Channel Awesome
Advertisement
400th Episode (Marvel Super Special #7: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)

Marvel-Super-Special-7-Sgt.-Peppers-Lonely-Hearts-Club-Band-768x339.png

Released
May 30th, 2016
Running time
Part 1: 35:23
Part 2: 32:16
Previous review
Next review
Tagline
The 400th episode is here! This time, let's have some fun...
Link


(Open on Linkara standing against a black screen as he sings to the tune of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life")

Linkara: (singing) I read this book today, oh, boy,
Adapted from an awful musical
And though the film was rather bad,
Well, I just had to laugh,
A fitting epitaph
But then a comic came to be
George Perez handled all the art, you see
But when the film became a bomb,
Not to be published here,
Because the book was late and 'cause the film reduced us all to tears
The book was printed, though, indeed,
In French and Dutch and maybe Japanese
Rock opera turned to printed page
Well, I just have to look
At this comic book,
And now its translating...

(spoken) In 1977, producer Robert Stigwood sought to adapt a stage play of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band into a film musical. Despite an incredible soundtrack of Beatles songs redone by the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, and a host of other musical talent, it was a box office bomb, yet was still adapted into an issue of the comic series, "Marvel Super Special".

(singing again to shots of his show)

Welcome to the show,
400th episode,
Instead of Sonic or devil deals,
Or racist spiels, we're doing something fun,
I'm in my coat, in my hat,
Made a bunch of Cybermats
Done the show so long, and here I am,
Singing to that cam, time to dig into this thing

(spoken) The book was a nightmare to work on, with no support from the studio and a script that changed every day. It ran late, not that it mattered anyway, because the movie tanked so hard that it was decided to not release it in America. Strangely, instead of making the next Super Special, an adaptation of the pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica into issue 7, the numbering persisted, and so in America, it jumps from issue 6 to issue 8. But yes, this book was in fact published in non-English-speaking countries.

Music in comic books, oh, boy
Four thousand books like this, they never learn
No sound and plot holes big or small,
I couldn't count them all
Now let's dig into this book and see just how they dropped the ball,
Because it's translating...

(spoken) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. This is the 400th episode. Let's dig into "Marvel Super Special #7: Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band"!

(The song reaches its climax and finishes. The AT4W title sequence plays, followed by the film's rendition of the title song over the title card. Cut to Douwe Egbert (possibly related to the coffee brand of the same name) playing the opening bars of "Come Together" on an acoustic guitar.)

Egbert: Hello, I'm George Burns. (beat) Just roll with it. I'm here to serve as your narrator through the events of Atop the Fourth Wall's 400th episode. You see, given the source material, Linkara decided he needed to do this as a rock opera, so he'll be singing all his lines. You'll need me to navigate you through the jokes properly.

(He is interrupted, however, as, from off-screen, someone reaches into the frame and hands Douwe a piece of paper, which he looks at briefly.)

Egbert: It seems Linkara couldn't afford the budget to do the whole episode singing, so there will be musical moments throughout the review. I am, therefore, superfluous. But I still get paid, so either way, I win. Our story begins on a familiar futon, where everyone was wondering just how Linkara would open the episode...

(Dissolve to Linkara on his futon.)

Linkara: Four hundred episodes. Eight years. And with such a long time between the start of this show and this current point, it's easy to forget our roots. Most of the reviewers who started around the same time I did were inspired by the Angry Video Game Nerd. And so, in his honor, I must ask this: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?

(Cut to the cover for the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" comic.)

Linkara (v/o): So we've got an album of songs by the Beatles, turned into a musical, turned into a movie, turned into a friggin' comic book!

Linkara: You know, at least when they adapted Street Fighter: The Movie into a comic book, the transformation from source material to end product involved some similar elements. We've gone from an auditory medium to one completely bereft of audio!

Linkara (v/o): It's totally understandable why this thing ended up being a disaster on almost every level. How did nobody at Marvel realize what a mistake this would be? They were knee-deep in this before anyone stopped and said, "Oh, God, what are we even doing?" But what's more baffling is that despite all that work and money they already spent on it, they decided not to release it in the U.S.A.!

Linkara: I mean, you did the work already. Sure, it wasn't going to make that much money, but you could've serialized it as a backup story for other "Marvel Super Special" issues, or even released it as a double feature with something else. There were other solutions than (makes "air quotes") "Hope nobody notices there is no issue 7!"

(Cut to a shot of the infamous "Batman: Fortunate Son", showing the even more infamous Izaak Crowe playing a guitar.)

Linkara (v/o): The great thing about doing this as the 400th episode is that it covers two topics we've talked about at length in this show, combined together to highlight the follies of each: the aforementioned singing and music part in a comic...

(Cut to a shot of the cover of "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie #1".)

Linkara (v/o): ...plus a movie adaptation! But then we have a whole new problem on top of those.

(Cut to footage of the Sgt. Pepper film)

Linkara (v/o): It's a movie where 90% of the dialogue isn't dialogue! It's song lyrics! Song lyrics that don't necessarily match up with what's happening in this story because they were written under entirely different circumstances and context.

Linkara: And one song, "Come Together" is, by John Lennon's own words, gobbledygook! As in, it's utter nonsense! And thus, I must ask that question that started this: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?!

(Cut to a shot of a Superman comic by George Perez.)

Linkara (v/o): While this was still early in George Perez's career, he was the best pick for a project like this, since he's one of those artists who works best when he's dealing with a cast of hundreds, with great, dynamic action scenes, distinctive characters, and awesome facial expressions.

(Now cut to shots of a Beatles comic, also by Perez.)

Linkara (v/o): He had already done "Marvel Super Special #4", which was a biography about the Beatles, where he emphasized design and imagery to try and talk about the Beatles' music, since of course they couldn't actually put any music in the thing. Doing the Beatles comic is what landed him the "Sgt. Pepper" adaptation, but according to an interview, the book was a disaster from start to finish.

(Now cut to more footage of the Sgt. Pepper movie.)

Linkara (v/o): They got no assistance from the Robert Stigwood company, and the movie script was still being changed during filming. So elements from the comic were getting dropped or when new stuff was being added. He even said that he was happy it never got released in English.

Linkara: Fortunately for me, one of my wonderful fans took up the task and not only translated it, but altered the artwork of the scans to be in English, so the majority of you out there can follow what's happening. Thanks, Sheila!

(Cut to the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album cover.)

Linkara (v/o): "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" was an album conceived up by Paul McCartney. The idea was that the album would be as if it had been made by a fictional band going by that name. This would allow the songs to be highly experimental with shifting tones, as well as new sound work and types of instrumentation utilized in it. It was definitely something the band needed, thanks to the exhaustive tour schedule they had been going through.

(Cut to another clip of the movie.)

Linkara (v/o): Blasphemous as it is to say, though, I actually prefer the movie versions of these songs to the original Beatles ones. As said, they were experimental, and as a result, they sound experimental, like a rough draft or something. Some of them are still great, of course, but I just feel that for some, the Bee Gees perfected them.

Linkara: Then again, what the hell do I know? Four hundred episodes, and I'm still never gonna be as popular as the Bee Gees. (holds up today's comic) So let's finally read this sucker, and see how the hell they pulled this off!

(Cut to a closeup of the cover.)

Linkara (v/o): The cover is... bizarre. It's a photo cover, combining various bits of promotional artwork in one image, but the problem is that that means we have multiple copies of the titular band appearing on it, even in the same outfits. Hell, they actually copied and pasted the shot of them with their arms outstretched from the middle into the lower-right of the page. And here we see George Burns applauding the clones while he's sitting inside of a cheeseburger, like he was some bizarre fast food-themed Davros. And can I just ask? What the hell is going on with the shots of Barry Gibb? Up top, he's okay, but in the middle shots, he looks like his head has been squished a bit. How could they do that to him?!

