The Invincible Four of Kung-Fu and Ninja #1
March 12, 2012
Well, they do know Kung Fu. Made up kung fu, but kung fu.
(Linkara looks confused as he looks at the comic to be reviewed for today)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Okay, what the hell am I supposed to do (holds up comic) with a title like this?
(Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): "The Invincible Four of Kung-Fu and Ninja". I don't even know what to say to that. And yes, I know my schedule says that I was going to review the third issue. However, when I Googled this book in an attempt to find some background information, I came across a text review of the first issue and decided it would be better if we started this from the top. Issue 3 was bad, certainly, but it was mostly just action sequences. This one, though? I'm flummoxed.
(Cut to a closeup of the comic's publisher, Stupid Comics)
Linkara (v/o): Okay, I'm gonna begin where the text review kind of does, from MisterKitty.org's "Stupid Comics" section. Subsequently, they looked at a few other comics that I reviewed as well, so it's certainly worth a gander from you all. I admit, this is not usually my field. I'm mostly into American comics, so any comic history I do know about usually focuses around the Big Two of Marvel or DC. But I've tried to look up info and I'll tell you what I found.
(Cut to a shot of the cover of a comic called "Kung Fu Special #1" from a Chinese publisher called Jademan Comics)
Linkara (v/o): In the late '80s and early '90s, there was an influx of foreign Kung Fu comics, primarily made by a company called Jademan Comics. These were "manhuwa" – and I apologize if I pronounced that wrong – made in Hong Kong by a guy named Tony Wong. Many of you are probably asking, "What is manhuwa?"
(Cut to a shot of another Jademan comic, "The Blood Sword")
Linkara (v/o): Well, that's simple: manhuwa is Chinese comics originally produced in China, much like how manga is comics made in Japan. Tony Wong is apparently considered the godfather or king of the Hong Kong comic book industry, with a massive backlog of comics that he drew, wrote or just published under his company. Since I never read any of his stuff, I don't know about the quality of it.
(Cut to a shot of of a Batman comic called "Batman: Hong Kong")
Linkara (v/o): What I do know is that Tony Wong did eventually produce "Batman: Hong Kong", with our old pal, Doug Moench, so I am kind of curious there. Now, why am I talking about all of this stuff?
(Cut back to the Stupid Comics logo)
Linkara (v/o): Well, bringing it back to that review I mentioned, as it turns out, "The Invincible Four of Kung-Fu & Ninja" is a knockoff of the Jademan comics!
Linkara: (his head resting on his hand, listlessly) Oh, wonderful. A Hong Kong knockoff of another Hong Kong series about kung fu and ninjas and stuff. This so not my field, people. Hell, it seems like this kind of thing falls more with the Cinema Snob or Ed Glaser than my desk.
(Suddenly, Linkara's phone goes off, his ringtone playing "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap. He looks at his phone)
Linkara: Oh, it's, uh, my old friend, Gordon. Hang on a second. I gotta take this. (opens up phone) Hey, Gordon.
(Cut to Gordon, played by Edmund Ho, who answers, but his mouth movements don't match his words, as if dubbed from another language. The audio quality is slightly lower, too. He is talking on a phone that looks like Garfield the cat (the phone being his tail))
Gordon: Ah, hello, Linkara. This is Gordon.
Linkara: Yes, I know, Gordon. (stops abruptly, confused) Are you okay? You sound kind of weird, like you're in dubbed-over footage of something.
Gordon: Yeah, that tends to happen around here. I need to warn you: I suspect "The Invincible Four of Kung-Fu and Ninja" is actually a secret plot by the evil Ninja Empire to gain ultimate power.
Linkara: Evil Ninja Empire? I thought you said they were just a fairy tale.
Gordon: It is. It doesn't exist. But anyway, thought you'd better luck to professionals handle this. Only a ninja can defeat a ninja.
Linkara: Don't worry, I got a ninja-style dancer on hand who can help out if I need it.
Gordon: Ah, the Ninja-Style Dancer, one of the deadliest of the Ninja Arts. It's a good thing they're only a fairy tale.
Linkara: Indeed. Thanks for the heads-up, Gordon. I'll see you at the Garfield Convention next month.
