Marville #3 – Atop the Fourth Wall

Marville #3 – Atop the Fourth Wall


Oh my God… [groans] [slurred]
I…I’m a hologram! How do I get drunk?! [groans] Marville again… Oh, geez… [thump] [“Atop the Fourth Wall” intro] ♪ Welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall
Where bad comics burn ♪ ♪ Linkara’s gonna teach you all
A lesson you won’t learn ♪ ♪ Brodsky, you’re not the smartest ♪ ♪ Liefeld, you’re not an artist ♪ ♪ Anyone who’s had a bad comic published
It could be your turn ♪ ♪ Linkara! ♪ ♪ He is a man! Punch!
Wears a purdy hat ♪ ♪ Linkara! ♪ ♪ He has a magic gun
Where’d he purchase that? ♪ ♪ Linkara! ♪ ♪ Coins, robots, Amazons and trucks ♪ ♪ Linkara! ♪ ♪ This comic sucks ♪ ♪ Linkara! ♪♪ [Barenaked Ladies’ “Alcohol” plays] Hello, everybody. You know… You think you understand something… …and you think you’ll be ready for it… …but then it hits you with a curveball. If you’ve been following these videos, you should recall that this year, we’ve taken a glimpse at Marville, one of the worst comics ever. The first two issues are supposed to be some kind of parody or satire, but of what is a little more complicated. It seems to just want to parody superheroes and comic books in general, but it has no sense of comedic timing, most of the jokes are either dated or just aren’t funny, and the overall plot is so thin and moronic that you just start asking very basic questions of logic, like “Why is Rush Limbaugh suddenly here?”, or “How in the hell is that guy’s head suddenly in his stomach when this kind of Looney Tunes physics has not been on display before this?” Or perhaps most pertinent, “How is Ted Turner still alive 5000 years in the future?!” And I bet you’re all ready for more of the absurdist parody comic poking fun at this crap… [nervous laugh] But, well… I’d say this is where things went downhill, but that would suggest that there was a high point to this series to begin with. Oh, goody. Another Greg Horn cover that has nothing to do with the comic. Well, I suppose at one point the characters are on a beach, but they don’t play volleyball, and that is not AOLstro, Al’s dog. And seriously, look at the expression on this woman’s face. She is TERRIFIED for you! She’s looking at the reader and going,
“Really? Y-you really want to read this? I’m so sorry…” As with the other two issues, we have our introduction page to get us caught up on Marville, though it’s no longer labeled as an “Insider’s Guide”. Mind you, it’s very confused about its story, but hey…at least it no longer feels the need to explain the jokes. “This all started in the future – 5002 A.D. “The Earth is getting pounded by asteroids and Ted and Jane send their son Al back in time to save him.” Well, technically they sent their son KalAOL back in time, and Mickey just started calling him “Al” because she’s kind of an idiot, but hey…semantics. Although I do wonder why that panel is showing the end of the previous issue where the TIME MACHINE is being sent back, and not Ted Turner and Jane Fonda sending him into the past. “Given that his origin is very similar to Superman’s (and Spider-Man and Batman for that matter)…” Um…no it isn’t. The closest you could say is that it’s kind of like Superman, but you only made vague references to Spider-Man and Batman. They weren’t actually a part of the origin! “He also falls in love with Mickey, but it’s a one-way street.” The dude must be REALLY good at hiding it, because not ONCE in this story has he alluded to being in love with Mickey. I-is there an entirely different story happening in the introduction pages? Is that what’s going on? “Then Al meets Lucy, a beautiful police woman. “With help from Lucy, Mickey, Spider-Man and the Punisher, he captures the Kingpin of Crime.” No, he didn’t!
