Monday, March 7, 2011

Superman and Wonder Woman: Tandy Computer Whiz Kids

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The Whiz Kids are back and they're as boring and dorky as ever! ...Yeah, it's bad.



76 comments:

SeanAsh said...

No Magic School Bus reference at the mention of impromptu field trips? For shame, Linkara. For shame.

Mountain King said...

I just feel tired all over after that one.

What was Radio Shack thinking; throw a superhero fight into a hackneyed advert? I don't understand quite where the writer was coming from with this. It's amazing to think just how out of touch these people are. Not just with children, but with comics in general.
The Luthor story felt tacked on, to spice up the pointless and as you pointed WRONG history the comic tried to foist off on us. Which actually raises an interesting question:- Is Diana, the avatar of truth in the DC universe, lying, if she doesn't know its a lie? Wrap your mind a bout that one Linkara!
The annoying and drone like children appear to have have shaken of some of the brainwashing, but I suspect the devil teacher will correct that matter just as soon as Wondy has her back turned. I was rather disappointed that there wasn't a miraculous healing of another wheelchair bound pupil (seriously, go back and look at the first one you did, Alec was in a wheelchair for his first few panels. No one has explained that to me!)
Okay in its defence this story was on the cusp of the end of the silver age (wasn't it?) and that would make this one of the more sensible stories of that era but that isn't saying much.
At heart this comic felt like state propaganda, and as your comment about Liz shows I'm not the only that gets that feeling.
This comic is awful, seriously I have no idea how reading this sort of thing doesn't send you into a coma.

Good review, see you next week

Thomas

thextremeonex said...

OK, a few things:
1)Wasn't the internet mostly government based at the time of this comic. If that's the case, how are these kids able to access it?

2)Picard Double Facepalm was great.

3)Some schools count (or in my area's case, counted) 6th grade as elementary school. When I went it was. It was changed after the construction of the new High School was finished so middle school was 6, 7 and 8 insted of just 7 and 8.

4)At least Superman wasn't just a more coherant version of The Hulk with more powers here and actually tried to figure a way out himself.

And what...no bonus history lessons at the end of the book? I feel shafte...no, wait, no I don't actually.

All in all, fun review.

Michael Heide said...

1.: I appreciate the effort you put into the "storyarc" episodes, but I still like these standalone done-in-ones. We've had too few of these in the last couple of months.

2.: I was surprised at the lack of Dr. Evil in this review. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf7uJDhVZIE

3.: You can mock the music of the 80s as much as you like, but that decade did give us the Compact Disc. Among other things.

4.: Did I understand the "access programs from the host computer" as an early form of cloud computing? That is indeed impressive for the 80s...

MaC381991 said...

first off... I'm sorry Linkara, but i can finally say that I'm FIRST!

Now onto the more serious topic of the review itself. WOW... they'll just cram these kids into anything, won't they? I mean really, a story with Superman and Wonder Woman? ...thats stretching it, it really is. This concept was doomed from the getgo.

Trevor said...

Good review Linkara!

Though I wonder why you never used some of the cheesy clips of Lex luthor as portrayed by Gene Hackman. Still, Alec and Shanna are the most hilariously dorky corporate shills ever!

Cubey said...

Hey! How can Superman call Alec when the latter's surfing the 'net using a friggin' MODEM? Shouldn't that block his phone line?

The whole train thing made me think this comic is a prequel to the Dark Tower. The Tandy Whiz Kids were never the same after their encounter with Blaine the Train...

areoborg said...

Its a good thing you got your hat back from Dr Bashir. You look strange without it.

You missed the chance for an MST3K reference, when the kid talks about how fast the math test is going on the computers, with the World's Hardest Math Test bit from the beginning of Riding with Death.

umiyuri said...

YOU NEED HUUUUUUUUUUUGS FOR THIS HELL, LINKARA. SO MANY HUUUUUUUUUGS. ;_;

In fact your girlfriend should be hugging you at the end of every review.

Carlos said...

Great review.

That manic laughter at the end was great.

