Marvel Super Special 17
August 25, 2014
You have to believe we are magic... but this comic sure isn't.
Linkara: (sitting on his Futon) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Let's talk about the "Marvel Super Special" comics. (beat) Dear Lord, that sounds silly.
(Cut to a montage of shots of various "Marvel Super Special" comic covers)
Linkara (v/o): Chances are, we'll be seeing a... lot more of these on the show in the future. The book lasted for 41 issues, from the late '70s to mid-'80s, and consisted mostly of licensed material, particularly adaptations of movies. Or, a few original works here or there featuring KISS! Hell, the first issue of the book features KISS battling Mephisto and Dr. Doom, and if that does not interest you, then you do not know what fun is. The comic is also famous for members of the band actually letting their blood mix into the ink used to print the first edition of the issue. But stories about this series don't stop there. Remember my look at "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"? Those three issues were originally condensed into one from issue 15 of the book. Other adaptations include "The Empire Strikes Back", "Jaws 2", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "Blade Runner", "The Last Starfighter", "Dune", "Annie", "The Muppets Take Manhattan", and the "Howard the Duck" movie. Hell, Walt Simonson apparently said that working on the "Close Encounters" adaptation was "the worst experience of his comic's career". However, most infamous of the "Marvel Super Special" comics was issue #7: an adaptation of, believe it or not, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Yes, the one where Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees sing Beatles tunes that you may recall The Cinema Snob reviewing a while ago. George frickin' Perez worked on the book with his penciler, and I am honestly really damn curious about how you adapt a movie that was mostly a rock opera with very little dialogue outside of song lyrics into a friggin' comic!
Linkara: And yes, I would love to review it and see how the hell they pulled it off. The problem is... well... the comic doesn't exist. Sort of.
Linkara (v/o): Perez stated the book is one disaster after another, with barely any help from the production company, and the script kept changing on them, they couldn't acquire likeness rights for some people, and the book was running late. And because the book ran so late to produce and the movie was a commercial failure, Marvel apparently decided not to publish the issue in the USA.
(Cut to a shot of another copy of the same issue – in France)
Linkara (v/o): The numbering of "Marvel Super Special" skips from issue 6 to issue 8 with no explanation. However, the book was published... in France... and possibly also Japan and Denmark, though I've only seen French versions pop up. In particular, I've only seen a single copy of it up for sale on eBay, but it was going for about 400 bucks!
Linkara: And I'm sorry, but I'm not paying that much for a story that was incomprehensible, even when it was in English. If I ever get my hands on a copy, great, I'll find someone to translate it. In the meantime, though, we do have another musical adaptation before us: "Xanadu"!
(Footage of the movie Xanadu is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Well, I say it's a musical, but it's... different, seeing as only Olivia Newton-John is actually singing on-screen. Well, there's her and ELO and the Tubes. Well, okay, Gene Kelly does a bit of singing once or twice, but the point is, "XANADU"! The Nostalgia Chick reviewed it a few years ago if you want more specifics, but here's the gist of it: it's a weird-ass movie from 1980, about a muse who tries to inspire a painter and a former nightclub owner into making a new nightclub named Xanadu, and she and the painter end up falling in love. The plot is, shockingly enough, perfectly straightforward and coherent. The problem with the film is all the extra weirdness added onto it: musical sequences out of nowhere, a Don Bluth animated sequence, the apparent need for a muse to inspire an artist into managing a roller disco dance club, and so forth.
Linkara: So naturally, you can see why this premise needed a comic adaptation. Let's dig into (holds up comic of review) "Marvel Super Special #17", and see just how the hell they pulled this off.
