Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes #2
March 29, 2010
More Sultry! More Teenage! More Stupid!
(Open on Linkara standing in his room, which is darkened. He clutches at his head in pain)
Linkara: Oh... Oh, God... Hey, everybody, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. I don't actually know what's going on right now.
Robotic voice: I'll tell you.
(Linkara looks to see who said that)
Linkara: (horrified) Mechakara! It's Morphin' Time! (feels around himself but can't find anything) Uh... Oh, geez...
Mechakara: (holding up Morphin' button) Looking for this?
Linkara: Oh, yeah, thanks. (suddenly, he stops as he realizes it's in the enemy's hand)
Mechakara: It won't do you any good anyway. This isn't real.
Linkara: What do you mean?
Mechakara: Your mind is retreating into itself due to distress. You received a comic that you didn't think could possibly exist: a second issue of "Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes".
Linkara: Oh, right. Then why the hell are you here?
Mechakara: I was a popular character and villain. Seeing me again should drive up the viewers.
Linkara: Then why don't you have that badass half-metal face thing going for you?
Mechakara: You have a very poor imagination.
Linkara: Oh, right, yeah.
Mechakara: You will be returning to your own mind soon enough.
Linkara: Oh, good. Uh, got anything else for me?
Mechakara: Oh, yes. (voice turns deep and menacing) All that he sees, he conquers.
Linkara: What the hell does that mean?
(Suddenly, cut to Linkara sleeping on his futon. He is awakened with a start, yelping startedly, and looks around, before heaving a sigh of relief)
Linkara: So it was all a dream. They didn't really make a second issue of...
(But then, he looks at something in his hand and notices that it may not have been a dream after all; he screams in terror. AT4W title sequence plays; title card has "Danger Zone" playing behind it)
Linkara: Okay, let's catch up any newcomers we have. A year ago, in honor of Women's History Month, I reviewed a black-and-white comic from the 1980s called "Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes #1", gleefully destroying something so blatantly sexist and idiotic.
(A few shots of Gary Brodsky's work is shown)
Linkara (v/o): It was created by Solson Publications, a company created and owned by Gary Brodsky, who is on my list of truly despicable people, due to his obsession with writing books about seducing, dominating, and generally being a prick to women. He fits right alongside other despicable names associated tangentially to the industry, like, uh...
(Cut to a shot of a blog by someone named...)
Linkara (v/o): ...Rick Olney – liar, thief, and withholder of money from starving children. And no, I'm not kidding about that.
(Cut to a shot of a blog by Rich Johnson about a comic book artist named Rachelle Rosenberg, who had once worked at Devil's Due Publishing, who never paid her and she wound up suing them and won)
Linkara (v/o): Or just the occasional company that thinks that paying artisan who do work for their company should be optional. Anyway, going on a tangent, sorry.
(Cut back to Brodsky's work)
Linkara (v/o): Point is, Solson was a crappy company, much like most of the black-and-white comic companies of the '80s. The rise of comic book stores and the growing popularity of a few independent black-and-white comics like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" meant that people were trying to cash in, even if they barely had any talent or just had the stupidest books ever, like... oh... I don't know, how about a book with four teenage girls who live on an Air Force base, who decide to subject themselves to an alchemy machine to get superpowers so they can impress boys?
Linkara: Though, the real question we must ask ourselves: (holds up "Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes #2") can the second issue surpass an alchemy machine that turns dog poop into gold? Well, let's "Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes #2" and find out.
(Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Much as I love saying it, this is actually a decent cover. One of the Super-Foxes, that like being Superfly, is cornered by three menacing women, one of whom apparently doesn't realize that you don't look into the camera. I'm guessing she got into this mess because she's pretty much blind, what with the soulless white voids that are her eyes. The only real flaw I have with the way this comic is laid out is that it seems like one of those text taglines is missing, like, uh, "Cornered by the Fourth Wall Breakers!" Or, uh, "Can what's-her-name get out of this corner?" Or how about "You stay in that corner and think about what you did, young lady!"
(The comic opens to the first page, showing an ad for man-eating piranhas for some reason)
Linkara (v/o): Before we get to the comic itself, I want to address this bizarre advertisement right inside the front cover.
Linkara (v/o): What? What about now?
Text: YOU CAN OWN REAL-LIVE MAN-EATING PIRANHAS!
Linkara: (confused) Okay, but unless you're a James Bond villain, why would you want to?
Linkara (v/o): I don't know, that just seems kind of illegal, but hey, this is why I don't work in a pet store. (the comic proper begins) We open to a jet flying around in a bizarre angle. For a second, I'm hopeful that "Highway To the Danger Zone" will start playing, but that hope is squelched when we take a look at the cockpit. Inside, the guy up front [Ferris Parks] is pressed up against the glass and staring at the reader, almost as if he just realized, "Oh, God, I'm in 'Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes'! Somebody get me out of here!" Up top, we have our narration.
