Channel Awesome
PSA Hell: Captain America Meets the Asthma Monster

Cap America asthma monster.png

July 17th, 2018
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Captain America meets the Asthma Monster… but forgets to exchange business cards.

(We cut to Linkara sitting in his futon.)

Linkara: So, apparently, in the contest of champions, a contestant can request to use another competitor's space as neutral battlegrounds in their fight! So, right now, down in my office, there is a zombie fighting a chef!

(Faint sounds of fighting are heard offscreen.)

Linkara: Yeah, I'm not getting anywhere near that. In any case, hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. And welcome, my friends, to PSA Hell!

(The opening for PSA Hell rolls.)

Linkara: Like last week's episode, it's back to 2011. I wanted to do some PSA Hell before the tenth anniversary, but the thing is most PSAs are done in ones. Ah. Except, in this case, I reviewed the sequel before the original.

Linkara (v/o): Captain America: Return of the Asthma Monster featured...the return of the Asthma Monster, a supervillain determined to spread asthma to everyone on Earth. In case you haven't seen that episode, I won't spoil his reasoning other than it is incredibly dumb and he is defeated by simply giving him asthma medication. He also had a band of demonic imp things working for him called the Allergen Gang that are never explained but also loved to work with his incredibly specific motif. The funny thing is that the actual educational information given out in the PSA was good; it's just the plot was so silly you couldn't take anything about it seriously.

(Back to Linkara.)

Linkara: So, let's dig into Captain America Meets the Asthma Monster and see what justified this guy appearing more than once.

(After the At4W theme song rolls, the title card comes up, with the Captain America theme in the background.)

Linkara (v/o): The cover's okay. Pretty straightforward. It is indeed Captain America meeting the Asthma Monster as the other characters look on in horror with said monster spraying purple gas right at Cap. Also, that blonde girl is totally checking out the Asthma Monster's ass. We begin with a page recounting the origin of Captain America.

Narrator: Steve Rogers! Too puny, too sickly to be accepted by the Army!

Linkara (v/o): Maybe so, but check out his arms in this panel. Steve was apparently the original Mr. Fantastic. But, yeah, of course Steve couldn't get into the Army, so he chose to be one of the first test subjects of Mountain Dew. And thus, after taking that serum, his muscles grew out, and he became Captain America.

Narrator: Despite every precaution, the dread specter of Nazism appears at that triumphant instant, in the form of a desperate, murderous Gestapo spy!

(Back to Linkara.)

Linkara: And it's a good thing we never had to deal with the Nazis ever again! (beat) Oh, I made myself sad.

Narrator: Then, in the days that follow, Steve Rogers is given a dramatic new identity by the High Command! Garbed in a memorable costume, armed with a mighty shield, spurred on by an unquenchable love of liberty, Captain America blazes into action with the dazzling speed and power of a red, white and blue rocket!

(Back to Linkara.)

Linkara: Exploding in a nuclear hellfire like a red, white and blue rocket!

Linkara (v/o): We begin with the title and really a better title than Captain America Meeting the Asthma Monster -- Attack of the Asthma Monster!

Linkara: Oh, wait. Clearly, this is the sequel, with the original being The Phantom Asthma Monster and the follow-up originally being titled Revenge of the Asthma Monster!

Linkara (v/o): A few kids in class are ignoring their teacher writing about her new boyfriend Chad, and are instead discussing Captain America making an appearance a benefit at a mall.

(Note; The teacher, Mrs. Murray, is actually writing a chapter of a Social Studies subject on the board.)

John Wilson: Oh, wow! This is awesome! *coughs* I can't believe -- believe -- *coughs*

Linkara: (as the narrator) Little Jimmy (John Wilson) is too excited about Captain America. Don't be like Jimmy. Don't be excited about Captain America.

Classmate #1: What's wrong, John? You sound like a beached trout!

Linkara: (as John) How -- how would you know that?

Linkara: (as classmate) Oh, I torture fish for fun. I'm getting my own PSA next week about animal abuse.

Linkara (v/o): John is, of, course, having an asthma attack, which a nearby kid decides to mock him for.

Ralph: Sure, he's okay! Otherwise, he couldn't go see Captain America, could you, John? They don't let sicko nerds in to see him, dude. Sickos couldn't stand the excitement!

Linkara: Big talk from the kid who looks more like a stereotypical nerd than John does. Hell, I am a gigantic friggin' nerd, and even I wanna dump your books for your ass foolish attitude!

