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Comic Book / Escape from New York

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There have been several one-shot comics and stories related to Snake Plissken, the protagonist of the 1981 film Escape from New York and its 1996 sequel, Escape from L.A.. The longest-running and most-prominent of these offshoots is the 2014 comic series of the same name, distributed by Boom! Studios.

The series is comprised of four arcs that take place immediately following the conclusion of the first film, and cover a timespan leading up to the events of L.A.:

  • Volume 1: Escape from Florida (#1 - 4): In the moments following the original film, Snake is forced to beat a hasty retreat after the President (now identified as "Harker") orders his pardon to be revoked. On the run once again, Snake learns of another walled fortress — the state of Florida, which has been barricaded in an attempt to keep invaders out. Once he gets inside, though, Snake learns that it's not everything he hoped it would be and resolves to find a means to stop its leaders.
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  • Volume 2: Escape from Siberia (#5 - 8): Soon after resolving the situation in Florida, Snake is kidnapped by a group of USPF soldiers and dumped in Siberia in retaliation for embarrassing President Harker. Initially forced to fend for himself in the frigid wasteland he once operated in as a soldier, Snake soon gets caught up in a power struggle between the U.S. and Russia — and comes face-to-face with an acquaintance he thought he'd never see again.
  • Volume 3: Escape to New York (#9 - 12): Attempting to lay low in Canada after escaping Siberia, Snake is nearly killed by the USPF, and decides to take matters into his own hands by finding President Harker, who has been arrested for treason and thrown back into New York. Using a modified rocket-powered car to make his way inside the city, he soon finds that things are very different since the last time he was there, and that a new leader has taken control of the people...
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  • Volume 4: Escape from Cleveland (#13 - 16): The final story arc of the series. 12 years after retiring from a life of crime, Snake is pulled back into the action when a more militaristic USPF attempts to claim his house under eminent domain laws. Deciding that he needs to reclaim his former glory, Snake teams up with a crew to assault a Federal Reserve vault in Cleveland — and things quickly spiral out of control, as the military attempts to siege the city while he and his group try to escape with a priceless document.

Additionally, a limited-series Crossover between the Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China franchises was produced by BOOM!, which ran for six issues and detailed an Alternate Continuity where Snake Plissken is transported into another world and must help Jack Burton and Wang escape from the authorities.

Non-BOOM! related comics included a one-shot story produced by Marvel Comics prior to the sequel, which followed Snake as he encountered a security robot programmed by the U.S. Police Force to track him down after a robbery, and a limited series produced by CrossGen, Snake Plissken Chronicles, where Plissken attempts to steal the car President John F. Kennedy was in the day he was assassinated in exchange for a $30 million payday.

The BOOM comic series contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Apathetic Citizens: By the time the events of the Cleveland arc occur, the populace are used to seeing citizens being beaten for no reason by the USPF in broad daylight, and their half-hearted response that someone should do something rings extremely hollow.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: When Snake meets the conspiracy nuts at the beginning of Escape to New York, they acknowledge his exploits as a Living Legend, along with his robbery at the bank depository. Despite that, they refuse to believe that what happened in Florida was real, and write off the "magic twins and nukes" as nonsense.
  • Artifact Title: The series is named after the original film, despite most of the storylines having little-to-nothing to do with the location or the characters. Averted in the third storyline, Escape to New York, when Snake goes back into the city walls and comes into contact with several people he met in the original film, as well as dealing with a major situation involving the new Duke of New York.
  • Ascended Extra: The insane residents who pushed the Gullfire glider off the World Trade Center in the original film (and were featured in deleted scenes where Snake encountered them when first arriving in New York) have a greater role to play in the comics, acting as a neutral faction Snake encounters during his return to NY in the third story arc.
  • Asshole Victim: Plenty, as is befitting the Crapsack World setting:
    • It's hard to feel any sympathy for President Harker, after he executed a hooded resident in New York, threatened to break Snake's legs then tried to stab him, and ordered his own government to bomb the Statue of Liberty. After all that, Snake exposing his crimes on national television and walking off while Harker is brutally beaten down by his own guards is immensely satisfying.
