The Wild #1
March 10, 2014
Wild and crazy cyborg animals.
(Linkara sits on his futon, brooding, his head resting on his hands. He sighs)
Linkara: I miss "Brute Force".
(Cut to a shot of the cover of "Brute Force #4")
Linkara (v/o): I miss cyborg animals with guns. I miss the absurdity. I miss the insanely stupid schemes. I miss the awesome and the dumb.
Linkara: Still, we must move forward. The future lies this way and we must meet it head-on. Still, we should see if we can recapture the magic in other places. So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "The Wild #1" and see if that is where the spirit of "Brute Force" lives on.
(AT4W title sequence plays, and title card has "Mmmbop" by Hanson playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover looks like an early '90s Image book – not surprising since this came out in 1995 – just with slightly better artwork and anthropomorphic animals.
(Cut to a closeup of "The Others")
Linkara (v/o): Kinda reminds me of "The Others", that comic I did a brief review on as a double feature with the first issue of "Brute Force".
(Cut back to "The Wild" cover)
Linkara (v/o): And again, the artwork is slightly better and with a bit more variation in design... although variation may not necessarily be a good thing, considering what they chose to do for the variation, most striking of which is the big, pink, muscular rabbit right in the center. Hell, they even made his ears absurdly long, as if they were trying to give steroids to those, too. Then there's the Minotaur behind them, who looks deeply confused about what's going on, either staring at the book's logo or the ends of the rabbit's ears. Below them appears to be the thief for their party: some kind of weasel [Maverick] or something in a green Hobbit cloak and a laser sword. Next to him is a grasshopper holding a gun...
Linkara: Now, there's a sentence I never thought I'd be saying when I started this show.
Linkara (v/o): ...and finally, a pig [Cochi] in vaguely Egyptian clothing and holding a gun.
(Cut to a shot of "Batman: Fortunate Son")
Batman: Pigs--from a gun.
(Cut back to "The Wild")
Linkara (v/o): (reading text dramatically) "COLLECTORS [sic] ISSUE"!
Linkara: It is indeed a rare collectible. I mean, I tried looking up information on this book, and I was lucky to find an entry on an online comic shop. It's that rare and collectible!
Linkara (v/o): Also, shouldn't there be a possessive apostrophe? As in, "belonging to a single collector" and not "a single issue for multiple collectors"?
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open with a scene that makes me take back the variation compliment on these guys, since apparently, all of them are pink.
Narrator: Here in an age after the fall of man, animals rule supreme.
Linkara: (narrator voice) PETA quickly realizes the terrible mistake they've made.
Narrator: Species have fought for power for centuries, the Duck Empire is the longest to rule, but that may change.
Linkara: (makes a "finger quote") "The Duck Empire". (frowns) That was a thing that was just said.
Linkara (v/o): I've got to admit, I did not see the rise of the duck regime. Everyone figured it'd be the seahorses that eventually took over, but me personally, I was rooting for the dung beetles. Also, the letterer put the comma after "longest to rule" on its own on the next line.
BECAUSE POOR LITERACY... INCLUDES IMPROPER PUNCTUATION MARK PLACEMENT
Linkara (v/o): And naturally, since they resemble an early '90s Image comic team in many ways, they have to bicker like an early '90s Image team.
Minotaur: Oh this is just great Redhare...
Linkara: Ah, so the bunny isn't pink, he's just lightish red.
Minotaur: ...we got a few minutes to find an ancient Omani base and blow it up before the ducks come an...
Linkara (v/o): Erm, typo? If they meant for him to be making "and" into a more slang spelling, they would need an apostrophe.
Minotaur: ...and come and shoot our tails off.
Linkara (v/o): A caption informs us that...
Text: The Omani is what the animals call Man.
Linkara: (making an "air quote") "Unnecessary" is what I call that bit of language.
