Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos #2
May 19, 2014
Chuck Norris' true power is in choosing crappy villains.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Say, you know who's really waned in popularity as an Internet meme? I mean, besides all Internet memes? Chuck Norris.
(An image of the comic Chuck Norris in front of an American flag and fireworks is shown, while a high-pitched voice yells, accompanied by organ music, "A-CHUCK-A-NORRIIIIIIIIIIS!" Linkara pushes the image aside)
Linkara: Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. As I've said before, you want to invent facts about how awesome someone is? You do that for Mr. T, because he genuinely is that awesome.
(Footage of both Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos and the Mr. T cartoon series is shown)
Linkara (v/o): But then again, both are interesting parallels to one another; both '80s action icons with strong Christian ethos, but more importantly, both of them got really silly and stupid cartoons made about them. However, Mr. T still one-ups Chuck Norris in this department, since not only did the Mr. T animated series last thirty episodes over two seasons, compared to the Karate Kommandos' paltry five episodes, but Mr. T's inaugural episode featured him grabbing a crocodile and swinging it over his head.
Linkara: And of course, Mr. T has had his fair share of comic book appearances. The poor Mr. Norris, however, was relegated to four issues of the tie-in to his animated series, one issue of which I covered a loooooong while ago.
(Shots of Linkara's review of the first issue of the comic adaptation of "Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos" is shown)
Linkara (v/o): And boy, did it suck! It sucked right on Chuck Norris' windshield-kicking feet. In it, Chuck Norris' protege, Too Much – yes, that's really his name – was taken hostage in his class by a group of terrorist ninjas out to steal Chuck Norris' battle wagon called the Super Cruiser. The Super Cruiser was basically a U-Haul. The terrorists were under the direction of the Super Ninja, this dapper-looking fellow.
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The Undead)
Mike: (as a knight) There, sure glad I don't look stupid in this.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): In the end, through sheer intimidation and kicking, the ninjas were defeated and Chuck Norris' super-camper was prevented from being taken.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos #2" and see what new heights of stupidty this series would aspire to.
(AT4W title sequence plays. Title card has "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): This cover is meh for the most part. It's saved only by Chuck Norris kicking a ninja in the face, but otherwise, it's a pink gradient background without any details and the logo, just like the first issue, takes up a full third of the page.
(Cut to a shot of the first issue's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and speaking of the first issue, apparently, they decided to make a few little cosmetic changes here and there. For starters, in between issues, Chuck Norris decided to dye his hair and mustache. In that one, he was a redhead...
(Cut back to the second issue)
Linkara (v/o): ...but here, he's pure blond. And assuming the ninjas he's fighting here are the same from last time, they've actually gotten themselves more of a logo. They've moved on from being the Red Square Ninjas to being the B-Squad Ninjas. Also, dude, I don't think you're supposed to be holding onto the blade of that bent sword. Then again, the guy who Chuck Norris is kicking seems to have his eyes covered up by his outfit, so clearly these were the best that the Super Ninja could scrounge up.
Linkara: But that's assuming you even believe in the Super Ninja. To me, the Super Ninja is just a super fairy tale; it doesn't exist.
Linkara (v/o): And seriously, Chuck, with the C.N. on your chest? You really get up in the morning, put that on and say, "I look damn good. I am proud of my choice of outfit." You look like you're advertising Cartoon Network.
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open with Chuck Norris walking on a pier, or should I say, strutting on the pier, since he appears to have attracted every single person he's walking past. And it's not even because he's a celebrity; they don't actually recognize him. He's just really, really confident and everyone is amazed by him. It's like friggin' Saturday Night Fever, or at least Peter Parker doing Saturday Night Fever in Spider-Man 3.
Onlooker 1: Whoa! He sure looks tough!
Onlooker 2: I wonder where he came from?
Linkara: If Chuck Norris facts are to be believed, he basically just spawned from the ether fully grown with a desire to kick things that could not be kicked.
Linkara (v/o): He enters a bar and goes up to the counter.
Bartender: What'll it be, pal? Nice cold beer?
Chuck: No thanks...
