February 23, 2009
He doesn't have a brain! He doesn't know the difference between right and wrong! Not Neutro, mind you, whoever thought this comic was a good idea.
Linkara: (seated on his Futon) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Today, we once again venture forth into the deepest depths of insanity known as... the Silver Age. As such, it's time for a little segment I like to call... (the following text appears that Linkara reads) "Comic History You Don't Care About But Need To Know In Order To Understand This."
(A montage of various comics, superhero or otherwise, spanning different time periods throughout the years, from Action Comics to the present day, is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Comic book history is usually defined in terms of ages. The first, the Golden Age of Comics, began roughly with the first appearance of Superman in "Action Comics #1", and began the careers of most the more recognizable heroes. It ended roughly around a point following World War II, when superhero books went out of fashion, and most were replaced with westerns, romance and science-fiction stories. Following that was the Silver Age, where older superheroes were revised with more of a sci-fi twist. It was usually known for how goofy and bizarre a lot of the stories were. The Silver Age ended when Spider-Man's longtime romantic interest Gwen Stacy was killed by the Green Goblin. The intermediate period is usually recognized as the Bronze Age of comics, with more of a focus on social issues and attempts to make comics a little more relevant. Then there was the Dark Age... and I'll save that for another day.
Linkara: In this case, we're venturing forth in 1967, when comics cost twelve cents, Superman could juggle planets with his pinky finger, and stories didn't have to follow anything, like logic or natural plot development. So let's dig into (holds up comic of review) "Neutro #1".
(Cut to a closeup of the comic cover)
Linkara (v/o): I'll tell you one thing: a lot of the covers back then knew how to suck you in. In this case, we have a giant robot attacking the city. He's shooting finger beams at two attacking jet planes, and he resembles Boris Karloff as the Mummy. Down below, Communist General Ben Kingsley cowers in fear, while Robert Mitchum and an aging Super Mario try to, unsuccessfully, listen to Casey Kasem.
Text: NEUTRO! The most astounding super hero of all!
Linkara: Cool! Why is he the most astounding?
Text: Neutro does not know the difference between right and wrong!
Linkara: (stunned) Oooookaaaay... that's not very good if he's a superhero.
Linkara (v/o): We open to this random montage of information about flying saucers and the history of them. I'm sure this is either educational or just mysterious, but frankly, I see all of this crap, and all I can think of is... well...
(A mysterious theme plays in the background briefly)
Linkara (v/o): The first true page of the book brings us to a thousand years ago.
Narrator: The sighting was viewed by more than 200 eyes and spoken of by more than 100 tongues...but only one hand "wrote" a record of the strange event...
Linkara: Pretty impressive, considering that according to the research I've gathered, Native Americans didn't really have written languages at this point.
Linkara (v/o): I do apologize ahead of time if it turns out I'm wrong in that fact, but fortunately, they get around that historical hiccup by saying it became a legend that was passed down from generation to generation to... vulture and cow skull.
Indian tribesman: It was here, the legend says, that the sun fell to the ground.
Linkara: The sun being saucer-shaped, silver, made of metal, and with a green dome on top of it.
Tribesman: (narrating) The first sign was a light in the heavens... My ancestors were terrified at first... But their curiosity won them over... They saw creatures, like themselves... yet different...
Linkara (v/o): (as tribesman) They were apparently setting up some kind of underground alien Walmart.
Tribesman: (narrating) After they left, a hill stood on the spot marking the burial grounds of the strangers' boxes...
Linkara (v/o): The undisclosed tribesman says that a warning was given to whomever tried to dig up the boxes.
Tribesman: "He who disturbs this resting place shall perish!"
Linkara (v/o): "Resting place"? So... what, the aliens travel thousands of light-years to dump their corpses in orange boxes in our deserts? The guy the Indian is explaining this to [John Dodge] says...
John Dodge: Nuts! And because of that silly so-called omen, the burial ground is lost forever...