How can a comic, created with the sole purpose of promoting the best computer of that time can lie enlarging the capabilities of most computers of the 80's?

Sooo ... more comics to the hiatus pile, I guess.

TimeTravelerJessica said...

In answer to your question: In some school districts, sixth grade is the last year in elementary and middle school/Junior High starts in seventh.

And wow ... it's so funny to see this old technology being toted as "top of the line" ... I wonder how funny some of our technological gushing will be in the future. And I'm not sure why Radio Shack thought this was a good idea, these comics are so insipid it's hard to imagine anyone actually being interested in their product because of it.

August M. said...

Well here in California used to have 6th grade in elementary school but in the mid nighties they changed it to middle school. Why? I don't know, but then again I was focused on Power Rangers and Godzilla than paying attention to what happened to the six grade class at the beginning of my 2nd grade year.

Anyways, great review.

Jer Alford said...

The Tandy Kids probably got their memories erased by Dr. Doom's "BRAAAAIN DRAAAAIN", which made them forget all their computer knowledge from the last time.

The "incredible" thing about the subway train is that it was probably free of urine smell.

I'm suprised Luthor's jetboots can outrun Superman's superspeed. Why doesn't Superman just use the Superfriends' Trouble Alert to contact Wonder Woman.

KNEEL BEFORE ZOD...and the computer masters of wherever...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the comic talks all about All the Things we use the Internet for Today.....Except accessing Videos of a Minnesotan Comic-Book-nerd reviewing bad comics.

Trevor Frost said...

I think it depends on the state and the school district. Where I first grew up it was K-6th for elementary, and then 7-8th for middle school, and 9-12th for high school. But then I moved, and it was 6th-8th for middle school.

Stan Lee's Old Clone said...

Dear lord this comic is lame.

MagMarcy said...

I'm sorry if you get a bajillion other comments on this, but 6th grade varies a lot from place to place. I had 6th grade in elementary school and a lot of my friends had it in middle school. It's kind of an in-between year that no one knows what to do with.

I keep waiting for Miss Wilson to lapse into a catatonic state when all she can do is shout "Computers! Computers!" and splutter. *snork*

Anonymous said...

Permission slips on field trips? Have you seen the Magic School Bus?

Just Gavin said...

By gosh, we've discovered Doctor Insano's one weakness! Tying him up with rope!

I love these product placement comics as it's always fun to watch heroes randomly throw away all character and the laws of the Universe fall apart to make these products look cool.

Anyway very good review.

rdfox said...

As a note, at least in the district where I grew up, junior high was seventh and eighth grade only, while sixth grade was still elementary school. However, at our big crosstown rivals, sixth grade was a junior high thing. So it varies from place to place.

SLatios said...

Great AT4W as always, Linkara. :)
As for the grade thing, it varies in region. In fact, I graduated elementary school at 5th grade in one town and then moved to another and graduated again at 6th grade.

James said...

The Picard was not amused by this comic.

David Twiddle said...

That was fun. Looking forward to showing this to friends later.
But i did have to pause it part way through to go watch the Obsession video. Thanks for that.

Erik Johnson said...

Yeah, look at all the math problems we can solve on the computer with a blank screen!

Also, why is Wonder Woman telling these kids about how computers can teach them about the history of technology after she just gave them a lecture on the history of the computer?

Sorry you had to suffer through such a sucky comic. Here watch this awesome Power Rangers team up video to help make the pain go away:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nkWHud5fM0I

Raguna said...

Superman and Wonder Woman in a comic with the Computer Whiz Kids. Oh, my bad, TRS-80 Computer Whiz Kids.

I would say that's a Pandora's Box that should've never been opened, but then again, we've had Madballs and Care Bears in the same comic, so at least its not as bad as it could be.

"BEES, MY GOD."

I love your ability to catch me off guard in such a way that I burst out laughing. XD

I have few comments about the review itself, except I think I facepalmed more than I ever have in any of your other reviews DURING the review. I consider myself a 'computer whiz teen' I guess, so listening to all the stupid is just hilarious.