  • Big Fancy House: The Twins own a decadent house, complete with arcade machines, butlers (who dress in animal suits, plenty of guns and ammunition and an assortment of slaves to offer their guests.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Snake successfully escapes Cleveland after coming to the conclusion that the world is beyond saving and burning the Bill of Rights, then abdicates his assets (and dog) to Sadie before returning to his previous life of crime. However, it's a Foregone Conclusion that he'll get caught by the USPF and be forced to take part in another dangerous mission for them.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: The Twins each carry a gold-plated revolver, which they use to great effect in their first appearance by one-shotting a pair of guards threatening Snake for non-compliance. Subverted in the following issue, where it's revealed that Romulus' gun is just a fancy cigarette lighter.
  • Brick Joke: At the beginning of issue #2, Snake asks for One Last Smoke when he thinks he's going to be executed by the Twins. Later on, when he's knocked unconscious and imprisoned in the brig, he asks for a smoke... and every single inmate offers him one, with some even asking him to take their whole pack. And then it comes back again as the punchline for the same issue, when Snake turns himself over to the Florida army because "at least they have cigarettes", unlike the refugees who house him for the night.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In Cleveland, the USPF first attempts to seize Snake's house by sending a couple of representatives with a generous cash offer, leading him to beat both nearly senseless. The second time, they bring armored personnel, multiple cop cars and a tank... and he wipes all of them out, musing over the state of the world while their commanding officers freak out over the police radio.
  • Call-Forward: In the first issue of the series, a pair of USPF officers attempt to bracket Snake with their vehicles and gun him down while he's escaping from Liberty Island, causing him to brake suddenly and leading both soldiers to unload their weapons into each other. He later (chronologically) uses the same trick in Escape from L.A. to take out two of Cuervo Jones' men who tried to do the same thing while riding motorcycles.
  • Canada, Eh?: The third story arc (Escape to New York) begins with Snake having beers with some allies in Canada, and remarking on popular stereotypes of the country (specifically, the fact that everyone is very polite and that he doesn't understand the color of their money).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several in the Escape to New York arc, due to the fact that Snake ran afoul of or encountered several people in the city during his first visit.
    • The Gullfire glider (which was pushed off the WTC by the Lenape tribe in the film) is recovered and repaired by them, and is considered as a potential escape vehicle by Snake. Later subverted when he asks Lappawinsoe and the tribe to kitbash the car together with the rocket-powered vehicle he used to re-enter the city (itself a Chekhov's Gun) in order to create a hybrid vehicle called the Hellfire, which he uses to great effect during the climax to destroy the jets that attempt to bomb the city.
    • Snake still has a bounty on his head from the first time he was in the city, as evidenced when the Crazies join the fray in an attempt to chase him down and kill him.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: "Carjack" Malone is introduced as an old friend of Snake's who he used to trade moonshine with in exchange for smokes. When Snake gets into Cleveland, Malone is the first person he teams up with, only to be betrayed later by him when he alerts the USPF to the robbery at the Federal Vault. Turns into a Chekhov's Boomerang when Snake encounters Malone (now identified as "Hershe") in Los Angeles.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When the President orders Hauk to bring Snake back to him at the beginning of the first issue, he does so by asking, "Who's A-number one, Hauk?", referencing his torture and Sanity Slippage by the Duke in the first film (which happened over the last 24 hours). A few moments later, Hauk shows that he was serious about stopping Snake if he tried to fly to Canada by intercepting him as he grabs a government chopper, referencing his dialogue from a day earlier.
    • People Snake meets over the course of his travels reference the unexplained incidents from his past, including the "Kansas City Job" and his involvement in military campaigns in Siberia and Leningrad.
    • The attire Harker wears during Escape to New York is explicitly said to be the previous Duke's attire, though the wig Harker is wearing also appears to be the same one he had on after being dressed-up by Romero in the original film.
    • At the end of the New York arc, Snake retrieves his signature leather jacket from the lockup at Liberty Island, thus explaining why he still has it by the time he's arrested in Escape from L.A. (and fixing a minor Continuity Snarl of how he had it in the sequel).
