Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos #1
May 24, 2010
Chuck Norris – man of action! Chuck Norris – star of Sidekicks! Chuck Norris – vastly overrated!
Linkara: (sitting on his futon) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Well, yet again, I find myself unable to review the scheduled comic.
(Cut to a shot of said comic...)
Linkara (v/o): Yes, "Syphons #1", while possessing artwork that was a tad amateurish, had a pretty decent story and didn't have much to make fun of. I should note that a lot of the time, when I'm scheduling what comics I'm reviewing, I've only really glanced through them. Believe it or not, a lot of the time, you can judge a book by its cover with comics. Did they put a lot of effort into wanting to get their book noticed, or was it just a character's face? I'll get into what makes a good cover at a later date, since right now, we need to deal with what we're really reviewing today.
(Cut to a shot of the cover of "James Bond, Jr. #3")
Linkara (v/o): You'll recall that back in my review of "James Bond, Jr. #3", I mentioned a few action-based cartoons of the 1980s that didn't really make any sense when you stopped and thought about them.
(Cut to the opening titles of the show Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos)
Linkara (v/o): In this case, we've got ourselves Chuck Norris and His Karate Kommandos. This one never really made it to series, lasting for only a five-episode miniseries, and "miniseries" is probably generous to it. I've watched some of it, and frankly, I don't feel like watching any more.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up comic of review) "Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos #1" and try to avoid any Chuck Norris list jokes, because I like screwing with expectations!
(Opening titles are shown, followed by title card for this episode, set to Leo Sayer's "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing", as performed by Neo; cut to a shot of the cover)
Linkara (v/o): Our cover is a little bland. Sure, we've got the action pose of Chuck Norris just ready to go off and kick your head off, surrounded by a group of... uh, ninjas of the Red Square, I guess. And WHOA! What's up with that logo?! No special font or anything, but right there, taking up a WHOLE THIRD of the cover is "CHUCK NORRIS"! The "Karate Kommandos" part spelled with a K, a la Mortal Kombat, even though this predates that game, it's really just an afterthought compared to the HUGENESS of "CHUCK NORRIS"! And just look at his outfit: "CN", like a friggin' superhero logo! Follow yourself, much?
Linkara: But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this won't be another ego trip for Ol' Chucky.
Linkara (v/o): We open to a splash page of a very blond Chuck Norris and a thought bubble proclaiming...
Offscreen voice: Chuck Norris is the best!
Linkara: Well, that didn't take long.
Linkara (v/o): Checking the credits, we see the penciler is... Steve Ditko?!
Linkara: (very much incredulous) Co-creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko?! (holds up a boxed action figure of Blue Beetle) Creator the Ted Kord Blue Beetle, Steve Ditko?! Steve, really?!? You really needed a paycheck that badly?!?
Linkara (v/o): With that horrifying revelation out of the way, our comic begins with a schoolboy looking at a picture of Chuck Norris.
Schoolboy: (thinking) He's the absolute best... The best there is! An' when I grow up... I'm gonna be just like him!
Linkara: (laughs) Better start hating gay marriage, kid.
Linkara (v/o): The teacher announces...
Miss Reynolds: I hope everyone is excited about tomorrow's special field trip to the International Anti-Terrorism Conference--
Linkara: What? Didn't you go on field trips to anti-terrorism conferences in elementary school? I especially loved the workshops on Mossad training techniques.
Linkara (v/o): She explains that the conference is undergoing tighter security since a new Supercruiser will be on exhibit at the conference. She goes on to say that the only reason that they'll be able to go is because of the connection one of her students has to Chuck Norris. And who is this student? Why, it's our little dreamer, whose name is Too Much. Seriously.
Linkara: Oh, I have no doubt that he'll live up to that name if he doesn't shut up about Chuck!
Linkara (v/o): One of the students wisely asks about Chuck...
Student: What does Chuck Norris have to do with the Supercruiser? And what exactly is the Supercruiser?
