The A-Team #1

At4w the a team no 1 by mtc studios-d78oa8d-768x339.png

March 3, 2014
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Mr. T ain’t got time for this crazy fool comic.

(Open on the title card, which has the theme for The A-Team playing in the background)

Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. If you've been watching this show for any amount of time, you know of my love of Mr. T and how I always use the theme song to The A-Team basically as his theme song.

(Cut to a shot of the first issue of "Mr. T and the T Force")

Linkara (v/o): So this year, instead of doing another issue of "Mr. T and the T Force", why don't we look at the show that made Mr. T a household name.

(Footage of Mr. T in The A-Team is shown)

Linkara (v/o): His first major may have been Clubber Lang, but as B.A. Baracus – "Bad Attitude", as it was said, but all knew it as "Badass" – he became an endearing cultural icon, who was afraid to fly in an airplane, could kick your ass seven different ways, but still give Mr. Rogers-esque advice to children. The A-Team is a ridiculous, over-the-top, testosterone-fueled action-adventure series where logic takes a backseat to explosions, and by God, is it gloriously awesome! The premise is that four Vietnam officers were ordered to rob the Bank of Hanoi in order to help bring a quick end to the war. Unfortunately, after succeeding in the robbery, their superior officer and all records of them being under orders to commit the robbery were destroyed by an attack by the Vietcong, so they were branded as war criminals. After escaping, they became a ragtag mercenary group, with the only stipulation being that, instead of, say, assassinating political figures or anything unsavory, they went into business helping people who couldn't go to the police with their problems. They still charged them, of course, but they got results, occasionally going pro bono for special circumstances. B.A. Baracus is pretty much what you'd expect from Mr. T: badass with a heart of gold, the team muscle, mechanic, and friend to all children, like Gamara or something. The leader is John "Hannibal" Smith, played by the late George Peppard. He was always chomping on a cigar and wearing black gloves. In addition to coming up with plans for the team, he was also a master of disguise, some disguises more racist than others. Dirk Benedict of Battlestar Galactica fame was Templeton "Faceman" Peck. If the A-Team was a group of "Dungeons and Dragons" characters, Face was the guy who put all his stat points in charisma. He could woo any lady and scam people out of the material that they would need for their missions. And the final member was "Howling Mad" Murdock, played by the ever-talented Dwight Schultz. He was the team's pilot, particularly for any aircraft they required. However, his nickname was the most apt because he was friggin' nuts. He was the only member who was still incarcerated – in a mental hospital. That being said, his actual level of insanity is questionable, since when they absolutely needed to be serious, he was completely focused and on task. There was also a female member of the team: Reporter Amy Allen, who assisted them in finding cases and writing up stories about said cases. She only lasted one-and-a-half seasons, was replaced briefly by another reporter, and then the concept was just dropped. I didn't mind her presence, but in many cases, she was a pretty superfluous character, other than getting the plot started for the team. She did serve a bit of a purpose in being the straight man, for lack of a better term, to the more overt personalities of the others. My favorite episode of the series is probably "Children of Jamestown", where John Saxon plays Jim Jones. Well, Martin James, but the same principle applies: crazy religious leader who holds a group of people hostage. "Jamestown"'s end is a lot happier than the real-life events that inspired the episode.

Linkara: You could say that's disrespectful, but I say it's wish fulfillment, much like Captain America punching Hitler. And the entire series is wish fulfillment.

Linkara (v/o): People fire guns ten feet away from each other in a New York alley and not a single person is hit. Vehicles and buildings explode and send people flying, but no one is anything more than a few scrapes and bruises. It's glorious, hilarious, and fun!

Linkara: And in 1984, they had themselves a comic book published by Marvel. Let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "The A-Team #1".

(Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)

Linkara (v/o): The cover is... not very good, unfortunately. More than a bit crowded, actually, but hey, it gets the point across: the A-Team standing there with guns, except for Murdock, who's holding a walkie-talkie.

