April 30, 2012
Didn't think the first issue was too bad? You haven't seen anything yet.
(We open with again, just like the previous Marville review, with an empty futon. Linkara, with his coat completely half-worn, struggles to get up from the floor and lays against the cushions. As he gazes at the camera, he pauses and rubs his forehead)
Linkara: (slurring) Hello, and welcome to... (beat; he rubs his head waves his hand) ...that thing I do. (very long beat) Yeah... We're talking about Marville again. (He falls down below the futon)
(Opening titles; Cut to title card with the love theme from Manos: The Hands of Fate)
(Fade to Linkara recovering from his hangover and rubbing his forehead)
Linkara: (sighs) Okay… Okay. I think I’m recovered enough for this. Uh yeah, we’re back to Marville a mere four months after I first talked about it. Why? Because I’m stupid and wanted to hurt myself.
Linkara (v/o): There were actually a few people who didn’t think the first issue of Marville warranted its reputation as one of the worst comics ever. Bad and dated? Certainly, but worst? Nah! Not when compared to Bimbos in Time or Sinnamon or something. And I understand that. In fact, I had originally wanted to review both the first and second issues together, but, frankly, I already had thirty minutes of material on the first issue and I do try to keep these reviews as short as possible. It doesn’t always end up that way, but I do try.
Linkara: Here’s what you have to understand about Marville: it starts at the bottom and then finds a way to dig itself even deeper.
Linkara (v/o): What I’m getting at here is that the first issue of Marville, it’s the best issue. Yeah. Let’s recap, shall we? In the year 5002, Ted Turner and Jane Fonda are inexplicably still alive, and still together, and have an 18-year-old son believing that a meteor storm is going to destroy the world. They send him back in time, thanks to a time machine made of PlayStation One parts, seriously, with only an AOL Trial CD and a stupid-looking shirt with “Marvel” written across it because… parody? He meets a taxicab driver named Mickey and, after a series of really stupid events involving a mugger, he receives $2 million. Oh, and, for some reason, he thinks time-travel grants you superpowers and that’s just stupid.
(Cut to a clip from Power Rangers SPD; A white ball of light turns into Sam the Omega Ranger)
Linkara (v/o): We all know time-travel turns you into a ball of light.
Linkara: So, let’s dig into Marville #2 and see where in the hell they go with this concept.
Linkara (v/o): Oh goodie, we've moved into the new style of covers that will be around for pretty much the rest of the series. (Cut to various covers and pinups drawn by said artist)
Linkara (v/o): These are done by artist Greg Horn, a digital painter who actually is very talented and has produced a lot of decent artwork, but he's mostly known for his pinups, usually of female characters, some of them better than others. (Showing the Justice League pinup by Alex Ross) He's kind of like Alex Ross, but, instead of emphasizing dramatic, moody and often times heroic superhero art, (Showing Greg Horn's female pinup) he's kind of focused on cheesecake.
(Back to Marville cover)
Linkara (v/o): Which then brings us to this Marville cover. Oh me oh my, this Marville cover. Obviously, the point of having a woman clearly naked behind the items she's holding is a poorly transparent attempt to get the ‘lol boobs’ demographic to pick up Marville and win that stupid U-Decide contest running at the time. Yeah, because why would you bother making a comic good, but instead you can try to pretend that there's porn in this? Stay classy, Marvel. Actually, let's do some proper analysis of this cover, primarily that this cover HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THE COMIC!! There is no naked redhead who delivers all this stuff to somebody's door. I think the implication is that the redhead is supposed to be Mickey, due to another cover which features redhead woman in a taxi cab, but Mickey's got purple hair. Why is she nude and why is she carrying all this junk? And what the hell is all that she's carrying? A pizza box? Yeah, great job holding that, by the way. The entire pizza is getting smushed inside of the box when you hold it upright like that, and potentially upside down what with the way it's leaning against the beer bottles. Speaking of, BIG, BELLY, BEER... BIG! BELLY! BEER!!
