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Atop the Fourth Wall

     Ultimates 3 # 5 
  • In his review of Ultimates 3 #5, Linkara (or rather Mechakara in disguise) delivers a particularly chilling one to his entire fanbase:
    Well, I think it's obvious whose fault Ultimates 3 is. You. Yes, you. The audience of this show. You sycophantic worms will buy anything dished out to you. They told you this garbage was gold and you believed it. Just like if I had said something was good or bad, you'll believe me instantly. So go on. Continue being the mindless, dreary-eyed, ugly bags of fat that I can call my fans.
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     JLA Act Of God 
  • In his review of JLA: Act of God, after a scene with Wonder Woman praying in a Catholic church and suggesting that the titular Act of God was a test, Linkara runs down everything wrong with the whole premise and presentation of the book.
    Let's count the ways, shall we? First, there's this stupid idea of Diana praying to the Christian God. Why in the nine circles of Hell is she praying to the Christian God?! She has met her gods! She has met other pantheons of gods! If some deity was behind this, why is she doing this now and to this particular god?! Furthermore, we saw her in the last issue. She was fine! She was idiotically at peace with her not having her powers. What, did she have some internal crisis? Yeah, that might've been nice to see, Doug Moench, instead of stupidly cutting to this without any explanation of what happened in the intervening time.

    Next, this story keeps bringing this idea up. That the heroes were somehow "arrogant" or "superior" when they had their superpowers. If that's true, they did a great job of covering it up. At no point in this mess did we ever see them acting smug, superior, arrogant, full of themselves, or otherwise acting in any manner except as superheroes. Oh, well, except for Metamorpho, who was doing archaeological digging. "Yeah, what a blatantly selfish thing to do with his powers. Uncovering ancient, lost civilizations for science and history. What an asshole!" So let's give this comic the benefit of the doubt and say that these superheroes — superheroes being the keyword here — somehow flaunted their power like gods and deserved to be taken down a peg. Well, then, whoever did this did a craptastic job of it, since the tech heroes probably felt smug and superior too! After all, regular law enforcement probably didn't have force fields and energy blasters, or superior strength through robotic limbs.

    But even that, even after all of that garbage, we have this moronic premise that God is responsible for this and, as Diana said, this is all a test. Speaking as a Christian, if this were true, God would have to be the most vindictive, dickish, and self-righteous asshole that has ever existed. Innocent people have died because of this supposed "lesson"! Millions more will die as time continues to pass! And for what? So they can be more like Batman, a man who only managed to maintain his crime fighting skills because he's rich?! Let's ignore even the idiotic plot points; this comic is just badly written. Any potential symbolism or subtlety is lost because the Goddamn writer apparently thinks the reader is too stupid to figure it out themselves. Instead, we have painfully pretentious lines where they flat out state the frickin' obvious.

    "Two gods humbled by an act of God?" "Reduced to the human level but still appearing nonhuman." "Like angels cast from Heaven, fallen to ignorance. But not innocence." (Accompanied by text reading "WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!") "Nothing but a snail's pace tour of lost glory. The fast life slowed to a crawl, screeched to a halt." People. Do not. Talk like that! Hate to break it to you, Doug Moench, but this is not Richard III and you sure as hell are not Shakespeare! Like I said before, the only scene so far that actually seemed to capture this situation perfectly was Billy Batson. It was short, there weren't many lines, and the one thing that was kind of pretentious was "Nothing but little Billy Batson. Hollow voice on the radio. With nobody listening." But it captured his feelings of loneliness and loss more powerfully than "Reduced to the level of those over whom we once towered." Oh, let me say that again: (Superboy Prime voice) "Reduced to the level of those over whom we once towered!" SHOW, don't tell, dude! I can't believe I have to be the one playing editor here. So, to sum up, I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

     Silent Hill: Dead/Alive 

     Justice League Cry For Justice 
  • In his review of Justice League: Cry for Justice, he calls out James Robinson, focusing on how ashamed he should be for writing the story.
    There is no arc to these characters. No person we're supposed to see actually changed by the experiences presented. I'm not even sure what the point of it all is! The two hurt most of all are Roy Harper and his daughter. Robinson has actually gone beyond the realm of good taste into something that is just vile. If this had been a story about good people doing bad things, that would be an idea worth looking at, but that's not what this is. There is no moral to this story. No form of ultimate punishment for the actions committed by the so-called heroes. Nothing happened to come back to bite them in the ass. Not even guilt.

    The villain, despite being talked about for the entire series, doesn't actually make his presence known until three issues in, where he becomes SO strong and SO powerful that there's no realistic way he can be defeated! It's crap sensationalism and exploitation. It's not even a So Bad, It's Good kind of story. The plot points are meant to be shocking and offensive to our senses, and they are, but not in a good way!

    Robinson later said that he was glad that people got angry about it; that it shows that we care. The problem is that we know who to blame for this and who to be angry at. In a good story, we're angry at the villain. In a bad story, we're angry at the creators! We're pissed off, Robinson, because YOU failed US! You failed your readers who trusted you! You failed the characters that DC claims to be guardians and shepherds of! You failed as a writer! We care alright and because we care, we're ashamed of you and ashamed of ourselves for believing you could pull this off.

    I've never felt so sorry to have paid full price for something. This comic blows! And I have to be reminded of it all the time!
  • Even earlier is his rant on why he hates the comic so much. In that moment, it feels less like Linkara talking and more like Lewis himself.
    And it's here that we finally have the lowest common denominator. Sure, there are pages in-between that I could comment on, but it's finally time to talk about the thing that pisses me off so much about this comic. Oh sure, all the plot holes, the idiotic premise, the dumb character behavior, and every one of its numerous other issues warranted it to be here on this show. But that's not enough for me to hate it like I do. Say hello to Lian Harper. Or rather, Lian Harper's corpse. For those unaware, Lian Harper is an established, long-time supporting character who, of course, has not appeared once in this story until now. And she was also a little girl.

    It is sickening to think that a child character is killed like this. A child who had no bearing on the proceedings of the story. A child whose father has just been maimed. A child who served no purpose in this story but to be a "shock" moment for the readers. It is despicable. And don't take me to mean that a child should never, ever, ever die in a story. That's ludicrous. But this?! This is a fricking joke. No build-up. No foreshadowing. No relevance to the events that have transpired. It's senseless and a waste of a character. It robs Roy Harper of his unique character status as a single father, rids the DC universe of potential future stories, and don't anyone dare tell me "well, it's comic books! She'll be alive again in a year!" Not everyone comes back to life in comics, especially not a non-superhero supporting character.

    I got into comic books thanks to a little series called "The Titans," where Lian was adorable in almost every scene she was featured in. And that is why I hate this book so much. I can't look at the books I enjoyed and loved anymore without thinking of this! This exploitative, badly-written trash!

