Amazons Attack #3 and 4
March 16, 2009
Issue 4 is titled "Things Fall Apart" and they do – my sanity, my will to live, my love for sequential art...
Linkara: (seated on his Futon) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. All right, we're two issues done, and that's the same amount of pages Wonder Woman has appeared. In the last episode, I briefly talked about tie-in comics, so let's talk about them a little bit more.
(A montage is shown of various Wonder Woman tie-in comics, all involving "Amazons Attack" in some way)
Linkara (v/o): Tie-in comics are also meant to boost sales of that comic, the operating theory being that people will buy anything with the event's logo slapped on it, hoping to get more of the story, since, as we saw with "Amazons Attack", important plot details have been STUCK IN COMICS OUTSIDE THE STORY ITSELF!! Sadly, this theory does work, but the real hope is that after the tie-ins, readers will stay with the book even after the event is over. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And with "Amazons Attack", it didn't. In fact, for the issues of "Teen Titans" that tied in, the book was actually beginning to gain readers again. But a few thousand people actually dropped the book when the tie-ins occurred! Now, Wonder Woman was essential reading for this whole mess, and the issues really should have been included in the hardcover release. Hell, there were actually seven issues labeled as tie-ins to it! That's more issues than the main comic! And the numbers just declined and declined as it went on. The same thing happened to Supergirl and Catwoman when they had tie-ins: numbers dropped, and in Catwoman's case, they went back up again when "Amazons Attack" was over.
Linkara: So, needless to say, the comic-reading public wasn't exactly happy about the book itself. And since I'm still recapping and reviewing it for you all, I'm not happy, either. (holds up magic gun) Suicide guns are ready, (holds up comic of review for today) so let's dig into "Amazons Attack #3 and #4".
Linkara (v/o): And since we're switching to a new issue, of course there's a page dedicated to explaining the tie-in material. The first two paragraphs can be outright skipped; nothing is written there that we don't see for ourselves in the book. The only important information that we get out of this is that Diana once again confronts Hippolyta... Seriously, someone want to tell me if you use the lasso on her? At all? ...and the Amazons have released a deadly new weapon on mankind: a swarm of Stygian killer hornets that, although we've never seen them before, are apparently native to Themyscira.
Linkara: (clutching his forehead) Don't ask me, people, they're seriously making this stuff up as they go along.
Linkara (v/o): To make matters worse, one of these never-before-seen killer bugs has STUNG NEMESIS!
Linkara: (shocked at what he read) OH, MY GOD! OH, MY GOD, HE'S BEEN STUNG BY A GIANT KILLER BEE WITH A POISONOUS STINGER ON AN ISLAND WITH MYSTICAL ENERGY AND MAGICS AND THE POWERS OF THE GODS BEHIND IT! HE COULD ONLY HAVE MINUTES TO LIVE! OR SECONDS!!
Linkara (v/o): (reading text) "...and is more mere hours from death."
Linkara: (even more stunned) What, hours?! HOURS?!? I know most insect stings are only fatal if the person's allergic, but come on! Where's the tension? Where's the drama in a deadly sting that kills in "hours"?! And these are supposed to be magic hornets, for crying out loud! Geez, the only thing in this book that isn't half-assed is the artwork, and it isn't that great.
Linkara (v/o): Okay, our opening is another recap page done with LexNews!
LexNews reporter: It was only days ago, but it feels like a lifetime--
Linkara: (rubbing his forehead) You're telling me.
Reporter: Soon, the streets ran red with American blood! Tourists! Lawmakers! Men, women and children!
Linkara: (as reporter) Grandparents, street sweepers, hookers, pet store owners! I can do this all day, people. Police officers, soda machine repairmen!
Reporter: Now our nation's capital is in ruins, and our once-proud government lies shattered!
Linkara: (as reporter) But it was mostly the Green Party, so nobody cared. (booing is heard) What, whaaaat?
Linkara (v/o): Superman arrives in Kansas and easily puts out the flames, since, you know, he's Superman. After flying off, the Kansas residents switch on a TV, and the news continues to blare on about how horrible things have gotten.
Reporter: Reports coming in from all over of a nation tearing itself apart! Traffic pouring out of Manhattan at a standstill...
Linkara: (as reporter) Wait, never mind, that's normal for Manhattan.
Reporter: All flights cancelled nationwide. Riots at O'Hare, L.A., Sea-Tac.