(Opening titles play, followed by title card for this episode, accompanied by the title song for Xanadu performed by Olivia Newton-John; cut to a shot of the comic book cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover is a glorified, badly-photoshopped movie poster, with Olivia Newton-John front and center with her arms outstretched, as if to say, "Better soak it all in while I wait for my paycheck." Then there's Gene Kelly, who, unfortunately, due to his placement on the cover, appears to be staring at Olivia's ass, and the grin does not help that impression. And then over to the right is the slightly bemused but blank face of Michael Beck, whom most people probably know from The Warriors, but whom I know as a mind-controlled assassin from an episode of Babylon 5. I am a dork! (reads title dramatically) "Xanadu – The Illustrated Story"!
Linkara: Because even in 1980, nobody wanted to call it a comic book.
Linkara (v/o): "Plus music, dance, costumes, special effects!"
Linkara: Behold, as none of these things are in the illustrated story!
(The comic opens to the inside cover)
Linkara (v/o): I really do love how the inside cover boasts "Xanadu" being a "musical fantasy", when this is a comic adaptation of that didn't include a CD with it. Even if they had the lyrics from the songs in the story, it's still not the same thing as actually having music. (the comic proper begins) And since it's an adaptation, we open with a splash page that better resembles a movie poster. Unfortunately, this also gives us a chance to check out the artwork of the comic, which is wince-inducing at best. Checking out the credits there are some actual decent artists' names on there: Rich Buckler, Bill Sienkiewicz, Al Milgrom. But then, you have to realize the wall of names that's actually on there. And bear in mind, this comic is longer than a regular issue, but not by that many pages, and they apparently needed all these people to finish it. There are seven colorettes, and yet the colors aren't that great, either severely muted or they don't look finished. Mind you, a big part of that is the inking, or the virtual lack of it. It looks someone inked it with charcoal pencil or something, since the lines are muddy and inconsistent. The pencils aren't anything to write home about, either, particularly when it comes to facial expressions. They made Olivia Newton-John up there look like a stone-faced devil mannequin. Her face is actually on this page three times, including her inexplicable cowgirl garb from the end of the movie, which – spoilers! – is not in the comic. Also, floating glasses and lips. Suddenly, this is the third Johnny Turbo story. We truly open on a very purple beach at dawn.
Narrator: It begins with the first stirrings of dawn on a Southern California beach and a plaintive music that drifts lazily on the sea breeze...
Linkara: (singing) That's me in the corner, that's me in the spotlight, losing my religion...
Narrator: ...a music given birth by this lonely man who has witnessed perhaps too many such windswept days.
Linkara: (as narrator) Justin Bieber, forty years later.
Linkara (v/o): We cut to the city, and... yeesh. I know I shouldn't care about the background details, but seriously with those buildings. For crying out loud, that looks even worse than when I was drawing my crappy web comic! Anyway, narration...
Narrator: For now, we must turn our attention to a man with less than half his years... but who also knows the intransigent pangs of loneliness...
Linkara: (as said man) Hey! I'm not alone! I got Battlestar Galactica!
Narrator: The loneliness that roils–
Linkara (v/o): "Roils"? Somebody's playing with his thesaurus today...
Narrator: –in the soul of the artist: Sonny Malone...
Linkara (v/o): Sonny tears away a painting that he had been working on.
Sonny: Why do I even bother? Well,-- it was nice while it lasted. Goodbye to you, too...
Linkara: (as Sonny) This relationship is over, painting! Now get your things and (points offscreen) leave!
Sonny: ...Oh, what the hell... Guys like me shouldn't dream, anyway...
Linkara: (as Sonny) My dream of producing artwork for hotel bedrooms (holds up fist) will never come true!
Narrator: Loneliness, frustration. Surrender.
Linkara: (as narrator) Public littering.
Linkara (v/o): As flowery narration describes the paper fluttering through the air, it eventually reaches a mural of several women... who all suddenly start glowing bright pink.
(Cut to a clip of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers)
Zordon: Too much pink energy is dangerous!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): And all the women on the mural leap out of the painting. Ah, so now we know the true origin of Vigo the Carpathian.
Narrator: Their voices are like honey as they sing... arching their lithe bodies with almost supernatural grace and sprinting speedily away...
