You'd think a comic about an alien cyborg woman trying to nuke Saturn's moon while a cosmic surfer, an armored war machine, and a man wielding Norse weaponry try to stop her would be far less dull than this is.
Linkara: Well, let's dig into (holds up comic) "Secret Defenders #9", and I'll show you.
(Cut to Linkara holding a Power Rangers sword in one hand and a Dogbert doll in the other)
Linkara: Of course! The bombs were secret hidden in the coconuts the entire– (suddenly becomes confused) the entire– (suddenly, a record scratch sound is heard as he hangs his head) I'm sorry, I just can't do this. (takes off his hat)
(Cut to Phelous sitting his chair; he spins around to face Linkara, wearing sunglasses and a coat, and a machine gun at the ready; he becomes confused as he hears what Linkara says)
Phelous: Wait, what?? What's the matter?
Linkara: Phelous, this is an important episode. Everyone loves these "previously on" segments, and this is gonna premiere the theme song! But what I'm being told is that we could only spring for (holds up index finger) one guest star!
Phelous:(taking off his coat and removing the sunglasses) Yeah, well, everyone's been pretty busy since the brawl. (looks at his watch) Oh, I can only really give you five minutes.
Linkara: But how is this gonna look to the fans?! (mockingly) "Oh, he can only bring in one other guy! Clearly, Channel Awesome trying to shun the stupid comic book guy!"
Phelous:(looking at his watch) Whoops! Sorry, Linkara, time's up.
Phelous: Yeah, well, you know how it is, especially when I have to film Street Fighter comedy! (rolls eyes, gets up and storms off, muttering to himself)Street Fighter comedy! Think of all you're proving, and I wouldn't even hate that comedy...
Linkara:(calling out and reaching one arm out) Phelous! Dude! Dude, I'm sorry! It was a joke, man! (sighs)Pollo, you want to come here and save my bacon?
Pollo:(from offscreen) You just leave me out of this.
(Linkara slumps down in the futon, hanging his head)
Linkara (v/o): And now–
Linkara: OH, SHUT UP!! (sighs and shakes head)
(Cut to something new for this show: a theme song! Set to footage of past episodes of this show, the song, written by Vincent E.L., plays)
(This is followed by something else new for the show: a title card for the episode, set to some kind of song; in this case, it's "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson; cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): There are so many thematic elements that I can think of with this cover. I can see menacing figures surrounding heroic individuals making a brave stand; overwhelming demonic forces closing in on them with sinister grins; a brave, noble comrade has fallen; and a villain is poised to reach her hand across the universe and crush entire stars.
Linkara: You know, all the things that AREN'T happening on this cover! Instead, we have an ugly mixture of poor coloring, bad anatomy, and bizarre shading!
Linkara (v/o): I mean, look at this! It's better than issue 9's cover, but the colors don't flow nicely from one to another; they're just sharp contrasts that end up hurting your eyes. The villains aren't in any way threatening, with musculature that's more at home in a parody than a professionally-published comic. What's with the jack-o-lantern guy back there? Why is there a goblin carrying a melee weapon into combat when everyone else has guns? And why, in the name of all things sacred, is Nebula doing a Michael Jackson pose?! ("Smooth Criminal" plays briefly as the comic proper begins) When we last left our heroes, they were about to be assaulted by Nebula's lieutenants, Kruk and Kurg, who apparently had their nerve endings cauterized to make them not feel pain.
Thunderstrike: Oh. Wow. This is gonna hurt.
Linkara: Like you wouldn't believe.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and remember how in the last one, I was wondering where Nebula's flagship was? It's there now all of a sudden, as if the artist suddenly remembered she was supposed to have a ship! Let's talk about the art again for a second, since then I won't have to talk about the story. For the sake of argument, let's pretend that the anatomy on the people is okay for stylization purposes. Hell, I'll even grant that the spaceship looks pretty damn good. But what the hell is going on with the backgrounds?! They're either nonexistent or they're skylines with alien planets and moons. I remind you, this is taking place on Phobos, a moon of Mars! You know, in the SOLAR SYSTEM?!
