Eminem/The Punisher #1
June 27, 2011
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up... and throw this comic away?
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Today, I bring you something truly special, a team-up that nobody asked for and nobody wanted: Eminem and the Punisher!
(Cut to a shot of an Archie comic in which Archie Andrews is seen sharing the cover with the Punisher)
Linkara (v/o): Somehow, I hate to say this, but this is actually a dumber concept than Archie and the Punisher teaming up. At least that one realized that the concept was stupid and they just rolled with it. This, however, is just moronic and played seriously: a rapper teaming up with the ultimate vigilante.
Linkara: And like my review of the KISS comics, I come into this with little knowledge about the musician gracing the printed page. As such, I will call forth from my Internet reviewers someone more suited to giving his history. (calls out) Hey, Rap Critic!
(Cut to Rap Critic)
RC: Who are you and how do you know my name?
(The next bit alternates between Linkara and RC)
Linkara: What do you mean? I'm Linkara. I've been on the site for like two or three years now.
RC: Isn't that a girl's name?
Linkara: What? N-No! Listen, I figure you know more about rap music than I do. I mean, you're the Rap Critic and all. So I figured–
RC: Oh, yeah, you're the guy that reviews comic books for some reason.
Linkara: Yeah, but...
RC: Yeah, Todd told me about you and he has a special message for you.
Linkara: Oh, really?
(He takes out a crumpled-up piece of paper and opens it up. He then looks at it and reads from it, pointing to Linkara as he does so)
(As he says this, Linkara stares, so not amused)
RC: So what was it you wanted again?
Linkara: Well, I needed to know about Eminem, but...
RC: Oh, Eminem?
(Footage is shown of rap music videos)
RC (v/o): Well, way back during the time the Nostalgia Critic gets his reviews from, rap music was a very African-American-dominated place. The only rappers that were white at the time were either...
(Shots of white rappers are shown, including Vanilla Ice and Young Black Teenagers)
RC (v/o): ...good, but not getting much attention, eventually turning to rock music, or pretending to be something that they obviously weren't.
RC: Yeah, I know, they're not black. And to make it even more confused, they were backed by Public Enemy. Wrap your head around that.
Linkara: What about the Beastie Boys, or how would you rank Rage Against the Machine?
RC: Hey, do you want an intricately long-winded and detailed analysis that will take up most of the video, or do you want an omission-heavy summary for a cameo?
Linkara: (uncomfortably) Well, the sec–
RC: Thought so.
RC (v/o): Anyways, by the late 1990s, despite the increase in white MCs, there was still that white wrapper stigma, where no matter what they did, they just weren't taken as seriously as black rappers. That is, of course, until 1998, when the rapper in question, Eminem, stepped onto the scene. And the thing about Eminem was that he doubled as a commercially-marketable entity to the MTV TRL crowd, due to his skin, catchy hooks and rebellious attitude, and at the same time, as one of the best rappers in hip-hop history. Listen to any of his songs that weren't made during the... dark period of his career, and you'll hear the lyrically-insane genius that made him so popular.
RC: Of course, having one of the most demanded producers at the time back then, you might have helped a little bit, but mostly it was the first two things.
RC (v/o): And what made him even more refreshing was his awareness. A look at almost any of his first few singles showed him not only acknowledging his whiteness, but poking fun at the stigma.
(A clip of Eminem's video, "Role Model", is shown)
Eminem: (rapping) Some people only see that I'm white, ignorin' skill / 'Cause I stand out like a green hat with a orange bill...
RC: And making fun of, well, pretty much everyone.
(A clip of another Eminem video is shown: "Guilty Conscience")
Eminem: (rapping) Be smart, don't be a retard / You gonna take advice from somebody who slapped Dee Barnes?
Dr. Dre: What you say?
Eminem: (rapping) What's wrong? Didn't think I'd remember?
