April 20, 2009
The man without an editor for his obnoxious purple prose!
Linkara (v/o): Previously on Atop the Fourth Wall...
(A montage of clips from Linkara's video on "Daredevil 305" is shown)
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up comic) "Dardevil #305".
(Cut to Linkara looking offscreen)
Linkara: Harvey Finevoice, I want that information and I want it now!
Harvey: Yap, yap, yap, that's all your type ever do. (pushes paper forward) Here, take it with my blessing.
(Linkara takes the paper and looks at it; he becomes alarmed)
Linkara: AngryJoe is walking into a trap!
(Cut to AngryJoe looking at a piece of paper)
AngryJoe: It's Linkara. He's in big trouble! Assemble the army! He's gonna need all the help he can get!
(Cut to Linkara again, who is looking into a laptop computer)
Linkara: Oh, my God! (looks up) TVTropes just used one of my quotes!
(Cut to Benzaie, who looks at a piece of paper)
Benzaie: This can't be right. (looks up) It says I'm not French! They say I'm African-American.
(Cut back to Linkara again)
Linkara: Get this, MarzGurl: this time, (gestures toward himself with thumb) I'm breaking up with (points to camera) you!
MarzGurl: Huh, whatever. (holds up a pair of panties) I got passion panties, bitch!
(Cut back to Linkara again)
Linkara: Tell me, Rorschach, is Benzaie truly made of French toast?
Linkara: There's a conspiracy at work here. Could Dr. Insano be doing all this?
(Cut to Dr. Insano, looking into a fridge)
Dr. Insano: Nurse! If you've taken the last Red Bull, I will have you destroyed!
(Cut back to Linkara)
Linkara: Look, I know what Joe is up against! He needs our help!
(Cut back to AngryJoe, who is united with his army: a bunch of clones of himself all wearing helmets and holding guns)
AngryJoe: AngryJoe army, we've gathered here today to help a dear friend, Linkara! No one can stop our combined forces! Prepare yourselves!
(He starts to make huge electric bolts in his hands, but they fizzle out as he looks up in shock)
AngryJoe: Oh, my God! What the hell is that?!
Linkara: It's Neutro!
(The Joe army looks around and look up again)
AngryJoe: ATTACK! (fires his electric blasts, while the Joe army fire their guns)
(Cut to the Nostalgia Chick wearing a sweater reading "Let's talk about sex - 11.04")
NCh: All right, so you found my secret identity. (braids her hair into her signature pigtails) That's right, I'm the Nostalgia Chick.
Linkara: (stammering) B-But how did you– What the– But the– But the bow tie and the– How are you– WHAT?!?
(Cut back to the Joe army firing at Neutro)
Linkara (v/o): Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay. The worst is death.
Linkara: And death will have his day.
(The Joe army keeps attacking Neutro; cut back to Linkara, looking offscreen)
Linkara: I should've known, it was you who was the secret manipulator behind it all! (reaches offscreen and grabs a teddy bear) BEAR!!
(Cut to black)
Linkara (v/o): And now, the conclusion.
(Fade in on Linkara sitting on his Futon)
Linkara: Why does this stuff keep happening to me? Anyway, hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Before we continue with our discussion of "Daredevil", let's talk about the premise of this book.
(Cut to shots of the previous issue of "Daredevil")
Linkara (v/o): There is an urban legend about a man who picks up a woman at a bar and wakes up several hours with one of his organs stolen. In reality, it's just that: an urban legend. Organ theft like that just doesn't work. Surgery is complicated, and the materials needed to store and carry organs are more expensive than one would get for the body parts. Now, there is a black market for organs, but they're usually voluntarily given up, and it doesn't really happen in the USA.
Linkara: But if "Amazons Attack" was any indication, reality and logic have never exactly stopped a comic from being made. So let's dig into (holds up comic of topic) "Daredevil #306".
(Cut to a closeup of the comic cover)
Linkara (v/o): Composition-wise, this cover is certainly more interesting than the ones we're used to seeing. We actually have something that catches the reader's attention, with a menacing villain holding the symbols of the heroes by knives. While the Surgeon General herself still looks kind of stupid, there's a symbolic dread to having her loom over the heroes like this. It's made all the more serious when we see that Spider-Man and Daredevil are struggling for their lives from being forcibly operated on by faceless surgeons. Of course, the effect is kind of ruined by the pun, but whatever. We open to a knife embedded in a Spider Tracer. Daredevil kicks in with his trademark narration.