Linkara: That whole "nine planets" thing?
(I STILL COUNT PLUTO.)
Linkara:(scoffs) Bunch of malarkey! We have at least twenty planets, and some of them are green, purple, pink and magenta. Astronomy is a lie!
Linkara (v/o): Back to Nebula expositing her plan. Oh, for the love of... Nebula! What the hell are you doing?! That trenchcoat looks stupid enough on you, but now, all of a sudden, you've decided to go into sexy pose mode! I know you're the only woman in the comic, but did we really need to have you be posing for Maxim in the comic?! Really?!
Nebula: I plotted too well, too precisely, to allow a pair of imitation heroes from Earth to actually pose a threat to my designs.
Linkara: I remind you all, her (makes "air quotes") "plotting" and "designing" basically amounts to "dropping a bomb on a planet".
Linkara (v/o): The two heroes, however, are not impressed. Then again, neither is anyone else reading this.
Thunderstrike: When I said this this is gonna hurt... I meant THEM.
Linkara: They're not really quite grasping the whole "feel no pain" thing, are they?
Thunderstrike: I'll take the big ugly one.
War Machine: Well... that narrows it down, doesn't it?
Thunderstrike: Okay, you take the big ugly one.
Linkara:(as Kurg) Hey! That not nice! (as Kruk) Kruk feel no pain! Except in heart.
Thunderstrike:Hmm. This is starting to look like a job for...
War Machine: ...heavy artillery. This is a job for heavy artillery.
Thunderstrike: If you're gonna do something, hurry up and do-- (gets hit by one of Nebula's lieutenants)--NNNH!
Linkara: Oh, thank God, somebody shut them up.
Linkara (v/o): War Machine uses his weapons on the two creatures, but of course, it has no effect.
Thunderstrike: No brain, no pain.
Linkara (v/o): Also, no action, no suspense, and no interest in the events.
Thunderstrike: The only thing they feel is ticked off.
Linkara: Isn't it nice to have characters we can empathize with?
Linkara (v/o): So, yeah, more fighting for a bit. Thunderstrike volunteers to stay behind to deal with the two creatures as well as the recovering alien soldiers, while War Machine goes off to catch Nebula. In the interest of being a fair reviewer, I admit, I like this kind of noble sacrifice, especially when it comes from people who have carried the Thor name. Also in the interest of being a fair reviewer, DEAR LORD, THIS ART STILL SUCKS! There is no thought to this: a bunch of aliens just randomly awake and attacking with no explanation of where the hell they came from! The foreshortening on War Machine is just awful...
(Did someone spill mustard all over the comic?)
Linkara (v/o): ...and he still looks more like a parade balloon than an actual superhero. Anyway, War Machine, pulling a T-1000, catches up to Nebula and grabs onto the back of her ship. He rips a hole in the thing and gets on board. Nebula's crony– Oh, for the love of... Nebula, what the hell are you doing back there?! You're about to nuke a moon, lady! Even if you're a psychopath, could you at least take it seriously? So, yeah, Geatar, Nebula's green assistant, reports that there was a decompression warning right before they arrived in the system.
Nebula: Ah, Geatar, you worry like an old woman.
Linkara: The master strategist, ladies and gentlemen! Finds potentially hazardous problems as something only to giggle over.
Linkara (v/o): Geatar checks in the back where the hole was made and reports that he was right about the decompression, but then, no one else is there. This of course leads to him getting blasted by War Machine and sent out into the cold vacuum of space, where he will no doubt suffocate when his breathing thingy runs out of air or possibly just due to explosive decompression. Yay, heroism!
Nebula:(on communicator) Geatar? GEATAR?
Linkara:(as Nebula, talking on phone) Dammit, Geatar, I am wasting my minutes here, and this is a new phone!
