Mr. T #1 (AP Comics)
February 20, 2012
A comic that unfortunately does not quit the jibber-jabber.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. MR. T, FOOL!
(Footage of Mr. T on The A-Team is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Mr. T is awesome. He's just awesome. Screw Chuck Norris, Mr. T is the guy you should write facts about! And people have. Mr. T makes everything better by association. He will help you if you're in trouble, and he will kick the asses of wrongdoers! The man is a real-life superhero if ever there was one, through sheer force of personality and badassery.
Linkara: And naturally, there have been several comic books about the guy. Longtime viewers of the show should recall my review of "Mr. T and the T-Force".
(Cut to a clip of Linkara's review of that comic)
Mr. T: (audio from review) It's a crack baby... FOOL!
Linkara: Yeah, that's the one.
Linkara (v/o): That's the comic where Mr. T demonstrated no less than eight superpowers, created an army of reformed drug dealers that he could contact via wrist communicators... Maybe Mr. T is actually Zordon? ...and carried around a huge camera to record his vigilante efforts.
Linkara: (as Mr. T, pretending to look through a camera) I'm looking for that demon from the Paranormal Activity movies. Let's see that sucka try to pull me into the basement!
Linkara (v/o): However, instead of going back to the awesomely stupid "T-Force", I feel we haven't had a lot of bad comics on here lately. This is a show about bad comics, after all, and we need to have more than just the entertainingly bad.
(Cut to a shot of another Mr. T comic, from AP Comics)
Linkara (v/o): As such, we'll try something different with AP Comics' take on the team. Unfortunately, I don't know much about AP Comics, other than at first I thought they were just an earlier version of...
(Cut to a shot of a comic called "Gold Digger", from another company called...)
Linkara (v/o): Antarctic Press, the company responsible for "Gold Digger". And no, I haven't read "Gold Digger", nor do I particularly care to.
(Cut back to the AP Comic of Mr. T)
Linkara (v/o): But from what I can tell, AP was actually an independent UK publisher. Why do I care at all? Well, as much as you want to promote yourself, it's just kind of sad when, right up of the comic, you put your website address, and it's an expired link.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Mr. T #1" and see what they have to offer us for First Name: Mr., Middle Name: Period, Last Name: T!
(AT4W title sequence plays; title card has the theme from The A-Team playing in the background; cut to a shot of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Our cover is... pretty generic, with Mr. T, of course, front and center, but then this other guy behind him doing the same pose... aaaand random Asian woman doing the Spock salute? Also, Mr. T's wristband is colored like the French flag. Maybe this is actually a French Mr. T.
Linkara: (as Mr. T, French accent) Hello, I pity ze fou!
Text: 1st Awesome Issue!
Linkara: Please, if it was really awesome, (holds up Mr. T trading card) it would have included a trading card with Mr. T on it. Or... (pulls out a second card behind it) Obelisk the Tormentor. Same thing, really.
Linkara (v/o): We open on the mean streets of... uh... New City Townville. We begin our narration, which sounds strangely familiar.
Narrator: If you go down to the woods today / You're sure of a big surprise... If you go down to the woods today / You'd better go in disguise...
Linkara: (singing) Into the woods, it's always when you think at last you're through, and then into the woods you go again to take another journey... (beat) Second favorite musical.
Narrator: For ev'ry bear that ever there was / Will gather there for certain because... Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.
Linkara: Okay, what the hell? I see how one could use "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" as possibly something creepy, and people on Twitter pointed out several directions there, but like this??
Linkara (v/o): You're showing random shots of a city. The very end of the lyrics recitation shows that some gang sold drugs to a kid, but it's not explicit and it's not creepy, it's just them grinning and walking away. If it's supposed to be menacing or poignant, you missed your mark a little.
Linkara: Now, I can put the lyrics to any other old song, and it would have more menace than this.
Linkara (v/o): (narrating) Oh, life could be a dream... / if I could take you up in paradise up above... / If you would let me be the only one that you love... / Life could be a dream, sweetheart... / Hello! Hello again... / Sh-boom and hoping we meet again. (normal) Anyway, we cut to a shot of the kid at home, with a nosebleed and a single tear running down his face. Poor guy, he must've just been turned into Locutus. His family calls their doctor, and it turns out the kid's name is Louis.
Linkara: (stares briefly) What? It's not like I identify with any guy who shares my name, especially if it's spelled differently. Heck, he's a drug user. Me? (puts down comic) I just drink lots and lots of booze. (picks up a bottle of alcohol and takes a big swig) Ah, someday, I'll be able to forget "Bimbos in Time"... I hope.
Linkara (v/o): The doctor demands to know from the other kids what Louis was taking, but they're reluctant to reveal it, scared of the people who gave him the drugs.
Doctor: Whatever it is, you want to see your friend live through this, you best tell me.
Kid: Okay! Okay... It's... It's... Shaz-8.
Linkara: (shocked) "Shaz-8"?! My God! It's like Shaz-3 and Shaz-5 were put together!
Linkara (v/o): Later, a cop is talking to the doctor about it.