Linkara: (as Chuck) I'll take a crappy warm beer.
Chuck: I'm really here to talk about something hot...
Linkara: (as Chuck, gesturing toward himself) Me! Boom, baby!
Chuck: ...and where I might dispose of it... if I happened to lay my hands on it...
Linkara (v/o): The Chuck Norris method of police work: go into a random bar and say you want to get rid of stolen goods.
Chuck: Way I hear it, the men who drink here aren't very smart, but they're always interested in turning a dishonest profit.
Linkara (v/o): You know, given that this bar seems to be populated strictly by men, I'd find it hilarious if it turned out Chuck accidentally walked into the wrong place and this is really a gay bar.
Man: So, you know so much... What is this merchandise we're discussing here?
Chuck: We're talking about the new Banana 7000 computer prototype.
Linkara: (as this man, waving dismissively) Eh, not interested. Come back when you have the prototype for the new Mackerel Hard computer.
Man 1: Now I know you're full of it! That hasn't even been stolen yet...
Man 2: Yeah...an' a sale's been prearranged with a private buyer.
Linkara: Any other details you want to confess to the anonymous stranger? Drug deals you're conducting on the side? How many people you've killed?
Chuck: Thanks. That's really what I came in here to learn. Now, why don't you tell me who the buyer is... and who plans to sell it?
Linkara: Must have been a really slow day at the Karate Kommandos headquarters if they're working a case about a prototype for a home computer. I mean, isn't this usually the jurisdiction of the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids? Or Captain Electron?
Man 1: H-He...
Man 2: You tricked us!
Linkara: Tricked you into what? There is absolutely nothing here that can be used in court. In fact, you can all just clam up right now and he's got nothing.
Linkara (v/o): But no, instead, let's start a bar fight... with this guy while his pinky finger is extended. Dude, unless that bottle was actually a very cleverly disguised teacup, I don't think that's the proper way to hold that. Naturally, Chuck Norris beats the crap out of everyone, forcing a lot of them to retreat. They realize that, indeed, Chuck Norris is their attacker and they quickly find some wooden boards to defend themselves.
Man: We've got weapons now an' he doens't.
Linkara: You poor, deluded fools! (holds up fist) His fists are his weapons! (points down) Also his feet.
Linkara (v/o): And he promptly knocks them all into the water. Chuck once again asks for information, but the guy just screams that they only hear rumors and don't know anything... right before Too Much knocks him into the water by tripping him over a crate. Anyway, it's time for exposition. They know someone is plotting to steal the "Prototype Banana 7000"...
Linkara: Although, me personally, I'm holding out for the iBanana.
Linkara (v/o): ...and they say that the other members of the Karate Kommandos are back at the hotel guarding it. Um, why the hell is this not back at Banana Headquarters being developed?
Too Much: Do you think it's possible our old nemesis*, the Cult of the Klaw, are after the computer?
- NOTE: Too Much actually says, "enemies", not "enemies".
Chuck: Seems pretty likely, doesn't it? They'd love to get their hands on something as valuable as this.
Linkara: (as Chuck) It may take a whole six months before it becomes obsolete technology.
Chuck: And it never pays to get too confident where they're concerned.
Too Much: Boy I'll say, those guys are smart and mean!
Linkara: I would remind you that their leader looks like this... (the dapper-looking Super Ninja is shown) and they're plotting to steal a computer with the processor power to, at best, play Number Munchers. Or, you know, Oregon Trail.
Linkara (v/o): Chuck notices a box full of money and asks where it came from. Too Much says that it's part of his cover from when the guys from the bar fled. He told the guy running a souvenir stand that he'd watch the booth in his absence and turned a tidy profit while he ran it.
Chuck: Mm-hmm! And since you were selling the man's merchandise, of course you'll do the ethical thing... and turn all the money you made over to him.
Linkara (v/o): Too Much sighs in frustration at this.
Linkara: To be fair, Chuck, this guy was dumb enough to let a child completely unknown to him run his booth and have access to his money.