Gordon: Naturally, my friend. (hangs up)
Linkara: (snapping phone shut) Anyway, let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "The Invincible Four of Kung-Fu and Ninja #1" and (looks awkward) see just what the hell this book is about anyway.
(AT4W title theme plays; title card has "Moskau" by Dschinghis Khan playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Compositionally, this cover is pretty good, fitting in a lot of details in a cramped space. Where it starts falling apart is the artwork itself. I admit, this might be my biases speaking since this is a manhuwa, and different countries are bound to have different styles of art, but there's some weird stuff going on in this cover, particularly in the eyes department. This ninja in the upper-right looks like he's trying to do the Dreamworks Fascinating Eyebrow, but isn't quite there, and positively tiny pupils for his eyes. Also, what the hell is that on his forehead? A dragon? Some kind of horse-dragon? I am confused. Oh, and also, we can see his right hand next to his face, and that's a really tiny hand there. It took me a minute to figure out that these animals we see on the cover are supposed to be associated with the character they're next to, like the phoenix with the woman, the dragon with this guy, and the turtle with the black guy. Speaking of, there's something weird going on with the black guy. There are two other guys attacking him, and both have sticks that break in half... while the black guy has rocket nipples, apparently. Check it out: pointy metal thing and fire shooting out the back. Oh, wait, I suppose that could be a spearhead breaking off from the stick, but then, why is it on fire after it hits this guy's nipple?
Text: The Only Comic to Teach You REAL Kung Fu & Ninja Application!
Linkara: So, will this be (makes "finger quotes") "really real ninja application", where they teach you infiltration and assassination techniques, or made-up real ninja application, like, say...
(Cut to footage of Power Rangers Ninja Storm, which Linkara describes)
Linkara (v/o): ...leaping on the back of another ninja and using their body as a surfboard towards your opponent?
(Cut back to the cover)
Text: Free Gifts.
Linkara: (holding up comic) I received no free gifts from this comic. Already this relationship is off to a rocky start.
Linkara (v/o): We open with three paragraphs about Chines kung fu. It is boring, and if you're curious, just look it up on Wikipedia.
(The comic proper begins)
Linkara (v/o): We truly open at...
Text: ...60 years ago at Fatshan County of Canton Province, China...
Linkara (v/o): We see people milling around, doing their thing, when all of a sudden...
Young man: ARK!
Old man: GOSH!
Third man: LOOK!
(There are question marks, similar to the comic, hovering around Linkara)
Linkara: (cowering) There are question marks just floating in the air! What the hell are they?!
Linkara (v/o): No, the commotion is actually caused by the presence of a white woman dressed like a Southern belle and a black guy wearing red pants and a blue vest.
Villager: WHERE ON EARTH DID THEY COME FROM?
Linkara: (confused) From other countries...? (shrugs)
Narrator: A YOUNG BLONDE & A BLACK BOY DRESSED IN WESTERN COSTUME WAS...
Linkara (v/o): Wait, where's the– Oh, it's on the other side of the panel.
Narrator: ...A STRANGE SIGHT IN THE OLD CITY OF FATSHAN.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, great job placing the captions, by the way: no boxes to separate the captions from the rest of the text, and then space it out so there's a massive empty space in the middle of a sentence. By the way, "Western costume"? I'm assuming they mean "Western", as in like Western culture and countries like the U.S.A. or the like, but I've got to say, I don't recall the pirate look being all that popular in the U.S.A. as casual attire in the 1920s.
Narrator: AT THE END OF THE STREET, A GROUP OF RASCALS WAS IN ACTION.
Linkara: Huh, Our Gang grew up and moved to China, I guess.
Linkara (v/o): These "rascals" seem to be some kind of gang of thugs hassling a vendor for protection money while another one... signals he wants to hitch a ride? And he's doing this towards some woman... Is that how you picked up in the 1920s? You pretended to hitchhike?
Thug: (to the vendor) GO KILL YOURSELF IF YOU HAVE NO MONEY TO-MORROW.
Linkara: (as thug, pointing to camera) We'd kill you ourselves, but, uh, tomorrow is supposed to be our day off.
Narrator: ONE OF THE RASCALS CAUGHT SIGHT OF SOMETHING.