They found out that Spike Lee is the Kingpin– Spike Lee is the… Excuse me for a minute. [“(I’m) Forgetting You” from
Manos: The Hands of Fate plays] They found out that Spike Lee is the Kingpin,
they got into a debate about race, and then Mickey and Al just left. Oh, and three guesses what any of this has to do with the comic. Your guesses should have been “jack”, “fricking”, and “squat”. And now it’s time to get into the comic itself, and this… …this is simply astonishing. I-its like this through the whole comic. Y-you ready? We open on a mansion that Al apparently owns now. And you might notice that there’s some text floating over it and off to the side. You want to know why? That’s because there aren’t any dialogue balloons. There are no speech bubbles, no caption boxes,
no thought clouds… The entire script of this comic–save for panel descriptions, I guess–are just printed along the side of the page. As you might imagine, this has made this comic one of the most frustrating reading experiences I’ve ever had with a story. I’ve been reading comics for well over a decade. My brain is hard-wired to read a story a certain way. And yes, it’s okay to experiment with this. I’ve read stories before where there was very little, if any, dialogue, and relied mostly on large blocks of text. The difference, however, is that those were still utilizing caption boxes for the text as if we were seeing a visual representation of a novel, or the like. It still integrated the text with the comic! This, however, just shoves the text in, and sometimes covers up the artwork with it! In other words: it wasn’t incompetent like THIS is! “Al doesn’t have much to do except relax and enjoy his mansion on the beach with his friend Mickey.” [sarcasm] Wow. What a nice looking beach that GRASSY CLIFF is. To truly indicate the heights of sequential art that we have on display here, we require italicized descriptions to tell us actions that happen. In this case, that the policewoman Lucy has arrived with a bag of money. Apparently for “catching the Kingpin”, he has been awarded another huge sack of money. Yup, that sure is how that works. Mickey states that she’s hungry, prompting Lucy to suggest a barbecue, but Al says he doesn’t eat meat. “Vegan, huh, are you a health nut?” [laughing] Lucy, go to Hell. “I feel bad for the animals.” “You’re just a nut.” “Cows are living things, and I feel bad for killing them.” “Here’s a fun fact. Vegetables are living things, too.” “I do feel bad when I eat plants, just not as bad.” Oh, for God’s sakes! Yeah, plants are living things, but only in a very broad definition of “life”. If you honestly feel bad about eating plants,
then here’s my rebuttal! Al says that he feels bad about how his life is going. “Cheer up, you wanted to be a super hero and you ended up capturing the head of all organized crime in New York.” “Read the papers, Mick. Crime hasn’t stopped–it was all a waste of time, just like the rest of my life.” [sarcasm] What, you mean capturing a SINGLE high-profile criminal did NOT end crime and corruption forever and ever? What a shocking revelation! Al… You know, I invented the word “idiostuperrific” to describe something as stupid as you… …and yet somehow that feels inadequate. You are “SUPERidiostuperrific”! Al offers each of the women a sack of money because he “doesn’t need all of it”, and because he fears that they only hang out with him because he’s rich. And with the money, they decide to leave… …but then re-enter, according to the script. “Hey, buddy, take a joke.” “Relieved to have his friends back, Al finally smiles.” Oh, yeah…look at these three identical panels of silence and his completely blank expression. Clearly Al was in utter anguish about their leaving. Al uncovers the time machine–wait… Why is he still here and buying mansions when he could just go home? “I’m going back to creation to find God and ask what gives.” Um…no. Go home. Go home, Al. You have a time machine now. Go home! You have no reason to be here! You have no reason to ponder the meaning of life! Just go back to your own time! GO HOME! TIME MACHINE! GO BACK TO THE FUTURE!! YOU HAVE A TIME MACHINE!! EITHER GO BACK HOME, OR GO KILL HITLER…
I DON’T CARE! JUST LEAVE!!! Oh, and it turns out I was wrong… There are TWO thought clouds in the comic. They come from a fish. A FISH! Mickey still doesn’t believe Al is from the future, and doesn’t believe in God. “If there’s no God, then who created us?” Well, some believe that we just evolved naturally over time without any kind of divine intervention whatsoever, Lucy. People are allowed to have different viewpoints on that. For example, the movie Prometheus thinks we were created by aliens who worship black goo and tentacle monsters. Oh, and you’re probably wondering what was so important for the fish to be thinking that granted it the right to have proper comic formatting. “If there’s no God…” “…then who changes the water?” Profound. So the three nuzzle up inside the time machine… You’ll also notice the art style has radically shifted, but don’t get your hopes up on it being better art. Lucy in particular seems to be suffering from some kind of condition where her arms are super-long, her torso is as wide as her head, and her breasts are conical. Anyway, they’re all in the time machine, but the script text doesn’t say Al pushed any buttons, nor is there a panel depicting them setting coordinates… …but all of a sudden, Al and Lucy are meeting God. Just like that. Both see God differently… Lucy as the traditional guy with a beard and white clothes, while Al sees him as…a superhero… …with a “J” on his chest… …for Jehovah, I guess? Jesus?
