August 31, 2009
This makes the movie Glitter look like– ...No, I take that back. Glitter is still worse than this.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Readers of my blog and forum know that I always post a schedule of two months' worth of episodes at a time. This two months worth of episodes I like to think has a theme: the depths of which Marvel Comics will sink to.
Linkara (v/o): First, we started with "Cable #1", utilizing a popular art style and a popular character to make money. Then we had Star Comics, which was owned by Marvel, using a toy license to produce an extraordinarily boring series. And now we see them teaming with a record company to produce a music-based superhero.
Linkara: What's even more surprising is that this comic is not the first time they've tried to do that.
(Cut to a shot of the Marvel character Dazzler)
Linkara (v/o): Back in the 1970s, Marvel produced the disco-dancing, roller-skating singer named Dazzler, in association with Casablanca Records. Mostly thanks to Casablanca not knowing exactly what they wanted out of the character, it pretty much fell through, but Dazzler herself remains a cult favorite among Marvel fans.
(Cut to a shot of another, similar Marvel character named Nightcat)
Linkara (v/o): A similar idea came about in 1991 with our heroine today: Nightcat. The singer Jacqueline Tavarez had the stage name Nightcat, who had the same costume and had an album released by RCA Records. She even went to conventions in the costume to promote both the book and the CD.
Linkara: So what happened to her anyway? Clearly, her singing career must have taken off, right?
(A shot of the video cover for Tromeo and Juliet, where Tavarez played a minor role, is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Well, she apparently was in the film Tromeo and Juliet, which I'm embarrassed to say I've actually seen, and was in a Joey Buttafuoco music video. Huh.
Linkara: So, yeah, this comic was the high point of her career. So, let's dig into (holds up comic of review) "Nightcat #1".
(Opening titles are shown, followed by the title card for this episode, which has "We Like To Party" by Venga Boys playing over it; cut to a closeup of the cover)
Linkara (v/o): The comic was, interestingly enough, written by Stan Lee, which is something you'd think they want to advertise to the comic-buying populace right on the cover.
Linkara: Ah, well, maybe they figured the great popularity of Nightcat singing in... um, whatever genre she sang in would entice comic buyers enough.
Linkara (v/o): This cover of course is beautifully rendered, but it looks more like an album cover than something for a comic book. It tells us nothing about the character, except for the fact that she had apparently three cats that hang around with her. (the comic proper begins) We open to a splash page of Nightcat, who in the book is referred to as "Night Cat" with two words, despite that not being how it is in the logo, as she runs at the reader and looks like she's about to either kick the reader or leap off the building. It's not exactly clear. The narrator starts up.
Narrator: The female of the species. Beautiful. Passionate. Sensuous.
Linkara: (pointing to camera) And yours for $29.99, plus tax!
Narrator: And deadly.
Linkara: Ooh, maybe you shouldn't have eaten three, then.
Linkara (v/o): We cut from that vague narration to "ten years ago". A little girl is reading comics in her bed as her policeman father enters the room.
Father: I told you to put those comics away and go to sleep, kitten.
Linkara: (amused) Get it? He's calling her "kitten", and she's gonna be "Nightcat"! (chuckles) It's foreshadowing! Get it?
Father: You're just like your mom – always doing what you want!
Linkara (v/o): Gee, thanks for encouraging independence and free will, Dad. Officer Dad goes downstairs and sees his wife getting ready to go out.
Father: You're not going out again, Beth?
Beth: I have to, dear! They're holding a new audition at the Rock Candy Lounge!
Linkara: (singing) Rock candy baby, you're mine! (beat) I am such a nerd.
Linkara (v/o): He points out that she hasn't been well lately, thanks to stress and all the drinking she's been doing.
Beth: Please, Lou! You know how much singing means to me!
Linkara (v/o): And apparently, that means end of conversation, since the very next panel is the door slamming and the eponymous Lou gone, confusing even Beth.
Beth: Lou? Why can't you understand?
Linkara: I'd like to understand why he left without even another comment of some kind.
Linkara (v/o): Cut to, apparently, a few seconds later, where Beth is drinking liquor in preparation for that sacred audition. Because if there's anything that helps prepare for singing, it's booze! The future Nightcat [whose name is Jackie, according to Beth] comes down to her and asks her to sing a song before she leaves. She sings a song with the lyrics...
Beth: (singing) Don't change, don't change! Stay that way. You're okay. Don't change, don't change!