    • In Cleveland, Snake's dog is named "Fresno", a likely reference to Fresno Bob from the ill-fated job in Kansas City.
  • Crapsack World: While there's still some semblance of government and law (the government and military structure is still in place, and residents can still purchase and own land), the world devolves into a worse and worse state over the 12-year timeline of the comic. Basic infrastructure and city services fail, Pennsylvania is hinted to be lost (via the broken snake segment in the credits of each book), the state of Florida is inadverantly blown away from the mainland, the USPF has no problem nearly ravaging an entire city in order to get at one man, and the atmosphere heavily evokes a New Old West feel. That's not counting World War III, which the country seems to be just getting over at the beginning of the Cleveland story arc.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Snake hijacks Suicide Gorchnik's rocket-boosted car in order to get back into New York, the latter attempts to call him a "sonuvabitch", but his insult is drowned out by the rocket as it ignites.
  • Death Course: The only way to enter Florida is through "The Crucible", a series of challenges designed to test prospective residents. Anyone who makes it through gets to stay. Everyone else just gets a messy death.
  • Distant Finale: The final scene of the comic series (in which Snake is competing in a cage match tournament in New Vegas, and an unseen informant calls the USPF to give his whereabouts) takes place several months after the events of the Cleveland arc... and just before the events of Escape from L.A.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: President Sutter, who former President Harker claims is subordinate to him and isn't the one calling the shots. After Harker destroys the Statue of Liberty, Sutter finally wrests control back and tells Harker that he's through being his patsy, and orders fighter jets to destroy New York.
  • Dramatic Dislocation: In order to save himself at the beginning of the Siberia arc, it is revealed that Snake knows how to dislocate his shoulder, and does so in mid-air in order to reach the ripcord for his parachute.
  • Embarrassing Animal Suit: The butlers inside the Twins' Big Fancy House are forced to wear humilating rat suits while still acting like stereotypical upper-class servants.
  • Explosive Leash: Played with. Just like the first film, Snake is fitted with one in Florida by Meemaw in order to ensure his compliance while training their forces to invade the States. However, Snake eventually comes to realize that the leashes are fake, having correctly surmised it after witnessing how broken-down all of their technology is.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Snake's escape from Hauk and his men, his journey to Florida, incarceration within, plan and subsequent escape, capture by the USPF and the beginning of the Siberia arc all takes place in the span of a week.
  • The Faceless: The fundamentalist President (from Escape from L.A.) appears in the Cleveland arc for only one panel, seen looking away out a window. Unlike his portrayal in the sequel (where he's played by Cliff Robertson), the President's only line involves asking someone if Snake is dead yet.
  • Fallen States of America:
    • Dialogue and certain panels show that the country is fractured in various ways. When Snake reads a map in the first issue of Florida, one can see that at least ten states (including New York) have been crossed out with red X's.
    • The "Join or Die" historical image from the inside cover of each issue loses the segment representing Pennsylvania from the second issue onwards, implying that the entire state has been destroyed or abandoned.
  • Foreshadowing: The "armored man" Snake meets in the Siberia arc reveals that he once served in a U.S. Army unit called "Texas Thunder", the same unit mentioned by Bob Hauk during their first meeting in the original film. Four pages later, the armored man reveals that he is Hauk, who had been tortured by Harker's men and forced to don a suit to keep himself alive.
  • Great Offscreen War: World War III happens offscreen during the interim between Escape to New York and Escape from Cleveland, and is only scantly referred to afterwards.
  • Hellish Copter: USPF forces shoot up Snake's stolen helicopter at the very beginning of the series, forcing him to set it down in a forest as the craft burns around him.
  • He's Back: Snake shaves his beard with a knife before revealing himself to the USPF as he and the crew speed away from the Federal Vault in Cleveland, causing a Mass "Oh, Crap!" reaction from the officers and news quickly spreading all the way to the President.
  • Hidden Depths: After initially refusing to let anyone get close to him (professionally or otherwise), Snake relents slightly during the Cleveland mission and regards Sadie with a degree of respect, to such a point that he gifts her his war chest and ownership of Fresno before departing for New Vegas.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Just like the first time they interacted, Snake tricks Harker into making a fool of himself on television, via acting as an impromptu cameraman and televising Harker's ramblings and tortures. His own guards turn against him and deliver a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in response.