Linkara (v/o): A classmate (Mike) informs the teacher that he's having an asthma attack, and she directs him to go to the nurse.

Mrs. Murray: Go see Miss Grady in the infirmary, John! Take your medicine, and ask her to let you lie down and rest till this attack has passed.

Linkara: (as Mrs. Murray) And if you pass out on the way there... Well, I can't spare any children to go with you, otherwise they'll never learn about Chad!

Linkara (v/o): Arriving at the nurse's office, John is given some medication and told to lie down for a while. He laments his illness, since it feels like he spends most of his life in the nurse's office as a result of the asthma.

John: (in thought) I wanted to be like Cap. To fight evil and do lots of good stuff. But then I got asthma.

Linkara: Good deeds are impossible for asthmatic people. Supervillain all the way!

John: (in thought) I might as well forget being a hero now! I'll just lie around for the rest of my life doing nothing!

Linkara: Well, it's not entirely true. I mean, you could spend the rest of your life playing Pokémon and other Game Boy games. I know that doesn't seem like a viable career path now, but wait until YouTube comes around.

Linkara (v/o): The nurse brings in a girl (Ruth Johnson).

Miss Grady: I brought you a companion in misery.

Linkara: (as Miss Grady) Enjoy your depression and self-loathing, kids!

Linkara (v/o): This is Ruth, who's also suffering from asthma.

John: can't have asthma! You're captain of the swim team! And you can't do anything when you've got asthma!

Linkara: (as Ruth) Yeah, well shut up and keep it to yourself! I've got a sweet scam going here, and your blabbermouth might tip them off!

Linkara (v/o): He also expresses how he hates taking his medication in front of the other kids because it makes him feel different.

Ruth: I used to feel that way, too. Only my parents helped me learn bout asthma!

Linkara: (as Ruth) Doctors were surprisingly useless.

Ruth: They even sent me to Asthma Camp to learn lots of ways to help myself!

Linkara: (as Ruth) Much better than that Sleepaway Camp I went to the night before. Like ninety percent less murders.

Linkara (v/o): Ruth educates him about things that might trigger an asthma attack: allergens, excitement, that sort of thing.

Ruth: My stomach always feels funny before I get an attack. Sometimes it warns me, and I can prevent an attack by changing what I'm doing!

Linkara: (as Ruth) And that's when I start vomiting!

Linkara (v/o): The two are interrupted by a scream from outside the room. Rushing out, they discover the nurse being attacked by the Asthma Monster, who is leaping at here through the air for some reason while shooting a purple gas at her.

Asthma Monster: If I can't breathe, then NO ONE can breathe!

Linkara: I think your corporate slogan could use some work shopping.

Linkara (v/o): Just to cement his douchebaggery, upon spotting the kids coming out of the other room, he sprays them with gas as well.

Asthma Monster: AH HA! Children! Sickly little children, skulking in the infirmary! Soon to be sicker still! The Asthma Monster has spoken!

Linkara: (as the Asthma Monster) He has no one in particular, because he doesn't have any friends.

Linkara (v/o): The gas, emitted from something called an "Aller-Gun" -- because you need to stay on brand -- has no effect on the kids because of the asthma medication they take.

Asthma Monster: So, you little beasts have learned of the antidote! But I know where you get it! And I will destroy it!

Linkara: (as the Asthma Monster) Walgreens, prepare to meet your demise!!!

Linkara (v/o): The Asthma Monster teleports away -- because having asthma gives you that power -- and the kids quickly put together how his weapon works. John wonders if they should give their medicine to the nurse, but Ruth rightfully points out that while it looks like asthma, it might not be, and taking other people's medicine is potentially dangerous. They run for help, but quickly discover every classroom has already been attacked by the monster.

Asthma Monster: Couldn't resist! Zapped every classroom!

Linkara: Oh no! He hit Miss Wilson's class! The Tandy Computer Whiz Kids are useless now!

Linkara (v/o): They realize that even if it is asthma, they don't have enough medicine for the entire school. John suggests they contact Captain America.

Ruth: That's great! Only...the Asthma Monster is just stealing breath! He's not messing with national security or anything!

Linkara: Hey now! Captain America cares about stuff in schools, too, you know.

(A clip of Captain America's detention PSA from Spider-Man: Homecoming is shown.)

Captain America: So, you got detention.

