Archeologists are only now beginning to realize the extent of what we can only surmise was massive brain damage suffered by most of the American population during the long-ago decade of the 1990s. Some sort of widespread eye degeneration was once the only explanation of how tremendously ugly everything got for a few years there, and even more alarmingly, recent expeditions have uncovered evidence that the damage was even worse than suspected, and not limited just to the visual centers of our cerebral cortexes, but to the entire brain as a whole. No other theory can explain what we're about to show you.
Exhibit "A" - a comic book called "Team Anarchy", straight from the gaping maw of 1990s Image-style superhero hell. It's all here in one repellent package - the hideous, garish coloring, the ridiculous musculature, the constant grimace and gritting of teeth, and the anatomical contortions that allow the artist to over-render everything except feet. Oh, and the story, which is notable by its complete non-existence.
Team Anarchy! Because we don't know what "anarchy" means!
I'd like to remind everyone here at the start that what you're about to see had THREE EDITORS. And is also a "prelude to mayhem". So if you were hoping to see ACTUAL mayhem depicted here, sorry. All you're getting is the prelude.
As this is the third issue of Team Anarchy, we get some important backstory, such as this comic is taking place on New Earth in the year 3082, where Core-Tech sends its C-Units out to hunt, capture, and kill mutants, who apparently are identified by their amazing number of teeth and their penchant for expository internal monologues.
As this is an exciting superhero comic full of action, it's important to give our characters time to stand around scowling while their force-hands glow with the amazing power of that Plasma Globe you bought at Radio Shack last week. Also nice about mutants in the year 3082 is how open and accepting they are, even of women with obvious facial defects.
And then they leap into action! Well, one of them does. The other guy just kind of stands there. Action!
This is one of those amazing superhero fights where one character will engage in bloody flesh-ripping fight action, and others just stand around talking casually.
And of course we get our double-page spread of guys talking while beating each other up. I'm thinking Blue Glowing-hand Guy's main super power is making his back leg really teeny tiny when he leaps at you.
The 1990s, ladies and gentlemen: comics written by people who don't know how to write; drawn by people who don't know how to draw.
But enough about our super people and their super problems. Let's check in on the bad guys at Core-Tech, who undoubtedly will be at least visually interesting, right?
I guess the creative team used up all their creativity on the heroes; our villians are two bald talky white guys with varying degrees of damage to the bones of their faces. Like the oval speech balloon templates? I hope you do, because here's a lot of 'em!
Meanwhile, back with our super mutants...
I'm highlighting this to point out two things. Firstly, that even in New Epsilon on New Earth in the year 3082 we still have 20th century style buildings and slums with boarded up windows. Secondly, "Team Anarchy" has a headquarters, where I assume they have structured meetings, pay membership dues, draft bylaws, and do all that other really organized stuff that anarchists are known for.
I'm highlighting THIS to point out how this comic can ruin even a simple scene of people walking into a building.
These two bald guys love each other so much that the skinny guy's face is actually squishing itself into the fat guy's cheek. Or maybe the artist was just really incompetent? No no, I'm sure this was deliberate. There are no accidents here. It all has meaning. The meaning being THERE IS NO GOD
Here both the artist and the writer are just giving up - the writer is having characters ask each other questions they just answered on the previous page, and the artist is saying "screw it, half this page is just going to be black ink, I don't care any more."
And as Thong Woman adminsters Med-Pak first aid, Blue Glowing-hand Guy alerts them all to an incoming Core-Tech warhead! KRAKA-KABOOOOOM! Can this be the end of Team Anarchy?! Please say yes?!
But first a word from our sponsor.
"Dagger Comics - We Guarantee Low Print Runs Of this Garbage, Unlike Other Companies Who Produce Comics People Might Actually Want To Read." That's the mentality we're up against here, the idea that comic books were deliberately turned into "collectibles" right out of the gate, rather than be collectible for any pop-cultural or entertainment purpose. The business model of churning out collector's items nobody actually wanted had the curious effect of nearly destroying the comic book industry completely. Decades later the effects are still with us - we have a one-distributor monopoly and, littering cheap bins at conventions and surviving comic book shops, the non-returnable backstock of thousands of failed small businesses; physical evidence of shattered dreams and bad financial planning. Thanks, 1990s. Thanks a LOT.