Linakra: (holding up a cup of coins) CHANGE! YOU GOT CHANGE?!
Linkara (v/o): Wow, I can't imagine how she could ever fail an audition with music that invokes so much imagery like "don't change". So, two panels later, she's dead. Father and daughter are in a hospital room over the dead body.
Lou: When she failed the audition, she drank more than ever. I-I couldn't stop her.
Doctor: You mustn't blame yourself. Failing as a singer, she lost the will to live.
Linkara (v/o): What, did the doctor read the backstory already? But good ol' Dad has this medical diagnosis instead...
Lou: It was the music that killed her! The pressure, the disappointment!
Linkara: Well, that and the cirrhosis of the liver, I'd say.
Linkara (v/o): He looks to his daughter and proclaims...
Lou: It must never happen to you! I won't let show business kill you, too!
(Cut to the panel of "Batman: Fortunate Son", where Batman proclaims...)
Batman: "Punk" is nothing but death...and crime...and the rage of a beast.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): We skip ahead a few years, and our intrepid heroine is now with a garage band, operating out of their local high school. It seems she's even inherited her mother's singing skills.
Jackie: (singing) 'Cause if you love me / We'll be together / We'll build a love / Like never before. / And boy if you love me / And love is forever / Our love will last / Forever more.
Linkara: Yeah, I can see that Britney Spears is quaking in her boots.
Linkara (v/o): One of her bandmates – and speaking of which, one of them is quite clearly smoking a cigarette within a high school – comments...
Bandmate: That sizzles, Jackie! Totally celestial!
Linkara: (as bandmate) Now, if we could only get you to sing like Enya, you could be totally celestial, too!
Linkara (v/o): I mean, seriously, who talked like that in the early '90s?
(90s Kid appears)
90s Kid: Duuuude! That dialog is just so bogus, man! I mean, we don't say weirdo stuff like that. That would be totally not bitchin'! I'd wig out if I heard someone talk like that. What kind of loser says nonsense like that? So totally whack, dude.
Linkara (v/o): Our heroine comments, for no particular reason...
Jackie: Then it's a wrap. Dad's waiting at home. He thinks I'm at the library!
Linkara (v/o): Thanks for providing exposition, Jackie; that's totally celestial of you. We cut back to– Geez, this comic's pacing needs to slow down for a minute. I know people don't tend to like decompressed storylines, but there is such a thing as moving too fast, you know. Anyway, we cut back to her home, where she gives good ol' dad her report card. Dad, for some reason, is drawn with a shirt that I can only imagine was designed by Rob Liefeld's of Hollywood, since it's really huge on him, to the point where the arms of the shirt are practically falling off of him, and the shirt's back shoots out from where he tucked it into his jeans. Jackie goes upstairs on the pretense of getting ready for a date, and the phone rings. Dad picks it up, and right away, the voice on the other line says...
Voice on phone: Jackie, did you rehearse the new song you wrote? You'll be a smash! Jackie? Hello, Jackie?
Linkara (v/o): So, the idiot on the other line didn't even bother to wait to confirm it was her? Especially since Jackie hasn't seemed to make it a secret that her father disapproves of her singing?
Linkara: (confused) Or is it that her dad has such a woman-y voice that he's easily mistaken for Jackie?
Linkara (v/o): Dad goes upstairs and tells her once again that he forbids her to sing, that she's grounded. Oddly enough, the shading on it makes him looks like he's wearing a Nazi uniform and has a Hitler mustache! He reiterates that it supposedly destroyed her mother's life and that he won't allow it to happen to her.
Lou: No singing! No music!
Linkara (v/o): So, I guess iPods are out of the question for birthday gifts, then. Jackie calls up her friends and informs them that she can't sing and that they'll have to use someone else. They inform her that they'll have to use Melissa, and, lo and behold, the next day, we see Melissa talking to Jackie. For some reason, Melissa seems to be suffering from Youngblood's Disease, since her eyes are nonexistent for two panels and closed in another panel. See what happens when you let bad comics get produced, kids? Melissa gloats...
Melissa: They finally wised up, Jackie! Now I can prove I'm better than you! But don't worry. You won't lose track of me. You'll see my records all over!
Linkara: Man, is she gonna be disappointed when she walks into a Target and asks what the heck all the tiny discs are and where the heck all the records are supposed to be.
Linkara (v/o): Immediately, Jackie runs into the friend she spoke to on the phone and berates him.
Jackie: Thanks a ton, Johnny! It sure didn't take you long to replace me!