Linkara: I feel like I'm reading a Harlequin romance novel.
Linkara (v/o): And they start speeding around and flying.
Narrator: Some to reach out... and caress the sky.
Linkara: (pretending to fly) Excuse me while I kiss the sky, suckers!
Narrator: Some to drink in the daylight... and explode in holy ecstasy.
Linkara: (shocked) OH, MY GOD, THAT WOMAN JUST EXPLODED!!
Narrator: Another attempts to blind the sun... by becoming the first shooting star ever hurled up from the Earth...
(Cut to a shot of the Babel Fish screen from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
Babel Fish: ...for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): One of the women splits off from the rest and decides to suddenly have roller skates from nowhere. She then proceeds to skate around really fast, leap over puddles, and seemingly flash her panties at a group of people. However, she then spots our dopey litterbug and skates up to him, apparently crashing right into his arms... and exploding, I guess, since we established that earlier. Or rather, she kisses him and then skates off.
Sonny: Hey! Come... back...?
Linkara: (as Sonny) No, stop, please, come... back...? I'm... so... interested...?
(A clip of this same scene in the movie is shown)
Linkara (v/o): In the movie, he couldn't chase after her because she became The Flash or something and moved too quickly.
(Back to the comic version of this scene)
Linkara (v/o): Here, he just kinda stands there like a doofus. The guy drives into work in his... surprisingly vintage car... Seriously, it was like that in the movie, too.
Narrator: When it first surfaced in the 1950's, rock and roll was generally disdained... despised as the crude voice of society's minorities...
(Cut to the infamous Batman comic: "Batman: Fortunate Son")
Batman: "Punk" is nothing but death...and crime...and the rage of a beast.
(Back again to the Xanadu comic)
Narrator: ...But if life carries one inherent truth it is this: times change... and yesterday's crude voices often becomes today's big business!
Linkara: (as Sonny, holding a bunch of Beanie Babies in his hands) I'm telling you, guys, Beanie Babies will make a comeback! (beat) Shut up! I'm not crazy, you're crazy!
Linkara (v/o): Sonny walks in and meets up with his former colleagues, who provide backstory, that he had quit his job blowing up album covers to hang in record stores, in order to become a freelance artist. But things didn't quite work out.
Sonny: I spent my whole life painting what others want–murals, vans, Simpson's album covers... Then--when I finally quit to freelance--not only do I almost starve to death, but I can't figure out what to do!
Linkara: (as Sonny) It's almost like going freelance is a difficult enterprise and I probably should've set up more of a safety net or established some income from it on the side, while continuing my regular job until I was actually ready to quit. Or something.
Linkara (v/o): The aforementioned Simpson comes up, standing above everyone, and reminding us that he's a dick, because he expects his employees to actually, you know, show up on time and do their work! Asshole!
Simpson: Now, we discussed that wise-ass attitude of yours on the phone when I... Uh... agreed to take you back. You're good, Malone-- the fastest painter around... but no more artsy-craftsy touches, huh?
Linkara: (as Simpson) I want you to make these posters with paint, not Popsicle sticks!
Simpson: Just enlarge the album cover the way I give it to you.
Sonny: Yeah, sure.
Linkara (v/o): And Simpson throws the art cover down to him.
Employee: What a great guy that Simpsons is.
Sonny: Great, huh?? Picasso gets called a genius... I get called the "fastest painter around"*.
- NOTE: It's actually "fastest painter arou--", as he gets interrupted partway through his sentence, but Linkara will get to that momentarily.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, yeah, Simpson is supposed to be kind of a villain here, because he's interfering with Malone's "art" and "freedom" and stuff.
Linkara: I can sympathize with the artist who finds his work unfulfilling. However, you know what else is pretty unfulfilling? An empty stomach, so suck it up, deal with it, and get a paycheck, dumbass!