Linkara (v/o): However, in one simple panel, he has a change of heart.
Dodge: No, I refuse to believe that the place is lost... just as I refuse to believe that the saucer legend is untrue.
Linkara (v/o): Who the hell talks like this?
Linkara: I accept to non-believe that the comic I am reading is un-stupid.
Linkara (v/o): He hires a group of men to dig in random hills in hopes of finding it, but after a few weeks in the hot sun, most of them give up.
Dodge: (to two of those who remain) Everyone has left but you two. Are you believers? Or maybe you're as crazy as they say I am!
Linkara: One panel later, the two remaining diggers apparently decided they didn't like being called crazy by their employer and quit. He continually goes out digging in random spots for the boxes, and in his anger, he smashes his shovel against something. For some reason, this apparently brings him to find something.
Dodge: It is true! These boxes, they're not like anything on this Earth...
Linkara: Orange boxes?! Sorcerer!
Linkara (v/o): He finds lots more of the orange boxes and stacks them up.
Dodge: What are they? What do they contain?
Linkara (v/o): Man, is he gonna be disappointed when he finds out he actually discovered all the discarded E.T. for the Atari 2600 cartridges. We learn our protagonist's name is John Dodge, and he brings the boxes back to a makeshift laboratory with his assistant Doc Banyan. However, he kind of looks like a bald James Doohan, so forgive me for indulging a Scottish accent.
Doc Banyan: M-Maybe we should leave them alone? Maybe, maybe there's a curse!
Linkara: (as Dodge) Oh, sure! I searched for months for the damn alien boxes, digging up half of New Mexico, so why don't you take 'em back and bury them again, jackass!
Linkara (v/o): Dodge forces a box open and they look inside.
Dodge: Great Scot! I don't believe it!
Doc: H-How? How is it possible?
Linkara: (pretending to look into the box) Ancient porno mags! It's full of ancient porno mags!
Linkara (v/o): No, actually, it's electronics. To make matters better, these electronics come with instructions, because when you're leaving a giant robot on a planet for a thousand years, no doubt in your attempt to make sure it harms no one again, you want to leave an instruction manual!
Doc: We don't know what we're building... or do we?
Dodge: Yes, Doc... we do!
Linkara: (reading a manual labeled "Neutro Deathmaster 9000") "Congratulations on your purchase of a Neutro Deathmaster 9000."
Linkara (v/o): In a short time, they fully construct Neutro.
Dodge: He has the power of countless men!
Linkara (v/o): Well, okay, four.
Dodge: He's virtually invincible. His only failing is... Neutro has no BRAIN!
Linkara (v/o): Hey, that's not a nice thing to say, especially when he's in the room with you.
Narrator: During the next few months, John Dodge and Doc Banyan learn what Neutro could really do.
Linkara: Surprisingly little, it turns out.
Narrator: He, Neutro, could bore his way through the center of the Earth...
Linkara (v/o): (as narrator) This proved to be a very unmarketable skill, what with the whole "blowing up the planet" thing.
Narrator: He could bend steel like paper...
Linkara: (as Neutro) Look at me, the brain the size of a planet, and they asked me to bend a steel girder. Life. Don't talk to me about life.
Narrator: He could make mighty rivers flow backwards...
Linkara: Physics is Neutro's bitch!
Narrator: He could destroy entire flotillas... He could destroy and bring to ground squadrons of huge bombers...
Linkara (v/o): Um, John Dodge, Doc Scotty, maybe you should stop blowing up the military...
Narrator: ...He could rip tanks in half... and rip up battalions of armed soldiers... He could swallow bullets like a baby swallows candy...
Linkara (v/o): So he chokes on bullets. Well, maybe this isn't so bad. Maybe it's Soviet tanks and ships...
Narrator: He could crush entire cities...
Linkara: (stunned at what he reads) What?
Narrator: He could crush entire cities...
Linkara: He's... They're... They're... They're testing Neutro... by blowing up cities?! It seems to me it's the two humans who don't the difference between right and wrong!
