Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Welcome to the first new episode of the show in 2015! The future is now, my friends! And dear Lord, the future sucks already, because we're starting things off with "ASBAR".
(Cut to black)
Linkara (v/o): Last time on "Crazy Steve's Magical Journey of Madness"...
Linkara (v/o): Steve ranted in his own brain about how much cooler he was than Green Lantern because he... uh... drugged a guy and threw him into some water, whereas all Green Lantern has is his ring granted to him by powerful aliens because he is someone without fear and thus is not intimidated by Steve's murderous ways. Dick Grayson, age twelve, decided on becoming "The Hood", but Steve put the kibosh on that since a criminal can pull the hood over his eyes, unlike that cape he's wearing. And you would think that he would teach the kid to fight blind anyway. Oh, wait, I keep trying to compare him with Batman's teaching. I'm sure Steve has just only now gotten used to going blind from that moonshine he's been distilling down in the cave. But anyway, yes, Steve says he's going to be Robin because he's a dick. And Dick is Robin! Wait, what?
Linkara: Whatever. Let's just dig into (holds up today's comic) "All-Star Batman and Robin #9" and see what new spore of madness awaits us in 2015.
(AT4W title sequence plays, and title card has "Polka Face" by Weird Al Yankovic playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover is boring! I love how most modern mainstream comics have officially just stopped caring about the covers. This came out in 2008, and what does it have? Batman and Robin in front of a green-tinted spotlight. You might be able to get away with saying it's Green Lantern doing that if there had been a Green Lantern symbol in there, but instead, it just looks like a regular spotlight. That's it. You could only get lazier with this cover design if they weren't posing, just standing up straight. And I've seen modern comics where that is all that's on there. Or them running; that's also a popular one. This comic is one of the most infamous of the series, though you could probably argue that every issue of this book is infamous in one way or another, with a very memorable setup and premise, and this is what Jim Lee decided to do with it: a spotlight on the two. (sarcastically) Goody, goody gumdrops! This'll get people buying the book in droves!
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open with Green Lantern and Crazy Steve so close to each other that they look like they're about to kiss.
Linkara:(as Batman, wearing his mask) I hate you, Green Lantern! I'm so much cooler than you! HATE!! (beat) Let's make out.
Batman:(narrating) It's a SHAME to expose one of my SAFE HOUSES. Now it'll be USELESS. But I've got DOZENS around town, and this one's RENT wouldn't amount to a VALET TIP.
Linkara: If it's a shame and you hate that it'll be useless now, why did you bring him here, and why do you not care in the next sentence?
Linkara (v/o): Dear Lord, Steve apparently painted his teeth yellow, too. Or are they naturally like that? I mean, I'm not exactly perfect in my own dental care, but if that's not paint, that can't be healthy. Speaking of not being healthy...
Batman:(narrating) This guy really GRINDS MY GEARS.
Linkara: Evidence that this is some kind of malfunctioning Batman robot.
Batman:(narrating) Here he's got a POWER RING that can do ANYTHING he can IMAGINE-- but that's his whole PROBLEM. He's got the IMAGINATION of a goddamn POTATO.
Linkara: Hey, don't be knocking potatoes. I much prefer their company to yours.
Batman:(narrating) He makes giant green FISHING POLES and MOUSETRAPS when he could, well... Put that ring on MY finger and just as a WARM-UP I'd send a few TIDAL WAVES in just the right DIRECTIONS. Knock out a few ENEMY FLEETS.
Linkara (v/o): Also, what enemy fleets? Who does he think we're at war with? Or this Frank Miller perpetuating his conspiracy belief theory that Al-Qaeda has the full resources of any nation's armed forces?
Batman:(narrating) Then get started on REAL firepower to a nasty GROUND WAR or two.
Linkara:(sarcastically) Our hero, everybody!
Batman:(narrating) Then maybe I'd spank SUPERMAN'S butt back to what's left of KRYPTON. Just for LAUGHS.