Anyway, well done with the review, Linkara. ;)

Radar said...

Linkara, you've obviously never worked with a Model III. That's about how big they are! I think I saw something where Superman mentions Lex lined a building with lead. I know that's SOP now for all the buildings he owns, but did he line ALL the buildings with lead, it should be easy to find him.

Reetin said...

While the majority of school systems work that 6th, 7th, and 8th grade is middle school, I believe Junior High is considered to be 7th and 8th only. When I was in 6th grade it was elementary school, however when I moved midway through that year the next school I went to it was considered middle school, so I guess it just depends on which district you are in.

Anonymous said...

its funny in this wonder woman comme more accrosse like display girl you know those girl you see in a mall or at a cosco that try to sell stuff in a middle of the aisle

othergrunty said...

Ha nice to know that Marvel isn't the only one willing to sell itself out like that.

By the way did anyone else notice that the Maneger, Luther contacted also must have had one of these video phone style monitors since Luther talked to him face to face.

Where did he get that one of the Tandy "whatever" is the best computer in the world back then!

Oh and while talking about, who of these guys really thought kids wouldn't notice quickly how stupid it is that everyone calls the computer by it's full designation, especialy since people, especialy kids are quick to create short cutted names for stuff.

It reminds me to the ThunderCougarFalconBird joke from Futurama.

ShadowWing Tronix said...

I can clear up at least two points. The rest can only be blamed on the Silver Age. :)

Luthor in the old days really wasn't in the crime game for the money. He just wanted to be acknowledged as the genius he believed himself to be. Think Insano on tranquilizers.

In the DC comics, especially the first one in the opening, Alec was a "smart alec" (I'm betting the pun was intended.) When Archie was brought in the comic was moved out of Metropolis to "Metro City", which changed to Coast City in the next issue which is when TRS-80 was retired in favor of Tandy.

Supergirl appears in the second DC issue, if anyone cared. Although I'm sure most of you are just wondering why the heck I'm spouting all this. :)

Purestamongpeers said...

I remember these! I wasn't very old but I remember dad giving them to me... meaning that, in fact, these were likely the first "comics" I ever saw. God only knows how I continued to like comics in the future.

On Lex Luthor I've always felt that he is best as a shady business genius AND a mad scientist; a combination of these traits work surprisingly well together. I've always enjoyed seeing Lex get involved in the expensive and utterly impossible Anti-Superman weapons of pure awesome. The Superman Animated Series pulled that combination of quite well, to prove a point.

Furthermore, do you think Lex's shareholders ever question his budget?

Anonymous said...

Hi, long time watcher, first time commenter. Great review as always!

About the whole sixth grade in elementary school thing, I think sixth grade being part of elementary school used to be the norm a long time ago. It's not really the norm anymore, but it still happens in place to place. My mom teaches at a school like that, where sixth grade is considered part of elementary school.

Jeff said...

That was hilarious, I particularly LOVED the cutaway gag to Picard.

I gotta say, I had no idea how trains worked until now. Sometimes you're funny, and sometimes you're educational.

*insert complaint about information you presented*

Just kidding, you're job is to entertain, not inform. If you flub up, people should seriously lighten up about it and let it pass. After all, you've never claimed to be an expert at everything.

corey said...

it was so much fun to see wonder woman teach kids about the "awesome" computers instead of doing things like helping starving people in war torn countries, or doing any other kind of humanitarian work she does, but hey at least this comic didn't have her make out with superman.

Yogurt said...

How exactly does one disable Lex Luthor with the Lasso of Truth? He still has his gauntlets and his hands are free and pointed right at you!

How does preventing him from lying paralyze him?

Explain yourself, comic!

Anonymous said...

I normally dont have too much to say against the comic, since a lot of them seem to go into the "so bad its good" territory, or strikes a nerve among so many people I dont really need to add to it.
This comic, however, was forced and DULL. Nothing about it felt natural...

Anonymous said...

