May 23, 2011
The death count rises and the audience's patience falls.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Our look at the crap-tastic events comic "Ultimatum" unfortunately continues.
(Cut to black)
(Shots of Linkara's review of the first two issues of "Ultimatum" are shown)
Linkara (v/o): The East Coast is hit by a massive tidal wave, flooding New York. At least, we assume it hits more than just New York, since otherwise, this makes the whole thing even sillier. We are told that this was accomplished through magnets, making me bash my head against hard objects. The result of the flood is that millions of people are dead, including several superheroes who died for no damn good reason, as well as someone who was killed because she is eaten by someone else! Class act, Marvel! Why don't you just start having supervillains rape corpses while you're at it? Oh, yeah, and I forgot, there's no "mature readers" warning on this, either; rating says it's for teenagers and up. I was still a teenager, I'd be pretty offended if someone thought I'd want to read this crap. Anyway, Magneto is behind it all, and he kills Charles Xavier because he dared to compare him with a mass murderer, when all he did was kill millions of people!
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Ultimatum #3" and "#4" and see just how much lower they can go.
(AT4W title sequence plays; title card has "Turn! Turn! Turn!" by the Byrds playing in the background; cut to the first page of the book)
Linkara (v/o): We open to the Scarlet Witch's face staring into our souls. I'm holding on the image instead of moving it around like I usually do, and I'll explain why right here. By looking at it, you may have noticed that she looks kind of odd in this shot, but you can't really put your finger on why. I can, however: the proportions of her face are really, really messed up. If we assume that her eyes are the correct size, her nose is positively minuscule, almost like the result of multiple surgeries. She must be gasping for breath, too, what with such small nostrils. And her mouth is also tiny, not nearly wide enough, considering that a mouth is generally wider than an eye! Her hairline might also be screwed up, and she might have a massive forehead, but because she's wearing the tiara thing, we can't be certain, but since we're so close, it doesn't help. Oh, and let's start moving the picture so we can see what she's yapping about, shall we?
Scarlet Witch: They're all dead, Magneto.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Red Dwarf)
Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie): He's dead, Dave. Everybody is dead. Everybody is dead, Dave.
(Cut back to the comic)
Scarlet Witch: Dazzler. Beast. Nightcrawler. Drowned. The Academy of Tomorrow in Chicago destroyed. Emma Frost. Sunspot. Cannonball. Polaris. And the rest of those brats. Confirmed dead by the Madroxes. Longshot. Forge. Detonator. Hardrive. Found them in the Savage Land. Caught. Tortured. Killed.
Linkara: (looking bored) No, no, no, please go on. I mean, why even have any characters at this point?! (brightens up, getting an idea) Ooh! You know what would be really edgy? Let's not have any (becomes angry) READERS while we're at it!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and the Scarlet Witch is talking to Magneto as we hear news reports about just how crappy things have gotten. It seems that Multiple Man, a guy with the ability to make duplicates of himself, has been sent off to be multiple suicide bombers and is targeting many individuals and places. Oh, and this isn't really the Scarlet Witch, but Mystique disguised as her. And why exactly is Mystique impersonating her? Beats the hell out of me, since Magneto immediately grabs her and starts choking her.
Magneto: Do not try my patience. Wanda and Pietro's deaths were only the spark that lit the fuse. For years, I have tried to let the world see it could be in better hands. They branded me a terrorist. A madman. And I am quite certain you will agree that I am EVERYTHING but mad.
(Cut to a clip of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes)
Dr. Putrid Gangreen: Mad? Me? Nonsense! I'm just angry.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): One of the multiple men shows up and yells that Magneto's killed mutants and turned in his own people as well.
Linkara: I love it when the comic points out the plot holes for me. (smiles)
Linkara (v/o): Naturally, instead of just blowing himself up along with Magneto, he exposits for the audience that Magneto's had the real Jamie Madrox in seclusion, creating the suicide bombers. This gives Magneto the chance to fling Thor's hammer at him and knock him through a window so he can't blow him up.