Daredevil: (narrating) Spider-Man's tracking device was supposed to deliver the Surgeon General firmly into our hands. What we're left holding instead can only be described with a locker room vulgarism best left unsaid.
Linkara: (confused) What, be sure to shower before entering the pool?
Daredevil: (narrating) My own response is equally laconic-- but drips a disturbing and unwelcome inner fury.
Linkara (v/o): And what was this furious, disturbing, laconic response to this intense moral outrage?
Daredevil: Dead end.
Linkara: Yeah, my spine just went to shakin' at that one, folks.
Linkara (v/o): The two start searching around, and Spider-Man finds a case full of red plastic bags. Spider-Man comments...
Spider-Man: Trendsetting garbage bags!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, my sides.
Daredevil: Medical waste, Spidey-- human.
Linkara: As opposed to what, sea otter medical waste bags?
Linkara (v/o): For no particular reason, Daredevil knocks over what looks a barrel full of salt, but apparently, it's ashes. Daredevil takes off his glove and sifts through it.
Daredevil: (narrating) Smooth fabric among the brittle, warm flakes of evidence charred almost to nothing. Strand of silk, soaked in a mix of perfume and sewer reek.
Linkara (v/o): So, he knows what a sewer smells like by touching things. Daredevil lets off with his hypersenses in search of something else with "that foul scent". Brace yourselves, folks, we're in for a stinker.
Linkara (v/o): ...he cries out. Even Spidey asks him...
Spider-Man: "There"? There what?! (to himself) Why do I feel so in the dark with the blind guy around?
Linkara (v/o): I know the feeling, especially since there's no way Daredevil could've detected anything unless it made a sound!
Daredevil: (narrating) Tracing the footprint in the floorboard grit... tactile sensation searching the rubbery carcass of the latest victim in a timeless struggle.
Linakra: Kirk vs. Picard!
Linkara (v/o): No, actually, it's a dead cockroach, although how Daredevil heard the dead cockroach is up for debate, especially since he detected it BEFORE his "tactile sensation"!
Daredevil: (narrating) Radar picks out the insect's contours, the imprint stamped there.
Linkara (v/o): And we get a sketchy black image with a few white lines on it that I assume is supposed to represent how it looks from Daredevil's perspective, but I can't see a damn thing that would make me think this was supposed to be a cockroach, since, you know, this is how radar works. Daredevil sees the imprint of a key within the dead cockroach... So, wait, the cockroach was killed by a key falling on it? ...and asks Spider-Man to spin his webbing soft enough to get the imprint out.
Spider-Man: ...I can, but... I mean, c'mon, DD, the name's Spider-Man, not Roach...
Linkara: (dull tone) Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha... Oh, there's that classic Spidey banter.
Linakra (v/o): We transition to the Surgeon General talking to some business person. The businessman, by the name of Mr. Addams, complains that his investors are concerned. We also learn the Surgeon General's last name is Kutter.
Linkara: Remember, kids, in comic books, if your name sounds like anything, you will become a supervillain.
Kutter: Tell them to cool their jets, Mr. Addams! They'll get their pound of flesh, literally--and anything else the black market will support!
Linkara (v/o): By the by, they're having this discussion in the middle of what looks like a crowded mall, so it's good that they're loudly announcing their plans to sell black market organs in explicit detail. Mr. Addams points out how Daredevil and Spider-Man have put them behind schedule, but the Surgeon General says they're only minor setbacks, telling him to look around him at all the people.
Kutter: The young urban professionals rushing about in their almighty ritual of paper pushing... taking only enough time out of busy schedules to fine tune their bodies to society's ideal through nutrition programs and health clubs!
Linkara: Quick, everybody, run to McDonald's!
Kutter: All the raw material we could want is well within reach, Mr. Addams! Tell your corrupt surgical teams wherever, they'll get what they need, and then some.
Linkara (v/o): Ah, nothing like villains who freely admit they're evil and whatnot, eh? Such a fascinating look at what drives this character. Addams tells her that...
Mr. Addams: An industry such as ours cannot continue if no goods come down the production line!
Linkara: What, do they make beanie babies out of the organs or something?
Kutter: Nothing good about it, Mr. Addams... only quality.
Linkara (v/o): I see the Surgeon General also possesses Spidey's trademark wit. As Addams leaves on a conveniently-placed boat, the Surgeon General's partner [Jebediah], who possesses a large set of keys that he likes to jingle around, leans against a nearby wall. The Surgeon General takes out a green handkerchief, for some reason, and the partner remarks...
Jebediah: You ruin more of them fancy hankys [sic] down here, Angeline...