Linkara: They digitally edited the gun out because they were afraid kids would be traumatized if one of the A-Team held a gun. (smiles briefly) What?

Linkara (v/o): Also, you know Amy is a reporter and not a mercenary because apparently, she felt one should grab the magazine on her submachine gun, which could potentially disconnect it or the recoil will cause her to accidentally turn the thing on herself. Then again, one person on Twitter suggested that the gun looks like a modified MP-40, and in that case, there shouldn't be a danger of holding it like that. Fortunately, I have another thing I can critique with her: mainly that her belt is so tight that it has constricted her stomach to the point of being the same width as her head. Amy, that is not healthy.

Text: 1st collector's item issue!

Linkara: You would think (points to comic) this, of all comics, would have a trading card with Mr. T on it to signify its collector's value, but nope. Go figure.

Text: All the ACTION! All the THRILLS! Now in their very own MARVEL COMIC!

Linkara: All of the action, all of the thrills, in all of (holds up three fingers) three issues! (shrugs)

Linkara (v/o): Also, there's apparently some bright glowing rocks underneath Mr. T. I'd like to think there is eggs that he's protecting, much like a penguin, only in this case, they hatch more gold jewelry.

(The comic opens to the first page)

Linkara (v/o): We open to B.A. buying a hot dog on the street.

Narrator: In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit!

Linkara (v/o): Well, to be fair, they did commit the crime, they just didn't have proof it was military orders. But whatever; brevity over accuracy for our opening narration.

Narrator: These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles Underground!

Linkara: I've never understood that. What the hell is (makes "finger quotes") "the Los Angeles Underground"? Do they mean the subway system? (as B.A.) Hannibal, we're on the run! We gotta get to the subway! We'll blend in perfectly with all the homeless people!

Linkara (v/o): I mean, it's possible they meant like a criminal underground or some subculture of people living there, but the best I could come up with on a Google search was a club called The Underground. Maybe Mr. T was banking on his former career as a bouncer to let them escape through the place?

Vendor: One hot dog-- with everything!

Linkara (V/o): And apparently, "everything" means, like, "two or three toppings". Must be a really crappy hot dog stand.

Narrator: Thomas Wolfe wrote that "you can't go home again..."

Linkara: He also wrote "The exquisite smell of the south, clean but funky, like a big woman."

Narrator: In the case of B.A. Baracus, that's painfully true! As part of the A-Team, he's wanted by the government! Rather than risk being captured by returning to his old neighborhood, B.A. has come here!

Linkara: To someone else's old neighborhood! If he can't have his own sense of home, he'll take someone else's.

Narrator: The street evokes a flood of memories!

Linkara: Wait, I was just kidding! Is he seriously stealing other people's nostalgia?

Narrator: A woman and her children remind B.A. of his family...

Boy: Mommy, can I get a haircut like that?

Mother: Hush your mouth, boy!

Linkara: (as B.A.) You listen to your mama, boy, or else I'm gonna sing you a song about (clenches fist) respecting your mama!

Linkara (v/o): He spots a kid stealing hubcaps off a car and promptly picks him up right off the ground, one-handed.

B.A.: You're lucky I'm not the law-- or you'd be in deep trouble!

Linkara: (as B.A.) Instead, I'm gonna recruit you into my T-Force! (points off-screen) Now let's go find a crack baby, fool!

B.A.: Stealin' hubcaps ain't the way outta the ghetto! Any fool can do that!

Linkara (v/o): The ghetto? Looks like a really nice ghetto if that's what it is. Not sure why the kid wants to get out of it.

B.A.: Why don't you learn how to fix a car-- become a mechanic-- instead of a thief?! That's what I did! Get a skill, then get a job!

Linkara: Are we sure this isn't just a lost segment of Mr. T's (makes a "finger quote") "Be Somebody" video? With this scene, I honestly do expect him to start rapping about getting a job any second now.

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