Silent Hill: Dead/Alive #3 and 4
October 11, 2010
Have you seen a crappy comic around here? It's about this big... black hair...
(Open, as on the last episode, on Linkara standing in front a black background, with eerie music playing in the background)
Linkara: When the little girl became thirteen years old, her parents revealed to her why she had been born.
(Cut to a shot of the little girl looking sad, shedding tears of blood from her lifeless eyes, as she sits in a hill of red flowers)
Linkara (v/o): While other sects of their church wished to give birth to their god, or simply live peaceful lives in a pact with God, the sect that the little girl's parents belonged to had other goals. They did not believe that God should be on this wretched Earth. At least, not until the unbelievers could be purged. And so, they told their daughter that loved them very much that her entire purpose in life was to be drained of her essence so that they could forge a weapon that would smite whomever or whatever they so desired, to cleanse the world of those that did not believe, to usher in their paradise. And they tormented her daughter that loved them, brought about pain and suffering to her, so that she had no strength left, save for her will and her mind. All through it, they laughed and were gleeful, even when the daughter wept and sobbed from what they did to her. They said the same thing over and over: "Feel the love of God. Feel your ascension into His Glory. May the love of God guide you."
Linkara: Finally, they began to drain her blood, the liquid essence of her will, so that the ritual for the weapon could be completed...
(Title sequence plays; Linkara, seated on his futon, looks closely at his Dragon Dagger)
Linkara: I am not insane.
Mechakara: (standing over him) Talking to people that aren't there is a pretty good sign of insanity.
Linkara: Someone is trying to trick me, trying to make me think I'm insane.
Mechakara: Paranoia is another sign of insanity.
Linkara: I am not listening to you. You are not there.
Mechakara: Of course I'm not. Delusions! See where I'm going with all of this?
Linkara: I am going to proceed with the review. It will get my mind off of this.
Mechakara: You know, you really should kill Pollo.
Linkara: Shut up.
Mechakara: He could grow up to be me after all. Oops, there's that paranoia again.
Linkara: SHUT UP!
Mechakara: Kill him! (points) Just like you killed her!
("Always On My Mind", a song from the Silent Hill games, plays as Linkara freaks out and runs at... a blank wall; he looks around nervously, then returns to his seat; he puts down the dagger and adjusts his coat)
Linkara: So... (music stops abruptly, to a record scratch sound) Anyway, "Silent Hill: Dead/Alive".
(A quick recap of Linkara's review of "Silent Hill: Dead/Alive #1" and "#2" is shown)
Linkara (v/o): This is an unnecessary sequel to an unnecessary story. So, from what I can glean, a mysterious woman named Lenora takes control, wresting it from the sociopath Lauryn. Christabella, the demon child who has no reason to exist at all, has become mortal but inherited Lauryn's power to make hellish creatures explode. Actor Ken Carter, while preparing to travel to Vermont to find his missing love, is kidnapped by Lenora and taken to Silent Hill to convince him to become a serial killer. Before they can become demon chow, they are rescued by Ike Isaacs, hero of the one-shot story "Silent Hill: Paint It Black".
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up the next two issues of "Silent Hill: Dead/Alive") "Lovecraftian Horror Story #3" and "#4" that has nothing to do with Silent Hill.
Linkara (v/o): As before, let's take a look at how the individual issues described this plot, shall we?
Text: Christabella is slowly losing her hold on her own inherent evil as her prison of flesh tightens around her.
Linkara: Could have fooled me! On several occasions, she seemed just as psychotic and annoying as before. No indication whatsoever that anything has changed about her nature.
Text: And powers that could only have been granted by her missing sister, the former warden and shaper of this haunted town, race through her.
Linkara: Actually, the comic implied that she had powers all along, but couldn't access them because she was DEAD! Maybe you want to actually READ this thing before you type up these summaries!
Text: How deeply will Kenneth and Christabella have to travel into the dark labyrinths of their own souls to gain the truth?
Linkara: Knowing this writer, I'm guessing they'll kind of tap their feet inside of that labyrinth and decide it's too cold and wet, and instead spend twenty pages trying to sound philosophical, but instead come off as BORINGLY PRETENTIOUS!