Linkara (v/o): LADY, YOU TOLD THEM YOU WEREN'T GONNA BE ABLE TO DO IT, AND HE SAID RIGHT THERE HE'D ASK MELISSA! It's a little late to complain now! The next page skips ahead a few years again, so she's in college and apparently studying criminology.
Linkara: So far, this hasn't been as much about a superheroine as it is just somebody's photo album.
Linkara (v/o): Jackie and a friend of hers go to a music store. Shockingly, it's all records! Okay, Stan Lee couldn't have been that out of the loop! This comic was released in 1991, and CDs have been on the market for nine years at that point! Her friend mentions a singing contest, and after seeing that Melissa has actually made it big in the music industry, decides to go for it.
Jackie: That singing contest you mentioned. What are the rules?
Linkara: (as Jackie's friend) Well, you have to get berated by this loser British guy named Simon.
Linkara (v/o): Jackie arrives home and thinks...
Jackie: (thinking) It's early. Dad won't be home yet. Just as well. I've got a lot of thinking to do!
Linkara (v/o): And by "thinking", she means "speaking out loud to herself", which is what she does for the entire rest of the page, and throughout the comic. She comes to the conclusion that she's an adult and has her own life, but she doesn't want to hurt her father.
Jackie: I don't want to break my promise not to sing--but music is my life!
Linkara (v/o): "Promise to her father"?! What promise?! She got ordered by her father not to pursue a singing career!
Jackie: I know Mom would have understood!
Linkara: Or she would have passed out on the couch with a bottle of gin in her hand, but I digress.
Jackie: My favorite comic book characters never have this problem!
Linkara (v/o): Besides for, you know, all the ones that do have that sort of problem! Or maybe it's just that her favorite comic book characters are the ones on the wall: Catlass, Superfeline, and the Night Meow.
Linkara: (massaging his forehead) This comic makes me want to caterwaul.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, she realizes that since some superheroes she can have one, too.
Jackie: All I need is a needle and thread!
Linkara (v/o): And what does she make with just "a needle and thread"? It's an all-leather ensemble with a huge, cleavage-exposing V-line down her front that's laced together, as well as huge shoulder pads, a black headband, tassels coming down from the shoulder pads, black electrical tape around her arms... or is that supposed to be cloth? ...thigh-high high-heeled boots, and what I presume to be a black wig. Oh, and no mask.
Linkara: Yeah, your secret identity is safe! Unless somebody, you know, looks at you!
Linkara (v/o): After singing what I can only presume to be a pop song about love that totally does not match up to the black leather, laser light shows, and etc., Nightcat somehow manages to win the competition. Just look at that audience. (dramatically) Crowds of up to four applauded wildly! (normal) Some oily record executives meet her after the show to have her sign the contract when she realizes that she can't use her own name. And of course, her reasoning is flawless.
Jackie: Dad always calls me "kitten." And my costume is dark, dark as night!
Linkara: Not exactly (as Batman) "I must spread terror in the hearts of criminals, so I will become a bat," (normal again) is it?
Linkara (v/o): The oily executive loves her suggestion of "Nightcat", saying...
Executive: We'll bill you as a singing super heroine! With your voice and our promos, you'll be a sensation!
Linkara (v/o): Or, you know, it could just be a stage name, like "Sting"! Our narrator informs us...
Narrator: The Nightcat becomes the singing sensation of the nation.
Linkara (v/o): We're reassured of that with a montage of her showing up on the cover of Rolling Stone, Time, and on MTV. Remember when MTV actually talked about music? Her agent assures her...
Agent: You're a natural, Jacqueline! You've got beauty, talent, warmth!
Linkara: (as agent) And you have exposed cleavage that everyone can stare at instead of listening to your awful singing!
Linkara (v/o): Jackie goes home, thinking about how she feels bad that she has to keep secrets from her father. When she comes in, her father informs her he's going deep undercover.
Lou: Top secret cops and robbers stuff!
Linkara: (feigned excitement) Gee willikers! I hope he can stop those naughty people hepped up on the drugs, boy howdy!
Linkara (v/o): It also turns out that her dad's never even heard of Nightcat, so I guess it doesn't really matter that she tries to conceal her identity. Jackie realizes that it's getting to be too risky and that she needs to get a place of her own. Probably a good idea since you're, like, 26, from the looks of you. Also, a note on the artwork. Apparently, someone was having fun with their Photoshop airbrush, since every other time we see her, she's got pink blushing on her, even in places that really shouldn't have any blushing, like her lower arm or her cleavage! Now we cut to where she buys her own BUILDING, apparently! THE HELL?! SLOW DOWN, STAN!! Where the hell did she get all the money for this?! Folks, we're only page twelve here! She talks to her agent about it, who tells her they'll install a recording studio in it.