(Cut to a message on a black screen reading: "WARNING! What follows may be too awesome for your mind to fully comprehend!")
Linkara (v/o): But before we move on, I must preface this: what follows is quite possibly one of the most awesome things ever envisioned by any human being, and it will totally make up for Neutro being a weapon of horrible death and slaughter. You ready?
(Cut to a shot of the comic that Linkara describes below...)
Linkara (v/o): HE RIDES A FREAKING WHALE! That's right, a giant robot riding on the back of a whale! And listen to this narration...
Narrator: He could catch whales with a single hand...and if there were dinosaurs on Earth he could reduce twenty of them to ashes...
Linkara: Twenty-one, though? Then he's screwed.
Linkara (v/o): Also, Neutro's size seems to vary significantly. Next, we see him outracing a leopard, when just two panels ago, we saw him larger than the various buildings he was blowing up. Next, he's smaller than a herd of elephants trying to trample him.
Narrator: ...a thousand lions couldn't maul him...
Linkara (v/o): (as narrator) Three lions, though, can hump him.
Narrator: ...a thousand pythons couldn't crush him...
Linkara (v/o): You know, after the whole whale-riding and survival of a nuke, the pythons aren't exactly the high point to end on. So, after wrecking half the military of the world, annihilating a city, wreaking havoc at a zoo, and sending him back in time to vaporize twenty dinosaurs... no specific dinosaurs, mind you, just dinosaurs... the two discuss their newfound power.
Dodge: Maybe it would have been better if we never found those parts, never assembled Neutro.
Linkara (v/o): Gee, ya think?!
Doc: Yes... like maybe it would have been better if we never assembled the atomic bomb. But you can't hold progress back.
Linkara: Yeah, giant, city-destroying robot. (points to camera) Progress, ladies and gentlemen!
Dodge: Right! Now that we've got him we're stuck with him.
Linkara (v/o): Well, why don't you freakin' take him apart?! Because clearly the fact that he was put into freakin' parts to begin with means he can be taken apart again! Then put him in several boxes, and ship the parts a hundred different countries!
Doc: (narrating) Imagine, just imagine if you can, what exactly the robot Neutro could do if he was in the hands of evil powers.
Linkara (v/o): So, you're saying your hands are the right hands. Your genocidal, military-destroying hands are the good hands.
Doc: In the hands of evil powers Neutro could destroy the world!
Linkara: It's a good thing that the government instituted that policy that anyone who was evil had to have the word tattooed on their hands.
Narrator: They would force him to destroy the White House...
Linkara: (unenthusiastically) No. Please, not the politicians. Please stop.
Narrator: He could be made to destroy our atomic piles... He... Neutro... could be made to wipe out our space installations.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, thanks for clarifying by saying his name. I thought you were referring to Neutra, the giant space lizard two other scientists found! You know, we get another page of seeing what Neutro would do in evil hands. It's almost as if the huge, destructive robot in the wrong hands could be a bad thing. Maybe we should keep hammering the point as much as possible for people whose brains are apparently the size of a pen cap! They say that there are other transmission systems that could easily take over Neutro at any time, so their top priority is to keep him under control. And they do so by... leaving Neutro unattended in their laboratory while they go to lunch. Huh.
Linkara: Yeah, I'm glad these people were the ones who found Neutro. They seem like a responsible pair.
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, two evil scientists, or rather, Fu Manchu and Andre the Giant, plot to take over Neutro so they can – you guessed it – take over the world.
(Cut to the obligatory clip of the Street Fighter movie)
M. Bison: Of course!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): However, enough of them; let's get into the backstory for the evil deathbot. Various Neutro robots were planted throughout the galaxy by the Plutonians.
Linkara: (shaking his finger at camera) You see?! You see what happens when you say Pluto isn't a planet?!
