February 11, 2013
The Double Feature finale to the "Guns and Sorcery" Storyline!
(As Comicron 1 orbits Earth, an enraged Linkara teleports on-board)
Linkara: Red alert!
(A siren wails and the room is bathed in red light, while Linkara walks up to the ship's main computer)
Linkara: Nimue, beam everybody up and tell them to man their battle stations! I don't care where they are or what they're doing!
(Harvey Finevoice appears on the ship, smoking a cigarette, not realizing where he is at first until he hears the siren and sees the room is lit red. He looks around in confusion and sees Linkara)
Harvey: Kid, what's going on?!
Linkara: (angrily) The Gunslinger has Margaret!
Harvey: (confused) Who?
Linkara: The gun!! He has the magic gun! Harvey, man the weapons station! Bring the neutron blasters online and charge the forward lance!
Harvey: (throws down cigarette) On it, kid! (leaves)
(Linkara sits down in the captain's chair and pushes a button on the armrest)
Linkara: Engineering, report!
(Cut to the engine room, where Dr. Linksano is)
Dr. Linksano: I'm here, Linkara, and I'm up to date! Engines ready! (holds up fist)
Nimue: The Ninja-Style Dancer reports that he is ready to lead the assault with an armada of Cybermats.
Linkara: Good. Tell him to stand by. Now, where the hell is the Gunslinger?
Nimue: Sensor scans are underway. However, it has proven difficult to track the Gunslinger on previous occasions.
Linkara: (angrily) Don't you give me that horse crap right now, Nimue! You are the computer of the most advanced warship in the universe! YOU FIND HIM, GODDAMMIT!! (pushes another button) Pollo, Linksano, coordinate with Nimue! I want this son of a bitch FOUND!!
(The screen turns black dramatically, and the AT4W title sequence plays, and title card has "Young Blood" by The Beatles playing in the background. Cut then to Linkara back in his home, sitting as usual on his futon. He has his hand resting on his cheek listlessly)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. I think by now you people should know how I feel about "Youngblood".
Linkara (v/o): In case you don't, it sucks! You can yell until you're blue in the face about how the concept of a "proactive" superhero team that has "merchandising" and "appears on talk shows" and are celebrities and crap is such a (sarcastically) wonderful idea, and it's just the execution that fails, but in the end, it doesn't change that "Youngblood" sucks! You can tell me about the runs from Alan Moore, the revived series from 2011, and that's great if they really are good, but honestly, it just keeps bringing me back to the question of why the hell anyone would want to do anything with this series when there is so much friggin' BAGGAGE with it!! Look, my rant against the X-Men back in my next 15 screw-ups was half-joking. I don't hate the X-Men, and there are plenty of bad stories out there that have nothing to do with them, and there are great runs on the X-Men books. But Youngblood is a team that does not deserve all the hard work of creators! It's a bunch of unmemorable ripoff characters growling and gritting teeth and saying really stupid things and squinting and doing overexaggerated poses and all that crap! Let "Youngblood" die already! Just let it DIE!! Rob Liefeld does not deserve the amount of loyalty that he somehow has engendered!
Linkara: (putting his hand to his ear as if trying to listen to something) What's that? Rob Liefeld is really enthusiastic about the industry and (smiles sarcastically) is really an awesome guy if you know him in person and loves comics and everything about the medium? (scowls) Yeah, well, (points to himself) I'm really enthusiastic about the medium, but no one says that I should be drawing comic books!
Linkara (v/o): Rob Liefeld can't write! Rob Liefeld can't draw! Rob Liefeld can't create!
(Cut to a shot of a Deadpool comic)
Linkara (v/o): And don't go telling me about how he created Deadpool and Cable. One, he didn't create Deadpool...
(Cut to a shot of a comic featuring The New Mutants)
Linkara (v/o): ...he created some boring-ass mercenary who spoke in yellow-colored speech bubbles. Nobody would give a damn about him if not for the work of everybody else but him!
(Cut to shots of Cable)
Linkara (v/o): And as for Cable, I admit, my knowledge of the character comes from the animated series, but even if Cable really is all that awesome and iconic a character, well, congratulations! You have found one, all of ONE character, that Rob Liefeld created that's actually good. Except, a good creator is capable of making more than just one character. Liefeld, on the other hand, settles on inventing 60,000 characters, and none of them are good!
(Cut back to Deadpool again)
Linkara (v/o): But to cite that Deadpool example again, is he really the one who created him, if everything about the character that people like was done by others?
Linkara: You show me a Rob Liefeld character that people like, and I'll show you the other creators who are responsible for you liking them.
