June 17, 2013
Space espionage at its dullest and most uninteresting!
Linkara: (looking depressed, with his head on his hand) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. You know, we live in an age of miracles and wonder.
(Cut to a clip of a Louis C.K. concert film)
Louis C.K.: We're all just so mad: "I hate my phone, it sucks!" No, it doesn't! It's amazing! The shittiest cell phone in the world is a miracle!
(A montage of modern technological marvels is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Say what you will about Louis C.K., but he's right about this point: we have such amazing technology at our disposal these days. A guy in Japan can take a photo of a flower, put it on Tumblr, and in an hour, it's been viewed by 50,000 people all across the world. We can communicate instantaneously to any point on Earth. Chris Hadfield can perform his rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" on the friggin' International Space Station. Hell, he did regular videos from Earth orbit itself! Speaking of space...
(A screenshot showing a diagram of the Alcubierre Warp Drive is shown)
Linkara (v/o): ...scientists are saying it's possible we could have Star Trek's warp drive in your lifetime and mine! Interstellar and planetary flight!
(The modern technology montage continues)
Linkara (v/o): We have 3D printers and advancing medical technology and crops that grow in any environment and feed the hungry.
Linkara: (frustrated) So why is it, if the time we live in right now is so miraculous and awesome, that most of the time that we see the future, like in "SCI-Spy", it's always so stupid?!
(Cut to black)
Linkara (v/o): Previously on the "SCI-Spy" reviews...
Linkara (v/o): Sebastian Starchild, AKA James Bond without the charisma, charm or Lazenby, is a dude in the future who is special because he hasn't been genetically or technologically modified. He is charged by a computer named Motherbank... Mother Machine last week, Motherbank this week... Stop naming your computers after your parents! ...to infiltrate a space terrorist group called Shadow Black and subsequently takes them all down or something, I don't know. I really have a hard time remembering this stuff. I remember sugar cubes in space releasing man-eating robo-bugs or whatever, and Starchild and a woman named Nile being the worst secret agents ever, since all they do is walk into a bar and ask to become members of a terrorist group! I also call them "characters" in the loosest definition of the word. They are very bland, emotionless, and seem to only display personality traits when they're convenient for a single conversation and are then quickly forgotten so they can get back to being boring. Maybe we'll get to actual spy stuff this issue. Or maybe I'll just throw the comic onto the futon in anger like I usually do.
(Editor's note: "Hey, look! Cybermats!")
Linkara (v/o): It's all pretty likely at this point.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "SCI-Spy #3" and hope that in this one, we have Timothy Dalton playing Starchild. It certainly makes for a more interesting performance.
(AT4W title sequence plays; title card has "Space Oddity" playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): While I'm reading from a trade, the "SCI-Spy" covers never fail to be rather lame. This one features Nile resting herself in a rather uncomfortable position against the borders of the cover, while Starchild poses with his gun, and there's a purple starfield behind them. It is a very bland cover that tells us nothing about the contents of the comic other than the fact that Nile wears uncomfortable-looking high heels for her so-called "spy work". Nothing else to say, except that Nile also looks like she's bored out of her mind. I don't blame her.
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open on...
Narrator: Naga: Harshest of the Outside Worlds, virgin and uninhabited, a planet of barren crystals...
Linkara: (narrator voice) Soon home to many fast food chains.
Linkara (v/o): Nile and Starchild have landed here to try to stop the evil space robot bugs, because I guess they found out they were from here, I guess? I don't know. There's a reason why it takes so long for me to review each issue of this series: I usually fall asleep while reading it. They take out some large weapons and have on spacesuits that apparently have fins and scales on their backs, I imagine to make the spacesuits go faster. They're heading towards an ammonia ice cave in search of the Lucifer File... that I think was brought up last time?
Nile: Perfect place to stash the "Lucifer File."
Starchild: Also a perfect place for something else.
Nile: Such as?
Linkara: (as Starchild) Our personalities. I almost expressed an emotion the other day and I need to get rid of it before it spreads.
Starchild: Our death-trap.
Linkara: (as Starchild) So let's just walk right into something that's probably a trap without any kind of plan on how to deal with said trap.
Nile: Then we'll just have to steal the cheese without getting our tails snapped.
Starchild: Sounds like a plan, Nile--but one with a problem.
Linkara: Namely that that's not really a plan. It's more of a mission statement.
Linkara (v/o): A robotic snake thing comes down to attack, but they shoot it before it can grab them.