Narrator: Hot July has passed into a hotter August at Rutgers Air Force Base in sunny Southern California.
Linkara: Well, some like it hot, and others... just don't care about the weather patterns in your comic.
Narrator: Project Valkyrie proceeds very well–better, in fact, than was expected.
Linkara: (as narrator) I mean, really, training women to fly planes? Whew! The heat was getting to us that day.
Narrator: The trainees have learned more efficiently and faster than was thought humanly possible.
Linkara: (as narrator) It's almost as if women were people or something.
Narrator: ...a good reason for that: they aren't actually human...
Linkara: (as narrator) We suspect that they're actually some kind of butter. We're still examining the details.
Linkara (v/o): The narrator goes on to explain that they're in a two-seater training plane. However, the reason the guy is panicking is that he's actually having some sort of weird-ass hallucination where he's a Birdman in space. His copilot, Mara, is apparently responsible for this and feasting on his fear.
Narrator: Screams rebound off the interior of the canopy– screams of delight from Mara and screams of terror from Ferris.
Linkara (v/o): And yet no screams for ice cream? I imagine if I was a hellish woman inflicting terror upon my copilot, I would go for some Häagen-Dazs. She does get them to eject, and the control tower celebrates that they don't have to grab their spatulas to clean up what remains of them. Back at the residence of the Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes – and no, I still can't differentiate between them – one of them walks while apparently partially on fire. She almost passes out as she tells the other two about the crash of the plane. Aaaand why was she on fire and so tired? Never explained. While the general demands to know how this happened, we cut to the woman in charge of the female pilots, Commander Burns, where she has pulled a sword on that Mara demon woman.
Commander Burns: Well, cadet? What do you have to say for yourself?
Linkara: Yeah, poke her in the neck with a sword. I'm sure her answers in between her blood-filled gargles will meet your satisfaction.
Linkara (v/o): She of course is worried that her "mistress" is going to chop her up with the sword and just says that she was really hungry and he was right there and all. At first, Burns accepts this, but then fakes Mara out and cuts her jumpsuit off!
Linkara: This is rapidly becoming something that isn't appropriate for this show.
Linkara (v/o): But no, actually, the woman has... uh, some sort of S&M bikini under her jumpsuit. Why the hell is she wearing that underneath it? Burns forbids them from freely hunting any of the men. So clearly, these women are evil and have some diabolical plan for something, but why the hell would they wear the dominatrix Barbie attire if they're supposed to incognito? Burns' underling wonders why they don't just attack the men and get it over with, but Burns says they're not ready yet, especially since they're outnumbered. Actually, as it turns out, she isn't Commander Burns at all. It's Madame Rotunda from the first issue!
(A dramatic sting is heard as Linkara opens his mouth in shock)
Linkara: My God! And if she had been in any way threatening in the last issue, that might have actually been a suspenseful twist!
Linkara (v/o): Rotunda has built a "tight beam subspace transmitter" in order to contact the "mothership". Wait, I thought Rotunda had accessed some evil, demonic power in the first issue; when the hell did aliens get involved in this? Speaking of X Files-type conspiracies, we cut to our old pal Barry, the wiener from the first issue who basically served as the liaison to the Super-Foxes. He's on the phone with some shadowy individual and says that he's seen some other paranormal individuals before, but the Super-Foxes totally blow them away. The shadowy guy says that there's a promotion in it for him if he's right and tells Barry not to let the situation get out of control until he can arrive personally to deal with it.
Barry: Barry-boy, you're on your way to the top.
Linkara: (chuckles; as Barry) I have no way of controlling them, no way of proving that they have this power that I claim they do, and they could easily roast me, toast me, and burn me to a crisp if they so desired. Damn, I got it sweet.
Linkara (v/o): The next morning, the girls go off for a picnic and to discuss some of their suspicions.
Amelia: It's the base. Something's wrong about it. There's something there... something evil.
Linkara: (as Amelia) There is not a single makeup stand in that entire base. It is of the devil, girlfriend!
Candy: That's no secret! It's those girl pilots! Nobody even notices us any more, not with the "Bad Girl Squadron" around!
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, when one of your friends tells you something evil is afoot, it's important to remind yourselves that your priority is people paying attention to you. Girl with ponytail explains that she's been having bad dreams every night and that the dreams are giving her an unshakable feeling.
Amelia: ...I think they're vampires!
(A dramatic sting is heard)
Linkara (v/o): Naturally, two of the girls laugh out loud at the suggestion. And why wouldn't they? After all, it's not like they sparkle or are creepy stalkers like real vampires.
Jasmine: Amelia, are you serious? I mean just because of some bad dreams you start believing vampires?
