Marville 1

Marville 1 4th wall

January 2, 2012
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Ted Turner, AOL, and a kid who thinks time travel gives him superpowers. I only wish this was a joke, because then something actually FUNNY would happen in this comic.

(We cut to Linkara's futon, but Linkara's not there. A bottle of alcohol is slammed on the futon, and a hungover Linkara is struggling to get up)

Linkara: (groaning noise) Okay. 2012 is not off to a good start. Welcome to Atop The Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. This is Marville. And it is one of the worst comics ever made. (passes out)

(cue theme song. Title card's music is Smallville's theme song)

Linkara (v/o): This is one that's been on the back burner for awhile, mostly because I didn't own a copy. Unfortunately, I do now. There are bad comics out there for various reasons. And some are bad because of different opinions on them. There are people out there who actually like Cry For Justice for reasons that completely elude me. But nobody, I mean, NOBODY is going to come rushing to the defense of this thing. This is a mess and it starts off with why it was created at all. Supposedly, Marville came about because of a bet. Bill Jemas, (pronounces like: Je-MAS) or Hah-mus, I'm sorry, I don't know the pronunciation, who was president of Marvel at the time, made a bet with writer Peter David. The sales on Peter David's Captain Marvel series, and that's Marvel's Captain Marvel, not the DC one, comic books are confusing, were in heavy decline and apparently was believed that it was because the book was too self-referential and insular. Readers couldn't get into it because of backstory and references to other work. As such the bet was centered around whose book will sell better at a promotion called, U-Decide.


Peter David launched a new Captain Marvel series from Number 1 and Bill Jemas made Marville. Marville is a six-issue miniseries, kind of seven but we'll get to that when we eventually get to issue six, that starts off as a parody comic that evolved into a pseudo-philosophical treatise on the nature of God and the universe as seen by Bill Jemas and just collapsed under it's own stupidity.

Linkara: But what is Marville a parody of? Well, pretty much anything. And we'll see why Peter David won that bet as we dig into Marville No. 1.

Linkara (v/o): Judging from this cover and the title of the comic, you'd assume this was a parody of Smallville, that Superman prequel show that lasted ten years too long. But nope, this has nothing to do with that other than the title. Why is it called Marville? Hell if I know. Smallville had been around for a year before this came out, so it's not like the reference was all that timely. If it's meant to be funny, then I don't get the joke.

Linkara: Oh, and trust me. You will be hearing the words, "I don't get the joke," a lot in this review.

Linkara (v/o): I will give Marville one credit over all the other so-called "humor" comics that I've reviewed before. It's in color.

Linkara: (sarcastically) Yeah, because that was my problem with Bimbos in Time. If the dinosaur poop in the end had been in color, I would have loved it.

Linkara (v/o): We start with An Insider's Guide to Marville #1.

Guide: Here are a few things to know about comic books and about the real world to get the "inside" jokes in Marville #1.

Linkara (v/o): This page completely baffles me. The first section explains the backstories of Batman, Spider-Man and Superman. This came out in 2002. The only people who would buy this damn thing would already know this stuff. And frankly, most people in the real world know who those characters are, too.

Guide: Bruce Wayne's parents were killed by a robber who left them to die in an alley. So now, as Batman, he seeks revenge by fighting crime -- Hi-jinx to follow.

Linkara: Okay, well, that was kind of amusing. (pause) Now let's ruin the joke.

Guide: Peter Parker's foster parent was killed by a robber whom Peter, as Spider-Man failed to stop -- Hi-jinx to follow.

Linkara: Doing the joke once is fine, considering the dark tone of the Batman stories. Doing it again with Spider-Man JUST MAKES YOU LOOK DESPERATE FOR A JOKE!

Guide: Kal-El's parents placed him in a rocket ship before they were killed by an explosion of the planet Krypton. Now, as Superman, he fights for truth and justice -- The American way to follow.

Linkara: (confused) It's funny because they didn't say "hi-jinx" that time?

Linkara (v/o): Now, we get to the second section which explains that DC Comics was run by Paul Levitz, it's not anymore making any jokes on this matter completely dated, who "fights a never-ending battle to keep his business obscure."

Linkara: Okay, that's just an awkward sentence. Was Paul Levitz trying to prevent DC from being obscure? Was Paul Levitz trying to make DC obscure? What the hell? What businessman would want their company to be obscure?

Guide: This is no small feat as DC owns Batman and Superman, and they, in turn, are owned by AOL-Time-Warner, which ranks among the world's largest and most prominent entertainment, publishing and merchandising companies. AOL folks show up all over Marville.

Linkara (v/o): And by that, they mean Ted Turner is the only one related to AOL that shows up and nobody else does, so saying that is meaningless. It goes on to explain that, before Time Warner was sold to AOL, it bought out a lot of Ted Turner's businesses. Now the reason why this is so damn confusing for me, aside from the fact that I don't really care all that much about business deals between huge conglomerates, is that by explaining this they pretty much tell what the joke is. I'm serious. There are jokes in this centered squarely around Ted Turner and selling out to AOL or him starting the Goodwill Games in the 80's. Or in other words, THEY'RE EXPLAINING THE JOKE!!

(Clip from Batman: the Animated Series)

Joker: If you have to explain a joke, there is no joke.

Linkara (v/o): Then it goes on to explain about how Ted Turner married Jane Fonda? What the hell does that have to do with jokes about Time Warner? Oh and by the way, they divorced in 2001, yet this comic depicts them as happily married. AGAIN, THIS CAME OUT IN 2002!!

Linkara: That's like me doing a joke about how steamy Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's relationship is getting... IN 2010!

Linkara (v/o): But enough of the backstory, let's get to the comic itself and why this thing is a mess. We open in the year 5002 AD at the opening of some guy's comic book store.

Owner 1: Congratulations, your store is huge!

Owner 2: After three thousand years, the comic industry finally recovered from Ron Perelman bankrupting Marvel.

Linkara: (looks up to the camera in confusion) Who?

Linkara (v/o): Oh, the guy who bankrupted Marvel in the mid-90's and almost screwed over the entire industry. I had to look that up because I'm the kind of guy who cares more about the stories than the business side of things, as most casual fans are.

Linkara: So, you could just imagine how "hilarious" that joke must have been to a casual fan. (pauses with a grin on his face; then he questions) Hey wait, why the hell did we spend sentences on Ted Turner and Jane Fonda, if the first joke out of this thing is about Ron Perelman?!!

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, meteors begin crashing down into the city and destroys the guy's comic shop. Though, strangely, the two in front of the shop are just standing there, despite the fact that an explosion like that should send them flying. We cut to Ted Turner and Jane Fonda.

Linkara: (unsurprised) Yeah, they're still alive in the year 5002. (pause to let that sink in) No, it isn't a joke or anything. It's just a part of the comic that we never get an explanation why.

Linkara (v/o): I would have thought it was just a typo like they meant 2005 instead of 5002, except all the visuals show a futuristic city and the comic guy says it took 3,000 years to recover from Marvel's bankruptcy. Anyway, plot! Ted Turner says that a meteor shower is starting in five minutes and a giant one will strike AOLon. Yes, they explain later on that Earth was bought by Ted Turner, who then sold it to AOL who renamed it AOLon.

Linkara: You fools!! You ruined the brand name recognition of Earth. Earth stays crunchy even in milk. No one knows anything about AOLon.

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