Linkara (v/o): And before you think I'm pedantic with the spelling errors, Redhare uses apostrophe and a slang-out "and", and there's more to come. The pig says the ducks would never do something "that ugly".
Maverick: Anyway, they're more likely to cut off your head, than just kill you.
Linkara: (confused) So, in the future, decapitation is just something that's a mild inconvenience instead of something that can kill you?
Linkara (v/o): Also, comma splice.
Grasshopper: True, they need the raw materials for they're [sic] biodriod duckrepeds.
Linkara (v/o): Wrong use of "their"; the version they use is "they are".
Linkara (v/o): I'm also going to assume they meant "biodroid", and not "-driod".
Linkara (v/o): I would add "duckrepeds" to the typo list, but I have no idea what the hell a "duckreped" is, so for all I know, that is the correct spelling. Four typos on the first page, my friends. We're in for a wild ride!
Linkara: (sarcastically) Get it? Because this is a comic called (points to comic) "The Wild", and I... Um... Um, uh... (frowns) Shut up, this is a comic about ducks taking over the world.
Linkara (v/o): They enter into a forest that's been overrun by mushrooms, and we get some more typos, like a repeat of the comma thing...
Linkara (v/o): ...and then a lack of a comma when someone says, "Move it time's short!"
Linkara (v/o): Then again, maybe one of their names is Time's Short and they were telling them to move it. So far, we've only got one name out of them.
Minotaur: To [sic] late... DUCKS!!!
Linkara (v/o): Yes, let us go to late, not that it is too late.
Linkara: In case you were wondering, the company behind this book, Unleashed Comics, only produced two books in their entire library. But now it's time to meet the ducks. The cyborg ducks. Yes, seriously. Behold the ducks and their cybernetic appendages. Oh, yeah, I just realized: it's not just that the animals have taken over the world, but they also possess humanoid shapes and arms and stuff. They have fingers. I suppose the only way the ducks could take over is with opposable thumbs, but why them and not all the other animals that have opposable thumbs? So the ducks can't detect... uh, our heroes, I guess we can call them, because of the dense jungle, so the lead cyber-duck orders a squad sent in to deal with them. And already I'm wondering why exactly these animals need to be killed, why the ducks need to be fought, but let's wait on questions about the plot, as I add another mark to the count for a comma splice.
Linkara (v/o): The squad that's sent in includes the standard cyborg duck soldiers, but also robotic, four-armed ducks with buzzsaws and chainsaws for hands. Check out the general design for these things. I guess the ducks were big fans of Short Circuit.
(Cut to a clip of Short Circuit)
Number 5: Number 5 furious, livid, perturbed.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And a battle quickly erupts between the animals and the cyborg robot killbots made to resemble ducks. You know, this comic is kind of weird. Also, despite the Liefeldian influences on the cover, at least the weapons of the characters actually resemble guns. The group quickly finds itself outgunned and they retreat further into the forest. Unfortunately, the pig is hit right in the chest. We learn the pig's name when the grasshopper screams it out.
Linkara: I looked up (makes a "finger quote") "Cochi" on Google and came to the word "cochino". It's a Spanish word that basically means "pig". The pig's name... is Pig. (facepalms himself)
Linkara (v/o): The Minotaur picks up the grasshopper so they can keep running, saying that the pig is basically fried after that hit. That'll do, pig. That'll do. The Minotaur wonders where the hell they're going exactly, to which the rabbit simply explains that they're just running away from the guns. Well, that sure was a necessary scene. It especially helped us get another look at the lettering of the book, where we see that rarely do any of the word balloons have centered text.
(Cut to the credits for the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The inks, part of the story, and the lettering were all done by a guy named Darin Calhoun. I did a quick look to see if the guy was still working, and I am happy to report that in the fourteen years since this comic came out...
