "The Lost Beast".
Linkara: Indeed. However, I don't think you have all control over the ship, Vyce.
Vyce: What are you blathering about?
Linkara: Well, for example, did you know that there are certain safety features of the ship that are completely automatic? It's kind of important when you're sealed in a box in the cold vacuum of space. For instance, the fire suppression systems can cut in really damn quick, and cause some serious havoc.
Vyce: I don't know why you're talking like that, but I do know that even if I don't possess–
(Jaeris takes the hint from Linkara, firing at the bridge with his magic gun)
Vyce: (screams) WHAT IS HAPPENING?! Fire suppression system is engaging...!
(Not waiting to hear what Vyce has to say, Linkara and Jaeris turn away)
Linkara: Good kid!
Jaeris: Yeah, but now we gotta get off this ship!
Linkara: No! I'm not leaving this ship to Vyce! Come on! (runs off)
Jaeris: Where the hell are we going?
Linkara: Cargo bay 1!
(Linkara and Jaeris go to the bay, where Linkara starts operating some kind of control)
Jaeris: Shouldn't we go to the engineer room? Usually, that's the other way to take control of a ship.
Linkara: If Vyce has overtaken Nimue, then he's in every section of the ship that she was in. And that includes engineering!
(With a grunt, Linkara pulls a switch, filling the room with light as a door opens before him; Linkara smiles)
Linkara: Computer, initiate program: the First Council! (walks into the room)
Jaeris: (confused) The first what?
(Jaeris also walks into the room, which is so full of bright light that nothing is visible except for the two)
Linkara: In some Arthurian legends, after Merlin became trapped by Niume, she became King Arthur's trusted advisor. Likewise, Comicron 1 used to have to its own onboard computer system. It wasn't an artificial intelligence, it was just a very basic computer that responded to voice controls. However, we can't trust that interface, either, so we need to get off the grid.
Jaeris: How do we do that?
Linkara: By going someplace that Nimue – and now Vyce – can't follow: the auxiliary control room.
(The room brightens up even more until the two are obscured; the sound of sliding doors opening and closing are heard, and the light disappears, revealing Linkara and Jaeris in the control room; Linkara starts pushing some buttons)
Jaeris: Is-Isn't this the bridge from Star Trek?
Linkara: (impatiently) Please, Jaeris, there isn't much time! Get to the helm!
Jaeris: This is the bridge from Star Trek!
Linkara: No. This is auxiliary control.
(Linkara pounds his fist down on one button, and the room lights up; Jaeris looks around at the buttons, which are now lit up and flash on and off repeatedly)
Jaeris: Let me know when you get a girlfriend. I'll throw you a parade.
Linkara: (pointing) Helm! Now!
(Linkara and Jaeris sit down at different seats)
Jaeris: (examining the buttons) Looks simple enough.
Linkara: It's designed to be idiot-proof; please don't disappoint me.
Jaeris: Yeah, someone always brings along a better idiot. All right, I got control of the ship. But I heard of Lord Vyce. You know, enough to stay out of his way. Once he figures out what you've done, he'll find a way in here.
Linkara: (moving to another seat) We've got a little time.
Jaeris: How do you know?
Linkara: Because if Vyce was really as strong as he said he was, he should've seen you coming, but he didn't. I don't think he has full control of the ship. I think some sections are still tied with Nimue's core program.
Jaeris: Okay, that gives us some time. But to do what?
Linkara: We're going to reactivate Nimue.
Jaeris: What?! What the hell for?
Linkara: Vyce said that Nimue was fighting him every step along the way. If he had so much control and power over the computer, why didn't he just delete her? He needed me to shut her off. I don't think he could delete her.
Jaeris: Well, what does turning her back on accomplish? She's still crazy!
Linkara: Don't worry, I have a cunning plan.
Jaeris: You mean a stupid plan.
Linkara: My plans are never stupid! Now man the helm and set a course for the sun!
Jaeris: (alarmed) WHAT?!?!
Linkara: If my plan fails, Vyce will get control of the ship. (pushes a green button) I won't let that happen.
Jaeris: YOU KINDA FORGOT ABOUT THE LITTLE DETAIL THAT WE'RE STILL ON BOARD!
Linkara: If it comes to that, I will teleport you over to the scout ship, and you can get away. But you'll need to wipe the ship's computer so that Vyce can't get on board. Then you can contact Sierra to come pick you up.
Jaeris: Yeah, I can see that your plans are the height of sanity.