Cop: Doc, we need your help to close down this Shaz-8 operation. Give us something to work with.
Linkara: (as cop) It's the latest gateway drug, doc. First, they're on the Shaz-8, then they get into the harder stuff, like China Cat or Porcelain Rabbit!
Linkara (v/o): The doctor says the people they're dealing with aren't the sort of guys you talk about, especially not to the cops. The detective walks away, warning him that they'll talk again. And then the narration starts up again.
Narrator: If you go down to the woods today... / You better not go alone...
Linkara: (massaging his forehead) This again? Look, this is seriously not menacing! Especially not when the narrator is the one who does it!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Angel)
Linkara (v/o): One example that brought up on Twitter was an episode of Angel, where the title character loses his soul, goes evil, and is singing it. See? That is creepy! A soulless monster, pure evil, singing it because something so innocent-sounding is amusing and is really meant to mock it!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): This is a narrator reiterating the lyrics without anything else to go with it.
Linkara: Seriously, I could put in the lyrics to any song and it would have the same effect as the narration in this.
Linkara (v/o): (narrating) If you like pina coladas... / and getting caught in the rain... / If you're not into yoga... / and have half a brain... (normal again) Anyway, the street gang confronts the doctor, telling him they've warned him before not to talk to cops. And I can't help but notice that the lead pusher in this shot looks an awful lot like (image of...) Upchuck from Daria. Huh, I always knew that perverted little weasel was in for a bad end.
Thug who looks like Upchuck: Us an' Shaz-8 is here to stay. You breathe a word to the cops... a single word... and we come lookin' for you!
Second thug: An' you don't want us to come lookin' for you, pops!
Linkara: (as this thug) 'Cause after we look for you, we'll talk to you, and impose sanctions on you, and withdraw our embassy from you! (as another thug, nervously) Uh, Steve, I-I don't think we're on quite the same page here. (as Steve) Then we'll form multinational alliances against you! And impose more sanctions on you! And then reopen negotiations! (as the other thug) Steve, we talked about this before! We're losing ya! (as Steve) And then, when talks break down, we'll face massive amounts of negative press and criticism over our actions, forcing us to try another summit! (as the other thug) STEVE, GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF, MAN! YOU'RE FADING!
Linkara (v/o): The doctor, realizing how bad things are getting, decides to do something about it. He heads down to what appears to be an abandoned building and goes inside, apparently pulling a candle out of his pocket or something. What? You never know when you might need a candle. And from behind him emerges... Ving Rhames? No, this is apparently supposed to be Mr. T.
Doctor: Called in a lot of favours to find you.
Linkara (v/o): "A lot of favours"? We seriously went from him being confronted by the drug dealers to you just walking down the stairs to the building. Comic, you need to set stuff up. Otherwise, all we can tell is that he might have made a few phone calls between panels. There's nothing to indicate that he did anything else before this.
Doctor: Time was you weren't hard to find. When you single-handedly kept these streets safe. People could rest easy at night... knowing you were out there.
Mr. T: Those times are gone, an' you know that.
Linkara: Wait, what the hell is this? "The T Knight Returns"?
Doctor: We need you back. There's a new threat.
Mr. T: So call the cops.
Doctor: The cops are undermanned and outmatched. After the "incident", someone took up your cause-- but she disappeared a while back.
Linkara: (confused) What, was there a "Miss T" out there or something? Look, when I said Mr. T was a superhero, I didn't mean he was friggin' Batman!
Doctor: Chances are she was taken out by whoever was behind this.
Mr. T: Behind... what...?
Linkara (v/o): Why the emphasis there? Did Mr. T just get really annoyed by the guy?
Doctor: It's a drug. An illegal designer drug to be exact. Known on the street as Shaz-8.
Linkara: (as doctor) Shaz-1 through 7 were direct-to-video fare, but Shaz-8 got a theatrical release.
Doctor: It's a steroid derivative... builds up even the weakest person into a muscle-bound powerhouse.
Linkara (v/o): Huh, explains why Upchuck is pushing it, then. Wait, a muscle-bound powerhouse? Are they filled with...
Mr. T: Poison like that gonna thrive in a tough 'hood like this.
Doctor: Absolutely. But Shaz-8 also has side effect. Nasty side effects.
Linkara: (as doctor) Let's just say you're gonna feel a lot emptier after you leave the bathroom.
Linkara (v/o): The doctor goes onto explain that the drug pushers he's been encountering are part of a larger organization, and they tend to threaten not just you, but all your friends and loved ones in the process. We cut to the drug pushers meeting with their boss in what is described as "Interlude #1". I'm just amazed that we finally have a narrative caption that isn't "The Teddy Bears' Picnic". When the pushers talk about how the doctor is obviously getting closer to talking to the cops, the boss tells them to kill him. However, that boss has his own boss: a woman in silhouette. Back to the doctor and the retired Mr. T, he explains that the side effects of Shaz-8 also puts you into psychotic rages.
Doctor: But following this, most burn out... literally burn out...