Linkara: (as student, raising his hand) And why don't we ever do any math problems?
Miss Reynolds: Well, according to Too Much...
Linkara (v/o): (softly) Seriously, "Too Much"? Why not Billy or Dave or Steve?
Miss Reynolds: ...the government hired Chuck as a consultant to help develop an anti-terrorism vehicle known as the "Supercruiser."
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, because martial arts fighters and actors are obviously the ideal choice for designing military hardware. The kid starts to daydream... Great, this is "Sidekicks: The Comic Book". ...about the fact that Chuck Norris isn't afraid of anything, including the Super Ninja! (the comic reveals said Super Ninja) Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho, my! Oh, oh, really? This is the, uh, "Super Ninja"? A purple jumpsuit with lines all over it, a red circle thing that kinda looks like a squashed bug, and a white face mask with Mary Tyler Moore hair? Oh, and what about the glowing lines around his head? At first, I thought it was more of his hair, but the pink spikes there vanish in a few panels.
Linkara: You know, I've heard of shampoo and conditioner that makes your hair look radiant, but this??
Linkara (v/o): Forgetting for a moment that no self-respecting ninja would ever dress like this, why exactly does he feel the need to be more than a regular ninja? It's not enough to be like "Ninja Overlord" or something, but rather "Super Ninja", wherein you're like a ninja, I guess, but with powers and abilities beyond those of everyday ninjas. I mean, at this point, there's no real reason to stay being a ninja if you're super.
Super Ninja: (holding up a huge picture of Norris) I HATE YOU, CHUCK NORRIS! I HATE YOU, HATE YOU, HATE YOU!!
Linkara: (as Super Ninja, pretending to hold up a picture) THAT'S WHY I PRINTED OFF THIS HUGE PICTURE OF YOU! HATE YOOOOOUUUUU!! (beat) Marry me.
Linkara (v/o): Super Ninja rips apart the picture of Chuck Norris, but it's Too Much's daydream, so he comes in to battle this master ninja.
Too Much: I'm called Too Much... but for you I'm just too bad!
Linkara: Oh, trust me, you're (makes a "finger quote") "too bad" to everyone.
Too Much: I think I can take care of you myself-- without even bothering Chuck Norris! And I'm gonna do it-- (holds up nunchucks) with these.
Super Ninja: What? What are those?
Linkara: The Super Ninja, everyone! He doesn't know what nunchakus are!
Linkara (v/o): After beating up the Super Ninja, Too Much... Okay, I'm sick of calling him that; his name is TM from now on. ...is woken up from his daydream. His teacher threatens to tell Chuck Norris on him.
Miss Reynolds: I must tell you, Too Much, that when I first met Chuck Norris at the parent-teachers conference, he told me that your schoolwork was much more important than your belonging to the Karate Kommandos.
Linkara: First of all, why the hell is Chuck Norris going to this kid's parent-teacher conferences? Is he Chuck's son? Secondly, why the hell is a little kid involved in something called (makes a "finger quote") "Karate Kommandos"?!
Linkara (v/o): The teacher goes on to explain in more detail what the Supercruiser is. We even get a picture of it! And you're not gonna believe this. The mighty Supercruiser, the grand counter-terrorism weapon that Chuck friggin' Norris helped to build and uses in his crime-fighting... IS A FRIGGING U-HAUL!* US-1 would laugh this guy off the road! And bear in mind, US-1 drove a truck!
- NOTE: A screw-up: the vehicle resembles a motor home, not a moving van.
Miss Reynolds: Now remember, what makes this cruiser so remarkable is that it is so completely ordinary in appearance. Those using it can pass as average holidaymakers and vacationers.
Linkara (v/o): That's not remarkable, that's stupid! We're not talking about a surveillance van, lady. This is supposed to be a friggin' BATTLE WAGON! We don't want to fake out the terrorists; we want to send it full speed into the enemy camp!
Linkara: (imitating a terrorist) Look out, everyone! Chuck Norris is coming at us with his moving van! He might start throwing furniture at us!