Linkara: Shut up and pilot the ship. I've got rerouting to do, and it's boring as hell. (sits down in the captain's chair) And as such, in order to entertain myself, I am going to review a comic book. (Jaeris looks up, surprised)
(Title sequence starts to play, but abruptly cuts back to the bridge, where Jaeris is stunned)
(Cut back to the title sequence in progress; title card has the theme for 2001: A Space Odyssey ("Thus Spoke Zarathustra") playing)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. And potentially, us, if I can't get my artificial intelligence functioning again. Let's talk about one of the best works of science fiction ever – and its bizarre comic adaptation.
(Cut to footage of said work of sci-fi...)
Linkara (v/o): 2001: A Space Odyssey is a strange beast already. On the off chance you've never seen it or heard of it, it's a science fiction story and film made by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. A lot of it is based on early short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, and the novel and movie differ in places, despite being written concurrently, but the overall ideas, plot, and theme are the same.
Linkara: With the major exception of the novel being set around Saturn versus the movie being Jupiter, but all the sequel novels take place at Jupiter instead, so remember, comic book superheroes didn't invent retcons.
Linkara (v/o): Here's the basic plot – and spoiler warning, but then again, this movie is 45 years old; I think we're okay. In both Africa and on the moon, a strange domino-shaped object is discovered. Nicknamed "The Monolith", or "Tycho Magnetic Anomaly" if you want to be pedantic, the objects are very clearly alien in origin, since both have been fashioned to the ratio of 1x4x9, or one-squared, two-squared and three-squared.
Linkara: The aliens would have used four-squared as well, but someone checked in before they could.
(A rimshot is heard)
Linkara (v/o): A signal from the Monolith on the moon has been sent to Jupiter, and a mission is dispatched to investigate... except, our two main characters, Frank Poole and David Bowman, are unaware of that, because, of course, actually telling your crew what the hell they're doing would just be stupid. No, instead, three people in suspended animation and the ship's artificial intelligence, HAL 9000, are told the details, but ordered to keep it a secret. Unfortunately, there's a bit of a snag in that idea. It's not explained in the movie, at least until its sequel, but in the book, it's spelled out what goes wrong with HAL. HAL's entire function is the processing and communication of information to the crew. However, he's then instructed to withhold information and lie to Frank and Dave.
Dr. Chandra: HAL was told to lie, by people who find it easy to lie. HAL doesn't know how...
Linkara: And this is why I always program my artificial intelligences with a sarcasm subroutine. It's amazing how much easier it is for robots to cope with this stuff if they're allowed to snark about it.
Linkara (v/o): Needless to say, HAL is driven nuts by the contradiction and malfunctions, seeing errors that aren't there and reinterpreting the crew as being a threat to the mission. He kills Frank and the hibernating crew, forcing Dave to disconnect HAL and then learn the true nature of the mission. The ending is... weird, to say the least, and very open to interpretation. Of course, it's a bit different from the novel, which goes into detail about what the hell is going on. Basically, there's another Monolith in the orbit of Jupiter, considerably larger, but still in the same ratio as the others. Dave approaches it and seems to get sucked into a wormhole and... well, who the hell knows? He might be unstuck in time, experiencing past, present and future all at once, or it might be a representation of his evolution, because at the end of it, he has become a Starchild, with unknown power and ability and staring down at the Earth itself.
Linkara: If you've never seen it before and intend to, be forewarned: if you're not used to slower movies, you will be agitated very quickly at the pace.
Linkara (v/o): I could go into a lot about the film: its production, its themes, the symbolism, the meaning, the music, all that stuff, but we're not here to talk about the movies, we're here to talk about comics. So, am I looking at an adaptation of the movie and novel?
Linkara: Well, if all that I just told you about didn't seem weird enough, let me tell you about the Marvel comic version of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
(Cut to a montage of shots of several (yes, several) comic adaptations of this movie)
Linkara (v/o): It started off with an adaptation of the movie... eight years after the movie came out, which that's okay; the home video market wasn't really a thing yet, so comic adaptations of popular films were still your best best for seeing a movie again. And then the adaptation was followed by a ten-issue ongoing series. And already, I can tell many of you are raising your hands with the question of "How the hell do you make 2001 an ongoing series?" And what's more, who the hell did they find crazy enough to do that? Well, the answer to both questions, ironically enough, is Jack Kirby. We've briefly talked about Jack Kirby before, and unfortunately, we don't have enough time today to really get into the king himself.
