Captain Planet and the Planeteers #3
May 11, 2009
According to Captain Planet, the power is mine. And that's true – I have the power to fling this comic right at the wall.
Linkara: (glumly, with his hand resting on his head) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn.
(Cut to footage of Captain Planet and the Planeteers)
Linkara (v/o): I hate this show. I hate attempts to educate me while I'm trying to enjoy my cartoons. I really hate people trying to tell me how I'm destroying the planet simply by existing and preaching about the environment on and on and on like an Al Gore speech, but less funny. Okay, difficult as it may be to believe, I'm sure there are people out there who have no idea what this is. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Captain Planet, about a group of teenagers from across the world with magic rings that go around trying to stop polluting assholes, and they summon a superhero called Captain Planet to win the day.
Linkara: And of course, there's the butt of every joke about this series, Ma-Ti.
Linkara (v/o): Each of the rings was based on an elemental force, but since there were five of them, one person had to get stuck with a made-up power. In Ma-Ti's case, it's heart. Yeah, I don't think a single person across the world looked to this show and thought that heart was a good idea, even if they were a fan of the show.
Linkara: So, why am I focusing on Ma-Ti in this introduction? Well, let's dig into (holds up comic of review for today) "Captain Planet and the Planeteers #3", and I'll tell you.
(Cut to a closeup of the cover)
Linkara (v/o): Okay, it's Ma-Ti and– HOLY CRAP! Look at that! Ma-Ti is freaking leading an army of animals with his ring! I mean, geez, dude, he's even got the squirrel all riled up!
Linkara: (as Ma-Ti) I'll show you what kind of power heart is, you sons of bitches!
Linkara (v/o): I mean, not just a squirrel, but a turtle and a bunny rabbit!
(Cut to a clip of Monty Python and the Holy Grail: the scene where King Arthur and his knights encounter the Killer Rabbit)
Tim the Enchanter: That's no ordinary rabbit! Look at the bones!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): But of course, any badassery that may have resulted from this cover is quickly quenched by the pun: "HEART ATTACK!"
Linkara: (as Ma-Ti) I can sense you all, and then cause palpitations.
Linkara (v/o): We open to a terrorist group taking control of a missile base. Oh, boy, where do I even start? Well, how about the title of the issue itself: "The Power of Heart", written in bright pink with a nice little heart behind it. You gotta love how they juxtapose this with the terrorists firing into the air. Speaking of the terrorist and his shooting and kind of how crowded the page is, we got this sound effect pushed all the way to the left, so that it looks like the next to him is just making the sound with his mouth, like a little kid would.
(Linkara is seen pretending to fire a toy gun, while making silly gunfire noises with his mouth)
Linkara (v/o): Next, wouldn't you want your missile to have a little more security to it that could fend off a couple of random losers in sleeveless jackets? And finally, the terrorist yells out...
Terrorist: NOBODY MOVE! We're taking over this base!
Linkara (v/o): ...to which one of the technicians at the control board responds...
Technician: Just a minute! Who are you? You can't come in here!
Linkara: (as technician) If you want to take over this facility, you have to make an appointment with the receptionist first, mister!
Linkara (v/o): You gotta love it in fiction when someone assumes that yelling to the heavily-armed individuals, "You can't come in here!", will somehow make them so ashamed that they'll instantly apologize and walk back the way they came. Of course, the lead terrorist named Bleak is not intimidated.
Bleak: Shaddup, baldy!
Linkara: "Baldy"? But you're... (points to his own head; Bleak is actually bald himself) Ah, forget it.
Bleak: Now see here, we've got guns, and that means we can do whatever we want!
Linkara: (as Bleak) We can order off the breakfast menu at McDonald's after ten! Anything!
Linkara (v/o): Bleak contacts his boss, who's hiding in the shadows like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget, but anyone who was actually a fan of the show... you know, the only people actually buying the comic... will recognize him as Looten Plunder, one of the recurring villains of the TV show.