Linkara (v/o): War Machine arrives on the bridge to confront Nebula.
Nebula: I suppose you're ready for my surrender... since I'm just a woman and couldn't possibly stand up to that powerful armor of yours.
Linkara (v/o): Erm, no, it's probably because he has guns. All of a sudden, Nebula reaches down and pushes a button, announcing that she just launched the warhead on Titan!
Nebula: It should detonate in a matter of minutes.
Linkara (v/o): My God, she's a tactical genius! Who else could push a button like that?!
(Cut to a clip of NewsRadio)
Bill McNeal: I read your book, you magnificent bastard!
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): War Machine leaves the ship to go stop the bomb, though, of course, he doesn't blast the ship's controls to keep Nebula from escaping or anything. War Machine arrives at the bomb and wakes up Silver Surfer, who isn't strong enough yet to break free from it. He tells War Machine to do whatever he has to to stop the bomb. And so the tension mounts as War Machine... um, sticks his finger in a hole... Okay... This technological finger-bang disarms the bomb in just a few copy-and-paste panels.
Linkara: Wow! They held the tension for all of (holds up two fingers) two seconds!
Linkara (v/o): While War Machine stays behind to redirect the bomb to a safe crash site, the Surfer goes to catch up to Nebula. Nebula herself is a little cranky as she realizes that something has gone wrong.
Nebula: Why was there no explosion?
(Cut to a clip of the Looney Tunes short Hare-way To the Stars, where Marvin the Martian is covering his ears in anticipation of the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator going off, not realizing that it's missing)
Marvin: Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom!
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The Surfer appears right outside of her ship, causing her to run down a corridor in the opposite direction and– Wait, what?! The Surfer is standing there?! (stammering) But he was just– What?!
Linkara:(looking around and pointing in confusion) What?! Who?! How?! What?! What?! Hey?! What?! Hey?! What?! How?! What?! What?! What?! What?!
Surfer: Come quietly, Nebula. Spare me this pointless drama.
Linkara: At this point, I'd take any drama.
Linkara (v/o): Nebula opens fire on Silver Surfer, suddenly transforming him into Quasimodo. However, all this does is piss the Surfer off more, and he performs his Superman "I AM A MAN!" punch on her.
Surfer: I am putting an end to your murderous spree...
Linkara (v/o): Hmm... Say, weren't you the one last issue who was zapping big holes in aliens, Silver Surfer? The Surfer meets up with War Machine and is nice enough to let Nebula put her coat back on again before he ties up her hands. Yeah. They hand over Nebula to the authorities and head back to Phobos to help Thunderstrike, but they discover he has triumphantly vanquished all of the aliens. Again, in the interest of fairness, I like the layout of this panel, with his heroic stand, but the moment is quickly lost when you realize his thighs are three times the size of his head, and he's standing in front of a giant, mispainted gumball. War Machine asks him how he was able to beat all of the aliens.
Thunderstrike: Well, I realized this was gonna be kind of like putting up a skyscraper. It's a tall job, and it does wear you down, but you make out just fine if you start at the bottom and work your way up*.
NOTE: Thunderstrike actually says, "to the top", not "up".
Linkara:(open-mouthed shock) That does not even begin to answer his question, or make any bit of sense! You couldn't have just said something pithy, like...
Linkara (v/o):(as Thunderstrike) I'm Thunderstrike, baby. (normal) Or even a James Bond-esque line of (as Thunderstrike again) "I did a pile drive."
Linkara: Come on, put some effort into it, people! Don't just start babbling about skyscrapers!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Silver Surfer thanks them for a job well done, and our comic ends with Doctor Strange watching them from a crystal ball, having contributed nothing of real value to the story.
Linkara:(angrily holding up both comics, one in each hand) These comics suck! The art is laughable, the villain is stock and nowhere near the threat level she should be, and the heroes themselves are less than compelling! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and do about 300 push-ups. (puts down comics and leaves)