Dr. Dre: I'm-a kill you, mother–
RC (v/o): After ten years of work, Eminem has become one of the most praised, and protested, rappers in hip-hop, but also has sold over 80 million records worldwide since 2000, meaning he has sold more albums than any other artist in the last twelve years.
RC: So I hope that answers your question. (beat) Wait, was that your question?
Linkara: (listlessly) Don't worry, you gave me more than enough.
RC: Okay, peace. (leaves)
Linkara: Whew! (suddenly realizes something) Oh, yeah! Let's dig into (holds up... nothing) "Eminem and the Punisher #1". (suddenly realizes he's not holding anything) Yeah, I'll explain after the theme song.
(AT4W title sequence plays; title card has "We've Only Just Begun" by The Carpenters playing in the background; cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Here's the thing: I don't have a physical copy of this comic. However, the reason is not laziness, but rather because there isn't a physical copy of this. From what I understand, half of the original story was printed in a magazine called XXL, and the rest was released on Marvel's website as a free download. Unfortunately, for people who are morbidly curious about this, the comic is no longer free, and you must sign up for Marvel's digital subscriptions in order to read it. Though, in fairness, Marvel has plenty of other digital comics available through that service that do not feature team-ups between real-life rappers and fictional gun-toting maniacs. Since I don't have a copy of that magazine, I'm not going to worry about anything I missed, unless they incorporated it into this version later, but whatever. Anyway, our cover is boring: Eminem holding a gun and the Punisher holding two guns, though the weird thing is that, if I recall correctly, the Punisher once chewed out a gang member for holding a gun sideways like this, because, well, it is a dumb way to hold a gun. The reason a gun is designed the way it is is so you can look down the top as a sight. Then again, I'm not an expert; I just recall reading "The Punisher", pointing that out.
Linkara: (smiling) I love how we're not even past the cover, and yet we already have character inconsistency.
Linkara (v/o): We open to an Eminem concert in Detroit. He drops his microphone, which makes a "THUNK" noise.
Linkara: Wait! A "THUNK" noise?! Everybody, hit the deck! Super Mario Land characters are about to invade! (ducks down)
Linkara (v/o): Eminem, naturally requiring armed bodyguards, is shuffled away to a car.
Bodyguard: Where we headed?
Eminem: I'm hungry for some Coney Dogs right now at Lafayette!
Linkara: Ah, the life of a famous rap musician: concerts, armed security, Coney Dogs... (beat) The hell is a Coney Dog?!
Linkara (v/o): However, someone stands in their path from getting corn dogs... or Coney Dogs, or whatever the hell he meant. And for some reason, the background depicts a dead hippo... I think.
Eminem: Yo, yo, yo, fall back, man-- show's over--
Stranger: Really? Where I'm standing... it's only just beginning.
Linkara: (as this stranger, singing) We've only just begun... to live... White lace and promises...
Bodyguard 1: Holy ****!
Bodyguard 2: It's the mother****in' Punisher!
Linkara: Huh. Somehow, with it being censored and all, it doesn't have quite the same (holds up fist) punch as "Goddamn Batman".
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the Punisher guns down Eminem's security. Eminem himself ducks out of the way, wetting himself over the guy dual-wielding machine guns. However, Eminem has a gun of his own, which he fires back at the Punisher. Just a tip, Mr. Nem: it helps to aim your weapon if you keep your eyes open. By the way, what the hell is he wearing on his head? At first glance, I'm sure it's supposed to be some kind of hat, but close-up, it looks more like a big button. I just want to press it and see what happens. Eminem wonders why the Punisher is after him when suddenly, a massive arm reaches out and grabs him by the hoodie. The individual, Barracuda, tells him that the Punisher is actually after him, not Eminem, since he's a former hip-hop artist who is now a mercenary.
Linkara: That's... kind of an odd career path.