Linkara (v/o): Also, dear Lord, this artwork! Too Much's face is really wide; it seems to trying to contort itself into a Picasso painting. It can't accomplish it, but it's trying. And then there's Chuck in the corner there, with big eyes and gritting teeth under his ginormous mustache. I feel bad critiquing this, actually, since like the first issue, this was drawn by recluse and co-creator of "Spider-Man", Steve Ditko. This is clearly a job that he was doing only for the paycheck. We cut over to some more members of the Karate Kommandos, who are, of course, some martial arts stereotypes: the samurai Kimo, who is all about solitude and serenity and calm and honor and Power Rangers or something, and the sumo wrestler Tabe, who likes to eat a lot because he's not skinny. And they're out walking the team's dog named Wolf.
Tabe: Remember, Kimo, after Wolf is finished, we must clean up after him.
Linkara: (laughs) Oh, dog poop!
Linkara (v/o): Tabe says that a bunch of his friends from the sumo circuit are in town and he'll be getting together with them.
Tabe: We shall dine together, and then I will wrestle them-- all at once, of course... and then... perhaps we shall dine again.
Linkara: It's a very repetitive profession, I guess.
Linkara (v/o): He then offers Kimo to join them.
Kimo: My thanks... but the solitude of nature's beauty would suit me better. I shall walk the beach, and practice my swordplay, and meditate. And then I shall compose a poem.
Linkara: Kimo missed out on his true calling: being a whiny fifteen-year-old who claims that nobody understands his deep thoughts.
(Cut to Lewis wearing a blue jacket and red hat. He looks around nervously)
Lewis: (whispering) We'll be right back. I'm just hunting some wild Pokemon during this commercial break.
Pikachu: (offscreen) Pika, Pika!
Lewis: I GOT YA THIS TIME! (laughs)
(He runs off as the AT4W logo appears in the corner, and we go to a commercial break. Upon return, Lewis returns, holding a Pokeball in his hand, having supposedly captured Pikachu)
Lewis: (to ball) Ha! Got ya this time! This is what happens when you mess with the greatest master of Pokemon! (looks up to see he's on camera) Oh! Uh, we're back now. (walks off, singing) We all live in a Pokemon world...
(The AT4W logo appears in the corner and we cut back to the comic as the review resumes)
Tabe: Ah... And perhaps, later, you will honor me by letting me hear your poem?
Kimo: Perhaps... if the poem is not unworthy.
Linkara: (dramatically waving hand around) Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos! This week's episode: "The Poetry Slam"!
Linkara (v/o): Nearby, a woman in yellow is horrified to see the Karate Kommandos and wonders what she's going to do. But then we cut to over to twins Pepper and Reed, who naturally dress in the same denim jackets and orange shirts as each other.
Reed: Oh, gee whiz, Pepper...
Linkara: Nobody in the history of ever actually said, "Gee whiz."
Reed: ...the least you could do is talk to me!
Pepper: I can talk to you any time, Reed. But the Banana 7000 is really interesting hardware.
Linkara: Oh, dear Lord, it is the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids.
Linkara (v/o): So this is what happened after they got deprogrammed. Well, at least Alec did, since he proclaims that he doesn't give a crap about the computer other than keeping it out of the hands of the Cult of the Klaw. Pepper – or Shanna, if you see it that way – says that she wants to make the most of this chance to test the thing out.
Linakra: And really, what else is she gonna get this chance to play Museum Madness? (beat) Does anyone else remember that game? You had a robot, you... went around fixing the museum exhibits after they went nuts? (beat, then waves dismissively) I am such a nerd.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Reed is pissy because she's not paying attention to him, so he storms off... right into the woman in yellow, who says that her name is Margie. Margie spills the beans immediately since she knows he's a member of the Karate Kommandos, that her mother is very ill, and that the Cult of the Klaw offered her a lot of money to find some way to steal the computer.
Margie: They don't want to hurt anybody. And that computer is a machine. It's just a machine.
Linkara: (as Margie) And I am a man! (beat, normal) Wait...
Linkara (v/o): So, he just randomly managed to bump into the one person who was helping the villains.
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Agent For H.A.R.M.)