Linkara: (as Jasmine) I mean, for sure! Why would anyone believe in anything supernatural or out of the ordinary? It's not like anything strange has happened to us like developing superpowers thanks to an alchemy machine or anything! (beat) Wait...
Linkara (v/o): Black-Haired Girl [Sheena] says she's been having the same dream and reinforces the belief in vampires at the base. Short-Haired Jerk [Candy] just keeps laughing at Ponytail Girl, annoying me to no end, as if the idea of vampires is any more laughable than the crap they've gone through. However, '80s Hair Girl and Short-Haired Jerk just can't believe that there are really vampires on the base unless they get some proof.
Amelia: Then we'll have to get some proof... somehow!
Linkara: Man, this is the worst episode of Law and Order ever.
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, Rotunda visits a local observatory and is given a tour by the scientists. Now, the scientists, being the rock-stupid people that they are, give her the command codes for their radio telescope. She knocks the lead scientist out and wipes his memory with but a snap of the finger. I guess Rotunda is actually a rogue member of the Q Continuum.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, showing Q and Guinan)
Q: (pointing out Guinan) This creature is not what she appears to be. She's an Imp, and where she goes, trouble always follows.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): She uses the telescope to contact... uh, a giant space calzone.
Narrator: For a millenia [sic] it has waited, patiently circling Venus. Waiting for the sound of its mistress' voice. Now the word is given. With strength and ease that belie the ship's age, it leaves Venus, its home for over twenty thousand years, to visit Earth.
Linkara: (as narrator) Its friends just kept insisting that it take a vacation, but it was always obstinate.
Linkara (v/o): By the way, "millennia" is the plural form of "millennium". Good grammar to use, learn! The comic also needs to make up its mind if the thing has been there for a thousand years or 20,000; there's a bit of a difference. The next day, three of the Super-Foxes are in a lounge as they watch one of the vampire pilots flirting with one of the guys. When the fourth Super-Fox enters, she tries to get the guy's attention, but he completely ignores her. She angrily starts to summon her fire power behind her back. Yes, our heroes: petty enough to want to use their incredible powers because boys don't pay attention to them. Later, she talks about how disappointed she is.
Jasmine: ...I mean, I really thought he liked me. He was going to show me how to fly, and stuff... Now he's running around with some bimbo!
Linkara: (annoyed, clutching the side of his head) Please let us not bring "Bimbos in Time" into this. One crappy black-and-white comic at a time!
Amelia: Don't worry about it, Jasmine. I mean, she's, like, totally shallow, y'know?
Linkara: Yeah, not like you girls! You four all have such unique personalities and depth to you. I mean, one of you even has black hair.
Narrator: Poor Jasmine. She's losing hold of someone close. Poor Burton. He's just had coffee and donuts with a monster from another planet!
Linkara: Poor Linkara, having to read this tripe!
Linkara (v/o): I'm sorry, but there's a real problem with this book: it's boring! Say what you will about the first issue, and I've said an awful lot, but stuff actually happened in that one. It almost seemed to be reveling in its complete ludicrousness. This one is just mediocre and dull. I mean, my God, the main cast of any given Power Rangers series had more depth and character than these four. I honestly cannot remember any of their names or what their powers are. Their personalities are interchangeable, and the only reason they look any different is because of their clothes and hair. Watching the planes of their base refuel would be more interesting than this.
(Cut to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Starfighters: the scene of the spaceship being refueled; cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Later that day, at a pool, a woman approaches Barry. I say "a woman" because I honestly don't know if it's one of the Super-Foxes or one of the vampire women, and they never say her name, so I can't deduce if she's one of the four.
Woman: Boy, you sure are white!
Linkara: No kidding. I think this is one of the whitest comics I've ever seen.
Linkara (v/o): I really don't get the point of this scene, either. I guess we get a tiny bit of character development for Barry, but that's it. All that happens is that she asks him if he prefers a woman who's more aggressive or one that prefers to just let things happen. He says he prefers a more aggressive woman, and then she just... runs off! What the hell?! Who was she and what point did she serve?! It makes no sense from either faction to be approaching Barry and asking that!
Linkara: My only theory is that Brodsky inserted that scene himself and meant for that to be a vampire woman to infer that aggressive women are evil.
Linkara (v/o): Rotunda reports to her servants that her space calzone is approaching in the next few hours, so they can screw the stealth approach now and just start eating everybody. So if they only thing she needed to do was to go to the observatory and get the codes for the radio telescope, why didn't she just disguise herself for that one instant? Why the whole facade at the base? This is a huge plot hole, even for this book. There is no reason for any of this to be happening. Mara the vampire lady heads out to seduce a guard. Turns out these vampires don't drink blood, but instead feed on "life essence". And the only way to get at their "life essence" is to invoke fear. Frankly, I've always found the idea of draining life force or "life essence" to be incredibly dumb, but hey, for kids shows, I'll let them get away with it. For this comic, I won't. This is stupid. Why the hell can't they just suck blood? It's not like any eight-year-old is picking up a book called "Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes", so why the hell can't we see them biting in the necks? Anyway, Mara is interrupted by a flash of light, and the soldier goes running off in terror. She goes into the guard post and finds one of the girls with a camera, having taken a picture of her in vamp face. Black-Haired Lady comes out of nowhere and punches Mara out. They head back to one of the other girls and show her the picture.