     Rise of Arsenal 
  • In Rise of Arsenal, Linkara gives one to Roy Harper, who's spent the majority of the story doing next to nothing but whining about his situation.
    Look, I love Arsenal as a character. Like I've said many times, he was part of my favorite run of the Titans. I understand the drugs and everything like that. However, I left my pity for his situation back in that alleyway. Don't get me wrong people, just because I find this mini-series to be hilarious doesn't mean it doesn't find ways to piss me off. Roy won't shut up about how he's in soooo much pain and how nooobody understands him! Wah, wah, wa-oh grow the hell up, asshole! He's made no effort to try to explain his problems, to help them understand the psychological pain he's going through, done nothing to resist the urge to go back to drugs, and he has slapped away every effort from people to show him some empathy. He was downright offensive to Black Canary and Donna Troy, and he even told Cheshire to shut up when she tried to comfort him.

    Now, is this the kind of thing that happens in real life? Yes. But this is not real life! This is a story where I'm supposed to care about Roy Harper and wanna see him get through this. But his constant whining and refusal to acknowledge his friends' help has made me stop caring. "You just don't understand! How can you get my pain?!" Shut your pie hole, you selfish dickhead. Your pain is not special. How many other people have lost their own limbs? or lost their children? Hell, in story, how many other people lost family members in the disaster in Star City?

    There are supposed to be five stages of grief. Throughout the entirety of this miniseries, he's been stuck in anger. And he. Never. Leaves it. He insults and denigrates the people around him who're only trying to help, and I'm still supposed to feel sorry for him?!

     Silent Hill: Paint it Black 
  • At the end of his review of Silent Hill: Paint It Black, Linkara absolutely eviscerates the comic, from the horribly sociopathic characters to its nonsensical writing and storytelling.
    Linkara: THIS COMIC SUUUUUUUCKS! I mean, wow, this thing is awful. What's really sad about this is that this could've easily been turned into a good Silent Hill comic. The games have used paintings before to great effect, in particular the original painting of Pyramid Head. Artwork, paintings, drawings, art galleries, they have such potential for horror, from disturbing imagery to just screwing with your head! But the painting aspect barely has anything to do with this story! We know why the monsters wanted to paint this stuff: it was to set up Dead/Alive.

    Once again, even if we ignore that it has nothing to do with Silent Hill, it's not scary, the characters all are dreadful, unlikeable, truly ugly people; no one acts like a human being (except for Joe, who was in all of two pages), there's no moral redemption for anyone, the cheerleaders don't even care that members of their squad have DIED, they pull stuff out of their asses, and nothing is accomplished! The only saving grace is a single original monster that I wanna know more about and is naturally never seen or brought up in any of the other silent hill comics.

    This is, in fact, worse than Dead/Alive. At least Dead/Alive tried to be horror, tried to have believable characters, and Ike was just a leftover from this nonsense. It failed, yes, but at least it tried to be something. This? This was 48 pages of NOTHING!
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     Silent Hill: The Grinning Man 
  • When the protagonists finally meet up with the titular villain and ask for an explanation, Linkara does not take the reveal well.
    Tower: So what's your deal?
    The Grinning Man: I hunt.
    Tower: That's it?
    The Grinning Man: Isn't it enough?
    Linkara: NO! No it's not! For crying out loud, you're the damn title character and the best villain motivation you have is "I hunt?!" You have mystical healing symbols, magic and crap that turns you into Fabio, and the best reason you have is "I hunt?!" Wow. Scott Ciencen put you in this story to make Whately look like Lex Luthor by comparison! Oh, and Grinning Man? Put on a damn shirt! You look ridiculous, you stupid, stupid character.

     Superman # 701 
  • When recapping the events that lead up to the comic, he brings up the impetus behind Superman's decision to take a walk across America: a random woman slapping him across the face and berating him for being too busy saving the Earth to save her husband from terminal cancer. He is not fond of this plot point.
    Linkara: Lady, I'm sure you're just grieving right now and feeling really bad about your husband's death, but, uh...YOU'RE A SELFISH IDIOT! Has Superman ever demonstrated this ability before? Does he have advanced medical training that would allow this to work? As far as I know, he doesn't. If he did, he'd probably be volunteering this ability to as many people as he could! Also, how the hell were you planning contacting him, lady? As far as I know, Superman doesn't have a forwarding address to this kind of thing. And yeah, I called you selfish. Thousands of people died during the events of New Krypton, but suddenly your pain, your loss, is somehow more special than everybody else's. SCREW. YOU.

    But no, this feeble event is what starts Superman on the path to walking across America. Not the loss of thousands of his people, not the tragedy of all the humans who were killed. This idiotic woman who can't see past the death of her husband by forces outside of Superman's control. What. A. Load.

     One More Day 
  • In the 200th episode, Linkara gives a vicious (but eerily even-tempered) one to Spider-Man, based on the fact that, for all of his speeches about how with great power comes great responsibility, he never learns from his actions or takes responsibility.
    Linkara: Allow me to share a revelation I've had. For all of his bluster about "with great power comes great responsibility", Peter Parker is one of the most irresponsible superheroes ever. He never learns from his mistakes. He never takes into consideration how his life as Spider-Man affects everybody else.

    Now, some would point out that's the core concept of the character: the constant struggle between the mask and the man. But, he never gives any consideration to the man, preferring to make excuses about it. He disappoints people around him all the time because of "something more important" with Spider-Man. But, instead of trying to find ways to balance his two lives properly, he'll go out of his way to make excuses, and just be sad that being Spider-Man hurt his personal life. If he places more importance on being Spider-Man, he should distance himself from relationships that would hurt that. If he places more emphasis on being Peter Parker, he needs to sacrifice his time being Spider-Man.

    Now, that's not always going to be the case for everyone in the real world. But, Peter never actually changes as a result of his actions. He just makes the same mistakes over and over.

    During a story called "The Other", when Peter was dying from an untraceable condition (this was also written by JMS by the way), he admits he doesn't even have life insurance. Peter has never made a plan about what would happen to his family if he were killed by a super-villain. He's never thought about the repercussions of his life if he were maimed or killed while wearing the costume to his wife, or his constantly-dying aunt.

    In a recent issue of Avengers Academy, a group of teenage super-heroes thought of several ways how he could capitalize on being Spider-Man without revealing his identity to anyone. Now admittedly, he was just a young, dumb, teenager when he started out and didn't think of those things. But Peter has been an adult for decades now. Forget about liking Spidey married or not, the character himself still seems to operate like he is in high school: never growing up, never seems to recognize adult relationships, and never taking responsibility for his life and the choices he made. This is one of the reasons I decided to review One More Day. The deal with Mephisto is symptomatic of a bigger problem for the character and the people who write him. The unwillingness for the character to become an adult. He's supposed to be roughly twenty-five years old at the time of this story, maybe closer to thirty. And he repeatedly approaches his problems like a sixteen-year-old would, and is never actually prepared to act like a mature adult.