Linkara (v/o): See, that had nothing to do with the Amazons, there were just a couple of flight delays.
Reporter: And every hour, new reports of murders, suicides, assaults...
Linkara: You know, there's no indication in the comic that this event had been going on for days or whatever. Basically, what they're saying is that within one day of a large group of women with primitive weaponry attacking Washington, D.C., the entire country is falling apart! (looks offscreen and raises his fist in the air) DAMN YOU, 19TH AMENDMENT!
Linkara (v/o): A live feed comes in from Her Royal Craziness, Hippolyta, where she calls on America for unconditional surrender and that the country has one day to decide. Artemis and Phillipus, being their usual helpful selves, point out just how freaking insane the demand is, but of course take no action. So, while Hippolyta kills the cameraman, they just hang off to the back and hold their arms, all sad and sullen-like, not knowing what to do.
Linkara: Say, here's an idea: STAB YOUR CRAZY QUEEN THROUGH THE HEAD, ASSUME COMMAND, AND ACT LIKE AMAZONS INSTEAD OF PRETENDING THIS IS SOME HUGE MORAL DILEMMA!!
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, aboard Air Force One, the President wants to land the plane, but his aide tells him that right now, up in the air is the only place where he's safe, alive and in control.
Linkara: And he can't be in control from a bunker because...?
President: Then I've got some tough decisions to make, don't I? Well, here's the first: I'm implementing the McCarran Act.
Linkara: (stunned) What?
President: A relic of the Cold War. Allows arrest of suspicious individuals. (Linkara opens a bottle of pills and pours some out) Provides for deportation. Imprisonment. Camps. It was created back in 1950 to fight the Communist menace that was supposedly poised at our doorstep. (Linkara swallows his pills, then washes it down with a wrapped bottle of something) I'd say things are considerably more dire now.
Aide: It'll be controversial, to say the least.
President: I don't care! The country is ripping itself to pieces. (Linkara takes out and cocks his magic gun, then points it to his head) The people need to know that they're safe, secure. They need to know that someone strong and capable... is looking out for them. Implement the order now. There's no other way to save the country.
Linkara: (anguished) STOP IT!!! STOP RIGHT THERE!! (takes off his glasses, looking as though he's about to cry) I need a minute. (picks up a pillow) I'm just gonna put my face in a pillow and try not to smother myself, tempted as I may be. (buries his face in the pillow; his words are muffled) And yet, somehow this is still more entertaining than the comic itself.
Linkara (v/o): I can't believe they actually thought this was actually a good idea! They took a simple, if entirely stupid, invasion story, and made it into some diatribe against the Bush Administration and the War on Terror! It BOGGLES THE MIND that NO ONE, writers, artists or editors along the way, stop for a moment, turn to the others, and ask, "Are we sure this is a good idea?" And it only gets worse, people! Just wait! At the Korean War Memorial, Batman is fighting some Amazons, and for some reason, these ones haven't decapitated all the statues or blown them up. Why these ones when they basically annihilated every other structure? If I even need to answer that, you haven't been paying attention so far. Superman arrives and knocks out the remaining Amazons. Batman, acting way, WAY out of character... Someone acting out of character in Amazons Attack? What a shocking development! ...tells Superman that it's war and basically it's okay to kill your enemy, even though one panel later, he still won't kill. I-I-I just don't...
(Linkara opens a bottle of pills, pours a huge pile out, and puts them in his mouth)
Linkara (v/o): Okay, now that my faculties are a little bit better, the two discuss how the tactics of the Amazons are unusual to say the least. But enough of that scene. Let's switch over to the Athenian Women's Shelter just outside of Washington, D.C. The Justice Department suddenly arrives to arrest all the women there because, again, this is supposed to be some "subtle" critique on the War on Terror.
Linkara: For the love of Heidegger, it would be more subtle if you DANCED NAKED in front of the White House, with "I Hate Bush" written all over your body!
Linkara (v/o): And by the way, the newscaster here says that arrests like that happened overnight, so apparently this is happening over a period of time. So, what, how long has it been since the initial attack? How long has the President been in the air? Days?! Weeks?! If Nemesis was really poisoned, he'd probably be DEAD by now!
Linkara: Space is warped, time is bendable, up is down, left is right, (holds up comic) and this comic is up there with "Watchmen" and "Sandman"!
Linkara (v/o): Okay, we switch back to Batman for another pointless scene.