Jackie: Why do I have this sudden feeling of danger ahead?
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Puma Man)
Tony: I get this way when I sense danger.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The next day, Jackie is at the recording studio. She spots a rather grim-looking man walking down a hallway, and he has quite the noticeable scar on his face. She realizes that she's seen him before from his picture in the paper and follows him, realizing he was a criminal in a drug bust. She waits until the guy goes to make a long distance call from a pay phone and decides that she has to see what's inside of his metal briefcase. Somehow, she reasons that the call will take him a while to make and goes into a nearby office and opens it up, revealing that it's filled with packets of cocaine!
Jackie: (thinking) This whole studio must be a headquarters for drug pushers!
Linkara: That's quite a leap. Yeah, I know plenty of musicians are drug addicts, but why would the studio be pushing it? Seems to me that's kind of counterproductive to making music.
Jackie: (thinking) But it can't be! This building is owned by Amanda Gideon, the famous millionairess!
Linkara (v/o): And there's your stilted, forced-exposition dialog for the day, folks. All of a sudden, a metallic hand grabs her neck from behind and lifts her into the air. It turns out to be a huge, bald, black guy who proclaims...
Black man: You're a snoop! Miss Gideon don't like like snoops!
Linkara: Finally, someone else who doesn't like Snoop Dogg!
Linkara (v/o): The scarred guy comes in, and bald, black guy with metal hands scolds him for almost losing the drugs. Somehow, during this, Nightcat fell unconscious, and they carry her out back to a truck. Does this seem like a wise move? It seems to me that to avoid culpability, they could just claim the guy was acting alone when he was carrying the drugs around and not try to drag a financial asset like Nightcat around. Going across town, the narration caption tells us about Miss Amanda Gideon.
Narrator: Heiress, real estate tycoon, night club owner! One of the wealthiest people in New York!
Linkara: If that's the case, why the hell is she dealing drugs? She clearly doesn't need the money!
Linkara (v/o): We cut to Miss Gideon's laboratory, where she's accompanied by a mad scientist. She asks...
Miss Gideon: Is the subject ready for his injection, Dr. Ecstasy?
Linkara (v/o): "Dr. Ecstasy"? "DR. ECSTASY"?! This is written by the guy who created Spider-Man, right?! On this page, it looks like he's had a seizure, since he's grinning insanely and has one eye open wide while the other's closed. Miss Gideon tells him to inject the "gorilla serum" into the patient, and he does so. The man on the operating table immediately gives an expression as if he just got pinched on his butt and leaps off the operating table. Dr. Ecstasy says...
Dr. Ecstasy: Perfect! He thinks he's an anthropoid ape!
Linkara (v/o): And you know this simply because he jumped off a table. Hell, I would be doing that if I was in a room with a guy called Dr. Ecstasy.
Dr. Ecstasy: See his agility! His strength! His balance!
Linkara: (as Dr. Ecstasy) See his naughty bits, since he's completely naked!
Linkara (v/o): So, how does he figure he has strength, agility and balance from a guy who just leaps twice. Oh, and then he falls over, dead. Miss Gideon walks out with the two goons in tow who she tells not to...
Miss Gideon: ...bandy my name around, you fool!
Linkara (v/o): But the doctor was just calling you, and everyone knows who you... Ah, forget it! Anyway, bald, black guy with a metal hand, now identified as Krak by Miss Gideon, brings in the unconscious Nightcat. Miss Gideon recognizes her and says it's unfortunate that she had to find out, but that...
Miss Gideon: She'll be a perfect subject for Professor Ecstasy!
Linkara: Okay, now it's "Professor Ecstasy"?! Make up your mind, lady!
Linkara (v/o): One guy remarks how she looks like Jackie– Hey, he's supposed to be Nightcat's dad! I get it now! Wow, the artwork is so bland I couldn't tell at first. Krak starts carrying her away, and Miss Gideon remarks...
Miss Gideon: Lucky girl! Her records may sell better than ever, once she's dead!
Linkara: Or, you know, don't kill her, so she can produce more than one record!
Linkara (v/o): Dr. Ecstasy straps Nightcat to his operating table and decides to provide some exposition about his magical serums...