Linkara (v/o): Still, since he's going to be in town, they figure it's the only shot they have. Other than, you know, the police. They use the hotline number on the advertisement for his mall appearance and leave a message with the answering machine with details about what happened. Still, despite that little diversion, they do decide their next course of action is to go get the police. But instead of calling 911, they run outside to look for one. Unfortunately, the Asthma Monster has already begun hitting people outside, too. However, they soon spot help arriving.

John: Ruth! That van! I've seen a picture of it! Look, it's --

Linkara: The A-Team! (The A-Team theme plays.)

Linkara (v/o): NO! Of course, it's Captain America and his very bright yellow van. I don't remember if that was ever a thing in the comics, but Cap did have a van in the Reb Brown TV movies. So, let's assume that's what they were going for.

(A scene from the 1979 Captain America pilot film is shown.)

Steve Rogers: Pretty mellow set of wheels.

Dr. Mills: Yeah.

(Back to the comic.)

Captain America: My computer relayed your message promptly!

Linkara: (as Captain America) Hotlines concerning mall appearances are my primary means of communication! I once spoiled the Red Skull when I was a stand-in for the Easter Bunny.

Linkara (v/o): After explaining how they avoided getting infected with the universal allergen, he calls the National Guard to help get asthma remedies to the school as well as doctors to more thoroughly examine their condition. Mind you, this does make me realize how stupid the Asthma Monster's plan is, since asthma's not that uncommon a condition, and therefore, the amount of medication that must exist in the United States alone would be more than you could ever hope to destroy. Meantime, Cap's going after the Asthma Monster himself.

Captain America: No, I'm not alone! I have a couple of witnesses here who are eager to help me!

Linkara: (as Captain America) These ten-year-olds will be invaluable help against the murderous supervillain!

John: But...I can't run for long! Every time I do, I get an attack!

Linkara (v/o): And Cap reveals this shiny motorcycle.

Captain America: Don't worry! You won't have to!

Linkara: (as Captain America) Here are the keys, kid! Go and take her for a test drive!

Linkara (v/o): Fortunately, the bike comes equipped with little child-sized helmets for them to wear. So, remind me again why Cap is bringing the children with him on this trip? Anyway, John thinks he knows where the Asthma Monster is headed next.

John: He noticed our medicine and worried that it might thwart his plans! And Dr. David has lots of it in his office! I'll bet the Asthma Monster went there to destroy it!

Linkara: Man, it's a real pity that there's only one doctor in this town with access to asthma medication.

Linkara (v/o): Because of all the excitement, the kids start having an attack. Since he can't just stop and let the kids use their inhalers -- almost like this was a stupid idea bringing them, Cap -- he walks them through some breathing exercises to try to keep them calm.

Captain America: Just close your eyes...and imagine that the wind blowing past you is blowing all your worries and excitement away...

(Cut back to Linkara as the sound effects of a speeding motorcycle are heard in the background.)

Linkara: (shouting) Just imagine being at peace as we prepare to fight a supervillain alongside a famous superhero while on the back of a totally quiet, serene motorcycle, kids!

Linkara (v/o): It works, and they ask how he knew how to do that. He admits that he had asthma when he was young.

John: You did?

Linkara: (as Captain America) Yep, and then I became a science experiment that basically cured me of any potential illnesses!

Linkara: (as John) Can we be science experiments, too?

Linkara: (as Captain America) I'm sorry, but the Nazis made sure that it would never happen again.

Linkara: (as John) Aw! The Nazis ruin everything!

Linkara: (as Captain America) Yes, John. Yes, they do.

Linkara (v/o): After he explains how being calm helped him take his medication and helped control his asthma attacks, eh was able to more thoroughly work on improving himself, despite his condition. And those lessons carried over to when he fought supervillains. It's good stuff for the PSA, but on the other hand, you know what's another way of keeping calm? When you don't have to worry about the lives of children whom you inexplicably brought with you! Anyway, they reach the doctor's office and find him being attacked by the Asthma Monster.

Asthma Monster: The antidote! Tell me! Where do you keep it?

Dr. David: No! I'll... *cough cough* ...never tell!

Linkara: (as Dr. David) At least I won't when I'm incapable of breathing, you idiot!

Linkara (v/o): Weird how he keeps referring to it as an antidote and not, you know, medication. It's not like asthma is a poison or something.

Asthma Monster: So the children have arrived! And brought a strapping big hero to help! Good! You all can watch me destroy the antidote!

Linkara: (as the Asthma Monster) The antidote that I cannot find! Man, I'm bad at this.