Linkara (v/o): She replies...
Kutter: Have to cut down on the smell some way, Jebediah... I don't know what stinks more... the sewage in the water or that pig Addams's arrogance.
Linkara (v/o): Arrogance? He pointed out legitimate, potential problems to your illicit business, and you call it "arrogance"? Anyway, Jebediah here drops his keys and then steps on them, pointing out that he's...
Jebediah: ...always doing that.
Linkara (v/o): ...which is just the stupidest excuse I could think of for how we ended up with a key's imprint on a dead cockroach!
Linkara: So, if I drop my gun on a dung beetle, some superhero is gonna be able to figure out who I am?
Linkara (v/o): We cut to Matt Murdock's law office. He calls up someone to get information on the key he and Spidey lifted, and his commentary skills come back to the forefront.
Murdock: (narrating) Foggy and I got a good deal snagging space at Manhattan's Worldwide Plaza--
(REAL ESTATE INTRIGUE!)
Murdock: (narrating) --a prestigious address for the letterhead of two hotshot lawyers on the comeback trail. It carries some clout... a smooth line honed on countless juries does the rest.
Linkara: I think the narration's gone off into its own little world.
Murdock: (narrating) Pads of my fingers "read" the impressions of graphite on the rubbing, reversed off Spider-Man's makeshift mold.
Linkara (v/o): So, no need for Braille, eh, Matthew boy? You know, with radar senses and the ability to read touching things, I don't see why anyone needs any sight at all! To make matters better, upon receiving a fax from the security firm responsible for the key, he reads that the same way he did the graphite impressions. He whispers to himself...
Murdock: Angeline Kutter, World Financial Center. Medical supplies--arrogant piece of work, aren't you?
Linkara (v/o): Again with the arrogance remarks!
(Cut to a clip of The Princess Bride)
Inigo Montoya: (to Vizzini) You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
(Cut back to the Daredevil comic)
Linkara (v/o): Foggy Nelson walks in, holding airline tickets.
Foggy: Pack your bags, Matt, we're flying first class to Vegas!
Linkara (v/o): Foggy convinces Matt that he should take a vacation after pointing out how long he worked to get his license to practice back and... Wait, what? I really don't think your clients are going to appreciate you going on vacation all of a sudden.
Murdock: (narrating) Frank Nelson didn't graduate at the top of our class at Columbia...
Linkara: That much is certainly obvious.
Murdock: ...but he earns high marks in "Real Life 101."
Linkara: A pity it turns out that he didn't have enough residency credits.
Murdock: (narrating) His words hit hard, staying the sacrifice of the man for the mask.
Linkara: (as Murdock) Deep!
Murdock: (narrating) I fought to redeem both sides of my identity...
Linkara (v/o): Okay, that was an ellipse at the end there, so obviously, it must lead into the next page and– WAIT A SECOND! We turn the page, and suddenly, we're in a completely different scene! You fought hard to redeem both sides of your identity, and WHAT?? What was the point of that line if it didn't lead into something?! Cut to the World Trade Center, where Daredevil and Spider-Man are meeting.
Daredevil: (narrating) The wallcrawler does his thing, confirming that Kutter's nobody's fool-- covering her shapely backside as she has at every turn.
Linkara (v/o): And he makes the determination that her backside is shapely how, exactly? Oh, yes, his Radar Sense!
Linkara: I mean, who needs Playboy when you have echo location?
(He creates a bit of echo location with his hand, and it deflects back and hits him, knocking him over)
Linkara (v/o): Spider-Man checks around and tells Daredevil that no one's there, so they're back to square one. Daredevil comments that the sewage smell is there as well, so it's likely she spent a lot of time in the area. Well, either that or the World Trade Center had really bad plumbing. Daredevil goes back to writing his inner monologue prose to submit for his creative writing class.
Daredevil: (narrating) In the pre-7 A.M. concrete canyons of the southern tip of Manhattan Island...
Linkara: (holding up a paper and pen) C-, Mr. Murdock. You might as well have said, "It was a dark and stormy night."
Daredevil: (narrating) ...dancing patterns of light flit across my shoulders, light-dark, hot-cold...
Linkara (v/o): Eh, who said wha...?
Daredevil: (narrating) ...cathedral-like...
Linkara (v/o): In that only God can save us from this crap.
Daredevil: (narrating) ...start saying your prayers, General.