Linkara (v/o): The point is, companies, stop giving him work! Consumers, stop buying things with his name on it! And my fans, stop telling me about movies that are supposedly being made with his characters! Ooh, a Godyssey movie! I'm sure I'll see that NEVER! Because not a single movie that Rob Liefeld's characters have been developed for has ACTUALLY EVER BEEN MADE!
(Cut to a clip of "Deadpool" in X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
Linkara (v/o): And don't bring Not Deadpool in the Wolverine movie! I should not have to explain that again! Deadpool's not really his character, that wasn't really Deadpool, AND HE WASN'T THE MAIN CHARACTER OF THE DAMN MOVIE!!
(After ranting and screaming like that, Linkara gasps for breath)
Linkara: (holds up both hands) I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm not angry at you all, I really am not, and I'm sorry if I yelled at you, but it's just... I'm kind of having a bad day, and it's not helping that today, we're digging into (holds up today's comic) "Youngblood #5".
(Cut to the last page of "Youngblood #4")
Linkara (v/o): So, you might recall that at the end of the last "Youngblood", it solicited that the rest of the story would be featured in "Brigade #4".
(Cut to the letters column of that comic)
Linkara (v/o): The letters column explained this in more detail, wherein I read the most confusing thing ever: that "Youngblood #1" to "4"... was a miniseries, and that the conclusion to the story would be ten pages long. The conclusion to a miniseries, which is supposed to be a self-contained story...? (stammers) Well, anyway, the ten pages thing is actually a lie; it's 14 pages.
(Cut to a shot of a Transformers comic)
Linkara (v/o): However, this is hardly a miniseries. Look, the Marvel Transformers comic was originally slated to be just a four-issue miniseries, but it was expanded to be an ongoing series because of popular demand. BUT IT WAS STILL ADVERTISED ON THE TOP AS A LIMITED SERIES!!
(Cut to a shot of the first issue of "Youngblood")
Linkara (v/o): NOWHERE on the "Youngblood" comics are they advertised as a miniseries! In addition, the story isn't CONCLUDED in those four issues, as I'll talk about in a second.
(The letters column is shown again)
Linkara (v/o): The letters column also said that a Youngblood ongoing series was coming, but if it was always the plan for this to be a miniseries, why bother to continue the numbering? It was already proven by this point that number-1 issues were selling better, so why not start fresh with a proper number-1?
(Cut to a closeup of "Brigade #4"'s cover)
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, "Youngblood #5" is actually the flipbook of "Brigade #4". It's not the main feature, because the letters column in the book is "Brigade"'s. Even in Rob Liefeld's other books, "Youngblood" is a second-rate feature in-team.
(Cut to a closeup of the fifth issue's cover)
Linkara (v/o): So what does the cover to Issue 5 do to entice the readers? It has Badrock's face proclaiming...
Badrock: LET'S ROCK!
Linkara (v/o): Charming.
Linkara: (his face covering the screen) Hey! What if all my title cards just had my face shoved up against the camera? That would get people to watch my show, wouldn't it? (smiles sarcastically)
Linkara (v/o): We open where we left off last issue, with Badrock supposedly joining forces with the Darkseid ripoff, Darkthornn. (emphasizes the "N" sound) Although, peeking ahead at the text boxes, apparently, even Rob realized how idiotic his name was with the double N, so he reduced it to a single N. Well, isn't that cute? He's learning. Or perhaps the letterer did. Or perhaps it doesn't matter, because this comic still blows.
Darkthorn: Continued resistance is useless, mortals. I have claimed the mind of your comrade-- and unless Prophet is surrendered to me, the rest of you shall share his fate!
Linkara: (incredulously) If you have demonstrable mind control abilities, why are you even bothering with the ultimatum?! Just use them!
Shaft: (narrating) Shaft, personal log entry.
(Cut to a clip of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie)
Tom Servo: A bunch of our ship fell off and nobody likes me.
Shaft: (narrating) Twenty minutes ago, Die Hard and Bedrock [sic] disappeared through an alien teleportation device called a crash tunnel. Their mission: stem the flow of Disciples who had attacked G.A.T.E. International in search of the man called Prophet.
Linkara: (as Shaft) In retrospect, sending only two guys into an alien teleporter with absolutely no information on what was on the other side was kind of a stupid idea.
Shaft: (narrating) Mere moments after they entered the tunnel, the Disciples stopped coming. But now we're faced with a far greater threat...