Linkara (v/o): By the way, if he was after Barracuda, then why the hell did he shoot up Eminem's bodyguards? Anyway, Eminem doesn't really care that his pal has just admitted that he helps overthrow small Central American governments; he's just pissed that the Punisher shot up his crew. His tune, changes, however, when the Punisher pulls out a friggin' ROCKET LAUNCHER! The Punisher blows up their car, giving us a nice shot of Barracuda's ass cleavage. Thank you, th-that was very necessary. They run to a nearby house... Weren't they just outside a concert hall or something? ...and Eminem tells Barracuda to head to the back of the house, because he has an idea. That idea? To board himself inside the house and yell out to the Punisher...
Eminem: Hey! Mister Super Hero! Over here! You must get me away from this crazy bastard!! I don't deserve this! I'M A CELEBRITY!!!
Linkara: And now it's time for "Life Lessons from Eminem": if you're being chased by a guy wielding a rocket launcher, just yell to them that you're a celebrity, and all will be well.
Linkara (v/o): The Punisher goes in closer, assuring him he'll be back in his jacuzzi in no time. However, Eminem then hits him in the face with his gun and unloads several shots into his chest.
Eminem: Why this fool after you in the first place, 'Cuda?
Linkara: (confused) D-Did you miss the part where he admitted to overthrowing governments and killing people? (shrugs) Then again, your reaction to the Punisher was to say...
Eminem: You don't wanna **** with Shady 'cause Shady will ****in' kill you!
Linkara (v/o): So yeah, he probably doesn't give a rat's ass that his friend murders people.
Barracuda: (suddenly aiming a gun at the back of Eminem's head) Aw, ain't no thing. He found out I got hired to smoke some punk-ass rapper.
Linkara: Comic Book Art 101: A character's friend from years back points a gun at the back of his head and admits that he was hired to kill him. What should the art convey?
(Cut to a clip of Mystery Science Theater 3000)
Crow T. Robot: DULL SURPRISE! (imitates cheering)
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Actually, "dull surprise" may be a bit overstating it. Maybe "dull boredom" is a better descriptor. Anyway, Barracuda unloads a few shots from his revolver into Eminem, whose body falls on top of the Punisher's. For some reason, it was decided to not just end the comic there and spare us any more of this crap. Instead, we cut to a few hours later on a boat. Barracuda is singing "Hush Little Baby" for some reason. Oh, and who else is on the boat? Eminem and the Punisher, who are chained to each other, back to back.
Linkara: Personally, I would have humorously posed them facing each other, which also has the added benefit of making it more difficult for them to escape from the chains, but (shrugs) I'm just kind of silly like that.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and because if I don't, I'm sure people will ask me why I didn't, there's this obvious joke...
(Cut to footage of the video for "I'm On a Boat" by The Lonely Island)
The Lonely Island: (singing) I'm on a boat! / I'm on a boat! / Everybody look at me, 'cause I'm sailing on a boat!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): With that out of the way, let's get to the dialogue and then analyze just how ridiculous this scene is, shall we?
Eminem: Always thought music would play at my funeral... Just didn't think I'd be able to hear it. Kinda hoped it would sound good, too...
Linkara: (solemnly) We are gathered here today to say farewell to our friend, our colleague, and our beloved Eminem. As per his final wishes, we will now play the music that he requested to be played at his funeral.
(He raises his fingers in the air, and the opening notes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic play)
Punisher: Maybe you should have thought of that before shooting the guy three times in the body armor.
Linkara (v/o): Okie-dokie, let's look at just how stupid this is, shall we? First of all, the two were both shot and were both wearing body armor. That's fair enough, given who they are. The problem is that if that's the case, they would have obviously been breathing still back at the house! So why the hell didn't Barracuda put bullets in their heads at that opportunity?! Either way, it would have required him to bring them out to sea to dump the bodies, only now you need to worry about the possibility of their escape. Also, I'm not a gun expert, as I stated, but while I'm sure bullet hits would probably knock them back, even with body armor, I have a hard time believing that the bullets to the body armor would knock Eminem out. I'll give a free pass to the Punisher on this one, since Shady did hit him in the face and all, but still... Furthermore, this supposed body armor must be his friggin' T-SHIRT, since we can see the bullet holes in his shirt showing SKIN underneath! What did Barracuda do, take off the shirt and hoodie, take off the body armor, and then put them back on again? Oh, and for someone trying to "save" Eminem, why the hell did the Punisher just yell out, "Barracuda was hired to kill you!", or something to that effect?!