Linkara (v/o): She does tell us that the thing is equipped with advanced technology, ranging from weapons to communications to surveillance equipment, but that doesn't make up for the fact that looking at it doesn't conjure up the word "Supercruiser"! She then brings up that she hopes the students have been enjoying reading "The Children's Story" by James Clavell, which is a real short story about mind control and the ability of schools to indoctrinate young minds with propaganda, as opposed to actually teaching them what is actually meant by the words they speak. Why the hell she's teaching this to grade-schoolers that probably haven't even read "To Kill a Mockingbird" is anyone's guess. T.M. gives his classmate a colored picture of Chuck Norris before whispering that he hadn't read the book yet, hoping to complete it over the weekend.
Too Much: (softly) You want to come over tonight and practice karate with me?
Linkara: (referring to the look on Too Much's face as he read that) Dear God, that is the most frightening face I've ever seen in a comic! And coupled with the question makes this thing all the more horrifying!
Linkara (v/o): However, the teacher interrupts and asks him to start in on his thoughts on the book right away. The kid prays for something to prevent him from giving his report.
(Suddenly, a group of ninjas burst into the classroom, toting guns)
Ninja: Don't anybody move! You are all the prisoners of the Cult of the Klaw!!
Linkara: (as Too Much, excited) Thank God, TERRORISTS!
Linkara (v/o): I love the sound effect they make when they storm in: "BAMMO!" More ninjas burst in through the windows... Why? There were, like, five of you who came in through the door. ...and say they'll kill anyone who tries to resist. By the by, anyone else think that these guys look like soldiers of Cobra? Actually, given how inept the Super Ninja is, it wouldn't surprise if this was Cobra Commander and his forces trying to go for a different motif to fool G.I. Joe. Super Ninja talks with his robotic master, who's also apparently Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget, that they'll contact the government and will release the hostages, but only if the government turns over the Supercruiser to him!
Linkara: (as Super Ninja, holding up fist) And with the Supercruiser at my command, I'll finally have what I need to move out of my apartment!
Linkara (v/o): We cut to the headquarters of the Karate Kommandos, where two of the members are swordfighting while Tabe (pronounces it "Tah-Bey") – or Tabe (pronounces it "Tayb"), I don't know and I don't care – the resident sumo wrestler pulls out a whole bunch of food out of the refrigerator and even lifts the refrigerator in order to get a plum that rolled under it. HA! He's a sumo wrestler, which means he's fat and loves to eat! (laughs) Oh, where else can we find such well-crafted humor but "Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos"! The incredibly blond Chuck Norris comes running in with the team's dog – because every '80s cartoon series had a dog – informing the group of T.M.'s capture at the hands of the Cobra ninjas. Chuck plans to use the Supercruiser as bait while they get T.M. back. Back at the school, the villains gloat that the government is giving in to their demands. T.M., however, is unimpressed.
Too Much: You turkeys won't get away with this!
Linkara: Why do I get the feeling that T.M. is just the Karate Kommandos' water boy?
Linkara (v/o): The ninjas head out to claim the super U-Haul and confront the driver, a woman named Pepper. However, before they can toss her out of the driver's seat, the team dog attacks!
Ninja #1: What is it?
Ninja #2: She's got some kinda monster in there!
Linkara: (as ninja) Oh, no! A dog-shaped monster!
Linkara (v/o): Since Pepper is also a member of the Karate Kommandos, she engages the remaining ninjas. T.M., seeing a ninja aiming his gun at her through the broken window, tosses an eraser at him to distract him. However, before the ninjas can retaliate, they are awed by the presence of their archenemy.
Ninja #1: (thinking) It's him... it's really him!
Ninja #2: (thinking) We're doomed!
Student: It's 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, "CHUCKNORRIIIIIIIIIIS!")
Linkara: (impatiently) Yes, yes, we all know the Internet meme, let's move on.
Linkara (v/o): However, such is the psychological power of Chuck Norris that the ninjas instantly want to give up!