(Cut back to the comic proper)
Linkara (v/o): ...he has learned how to center text. Not a bad artist, either, although this is based on the assumption that the person's work I found is the same person as the one in the book. Still, either way, kudos to anyone who knows how to make the words be centered in the damn balloons, as opposed to this comic, where the text gravitates towards the top of the balloon, as if it's trying to escape from the comic. Anyway, the grasshopper doesn't have time to mourn, since, as they proceed deeper into the forest, they encounter a bunch of land shark creatures that stab him and then eat him in one big chomp.
Linkara: We're losing main characters rather quickly, and it's especially bad since I still don't know half their names.
Linkara (v/o): The land sharks surround our heroes, but before I turn the page to find out what happened, I see an advertisement for Unleashed Comics asking for new artists. To be exact, they're looking for "origional [sic] art".
Linkara (v/o): I'd also note they have a period in one sentence, but then none for the second and third, so that should go to the typos count, but frankly, I think "origional" pretty much takes the cake for the ad. Aaand then we have a two-page spread with the characters firing their guns everywhere, even doing the classic "shot every shot fired in an arc like a strobe light" thing with the weasel.
Maverick: It appears that these are mushrooms that would rather eat than be eaten.
Linkara: You would think that with the animals now running the world that they would know the difference between "mushrooms" and "sharks".
(Cut to Linkara wearing a Pokemon outfit. He walks through the room slowly, looking around. He spots that he's on camera and becomes slightly startled)
Linkara: (softly) We'll be right back. I'm just hunting some wild Pokemon during this commercial break.
Pikachu: (offscreen) Pika, Pika!
Linkara: I got ya this time!
(He laughs as he runs offscreen, while the AT4W logo is shown in the corner. We then go to a commercial break. Upon return from the break, Linkara returns, holding a Pokeball in his hand)
Linkara: Ha! Got ya this time! This is what happens when (points to Pokeball) you mess with the greatest master of Pokemon! (looks up to see he's on camera) Oh, uh, we're back now. (walks off, singing) We all live in a Pokemon world...
(The AT4W logo is shown in the corner, and we cut back to the comic as the review resumes)
Redhare: As if rampag'n biomecanical [sic] ducks are't [sic] enough!
Linkara (v/o): Hmm... I'd add the failed "aren't" to the typo count, but considering the slanged-up "rampaging", we can give it a pass. However, they did misspell "biomechanical", so another one there.
Linkara (v/o): Stray fire hits one of the giant mushrooms and reveals a steel pipe inside of it, big enough for the group to leap in and escape. While the bioducks fight the land sharks, the group crashes down into a dark underground base. They can't see anything, but fortunately, Redhare is able to make his thumb glow.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of The Twilight Zone)
Man: I found a light. (flips up index finger, lighting it on fire)
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): A narrative caption informs us...
Narrator: Redhare has special mutational abilitys [sic].
Maverick: Your vocabulary is astounding.
Linkara: I know, right? I'm really starting to get worried about just how many grammar and spelling mistakes there are in this book. Even for an amateur comic, a lot of this is basic spelling.
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, they seem to be in some kind of high-tech base and have come to set explosives. We also learn that the weasel is named Maverick. Still no name for the Minotaur. Anyway, Maverick finds a whole bunch of CDs on a shelf.
Maverick: Ancient Omani stored there [sic] knowledge...
Maverick: ...on disks like these. They could be useful.
Linkara: (as Maverick) Ah, I believe this device will access the information on the Omani disks.
(He makes a reaching-out motion, and suddenly, "Mmmbop" by Hanson plays, much to Linkara's confusion)
Linkara: (as Maverick) What does it mean?!
Linkara (v/o): Redhare tells him to grab some of the disks and hurry. Also, another note on the lettering: I've been trying to be fair to it so far, but the spacing on the words is pretty bad. It's like they didn't have room to add spaces between words, so they just made it one long word. They find another corridor and a door that explodes out, revealing more of the robo-ducks. Said robo-ducks are on fire. This is one of the most metal things I've ever seen...