    I made several jokes in the last two hundred episodes about how Peter Parker's life is an endless spiral of shame and misery, with his friends and loved ones dying all around or becoming super-villains because of his life as Spider-Man, and I mean it! The truth is that if Peter Parker ever cared about taking responsibility for his actions, he would have given up being Spider-Man a long time ago.

    But hey, maybe that's just the reasoning of a jaded individual looking at this stupid-ass comic in hindsight; of course I don't want Peter Parker to stop being Spider-Man. What I want is for him to be written as a goddamn adult already! But the writers — and Marvel editorial — seem to steadfastly refuse to let that happen. Spider-Man is just escapist fantasy to them. The reason why they don't think there's "drama" in marriage is because marriage is an aspect of real life, and they don't want the escapism of Peter Parker swinging through the air and stopping bad guys being infected with the drama of things that people have to endure in the real world.

    And that's just hilarious, since Spider-Man is supposed to be the character who does face the real life challenges of the real world. That was what made his character so appealing to begin with. His ability to relate to the reader. But the truth is the reader has grown up, got married, had kids, has relatives that die and has to move on. The reader changed, but Peter Parker has not.

    You know, recently there was a rumor that Marvel was doing its own reboot to compete with D.C. did last year. They're not, of course, they're just releasing whole bunch of new number one's. But you know what? Maybe they should reboot Spider-Man. After all, if the creative teams are unwilling to let him get out of his high school life, then why the hell isn't he still there?
  • Also in the 200th episode, when Peter Parker runs into an alternate version of himself who works in video game design, said alternate self makes some very insulting implications about both video games and escapist fiction in general. It prompts a very angry, well-deserved response from Linkara.
    You're seriously doing this, aren't you? Are you kidding me?! Seriously, look at this again: "You know why guys like me get into games like that? Because there's something missing." And then we have: "Because things didn't turn out like they were supposed to. So we go someplace else." This fricking comic just said that the reason people play video games and enjoy escapist fiction is because they're losers who want something more with their lives. I don't know if it was Joe Quesada or JMS that wrote this, but considering JMS' body of work concerning speculative fiction, and the fact that issues 3 and 4 of One More Day were heavily rewritten, I think it's fair to assume that Joe Quesada wrote this. In which case, I have something to say. You INSULTING, PATRONIZING... DICKHEAD! How dare you! How dare you insult video game creators and players! How DARE you criticize people for enjoying escapist fiction when fricking superhero comics are escapist fiction!

    If JMS wrote those bits, then those remarks can go to him. Either way, this scene is another reason why I finally decided to review this story. Forget about the deal with the devil. I am shocked that nobody ever talks about this! That's what this thing is saying! "You buy our crap because you're a loser, so keep buying our crap, loser!" Oh, and pardon me if I become a broken record, but yeah, all this? Completely pointless to the story. You know why this comic is called One More Day? It's because you want one more day after the one you just wasted reading this.

     Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham # 2 
  • In his review of the second part of the Elseworld comic where Catwoman is Gotham's protector, Holokara points out that the evil Batman in the story literally has no reason for his heinous acts, especially when he wants to kill Selina Kyle, despite getting everything that he wants, in particular money, by marrying her.
    Let me ask what may be a dumb question: why does he want to kill her? Dude, you're married to a highly attractive woman and have access to billions of dollars! You have a comfortable life in a mansion, and you got away with massive amounts of crime! It's not like you have a psychological compulsion, like the Riddler has. You're not Joker-level crazy. Clearly, you were stealing expensive things to get money, and with money comes comfortable living. You don't have a sick child you're trying to save with an expensive operation. You clearly have enough mental faculties to train in martial arts, develop technology, and hone yourself to physical perfection. WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL HER?! WHY ARE YOU SCREWING WITH THE GOOD THING HERE?!

    You know, this is the DC Universe. An alternate version of it, yes, but still the DC Universe. This is a world that features talking apes that fight flying robots, little kids who yell "Shazam!" and get magical powers, and the universe reboots itself every few years. Even in a world that has ALL of that, YOU DO NOT MAKE SENSE!!!

    This is the worst kind of villain, folks: he has no motivation, no credible backstory, NO emotional connection that makes us sympathize or understand why he does the things that he does; he's just some asshole who wants to kill the hero, because he's the villain!
  • When Linkara visits the wizard Steven to learn why his magic isn't working, he learns that Margret was responsible because she was worried that he might be turning evil. When Linkara denies this, Steven lays out how selfish and unheroic he's been for the past few years, and that he needs to seriously reconsider the path he's on:
    Linkara: I am not turning evil!
    Steven: Oh really? Tell me how often you use your powers selfishly? How many people have you threatened or lashed out against unreasonably? How many times did you worry about your own problems before anyone else's? And how many times did you arrogantly assume that your solutions were the right ones? Your answers were the only answers? Do you ever ignore the suffering of others? Or are you just off in your own little world while others are trying to get you to listen for just five damn minutes? Our actions and our thoughts shape who we are, and yours are not shaping up to be ones of a hero. I suggest you go home and take some time to ponder who you really are, because you are going to need to help yourself.

     Youngblood 
  • Another one from the beginning of his Youngblood #5 review:
    (Sits on his futon, looking irritated) Hello and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. I think, by now, you people should know how I feel about Youngblood. In case you don't, it sucks! You can yell until you're blue in the face about how the concept of a "proactive" superhero team that has merchandising, and appears on talk shows, and are celebrities and crap, is such a wonderful idea and it's just the execution that fails, but in the end, it doesn't change that Youngblood sucks. You can tell me about the runs from Alan Moore or the revived series from 2011, and that's great if they really are good, but honestly it just keeps bringing me back to the same question of why the hell anyone would wanna do anything with this series when there is so much friggin' baggage with it. Look, my rant against the X-Men in my Next 15 Screw-Ups was half-joking; I don't hate the X-Men and there are plenty of bad stories out there that have nothing to do with them, and there are great runs on the X-Men books. But Youngblood is a team that does not deserve all the hard work of creators. It's a bunch of unmemorable rip-off characters growling and gritting teeth, saying really stupid things, squinting, and doing over-exaggerated poses, and all that crap!

    Let Youngblood die already! Just let it die! Rob Liefeld does not deserve all the loyalty that he somehow has engendered! What's that? Rob Liefeld is really enthusiastic about the industry, is really an awesome guy if you know him in person, and loves comics and everything about the medium? Yeah, well, I'm really enthusiastic about the medium, but no one says that I should be drawing comic books! Rob Liefeld can't write! Rob Liefeld can't draw! Rob Liefeld can't create! And don't go telling me about how he created Deadpool and Cable. One: he didn't create Deadpool. He created some boring-ass mercenary who spoke in yellow-colored speech bubbles. Nobody would give a damn about him if not for the work of everybody else but him! As for Cable, I admit most of my knowledge of the character comes from the animated series, but even if Cable really is all that awesome and iconic a character, well congratulations. You have found one, all of one character that Rob Liefeld created that's actually good. Except a good creator is capable of making more that just one good character. Liefeld, on the other hand, settles on inventing 60,000 characters and none of them are good!

