Care Bears #13
January 31, 2011
The crossover nobody asked for and nobody remembered when it was done!
(Open with Linkara looking depressed from his fight with Lord Vyce. He's sitting on the couch in his living room using one of his sonic screwdrivers to examine his broken Morpher from his fight with Mechakara. Iron Liz and Harvey Finevoice look at him off to the side)
Iron Liz: I should've been there.
Harvey Finevoice: And what were you gonna do that would have made a difference?
Liz: I don’t know, but at least I could've been here.
Harvey: Look, I don't think it was just him getting knocked on his keister, that comic that he was reviewing wasn't exactly bringing him happy thoughts, you know what I’m saying?
Liz: I do, and I do have an idea about that. I'll handle this.
Harvey: Okay, call me if you need anything.
(Harvey leaves the room as Liz goes to sit next to Linkara on the couch)
Liz: Linkara, are you okay?
Linkara: I've been trying to fix it [The Morpher]. Look at what Mechakara did to it. (sighs, then puts Morpher on coffee table)
Liz: I'm sure you'll fix it.
Linkara: Yeah, maybe. (pauses) He [Vyce] almost killed me. He never flinched, never hesitated. I don't think anything he did to me required any effort on his part. I threw the BFG at him! I threw Pyramid Head at him! Mechakara said Vyce was the one who upgraded him, I could barely stop. Mechakara. How the hell are we supposed to fight something that kills gods?!
Liz: Well, you still have that one secret he doesn't know about.
Linkara: Yeah, but I don't think it's done me any good so far. I don't know what I'm supposed to do!
Liz: If he is after some creature, can’t you, you know, team up with him or something?
Linkara: He didn't exactly give me a chance. Besides, he said he tried that angle through warning people and it didn’t work. The guy conquers entire universes. What would teaming up with me accomplish? He just sees me as an obstacle to that conquest. Once he has his grip on this place, he can tighten it until he crushes that thing he's hunting, like squeezing an orange until its pulverized! That's all we are to him, just... runoff.
Liz: Listen, Twinkle and Icingdeath need some sharpening. (holds up a comic) I'll give you something that'll cheer you up though, hopefully. (puts it on the couch and leaves)
(He sits back into the couch and looks at the ceiling, wondering what to do, then looks at the comic to see that it's "Care Bears #13", which he looks mildly scared about. Cut to the AT4W title sequence, followed by the title card, set to the song "I Wanna Be a Care Bear", the theme for Care Bears)
Linkara: (sitting on his futon) Hello and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. (shrugs) Care Bears.
(Cut to footage of the Care Bears cartoon series)
Linkara (v/o): So, get this, I never watched Care Bears as a little kid, yet somehow my first bicycle was a Care Bears bike. How the hell does that work? Anyway, according to the bastion of reliable information that is Wikipedia, Care Bears were originally created and used as greeting card characters in 1981. By 1983, they were turned into stuffed animals, which in turn led to TV specials, a series, and movies. I was just a little too young to catch them when they were on. Of course, there was a comic book series made by Star Comics, the Marvel imprint responsible for "Air Raiders" and "Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos".
Linkara: And yet no Steve Ditko on this one! (shrugs) Go figure.
Linkara (v/o): But, this is actually not just a Care Bears comic, for you see, there are special guest stars in this issue...
(Cut to a commercial for...)
Linkara (v/o): ...Madballs! This is another franchise that was just a little bit before my time. Madballs were collectible bouncing ball toys that went for weird and gross-out humor in their design. They also had a brief comic run with Star Comics.
Linkara: Naturally, a Care Bears and Madballs crossover was just a matter of time. (fake-nods, then clutches his forehead, bracing for a headache) Let's just (holds up comic) dig into "Care Bears #13".
(Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Our cover pretty much says everything you need to know about this concept: the Care Bears running in shrieking fear of the Madballs, horrified they share the same universe as these beings. You almost feel sad for the little teddy bears. How are they suppose to process a floating eyeball, or a ball with an exposed brain?!
Text: It's the MEETING of the CENTURY!
Linkara (v/o): And as if not even the cover artist could believe that, they hastily included...
Text: Would you believe... the MONTH?
Linkara (v/o): Also, note this little bit on the left...
Text Box: STAR! The new world in the Marvel Universe!
Linkara (v/o) So, is that supposed to imply that the Care Bears are officially part of the Marvel Universe? Did they register their identities with the U.S. government during the Civil War event?
Linkara: (as a government official) And what superpowers do you possess? (as a random Care Bear) Well, I care a lot. And sometimes I shoot laser beams out of my stomach, but mostly the caring thing.