(Cut to a panel of "Neutro #1", showing Neutro riding a whale)
Linkara (v/o): ...and I've seen Neutro riding on a whale...
(Cut to the cover of "Superman: Distant Fires")
Linkara (v/o): ...and Superman riding on a giant cat.
(Cut back to the "Wild" comic)
Linkara (v/o): It seems the robo-ducks are the previously-mentioned "duckrepeds", since they use living tissue as part of them, and the Minotaur somehow recognizes one of them.
Minotaur: Roj? It can'nt [sic] be!
Linkara: (making a "finger quote") "Roj", huh? Hmm, so that's what eventually happened to Blake.
Linkara (v/o): The Minotaur begs forgiveness before blowing Roj away. And then they arm a grenade and toss it behind them, running away from the explosion in an admittedly badass panel. Seriously, it's like a '90s action movie with this explosion. Unfortunately, the duckrepeds survive, but the explosion masks our heroes' escape and gives the impression to the ducks that they've been killed. The duckrepeds are able to access the remaining technology of the undergound base, even gaining access to some kind of ship that was inside of it. After that? No idea. The ship seems to lift off and then I think rains fire down on the remaining duck forces, but your guess is as good as mine. Meanwhile, our heroes make their way into some kind of ventilation system, naturally large enough to fit the oversized steroid-abusing rabbit. The vent leads them to a water pipe and a significant drop into what I think is a lake. Back with the ducks, the ship is either hovering very close to the ground or has landed next to the mushrooms; can't tell. And the main duck ship approaches... and is shot down. You'll forgive me if I don't understand some of the stuff that's happening; the coloring is not that great when it comes to the backgrounds, preferring this minimalistic style that makes the sky look overexposed. The explosions in turn are equally white, so it makes the whole thing look like a black-and-white comic. Back with our heroes, the group manages to climb up the side of the ledge where the pipe exited and find themselves on a plateau. They dust themselves off and get themselves collected.
Minotaur: Oh, ya I got a killer wedgie.
Linkara: (giving a thumbs-up) Thanks for the info, dude who still doesn't have a name!
Linkara (v/o): Although, in an earlier scene, they called you "Butthead". Maybe that's your name. Unfortunately, the spacecraft hovers in behind them. And so, our comic ends with the perspective of the ship, which has targeting reticles aimed at our three remaining heroes.
Linkara: And... that's the comic. Seriously, that's it. End of story.
Linkara (v/o): Well, sort of. There are two things left to talk about. Like I said, Unleashed Comics, as far as I can tell, only released two books. The other comic was not the next issue of "The Wild". However, they were apparently working on a second issue, since they do include a brief preview of it, all in blue inks. There's nothing to say about it, though; it's just the Duck Headquarters dispatching fighters to help the ship that was shot down. There's nothing really to comment on or make fun of, especially in light of the fact that the thing doesn't seem to have been released. I mean, it's possible the second issue is out there and I just couldn't find info on it, but the problem with the generic names of the company and the comic... well, I was lucky to find any entry on this thing anywhere on the Web.
(Cut to an article in the book reading "HARE LINES")
Linkara (v/o): The second thing to comment on is a great big honking exposition dump on the premise of the book and a call for letters for the letters page, with the column called "Hare Lines". I do sometimes miss that about comics. Some books still do it on occasion, but letters pages were a great place to see direct feedback from fans in a book before the Internet came along, especially seeing fan theories about what was going to happen.
Text: We feel it prudent to inform you, the reader, about the world you have been thrust into.
Linkara: We feel it prudent to tell you about this world after you've already finished the comic.
Linkara (v/o): The lettering is no better here, despite the fact that they had a whole page work with. Hell, technically two pages, since they left so much damn free space on the top and bottom and just continued on the next page. They'd probably be able to fit everything on one page if they just bothered to NOT PUT SPACES AROUND THE COMMAS! Hell, they do that with the periods, too: end of sentence, space, punctuation mark! Who the hell writes like that?! So, yeah, exposition about this world that only exists in the one comic.