    To cite that Deadpool answer again, is he really the one who created him if everything about the character that people like was done by others? You show me a Rob Liefeld character that people like and I'll show you the other creators who are responsible for you liking them. The point is, companies, stop giving him work! Consumers, stop buying things with his name on it! My fans, stop telling me about movies that are supposedly being made with his characters. Ooooh, a Godyssey movie, I'm sure I'll see that NEVER, because not a single movie that Rob Liefeld's characters have been developed for has actually ever been made! And don't bring up Not-Deadpool in the Wolverine movie! I shouldn't have to explain that again!! Deadpool's not really his character, that wasn't really Deadpool, AND HE WASN'T THE MAIN CHARACTER OF THE DAMN MOVIE!!! (gasps for breath) I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm not angry at you all. I really am not, and I'm sorry I yelled at you, but it's just that I'm kinda having a bad day and it doesn't help that today, we're digging into Youngblood #5.
  • Youngblood invokes this yet again, as Issue 10 sees this venomous rant after Linkara learns that Chapel intends to commit suicide as part of a plan to make a Deal with the Devil in order to not succumb to AIDS.
    Spawn tries to get him to stop, but it's no good: Chapel shoots himself in the head. As I said in the beginning of this episode, I will not be showing you the two-page spread of his suicide — because it is absolutely tasteless. It's frankly disgusting that it ever saw print. It's not like Liefield tried to put it in silhouette or something. No, no, we needed to see the full gore of this scene in its already badly-drawn detail, and I mean, 'gore'; I feel uncomfortable even describing any major details, so I will not be doing that, either. And I could criticize so much else about it — how Chapel is holding the gun in a weird way, how the gun itself so ridiculous, and it's apparently a laser pistol according to the text boxes, just the actual effect of the shot — but it doesn't really matter. Because the act itself, drawing a suicide that he apparently revelled in every bit of grisly linework, not to make any kind of point, not to show off the absolute horror of the act, but just because he probably thought it looked cool.

    I might be wrong about that or his intentions — but this is Rob Liefeld, and he has earned no benefit of the doubt. And it's not helped that he specifically thanked another artist, Stephen Platt, for layout assistance and inspiration for the bit. And here's the best part: they showed this graphic, gory suicide — but they made sure on a previous page to censor the word 'ass'. Because, you know, this is a classy book.

    This sequence is terrible already, looking at it in 2018 — but then you realize the surrounding context of this: Chapel probably would not be considering this idea if not for the fact that he is HIV-positive. He even admits that he sees himself as 'a dead man walking'. This came out in 1994, when AIDS became the leading cause of death for Americans age 25-44, before multi-drug therapies and treatments were widely available, if even available at all. For many, being HIV-positive was a death sentence, to the point where people took their own lives because of that news—and the creative team of this book had the audacity to turn something as real, as horrible, and truly tragic as that, not to examine the realities of it, not to show the feelings that people had at the time that they had to deal with, not to explore depression or any sense of hopelessness that could bring someone to do such a thing. No, no, just a minor plot point for their character's evil plan—and yet said character is supposed to be a good guy, I guess. "The next generation of heroes," everybody.
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     Marville 
  • In Marville #4, Linkara was already irritated at the comic's horribly inaccurate science, but Bill Jemas' declaration that humans are the only animals that kill members of their own species prompted this.
    Oh. We're doing this now, are we? We're doing the "human beings are so awful because we kill our own people" thing, huh? We're going into 1950's B-movie "aliens passing judgment"? Bill Jemas wants to indict our happy little species? Okay asshole, I'll play. Sure humans kill each other. We kill for passion, madness, rage, love, war, and lord knows other things. And yet, we've got six billion people running around the planet. Almost as if people who kill other people are the exception rather than the rule. Don't tell me animals never kill their own. Animals are frickin' dicks to each other, whether it's the cuckoo bird that kills off another cuckoo bird's children so that the new one will try to raise them, ant colonies that go to war with one-another and enslave other ants, or even mountain gorillas who will kill another one if it wanders into their territory. In other words, take your self-righteous, moral aggrandizing, holier-than-thou attitude and choke on it, along with this comic.
  • Then at the end of Marville #6, he gives a shorter and angrier one after Jemas implicitly blames the comic's failure on the audience just not getting it.
    YOU SANCTIMONIOUS SACK OF FAECES! YOU'RE TRYING TO PIN THIS ON US? Marville failed sales-wise because "we couldn't accept your grand vision of world peace"? That we only wanted "superheroes punching each other"? GO TO HELL! Your comic didn't succeed because it started as a lame, unfunny parody of the comic book industry, and then was an inaccurate and moronic tale about God and the universe! It failed because it SUCKED!

     Teen Titans Annual # 1 
  • In the Teen Titans Annual #1 review, Pollo gets fed up with Jaeris drunkenly blaming Linkara for stranding him in this universe. Pollo then tells Jaeris how he has no one to blame but himself for his current predicament and that he's no different than any other villain Linkara's faced.
    Pollo: You realize that you'll have to move past your resentment of Linkara eventually, right?
    Jaeris: That fella has ensured that people will continue to suffer and die back on my world by cutting me off from them.
    Pollo: And apparently the alcohol has made you forget that you were the one who launched multiple unprovoked attacks on him to get to his gun.
    Jaeris: I did what I had to. It's for the best.
    Pollo: Hrmm. It is always fascinating to hear individuals attempt to justify their actions. Lord Vyce conquered and enslaved countless individuals because "he had to". My doppelganger from a parallel universe slaughtered who he thought was inferior because he thought it was for the best that organic beings be culled. Even the Entity felt it was better that all existence become a part of it. In many ways I have more respect for Doctor Insano; he holds no delusions about who he is or what he wants. You have stolen the property of others and afflicted much harm onto them, and yet you seem to feel that Linkara was more wrong for retaliating.
    Jaeris: You got a point to make?
    Pollo: None at all. Simply making an observation.

     Avengers # 200 
  • He gives an utterly devastating one to Avengers #200, telling the comic as is: saying exactly is wrong with it and how it fails as a love story and Milestone Celebration, all while completely and utterly pissed way the hell off.
    Linkara: Even if there wasn't the utter horribleness of a story featuring a guy raping a woman, to give birth to himself — which, hell nolet us never forget that part of this messthis is the story you tell for your 200th issue?! It's a pretty big milestone issue, and the story you decide to tell is about some asshole in limbo deciding to free himself from limbo by falling in love with Ms. Marvel in a quick, contrived romance, and they go off and live happily ever after?! That's your big story to celebrate this event?!

    Not some big celebration or even a lowkey remembrance of everything that's transpired in the last 200 issues? No story harkoning back to the beginnings, and how far things have come? Just a weak-ass romance, and to wave goodbye to Carol Danvers?! For crying out loud, porno movies have more setup in their romances than this drivel! And somehow, I would imagine you'd feel less dirty watching porn than Avengers #200. This comic SUCKS!