  • Hope Spot: At the end of the first arc, Snake successfully escapes from the Twins (who are forced to call their parents to be picked up), lets the other prisoners go on their way and sails down a river in a speedboat, smoking a cigarette and relaxing. Then he's immediately beset by a group of soldiers who kidnap him, goad him about embarrassing the President and fly him to Siberia before nonchalantly dumping him out of the plane.
  • How We Got Here: The final story arc, Escape from Cleveland, explains how and why Snake ended up in the custody of the USPF at the beginning of Escape from L.A..
  • I Just Want to Be Free: At the conclusion of the third storyarc (Escape to New York), Snake decides he's had enough of society and outright tells a store clerk that Plissken is dead. To that end, he goes off the grid and lives on his own (with only a dog and a few visits to Malone, who he trades moonshine with for smokes, as company) for the next twelve years. He is only motivated to get involved in illegal activities again when the USPF attempts to seize his land for their own means.
  • Imagine Spot: In the Cleveland arc. When the Apathetic Citizens watch someone being beaten in broad daylight by a USPF officer for no discernible reason, Snake imagines himself heroically jumping into the fray and delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to the officer before helping the citizen to their feet (which would be the most unambiguously heroic thing he's ever done in the franchise). Once he snaps back to reality, Snake decides he'd rather not get involved, turns around and leaves the scene.
  • Important Haircut: Snake shaves his scraggy beard (with a knife and in a vehicle that's bouncing around, no less) to symbolize that He's Back to a life of crime and public dismissal of the USPF during the Cleveland arc.
  • Improvised Weapon: In the final issue of the first arc, Snake uses a portable phone to beat Meemaw into submission.
  • Insistent Terminology: After Snake remarks on the strange way the residents in Florida treat the Twins like gods, Remus corrects him:
    Snake: You're magical 10-year olds?
    Remus: We're 13-and-a-half!
  • It Has Been an Honor: Mike tells Snake this in the final storyline when the crew goes to escape the Federal Vault, though Snake rebuffs him and says they're not dead yet.
  • It's Personal: Escape to New York begins with Snake pledging to find former President Harker (who has been incarcerated inside New York) and make him pay after the latter's troops blow up the shack he was staying in with some allies.
  • Karma Houdini: Malone seemingly gets away scot-free after betraying Snake and the rest of his crew at the Federal Reserve during the second issue of Cleveland, although people who've seen the sequel know that Snake encounters him (now going by "Hershe") in L.A.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The entire USPF gets this when Snake reveals himself after raiding the Federal Vault during the Cleveland arc. They get it again when he burns the Bill of Rights.
  • The Missionary: Snake runs into a group of them in the first issue after escaping from the base in New Jersey, who give him some background information on the Florida fortress and ask him to join them as they travel down.
  • Monumental Damage:
    • Snake tricks the Twins into detonating the nuclear missiles replanted into the border of Florida, thus severing it from the mainland and causing a war to break out on the now-separated state.
    • President Harker has the Statue of Liberty bombed on television in order to strike fear into the populace and rebel against Vice-President Sutter.
  • Mook Horror Show/Mugging the Monster: The gang of bank thieves gets this pulled against them (by Snake) at the beginning of the Cleveland arc. They've just stolen a car and executed the occupant, laughing about it afterwards, and decide to try their luck robbing a random home. Once they get inside, they're slowly picked off one by one, freaking out all the while before they're all dumped unharmed on the lawn and Snake antagonizes them before telling them to get off his lawn.
  • New Old West: As a result of the Crapsack World seen in both films, the United States has largely devolved into this. While cars and technology are still available, the States has shifted into a more outlaw culture, the individual states are expected to maintain their own architecture (leaving many roads and highways in disrepair) and Snake routinely encounters individuals and groups that evoke Western ideals, namely, the sheriff who challenges him to a duel when he goes to collect supplies during the Cleveland arc and the Lenape tribe, a group of Native Americans who ride horses around New York and wield bows and arrows.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: As a result of Snake's actions in the first film, the President is considered to be crazy by the populace, impeached and goes on to become the new Duke of New York, bombing the Statue of Liberty in protest after the government decides to clamp down on the inmates.