Linkara: You know, (makes a "finger quote") "rascals" describes little kids who play a prank on their teacher, not goons extorting money out of people. Maybe you should rethink your vocabulary here.
Linkara (v/o): And whatever the "rascal" sees makes his eyes pop out of his skull, like he was one of the Killers From Space.
(Cut to a clip of the Film Crew watching Killers From Space)
Bug-eyed alien: Our eyes developed to this state (Kevin giggles) to combat the ever-growing darkness. We were forced to migrate.
Kevin: He looks a little like Buzz Lightyear.
(Cut back to the comic)
Rascal: COME, MEN!!!!!
Linkara (v/o): And he included five exclamation marks at the end of this to emphasize just how much he wanted them to come with him. When he stops, they all collide in back of him, but for some reason, all have the same sound effect of "BANG!" Given the way they're positioned, that means either a poor sound effect choice or this is a really inappropriate thing to be doing when this comic is supposed to be educating us on kung fu techniques. It turns out he spotted the blonde woman.
Rascal: HI, BIRDIE, WHERE'RE YOU FROM?
Linkara: (as this rascal) Hello, (reaches hand out to shake) I'm Bob Slimy.
Linkara (v/o): Then the guy elbows her in the breast! Dude, what the hell?! And then he... does a dance?
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Angel, set on the Greek isle of Mypos)
Lorne: Numfar, do the dance of joy! (Numfar does so)
(Back to the comic again)
Rascal: HEI, HEI, HEI...
Linkara (v/o): Oh, wait, wait, maybe he's trying to impress her by doing a Russian dance.
(Cut to a clip of a music video by Dschinghis Khan performing "Moskau")
Dschinghis Khan: (singing and dancing) Moskau, Moskau / Wirf die Gläser an die Wand / Russland ist ein schönes Land / Ho ho ho ho ho, hey!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The guy speaks to the woman in what I presume is Chinese text, asking if she needs a guide in an oily, sleazy manner.
Rascal 1: IDIOT, DOES SHE KNOW WHAT YOU SAID?
Rascal 2: WHAT DOES IT MATTER, HA, HA.
Linkara: (as Rascal 1) Well, it means you're wasting your time being slimy, boss. (as Rascal 2) Yes, but if I didn't do that, I wouldn't be able to laugh at my own jokes, ha, ha!
Rascal 1 HEY, BE CAREFUL, THE GAL IS GETTING HOT.
Linkara: SHE'S GONNA BLOW! (tosses comic aside and dives to the ground)
Rascal 2: WOO, WHAT A NICE LOOKING CHICK!
Linkara (v/o): You know, somehow, I don't think the word "chick" was a big thing in 1920s China. Maybe I'm wrong there, but just a feeling. She slaps the guy so hard that it actually knocks him back into the arms of his associates.
Rascal 1: DAMN IT!
(Cut to a clip of Birdemic: Shock and Terror)
Rod (Alan Bagh): Damn it!
(Back to the comic again)
Rascal 3: BEAT HER!
Linkara (v/o): However, before they can beat her, the black guy steps in front of her and yells at them to stop.
Rascal: BLACK DIRT, YOU WANNA DIE?
Linkara (v/o): Dude, best not to wave your fists so close to him in a comic about ninjas and kung fu. He's liable to bite your hand off in one move. They decide to beat him instead... Beat him, beat her, just beat it... but he deflects every blow they make... except for this green one to the stomach. But then again, considering the sound effect here is "PANG", I can't help but imagine his abs are made of steel. We cut to this other guy walking down the street.
Narrator: AT THIS MOMENT, TING LUNG IS WALKING LEISURELY OUT OF A TEA HOUSE, AFTER ENJOYING A DELIGHTFUL LUNCH...
Linkara: (dramatically) "The Invincible Four of Kung-Fu & Ninja": Racism, oily guys, enjoying your lunch!
Linkara (v/o): For some reason, in the lower-right corner, someone apparently felt the need to show that this person in purple has a note taped to their back that says, "I AM A FOOL!! SO WHAT?"
Linkara: You may be confused by this, but this is actually the ancient ninja version of a "kick me" sign.