Batman: Nemesis...with all your government contacts, I wonder if you knew this was coming.
Linkara (v/o): Yes, I'm sure the unconscious dying man knew all about the thing that happened either a week ago or just two minutes ago, depending on your view of the space-time continuum.
Batman: Of course, I've* got bigger problems now. An Amazon attack, a deadly bee weapon... Bees... My God.
- NOTE: It's actually displayed as "you've got", not "I've got".
Linkara: (confused) Can someone please tell me what emotion Batman is expressing with that line?
Linkara (v/o): Confusion? Irony? Sadness? Anger? Acceptance?! Disgust?! Surprise?! Anticipation?! Contempt?! Awe?! Disappointment?! Shame?! Sympathy?! RAGE?! Oh, wait, that's me. Agony?! Frustration?! APATHY?! It's apathy, isn't it? (sighs) Okay, you don't care, Batman, so we don't either. Wow, man. Bees. My God. He worries about the fact that the only antidote to the deadly bee poison – bees, my God – is in Themyscira. Wonder Woman suddenly arrives once more. For those keeping score, we're now 70 pages in and she's appeared in three pages now! Insane-in-the-membrane, AKA Hippolyta, muses to herself about how her former allies are rallying against her, yet her army remains fiercely loyal. However, like pretty much every other scene, this one comes to an abrupt end as Wonder Girl and Supergirl arrive to talk to her. Back with Wonder Woman... Wow, two scenes with her in a single issue! She says that the antidote for the poison is back at Themyscira, but she can't go to retrieve it since she's learned the only way to end the war is to slay Hippolyta, implying that she's going to go fly off and do so now.
Linkara: (holding up comic) You know, I finally come to realize the core problem with this comic: it's not the disregard for continuity, it's not the sexism, or the brutal violence, or the piss-poor attempts at being (makes "finger quotes") "relevant". It's that this whole thing is a collection of random, pointless scenes that go nowhere and contribute nothing to the plot! Characters arrive and leave as they please; plot points are introduced and then quickly forgotten!
Linkara (v/o): So, back to the M.C. Escher painting that is this plot. Oracle tells Batman that a new Amazon attack has occurred, this time at a nuclear plant just outside of Star City. They tell Green Arrow to take care since that's his home turf. So how the heck are the Amazons moving around the country so quickly? Was my guess about explosive teleportation from the last review actually correct? Okay, cut to another pointless scene of Artemis and Phillipus: "Blah, blah, blah, this is not Sparta. Blah, blah, blah, we need to kill the queen." Yeah, put your money where your mouth is. And cut away again! Over to Grace Choi, a member of the superhero team, Outsiders.
Grace: I'm sick of fighting you... like they want me to... all planned and mapped out...
Linkara: Wait, does Grace actually realize she's in a crappy comic?
Linkara (v/o): We get an ominous foreshadowing as someone with paint all over their face looks at video monitors of Grace and says that she's the one they seek. Back to Green Arrow, where he reports finding an unexploded bomb next to the reactor. Through technobabble, we learned that the thing malfunctioned before it could detonate. Green Arrow is amazed that the Amazons could build such an advanced bomb. Batman replies...
Batman: They can't. Swords, shields and magic? Amazons. Microchips, computers and high-tech weapons? Someone else.
Linkara: (rubbing his forehead) So, let me see if I get this straight: the initial reason that Hippolyta declared war on America was because Wonder Woman had been kidnapped by the U.S. government so she could reveal the secrets behind the advanced technology of the Amazons... WHICH APPARENTLY THEY ARE NOT CAPABLE OF PRODUCING!! Just to be clear, this isn't like "Superman At Earth's End"; there was an EDITOR for this thing!
Linkara (v/o): Back on board Air Force One, the President continues to be cranky about the plane not landing. Oh, and it's night all of a sudden, too.
(Linkara is seen lip-synching to "Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Linkara: Let's do the time warp again!
Linkara (v/o): His aide lists off all the problems they're having.
Aide: D.C. is in ruins.
Linkara (v/o): Well, after this comic, it certainly is.
Aide: Kansas is a cinder. Nuke plants are exploding, military bases are burning...
Linkara: (as aide) And your approval ratings have actually gone into negative numbers, which no one even thought was possible!
Aide: ...and the so-called heroes are out of control.
President: What about metahuman affairs? Aren't they coordinating the defense?