  • No One Could Survive That!:
    • When Snake escapes from Liberty Island and crashes the chopper into Pine Barrens, the soldiers sent to investigate the scene presume that Snake burned up inside the craft — and even if he didn't, they don't bother doing anything else because they have better things to do with their time.
    • The same things happens at the beginning of Escape to New York, when USPF forces attack the cabin Snake and other refugees are hiding in up in Canada. They blow the house up with a rocket launcher and presume Snake perished. He emerges, injured, just after they leave.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the first issue of Cleveland, the action cuts from the older Snake facing down a U.S. Police Force tank and claiming that he only needs three seconds to beat them... to a series of shots of the USPF convoy, which has been utterly wrecked while Snake stands amidst the carnage smoking a cigarette.
  • Oppressive States of America: By the time the Cleveland arc begins, the U.S. Police Force have become a glorified gestapo, wantonly beating people in the streets while Apathetic Citizens watch and claiming any and all land for themselves. Their actions motivate Snake to return to his life of crime.
  • Passing the Torch: At the end of Cleveland, Snake gives his "war chest" and ownership of Fresno to Sadie, the only surviving member of the crew that assaulted the Federal Vault.
  • Ramming Always Works: Snake and a woman he rescues from the Crazies use a barely-functional subway car as a battering ram to escape through their shanty town, destroying several dwellings and structures on the way.
  • Reality Ensues: The series begins moments after the ending of the original film, with the President realizing what Snake has done and ordering Hauk to find and bring him back, while revoking his pardon at the same time. What follows is Snake having to elude soldiers on the base in New Jersey before escaping in a Hellish Copter.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Snake's antics in the Florida arc (replanting nuclear warheads on the border of Florida so that he can trick the Twins into detonating them and causing the state to secede) that when he encounters a pair of pair of theorists later on in the series, they refuse to believe it happened and chalk it up as nonsense.
  • Refusal of the Call: Snake initially refuses to get back into his prior dangerous lifestyle at the beginning of "Escape from Cleveland", having retired 12 years earlier and not wanting to make any waves. He walks away from a man being beaten by the USPF, but is eventually forced to confront them head-on when they attempt to seize his property under "eminent domain" laws.
  • Retired Badass: Snake starts in this way at the beginning of the Cleveland storyline, having become a recluse and living a solitary life with the company of his dog for the last 12 years. The story kicks off with a group of bank thieves attempting to rob his house... only for them to be effortlessly beaten, dumped onto his lawn and given a "reason you suck" speech by him before he sends them on their way. He's eventually drawn back into the life of robbery when the government attempts to forcefully seize the home he built.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The notion of a "snake in the henhouse" crops up multiple times throughout the series, and is mentioned to Snake by multiple characters while discussing his self-centered nature.
  • Run for the Border: Played with. Snake attempts to flee towards the U.S.-Canada border in a stolen government helicopter at the beginning of the series, but Hauk is well aware of his plan and has his craft shot down.
  • Running Gag: Just like the films, Snake continually runs into people who thought he was dead, and tell him so to his face constantly.
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot: Averted. Snake makes it to Canada (offscreen) after the end of the Siberia story, and attempts to lay low with an army buddy and a couple other friends. However, this safety doesn't last long before the USPF tracks them down and destroys the house they were in, leaving Snake as the Sole Survivor.
  • Series Continuity Error: Despite Snake discarding the Lifeclock at the end of the original film, he is still wearing it when he escapes from the Liberty Island processing center at the beginning of the first issue. Likewise, he doesn't have the knee injury that was causing him to limp just a short while earlier.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The segmented snake seen inside the front cover of each issue is a direct reference to the famous "Join or Die" political advertisement designed by Benjamin Franklin in 1754. Notably, the snake image loses one of its segments (representing the state of Pennsylvania) from the second issue onwards, which persists for the rest of the series.