Linkara (v/o): We open to Care-A-Lot, which still makes me groan, where the Care Bears are watching TV. Apparently, they get good reception in the other-dimensional Cloud City that they live in.
Tenderheart: Is the weather on, yet, Funshine Bear?
Linkara: That sentence alone raises so many questions, not the least of which being, "Why is there a weather report in a place above any weather systems?"
Linkara (v/o): Also, why is he [Tenderheart] carrying the tray of hot cocoa? Is the weather reports so interesting and relaxing that they needed to have a full experience? Also, "Funshine Bear". This is gonna hurt, isn't it? Anyway, they're watching a news report.
Reporter on TV: And so, with the help of those brave and smart Madballs, police captures the escaped convict!
Linkara: (announcer voice) Madballs, defenders of law and order. There is no hope for the criminal element!
(Dragnet theme plays)
Linkara (v/o): The blue one, Grumpy Bear, expresses how he thinks the Madballs are gross.
Tenderheart: Now, now, Grumpy Bear! You know better than to judge someone by his appearance!
Linkara: He looks exactly like all of you! Or is blue a taboo color in this society of the Care Bears?
Linkara (v/o): The weather report states a bunch of technical jargon, and the Care Bears yell out that they want to know what that means.
Weatherman: It means it'll be a nice, calm day, Care Bears!
Linkara: The weatherman can hear them through the TV? Can the Care Bears hear everything? (leans forward toward camera; paranoid voice) Are you watching me, Care Bears?
Linkara (v/o): However, a dark cloud approaches, and what should be sitting on it but a friggin' castle with a skull on the front, demonic spirits emerging from it, and lightning crackling behind it, too.
Narrator: The home, in fact, of the evil NO-HEART!
(Cut to a clip of Tombstone)
Wyatt Earp: No!
(Cut to the That Guy with the Glasses Team Brawl)
Ma-Ti (played by Bhargav Dronamraju): (holding a Super Scope) Heart!
Linkara: Does anything in this universe have a normal name? How about a Dave or a Steve? Hell, I'd accept an unusual name if it wasn't if it wasn't friggin' specific to the Care Bears and their goals. This seems to be a recurring problem with them.
(Cut to shots of past Care Bears villains)
Linkara (v/o): That spirit in the book [the Evil Spirit] that wanted people to stop caring, Dark Heart, and now No-Heart! Subsequently, this guy looks like the Grinch if he had been horribly burned and wanted to hide his face. I guess, in this universe, his heart shrank three sizes and vanished. Anyway, he calls for his clumsy aide, Beastly, and starts ranting about how he's going to destroy the Care Bears once and for all! (sound of thunder crackling is heard) Is that a regular occurrence, does lightning always flash whenever he talks about destroying the Care Bears?
No-Heart: Gaze into the waters of my all-seeing mystic pool! Observe Care-A-Lot!
Linkara (v/o): So, Beastly looks in and– (gets a good look at Beastly's face, which shocks him) OH, MY GOD! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR FACE?!? Erm, anyway, No-Heart reveals that over the last few months, he's been creating situations that will distract the Care Bears and leave Care-A-Lot undefended, save for the three bears currently there. He instructs his weird-ass little minion to grab some shadow creatures while he... uh... inspects a dance hall.
No-Heart: A deserted dance hall... with three children outside it! I'll transport us at once!
Linkara: (as No-Heart) We shall dance the night away instead of attempting to invade the undefended kingdom. That makes perfect sense!
Narrator: And back down on Earth, at the abandoned Aragon Ballroom...
(Cut to a clip of Eragon)
Galbatorix (John Malkovich): I suffer without my stone. Do not prolong my suffering!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): A bunch of kids, who look nothing like any kids featured in Care Bears... Yeah this crossover is gonna be smooth as silk, isn't it? ...talk about how the Madballs were supposed to meet them there, but they're late. No-Heart and the shadow demons teleport into an alleyway next to the theater. The shadows attack the kids, one of whom is a blond girl with a female symbol on her shirt. Ah, I see, it's Sailor Venus as a child. The three look up and see Madballs coming to their rescue! These three evolutionary dead ends are Touchdown Terror; a football mixed with a bomb, Screamin' Meemie; some kind of baseball thing with a face; and Fistface; an eyeball held by a hand.
Touchdown Terror: Some creatures are threatening the kids! That's out of bounds!
Fistface: Eye agree! Let's dispense our unique brand of pun-ishment!
Linkara: (listlessly) Oh, yippee-skippy, I can't wait.
Touchdown Terror: Hey, creep! Nice of me to arrange this reception, eh?
(Linkara looks very much annoyed at that line)
Fistface: (poking a shadow with two of his fingers) Let's play! You be Captain John Smith and I'll be Poke-a-hontas!
