New Men #1
February 8, 2009
WARNING: This comic may make your eyes disappear!
Linkara: (seated on his Futon) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where the bad comics burn. Today is a very special episode to me. On February 19, 2007, I posted up my first text review of "Youngblood #1". I'm going to go back to "Youngblood" in a future review, but in honor of this occasion, I decided to take a look at another Rob Liefeld book... sort of.
(Cut to a shot of the cover of the book in question: "Newmen #1")
Linkara (v/o): Like "Doom IV", Rob himself didn't actually draw the comic. That honor goes to Jeff Matsuda. What's shocking about this is that Jeff Matsuda is actually an okay artist, if a little bit stylized, who is also a character designer for cartoons like The Batman and Jackie Chan Adventures. How the heck did he go from the Liefeldian proportions we're about to see to being halfway decent?
Linkara: I couldn't begin to tell you, but fortunately, a lot of artists managed to break free of that style when they realized just how awful it looked. So let's dig into (holds up "New Men #1" comic) "New Men #1" and get this over with.
(A shot of the cover of the comic is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, goody! It's been a while since we had a generic "group posing in front of the camera" shot, but since this is an early Image comic, it has to be EXTREEEEEEME!!!
(To a heavy metal riff, the word "Extreme" flashes on the screen, along with the words "Extreme Flashing")
Linkara (v/o): Yes, extreme close-ups! Obviously, this makes the comic cooler, right? Right?
Linkara: Uh... EXTREME! (again, the word "Extreme" flashes on the screen to the same metal riff)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, our "Newmen" here are actually four guys and one woman. I could point out the stupidity of that, but I think it speaks for itself. And what the hell is going on with this guy [Reign]'s head? Is it on fire? Is it just a really bad dye job?
Linkara: Is his brain evaporating because he realizes what comic he's in?! Tell me what I'm looking at here!
Linkara (v/o): We open to an aerial shot of a neighborhood.
Text box: Located in a lazy residential area of Seattle, Washington, there is little to set Grant Avenue apart from any of countless streets in the city's many neighborhoods.
Linkara (v/o): Ah, dull, monotonous suburbia, the heart of America.
Text box: For the most part, it is an ordinary street, lined with ordinary homes, populated by ordinary people.
Linkara (v/o): Where people use ordinary heroin to shoot up ordinarily.
Text box: This, however, is not an ordinary house...
Linkara (v/o): It has no indoor plumbing. We now meet the Newmen themselves, playing basketball. But this is EXTREEEEME basketball. How do we know? Why, it says right there, on Kodiak's shorts. EXTREEEEEME!
(A close up of the shorts reveals the word "Extreme Apparel" on the label, as the word "EXTREME" flashes on the screen once more)
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of, Kodiak here is quite a shaggy fellow, named, no doubt, for a Kodiak bear.
Linkara: Of course! He looks exactly like a Kodiak bear!
(A shot of Kodiak and another of a real Kodiak bear appear; they don't look at all alike, as a message points out: "No he doesn't.")
Linkara (v/o): So, anyway, besides for the furry Kodiak, we also have Byrd, spelled with a Y instead of an I.
(Because poor literacy is kewl)
Linkara (v/o): Dash, the woman of the group, suffers from what I refer to as Youngblood's Disease. Youngblood's Disease is a horrible illness that I first spotted in "Youngblood #1", where eyes are either nonexistent or just really poorly drawn in. Youngblood's Disease affected millions during the dark age of comics, and even today, cases have been known to pop up. Don't let this happen to you, kids! Anyway, we also have Exit, who looks like an elderly man who still lifts weights. Rounding out the team is Reign, who has a piece of chewed-up gum on his forehead. And I fear that Reign may have some kind of disorder, since his eyes seem to be looking off in two completely opposite directions.
Linkara: I guess if I was the only one who believed in bubble gum Hinduism, I might be a little off in the head, too.
Linkara (v/o): Exit's team gets the ball, and he opens up a portal that sends the ball over to Dash. And look at this! Dash is a speedster, so she's moving really fast, with her eyes closed, according to the panel, right into the basketball! And of course, we get this sound effect right afterwards of "SLAM!" So, did Dash just get smacked in the face with the ball? Kodiak gets the ball again and charges through. Byrd tries to get him to pass, but Kodiak isn't having any of it.
Kodiak: Screw that! First I'm gonna make jerk-boy disappear up his own bunt-hole!
Linkara (v/o): Frankly, I think this comic's got its head up its own bunt-hole, but I digress. As it turns out, Reign's pink bubblegum is actually a horn, a horn that shoots pink laser bubbles! Yyyyeah...
Reign: That's enough of that, Kodiak-- Nobody likes BULLIES!
(The "The More You Know" message from NBC is displayed; cut back to the comic after)
Linkara (v/o): The power of Reign's scrubbing bubbles is too much for Kodiak, sending him flying. Byrd grabs the ball, and Reign and Exit say they'll give him a free shot. Byrd refuses, saying that Reign will just shoot him, like he did Kodiak. Reign promises he won't do so, so Byrd of course dives toward the basket. And right away, Reign calls him a sucker and shoots him with his bubbles.