(Cut to a random clip of Gibb on Saturday Night Live.)

Gibb: (jumping up from his seat) I'm Barry effing Gibb!

(Cut back to the comic's cover)

Linkara (v/o): (voiceover) Welcome to Sgt. Pepper and his Lonely Hearts Clone Saga! Look, there's even an oversized George Burns terrorizing the people down there!

(The comic opens to the first page.)

Linkara (v/o): We open with George Burns narrating to us.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Bombs! Guns! Death at any moment!

Linkara: Ah, Black Friday at Walmart.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Destruction everywhere.

Linkara: Never mind, it's Warner Bros.' corporate headquarters after the release of Batman v Superman.

Mr. Kite: IT'S WORLD WAR ONE.

Linkara: George Burns is Rod Serling in The Twilight Zone: The Untold Story.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) And yet, in the midst of the battle's deafening chaos, a joyful music emerges.

(Cut to a clip of Olivia Newton-John performing the title song in Xanadu, then cut back to the comic.)

Mr. Kite: (narrating) And even the German soldiers stop... to listen to... SGT. PEPPER!

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) Not realizing that Sgt. Pepper was known to lull his enemies into a state of euphoria with his music before a platoon then mowed them down.

Mr. Kite: You'll never believe what happens next.

Linkara: (frustrated) Oh, great, even comics from the '70s had clickbait!

Mr. Kite: (narrating) A magical melody fills their hearts with peace... and happiness. Suddenly, all combative thoughts vanish... as the soldiers head towards the sound of the drum... to march along with the orchestra, the Lonely Hearts Club Band!

Linkara: So basically, Sgt. Pepper was a Pied Piper-style supervillain who took over the world with mind control.

Linkara (v/o): May I ask what may be a dumb question? Why is it called the Lonely Hearts Club Band? Lonely hearts are basically singles hoping to find a date. While trying to look up info about this, it was suggested that the entire album itself was about alienation and loneliness; "all the lonely people," as it were, that the band was the spokesband for such a club. Well, if that's the case, why the hell are they all so damn jovial about it? Does that mean they're uniting the world in sorrow? And if all that is true about the name, does that mean that Sgt. Pepper was the original emo band?

Linkara: "Crawling in My Skin"? Bah! Get yourself some (makes "air quotes") "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite", dang it!

Mr. Kite: (narrating) It's not surprising that for having produced such a miraculous music, above and beyond the call of duty... the U.S. Government provided Sgt. Pepper with the highest distinction... the Purple Staff.

Linkara: An imaginary medal for an imaginary band.

Linkara (v/o): And really, you ended World War I with this band, and yet all you get was a friggin' medal? I mean, can't we give them anything else?

(Cut to a short clip from The Price is Right.)

Drew Carey: A new car!

(Back to the comic again.)

Linkara (v/o): It's a start, but I don't know. Maybe the Purple Staff grants you tax immunity or something.

Mr. Kite: Believe me, my friends... everyone loved the famous sergeant's music... and listened to it.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) Everybody was pirating it!

Mr. Kite: (narrating) During the Roaring Twenties... the band was playing... and all the young ladies were dancing the Charleston wildly.

Linkara (v/o): Well, some of them were dancing the Charleston; others were apparently doing the can-can.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Through the Great Depression... the band was playing... and people were dancing their troubles away.

Linkara: People were starving on the street, tuberculosis was rampant, but who cares? We get to dance to a jaunty tune!

Linkara (v/o): Geez, I knew the Great Depression was bad, but I didn't realize women had to sell their bras and panties. Or maybe this is just the Great Depression at a nudist colony.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) During the economic recovery... the band was playing... and couples were gracefully waltzing around.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) But then they decided they actually liked being naked in barrels more.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Even during World War II... the band was playing still...

Linkara (v/o): You sure about that? Because it looks like they exploded in this panel.

Linkara: And I've gotta agree with the Cinema Snob's review of the film. Was this how the concentration camps were liberated?! Oh, speaking of, (puts comic down) I should probably contact him since, you know, reviewer dibs and all.

(Linkara presses a button on a remote, and we cut through TV static to Brad Jones, AKA the Cinema Snob, wrapped in a blanket.)

Brad: I have existed since the morning of the world, and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night! Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula–

Linkara: Sgt. Pepper comic!

Brad: Oh. When the hell are you gonna do the "Caligula" comic?!

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the band continues to play for another forty years. Although, I've gotta say, for being such a war-stopping band, the fact that they have to keep stopping world conflict shows that they're not particularly effective at it. In the town of Heartland, a celebration is held to honor Sgt. Pepper, including a commemorative statue, or rather, as Mr. Kite points out, a Sgt. Pepper weather vane.

Mr. Kite: It shall always point the way to happiness.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) Strangely, it keeps pointing at the liquor stores.

Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, when the aged Sergeant Pepper raises his trumpet to play, he has a heart attack.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) But then... suddenly... the music... faltered... weakened... and died!

Linkara: (singing) So bye-bye, Mr. American Guy...

Linkara (v/o): In his will, Sgt. Pepper left his daughter's family all his property, save for the magical instruments, which were donated to Heartland itself and stored at the city hall... where there are actual statues of the band instead of just the lame weather vane. Admittedly, probably waxwork dummies, but still better-looking. Admittedly, though, if I got a statue, I think I'd want it to actually look like me in my prime, and not how I looked right before a fatal heart attack.

Mr. Kite: These instruments have the power to make dreams come true.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) And they're all mine! All hail Emperor Kite!

Mr. Kite: (narrating) But they must never leave Heartland, because without them, our days would be miserable.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) Let's face it, there's not a lot goin' on in this town without 'em.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Others would have the power. Others could have anything they want.

Linkara: (as one person) Hey, I'd like to use these all-powerful, dream fulfilling instruments to cure diseases and make people's lives better. (as another person) No, I'm sorry. If you did that, some Podunk town will be kinda bummed.

Linkara (v/o): Sgt. Pepper apparently also left his fakey medal with his other grandson, Billy Shears, even apparently leaving instructions for him to start a new band. Considering the last band ended two World Wars, you gotta love how it's now up to this kid, who may not want this life, to now create a new version of it. Not to say it shouldn't happen, just that maybe you should get his input before thrusting the responsibility on him. But of course, he did indeed to form it, so I look forward to Billy Shears and his Lonely Hearts Club Band putting an end to the Vietnam War and then deal with Saddam Hussein. Mr. Kite is dragging out the waxwork statues since Billy's new band will be ready to play once they see the exhibit. And... yeah, I guess we decided to let the single old guy drag out the massive statue instead of, like, hire people to help for this momentous day. Billy's brother, Dougie, who serves as the band's manager, introduces the new band to the super white town of Heartland.

Dougie: A few years ago... four boys got together... and formed a new band, as Sgt. Pepper's legacy. Today they will sing for us a legendary piece.

Linkara: (singing) Night fever, night fever, we know how to do it...

Linkara (v/o): No, of course, they sing the title song. I'll give this comic credit: unlike stuff like "Nightcat" or "Batman: Fortunate Son", since they're just singing Beatles songs and because this is an adaptation of a film musical, we actually know what the songs sound like. At least I do. See, the other problem with doing this comic is that it was made for 1979, which requires the reader to actually have a copy of the soundtrack or to have seen the movie to know what these versions of the songs sound like. But if you have the soundtrack, why are you reading the abridged version of the lyrics instead of just listening to it? But anyway, yeah, Billy starts singing

Billy: What would you think if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me?

