NFL SuperPro #1
February 17, 2009
He went from zero to hero to back to zero again in twelve issues.
Linkara: (seated on his Futon) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. I've already gone over how Marvel has been willing to slap their name on any toy merchandising license they can get their hands on, but did you know that they produced a comic in collaboration with the NFL?
(Cut to a shot of the comic in question: "NFL SuperPro")
Linkara (v/o): Yes, the Marvel machine was working overtime with this one. Reportedly, the writer, Fabian Nicieza, only did the book because he got free NFL tickets for it. He also still gets a lot of flack for doing it.
Linkara: However, dumb as this book is, I'm not gonna insult him or the people involved with this one. This book was doomed from the start, even if Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman had been writing it. So let's dig into (holds up comic) "NFL SuperPro #1".
(Cut to a shot of the cover of the comic)
Linkara (v/o): This comic is certainly better than the usual garbage, but not by much. Yeah, we get this action shot of SuperPro charging through criminals in Foot Clan gear, but why is he scowling like that? Is he constipated? Maybe he just realizes how dumb his costume looks. Oh, and hey, it's a collector's item!
Linkara: Oh, sure, collector's item, but (holds up a Mr. T trading card) no trading card featuring Mr. T! What a ripoff.
Linkara (v/o): Besides for the static blue background, Spider-Man is also featured here, since he'll be guest-starring to boost sales of the book... Uh, erm, I mean, to be in a "classic team-up with this great hero".
Linkara: Speaking of, some fans have pointed out to me that I make too many jokes about "One More Day" and Spider-Man's deal with the devil, and you know, maybe they're right. As such, I've reconfigured the continuity alarm so that any time I mention "One More Day", it'll give me an intense electric shock. (looks offscreen) Continuity alarm!
Offscreen voice: Working.
Linkara: Codeword: Kaji da!
Offscreen voice: Program ready.
Linkara: So now, any time I mention "One More Day"– (suddenly, he gets cut off by an electric shock; gasping for breath afterwards) That happens.
Linkara (v/o): (reading text on cover) "He went from SACKING QUARTERBACKS to TACKLING CRIME--". See, because he's a football player and he, you know, tackles people. (laughs sarcastically; the comic opens to the first page) We open to the crosshairs of an assassin's gun.
Narrator: Nighttime in Los Angeles.
Linkara (v/o): The hookers are a little less trampy.
Narrator: John Murtaugh is a financial wizard. He can consistently multiply two times two and come up with ten!
Linkara: (as narrator) His secretary keeps insisting that he get a calculator.
Narrator: Unfortunately, he's performing his arithmetic genius for an underworld gambling organization. And he's been CAUGHT. Now, to save his own skin, John's going to turn state's evidence against his employers.
Linkara (v/o): I think the bigger story here would be the fact that Ronald Reagan is apparently the doorman. So, as per tradition in a lot of comics, the top of the opening page is a brief paragraph describing the premise of the character. Of course, it's tiny and hard to read, almost as if it was an afterthought, but hey, kudos for trying to put it in at all. (reading) "Phil Grayfield's career as a pro football player ended soon after it began due to injuries."
Linkara: We all told him that elephant wasn't a mascot, but then he kept on mocking it and mocking it...
Linkara (v/o): "Now, as a result of a fantastic accident–" A fantastic accident, mind you, not a horrible one. "–he has a new career–as a super-powered hero who uses his amazing abilities to fight crime and defend the sport he loves from those forces that would seek to corrupt it–for Phil has become... NFL SUPERPRO!"
Linkara: Football is the most holy of activities and needs its own superhero to defend it.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, despite several good shot opportunities, the assassin doesn't take any of them. SuperPro is then suddenly standing the line of fire. (a message "Crotch Shot" appears as a gun is aimed at SuperPro's privates) The would-be assassin screams SuperPro's name in horror. Frankly, I would be, too, considering how apparently, despite wearing heavy and colorful armor, he's as stealthy as a ninja!
SuperPro: It's nice to be recognized by your fans, isn't it? How about a personal autograph?
Linkara: (as SuperPro) Sorry, I'm illiterate, so this injury will have to do.
SuperPro: Now let's talk. Tim Pressman is an offensive tackle for the L.A. Raiders who's accused of having gambling ties to your boss, Sanzionare. John Murtaugh is the only one who can prove Pressman is innocent. As you can tell from my get-up, I have more than a passing interest in clearing Pressman's name.