Dr. Ecstasy: I'm creating a new designer drug, you see! It gives the user the same traits as the donor animal!
Linkara (v/o): He explains this while he draws some blood from a cat and then extracts some more chemicals using the same syringe. He puts them in a beaker that has a skull and crossbones on it. Subtle.
Linkara: You know, I don't think this guy is a registered HMO.
Linkara (v/o): He then injects Nightcat with all of this. The dad thinks about how he can't leave Nightcat alone in the lab with Dr. Ecstasy and runs to the lab with his gun. Just he starts to read him his Miranda rights, the good Dr. Ecstasy interrupts with a monologue that would have made me shoot him four times, but then again, I'm not a policeman.
Dr. Ecstasy: My, my! A noble minion of the law in our midst!
Linkara: (holding up his magic gun and pretending to shoot it) Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang! (beat) Bang! See? Easy.
Dr. Ecstasy: Surely you wouldn’t interrupt a surgeon in the middle of a delicate operation. Especially when that operation-- will be on you!
Linkara (v/o): Dr. Ecstasy grabs a scalpel and leaps right at Officer Dad, who subsequently shoots him dead. Officer Dad quips...
Lou: I had to do it. I don't have Medicare!
(Canned laughter and applause are heard)
Linkara: Yeah, I'm sure the Board of Inquiry will love that one.
Linkara (v/o): He helps Nightcat off the table, once again thinking that she looks like his daughter. The rest of the goons suddenly break in and open fire, shooting him at least seven times through the torso. Nightcat cries out with a dull expression...
Linkara (v/o): ...and holds him in her arms. He recognizes her as his daughter, and she says she’ll spend her life making it up to him. Miss Gideon rolls her eyes and comments...
Miss Gideon: That female is beginning to bore me!
Linkara: You're not the only one.
Linkara (v/o): She orders the goons to kill her, but with Churchillian determination, Nightcat’s nails suddenly spring out red claws and– Wait, what the hell? Yes, they even make a "Snik!" sound, as if this was freaking Wolverine we were talking about. The narrator goes into full swing here...
Narrator: And what had been a mere show-biz name... is now for real! No longer is Jacqueline Tavarez a frail and vulnerable female!
Linkara: On behalf of women everywhere, thanks, Stan. Thanks a whole bunch.
Narrator: The injection of Dr. Ecstasy has finally been successful! And a snarling, hissing, clawing Night Cat strikes with the speed of a cougar!
Linkara (v/o): Or... the speed of a common house cat, since that’s where the serum came from. Let's not forget some useful fight dialogue from the goons.
Goon 1: She fights like she's got nine lives!
(Linkara laughs weakly)
Goon 2: Stop 'er! She can't--
Linkara: (singing) ...decide whether you should live or die? Oh, you'll probably go to heaven, please don't hang your head and cry; no wonder why my heart feels dead inside– (suddenly stops singing) Oh, I'm sorry, I thought we were in a musical now, since, you know, all the music in the comic.
Nightcat: Wrong! The Night Cat can!
Linkara (v/o): Can what? For all she knows, he was going to say, "She can't sing!" Anyway, to make a long story short – too late – Nightcat beats up all the goons as Miss Gideon and Krak walk away to a nearby helicopter. While Nightcat’s simply amazed in her newfound abilities, Miss Gideon is unconcerned about losing her goon squad...
Miss Gideon: She's saving me the expense of having to pay those bumblers!
Linkara (v/o): Way to look on the bright side, lady. Nightcat tries to grab hold of the helicopter as it takes off, but it's too far out of reach. Suddenly remembering that her father has been shot repeatedly, she runs back to him. And so, Nightcat and her father have a tearful goodbye. Actually, no tears seem to be shed on either side, and both have their eyes closed throughout the whole thing as he dies.
Nightcat: I never wanted to disobey you, Dad! I love you, Dad!
Lou: Hush-- Kitten -- I understand. You mustn't-- cry. You -- had to follow -- your heart.
Linkara (v/o): You got over half a dozen bullets in your chest; you should be gargling blood at this point! The police soon arrive, and in only one line of throwaway dialogue do they wonder what the officer's daughter was doing there or how she knows that Miss Gideon is behind the drug ring. Jackie adopts the cat from the lab, naming it Midnight while the police tell her not to worry and that they'll handle things. Later, they call her and say they've closed the case since there's only evidence against the deceased Dr. Ecstasy and not Miss Gideon. Uh, fingerprints anyone? Stan Lee apparently decided to take a Creative Writing class, since at the funeral we get this skillful narration...