One, you missed a great "Magic School Bus" joke with the comment on field trips. Thoe I doubt that the teacher in the comic, don't care what her name is, is as cool as Ms. Frizzle.

Two, in the school district I grew up in elementaries are K-6, junior highs 7-9, and high school being 10-12. This is because of the number of buildings we have and the number of students.

--M4A

Jesse said...

God, that was a horrible comic. I can't imagine what it must have been like to actually read it completely through for this review.

Funny thing, though. I somehow recall your having done this one before. Maybe it's just the "Hip to be Fit" or whatever the first one was called that I'm thinking of. Still, it's striking how similar the images and storyline seemed.

At any rate, another excellent review, Linkara! Can't wait for the next one!

deuxhero said...

That was stupid (the comic), but at least I have a new word for me "old fashioned" talk with "little computers" (Helpful, as the main time I slip into archaic english terms is when discussing the merits of PC gaming).

Anonymous said...

To answer the question at the end, perhaps they're in a Catholic school. The elementary school I went to was Catholic and ended at grade 8 then went straight to high school. And really, there's more Tandy Computer Wiz Kids? People bought enough of those comics to produce sequels? I'm amazed.

Anonymous said...

I remember playing Number Munchers in 6th grade at my elementary school...

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque said...

Oh Luthor, oh Luthor, the world's greatest criminal mind~~~!

Anonymous said...

Another good review Linkara. Really, was there ever any doubt you WON"T review a product placement comic?

Did you notice how bored Superman looked when he was scanning the fair with his X-ray vision. It was like he was thinking "Ho hum, more Luther mayhem. This is getting pretty tedious by now."

James said...

Congratulations Lewis; I didn't think you could top the inanity of the first Computer Whiz Kids comic, but you did. The questioning Wonder Woman about religion bit was absolutely hilarious.

Marie Nomad said...

This comic is crazy. It was just all over the place and about the planetarium being lifted around by a magic lasso... well, it's magic.

By the way, I was reading the dialogue in the comic and Linkara, you said '1948' when it really said '1945'.

This review is nice but no references to the Magic School Bus.

EinWolf said...

First off, thanks for not making any Amtrak jokes. As a Californian, I think most of us here who've kept up with the news even in passing can tell you, the computers CAN NOT be solely relied upon. All these conductors taking naps or texting and killing hundreds of people in a single accident is not okay and more than enough proof that we need stricter laws regarding our passenger rail system.

Second, it's nice to see you doing a old school review that's all about the comic. Seriously, you should just do like 24 minute episodes of your storyline stuff. People would watch it, and hey, more money in the bank for you with those additionally watches, right?

Rachel said...

Yay, Animotion. :)

FugueforFrog said...

One of these days Alec and Shana are going to show up on AT4W and turn out to have a Tandy that can disable Neutro. I can feel it.

So...why the heck is Wonder Woman even talking about computers anyway? What made her of all superheroes the ambassador of technology when...you know: there are a ton of other DC heroes that actually could be more useful at this sort of thing? This is the heroine who knew nothing of man's world post-Crisis, including tech...sure this obviously is pre-Crisis (since, you know, she has a secret identity and Luthor's still clad in purple), but a clay woman tied to the Greco-roman Pantheon embodying the aspect of truth really has better things to do than talk about computers to a couple of perfect little bastards. Once again this seems to just come down to relevance and identity: WW is one of the most famous heroines at DC and in comics in general and considered the female Superman, thus she has to do anything the writer tells her to do like a perfect puppet.

Oh and as for the 6th Grade thing: it all depends on the school district actually that determines the grade. Around my area, my sister was one of the last "6th graders" to be considered in Elementary school; when I got to 6th, it was middle and 9th was moved to high school

Anonymous said...

Nice review, and yes it all depends on the district, mine had 4 separate townships each with there own K-8 "elementary" school, then they all shared the same high school. Took me forever to figure out what the hell middle school/Jr. high was supposed to be when ever I heard it on T.V.

but keep up the great work, oh and how much longer till the voting for the ship's name closes?

Jesse said...