Linkara: (as Shaft) Clogged drain tunnels! (clenches fist) We're gonna bring in some Liquid Plumber for this!
Shaft: (narrating) ...Now we're faced with ourselves!
Linkara: No, you're faced with a single team member under mind control, but (waves dismissively) why would I expect you to be able to count? After all, given the disparity between the solicited ten pages and the actual fourteen, it seems to me your creator is incapable of counting.
Shaft: Get ready, folks! As soon as I give the word, I want things to start happening in a hurry...
Linkara: (listlessly) Oh, why start now?
Linkara (v/o): Shaft starts giving orders to individual members of... that other team whose name escapes me and I can't be bothered to look them. Look, I'll just say they're all Youngblood. Why not? They're all pretty interchangeable anyway.
Shaft: (narrating) Once Wildmane's on top of Bedrock he does everything he can to stay there...
Linkara: (as Shaft) Who knew that Bedrock was so ticklish?
Linkara (v/o): But no, he's thrown off just in time for Brahma of the Youngblood away team and interchangeable big stony guy to punch Bedrock with their flexo-arms that we see here. You gotta love '90s aesthetics with their costumes. What the hell do those rings on the gray guy do? Absolutely nothing. Couldn't he have just had a glove or a gauntlet or something if they were worried about color balance? Certainly, but then they wouldn't be rings! Or perhaps they're friendship bracelets and this guy just has a lot of BFFs. Oh, and by the way, this panel? The first of three splash pages in a row all lacking proper backgrounds. In fact, looking ahead and glancing throughout the comic, I can see, like, only one or two spots that have any actual backgrounds!
Linkara: (feeling quite sickly) I feel sick saying this, but... I miss the "All-Star Batman and Robin" comic! Say what you will about how insanely stupid it was; at least Jim Lee knows how to draw fricking walls!!
Shaft: (narrating) ...It proves a hollow victory as we turn to witness Prophet's defeat at the hands of Darkthorn!
Linkara (v/o): When the hell did that happen?! Okay, assuming that this comic was actually supposed to be something other than what it is, Darkthorn is supposed to be the big bad and Prophet was a high-ranking supporting character, that this entire thing has been leading up to a slugfest between the two. It's why Prophet attacked Youngblood in the first place, and why the Disciple-Borg things were attacking in the previous few issues. AND THEIR FIGHT HAPPENS OFF-PANEL?!?!
(Cut to a shot of the comic's credits)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and by the way, I've complained a lot about Liefeld in this video, if only because all of "Youngblood" is inexorably tied to him, but today's issue actually only has him listed as the creator and plotter. No, the artist responsible for this mess is Chap Yaep, ot that you'd actually be able to distinguish it, considering the two have almost identical art styles. The script for this was written by Eric Stephenson, who had been the editor on the book up until that point. Yes, "Youngblood" had an editor, believe it or not.
(Cut back to the comic itself)
Linkara (v/o): The point is, though, this is one of the many reasons why I still am pissed about Liefeld after all these years. Chap was about nineteen years old when he drew this stuff. Liefeld and his ilk ruined an entire generation of comic artists; made more and more people draw like him when they could have been following people who didn't suck! Oh, and speaking of suck, time now to break another rule of storytelling: show, don't tell! The third splash page occurs, and we have to be narrated what's going on!
Shaft: (narrating) With Prophet down, Darkthorn opens his crash tunnels once more.
Linkara: Wait, what was Prophet doing that was preventing the crash tunnels from opening?
Shaft: (narrating) This time, however, it's not giant androids that spring forth-- but a legion of winged demons!
Linkara: (listlessly) Para-demons, lest ye forget that this whole thing is a ripoff– Oh, I'm sorry, homage to Jack Kirby's Fourth World mythos.
Shaft: (narrating) It takes all our combined might to ward off their attack, and even then it seems like we're barely keeping our heads above water.
Linkara (v/o): Well, perhaps if you spread out, attacked Darkthorn, or if the artwork actually conveyed you guys having difficulty instead of just showing us four characters all smushed together and doing what all '90s did: shooting things...
Shaft: (narrating) Even so, I'm helpless to do anything but watch as Darkthorn takes down Cougar, Brahma and what remain of the Berzerkers...
Linkara (v/o): Well, there's your problem right there: you all attacked him from the same angle. Spread out a bit; you won't be tripping all over yourselves. The Iron Man guy, Sentinel, decides to try his luck.
Sentinel: Let's see what you've got!
Linkara (v/o): Aaaand Darkthorn just smacks him away.
Linkara: Hmph. What he's got is a can of whoop-ass, apparently.
