(Cut to footage of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess)
Linkara (v/o): Ah, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, two great TV series that made liberal use various mythologies, though focused primarily on Greek tales. They both have a large fan following and are still beloved today.
Linkara: Yeah, I never watched them. Sorry, I just didn't care for them when they were on. Though, I caught an episode or two now and then.
Linkara (v/o): Both have their own runs in comic books, but today's subject is a one-shot comic, which begs the question of why they even bothered to number it when other one-shots like, say, "Godzilla Vs. Barkley" didn't have a number?
Linkara: With that strange look at comic book numbering out of the way, let's dig into (holds up comic of review) "The Marriage of Hercules and Xena #1".
(Cut to a closeup of the cover of the comic)
Linkara (v/o): This cover is stupid! There's no other way to put it. What goes through the mind of some comic companies that decide photo stills will get people to pick up books? And not even a full photo still! Somebody Photoshopped the background, gave them a white glow, and then added a generic cloudy background to them. But this is actually one of two covers people could get for this comic. Now, let me ask you something: if you were to pick out a comic, which would rather have?
(Cut to a shot of the cover of a comic of "Xena: Warrior Princess", who is holding a sword in a badass pose)
Linkara (v/o): A badass painted image of Xena holding her sword and looking cool, drawn by Alex friggin' Ross, who did beautifully realistic renderings of human beings in both Marvel's and Kingdom Come?
(Cut back to the first cover)
Linkara (v/o): Or would you rather have this static, boring image of the two actors kissing, with so much text that it ends up looks like a teen magazine instead of a comic book? It's just lazy, and especially baffling when you've got someone like Alex Ross on hand, who could've probably produced a cover that looks a thousand times better. (the comic proper begins) We open to a splash page of Hercules and Xena being pronounced husband and wife.
Linkara: Well, that was a short comic.
Narrator: It's impossible. Incredible. The most stunning union of this or any century...
Linkara:(dripping sarcasm) Well, obviously this narrator has never read Twilight.
Hercules: So this is the private, secret gathering we'd planned?
Xena: Well, don't look at me. I didn't tell anyone but Gabrielle.
Linkara (v/o): It's good that they're talking about this right after they've tied the knot. While Ares sulks about how he's not going to be able to shack up with Xena... Speaking of, who invited him? ...Iolaus and Gabrielle lament the fact that their heroic journeys with the two are over. Um, why? It's not like these two are exactly the kind of people who settle down; you're still sidekicks to these two. The high priestess who officiated the ceremony goes up to Xena to give her congratulations, but then suddenly kisses her!
Linkara: Huh, so much for the lesbianism being a subtext.
Linkara (v/o): After the kiss, Xena's eyes suddenly turn red, and she thanks the high priestess.
Linkara:(imitating Ben Stein) For dry, red eyes, use Clear Eyes. Wow.
Linkara (v/o): Later, the two fly on a Pegasus to a secluded island.
Xena: It was so thoughtful of Zeus to loan it to us.
Hercules: Yeah, I'll bet the old character had his share of liaisons here.
Linkara:(as Hercules) Oh, that dad of mine, being unfaithful to his wife and to every woman he slept around with. What a character.
Linkara (v/o): Xena explores the house and finds a chest that contains leather lingerie.
Xena: ...Nice... Very nice... This ought to get his attention...
Linkara:(as Xena, pretending to hold up the lingerie) Wait 'til he wakes up wearing this!
Linkara (v/o): She also finds some battle axes and a goblet containing some liquid emitting pink smoke.
(Cut to a shot of Reign from "New Men #1" with pink smoke spewing from his forehead)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, so that's where Reign from the New Men got his superpowers from.
(Cut back to the Hercules and Xena comic)
Linkara (v/o): We cut to the waitresses who were serving drinks at the wedding. The two complain about how arrogant and obnoxious the gods were at the wedding. Who knew the ancient Greeks had catering services? Gabrielle overhears them talking about how the honeymoon will end in tragedy and demands an explanation from them. She says that for the past year, there's been a curse brought down upon couples who get married in the village. Some spirit compels the bride to murder their husband on the wedding night.
Gabrielle: It's all anyone talks about around here.
Linkara: You've got to imagine that's annoying for travelers. (as traveler) Hey, how much is this loaf of bread? (as clerk) Say, did you know there's a curse that forces newlywed brides to murder their husbands? (as clerk) Um, that's nice, but what about the bread? (as clerk) It's been going on for the past year! (as traveler) BREAD! HOW MUCH?!
Linkara (v/o): She also explains that the blood rage disappears right after the mortal wound's inflicted and before the groom dies, so the bride then has to watch as the groom dies. Seems to me this problem could be fixed by simply holding weddings outside the village, but maybe that's just me. The woman explains that they brought Hercules and Xena in to try to figure out the cause of it.
