Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. So, let's talk about Xena.
(Footage of the opening of Xena: Warrior Princess is shown)
Linkara: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no... no. Not that Xena; the Xena of Brainstorm Comics.
(Shots of the covers of various comics from Brainstorm Comics are shown, all depicting sexy women)
Linkara (v/o): I can't speak to the quality of the actual comics Brainstorm produced, and I say "produced" because I can find no evidence of the company existing after the year 2000. But here's a quick list of titles Brainstorm made: "Alazar's Busty Babes", "Alazar: Lord of the Thighs", "Buxotica", "Hammer Girl" – okay, that one actually sounds kinda cool, "Vamperotica", "Vamperotica: Lingerie Special", "Vamperotica: Bondage Special". Although, to be fair, at least they have the decency to label their comics for mature readers.
(Cut to a shot of a Marvel comic called: "World War Hulk: Heroes For Hire")
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, Marvel, go to hell.
(Cut to a shot of the Xena of Brainstorm fame)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, I just don't get why they call this series "Xena". It predates the popular character, so they couldn't have been trying to milk the franchise. Plus, a Wikipedia search doesn't exactly bring some mythological history to the name. I'm sure someone out there can answer for me, but for now, I've got nothing.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up comic of review today) "Xena #1".
(Title sequence plays; title card is set to "A Paradox" from The Pirates of Penzance; cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Wow, it's been a while since we had a cover this bland. And not just the art of it, but the character herself doesn't inspire confidence: a green bodysuit with purple bits all over. Ooh. And she appears to be posing for a bodybuilders magazine. Oh, and she doesn't have her eyes open.
Linkara:(as Xena, eyes closed) Yes, fear my lightning powers! Where are you all standing again?
Linkara (v/o): I mean, there's really nothing else to say about it. What is it about some comic companies that let covers like this go through? It's so... unremarkable.
(Cut to a shot of a cover for a concurrent "Amazing Spider-Man" comic called "Web of Fair", showing a sexy woman, Stunner, about to punch Spidey's lights out and contorting as she does so, while Doctor Octopus' tentacles loom menacingly)
Linkara (v/o): Hell, here's the cover of "Amazing Spider-Man" that was out in the same month that "Xena #1" came out. That woman looks horrible, what with her contortionist spine and the busyness of it, but at least stuff is happening.
(Cut back to the Xena cover)
Linkara (v/o): On the Xena cover, you have this: Oh, a bodybuilder pose. How fascinating.
(Cut back to the Spider-Man comic again)
Linkara (v/o): On the Spider-Man one, you have this: Holy crap! Impossible spine lady – Yeah, I know her name is Stunner; no need to comment on it. – is holding Spidey by the neck while Doctor Octopus' tentacles are looming in on them and–
Linkara: Wow, it sounds like I'm really describing a hentai comic, doesn't it?
(Cut to a shot of the comic's credit page)
Linkara (v/o): The comic's credit page also has a quote from W.S. Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan: "I shall achieve in time– To let the punishment fit the crime–". Um, why did they repeat the line? Were they actually singing that line from The Mikado? That makes no sense!
Linkara:(singing) It's a paradox, a paradox, a most ingenious paradox... (laughs to the song) A pa-ra-dox! (sways his head to the music of the last notes of the song)
Linkara (v/o): We open to THE FUTURE! More specifically, according to the credits page, 2025. In about fifteen or sixteen years, we're going to have floating cars and futuristic buildings, apparently. Also, (reads text) "The National Endowments Bureau".
Linkara: In the future, the National Endowments for the Arts is going to take over half the government! (points to camera) Just you wait!
Linkara (v/o): Here, we see two guys talking about tests they've run on one person.
Scientist:Incredible, a single human that has all ten of the known endowments...
(He closes the comics and looks at the cover again, very closely; it shows Xena's very obvious breasts in her costume)
Linkara: Wow, three panels in, (holds up comic) and they're already making a boob joke!
Linkara (v/o): Actually, "endowments" is their word for "superpowers". Why they don't just call it "superpowers" escapes the mind, but hey, we'll let them get away with it. The smoking man says that this person will be a valuable asset to the government. The scientist guy responds...
Scientist: The "asset" is only sixteen hours old.
Linkara (v/o): Wait a second, sixteen hours?! On the credits page, they listed off the endowments that people were capable of having, including strength and vulnerability to several things, including impact, heat, food deprivation, resistance to gamma rays, and a person's lifespan.
Linkara: So, within sixteen hours of birth, they've tossed an anvil at her, set her on fire, subjected her to radiation, and somehow determined how old she's going to live. The future is scary!
Linkara (v/o): They decide to name her Xena. Apparently, these are the same guys who named the Tenth Planet. And we cut ahead 23 years later. Some sort of monster who looks like the Cyberdemon from Doom is holding a woman hostage for ransom money. Since the time runs out without the ransom paid, he decides to kill her. However, a crash interrupts, and much to the shock and amazement of the Cyberdemon, it's... Grim from "Doom's IV"! No, actually, the guy's name is Jack Justice.
Jack: Now the way this works is I'm going to give you the usual chance to surrender. And you being the mindless jerk that you are... aren't going to take it.
Linkara: Oh, I see. Jack Justice is the director.
Linkara (v/o): The Cyberdemon keeps on shooting Jack, but he has God mode switched on, so he's invulnerable.
Jack: I strongly believe in crime... and punishment!
Linkara:(as Jack) You see? You see how I hit you there and said "Punishment"? Damn, I'm good at this hero thing!
Linkara (v/o): The Cyberdemon tries to surrender, but Jack then just punches the poor thing to death. However, when Mr. Justice starts implying he's going to rape the captured woman himself, Xena finally appears.
Xena: I've told you before, Jack, cross the line, pay the price!
