Uncanny X-Men #424
January 19, 2009
Some books inspire people to become Catholic. This book inspires Catholics to laugh their heads off over how someone doesn't know anything about their religion.
Linkara (v/o): Previously on Atop the Fourth Wall...
(A montage of clips from Linkara's video on "Uncanny X-Men 423" is shown)
Linkara: As such, let's dig into (holds up comic) "Uncanny X-Men #423".
(Cut to Linkara confronting the Phantasm, holding his pistol in one hand and a dagger in the other)
Linkara: Damn you, Phantasm! You know I can't release Issue 2 of "Revolution of the Mask" until issue 1 sales improve!
(Cut to Dr. Insano cackling)
Dr. Insano: Soon, the world will tremble at the mere mention of the name (holds up fist) "Dr. Insano"! Not even Linkara can stop me now! (cackles)
(Cut to Linkara looking offscreen at something with his fists up)
Linkara: I AM A MAN! (punches whatever it is he is looking at, then pulls back with something in his hand) Hey, cool, a Digivice!
Bhargav: I don't want to be part of these games anymore.
The Other Guy: Life is not a game.
(Back to Linkara)
Linkara: (holding up comic) Dang it, Austen, did you even look at a Bible when you were making this thing?!?
(Cut again to Bhargav and The Other Guy; Bhargav is rummaging through a pile of notebooks)
The Other Guy: Well, I can understand you're very upset.
Bhargav: I don't think you've ever seen me very upset.
(In frustration, Bhargav throws the notebook pile everywhere; cut again to Linkara, again holding the Phantasm at gunpoint)
Linkara: Just who are you anyway, huh?!
(The Phantasm takes off its mask, revealing... a clone of Linkara?! Cut again to Bhargav rummaging through the pile)
Bhargav: The envelope is out in the open...
(It then alternates between Bhargav finding and examining a piece of people and Linkara sitting with his arms crossed)
Bhargav: Oh, my God...
Bhargav: Linkara's a clone...!
Linkara: Let us fight them all. Why not?
Bhargav: (throwing the paper down in frustration) AND I'M A MAN!
Linkara: (looking offscreen again with his fists up) I'M A WOMAN! (beat) Wait, that isn't right. (cut to him looking at camera) MarzGurl, how could you? I thought you loved me!
MarzGurl: Believe me, baby, I do. But I love Stalin more. (laughs evilly)
Linkara: (looking offscreen again) I AM CONFUSED ABOUT MY GENDER IDENTITY, SO I SHOULD PROBABLY GO TO A LOCAL LIBRARY TO LOOK UP SOME MORE INFORMATION, ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT TRANSGENDER RIGHTS AREN'T GIVEN AS MUCH ATTENTION IN THE MEDIA AS OTHER RIGHTS! (punches offscreen again)
(Cut again to Bhargav)
Bhargav: You know where the envelope is... (rummages around on the pile again)
The Other Guy: Me? I thought you had it.
Bhargav: (pulling up a piece of paper and examining it) I'm a man...
(Cut to Dr. Insano again)
Dr. Insano: You've meddled in my affairs for the last time, Linkara. Now you will know the wrath of Dr. Insano! (cackles as he holds up a pair of vice grips)
Linkara: (looking up and clenching his fists) INSANOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
(Cut to black)
Linkara (v/o): And now, the conclusion...
(Cut to Linkara sitting down at his Futon, breathing heavily)
Linkara (v/o): Whew! Man, this past week has been something and a half. But enough about that, you saw that already. Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Well, we've seen part one of "Holy War", so now it's time to see how bad part two is. So let's dig into (holds up comic of discussion) "Uncanny X-Men #424".
(A closeup of the comic cover is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Ugh! This cover is so bland! What is up with the artist and the cheekbones? He makes them so pronounced with the line work that you'd think a human face was just a couple of puzzle pieces snapped together. The perspective work with Wolverine's claws is nice and all, but it's better suited for a different book. And talk about a waste of space! The three X-Men are centered in the comic with whitespace all around them! Why?! Why couldn't we have a scene from the book itself?
(The comic opens to the first page, showing a recap page)
Linkara (v/o): We have another recap page, but the only thing of note here is that it lists Jubilee as the only survivor of the crucifixions from the last issue.