    It sucks SO MUCH. From the Avengers not giving one iota of a damn about Ms. Marvel's feelings about this whole thing, and instead cracking jokes, and happy glee over the fricking hell baby, to their complete IDIOCY over letting Marcus do whatever the hell he wanted with advanced tools and electronics; to "Marcus: The Rapist Retcon", or even just Marcus' stupidity of not explaining anything!

    And then there's poor Ms. Marvel, the ultimate victim in all of this, being tossed aside to live a "happy" life, with her rapist husband-son in limbo, and has no actual bearing on the events, other than to be the one who carried the kid! What a load! Getting rid of a prominent team member, for NO REASON, in a horribly offensive, rushed manner!

    This story is so horrible, and was so despised at the time, even by people at Marvel, that Chris Claremont went ahead and made Avengers Annual #10 to undo this garbage! And to his credit, he doesn't try to sweep it under the rug like it didn't happen! Oh, no, they don't retcon it, they build story on it; with Carol returning, and berating the Avengers for all this crap, and admitting full well it was friggin' mind control and it was wrong! And to be fair to the Avengers team members who were letting this happen, only three of them were actually present during her leaving, but at the same time, with how horribly written they were, do you honestly think any of them would have raised a single objection if they had been all together?!

    Avengers #200, like Marcus himself, deserves to be remembered only as a lesson on how not to make a love story, milestone story...or just ANY story whatsoever! GOD, I need a shower!

     Holy Terror 
  • In his 300th episode, he delivers one toward Holy Terror and why he hates it more than any other book he's reviewed.
    You know, I sometimes get asked why Camelot of all films is my favorite movie, and the reason is because it actually changed my life, or at least focused my beliefs into something that was a good foundation for a personal philosophy. Those who have power should use it to do good, that violence is not strength, compassion is not weakness, that revenge is utterly pointless. Superheroes are basically the equivalent modern-day knight errants; they go out, help people, and fight injustice. The best kinds of superhero comics are not the ones actually about superheroes hitting supervillains or anything like that. It's the ones that show superheroes are about kindness and decency and something far more noble than the adolescent power fantasies that people often critique them as. (long beat as he picks up the comic) I think I hate this comic more than any other I've ever reviewed because it is the complete antithesis of everything I believe in.

    Holy Terror says that you should be unkind, it says you shouldn't trust people, it says compassion will be repaid with violence, that violence can only be answered with more violence, and that violence is strength. That hurting others is not only enjoyable and desirable, but that it should be employed first when dealing with threats. It says if you have power, you can lord that power over others and do harm to them. It says that revenge is a worthy cause. It treats women as either victims or enemies, and don't assume Natalie Stack is immune to this criticism — trust me, the book ain't over yet. It tells us we should fear the other, the foreigner, the dark-skinned, the religion that's not your own. And you know what the damnedest thing of all is? I am, honest to God, afraid of terrorism.

    Terrorism is real. There are people out there who want to kill me, either because I'm from a different country or just because they're some angry misanthrope with a gun. That applies to both foreign and domestic terrorists. Terrorism is about making someone so afraid that they'll do what you tell them to, and the grand message of Frank Miller's Holy Terror is: Be afraid. Be terrified. Let's give in to that fear and embrace every dark, sick, and inhuman part of our souls as a result, and do everything to them as they will do to us! Frank, you must be so proud.

    So behold the Fixer, as he breaks a man's spine when he refuses to talk, crippling him for life, and then threatening to take out his eyes. Our hero, everyone.
  • His final summary at the end as well, nicely summarizing how the book as a whole is beyond redemption.
    This comic sucks, sucks, sucks, sucks, SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUUUUUUCKS!!!!! (beat) Sucks.

    Let's put aside the bigotry in full force here, the inaccuracies about Islam, and the horrible opinions of its critically acclaimed writer and artist for a moment. I mean, I think I've gone into detail about that throughout this whole lengthy review. No, let's instead talk about everything else that's wrong with it. The writing is dreadful. There's no characterization here; people say words, but it's all plot-related stuff. The Fixer is a non-entity, same with Natalie Stack. They exist solely to beat up terrorists, talk about how awesome they are and how terrorists are assholes. That's it. Hell, why did this thing even end with Dan Donegal? He was in the story for like three or four pages before that ending. The plot itself is weak as all get out. Terrorists attack, the two kill the remaining terrorists, that's all. And that leads me to a huge problem with the thing: the pacing.

    Over half the book is dedicated to our "heroes" chasing each other, then the terrorist attack, and then the two deciding to stop the remaining terrorists. It takes us two-thirds of the way through the book before the two get their first clue, which ends up being a dud that leads into an action scene. It's only in the last third of the book that the plot actually gets to moving forward, and even then it's full of utter ridiculousness. Why the David guy? What purpose did he serve in the story? Why does he have a Star of David painted on his face? Why does he have two twin Asian assassins working for him? Why didn't the Mosque have any guards or security system to alert them to Natalie's presence? What was the deal with the bomb being upside-down? Why did Al Qaeda need to subcontract some Irish guy to build their bomb? Don't they know how to make bombs? In fact, I'd assume they were kind of experts on the subject. Why the conspiracy theory nonsense about Al Qaeda being some huge, leviathan organization with hidden motives beyond what we see? Frank Miller's always going on about how we need to deal with our big enemy Al Qaeda and how America is too lazy and stupid to deal with them, so why make up crap that will only alienate people from your cause? What the hell was the deal with that Al Qaeda leader?

    And then there's the art, the godawful, confusing, lazy art! In a few spots, Frank Miller's legendary use of negative space is fine, but most of the time this book looks dreadful. People don't look like people or are just bent in bizarre ways, there aren't any backgrounds, just blank white or black, the attempts at depicting weather just look muddy and confused, half the book is just splash pages while other pages have far more panels than they need, and the splashes of color we do get seem almost randomly placed with no rhyme or reason. Speaking of random, interludes featuring talking heads that don't talk, resulting in no context or sense behind their inclusion other than the fact that this is a politically charged book, so here are some politicians!

    And of course that brings us to the politics. The awful politics of this book. It is a comic completely ungrounded in anything resembling reality, but not in the fun kind of way that a superhero comic should be. The Fixer is a racist, bigoted individual who gladly tortures, kills, and mutilates his enemies with impunity. Al Qaeda is not a guerrilla terrorist faction, but some kind of massive organization employing apparently every Muslim under the sun to kill those who would be innocent and kind, and we are equally justified in treating them as subhuman. There is no chance for redemption or rehabilitation. There is no good Muslim. They're either misguided victims, like the out of nowhere sequence where a woman is beaten by presumably her husband, or they are mass murderers like Amina the exchange student or any of the other dozens of nameless terrorists encountered in this story. They're all stereotypes.