Aide: Not anymore. The actual chief was replaced by a shape-shifter. Then the acting chief was almost killed by some Amazon super weapon.
(Cut back to Batman from earlier in the comic)
Batman: A deadly bee weapon... Bees. My God.
(Cut back to Air Force One)
Linkara (v/o): The President reminds his aide that he's the President and he better shut his pie-hole. The aide then says...
Aide: That's right. You are. And if you'd like to survive to actually set foot on United States soil again-- you'll sit down and buckle that seatbelt... sir.
Linkara: (smiling) Well, his ass is fired.
Linkara (v/o): Suddenly, the plane shakes as we're treated to yet another scene of utter stupidity to end issue 3. Wonder Girl and Supergirl fly right in front of Air Force One and yell at them to bring the plane down, or else they will.
Linkara: (looking into an empty pill bottle) Oh, God! I need more pills! I NEED MORE PILLS!!
Linkara (v/o): In between issues, Diana ONCE AGAIN engages her mother in battle. My God, this comic is a Moebius loop! We once again switch to Lex News! Lex News, a division of Evil Corp. To its credit, this update does let us know that the war has only been going on for three days, but that just makes all their panic nonsense from last issue all the stupider.
Linkara: But then again, this is supposed to be a mainstream news station, so instilling unjust fear and panic is par for the course.
Linkara (v/o): It also reiterates Hippolyta's demand for a surrender in one day and... Wait, this says "One week".
(Linkara skims back through the comic to see if it's true or not)
Linkara (v/o): OH, SWEET MERCIFUL HEAVEN, THIS COMIC CAN'T KEEP ITS OWN STUPID CONTINUITY STRAIGHT!! We're in the Twilight Zone, people! There is no other explanation for such really, really poor proofreading! Anyway, issue 4 opens to a splash page of Wonder Woman challenging her mother to kill her. Hey, Diana, see that lasso next to your hip? Maybe if you tried to tie it around her hand, then this wouldn't be NECESSARY! However, Superman suddenly decides to swoop in and pick her up, bringing her out of harm's way, much to her anger.
Linkara: Sure, Superman.
(Utter Stupidity Level: 10%)
Linkara: Just pick up Diana and bring her away. After all...
(Utter Stupidity Level: 38%)
Linkara: ...she's just one of them hysterical womenfolk.
(Utter Stupidity Level: 59%)
Linkara: You know their ovaries interfere with their ability to think, boy howdy. Oh, and since you're perfectly capable of picking her up...
(Utter Stupidity Level: 147%)
Linkara: ...don't even worry that the leader of the attacking Amazons is still just down there, and you could've just picked her up and flown her into a jail cell. No, really...
(Utter Stupidity Level: It's Over 9000!!!!!)
Linkara: ...picking up Wonder Woman made perfect sense.
Superman: Don't, Diana... We have more important things to worry about now.
Linkara: (as Superman) We've decided to go on strike! Maybe if we all decide not to be in the comic, it'll just go away.
Linkara (v/o): Back with Wonder Girl and Supergirl, Supergirl points out that they probably can't hear her demand to land the plane, and one of the jets decides to shoot at them, even though they're, like, two feet away from Air Force One. Smooth, fellas! The missile hits Wonder Girl and she starts falling.
Aide: Mr. President-- the escort jet reports a direct hit...
President: That's one down...
Linkara: (as President, holding up fist) Yes! I killed a teenage girl! Why do other politicians seem to have so much trouble with it?
Linkara (v/o): But no, Wonder Girl's just pissed off, and she flies up and smashes through the plane. She demands the President come with her so he and Hippolyta can sit down and negotiate an end to the war.
Linkara: And we're back to the women being either crazy or stupid! In Wonder Girl's case, it's both!
Linkara (v/o): The President finally agrees, and we switch back to the Justice League. And hey, Wonder Woman's here, too! Wow, our ratio of Wonder Woman appearances is really going up with this one! We're up to Wonder Woman on seven pages out of 87 – eight pages if we count the LexNews report! Batman reveals that the Amazons have never left Washington, D.C., despite what Queen Hippopotamus Brain has been saying.
Batman: Someone's helping their war effort. Someone who embraces modern technology instead of spears.
Linkara: But who needs technology when the spears have been so damn effective so far?