Narrator: The sky was bleak and overcast. The air damp, the chill wind sharp and stinging. A good cop had died. Nature herself seemed to be mourning.
Linkara: I take it that the night was also dark and stormy.
Linkara (v/o): After the funeral, which lasted all of two panels, Jackie goes back to her dad's home and speaks to herself.
Jackie: I'll move everything into my own apartment now. There's nothing to keep me here anymore. How carefree I was when we took this photo! Who could have guessed how it would all end up?
Linkara (v/o): Are we in a Shakespeare play now? Quit the soliloquy!
Jackie: But why am I so morbid?
Linkara (v/o): Um, because your dad died?
Jackie: This isn't the end! It's a new beginning! I'll have the career Mom always wished for!
Linkara: (as Jackie) In your face, Mom!
Jackie: Somewhere, somehow, I know she'll be pleased. And Dad went out a hero, just as he would have wanted!
Linkara (v/o): I think he would've wanted to live and catch the criminals, actually. And thus follows a brief montage of Jackie preparing herself to be a crimefighter. Since this is really dull, enjoy this '80s montage music.
(To the tune of "You're the Best Around" from The Karate Kid, said preparations involve Jackie buying computers, new cars, working out, and taking a shower)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and on the next page we learn she still attends classes, too. Riiiiight... Following a pointless sequence of her discarding her friends, we see she's back in the recording studio making songs! How in the hell is she still working?! Amanda Gideon owned the studio, thus also owning Nightcat's contract! Her agent walks in and tells her it’s time for her to start going on a concert tour.
Nightcat: No! I can't! If I tour, Amanda Gideon will always know where to find me! That mustn't happen -- until I'm ready for her!
Linkara (v/o): Always know where you are?! You're going into her recording studio and making songs through her company! She ALREADY knows where you are!
Linkara: You have in fact done NOTHING to conceal yourself!! But the scary thing is this isn't even the most completely implausibly stupid thing in this comic. Oh, no! Behold...
Linkara (v/o): It's at this moment that Stan Lee walks into the room!! Yes, true believers, you read that correctly: Stan Lee actually walks in and says he likes her style and wants to make her into a superhero comic. I... what?!? In the next panel, Stan actually has the gall to write this...
Narrator: Hey, talk about dangerous precedents! Talk about dangerous precedents! After this, the whole blushin' bullpen will wanna see themselves in every future Nightcat story!
Linkara (v/o): Words fail me. Suddenly, I understand the real reason why this didn't last past one issue. Anyway, back to, you know, the story! Nightcat apparently knows some local arms manufacturer since she has them build some sort of special weapons for her. Oh, and she even uses her own name while in the Nightcat costume!
Manufacturer: I created these weapons as you requested, Miss Tavarez. But I don't know why--?
Nightcat: The reasons are my own!
Linkara (v/o): ...she responds.
Linkara: Yeah, nobody will be suspicious about any of this.
Linkara (v/o): Back in her apartment, Nightcat grumpily states...
Nightcat: I've got the most sophisticated computers money can buy. And I've fed them everything I know about Amanda Gideon's operations! But I still can't get a handle on what she's doing--or where she's doing it!
Linkara (v/o): Lady, just because you type in "Amanda Gideon is a mean drug-dealing criminal who kind of shot my dad and gave me superpowers" into a text box on Windows 3.1, doesn't mean it's gonna give you all the answers!
Nightcat: Could be I'm trying too hard!
Linkara (v/o): Or you're not trying at all and expecting some computer to just work things out for you! She turns on the TV, giving us some poor exposition.
TV announcer: --and, due to the pollution problem, the garbage scow has been floating from port to port--with no city willing to accept the trash!
Linkara: (as TV announcer) This has been Plot Convenience News, providing you with relevant plot information since "Amazons Attack".
Linkara (v/o): And by the by, this little piece of news is probably referencing the Mobro 4000, a garbage scow that had been famously shipped from harbor to harbor by a few idiots in the 1980s who thought they could make a quick buck by selling the trash to another city to take it off their hands. This made people believe we were running out of room to put our garbage. That's complete bull, of course, but hey, as previous comics have shown, that's never stopped writers from referencing these things. And there's your history lesson for today, kids!
(Cut briefly to a shot of the closing of NBC's The More You Know PSA before returning to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, this somehow makes Nightcat have this rather large leap of logic...