Blonde woman: Y-O-U BULLIES!
Linkara (v/o): Thanks for spelling that out, lady. It was good to establish that you know how to spell three-letter words. It turns out that the black guy's name is Rocky, and she instructs them to beat them up, even delivering some roundhouse kicks of her own... in a dress not conducive to martial arts. Plus, from the way this panel is drawn, she's apparently kicking them from five feet away. That guy who had lunch, Ting Lung, spots the fight and the caption, the first one to kind of have its own box, reveals that the woman's name is Kim. The other goons go for weapons, including the slimy guy actually going for a friggin' meat cleaver! Ting Lung suddenly runs right at Kim, fists raised in a badly-drawn action pose, which the caption informs us is a "sun-character thrusting punch of the Wing Tsun kungfu [sic] style". Yeah, this style involves moving as if you're on roller skates if this art is to be believed. Howver, Ting Lung actually punches the oily guy before he can cleave at Kim... and gets the crap kicked out of him for his trouble.
Ting Lung: WHY DID YOU HIT ME WITHOUT ANY REASON?
Linkara (v/o): Well, to be fair, dude, you did run right at her instead of yelling, "Behind you!" or anything like that.
Kim: WHY DID YOU ATTACK ME WITH THE RUFFIANS?
Linkara: Don't you mean "rascals"?
Ting Lung: I WAS JUST TRYING TO DEAL WITH THE RUFFIAN WHO ATTACKED YOU FROM BEHIND.
Linkara (v/o): However, in the time it took to say those lines, all of the goons completely ran away and out of sight. Looking behind her, Kim sees no one.
Kim: NONSENSE, WHERE IS THE MAN?
Rocky: NONSENSE, THE MAN IS WHERE?
Linkara: The man, nonsense where is?
Linkara (v/o): Kim and Rocky walk off in a huff, not believing him because they're idiots.
Kim: HM, DON'T YOU WANT ME TO BELIEVE YOU!
Linkara: (confused) Was that a question? If it was, it's a really weird question to ask, given the circumstances.
Rocky: HM, DON'T YOU WANT HER TO BELIEVE YOU!
Linkara (v/o): Rocky, stop repeating everything she says. The goons retreat back to their boss, injured and covered in bandages and slings.
Boss: SHAME ON YOU! THE WHOLE BUNCH OF YOU COULDN'T EVEN DEAL WITH THREE KIDS?
Linkara: (as boss) You couldn't even deal with three kids? ...Who all look like they're in their 20s?
Boss: COLLECT ALL OUR MEN & LET'S MOVE!
Narrator: SO THE BIG BOSS BRINGS HIS ENTIRE GANG TO SEEK REVENGE!...
Linkara (v/o): And apparently, his gang heals rather fast, since all those bandages and whatnot are gone. Also, Krillin from Dragon Ball Z is part of the gang.
Thug that looks like Krillin: (thinking) B-B-Q?
Linkara: Krillin, you are no longer allowed to think.
(An icon appears in the corner to a bell ding sound, showing a silhouetted Krillin with a white cross on his head, along with the message: "Krillin Owned Count: 1")
Linkara (v/o): On a splash page, we see that on one road, the gang is storming through the streets, looking for Kim and Rocky, while nearby, Kim and Rocky are wondering where they are, though they say their dialogue in the wrong order.
Kim: HOW DO I KNOW?
Rocky: WHERE ARE WE?
Linkara: Why do you think I know? (looks at comic closely) Why did the letterer place the text like that?
Linkara (v/o): As if in answer to the gang, in the lower-left corner, this... thing [looking like a rat] is breaking the fourth wall and proclaiming...
Rat: IDIOTS, THEY'RE HERE!
Linkara: (awkwardly) Thanks... purple rat... demon... (shrugs)
Linkara (v/o): Conveniently, the gang manages to catch up to the two.
Rascal leader: AH, A BLACK KID & A WHITE KID!
Linkara: (singing) Ebony, ivory...
Linkara (v/o): Realizing they're outnumbered, the two decide on the best course of action...
(Cut to a clip of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, showing King Arthur and his knights being threatened by the Killer Rabbit)
King Arthur (Graham Chapman): RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!