Linkara (v/o): Wonder Woman's eyes widen as she realizes it's... THE BANA!! (a dramatic sting is heard) Who the hell are the Bana, you ask? Well, there was actually a second group of Amazons. These Amazons didn't go to Themyscira, and instead ended up in Egypt, renouncing the Greek gods, and instead worshiping the Egyptian pantheon. Long story short, they ended up joining with the Themyscirans again later. Heck, Artemis herself is a Bana. Diana exposits that not all of the Bana joined Themyscira, that a militant sect went off on their own. So yeah, the Amazons aren't the real enemy, the Bana are!
Linkara: Isn't that sweet? They still think this comic can be salvaged.
Linkara (v/o): By the way, we never get an explanation for how the hell Diana knows it's the Bana and not just some random terrorist group, but whatever, I just don't care anymore. Oracle calls again and informs them that she's figured out that Gotham is the next target of the Bana.
Batman: I have to go.
Linkara: (as Batman) I'm getting out of this comic while I still can. It's only gonna get worse from here, guys!
Linkara (v/o): Back to Air Force One, the plane is suddenly under attack by a legion of Amazons riding flying horses. So, not only did they fail to get the President away from Washington, D.C.; a group of flying horses can keep up with a 747. And once again, a spear with what looks like a stone head manages to break through the glass and kill a pilot! The trigger-happy escort jets who two minutes ago were more than happy to shoot missiles close to Air Force One suddenly think it's too close to shoot at the flying horses!
(Linkara is seen with a robot that he calls Pollo)
Linkara: Okay, folks, this is my robot, Pollo. He's gonna finish the review for me, because really, I can't take this anymore. (leaves)
Pollo: All right, so then Wonder Woman– (suddenly shorts out) Knickknackpattywhackgiveadogabone.
Linkara: (returning) Ahhhh, SON OF A– EVEN ROBOTS CAN'T HANDLE THIS THING!!
Linkara (v/o): Wonder Girl, on board Air Force One, is shocked, SHOCKED, mind you, that this is happening.
Wonder Girl: No... This wasn't supposed to happen...
Linkara: Okay, folks, I want to take a poll from you all: what is the absolute stupidest plan we've seen so far in my reviews? Is it...
(A. Twin Clones of Hitler)
Linkara (v/o): A: Make twin clones of Hitler?
(B. Papal ascendance does not work that way)
(C. Wonder Girl hasn't been smart since Young Justice ended)
Linkara (v/o): Or C: Wonder Girl and Supergirl kidnap the President of the United States to negotiate peace with the bloodthirsty, crazy queen of the Amazons?
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): And I know I keep stressing this, but for the love of all things sacred, what the hell are we spending the military budget on if Air Force One is taken down by spears and arrows?! Of course, under this onslaught of weapons, Air Force One crashes.
Linkara: (angrily) CRAP IN HEAVEN, HOW MUCH LONGER IS THIS?!?!?
Linkara (v/o): Back to Washington, D.C., again: Grace Choi is beating the snot out of the Amazons, when suddenly, the leader of the Bana appears. Grace asks them what she wants, and she replies...
Bana leader: Want? Why, for you to join us, of course.
Linkara (v/o): SO GRACE KICKS HER IN THE FACE!
Linkara: Hey, I got someone to root for who isn't an idiot! (skims through comic pages) Let me just skip ahead real quick to see what happens and– (stops abruptly as his expression sours) Oh. She joins them next issue. Never mind, false alarm.
Linkara (v/o): On that same note, we also get to see the other Bana, and they're all wearing war paint and what can only be described as battle bikinis. Oh, you've gotta be KIDDING ME! What, the Amazons, the purported primitive people, get full-body armor, but the real evil – not the bloodthirsty, child-killing Amazons, mind you, but the evil Bana – is decked out in bikinis! It's as if somebody along the way in the creative process said, "Wait a second, we have a comic featuring lots of women fighting, but they're all wearing stuff that covers their skin? Well, we can't have that! How are we supposed to titillate the heterosexual male readers with that?" Moving on yet again, we have Red Arrow fighting– You know what, it's pointless and I don't care, next scene! The two teenage twits who wanted to kidnap the President now are trying to defend his injured, unconscious body from the swarms of Amazons. Supergirl is completely ineffectual while Wonder Girl, despite being a demigod, can't hold off the attack Amazons. But then Superman arrives!
Linkara: All right! Now we've got a MAN in the action! He'll put those uppity women in their place!
This guide is not complete. Please finish.
- First time Pollo is seen