Linkara: Not for that, but I think I would for the huge "Billy" you have emblazoned on your overalls. Why do you need a nametag?

Linkara (v/o): Hell, all the band members have those. Even Dougie has one on his hat. Why?

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Never since the original Sgt. Pepper stopped playing did children, young people... and elders... feel so happy altogether.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) Although there was that one time we all became obsessed with the Beach Boys, but we don't talk about that.

Linkara (v/o): We're then introduced to Strawberry Fields – yes, seriously – as she's helping an old lady from the Heartland Retirement Home get a closer view of the band.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) The old lady bobs her head joyfully. She's under the charm.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) She, too, has had her free will stripped from her and joined the hive mind.

Linkara (v/o): Something changed from the movie to the comic is that in the movie, Billy was already talking to Strawberry Fields before he went on stage, whereas here he's singing about love at first sight and then spots her in the crowd.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Dougie also notices the young woman. But she shows no interest in him. Dougie is astounded. He hates being rejected.

Linkara: Dougie proceeds to write several slur- and expletive-filled essays about how feminism is evil and has caused women to reject his manly bowler hat.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) For Strawberry, this song has become a personal expression of the affection Billy has for her.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) She is instantly creeped out by this and files a restraining order.

Linkara (v/o): With the end of a successful concert, a telegram suddenly arrives for the group. They read it and... GOOD GOD, THIS ARTWORK! Just look at the Bee Gees' mouths hanging open! Look at their cold, dead eyes!

Linkara: (sitting in a fetal position) Can't sleep... Bee Gees will eat me...

Linkara (v/o): So, what was the telegram?

Bob: "The world's biggest record company just found out that your music is fantastic."

Mark: News travels fast.

Linkara: No kidding, considering you (holds up index finger) don't have an album yet, (holds up two fingers) nor did you send any music to this record company, (holds up three fingers) and better still, (becomes frustrated) YOUR GROUP JUST PREMIERED FIVE MINUTES AGO!

Linkara (v/o): But yeah, the company wants a tape of their songs.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Never before did something like this happen to someone from Heartland.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) I mean, sure, the original Sgt. Pepper ended wars, but getting a record deal? (points to camera) Now that's impressive!

Linkara (v/o): By the by, one side of the script constantly changing is that the narration specifically calls out that Strawberry's parents disapprove of the new version of the band. It is a plot point that goes absolutely nowhere and is never mentioned again, nor does it even match up with the movie, where her parents are just as excited about them as everybody else. After Billy and Strawberry make out onstage in celebration, the fair they're performing at draws to a close and Mr. Kite starts singing "I'm Fixing a Hole"... for no particular reason, other than the fact that it was on the album.

Narrator: M. Kite thinks he's at home here... and he's right.

Linkara (v/o): Wait, I thought Mr. Kite was the narrator! Anyway, the band records their tape in the most logical of recording venues, a barn.

Billy: It's getting better all the time!

Linkara: Well, your sound quality isn't.

Linkara (v/o): Although, maybe this is just a rehearsal. I'm not seeing any recording equipment, aside from the microphones. What really sucks is that they had to shove out Lapis and Peridot to do this crap. Strawberry Fields is with them, but we soon see that she is being spied on by a nearby RV. Inside of the RV is mean Mr. Mustard, who has his own robot servants to serve him hot dogs.

Mr. Mustard: Martha, you didn't put enough mustard on these wieners.

Linkara: Batman almost stopped Mr. Mustard's evil plans, but then he mentioned that his robot was named Martha and he had to let him go.

Linkara (v/o): Mr. Mustard soon gets a message from something called F.V.B.

F.V.B.: We hate love. We hate joy. We love money.

Linkara: The R.I.A.A. became more likeable once they stripped away the pretense.

Linkara (v/o): We cut over to B.D. Records' headquarters, which are two giant, pyramid-shaped buildings in the middle of Los Angeles with Magic 8-Balls on top of them.

Linkara: Well, I gotta give the comic this: it's got balls.

Linkara (v/o): B.D. Brockhurst, in the movie played by the late, great Donald Pleasence, is listening to the band's sample tape, alongside a group of fawning women, identified in the narration as Lucy and Her Diamonds. Yeah, yeah, cute and all, but I'm more confused about the presence of the little pig statue with "B.D." written on it. The hell's up with that? Anyway, B.D. Brockhurst is trying to decide if he should sign them up. After all, the Village People are gonna be releasing "Can't Stop the Music" soon, and that's gonna get their careers going again! Then again, I'm sure B.D. will appreciate the music. After all...

(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The Pumaman.)

Tom Servo: (as a character in the movie) My name is Pleasance and I am funky.

(Back to the comic again.)

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Lucy lustfully licks her lips.

Linkara: (as Lucy) I'm going to eat this photograph.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) B.D. agrees. They will become the greatest band in history.

Linkara: (as B.D.) And I shall call them "The Dave Matthews Band"!

Mr. Kite: (narrating) And they will be his.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) Provided someone doesn't snipe him on the auction.

Linkara (v/o): The telegram informing the group of their acceptance is sent out.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) And delivered by... who else... the world's oldest Western Union messenger.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) Who arrived three months later because he took a rowboat to the town, got lost along the way, and had to forage on animals in the woods because he never learned how to drive the damn delivery truck.

Linkara (v/o): The telegram arrives, saying the band needs to be in L.A. tomorrow. Billy and Strawberry say their farewells that night, presumably just holding hands, because Heartland is as innocent and squeaky-clean as you can get without scrubbing so hard you remove the paint, but their potential romantic interlude is, of course, being observed by Mean Mr. Mustard to make this as creepy as possible. The morning comes, as does the sun, allowing Strawberry to sing again. Yeah, if it wasn't clear by now, they actually included songs from "Abbey Road" as well as the original album, yet didn't put in two songs from "Sgt. Pepper": "Within You, Without You" and "Lovely Rita". And fair enough on "Within You, Without You", given the nature of the song and how it's all metaphysical and crap, but why the hell did you leave out a love song about a specific woman named Rita that could've easily been written into the movie for Sandy Farina? I'll get more into this a bit later, but needless to say, it's just an odd choice to leave out.

(Cut to a clip of the movie, which Linkara describes.)

Linkara (v/o): Another change from the movie is that, instead of the band flying by hot air balloon until a plane collides into them to transport them to L.A...

(Cut back to the comic.)

Linkara (v/o): ...they just fly out on said plane.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) There's no sadness in this parting of ways. Only joy. Because the boys are going to be famous... and it's all right.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) They are gonna have so many groupies, plus hookers and blow, and it's all right.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) But is it real? Los Angeles' foggy, noisy and luxurious commercial landscape unfolds before them. Everything seems so different and revolting to the freshly out of Hearland boys.

Linkara: (as Mr. Kite) Which you can really see, what with this picture of an airplane landing.

Linkara (v/o): However, the boys are soon pacified by the arrival of B.D. Brockhurst in a platinum, open-top limousine. The driver of the limousine is in fact Lucy herself.

Linkara: (incredulously) Geez, you make your singer also act as your chauffeur, B.D.? I don't know if you're worse than Sony or just as bad as them.

Linkara (v/o): And knowing that, I'm guessing he's actually here to make the band polish the limo.

B.D.: Hop in, kids. We have a lot of stuff to cover. No time to waste!

(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang watching Are You Ready for Marriage?)

Servo: Lesson mobile away!

(Back to the comic again.)