Linkara: Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen! Cheaters, bullies and liars!
Linkara (v/o): So Exit grabs the ball and takes the shot, winning the game. You know, Godzilla wouldn't have put up with this kind of crap during his game. Kodiak returns, apparently digging himself out of the ground, and is royally peeved at the others. From inside the house, the leader of the team [John Proctor], who is apparently the Brawny paper towel guy, watches the team suddenly fighting each other.
Proctor: (thinking) Even with something as trivial as a game of basketball, they can barely find the discipline to function as a unit.
Linkara (v/o): (as Proctor) I mean, look at them out there, tickling each other with feathers. How undisciplined is that, am I right?
Proctor: (thinking) ...the reemergence of Quantum and the Brotherhood of Man were only the beginning.
Linkara (v/o): Wait, what's this loser's problem with British pop bands?
Linkara: (swaying his arms in the air and lip-synching to "United We Stand") For united we stand, divided we fall, / And if our backs should ever be against the wall, / We'll be together, together, you and I.
Linkara (v/o): The Brawny Man calls them into the house – and letting his hair and beard change from orange to brown between panels – for a meeting.
Proctor: For some time now--since you arrived here, actually--I've been watching all of you.
Linkara: (as Proctor) And some of you should be very ashamed of yourselves.
Proctor: I've been getting a feel for how the lot of you are going to work as a team. And so far, anyway, I've been less than pleased with the results.
Linkara: (as Proctor) You all get F triple minus!
Proctor: Exit...I'd appreciate it if you would divert your attention from that infernal television long enough to hear what I have to say!
Linkara (v/o): Well, maybe you shouldn't have the thing turned on when you're giving your lectures! And what is up with Exit's face? It's getting stretched back as he smiles, and there are random little dashes all over it. It's also kind of jagged in places. And of course, he's suffering from Youngblood's Disease. Anyway, the news reporter on the TV says that a volcano has mysterious appeared at the University of Washington's campus. Our leader, identified by Exit as Redbeard – so I guess when the colorist makes mistakes, his code name is "Mood Hair" – says that it seems odd that supervillains from his past seem to keep popping up. Oh, actually, Redbeard's name is Proctor. Then why did Exit just call him Redbeard? Ah, screw it, I really shouldn't be criticizing the people who can't even spell "bird" correctly. So, Proctor sends them out to the university. At said university, we have a silhouetted supervillain [Elemental] looking over papers.
Elemental: Where is it? Where is it, damn you?!!
Linkara: (feeling around, as Elemental) Where is my midterm exit? Damn it, I need to know how I did!
Linkara (v/o): Since he fails to find the specific document – Here's a thought: look around in other places besides the paper tray in the printer; otherwise, of course you're gonna find all those blank sheets of paper! – he decides to make his exit. Exit from where? Who the heck knows? The artist decided that backgrounds are for dorks, so he didn't draw any. Some pieces of dirt falling to the ground make the villain realize someone has arrived. And of course, it's the New Men in a two-page spread.
Exit: Gimme a break! Here we are in all our bad-*
- NOTE: It reads "bad-@$$", as Linkara points out.
Linkara (v/o): Censored for no reason...
Exit: ...glory-- and this fruitcake is askin' "Who dares?" Get real!
Linkara: Oh, please tell me that portal closes and slices him in half.
Reign: Quiet, Exit. This is serious.
Linkara: (as Reign) The pink clouds coming from my forehead show how serious this is.
Reign: You're not going anywhere until you explain where you get off forming a miniature mountain range right* in the middle of this campus!
- NOTE: The comic does not actually display "right"; that was only spoken by Linkara.
Linkara (v/o): (as Reign) You're only allowed to do that in the student center!
Reign: Either you come up with some answers pretty darned quick...or you go a couple of rounds with the NEW MEN!
Linkara: (as Reign) You like what I did right there, with me saying the name of our team, but all cool with our logo and stuff?
(He suddenly flails his arms around, while, once again, a metal riff plays and the words "EXTREME" and "EXTREME FLASHING" appear, along with a message to "Buy Revolution of the Mask")
Linkara: (as Reign) EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEME, ISN'T IT?!
Linkara (v/o): No, no, "New Men". You know, two words?
Elemental: But that's impossible, you're not...
Linkara (v/o): Not what? Not all men? Yeah, I pointed that out.
Elemental: Ah, now I see...you're the "next generation", eh? How pathetically quaint.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, I prefer "New Men: Deep Space Nine" myself.
Elemental: That being the case, then...perhaps you know of that devil, Proctor, and how he and his meddling group scarred me--branded me as a monster... of how the once proud Elemental was broken--made less than a man in the name of their perverted vision of justice!
Linkara: Oh, boo hoo, we've all got problems!
Linkara (v/o): Exit tries to attack, but Elemental makes his hand into a brick wall and knocks Exit out. By the way, is Exit just really short or something? Otherwise, the foreshortening really isn't working with him.
Elemental: How very foolish of your teleporting young friend...
Linkara (v/o): Young?! The guy's like fifty! Elemental attacks by... um... I... don't know what the heck he's doing. Is he squishing them together? I don't know. Byrd is next up to attack, but he's about as successful as the others, getting knocked away by Exit's body.