Linkara: (as SuperPro) If this wasn't about a football player, though, I'd be more than happy to let you shoot him.
Linkara (v/o): A shot rings out, catching SuperPro's attention. Looking down, he sees that Murtaugh has been shot!
Linkara: (as SuperPro, holding up his fist) If only I hadn't spent five minutes giving exposition to that assassin instead of actually defending the guy!
SuperPro: The valet?!
Linkara (v/o): I guess Murtaugh gave lousy tips. He knocks away the assassin and leaps off the building to try to catch the valet, grabbing hold of... uh, you know, I have no idea what he grabs onto. It looks like he took the inking lines of the panel and just pulled them down. Anyway, he tries to leap onto the valet's car.
SuperPro: Of course, if he hits the brakes, I'm in trouble...
Linkara: (as SuperPro) Brakes! My only weakness!
Linkara (v/o): Of course, maintaining balance on the car is another matter.
SuperPro: Whoa--how do Daredevil and Spider-Man do this kind of thing every day?
Linkara (v/o): Well, for one thing, they're not wearing huge-ass shoulder pads and a bulky football uniform!
Valet: Who the $#@% are you? Get the $#@% offa the car!
Linkara (v/o): Wow, are we sure this isn't New York?
SuperPro: What a mouth on this guy! I'm going to have to wash it out with a fist!
Linkara (v/o): Okay, I admit, that was actually kind of funny. But then the valet pulls a gun out and shoots at SuperPro through the windshield.
Linkara: No, you idiot! The insurance won't cover that!
Linkara (v/o): Somehow, SuperPro teleports around behind the car, now letting it speed away. Nearby, Spider-Man is taking pictures of SuperPro trying to catch up to the car like an idiot.
Spider-Man: Not bad. This SuperPro is as good as the newspapers have said.
Linkara (v/o): Good?! The guy he was protecting got killed, and the killer got away!
Spider-Man: Unfortunately, I don't think he can run fast enough to catch that car. Maybe I should lend a hand. After all, they call me the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, no matter which neighborhood I'm in...
Linkara: (as Spider-Man, looking up) I talk to myself a lot.
Spider-Man: One web-line swing-- ought to get me close enough-- to launch a patented spider-tracer-- which means I can track the car down no matter where it ends up!
Linkara: (as Spider-Man) I mean, I'm entirely alone right now, and I've been doing this for years, but now all of a sudden, I'm talking about this stuff. Geez, if only I had a wife I could talk to about this– (suddenly, he gets zapped from offscreen by the continuity alarm) Gah!
Linkara (v/o): SuperPro scolds himself for screwing up and calls a guy named Ken to pick him up. And what is SuperPro's method of escape from the scene? A green van that he just hops into with several people watching. Yeah, this isn't conspicuous or anything. Of course, Spider-Man gets pictures of it, meaning that any idiot with a camera could've gotten the license number for the van, or pictures of the guy driving it! Spider-Man thinks to himself about how it's good that SuperPro has a partner.
Spider-Man: (thinking) Reminds me of how tough things were before I had my wife, Mary Jane, to confide in.
Linkara: (as Spider-Man) And it's a good thing I have a wife I can tell this to, because it'd certainly suck if the Devil were to undo it all and continuity would be all fu– (suddenly, he gets zapped by again by the continuity alarm) GAH!! IT SLIPPED, I'M SORRY!
Linkara (v/o): Ken tries to cheer up Phil. Of course, really, the scene is just more plot dumping out for anyone who didn't read the introductory text. So, more or less, Phil knew the guy who was accused of gambling, thinks he's a straight arrow, and that he's only been seen near the gangster Marco Sanzionare. There's also apparently a tape that clears the player's name that Murtaugh was in possession of. Phil calls his girlfriend named Jane Dixon, who was parading around in her lingerie while carrying milk and cookies. Yyyeah... He asks Jane for help since he's found nothing to prove his innocence so far.
Linkara: Ah, nothing like objective reporting, folks.
Linkara (v/o): And now, we get a page explaining SuperPro's full backstory. After his injuries got him out of the game, he became a sports reporter and interviewed a reclusive sports collector, who had developed an experimental football uniform.
Linkara: Yeah, I mean, how many other football uniforms allow you to be stealthy on the field?