Linkara: As the Nostalgia Critic pointed out, who the hell would do business with people who had names like that? And this guy is supposed to be an example of capitalism gone rampant!
Linkara (v/o): Not to mention, what parent would name their kid "Looten"? Dear Lord, suddenly, "Hyku Steeledge" is a positively legitimate name for someone. Anyway, Bleak then makes a transmission to America, because of course a missile base has lots of transmission equipment.
Bleak: Sorry to interrupt "Inspector Gadget," kiddies...
Linkara (v/o): Wait, didn't I just make an "Inspector Gadget" joke?
Linkara: Ohhhh, I see what you did there, comic! Yeah, that's about as clever as it gets. It's all downhill from here, folks.
Bleak: My name is Argos Bleak! I head a large mercenary force of ruthless terrorists!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, sweet merciful crap, where to begin? First of all, what terrorist group ever loudly announces that they are terrorists? And not just any terrorists, but "ruthless" ones?
(Cut to a shot of a business card that has Bleak's face on it and reads: "Argos Bleak – Author, Lecturer, Ruthless Terrorist", along with testimonials from evil people in their about his ruthlessness)
Linkara (v/o): You think they put that on their business cards? Because, yes, they have to distinguish themselves as "ruthless terrorists", because otherwise, they may be mistaken for terrorists that show restraint!
Bleak: Me and my men have taken over McArthur Missile Base. In two short hours, we will be launching a missile full of toxic waste directly at the heart of Washington, D.C.-- unless we are paid the sum of...
(Cut to a clip of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers)
Dr. Evil: One million dollars.
(Linkara, utterly appalled by what he learned, slaps himself in the face repeatedly with the comic)
Linkara: (angrily) Okay, (holds up index finger) first of all...
Linkara (v/o): ...they say earlier that indeed the missile base was loaded with toxic waste, and the intention was to shoot it into space. While that's a very nice idea in theory, there are a couple of reasons why we don't do that in the real world! One, it's really expensive to shoot stuff into space, more so than just storing it in a desert. Two, a million things can go wrong with shooting something into space, especially since it needs to clear the gravitational pull of the planet, or else we'll just rain toxic death over a nice big chunk of the planet! Three, again, considering all that, you'd think there'd be a hell of a lot better security for all this!
Linkara: (holds up two fingers) Secondly...
Linkara (v/o): One million dollars?! Are you kidding me?! Look, a million bucks is a lot of money, but we're expected to believe that Looten Plunder, who is already a businessman and probably makes hundreds of millions of dollars clearing away forests for cows or whatever, is getting a cut of this, so why the hell are they asking for such a paltry sum?! To make matters better for all this, some senator says that they can't raise a million dollars in time, but that they'll have to try.
Linkara: Forgiving for a moment that a million dollars is actually a pretty small sum in a governmental budget, are you kidding me?! They're actually gonna give the terrorists what they want?!
Linkara (v/o): By the way, people, we're only three pages into this thing so far. I think we're in it for the long haul in this one, folks. We cut to "the uncharted island called Hope".
Linkara: (incredulously) Well, if it's uncharted, how the hell does it have a NAME?! If Gaia knows about it, it was charted by HER!
Linkara (v/o): The Planeteers are testing their powers out by shooting at a floating volleyball.
Kwame: That Gaia is constantly coming up with new ways to test us!
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, thanks, Gaia. Instead of using their superpowers to put out fires or fighting crime, they get to play around with a volleyball. Your tests are so well thought out. Wheeler lights the ball on fire, just making it more likely to injure someone. Linka comments...
Linka: Not bad, Wheeler. But this will really "blow you away!"
Linkara: (listlessly) Speaking of blowing...
Linkara (v/o): And of course, each team member has to make idiotic puns while they do this. Eventually, the ball heads to Ma-Ti, who does absolutely nothing, and the ball just falls next to him. Wheeler mocks Ma-Ti for it, and he even quotes the often-repeated...