I-I don’t know… “Oh, Super! It’s you!” “Welcome to Outer Space.” You know, one of the questions they ask on
Inside the Actors Studio is: “What would you like God to say to you when you arrive at the pearly gates?” And I think that’s my answer: “Welcome to Outer Space.” You know, seeing the grand majesty of space on display like this…I am filled with so many questions… …namely, what the hell Al set the time machine for, and how they’re in space! Did he just set the coordinates for Year Zero or something? Is it like one of those comedic time machines where he just wrote a general area on a wheel and spun it to the right point? And if this is supposed to be the dawn of creation,
WHY IS THE EARTH THERE?! Also, I must call foul on this representation of outer space… For one thing, there are a bunch of asteroids over the planet for no reason. Secondly, where’s the Plot Hole near Europa? Or Lord Vyce floating around outside the solar system? Oh, but I kid, outer space… [chuckle] …although, come to think of it, we never did find Vyce’s body… Wonder what happened to him… Lord Vyce: “Patience…” “Patience…” Space Sphere: [cheerful monotone]
“SPAAAAAACE!” “Wake up, Al, this is Heaven, and God doesn’t look anything like Superman.” Okay, how the hell can SHE tell what HE sees? “That dude is a dead ringer for the Man of Steel.” “God looks exactly like he does in the Bible.” “The Bible doesn’t have any pictures.” “Look, I know a flowing white beard and wise Caucasian brow when I see one.” Mike Nelson: “You know, the Gospel speaks of losers like you.” And then when they look back again, he’s turned into a black guy in a suit. He says they both saw him the way they wanted him to be, but he thought it’d be easier if he looked like that. You know, I realize that this is technically God, but since he’s all wise and all-knowing and just comes right out of nowhere, does this count as the “magical old black guy” trope? “Please, we came for answers, and I’m more confused than ever.” “Okay, here’s Revelation #1: “God is omniscient and omnipresent, and the two are tied together. “God knows everything on earth, because He is everywhere on Earth. Yeah, you may have noticed that this has taken an odd turn for a parody comic. Well, that’s because it’s no longer a parody comic. Issues #3, #4, and #5 of Marville are now about Bill Jemas espousing his views on God, morality and humanity… …through the eyes of three snarky, insufferable idiots. That’s right…the stupid comic that was trying to be funny and failing miserably is now trying to be serious with bits of “witty observations”, and it’s still not funny, nor witty, or in any way thought-provoking. It’s just annoying, and more than a little insane as we progress through this nightmare. Anyway, they ask what happened to Mickey, and we cut to her pulling Lucy and Al from the ocean, and onto a proper beach. She claims they were just hallucinating, but all three see God–or rather, “Jack”, as he’s now called in the comic–standing on the beach. Mickey claims he didn’t do anything to help stop them from drowning, and Jack responds that he couldn’t help. Thus, we get into a philosophical argument about what is essentially the age-old question of religion: “If God is good, then why do bad things happen to good people?” Many people have different belief systems and answers to that question, assuming they believe in a God who is all good, just like I have my own answer to it. The problem is that this argument is coming from nowhere. Mickey just believes Al and Lucy when they say Jack is God, despite her earlier stating that she didn’t believe in God, and from her perspective, all that happened was that they fell out of the time machine into the middle of the ocean, even though we’re about to see that the time machine is like 20 feet away, so how the hell did THAT even happen?! Oh, and there are only two panels on this page, and one of them is almost completely covered in text. Look, if I wanted to read pseudo-philosophical garbage pretending to be a comic book, I’d read something by Dave Sim. [rim shot] And the non-comic fans in my audience have no idea who the hell that is, but right now, I don’t care, because this comic is dumb. Jack says that Revelation #2 is that “God does work miracles, but not on demand. He can’t do a damn thing without help.” Or He can do it when He’s bored, like when He bestows superpowers onto a 17-year-old