Ninja #1: His back is turned! Shoot him, now!
Ninja #2: I'm not gonna shoot him. That's Chuck Norris. One bullet won't stop him, and he's so fast we won't have time to shoot two!
Linkara: (irritably) He's an actor with a pornstache; you are ninjas with automatic weapons. I THINK YOU CAN TAKE HIM.
Linkara (v/o): When one of the ninjas refuses to surrender, the other Kommandos enter to aid their lord and master, The Chuck. The ninjas decide to try to fight it out and run right at Chuck... who effortlessly knocks them all aside.
Chuck: The secret is in waiting for you to attack me... and using your own momentum against you!
Linkara: So it's not that Chuck Norris is a great martial artist, but rather his enemies are just morons.
Linkara (v/o): The fight scene continues with Chuck just flying around and kicking everyone's asses, yet no one bothers trying to use those guns that they're holding. These are the worst ninjas I've ever seen. They can't fight, they rely on guns which they don't even know how to fire. These are bunch of losers dressed up in ninja clothes, and as a result, seeing them take a pounding isn't exactly the most entertaining fight scene.
Linkara: So instead, enjoy some authentic ninja entertainment: NINJA-STYLE DANCING!
(Cut to the Ninja-Style Dancer in front of the comic rendering of Chuck and dancing to Leo Sayer's "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing"; back to the comic moments later)
Linkara (v/o): Even T.M. manages to kick the asses of some ninjas, at least until a ninja grabs hold of the teacher and holds a gun to her head. The ninjas decide to take Chuck as a hostage instead, tossing the teacher to the side. Chuck Norris, however, has a clever ploy to stop him.
Chuck: Your shoe is untied.
Ninja: Pathetic. You think I would fall for that ancient trick?
Linkara: Knowing these ninjas, that should've worked.
Linkara (v/o): However, instead, Chuck kicks up a copy of "The Children's Story" to the ninja's face, forcing him to shoot a hole in it before Chuck belts him out.
Ninja #1: This Chuck Norris...
Ninja #2: ...He is formidable! Flee!
(Cut to a scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grail: the infamous killer rabbit)
King Arthur: RUN AWAY! (they all run back, yelling, "Run away!")
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): The ninjas, of course, run away, since, of course, ninjas are historically known as being pansy-asses, and Chuck explains that he's insured that the ninjas can't get away in their getaway car, which was disguised as a school bus. Nothing stopping from discarding their ninja garb and walking away in civilian clothes, but whatever. He also expresses his disappointment that a copy of "The Children's Story" has a bullet hole in it, since it's such a great book. And so, our comic ends with everybody talking about how much they want to read the book now, and little T.M. realizes he needs to run home and read it so that he won't be revealed as the little assignment-missing idiot that he is. Is this whole thing just a PSA for "The Children's Story"?
Linkara: (angrily holding up comic) This comic sucks! It's goofy, it's a big waste of talent for Steve Ditko, and it worships the ground Chuck Norris steps on. Let's face it, people: Chuck Norris is not the all-seeing badass god that he's made out to be. He's a fine martial artist, and yeah, he could probably kick my ass, but that doesn't mean we should keep glorifying him like this. Besides, we all know Mr. T's got more superpowers than Chuck Norris.
(Cut to a clip of Mr. T addressing the camera)
Mr. T: (pointing to camera) And don't let anybody tell you different!
Linkara: Right on, Mr. T! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(Credits roll, to the opening titles for the cartoon version of Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos)
Wait, why does the cover and the cartoon have Chuck as a redhead when in the comic he's blonde?
Also, apparently no one's worried about the psychological scarring on the poor kids who were held captive by terrorist ninjas.
Anyone else wonder about the irony of a schoolroom teaching "The Children's Story," when it's all about schools brainwashing kids.
(Stinger: a clip of Chuck Norris' movie Mr. Nanny, in which he jumps at a car coming at him and kicks through the windshield, shattering it)