Linkara (v/o): The plan was for the Plutonians to let a race build the Neutro robots, then take control of the people who controlled the Neutro robots, thus conquering the universe due to people being just plain stupid. As invasion plans go, it's actually not that bad, but apparently, the Plutonians must be really damn patient, considering they've waited a thousand years for someone on Earth to build the thing! And hey, Neutro is apparently weak to cold, as we see in this panel; the poor guy's shivering.
Narrator: And there was something that neither Doc nor Dodge understood...that right now a powerful group of scientists, hidden away in a European country were already planning Neutro's capture.
Linkara: Just a "European country"? Thanks for being so specific. (as person A) Hey, what language do you speak? (as person B, with vague accent) Uh, we speak... European. Ya.
Linkara (v/o): These evil scientists, who, of course, suffer from Youngblood's Disease, are having a jolly time talking about how they'll take over the world with Neutro. And you gotta love this guy here [the one who looks like Andre], with the bowl haircut and the massive overbite and Jay Leno chin.
Scientist: With Neutro on our side, we can gather all the world's wealth in a day.
Linkara: (as this scientist) Thus making the money worthless because of simple economics. (beat) Wait...
Linkara (v/o): But these two aren't the only ones plotting to capture Neutro. Here, we have a bearded fellow, who apparently plans to capture Neutro with test tubes, because of course that makes so much sense. I love the woman here just stirring the big pot of stew.
Linkara: (as this woman, pretending to stir something in a pot) Yes, dear, take over the world. Say, do you want pepper in this?
Linkara (v/o): What's weird about this is that they are all saying the same thing...
Scientist #1: We'll capture Neutro!
Scientist #2: We'll capture Neutro!
Scientist #3: We'll capture Neutro!
Linkara (v/o): Are they singing? Is this comic actually a musical?
Scientist #1: (singing) We'll capture Neutro...
Scientist #2: (singing) We'll capture Neutro...
Scientist #3: (singing) We'll capture Neutro... and then the world will be ours!
Linkara (v/o): Somehow, these scientists all know where Neutro is... Here's an idea: why don't you just go in with a gun and shoot them and THEN take Neutro! ...and send beams in from all sides to take over Neutro. All the various beams trying to take control of Neutro apparently are confusing each other... I think; it's not entirely clear. The two scientists, instead of trying to recruit, like, you know, good scientists or something to help protect the robot, just stand around while beams bombard the lab.
Dodge: There's a beam on us.
Doc: And on our equipment! It is both stronger then we are [sic] and stronger than our electro-magnetic equipment too!
Dodge: We must stop it! We must keep control!
Doc: We must cut that counter beam off!
Linkara: (as Doc) Let's stand around and say what we're gonna do and then do it! (beat) The engines cannot take it!
Narrator: In the ensuing months...
Linkara (v/o): Eh... Wait, MONTHS?! They fight against these rays for months, apparently forgoing sleep and not calling, like the U.S. military for help! Oh, wait, they destroyed the military! Thanks, guys, evil scientists are going to take over the world, because you decided to play "blow up the only guys who could track down and kill the evil scientists"!
Linkara: And the worst part is that Charles Barkley is only four years old at this point. Earth's greatest warrior can't come to the rescue, either!
Linkara (v/o): And again, instead of trying to take Neutro apart or sending Neutro out to destroy the scientists whose beams are trying to gain control over him, they try to hide away their own control box, then to chain Neutro up, even though the narrator admits that's a pointless idea, and basically just be completely ineffectual. Fu Manchu, now looking like an evil Uncle Sam, manages to finally take over Neutro. It easily breaks free of its chains and flies off, Fu Manchu screaming...
Fu Manchu-looking scientist: WHOEVER CONTROLS NEUTRO CONTROLS THE WORLD!
Linkara (v/o): Or, you know, the burnt-out cinder that remains of the world.
Doc: We've lost him!
Dodge: He's gone forever! Maybe not forever...
Linkara (v/o): Well, make up your mind!