Linkara (v/o): We open to Ike Isaacs cocking his shotgun.
Ike: Let's party like it's 1999, bitch.
Linkara: (covering his face with his hands) This is not what I meant last year when I asked for Silent Hill vs. Army of Darkness!
Linkara (v/o): I mean, dear God, not only is it a stupid freakin' line, it feels like it's trying to be some sort of schlock action movie as opposed to a horror story. To add to that, we have a two-page spread of Ike shooting his guns and pretending he's Duke Nukem.
Ike: Come and get some! Yeah! Hoo-ah! Yeah, you like that, bee-otch? Do ya?!
(Cut to a shot of Duke Nukem himself)
Duke Nukem: You dirty rat!
Linkara (v/o): The art style seems to have changed, too, despite the same artist being on it. Does Christabella look in any way like she has in the previous issues? And seriously, what is with the art? No backgrounds, except for some vague silhouettes and drab watercolor paint smeared into the lines; heavy inks that seem random in some places; and scratched-in sound effects. This is truly the height of laziness!
Ken Carter: (narrating) You wake up, you think, "Today won't be anything special."
Linkara: Yeah, you're not gonna be able to convince me that anything we've seen here is particularly special.
Ken: (narrating) Then you find out the only person you really trust has been taken. Brought to a place that shouldn't exist. A town where monsters live in the mist and whatever haunts your thoughts and dreams is real--and can kill you.
Linkara: Your dreams are very poorly drawn.
Ken: (narrating) And the next thing you know, you're there, too, covered in the blood (and God-knows what else) of the things you've been fighting.
Linkara: (as Ken) Huh, there's blood splattered everywhere. (looks down and becomes disgusted) Eww! I got gum on my shoe!
Ken: (narrating) And this beautiful but evil witch with blood-red tears has a little message for you.
Linkara: (as witch, eyes shut) Could someone please pass the Visine?
Ken: (narrating) She wants you to accept that you're a psycho killer back in the real world. She shows you things she says are happening there–your agent finding the woman you've been sleeping with laying in your bed, an ax buried in her face, your bloody confession written on the wall.
Linkara (v/o): You know, I didn't really read it last time, but let's take another look at that, shall we?
(Cut to a shot from said last time, showing the woman with an ax in her head and the following message on the wall written in blood...)
Linkara (v/o): (reading) "Here lies Jessica Aldrich, an annoying little whore who got what she deserves. I AM COMING. Kenneth with blood on his hands coming. Coming. Who's next?" Pardon me for playing lawyer, but I didn't exactly see "I'm Ken Carter, and I killed her with an ax." The only possible thing you could get from that was "Kenneth with blood on his hands." That's not exactly a signed confession. I love how Scott Ciencin can't even keep his bullcrap consistent from issue to issue!
(Cut back to the current comic)
Linkara (v/o): We once again see the real protagonist of "Dead/Alive" and the only likeable character, the dog, leading the demon dogs against the hideous abominations.
Ken: (narrating) Bear's posse... the skinned dogs he made his bitches... they're helping us!
Linkara: Behold the power of... (throws up arms) BEAR THE DOG! ("Alleluia" chorus is heard briefly)
Ken: (narrating) The stoner lobbying for the NRA is Ike. I used to collect his paintings of Silent Hill. I thought he was some dark genius. Now I realize he was just painting what he saw.
Linkara: (as Ken) In reality, he's as dumb as wet toast.
Ken: (narrating) The witch has this big destiny in mind for me. Ike was their first shot at getting the horrors of this place knifed into the nightmares of everyone in the world. My turn next.
Linkara (v/o): Wait, what?! Did I turn over two pages at once here?
(Cut to a shot of "Silent Hill: Paint It Black")
Linkara (v/o): I admit I haven't read "Paint It Black", but the plot summaries I read implied that Ike accidentally got trapped in the town and was killed by some cheerleaders in a ritual so they could escape the town. When did this become some end-of-the-world junk?
