22 Brides #1 and 2
November 2, 2009
According to an episode of "Behind the Music" about the 22 Brides, they used artificial growth hormone to try to look older... the problem is that it all focused on their legs.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. There seems to be some sort of train of thought among some comic book writers that because something is popular in one medium, that will automatically transcribe into a different medium.
(Cut to a shot of the cover for "Nightcat #1")
Linkara (v/o): Take, for example, comic books and music. Sure, we've already chronicled the likes of Nightcat, discussed the popularity of Dazzler, and seen Batman inexplicably wage war against Sid Vicious.
(Cut to a panel for "Batman: Fortunate Son", where the aforementioned Sid Vicious stand-in is shown)
Linkara (v/o): But there have been a ton of comics about real-life musicians or fake ones that once again get me to scratch my head in bewilderment. As I've said, unless there's a real song...
(Cut to a shot of an Archie comic)
Linkara (v/o): ...that we can put those lyrics we're seeing on the pages to, it's just somebody's idea of a song that I'm sure sounds like the greatest song in the world to the writer, but leaves the comic-reading public to have to say, "Why is this bad poetry littered around the text boxes?"
Linkara: And yet, comics about musicians, be they real or fictional, continue to be made, usually with more ludicrous premises. So let's dig into the musical mercenaries, I'm not kidding here, (holds up comic of review) of "22 Brides #1".
(The theme song rolls, followed by the title for this episode, while "More Than a Woman" by the Bee Gees plays in the background; cut to a closeup of the comic cover)
Linkara (v/o): While I wouldn't say that this cover is bad, I can't exactly call it good either. It's not bland, as since we do have colorful characters presented in a way that I'm sure is meant to be reflective of their personalities, but at the same time, it tells us nothing about the series or the issue we're about to read. Why are they called 22 Brides? Do these eight undergo mitosis until there are 22 of them, and then they're all married off? And why the random drag queen as the eighth? (open to the comic's credits page) To my dismay, I see that this comic was written by Fabian Nicieza, who also wrote...
(Cut to a shot of...)
Linakra (v/o): ..."NFL SuperPro #1". And it's not because "NFL SuperPro" was all that awful, especially when you compare it to, say, "Maximum Clonage", but I honestly feel bad when a decent writer like him has his work on this show.
(Cut back to the "22 Brides" credits page)
Linkara (v/o): I don't want to make fun of them, buuuut on the other hand, well, crappy comic.
Linkara: Fortunately, however, that is offset by the fact that Joe Quesada, the guy responsible for Spider-Man's deal with the devil, is also involved in this book, so here's hoping for "One More Day" jokes a-plenty!
Linkara (v/o): We open to somebody's snot running down their face.
Linkara (v/o): What's actually happening is that a woman is aiming her gun at a guy, and despite the fact that the opening page established that the gun is two inches from his face, the two-page spread that makes up the title page has it like three feet away, aimed at the back of his head. Also, there's a woman in a bellhop costume. The hell? Anyway, from what I can gather, there was some sort of deal that's gone sour, not that we're ever told that. Reading on, I'm assuming this is explained in future issues. The real problem is that when we finally go to the real plot, there's not even an establishing caption that tells us like "Three days ago" or something like that. Instead, it just feels like whatever happened on these opening pages is happening simultaneously with the next scene. Speaking of, we cut to the Slimelight Nightclub, which looks suspiciously like...
(Cut to a shot of the exterior of...)
Linkara (v/o): ...St. John Divine Cathedral, a real place.
Linkara: All class, this comic.
Linkara (v/o): Three women travel via elevator to the club. For some reasons, their bodies are twisted in a way that their upper bodies are completely pushed forward by the curvature of their spine.
(Linkara is seen standing in this twisted pose and looking pained as he does so, while a message next to him reads, "Seriously – try to put your back into this position.")
Linkara: Yeah, what's actually really awful is that this is pretty tame compared to some artists who draw women the same way.
Woman #1 (Libby): Where's the boss?
Woman #2 (Carrie): Back there, to the left.
(Cut to a clip of The Critic; Kevin Costner's character giving a lecture on JFK's assassination)
Costner: Back and to the left.