Linkara: If you're going to advertise what the beer does to you if you drink too much of it right in the name, why don't you just call it ‘Arrested for DUI Beer?’
Linkara (v/o): She's also carrying what appears to be a PlayStation 2, with the logo altered so instead it looks more like it says BS2, a fitting descriptor of this comic, and a whole bunch of VHS tapes and clam shells. And what a collection of clam shells we have. “College Girls Gone Nutty,” “Jerkin’ Me Gherkin...”
Linkara: How appropriate. After writing this series, Bill Jemas* does come across like a jerk off.
- Unlike the previous episode, Linkara pronounces "Jemas" correctly. (JEH-mus)
Linkara (v/o): ...Something labeled “Dirty Filthy Porn,” and, probably most inappropriately out-of-placed of all, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode “Manos: the Hands of Fate.”
Linkara: This comic better not be trying to insinuate that it's as funny as MST3K. If it is, I've only got one response:
(Cut to mentioned MST3K episode)
Tom Servo and Crow: This really bites.
Joel Edgeson: Mhmm.
Linkara (v/o): Other tapes that fell out of her arms include “World's Worst Crashes,” “Filth 103,” “Sports Highlights,” “Super Violent Gory Anime…”
(Cut to another MST3K episode, Prince of Space)
Crow: So, is this going to be a super-violent porn cartoon?
Linkara (v/o): And finally a videotape simply labeled ‘Smut.’* Who makes a movie just called ‘Smut?’
- * Just to add more to the list of stuff redhead cover lady is holding: a
bottle of hand sanitizer, PlayStation 2 controls, Jaws VHS clam shell, several more clam shells, and a football. (Cut to Brad Jones typing on his computer)
Brad: ...And done. My magnum opus is complete. ‘Smut’ will be my greatest movie of all time. (Answers his phone) Hello, Mr. Producer. (beat) What do you mean the distributor won't accept a movie called ‘Smut?’ (beat) Alright, I’ll change the title. (Brad continues typing) The Cinema Snob Movie it is.
Linkara (v/o): And after all of that, I have but one final thing to say about what's shown on this cover.
(Cut to yet another MST3K episode, The Screaming Skull)
Crow: GET A BOX!!
Linkara (v/o): We begin with another “Insider’s Guide to Marville,” with a section telling us what happened in the first one.
Guide: Ted and Jane sent their son Al from the year 5002. Al falls in love with Mickey, but it’s a one-way street.
Linkara: Wait, what? When the hell did that happen? Al never fell in love with Mickey, he’s just crashing at her apartment.
Linkara (v/o): Great, is this going to be like Silent Hill: Dead/Alive where I need these narrations to tell me what the hell is going on?
Guide: Unlucky in love, Al is a lucky superhero. With no discernible powers and a little help from his old dog AOLstro, Al captures the same thief two times and earns $200 million in reward money.
Linkara: "Lucky" is an understatement. He didn't do jack! A guy kept tripping over his dog and then people inexplicably gave him reward money.
Linkara (v/o): The main Insider's Guide to this issue is pointless, pointing out what Daredevil and the Kingpin look like.
Guide: Batman, Black Panther and Iron Man are all billionaire superhero crime fighters. Peter David writes comic books and doesn't have a whole lot of fans.
Linkara (v/o): One, yes he does. Hell, for a while, he was my favorite author, though admittedly more for his Star Trek books than his comic work. Two, so what? Oh right. Because U-Decide was a big popularity contest. How'd that go for you with the first issue, smartass?
(Cut to a sales chart ranking the most popular comic sales in 2002, highlighting Marville (#85) and Captain Marvel’s (#26) sales.)
Linkara (v/o): Oh yeah. Peter David’s Captain Marvel series got over twice the amount of sales yours did.
Guide: Rush Limbaugh talks on the radio and does have a whole lot of fans.
