February 3, 2014
It's a comic about a Gameboy, so join the Air Force! ...Wait, what?
(Linkara sits on his futon, looking at his tablet. He is staring sadly at an image on it of JewWario. He puts down the tablet and looks up with a sigh)
Linkara: Yeah... I think we could use a little levity. Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. (holds up today's comic: "Gameboy #3") And we can read this.
(AT4W title theme plays; title card has "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins (from Top Gun) playing in the background. Then cut to black)
(Shots of Linkara's reviews of the two earlier "Gameboy" comics are shown)
Linkara (v/o): The space lord Tatanga has broken out of the video game world twice now in an attempt to conquer Earth. To do so, he recruited Herman, a truly unlikable sack of crap who liked to steal Game Boys from the Radio Shack he worked at and angrily berate the homeless, though he seemed to be getting better in the second issue. Tatanga's schemes involved stealing airplanes and conquering the World Trade towers in terrifyingly prophetic stories...
Linkara: And I so look forward to seeing the conspiracy theories about how Tatanga was an inside job.
Linkara (v/o): ...and attempting to woo Princess Daisy, who has made it clear that she's not interested, but Tatanga is a jackass who can't take no for an answer. Dude probably thinks he's been friend zoned, too. Fortunately, Tatanga was stopped by the efforts of several children, who were able to summon Mario from their Game Boys by just... getting him to a certain point in the game.
Linkara: (irritably) Which is just bullcrap, because if that were the case, (holds up his Nintendo DS) my Pokemon would be real by now with how many hours I've invested here!
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, Tatanga was repelled both times, and Herman just kind of walked away when he was in Disneyland.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Gameboy #3" and see if this actually is about other games on the system and not just be another Super Mario Land comic.
(Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Our cover is odd, not as odd as the last one, with Mario in a spacesuit, but still pretty weird. We have a very photo-realistic jet... and then a cartoony plane with Mario in it saluting them. Actually, I think the guy in the back of the plane has a little Mario mustache, too, so maybe these are the Mario and Luigi of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show finally meeting their game counterparts.
Text: HOT NINTENDO ACTION!
Linkara: Having failed to interest kids with the Gameboy comic, the creators instead decided to cater to the more adult fan.
Linkara (v/o): We open on a suburban home, where two cops are interviewing an older woman.
Narrator: Look around you!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Look Around You with the number 2 on it)
Look Around You Narrator: Look around you.
(Cut back to the comic)
Narrator: This is the real world, where Super Mario Land is only an exciting video game...
Linkara: (as narrator) Except for the two times previously where it was not the real world, since in the real world, characters do not leave video games and attack planes. (beat) As far as you know...
Linkara (v/o): It seems this is the home of Herman's mother and the cops want to bring him in for questioning. I'd love to know how that conversation went.
Linkara: (as policeman) We suspect that your son is guilty of stealing a space shuttle and crashing it into Disneyland. (beat) No, ma'am, I haven't taken that many drugs today.
Linkara (v/o): After the cops leave, she goes back in the house to reveal that Herman is actually with her and is in the closet. Literally, I mean. I know nothing about Herman's sexual preference, nor do I care to, because he's a sleazy asshole. Herman calls this a police state since he can't even feel safe in his own mother's house, forgetting, of course, that he's the only known person in connection to all the crap that went down. Hell, the TV is even playing America's Most Wanted and talking about him. There's even security camera footage of him, but not of Tatanga and his forces. Wait, what about all the other witnesses that would talk about Tatanga? Even if they didn't think they were video game characters, it would be something more than just Herman. Was... Was this all just in Herman's head? Even the kids who summoned Mario? His mother is trying to convince him that everything is okay and he should really go to that funny farm upstate, since he keeps rambling about aliens. But Herman's having none of it. He goes through his mail, which has been forwarded by a friend and that his mother is apparently going through first, and discovers a Game Boy. It seems the one he gave to those kids in the last issue has been returned by the parents, who don't want their kids to get gifts from strange weirdos.
Linkara: And despite the fact that the Game Boy has been the source of Herman's psychosis, he does not immediately take a hammer to the thing! Go figure.
Linkara (v/o): Later, Herman decides he needs to leave, since he thinks the video game characters will be returning.
Linkara: Well, it's hard for them not to, since you've got the portal for their reentry right in your hand! Chuck it into a lake!
Herman: (thinking) I've got to get out of here! I can't let Momma be involved in this. I'll just "borrow" some of her house money... and her car. I've got no choice.
Linkara: (sourly) You know, I'm just gonna stop giving advice, Herman, because you keep proving why I shouldn't like you.
Linkara (v/o): We cut to a week later, where Herman is hanging out at Jerky's Burger Bar, which is actually more of a diner. Inside, Herman is showing us, again, why I hope he bangs his elbow against something.