Linkara: Oh, yeah, and there are actually a few things that some viewers have cleared up for me, since they're very nice like that. (holds up index finger) Take note, Jeph Loeb: some people are smarter than you and it would be wise to listen to them.
Linkara (v/o): First of all, Thor's hammer in the Ultimate Universe does not have the same enchantment that it does in the regular continuity, so yeah, Magneto is allowed to lift it with no problem. Oh, and by the way, killing the clone with it is the extension to which he uses the hammer. People have brought up tons of theories concerning the magnetic poles thing, that Magneto could use the hammer to alter the weather – I'm pretty sure he can't, but whatever – or that he could affect the core of the planet or shift the Earth around because of metal deposits in it, blah, blah, blah. I reject all those theories, however, because they very clearly state exactly what he did: shift the magnetic poles. Right there! They never said he did anything but that. He doesn't use the hammer, he doesn't move tectonic plates, he doesn't do anything else but shift the magnetic poles, which, as we covered last time, is bullcrap for causing tidal waves. If he had used any of those other theories, I wouldn't have made such a big deal about it, but he didn't. Magnetic poles was their answer, and that is the end of it.
(Cut to a shot of the website WiseGEEK, showing a page entitled "What Is Second Drowning?")
Linkara (v/o): Next, it turns out that people can collapse after near-drowning and be lucid briefly. However, as one person pointed out, my critique is still accurate because that only happens...
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): ...in freshwater, whereas Captain America was drowned in saltwater from the ocean. On top of that, I hope someone with a super soldier serum running through them would be made of sterner stuff. Also, apparently, the Ultimatum tie-ins did not have important plot elements happening that affected the main story. I was jumping the gun a little.
Linkara: Sorry, it's just kind of instinctive at this point to assume a crossover event is going to do that since, well, pretty much every one of them does – even the good ones.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and something I failed to comment on that others were keen to point out: Thor should not be talking to Hela in Valhalla, because Valhalla is not Hela's domain. Chalk that one up to my lack of knowledge on Norse mythology. Oh, and to stop people from asking, I saw the Thor movie. It was pretty good; don't need to say anything more on that, since we still have two issues of fail to talk about.
Magneto: After the Great Flood, God only spared Noah and his family.
Linkara: And, you know, tons and tons of animals, but hey, who's counting?
Magneto: They were the last of mankind. Now, I will choose who lives and dies. Those that remain will be grateful, for they will find themselves in... Heaven on Earth.
Linkara: (listlessly) Oh, yeah, you're clearly not crazy. Please continue.
Linkara (v/o): Back with the cannibalistic Blob, Hawkeye is chomping at the bit to kill the guy, asking Hank Pym to let him take the shot. Hank Pym, however, decides to avenge the Wasp himself, biting the Blob's head off and spitting it out. I'd comment on how this is gruesome, but I think the cannibalism pretty much hit the peak there. Also, it's been a week now, so I've calmed down, which means I can properly ask some real questions here, like... Why? Was the Wasp already dead when Blob came across her? Why was he running around looking for superheroines right after a huge flood? Why was eating her the first idea that he had? At what point did it cross his mind that this was the thing he should be doing, that this would be a good idea? Anyway, Hank Pym picks up her corpse and starts talking to the dead body, saying that he can get her to the Triskelion, he can "repair" her.
Linkara: Our heroes are crazy, our villains are crazy... Hey, let's all just go crazy!