(Back to the comic)
Carrie: He looks kind of--uhm-- well, not what I expected. (in unison with Libby) LOOOOOSERRRR!
Linkara: (wearing a Minnesota Timberwolves cap over his eyes) Um, ladies, I can hear you from down here, you know.
Linkara (v/o): So the girls go down to meet this mob guy, who was the same guy as in the beginning, and WOW, the mob standards have really slacked off if this is a mob boss! He's got a baseball cap with a huge ponytail behind him, a leather jacket and t-shirt, and he's spending his time in a nightclub painting some statue. Oh, and this guy is so out of his gourd that he asks to borrow their lipstick and just smashes the lipstick into the statue. Oh, and it turns out the statue is of He-Man.
Linkara: I mean, seriously, the mob must have some lax standards these days! Tony Soprano would've capped this guy twice by now!
Linkara (v/o): So what was the point of that meeting? No idea, since he then just shoos them away. The guy does mention, however, that he wants the redheaded one brought to him later. Now we get some meandering around the club.
Libby: Hello, Silicon Valley!
Carrie: What did you think of Fonti?
Libby: What do I think of painful, rectal itch? Don't smoke. Stunts your growth!
Linkara (v/o): That last one, by the way, is said while she limbos underneath another woman's cigarette tray.
Linkara: What the hell was the point of all of that? Was this some sort of cut-and-paste dialogue scene where we're supposed to make it all up ourselves?
Linkara (v/o): So we learn that the girls were talking to the mob guy, named Fonti, because they wanted to have their band play at that club. And as they walk home, the redhead, named Libby, is literally pulled into an alleyway with a hook, the kind you'd see in a theater, trying to get rid of a bad stand-up act.
Linkara: Hey, it's as if the comic read my mind when I thought, "These characters are terrible and their dialogue isn't funny!"
Linkara (v/o): Actually, she was pulled into the alleyway by a group of bald thugs, sent by Fonti to get Libby. By the way, this was one of the earlier works of artist Scott Lee, who, in this comic, seems to adore low-angle shots that make the women look like they're standing on stilts. Anyway, the thugs tell the two that Fonti wants Libby, but her friend suddenly pulls two guns– Wait, wait, WHAT?! Where the hell did those guns come from?! Her jeans are practically spraypainted on, and I've got to tell you, that top isn't hiding anything! Where was she keeping those guns, in her hair?! So, she shoots the guy holding Libby, to which he even cries out...
Thug: I've been shot here, boys!
Linkara (v/o): No, you haven't! I can't see a spot on you that's been hit! Oh, but get a load of the physics here. Because he's been, quote-unquote, "shot", he releases his hold on Libby, which allows her to suddenly contort her body enough to kick him in the crotch, without facing him, and with enough force to knock them all down!
Linkara: Wow! Lemme see if I can do that!
(Linkara puts down the comic and turns around; he starts to try to imitate Libby's attack by extending his leg backward, but suddenly, a cracking is heard)
Linkara: My spine! (falls over)
Linkara (v/o): Further help arrives in the form of the dart-tossing... uh, April O'Neil's stripper cousin [Tweety]. Also, to assist in their getaway is a white limousine and a woman [Jane Vasko] who can phase through the roof! Oh, wait, it was a sunroof, not that we can tell in the first panel. The limo even has a few surprises of its own, like a part that opens up to reveal a crap-ton of guns! Did they steal this thing from James Bond? How the hell did a bunch of rock musicians get this stuff? Fonti is informed of the girls' escape while he's at a urinal, but he refuses to wash his hands!
(Cut to a clip of Justice League Unlimited)
Dr. Polaris: You gonna wash your hands?
The Flash: (turned into Lex Luthor) No, 'cause I'm evil.
Linkara: Is there some sort of government program that lets hobos be mob bosses for a day? Who let this clown be in charge?
Linkara (v/o): Fonti's goons are told they have some information on the girls and the person to get info from is... uh, John Travola during Saturday Night Fever?* When he first refuses to tell them anything, they pull guns on him.
- NOTE: His name is actually Vincent Barbarino Testavino.
Linkara: Huh, I guess you won't be staying alive, then.
Vincent: Fonti screwed with the wrong chicks-- he got hisself on the bad side of the Brides!
