Chain Gang War #1
June 28, 2010
Can Iron Liz withstand the Chain Gang War?!
(Static appears on the screen, then cuts out to reveal Linkara seated on his futon)
Linkara: If you're seeing this message, it means I'm either missing or I'm dead.
Linkara: (holding up index finger) First priority, find me if I'm missing. Work on resurrecting me if I'm dead. If you're not sure how, ask Pollo. I've been having him work on this.
Linkara: In the meantime, someone else has to carry on the work. There's no one else I trust with this. I know you'll do well.
Linkara: Bad comics beware. Atop the Fourth Wall lives.
(A new opening plays, set to "Song For Ten" from Doctor Who, as Iron Liz is seen dressing up as Linkara; she sits down at the futon)
Iron Liz: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn.
(Then the real theme song plays, followed by this episode's title card, set once again to "Song For Ten"; open on Iron Liz, dressed as Linkara and sitting on the futon)
Iron Liz: Hi, everybody. I'm Iron Liz, and hey, I got something to say. Well, I'm still a little bit new at this, and I'm even newer to this show, but I'm going to do the best that I can to entertain. Oh, and if anyone wonders why I'm doing this and not somebody else, (takes out a knife and waves it around) I'LL CUT YOUR BELLY OPEN!
(Cut to a closeup of the cover for a comic called "Chain Gang War #1")
Iron Liz (v/o): And don't worry, I'm only here until Linkara returns. But in the meantime, we should probably talk about this comic. In 1993, John Wagner was hired to create a team of Punisher knockoffs, and this little book was cancelled after twelve issues. Who's John Wagner? Well, perhaps you've heard of his most famous creation...
(Cut to a clip of Judge Dredd)
Dredd: YOU BETRAYED THE LAW!
(Cut back to the comic)
Iron Liz (v/o): Well, okay, he didn't create the movie, but he is the creator of Judge Dredd for the UK comic magazine "2000 AD". When now being adapted to cheesy Sylvester Stallone action movies, Judge Dredd is well-known for punching demons through the face while yelling, "GAZE INTO THE FIST OF DREDD!"
Iron Liz: Sadly, that kind of unbridled awesome is not present here, but let's dig into (holds up "Chain Gang War" comic) "Chain Gang War #1". (she then turns to see the ninja sitting next to her) Um, what are you doing here?
(The ninja holds up a card, reading: "That your first review is successful.")
(Editor's note: "After last week's debacle, I have been sent to ensure")
(The ninja holds up a second card, reading: "That your first review is successful.")
(Editor's note: "That your first review is successful. (As a ninja, the cards are out of order to confuse my enemies.")
Iron Liz: Um, how come I didn't hear you come in?
(The ninja holds up a third card, reading: "I am silent as the ballerina.")
Iron Liz: (shrugs) All right, whatever.
(Cut to a closeup of the comic cover)
Iron Liz (v/o): Oh, man, we're off to a promising start with this one. You can't see it, because it's a scanned image, but both the logo and the chain running down it are printed in holofoil, making them shiny and reflective. It was a frequently-used gimmick in the '90s to entice people to buy books, and while pretty and shiny and stuff, why would you waste it on a book like this? Were they expecting something called "Chain Gang War" to be the next best seller? If they were, they probably should have invested in a little more time on the cover. Okay, you can get away with wetting out someone's eyes on a mask if it's something like the guy in purple, but the little Cylon openings for the other two? Unless they're wearing napkins over their eyes, I don't think they're gonna be that white. And, oh, lookie, they're firing guns and getting fired at by people who have the worst aim ever, since they apparently can't hit the brightly-colored people standing in front of... What is that, tire tracks?
Iron Liz: That's not a wall, it's a forensic science sample!
Iron Liz (v/o): We open to three guys just kind of posing for the credits. They also evidently have a giant standing behind them imprisoned. Hey, don't stand that close, you fools, he might eat you! Also, I'm no gun expert, but when you're silencer is that big, I think you've officially moved into "compensating for something" territory. The comic actually opens on a guy leaving a courthouse and being confronted by reporters.
Reporter: Two witnesses testified the murder of Albert Redding was carried out on your orders--yet once again you walk free. Are you as surprised as the rest of us?
Iron Liz: Surprised that you asked a completely loaded question that assumed his guilt? Well, not really.
Reporter: What about the suggestion you got to the jury?
Accused man: That's a damn lie! Any more suggestions like that an' somebody's gonna get their head beat to a pulp!
Iron Liz: (as accused man, jumping in front of camera) I'm not a murderer, and I'LL KILL ANYONE WHO SAYS DIFFERENT!!
Iron Liz (v/o): The guy's lawyer steps up to the reporter, and his guards get him out of the line of fire while he continues to ramble about loud threats of violent reprisal.
Reporter: So once again, one of the city's criminal overlords proves himself to be above the law.
Iron Liz: (as reporter) "Innocent until proven guilty" can sit and spin. Objective reporting is for losers!