Candy: Wow! That's one of the Valkyrie pilots! And... And...
Linkara: (as Candy) And oh, my God, I want that hair!
Linkara (v/o): No, she realizes Mara's a vampire. They ask about Super-Fox number four and realize that she went over to see that guy who she was saying hi to earlier! OH, MY GOD!! (a dramatic sting is heard) Wait, why are they shocked by this? The only thing they know is that Mara is a vampire; they don't know that the woman he was talking to was one. Eighties Hair is outside of the guy's house and sees the other woman enter with him. She's sad momentarily because he's chosen to be with her, but decides she's at least going to try to step in and say her piece.
Jasmine: All right, Burt! What do you have to say for yourself?!
Linkara: Yeah, what an asshole! Going out with another woman, even though you clearly established earlier that you weren't even dating and he was just being nice to you, especially since you're not even 18 years old! (beat) Wait, what?
Linkara (v/o): She thinks that they went to the bedroom and heads to it.
Narrator: But in the bedroom she finds something completely different...
Linkara: (as narrator) An interpretive dance party!
(Cut to a clip of Monty Python)
John Cleese: And now for something completely different.
(Cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): No, it's one of the vampire women... who's now in a mask and biker wear. Man, talk about a quick change artist; a second ago, she was in a T-shirt and jeans. Eighties Hair won't stand for this and blasts her away with the power of the boob hole in her costume. Eighties Hair just keeps blasting away, forcing the vampire to retreat and send out a psychic call for help. I love how these vampires keep making up powers, but never use them when they need to. Whatever happened to those illusion-casting abilities we saw at the beginning? Why can't they suddenly send out telepathic calls for help? Anyway, other vampires show up and overwhelm her. They keep piling on top of her, just grabbing on and... well, I don't know what that's supposed to do stop her. It's not like they're hitting her or anything, they're just grabbing her. She manages to force them back momentarily, but she's weakened by the attack.
Jasmine: (thinking) So cold... When they held me down it was so cold.
Linkara: So her weakness is being hugged?
Linkara (v/o): The other Super-Foxes arrive and aid their companion. Meanwhile, Rotunda makes contact with the space calzone and realizes there's a battle going on. Barry, having snooped outside her office, pulls a gun and demands an explanation... but is as effective as you can see here, getting his ass tossed out a window. Rotunda calls for a squadron of robots to come to evacuate them. The four have turned the tide of battle, but the robots come in and manage to evacuate the vampires, save this one, who inexplicably sits down and asks...
Linkara (v/o): Okay... what, was that the last movie you saw? What the hell are you saying? Rotunda and the remaining vampires are grabbed by the robots and withdraw to the space calzone, apparently not worried about the lack of oxygen on the way up. The Super-Foxes transform back, and so our comic ends with, predictably, '80s Hair worried about the guy who she wasn't dating who was seeing another woman.
Narrator: Yow! Whatta scene, eh kids?
Linkara: Why, yes, that scene did hurt!
Narrator: Be here in sixty days to find out just what those darn vampires are up to now–!! Plus...Don't miss the unveiling of the Super-Secret Stealth Fighter! All this! And more! More! More!
Linkara: (angrily) NO, LESS, LESS, LESS! (closes comic and holds it up) This comic sucks! Admittedly, it's not as bad as the first issue, but the same problems persist: huge plot holes, little characterization, and what we do get just comes off as being insulting to woman.
(A drawing of Gary Brodsky appears in the corner)
Linkara: Screw you, Gary Brodsky! Screw you and your stupid, sexist piece of crap!!
(He throws the comic at the image, knocking it away, then gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
My copy has a lot of marks in it made with a pen. Apparently whoever first bought this thing thought they were a better inker.
I am seriously disappointed that this thing wasn't as bad as the first issue.
(Stinger: An ad for this comic is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Ooh, but let's take a look at this tiny advertisement for "Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes". (reading text) "Who says 'Female characters can't make it in comics'?' Not us!"
Linkara: (confused) What characters? I saw four of the same woman wearing different wigs!
Linkara (v/o): (reading) "Who says 'Female super-teams don't sell'? You couldn't prove it by us!"
Linkara: (incredulously) The friggin' book didn't have a third issue, you nimrod advertiser! So now I'll never know what the vampires were doing or see the unveiling of the super stealth fighter, you lying jackass! (beat) Wait, why am I complaining about that?