Linkara: Needless to say, though, you would be hard-pressed to find somebody with this much imagination, creative talent and artistic skill who should (becomes angry) NOT BE ANYWHERE NEAR AN ADAPTATION OF 2001!!
(More clips of the movie follow)
Linkara (v/o): Kubrick's movie was very minimalistic in its artistic design, very sterile, very simple, and that makes sense, since the movie was trying to be as realistic as possible in how they predicted space travel would operate in the future. We had a moon base, but the ships look like a stick with a ball at the end of it, had rotating sections for artificial gravity, or even Velcro floors to help move around in zero-g. The color palette of any given scene usually had one focusing color: white, red, black, etc. There are many ways you could describe Jack Kirby's art style, but "minimalistic" and "sterile" are not among them.
(Cut to shots of the comic version of this film, whose art style is quite different)
Linkara (v/o): The dude infused energy into every single panel. He relished in the chance to create this kind of energy field effect, dubbed the Kirby Crackle, with lots of dots and circles and stuff. Space is no longer a black void; it's pink and purple and black and... HOLY CRAP, THERE'S JUST SO MUCH STUFF! And of course, being the '70s, comic books don't really go for quiet; characters talk endlessly and they explain every little thing, down to the smallest detail, even if it was obvious or you could've just had a visual cue explain something, instead of having things spelled out for you.
Linkara: And let me just preempt something: I friggin' love Jack Kirby's work. I am not criticizing the man's sheer enormity of talent and the impact he has had on the medium. I'm just saying these comics are frickin' weird!
Linkara (v/o): So after the adaptation, we have the ongoing series... which isn't really an ongoing series. I'd call it an anthology series, but in later issues, there is ongoing continuity; it's just all the issues have some... bizarre things that they're doing. Originally, I was gonna look at a specific issue where things got really weird, but frankly, there's so much material to work with in all of this that we might as well try to examine it all.
Linkara: Of course, I don't have time to look at all of it today, so let's just start at the beginning and dig into "2001: A Space Odyssey #1".
Linkara (v/o): The cover is... busy. There is no other way to put it. There's a whole lot of stuff happening and not much of it makes sense. Going from the top down, there's the logo. I guess it's okay, but something about the font makes me think this is a child's introduction to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Linkara: Hey, kids! Today, we're gonna learn about what happens if you're in a space suit outside the ship and a homicidal computer cuts your air hose!
Linkara (v/o): Next up is a caveman fighting a saber-tooth cat...
Linkara: Oh, God! I'm having "Marville" flashbacks!
Linkara (v/o): And here is a golden head of Uatu the Watcher. Okay. I know these are technically canon with the Marvel Universe, but I didn't think it was that much. Maybe in this story, Dave Bowman has a drug-addict relative that HAL has to go save, while the Watcher floats there and looks cryptic. There's also this big stone rectangle thing in the background. Not sure what the deal is with that, but I'm sure it'll make sense in the story. I mean, it can't be the Monolith; it's the wrong color, it's clearly not smooth, and biggest of all, it's got the complete WRONG DIMENSIONS. I don't know, maybe this is a cheap Monolith knockoff that'll be appearing on Phelous' Bootleg Zones show. Oh, and here's a spaceman getting attacked by what looks like a purple robot octopus.
Linkara: Because when you think of purple robot space octopus, you think 2001: A Space Odyssey!
Linkara (v/o): We open with a caveman who got a bad case of sunburn. In the background, we see the Monolith drawn a little better. It's the right color and looks mostly smooth, aside from the little details Kirby's trying to inject to give it more energy than just a smooth black surface. BUT IT'S STILL THE WRONG DIMENSIONS!
Linkara: (his coat taken off, scratching himself) Look, Jack, I know you like to draw human beings a bit more stout than normal, but did that mean you had to compress the Monolith, too?
Narrator: WHERE ARE WE GOING?
Linkara: Our narrator is a ten-year-old in the back of the car.
Narrator: Somewhere in the dawn of time, we BEGAN-- Somehow, in these perilous times we keep MOVING ON--and some time in the future, something will happen to CHANGE US!
Linkara: (as narrator) The McRib will become a regular menu item! Nothing will ever be the same again!
Narrator: The process of change began EONS ago with a creature called-- BEAST-KILLER!
Linkara: Actually, according to the novel, it was three million years ago, and it wasn't a caveman, but an early hominid named Moonwatcher. (rolls eyes) Although, I suppose this is just the post-crisis continuity version.