This was... very boring. The best part was the myth and religions joke. Other than that I'll more than likely forget the rest of this comic.

Erebus said...

If they didn't dedicate so many panels to explaining ALL the technology and 'wonders', maybe they could've fit in a couple of panels that explained something important (and relevant), like, y'know. How Superman escaped. But apparently ink can only be sparred for whatever the kids think is 'amazing', and Wonder Woman lifting a planetarium with her lasso and Superman's miraculous escape isn't as awesome as a train station. Granted, the kids weren't there to see it, but something tells me if they were they'd be too busy 'playing chess' to notice.

You make even stupid Radio Shack ads interesting, thank god. And while I too was wondering when a Magic School Bus reference would pop up, I now think it'd be more of an insult to Ms. Frizzle to relate that series to this comic in any way.

Actually, I'm more sad there wasn't a keytar reference. Aw...

Brandon said...

You know, if this comic takes place in Metropolis, does that mean the last one did too? Would this mean Superman and Duke Nukem live in the same universe?

Dg said...

Boring comic but a decent episode. Though I'm disappointed that with so much pseudo and boring science in it, we didn't get a quick cut to Linksano with his 'chemistry set'.

Also magic school bus reference would be nice but I don't expect that as much XD

BeaverBeaver said...

In Arizona, Elementary schools went from Kindergarden to eighth grade, then to highschool. But In Texas, there are elementary schools, middle schools, junior highschools and then highschools. I assume it's different for every state.

Anonymous said...

DA RED WUNZ GO FASTA!

Roadkill said...

Actually there are fully automated driverless train systems there. Granted the tracks are not as complex as presented here, and are generally metro systems, but still. Maybe I just misunderstood what you were saying though.

Blargy said...

Wow... can the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids come back as adult supervillains? Please? That would be the greatest comic ever.

BOW BEFORE THE POWER OF THOSE WHO MASTERED A TANDY COMPUTER.

Anonymous said...

Nice review. A couple of computer related facts of today, though it doesn't excuse how wrong they are in the time the comic is set.

1- The computerized tests. My school had some of those. It was basicly a dynamic difficulty system. It would messure your ability based on correct answers, speed ect. and adjust the difficulty accordingly.

2- The purely computer controlled trains are a half truth. Modern space craft (and to limited degree fighter planes) are almost 100% computer controlled. In an interview John Carmack of Doom fame even went so far as to say Nasa's insistance on having a "manual override" to everything made it almost impossable to make a usable craft. Plus any computer failure that would require a manual override you would be so screwed that manual control isn't going to help you.

Keep up the good work. Also, while Im commenting (first time) why not have an end of year/season video where you just have the story elements broken out into one long vid?

-Sabre

Gyre said...

I'm surprised Linkara. I'd have thought you'd be the one to point out that yes, increased mechanization and computerization would put people out of jobs but that new ones would be created just as quickly.

Entertainer13 said...

Maybe they attend a private school? I went to Catholic school, and Kindergarten through sixth was elementary, 7th and 8th were "junior high" and so on.

Consolecleric said...

Imagine back in the 80's when Radioshack said, "Hey guys! We could encourage advertising of our products with a comic book! Featuring Wonder Woman and Superman!!"

"But what about the story? Surely it sounds kind of...cheap..."

"That's okay...it's a comic-advert! The story doesn't have to mean anything; just half-ass it."

Meanwhile in 2011...

This comic sucks!! Superman is reduced to a pop-man advertiser! Wonder Woman is left teaching kids about outdated and imperfected hardware! What a waste!!

WPB said...

Holy shit, Number Munchers. That just made me super nostalgic.

I agree that there should've been a Magic School Bus joke, but another was the ridiculously fast trains; considering you're a Gundam fan, I'm surprised you didn't insert a joke about Char or how the red trains are three times faster than normal trains.

ShadowWing Tronix said...

Anonymous said...March 7, 2011 7:15 PM
"And really, there's more Tandy Computer Wiz Kids? People bought enough of those comics to produce sequels? I'm amazed."