Linkara: Okay, you didn't have to bring up who Alan Greenspan was in your first issue. So why the hell did you have to bring up Rush Limbaugh in your “Insider's Guide?”
Linkara (v/o): We open with Mickey and Al at a big open park with Mickey sunbathing and Al talking to her.
Al: Listen, with great power, there must also come great responsibility.
Mickey: Where did you get that?
Al: Duh, Stan Lee, Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man.
Linkara: You know, the one where his fingers honk and he reveals that only a science major can make web shooters.
Linkara (v/o): He starts saying he should use his superpowers for good, but naturally Mickey reminds him that he doesn't have any superpowers and that he looks like a dork, offering to put some styling mousse in his hair to make him look more like a hero, or rather like the Cinema Snob since she's just slicking his hair back, but whatever.
Mickey: If you're really from 3000 years in the future, how do you know about Stan Lee?
Linkara: Is there some reason why people wouldn't know about him 3000 years in the future? Maybe the guy was a big comic fan. Hell, WE know about writers from over 3,000 years ago.
Al: Stan the Man, didn't you study him in college?
Mickey: I studied Shakespeare.
Mickey: The Bard.
Linkara: Ha! It's funny because (beat; thinking) Actually, uh, it's, it's not funny. Not really. No. (shaking his head)
Linkara (v/o): I mean, were we supposed to infer the last issue that comic books were so ingrained in the future society that they taught Stan Lee instead of Shakespeare? Why would-- You know what? I don't care. All of a sudden, Peter David comes along-- Yes, the aforementioned writer Bill Jemas had a bet with, who is now apparently a homeless man who asks for some money. Al, apparently carrying hundred dollar bills in his shorts pocket, offers a hundred bucks to him when, all of a sudden, Rush Limbaugh also sunbathing announces that he shouldn't hand his hard-earned money to the destitute.
Linkara: I did not make up a single word of that, people! All of these things are happening in this comic!!
Linkara (v/o): Also, how the hell did Mickey and Al not notice that Rush Limbaugh was sitting so close to them? They haven't moved from their sunbathing spot. Did Rush Limbaugh just teleport in? Anyway, Limbaugh keeps telling them not to hand over money and then he's flatulent, leading to a bunch of people suddenly teleporting in and complimenting his flatulence. It is very sad that I have to assure you all that this was published by a mainstream comic company; nay, the TOP-SELLING comic book company in 2002. Anyway, Al gives Peter David the money anyway and Limbaugh says he's just going to waste it on alcohol.
Linkara: Oh, I don't know. This hangover I have right now is infinitely preferable to the comic.
Linkara (v/o): Al asks Peter David if that's true.
Peter David: Well, I am a bit parched from making excuses.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, Bill Jemas is clearly the better writer here. Peter David never came up with the comedy gold mine of Rush Limbaugh's bodily functions. I'm going past this scene now because it doesn't get any funnier or entertaining and there's still a lot of comic to go through. Al decides that he wants to help the poor and will use his money to help them. They catch a cab and Al, being the brain trust that we've already seen, says this:
Al: Hey, take us to poor people.
Linkara: Hey, take us to poor people and together we can be justice.
Linkara (v/o): The cab driver’s response…
Cab Driver: Enron is having a shareholders meeting in The Bronx.
Linkara: Enron! (laughs uproariously) That reference will be funny forever.
Mickey: Are you the guy from Taxi?
Linkara: Which guy from Taxi? Judd Hirsch? Tony Danza? Jeff Conaway? There were a lot of guys in Taxi!!