Linkara (v/o): Cap punches him before he can teleport, but the monster shoots out some gas at him. Despite coughing, Cap continues to fight. The kids try to help, realizing that using the asthma medication on the monster might stop him. As such, Dr. David shows them where it is, and they spray some inhalers right into his face. Must've been some thick stuff, too. It creates enough of a mist to blind the Asthma Monster's eye shields over his mask. After Cap whacks him over the head with his shield, the Asthma Monster exclaims his anger about all this.

Asthma Monster: All my magnificent dastardly plans...ruined by a couple!

(A scene from Wayne's World is shown.)

Old Man Withers: And I would've got away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you snooping kids!

Linkara: Dude, you couldn't even get one doctor to tell you where he kept the asthma medication. Your plan was doomed before it even began.

Linkara (v/o): After the kids pass out some inhalers for the doctor and Cap to use, the Asthma Monster takes off his mask, proclaiming that he can't breathe, either. He tries to teleport out, but Cap socks him with one punch to bring him down. So, yeah. His little Scooby-Doo temper tantrum wasn't even accurate when Cap is the one who lays him out. Since he's having trouble breathing, they decide he must've breathed in some of the allergen, too, and try to give him the inhaler, but he refuses to take it. He admits that he got asthma when he was a kid.

Asthma Monster: But I hated asthma! It made me feel sick *coughs* and different!

Ruth: But you could have helped yourself like we did! taken your medicine and --

Asthma Monster: NO! I didn't want to! I didn't want to breathe like other people! I wanted them to be like me!

Linkara: You know...occasionally, I get commenters saying that they hate that I recap and and review the comics, they just wanna see the comic panels, and nothing else. Maybe, you know, hear me doing the voices for the characters. But that's it. And the still doesn't sound as idiotically entitled as you do, moron!

Asthma Monster: So I planned and studied! *coughs* I became an inventor! And I made a sealed suit and wore it! It protected me from all my *coughs* asthma triggers! Let me breathe only pure air! But I still couldn't breathe normally *coughs* and I didn't want anyone else to be able to do it, either! I planned to fix it so nobody could breathe -- only me, inside my suit!

Linkara: You spent years of your life studying engineering, chemistry, textile science... Also, you could execute your massive, inefficient, quite flawed plan to make everyone else on Earth unable to breathe just because you didn't want to deal with your easily treatable asthma???

(A clip from the ABC Afterschool Special episode News Radio is shown.)

Lisa: This is the saddest after school special I have ever seen.

(Back to the Captain America comic.)

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the cops arrive to take him to jail, John reflecting on how he felt similar to the Asthma Monster, that he'd always be sick and different and wouldn't be able to do much with his life. But this experience has proven him wrong. And so, our comic ends with the two talking to Captain America about how John will be joining up with Ruth's swim team, the Asthma Monster being dragged away by the police, and proclaiming that he'll have his vengeance.

Linkara: And, yes. There was that sequel comic where...he did not get his vengeance, and indeed took his asthma medication and realized, "Oh, hey, this isn't so bad." And, yeah. THIS COMIC SUCKS!!!

Linkara (v/o): The actual PSA components of it are perfectly fine, encouraging and educational, but the story itself is pretty stupid. The Asthma Monster's plan and motivation are ridiculously dumb, even for a sense of entitlement to where he feels like only he should be able to breathe. The fact that he didn't consider how asthma medication could counter his stuff, plus his assumption that he could just rid the world of the medication and that would be the end of it shows just how lame and idiotic this guy is. It feels like it could've been better if he didn't have that motivation. If he was just some guy who happened to be using a gas that didn't affect people taking allergy medication, then that'd be something. Or if he was planning on releasing something in such a widespread contamination that they wouldn't have enough meds to really counter it before people died. Not so much "I will make billions of other people try to get sick by spraying every single one of them with this gas." Add on the bizarre decision by Captain America to bring the kids along and this whole thing is just not that good.

Linkara: Next time, we return to the world of Marvel and DC crossovers with the second time that Superman and the Amazing Spider-Man teamed up. And...hopefully, I'll return to my office. (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)

(Credits roll.)

Come to think of it, why did they switch from the van to the motorcycle at all?

So did the Asthma Monster's parents never give him any asthma medication when he was a kid?

(Contest of Champions update)

George Reece: Hi, I'm George Reece. Here's a brief update on the current standings in the Contest of Champions.

(the updates are shown)

George Reece: We'll see you again tonight from the latest from the contest relative to your universal science scale.