Linkara (v/o): As the boys are impressed with the bright lights, big city of the town, B.D. pulls out the contracts to try to get them to sign right away. Dougie, being a greedy idiot, signs it, but Billy and the Bee Gees are uncertain. Lucy decides to use her "siren song" to lure him into the contract, so she sings, "I Want You So Bad". Fortunately, unlike the movie, Donald Pleasance does not also start singing it, since that would kind of break the spell. A group of motorcyclists soon drive up around the limo.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) They are being escorted in style by Lucy's Diamonds.

Linkara: Nah, those are clearly Lucy's Cubic Zirconias.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) And Lucy herself?

Linkara (v/o): Why is that being said over an image of one of the motorcyclists? Is she meant to be a double of Lucy? Holy crap, maybe there is some kind of Clone Saga going on in this book!

Diamond: But how can that be?

Linkara: For she is the Kwisatz Haderach!

Mr. Kite: (narrating) And so, they enter the city... to discover decadence.

Linkara (v/o): Yes, the pure decadence of... people walking around on the streets. Well, okay, there is this naked woman poster that somehow made it past the censors.

Linkara: Well, actually, I know exactly how it made it past the censors. (points to camera) That's really Donald Pleasance.

Linkara (v/o): We soon see a montage of what I presume are The Diamonds, or at least a bunch of women in bikinis, making out with the band and getting them to sign their contracts. With the band being overwhelmed by the groupies, B.D. thinks to himself how advantageous this will be to him.

B.D.: I'm gonna make millions with these guys.

Linkara: And you know what? I'm okay with that. Dr. Loomis deserves to retire in comfort after all the crap he's been through.

Linkara (v/o): The band's first album is a success, and I just realized that the pig thing from B.D.'s office might be intended to be a bulldog, given the "B.D." abbreviation. But yeah, a nationwide tour soon follows, Dougie earns a lot of money, and all the shows are sold out.

Linkara: However, controversy would soon erupt when they signed a tie-in deal to Nabisco, upsetting the Keebler company after declaring, "We're bigger than Cheezits!"

Linkara (v/o):' Back in Heartland, Mean Mr. Mustard and his assistant, Brute, have broken into the town hall and are stealing the magical musical instruments... which, despite, the fact that they can make anyone's dreams come true, they have about as effective as security protecting them as a note left on an open cardboard box in the street with thousands of dollars inside of it reads, "Please do not steal". Mr. Mustard plans to send three of the instruments off to his cohorts and keep one for himself.

Mr. Kite: (thinking) Such a dirty old man.

Linkara: Okay, we know that because he was perving on Strawberry Fields earlier, but how the hell does Mr. Kite know that? How up to date is he on the seedy underbelly of Heartland?

Linkara (v/o): Mr. Mustard declares that he will become Heartland's king... and somehow accomplishes this, both in the movie and in the comic. You can't even say he used the instruments to do it because as soon as he stole the instruments, he shipped them off! Somehow he just gains control of the town from Mr. Kite! Is there an election? Did the town owe Mr. Mustard a bunch of money or something?

Mr. Mustard: (narrating) I will change its name. We won't call it Heartland anymore... but Mustardville!

Linkara (v/o): Even the gazebo has changed into a cheeseburger!

Linkara: My God! Mayor McCheese was behind this the whole time!

Linkara (v/o): And yeah, the gazebo change is the only major problem we see with Heartland. Sure, there's some condemned buildings in the background, a little more litter, and the leaves have fallen from the trees, but the leaves falling could just mean the season is changing, and I have a difficult time believing Mr. Mustard could make people litter more. If he really is in control of the town, all that means is that he cut back on public works projects meant to clean the place up, which implies pollution was always a problem, it's just the city was better at cleaning it up.

(Cut to footage of the movie, showing "Heartland see[ing] its darkest hour".)

Linkara (v/o): In the movie, it's stupider in its own way, implying that the major things introduced that ruined the town were, one, an arcade...

Linkara: (looking up and shaking fist) DAMN YOU, PAC-MAN!

Linkara (v/o): ...and two, prostitution. And I hate to break it to you, but it takes two to tango. In the film, clearly, they're making money off of said prostitution, so obviously there was a market for it.

(Cut back to the comic.)

Linkara (v/o): You know, if these musical instruments were the only things keeping Heartland from devolving into this place, doesn't that imply that the instruments have even worse mind control powers? Just because the end results are positive doesn't mean it isn't still shady. All you did was replace your Gotham City with "The Stepford Wives".

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Naturally, Strawberry is upset by what's going on in her city.

Linkara: Mostly, it was about the gazebo, though. She just thought it looked tacky.

Linkara (v/o): And so, she decides to get on a bus and find Billy, but Mr. Mustard spots her departure and goes after her. Arriving in L.A., Strawberry is briefly accosted by some bikers.

Biker: Hey honey, what's wrong?

Linkara: Man, Lucy and the Diamonds' biker gang really went downhill fast.

Linkara (v/o): She suddenly spots a billboard up high that declares: "LUCY AND THE DIAMONDS – The most wicked show in town".

Strawberry: (thinking) What a weird poster.

Linkara: I know, right? You'd think B.D. could afford a better advertisement than just plain text without even a picture.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Strawberry is entranced by the message.

(Cut to a clip of They Live, showing a sign reading "OBEY", then cut back to the comic.)

Linkara (v/o): Seriously, though, what message?

Mr. Kite: (narrating) It fills her mind and a sudden vision appears.

Linkara (v/o): Said vision turns out to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band playing alongside Lucy and the Diamonds all together singing "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds". And then she sees Billy making out with Lucy, which she shouldn't know about unless she's psychic. And how the hell did a billboard do that to her?! What the hell is going on?! Why is a band called Lucy and the Diamonds singing "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds"?! Why does her group exist only to make this reference?! It's not even really the sky, it's just kinda tall up!

(Cut inexplicably to shots of past comics Linkara looked at.)

Linkara (v/o): (sounding like he's about to lose it) Why'd it take so long for Black Canary to arrive in Gotham?! Why the hell did Whatley want to spread the evil of Silent Hill through a celebrity murdering people?! How would that even work?! Why did they put Prometheus' helmet back on in "Cry For Justice"?! Why did Kyle Rayner get so obsessive about defeating Sonar in "JLA – Act of God"?! What possible reason does anyone have to work for Harvest in "The Culling"?!? WHY DOES THE THING WANT TO SETTLE DOWN IN NEW ZEALAND AND FALL IN LOVE WITH SOME RANDOM WOMAN?!?!

Linkara: (really about to lose it) WHY DOES BEING A PUREBLOOD HUMAN SUPERIOR TO THE GENETICALLY-ENHANCED IN "SCI-SPY"?!?! WHY DID MARVEL THINK WE WANTED TO READ ABOUT THE SEXUAL ESCAPADES OF AUNT MAY?!??! I JUST– (stammers briefly in frustration as he massages his forehead) I DON'T– FOUR HUNDRED EPISODES!!! (throws down comic) I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!

(He gets up and storms off in frustration. Dissolve to Linkara back in the black space again, looking quite dejected as he shakes his head, wondering about his life.)

Egbert: (narrating) Linkara's spirit was broken. Four hundred episodes of terrible comics with bizarre plots and awful artwork finally took its toll, and he needed to express himself. Naturally, given what we're working with here, he's doing it in song.

(Linkara starts singing to the tune of "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds", while shots of his show are shown in the background.)