Tom Servo: I think a plot point just spilled all over us there.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): With this knowledge, Reed says he'll be right back, since he has to check and make sure the computer is okay. Back in the room, Pepper hears scratching at the door, only to find a cat waiting there.
Pepper: It's a cat. But how did you get onto this floor of the motel? Are you lost?
Linkara (v/o): But then... NINJAS!!
Ninja 1: No...
Ninja 2: He came with us!
Linkara: Ninja cat!
Pepper: (thinking) The Cult of the Klaw-- it's a trap!
(Cut to a clip of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
Admiral Ackbar: It's a trap!
Linkara: (waving dismissively) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you were all thinking it.
Linkara (v/o): Also, that was the most cunning plan the Cult of the Klaw could come up with? Let a cat scratch at the door? These are our villains in this series. Pepper gets off a few moves, but the ninjas then pull a gun.
Ninja: Stop! Think of what one bullet could do to this computer.
Linkara: (incredulously) You're not even threatening her with the gun?! And that's the thing you're trying to steal, morons! You are the worst ninjas ever!
Linkara (v/o): In fact, you are so bad at this that I need to be reminded of something considerably more absurd and yet still more like a ninja than you guys. Enjoy some ninja-style dancing!
(Cut to the Ninja-Style Dancer dancing to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky")
Daft Punk: (singing) She's up all night 'til the sun / I'm up all night to get some / She's up all night for good fun / I'm up all night to get lucky...
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Pepper surrenders because she "can't let that happen," even though she's clearly close enough to kick the gun out of his hand. And for crying out loud, it's a prototype! It's not like it's all the design plans, schematics and information; Banana can build a new one! But whatever. They take her, too, for some reason, and the other members of the Karate Kommandos reunite, and they quickly deduce that she's been kidnapped. And while it's not a guy who has been kidnapped, this situation does allow me to use this clip...
(Cut to a clip of Spoony)
Spoony: But he was abducted by ninjas! NINJAS! Call the cops!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Reed explains what happened and how he had walked out after the argument. This is what can barely be considered a character moment, where the way he panics in his explanation, it suggests that he's in cahoots with the ninjas. But no one actually throws out any accusations or remarks, and he immediately explains everything, so what the hell was even the point?
Reed: I guess I've been a real jerk, hunh?
Chuck: No. You've been a brother.
Linkara: (as Chuck) Also, you're fired for deserting your post.
Linkara (v/o): Chuck asks if he knows where to find Margie, but I'd like to find the evil wizard who no doubt cast a spell on Reed's body to make his proportions twist around. His head and torso appear to be shrinking, based on how big Chuck's hand is there, but his own hand is positively huge! He could wrap that around his own head! Even Too Much is wincing at the sight of that thing. Anyway, Reed suspects that Margie may have just been a decoy, but Chuck thinks otherwise.
Chuck: And from some of the clues Too Much and I picked up today while we were scouting around, I have a pretty good idea of what neighborhood to look for her in!
Linkara: AKA, he read the script.
Chuck: Everybody change into your battle suits!
Linkara: (holding up Power Morpher) It's Morpin Time! Norris Ninja Ranger!
Linkara (v/o): And seriously? These are battle suits? Geez, I guess all your fudning went into the Super Cruiser. Reed doesn't even have any armor; he's still in his regular clothes. Anyway, they have Wolf track Pepper's scent, and we see Pepper herself being held by the ninjas.
Ninja: Now, show us how to operate the computer!
Linkara: (as ninja) It told us to hit any key to continue! Where is the "any" key"?!
Linkara (v/o): Pepper refuses to cooperate, and Maggie [sic] protests to the ninjas that nobody was supposed to be hurt. The ninjas don't give a crap, of course, so Maggie steps in.
Margie: Wait! Please don't hurt her. Let me talk to her for a minute... woman to woman.
Linkara: (as Margie) Pepper, do you ever feel, you know, not so fresh?
Linkara (v/o): Wolf picks up on her scent and leads them to the right house.
Reed: How are we going to get inside?
Linkara (v/o): And so Kimo just walks up and knocks on the door.