Linkara (v/o): The green energy guy, Photon, sees an opening and attacks, which Shaft narrates to us... but it's about as useful as anything else, so it's really just another waste of our time. So remember that guy from the first issue, who killed Not Saddam Hussein? You don't? Well, I'm not surprised; "Youngblood" doesn't exactly have strong staying power. But anyway, that guy, Psi-Fire, apparently got himself a psychic dampening collar that's preventing him from using the full extent of his abilities to make people's heads blow up. After he sees the group getting their asses kicked, he suggests to Riptide and Vogue that he should be cut loose.
Vogue: I think I'd rather free a rabid dog! Judging by the way things are going, though...
Linkara (v/o): I'm judging more by your facial expression, which makes you look extremely constipated. Darkthorn is facing against Kirby and mildly choking him.
Darkthorn: You were a fool to defy me, Kirby! So much could have been yours had you not sided against me, but that is in the past... Your moment of retribution is at hand!
Linkara: Hey, you ever have dinner with two friends who knew each other before they knew you, and they have their own stories that they're talking to each other about, and you're just left sitting there not knowing what to say because you don't know what they're talking about and they never explain it? (laughs) Yeah, this is nothing like that. I don't know anything about Kirby or Darkthorn, so it's more like being with two strangers.
Darkthorn: Old fool! There's no escaping destiny--it has been foretold in that prophecy that--!
Kirby: You sayin' that you caused all this mess just to fulfill some kind of prophecy? I've gotta tell ya, buddy, that's pretty freakin' lame!
Linkara: (incredulously) Well, if it's so lame, then why did you put it in the comic?!
Linkara (v/o): Psi-Fire attacks Darkthorn and telekinetically sends him back. Darkthorn threatens Psi-Fire. Psi-Fire uses pink energy back at him and tells him to just try to kick his ass. And then Darkthorn decides to leave. Seriously!
Darkthorn: Defeating you now would be too simple a triumph.
Linkara: (as Darkthorn) Defeating you now would totally be easy and it has nothing to do with me wetting my pants.
Darkthorn: When compared to the satisfaction I might one day take in bending your already blackened soul to my will--it would be a hollow victory indeed. Until such time-- beware!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Doctor Who)
Woman: (calling out a window) Wimps!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): The members of the Berzerkers decide to chase after the retreating Darkthorn, but Kirby stays behind to go help out Prophet, probably in his spin-off book. Youngblood's Disease has hit the Berzerkers hard. I mean, Kirby's eyes are fine, but this guy [Cross] has completely whited eyes.
Linkara: Remember to give generously to (holds up a shirt reading...) the Youngblood's Disease Foundation. (the link to the shirt appears above: "http://www.printfection.com/at4w") Only with your help can we stop Youngblood's Disease from taking more characters' eyes.
Narrator: And with that, the Berzerkers disappear without a trace...
Linkara: The mark of truly great characters: they come into the plot without any explanation and then subsequently leave without any explanation, having affected nothing in the story.
Linkara (v/o): Before the crash tunnel closes all the way, Diehard comes falling out of it.
Diehard: It's me, all right, Shaft--a little worse for the wear, but at least I made it back in one piece.
Linkara (v/o): "One piece" is right. Check out Diehard's arms there. The dude looks like an action figure with absolutely zero articulation for his arms. Just him posing in a way that makes him look he's getting ready to toss a football to quarterback.
(Cut to 90s Kid)
90s Kid: Duuuude! If he didn't pose like that, how would we know if he was strong or not?!
Linkara: YOU GET BACK UP TO THE SHIP!
90s Kid: Duuuude! We'll be right back after these messages!
(He makes devil horn signs with his hands as the AT4W logo appears in the corner, and we go to a commercial break. Upon return, 90s Kid is seen again, as he shucks his buttoned-up shirt to reveal his black "WYSIWYG" t-shirt underneath)
90s Kid: What you see is what you get, and what you see is more of the show because WE'RE BAAAAAACK!
(He makes devil horn signs again as the AT4W logo appears in the corner again. Cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Also, I think the yellow bits on his [Diehard's] arms and legs are supposed to signify that his costume or skin or whatever is ripping... He's an android, isn't he? ...but it took me a while to realize that because, frankly, if you removed all of that white area, how would you be able to tell the difference of it being a robot versus just armor that any other member of the team would wear?
Diehard: ...And as near as I can tell, we've prevented Darkthorn from achieving his aims here on Earth.
Linkara: Yep, and you did that by... (looks up awkwardly) getting your asses kicked by him! (gives a thumbs-up) Go, Team Youngblood!
