Boxing Mr. T, Part One

Bloggified by Jake on Tuesday, October 3, 2006

If you're like me or the millions of other people who have seen Rocky III, when you hear there is a comic book about boxing starring Mr. T, you're gonna need a new pair of underwear.

Don't change yet though or you're just going to have to change again when we're finished.

Mr. T and the T-Force #5 contains the first part of a two-issue story arc titled "Easy Prey," a down-to-earth examination of street violence and juxtaposes how it affects single mothers, the elderly, and tomato can boxers who live in the park.

Mr. T, landlord, groundskeeper, owner, and super of an apartment building, is trying to get some yardwork done, but is being distracted by two out of work slackers moving a couch--which will never be mentioned again or have any bearing on anything in this or any future story arcs, making it curious that Mr. T gets so worked up about it--and old Mrs. Thibodeaux, who wants Mr. T to move her ice box.

If that wasn't enough to keep Mr. T busy, he also gets a visit from a woman and her two kids who have just been mugged.Have you considered requesting the postman hand deliver the check and filing a grievance with the post office about the mailboxes? Mailboxes are technically federal property and anyone tampering with them can be shot. Have you considered contacting the police before you go to the weird landlord down the street who talks about himself in the third person and breaks into the bedrooms of children in the middle of the night and throws them into dark alleys?

Mr. T takes on the case, but first he has to move Mrs. Thibodeaux's old fridge. She just got a new one... but can't seem to pay her rent. Mr. T doesn't complain though because he respects his elders, as evidenced by the fact he's never broken into Mrs. Thibodeaux's apartment in the middle of the night and thrown her into a dark alley nor kicked her in the face with another man's foot. Things get more interesting though when he lifts the old fridge and finds a suspicious plastic tray.At this point, I can't help but wish that Granny Crackfiend would become Mr. T's archnemesis, recruiting kids to deal her dope on the schoolyards, luring them in with fresh baked cookies, but then turning into a completely hardcore, Tony Montana badass who will plug a kid behind the ear with a .38 while he obliviously sucks on a hard candy and looks at old photos of Mr. Thiboudeaux in his army uniform if she suspects he's skimming.

Instead, Mr. T wound up fighting inner city ninja children.

Mrs. Thibodeaux offers that the stuff might belong to her nephew, which would make my story even better if her nephew was a good guy, but gets his ass beaten down by Mr. T and hauled into the cops on the word of Granny Crackfiend. That's a Dr. Doom level of evil.

Mr. T takes the money to pay Mrs. Thibodeaux's overdue rent and carries the refrigerator down to the alley where it can serve as the perfect hiding place for kids playing hide and go seek on very special episodes of 1980's sitcoms. While in the alley, he hears a group of people threatening some dude out for a jog and decides there's no better time to beat up some thugs while reciting early-90's rap lyrics.The guy out for a jog turns out to be Slammin' Sam Slamm, the boxer with the least creative nickname ever. Would it have killed Mike Baron to name him "Wham Bam" Sam Slamm? That literally took me more time to type out than to think it up.

How much cooler would it have been if in addition to being a downtrodden underdog about to get his one shot at the big time, Sam was destined to be the next Stalin and all those guys were trying to kill him before he could achieve any significant power and put into motion the deaths of millions? Now Mr. T has unwittingly set those wheels spinning and will have to do anything in his power to stop Sam.

Between Granny Crackfiend and "Wham Bam" Sam Slamm, future despot, I've already created two storylines more compelling than every issue of Mr. T and the T-Force put together.First off, we learn there is good reason for Sam to be such an underdog. In fact, those odds are probably not long enough. According to Brady, the owner of the local gym, O'Malley is "26--at the top of his game" while Sam is a 33 year old "washed up old stumblebum." O'Malley's the welterweight champ with a record of 29-0, 25 by knockout; Sam is 33-18 with fifteen knockouts. Sam also trains and sleeps alone in the park, can't afford a cutman or trainer, and only got a shot at the title because O'Malley's original opponent broke his hand. At only 15 to 1, I would mortgage my house and sell my kids to bet on O'Malley--if this wasn't a comic in which the star agreed to help train the underdog.

Secondly, people don't care that much about boxing. Maybe if this was 1947 I would go with it, but in 1994 you'd have a hard time finding ten people able to name a welterweight champion boxer, much less willing to kill his opponents in the street to guard his honor.

While Sam trains for his big fight, the widow's check comes and Mr. T goes with her to Mailboxes Etc. so he can confront the muggers. Fortunately for his plan, the muggers are apparently not the most observant men on the block, completely overlooking the overly muscled, mohawk-sporting star of his own Saturday morning cartoon wearing twenty pound of gold chains who is walking fifteen feet behind her.Mr. T beats them all up, giving the widow a glimmer of hope... which he immediately extinguishes, plainly explaining that the muggers will be mad about being attacked on their home turf, implying they will likely try to kill her the next time they see her.

Having escorted the woman home with a check for probably around $200 and a street gang fatwa on her head, Mr. T goes for a jog with Slammin' Sam Slamm, but encounters more hatred.Ironically, you idiots have pointed out the exact reason this plan makes no sense. Sam Slamm is a tomato can. O'Malley should have him kissing canvas in the first round. Hell, the guy just learned from one of the stars of The A-Team that running is a good form of exercise, has never hired a trainer in his 51 professional (and untold number of amateur) bouts, and never thought about looking for a gym to work out in, settling for shadow-boxing ducks at the pond next to which he slept on a parkbench, until the aforementioned television actor suggested it. How are you guys going to react when O'Malley has to fight a legitimate contender?

Mr. T and Slamm beat up some of the guys, making this the third time Mr. T has fought a group of more than three guys in just sixteen pages, but have to run when a car comes to a screeching halt and reinforcements pile out."There they are!" implies that these guys have been driving around Chicago, actively looking for Slammin' Sam just so they can beat him up. European soccer hooligans are shaking their heads at this level of obsessiveness. Even O'Malley can't believe it."Yeah, he accepted your offer to box him. We can't let him disrespect you like that! He should go curl up in the fetal position whenever someone mentions your name. That's how you show love for the champ!"

Incidentally, I'd just like to point out that Mr. T has changed out of his sleeveless blue shirt for a sleeveless pink hoodie for this jog, the only time this entire issue that he wasn't wearing the blue shirt. So to recap, Mr. T woke up one morning and put on his sleeveless blue shirt. He then mowed a lawn, moved a fridge, beat up a group of thugs, wore the same shirt for a few more days, escorted a widow to get her husband's pension check, beat up more thugs, and hung out in a gym before taking the shirt off so he could go for a seven mile jog, shower, and put on the same shirt, which he'll wear until the end of the next issue.

What do you think Mr. T's shirt smells like? Maybe that's his secret to knocking out boxing-loving hoodlums in one punch.

Clad in his favorite shirt, Mr. T helps get Sam ready on fight night and agrees to be in the veteran's corner, pointing out that O'Malley can only fight in a straight line so Slamm can win if he can "show him some angles," proving that Mr. T pays more attention to welterweight boxing than did any of O'Malley's previous 25 opponents' trainers.

Unfortunately, while Sam and Mr. T were able to run away from eight O'Malley zealots on the streets, in the arena they have nowhere to go but the ring and the crowd has more than eight guys.Even the world's stinkiest shirt can't save them now!

Tommorow! Part Two! Boxing! Drugs! Pension checks! Mr. T beats up thugs and changes his shirt!

So I guess what I'm saying is there's really not much difference from today...

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