Knights: RUN AWAY! (they do so)
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, the gang outflanks them and surrounds them in front of an alleyway that they could probably move down. However, once again, thanks to dramatic convenience, Ting Lung steps out.
Ting Lung: YOU AGAIN?!!
Kim: IT'S YOU AGAIN!
Linkara: You know, this story is 28 pages long, but it would actually be half of that except for everybody needing to repeat every piece of dialogue!
Ting Lung: AH! WE MEET AGAIN! GOOD, HE'S ALSO HERE! THIS IS THE MAN WHO TRIED TO ATTACK YOU FROM BEHIND.
Linkara: Well, I think I've made my point. (waves) See ya. (turns to leave)
Ting Lung: IT'S A SHAME TO TRY TO WIN BY NUMBERS. I'LL FACE YOU FIRST.
Linkara (v/o): And actually, no, it's not a shame to win by numbers, it's a legitimate tactic. It's a shame to be extorting assholes. The oily guy goes in first, but the comic decides to give its first kung fu lesson... except it's not very well explained or drawn. Supposedly, Ting Lung is using his right hand on the oily guy's wrist to deflect the knife and then punch him with his left hand. However, his stance in this panel doesn't suggest that he just evaded a knife, it suggests that the oily guy has bad eyes, because he clearly missed. Same goes for the punch.
Narrator: THE CHARACTER "SUN" THRUSTING PUNCH IS ONE OF ITS MOST POWERFUL MOVEMENTS. THE ONE HIT BY THIS PUNCH IS LIKE RECEIVING A DIRECT THUMPING BY AN IRON HAMMER...
Linkara (v/o): Oh, yeah, he clearly looks like he just punched with enough force to send the guy so far back like that. By the way, if he's really hitting him that hard, chances are he'd more likely break a few ribs, not send him flying ten feet back. It also says that this is also difficult to defend against.
Linkara: Yyyyeah... no. You could probably dodge it or use your other hand to deflect it. Of course, I always prefer the most direct defense for this kind of thing.
(He takes out his magic gun, aims it at the camera and fires a shot)
Linkara (v/o): After kicking a guy wielding a chain back, the gang leader suggests a new tactic.
Rascal leader: BE CAREFUL, THIS KID IS TOO STRONG, LET'S GET AT HIM TOGETHER!
Linkara: That's why this guy gets the big bucks, people, for suggesting such groundbreaking tactics like "Let's all attack him at once instead of one at a time."
Linkara (v/o): Kim, deciding to be badass, tosses her hat into the air and proceeds to unrealistically fly around with a series of kicks and punches, despite, again, wearing the big, flowing dress.
Narrator: OH, CAREFUL, KIM, SOMEONE IS BEHIND YOU!
(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang watching Santa Claus)
Tom Servo: Oh, I'm the narrator; I shouldn't get so involved.
(Back to the comic again)
Narrator: SEEING THE SITUATION, TING SENDS OFF A HEAVY & SPEEDING CHARACTER "SUN" THRUSTING PUNCH...
Linkara: Yeah, Ting Lung really comes off like a true kung fu master when all he does is the (makes punching motion) SAME PUNCH OVER AND OVER.
Linkara (v/o): And yet again, he doesn't look like he's actually in any kind of fighting stance as he punches.
Linkara: (frustrated) Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots has [sic] more realistic fighting poses than this comic!
Linkara (v/o): The guy with the chain from earlier gets it around Kim's neck, who just seems mildly annoyed by this. Another goon leaps at her with a baseball bat, because just running towards her wouldn't be dramatic enough. However, Kim is able to use a...
Narrator: ...TYPICAL MOVEMENT OF THE "FLYING PHOENIX" LIGHTNESS KUNGFU...
Linkara (v/o): ...to leap behind the guy strangling her with the chain. Yeah, I don't think that's very easy to do, even if it is a real thing. The guy with the bat in turn hits the other guy in the face.
Thug: WRONG TARGET, MAN!
Linkara: (as this thug) Dude, no team kills, asshole!
Narrator: AT THIS INSTANT, FOUR OTHER RUFFIANS ARE COMING IN AT KIM FROM ALL DIRECTIONS.
Linkara: (as narrator) I like to state the blindingly obvious.