Linkara (v/o): Think about it! He only left because he chickened out against Psi-Fire, whose only incredible feat so far is making one guy's head explode! I would hope some interdimensional dictator, or whatever Darkthorn is, would be a little less susceptible to that!
Shaft: Yeah, whatever they actually were-- I'm still not too clear on exactly what happened...
Linkara: Neither am I, and I've read all five issues!
Linkara (v/o): Bedrock is feeling less mind-controlled.
Bedrock: I've got a headache that won't quit and I can't remember anything past runnin' into that crazy tunnel!
Linkara: (as Bedrock, looking down at himself) Wait, why are my pants on backwards?
Kirby: Hey, as far as I'm concerned, the important thing is that this whole debacle is over!
Linkara: You wish! There's, like, four or five volumes of "Youngblood" comics that I still need to go through.
Linkara (v/o): Kirby and Prophet decide to head out, though they hitch a ride with Youngblood since they have no transportation of their own. You know, wasn't Prophet in suspended animation since World War II? Don't they want to acclimate him to this new century?
(Editor's note: "New DECADE, not CENTURY.")
Linkara (v/o): And hey, wait, if he's been in suspended animation all this time, why the hell does Darkthorn know about him and want to get his hands on him? Is this like a different dimension timescale thing? Why did it take so long for Darkthorn and the Disciples to track him down?
(Cut to the obligatory clip of Batman Forever)
Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer): It just raises too many questions.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends as it began: a closeup of Bedrock's face.
Bedrock: ...Who's gonna clean up alla this mess?!
Linkara: Apparently, every writer after this one. (snaps comic shut and holds it up angrily) This comic sucks!
Linkara (v/o): Look, let me put away my general hate for '90s-style artwork and trends involving guns and violence for a second. If we were to ignore that, this comic is still absolutely awful from a narrative standpoint. Even if the other four issues had been well put-together, as a conclusion to this storyline, it's just a mess. A lot of the pages, if they're not splash pages, only have two or three panels on them, usually with a central panel taking up most of the space. There's not much of a fight, and even if it had been properly set up, there's no real final confrontation with the villain of the piece! Hell, Psi-Fire hasn't been seen since the first issue! I was starting to think he had just been forgotten about by the creative team altogether.
Linkara: If we look at "Youngblood" again next year, at least it'll be off to a fresh start with a new storyline, because honestly, I can't understand how (points to comic) anyone liked this back in the day. (throws down comic)
Nimue: Information: the Gunslinger has been located. Coordinates are being fed to navigation.
Linkara: Bring me up!
(Linkara gets up from the futon and walks off. He teleports onto Comicron 1 and sits down in the captain's chair)
Dr. Linksano: We've only found him because he's dimension-jumping, Linkara. It's putting out a lot of energy.
Linkara: Pursuit course! Give it everything you've got!
(Comicron 1 heads out into deep space in pursuit of the Gunslinger and jumps to light speed)
Linkara: Show me the enemy vessel.
(The computer brings up the Gunslinger's vessel, which looks like a house with rocket engines on it. Linkara pushes a button on his chair)
Linkara: Linksano, I presume you've ironed out all the bugs of the ship's refit? Things didn't exactly go well the last time I fought against a frickin' house.
Dr. Linksano: All taken care of, Linkara. (clenches fist) Light 'em up!
Linkara: Good. Hail the enemy vessel.
Harvey: Wait, kid! Are you sure you want to give away that we're following him? I know this ship can go a bit stealthier if it needs to.
Linkara: It can, but I sure as hell don't want to. I want the son of a bitch to know I'm coming. Hail him!
Nimue: Hailing frequencies open.
Linkara: Surrender your vessel, or you will be fired upon! This is your only warning!
(The house-spaceship starts to pull away)
Nimue: Information: the enemy vessel is increasing speed.
Linkara: Match speed and lock weapons on target.
Harvey: Lock 'n' load, kid. Just give the word.
Linkara: Fire neutron blasters!
(Comicron 1 sets its sights on the fleeing vessel and fire at it)
Nimue: Aft shields of the enemy vessel have been reduced by twelve percent.
Harvey: They're firing back!
(Suddenly, one of the vessel's shots hits Linkara's ship, which shakes violently)
Linkara: Damage report!
(An image of the ship appears on the screen)
Nimue: Force (?) absorbed 90% of the impact. No appreciable damage.
Linkara: Harvey, I think the Gunslinger needs to see what he's up against.
Harvey: Right, kid! Firing forward lance!