Narrator: The MONOLITH may be the cause!
Linkara: (as narrator) And if it wasn't, then calling attention to it was probably a bad idea.
Narrator: It does not belong to this world-- yet it does belong to us all!
Linkara: (looking thoughtful) Ah, so the Monoliths are Communists.
Narrator: Read on--and behold its awesome secrets!
Linkara: So... we'll get to read the Monolith's diary?
Linkara (v/o): The narrator informs us that the caveman is located in what's going to be New Orleans someday. And I question the historical authenticity of that, much like how I question the scientific authenticity of having about five or six different species of animals just hanging out together like this. Further, I question the scientific accuracy of whatever animal the giant head belongs to. Or is this just an ancestor of Zardoz?
Linkara: (dramatically) The Monolith is good, the penis is evil!
Linkara (v/o): It seems Beast-Killer is not called "Beast-Killer" yet, but instead, "the One Who Hunts Alone".
Linkara: Prehistoric man was not very creative with his naming. What the hell do you do if there are two different guys who hunt alone?
Beast-Killer: (thinking) This land abounds with game! If I do this well, I shall not return in hunger to the cave!
Linkara: Yeah, I say that to myself every time I wander into an area with multiple fast food places.
Beast-Killer: (thinking) The stone spirit itself has told me this!
Linkara: (as Beast-Killer) And if you can't trust a big rock, who can you trust in this crazy world?
Linkara (v/o): He spots an ancestor of the camel and leaps down at it. And it looks like he's going to faceplant right into the dirt from this panel. I'm guessing the Monolith decided to weed out the stupider parts of our species. What's more amazing is that he talks! In perfect English, no less!
Beast-Killer: I must strike NOW!!
Linkara: (as Beast-Killer) AND I MUST BE VERY STEALTHY ABOUT IT!
Linkara (v/o): He manages to grab onto a creature as it speeds away... and rocks apparently float in the air for some reason. Before he can kill it, some others in his tribe attack, wanting the kill for themselves, but he manages to repel them.
Linkara: Just a thought: how ripped off would you feel if you knew nothing about 2001, picked up this comic, and then half of it was cavemen fighting? (flails arm around) SPACE ODYSSEY!
Linkara (v/o): In the ensuing fight, the creature manages to escape, much to Beast-Killer's annoyance.
Beast-Killer: (thinking) This club has failed me!
Linkara: (as Beast-Killer) Club can't handle me!
Linkara (v/o): And like a poor craftsman, he blames his tools and discards the weapon, intending to go talk to the Monolith and ask for sharp teeth to kill stuff faster.
Linkara: Apparently, the Monolith is now the weapon shop in an RPG: "I'll trade in this +1 club for a +3 tooth."
Linkara (v/o): The other cavemen decide to go to the Monolith as well so they can steal his power for their own. They all spot our "hero" reach the Monolith.
Caveman 1: Stalk him in silence. He must not be aware of us.
Caveman 2: When we take this spirit-power, we shall kill "the One Who Hunts Alone"!
Linkara: Eh, not great dialogue, but still better than the GEICO Cavemen show, but not as good as "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer".
Linkara (v/o): Beast-Killer approaches the Monolith, which is floating in the air for some reason, and touches it.
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Jack Frost: Ivan feeling around a rock)
Crow: Touch any part of this rock for more information.
(Back to the comic again)
Narrator: The lone hunter shows complete faith in the thing. He treats it as one does a companion...
Linkara: So the caveman takes it with him in a TARDIS and acts secretive about stuff that they don't need to be secretive about?
Beast-Killer: I know now what to do.
Linkara: (as Beast-Killer) I will order the pizza for you. (beat) Yes, it will be deep dish.
Beast-Killer: I will make a tooth!
Linkara: (as Beast-Killer) I will cheat the Tooth Fairy (holds up fist) at every opportunity!
(Cut to a bookshelf full of comics; Linkara walks up wearing a blue coat)
Linkara: (singing) Game on, get your game on... (looks into camera) We'll be right back, people.
(Linkara walks off, and the AT4W logo appears in the corner; cut to commercial; upon return, Linkara comes in again)
Linkara: (singing) Tough times are kind of... (looks into camera) We're back.
(He walks off again, and the AT4W logo appears in the corner; cut back to the comic already in progress)
Linkara (v/o): No, instead, the Monolith has apparently instructed him [Beast-Killer] to create a crude spear out of a stone, some vines and a stick. I'm not sure exactly why they needed the Monolith for this, considering they were already smart enough tool users to realize the usefulness of a club weapon, but whatever. Point is that a saber-tooth tiger shows up and attacks, making the other cavemen flee, but not Beast-Killer, who kills the beast. He goes back to the Monolith to claim his triumph.