(To Weird Al Yankovic's "Fun Zone", Linkara flails his arms around and makes crazy faces)
Linkara (v/o): Over to the X-Men, they come across the dead bodies of their comrades. Some have asked why Nightcrawler didn't teleport out of the water, but given that he's bleeding out the mouth, I'm going to guess the tidal wave probably knocked him into something before he could teleport away, and the impact either killed him or knocked him out. Angel demands to be on the team to take down Magneto, though Cyclops is against it because he's too close to this. And what, none of you were close to the others? Man, why is it that every book featuring the X-Men that I review shows how much they're assholes? Angel flies off to do it himself, but is convinced to stop by the others, before Jean Grey reveals that she can no longer sense Xavier, meaning he's dead. We cut back to the AWESOMENESS of Captain America and Thor fighting the undead. More people also asked why I didn't add Captain America to the kill count, and really, this is why: unlike the other dead character, he's still active. I mean, look at him! Dying just made Captain America even more badass!
Background singers (from Team America: World Police): America, fuck yeah!
Linkara (v/o): They finish off the last of the undead army and demand that Hela show herself. She arrives, revealing the still-dead body of Valkyrie. She explains, however, that in order for one person to leave this place, someone else has to stay in their place. Cap volunteers, though Thor doesn't want to ask it of him.
Captain America: You came here to save Valkyrie's life. Does it make sense for her to go back and you're not with her?
Linkara: And that, my friends, is why Captain America, no matter what universe, is so friggin' awesome: logical and willing to make that kind of sacrifice!
Linkara (v/o): We cut back to the Triskelion, which, when we left off, was under attack by unknown foes. And now we know who they are: the Multiple Men suicide bombers.
Iron Man: (drunken tone as always) We're going to need back-up. There's just too damn many of them, Carol.
Linkara: (as Iron Man, pointing to camera) And I sure as hell am not gonna give up any of my remaining vodka.
Linkara (v/o): A suicide bomber gets close to Carol Danvers, but he gets an arrow through his eye because we hadn't had quite enough gore yet in this series. Hawkeye and Hank Pym have arrived, and he instructs Iron Man to take the Wasp's corpse and to open an encrypted file called "The Jocasta Project". Jocasta, and I apologize if I pronounced that wrong, is a robot invented by Hank Pym in the normal Marvel universe. So, yes, once again, Hank Pym is somehow thinking that robots, after what happened in "Ultimates 3", will be the answer to his problems.
Linkara: You know, Hank, knowing what I know about you in both universes, you ever stop and think that maybe, just maybe, you and the whole robots thing is the reason why your life always sucks? Just saying.
Linkara (v/o): He tells Iron Man he'll handle the rest and leads all the Multiple Men to go to him. They all start climbing up Hank Pym, and he brings them into the ocean, sacrificing himself to stop the attack on the Triskelion.
Kill Count: 7
Linkara: Now, to be fair, unlike all the other deaths, he actually had a heroic sacrifice to it. On the other hand, though, he probably could have just stomped on them all instead of killing himself.
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of the kill count, however, Valkyrie has woken up. However, so has Captain America, revealing that Thor still sacrificed himself to let the two leave. So yeah, one person is still dead, so the count remains. Hawkeye tells Cap that Pym sacrificed himself after the Wasp's death, and the two of them kind of had a thing in "Ultimates 1" and "2", so Captain America takes up his shield, ending issue 3 by saying they're going to save the world. Once again, badass!
Linkara: Scenes like this are really disappointing. It's because there was honestly a good idea buried in here, with a MASSIVE act that pushes our heroes to the limits, and they have to unite to stop a common threat! But then you add the cannibalism and the pointless deaths, and it just makes the whole thing a waste. The awesome is outweighed by the crap!