Iron Liz (v/o): Later that night, a hooded figure storms over the wall of the crime boss' – his name is Carlo Brunetti, in case you wondering – mansion. Why, he's even carrying a chain. And he may even be part of a gang engaged in a war. See? He uses a chain to knock out the guard. Yeah, what follows are a few action pages. We see guys in masks, yet their eyes aren't covered by napkins, as they get into his mansion and knock out his guards.
Iron Liz: (taking off the coat) Oh, criminy, this thing is hot! How does he do this every single week? (the Ninja-Style Dancer shrugs)
Iron Liz (v/o): Inside, Brunetti is watching the news report from the woman earlier.
Reporter: What good is our legal system when time after time the real criminals go free? Is justice-- true justice-- a commodity reserved only for the poor and the weak?
Iron Liz: Lady, are you trying to get your own talk show? Just the news, not your editorials.
Brunetti: When all this hoo-ha dies down, I want that Hawley taken care of. I want a special number done on her! Put the Animal on it!
(Cut to a clip of The Muppet Show, featuring Animal)
Animal: GO HOME! GO HOME!
(Back to the comic)
Brunetti: I hear he's got hisself a new chainsaw. They'll be diggin' her up in five states!
Iron Liz: That must be one hell of a chainsaw if it can bury her in five different states.
Hooded figure: Carlo Brunett!
Iron Liz: (as hooded figure, as she and the ninja hold toy guns) We've come to tell you about Scientology!
Iron Liz (v/o): With the two chain gang warmongers outside, Brunetti demonstrates his technical genius by hitting the lights, ensuring that... they won't be able to see the chain gang outside... The chain gangers say that they want Brunetti and that if the others stay out of it, they'll stay alive. Of course, Brunetti sends some guys around back to try to take them down, but they are instantly met by another guy, who fills them full of holes. Another guy leaps through the window, protected from the shattered glass with the awesome power of a trenchcoat and a thick hanky around his face.
Guy in trenchcoat: You don't have to die! Drop it! Dumb!
Iron Liz: (as gangster) Wait, you didn't give me a chance to– AWK! (jumps aside as the ninja pretends to be shot)
Iron Liz (v/o): The group moves in on the now-defenseless Brunetti, who evidently doesn't carry a gun of his own or anything, saying that they're here for justice. One of them seemed shocked by what has just transpired.
Hooded gang member: Don't start goin' soft on us, kid! You don't make an omelet without breakin' a few bad eggs!
Iron Liz: You don't make an omelet with bad eggs at all! Your metaphor sucks.
Iron Liz (v/o): They knock out Brunetti, and he wakes up in a dungeon cell. The only entrance to it is a small barred area leading into a hallway. Back at the mansion, the police and news have already arrived, with our favorite objective reporter on the scene. Then, for a panel, we suddenly get into Sin City, and then out again. Weird.
Reporter: Police believe Mr. Brunetti--who yesterday was sensationally cleared of all charges in the Redding murder trial...
Iron Liz: Lady, just let it go already! If you just keep giving your fans the same thing over and over again, they'll just get bored with it. (the Ninja-Style Dancer nods; Iron Liz looks at him)
Iron Liz (v/o): Brunetti's son [Sammy] takes control over his father's mob and talks to Scipio, another crime boss in the city. Scipio denies all knowledge or involvement in the attack, but invites the kid to his daughter's birthday party. The son doesn't believe him and tells his agents to start– (suddenly bursts out laughing at the site of how Sammy looks in a panel, who has long blond hair, a micro beard and huge lips) Oh, really? (laughs some more) Yeah, I'm sorry, but the micro beard, long hair and full lips don't scream "mob boss", they scream "boy band reject"!
Sammy: Get the Animal on it!
(Cut to another clip of Animal on The Muppet Show)
Animal: Bunny rabbit.
Interviewer: You like bunny rabbits?
Animal: Like bunny rabbits.
(Cut back to the comic again)
Iron Liz (v/o): We cut to a member of the ragtag band of chain gang fugitives named Ernie. He talks to his nurse wife briefly and how they have money now, and did I mention he's balding and overweight? Yeah, I can see him taking down mob bodyguards.
Ernie: (narrating) It's a war zone out there. The kids...you spend half your life worried about them, growing up in it. When's it going to be MY kid they find lying in the gutter – MY kid ramming a blade in someone's belly because he's desperate for crack?
Iron Liz (v/o): Yes, yes, this is very dramatic, but anyone wondering why there's a pet supply store right next to a 25-cent peep show? Not only is this weird placement, but how in the hell do you have a peep show for a quarter? In 1993?!
Ernie: (narrating) There's a battle going on and we're LOSING! And it's never going to get better till someone stands up and says ENOUGH!
Iron Liz: Damn it, we will bring back the Blue Beetle comic, and Ryan Choi will be brought back to life! And so will Lian Harper! And so– (suddenly, Ninja-Style Dancer taps her shoulder to get her attention) What?
(The ninja holds up a card, reading: "Nobody gets the obscure comic references.")
Iron Liz: (laughs nervously) Well, neither do I. (holds up the script) This was in Linkara's notes. I mean, at least, I think these are his notes. There's, like, thirty pages of conspiracy theories about how "Spider-Man: One More Day" is linked to "Justice League: Cry For Justice".