(Cut to the well-used clip of Batman Forever)
Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer): It just raises too many questions.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Eminem is equally confused, since the Punisher opened fire on his security.
Punisher: Not for nothing, they pulled on me first.
Linkara: Ah, the (makes "finger quotes") "they started it" defense. Very popular among eight-year-olds.
Punisher: And I bet every single one of them had a sheet, right?
Linkara (v/o): Yes, because they're former criminals, it must mean it's okay to kill them. Barracuda comes out with a sniper rifle, which probably would have been a lot easier to use to assassinate Eminem than just SHOWING UP IN A CAR, and Eminem chews him out because "they wuz [sic] homies" and all, yo.
Barracuda: Just business, is all... Heh heh-- them bluehairs at the Parents Music Council really don't like you...
Linkara: Okay, (holds up index finger) first of all, "bluehairs"? The hell? (holds up two fingers) Secondly, are you freaking serious?! ("finger quotes") A "Parents Music Council" hired him?
Linkara (v/o): What?! Those Bible-thumping bastards!?!?!?
Linkara: Oh, oh, of course, they're a "music council" made up of parents who have blue hair, who are also Christians. Wonderful. Tell me, did they also produce a horribly-depressing PSA in the '80s called Rap: It's Your Decision?
Linkara (v/o): I mean, good Lord! There are so many questions that can arise from how idiotic a plot point this is, but I'll just ask the one most prominent in my mind: where the hell did a group of PARENTS get the phone number of a hit man?! What, was Barracuda standing outside a church and giving out flyers? Oh, and then Barracuda bites through the chains. Yeah, di-didn't see that one coming. Apparently, chains are not made of metal, but some kind of candy-coated goodness that makes a satisfying crunch when you bite into it.
Barracuda: Yeah, the preachers wanted me to get Old Testament on your ass... but when I realized you was wearing a vest after I laid them slugs into you... I got all inspirational on this bitch. Best to Jimmy Hoffa your ass, dump you where you won't be found.
Linkara: Yes, in the middle of a lake. And it has to be a lake, since they're in Michigan, and last I checked, there wasn't an ocean near Michigan. No one will ever find them in a lake... that has boats on it and... from what I can tell, you aren't actually weighing them down with anything, so... they'll float... (shrugs in total confusion)
Linkara (v/o): No, seriously, check it out. He's chucking Eminem out of the boat with two tiny little weights on his hands. Brilliant idea from our good Mr. 'Cuda. Here's another question: why the hell is he throwing them out separately when instead he could chuck them out together, which would make it more difficult for them to stay afloat in the ice-cold water? Oh, yes, it's also apparently really damn cold on the lake because the water is partially frozen over.
Barracuda: Then you a legend, son! There gonna be sightings of you in grocery stores worldwide! And with my inside knowledge, I get a jump start sellin' all the Eminem junk I can get my hands on on eBay...
(Cut to a well-worn clip of Patton)
Patton (George C. Scott): (looking out through a pair of binoculars) You magnificent bastards, I read your BOOK!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): And the plan goes off almost instantly, as Eminem hits a chunk of ice and floats on top instead of crashing through it.
Barracuda: Damn. Ice's thicker than it looks.
Linkara (v/o): No, it isn't! Look at that! I can see the water directly underneath it! It's paper-thin! Eminem should've just smashed through. Barracuda lines up his sniper, but the Punisher kicks him before he can give the fatal shot. Yeah, I bet your field-smart now, aren't you, dumbass? Now let's get even dumber then, shall we? Eminem evidently just gets up and starts walking away on the ice. Um... again, not an expert, but if the ice is thick enough for people to walk on, then the boat should not be able to go through the water. Also, he's just casually strolling away. Is Eminem so friggin' jaded that he doesn't care about the guy with a sniper rifle?! He sees a fisherman nearby who's listening to an iPod, making Barracuda even dumber... since I imagine a sniper rifle shot that close by would still be loud enough for the guy to hear, and how would even know that the fisherman wouldn't hear them anyway? ...and walks over to him. By sheer coincidence, the guy's a huge Eminem fan.