Nile: A Mech-Sentinel. Good eye, Starchild-- but no cheese.
Linkara: (as Nile) Not even a delicious cream filling.
Linkara (v/o): Also, I just noticed that Nile's spacesuit is custom-designed to be skintight on her. Admittedly, they probably needed an artistic cue to make the two look different, but considering later on in the comic there's actual nudity, I can't help but feel the artist just wanted to draw another woman in tight clothing. They head inside deeper and find the Lucifer File... which is apparently sealed inside of a metallic polyhedron. (dramatically) Behold, the Ancient Mystic D100! A man once tried to play "Dungeons and Dragons" with this sacred tool and was forever cursed by its power!
Starchild: Tempting us from the end of what looks like a gauntlet.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, a gauntlet. If by "gauntlet", you mean "a bad modern art statue".
Linkara: Eh, I guess it's not that weird. I mean, I keep my USB flash drives on top of a lizard, like this. (holds up a toy horse)
Linkara (v/o): Now, the next line of dialogue suggests that he meant a gauntlet, as in a difficult challenge or punishment or whatever, but look at this panel. It's a big open room with ice columns! That's not a gauntlet, either. Anyway, Starchild wants to actually have a plan to grab it, but Nile decides that now would be a good time to be an idiot by running straight at the thing and tripping a laser sensor.
Linkara (v/o): The columns blow up and unveil a bunch of adorable frog creatures with cybernetic enhancements. Aw, look at them! They're so cute! They can leap around and have sharp blade things attached to their sides that can stab people. It's just so cute!
Linkara: (scanning a Cybermat) And they seem strangely familiar to me, as if they remind me of something, but... for the life of me, I can't figure out what.
Linkara (v/o): And these assholes just SHOOT THEM AND BLOW THEM UP! You idiots, keep one intact, reprogram it, and make it a pet! This comic has discovered a whole new way to piss me off! Anyway, Nile grabs the file off its pedestal, which sets off another trap. The cave begins collapsing around them. They make a run for it and manage to escape the ice cave before it completely falls on them.
Nile: Perfect trap maybe, Starchild--but only until it met our unsnapped asses.
Linkara: Are asses usually known for snapping?
(He shrugs and swings his rear to the side. It makes a snapping sound as it does, to his amazement)
Linkara (v/o): And so, they fly back to get the Lucifer File to Motherbank, and right the hell out of nowhere, Nile throws this out...
Nile: Sounds like a plan without a problem-- Your place or mine?
Starchild: Ever been inside a Tesseract?
Nile: See, I knew I'd get you to talk dirty.
Linkara: Ha! Yeah, she sure did know that she'd get him to talk dirty! (nods awkwardly) When the hell was that established? And why does she suddenly want to make out with him? And what's so dirty about a Tesseract? It's just a friggin' holodeck.
Linkara (v/o): We suddenly cut ahead to whenever the hell later, and Motherbank reports that the information from the Lucifer File has disabled the evil bug thingies. So... comic over? Please? Pretty please?
Motherbank: Mission accomplished, et cetera, and it's nice to see you've buried your mutual animosity. I want you to know that should you decide to become lov--
Starchild: Privacy, Motherbank.
Linkara: Isn't it just like a mom to care too much about your dates? Or in this case, the woman who said you looked like a pimp in the previous issue and then you called her a bitch? This comic is stupid.
Linkara (v/o): The two walk along the holographic beach together and talk about how it doesn't feel like the danger's over. Naturally, she has become Holly Goodhead to his Roger Moore. I know it seems a little sudden, but it must have been how he wooed her with his charm and charisma... (laughs uproariously at the absurdity of it all) Oh, man, I couldn't even finish that sentence.
Nile: Feels like the worlds was far too easy. But maybe we just work well together. ...And maybe in more ways than one.
Linkara: (as Nile) What I'm trying to say is, do I shake your martini? (grins suggestively and raises his eyebrows up and down)
Starchild: I counted at least five, Nile...
Linkara: (as Starchild) I do have a bit of genetic modification, Nile. I have four down there. (as Nile) Penises? (as Starchild) No, nipples. I have a lactation fetish. (grins suggestively)
(Cut to Linkara putting on a blue coat; he looks to the camera with a startled look)
Linkara: Oh... You caught me in between costumes here... Uh, we'll be right back.