Wheeler: What the heck kind of power is "heart," anyway? It's useless, that's what it is! Ma-Ti is the weakest one of all! Haw haw haw!
Linkara: God, you know it's bad when the guy named Wheeler is making fun of you.
Linkara (v/o): If this were a normal group of teenagers, they'd smack the asshole upside the head. But of course, they just try to comfort the whimpering little dork while he goes all emo about his power to read minds and– Wait, what?!
Linkara: (dumbfounded) He can read minds?! The power of heart lets him read minds?! It doesn't make him useless, that actually makes him more valuable!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Gaia tells them about the situation with the missile base.
Gaia: If that missile is launched, the nation's capital will be completely unlivable!
Linkara (v/o): And, you know, all of the people who are already there will be dead, but maybe that's implied. Gaia, of course, is only there to serve as Zordon to the teenagers that she sends into harm's way without actually getting involved herself. Then again, considering the government apparently doesn't have any special forces they can send in, it's no surprise that our only hope is the Legion of Losers here. Ma-Ti isn't done being emo, though.
Ma-Ti: (thinking) The only weapon I have is my own heart. And right now, that's a very small weapon indeed!
Linkara: Dude, you're a telepath! You can use an enemy's psychology against them! You can find out hidden passwords or strategic information just by looking at them! It's not your heart that's small here, it's your brain!
Linkara (v/o): The Planeteers arrive and are immediately confronted by an impassable obstacle.
Wheeler: How are we supposed to get past that fence? Bleak's got guards posted all around the base!
Linkara: A fence?! Bleak, you ruthless bastard!
Linkara (v/o): It takes Kwame to point out that by using Wheeler's, Gi's and Linka's powers together, they can create obscuring steam to make it so no one can see them going over the fence. And, you know, shrink their clothes while they're sweating from the heat, but whatever.
Guard 1: Hey, Henry! Do you see a big cloud of fog coming this way?
Guard 2: Yeah. There's something suspicious about it.
Guard 1: It's kind of unnatural... Like it was meant to hide something!
Linkara: Dear Lord, they're just so ruthless!
Linkara (v/o): The two guards, of course, can't be bothered to at least fire a warning shot into the mysterious cloud of steam, and the group sneaks past them into the missile base. They find two more guards, and Wheeler uses his fire powers to burn the uzi that one is carrying.
Guard 3: YIIIII! My heater's too hot to handle!
Linkara: (pinching the bridge of his nose) I'm just gonna let the sheer idiocy of that line sinks in.
Linkara (v/o): Ma-Ti steps up and uses his own powers to pacify the two, forcing them to fall asleep. Wheeler, of course, remains a dick about it.
Wheeler: Nice going, Ma-Ti! You actually made yourself useful for a change! At least you're good for something!
Linkara (v/o): Why did Gaia think this asshole was the one they needed to give superpowers to?! We've now seen that in fact the heart power actually has two useful traits, but Wheeler just refuses to stop being a dick for five seconds! Ma-Ti has to stay behind to keep the two guards unconscious, and Gi says that they'll need a distraction to get into the control room. Kwame has it covered, though, and has a nice pile of rocks suddenly burst through the floor of the control room. But before anyone thinks that this plan was actually good, I should point out that this, quote-unquote, "distraction" appears RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DOOR WHERE THEY'RE COMING IN! So, it doesn't really distract them as much as GET THEM LOOK RIGHT AT YOU, YOU STUPID TEENAGERS!!!
Linkara: (holding up a hand defensively) Sorry, sorry. This comic really isn't worth getting angry over, but there's just so much stupid leaking right out of it. Every single page has something utterly moronic happening.