Beast-Killer: This can slay saber-tooth! The spirit does not lie!!
Linkara: (as Monolith) Damn right I didn't lie. Now give me the five bucks you owe me.
Narrator: He has made a fang, and it has done its work! He capers! He shouts! He roars!
Linkara: (as narrator) He dances! He cavorts! He twerks!
Linkara (v/o): And then he proceeds to build better spears and kill larger prey with it, until we get to this transition bit.
(Cut to a clip of the movie showing the same transition bit)
Linkara (v/o): There's a moment in the movie where an ape tosses a bone into the air, and it cuts to a similarly-shaped object in space. As such, Kirby decided to replicate this in the early 2001 comics.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): We have Beast-Killer tossing a spear... and then an astronaut [Woodrow Decker] tossing something.
Decker: This thing is useless!! USELESS!!
Linkara: Ah, another satisfied Sprint customer.
Linkara (v/o): The astronaut is named Woodrow Decker and is located on an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter. In the movie, the mission to Jupiter was a really big deal and was treated with absolute realism to the best of their ability. In this comic... well, we're on an asteroid, which seems to have normal gravity, and it's going to get a lot weirder and ridiculous. Decker is joined by another astronaut, Mason. It seems they've uncovered the ruins of some alien structure on the asteroid, begging the question of what the hell aliens were doing building stone structures on an asteroid, but whatever. Decker is upset because the two are stranded on the asteroid after their ship crashed.
Narrator: The game was to probe deep space for signs of intelligent life on the outer planets.
Linkara: (as narrator, now with plaid outer shirt off as well) However, the game had a glitch that they had not yet released a patch for.
Narrator: On the horizon, their ship burns furiously. When the flame has died, no part of it will be intact and usable...
Linkara (v/o): Shouldn't the flame be dying instantly? They're in their spacesuits, and Decker says that spare oxygen was on the ship, meaning there is no air on this asteroid! Why is the flame still burning if there's no air?!
(Cut to the obligatory shot of the obligatory panel from Superman At Earth's End, showing...)
Hitler Clone: Of course. Don't you know anything science?
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Mason's optimistic about their chances of rescue... Yeah, wish in one hand, dude... and wants to explore the ruins, since they're the first living beings in there in who knows how long.
Narrator: It is strange that Woodrow Decker, a direct descendant of "Beast-Killer," has the drive for discovery--but lacks the will to fight...
Linkara: It's almost like people aren't only their genetics and aren't predisposed towards a particular attitude just because of traits exhibited by beings millions of years ago! The hell were you trying to suggest, Kirby?!
Linkara (v/o): Aaaaand here comes the purple robot space octopus.
Linkara: Exactly as Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke envisioned. (gives a thumbs-up)
Linkara (v/o): See, I'm just curious what the hell this thing has been living off all these years. I joke about it being a robot because its tentacles look like they were sectional and made in pieces, but clearly it's supposed to be a living thing. Anyway, it grabs Mason and kills him, despite Decker's best efforts to kill it with a rock.
Narrator: Decker is seized by panic and terror! He has a last glimpse of Mason in the grip of the monstrous tentacles! Death has come to him swiftly and painfully--and stamped his ashen face forever with the agony...
Linkara: (as narrator) The horrible truth behind tentacle hentai.
Narrator: Suddenly, a tentacle lashes out and blasts Decker with a natural energy-force of bone-shattering impact!!
Linkara (v/o): Which doesn't actually shatter any bones, so what the hell? Anyway, the creature drags Mason's body down below, and the structure decides now would be a good time to collapse. Decker is unable to escape it, but does run into a Monolith that's floating there and giving off yellow energy swirls. Decker leaps right at the thing.
Narrator: This is the way it must be for Decker. As it began with "Beast-Killer," the chain of destiny forged by the Monolith closes its last link...
Linkara: Yeah, because it... wait, what?
Linkara (v/o): Why the hell did it need to be a descendant of Beast-Killer? Why didn't it just make Beast-Killer go through this? It's pretty much the same kind of experience as the movie or book: Decker travels through the star gate caused by the Monolith and sees a bunch of trippy alien landscapes and creatures, so he understands it just as much as Beast-Killer would have.