Linkara (v/o): I mean, it bugs me that he apparently can't work on his own stuff when he's off work. If he's supposed to be as talented and fast as the comic tells us he is, why is he incapable of working on artwork outside of the office? But whatever. He takes a look at the album cover.
Narrator: Then, Sonny Malone stops mid-sentence, his heart beating frantically, his attention riveted... on the album jacket he holds in his quivering hands.
Linkara (v/o): I would be, too; that artwork is radically different from the rest of the art in the comic! Almost as if it was a still from the movie! However, the more impressive thing for him is the image of Olivia Newton-John on it, who was the woman who kissed him at the park. And because he's a free thinker who doesn't listen to The Man, as it were, Sonny storms out to try to figure out who the woman is.
Narrator: Only Sonny would unhesitatingly risk losing a job he holds in a very tenuous grip and whirl away like a Kansas twister... in search* of a dream.
- ANOTHER NOTE: It's actually "quest", not "search".
Linkara: (as narrator) Only Sonny is that phenomenally stupid.
Linkara (v/o): And unfortunately, he has no luck. He speaks to the photographer of the cover, who simply says she popped into frame while he was taking photos and then disappeared again, so he has no idea who she is. Okay, here's a bit of early plot reveal: the woman, named Kira, is trying to inspire Sonny to follow his dreams. Except, we saw earlier she had only that morning spotted him in the park for the first time. So, can she time travel? Did she go back in time specifically to go to that one spot for that one album cover, because she knew that particular album cover would be assigned to him, and then he'd gain inspiration from that? That seems like a lot of work. And yes, I know she's magical and crap, but I'm just saying. Anyway, Sonny returns to the park on his lunch hour.
Narrator: ...And then he hears the lachrymal–
Linkara (v/o): "Lachrymal"? Seriously with this "word of the day" stuff...
Narrator: –music rising above the cry of the ocean, like a great wave of crystalline sound... and it draws him, almost against his will... to a certain sad-eyed clarinet player we have seen before...
Linkara: (as Sonny, looking up) Kenny G?! What are you doing here?!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the two start talking, but then Sonny spots Kira rollerskating away. Annnd serial killer face! Actually, I just realized, Sonny in this panel is a much better Joker than the one in "All-Star Batman and Robin". Sonny gives chase, but he needs to catch up to her.
Sonny: (to another woman near her bike) Hi! That your bike? Okay if I borrow it?
Linkara: Ah, 1980, a more trusting, simpler time where one could just borrow a stranger's bike without a second word.
(Cut to footage of the movie, with a similar, but not identical, scene)
Linkara (v/o): It's even better in the movie, when he borrows a motorcycle without protest.
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): He continues to give chase, but then he goes crashing off the side of a pier when he sees her on a different dock.
Linkara: (holding up index finger) Are we sure that Olivia Newton-John isn't supposed to be the Grim Reaper?
Linkara (v/o): And then she blasts off into the sky, judging by this last panel. Man, I really need to take up rollerskating if you can do that. On his way home for the night, Sonny comes across the building from the album cover and– (suddenly, the next panel shows a hideous closeup of Sonny's face) OH, GOOD GOD, THAT FACE!! IT SEES ME IN MY SLEEP AND KNOWS MY NAME!! AAAARRRRGGGHHH!!!! (stammers and whimpers) I-I-I mean... he sneaks inside the place, drawn there by some unseen force, and spots Kira rollerskating around. They greet each other in all their elementary school watercolor painting glory.
Sonny: Hey--I've been asking about you all day! You may not believe this, but I'm painting an album cover and... you're on it!
Kira: Why shouldn't I believe it?
Linkara: Because it's the Beatles' White Album; it's kinda head-scratching.
Linkara (v/o): The two flirt for a bit before Kira just skates off. The next day, Sonny meets Gene Kelly again at a record store, where we learn his name is Danny, and they bond over their shared love of Glenn Miller. They meet up again later at Danny's place, where learn Danny used to own a club and perform in a big band. Also, Kira was apparently there, a singer for the club. And when she left, he lost his inspiration for it, and ended up getting rich in the construction business. The knowledge of Kira's existence there will amount to nothing. Danny's interested in opening a new club, but he hasn't found the right place for it, despite having real estate agents look for one.