(A panel from said last issue, depicting the scene in question, is shown)
Linkara (v/o): But wait a second, we all saw that scene, and we all saw the other team members getting up! The only one who didn't make it was Angelo! (sobs) Dear sweet Angelo, we hardly knew ye!
Linkara: Well, okay, we didn't know him at all, but then again, considering how we haven't seen any of the other characters reacting to his death, I think it's safe to say that none of them knew him, either.
Linkara (v/o): We open right where we left off, with the team discovering the basement full of dead mutants. Once again, Nightcrawler is our narrator.
Nightcrawler: (narrating) In Genesis 20 through 30, "The Word of God" gives mankind the right of dominion over all beasts of the earth. Looking at me, would you consider me more "person" or "beast"?
Linkara (v/o): For once, Chuck Austen did actually get the Bible passages right, but frankly, those passages aren't nearly as melodramatic as Nightcrawler would have you believe.
Linkara: (reading the Bible in a bored monotone voice) "And that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and was gone to Paddan Aram. And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife." (looks up) Seriously, this is like the drum solo of the Bible!
Nightcrawler: (narrating) Once a people is "demonized"--
Linkara (v/o): Thanks for the unnecessary quotation marks, Kurt.
Nightcrawler: (narrating) --equated with something less than or not even human--
(Linkara stops abruptly as he notices that one dead mutant is lying on top of another, face down, on the other's groin)
Linkara (v/o): Hey, wait a second, is that dead right there– (suddenly, he bursts out laughing)
Linkara: (laughing) Wh– Wha– What were they even thinking when they died?!
Linkara (v/o): I know, I know, it's a pretty juvenile thing to laugh at, but– but come on! What was the artist thinking?! Did the Church of Humanity pose them right there after they died? There's no way they fell down like that naturally! There is a human among the bodies and is still alive, calling out to Nightcrawler when he hears his voice. Nightcrawler identifies him as Father Whitney, and I'm afraid I do have to give Chuck Austen some credit here. In the narration captions, he does point out the hypocrisy of an extremist group that believes abortion is wrong because of the sanctity of human life, yet is perfectly willing to murder people. Let's see how fast that credit expires, hmm? Nightcrawler teleports down to Father Whitney, and of course completely picks the guy off the ground while hanging suspended from his tail.
Linkara: Hey, Nightcrawler, why don't you bend the dying old man's spine some more? I'm not sure he's in enough pain yet!
Linkara (v/o): Jean Grey detects more people alive and telekinetically separates them from the dead ones.
Jean: I don't want to catch anyone on the jagged floor.
Linkara (v/o): (as Jean) So instead, I'll simply slam them into the ceiling. (normal again) Father Whitney speaks his dying words, or rather, his dying speech.
Whitney: You were right to question, Kurt... you were right to realize that wearing a collar and living in a church... doesn't make you closer to God.
Linkara: (as Whitney) Living in a huge tower, though, that should do it.
Whitney: They were so angry when I failed to keep you in the priesthood... when I failed to curb your lustful desires.
Linkara: Nightcrawler as a Catholic priest and lustful desires? (beat) You know what, I'm not even gonna touch that one.
Whitney: I had spent so much time convincing them that you would be our greatest achievement... our key to the world... once you became... Pope.
Linkara (v/o): (incredulously) Pope?! Pope?!? He was training to be a priest! These guys planned to make Nightcrawler the Pope?! I hate to break it to you, but there are a couple of steps in between "mutant priest in Brooklyn" and "Supreme Pontiff"!
Whitney: I tried to find... another... we gathered so many... you can see how many in the church here... but you were... were...
Linkara (v/o): Geeze, this guy is milking his death scene for everything it's worth!
Whitney: ...they're in Montana, Kurt. They never left. I am so sorry, Kurt.
Linkara (v/o): What is this, "The Long Goodbye"? Just die already!
Whitney: I was just doing what they told me. I never expected... to like you. I never expected to... grow fond of a... a mutie...
Linkara (v/o): And with that, Father Whitney finally dies.
Linkara: That poor sweet old man. Don't worry, you'll be buried next to Angelo, where you'll be remembered by all.
(Cut to a shot of a tombstone with the following inscription on it: "Father Whitney, Plot Device and Preacher – Also, Angelo")
Linkara (v/o): Father Whitney – no one could provide exposition during their death like he could.
