April 13, 2009
The Brave and the Blind!
Linkara: (seated on his Futon) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. I'm gonna make a bold statement here: Daredevil is quite possibly the most emo superhero ever.
(Cut to a montage of other comic book superheroes who are similarly emo, including Batman, Spider-Man, and Green Lantern)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, sure, Batman can't go five minutes without talking about how his parents dead, Spider-Man's entire existence is predicated on how much crap he goes through, and don't even get me started on how just being in a relationship with Kyle Rayner is an STD.
(The montage switches to shots of Daredevil being similarly emo)
Linkara (v/o): But Daredevil somehow finds a way to continually get screwed over, losing girlfriends to drugs and murderers, losing his license to practice law, his identity gets outed a few times a month. And then there's that whole being blind thing.
Linkara: I'm frankly surprised we don't have more issues of the guy hanging out at poetry slams and going on and on about how "life is pain". But fortunately, we don't really see that here. Instead, we see one of the lamest villains ever, a result of something called the Riddler Factor.
(Cut to a shot of a blog by Dave Campbell)
Linkara (v/o): I wish I could take credit for naming this, but that belongs to famed comics blogger Dave Campbell. Essentially, the Riddler Factor is where we have a villain that, for all intents and purposes, should be defeated with one punch...
(Cut to a shot of the Riddler in a Batman comic)
Linkara (v/o): ...but since there needs to be a story, they somehow manage to make our heroes look like idiots. Now, it's improperly named, I think, because the Riddler these days is actually pretty cool and has supposedly gone legit, but then again, it's one of those examples of having the correct writer behind the wheel.
Linkara: (waving dismissively) But don't even hope for that here! So let's dig into (holds up comic of review) "Daredevil #305".
(Cut to a closeup of the cover)
Linkara (v/o): Okay, this cover at first glance seems okay. It depicts Spider-Man at the mercy of some woman in surgery garb carrying around an oxygen tank on her back. It's not a good sign for your villain when they apparently need supplementary air. On closer examination, though, you realize just how awful this is. First of all, what the hell is going on with Spider-Man's arms? They're twisted around the bars, but from the perspective we're seeing, those bars should be several feet behind him. How the heck did Spidey get like that? Artistically, the fence is a nightmare, too. The angles are jarring and forced. I can't tell how big this thing is supposed to be or even why it's on there. And look at this! One of the spikes looks like it's getting jabbed right into Daredevil's crotch! No wonder he's making that expression [of extreme pain] on his face.
Text on cover: Can even the Sightless Swashbuckler save Spidey from the savage scalpels of the... SURGEON GENERAL!
Linkara: (sighs) Well, there goes the pride I had for that whole "Circe the sorceress" thing.
Linkara (v/o): We open to Las Vegas, where, of course, we see a group of supervillains talking as if they're 1920s gangsters from New York.
Linkara: Hey, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Linkara (v/o): The scene has really nothing to do with the plot of the comic, but it's amusing, if only because apparently Jim Carey as The Mask is a member of their little entourage. They're basically talking about dividing up the Kingpin's territory since he's in jail now, and as a result–
(The Continuity Alarm goes off, interrupting Linkara)
Linkara: Oh, right, no one cares. Moving on, then.
Linkara (v/o): At a dance club in New York, some guy hits on a redhead, and they go to a warehouse to supposedly do the deed. The guy's drunk, so of course, he klutzes around. Somehow, in the intervening period between him doing so and knocking over a box full of scalpels, the woman has changed from a skimpy black dress into a ridiculous ensemble. Apparently, she's a quick change artist, I guess. As far as villain costumes go, this is just lame. Yes, it's unique, and at least she's wearing pants, but it's just a modified doctor's uniform with a huge, impractical sash that holds scalpels. Oh, and a dorky hat that looks like she grabbed some Saran Wrap and wrapped it around a taco salad. She doesn't look threatening, she looks like she wants to take my fast food order.
Man: So, what is it with this stuff? You a doctor?
Woman: (demonic voice, red word balloon) Surgeon.
Linkara: Whoa, what is with that dialog balloon?
Linkara: Is she the freakin' Devil?! Why'd they do that? Well, Spider-Man is in the comic, so of course they had to have the Devil–
(Suddenly, he gets zapped from offscreen, but he is only slightly fazed)
Linkara: Ha! Insulated my clothes! What're you gonna do now?! Huh?! Huh?! What're you gonna do?!
(Suddenly, he gets shot at from offscreen by a yellow burst, which knocks him over)
Linkara: (weakly holding up finger) One for you, Teddy...
Linkara (v/o): A couple of muggers find our unnamed drunk in the park later, but discover that he's bleeding due to a stolen kidney.