Linkara (v/o): Yes, pray that this will be over soon. Nearby, the owner of a restaurant informs the audience via caption boxes that the patrons have all collapsed in their chairs, a result of something in the food. The Surgeon General and her crew arrive, posing as emergency workers. She tells him that the area is quarantined and that he and his staff should leave. And of course, as soon as they leave, the Surgeon General and her equally fashionable soldiers all put on their ridiculous outfits and prep to operate on the impaired patrons. Daredevil and Spider-Man arrive, but I'm really not sure how. The artwork has Daredevil looking down from some rooftop, but the perspective is wonky in the sense that I can't tell if we're looking at an interior edge or an exterior edge. To make matters worse, Spider-Man is just kind of floating there, as if he was leaping towards where Daredevil is, but it would make no sense to frame him like that, especially since it almost seems like one of his feet is attached to the wall. Daredevil laments that they're too late, and Spider-Man asks if he's got a particular strategy in mind. Daredevil yells out...
Linkara (v/o): ...in a speech bubble that's emphasized with red on the inside and jagged edges. Daredevil leaps down through some kind of window, causing the Surgeon General to look up with contempt and yell back with the same kind of bubble...
Surgeon General: DAREDEVIL!
Linkara: Hey, kids, remember, when you're about to engage a deadly foe, be sure to shout their last name before falling down at them. We saw this technique briefly during "Mr. T and the T-Force", but it's good to see another demonstration here.
(He puts comic down; then cut to the Futon, now empty)
Linkara: KUTTER! (falling down at comic)
Linkara (v/o): Spider-Man leaps down as well, commenting...
Spider-Man: Good strategy!
(Cut to a clip of Patton)
Patton: (looking out through a pair of binoculars) You magnificent bastard, I read your BOOK!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Once again, a note on the artwork: it's a full-page spread of Daredevil and Spidey leaping down, but there are a few problems with it. First and foremost, we just saw the previous page where Daredevil smashed the overhead window, going at it face first. Now, on this panel, his body has twisted into a kicking pose, and he's holding out his arms like he's trying to fly or something. Furthermore, he leaped down before Spider-Man, and yet in this image, Spider-Man is below him and shooting out his webbing to catch himself from falling to his death. Next, the panel implications were that Daredevil was looking right down at the Surgeon General as he was falling, but now Spidey and Daredevil aren't even looking down at the diabolical doctors. Instead, they're facing away from them and at a wall, since we can clearly see the sinister surgeons in the overhead shot. Apparently, radar senses allow you to violate continuity in physics! As per tradition in comics, the Surgeon General and her cohort Jebediah manage to get in lots of dialogue before Daredevil hits the ground. She tells him to take the organs they already have and get to the ambulance. Daredevil's narration returns with a vengeance.
Daredevil: (narrating) Rage blinds common sense, just as it's done every step of the way with the Surgeon General.
Linkara (v/o): No, I'm pretty sure common sense was blinded long before any of us felt rage at this thing. One of the Surgeon General's cronies decides he wants to grab one more organ, to qualify for some sort of bonus.
Linkara: What, is it like a millionth customer thing? After every thousandth spleen, you get a prize?
Linkara (v/o): Of course, like his boss, this loser is wielding a knife that is completely impractical for surgery of any kind. Oh, and Daredevil lands like two feet away from him. Apparently, none of these people spent very much time on their medical education. Daredevil promptly beats the snot out of the guy while Spider-Man engages the other felonious physicians.
Daredevil: (narrating) Spider-Man's got his own way of dealing. A combination of wit and spider sense that keeps the perpetrators off balance and threats off his back.
Linkara (v/o): Spider-Man subsequently gets cut by one of the surgeons. Quite a large cut, too, by the looks of the piece of the costume that was ripped off by the impractical knife. Yeah, the wit and spider sense are really keeping the threats off his back there. Daredevil chases the Surgeon General into a mall, where apparently the restaurant was located. Why aren't there other people in the mall? The Surgeon General grabs one of those cart stores and somehow turns it enough so she can shove it at Daredevil, forcing him to LEAP OVER IT DRAMATICALLY!
Linkara (v/o): Apparently, the Surgeon General has the proportional strength of a Surgeon General, which is more than you'd think. To make Daredevil look even more incompetent, he grabs at her from behind as he's falling down, but she somehow manages to reach back with a hypodermic needle and stab his leg... his leg that's currently up in the air since he's falling towards her.
Linkara: (waving dismissively) Who needs physics anyway?