Linkara (v/o): Issue 4 begins with Spider-Man and the Hulk outside Doctor Strange's house. Huh, last I checked, those two were just helping people out, so maybe stuff does happen in the tie-ins that isn't explained here. Hulk smashes the walls of the Sorcerer Supreme's house, and because of the "magic mumbo jumbo", as the two call it, the two are engulfed in light. Later, Kitty Pryde finds Spidey's mask in the wreckage, and we are led to believe that he's dead. But I know that isn't the case, so no updating the counter there. In the destruction of the house, we see a recurring Marvel villain appear: the dread Dormammu, an interdimensional demon set on conquering us or something like that, I don't know. Do we suddenly have a completely new villain in this mess? Oh, and if you're wondering what happened to the Human Torch after the whole flood, it turns out he's trapped in Dormammu's pendant! How? Why? These are things that the comic didn't feel like explaining. And like I said, this could have actually been somewhat interesting as a plot twist or the like, but instead, it just comes completely out of left field. Doctor Strange tries to fight Dormammu, but instead, the demon wraps him up in cloth and it makes his head turn purple and explode.
Kill Count: 8
Linkara: (confused) Aaaand the point of that scene was... what, exactly?
Linkara (v/o): Oh, then the Fantastic Four show up. Or rather, the Terrific Two, since it's just Sue and the Thing. Wait, wasn't Sue in a coma? Ah, more off-panel fun. Then a stranger takes away Doctor Strange's body.
Stranger: (sighs) ...Stephen...
Linkara: I love how the mysterious figure sighs first, like, "Oh, dear, not this again. Well, better get a fresh head from the freezer."
Linkara (v/o): Also, I should note that the trade paperback changes the order of events here. Like I said, originally, the issue opens up just with Spider-Man and the Hulk, except now they've completely changed it around so that there's a scene with Kitty Pryde and Wolverine that happens later in the single issue. But whatever. Later, the Hulk is being chased by the military, who in turn gets shot by Cyclops because they're going to recruit the Hulk. Jean Grey convinces the Hulk to calm down and join them. So... is Dormammu still walking around or not? Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, Samuel L. Jackson is regretting not suing Marvel for using his likeness for this comic– erm, I mean, Nick Fury is confronted by Reed Richards, Doctor Doom, Zarda, and... some blonde woman. Is that Sue? The hell is that? Fury doesn't feel like coming, causing Zarda to... uh, blow up a column? The hell?
Nick: Okay... Let's say I change my mind and went with you... What's so important that it has to be right now?
Mr. Fantastic: Magneto has tilted Earth's axis.
Linkara: (angrily shaking his finger at camera) BULL! CRAP!! THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU SAID LAST TIME! YOU SAID "MAGNETIC POLES"! THE MAGNETIC POLES ARE NOT THE SAME AS THE AXIAL POLES!
(A diagram of the Earth and all of its poles are shown)
Linkara (v/o): Axial pole shift also occurs naturally, although very, VERY slowly! It's caused by the distribution of mass throughout the Earth and at best alters about one degree every 130 million years!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): If that had been your explanation from the start, yeah, that'd cause serious problems. BUT YOU DIDN'T!! YOU SAID "MAGNETIC POLES"! Oh, and guess what? THE AXIAL POLES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH MAGNETISM!! YOU FAIL AT SCIENCE, COMIC!!! YOU FAIL!!!!
(To a buzzer sound, the word "FAIL" pops up in big red letters)
Linkara (v/o): Nick Fury rubs it in their face just how totally screwed they are and further explains how this is actually all of Doctor Doom's fault.
Doctor Doom: I had Magneto's daughter -- the Scarlet Witch -- murdered. I knew Magneto would then declare war on mankind and when it was over... I would be there to pick up the pieces. I...never imagined that Magneto either had the power or the will-- to destroy the human race...
Linkara: (laughing as he cradles his head) Sometimes, it really amazes me the sheer level of DUMB that the writers expect us to believe, and even more so, that they keep... on... coming up with it!
Linkara (v/o): This is the most convoluted, idiotic plan for world domination that I've ever heard.
(Cut to shots of "Future Five #1")
Linkara (v/o): At least Dr. Know's plan from "Future Five" actually made some degree of sense: everyone but him would be dumb! Sure, implementing that plan didn't make any sense, but at least there was a logical chain.