Thug: I'M READY TO FAINT!
Linkara: (as this thug) Which is why I'm keeping such a tight grip on these chains. (shrugs in confusion)
Linkara (v/o): And because of that tight grip, Kim is able to throw the guy at one of her attackers, dodge another punch from behind, and then do a complete 180-degree kick in high heels, while the rest of her body is angled like this. And yet, somehow, she fails to fall flat on her ass. Okay, where the hell is the kung fu instruction narration explaining how to do that? By the by, I did search around a bit on Google and Wikipedia to try to find info on this "flying phoenix kung fu style", and from what I can tell, it does exist... sort of. Based on what I read, "flying phoenix" is actually a form of meditation in kung fu for healing purposes. There is a maneuver called a flying phoenix kick, buuut that's meant to be used with a pole vault to kick an attacking horseman off of their ride. So, yeah, from what I can tell, the comic that boasts about teaching us real kung fu moves is in fact making crap up. If I'm wrong about this, please let me know, although of course, I'd appreciate it if you see if someone else hasn't set me straight first. Otherwise, I call shenanigans on this comic!
Narrator: AS ROCKY IS DEALING WITH ONE RUFFIAN...
Linkara: (holding up index finger) Okay, I know I complained about the rascals thing from earlier, but now they won't stop referring to them as (makes a "finger quote") "ruffians". Buy a friggin' thesaurus!
Linkara (v/o): Get this: one guy tries to hit Rocky on the back, but the stick breaks in half. Another guy jumps in a very awkward-looking pose with a hammer, but...
Narrator: A SWEEPING BLOW BY ROCKY MAKES A BROKEN HAMMER HANDLE & A BROKEN NOSE...
Linkara (v/o): Uh, I'm pretty sure hammers can't break by doing that.
Linkara: Or maybe this is all just one big video game and some idiot thought that they should include breakable weapons in the combat system.
Narrator: WOW, NO!
Linkara (v/o): (confused) What?
Narrator: ANOTHER RUFFIAN IS HACKING A SHARP CHOPPER AT HIS BACK!
Linkara: They threw a helicopter at him?
Linkara (v/o): No, they mean the big knife there. So... Rocky's dead now, right? Nope! Two hacks at his back and not even a flesh wound. The guy stabs at him multiple times, and not a scratch.
Narrator: THE "CHI-KUNG" PRACTISED [sic] BY ROCKY IS A KIND OF MIRACULOUS POWER WHICH TURNS HIS SKINS...
(Editor's note: "SKINS?")
Narrator: ...SO TOUGH & TENSILE AS TO BE ABLE TO RESIST ATTACKS BY WEAPONS.
(Cut again to the MST3K gang watching another movie)
Tom Servo: You know, I don't buy that for one minute.
Linkara: Okay, doing the flips and crap is one thing, but now this comic has entered into the realm of ridiculous! Chi-kung is a real martial arts practice, from what I can find... and it has nothing to do with making you invulnerable!
Linkara (v/o): Again, quick searches online, but from what I've read, chi-kung – or chi-gung; it's written in a few different ways – is mostly a form of exercise and martial arts training method. It's about balancing the chi and life force and stuff, with some philosophical elements built into it about unlocking your potential. IT IS NOT WHAT THE COMIC DESCRIBES!
Narrator: THE PRACTISE OF CHI-KUNG IS DIVIDED INTO SIX STAGES OF PROGRESSIVE ADVANCEMENT. UPON REACHING THE 4TH STAGE, THE PRACTITIONER COULD WITHSTAND THE CHOPPING BY SHARP WEAPONS. ROCKY HAS ALREADY ACHIEVED THIS STAGE.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Doctor Who, showing an army of Cybermen)
Cyberman: We are invincible to your weapons.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Kim grabs her umbrella and uses it against another guy to deflect his knife, then wraps her legs around the guy's neck and knees him in the chest.
Narrator: KIM ADMINISTERS THE "UMBRELLA GRABBING TECHNIQUE" OF THE FLYING PHOENIX KUNG FU...
Linkara: Ah, yes, the most traditional of kung fu weaponry: (holds up an umbrella) the umbrella.