Text: The first society to develop was the dogs...
(Cut to a clip of Battlefield Earth)
Terl (John Travolta): Obviously a superior race, having the man animal chauffeured around.
(Back to the comic again)
Text: However, the dogs were too trusting and they fell prey to the guile of the cats.
Linkara: Ehhh... Yeah, I think we all pretty much saw that coming.
Linkara (v/o): After a war broke out between cats and dogs, a new power emerged: the bears!
Text: The bears who had watched, and waited patiently gathering wealth, and power from both sides. Selling raw materials and food for technology.
(Cut to a clip of Clerks: The Animated Series, showing a random bear driving a car that Dante and Randal are in)
Narrator: Oh, my God, a bear's driving! How can that be?!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Then roaches took over, thanks to being able to breed superior numbers... and then goats, because they ate the roaches.
Linkara: (incredulously) Why the hell did you waste five pages on the preview for the next issue? I want to see this story in comic form!
Linkara (v/o): Eventually, the goats retreated and became isolationists, allowing rabbits to take over and spread democracy and capitalism.
Linkara: So the rabbits in Night of the Lepus were just misunderstood and were trying to spread American values to more people?
Linkara (v/o): Eventually, all the animal governments joined together and time was prosperous and happy and there were rainbows and cotton candy for everyone or something.
Text: Then one fateful day the first duck flting [sic] city came.
Text: The ducks are a mysterious species...
Linkara: Truly there is no more mysterious and wondrous a creature than the duck.
Linkara (v/o): Turns out the ducks have been working for years on cybernetics and antigravity technology. With floating cities and superior air technology...
(Cut to a clip of Patton)
Patton (George C. Scott): You were discussing, uh, air supremacy, Sir Arthur?
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): ...the ducks were able to conquer the world and convert any who oppose them into the duckrepeds.
Text: But there is hope, a brave few*, perhaps foolish few, rebel against the ducks.
- NOTE: The text actually has the positions of "brave" and "few" switched so it reads "a few brave". Redhare...
Linkara (v/o): Comma splice...
Text: ...is one of these individuals...
Linkara (v/o): So, it's Redhare the rabbit versus the ducks?
(Cut to a clip of the Looney Tunes cartoon Rabbit Fire)
Daffy Duck: (pushing Elmer Fudd's gun barrel in front of Bugs Bunny) Wabbit season!
Bugs: (pushing gun barrel over to Daffy) Duck season!
Daffy: (pushing gun barrel back to Bugs) Wabbit season!
Linkara: (holds up comic) This comic sucks... but it is kind of awesome.
Linkara (v/o): I honestly can't tell if this is supposed to be satire or if it's absolutely serious. Aside from the so-so coloring choices, the artwork is actually pretty decent. The penciler Josh Diffey seems to still get a bit of work for his art in RPG books from what I can dig up on Google, which I think works pretty well for a style seen here. Yeah, there are some sequential failings, but I think it just needed a better editor to polish up some parts. And of course, the lettering could use some work. Really, the cardinal sin of the comic is that it's so generic in execution: a bunch of rebels with guns invading an island while fighting cyborgs. It's a dime-a-dozen concept in the mid-'90s. What helps save it is the insane world of cyborg ducks conquering the world and fighting land sharks and big pink rabbits with guns. I'm really sad this doesn't have more issues, because I'd honestly like to see if they can keep up the insanity. It would have been a worthy successor to "Brute Force" around here.
Linkara: But alas, that is not the case, and we must continue the search for something that lasted at least as long as "Brute Force". (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
This book seems to have the opposite problem of Youngblood – not knowing what to do with more than three characters.
And we also didn't get to see Maverick pull out the laser sword. BOO.
(Stinger: The final panel of the comic proper is shown, with text reading: "To Continue")