Linkara:(as Xena) That'll be $4.99, plus tax.
Xena:Xena is watching!
Linkara:(as Xena) So go ahead and do whatever it is you're doing. I'm just going to be watching.
Linkara (v/o): Jack decides to attack Xena.
Jack: It's your funeral, babe!
(Cut to a clip of Barb Wire)
Barb Wire:(aiming a gun) Don't call me babe!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Xena decides to start providing exposition while she fights Jack, explaining that when the endowed break the law, it's up to her to provide capital punishment. Apparently, jails are too full to keep locking up super criminals, and some of them are too powerful to keep behind bars.
Xena: So for three years now, I've tried to make it very clear, cross the line... PAY THE PRICE!
Linkara:(as Jack) Lady, I'm a charred skeleton now; there's no need to provide exposition.
Linkara (v/o): So Xena blasts off and lands on a rooftop. There's a guy waiting for her that reminds me of the cover to "SCI-Spy".
Linkara (v/o): Does this guy like his war cold in his champagne, too?
(Back to the Xena comic)
Xena: Mr. Williams?
Linkara:(as Sebastian Starchild) No, Starchild. Sebastian Starchild. (raises index finger in the air; James Bond theme plays)
Williams: The dating service told me that you like to make grand appearances.
Linkara (v/o): So, eHarmony of the future has expanded to help superheroes find dates. As it happens, she asks if he's invulnerable, which she confirms before they start making out.
Linkara:(as Xena) My day's going great! I killed someone, I got to watch some people, and I get to make out with a super spy!
Linkara (v/o): Elsewhere, we meet up with a group of supervillains talking about Xena. I love this guy right here with the bouncer look and the Rs on his shirt. I think I'm gonna call him Mr. R*.
NOTE: His name is actually Rambus.
Rambus:She'll kill us all before long!
Linkara:(as Rambus, his back to the camera) I don't like fools who face people when I talk to 'em!
Linkara (v/o): The other villains tell Mr. R that they're going to gather together to stop Xena from killing them.
Kim:We've had enough of this double standard. When the unendowed break the law, they get sent to jail. We get murdered!
Linkara (v/o): Well, here's a thought: stop breaking the law! This does bring up a good point, though: is Xena really the protagonist? You'd think so, what with her name on the cover and all, but so far, she's not all that likeable. Yeah, she saved that woman from being raped, but you notice that she didn't stick around to help her after murdering Jack Justice? Oh, and what's with this symbol on this guy's outfit? Is it an Oreo cookie? A yo-yo? Anyway, the group decides to go after her, but Mr. R doesn't think they're strong enough to take out someone like Xena. So the group starts looking around for her.
Kim: This is a big... Wait!
Linkara: A big what? A big waste of time?! Yeah, I can tell that (points to cover) just from the cover!
Linkara (v/o): Xena spots them, however, and their surprise attack is foiled.
Rambus:Full shields. Thruster at max. We'll ram her!
Linkara (v/o): Yes, you'll ram the woman with super-strength with your vehicle. These guys are begging to be killed off. Although, apparently, what really makes this plan fail is that Xena just blasts the thing out of the sky. Notice how the villains can all fly. So why did they even need the jet? The supervillain here, who is never given a codename except for Kim, calls Xena a murderer.
Xena:I'm no murderer. I simply punish... the guilty!
Linkara:(as Xena) By killing them without due process! (beat) Wait...
Linkara (v/o): So Xena frags them all and again going off about justice and the law and stuff. You know, I don't need some crappy indie comic to do this; I can just watch that awful Sylvester Stallone movie version of Judge Dredd and get the same thing.
(Cut to a clip of that movie)
Judge Dredd: I am... the law!
(Cut to another clip)
Dredd: I am the law!
(Cut to still another clip)
Dredd: YOU BETRAYED THE LAW!
Judge Rico: LAAAAAWWWWW!!
(Cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, yeah, that was the end of the comic. And wow, what a comic, eh? I could just see the advertisements they must have made.
(Cut to a shot of the cover, with various ads appearing and Linkara reading them...)
Linkara: "Never before will you learn so little about a character!" "The blandness just SIZZLES off the page!" "She likes to watch... and that's not nearly as exciting a concept as you'd think it is!"
(Back once more to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, but just to pad out the book, we have a couple of black-and-white covers from other comics. Why? Well, since this line was just full of semi-porno comics anyway, they wanted to remind the audience they could get their share of boobs from other books. Oh, but we also get this two-page preview of another book featuring a character named Luxura.
Luxura: I am the vampress Luxura. Some of you may have missed my first appearance in Vamperotica.
Linkara:(deep voice) Hi, I'm Troy McLuxura. You may remember me from such comics as "Boobula: An Interview With a Vampire Porn Star".
(Editor's note: "Not to be confused with BrainScan Comics, the guys who publish Revolution of the Mask.")
Luxura: ...has decided to record the events of my life, as well as some of my blood relatives.
Linkara (v/o): Yyyyeah, she appears in the first issue of another character's book, and that somehow justifies sales and giving her her own book? Riiight.
Luxura: These events will involve action, adventure, romance and the expressions of desire that one being can have for another.
Linkara: You know, all the stuff that wasn't in "Xena #1".
Luxura: What you see before are some of the actors in a haunting play of flesh and blood...
Linkara (v/o): My God, she's right! Why, just right there, we see Alec Baldwin and Janeane Garofolo! And no, I won't tell you which is which.
Luxura:Read me, you won't be disappointed!
Linkara: Read you, huh? I'm guessing you're either an issue of Time Magazine or a DVD repair manual. (closes comic and holds it up) This comic sucks. It's dull, it's unimaginative, and completely uninteresting. But hey, at least it isn't "Countdown". (puts down comic, gets up and leaves)