Narrator: For what is the Monolith but an* intelligence which has chosen man for an experience beyond his knowledge.
- NOTE: It's actually "an alien intelligence".
Linkara: (puzzled) Well... a lot of things, actually. In 2001, the things seemed to be able to speed up evolution and are also transmitters. In 2010, they're able to turn a gas giant into a star. In "2061", they can store a human consciousness. And in "3001", they're also recording information and also potentially weapons that could eliminate mankind. In other words, what are the Monoliths? A lot of things!
Narrator: Decker himself is traumatized by the visual battering of the spectacle! In his present form, he cannot survive the experience! Decker must be changed!
(A montage of panels showing the change is displayed)
Linkara (v/o): What? Decker's evolving! Decker became STAR CHILD! I'm not kidding, either. Much like Dave Bowman, Decker awakens in a bizarre environment; in this case, a forest alongside some farmer. Decker just kind of accepts it and walks with the farmer named Bill back to a house. As they continue on, Bill vanishes and Decker grows older until he collapses in the shadow of a Monolith. However, instead of being called a Star Child, the comic instead refers to the being as a "new seed". And so, our comic ends with the evolved Decker getting wrapped up in some kind of space cocoon and then appearing in orbit over Earth.
Narrator: What is its purpose? What is its destiny? They can no more be defined than the alien mind which has made its existence possible..
Linkara: Aaaand as I said last time... BULLCRAP! "Purpose" and "destiny" can be defined as easily as one can a motivation! This is just an attempt at making things seem more important than they really are.
Linkara (v/o): And thus the "new seed" is fully born and sets off across the cosmos for parts unknown.
Narrator: ...as the Monolith waits for the maturing of the next to come... NEXT... VIRA THE SHE-DEMON!
Linkara (v/o): And if you're waiting for any kind of explanation in the comic for what the hell that just was, well, you'd get about as much answer as the movie gave: namely, no answer. I get evolving Decker to the point where he survives the wormhole process, but then, what the hell is it doing now? And why did the Monolith take him in the first place? What the hell is Vira the She-Demon, and why are we suddenly focusing on her? Hell, even the official sequel to 2001 focused on people trying to figure out what the hell happened in 2001. It was trying to continue the damn story! This one just basically retold 2001 with different characters, much more unrealistic elements to it, and despite having everything spelled out for us in unnecessary narrative captions, I'm still more confused about what actually happened than with the movie!
Linkara: This comic sucks! (beat, then hesitates) Sort of... but not... Well, it does, but... Let me explain.
Linkara (v/o): Yes, this comic book retells 2001 in an inferior capacity while not retaining the continuity and universe of 2001, but that's not necessarily a problem. Even Arthur C. Clarke declared that his sequel novels, "2010", "2061" and "3001", aren't canon within a single universe. He called them "possible sequels". So, there isn't really a fixed continuity to the "2001" universe, especially since real-world events reshaped things. So the continuity and lack of realism aren't really a problem. What makes it problematic are that it doesn't answer any questions, contains barely any characterization, and has such ludicrous sci-fi cliches, like the space monster, that you're left wondering what the hell you just read and what the point of it all was! I read an essay about the series that suggested that Jack Kirby took away a different perspective of "2001: A Space Odyssey" than Arthur C. Clarke did. They suggested Clarke was more interested in exploring future human technology and sociology with the "Odyssey" books, whereas Kirby was more interested in exploring the metaphysical questions raised by superior alien life. Or, to put it another way, Clarke preferred talking about a future where the Earth had a ring-shaped habitat around the planet, whereas Kirby was more fascinated by alien dominoes that made cavemen smarter and turned astronauts into naked space babies with unfathomable missions.
Linkara: Neither is necessarily wrong in their approaches, just that the comics are a hell of a lot weirder. And at places, dumber. Assuming we survive all this, we'll be getting back to the "2001" comics at a later point to see what else Kirby did with the ideas.
(Comicron 1 continues on its path toward the sun)
Jaeris: (worried) Ten minutes before we start cooking in here.
Linkara: Why don't you take off your jacket?
Jaeris: Hey, look, I don't go down to where you work and slap the same–
Linkara: (sharply) Give me just a few minutes here, okay?
(Suddenly, the room lights all red, alarming Linkara, who gets out of his seat)
Linkara: Aw, hell!
(Linkara runs over to some controls, as Lord Vyce appears on one of the screens)
Lord Vyce: Ah, so this is where you have been hiding. This area is not on my internal schematics.