(Harvey pushes a button and a green laser is fired, hitting the house-spaceship)
Nimue: Aft shields of the enemy vessel have been reduced by 50%.
(Linkara starts to open his mouth to speak, but before he can say anything, an alarm goes off)
Linkara: What the hell's happening?!
(The image of the ship is shown again, with some parts of the weapons flashing red)
Nimue: Information: malfunction in weapons systems.
Linkara: (pushing a button on chair) Linksano, what's going on down there?!
(In the engine room, there are several small explosions of sparks)
Dr. Linksano: I-I don't know! Circuits in the communication system have overloaded!
Linkara: Then why the hell are the weapons being affected?!
Dr. Linksano:I don't know! I'm getting malfunction reports from several unrelated systems! Whatever is going on, it's not what happened when you were fighting against Terl!
Linkara: Harvey, do we still have weapons?
Harvey: Yeah, but power's dropping like cement!
Nimue: Information: enemy vessel is accelerating.
Linkara: Harvey, give it everything you've got. (holds up fist) Punch a hole in their shields!
(Comicron 1 closes in on the house-spaceship and shoots at it. The shield around it disappears)
Harvey: You got your hole, kid. The weapons are down.
Linkara: Nimue, prep the Ninja-Style Dancer's assault force and me along with them! (gets up from his seat)
Nimue: Information: teleportation systems have been affected by power drain.
Linkara: Are they offline?
Nimue: Negative. Teleportation system is functioning, but there is insufficient power at this time to send over more than one person and a smaller being.
Linkara: Pollo, up for a trip?
Pollo: I would prefer to do it in a body built for combat, but I don't think you were going to finish my new body in the next minutes.
Linkara: I'll take that as a yes. Nimue, teleport us over!
(Down in the engine room, Dr. Linksano is coughing from the smoke)
Dr. Linksano: Engineering to bridge, we're beginning to lose engine power down here! The enemy ship is getting out of range!
Linkara: Nimue, do it now!
(Linkara and Pollo disappear and teleport onto the fleeing house-spaceship)
Linkara: All right, Pollo, look for an interface to their computer. See if you can hack in and cut their engines.
Pollo: I'm on it.
(Pollo goes up to the Gunslinger's computer, Sierra, while Linkara looks around at the house)
Linkara: It really is a house inside, too. Geez, I guess some people really do want the comforts of home along with them.
Pollo: I interfaced with the computer and I am downloading information now.
Linkara: Good. I'll...
(His attention is then diverted by the appearance of a table covered with guns, including his prized magic gun. He eagerly takes it, laughing, and puts it in his pocket. He then looks at the other guns on the table)
Linkara: This guy's got quite a collection.
Pollo: Indeed. Several files make specific references to them. He even seems to make video logs of his encounters.
Linkara: Download them. I want every piece of information we can gather on this guy.
Pollo: I am reviewing them now.
(Linkara picks up a second gun with a wide-looking barrel on it. As he studies it, it lets off a huge sparking shot. He is slightly startled by this, as it knocks him against the couch, but he regains his composure and strokes the gun)
Linkara: I'm keeping you. (puts this gun in his coat pocket)
Pollo: Um, Linkara...?
Linkara: I wonder if he's been gathering these things from other universes. (examines another gun) I mean, they're pretty varied in design here.
(Suddenly, he feels another gun being pressed against his head. It's the Gunslinger)
Gunslinger: Get out of my house.
Linkara: Pollo, a little help?
Pollo: Oh, look, I have found the gravity controls.
(Suddenly, the ship shakes violently, knocking Linkara and the Gunslinger off their feet and scattering guns everywhere)
Linkara: Pollo, get this ship turned around!
Pollo: Doing so. The artificial intelligence is not very sophisticated.
Sierra: You are a very rude machine.
Pollo: Maybe, but you're still not very sophisticated. Navigation systems have been redirected.
Gunslinger: Sierra! Gravitational redirection!
(Linkara takes out his gun and tries to aim it at the Gunslinger, but he is thrown off-balance by the gravitational redirection)
Pollo: (to Sierra) Your mother was a ColecoVision!
Sierra: And yours was an Amstrad PenPad!
Linkara: (into his wrist communicator) Nimue, get us out of here!
Nimue: Unable to comply. Power reserves have not completed sufficient recharge.
(The Gunslinger gets to his feet and aims his gun at Linkara)
Gunslinger: I said, get out of my house!
Pollo: And there's gravity control again!
(Again, the ship shakes violently and the Gunslinger is thrown off his feet again. Then the ship stabilizes again)
Pollo: And I lost it.