Narrator: Laughter echos shrill from out of Central Park. A grim reminder that animals live in the green. Predators hunting... and, in turn, hunted.
Linkara (v/o): Okay... Apparently, Rorschach decided to wander into the comic. No, actually, it's Daredevil, who kicks the muggers. Apparently, the writer was confused about what sort of story he was writing, what with this film noir narration. And get used to it, folks, because they never stop with the narration. Daredevil beats the crap out of the muggers, narrating the whole time.
Daredevil: (narrating) Nerve endings in my ankle feel the mix of air pressure and oily heat off grasping fingers, telegraphing his move set well in advance...
Linkara: Quite an accomplishment for those nerve endings, considering he's wearing boots.
Linkara (v/o): One remaining thug threatens Daredevil.
Mugger: You're not pinning this on me, Red! Try it and I'll--
Daredevil: You'll what?
Linkara: (as mugger, holding a knife as the mugger does) Uh, I don't know, I hadn't thought this far ahead.
Daredevil: That man needs help. Let me do my thing and you walk away with soiled shorts...
Linkara (v/o): Ewww!
Daredevil: ...and any tough guy story you want. But make it hard, screw his chances by slowing me up even a little... (narrating) I let the words hang heavy in the night air. Kenny's unhealthy imagination does the real work.
Linkara: (as mugger) Oh, my God, he's gonna put me in tight red latex! (runs away, screaming)
Linkara (v/o): So the thug runs off.
Daredevil: (narrating) Hyperacute senses let him go, pulled now in the direction of more immediate concerns.
Linkara: (listlessly) Let me guess, it was a dame who you knew was trouble from the moment you saw her.
Daredevil: What should be warm, supple skin turned frighteningly cold and unyielding.
Linkara (v/o): (as Daredevil) It was so hot. (normal) Seriously, this narration is just getting icky! Daredevil brings the man to a hospital, where we learn he isn't the only one who is expressing his inner pulp writer.
Doctor: Life turns cheap, then it turns up in the emergency room.
Linkara (v/o): Dear Lord, the fact that they even used a "Life is cheap" line is just dorky. But hey, at least it wasn't "Life is cheap in the big city," or something– Oh, wait, Daredevil uses it in the last panel of the page. I really should just give up right here.
Daredevil: (narrating) Inside, something tears loose at the tragedy of it all. Inside, something begins to twist and rage...
Linkara: Yeah, that'll be the reader's patience, Daredevil.
Linkara (v/o): We cut to our hero in his civilian identity of Matt Murdock, walking the streets with his secretary Karen Page. She's reading from the Daily Bugle about the Surgeon General while Matt just follows alongside and narrates.
Daredevil: (narrating) ...radar follows more than one head turning in Karen Page's direction.
Linkara (v/o): Wow! Her attractiveness really gets people noticing her! What's weird about this is that the Bugle has a picture of the Surgeon General right on the front cover. Shouldn't most people know who she is, then? Matt asks Karen for some information on the local nightclubs. When she calls him out on his attempt to catch the Surgeon General, he just laughingly responds that it's for a friend. And thus we cut to Daredevil meeting with Spidey. You know, these three pages are suddenly the best in the book, if only because instead of narrating incessantly like a Frank Miller comic, we just have people talking.
Spider-Man: I'm a happily married arachnid-- I don't do the club scene unless the little missus is along with the ball and chain!
(Cut to a panel shot of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson kissing, along with the message: "Only Two Issues After One More Day"; Linkara sighs a long, heavy, irritable sigh)
Linkara (v/o): Spidey eventually agrees to act as a decoy to lure out the Surgeon General.
Daredevil: (narrating) Good natured arm twisting makes the desired impression makes the desired impression on Mr. Parker. He contributes the cheesy fake mustache all on his own initiative.
Linkara (v/o): Uh, Daredevil's blind; how does he know he's wearing a cheesy fake mustache? Or even what cheesy and fake looks like? Though I've got to admit, seeing Peter Parker rocking a porn 'stache is surreal. Though, why any woman would want to dance with him while he's wearing a yellow and black striped shirt is anyone's guess.
Daredevil: (narrating) In between the noncommittal banter and gyrations of half a dozen clubs, the undercover wallcrawler spins a tale of an exemplary bill of health for himself...
Linkara: (irritably) Honestly, just imagine if I had some stupid narrator like that! It wouldn't be dramatic, it would be annoying–
(As he rants, however, an offscreen voice interrupts him)
Offscreen voice: (narrating) He sits on his Futon, green like the blood of a Star Trek Vulcan. (angered, Linkara puts down the comic and picks up his magic gun) He thinks he and he alone knows the pain and suffering that results from– (Linkara aims his gun in the air and fires) ACK!