slacker so he can get laid… We’ll be right back, ya Slifer slackers… And now we’re back. I love this outfit. “Jack is the Lord and this is the time of creation. “I bet that right now he can wave his hand over the Earth and create all of the world’s plants and animals.” “We already have one fat pious, self-righteous cow.” What? Who the hell are you talking about? If you mean Rush Limbaugh from last issue, you kinda let that ship sail when you had him save your characters for no reason! Al interrupts that he’s just getting freaked out by all of this, finally displaying an actual emotion. “Easy, my friends, the purpose of your journey is to gain understanding, and this argument about me as God is not helping you do that. “I’m not what you think. I’m just your friend Jack.” So, wait…y-you’re NOT God? Then why the hell are we talking to YOU, mysterious black man in a suit and tie? The point of this trip is to ask God about the meaning of life and how it relates to morality and crime and– [sobbing] Oh God, I’m actually defending them… Jack recommends they all go into the water since he can show him the “coolest things forever, fo realsies”. And thus, everyone…strips down naked. Jack is naked, too, and they feel the need to comment about his penis size. “Like an African fertility god.” I know I have to remind my audience this every once in a while, but…but just remember… Bill Jemas got PAID to write this. Somebody else got PAID to TYPE IT into the comic. Yet another person got paid as an editor to APPROVE it. Admittedly, Bill Jemas was president of the company at the time…but still… He got PAID for it nonetheless. So our cast is naked in the water with God. This…this is a thing that is happening. “And the sky and the water are the most amazing blue.” “It is so quite [ding-dong] and still, but…” “…you feel something, don’t you?” Yes…it’s called “irritation”.
It’s what the readers are feeling right now. As they swim down deeper into the waters–and they can talk underwater, I guess–Mickey notices something… “Are we shrinking?” “Jack, why are we shrinking?” Oh, don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal for there to be shrinking going in and out of the water. So time for a science lecture featuring naked tiny people observing the foundation of life on Earth. Jack states that the first life on Earth was caused by spontaneous generation of certain molecules coming together, but refuses to answer whether God made it happen or not. …probably because Bill Jemas didn’t want to actually state with absolute fact how these things happen, and disguise that this has now become
“The Marville Lecture Hour”. Seriously, there is no more characterization or anything here. It’s just the three commenting on the science of life evolving on Earth. Say, who here has seen the final episode of
Star Trek: The Next Generation? There’s a brief bit where the omnipotent being Q sends Captain Picard back to the foundations of life on Earth. You know what the difference between that scene and this is? There was actually a plot-driven reason why we were seeing it, as opposed to just being given a scientific and religious lecture for about six pages! Q: “I really must speak to the maid.” I admit, I’m skipping a lot of this dialogue because it’s just back and forth. Mickey going, “This is all just random chance!”, while Lucy and Al respond, “But God clearly did it!” There is no reason any of this is here. They use the time machine to go forward another 30 million years where there’s more plant life, but the plants are also dying due to a lack of carbon dioxide, which they indicate by the high amount of oxygen in the air. Waitwaitwaitwaitwait–I was just chalking it up to Jack giving them air to breathe, but… now they actually point out that they’re breathing the air on the planet, and not some artificial bubble of air that Jack provided them? There were no plants to produce oxygen at the start of life on Earth. For something that’s trying to be scientific, kinda dropped the ball there, don’t you think?! “Of course. Don’t you know anything about SCIENCE?” Oh, and then they strip naked and dive into the water again…more science of evolution of life forms… more of them repeating the same schtick from before, but with a new twist of stupid. “Hey, Lucy–you know those carbon molecules inside the animals–where do you think they came from?” “What?” “They ate them, Lucy.