Narrator: ...THEN FOLLOWS IMMEDIATELY WITH A KICKING MOVEMENT, THE "FLYING PHOENIX SPREADING ITS TAIL"...
Linkara: (confused) "Spreading its tail"?? Are we sure the bird this is based on isn't a peacock?
Linkara (v/o): To be fair, Ting Lung seems to be the only one whose maneuvers actually seem like real fighting, even though he seems to be able to move like The Flash in this panel. To make a long story short – too late – after three pages of fighting, the goons finally realize they're out of their league and start running. The boss doesn't want to run, but when Kim challenges him to put his money where his mouth is, he decides it's best to get the hell out of there.
Ting Lung: YOU SAID WE WOULD BE SMASHED IN YOUR PRESENCE, JUST COME FORWARD TO PROVE IT.
Kim: HA, HA, HA... BOASTER!
Rocky: (kicking a straggling thug) GET LOST, I KICK YOUR ASS!
Linkara (v/o): And he does so, kicking somebody in the ass.
Ting Lung: HA, HA, WHAT A GOOD FIGHT. WE'VE ROUTED THEM TOGETHER!
(Cut to a clip of Birdemic: Shock and Terror)
Rod (Alan Bagh): Man, that was a good movie, An Inconvenient Truth.
(Back to the comic again)
Kim: HEI, HEI, I DIDN'T EXPECT YOU'RE SO GOOD. ...UH, I MUST APOLOGIZE FOR THAT PUNCH. I MISTOOK YOU AS ONE OF THEM.
Ting Lung: OH, IT'S ALRIGHT. JUST DON'T MAKE SUCH A MISTAKE AGAIN. INDEED IT WAS A HEAVY PUNCH, HA, HA. OH, I DON'T EVEN KNOW YOUR NAMES. YOU APPEAR TO HAVE PRACTISED CHINESE KUNGFU. WHAT'S THE WHOLE THING?
Linkara: I included that whole dialogue, basically because up until this point, the translation has been... (waves awkwardly) mmm, semi-decent. But on this page, they apparently decided to give up. I fully expect one of these guys to proclaim that someone set up us the bomb.
Linkara (v/o): Kim and the narrator explain that she's the daughter of a Chinese woman and an American man, her mother taught her "Flying Phoenix style", and that Rocky's father is her father's housekeeper and that her mother taught him the "iron clothes chi-kung".
Linkara: And yet, no one in this family practices (points to camera) "iron chef kung fu". Hell, at least that made-up one sounds like it'd make for a cool meal.
Linkara (v/o): In addition, the spelling of "kung fu" is apparently all over the place. Sometimes, it's two words; sometimes, it's one; sometimes, it's "kunfu". Kim goes to retrieve her hat by LITERALLY RUNNING UP A WALL, which this comic explains is the "'wall walking technique' of the Flying Phoenix".
(Linkara is seen playing a Nintendo DS)
Linkara: (looking up) Hmm? Oh, I'm sorry, I was just a little busy practicing the "play Nintendo DS technique of Lin kung fu". (rolls eyes)
Narrator: KIM TAKES A NUMBER OF CONSECUTIVE SOMERSAULTS TO MINIMIZE THE MOMENTUM OF HER FALL... UNTIL WHEN SHE COMES DOWN TO A SAFE HEIGHT, SHE LEAPS LIGHTLY ONTO THE GROUND JUST LIKE A DANDELION FLOATS DOWN FROM THE AIR.
(Cut to the MST3K gang watching 12 To the Moon)
Mike: Even I don't buy it.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): To try to make themselves a bit more inconspicuous, they buy some local clothes.
Kim: ROCKY, YOU'RE NOW A BLACK CHINESE!
(Linkara raises his index finger in the air, about to say something, but he stumbles briefly and then stops)
Linkara: Yeah, I've got nothing.
Linkara (v/o): Kim further explains that they're in China, searching for her mother. They also know that Kim's uncle is also an expert in "Flying Ho-oh kung fu". Rocky suggests that they get food first.
Kim: UM, ROCKY, YOU ONLY CARE FOR EATING ALL THE TIME.
Linkara: Well, that and repeating your lines. (blinks in confusion) This is the first time he's ever brought up food.