(He walks off as the AT4W logo appears, and we go to commercial; upon return, we see Linkara again taking off his blue coat and replacing it with a silver one)
Linkara: Uh... Qapla' or something. We're back. (the AT4W logo appears in the corner) I'm running out of costumes!
(Back to the comic again as the review resumes)
Linkara (v/o): And after scaring the crap out of her with a holographic giant shark, she's in the mood for some bland, emotionless spy lovin'. We cut to them in bed together, naked, probably because he finished early, and it was kind of awkward afterwards, and he wasn't that great at it anyway, and the lactation thing just kind of got weird after a while. After he dreams of all the weirdos he had encountered in the previous two issues, his computer wakes him up and informs him that Nile went back to her space station a few hours ago, probably because she couldn't stand his snoring. He looks out onto his holograms of people, and the computer comments that it's a beautiful scene.
Starchild: Whole lot of everything, orb--except what I want.
Linkara: (as Starchild) I just want to be a spy who wears bright pink neon tights! Is that so wrong?
Starchild: Either way, I'm still alone...
Linkara: (as Starchild, singing) All by myself... Don't want to be...
Starchild: (narrating) Forever alone.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Scrubs)
Dr. Cox: (lying on the floor, reading a newspaper) God, you're boring.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Nile teleports back down to his place and whispers to him that he needs to pretend like the mission is indeed over and they'll go for a romantic evening out. As such, she takes him outside and informs him that she traced the path of the space sugar cubes and discovered that it didn't come from the Outer Worlds like they originally thought, but actually a black hole closer to them, which logically nothing should be able to escape from.
Linkara: (holding up index finger) Ah, so those machine people who rebuilt V'ger when it fell into a black hole also sent a care package of other killer robots.
Linkara (v/o): Starfile [sic] tries to justify the non-science here when it comes to black holes by suggesting that this is actually a wormhole and that this is a lot bigger than just some rogue terrorist organization. I might actually be interested in this revelation except for the crappy artwork, with Starchild's massive eye there. This seems to be a recurring problem with this artist. The other two issues had Starchild having crappy proportions on his face, too. It's not helped with all the closeups, either, and it's Nile's turn. Her eyes are suddenly in a completely different design from the more angular, cat-like eyes we've seen before, and these are more human, if out of proportion. Anyway, Starchild says that Motherbank must have known the true origin of the cubes and kept them in the dark about it, thus confirming what Terrorist Dude from the previous issue said about Motherbank not being trustworthy. They decide to go off and investigate, aaaand for some reason, this panel has been separated into four panels because... why? They were trying to show someone spying on them or something; I'm not seeing anything. There really is no reason for these panels to be separated. We cut to two days later, at a warehouse on an Outer World, where one dude is complaining to another about the crap they're bringing in and wondering what the hell the guy they work for does with this stuff.
Warehouse worker: Consumes it, enjoys it, trashes it. Why do we care?
Linkara: (as another warehouse worker) Because we're here to provide clumsy exposition. Didn't you even read your employee contract?
Warehouse worker: How the hell does he burn through so much crap so fast?
Linkara: Hmm, obviously, he's an Internet reviewer. We absorb garbage media into ourselves to grow more powerful. (takes a DVD of The Andromeda Strain and rubs it on his chest) Yes, Andromeda Strain miniseries! FEED ME!
Linkara (v/o): Nile and Starchild walk in, wearing the exact same concealing outfits as the other guys, yet somehow these dudes instantly realize that they don't know them.
Warehouse worker: Who the hell are you two?
Starchild: We two... are the new crew.
Linkara: (as Starchild) You know, the New Crew. We're a sci-fi-themed boy band, looking for new members.
Linkara (v/o): Seriously, was that supposed to be a quip? I don't even get it. Okay, well, it turns out the dudes in suits are actually the crew of a freighter bringing the stuff up to whoever they were talking about, and that's why they don't recognize the two. But then still, why did they need to say the line about the New Crew? Whatever. Oh, and you think we're done with the dumb dialogue? Starchild tosses a popcorn ball at the two that floats in front of them, and here is their reaction...
Warehouse worker 1: They're hijackers! But is this thing what I think it is?
Warehouse worker 2: You're thinkin' a popper?
Warehouse worker 1: Yeah.