(Cut to a clip of Suburban Knights: Part 6)
Cinema Snob: (standing at the front door of someone's house) Hi there! We represent "The Broadway Better Business Players For a Brighter Tomorrow". We are trying to start up a petition to get second-rate shows taken off the marquee.
(Back to the comic again)
Kimo: (as a ninja answers the door) Good afternoon. May I come in?
Ninja: (gun drawn) Insolent fool!
Linkara: (incredulously) Why did you answer the door?! Did you guys order pizza or something?
Linkara (v/o): So yeah, they beat up some more ninjas as they all storm out at them, and Kimo awkwardly swings his sword around with really stiff arms.
Linkara: (as Kimo, holding a sword and swinging it around stiffly) I am the greatest samurai ever!
Linkara (v/o): It seems to work, though, since it cuts off their straps... which means absolutely nothing, since the straps appear to be mostly decorative. Smooth. Oh, and Chuck Norris' fighting is equally awkward; mostly just tackling people or using his kung fu action grip to swing his arms around.
Linkara: (imitating Chuck's awkward fighting) A-CHUCK-A-NORRIIIIIIIIIIS!
Linkara (v/o): If you ever wanted any more evidence that Steve Ditko did not give a single crap about drawing this comic, here you have it. The dude is responsible for infusing a hell of a lot of energy and life to his fight scenes, even changing up fighting styles, depending on the heroes responsible. But here, it looks like in some panels that Chuck is just doing stretches for aerobics. Oh, yeah, and the twelve-year-old is leading around the dog, who goes chasing after the ninja cat. One of the ninjas thinks that the only way they can salvage this situation is by threatening Pepper and goes to her, instructing her to come with him.
Linkara: (as ninja, holding up gun) Hey, guys, I think I finally figured out this gun thing! If you threaten people with it, it works a whole lot better!
Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be accurate, since Pepper refuses to obey. And then Maggie steps out from behind and smashes a vase over his head. With the ninjas defeated, the group finally reunites. Margie spots Reed with his face suddenly transforming into... (it looks like he's flushed cartoonishly) this... and begins complimenting him.
Margie: I knew you'd come and save us... You're so honest, and noble, and brave!
Linkara: (incredulously) You only met him two hours ago and all he did was ask you about the plot to take the computer! That's it!
Linkara (v/o): It seems there's a cash reward for anyone who could find and stop the ones after the computer, and that money can now be used to help Margie's mother. For that, Margie starts making out with Reed. This annoys Pepper for some reason, as if she was jealous. Eww! And so, our comic ends with this exchange...
Reed: Hey, Chuck, I might just have a good idea. Let's take back the computer... and let the Cult of the Klaw keep my sister. It would serve them right!
Linkara: (laughs uproariously) Oh, they were gonna torture her. (closes comic and holds it up) This comic sucks.
Linkara (v/o): The artwork is lazy and slipshod all over the place, owing to Steve Ditko clearly not giving a damn. The plot itself is stupid and ridiculous, and not even in a fun kind of way, like "US-1". It's just dumb! And important plot stuff just conveniently falls into the laps of the heroes.
Linkara: So, yes, my initial thesis stands: STICK WITH MR. T. (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
So, wait, Margie was hired by the Cult of the Klaw to figure out a way to steal the computer... so it was HER plan to just leave a cat outside the door? These ninjas suck so much they have to outsource their plans to random teenagers.
Ninja Cat would later escape and join forces with the Evil Ninja Empire.
(Stinger: A clip of the Mr. T cartoon series is shown)
Linkara (v/o): ...but Mr. T's inaugural episode featured him grabbing a crocodile and swinging it over his head.
(Cut to the following text: "However, as I discovered while looking for Karate Kommandos footage for this episode..." Cut to a clip of the Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos series, showing Chuck similarly grabbing a crocodile by its tail, swinging it around and throwing it. Then cut to the real Chuck Norris)
Chuck: Remember, everyone makes mistakes in their life. You do, I do, and your parents do. But being able to love them in spite of those mistakes is what makes you a very special person.