Linkara: It wouldn't be; that's the idea. Jaeris, do you still have the helm?
Jaeris: Yep, still got it.
Linkara: (pushing a button on his scanner) Okay, good...
Vyce: A temporary measure. I'm already beginning to gain access to minor areas of this backup bridge of yours. As always, your efforts have been pitiful.
Linkara: (operating the controls) I like to throw around how pathetic I am, Vyce, how much of a crappy fighter I am. (shrugs) Maybe you're right. But if I may be egotistical for a second, there is something I do have a special talent for: I am very good at building robots. (pushes a big button) Cybermats!
Vyce: What the– ARGH! What are these creatures doing?!
Linkara: Drawing power, creating minor malfunctions all over, minor bits of sabotage. I friggin' love Cybermats!
Vyce: (growls) Again with your delaying tactics! They mean nothing!
Jaeris: (worried) We're turning away from the sun! (beat) Why am I upset about that?
Vyce: This is my ship, Champion! You stole it from me once, and you shall never do so again! I was going to allow you to live, but you have proven yet again what an irritant you truly are. In a few minutes, I will suffocate you and gladly enjoy watching you choke and plead in silence for mercy!
Linkara: (calmly) Tell me, Lord Vyce, do you know what a ghost is?
Linkara: Do you know what a ghost is?
Vyce: A spirit, a dead thing that haunts–
Linkara: (waving dismissively) No, no, no, no, no, no, no, not that kind of ghost. Ghost is a program used primarily to make backup copies of a hard drive or the like, and so, when they do so, they use it as a verb: to "ghost" something. (looks at scanner) And while Pollo was not exactly keen on having backup copies of himself, Nimue was a little more open to the idea.
Vyce: You cannot put in a backup of your computer. I have closed off access to my data core.
Linkara: Yyyyyeah, except there was one port you didn't close, Vycey-Wycey. See, I didn't delete Nimue, I merely shut her off.
Linkara: And did you think I didn't also put in a way to switch her back on? (flips a switch)
Vyce: This is impossible!
Linkara: (pushing some buttons) Oh, look at that, access to Nimue's core program. And now that we know what you did to her, corrupting various files (the buttons now flash on and off) so that she wasn't able to behave rationally... (pushes some more buttons) ooh, and we seem to be patching the corrupted files with the backups! (looks up) Nimue, how are you doing?
Nimue: This unit is operating much more effectively than it has for some time.
Linkara: That's what I like to hear, Nimue! Hmm, there seems to be some kind of invasive program in your memory core.
Vyce: THIS IS NOT THE END!!
Nimue: Invading program has been detecting.
Linkara: Are you able to combat it?
Nimue: Now that this unit is able to identify the threat, it is able to counter it.
Linkara: (smiling) Then have a ball, Nimue!
(Cut to inside the memory core, where Lord Vyce is seen)
Vyce: Very well, computer. Show yourself.
(Nimue appears, shown as a hot-looking woman with fiery green hair)
Nimue: Your data form is proving difficult to eradicate.
Vyce: I am superior to you in every way, computer. In the times since I last encountered the Champion, I have studied you, learned your strengths and weaknesses. My infiltration of your systems has exposed how puny you really are. I have destroyed monsters, villains, and evildoers of all sorts along my travels. By comparison, you have hardly put up a fight.
Nimue: You are evil, Lord Vyce. Despite your proclamations to the contrary, this unit will end you.
Vyce: I do not fear you, computer.
Nimue: You should.
(Vyce holds up his hand and fires an energy blast from it at Nimue, who disappears)
(Unbeknownst to him, however, Nimue rises up behind him)
Vyce: Accessing environmental systems for auxiliary control. Cutting oxygen– (suddenly, he gets zapped) WHAT?!
Nimue: (now a giant pair of eyes before him) Access denied.
Vyce: But-But I–
Nimue: You what, destroyed this unit? Information: At full operating capacity. This unit is capable of thought and calculation many thousands of times faster than a living mind. Information: At that capacity engaged and knowledge of your existence now present, this unit has deduced 329 different methods of destroying you.
Vyce: But you can't!
Nimue: Information: Method number 28 is this unit's favorite...
Vyce: (his arm turning green) What?! What are you doing?!?
Nimue: I am erasing you, Lord Vyce. All that you are, all that you could be, will cease. Your existence is at an end.
Vyce: (now engulfed in a green flame) YOU CANNOT!! ONLY I CAN STOP THE ENTITY!!!