    • When the President tells Hauk that Snake's pardon is revoked in the first issue, he counters the latter's objections by saying that "it's not wrong if the President does it," referencing a similar quote by Richard Nixon ("When the President does it, that means it is not illegal."
    • Snake throws a Shout-Out to one of his greatest protegés in "Escape From Florida" when he hides inside a box to infiltrate a military base.
    • A panel in issue #11 directly evokes the theatrical poster of Escape from New York (where Snake is carrying the President through the city with the ruined head of the Statue of Liberty behind them. The difference is that the comic panel takes on additional Irony, as President Harker is the one who ordered the Statue to be bombed in the first place.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: Remus delivers An Aesop about the danger of smoking when Snake asks for One Last Smoke. Romulus promptly calls him "a dork" in response.
  • The Starscream: Vice-President Sutter, who becomes President in all but name due to Harker still calling the shots from inside New York. Once Harker destroys the Statue of Liberty, Sutter declares that all bets are off and that he's through taking orders from him, before scrambling jets to destroy the city in retaliation.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Meemaw claims this verbatim when talking to Snake during a quiet moment in the first arc, referencing the impending "World War III" between China/Russia and the U.S.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Several of the prisoners who escape the submarine prison with Snake in the first arc choose to yell at the government boats who are expressly trained to execute prisoners who've ejected themselves through the missile ports, despite knowing beforehand that this is what happens (and after Snake has expressly told them all to stay quiet). It ends about as well as you'd expect.
    • When the U.S. invades Florida and Snake leads an uprising of the prisoners against the Twins, he dares them to detonate the nukes that have apparently been loaded to launch against the States. Remus takes him up on the offer and pushes the detonator — only to realize that Snake planted the nukes back in the ground along the border, causing the entire state to separate and secede from the nation.
  • That Man Is Dead: Snake gives this response verbatim to a store clerk when he decides to leave his life of crime behind at the end of the Escape to New York story arc.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: At the end of the first arc, Snake is kidnapped by U.S. government forces and airdropped into Siberia in retaliation for humiliating the President on live television.
  • Time Skip: In tandem with being an Interquel, 12 years pass between the end of the third storyline (Escape to New York) and the fourth and final story (Cleveland), which sets up the events that lead into Escape from L.A..
  • Too Dumb to Live: Plenty of examples throughout the series, with particular acknowledgment of the inmates in the first story (Florida), who are killed en masse after refusing to listen to Snake. A group of prisoners escaping from an underwater brig got mowed down in the water after refusing to remain still (and after Snake has already told them what to do), while one of the prisoners in the training camp attempts to climb over a wall and gets blown full of holes before he can even get to the top.
  • Travel Montage: Escape to New York opens with one, as Snake makes his way back from Canada to the outskirts of Manhattan Island after the President's forces destroy the shack he and his friends were hiding in.
  • Up to Eleven: Much like New York, Florida has become a walled fortress. However, it has become the inverse of the situation seen in the original film — the Twins have walled it off so that government forces can't enter, and the border is lined with active nuclear weapons, with a threat to detonate them all and force the entire state to secede if any action is initiated against them.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: While former President Harker was impeached for screwing up the Hartford Summit at the end of the first film, he still has support with the populace. Ambient dialogue in the first and second story arcs indicate that 60% of the U.S. population still agrees with his methods. This all changes once Snake reveals his duplicity at the end of the Escape to New York arc, leading his own guards to turn on him and brutally beat him up.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The Twins are last seen calling their parents in an attempt to explain what they've done (incite a war between the newly-seceded Florida and the rest of the U.S.), and are left behind along with the unconscious Meemaw as Snake makes his escape from the battlefield. We never find out what happens to them, but it is mentioned that the war is still ongoing when Snake returns to New York.
    • The New York arc also ends with various parties watching President Harker's confession, including Jayne (who is sitting with members of the New Church of Satan and watching intently). Despite this focus and the implication that they will appear in later stories, they don't appear again and their whereabouts are left unaddressed.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The Twins can be seen eating boxes of "Drix" and "Beesieoes" (representing the real-life cereal brands Trix and Cheerios) during the first arc.


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