Linkara: Then why were they talking two seconds ago about how they'll be glad when they're dead?
Linkara (v/o): Gabrielle reasons that the entire wedding was staged so they could confront the curse, since Hercules would be best suited to survive an attack and that Xena would be best to resist the curse.
Linkara:(deadpan) Yeah, she's doing a bang-up job so far.
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of banging, Xena appears before Hercules, wearing the red dominatrix garb. Hercules' reaction?
Hercules: Xena! Where did you get that outfit! It's... It's spectacular!
Linkara:(as Hercules) That would look so good on me!
Hercules: Now, please, Xena, we both agreed when we got into this that we were going to control our... urges.
Linkara (v/o): While Xena convinces Hercules to drink the wine, Joxer slowly wakes up to overhear the priestess and Ares talking about the fact that the whole thing was a trap to get Hercules killed. He promptly sits up, bonks his head against a wooden plank, and then falls unconscious again. Well, thanks for padding out the length of the comic. While Herc sleeps, Xena pulls out a dagger and prepares to STAB HIM, aaaaaaand... nothing. Huh. Hercules wakes up, and Xena's gone. Well, that was anticlimactic. Hercules goes outside and sees Xena atop a horse. And she's on fire. Green fire, in fact. I don't recall the curse ever mentioning that part, but hey, we'll roll with it.
Xena:Stay away from me, you fool! Don't you understand? You've got to leave me alone!
Linkara:(as Xena) I have to avoid being typecast as Xena! I could get a job on Battlestar Galactica!
Linkara (v/o): Xena explains that the anger and rage is taking her over, and she can't control it, pleading with Hercules to get away. Apparently, it's become like a virus, infecting even the horses to the point where they actually try to bite at Hercules, trying to feed on him!
Linkara: Oh, God! The horses have tasted human flesh! It's gonna be Night of the Equines now!
Linkara (v/o): Thanks to a combination of the killer horse bites and the wine, Hercules plummets over a cliff. Xena, however, is still stuck in Human Torch mode and says that that's not good enough.
Xena:We're playing with powers far greater than we ever imagined!
(Cut to the end of a Nintendo commercial)
Announcer: Now you're playing with power.
(Cut back to the comic)
Xena:The eternal cry for vengeance against male oppression!
Linkara:(listlessly) Oh, boy, here we go.
Xena:It must have an instrument of expression, and I am that instrument. The power feeds me and feeds on me!
Linkara (v/o): Hercules still refuses to leave her and climbs back up the cliffs and surrenders, asking simply that he chooses the way that he dies. As such, he has her fly him up past the clouds, and the fire starts to extinguish, but she's still nutty as an Almond Joy and tosses him off.
Linkara:(as Hercules) Ha! It's a good thing I can fly! Wait a second, no, I can't! (flails his arms around) AAAAAAHHHHHH!! THIS WAS A DUMB PLAN!
Linkara (v/o): Actually, as soon as Hercules falls enough, the rage leaves Xena, and she immediately dives down after him. She catches him and Hercules remarks...
Hercules: What took you so long?
Xena: We came as fast as we could... other than those stops along the way to admire the sunrise.
Linkara:(laughs) Oh, she almost got him killed!
Linkara (v/o): Later, the two confront Ares and the priestess, who reveals that she's a Fury... not that this information is in any way relevant, since the two immediately teleport away. Joxer asks if the whole marriage thing was just a hoax, and in fact, says the word repeatedly, annoying Gabrielle. Ah, stiff, unfunny jokes, that's what you think of when you think Xena and Hercules, right? Anyway, since they never consummated it, and since the wedding was part of the plan, they were not really married. And so, our comic ends with Joxer saying...
Joxer: What you're saying is, the wedding was, in fact, just a--
Gabrielle:(elbowing him in the stomach)Don't say it!
Joxer: ...A ruse ...I was gonna say a ruse...
(Canned laughter and applause are heard, followed by end-of-credits music and the credit: "EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS – Sam Raimi, Lewis Lovhagu, Wheeler)
Linkara:(laughs) Tune in next week when Joxer says "wallet" over and over again, making Gabrielle angry. (closes comic and holds it up) This comic is pointless!
Linkara (v/o): It doesn't really suck, but the whole thing is a big letdown. The title is a lie since they're not really married, there's no awesome fight scene against giant mythological creatures, and it doesn't advance their characters in any way. Sure, it's got okay artwork, but that's not enough justification for its existence.
Linkara: So, really, the entire purpose of this comic was to get Xena into skimpy dominatrix gear! (suddenly looks up in thought, as he ponders what he just said) Huh. Well, I've heard of worse reasons to make a comic. (puts down comic, gets up and leaves)
The worst part? Xena never did her "ALALALALALALA!" battle cry.