Those cute little critters are eating up their parents.” Oh, yeah…that’s one of the bits I skipped. They called some of the evolving plants “cute”. And now Mickey and Lucy are trying to argue that it’s horrible that plants have to be eaten or that some molecules devour others. “Jack is horrible. I know you are God. You said you were omnipotent. So please just stop this. “You said you were omniscient, so please figure out a way to make more Carbon Dioxide without killing anything.” OH, MY GOD! A character is actually arguing that it’s a HORRIBLE TRAGEDY that individual molecules and microbes from a basic form of a PLANT are dying off! Even in a series that has featured Ted Turner karate-chopping a meteor, that is STUPID! I mean, for the love of– Futurama PARODIED this kind of thing! [applause] Free Waterfall, Sr. “Whoa! No-no…no applause… “Every time you clap your hands, you kill thousands of spores that’ll someday form a nutritious fungus. “Just show your approval with a mold-friendly
thumbs-up.” Hey…Lucy, Mickey… [furious clapping] They’re non-sentient. They’re non-SAPIENT. They don’t even QUALIFY as life. They are a COMPONENT of life at best. I– Lucy…Mickey… I-I don’t even have the right words for this, so… I’m gonna let Arnold Rimmer say it for me. Rimmer: [yelling] “Stop your foul whining,
you filthy piece of distended rectum!” Mickey bitches about how she doesn’t see any kind of divine plan at play to make life better… just a whole lot of death, murder–seriously–and cannibalism. MURDER AND CANNIBALISM! OF MICROBES! Mickey…I… [finger snap] Man: “You really piss me off.” “This is not about death. It’s about life.” I’m sorry, but you can’t say that without making me think of Christopher Lambert in Mortal Kombat. Show of hands…who’d like to watch Mortal Kombat instead of continuing to read this? The next “Revelations” from Jack are that the new animals don’t know what they’re eating, and they’ll soon grow up along with the plants. “And by the time we are finished with this journey, you will see the final revelation– “Every creature who has ever shed its mortal coil is, and always will be, with God. And they are happy too.” Spoilers: No, we don’t.
This is never brought up again. And next issue, we start to get even more insane. And so our comic ends with Jack saying they should jump ahead another couple million years. Where to? “Jurassic Park.” Waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait– Assuming you weren’t just referencing the movie and wanted to go to the actual Jurassic PERIOD with, like, dinosaurs and crap, I don’t think a “couple million years”
is gonna be quite enough. I mean, in the comic so far, most forms of life haven’t evolved yet, so you’re either in pre-Cambrian or Cambrian-era Earth. Maybe Ordovician, given the climate… You’ve still got several more eras to go through over the course of a few HUNDRED million years before you get to dinosaurs. This comic sucks! This is the turning point of the mini-series, my friends… where things REALLY get unbelievable. Putting aside the complete failure of sequential storytelling of the comic style, one could argue that the philosophical arguments that this comic raises about intelligent design vs. natural evolution could make for an interesting discussion… …except the ones who go to see it are a group of characters that we already hate and must endure, with God showing them this for no actual reason, and we are basically lectured to by someone who probably isn’t that well-versed in scientific or philosophical texts and wants us to feel bad for the poor molecules– again, MOLECULES… –that had to die off for life to be born on Earth! MOLECULES! Oh…oh, God… Just thinking about it has made my head hurt again… Booze… Need more booze… [“Atop the Fourth Wall” instrumental outro] Dr. Linksano: All right…I’m not even sure HOW a hologram can sleep, but…he is sleeping. We should be able to talk in peace. Harvey Finevoice: We gotta do something about that guy before he KILLS us all. Linksano: Well, going at him half-cocked with a pistol isn’t going to work, as YOU found out. Harvey: Yeah, I admit it.