Elemental: And to think... you actually call yourself "Newman"!
Linkara (v/o): NO! HE CALLS HIMSELF "A NEW MAN"!
Linkara: (irritably) THERE IS A SPACE IN BETWEEN! NEW... MAN! NOT "NEWMAN"! (gestures toward his left) THIS IS A NEWMAN!
(Cut to a shot of Wayne Knight as Newman on Seinfeld)
Linkara: (gestures toward his right) OR THIS!
(Cut to an image of Paul Newman)
Linkara: THIS IS A NEW MAN! Mind you, not an improved one, BUT A NEW ONE!
Linkara (v/o): Reign blasts the supervillain away with a psionic blast, and Kodiak thinks he's done for. When he gets too close to where Elemental crashed, he of course gets knocked aside like the idiot he is. Geez, Kodiak gets smacked around more than Worf from Star Trek. Elemental says...
Elemental: It is time I put an END to this foolishness...
Linkara: Oh, good, the comic's over already! Well, let me just go and–
Linkara (v/o): Oh, no, of course not, it's just your standard villain dialog. Dash yells that she's got an idea. Yeah, here's an idea: you're a speedster, so why don't you punch him a hundred times in a second?
Exit: Dash?!! It sure would be nice if you'd let us in on your plan before taking off!!
Reign: No kidding! Especially when Element-Lad here is bent on making us a permanent part of the floor!
Linkara (v/o): "Element-Lad"?! Is an Image comic actually referencing a DC Comics' character?
Reign: What's the matter, Elemental? Afraid to get up close and personal? Why not come down here and fight like a man?
Linkara (v/o): Don't you mean "fight like a new man"?
Elemental: One of my power is far beyond reliance on mere physical combat!
Linkara: (eyes open wide, as Elemental) I can simply stare at you to death instead!
Linkara (v/o): Dash suddenly zips past Elemental, having grabbed the breathing tubes from the breathing tubes from his face. Although, why the breathing tubes have green Kool-Aid in them is anyone's guess. Elemental immediately gets knocked unconscious from this maneuver.
Exit: Great work, Dash! Who'd have thought he'd leave such an integral part of his existence open to attack? Guess your judgment gets a little hazy when you're sucking on artificial air!
Linkara: So, artificial air is a liquid and green...
(Cut to a shot of the panel from "Superman At Earth's End" showing...)
Hitler Clone: Of course. Don't you know anything about SCIENCE?
(Cut back to the New Men comic)
Linkara (v/o): They go out to recover Kodiak, who has his tongue hanging out for, like, the fourth time in this issue. (softly) Here's a hint, writers and artists: KODIAK BEARS AREN'T LIKE DOGS! Kodiak is unconscious next to an orange pyramid sticking out of the ground and giving off an ominous hum. And so, our comic ends with two little kids finding the pyramid.
Kid: Radical! And it's glowing, too! Whaddaya think it is?!!
Linkara (v/o): Look out, kids, it's Happy Fun Pyramid! Okay, we also have a solicitation for next issue...
Text: Think the Newmen–
Linkara (v/o): Wait, it is "Newmen"?!
(Linkara rolls his eyes in frustration and then raises his index finger)
Offscreen voice: Because poor literacy is kewl.
Text: Think the Newmen had a rough time with Elemental? Well, hang onto your seats, 'cos that was just a warm up for... THE MAN CALLED GIRTH!
Linkara (v/o): And we get a preview of Girth, and he– Wait a second! That Girth?!
(Cut to a shot of a cover for a Badrock comic featuring Girth prominently)
Linkara (v/o): The Girth from the Rob Liefeld book "Badrock"?! The one I did a text review on?!? Oh, there is no way in Hell I'm going to issue 2 now!
(Cut back to the shot of Girth in the Newmen comic)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and we also get a happy message from Rob Liefeld, even though he technically had nothing to do with this book, other than the concept.
Message: Eric, Jeff, Jonathan, Chris, Kurt and the Extreme color team are knocking themselves out in order to make each and every issue of the Newmen an instant classic!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, they were knocking themselves unconscious! No wonder they didn't realize how awful this book is.
Linkara: (holding up comic angrily) This comic sucks! The artwork is horrible, the dialogue is stilted, and the characters are as bland as the backgrounds! Well, I hope you enjoyed this little anniversary as much as I did, and that you had an EXTREEEEEEME (flashing words and metal music plays again) time! (throws comic down, gets up and leaves)
(Stinger: a PSA by Linkara, set to shots of various comics)
Linkara (v/o): Hello, everyone. I'm Linkara of the popular web series Atop the Fourth Wall, but I'm here today to talk to you about another serious problem still affecting comic book characters, and that is Youngblood's Disease. Youngblood's Disease affects characters from all walks of life: men, women, transgendered or other terms. Youngblood's Disease doesn't care who you are; it will destroy your eyes and make you look really, really stupid. If you suspect that you or a friend or loved one suffers from this horrible illness, consult a physician or trained penciler or inker right away. And we can stop this horrible disease before it strikes again.