Danny: Hey--why don't you help me look? Maybe you can come up with something!
Linkara: (as Danny) Use some random painter I met yesterday, and we'll be able to find the location when professional real estate agents couldn't!
Narrator: Later, although the corridors of Airflow Records are as dark as a sepulcre–
Linkara: "Sepulcre" now?
(Because Poor Literacy... Is Definitely Not a Problem Here.)
Narrator: –light and life fill at least one cluttered room. There a certain wildly impassioned young artist paints alone. Well... not quite alone.
Linkara (v/o): And Kira is now standing behind him!
Linkara: Breaking and entering! (singing) You have to believe we are magic...
Sonny: This is the first time I've cared about what I've painted in a long time.
Kira: It must be frustrating to waste your talent on things that don't matter to you.
Linkara: (as Kira) It must totally suck having to work a dead-end job with no creative info whatsoever. Shall I rub some more salt in your wounds, or would you like me to call you a corporate sellout now?
Linkara (v/o): When Sonny mentions Danny's desire to have him find a place for the club, Kira suggests the building they met, but he's skeptical. He then brings her to what is essentially a friggin' holodeck. It's a studio space with lots of props and special effects and lighting and crap. Supposedly, it's for rock groups to record in, and all the extra stuff is for "inspiration".
Linkara: Y'know, it seems like drugs in a recording booth would get the same results at a far cheaper price than a huge space with mechanical props and rain and robots and smoke and backdrops. Plus, drugs are also more likely for rock bands to have. Also, the makers of this movie.
Linkara (v/o): And thus, the two begin roller-skating around in an admittedly decent little montage sequence.
(Cut to footage of the same scene in the movie)
Linkara (v/o): It's certainly better handled than in the movie, where it's a lengthy musical sequence with very poor cinematography, as the two skate in circles while props pop up around them. It's still romantic in either case, but it's just weird and badly shot for a movie.
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, when Simpson shows up, the two skate off and make their way, yet again, to the auditorium.
Narrator: Later, two breathless young people find themselves sharing the supernal wonder of mutual discovery.
Linkara: (making a "finger quote") "Supernal": of or relating to the sky or the heavens; celestial. So, what are the two discussing that is so "heavenly" or "celestial"?
Sonny: Now that you know enough about me--I wanna know about you.
Linkara (v/o): Small talk! (exaggeratedly dramatic) Truly, it is of God!
Linkara (v/o): Kira is pushing him yet again to think of the possibilities of the building. Sonny is at the point where he's given up on dreams, (sees Kira looking directly ahead) but she says to... just... think about... it...
Linkara: (anguished) WHY IS EVERYONE IN THIS COMIC STARING AT ME?!! WHAT IS IT YOU WANT?!?! WHOOOOO AAAAAARRRRRREEEEE YYYYYYOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU?!?!?!?!?!
Linkara (v/o): The next morning, Sonny brings Danny around to the place. He's not too impressed, but Sonny, too, tells him to consider the possibilities.
Danny: I see a bandstand--right over there in that corner. And a big band like in the Forties.
Sonny: No... bandstands went out with running boards. Right over there--a great rock band...
Danny: No no no! Real smooth dancers wild trombone. The band decked out in tuxedos...
Sonny: Naw! Six guys wearing electric orange...
Danny: Everybody dressed in elegance--like in the old days.
Sonny: Synthesizer--heavy percussions... and electric guitars...
(Cut to a clip of NewsRadio, with Dave reading cards from complaint box)
Dave: (reading cards) "You got peanut butter in my chocolate. You got chocolate in my peanut butter. Together, they taste like crap."