Herman: (thinking) Mm... Good sandwich, but $2.95 is outrageous! Think I'll just skip out without paying this time!
Linkara: (mock alarm) Two ninety-five for a diner sandwich?! What do they think this is, the Ritz or something?!
Linkara (v/o): The waitresses notice him, and unfortunately, the blonde is an idiot.
Redhead waitress: (to said blonde) Melody-Ann Evers! I hope you're not falling for another of your lost puppies of the open road!
Melody-Ann: He's so dark and mysterious--like a hero in a Western movie! Riding alone across the plains!
Linkara: Oh, yeah, Herman was actually one of the stars of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. He was both the bad and the ugly.
Linkara (v/o): She goes over to him and startles him when she asks if he needs anything else, then wonders if he's okay, or if someone's following him.
Linkara: Oh, yeah, get yourself more involved with him, especially if he's on the run from people. This will only end in good.
Linkara (v/o): Since he notices that she's really into him, he decides to play along, saying he can't talk about it.
Melody-Ann: (thinking) He's so mysterious. He must be on the run. Maybe he's a mob informant of an FBI* undercover agent!
- NOTE: She actually says, "A FBI undercover agent," but Linkara read it correctly.
Linkara: Or maybe he's a murderous psychopath who likes to kill diner waitresses! (glares) You are not good at making decisions!
Linkara (v/o): She tells him she'll be off work in an hour if he wants to talk some more, and goes off. Unfortunately for Herman, he gets the hypnotic urge to use the Game Boy again, opening up the gateway. However, instead of unleashing the entirety of Tatanga's hordes as before, it only releases Pionpi.
Herman: Why can't you just leave me alone?
Pionpi: Silence, giant! You will provide answers, not questions!
Linkara: Pionpi must be horrible at playing Jeopardy!
Linkara (v/o): The waitress returns, and Herman hides Pionpi away, saying that he needs to head out quickly. However, she's still into him and gives him her phone number as he runs off. So, hey, good news for Herman: he still didn't have to pay for his "luxurious" $2.95 diner sandwich. Outside, the rest of Tatanga's forces emerge, though without Tatanga himself.
Pionpi: We are the Elite Squadron.
Linkara: (as Pionpi) We're also known as the Hazard Team within the game itself.
Pionpi: We are here to establish a base for our exalted lord Tatanga in a place where there are many giants for him to hypnotize and enslave!
Linkara: You know, that brings up a good question: why the hell hasn't he used the hypnosis of anyone else? It's not like he's been lacking for opportunities to do so. Or hell, why not hypnotize Mario?
Linkara (v/o): Pionpi asks where Earth's largest population center is, and Herman says that it's China. You know, Pionpi really should have known that himself, considering he's dressed like a stereotypical Chinese prince. They say they'll take Herman's car to China, and even Herman has to point out the difficulty of, well, driving to China from the U.S.A.
Herman: That globe I got shows where we're going...
Linkara: Why does Herman just have a globe in his car? Er, wait, this was his mother's car. Why did she have a globe in it?
Herman: ...but what makes you think this car can get to China?
Pionpi: The Tatanga corps of engineers has improved it.
Linkara (v/o): Improved it? What? They're based on a Game Boy game. What did they do, add link cables?
Linkara: Link cables? (puts on a swirly-colored baseball cap) Where we're going, we don't need (dons sunglasses) link cables.
(To the triumphant music of Back to the Future, a montage of shots of panels in the comic showing the car taking off into the sky, bound for China, is shown)
Linkara (v/o): I suppose I could also be making an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. joke about Coulson's car doing this and being a convertible like the one here, but I haven't watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I don't have regular TV anymore.
Herman: What if we're spotted by the Air Force or something?
Pionpi: We have rendered this vehicle invisible to primitive sensors!
(Cut to a clip of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)
Lorth Needa: No ship that small has a cloaking device.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Pionpi starts getting impatient after several hours, thinking that Herman has gotten them lost and that he'll be punished if he has. As such, Herman quickly finds an island and claims that that's China.
Pionpi: Giant, where are all the inhabitants?
Herman: Uhh... They must be on vacation!
Linkara: (making an A-OK sign) Smooth improv there, Herman. And there's nothing suspicious about the island being so small or that there are no buildings.
Linkara (v/o): While Tatanga's forces are ordered to begin constructing a castle on the island, an aircraft carrier nearby spots a dark cloud forming over the island. One of the officers who spotted it, Greg, recalls something about a black cloud and looks through his letters. It seems he's the brother of one of the kids from the first issue, who sent him a letter about the whole incident. Greg writes it off as nonsense, but he keeps thinking about it since the cloud never moves from the island. To unwind, he of course plays some Super Mario Land and unwittingly releases Mario from it.
Greg: This has gotta be a nightmare!
Linkara: No, it'd be a nightmare if it had been that terrible Terminator Game Boy game that you were playing.