    And in the end, what is accomplished? Insulting a billion people for their religion, a story about a killer who murders other killers with NO personality or backstory, and a guy waking up from a nightmare because TERRORISM! That's all! This book is a testament to four things.

    (cut to a clip from The Twilight Zone)
    Rod Serling: Human slaughter, torture, misery, and anguish.

    It is the nail in the coffin for Frank Miller's career in mainstream comics. He said recently that he wants to go work at Marvel and do Captain America, but even Marvel has laughed off that idea because of this trash. And yes, it is trash.

    (stands up and sighs) Let me make something clear here in relation to the Tagline of this show: "where bad comics burn". I am an advocate of free speech. I do not deny Frank Miller the right to publish this… thing, nor do I deny others the right to purchase it if they so choose. However, this copy belongs to me. It is my property, and I have decided that I do not want it in my home any longer.

    (He then goes outside and proceeds to bend the book in half and burn it down for good.)

     All-Star Batman and Robin # 10 
  • At the end of All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder #10, he delivers one about not only why ASBARTBW fails as a story, but why Frank Miller's depiction of Batman in general is such a terrible one:
    This comic sucks and this entire series has sucked! The All-Star line was meant to be an entry point to new fans, similar to the Ultimate line of books, by creating iconic definitive stories for heroes with top-tier talent working on them. However, only All-Star Superman and All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder were ever released. While All-Star Superman has its flaws, it is recognized as a massive success in how it showed the best parts of Superman — his kindness, decency, and everything great about the character that made him so beloved an icon. It was so critically lauded that it got an animated straight-to-DVD adaptation written by the late great Dwayne McDuffie. Conversely, All-Star Batman and Robin feels like a sick joke — a parody at best of the characters, lacking any of the elements that made Batman such an enduring character. Critique him for realism or how his mission is self-defeating, or how he could be more constructive if he used his money in other ways — which he does, but never mind that — but I see Batman as a figure, ultimately, about how one can rise above tragedy to do good in the world and improve yourself. He is brusque, yes, but not heartless. Aggressive, but not unethical. He drives himself to the extremes he does, sacrifices himself and his happiness at times for one goal — so that no other eight-year-old child will ever have to go through what he did.

    Sometimes he goes too far and sometimes he makes mistakes, but that's because he's not a god, nor should he be. He is human. If Superman represents the hope and compassion that humanity is capable of, Batman represents the determination and intellect we are also capable of. Superman's worst foe is Lex Luthor, a wealthy genius who uses his power for evil, but Superman's best friend is Batman, a wealthy genius who uses his power for good. The Batman of this story, however, is not any of those things. He is violent, judgmental, immature, manipulative, self-important, and most disgusting of all, cruel. He is cruel to the people who love him, equally cruel to those he fights against, and he is cruel to the one person he should know better than to be cruel to — a young boy who lost his parents like he did. I finally figured out why we have all those other superheroes in this when this should straight-up be about Batman, and the answer is because it is still about Batman. These other heroes are supposed to be here to be compared to Batman. In this universe, if you don't follow Batman, obey his rules and his methods, you are ineffectual, naive, foolish, unprepared, or driven for the wrong reasons. And as I said back in the review of Issue #8, this Batman is reflective of Frank Miller's own ideologies; thus the only way he can prop up his viewpoints, his terrible ideas of what makes a hero, is to make other heroes, other ideologies, look bad by comparison.

    All-Star Wonder Woman and All-Star Batgirl were both in the works around the time this was coming out — unconnected to this book, of course — but sadly, both projects were never made, nor do I expect to see them come, especially since DC has pretty much revised the All-Star line in favor of the Earth 1 graphic novels, none of which I have read. Hopefully we will never have to see this series be continued again, despite claims to the contrary.

     15 Things Wrong With Marvel's Civil War 
  • Linkara gives his last thoughts on the Marvel comic Civil War.
    Linkara: So, to conclude all of this, let's talk about where I stand about the pro- or anti-Registration thing. I'm... mostly anti-Registration, but completely open to voluntary registration. Not necessarily of secret identities, but at least with the government knowing that you're out there and who to contact about you. Some bureaucracy, but sure as hell not what we get in this event. One of the things that came out of this was the Fifty-State Initiative: each American state having at least one superhero team of their own. The thing is, though, as we ended up seeing... ideas like the Fifty-State Initiative, at their core, were not about training and accountability, but conscription and militarization. If you have superpowers, you will follow this mandate, even if you don't actually want to use them as a superhero. It's the next-of-kin to the dreaded Mutant Registration Act that always hung over the X-Men. Ironically, the X-Men were mostly neutral in this conflict, because of crap going on in their own books.
    Don't get me wrong — collateral damage, both in buildings and human casualties, is a problem. There should be accountability when things go wrong. And hell, there should be formal training of people's powers. Despite what Vision claimed in the movie version of the comic, the rise of superpowered beings did not mean the escalation of damage. The Chitauri were going to invade whether there were superhumans or not. Hydra would still've been a thing, etc. People like the Avengers are not trying to cause problems, their presence does not automatically mean there will be collateral damage. They're a response to the rising threats. These are the people who have been granted incredible gifts, and use them to help people to the best of their abilities, oftentimes at a sacrifice that others are not willing to make. Because the thing is; we already have a term for beings with incredible powers, beyond the average human that use their power without regard for life, property and the well being of others: SUPERVILLAINS.
    SUPERHEROES, on the other hand, do care about collateral damage. They do feel guilty and traumatized and remorseful for what has happened. But they're not the ones who started it. Disregard anything your parents might've ever said about "It not mattering who started it." If that was true, no-one would be allowed to defend themselves or others. Superheroes exist for a reason within these universes. Because we don't live in the stupid world of the Purge, where people just wanna be assholes all the time, and hurt others, or crap like that. For the most part, people want to help each other, to do good and make the world better. That's what superheroes wanna do. But there are some people who are selfish, greedy, misguided, criminally insane, or just sadistic enough, and wield power that can't be stopped by ordinary humans. If they could, there wouldn't be a need for superheroes.

    (plays clip from Ghostbusters II)
    Peter Venkman: ...sometimes, shit happens, someone has to deal with it and who ya gonna call?

    Linkara: The Registration Act turns these very people who have risked life and limb to save people, over and over... into criminals. You are punishing people for trying to do the right thing. Forget about all the stupid, immoral jackassery on display in this event. The real thing that unites these two sides is that they want to be superheroes. They want to help people and stop the bad guys. But the only thing that the creators did with this comic was turn the good guys INTO the bad guys.