Linkara: NO! Not "literally"! I've seen more people doing this lately, and so I'll explain this: "Literally" means "not exaggerating a claim". What you described is "exactly what is happening". For them to literally "burn out", would mean that there was actual fire involved!
(BECAUSE POOR LITERACY... is not just about misspelling words. It's also about saying "literally" when you're trying to emphasize a point.)
Linkara (v/o): He asks Mr. T for help, but he refuses.
Mr. T: Don't think I'd be as welcome out there... not after what happened...
Linkara: (as Mr. T) I still have nightmares about it...
(Linkara looks up; flashback to the infamous video Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool, showing Mr. T singing and dancing to a very funky beat)
Mr. T: (singing) Mother... There is no other... Like Mother... So treat her right... Mother... I'll always love her... My mother... So treat her right, treat her right...
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): We don't get full details, but from the dialogue, it sounds like Mr. T was framed for a crime and was imprisoned for a few years, to the point where he actually reformed quite a few inmates. He's convinced that the community wouldn't accept him, but the doctor says nobody believed the allegations. Dammit, he's right! He's Mr. T! Anyone who thinks Mr. T is a bad guy is an idiot or evil themselves.
Linkara: (looking up) Oh, please, Lord, do not let there be some kind of scandal involving Mr. T after this video is released.
Linkara (v/o): We have our second interlude, cutting to a comic book store, where the cashier is busy reading comics himself. A customer comes up off-panel, but the cashier apparently doesn't feel like looking up from his comic to talk to the guy. What's sad is that while most comic book stores are actually run by decent people who give a damn, I know there exist actual stores like this, where the owners seem to feel that their customers are a burden upon them, as if owning the stores are just there so we can get the comics early, but this whole "running a business" thing is not really what they're interested in. Anyway, the guy asks about getting some "Captain Britain" issues, since he's been in jail for a while and wants to catch up. The cashier, being a dick and an idiot, insults him for a bit before finally deciding to look up, revealing that the guy is a massive Hulk who finally stuffs the cashier into a Doctor Octopus display. That's a pretty strong and flexible display, what with the actual bendable arms and all. I'm not sure about the legality of this. Oh, not stuffing the guy into the display. Rather, having Doctor Octopus on display like that in a book not owned by Marvel. But I'm sure it's fine, since it's just more of an advertisement and not the actual character. Anyway, back to this annoying mopey Mr. T. The doctor has decided that his speech bubble should be in white text on black for some reason. Mr. T finally admits what's bugging him.
Mr. T: It's... I think crime fighting's... pointless. After everythin' I did... when I got out... The crime... It was like I'd never even existed.
Linkara: Dammit, Mr. T, (points to camera) stop ignoring your own advice!
(Cut to another clip of Be Somebody)
Mr. T: Don't give up so soon, fool!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): The doctor points out that when T was a kid, a friend of his got hurt badly and it didn't look like he'd pull through. But T told the doctor to have faith and persevere. Mr. T realizes that a kid must have gotten involved with the doctor seeking him out, and when the doctor says the kid's not looking too good, he departs. However, Mr. T holds up his cross necklace, looking at it.
Linkara: (as Mr. T, pretending to look at a cross necklace) The best weapon in my T arsenal: the deadly cross shuriken.
Linkara (v/o): The doctor, having left Mr. T's company, is quickly attacked by the pushers. However, before they can do anything more to him, our comic ends with the grand arrival...
Offscreen voice: Why don't you pick on someone your own size!
Pusher who looks like Upchuck: Who the--?
Offscreen voice: If you don't know that, sucker, I sure have been away too long! It's time to welcome back... (the one speaking is in fact none other than...) MR. T!
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic... is really kind of lame.
Linkara (v/o): Now, don't get me wrong – I don't expect a Mr. T comic to be any great work of literature, but it feels really off to have somebody like Mr. T going all angsty and losing faith in crime-fighting or the like. Plus, there's not really much to the comic itself. I was actually surprised it ended as quickly as it did. AND WHY THE DAMN "TEDDY BEARS' PICNIC" STUFF?!
Linkara: (looking disappointed) And you know what? I didn't get my Mr. T fix in this. (points to camera) Next week, "Mr. T #2"!
(Cut to the "Treat Your Mother Right" song from Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool)
TO BE CONTINUED
(End credits roll)
Mr. T received his cross shuriken as a gift from Jesús – Christian Martial Artist.
Feel free to share stories of comic book stores you've been – the good ones to promote and the bad ones to avoid!
(Stinger: Linkara is seen again, only now, next to him is his teddy bear and a cooler)
Linkara: Seriously, what is with that song in this... (looks down to see the teddy bear) BEAR! Hey, what's with the cooler? Oh, I totally forgot. Today's your picnic day, isn't it? Did you need a ride? (the teddy bear and the cooler are gone now) Okay, just call if you need anything! (pause) He's a bear; how does he do that?
(Cut through black to Linkara now holding his bottle of alcohol)
Linkara: It also helps me to forget all the crap going on in the Blue Beetle comic.