Linkara (v/o): And, honestly, I can’t tell which one she’s supposed to be talking about? The artwork actually makes it look like Al and the cab driver have the same face just with the cab driver’s turned to the side. Anyway, they immediately arrive downtown-- Oh yeah, that typecasting joke was so worth the one panel of them in the taxi. And so, Al is just downtown handing out money, in which nobody on the streets has any questions about. Mickey says if he keeps handing out hundred dollar bills, he’ll go broke, but he gives some questionable math in response about how he’ll still be rich even after handing out $300,000 a week. I’d try to check that, but this thing already hurts my brain and I don’t feel the need to do math on top of everything else. The criminal from the first issue shows up out of the blue and asks for money. Why the hell does this guy keep showing up? Every time you appear, you get badly injured! If you see Al, then run away!! And Al just gives him some money, not even acknowledging that it's the same guy. Then, Batman shows up. I have stopped trying to make sense of this. Okay, it's a Batman with three horns, but, given the earlier reference to him in the Insider's Guide, it's clearly him. Al tells Batman not to hurt him, but Batman just punches the thief and points out that he's a thief.
Al: Hey, take a “batroom” break. I want to give him money.
Linkara: WHY?! This guy has done nothing but try to steal from you since DAY ONE! (beat) And how is handing out hundred dollar bills to random people actually accomplishing anything?
Linkara (v/o): Then, Iron Man shows up and straight up vaporizes a guy. Sure, why not? Then, Iron Man and Batman keep stomping on the thief’s head until it… pushes his sweater over his head? The hell? Mickey tells Batman to give it a rest, but he just growls back:
Batman: I will not rest until my parents are avenged.
Linkara: I’m curious how this Batman got the idea for his outfit, what with the three horns on his head and everything. Did a punk rocker come through his window instead of a bat?
Thief: I never hurt your pa-
Linkara (v/o): (appalled) NOOOOO!! All that pounding on his head pushed the thief’s head down to his stomach? HELL NO!! This is not a freaking Looney Tunes cartoon!! You can have your bizarre antics involving time travel and Ted Turner and Rush Limbaugh and crap, but you can’t suddenly throw in something like this bull when you played physics completely straight up until this point. Then, The Black Panther shows up. You know, I don’t get this. Yeah, The Black Panther is rich, but he’s not like a billionaire playboy like Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark. The guy runs a country!! Why the hell was he included in the group of “rich guys who are superheroes?”
Homeless man: Hey, bro, let me go. My kids are hungry. I lost my job at the Iron Man Wallpaper Plant.
Linkara: Is this a plant that makes wallpaper featuring Iron Man or a wallpaper plant owned by Iron Man? Both are kind of stupid, but for different reasons. I just want to be clear on why I hate it.
Linkara (v/o): Iron Man says he outsourced all the jobs to Mexico and the two bash the innocent people’s heads together. Iron Man almost says the n-word, but Black Panther stops him.
Black Panther: People would think poorly of you if you said a bad word.
Linkara: (listless) Oh, I get it. Social satire about how people care more about the language we use than the fact that they’re violent psychopaths. I guess this one good point has made up for all the stupid!!
Linkara (v/o): Mickey points out that they're billionaires and they could...
Mickey: Give one hundred dollars a day to ten thousand people and never miss it.
Linkara: Not necessarily, Mickey. It depends on how their money is tied up, how much you actually end up paying in taxes, how much money they reinvest in their businesses, oh, and, of course, the little fact that GIVING A HUNDRED DOLLARS A DAY TO RANDOM STRANGERS DOES NOT ACTUALLY SOLVE PROBLEMS!!!
Linkara (v/o): Then Rush Limbaugh shows up with a golden microphone and he uses its magical powers to knock the three unconscious.
Rush Limbaugh: I got so good at turning on these nut jobs, I had to learn how to turn them off. My work here is done.
Al: Thanks, Rush.
Linkara: Wait, wait, wait, Rush Limbaugh is a hero now? This comic is very confused.
Linkara (v/o): The police are called and Al talks to a police woman named Lucy saying that he has superpowers. Once again, Mickey has to step in and point out that Al is an idiot who doesn't have any damn powers.
Mickey: He has two hundred million dollars, but that just gets him in trouble.