(Back to the current comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Furthermore, really? Is that the reason they want to make Ken a serial killer? To "get the horrors of this place knifed into the nightmares of everyone in the world"?
Linkara: You know, you could have just gotten a crazy person to do it. Or someone who's already a serial killer. (shrugs) Probably would've been a lot easier than all this.
Linkara (v/o): Blood splatters onto Christabella, which somehow energizes her again. Here's another dumb question: Christabella is supposed to be some sort of demon in the form of a little girl, right? Then how can she be "alive"? Is she a little girl possessed, or is she a demonic entity that looks like a little girl? If she's the former, how the hell is blood supposed to help her? If she's the latter, how does she have the supposed inherent demon exploding power?! The energy is enough to let her blow away all the remaining demons, sadly including Bear's posse of devil dogs.
Ken: (narrating) The creatures are ripped apart by her power. Magic isn't supposed to exist, not really...
Linkara: Dude, (holds up magic gun) what does magic have to do with anything?
(Suddenly, there is a bright flash, accompanied by a "shing!" sound, which makes him cry out in pain as he clutches his head)
Linkara: (stunned) The hell was that?! (looks around)
Linkara (v/o): Back in the real world, a police detective is talking with the medical examiner performing the autopsy on Ken's dead girlfriend.
Medical examiner: Still, Detective Hassel, there's never been anything like this, if it is what it looks like. A big time Hollywood actor at the top of his game turns serial killer?
Linkara: (dripping sarcasm) Yeah, because actors have never committed murder before.
Linkara (v/o): There's DNA and fingerprint evidence that suggests that Ken did indeed kill the woman, but the examiner says that the ax to the head was done after she was already dead.
Det. Hassel: Then what killed her?
Examiner: The best I can say? She was eaten.
(A shot of Ken's girlfriend is shown, with an ax in her head, but otherwise intact)
Linkara: Looks pretty damn intact for someone who was "eaten"!
Linkara (v/o): Back in some other region of Silent Hill, the real Connie wakes up naked in a bathtub – I don't know, just roll with it – along with two nurse demons that call her the "Empty Vessel". Yes, you heard me correctly; they're talking. Why, one even starts singing "Whistle While We Work". We can thank Lenora for this.
Connie: I thought it'd be entertaining to give them voices...
Linkara: I'm going to assume this is a case of the writer talking through the character. As such, let me just say... YOU THOUGHT WRONG!
Linkara (v/o): This is the same damn problem as Christabella, so I'm gonna break this down and explain why this isn't scary or entertaining. There are many ways we assign identity to something: a face, a personality, a voice. All of these things contribute to who a person is, who they are in our minds, and how we see them. But the monsters of Silent Hill, with some very rare exceptions, do not have such identities. They are, quite literally, monsters. While many of them are humanoid in shape, they have no faces, no personalities, no VOICES! There is nothing "human" about them. They attack on sight. None of their behavior seems to make any sense. They shamble about for no rhyme or reason. That lack of identity, the lack of anything we can personify as inherently human, is what makes them so MONSTROUS to us. Let's separate this from even "Silent Hill" for a moment.
(Cut to some shots of...)
Linkara (v/o): Jason Voorhees doesn't talk. He admittedly has something related to a personality, since we see repeatedly that he is motivated by the image of his mother. But he doesn't speak, and his face is usually hidden by a mask.
(Cut to a shot of Michael Myers)
Linkara (v/o): The same thing goes for Michael Myers: face hidden, no voice. They're menacing, because without that identity that we can assign to them, no real humanity that we can put our fingers on, they become less a human being that we are dealing with, but a force of nature; monstrous and terrible and FRIGHTENING. Now, of course, there are exceptions to the "no talking" thing...
(Cut to a shot of Freddy Kruger)
Linkara (v/o): ...like Freddy Kruger, but that's because the kind of fear he's supposed to evoke is different from the kind that Jason Voorhees or a Silent Hill monster is meant to evoke.
Linkara: By granting them voices, suddenly they have personalities! They have identities! They're capable of being reasoned with! They become LESS SCARY! They are supposed to literally be MONSTERS! That's why it's even more horrifying when Vincent gives that revelation in Silent Hill 3!