(Silence, and Linkara smiles)
Daredevil: (narrating) --pick up talk in a day and age of life-threatening social diseases...
Linkara: Oh, you're not seriously gonna try to narrate about AIDS, are you? When did this become an after-school special presented by Humphrey Bogart?
Linkara (v/o): Thankfully, we're spared Daredevil's musings on STDs as the Surgeon General comes up to Peter, and his Spider Sense detects her intent to do harm. They go someplace private, where they exchange lame dialogue. The Surgeon General goes behind the counter while Peter's back is turned, and once again puts on her outfit faster than Sonic the Hedgehog. Peter's Spider Sense keeps going off, and he knows the General is sneaking up on him with a jagged knife... Seems like that would be kind of detrimental to surgery, but I'm not a doctor. ...and waits for Daredevil to arrive.
Linkara: (as Daredevil) The squalid conditions of the city make me think of all the scum on the streets.
Peter: Anytime, Red...
Linkara: (as Daredevil, holding up his fist) Change only comes when there's blood on my fist, which is repeatedly rammed into the soft flesh of the criminal underbelly.
Peter: Anytime, Red...
Linkara: (as Daredevil) A man died in an alleyway today, another victim of the cruel mistress that is–
Peter: Anytime, Red...
Linkara (v/o): Finally, Daredevil arrives and tosses Peter over the edge.
Daredevil: (narrating) The soft pad of Parker's fingertips as they cling to the brick-- an effective counterpoint to the hiss of rage erupting as the General realizes the curtain's coming down on her theater of operations.
Linkara (v/o): COULD YOU JUST SHUT UP FOR TWO FREAKIN' MINUTES?! I'M TRYING TO ENJOY AN ACTION SEQUENCE HERE! Despite a direct hard kick, the Surgeon General is still standing. Being an utter moron, Daredevil espouses in his head about compassion and just grabs one of her arms. Thus, our stalwart hero with martial arts training is immediately overpowered by a simple oxygen mask getting forced onto his face, along with knockout gas. Hmm, you know, maybe if you didn't spend half the time NARRATING, you'd be able to FOCUS on actually FIGHTING! Spidey, being equally useless, just webs her arms to the table, allowing her plenty of time to slice through it, and doesn't even try to web her up anymore.
Linkara: You know, suddenly NFL Superpro seems like an amazingly effective crimefighter.
General Surgeon: I'm not that easy!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, you are; it's just the guys chasing you are incredibly inept. The Surgeon General runs through the dance club, slicing at people as she goes along and sticking them with needles. I REMIND PEOPLE THAT THIS WOMAN HAS NO SUPERPOWERS. She's not some accomplished martial artist or an alien powered by the sun. She's running around with knives and stabby things, and this is somehow more than enough to overwhelm two enhanced individuals. But you know the worst part? DAREDEVIL KEEPS ON NARRATING THROUGH IT!!
Daredevil: (narrating) Reek of fear carried on the sweat of screaming dancers--
(WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS EVEN MEAN?!)
Daredevil: (narrating) --out of step with the thundering beat driving out of speakers cranked up beyond the pain threshold.
Linkara: Overly dramatic caption boxes driving me up the wall beyond the pain threshold!
Linkara (v/o): The General gets into a parked van, and Daredevil manages to get inside as it drives off. However, she forces him back by shoving a metal container in and knocking him out of the van. The container is apparently so cold that it starts to sear at him, but Spidey catches him with a web net. As it turns out, it's a container for holding human organs. Okay, this makes no freakin' sense! I'll save my rant about the premise of this book for next time, but this is just stupid! Why the hell would a container designed to hold human organs be cold ON THE OUTSIDE?! You're trying to keep the organs from decaying and you need to hold the container, so why is it freakin' cold on the OUTSIDE?! Spidey reports that he managed to put a tracer on her, though, so they can follow.
Spider-Man: Hey, DD-- you okay?
Daredevil: Cold is all, Spidey... Cold... (narrating) Outside... and in. A hollow place, filling up with a cold fury to see the Surgeon General stripped of her ghoulish–
Linkara: (interrupting, infuriated) SHUT. UP!! (angrily holding up comic) This comic sucks, but of course, we're not done with it yet, since this is a two-parter, so tune in next week and see just how Daredevil compensates for his blindness by being insufferably melodramatic!
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Daredevil: (narrating) The ending text came on, black as the void in the hearts of men's souls. The comic reviewer aimed his gun at me and made a threat at me.
Linkara (v/o): Look, if you're gonna be here, get me something to drink!
Daredevil: (narrating) And so the narrator made his way to the refrigerator to grab a can of–
Linkara (v/o): SHUT YOUR NOISE HOLE!!!