Linkara (v/o): Bleak decides to launch the missile, forcing the kids to summon Captain Planet. They say they can do this because they're telepathically linked to Ma-Ti, which doesn't even begin to make sense because it's not like his ring is telepathically linked to him, too. Of course, because they had to summon Captain Planet, their rings are now powerless, and the terrorists take the four Planeteers hostage. Captain Planet flies up to the missile and uses a tornado to force the missile up into space, which doesn't make ANY SENSE AT ALL, CONSIDERING THERE'S NO AIR, and then lets it explode, no doubt letting toxic waste descend to the Earth for the next few years. Oh, good one, Captain Pinhead! When Captain Planet returns, he finds the kids tied up with guns to their heads. Bleak threatens him that if he tries anything, he'll kill them, though I'm wondering why he didn't kill at least one of them already, so they can't resummon him later.
Captain Planet: Very well, Bleak. I'll do as you say.
Bleak: Smart move, Captain. I knew you'd do the right thing. You strike me as an intelligent man-- though I can't say much for your choice of hair color. I didn't know green was in this year!
Linkara: (shocked) Making fun of his hair color?! That ruthless son of a bitch!
Linkara (v/o): So, yeah, Ma-Ti is their last hope, so we can assume the Planeteers are screwed. Ma-Ti realizes he has to get away, but is confronted by another of the terrorists. However, he's quickly rescued by... his pet monkey, Suchi... Okay...
Linkara: Yeah, remember him? Remember the pet monkey (voice starts trailing off) who hasn't appeared in this comic until just.. this... very... second...?
Linkara (v/o): Bleak has Captain Planet retrieve the Planeteers' ship and exposits that he plans to launch another missile, this one at Moscow to create an environmental disaster, an international incident, and kill off the rest of them. Seems to me it'd be easier to just shoot them now, but then again, I'm not the ruthless (rolled the R in "ruthless") terrorist. After doing as Bleak commands, Captain Planet is told to return the rings. Oh, and the kids are no longer tied up, and Bleak warns them not to use their powers.
Bleak: Don't even think about using them. You're completely surrounded.
Linkara: And here we see the fundamental flaw in both the show and the comic's entire concept of granting these kids the powers of the elements.
Linkara (v/o): We can forgive the inclusion of heart, stupid as it is. And as a commenter posted on my "World of Warcraft" video, fire shouldn't even count as an element, because it's a chemical reaction, not an element of the planet itself. However, we can let that slide for the sake of dramatic license. What we cannot forgive is the complete lack of imagination around the writing, and this scene is a perfect example: Kwame, as we've seen, can summon portions of the earth up using the power of his ring. Jokes about a small world aside, the planet is really, really big, and most of it is made of rock and dirt, the stuff that Kwame summons up. Why in the name of Gaia's lazy ass doesn't he summon friggin' mountains under all the terrorists?! Why doesn't he summon up rock hands out of the earth to grab them and restrain them?! Or, let's look at another of the Planeteers, Linka. She has the power of wind. Why doesn't she bring down a multiple force of tornadoes down upon each one of the terrorists, or even miniature tornadoes right in front of their faces, and either suffocate them or knock them unconscious with the force of a friggin' storm?! Hell, even Gi could redirect the water pressure of the pipes in the missile base, and force it at the terrorists!
Linkara: In fact, considering Ma-Ti's ability to pacify them to the point of unconsciousness, the most useless person here is Wheeler, since all he has is basically a flamethrower that he has to direct, leaving him open to attack.
Linkara (v/o): Okay, rant over, back to the PSA for a part. Ma-Ti is about to post in his live journal about how useless he is when suddenly Gaia reminds him that heart is apparently "the greatest power of all".
Linkara: Yyyyeah, my vote's still for Kwame in that regard, considering he basically had the planet itself as his weapon.
Gaia: Heart is not a simple element, Ma-Ti.
Linkara: IT ISN'T AN ELEMENT AT ALL!
Gaia: It is a force, primal in its power and boundless in its possibilities. I did not choose its wielder wisely.
Linkara: (as Gaia) In hindsight, though, I think I should've given more thought to handing fire to Wheeler.
Linkara (v/o): Ma-Ti considers his options and thinks that maybe he should call on his animal friends to help... because he can do that, apparently. Yeah.