(Cut to a clip of the big band/rock scene in the movie version of Xanadu)
Linkara (v/o): In the movie, this leads to another musical segment, which... I have mixed feelings about. It's a sequence that contrasts early '80s rock with '40s big band music. Both are fine in their own right, but they slam into each other rather harshly. Eventually, the two sets merge and actually sound really damn good. The dueling styles eventually work together. What doesn't work is the dueling fashions of the scene... or rather, what is supposed to be dueling fashions, since both end up looking horrible in their own way, with exaggerated '40s pinsuits and colors and, well, horrible skintight attire that seem like a monstrous hybrid of the '70s and '80s. Remember, this was 1980; '80s fashion stylings really had not come into being yet. Even the futuristic fashions of Blake's 7 look real strange next to these outfits.
(Back to the comic version of the story, with its concurrent scene)
Linkara (v/o): The comic does away with the music part, naturally, and just has very dirty-looking artwork. It feels like someone tried to erase the pencils and accidentally just spread them around. And thus Danny decides to go through with it, telling Sonny that he's giving him half the place, and they'll be partners. All they need is a name.
Kira: (appearing behind them) "In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn... a stately pleasure dome decree... Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man... Down to a sunless sea."
Linkara: (as Danny; holding his chin in thought) Yes... of course. We'll call it Kubla Kahn!
Linkara (v/o): Also, gotta love how, despite all the flowery vocabulary, they misspelled "Khan".
Narrator: And in that magical instant, an almost certain celestial silence seems to inseparably join three lives, like links in a chain of gold... and Xanadu is born!
Linkara: And so were the Razzies! I'm not kidding, Xanadu and Can't Stop the Music are apparently responsible for the creation of the Golden Raspberry Awards.
Linkara (v/o): Weeks pass, and the place is fixed up and gotten ready for the opening night.
(Cut to footage of the movie that Linkara describes below)
Linkara (v/o): The comic skips over the bizarre clothes montage of the film where "All Over the World" is played. Good song, weird-ass bit of the film – like most of the musical sequences, frankly. That's really one of the big problems with the film. All of the music is fantastic, but their integration into the movie is just so gaudy and bizarre and out of nowhere. Mind you, I could use a bit of it right now, because without the music and dancing, instead, it's just a dull love story about two pretty people who we barely know anything about.
(Back to the comic once again)
Linkara (v/o): The story itself seems to remember that it needs some kind of conflict in order for us to care, so now we have the revelation about Kira. She and Sonny have fallen in love, but she can't fall in love; she's not allowed. She's literally a Muse; specifically, Terpsichore, the Greek goddess of dancing and chorus. After she uses her powers to prove it, she explains that Muses are supposed to fall in love, just inspire, which doesn't make a damn bit of sense, but whatever. She broke the rules, and now she has to leave and return to Olympus. And she does so, leaving Sonny pretty heartbroken. Later, he's returned to the beach where now Danny has to shake him out of his funk. Xanadu is opening, and he needs to get himself together.
Sonny: I can't go. Xanadu doesn't matter anymore.
Danny: Whatta you mean it doesn't matter?! Xanadu is our dream!
Linkara: No, technically, it's your dream. Sonny is a painter, who you made a club owner, despite no prior experience managing a business.
Sonny: There's no Xanadu... 'cause there's no Kira. Dreams die...
Danny: No! We kill them!
Linkara: (as Danny) We violently murder them in the middle of the night when they don't give us the money they owe us! (as Sonny) Wait, what?! (as Danny) Look, this isn't about my demons, this is about Xanadu!
Danny: If you give up now-- you'll be sitting on that rock thirty years from now... just like I was doing!
Linkara: Playing a clarinet and living in a huge mansion with your millions of dollars you earned in the construction business! It's Hell, Sonny!
Danny: But let me tell you something: somehow, somewhere-- there's a way to get her! If she got here-- there's a way to get there!