Linkara: (singing)

Pictures and word balloons mashed up together,
It's sequential art and beautiful prose
But then you see it, an ungifted artist
That draws an impossible pose
Twin clones of Hitler and Bimbos in Time,
Tandy Computer Whiz Kids,
Psychoman, Raver, Star Trek meets X-Men,
It's all real...
What the hell did I just review?
What the hell did I just review?
What the hell did I just review?
Ahhh...
Go back in time and meet God and the Devil
Traded your marriage at the Car Wash of Doom
Everyone cries for both justice and Brute Force,
But "Countdown" can rot in its tomb
SuperPro, laser bats, Jell-O Man, too
Santa the Barbarian,
Snowflame, "The Culling", and "Holy Terror",
It all sucks!
What the hell did I just review?
What the hell did I just review?
What the hell did I just review?
Ahhh...
Bad comics come in all types and all flavors,
From a Frank Miller story to "PSA Hell"
"SCI-Spy", Kamandi, "Teenage Super-Foxes",
It all makes me just want to yell...
What the hell did I just review?
What the hell did I just review?
What the hell did I just review?
What the hell did I just review?

(As he continues, Linkara reaches out and grabs a man filming this on a tablet.)

Linkara: (singing)

What the hell did I just review?
What the hell did I just review?
What the hell did I just review...?

(Fade through black to a depressed Linkara in his room again. He leans his head against his living room bookshelf and sighs as he tries to figure out what it is he's reviewing)

Linkara: What's the point of all this? No one's gonna like this episode. I mean, it's supposed to be a musical, but it's taken me this long just to get to the second song! Is this really worth all the headache? (suddenly looks up with a look of renewed determination) Yes. Yes, it is. Because it's getting better all the time. I'm getting better all the time.

(He returns to his futon and sits back down. He picks up the comic again and takes in a deep breath before resuming the review)

Linkara: So, after Strawberry finishes tripping balls...

Linkara (v/o): ...she quickly makes her way to B.D.'s recording studio and gets the group up to speed. Hell, she even knows that Mr. Mustard is following her.

Billy: Don't worry, you're safe now.

Linkara (v/o): Yes, Strawberry, take comfort in Billy... who himself is apparently so high that he's talking to the air above your head as opposed to you. The boys rush out of the studio, but are immediately confronted by Mr. Mustard and Brute. Unlike in the movie, where the group just steals Mr. Mustard's vehicle without encountering him, Brute runs up and grabs Billy, holding him up into the air. Man, Mr. Homn from Star Trek: TNG was a badass. Billy is still holding his guitar, and the strings accidentally strum up against Brute's coat, which creates a small bit of music. According to the narration, music is "Brute's only weakness".

Linkara: Unfortunately, it turns out he's only into rap.

Billy: Hey! The music is calming this big thug! Play something and he might let go of me.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) The band starts playing an air at once.

("Shoot To Thrill" by AC/DC plays briefly)

Mr. Mustard: No, you can't do this to me. The F.V.B. made me a winner!

Bob: Nonsense! All bad guys are losers.

(Cut to the obligatory clip of an episode of Doctor Who)

Cyber Leader: There is... logic... in what he says.

Linkara (v/o): They steal the vehicle, with Robin Gibb... Yeah, his name is Bob, but honestly, the Bee Gees are just playing themselves... courting Martha the robot. Hey, robots need love, too, you know. But anyway, yeah, they find the drum and head off to Dr. Maxwell's offices to find the first instrument. In the movie, he's played by Steve Martin for some reason. Dr. Maxwell himself sings "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and uses said silver hammer to turn old people young. Aaand you know how the lyrics to the song describe Maxwell Edison killing people with his hammer? Yyyeah, that's not in the movie, but here, we get to see it: at least three people murdered by him. Of course, his little youthful transformation ability with the silver hammer also turns them into slaves of F.V.B., but of course, no one bothers to point out that HOLY CRAP, HE HAS A MAGIC HAMMER THAT TURNS PEOPLE YOUNG! Admittedly, it apparently turns them into Boy Scouts, based on that uniform, but still...

Linkara: And after his murderous career, Maxwell Edison retired to Stockbridge, where he went under the nickname (makes an "air quote") "Mad Max" by the residence, met the Fifth Doctor, and then some Internet reviewer mispronounced "Gloucestershire".

Linkara (v/o): Our heroes arrive to fight Dr. Maxwell and his nurse flunkies.

(Footage of the movie showing the fight there is shown)

Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, unlike the movie, this does not result in a lightsaber battle between Steve Martin and Peter Frampton.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Instead, while they retrieve the magic coronet [sic], Billy is knocked out.

Strawberry: No, he can't be dead! Not now!

Linkara: (as Strawberry) He has to die at the climax! This is just narratively lame!

Linkara (v/o): Billy is still alive, though, and there's a bit of a change here, because it's now when Strawberry sings "Strawberry Fields Forever" – in the movie, anyway; she sings just one line of it here – instead of after the second instrument battle. He's in a coma... or something; it's not entirely made clear.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Strawberry treats him with the best possible medicine... her tender love.

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Scrubs)

Dr. Cox: You gotta give it time, because you see, when you're waiting for someone to magically get better all by themselves, the whole thing becomes about time.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Yeah, why the hell is she singing about herself? It's like the producers knew there was a song called "Strawberry Fields Forever", but never paid attention to the lyrics of it! You could've called her Rita and used "Lovely Rita" to help Billy recover, like him singing it to her earlier to tell the tale of how they met, then have her sing it here to bring him out of the coma or whatever. Instead, they called her Strawberry Fields when that song is about nostalgia and apathy towards one's current surroundings, which neither applies to her character, nor has any relevance to the situation at the time she sings it. So, whatever, she sings to him.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Billy wakes up and everything is perfect again.

(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The Thing That Couldn't Die)

Tom Servo: Wow, they held the tension for a full second.

(Cut to the Sgt. Pepper movie, showing a scene matching the comic – or not)

Linkara (v/o): What, you're not gonna do it like they did in the movie, which looks more like Billy is gonna regenerate into Colin Baker?

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): They get on their way to the next instrument, being held by a cult leader named Father Sun, who is using the magic tuba to create a bunch of brainwashed servants. And of course, the F.V.B. motto of "We Hate Love, We Hate Joy, We Love Money" plays continuously to the brainwashed masses. So, what does Father Sun have to say?

Father Sun: Love me! Yes, you love me!

Linkara: Father Sun, your brainwashing is a little confusing and contradictory. Are you money? Because I don't see how they could love you if you're not.

Father Sun: Love me! Yes, you love me!

Linkara: This is a weird cover of "Lovefool".

Linkara (v/o): Man, Zordon used to look really scraggly before he lost all his hair. Actually, this is supposed to be a cover of "Because (The World Is Round)", but for some reason, none of the lyrics are here. In any event, our heroes arrive and find the tuba, with Robin Gibb deciding to fiddle with the equipment on all the brainwashing monitors.

Dave: I'll show the world who Father Sun really is.

(Cut to a clip of Wayne's World)

Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers): Why, it's Old Man Withers, the guy who runs the haunted amusement park!

Old Man Withers (Carmen Filpi): And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you snooping kids!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): They pull the wires out of the equipment, which somehow reveals... the same guy, only now he isn't a disembodied head.

Mr. Kite: (narrating) His disciples have seen it all.

Disciple: No, it's impossible!

Linkara: (as this disciple) We were worshiping Alice Cooper?! Awesome!

Mr. Kite: (narrating) The crowd becomes unruly... Could this loser be Father Sun?

Linkara: What exactly is so different about him now? Or did the Kirby Krackle around his head really add to the mystique that much?

Linkara (v/o): This especially doesn't make sense that they're calling him a loser because the comic doesn't reveal his backstory as a heavily-bullied crossing guard like the movie does.