Actually they were free giveaways to promote Radio Shack and their products. Companies used to be able to budget stuff like that.

mibreviews.com said...

Dr Insano could not be reached for comment, though a muttering could be heard that the children experimented with their TRS-80's to discover porn.

Oblivion88 said...

Great review Linkara, never thought I'd see a comic where Wonder Woman spends most the time talking about computers.

le-messor said...

Cubey, you're scaring me! Last thing we need is Blaine taking the guys for a trip.

How is a networked class 'even better' than appearing on TV? Especially when there are on 16 computers linked? Classes, even in the 80s, were twice that size. Yep, even in years 1-6, which are primary school in some places.

I don't think 'little computers' was ever the lingo.

And why didn't Superman just fly out of the building? Through the ceiling, even? This is Superman, people!

Another good review, thanks Lewis!

(Hey, I LIKE 80s music!)

shikome kido mi said...

Wait, Superman knows the number of some school kid but can't just call Wonder Woman directly?
As for Lex Luthor, I believe they've finally settled on him being a mad scientist that sold his early inventions to become a business tycoon. It's the best of both worlds, really.
By the way, I always thought mad scientist actually made at least as much sense, since it's hard to picture a man being left in charge of a corporation while Superman, with all his ridiculous supersenses was out to find proof he'd done something wrong. I mean besides the X-ray, Microscopic, and Telescopic vision, there's superhearinga nd who knows what else. Sure, Lex is doing stupid stuff and squandering his genius, but that's where the 'mad' part comes in. Plus, they were really ripping the Kingpin off with some of the early businessman plotlines, down to making Luthor fatter in some of them.
Still, current mad-scientist/businessman Luthor can be pretty fun.

Jacques Massard said...

on Lex Luthor that Paul Cornell and Pete Woods action comics run is great stuff. He is both mad scientist and business man.

Birthmark Hal said...

When Wonder Woman tore the planetarium from its foundations she severed to subterranean electrical conduit powering the building, thus shutting off the red sun lamps.

It's the obvious solution to a stupid situation.

Then they just placed it back and snuck away with forced casualness, hoping nobody noticed that they also severed the sewer, water and gas lines under the planetarium too.

NGT said...

Didn't Alec look different last issue we saw? And I think Shauna might have had a different haircut, too. Miss Wilson was a brunette last book too! Continuity is apparently for people who aren't squares like these kids.

Oh man, Number Munchers...that takes me back.

The surprise being Wonder Woman would never work in a modern comic. Rule 34 all over the place. Hell, proto-Rule 34 probably did happen then. Cue sleazy jazz, children!

+1 for the Magic School Bus.

I'm not as sure as you are that they're blatantly lying. Computer-controlled switching is the norm now. People still drive the trains, yes, but only because they're better so far at noticing something's on the tracks. Scheduling and switching and the like are heavily automated. You are correct in the second instance, however, as we observed last time.

Why is the color on the cover brighter and more vibrant than the rest?

Sixth grade falls into elementary school in the majority of states on the East Coast, but there's really no standardization on the subject except by accident.

Anonymous said...

So in the first one they are part of the "fit to win club" and in this one they are "The Computer Masters of Metropolis!".

Did these kids ever actually get referenced as "whiz kids" inside the comics themselves or is that one of those descriptives that soley appear on the covers of these things?

Lucy McGough said...

Liz is right.

LDavies said...

I know up here my elementary school ended with Grade 7. Of course School lasts longer here in general, Grade 12 is mandatory.

Also the trains I ride in the city are all driver-less. There's a hidden control panel but I've ever seen it unlocked and in use one time, otherwise the computers run the whole show

Ciaran Hillock said...

There's something wrong with this video, it won't play on my computer or tablet. Is there something wrong with Blip ?

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"There's something wrong with this video, it won't play on my computer or tablet. Is there something wrong with Blip ?"

Just tested it and it seems to be working fine for me...

Felix Brunschede said...

Not beginning with talking about summer holidays? Progress. Little progress, but progress nonetheless.