Police Officer: Two hundred million dollars. Hey, kid, you can ride with us anytime, and will call you The Marvel!
Linkara: What's a real marvel is that this series lasted its full six issues… technically seven but we'll get to that eventually.
Mickey: Are you the guy from Barney Miller?
Police Officer: I got typecast.
Linkara: WHICH, GUY, FROM, BARNEY, MILLER?!! It's bad enough that you repeated the same damn joke, but, once again, it doesn't make any sense!!
Linkara (v/o): I've never actually seen Barney Miller, but I did ask someone who has and she said he doesn't look like any of the cops from Barney Miller that actually were uniformed police officers. So, even if it is referencing a specific guy, they screwed up the reference anyway. Al and Mickey have lunch with the two cops.
Al: Police work is great.
Mickey: It can't be just eating donuts. Can it?
Police Officer: It's just what you would think. We send homeless people to shelters, we arrive at crime scenes after the criminals have left.
Linkara: (laughing uproariously; then serious) Over a hundred police officers are killed each year in the USA in the line of duty while trying to stop criminals. Go to hell, Bill Jemas.
Linkara (v/o): Al suddenly decides that he wants to capture a big-time criminal. Why? Stop trying to ask legitimate questions. It's not healthy. The female officer, Lucy, dresses up in what can be best described as stripper wear so she can pretend to be a hooker and then arrest some drug dealers, AKA the same damn criminal they keep running into. And then, they'll make a deal with the drug dealers to turn State’s Evidence on “the big boss.” That's Al’s plan, the plan that's already done in real police work.
(Cut to a clip from Doctor Who: The Moonbase)
Cyberman #1: It was very simple. Only stupid Earth brains like yours would have been fooled.
Linkara: Oh, dear God, I wish there were Cybermen in this comic. Alien cyborgs from Earth’s long lost twin planet are far more realistic than the people in this comic.
Linkara (v/o): And that's why Lucy had to be dressed up like a hooker. (aggravated sigh) Anyway, the plan works, although, just like Captain Tax Time, we don't actually see the plan in action, and we cut to the police station. After some dumb conversation between Mickey and Al about how, in the future, nobody owns any property because they sold it all to AOL for stock, hardy-har-har, we see the criminal getting… Wait, what the hell?
Textbox: Domination: Police and Perpetrators.
Linkara (v/o): Why is he on a leash? Then Lucy’s hands get smudged with ink and he licks it off her fingers? EWWW!!! Ew, ew ew. What in seven hells is this, I don’t even...
Linkara: (disgusted) Is this still real? What in God's name am I reading?
Textbox: Incarceration: prisons and prisoners.
Linkara (v/o): The thief is put in a cell, candles spring out of nowhere and everyone in the cell is making out, and then in the next panel it's normal?
(Cut to a clip from The Simpsons)
Krusty: What the hell was that?
Linkara (v/o): And then, finally...
Textbox: Adjudication: lawyers and judges.
Linkara (v/o): … where Matt Murdock is the thief’s lawyer and nobody has any chairs in the courtroom and the judge is reading a newspaper and he thinks:
Judge: Oral arguments, you bad boy.
Linkara (v/o): And, oh my god, is that a blowjob remark? Then, the thief is let out. Why did the arrest and trial process only take an hour? And Matt Murdock is trying to defend his actions of getting the criminal out and they say they want to catch the Kingpin and… and...
(Cut to a clip from The Amityville Horror)
George Lutz (James Brolin): I’m coming apart! OH, MOTHER OF GOD, I’M COMING APART!!!
Linkara (v/o): Okay, deep breaths… To make a lot of stupid short, they decide they want to take down the Kingpin. They also see Spider-Man helping an old lady cross the street and I just noticed that Lucy is still dressed like a hooker.