(Linkara looks even more annoyed; cut to an episode of Robot Chicken, showing Leonidas from 300 watching TV)
Leonidas: THIS... ISN'T... FUNNY!! (kicks TV off the table)
(Cut back to the Care Bears comic)
Screamin' Meemie: Leaving so soon? I wouldn't hear of it!
Linkara: Okay, that one doesn't even make any sense!
Linkara (v/o): No-Heart decides to retreat and get some more information about the Madballs, who easily managed to dispatch the shadows. The Care Bears, alerted by the shrieks of Scremin' Meemie, descend to Earth.
Screamin' Meemie: (seeing the Care Bears) Reinforcements, eh? Let's get 'em!
Linkara: (as Screamin' Meemie) Something cute and cuddly! KILL IT!
Linkara (v/o): However, Mini Nina [the girl with a female symbol on her shirt] stops the two groups from fighting, somehow having psychic powers or something, because she knows all about the Care Bears. No-Heart, still in the alley, observes that the Madballs seem dedicated to protecting the children. As such, he thinks his best bet is to trick the Madballs into working for him.
No-Heart: With them, I can surely conquer Care-A-Lot!
Linkara: Dude, the place is unguarded and you have an army of shadow monsters. Just go and attack it now!
No-Heart: (now taller than the buildings) Spirits of Darkness, wicked and proud! Move this ballroom to my thundercloud!
Linkara (v/o): Okay, he can grow giant-sized?? No-Heart, just do that and step on the Madballs and Care Bears! This is not difficult! Anyway, using his magic, the building is transported up to his fortress. Mini Nina goes outside to investigate, the symbol on her shirt suddenly disappearing. But when she does, she falls right through the clouds.
Linkara: So, the forty-pound kid is heavy enough to fall through the clouds, but not the large brick building?
Linkara (v/o): The Madballs save her and in turn go up to confront No-Heart. He says if the Madballs don't go and destroy Care-A-Lot, he'll make the building drop and kill them all. Madballs, apparently not being idiots, just head out to Care-A-Lot and explain the situation to the Care Bears. The Bears formulate a plan with them traveling on a cloud while the Madballs pull them and bring them directly under No-Heart's cloud castle.
No-Heart: (sitting on his throne) Ahh! I think I'll just sit here and listen to the sweet sound of Care-A-Lot falling to pieces!
Linkara: (as No-Heart) Ah! Nothing can stop my hastily conceived and stupid plan!
Grumpy Bear: Oh, yeah?! Now about listening to a Care Bear Countdown instead?
Linkara: (singing) It's a Care Bear Countdown! (music of Europe's "The Final Countdown" plays, which Linkara dances to)
Linkara (v/o): By the by, I have no idea why they said that since they don't countdown anything, they just initiate a Care Bear Stare. I love this; it's just a beam hearts. They are literally attacking him with the power of love!
No-Heart: You fools! You think you can give me nice feelings?! Har!
Linkara: "Har"? Was No-Heart a pirate this whole time?
No-Heart: I can easily stop your puny attack!
Grumpy Bear: Not when Fist Face has his eye-beam power!
(A laser sound effect is heard)
Screamin' Meemie: And just wait till my screamin' scrambles your warped brain!
Touchdown Terror: --And you're number one on my hit parade, pal!
Linkara: Yes, the lesson of Care Bears: when love and caring fail, resort to violence!
(The sound of children cheering is heard, with Linkara silently cheering along as well)
Linkara (v/o): No-Hearts commands his minion to pull a switch that will drop the kids to their deaths, but Fist Face flies over and... uh... tickles him. You know, just a second ago you had an eye beam. That seemed to work pretty well. You could've just fried the guy. The tickling drives the minion into No-Heart, but he proudly says the switch was pulled anyway. However, the cloud the Care Bears used to get over there was positioned directly under the building, stopping it from falling to the Earth. Huh, surprisingly forward-thinking there. I'm actually, genuinely impressed by this whole operation... except for the fact that no one seems to think of, you know, imprisoning No-Heart or disassembling his castle so he's never a threat to them again. Mind you, victory was only achieved because the enemy was a total idiot, but I'm just saying. So the building was returned to Earth.
Funshine Bear: Madballs, we want to present each of you with a Courage To Care Medallion!
Linkara: Ah, yes, the highest medal of honor that can be awarded to Care Bears. Only a few of them ever received them after the great caring war of 1998.