(Cut to more comparable footage of the movie)

Linkara (v/o): And it doesn't even go down like this. Screwing with the equipment just creates a bunch of feedback that messes with the brainwashed.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): But no, in this case, they all grab baseball bats and proceed to beat Father Sun to death!

(Cut to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang as they watch Pumaman)

Tom Servo: Certainly, this is a victory for good!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): With the third instrument in their possession, our heroes head out... but the robots refuse to help anymore, initiating their self-destructs. Billy hits on an idea of how to start looking for the last instrument.

Billy: We'll organize a special benefit concert in Heartland. And then we'll use the proceeds to fund a nationwide search and bring back happiness to our town.

(Cut to the MST3K gang again as they watch This Island Earth)

Crow T. Robot: Sounds like a really crappy plan, but okay.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): We cut back over to B.D. headquarters. B.D. is not happy about how the band has had to cancel several appearances as a result of their escapades.

B.D.: Six million dollars lost. I wish I had never heard of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Linkara: He says that now, but later in life, he would learn to regret how he treated them.

(Cut to a clip of the Twilight Zone episode "The Changing of the Guard")

Prof. Ellis Fowler (Donald Pleasance): I gave them nothing. I gave them nothing at all.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Dougie arrives, though, to inform them of the benefit concert, which, for some reason, involves circus performers and them singing, of course, "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite", even though the benefit is for the instruments, or Heartland itself in the movie, and not for Mr. Kite specifically. And for some reason, B.D. records their performance in secret.

B.D.: I'll sell this on the black market. The boys will never know.

Linkara: Yes, make an illegal recording of the benefit concert for a bootleg release instead of just using your legal right that's probably in your contract to record it for the mass market. (beat) Wait, what?

Linkara (v/o): However, while the guys are busy with the concert, Brute arrives again and kidnaps Strawberry, bringing her to Mr. Mustard. Fortunately, we are spared the utter creepiness of him and Strawberry singing "When I'm 64". They've also made off with the instruments, the benefit concert money... and Lucy and Dougie.

(Cut to a scene from the movie that's not included in the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Yeah, they cut out a scene from the movie, where the two decided to take the benefit money for themselves and sing "You Never Give Me Your Money". I'll give it this: despite the fact that the song's actual meaning is completely different from this situation, the lyrics kinda work for their characters up until that point, especially with their acting during it, so cutting it was kind of a bummer when just suddenly a bunch of stuff happened off-panel. We also skipped the guest appearance of Earth, Wind and Fire, which was probably a better cut, since it was just a song in the concert.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): But yeah, as Mr. Mustard's escapes with Strawberry and the others, our heroes set off in pursuit in the fastest of vehicles: hot-air balloon.

Billy: Mr. Mustard kidnapped Strawberry and stole the show's money!

Mr. Kite: There's only one thing left to do. You must chase after them in Heartland's hot-air balloon.

(Cut to the Bee Gees on Saturday Night Live)

Robin Gibb: Are you out of your mother-lovin', dope-smokin' hippie mind?!

(Back to the comic again)

Mr. Kite: (narrating) Mark, Bob, Dave and Billy quietly watch Sgt. Pepper's weathervane disappear behind them. They have a feeling that this is it, the final revelation... of the Future Villain Band.

Linkara: "Future Villain Band", the terrifying story of Justin Bieber, Robin Thicke and Chris Brown joining together in one unholy union!

Linkara (v/o): Or, you know, a shirtless Aerosmith. That works, too.

F.V.B. lead singer: We, the Losers, have won!

Linkara: Hey, I've got a song for every statement you've made in this thing: (leans in close to camera with a scowl) "Walking Contradiction"!

F.V.B. lead singer: Now I, Sal, will rule over the world of rock 'n' roll.

Linkara: (rolls eyes) Great, our future overlord is named Sal. Might as well have called him Steve.

Linkara (v/o): But yes, the ruler of rock 'n' roll, with his... saxophone... and coronet... and tuba... Dear Lord, you guys suck!

Linkara: (holds up hand defensively) Not Aerosmith, of course, just the Future Villain Band thing. But anyway...

(Suddenly, he is interrupted by a siren, accompanied by a flash light which turns the room a distorted, grainy shade of red. He looks around in confusion and worry)

Linkara: The hell...?! (puts comic down) How can this be happening?!

(Linkara gets up and walks out of the room. Startled, he hears a band playing "Come Together", which confuses him even more. He spots Douwe Egbert playing electric guitar, Pyramid Head playing acoustic guitar, Whatley (played by Lewis' father, Loren) as lead singer, and Dr. Linksano on drums)

Whatley: (singing off-key, with his voice not matching his mouth movements)

Here comes Linkara
His show is weekly
And he's got a robot...

(As Linkara walks up, it is revealed the band is simply following words displayed on a screen, like karaoke)

Whatley:

And more than one Troller
His Patron sponsors pay a fee
At the end of each episode, there is a tease

(Linkara stares at the lyrics on the screen in utter confusion, then shrugs and shakes his head in exasperation. He stares with his eyes slightly rolled up)

Whatley:

He fly an airline
But not a football
Nor will he linger
He drinks Coca-Cola
He say "I am a man and you know me"
Don't make him read "Marville", that's his only plea

(Linkara crosses his arms and looks up)

Whatley:

Don't ever
Right now
The show is free
He got bad production
And he hates the reboot
And he's got a spaceship
And a '90s slacker
He sits on the couch indefinitely
Engage him on Blue Beetle and he'll never cease
Don't ever
Right now
The show is free

(A musical interlude plays briefly, which annoys Linkara even more)

Whatley:

He's a Twitter poster
In the early mornin'
He would be much taller
If he had a junk food filter
He does more Star Trek than SF Debris
His convention bookings are a sight to see
Don't ever
Right now
The show is free

Linkara: (totally unimpressed) You're serious with this?

Whatley: Behold, Linkara! My Future Villain Band!

Linkara: (clutching at his forehead) Oh, for the love of...! It's been five years, and you're still just as derivative, Whatley!

Whatley: What do you mean "derivative"?!

Linkara: (makes "air quotes") "Future Villain Band"? First of all, all the villains here are from my past, not my future! Second, that's just the name of the villains in Sgt. Pepper! Couldn't you make it "Linkara Villain Band" or something?

Dr. Linksano: Ooh, that is a better name!

Linkara: Linksano, what are you doing there?!

Dr. Linksano: I used to be one of your villains!

Linkara: Yeah, but you haven't been for years. You're in a band?

Dr. Linksano: I have other interests outside of you, Linkara.

Linkara: And George Burns, you're supposed to be the narrator!

Douwe Egbert: They made me a better offer. You clearly didn't need me anymore.

Linkara: And really, Whatley, how are you here at all? Margaret destroyed you!

Whatley: There are opportunities, where the line between death and life can be crossed, when I can finish what was started!

Linkara: (deadpan) And that opportunity was a comic adaptation of a movie about a Beatles album?

Whatley: The line between fiction and reality is even more precarious than the one between life and death!

Linkara: Also, this is your big revenge scheme? You form a band and sing a parody song?!

Whatley: I also kidnapped one of your loved ones.

(Confused, Linkara looks around and spots Pollo chained to a chair)

Pollo: Hey, Linkara.

Linkara: Pollo, you have a gun! How did you get chained up?

Pollo: I have other interests outside of you.

Linkara: (massaging his temples) This day refuses to not be idiotic.

Whatley: Your sanity is hanging by a precarious thread, Linkara! All it needs is one little push to drive you over the edge!

Linkara: (still massaging his temples) No argument here.