Fisherman: I got a house full of your pictures and your posters, man! I'd do anything for you-- anything!
Linkara: (as Eminem) Anything, yo? (slow funky music plays as Linkara nods his head to it)
Linkara (v/o): No, Eminem spots a chainsaw nearby and gets a bemused look on his face. Back on the boat, the Punisher is getting whaled on by Barracuda, who says how even though he knows he should just kill him, he wants to torture him for a while first. Great, th-that's just great; he knows how dumb it is to keep him alive and does it anyway. Perfect! Eminem returns, now wielding the chainsaw... and minus the chains, though the chains, as we saw, are easier to break than saltine crackers ...goes up against Barracuda. Barracuda, by the by, is also wielding a machete, making me believe that the story is actually adapted from a Jason vs. Leatherface script that went wrong somewhere down the line. Eminem cuts off his fingers and then cuts off half his body, tossing him over the edge of the boat. The Punisher, of course, gets free on his own and aims a pair of uzis at Eminem.
Punisher: Get on the ice. You killed Barracuda. You tried to kill me. Criminal's a criminal.
Linkara: (stares, nonplussed at what he read) Oh, dear Lord, the implication that you are going to kill him for killing in self-defense, and because he tried to kill you when you were brandishing a ROCKET LAUNCHER in his direction, is... so stupid that I may have to invent a new word just to describe how stupid that is. (thinks briefly) I'm thinking... "idiostuperiffic". Yes, I like that; lots of syllables. That, is simply... idiostuperiffic!
Linkara (v/o): Even Eminem calls out how the Punisher's priorities are completely insane, but it turns out that the Punisher is just shooting the ice around him so he can float away on a little chunk of ice.
Punisher: Sorry I killed your homies, Marshall. Now we're even.
Linkara: Yes, (points to camera) you killed his friends, and in return, you're not going to kill him for absolutely no reason. That's perfectly even. (smiles sarcastically and then becomes confused) What?
Linkara (v/o): He tosses Barracuda's phone out to Eminem... I would have really loved it if the phone dropped into the water ...which is apparently a military satellite phone that will allow him to call for rescue.
Eminem: Where are you going?
Punisher: To pay a visit to the Parents Music Council. Hiring a contract killer. Serious crime.
Linkara: (laughing) He's going to kill someone's mother and/or father! (laughs some more, then frowns)
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Eminem proclaiming that he thinks that the murder of these people is cool.
Eminem: Do me a favor-- and tell 'em Shady sent you!
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, I'm sure he'll get right on that. This comic sucks. I know nothing about the real-life Eminem, but the one in the comics is an amoral jackass. The plot really doesn't make any sense when you break it down, and the Punisher really wasn't necessary for it, either. He doesn't do anything that couldn't be done by any generic character, and it's basically all Eminem who solves the problems that he got them into to begin with.
Linkara: And the worst part is that since it's all digital, I can't throw the comic against the futon to make me feel better. Instead, I have to settle for rolling my eyes, groaning, and then walking away, irritated. (he does all of those things, then leaves)
(End credits roll)
Now I want a coney dog.
Maybe the parents music council was actually hosting an anime convention and dyed their hair, but Barracuda misinterpreted it to mean he should assassinate Eminem.
Barracuda isn't exactly the world's smartest assassin, after all.
(Stinger: The final panel shot of Eminem on the chunk of ice is shown)
Linkara (v/o): (as Eminem) H-Hello? Random fisherman? Punisher? The phone's battery was actually dead! Hello?! I'm cold and lonely...