Linkara: Crazy Steve, age twelve.
Batman:(narrating) Thing is, old Hal (Hal Jordan, that's his real name--the moron can't keep any secrets from ME)...
Linkara:(exasperated) WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?!
Batman:(narrating) ...old Hal, he can't even make himself a green DANDELION with that RING of his if what he's up against is YELLOW. Dumbest WEAKNESS I ever HEARD of...
Linkara: As opposed to your weakness: petty childishness and a fragile ego.
Linkara (v/o): I remind you, this guy is supposed to be the one we're rooting for. This is not a deconstruction. All of the stuff he says in this comic is echoed later in "The Dark Knight Returns" and "Strikes Again". The only difference is that "Dark Knight Returns" handled a lot of the phrases better, plus it was a very different Gotham City than what we see in this comic. And "Strikes Again" was just moronic.
(Cut to a shot of Bruce Wayne in "The Dark Knight Returns")
Linkara (v/o): You know, one of the things Miller said concerning Batman and his relationship with other heroes for "The Dark Knight Returns" was that he didn't think they ever got along with him, Superman in particular. Except, clearly, we see in that story that he did get along with him. That was the ultimate tragedy of their final battle in the book.
(Cut back to Batman in "ASBAR")
Linkara (v/o): In this, why would anyone be friends with or agree with this murderous fascist with delusions of grandeur? Batman, and by extension, all superheroes, exist in their respective universes to combat crime that can't be normal law enforcement within the system, that there are just people that can't be stopped by normal means.
(Cut to a shot of Peter Parker in a Spider-Man comic)
Linkara (v/o): But of course, there's a reason why "Spider-Man" has the catchphrase: "With great power, comes great responsibility." Because when you do have the kind of powers that guys like Green Lantern have, it's important to not abuse that power, or else you aren't any better than the criminal with a gun who thinks he's superior to others because of it.
Linkara: And before anyone says that that lesson is obvious and I shouldn't need to espouse it, (becomes upset as he points to "ASBAR" comic) I'm holding a comic book where someone calling himself "Batman" wants to UNILATERALLY TAKE OVER THE WORLD AND IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE HERO! So clearly, it's not quite as obvious a lesson as we thought!
Linkara (v/o): It's especially funny when we bring up Green Lantern into this with Batman. Steve keeps yapping about how Hal is stupid for not executing a plan for world domination...
(Cut to a shot of a Green Lantern comic, emphasizing the villain, Sinestro)
Linkara (v/o): ...except, as part of the Green Lantern mythos, Hal's partner was Sinestro, a Green Lantern who ended up turning his world into a dictatorship EXACTLY LIKE STEVE WANTS TO HERE!! I would say it's Frank Miller being clever and that Batman was intended to grow out of this attitude, except Miller is not that subtle, not that clever, and it's the ninth damn issue! I'm still waiting on this supposed development!
Linkara: Or are we supposed to infer that he's gotten better now, because he doesn't call people "retarded" to their faces anymore?
Batman:(narrating) I don't know about this YELLOW hang-up of his. Seems to me the GUARDIANS OF THE UNIVERSE could've whipped up an ULTIMATE WEAPON that was COLOR BLIND. In their SLEEP.
Linkara (v/o): Dude, design flaws happen. Also, giant alien space bugs made of living fear that happens to be contained within the central power battery, but let's not get into that. Crazy Steve is really that one asshole who has never read a comic book in his life, but feels he can comment or joke on things in them, as if he has any authority on the subject. But whatever. He had Robin paint this entire place yellow... and himself.
Batman:(narrating) The kid impressed the hell out of me after I showed him the PAINT CANS and ROLLER. Sure, he BELLYACHED every MINUTE and QUIT being THE BOY WONDER eight times, but he FINISHED the job with nearly an HOUR to spare.
Linkara:(as Batman, wearing his mask) It was really difficult getting that paint roller into every nook and cranny my body, but I think it was worth it. (grins)