Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Patreon-sponsored reviews exist for a reason: namely, that I need money to live, and there are a lot of things that people have wanted me to review over the years, and they've grown impatient waiting for me to just do them.
(A shot of a comic entitled "Protoplasm: The Untold Secret Origin of the Human Water Balloon")
Linkara (v/o): Now, other people are content to merely send me a comic via my P.O. box, handily found on the contact page of my website, and hope that the sheer "what the hell" factor will get me to do it, which, a lot of times, it has.
Linkara (v/o): The "Star Trek: Flesh and Stone" review from a few weeks ago was one of those, in fact. Sometimes, however, there is a bizarre overlap.
Linkara: I received "Dart #1-3" in my P.O. box, along with $100 and a note that said, (makes "finger quotes") "Review these". And since you can see the title of the episode, I chose to do so. However, here is why I'm talking about this in the introduction: in the future, don't do this.
(Another montage of comics is shown: "Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines", "Crimson: Vampire - Bloodlines", "Power Man and Iron Fist")
Linkara (v/o): From now on, if you send me money outside of Patreon, along with a request to do something, sorry, but I'm keeping the money, and it's a crap-shoot whether I'll actually review it. When I first started the Patreon, there were four review slots that were relatively cheap. And I soon realized the mistake of that and limited it to two and just doubled the price. They filled up so often that if I didn't restrict it to that, I wouldn't be able to look anything that I wanted to review.
(Cut to a clip of the video game "Overdrive")
Linkara (v/o): A lot of you guys really want me to look at stuff, some of which is stuff I would never have contemplated to do for the show, and rest assured there are more to come this year.
Linkara: And it's okay to look at different stuff here. This may be (makes "finger quotes") "where bad comics burn", but breaking away from the regular routine is fun and helps keep things fresh. And hey, didn't we all need to know about the pedophile dog from a visual novel? (beat) The answer is no.
(Cut to a shot of a Green Lantern comic)
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, the Patreon slots are in very high demand. I get messages every week from people asking me when the slot will be open for them to make a request.
(Now cut to a shot of the Japanese comic magazine "Cho Dengeki Stryker")
Linkara (v/o): But of course, the answer is it's first come, first serve. The best time to look for an opening is the beginning of the month, since that's when Patreon charges people...
Linkara (v/o): But the point is that a lot of people want to use the system I have set up to do this, and just sending me money cheats those who have been very patient for their chance.
Linkara: So yes, in this one instance, I will take the money and do as asked, from now on, you can send me a thousand dollars and a bunch of My Little Pony comics to review, but unless it was through the Patreon, I'm not gonna be reviewing 'em. (beat) Spoilers: Later this year, I'm gonna be looking at some "My LittlePony" comics.
(Cut to a shot of the cover of "Savage Dragon")
Linkara (v/o): And with that reminder that I am a windbag out of the way, let's talk about Dart. Dart first appeared in the pages of "Savage Dragon", Erik Larsen's book when he and the others first started Image Comics.
Linkara (v/o): We've technically already seen her before on this show, sort of, in "Freak Force #1".
Linkara: And sadly, I don't remember a thing about it, not because "Freak Force" is unmemorable, which it is, but rather because 90s Kid did that episode. Where the hell is 90s Kid, anyway?
(A montage of shots of Dart follows)
Linkara (v/o): Since I still haven't looked at anything related to "Savage Dragon" yet... Yeah, that's something I should rectify, given all the other Image books I've covered. ...I have to rely on Wikipedia and other online sources to find any info on her. What I can say is that, unlike Liefeld's stable of interchangeable, generic characters, she actually has a gimmick that's kind of interesting: she possesses deadly accuracy with throwing objects; in particular, darts. The miniseries, of which the first issue I'm reviewing today, gave her a backstory that was apparently declared to be non-canon by Erik Larsen, which makes me wonder why one of his characters was allowed to have an origin he didn't approve of, given how I understand Image worked even in 1996, but whatever.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Dart #1" and see what was so awful and see what was so awful about a mid-'90s Image comic. Can't imagine what would be wrong with it.
(The title sequence plays, followed by the title card for this episode, set to "Polka Face" by Weird Al Yankovic. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover is... a bit odd in its coloring. It looks very washed-out and light, which admittedly makes it look different from a lot of Image's other output at the time, where the name of the game was dark or incomprehensible. But no, we can see this cover just fine. And it's a pity that it looks like crap. Aside from the fact that Dart's eyes look huge...