(Cut to a clip of the game Resident Evil)
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): They're just standing there, not even trying to run away from the explosives that go off in their faces! They get through all of that without even a "Get down" or anything! I would add the Bulk and Skull music to these clowns, but I'd hate to give them that kind of dignity. Anyway, the super-duper-spies take the freighter up to a space station, which is home to the Outer Worlds' magistrate. They quickly storm the cargo bay and blast their way through some robots until they arrive at the Pleasure Dome of the magistrate, which features lots of women with boobs that I have to censor. Well, thank God we have this scene or else there wouldn't be naked women in this sci-fi spy thriller or whatever. And yet, I can see more personality in the naked women with lustful expressions than I've seen in our leads. Anyway, they tell the magistrate to cooperate or else they'll kill him and that they've already taken out all his guards and robots. Uh, were there only, like, three guys on the entire station? You were implying a minute before you were in a hurry, and this place looks pretty damn big from the outside. Also, despite having no issues knocking everybody else out or killing people if they don't get their way, suddenly, they seem iffy about killing all the naked ladies. Said naked ladies also start groping our heroes, producing more horrible artwork, like Nile's massive head versus normal body. This makes even less sense since Starchild calls them "teched-up dolls", suggesting they're just sex robots, so why not shoot them?
Linkara: Well, obviously, it's because then the naked ladies would have blood or technological circuitry exposed. And thus, they would be unsexy. (nods, then rolls his eyes in frustration)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, they identify themselves as SCI-Spy agents, and the magistrate says that they work for Motherbank, who is apparently the magistrate of the Inner Worlds, too. He confesses to working with that Shadow Black terrorist organization before, but that he hasn't seen them in months, claiming to have no connection with what happened with the sugar cubes and robo-bugs. Nile doesn't buy it and says that he's just covering up about the black hole, but the magistrate insists that there's an alien force involved in this.
Nile: There are no aliens! We've searched for more than a thousand years! There's no one but us!
Linkara: (incredulously) REALLY?!?
Linkara (v/o): You're seriously telling me that ALL the creatures we've encountered in this comic, the alien bug assassins, the naked lizard robot in the other room, ALL of the things that have CLEARLY been aliens, are just more of the genetic modifications thing, but they're all still humans?! This comic is really freaking dumb! Also, Nile, where the hell is your neck, and why is your shoulder protruding off like that for the wretched perspective in this panel? The magistrate hits a button at his bar, which opens up the floor and reveals a tank filled with orange soda. The magistrate says that he encountered what's inside of the tube, and Starchild just jumps to the conclusion that whatever it is came through the wormhole. The magistrate says that it came from the old home world, from Earth, but Nile awkwardly explains that that's impossible because the Earth was destroyed and their ancestors migrated from there.
Magistrate: A lie, Agent Nile, nothing but an audacious cover story-- concocted by your precious Motherbank to mask the truth. Indeed, Earth's actual fate is veiled behind the Arcturus System's great secret and great shame.
Linkara: (as magistrate) It was decided long ago that instead of producing new episodes of Sherlock, they'd just move the entire population of Earth!
Linkara (v/o): No, in fact, the secret is in this weird-ass alien thing in the tube.
Magistrate: Our history is nothing but myth, a clever myth-- even I believed it--until Shadow Black brought this to me...
Linkara: You people apparently have genetic modification to the point where people can look pretty much anyway, so why didn't you believe it was just a dumb hoax? And why don't the two spies believe it's a fake?
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with the magistrate stating that Earth wasn't actually destroyed, but instead, humans were thrown off of Earth by these aliens and are now going to use the wormhole to come and conquer humanity. WELL, WHY THE HELL DIDN'T THEY JUST DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE?! And why do they still care about doing this a thousand years later with secret robot bugs, instead of just flat-out trying to conquer them?! They seem strong enough to kick us off of Earth the first time without resistance!
Linkara: (angrily holding up comic) This comic sucks! It's boring, the characters are idiots, the dialogue is unnatural, the artwork even more unnatural, and the revelations are lame! (holds up index finger) Just remember, my friends: as technology advances and even more wonders are achieved, try your hardest to not make the future as STUPID AS IN "SCI-SPY"! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
I suppose the "unsnapped asses" could refer to the mouse trap comment about snapped tails, but it just seems awkward and doesn't need the arrogance behind it, either.
Plus it just sounds stupid.
So despite being in the future and apparently all humanity exiled from earth, we still have mice and mouse traps? Or was it just the board game that survived in the future and they make up legends about the giant mice that had to be fought in the ancient past?
(Stinger: Linkara picks up the DVD of The Andromeda Strain)
Linkara: I'm rubbing a DVD on myself. What has become of my life? (laughs)