(Suddenly, the reviewing room darkens and dramatic music plays)
Linkara: (as a random Care Bear, serious voice) Sometimes, in my darkest dreams, I still remember the dead looks on all their faces. (mouths something to himself)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the story ends arrival of all the other Madballs, who were conspicuously absent during this escapade. Like the Archie and TMNT crossover, the writers apparently felt that this joining together was not a strong enough story to carry the comic, so we also have an additional six-page story: (reads title dramatically) "The Upside Down Clown"! Birthday Bears is looking through a telescope down at a birthday celebration in a carnival.
Linkara: (as Birthday Bear, pretending to look through a telescope) Wow, wish I was having that much fun.
Birthday Bear: Okay! Who put the trick lens on the telescope?! Take a look! I was watching a birthday celebration at the boardwalk carnival! Now the children appear upside-down in the scope!
Linkara: Yeah, life in Care-A-Lot is pretty dull if this is the best they can think of for practical jokes.
Bedtime Bear: Oh, my gosh! They don't just appear upside-down, they are upside down!
Linkara: This is a weird remake of Rear Window.
Linkara (v/o): They spot that the kids upon being turned upside-down, how all their money fall from their pockets. A silhouetted figure going out to steal the money as it falls.
Bedtime Bear: Get the Cloudmobile, Birthday! I'll call for help!
(A scene transition from the old 1960s Batman show is shown, but instead of a bat symbol, it's a heart symbol)
Birthday Bear: Thanks for coming, Wish Bear! The carnival is a mighty confusing place!
Linkara: (as Birthday Bear) I mean, look, (points) there's the Kool-Aid Man fighting a giant monster!
Linkara (v/o): The Bears head inside of a circus tent and the kids suddenly drop down to the ground. They say they went to see the Upside-Down Clown, but said clown ended up stealing their money. So the guy has the ability to invert gravity, but the act and the technology for such a thing doesn’t earn him enough cash? He needs to steal, like, twenty bucks combined from some kids? They spot the clown outside of the tent.
Birthday Bear: There he goes down the boardwalk!
Linkara: (as Birthday Bear) He's very gradually walking away from us!
Linkara (v/o): The clown spots them, somehow knowing what a Care Bear is, and runs off with the money.
Linkara: Seriously, we need a clown anti-defamation league. Clowns get a bad rap in the world. They just want to bring joy and happiness to people, and then there are stories like this where they just look like assholes.
Linkara (v/o): The clown uses his anti-gravity device on the Care Bears, but they quickly adapt and still manage to chase him into a hall of mirrors.
Wish Bear: Listen! Let's fire a Care Bear Stare in there! It'll reflect off the mirror again and again and become strong enough to cure the clown!
Linkara: Cure him of what? Being evil? I didn't know you could cure that.
Wish Bear: One... two... STARE!!
(Cut to a clip of Commando, showing buildings blowing up; cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): No, the clown emerges from the hall of mirrors a happy clown who wants to return the money and give the kids a real performance.
Birthday Bear: It looks like the upside-down clown has turned over a new leaf!
Wish Bear: Yes! He's really a good egg!
Bedtime Bear: --As long as he keeps his sunny side up!
Linkara: (as a random Care Bear) And as long as we can radically alter people's personalities with out dark powers, free will is a thing of the past! (closes comic and holds it up; normal voice) This comic sucks.
Linkara (v/o): In fairness, in the Madballs crossover, the heroes show more than their fair share of competence and ingenuity, but that's partially because the villain is such an idiot and the crossover itself is contrived and unnecessary. The second story isn't any better, with the Care Bears displaying several ethically questionable tactics. And no, I do not accept the excuse that "Well, it's for little kids." Just because it's for little kids, doesn't mean it has to be stupid. I've read stuff meant for kids that didn't talk down to them, but just let them have a good time. But yeah, it's certainly not the worst, but this thing is just bizarre.
Linkara: And you know what, this didn't make me feel any better, I still have no idea how I'm gonna deal with Vyce!
(He thrown the comic and leaves the room. But then Linkara returns, realizing something as triumphant music from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan plays)
Linkara: He didn't kill me. Why didn't he kill me? There was nothing I could do, he aimed the weapon, but instead he ran away. Why did he run away? Why didn’t he kill me?
(Cut to a silent flashback of the previous episode, showing Vyce aiming his laser weapon, but then clutching the part of his armor that Linkara earlier fired the laser weapon at Vyce, who then teleports away. Cut back to the present: Linkara smiles as he the answer comes to him)
Linkara: I know how to beat him. I know how to BEAT HIM! (leaves)
(End credits roll)
Other possibility for the female symbol on the girl? Mad Balls was taking the "designated female" trope to its logical conclusion.
Over 200,000 Care Bears gave up their lives in the Great Caring War of 1998. Support your local Care Bear however you can.
(Stinger: An ominous message appears: "V-Minus 14". It will not be long now...)