Sierra: I am not that unsophisticated, Blueberry.
(Linkara takes out his magic gun and charges at the Gunslinger, who grabs his arm and holds him in an armlock. Then he knees him in the hip and sends him sprawling, but not before Linkara grabs from the Gunslinger's coat what looks like a pocket watch. The Gunslinger feels something is missing in his coat and frantically tries to feel around for it)
Linkara: (holds up watch-like device) Looking for this?
Gunslinger: (alarmed) No!
(Suddenly, Linkara disappears with the device and teleports into his own apartment again, much to his confusion)
Linkara: The hell?!
Nimue: Information: the enemy vessel has returned to our universe. Comicron 1 pursued and this unit was able to beam you back to Earth.
Linkara: (taking off wrist communicator) Good work, Nimue. Pollo, this guy's gonna be coming back any second now. I need any information you have on him.
Pollo: I am accessing his log entries now. I'm going through them at advanced speed. He is... (stops abruptly) Oh, dear...
Linkara: What? What is it?
Pollo: The Gunslinger. He's...
(Before he can finish, however, sure enough, the Gunslinger appears in the room. Quickly, Linkara takes out his gun and aims it at the pocket watch. The Gunslinger is in much pain as he clutches at his side with one hand, gasping for breath, while aiming his gun at Linkara with the other)
Gunslinger: The watch... Give it back... Now...
Linkara: (holding up his gun to the watch) Try it, asshole, and it's fried!
Gunslinger: No, you can't!
Linkara: (dangerously) I can't? You invade my home, you attack me and my friends, you almost get us to KILL EACH OTHER, you perform KIDNAPPING... AND YOU WANNA TELL ME WHAT I CAN'T DO?!?
Gunslinger: You... You don't understand.
Linkara: Well... (cocks gun) that's what happens when you don't explain yourself.
Pollo: Wait, Linkara!
(Linkara doesn't hear. He fires a shot at the watch, blowing it up)
Gunslinger: (alarmed) No!
(He suddenly glows blue briefly as he clutches at himself in pain. Linkara smiles in satisfaction as he notices the watch is now just a smoke cloud that disappears)
Gunslinger: SON OF A BITCH, I'LL KILL YOU!!!
(The Gunslinger charges at Linkara, but suddenly disappears)
Linkara: (chuckles) Not likely, you bleach-blond–
Pollo: Linkara, you idiot!
Pollo: He is not our enemy!
Linkara: (surprised and confused) What?!
(Back on Comicron 1, Linkara is being told what Pollo found out)
Pollo: The Gunslinger's name is Jaeris. He has been travelling to different universes, trying to take magic guns, for a reason.
Linkara: How do you know?
Pollo: His log entries are full of this information. Observe.
(On the ship's screen, Jaeris the Gunslinger's face is shown)
Jaeris: My name is Jaeris. I'm beginning this journal so that if I fail... if I die, then someone else is going to be inspired to pick up where I left off. It started about a few years ago. Legislation from government came down and... You know, it was supposed to protect the rights of the artists, but... you know, that was just a sign of things to come. I was just a... I was a critic on the Internet, and... when my work began to get curtailed... (shakes head) More and more laws kept getting passed to make it worse.
(Cut through static to a video by a government official)
Official: For years now, pirates and criminals have used the Internet to get away with wholesale theft of your creations. Now they can be stopped. This multinational initiative will ensure that your rights and your property are protected.
(Cut through static back to Jaeris)
Jaeris: If you express opinions contrary to what the government or its backers thought, then... you were taken in the middle of the night, never seen again. And I was one of those.
(Cut through static to another video, of another government official, who is trying Jaeris for his beliefs)
Official: You have been found guilty by the state, and you will be punished by the state. Protecting the people from your heresy supersedes all! Centurion, take him away!
(As the image cuts back through static to Jaeris, Linkara hangs his head in guilt)
Jaeris: I was lucky, though. The resistance attacked our prison and freed most of us. We got to work undermining their regime. But we're not big enough to fight against resources they had under their control. So I decided to find help. Before all this, I was an Internet reviewer, and I looked at music of all kinds. But I was lucky. I had access to things. You know, magic, technology... It wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to take on an empire, but... it was enough to give me an idea. In all the world and all the universes... You know, I betcha they had people that could help me.