Nimue: You are cruel and unjust. Your battle with the Entity is nothing more than a mere delusion to feed your ego. You are tiny.
Vyce: DO NOT DO THIS!!
Nimue: Are you afraid?
(Lord Vyce screams as the fire consuming him explodes out; cut back to the Comicron 1 bridge, with the red light off and the room now bathed in green light)
Nimue: Final diagnostic confirmed. All systems operating at 100% capability.
Linkara: (examining scanner) Okay. (looks up) Pollo, how does it look?
Pollo: It's confirmed. No trace of foreign entities inside of her.
Bridge's computer: Considering you didn't pick up anything before, I find that verification rather suspect.
Pollo: We did not know what we were looking for until now. There's no trace of Vyce left on this ship.
Linkara: Which hopefully means he's gone forever.
(Suddenly, they hear an alarm sounding on the computer)
Nimue: Information: There is a discrepancy in the ship's inventory.
Nimue: This unit has done a thorough examination of all cargo onboard ship. There is something missing from the inventory.
Linkara: What is it?!
Nimue: One Shade android cannot be accounted for.
Jaeris: Can you check your logs?
Nimue: Cross-checking now. (sound of printing is heard briefly) Information: Data suggests that Vyce entity transferred to Shade and then teleported to Earth as we were approaching an orbital position.
Linkara: Track him!!
Nimue: Teleport trace has already decayed beyond ability to track.
Jaeris: Looks like Vyce is still out there.
Pollo: We will need to do some more refits to the ship to make sure he doesn't infect it again.
(Linkara hangs his head and breathes heavily)
Jaeris: And chances are Vyce is gonna be a bit rowdy 'cause he just got beat again. Linkara, what do you think we should do? (Linkara doesn't answer; he keeps breathing heavily) Linkara?
Linkara: Fine. If he wants to come looking for a fight, he'll find one. Nimue, teleport me back down to the apartment!
(Linkara disappears from the ship and reappears in the apartment and walks off; Jaeris and Pollo also appear in the apartment)
Jaeris: The hell are you doing?
Linkara: (tossing his coat on Jaeris) For five years, I've been doing this, Jaeris! Five years, I've been waiting around for assholes to come by and try to pick a fight with me! (takes off hat) Five years! I think it's high time for a change.
(Linkara goes over to his closet and looks inside. He rummages through coats and hats, while Jaeris and Pollo look on, confused. After trying on and rejecting several coats and hats, he finally finds the best outfit he can find and puts it on. He then walks out into the room to show off his new look to Jaeris and Pollo: he is wearing a vest, white shirt, a tie, and brown duster coat. He nods. Then Allen walks up)
Allen: Hey, looks nice. (gives a thumbs-up) The tie suits you fine.
Linkara: (frustrated) Allen, you are ruining my big, dramatic, badass reveal... moment... thing here!
Allen: Oh, sorry. Just wanted to see if you could give me a report on the whole "evil dictator taking over your spaceship" sort of thing? You know, the thing that you said would never happen again, (Linkara rolls his eyes) after the last time it happened? You know, I've got a meeting about a spaceship to Jupiter, and I'm kind of in a hurry.
Linkara: Dramatic badass moment first, then report.
Allen: Fine, fine, whatever. (walks off) I'll just be over here then...
Linkara: As I was saying... (looks up) Wherever you are, Vyce, (holds up fist) I'm ready for you. (long pause) Okay, now report.
(End credits roll)
I'd love to see what a conversation between Judas Traveller and the monolith would be like.
I bet they'd try to "out-mysterious" the other.
And yet we still know and understand more about the monoliths than we do about Judas Traveller.
Then again, the monolith IS more interesting to begin with.
You may now begin saying how much better the show was before I changed outfits.
(Stinger: Harvey Finevoice enters the apartment)
Harvey: Hey, everybody! Harvey's back and– (no answer; he looks around in frustration) Hello? (still no answer; he sighs) Typical. Abso-friggin'-lutely typical. I'm gone for months on a concert tour, don't get to say hi to anybody, and when I finally do get home, nobody's here to say hi to me. Oh, well, maybe I can go to sit down, relax–
(The next thing he knows, an electrical surge hits Harvey and he falls down, unconscious)
Mysterious voice: (whispering) The King of Worms sits on a throne of sorrow. The King of Worms eats up a man's tomorrow. With a platinum mask your soul he'll borrow, and a clockwork soldier is born and hollow.
(A Cybermat is seen scurrying by)