     A Nightmare on Elm Street: Paranoid 
  • In A Nightmare on Elm Street: Paranoid #3, after the comic takes a jab at Nancy Thompson, he points out her accomplishments and the failings of the comic.
    Linkara: Okay, you don't get to insult Nancy, comic. Nancy actually had a friggin' character and was in two of the best movies of the series, while you're a garbage three issue mini that needs to pad out its length with foreshadowing that is never paid off and completely pointless scenes. Up yours.
  • Earlier in issue #2, when he's finally glad to see the annoying Jerkass C-dog get Killed Off for Real after he decried the comic for an earlier death, he points out the major difference between the two.
    Linkara: Some of you may be wondering why I'm decrying Amy's death yet so gleeful at C-dog's. The thing is, sometimes, good characters die and it's a tragedy when most of them are likable and you want to see them pull through. What's worse is that there was clearly something more going on here with her character that the writers didn't care to actually explore. Just use it as the basis for exploitative imagery and a cheap joke. Conversely, C-dog started as a cheap joke. The suburban white kid that speaks and acts like a stereotypical black guy. He is nothing but an annoyance, and the writers know he's annoying. It's why they created him. And it's really frustrating that this character has lived for so long and offers nothing but the fact that he is clearly a 40-year-old man running around high school and speaking in a way that is more than a little iffy, while a character who might actually be interesting is discarded so quickly.

     Infinite Crisis 
  • During his review for Infinite Crisis he does not take the book's claim about Wonder Woman's inability to connect with humanity well and proceeds to counteract this.
    Geoff Johns does not get Wonder Woman, or at the very least he did better with her later, but Infinite Crisis is really the tipping point of him not getting the character at all! "She's not human! She can't relate to humans! She's some kind of mystical clay goddess person who's not a person and tries too hard to be perfBLAUGH!" As a reminder, canonically Wonder Woman has lost her powers multiple times, worked at a fast food joint, and did not think the work was beneath her, served as a political ambassador, wrote a popular book, frikkin' blinded herself to defeat the previously mentioned Medusa, then went through Hades, not to recover her eyesight, but to restore a child who had been turned to stone by that Medusa! The idea that she "can't relate to people" assumes that Wonder Woman has not undergone any character development since she first left Themyscira!

    And what the hell does "relating to people" have to do with her murdering Maxwell Lord?! Given what happened in that situation, I'm willing to bet that quite a few ordinary people would have snapped Lord's neck just as quickly as she did! Probably kicked him in the balls a few times for fun first! If it was just the murder, that would be fine, a controversial action, but the story keeps harping on her "not being human" thing, as if this is a fundamental flaw of the character or something, and it's utter bullcrap! To be human is to care for people, to love people, to help people, and the only person who could do that better than Wonder Woman is Superman. But they wouldn't compare, because being a good person is not a competition!
  • The speech on Superboy Prime's (and, by extension Geoff Johns') desperation to recreate the past toward the end of Part 2 of Infinite Crisis.
    Nostalgia... can be toxic. Now bear in mind, I did not say that it is toxic, but that it can be toxic. This assumption that because we have pleasant memories of something, that it was always good, all the time. A desire to get that back ignores all the good that's come since then... as well as all the bad stuff that was there too. It poisons you, making you more susceptible to deception, to your own greed. Who's to say that your own past is more important than someone else's future? And because you may want something that may not have been real at all, the farther the goalpost gets. Because you can't really reclaim it. So it just gets worse and worse, and you get greedier and more desperate for it, because what you really want is never going to come. Until, in the very end, you become the thing that you hated in the first place.

    You become more concerned with chasing some imaginary feeling that you forget where you are and that you can create real, obtainable goals right now. To this mindset, the past is more important than the future. The Earth-2 Superman thinks that he can reclaim everything by bringing back something from his past. Superboy Prime exemplifies this most of all, and in Issue #4, his character works. Because it's an actual tragedy; someone who thinks he's reclaiming something that's his, when of course it isn't his. He's too fixated on this ideal version of the world that he can't believe that anything else is possible.

    The reason that I mock Superboy Prime in other works is because he stopped being this cautionary tale and instead became a farce; a method for the writers, Geoff Johns in particular, to complain about angry fans who didn't like his work. "Oh, they don't like change! They only want something from their past." But as I've said before, Geoff Johns is guilty of this, too.

    The man has never met a retcon he didn't like. He likes to pretend that plot points happened a certain way because it suits the story that he wants to tell. Conner Kent is a perfect example of this; Geoff Johns is the one who introduced the retcon that Conner was also a clone of Lex Luthor. Because it served the story he wanted to tell. He is guilty of the exact same toxic nostalgia, wanting to recreate a world from his past by sacrificing the past of everyone else.

    And sometimes, that world was better; Hal Jordan's turn to evil was a bad, bad idea and fixing that was the right call. The difference between Superboy Prime and Geoff Johns is that Geoff Johns is capable of fixing those mistakes while also not sacrificing everything that went along the way. Bear in mind, when he brought back Hal Jordan, he didn't kill Kyle Rainer just because "Well, you gotta clear the way for Hal!" It's more about repairing the future than changing the past.

    Sure, he still screws it up on occasion (Prime himself is the best example of that), but he's usually intent on serving the larger picture. Superboy Prime, however, is trapped in this sense of entitlement. His reality, his sacrifice, is the only thing that matters to him. He feels that he deserves it all, and doesn't care who he has to hurt to bring it back. And despite his constant proclamations, it's because he's not Superman.

    Superman is a promise to serve the world, all of humanity, hell, all of life itself. He puts the world before himself, because that's the man he's grown to be. Superboy Prime, though... Well, he's a teenager who suddenly got superpowers, lost his entire planet, got shoved in a glass prison with two old people and a weird creepy guy who was technically only a few days old, and gets to watch everyone else on Earth get the happy ending that he thinks he's supposed to get. Dude's got issues.

    Infinite Crisis is trying to be critical of this mindset, but it also has no answer to the rightful criticisms that mindset lobbed at the DC Universe. It has gotten too dark. The heroes have done morally questionable things that ended up hurting themselves and others. And while it's still shaking its finger at all that, it revels in those same elements: excessive violence, death, the heroes failing. All of it is personified in a teenager bawling his eyes out while literally ripping people apart and screaming "You're ruining everything!"

     World War Hulk 

     Future's End 
  • In his 500th episode (a review of The New 52: Future's End), he has one towards Brother Eye and just how unappealing and boring it is; and also ripping into the fact that DC continues to overuse the character and just not killing it off already.
    Fifty Sue: Okay, Brother Eye...lamest name ever.
    Linkara: More like lamest villain ever. Nah, I tell a lie, there are worse villains than Brother Eye, but man, oh man, if Infinite Crisis and Countdown to Final Crisis didn't make ya sick of Brother Eye, this story is certainly enough to do the job.

    Brother Eye works in exactly one story: Infinite Crisis. It works as a failure of Batman, a shame that he has to confront and defeat, much like how I feel like Jason Todd works best in that regards, and yes, yes, I know many disagree, just telling my opinion here. And even in Infinite Crisis, Brother Eye wasn't the main villain. The simple fact is that Brother Eye is BORING. It's a super duper nigh-unstoppable A.I. who replaces the letter "I" with the word "eye", and it's just dull. It was dull in Countdown and it's dull here.