(Cut back to the comic)
Nightcrawler: Get our healers, Warren and Xorn, here now...
Linkara (v/o): (as Nightcrawler) And make sure you always say who our healers are, so the audience knows who we're talking about.
Nightcrawler: ...and when everything is in more capable hands than ours-- we're going to Montana.
Linkara: Everyone together now... (singing with background voices) I'm going to Montana soooooon...!
Linara (v/o): The group reasons that based on the last few encounters with the Church of Humanity, it's likely that they're still in the same compound they saw them at last. Havok points out the absurdity of the situation, and Wolverine jokes...
Wolverine: Are you saying there's something unusual about us X-Men, Summers?
Linkara: (humored) Oh, lots of people are dead, and Nightcrawler's brain got screwed around with, so it's good that we can still laugh.
Linkara (v/o): We switch scenes to "The Cathedral", no doubt the headquarters of the Church of Humanity. They're using a psychic mutant in a wheelchair named Mutant 143 to detect the approaching X-Men. They also for some reason decided that this would be the best time to discuss their entire plan, even though these people no doubt already knew about the plan in full.
Pope: How perfect it would have been to place our demon-faced mutant as the successor to the current Pope--
Linkara (v/o): Um, how?
Pope: --allow Wagner to "take his seat in the temple of God," as it says in the Thessalonians-- only to be revealed by an aptly timed failure of his image-inducer as "Satan-- who uses all power-- and every kind of wicked deception," leaving the Church forever destroyed.
Linkara (v/o): Or... they just kill him or expel him and elect a new Pope instead.
Mutant: Mutantkind would have been hunted down as the deliverers of the Antichrist, and the western world would have been lost--
Linkara (v/o): Yes, because the entire western world is dependent on mutants and Catholics.
Mutant: --with only us to turn to for spiritual solace.
Linkara: Man, are they in for a shock when all the ex-Catholics turn to voodoo.
Linkara (v/o): The leader of the Church of Humanity scolds two members of the Church for crucifying the X-Men, since it got their attention, and the leader punishes them by– Holy crap! The leader switches their skulls! WITH BARE HANDS, NO LESS! I had no idea you could do that!
Linkara: (clutching at his face) My skull! MY SKULL!!
Linkara (v/o): The X-Men arrive as Church members open fire on the Blackbird. Polaris grins evilly due to a subplot not related to this issue.
Polaris: ...don't they all look like ants from up here?
Linkara (v/o): (as Polaris) White-robed, human-shaped ants that are only ten feet away from us and opening fire on us? (normal) They leap out of the jet and start fighting, but Wolverine's super-senses make him realize that they're fighting illusions. Mutant 143 adds new sensory illusions to block out Wolverine's senses, and the X-Men just get flamed, shot at, and etc.
Linkara: (dramatically) The X-Men: getting their asses kicked in a world that hates and fears them!
Linkara (v/o): The rest of the X-Men teleport under the Cathedral. Jean Gray senses what's happening to the others above and decides to go after Mutant 143. Oh, and her hair and eyebrows suddenly change to green for one panel, and then back again for the next.
Nightcrawler: The rest of us will get to the Pope and end this lunacy!
Linkara (v/o): Wait, the leader of the Church of Humanity is a Pope, too? Or are they really taking on the Pope? Because that would actually be kind of awesome. (dramatically) Evil mecha Pope! (normal again) A voice calls out to the group, and they discover a man locked up who says the Church was experimenting on him and he knows what the Church's plan is. We cut back to the battle, where Polaris uses her magnetic powers to send the bullets back to their attackers.
Cyclops: Lorna, you can't just... you'll kill them...
Linkara: My God, Cyclops, you're right! By the way, did you notice how Wolverine, just two seconds ago, was stabbing the people he thought were real, and you didn't say anything about it?
Linkara (v/o): Jean Gray suddenly shows up, her phoenix bird just itching for a chance to get out. Mutant 143's keeper pulls out a gun and quotes the "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" thing.
Keeper: God has heard your prayer, my sad little man-- and sent his reply!*
- NOTE: It's actually "and has sent this reply".
(Linkara is seen on his cell phone)
Voice on phone: This is God. I'm out of the office all day, but if you could shoot me an email...