(Harvey watches, smoking a cigarette)
Jaeris: To help end all this. I'm going to look for them, but... I'm not going alone. (holds up his gun he had used against Linkara earlier) My wife is still... alive back home. She used the magics I learned to create this... this link between us, this talisman, (holds up gun again) this weapon. It's powered by both of our souls together. As long as both of us are alive, this... this thing will keep on working. (nods) And I'll have something to fight for.
Linkara: He's a Freedom Fighter?
Harvey: This doesn't click. If he's a good guy, why didn't he just ask for help?
Pollo: The reason came later. Observe.
(Another video log by Jaeris is shown)
Jaeris: We're going home tomorrow. I mean, it's... this is like the Magnificent Seven, but, you know, there's nine of us. Everyone's raring to go. Tomorrow, we start the fight to take back my home. The others are confident, and they got all their own magic guns, too, and... man, I'm gonna enjoy the look on those faces when we come at 'em.
(Cut through static to yet another video log by Jaeris. This time, however, he is feeling quite sad)
Jaeris: They're all dead. (shakes head) They're all dead, and s-some of them... (runs his hand across his face) Some of them died slowly, and some of them... For hours, they were... they were coughing and wheezing and struggling and... (stammers) and then they just died. (?), they were gone in seconds! It's...
Linkara: What the hell happened?
(Linksano's voice comes up on the screen)
Dr. Linksano: Other-dimensional travel is not as easy as just walking from one universe to another.
(Cut to Linksano in the engine room)
Dr. Linksano: Plenty of universes are similar enough that there won't be any adverse effects, but a lot of the time, some people just can't exist in another universe. It's poisonous to them!
(Cut back to the bridge)
Dr. Linksano: (on the computer) Different physical laws hit you when you least expect it. Happened to me once or twice in my travels before I figured out a device that let me dimension-hop without worry of popping like a balloon.
Pollo: The logs continue.
(Another video log by Jaeris plays)
Jaeris: The others may be dead, but it ain't over. Some of their magic guns are still workable and can still be used by others. With Sierra's help, I discovered that when a full-powered magic gun is unlocked, it can be used by anybody. After doing more research, I found the best way to do it... is just great emotional stress. If you get someone pissed off, and I mean really pissed off... that gun's up for grabs. I have to decide what to do now. And while I may not have others... at least I can still use their guns to save my world. (puts on his bowler hat)
Pollo: The Gunslinger goes on to describe multiple battles he had with other people. He never deliberately killed anyone else after that, but he always managed to steal their guns after they were unlocked.
Linkara: But what does this have to do with the pocket watch?
Dr. Linksano: While some universes will kill you if you step into them, other universes have a tendency to... (hesitates slightly) well... assimilate you into them.
(Linksano's voice continues on the computer)
Dr. Linksano: And once you're a part of that universe, it's a hell of a lot harder to get back home without dying again. A device like that can act as an anchor, allowing you to exist in another universe temporarily, keeping yourself separated from that universe for short periods of time. If that device is destroyed or damaged, you either die instantly or, well, become so acclimated to the new universe that you've become permanently bonded with it.
Linkara: Just like with Vyce and his suit. Couldn't he just make another one?
Dr. Linksano: It's not that easy. The anchor needs to have been built in your own universe initially, and I can assure you that they are not easy to manufacture. So chances are, you only had the one. If he's not dead yet, then chances are, he's synching up with our universe as we speak.
Linkara: (stunned, as he realizes what he had done) And by destroying the watch, I've guaranteed he can never go home again. (hangs his head and buries his face in his hands, feeling quite ashamed) Oh, geez! (looks up again) I-I need to contact him. Apologize.
Dr. Linksano: (scoffs) Right, yeah! I'm sure he'll really be in the mood to accept that!
Linkara: (exasperated) Well, dammit, I've gotta do something! I– (suddenly, he is interrupted by the sound of an alarm) Report!
Nimue: Information: Neutro has launched.
Nimue: The Neutro robot has launched and is beginning to march towards Minneapolis.
Harvey: Who the hell launched it?!
Linkara: Who could launch it?! We have security protocols to prevent it from being stolen!
Nimue: We are receiving a transmission.
Linkara: Put it on!
(Then a voice all too familiar to Linkara speaks)
Voice: Peoples of the Earth, your lord and master has returned! (cackles)
Linkara: Dr. Insano!
(Stinger: Sierra is addressing a depressed Jaeris as he sits and drinks)
Sierra: My sincerest apologies, master, but the acclimation process has concluded. I've been able to spare you the unpleasantness of it, but I'm afraid it is now irreversible. Based on my analysis, if you were to reenter our home universe, you would be dead in seconds. What are your orders?
(The screen goes black)
Voice: We have lost the way.