(Cut back to "Ultimatum")
Linkara (v/o): This... This... I just don't even know where to start! Okay, so somehow, he makes a robot, built by Hank Pym, fall in love with the Scarlet Witch. And instead of targeting her brother, the robot kills her and only her, and then, assuming that Magneto would care enough to steal her body, and convince Quicksilver to join with him, forcing a confrontation with the Ultimates, while the robot planned a robot holocaust, and that somehow, in the ensuing clash of robots, Ultimates and Magneto, Quicksilver would also get killed and that Magneto wouldn't get killed or captured, leading to an existential crisis where Magneto believes that he should take over the world and somehow, you would emerge on top?
Linkara: (totally nonplussed) This... This has got to be a Doombot. No one comes up with an idea this complex, with so many variables that can go wrong or not the way they anticipate, and still think it'll work!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, they yell at Doom for a bit before Samuel L. Jackson tells them to shut up. Oh, and the blonde lady is somebody named Arcanna. Whatever, move on. We cut to Kitty Pryde talking to Wolverine about how it's likely that Spidey is dead. Wolvey says that they're going after Magneto, and in case he doesn't come back, he's giving her a mystery box to open if he doesn't return. Also staying behind is Iceman.
(Cut to that well-worn clip from Top Gun)
Iceman (Val Kilmer): (to Maverick) You can be my wingman any time.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And no, I will never get tired of that joke. And there's a genuinely touching moment where Wolvey hugs her, telling her that if they need to start over again, they're gonna need people like her.
Linkara: Aw, well, that is very sweet. Let's get to ruining all of that, shall we?
(In the comic, a bunch of rockets close in Magneto's floating citadel)
Magneto: To every thing there is a season...
Linkara: Turn, turn, turn. Yeah, I know you were very pretentiously quoting the Bible and not referencing the song, but considering the direction of the bad science, I felt the song was a lot more appropriate.
Linkara (v/o): Angel attacks first, punching Magneto in some manner. I don't know, the angle he's going at is weird, with the blood is... Again, whatever! Sabretooth comes out of nowhere, slashes Angel's back and kills him.
Kill Count: 9
Linkara (v/o): Hawkeye is there now, somehow, and shoots Sabretooth through the eye. Magneto takes this opportunity to make a run for it, but is stopped by Valkyrie, who demands Thor's hammer. Magneto mocks her for a moment, but Valkyrie isn't taking any of this crap and just cuts off Magneto's arm. Magneto just takes this in stride, surprisingly, and then just steals her sword using magnetism and slits her throat.
Linkara: (holds up index finger) However, according to Wikipedia and the final kill count in the last issue, Valkyrie is not dead. So no addition to the kill count here. This is just more stupid.
Linkara (v/o): Then Captain America comes in from behind and whacks him with his shield on a two-page spread!
Background singers (from Team America: World Police): America, fuck yeah! / What'chu gonna do when we come for you, yeah!
Linkara (v/o): Magneto brings down the walls or something to halt Captain America and then floats off, cauterizing his wound with... uh, magnetism?
Linkara: (irritably) READ A FRIGGIN' BOOK, JEPH LOEB!!
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Magneto confronted by everyone else, doing another happy little Bible quote, as if him saying it actually means something.
Linkara: (holding up comic) Dear Lord, these comics suck! For every one moment that might actually be interesting, there's like ten other instances of absolute fail! (holds up index finger) One more to go, people. Just one more of these to go.
(End credits roll)
I didn't add all those people killed at the beginning to the Kill Count because they happened off-panel and as such I have no way to truly confirm them (other than Wikipedia).
Considering Magneto's liberal quoting of The Bible, I now REALLY wish Samuel L. Jackson would appear and quote Ezekiel 25:17 at him.
(Stinger: Similar to last week, the Ninja-Style Dancer looks around and hears the mysterious buzzing and computerized laughter again. Again, he creates a smokescreen and disappears as the screen fills with static again)