(Cut to a clip of Doctor Who, showing a Cyberman)
Cyberman: There is logic in what he says.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And suddenly, they're both next to the mural from the beginning. I guess Danny's pep talk was so powerful, it teleported them. And so, Sonny roller-skates into the mural.
Narrator: It's a chance... and what would life be without chances? And, when they are taken in the name of love, chances become more than just everyday risks... they become... Magic!
Linkara: It's magic; we don't have to explain it.
Linkara (v/o): So, I guess the mural was painted by the aliens who built the monoliths, since Sonny travels through a wormhole or something full of psychedelic imagery, until he ends up in Olympus.
(Cut to a shot of Olympus in the movie)
Linkara (v/o): In the movie, Olympus is... a bunch of neon lines.
(Cut to Olympus in the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And here, it's... absolutely nothing. We get no solid establishment of what the hell this place looks like. I can't decide which is lazier. Sonny and Kira reunite, and Sonny demands to speak to Zeus to let Kira come with him.
Zeus: We don't use those old-fashioned names any more. But in this case it's me you want to speak to!
Linkara: (as Zeus) We try to be hip with the kids these days, so call me "the Z Man" or "Z Dog".
Linkara (v/o): Sonny says he isn't leaving without Kira, but Zeus is having none of it.
Zeus: You leave now and you leave without Kira!
Zeus: Because other people have dreams!
Linkara: (as Zeus) Other people need temporary, roller-skating girlfriends, you know.
Sonny: Listen to me. Kira and I love each other! I don't know how often that happens in this kind of place... but back on Earth--it's pretty rare. We need to be together.
Linkara: Well, up yours, too, dude!
Sonny: We need to be together.
Linkara (v/o): (as Sonny who is upside-down in the panel) Also, why is the blood rushing to my head? (normal) Zeus once again says he's leaving.
Kira: Just a minute! Isn't anyone interested in my feelings?
Linkara: (as Zeus) Well, you're a woman and I'm Zeus, so... no, not really.
Kira: Yes, feelings. I've never really had them before--never felt this way about anyone before! And I've never once asked to leave here in all the time I've 'been' here! Can't we have this one night? Just one night?! Just one moment...?
Linkara: (as Zeus) Well... okay. But Sonny, she'd better be back here by 11, or I'm calling the cops.
Zeus: Well... maybe just one moment... Or maybe... forever. I keep getting them mixed up...
Linkara: (as Zeus) Look, what I'm trying to say is that I really suck as a god. Let's not even get into that one time I got into a fistfight with Jesus, Christian martial artist.
Linkara (v/o): So the two are sent through the swirl of Christmas colors and end up back at Xanadu. There's a big musical number that of course is missing from the comic, aside from the little bits of dancing, but then she teleports away. Sonny, of course, is distressed, but then Danny brings over a waitress to talk to him. And so, our comic ends with the lady in black, who looks exactly like Kira.
Narrator: And the music plays on and on and on...
Linkara: (singing) Don't stop believin'! (holds up comic) This comic sucks.
Linkara (v/o): Aside from artwork that oftentimes is more frightening than romantic, cutting out all the musical sequences just makes this a very tepid romance story that would look right at home alongside any romance comic from the '50s. It's padded, obviously, and has a more supernatural twist to it, but it doesn't have anything to say and nothing for us to be invested in. We really know very little about our leads. Danny has the most personality, but that's because they actually bothered to give him a backstory. But his plot comes to an end once Xanadu is built.
Linkara: Xanadu is a musical fantasy, and in this comic, there is no music, and the fantasy is that roller discos would still be a thing. (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
Someone want to explain WHY the Kubla Khan poem served as the Xanadu name inspiration? I doubt roller discos were all the rage back in that century.
Got to love how muses aren't allowed to fall in love, but Zeus is allowed to bang anything that lets him transform into an animal to seduce.
(Stinger: Pollo is seen at a computer)
Pollo: Attempting alpha numeric sequence 15... Processing... (a beep is heard) No response. (Allen walks into the room) Attempting alpha numeric–
Allen: Hey, Pollo.