Linkara (v/o): Some thugs broke into his place and made off with the collector's other merchandise, but apparently left the pristine football uniform there, also setting fire to the place. What happened to the collector? Who knows and who cares, because a unique, "once-in-a-lifetime, chemical combination gave Phil enhanced strength and endurance," so he just took the SuperPro uniform and decided to become a superhero.
Phil: (thinking) If I was going to be a "hero" -- I'd have to do more than "fight crime"...
Linkara (v/o): (as Phil) I'd have to perform at halftime shows.
Phil: (thinking) I'd try to help people before they got into trouble.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, like your pal who's "in trouble" already for the gambling accusations! Smooth work there, SuperPro. And you know, when exactly did you get permission from the NFL to use their logo on your costume?
Linkara: (announcer voice) Today, the hero known as SuperPro was fined $20 million for copyright infringement.
Linkara (v/o): We cut away to Sanzionare's mansion, where the foul-mouthed assassin reports success in retrieving the tape.
Valet: In his %$#@ right breast pocket, just like you said.
Linkara (v/o): For crying out loud, are you the Angry Video Game Nerd or something? You don't have to swear in every other sentence!
Sanzionare: The tape was the only thing keeping Murtaugh alive. I knew he wouldn't allow it to leave his person.
Linkara (v/o): (as Sanzionare) And now I'll just hang on to it instead of destroying it like anyone with half a brain would do.
Valet: Guy in a *%$# costume. One of those kind-- thinks he calls himself SuperPro.
Linkara (v/o): One of those kind of what? Corporate tie-ins that no one really cares about?
Valet: He took out the secondary shooter--almost nailed me.
Linkara: If by "almost", you mean, he came nowhere close to stopping you.
Linkara (v/o): Sanzionare seems deeply disturbed by this revelation. (as Sanzionare) My God. All my operations are being threatened by sports superheroes! Next, it'll be giant Charles Barkley they send after me! (normal again) He sends off the cursing assassin to kill the player accused of gambling.
Sanzionare: Kent--please go to the library... find out everything you can about this so-called SuperPro...
Linkara: (as Sanzionare) Yes, my evil criminal library will have lots of information about obscure football-playing superheroes who only just appeared.
Linkara (v/o): We cut to the next day, where the football player, Pressman... Geez, how many people's names do we really have to learn for this comic? ...is being led out of the courthouse. In true ironic fashion, Peter Parker and Phil cross paths and give each other looks.
Linkara: (deadpan) Oh, it's funny because they're both superheroes. (leans forward sharply) GET IT?!
Linkara (v/o): Pressman gives a statement denying the allegations made against him, although personally, I would make a statement denouncing the barber who gave him that haircut. (his hair is cut in a ring around the sides and back) I mean, what the hell is the deal with that? Peter's Spider-Sense starts tingling, and he quickly changes in an alleyway. And damn, I mean quick! He changes in between two panels! Does his Spider-Sense usually give him that much warning? He spots the profanity-spewing assassin holding a rifle and aiming it at the crowd. You know, what is it about snipers in this comic that they don't just take the shot and be done with it? Pressman is standing still, making a statement, meaning you've got perfect shots ready! Maybe if you actually used your weapons, superheroes wouldn't keep interrupting you! Spidey somehow recognizes him as the guy who SuperPro is chasing, despite not seeing who was inside the car, and webs up the gun.
Spider-Man: Hey now--you have it all wrong--this is Los Angeles--you're only supposed to be shooting people on the freeways!
Linkara: (laughs) Oh, there's that classic Spidey wit, making light of people murdered on freeways! Jackass.
Linkara (v/o): The assassin, of course, swears again, prompting Spider-Man to quip...
Spider-Man: What a mouth you have! I think I'm going to wash it out with web.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, come on, SuperPro already did that line! Get your own material! The assassin tries to leap over to the next rooftop, and despite Spider-Man having dealt with criminals the world over for YEARS, his web line misses the guy who was only fifteen feet away. So, the assassin falls off the roof to his death. Phil recognizes the assassin who fell.
Phil: Now, more than ever, Pressman is going to be linked to Sanzionare!
Linkara (v/o): Um, why?
Phil: Now, more than ever, Sanzionare is going to try to have Pressman killed!