Nightcat: A garbage scow! Wouldn't that be a perfect place for Amanda Gideon to hide her drugs!
Linkara: Erm, seems like a terrible place to hide drugs, actually, especially since the media and the government have been watching it, but hey, then again, I'm not an evil, rich drug dealer.
Linkara (v/o): Nightcat, somehow possessing uber hacker skills, hacks into the garbage company's files and discovers that Gideon owns the company. So, wait, if the garbage scow going from port to port was owned by Gideon and being used for her drug operations, why was she trying to unload the thing to other cities?! Nightcat arrives at the port and spots a group of goons are loading drugs into a truck. One of them opens fire on her, but apparently, the powers of a housecat allows her [sic] to spin her weapons around really fast and deflect bullets with her staff. Anyway, she defeats the goons and starts narrating to herself.
Nightcat: Claws! Night vision! Feline agility!
Linkara: (holding up his fist) Heart!
Nightcat: This Night Cat bit isn't too shabby! I was right-- a truckful of drugs! Lucky I came prepared for a little encore!
Linkara (v/o): I can just imagine the embarrassment that would've followed if it turned out these guys were from the Coast Guard and were just getting some medical supplies off the boat. But instead of turning them in to the police, Nightcat decides to just load up the truck full of drugs up with explosives and send it careening off the dock and into the garbage scow, blowing them both up! Well, thanks for polluting up the New York harbor even more, Nightcat! And now we get to see Nightcat's glorious vehicle, the Cat-illac!
Linkara: Okay, I do actually kind of like the pun, even if the car itself looks really stupid.
Nightcat: If I say so, myself, I wasn't half bad for a rookie superhero!
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, you blew up all the evidence and left a dozen suspects unconscious on a pier. You’re doing real well there, Nightcat! Over to Miss Gideon, who spends an entire day hearing about how Nightcat keeps screwing up her life, from learning about her drug shipment getting messed up while she fights off three heavily-muscled men, to going to a book signing and hearing about her courier getting knocked out, and then having her chauffer get tied up while at a casino. So Nightcat just spends her whole day attacking people who probably didn't do anything wrong just to piss off Miss Gideon? And what does Amanda Gideon have to say about it?
Miss Gideon: Amanda Gideon will not be taunted by a nowhere pop star!
Linkara: THEN FIRE HER, YOU IDIOT!!! YOUR COMPANY OWNS HER CONTRACT!!
Linkara (v/o): Apparently, her agent knows about her double-life as a superhero, since Jackie gets an RSVP invitation for Nightcat to play at Miss Gideon's casino and he states...
Agent: Jacqueline, it could be a trap!
Jackie: Of course it is! That's why nothing could stop me from going.
Linkara (v/o): I– Huh?! Oh, but here's where it really gets weird. She's driving in her Cat-illac and she proclaims...
Nightcat: Lucky my four ninja-style dancers were available.
Linkara: Ninja... style... dancers.
(Cut to a ninja dancing to "We Like To Party" by Venga Boys; back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Wow. Over at the stage, said ninja-style dancers have been roped up by real ninjas! Yes, they're all wearing the same black outfits and masks that cover up everything but their eyes and they proudly say...
Ninja 1: It was thoughtful of Nightcat to send you to us!
Ninja 2: But we felt that real ninjas would make the act more authentic.
Linkara: (clenching his fist) Is there no honor among ninjas and ninja-style dancers?!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the real ninjas exposit that they're going to kill Nightcat at the end of her show. Sadly, we're subject to more of Nightcat's stupid lyrics. I covered this in "Batman: Fortunate Son": lyrics in comics aren't a substitute for actual music!
Nightcat: (singing) Timeless and precious / The moments we share / In a world where love's so rare!
Linkara: Well, I know it's pointless, but BOOOOOO!
Linkara (v/o): One of the ninjas suddenly attacks her with his sword and she realizes that this is the trap that Miss Gideon had planned for her. And so, we have a brief fight scene of Nightcat facing off against the ninjas. As cameoin' Stan narrates...
Narrator: The ninjas are skillful, deadly. But they've never fought a fearless feline before!
Linkara: (as narrator) Yeah, that dedication and training to being a ninja is nothing when you go up against a mediocre singer who's been injected with cat blood and had a training montage.
Linkara (v/o): She says that...
Nightcat: The audience is eating it up!
Linkara (v/o): ...and decides she might as well keep singing. But I won't subject you to that and instead play something more apropos...