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Power Rangers RPM)
Flynn McAllistair, Ranger Blue (Ari Boyland):(to the other Rangers) Big, googly, anime eyes!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): ...something seems off about her proportions. The head seems bigger, thanks to the massive amount of hair flowing everywhere and the giant eyes and lips but tiny nose. I think this would actually look fine if those were reined in a bit. Just look at how much hair that is! Starfire is jealous about the personal blanket she's sporting. Then again, the cover itself does not exactly impress, even if the artwork was good. It's not a good sign for your first issue when it featured your title character literally sitting in garbage. I'm not fond of the logo, either. I give it points for looking unique, and I think the idea is to give it a pointy look for, you know, darts and all, but it ends up just looking more techno-y, especially with how some of the letters are stylized to look like the number 1.
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open in Detroit.
Narrator: Detroit--1990. A soiled playground of crime and corruption...
Linkara: Don't worry, I hear that Robocop is coming in to fix all this.
Linkara (v/o): Now, at first, it may appear that the artwork is just really amateurish, but what we're actually seeing in these panels is a bunch of kids playing with action figures. Aaaand then when we pull back, we see that the art is bad, just differently, as we see a bunch of big-eyed children playing.
Girl #1: Can we swap now, I'm tired of bring–
Linkara (v/o): Erm, nice typo.
Girl #1: I'm tired of being Meteor I want to be Shaq.
Linkara (v/o): Also, not just that one typo; she's also got a run-on sentence. Two girls in particular are playing with a doll called Sirene, whose legs pop off.
Girl #2: Oh, you've broken her!
Girl #3: It's alright... Sirene's legs come off so you can put her tail on.
Linkara:(as this girl) Man, I can't wait until I get the mechanical spider legs attachment for my birthday.
Linkara (v/o): We soon see that the children are being observed in a high-tech laboratory behind some one-way glass. Now, here we get a better idea of the problems of the art: distance shots look fine, but when we get close up, they're very cartoony, except I'm dead certain they weren't going for cartoony, just that their features are bigger and more exaggerated because they didn't know how to scale things. So, what sort of research are they doing?
Researcher #1: Alright. These toys will inevitably promote violence, sibling rivalry, nihilistic and truculent behavior...
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Jack Frost: one person goes into a house)
Mike: This is the factory where they make Beanie Babies.
(Cut back to the comic)
Researcher #2 [Mr. Brockman]: Look... just give me the bottom line.
Researcher #1: They'll be a big hit, Mr. Brockman!
Linkara (v/o): Also, the one thing all toy manufacturers need in their research: a dominatrix [Mistress Brouhaha]. But let's unpack this look, shall we? Pink skin. Okay, it's a superhero universe; I'll grant that. Beehive hairdo that is taller than her face. With how Dart looked on the cover, apparently, her and this woman are apparently gonna get into a hair fight, a la Uzumaki. And let's not even get into how her corset has condensed her stomach to the width of her head. She's also standing wonderfully by kinda sorta leaning over, but not really, since her upper body is straight up, but her ass is pushed out behind her, while her legs are twice the length of her upper body. And really, what the hell was the deal with her pants-dress-skirt-thing? It's forming around her, but then just stops being a dress when it reaches her knees, then splits off completely into useless pants, since they expose her calves and then turn into high heels. Good Lord! It's like she's a rubber bendy doll that's been stretched beyond recognition! What is this?! What the hell is this?!
(Cut to another clip of the MST3K gang watching another movie, this time The Undead)
Mike:(seeing someone in knight attire) There. Sure glad I don't look stupid.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): And then there's Fish-Lipped Guy here [the aforementioned Mr. Brockman], looking in on the children.
Mr. Brockman: I'm not so sure... They're great toys but something's missing...
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, a comma for your two complete thoughts.
Spelling/Grammar Errors: 3
Mistress Brouhaha: Well, it's not us, Gregory! There's nothing wrong with Vogue Attack.
Linkara:(making a "finger quote") "Vogue Attack"? Well, I guess that explains your outfits since you're against anything fashionable.
Mr. Brockman: No... No it's not you, Mistress Brouhaha...
Linkara: Somebody woke up one day and said, "I'm gonna name a character 'Mistress Brouhaha' and get a paycheck for it."
Mr. Brockman: These characters are just unique, so different, to any other super-hero action figures that they need a bridging character...
Linkara: I get the impression they're trying to make fun of stuff as generic and lame as "Youngblood" – in a book that is itself generic and lame.