Linkara (v/o): They decide to head to Ting Lung's house.
Narrator: THEY ARE NOT AWARE, HOWEVER, THAT THEY ARE BEING WATCHED BY A MYSTERIOUS MAN...
Linkara (v/o): Said mysterious man is wearing a trenchcoat and a blue fedora. Wait a second. Is that Rob Walker? Erm, anyway, Ting Lung's mom makes them some food, and for some reason, Rocky address her as "Auntie".
(Cut briefly to a panel of a "New Guardians" comic, showing Extraño)
Linkara (v/o): Do these guys know Extraño from "The New Guardians", by any chance?
(Cut back to the "Invincible Four" comic)
Linkara (v/o): Ting Lung's mom offers to let them stay the night and they accept. That evening, however, a ninja stalks their roof. Ting Lung overhears him and... um, throws a coffeepot in the air?
(Cut to a clip of Batman Forever)
Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey): Caffeine will KILL YA!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with the ninja coming down towards Ting Lung.
Narrator: WHILE THE MASKED MAN IS STILL IN THE AIR, HE SHOOTS OUT A FEW "SHURIKEN" (STAR-DARTS)...
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, I love how the comic includes a few ellipses, as if even it doesn't believe that it referred to a friggin' shuriken as "star-darts".
Narrator: ONE OF THE STAR-DARTS IS NOW ONLY A FEW INCHES FROM TING LUNG'S FACE & HE STILL APPEARS TO BE MOTIONLESS. WILL HE BE KILLED? LOOK FOR THE NEXT ISSUE FOR CONTINUATION.
Linkara (v/o): Also, the sound that star-darts make is "ZUP!"
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic sucks, and it's not just because of the made-up martial arts stuff.
Linkara (v/o): Even if I'm actually wrong and those are all real kung fu techniques, there's barely anything going on in this story. Admittedly, it's an action comic, but I'd like to at least know a little about the actual characters we see here. The best we get is Rocky supposedly being obsessed with food, but that comes completely out of left field. In addition, the translation starts falling apart near the end, so the dialogue is stilted, with spelling and grammar errors to boot. The artwork is, for the most part, pretty decent, but it has a few moments where it doesn't work at all, especially when it comes to characters' hands.
Linkara: Also, for a comic called "The Invincible Four of Kung-Fu and Ninja", there was an astonishing LACK of ninjas! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
Also thanks to KaiserNeko for providing the sound and graphics for the "Krillin Owned Count."
Few people know that Rob Walker used to be a ninja that walked the streets of China. He retired to a more humble existence as an Executive Producer for Channel Awesome.
Soo, wait, who are the "four" of the Invincible Four? There are only three main characters!
(Stinger: The Ninja-Style Dancer walks out into the middle of the room, when suddenly, an explosion occurs, and a second ninja (played by Lewis), wearing plaid and gloves appears in the room. The Ninja-Style Dancer holds up his hands, ready to fight)
Ninja in plaid: Ah, Ninja-Style Dancer! Greetings, I am the Plaid Ninja, a representative of the Evil Ninja Empire. You have been summoned to join the Evil Ninja Empire in our quest to destroy Gordon and anyone who stands with him! Will you join us?
(The Ninja-Style Dancer shakes his head)
Plaid Ninja: Very well. (brings up a dart) You have chosen the path of defeat!
(He throws the dart at the Ninja-Style Dancer, who catches it in his hands. He tosses the dart aside and raises his hands again)
Plaid Ninja: Impressive, but can you stand up to the power of my Beanie Baby Technique?
(The Plaid Ninja raises his hands, and two Beanie Babies appear in his hands out of thin air. He throws them at the Dancer, who struggles with them a bit, but throws them aside and raises his hands again)
Ninja-Style Dancer: CYBERMAT TECHNIQUE!
(He summons two Cybermats out of thin air and throws them at the Plaid Ninja, who grunts as they attack)
Plaid Ninja: Shocking me...!
(Grunting some more, he manages to get them off of him and then looks at the Dancer again)
Plaid Ninja: You win this time!
(He disappears in a puff of smoke. The Ninja-Style Dancer crosses his arms, nods his head and dances off)