Mario: You're no dreamboat yourself, sailor!
Linkara: Mario is very particular about the men he finds attractive.
(Cut to a man (played by Lewis) wearing Australian garb running past the bookshelf)
Man: (pronounced Australian accent) The ball ain't movin', lads! (notices he's on camera) Oh, we'll be right back. (walks off) Bloody 'ell!
(The AT4W logo appears in the corner, and we cut to a commercial break. Upon return, the Aussie man from before returns)
Man: Oh, we're back now. (holds up a bow and arrow) That pyro's a spy!
(He runs off-screen as the AT4W logo appears. Then the sound of a flame is heard)
Man: OH, GOD, NO, HE ISN'T!
(We cut back to "Gameboy #3" as the review resumes)
Linkara (v/o): We get a brief shot of Tatanga's island fortress and... holy crap, that's actually really damn impressive! It's got cannons and missiles and robot guards! Hell, let's make Pionpi the main villain! At least he knows how to create a supervillain lair, instead of taking over restaurants and space shuttles. Then we could have Pionpi's face splashed on the... Wait, what is that building? A pyramid?!
Linkara: I should've know that Tatanga and his forces were in league with the greatest force of evil the universe has ever known: (shakes fist) ANCIENT EGYPT!
(Cut to a shot of the Egyptian pyramids, while the "Imperial March" theme from Star Wars plays in the background. Then cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Back over to the aircraft carrier, now identified as the USS Nimitz, Greg has helped Mario get ready for an attack on the island fortress. How? By somehow bringing through Mario's tiny plane, the Sky Pop.
Linkara: The Nimitz gets named after veteran of both World Wars and former Navy Fleet Admiral, Chester William Nimitz. Mario's plane is named after what sounds like a popcorn brand.
Linkara (v/o): In what is actually kind of a cute moment, two other pilots spot the Sky Pop taking off alongside two jets and speculate about what it was.
Pilot 1: Some kind of bird?
Pilot 2: It looked like a tiny plane!
Pilot 3: I dunno... Maybe it was Superman!
Linkara: No, no, Mario wouldn't become Superman until he got the cape in Super Mario World.
Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately for Mario, the weapons fired at him from the fortress are designed for Earth. So basically, his plane gets riddled with bullets and ammunition, and he's forced to retreat.
Mario: This is tougher than a hair clog in a drain at the dog pound!
Linkara: (creeped out) Thanks for that mental image, dude! I could have lived without goes into the drains of a dog pound.
Linkara (v/o): Mario makes it back to the aircraft carrier, and Greg worries that the crash will kill him, so he tries to catch the plane like a football. Given the odd explosive light coming from his stomach there, I'd say that was a bad call. Also... TO BE CONTINUED!
(A dramatic sting plays)
Linkara (v/o): Well, to be continued in two pages after some more ads because, like the other two Mario comics, it's in two parts in the same damn comic. At Tatanga's fortress, Pionpi declares victory over Mario, and Herman, further showing us why we could never wish ill of him, thinks how happy he is that he's finally on the winning team. He tries to join in the celebration, but Pionpi tells him to be silent.
Pionpi: You are not one of us! The battle song is only for Tatanga's loyal minions!
Linkara: Didn't you jerks hypnotize him into obeying you, but he hasn't resisted in any way whatsoever? I think he's proven that he's on Team Tantanga, man!
Linkara (v/o): However, while Pionpi is an asshole, the others in Tatanga's forces are nicer.
Gao (Sphinx-like enemy): You be silent, Pionpi! The giant serves our master as well! He shall share our battle cry!
Linkara (v/o): And hey, even Herman thanks the Sphinx, named Gao, and thinks they're a great bunch of guys, so maybe there is loyalty among evil conquering video game characters. Back to Mario, he explains what happened to Greg. At first, Greg wants him to try to hide, since he doesn't know what "regulations" he's breaking by having an "unauthorized video game character" on the ship. However, he then realizes that the island, being United States territory, needs to be defended, and dammit, he's an ordinance officer in the U.S. Navy, and by God, they're gonna give that Tatanga what for!
Background singers: (from Team America: World Police) America! Fuck yeah! (these words are displayed on the screen)
Linkara (v/o): What happens after this is... unclear. The next morning, an officer finds weapons for a blueprints mount for the Sky Pop and brings it to the commanding officer of the Nimitz. Said blueprints include Vulcan cannons, bombs, missiles, and basically everything that goes on a mid-'90s Rob Liefeld character. That officer looks out a window and sees Mario taking off with all of it, but the commanding officer tells him to ignore it. So did Greg tell the command crew of the Nimitz what was going on? I-I don't get it. Also, I know I shouldn't be questioning the physics of a tiny cartoon plane that came from a Game Boy game carrying around a crap-ton of missiles and guns, but that seems like it'd be a tad heavy. Just sayin'. That being said, the weapons are exactly what Marion needed. And since I've made so many music jokes so far in this episode, I think it's only fitting we done that has to do with planes.