Linkara (v/o): For cryin' out loud, why is this woman even in this business? We never get any backstory for why she's doing this other than money, and that's ridiculous! She's clearly a skilled surgeon! She could be making six or seven-figure amounts by going legit, but apparently, being frigid and mean is more important for her, but it just bores the audience! Daredevil falls... I think; it's really hard to tell from the artwork, but he is floating above the ground. Apparently, he drops in front of some sort of electronic map system. You know, maybe us Minnesotans just haven't caught up with New York, but this was released in 1992, and they had electronic maps? Even in 2009, the malls around here are still using a solid picture map. Anyway, here's where we really ramp up the silliness: Daredevil, lost in the "maze of the World Financial Center", needs to find the Surgeon General, since his radar sense and his normal senses are on the fritz. As such, he starts randomly pushing buttons on the map, since he can't see the display colors on the electronic map. Somehow, he finds a printer function and prints off the map! Is it in Braille or something? How did he see it?! He just said two seconds ago he can't see the damn thing, so a printed version isn't gonna be helpful!
Daredevil: (narrating) Hardcopy [sic] map of the center's layout, handy convenience for the tourist trade in search of restrooms...
Linkara: Not a good idea to remind your audience that they could be doing something more valuable with their time. Like going to the bathroom.
Linkara (v/o): Back with Spidey, the remaining goons try to get away, but run right into a large and clearly visible web that he set up in their path. And even after they all get trapped in it, they still don't know what's going on, almost panicking as they're trapped in it. Of course, since the web is put in between two palm tree displays, Spider-Man quips...
Spider-Man: Now I've got you by the coconuts...
Linkara: And you must have really large coconuts if you think that was funny.
Linkara (v/o): Daredevil and Spider-Man chase after the Surgeon General and are about to catch her when she spots some of her goons driving up in ambulances. The General takes off her oxygen tank, and it's revealed that actually was some sort of explosive noxious gas she was carrying around! She smacks the top of the tank against the metal wall and releases it, a spark flying in and exploding. Yeah, she really thought this plan through. Of course, somehow, instead of getting vaporized in the explosion, we see both Daredevil and the Surgeon General leaping out of the building as the glass explodes around them. Somehow the General manages to catch Spider-Man as she's flung out, and they land on top of one of the ambulances. Daredevil swings around with his billy club to try to catch them. And the artwork really baffles here as we see Daredevil's legs suddenly shrink below him while his chest puffs up like a balloon, and his left arm turns transparent.
Linkara: Blindness makes the body shift into six dimensions. Did you know that?
Linkara (v/o): The Surgeon General orders them to floor it, but Daredevil manages to reach the ambulance and carries the Surgeon General off. Spidey leaps in and webs up the wheels of the car, causing it to crash. Despite the fact that the Surgeon General is an ordinary woman wearing a surgical mask, she STILL manages to stand up after all that and berates Daredevil for all the money she's lost. Like a total spazz, she slices around with her impractical knife, trying to kill Daredevil, but she keeps holding her arms in front of her and right in the path of the blade, causing her to accidentally cut her own wrists. Upon doing so, she gasps and wonders what she's been doing. She says it feels "so cold." And I have to tilt my head in wonderment.
Linkara: Apparently, all they needed to do to get the Surgeon General to stop her rampage was to give her a paper cut.
Linkara (v/o): Spidey arrives and says that the bogus doctors have been webbed up and comments on what a mess had been made from all this.
Spider-Man: You know, DD-- and don't take this the wrong way, but-- your bad guys don't play very nice, do they?
Linkara (v/o): Hmm, you're absolutely right, Spidey. Say, how's Gwen Stacy these days? We transition to the next page via a Daily Bugle article talking about the capture of the Surgeon General to a shot of Las Vegas. Wait, if they're in Las Vegas, why do they have a copy of a New York newspaper? Three mob guys are standing around in a casino and discussing, in plain public view, no less, that they plan on making Foggy Nelson act as their lawyer since he has apparently worked for the Kingpin before. When one of them asks what'll happen if Nelson isn't as good as they heard, one guy suddenly becomes some sort of demonic glowing entity... Well, I'm sure that's not what the artist intended, but that's what we get. ...and states...
Mobster: Nelson either delivers... or he's dead!
Linkara (v/o): And thus, our comic ends with a preview of next issue saying that it'll star Daredevil, Punisher and Nomad!
Linkara: Wow! Because we wouldn't want the book to succeed on its own merits, right? (holds up comic) This comic sucks. The narration beats us over the head, the artwork is bizarre, and the villain is stock and one-dimensional. (holds up index finger) Just remember, kids: always consult your doctor before you have your organs forcibly removed. (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(Stinger: The Nostalgia Chick is seen again)
NCh: And you're too late to stop the bomb. In my pants. (snickers)