Linkara: Look, I don't like to single out individual writers and artists on this show, unless they truly deserve it for the work they've done, and I especially don't judge people's fetishes, but was this just some masturbatory fantasy of Bill Jemas that he needed to get out of his system? Because this is getting really weird.
Linkara (v/o): Spidey says he can lead them to the Kingpin's headquarters, bringing them to a bowling alley. He says it's a front for the Kingpin.
Lucy: Are you sure?
Spider-Man: Pretty sure.
Linkara (v/o): And we see the bowling alley is right in front of a building that says “Kingpin Headquarters.” Wow, that would have actually been a funny joke, except for the fact that the previous panel clearly shows that the tower isn't there, so the joke is ruined. And then, the Punisher shows up and just start shooting everything. Whatever. The group splits up to go storm the Kingpin's office with Mickey and the cop going on the ground floor.
Mickey: Hey, are you that guy from The Sopranos?
Guard: I’m getting off this season, before I get typecast.
(Cut to Linkara with an unamused look)
(Cut to a clip from Star Trek III)
Scotty: (under breath) Up your shaft.
Linkara (v/o): They arrive at the office and storm, er... rather walk in, and our brave hero has this to say.
Al: You see, Mr. Kingpin, we came to ask you to stop crime.
Linkara: (baffled) Al, I… (with no other words to say about how stupid his motivation is, he snaps his fingers)
(Cut to a clip from Scrubs)
Dr. Cox: What in the name of ‘Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret’ were you thinking?
Linkara (v/o): The Kingpin, who's not facing them, responses with a lecture about why people do crime, as if this was suddenly some kind of philosophy lecture, and he turns around revealing Spike Lee. Spike Lee is the Kingpin.
Linkara: (unimpressed) Spike Lee is The Kingpin. (Linkara, not able to comprehend how stupid the plot twist is and how even stupider the joke is, puts down the comic and walk away.)
(We cut to Linkara outside of his apartment, gazing depressingly beyond the trees. The Manos love theme plays during his episode. Afterwards, he comes back and picks up the comic)
Linkara (v/o): They pointlessly argue with him about how he's not supposed to be the Kingpin and all continues his dumbassery.
Al: I feel like my life is one long, contrived Marvel comic book.
Mickey: How does that make you feel?
Linkara: One! You did the same dialogue last time! Two! NO IT ISN’T!! Three! Your life is completely removed from any form of reality! Four! I HATE YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR!!!
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, in the future, Ted Turner figures out what to send back to Al to get him home. And so our comic ends with Al telling Mickey:
Al: Before I can become a hero, I have to figure out what's right and what's wrong. We need to figure out the meaning of life.
Linkara: Hey, moron. What if the meaning of life has nothing to do with morality? You just assume that it does.
Al: Where it all started and where we're all going.
Linkara: YOU KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING!! YOU'RE FROM THE FUTURE!!
Linkara (v/o): And suddenly, this issue is over with the arrival of the time machine from the future. Not sure how the hell he could send it back, but, then again, I don't care.
Linkara: (listless) I feel like I just spent an hour swimming in raw sewage.
Linkara (v/o): Do I even need to say that this comic sucks? That’s an understatement. It's not funny, any actual satire or point is lost in the moray of nonsensical dialogue and forgotten plot points, when it wants to take something seriously, you just feel personally offended that this crap actually thinks that it has something of worth to say. And you know what the best part is? The issues after this are actually WORSE!
Linkara: In fact, the best thing I can say about this comic is that it does make me truly appreciate things that are a lot better than this. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch my Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs.
(He throws the comic aside and walks out with the MST3K DVD clam shell of Manos.)
So the ultimate message is "give poor people every dollar out of your pocket and if you don't Rush Limbaugh will praise you, but even if you do, he'll come rescue uou [sic] with his magic microphone?
The sales numbers are more comparable if you include the sales of the foil cover edition of the first issue, but I'm not counting that since Marville didn't have a foil cover for the second issue and all those extra sales from the first issue disappeared for the second.