Mario: Let's rock and roll!
(The battle with Tatanga's forces in the comic is shown, set to "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins (from Top Gun))
Linkara (v/o): Also, Mario has super strength since he lands the plane and casually chucks a bomb at some of Tatanga's forces. Wow! However, Mario is not immune to tank fire, as we see a tank lock onto Mario. However, it seems that he's got help in the form of a jet, which blows up the tank. This is not gonna look on Pionpi's performance record.
(Cut to a clip of Patton)
General Patton (George C. Scott): (to Vice-Marshal Arthur Coningham) We were discussing, uh, air supremacy, Sir Arthur?
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Mario breaks into the fortress and grabs Pionpi, demanding to know where Tatanga is. However, Pionpi says he won't betray his master. Pionpi's goons report that they've hit the jet that helped Mario and it's going down. Mario does not take this news well.
Mario: I'll be back!
Linkara: (as Mario) I'm gonna put my boot (raises fist) so far up your ass!
Linkara (v/o): With the addition of his super strength and his own plane, Mario heads over to support the wing of the jet until it can land back on the aircraft carrier. Huh, I guess Mario is Superman. With the fortress in ruins, Pionpi says they need to make a tactical retreat. Herman offers to drive them to safety in the flying car, but Pionpi says they need to set the fortress' self-destruct and then escape back into the video game world. They tell him they'll be in touch and Herman swears his allegiance to the forces of evil.
Herman: Hail, Tatanga!
Linkara: (sarcastically) Thanks, Benedict Herman.
Linkara (v/o): With Tatanga's forces withdrawing, the black cloud disappears over the island. Mario says he needs to jump back in the Game Boy to keep on the hunt, buuut he apparently leaves the Sky Pop behind. Whoops.
Greg: This country is safe again, Mario! Thanks to you!
Linkara: Well, as that Donkey Kong comic I reviewed in the live show said, (a shot of a panel of that comic is shown) he is a true American.
Mario: We're all part of the same team! With guys like you to protect the peace, this world is in good hands!
Linkara: This is the weirdest recruitment ad I've ever seen.
Linkara (v/o): I do wonder if it's supposed to be one, since the next several panels are just showing off planes flying over the island. I half-expect to start showing scenes of midair refueling.
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The Starfighters)
Mike: Gas was so cheap, 4,000 pounds was like a dollar back then.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Later, Herman drives his flying car back to the mainland.
Herman: Hope I'm going in the right direction! This lousy compass cost me $1.98!!
Linkara: (sarcastically) A dollar and 98 cents?! (clutches at his heart) Hoo! Man, the recession's really hitting everything hard!
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Herman landing the car at a gas station to use a bathroom. He thinks things are finally looking up for him now that he's in league with Tatanga, but when he steps out of the car, he realizes he forgot to put it in park, so it floats away without him, a fitting punishment for this asshole.
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic... (suddenly laughs) This comic is weird and awesome.
Linkara (v/o): I mean, on the bad side of things, the fact that Herman is essentially the main character of this series is terrible, since he's just so damn unlikable. But on the other hand, it's a comic about the Navy and Air Force joining forces with Mario to launch an attack on a fortress of a video game character who plans to invade the Earth. I can't even begin to talk about how stupidly awesome that is.
Linkara: And, well, as you may have noticed, I switched the schedule around so that this is the review for this week instead of "US-1 #3". We'll be doing that next week. Obviously, I did it because... well, we all lost a friend this week.
(He takes off his glasses and reverts to Lewis)
Lewis: And I'm going out of character and off-script because, well, I can't really script something like this. (scratches the side of his head and sighs) I know a lot of people have been asking me how I'm doing, and I'm doing a lot better than I was last week. Obviously, I'm still grieving, but... I only talk about Justin now. (sighs again) We all miss him. I know I do. I was going to do a tribute at the end here, with, like, music and, you know, his pictures and video clips of him. Uh, but... Ju– uh, Doug did one already, and he did it really damn well, so I'm not going to try to top it. So... I did the "Gameboy" comic in particular because Justin was the biggest Mario fan I ever knew, so... hopefully, (looks up) Justin, JewWario, wherever you are, man, I hope I made you laugh. (looks into camera) And I hope I made all of you laugh... at a time like this, because we need laughter. Justin would say we all need a bit of laughter. (adjusts his hat) Let's keep on laughing. (gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
Given Mario's "I'll Be Back" in the comic who else wants Arnold Schwarzenegger to play Mario in the next live action movie?
Herman's the kind of guy who thinks a quarter for a gumball machine is highway robbery.
In Loving Memory of Justin Carmical.