That was knuckleheaded of me. At the very least, I should have aimed for that doodad that powers him. …but I was just being too hot-headed. Linksano: It wouldn’t have made much of a difference
even if you HAD shot at the mobile emitter. Harvey: How do you figure? Linksano: The hologram is a combination of light projection and force fields. He is able to project the force field around the mobile emitter to protect it from harm. Harvey: I don’t suppose you have any science-y crap to help out with that, do ya? Linksano: Nothing specifically designed to take it out… …but I think we DO have a chance with a frontal assault. Harvey: I thought you just said going in with pea-shooters ain’t worth the effort! Linksano: We’ll need larger, more powerful guns. He’s impervious to harm, but he’s NOT undefeatable. Like any other electronic object, he relies on energy. If we drain his energy banks, then he’s vulnerable. Continued, sustained attacks WILL do it… …it’s just we need to survive to see it through. Harvey: Haven’t pulled out the Tommy Gun in a while…
This’ll be a good time. Linksano: Excellent!
We’ll need ’90s Kid’s help as well. Harvey: I don’t think he’s in any shape for that… ’90s Kid: [sad] Rob Liefeld’s not doing comics anymore! [sob] Harvey: I don’t get it!
He only has Diet Coke in that thing! How is he drunk? Linksano: I’ve learned not to question these things. Just get him sobered up and ready! And I’ll be prepared to do my part. Harvey: You got it, Big Eyes. You know what? I bet that gunslinger mook is responsible for all this. He’s probably just waitin’ right now,
biding his time for the right time to attack. [teleporter sound] Gunslinger: Ugh… Well, that could have gone better… Sierra: Hello, Master. It’s good to see you again. Gunslinger: Good to hear from you too, Sierra. How long was the time dilation? Sierra: A factor of 20, Master. Gunslinger: 20? Arrrghh… Sierra: Please steady yourself, Master.
You’re still acclimating. Gunslinger: I know…I know. Took a nasty hit from that fella’s gun, too. Sierra: Medical scans indicate high toxicity in your bloodstream. I would humbly suggest you sit down while I administer medication in the air supply. Gunslinger: Right. [groans] That universe is poison to the core. I mean, I was only there for a couple minutes, and… …I was losing focus. Sierra: I am please to report, Master, that the readings you came back with are very thorough. I should be able to extend your ability to withstand the universe immensely. Gunslinger: Yeah…good to hear. So a factor of 20, huh? We really are off the beaten path this time. So how long was I gone, in their time? Sierra: Approximately three months, Master. I am already making calculations to adjust for the dilation. Gunslinger: That fella has experience with shootouts, Sierra. Sierra: Were you able to make him angry? Gunslinger: Yes, and no… He seemed more annoyed than anything. Still… I’m sure I can make this work. Sierra: Begging your pardon, Master, but I’ve accessed records within this universe… It might be a better course of action to avoid this one. Gunslinger: Why do you say that? Sierra: This individual and his weapon…
He apparently defeated Lord Vyce. Gunslinger: This guy tangled with Vyce? Sierra: And succeeded, Master! Perhaps it would best if we attempted to challenge someone less formidable. Gunslinger: Nah… If this guy really did take out Vyce, that makes it even MORE important that we get this gun up to full power. After all… …it is the last one we need… This is why I don’t make food jokes very often. It gets everywhere.

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