Linkara: OH, MY GOD, HE'S RIGHT! BECAUSE... Uh... Wait, why does he want to kill Pressman?
Linkara (v/o): That night, Spider-Man traces the car from earlier to Sanzionare's mansion. He spots three thugs load up a car so they can finish off Pressman.
Spider-Man: (thinking) Seems the hired help are going somewhere. Not, I assume, for some frozen yogurt, eh?
Linkara: (laughing) See, because... they're assassins and... wouldn't be eating frozen yogurt, huh? (suddenly becomes angry as he aims his magic gun at camera) LAUGH, DAMMIT, IT'S FUNNY!!
Linkara (v/o): Spider-Man goes into the mansion – apparently, the sliding door was left unlocked – to see if he can find anything.
Spider-Man: Nothing. No sign of activity. Ah, what did you expect, Parker ol' boy? Sanzionare's too smart too leave evidence behind.
Linkara (v/o): Here's a thought, Spidey: why don't you search more than one room before you give up? Oh, and we immediately switch over to the thugs arriving at Pressman's place, meaning that the scene with Spider-Man was... what, kids?
Linkara (v/o): That's right, entirely pointless! Okay, the thugs unload their weapons.
Thug #1: Ready.
Thug #2: Lock and load. Clear.
Thug #3: Fan out. Keep it tight-- keep it quiet.
Linkara: (alarmed) OH, MY GOD! IT'S A HORDE OF CLICHE BOTS!
Linkara (v/o): SuperPro is already waiting on the roof of the house, and he jumps down.
SuperPro: Sorry, boys, this time, the odds favor the house!
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, thanks, this book needed more puns.
SuperPro: (coming at a thug, twisting awkwardly) The name is SuperPro!
Linkara: (posing awkwardly) Thrill as I punch people in awkward poses!
Linkara (v/o): SuperPro lifts up one of the thugs and tosses him through the car's windshield, but he's not done yet. He picks up the same guy again – Must have internal bleeding by this point – gets ready to punch him some more. However, he sees that the other thugs have missile launchers! Seriously, missile launchers, and we don't even know why Sanzionare wants this guy dead. (announcer voice) Our stalwart hero then performs an amazing tackle at the thirty-yard line! Oh, but he breaks the lamp, casting everything in darkness! That's gonna cost him in the playoffs!
Thug: Lights out-- switch over to night-vision!
Linkara: (as thug) Good thing we were prepared in case somebody knocked over the only light source in the house!
Linkara (v/o): Pressman runs down the stairs, armed with a handgun. SuperPro then manages to push him out of the way of a shot. Something happens then... I'm really not sure what... The implication is that the thug had explosive shells in his gun, and SuperPro proceeds to lecture the guy about it.
SuperPro: Explosive shells are good for scaring and intimidating people-- but they're not the smartest things to use in close-quarters combat!
(Cut to a clip of the "More You Know" title from NBC)
Linkara: I love that bit.
Linkara (v/o): SuperPro then just knocks the crap out of the thug, who finally surrenders.
Thug: Okay--Okay--I give--
SuperPro: No... you received. A pounding, that is.
(A "wah-wah" trombone plays, while Linkara shrugs, while a message reads, "With apologies to the Nostalgia Critic.")
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Spider-Man arriving on the scene to take pictures. He doesn't say hi to SuperPro! Let me get this straight: Spider-Man appears in this story, doesn't interact with the hero, and in fact contributes nothing of actual value to the events. Even he knew to stay as far away as he could from this bomb. SuperPro consoles Pressman by saying the assassination attempt should be enough to clear him from a grand jury indictment. Yes, take legal advice from the guy in a football-themed superhero costume. Our preview for next issue tells us of SuperPro's next supervillain encounter...
Text: QUICK KICK-- He's an assassin with a deadly competitive edge!
Linkara: (gasps) He kicks people in the crotch to death! Diabolical! (closes comic book and holds it up) This comic sucks! Even forgiving the absurdly stupid premise, there are plot holes you could drive a semi through, and Spider-Man's presence does nothing to lift him out of this. He should make a deal with Mephisto to make this thing never have happened!
(Suddenly, Linkara gets zapped again by the continuity alarm, yelling as he does so. Then he rolls up the comic book and holds it up like a football)
Linkara: (about to throw comic) 16, 37, 51! Hut, hut, hike! (throws comic like a football)