Linkara: Would you say that the Brides are... more than a woman? ("More Than a Woman" plays briefly and Linkara dances to it in his seat) Yeah, I'm a Bee Gees fan, deal with it!
Linkara (v/o): We cut to the Stump Towers. Yes, this is what passes for wit in this comic. The girls arrive here and apparently have their own huge penthouse suite. And of course, since this comic has the maturity of a twelve-year-old, they all strip naked so they can have a sauna.
Linkara: (waving dismissively) Because that's what girls do, you know? They wear skimpy attire that might as well have them be naked, and then they get back from their shopping, and they're giggling about boys, and they get naked and have showers with each other. (chuckles, then sighs with disappointment) Wow, a part of my brain died just from saying that.
Linkara (v/o): Following that unseen sauna, we get to see the women with nipples poking through their towels, which apparently operate like shrink wrap and conform to their bodies perfectly. So while they stand in the doorway, clad only in towels, they're informed about Fonti wanted Libby, which comes a surprise to them, but I don't know why; the bald thug sent against them already said that! They decide to show him who he's dealing with by arming themselves.
Mercy (yes, that's her name): Who wants the Glock and who wants the Patriot missile?
Linkara: What rock band can afford high-tech equipment, a huge-ass penthouse suite, a limo with guns built into it, two butlers, as well as tons and tons of guns and missiles?!
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, I know they have this job as mercenaries or assassins or whatever, but how did they get the capital for that? And why even use the cover of a rock band? What's the point? We cut to some detective on the phone, wearing a trenchcoat that apparently elevates her shoulders up.
Linkara: (scrunching his shoulders in imitation of the detective) Yeah, all great detectives do this. It really gets the mind flowing.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the detective scene is pointless, other than establishing that the 22 Brides are considered a myth. Back to Fonti's club, the girls show up to have their concert. Fortunately, we're spared from reading any of the lyrics. Unfortunately, we're not spared from the narration.
Narrator: Bodies fly. Sweat mingles with lust.
Linkara (v/o): Eww!
Narrator: Adrenaline slides through the air.
Linkara: (disgusted) Would you stop talking about bodily fluids for two seconds?!
Linkara (v/o): Libby is confronted by Fonti, but he in turn is stopped by Libby's sister, who, by the way, has a different skin tone and hair color than her, so what the hell? But then they get stopped by Fonti's thugs with their own guns! (dramatic sting) But then those two get surrounded by the Brides! (another sting) Oh, but then all of them are surrounded by Fonti's thugs, all around the area! (one more sting) This was in a hallway a second ago, and now we're in a big chamber!
Linkara: And where the hell was everybody hiding?! Did they slip into another dimension for a second before popping out so they could have their ludicrous dramatic reveals?!
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Fonti telling the 22 Brides that if they agree to work for him, he'll help Libby and her sister get her mother out of jail.
Linkara: Frankly, I would've asked for surgery to help repair their horrifically long and implausible legs. (closes comic and holds it up) This comic sucks!
Linkara (v/o): The artwork seems passable at times, but the artist had a serious fetish for low angles and long legs. The writing is cliched and nonsensical, and there's nothing about any of these characters that'd make us want to read more about them.
Linkara: Clearly, Cassada should've asked Mephisto to undo all of this– (stops himself and looks up in confusion) Wait a second. (looks at comic, then looks up, having made a shocking revelation) They're called "brides", Mary Jane Watson was Peter Parker's bride... My God! "One More Day" was just his attempt to get rid of "22 Brides"! I must tell the people! (slams comic down and runs off)
Yeah, a short episode after a really big one.
Also, I was lead to believe based on a description of the book that there'd be more music, hence the introduction sequence. Obviously that was not the case. Somehow, that actually makes this comic better, but not by much.
Also, these characters are apparently inspired by actual recording artists from "Zero Hour Recordings." In that case, all characters depicted are fictional and all the better for it. Any similarities to actual persons living or dead would be really horrifying.
(Stinger: A panel in the comic showing Fonti)
Fonti: (singing) When it says Libby, Libby, Libby / On the label, label, label / You will like her, like her, like her / On your table, table, table...