Doc: Do you mean we'll get him back?
Dodge: We must get him back!
Narrator: A statement not meant lightly!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, thanks, comic, I thought he was just kidding around when he made that statement! Neutro travels to the poor, blinded evil scientists who are apparently called 777. So, what, they follow Aleister Crowley stuff?
Andre the Giant-looking scientist: With him, nothing can stop us. Nothing!
Fu Manchu-looking scientist: Except a stronger control transmission.
Linkara (v/o): Geez, every party needs a pooper. And so our comic ends with this epic warning...
Narrator: Is that true? Will Neutro belong to Group 777? Will Neutro be lost forever to Dodge and Doc in their struggle for good?
Linkara (v/o): Well, knowing their track record so far...
Narrator: All we do know is that Neutro is the most terrifying menace... and the strongest force of good the world has ever seen.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, I'm sure the alien robot of death that rains hellish destruction upon the world is truly a "force for good".
Narrator: Whichever group controls him holds the destiny of the world... Who will it be?
Linkara: (as narrator) You have five seconds to answer! (pause for five seconds) Your time is up! Judges say...
(Linkara looks to see the following phrase: "98% - Who %$#!ing cares?", ".1% - When's lunch?", ".01% - I had jello today.")
Linkara: Ninety-eight percent of you said, "Who the hell cares?" And we remind people that there is a 2% margin of error. (holds up Neutro comic) This comic is just stupid, and it outright lies to us. Neutro isn't a superhero, he doesn't do anything of his own power, and he kills lots of innocent people. There can be heroes who use giant robots or mech suits to fight crime, but really, when your robot can be taken over by evil so easily that–
(Suddenly, the ground shakes violently like an earthquake, almost throwing Linkara out of his seat!)
Linkara: (startled) WHAT THE HELL?!
(The ground shakes again, only it's not caused by an earthquake, it's caused by a giant robot stomping through the neighborhood. It looks like Neutro! People are heard screaming as the giant robot walks along. It stops briefly and fires a laser beam from its eyes, destroying something in the process, then walks again)
Linkara: (stunned) MY GOD, IT'S– IT'S NEUTRO!!! But who's in control of him?!
(Cut to Dr. Insano, sitting at the desk of the President of the United States. He is laughing crazily as he operates the controls of something, presumably Neutro)
Dr. Insano: Well, Linkara, what do you think of my latest acquisition, hmm? (laughs crazily)
Linkara: Dr. Insano! (points at camera) I should've known you'd be the one behind this! Becoming President of the United States could never be enough for you!
Dr. Insano: Of course! And now, using the most powerful robot ever constructed, I will crush your pathetic armies and rule the world! (laughs crazily)
Linkara: But how?! How did you gain control of him?
Dr. Insano: How? (holds up fist in air) With science, of course!
Linkara: Oh, well, I guess it actually does make sense. (points at camera) But I won't let you get away with this, you insane bastard! (takes out a coin) Magic coin, make my me grow! (beat) Wait...
(Suddenly, there is a flash that turns the screen white, while the "power-up" sound from the Super Mario games is heard. Then Linkara is seen again, now giant-sized himself and wearing sunglasses. He is seen confronting Neutro, holding up his fists)
Linkara: All right, Neutro, you may be a gigantic machine of mass destruction, BUT I'M A MAN!!
(Linkara punches Neutro, but being a robot, it has no effect on him)
Linkara: (clutching his fist in pain) OW! Son of a bitch, that hurt! Ah, screw it!
(Linkara takes out his magic gun and shoots Neutro with it. The robot sparks and flashes, then disappears. Linkara then puts back his gun)
Linkara: Yeah. Damn, I'm good. I'm glad I chose being awesome as a career.
(Stinger: Dr. Insano is seen at Neutro's controls again)
Dr. Insano: Oh, you like that, do you? (giggles) Yes! (suddenly, he becomes aware of something, presumably Neutro gone, and drops the controls) Oh, shit!