(During the next few panels of her singing while fighting the ninjas, "Ninja Rap" by Vanilla Ice plays briefly)
Linkara (v/o): So she beats them and returns to her dressing room, where Krak is waiting for her. There's a brief exchange of banter about how Miss Gideon wants her eliminated and blah, blah, blah. You know, I'd pay good money for a comic about some ninja-style dancers at this moment. The fight scene is boring and nonsensical, so I'll skip it. In the hallway outside, she leaps over more goons towards an elevator. What's confusing about this is that the door was clearly closed when she leapt over them, but then the next panel shows the door closing again!
Linkara: We had both an editor and an assistant editor on this book, and nobody caught this?!
Linkara (v/o): The goons warn the people on the top floor that she's on her way up, but when the elevator doors open there, all that's in the elevator car is a gas bomb. Cutting to the next panel, we discover Nightcat has somehow gotten outside and is scaling the building with just her claws. She thinks to herself...
Nightcat: My new cat's instinct warns me of danger on the roof!
Linkara (v/o): So, not only do we get a blatant recycling of Spider-Man's wall-crawling, but his Spider-Sense, too?! Look, Stan, you're not a one-note writer, so stop rehashing your successes! Nightcat reaches the roof, where Miss Gideon is waiting for her, proclaiming that she’ll finally be rid of her forever. Nightcat replies...
Nightcat: I dunno, for a modern, happening chick, you sure sound like a dork!
Linkara: Oh, I get it! Stan's going senile! He thinks he's in the 1960s, writing Spider-Man.
Linkara (v/o): Gideon leaps at Nightcat, and I'll spare you the rant I could be making about the fact that Nightcat is fighting off this woman while wearing high heels or that Gideon's basically fighting in her underwear. Gideon goes for the knife wound in her leg from the fight with Krak, which has apparently stopped bleeding. It must be that relative healing power of a housecat or something. Nightcat manages to fight back, calling Gideon out on her drug-dealing. Gideon balks in return...
Miss Gideon: Don't speak to me of scruples! Some of us are above any moral law!
Linkara (v/o): Nightcat calls back...
Nightcat: Wrong adjective, sweetie! You're further below than a belly-crawling slug!
Linkara: Boy, you really read the Riot Act to her, Nightcat. Ouch.
Linkara (v/o): Nightcat then pulls out her flashlight and shines it irritatingly in her eyes.
Nightcat: (thinking) Now! I'll blind her with my cat's eye light!
Linkara: (angrily) Look, shut up! You're an embarrassment to singers, superheroes and singing superheroes!
Linkara (v/o): And then she... Actually, I have no idea what the hell she does. It looks like she just headbutted Miss Gideon by bringing her head down really fast, which somehow made Miss Gideon turn upside down and tumble away from her. Miss Gideon grabs hold of Nightcat's hair, holding it for support as she goes over the edge. This also seems to reveal that this was her real hair the whole time! Miss Gideon proclaims that she'll never let go, but Nightcat just cuts off the strand she's holding onto with her claws, sending her to her death. How heroic. And so, our comic ends with... erg, more singing. She dedicates the song to her mother and father and screeches...
Nightcat: (singing) Don't change, don't change!
Linkara: (throwing something at camera) BOOOOO! Bring on Dazzler!
Linkara (v/o): After the show, Nightcat walks out of the back of whatever seedy bar she was singing at, where appropriately there’s only one reporter and cameraman waiting for her. He asks...
Reporter: The Gideon drug ring is smashed thanks to you! Any comment?
Linkara (v/o): Nightcat responds...
Nightcat: Just one. To all the human jackals who prey on helpless, innocent victims-- the cat has just begun to prowl!
Linkara: And there you have it, folks, the life and high point of America's hottest new singing sensation. Be sure to stay tuned in for a very special episode of VH1's Behind the Music, where we learn how Nightcat's career tragically ended that very night, when she was arrested for several murders as well as driving a cat-illac that didn't have any insurance.
Linkara (v/o): This comic sucks! Immensely so! The plot makes no sense, the characters aren't interesting, and the artwork was obviously rushed!
Linkara: (holding up comic) I have nothing pithy to say beyond that, so instead, just enjoy some ninja-style dancing!
(Credits roll to the ninja from earlier, dancing to "Ninja Rap")
Nightcat never appeared is anything else [sic] ever again. I suppose there's some justice in the universe, though I admit I'm curious about the album that was released.