(Cut to a clip of that game, showing Vincent giving said revelation)
Vincent: (to Heather) Monsters? They look like monsters to you? (Heather gasps)
(Back to this comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Cursing little girls aren't scary! Monsters that spout off random pop culture references aren't scary! For crying out loud, at this point, it'd be scarier to have a little pop-up page where a cartoony ghost yells...
(A shot of Casper the Friendly Ghost pops up, along with the following word...)
Linkara (v/o): ..."BOO!" At least that'd be surprising and not just tedious.
(Cut to more footage of a Silent Hill game)
Linkara (v/o): Silent Hill is about quiet, claustrophobic horror, accented by music and sounds intended to cause tension and fear. When you start hearing things, like the radio emitting static to indicate a nearby monster, or footballs, or just random creepy noises, the sound has a purpose!
(Cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): And here, we have that illustrated again, as Lenora monologues to Connie about the nature of demons! IT ISN'T SCARY OR CREEPY! SILENT HILL!! THE PLACE IS CALLED SILENT HILL! Why does nothing in this comic just SHUT UP, Scott Ciencin?! WHY IS NOTHING SILENT?! Why do you think having vague background silhouettes saying "You talkin' to me?" or "Life is cabaret" is something that we should be HAUNTED by?! Oh, wait, someone is quiet: Connie! For Lenora has taken away her voice, because she says that one word from her would be all it takes to get her to leave Ken alone...
(Editor's note: "This sequence is completely pointless.")
Linkara (v/o): ...but as a demon, she says it's her job to offer a person their wish and to then screw them over at the last second. Oh, and she has clothes on now. When did that happen?
Christabella: There is such delicious pain in the questions. Such agony in the answers, and in the waiting for the answers.
Linkara: (seething) Yes, I am in immense pain. I have never cared less about what is going on in a comic. If I stood on a tall building and just stared at the ground and didn't care about this comic, that not caring would form an ocean of apathy across the world that I could swim in!
Linkara (v/o): Back with the dog and the dumb humans who think the comic is about them. Christabella reveals to Ike that he's dead in the real world and is just another of Lauryn's playthings like Troy. Ike throws up over this, buuut enough of character development; time for dumb people saying dumb things.
Ike: I said I'd help you find her, and that we'd put that bitch Lenora–the one that's running the show around–in her place. Goddamn poser. I'm the spirit of Hollywood.
(Linkara glares at the camera; cut to a shot of...)
Duke Nukem: What a pussy!
(Back to the comic again)
Ike: Every era, every face of illusion, every dream, every nightmare.
Linkara: You are a painter with a shotgun – nothing more!
Ike: Rather get the B.J. of my life and get left blue-balled at the end of it than listen to any more of that.
Linkara (v/o): Wait, were you supposed to be imitating her? Hey, maybe you want to separate the dialogue with some quotation marks or something, so it doesn't sound like you're a total idiot, Ikey-poo! Ken suggests using one of Ike's paintings to escape. Dear God, the inker uses so much black spots here, you'd think their faces were being eaten off by their own shadows! But Ike says he tried and it doesn't work. They hear a rumbling.
Ken: (narrating) There's a fire in the distance.
Christabella: Pretty colors...
Linkara: It's BROWN. Every color in this comic is brown!
Linkara (v/o): Christabella suggests they go back to Lauryn's room and grab her magic eBay book that should be of use to them. On the way, Ike explains about Lauryn taking the town.
Ike: (narrating) She made it into whatever she wanted it to be. She was the law.
(Cut to a clip of Judge Dredd)
Judge Dredd: I AM... THE LAW!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): He also says she saw something coming and started preparing for it. Heading back into town, they find the undead and demons and a festival to celebrate Lenora's coming, and of course, everyone's talking and saying something stupid. So the best picture they could find to hang up of Lenora is the one in her bra? The lady needs a better publicist. Just to remove any suspense or mystery, Christabella monologues about how she's influencing Ike with her superpowers and that the dog knows what she's planning, once again proving that the dog is the best and smartest out of everyone assembled. When Ike realizes what Christabella is doing, she makes him cut himself with a... karas knife. Apparently, it's a soul-stealing knife... They are seriously making up this crap as they go along! ...that attracts the demons, and Ken picks up Ike's uzi to shoot them away. As a result of this, his hair starts turning white like the vision Lenora showed him.