Whatley: Think of it, Linkara! After all you've done for 400 episodes, you witness so many insane comics, so many terrible plots, crappy characters, and the morally offensive that you've been told to like! And it never ends, Linkara! Your job will never be over! This is why this comic shall be your downfall, for you will never be as popular as the Bee Gees! You will be forever seen as a scammer and a fat loser! (Linkara stares, saddened by this news) You, are a failure!

Egbert: (looking into the camera, resuming his narration) Linkara briefly considered the words of his otherworldly enemy, (Whatley turns and stares at Egbert) wondering if perhaps he had–

Whatley: SHUT UP!

Linkara: Well, you've got a point or two, Whatley. I'm never going to be as popular as the Bee Gees, bad comics do keep getting made, and in the end, I'm probably never gonna make the industry any better. (throws out arms) I'm just some guy on the Internet making fun of awful books. But a failure?

(Suddenly, Pyramid Head starts strumming on his guitar the music for "Getting Better", which the rest of the band quickly picks up on)

Linkara: (singing)

I used to get mad at the fools,
The villains who thought they were cool
The throwing around,
Insults and put-downs
Haters and trolls are just tools
I've got to admit, I'm getting better
Turning out content all the time

(Whatley checks his watch impatiently)

Linkara:

I'm sorry to say, it doesn't matter
However much you complain and whine

(Linkara briefly pretends to play keyboard while Pollo turns his head, as if to the beat)

Linkara:

Used to be a nebbish young man
Without a clue or a plan
Although I'm a nerd,
My voice is still heard
From here all the way to Japan
With 400 shows, I've gotten better
Special effects and funny lines,
Were used to be half in the shadows,
Had a catchphrase since episode 9
Miller Life and Brodsky, they're unkind

Egbert: (singing) He's getting better all the time, better...

Dr. Linksano: (singing) Better...

Pollo: (singing) Better...

Linkara:

I am getting better all the time

Pollo: (singing) He's getting better all the time...

Linkara:

I used to let comments and insults
Control me and keep me away
From the things that I love
Never been mean,
Only slightly obscene
Storyline, just 'cause I can
I have to admit, I'm getting better
Every Monday, the show's online

(Whatley crosses his arms, unimpressed by anything)

Linkara:

Yes, I admit, it's much better
It isn't perfect
But that is fine
I am getting better all the time

Egbert:' (singing) He's getting better all the time, better...

Dr. Linksano: (singing) Better...

Pollo: (singing) Better...

Dr. Linksano: (singing) He is getting better all the time!

Linkara: (singing) I am getting better all the time!

(The song ends, and Linkara spreads his arms out wide in anticipation of applause. Instead, Whatley stares at him. Linkara blinks his eyes and looks around awkwardly, still waiting, but to no avail)

Linkara: So, uh... what are we supposed to do when the singing is over?

Whatley: (sharply turning to Pyramid Head) Red Executioner, KILL HIM! (Pyramid Head shrugs, but does nothing) Kill him! He has no weapons!

(Linkara looks behind Pyramid Head and spots a Pokeball lying on a desk)

Linkara: (incredulously) Dude, did you just steal the Pyramid Head I caught in a Pokeball?

Whatley: The barrier is only weakened when you started the review! I didn't have time to plan my vengeance!

Linkara: Wait, does that mean that the barriers will be restored once the review is over?

Whatley: ...Yes.

Linkara: So, what will happen to you?

Whatley: George Burns, kill him!

Egbert: With what?

(Whatley is about to speak, then holds up his index finger, and then stops himself as he tries to think of something. He strokes his chin in thought)

Linkara: You get returned to wherever you were when you died, don't you?

Whatley: (turning to Linksano in desperation) Linksano!

Dr. Linksano: Actually, I've gotta run, too. I'm in talks to host the next version of Cosmos, and I cannot miss that meeting.

Whatley: Very well, I shall kill you myself, Linkara! Prepare to feel the wrath of–

Linkara: Pollo, please shoot him.

Pollo: Okay.

(Pollo fires a blue energy beam at Whatley, who clutches at his chest in pain and keels over, groaning. He raises his hand in the air)

Whatley: Avengeance!

(Whatley falls over completely. Linkara rolls his eyes and sways his head around and then walks off)

Egbert: (looking into camera, narrating) Linkara was victorious, but at what cost? His best friend was dead, and he would have to carry that weight.

Pollo: (shaking head) I'm not dead.

Egbert: I know, I'm just following what the script says.

(We then cut back to Linkara's futon)

Egbert: (narrating) With the strange and awful events behind him, Linkara knew that the only way to bring closure to this whole thing would be to finish his review. And he was able to get back from the other world because... (Linkara returns to his spot) the Kool-Aid Man is red, I don't know. I don't get it, either. I'm gonna knock off for the day.

(Linkara picks up the "Sgt. Pepper" comic again, resuming the review)

Linkara: So, anyway...

Linkara (v/o): Where the hell are they? They're just on some piles of giant coins, there's a floating staircase, and the next page reveals a huge crowd of F.V.B. slaves watching all this unfold.

Sal: Tonight I've proven... that even talentless people can win!

Linkara: Look, guys, just because you did the theme song to Armageddon, doesn't mean you're untalented. I didn't even think the song's bad at all.

Linkara (v/o): As they start singing "Come Together" and taking control of Strawberry's mind, she screams out for help... and who should answer the call but Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band!

Billy: Hang on Strawberry, we're coming to save you.

Linkara: No, you fools! Aerosmith's followers can shoot flaming CDs at you!

Linkara (v/o): The Bee Gees engage Brute and Mr. Mustard, while Billy heads for Sal.

Billy: You almost ravaged my country, you want to destroy all that is good and worth living for. That has gone on long enough!

Linkara: (as Billy) It's time for Frampton to (holds up fist) come alive, asshole!

Linkara (v/o): The fight is freeing the crowd from F.V.B.'s control, but Brute is pretty damn strong. Barry Gibb goes for the instruments, but Brute grabs him again.

(Cut again to the clip of the Bee Gees on SNL)

Barry: I'll rip off your hands, wear them like boxing gloves, and beat you to death!

(Cut back to the comic)

Mr. Kite: (narrating) At this point, it's more than a simple fight between good and evil. It's a batlle [sic] to restore honor and the value of life itself.

(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang as they watch Are You Ready For Marriage?)

Tom Servo: (laughs) No, it isn't.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Brute gets punched into the object Strawberry's attached to, and unfortunately, it's not very strong, cracking under the impact and sending Strawberry hurtling over the edge of the stage... to her death.

Linkara: Hey! Here's this extremely colorful, goofy little film with awesome covers of Beatles songs and a plot about stolen musical instruments! Now let's murder the love interest! (slaps himself on the head with a look of disgust on his face at the sheer absurdity of it all)

Linkara (v/o): We cut to Strawberry's funeral in Heartland. Billy is of course grieving, but that can't spoil Lucy's good mood.

Lucy: As soon as this is over, I'll make him forget about Strawberry.

Linkara (v/o): Fortunately, Donald Pleasance is kind enough to tell her to shut the hell up.

Linkara: You might think it's because he has sympathy for this situation, but actually, it's because he needs Lucy to go kill the Puma Man.

Linkara (v/o): Days pass, and Billy's grief just gets worse and worse, until finally he's ready to kill himself over this. However, instead of trying to jump from a tall building, he apparently decides to impale himself on a pitchfork. Fortunately, we are spared that unnecessarily gory demise by a bright light coming from... the Sgt. Pepper weathervane? It starts spinning rapidly and transforms into... well...