Iron Liz (v/o): A guy comes down to give Brunetti his food, ignoring Brunetti's pleas about it being Scipio who is behind this or that he'll give him money to let him go.
Brunetti: Why are you doing this to me?
Iron Liz: Not exactly the smartest mob boss in the land, are you?
Brunetti: Who the hell are you?!
Man who gave Brunetti his food: Well, now... I guess you could call me the warden!
(A dramatic sting is heard)
Iron Liz: Doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "I'm Batman", does it?
Iron Liz (v/o): So now, we get to meet our wealthy benefactor of what has been, so far, a minor Chain Gang unrest, who apparently has a statue of a naked guy about to go to the bathroom. Money does weird things to people. His name is Yale Strang, which ranks up there as perhaps one of the most bizarre names for a character ever. The so-called "warden" is actually named Loopy and is Yale's... I don't know, butler? Janitor? Well, either way, he's still works for Yale. He laments the loss of his dead wife, killed by some unseen person who remains free. And by the way, your heartbreaking inner monologue might have had a bit more going for it if you weren't wearing pink pajamas and a "Spooning with Spoony" robe. He gets a call from Curtis, the designated psycho of the group, as they plot their next fun little activity.
Iron Liz: You think these guys get together for miniature golf or something?
Iron Liz (v/o): So we cut to the party, where the Chain Gang militia carries gas cans over the hedge wall. Oh, come on, guys! Taking the guy during his daughter's birthday party? Show a little bit of class. They knock out some guards and then pour a gasoline line, getting ready to light it. We then cut to "the Animal" they keep talking about at a meatpacking plant. They keep his face in the shadows as he interrogates one of Scipio's guys with a chainsaw. Oh, and the guy gets his ear chopped off. Charming.
Scipio's guy: P-P-Please, Animal! I don't anything...!
Animal: Dat's a shame, 'cos dis is hurtin' me more than it is you, Charlie.
Iron Liz: (as Charlie) What?! I can't hear you! My ear's chopped off!
Iron Liz (v/o): With some of the guards distracted by the gasoline flames, the Chain Gang volunteer fire department moves in and knocks out the remaining guards, taking Scipio hostage. When his daughter comes down, one of them socks her across the face knock her out, too!
Iron Liz: You'd think mob bosses would stop having families so that this sort of thing wouldn't keep happening.
Iron Liz (v/o): They manage to get away before the bodyguards can shut the gates, taking Scipio to their underground lair.
Chain Gang member: Welcome to the House of Correction. Make yourselves comfortable. You're going to be here for a long time.
Iron Liz (v/o): Please excuse what may be a dumb question, but why aren't they just killing the mob bosses? If they have the money, training and resources to easily kidnap two purportedly high-profile gangsters, why not just kill them? Kill their guards and bang! Mob done with. This way, you don't have the police to potentially locate your secret prison and then let them go free as innocent victims.
Chain Gang member 1: Time after time the law...
(Cut to a clip of the Judge Dredd movie)
(Back to the comic again)
Chain Gang member 1: ...has failed to bring you to justice.
Chain Gang member 2: An' if the law can't do the job, then the people have to take justice into their own hands!
Scipio: I don't believe this! How long d'you think gonna keep us here?
Chain Gang member 2: Until you've paid for your crimes.
Iron Liz: (as Chain Gang member, typing on calculator) Which, according to my calculations, is... $59.98 before tax. I think this calculator's broken.
Iron Liz (v/o): And so, our comic ends with the Chain Gang neighborhood watch walking away, Brunetti screaming they're not going to get away with this. By the way, I think we've seen all of one chain in the entire comic.
Iron Liz: (holding up comic) This comic sucks. (drops comic) It's bland, the characters are underdeveloped and get less panel time than an editorializing grandstander. And I honestly don't understand what the point of it is. Vigilantes take mob bosses prisoner? So what? (to Ninja-Style Dancer) How about you?
(The ninja holds up a card, reading: "Not enough ninjas. Not enough dancers.")
Iron Liz: Also fair criticism. (gets up and leaves as ninja waves goodbye)
(One More Day is connected to Cry for Justice through the Pentagon papers, then the comic illuminati authorized the creation of JLA: Rise of Arsenal miniseries to send secret messages to their alien overlords.)
(Hmm. JFK? Nah, dude, that was just Lee Harvey Oswald. They used the grassy knoll to try to say that the Sentry was always a part of Marvel comics.)
(Stinger: Iron Liz walks up to Pollo)
Iron Liz: Oh, hey, Pollo. What's your status?
Pollo: I localized the trail. He appears to be on a large ship in another dimension.
Iron Liz: Can you get him back?
Pollo: Working on it now. Shouldn't take more than a week.
Iron Liz: Awesome. How'd I do?
Pollo: Ask Mr. Finevoice.
(Iron Liz looks toward the door to see Harvey Finevoice standing in the doorway)
Harvey: Yeah, you did fine, kid. Coulda used more singin', though. Maybe a rendition of "Nice and Easy". Oh, and next time, ditch the ninja. Guy doesn't know when to shut up. (leaves)