Linkara: (raising index finger, looking utterly dumbfounded) Um, why? Why do bullets make your hair turn white? (looks around) Hello? Has anyone seen the plot? I think it's gotten away from us.
Linkara (v/o): Lenora suddenly appears and rambles some more.
(Duke Nukem appears again)
Duke Nukem: Quit wasting my time!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Ugh, she talks about Ken's parents somehow being involved with Silent Hill and it's... why he loved Ike's paintings... Oh, dear God, is there a point to this? Back in the real world, an apparition of Ken with the ax kills the medical examiner and the cop. Aw, and they were such memorable characters, too. Back in Silent Hill, Lenora shows him Connie and claims that her soul is elsewhere... Is this that empty vessel bullcrap? Was she actually serious when she said that she loved someone so much that she lost part of her soul? Because that would be so dumb that it might break me! Lenora says that she wants him to bring about a nightmare to all people living – Why?? – and that he has to kill someone in order for them to do that – Why?! – and as such, he must kill one of the three with him: the dog, Christabella or Lenora, or else THEY'LL ALL DIE!
(A dramatic sting is heard)
Linkara: (smiling broadly) So ends issue 3, with nothing making any sense. What a change of pace.
Linkara (v/o): Issue 4 begins with Christabella saying she definitely won't be the one and tosses the magic knife at Lenora, stabbing her through the heart.
Christabella: (narrating) Good throw! Nothing like that nice wet meat sound to let you know things are finally looking up.
Linkara: (listlessly) Somehow, I doubt that.
Linkara (v/o): Lenora's still alive, but she's lost control of the town. The dog runs away, probably off to far more interesting stories than this one. Lenora says that the clock chiming has only been delayed and that he still needs to kill someone, and she says that it's gonna be Connie. Ken, probably as sick to death of this garbage as all of us, picks up a nearby axe and advances towards Lenora. Lenora says he can't kill her, since she's the only one who can reunite Connie's soul and body. However, Ken instead SMASHES the clock face that was chiming.
Linkara: (sarcastically) WOW! If I had any idea what was going on, I'm sure that would be very exciting!
Linkara (v/o): Lenora says it doesn't matter and that his fate is sealed anyway. In the real world, a witness is describing how she saw Ken kill the police detective. However, she's explaining it to a media person, whom she decided to go to first instead of the police... because! Oh, and to make it even better, it turns out the guy she's talking to is Whatley. Your guess is as good as mine, people. Christabella is running around, wondering who it is that's in charge of Lenora.
Christabella: (narrating) Being alive, (beep)... feet hurt. Stupid cheap funeral shoes. Stupid dress. Old and smelly and sticky.
Linkara: (irritably) Then why are you still wearing it?! What is modesty to a demon?! And you have superpowers now! JUST CONJURE UP A NEW ONE!!
Linkara (v/o): Christabella is tricked by someone who looks like a little boy into coming to a building that taunts her for being so sick and evil, that she was always evil and was born evil, which, again, contradicts everything that says she's a demon in the form of a child. And she wasn't evil in that flashback from "Dying Inside", so this is just padding! Oh, and the little boy turns out to be Troy in disguise. I guess everybody can change how they look now. Ken makes his way back to Christabella's house and the book, but is intercepted by the image of his dead girlfriend, still with an axe in her head. Back with Troy and Christabella, we see him smacking the ass of a nurse demon. Yecch! And Christabella is unable to use her powers for some reason, saying that Lenora did something to her and set her up.
Linkara: Well, thanks for that scene of padding, comic. It was vitally important to show us that Troy is still an asshole, even in death.