Linkara (v/o): The priest of the group freed exposits the Church's plan about installing a mutant as Pope.
Nightcrawler: And once they had me in place, they would initiate a false Rapture, wouldn't they? Direct ascension of the "true Christians" straight to heaven to signify the "End of Days"?
Linkara (v/o): And thank you again for more unnecessary quotation marks, Kurt!
Linkara: This comic really (makes "finger quotes") "blows"! I'd really like to ("finger quotes") "tear it a new one"!
Linkara (v/o): Okay, so they plan to do this false Rapture– Wait, wait a second! The Rapture?! Oh, you have got to be KIDDING ME!! The Rapture isn't a part of Catholic dogma! Oh, and it gets so much better here, folks! How is the Church of Humanity planning to create this false Rapture? They have special communion wafers that, after consumption, can be activated remotely, and disintegrates the person who ate them, as it does with our plot-revealing priest.
Linkara: So, let me just run down the entire plan of the Church of Humanity for those who didn't quite catch it:
Linkara (v/o): Nightcrawler decides to become a priest so the Church of Humanity is there waiting for him and creates a false illusion for months of him becoming a priest, so they can install him as Pope, despite no actual influence in the papal election, so they can use communion wafers that disintegrate people to initiate a false Rapture, despite Catholics not believing in it so they can reveal that the Pope is really a mutant that will be mistaken for the Antichrist, but people will still know it's know a mutant, so Western civilization will not only kill all the mutants, but also the civilization will collapse in on itself before everyone swoops in to join the Church of Humanity, which will apparently be the ONLY spiritual option, despite the dozens, if not HUNDREDS, of other religions available for people to join!!
Linkara: This is quite possibly the dumbest plan I've ever heard in my life! And I've seen someone deciding to make twin clones of Hitler! Chuck Austen, you could not fail any more even if you're name was Faily McFailing Fail!
Linkara (v/o): Moving on, the group confronts Evil Pope. Nightcrawler is in full Pat Robertson mode, shouting fire and brimstone and quoting the Bible as he leaps onto Evil Pope's back. Really, the comic is over. There's nothing important about any of this. Randomly shouting quotes about God and the Beast and loving your neighbor do not make this thing more sophisticated, nor more interesting. Nightcrawler teleports off with Evil Pope's headgear, revealing that Evil Pope is in fact a woman. Whatever. Frankly...
(Cut to an animation of a dog operating a huge computer-like machine)
Linkara (v/o): ...it could've been a dog operating switches and levers, and it wouldn't have made it more interesting.
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): For some reason, Evil Pope is one of those giant eggs that Darth Vader used to put on his helmet, and she falls into it. It starts exploding for no adequately-explained reason – the thing must be Mac-based – and Nightcrawler tries to save her, but she gladly helps the egg self-destruct, killing herself.
Nightcrawler: My name is Kurt Wagner. I once believed I was a priest.
Linkara (v/o): (as Nightcrawler) Turns out I was really a nun.
Nightcrawler: (narrating) I had a crisis of faith--
Linkara (v/o): Um, when?
Nightcrawler: (narrating) --and ruined someone's hidden plan for world domination.
(Cut to the obligatory clip from the Street Fighter movie...)
M. Bison: Of course!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): In the aftermath, the X-Men learn of Evil Pope's backstory. She used to be a nun who had been raped by a priest, and accused of infidelity by the priest, and thrown out of the church. That's it. That's all the motivation we get: a woman gets raped, and she immediately tries to take over the world, using disintegration communion wafers and a convoluted, nonsensical plot that makes the Jackal's cloning plans appear nuanced and well-prepared! Chuck Austen, your originality for a character's motivation and backstory are exceeded only by your attitude for NOT KNOWING A DAMN THING ABOUT CATHOLICISM AND RELIGION AS A WHOLE!!!
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic sucks! I can't believe this ever got produced at all! (throws down comics and puts hands in prayer position) O Lord, please hear my prayer. If you're out there, please, please, PLEASE rid the world of this abomination, and give us something good!
(A flash of lightning and a crash of thunder are heard as a "Blue Beetle" comic appears in his hands)
Linkara: (smiling) There is a God. (gets up and leaves, taking comic with him)