    Like the Borg, Brother Eye assimilates people. The Borg are scary because of loss of identity and being consumed by an almost Lovecraftian force of relentlessness and collecting power. Individuality is replaced by billions of other voices speaking as one, and they honestly think that assimilating you is doing you a favor. With a lack of malevolence they make up for in drive. They never stop coming. They never relent. Resistance is futile, because in the end, they will get you.

    Brother Eye, by contrast, is just some douchebag who turns you into a cyber spider zombie, and attaches your torso to a spotlight because it's an idiot. It's not like you can't do this kind of villain justice either. Some kind of showmanship or well-written dialogue, that makes the basic premise much more compelling. But Brother Eye is not that character. It's boring, it's lazy, and I hate that they keep bringing it back! As much as I'm annoyed by Fifty Sue, at least there's something kind of interesting about the concept of a bratty, easily bored little girl with so much power behind her. Hell, even just the fact that she's combating Brother Eye like this makes her more interesting, along with her final line to it.

    Fifty Sue: Here's my list of demands...

    Linkara (as Fifty Sue): For starters, I want 18 ponies of varying size and color! Not just brown and white, I want some good colors in there too! Throw in some turquoise for God's sakes!
  • By the end of the review, Linkara gives his final summary on the entire series and tears it down on how in the very end, after all 49 issues and time wasted reviewing it, it all amounted to nothing.
    Well, so in case I didn't make it clear during all of this review, THIS COMIC SUCKS!!!!!
    This was bad! An entire 49 issues of bad. And to be fair, this is certainly not the worst thing I've ever looked at. It's trying, so I can't call it lazy, and most of it is competently done; but man, oh man, does it not hold up as a story on its own or as some potential future for the DC Universe. Lots of plot-points just vanish or have no impact on anything. There's no substance to it, no emotional core to make you wanna see things go right for everyone, and what's even worse is that doesn't go right for everyone! In fact, one could argue it goes right for no one! And you wanna know why? BECAUSE NOTHING IN THIS STORY MATTERED!!!

    Not only do they fail the one job set up by zeroth issue: prevent Brother Eye from taking over Earth, but because it prevented the Earth-2 refugees from coming to this Earth, everything that we see did not come to pass and was undone.

    No, seriously, all of those sub-plots, none of that happened!! No war with Apokolips. No Superman leaving for reasons probably outlined in a tie-in issue. No Captain Marvel as Superman. No Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch tension. No Maddie getting merged with Firestorm. No Cadmus Island story involving Fifty Sue. No Amethyst coming to terms with the loss of Gemworld and falling in love with Frankenstein. No closure for Frankenstein. No dismantling of S.H.A.D.E. No Tim Drake becoming traumatized. No Dr. Polaris! No reasonable questions about the technology superheroes wield! No Command-D crap of Faraday! And certainly nothing else that happened in any of this stuff! It was all wiped away! Admittedly, most of those things were terrible anyway, so no big loss there. And yet still, the space-time continuum is circling the drain, since some of those things had to happen so Tim could be in this future! But that's met with a shrug because the stupid story is over.

    As I mentioned in the first part, one of the strengths of 52 and Countdown was focusing on minor characters, because you could do more with them that you can't do with the bigger-named characters. Trouble is: this takes place five years in the future in a setting that is not going to exist when this series is done with. So instead of utilizing the inherent strengths of these minor characters to expand on them, it's an excuse to just do whatever the hell they want with them, even if it doesn't fit with who these people are supposed to be. And why not? It doesn't matter. Nothing in this story matters. And since they don't matter, most of the characters are completely one-note, grumpy jerks who have no emotional depth or failed out any sense of humor or warmth. But even when they sometimes do, it's either not handled well or it's just so tonally all over the place like with Fifty Sue, I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to get out of it.

    It really does exemplify the New 52, doesn't it? Dark, violent, full of very little hope and poor characterization. The color red dominates its dreary atmosphere and it's just a massive slog to get through. What little good there is in it is stretched out so much you can barely tell that there's anything there at all. And in the end, most of it is discarded or forgotten when much better stories come along. And indeed, better stories did come along. The event that this was leading into, Convergence, was a lot better than it had any right to be. It wasn't great, but it was enjoyable in its own way, while simultaneously ignoring everything that happened in Futures End, except for the retcons about Brainiac. And even that's questionable since it doesn't really go the whole "unknowable cosmic horror" route that John Constantine was pushing, just really big and powerful and stuff. For all the talk of Brainiac and the horrors it would bring, it just ended up trying to steal a city just Brainiac always does and shoving it in a bottle! Way to think outside the box there, Futures End.

    Tim's story as Batman Beyond would continue into a solo Batman Beyond book that eventually would start bringing the world mostly back to normal, while also eventually restoring Terry McGinnis too. So yes, even that plot point of Tim becoming the new Batman Beyond would eventually not matter, because nothing in this story mattered.

    (Cut to a clip of the MST3K episode of The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?)
    Crow T. Robot: We hope you've enjoyed No-Moral Theater, ladies and gentlemen.

    So, that's it for Futures End and the 500th episode. Like this entire show, it's been a hell of a ride.

    10th Anniversary Special 
  • When re-reviewing the very first comic he reviewed, Spider-Man #56, he grows fed up with the massive Idiot Ball that Spider-Man and Scarlet Spider keep rolling as they keep falling for the Jackal's Consummate Liar approaches, and thus deploys a speech dedicated to not just the Jackal, but in a small way himself for letting himself be baited into the storyline itself.
    Linkara: So, like I said at the beginning of this review, The Clone Saga was something I knew about when I was a kid, even before I started reading comics. And, I was intrigued as all hell about this storyline. Not just the saga, but Smoke and Mirrors itself.
    Because, as a kid, I collected Spider-Man trading cards. I talked about this before, but a series of those cards focused around Spider-Man storylines in the comics, with Smoke and Mirrors being represented by this image of the Jackal, gigantic in size, holding Spider-Man and the Scarlet Spider in his hands. Not just that he was this towering, imposing, frightening Kaiju of a threat, but symbolically, that he played these two characters like they were pieces on a chessboard. Mere pawns to his grand designs. And that title, Smoke and Mirrors, evoking a sense of wonder and mystery, of deception and half-truths, obscure details, and of course, the symbolism of a mirror on its own; since Peter and Ben are reflections of one another. That card, on its own, sold me on the Clone Saga. And indeed, as a saga, of such epic sculpt and power, that made me want to know more about it.
    I think back to the innocence of my youth, before I ever even considered starting this show...and just kinda smack my forehead! Because the actual storyline features the Jackal: some grinning green dumbass in a leather coat, repeating the title of the storyline, as if it means anything, while acting like he's equal part Deadpool and The Joker, when in reality, he's equal part Terl from Battlefield Earth and Harvest from The Culling!

     Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth 
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