Mr. Kite: (narrating) It explodes in a flash of light to reveal... --SGT. PEPPER!

Linkara (v/o): Wait, that's supposed to be Sgt. Pepper?!

Sgt. Pepper: I came back, Billy, to give this story a happy ending...

Linkara (v/o): Um, what the hell?! We saw Sgt. Pepper at the beginning of the comic! Why the hell is he suddenly a black guy?!

(Cut to a clip of Bubba Ho-Tep)

John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis): (...who is black for some reason) They dyed me this color!

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): I mean, it's not like I'm complaining, since now Sgt. Pepper apparently is being played by Lando Calrissian. I'm just wondering why the hell they didn't just keep him consistent. You've got Billy Preston playing Sgt. Pepper in the movie, so just make him that way in the original, too! And before anyone points out Peter Frampton being, you know, white, it was already established in the comic that Dougie was adopted. Make Billy adopted, too! Also, why the hell does Sgt. Pepper have a new magic cornet? This one comes from the weathervane. Does that mean there are two of them now?! Oh, and by playing the new cornet, Sgt. Pepper magically makes Strawberry return to life and appear before Billy!!

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Scrubs)

Dr. Cox: (to a female nurse) When you're waiting for someone to magically get better all by themselves, the whole thing becomes about time.

Linkara: (confused) Huh.

Linkara (v/o): The cornet proceeds to transform the Bee Gees into their Sgt. Pepper clothes.

Mark: They're the Lonely Hearts Club Band's magic uniforms!

Linkara: (incredulously) The uniforms are magic, too?! That was never mentioned before! My God, this truly is (makes an "air quote") "It's magic, we don't have to explain it!"

Sgt. Pepper: I'm not done yet. In a flick of my hand, I will put all of you bad people back on the righteous path. Mr. Mustard, Brute, Lucy and the Diamonds, it's time for you to enter the orders.

Linkara (v/o): And indeed, we see that they are now magically dressed like the Pope, a bishop, and some nuns.

Linkara: This is gonna be really awkward if it turns out any of them are Jewish.

Sgt. Pepper: B.D. and Dougie, don't you know that wealth is a reward for hard work and honor... not shameless greed? Now, you shall make amends.

Linkara (v/o): Said amends are... to have B.D. wrapped up in the tape recording of the benefit concert... and... Dougie to become a monk? The hell? Oh, and by the way, this really does fit with the Sgt. Pepper mind control mindset: redemption does not come about through personal choice and guilt, it is forced upon you, regardless of free will. But yeah, he gives Billy and Strawberry a happily ever after together.

Sgt. Pepper: Finally, to all you Heartlanders, who believe in the joy and love that the sound of music can bring... I give you the power to become the star of your own dreams.

Linkara: Yeah, that sounds great and all... at least until one of the Heartlanders secretly has murder fantasies! Thanks, Sgt. Pepper!

Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Sgt. Pepper becoming the weathervane again, telling them that they must all now work to make the world better.

Sgt. Pepper: Fill every man's heart with happiness. So that there's no more sadness. Music is the key. Music is the way... to live bright and sunny days, forever and always.

Linkara: (looking off to the side, stroking chin in thought) "Forever and always"... "Music is the key"... (looks back into camera with confusion) So, if we listen to the theme from Baywatch, we'll solve all the world's problems?

Linkara (v/o): (incredulously) How much "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" did you have to take to think up this ending?! This feels tacked on, like the studio mandated a happy ending, and they couldn't think of anything except "Weathervane comes to life and fixes everything"! What the hell would've happened if the weathervane had been a rooster instead of this guy?! Would we have had poultry singing and dancing to a Beatles song?!

Linkara: (stroking chin) Actually, come to think of it, I kinda want to see that now.

Linkara (v/o): Oh, and when the weathervane returns to its former state, it's clearly no longer Billy Preston. Doesn't even make sense in this context anyway.

(Cut to a clip of the movie showing Preston as Sgt. Pepper)

Linkara (v/o): In the movie, when he becomes Billy Preston, he sings "Get Back", a song that Billy Preston recorded with the Beatles.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): He doesn't even say the lyrics in the comic! What the hell was the point of it here?

Linkara: And so, this momentous occasion draws to a close, and what else can I really say but (holds up comic) this comic sucks!

Linkara (v/o): In some ways, it is superior to the movie in that it explains some aspects in greater detail, like the idea that it is Sgt. Pepper coming back to life briefly, while in the movie, it's just the weathervane itself comes to life for no reason. Unfortunately, it also has all the same story deficiencies as the movie when it comes to a lack of explanation for anything. Why are Sal and his band considered losers? Where did F.V.B. find all these guys who have the magical instruments? Why, if this is a famous wartime band that stops several wars, did they not have a music contract until now, and they're not more famous when they relaunched? The inclusion of Beatles songs feels even more superfluous here than in the movie. At least with that, it's just kind of a surreal experience. But here, we do have dialogue on occasion. But that also points to the fact that since there's so little dialogue, we need narration to tell us what characters are feeling and doing. Mind you, that was often true of a lot of comic books at the time, but still, it feels more like something copied from the film because of the lack of character development there, too. Plot points go nowhere, like Strawberry's parents or Brute being pacified by music, and the ending is a big ol' deus ex machina! Aside from some artistic hiccups here or there, though, George Perez's artwork continues to shine on through and give us distinct individuals for everyone, capturing the likenesses of the lead characters beautifully. And the hiccups can really be forgiven, considering how miserable a time he was having on this book.

Linkara: And thus ends another review, my friends. And because I've gone on for so long, I feel I need to say something. So, let me conclude things out with this statement...

(The music of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" starts up and Linkara sings to it)

Linkara:

It's 400 episodes today
Four hundred times that you hit play
I hope that I have made you smile
That's another comic for the pile

(He throws the "Sgt. Pepper" comic on a pile of other old comics he reviewed)

Linkara:

Before the credits roll again
Let me say to viewers, new and old
Atop the Fourth Wall is never ending!

(We are then shown montages of past episodes of the show as the song continues)

Linkara (v/o):

Atop the Fourth Wall is never ending
I always want to do the show
Atop the Fourth Wall is never ending
There are still comics out there that blow
Atop the Fourth Wall is, Atop the Fourth Wall is,
Atop the Fourth Wall will never end!
The video players change
The reviewers will, too
The critics will still snark and joke
We still will entertain you all
We hope to entertain
And even if someday you die,
Give another show out there a try
As long as you can still find a way
To laugh and smile every day
The show will never really end
That's a promise from Linkara!
Atop the Fourth Wall is never ending!

Linkara: That's it for this one! See you all next week for "Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man" and all the weeks to follow for a whole lot more! (gets up and leaves)

Linkara (v/o): (singing) Linkara...

(End credits roll)

We can forgive the lack of "Lovely Rita" in the movie, though, simply because Sandy's rendition of "Strawberry Fields Forever" is so damn good.

Originally this was supposed to end with cameos dancing to this song, but sadly didn't get enough to justify it. Enjoy the clip show!

(Stinger: Douwe Egbert is seen playing his guitar, but hits a sour note)

Egbert: Shit! I'm sorry...

(Lewis and the others are heard laughing in the background. Cut to another stinger, showing the Bee Gees having a fight with some goons. Barry Gibb punches one goon so hard that he falls face-first into a pie. Then cut once more to the clip of the Bee Gees on SNL)

Barry: (standing up dramatically) I'm Barry effin' Gibb! (does some karate motions before sitting back down)

Barry and Robin Gibb: (kicking their legs out) Hi-ya! Hi-ya! (turn to each other) HA!

(end)

Advertisement