Linkara (v/o): Over to Lenora, who's found the dog. She tries to kill it to "limit Ken's choices". How exactly is she going to make him kill anyone? But the dog, being the best character, pisses on her leg and steals the magic knife, running off. Flipping the page to Ken again, all of his victims in the real world taunt him, saying that he's a murderer and that everything he's seeing is a delusion he made up, since he can't cope with his own insanity.
Linkara: (scoffs) Like that could ever happen!
(Suddenly, The Nostalgia Critic appears before him)
Linkara: Okay, what the hell?
NC: What's up, you fucking murderous waste of trash?
Linkara: Okay, this isn't happening. You're not really there. I know you're not really there.
NC: Of course not. Why would I be in the same room with a murderous piece of shit like you?
Linkara: Bat Credit Card!
NC: Okay, that was just immature– A BAT CREDIT CARD?!?! (fires his gun everywhere) I'LL KILL YOU!! I'LL KILL YOU ALL!!!
Linkara (v/o): Ken summons the axe... with, um... wizards... I don't know... and uses it to break down the chains on Lauryn's door. He finds the Nietzsche book from the image Lenora showed, but it's just a book jacket covering up her magic book. And then Ken's dad shows up! He's a demonic aviator pilot. Moving on. Troy is about to torture Christabella for killing him, who in turn reminds him of how he was much more noble when he sacrificed his life for Lynn. Yeah, Lynn was smart enough to stay out of this junk, methinks. Troy says that he's changed, that the same thing had happened to Christabella when...
Troy: ...the woman in the room tried to take pity on you.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, yeah, the woman in the room, that apparent plot point from "Dying Inside" THAT AMOUNTED TO NOTHING! According to a Silent Hill Wiki, it was supposed to be Alessa from the first game, but that would make even less sense than anything else.
Troy: You mean you honestly don't know what you are, how you came back? How she got to your sister Lauryn because of you in the first place... and why?
Linkara: It's a little late to be introducing backstory, comic.
Linkara (v/o): However, before any actual revelations can occur, Connie suddenly shows up, saying...
Connie: The empty vessel... has been filled.
Linkara (v/o): Cut to Lenora, who's with Whatley, who apparently has just appeared out of nowhere. Lenora says she's dying from the knife wound inflicted earlier, but needs to have a power boost from Whatley in order to save her life. However, Whatley refuses, since access to such a power would give her power over every version of Whatley ever to exist in history and to come. Uh-huh... I'm just going along with this crap now. However, there's another reason why he won't give that power to her, for in fact, Lenora is actually... LAURYN!
(A dramatic sting is heard as Linkara opens his mouth in pretend shock)
Linkara: Wow! That doesn't even begin to make sense! (closes comic and holds it up) These comics suck!
Linkara (v/o): Terrible artwork, dialogue that feels like it was pulled from nowhere... I didn't even get to half the dumb things said here, or this review would be going for hours! ...plot points and plot twists that are just shoved in here that make no sense or are quickly forgotten, all make this thing a confusing, ugly mess. And besides for the dog, I'll leave it to Duke Nukem to sum up my feelings about these characters...
(Cut to Duke Nukem again)
Duke Nukem: You guys suck.
Linkara: Tune in next week for the finale–
(Suddenly, there is a flash that makes Linkara cry out and clutch his head in pain)
Linkara: (anguished) What's... doing that?! (looks up as a revelation comes to him) Of course. I know what's causing this. It's Silent Hill! It's coming for me again...!
(Suddenly, he hears the sound of a siren and looks around to see fog appearing in the room)
Linkara: Oh, no, you don't! (pulls a small fan out of his coat pocket) Oh, no, you don't!
(He turns on the fan and uses it to blow the fog away; the siren stops)
Linkara: It pays to be prepared.
(End credits roll)
Who knew bullets also served as hair dye?
Apparently Scott Ciencin wrote good Godzilla novels. What, Godzilla doesn't break out into a lengthy monologue about the horrors of nuclear war?
(Stinger: A panel of the comic is shown, showing...)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, look, horrific imagery accompanied by puns. That's scary, isn't it?
(Cut to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Are You Ready For Marriage?)
Mike Nelson: (chuckles) No, it isn't.