Pollo: Hello, Allen. What can I do for you?
Allen: I'm looking for your boss. His last report is two days overdue, and I wanted to ask him about that lizard that Dr. Linksano brought to life?
Pollo: Oh. Sorry, we've been kind of busy around here. Our last attempt to locate Lord Vyce failed, but we may have uncovered a more serious threat.
Allen: Tell me all about it.
Pollo: Linkara can give you all the details. He's up on Comicron 1. I will call him back down in a moment.
Allen: (shrugs) Okie-dokie. (looks up at ceiling and sees NIMUE's camera) Is NIMUE okay?
Pollo: She's fine. Her apartment-based systems are undergoing a standard maintenance check right now. She'll be back up in ten minutes.
Allen: Gotcha. So, what are you doing right now?
Pollo: Lord Vyce moved from universe to universe in search of a creature known as "The Entity". In his travels, he not only managed to fight the Entity, but also interdimensional threats like it. He kept records on his battles, but they're heavily encrypted.
Allen: So you're trying to get into the records to learn how to fight things like "The Entity"? (picks up some papers off the desk)
Pollo: Precisely. Unfortunately, Vyce has tied him so closely to the original systems of Comicron 1 that many functions of the ship were disabled when we dealt with him. That includes stuff like the temporal shields and also many of his records.
Allen: (reading from the paper he picked up) "The King of Worms, so perverted by the sensation of fear, was forever twisted in appearance. With its face forever transformed, it dare not show its features to any being, lest its new image forever bring defiance and hatred towards it. Its quest to restore its fearless face brought it to a world that has never known strife, never known hatred or pain or horror. This was a place that had not known fear. The king knew it had to understand fear if it was to face it again. And so, unto this world of peace, it planted a nightmare into the minds of every living creature. In a world of pleasant dreams, this nightmare will consume them in their sleep, and in their waking minds, all life in this place no longer able to distinguish the nightmare from reality. Experienced fear so terrible that they turned upon one another. Those that did not kill themselves killed each other until there was only one creature left. And the king to this creature gave it the blessing of a new nightmare, sanity. And upon this being there was nothing but grief and endless sorrow. The king made his first throne upon this world, built upon the crushed soul of the last sane being on a world that had gone mad." (looks up and shrugs) Charming.
Pollo: It's one of the dozen legends about the creature. That's basically all we do have on the king: legends. Nothing solid or factual. If there is anything on it, it's inside the encrypted files.
Allen: Mind if I take a crack at it? I have some experience with encryption-breaking.
Pollo: Knock yourself out.
(Allen sits down at the computer and starts typing on it)
Allen: So you think something big and bad is coming? When were you going to alert us?
Pollo: I'm sure he was going to inform you in the report. We've just been–
Allen: Busy, I know. You're always busy. But Linkara usually is nice enough to let me know when he's going to have to delay his report due to something coming up.
Pollo: Bureaucracy is more important than saving the world?
Allen: No, it's just professional courtesy, is all. I get busy, too. Right now, I'm assigned to help the construction of a ship called the Caelestis, the first manned flight to Jupiter. Should launch in– (a click is heard) Oh! Got it!
Pollo: You... got it?
Allen: Yep. I've seen some encryption similar to this before. It wasn't too difficult to crack.
Pollo: We've been working on this for years!
Allen: And this is why you should trust me more.
Pollo: Pollo to Linkara: Encrypts have broken! (teleports away)
Allen: Or you could just leave me right here. (gets up from his seat) Typical. (sighs as he checks the time on his cell phone) Well, I guess I can get lunch. It's not too late.
(Suddenly, Allen gets zapped by something and falls on the ground, unconscious. A Cybermat rolls across the floor, presumably the cause of the attack on Allen. Meanwhile, Dr. Linksano's foam lizard he had brought to life looks on from a distance, then slinks away)