Ma-Ti: But that would not be fair to the animals--to place their lives in jeopardy! That would make me no better than those who use animals for testing and for warfare!
Linkara: (massaging his forehead) I will spare you all a fairly controversial rant about how utterly stupid that is.
Linkara (v/o): So, apparently, Ma-Ti is Dr. friggin' Dolittle, since he can use his ring to talk to the animals. And of course, the animals already know and are perfectly willing to help, with even the raccoon thinking...
Raccoon: (thinking) Let's go kick some tail!
Linkara (v/o): Okay, you get a little bit of the rant! People, outside of Disney movies and African gray parrots, NO ANIMALS THINK LIKE THIS! If they were truly this intelligent, there would be no debate about animal rights! They would be given them all the way! Of course, this comic is an insult to intelligences the world over, so let's just move on. All right, the terrorists tell the kids to get into the ship, since that'll get blasted once the missile is launched.
Linkara: Or, you know, they'll take off and leave or ram the ship into you guys!
Linkara (v/o): However, before this sinister plan can be enacted, (Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" plays in the background during this part) Bleak hears a rumbling, and much to the shock and amazement of the entire group, MA-TI COMES A-CHARGIN'!
Ma-Ti: And now, my furred and feathered friends... CHAAARRRGE!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the kids re-summon Captain Planet, and he does what Kwame should've done earlier, which is seal up the terrorists in a wall of rock. Bleak manages to run off, and Ma-Ti pursues, along with the deer, which just mysteriously vanishes once Ma-Ti and Bleak have a battle of wills. Ma-Ti uses his ring on Bleak, forcing him to look into the darkness of his own soul. So... what, the heart ring is Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth all of a sudden? But the effort required to do so knocks both of them out. In a subplot for the comic series, Verminus Skumm comes by the unconscious Ma-Ti and places a watch battery or something in his ear. When Ma-Ti awakens, he is greeted by the Planeteers, and of course, Wheeler has to pipe in.
Wheeler: I guess you're not so useless after all!
Linkara: (angrily) Wheeler, I swear to God, if you do not SHUT YOUR NOISE HOLE, I'M GONNA SHOVE THAT FIRE RING SO FAR UP YOUR ASS!!!
Linkara (v/o): And just to end the cycle of stupidity, Captain Planet is there, too, even though we saw two pages ago that he went back into the rings so Ma-Ti could use his powers! So, really, it turns out that he can come out whenever the hell he wants and he just likes to screw around with the teenage twits. And so, our comic ends with less-than-ominous foreshadowing of Verminus Skumm. But of course, it wouldn't be crappy environmental nonsense without the inclusion of some PSA at the end. In this case, it's a short list of things people can do around the house to save the Earth. This includes telling parents not to buy disposable razors...
Linkara: Yes, because the real threat to planetary safety is inexpensive, disposable razors.
Linkara (v/o): ...not to waste paper, which is sound advice, unless you've actually researched recycling and paper production, and discovered that recycling paper is actually a bad thing; to wash out plastic and paper cups for reuse, which is just idiotic and misses the point of being disposable paper and plastic; and to recycle newspapers, aluminum cans, and glassware, which is actually bad, good, and rather pointless respectively for those who have researched recycling. But wait! We have to end with some last-minute idiocy from Wheeler.
Wheeler: Hey, Cap--Does this mean when I have a paper to write for school, I can recycle my old book reports?
Captain Planet: No, Wheeler! Your grades were low enough the first time around!
Linkara: (laughs) Oh, even Captain Planet admits that Wheeler is a dumbass! (closes comic and holds it up, becoming angry) Do I even need to tell you that this comic SUCKS?! Hey, everybody, you want to save the Earth? Here, heat your home with a fire. (angrily gestures the comic) And here's the kindling! The power is yours! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
"Protect the Environment... or I'll ****ing kill you! CAPTAIN PLANET!" -Ted Turner