And we're back! Hurling ourselves at the reader with gigantic thighs bulging with huge, probably non-existent muscles! Feet? Who needs 'em! We're Team Anarchy! That's what anarchy means, teamwork!
So this is issue 5, and immediately we are right back with Two Bald Guys having the SAME EXACT CONVERSATION they had in issue 3, all about how we've tracked their transmission programming code frequency and we've located our targets and are locking on, leering with our teeth-filled mouths.
Meanwhile in the secret mutant city Arcadia, our heroes are enjoying some down time, which in this comic means their eyeballs are taken out for cleaning, or something.
Then they see something SO SURPRISING that appallingly ugly computer-generated backgrounds are flung at the reader like poo from a monkey! What did we ever do to you, Team Anarchy? Why do you HATE US?
Also I want to point out that their eyeballs are back, but blonde guy's nose bandage has vanished. A fair trade, I think.
Shocking these fellows? The spectacle of a woman's torso- not sure where her legs are - sitting on a bed looking at a laptop while two super-hero mannequins are propped against the wall. And there's a horrified puddle on the floor, and weird shapeless airbrushed blobs in the foreground. I dunno, that's reasonably shocking I guess.
Hey, this woman is a bad person! She whips out two enormous handguns from nowhere, and then fires a string of speech balloons in our general direction. And her eyes are glowing with misty fire! And the bed vanished, and those amorphous blobs are still looming in the foreground! Duck!
turns out she's actually a "necro-borg". Or as the comic puts it, "She's a... ... necro-borg!" Want to write naturalistic comic book dialog? Just have the characters pause while you change panels. Nothing better for really reminding the reader that he's wasted $2.50 on a barely literate piece of junk that ought to be set on fire so future generations will not have to bear the shame of knowing the depths to which their forefathers could sink. I'm just sayin'.
And just when you think the action can't get any more explosive, here we have our heroes standing around speaking in sentence fragments and, in the case of the ladies, stoically enduring the pain of what look like really severe injuries to the hip and groin regions. Might wanna get that checked out, girls. Wait a minute, OOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEEE
PERIMETER ALARM! SOMETHING MANUFACTURED BY CORE-TECH, I BET! BALD MAN GRIMACE WITH LOTS OF TEETH!!!
And that's where our exciting Team Anarchy story ends, with an OOOOOEEEEEOOOOEEE and a furrowed brow. A clenched fist and a glowing eyeball. A hearty curse and a savage toss into the garbage.
To be honest this is one of the more terrible comics we've covered. We've had poorly drawn comics, and we've had poorly written comics, but this one has a magic combination of incoherence, ineptitude, and what-the-fuckery that reaches eyeball-clawing levels. And as someone who lived through the 1990s, I want to offer my sincere apologies. We could have stopped this, perhaps with a heartfelt plea, or a cash bribe. Maybe a small fire, the breaking of one or two wrists, or a out of control bulldozer through someone's living room could have spared the world "Team Anarchy" and all of its ilk. Maybe just one single solitary tear from the eye of a small child could have made them realize the horrors they were visiting on an unsuspecting world.
But what's done is done, and as members of that generation, we must forever carry our share of the blame in failing to act, and, moving forward, dedicate ourselves anew to the conviction that this must Never. Happen. Again. Luckily, the chances of the comic book industry ever regaining 1990s levels of profitability are pretty slim, and the marketing geniuses who were behind all this have moved on to selling smartphone apps that measure your biorhythms or are in Federal prison serving various sentences for securities fraud. No matter what outrages lie in store for us, we can take comfort in knowing that we have survived Team Anarchy... and that means we can survive ANYTHING.
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