[REV] End of Month Reviews - July 2004 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Sun Aug 1 16:17:48 PDT 2004

End of Month Reviews - July 2004
Reviewed this issue:
      Alt.Riders #26 [LNH]
      ASH #50 [ASH]
      Deja Dude and Master Blaster Special #1 [LNH]
      LNH Asia: Full Throttle #1 [LNH]
      Vel #-1, 0, 1/2, and 1 - 2 [LNH]
Also posted:
     LNH Asia #2: Full Throttle #2 [LNH2]
     Limp-Asparagus Lad #53 [LNH]
     Spoilers below.
Alt.Riders #26
'Speeed part 3'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jamas Enright
     Continuing from Captain Everything #1 and Alt.Riders #26. The 
Alt.Riders are, somewhat mysteriously, invited back to the city of 
Got.ham for a civic reception in their honour. Afterwards the 
Net.Elementalist is captured by Speeed, after which Speeed and his 
associate Fade get to use the Net.Elementalst as bait for playing cat-
and-mouse with the other Alt.Riders, capturing them one by one for 
their master, who turns out to be an old enemy.
     At this point I should probably make a quip that by now you should 
realise that Captain Everything ain't coming back simply because the God 
that Speeed and Fade are working for isn't the type predisposed towards 
granting resurrections. Actually, their devotion to Mandrake seems quite 
fanatical and cultish (and, tellingly I think, is subtly different to 
the professional criminal relationship that Speeed exhibited back in his 
first appearance. Mandrake's dialogue suggests that he's either doing a 
very good cult leader impersonation, or went seriously nuts as a result 
of his last major appearance.
Academy of Super-Heroes #50
'World On A String'
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dvandom (Dave Van Domelen), with Tony Pi, Mike Escutia and Joe Singleton
     This episode is packed full of stuff to celebrate the fiftieth 
issue anniversary. It's double-sized over its typical length, has guest 
material by other ASH writers, and links to honest-to-goodness full 
colour cover art.
     The story culminates and thwarts the plot of Q'Nos to summon his 
mother, the World-Serpent of sundry mythologies, back to Earth from 
Tartarus. The various human and superhuman defenders have no specific 
idea what Q'Nos is trying to recall, and so adopt the double-barrel 
strategy of a) spreading out along Magellan's Navigation in order to try 
to disrupt the summoning ritual, and b) have Peregryn prepare a backup 
plan to wrest control of Q'Nos's power and abjure the creature if all 
else fails. Cue scenes of small teams (both regular cast and guest 
appearances) fighting around the world, interspersed with Pereryn's 
preparations and assault against Jormungandr.
     Now, here's the bit where I reveal a downer, but I think it has more 
to do with me being a curmudgeonly C.O.O.T. (comic owner over thirty) 
than anything inherent to the story . In retrospect I noticed an 
interesting reaction in myself: once Peregryn had given his opening 
tactical assessment and outlined his plans, I knew instinctively that it 
would be his backup scheme that would be the ultimate defeat of Q'Nos and 
the Leviathan, and placed most of my emotional investment in that subplot. 
I actually caught myself skimming through some of the other scenes to get 
to the bits with Peregryn, and had to force myself to slow down. After 
all, there's lots of good stuff in the other material: Beacon discovers 
a new use for his light powers, and Breaker admits her fears of various 
archvillains have simply been projected stand-ins for the Chinese state. 
The Base of the Pillar's apparent death and surreptitious leaving was 
intriguing, and even if she goes nowhere near the regular cast, the 
combination of her departure to find a new life combined with the 'next 
issue teaser' that new heroes will be joining ASH makes for a compelling 
cliffhanger. And as an ardent LNH-phile, how can I not have a soft spot 
for Conflicto and his Zoo of Malice?
Deja Dude and Master Blaster Special #1
'Deja Dude and Master Blaster Go Hollywood'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] title
by Martin Phipps
     In this quirky non-plotted post Deja Due and Master Blaster review 
movies. And that's it. Oh, they make a token attempt to review movies 
while in mortal danger, but they soon discover that hanging themselves 
by a bungee cord over a tank of piranhas makes it too hard to concentrate.
LNH Asia: Full Throttle #1
'Whatever happened To Master Roster Man?'
A Legion of Net.Heroes 2 [LNH2] title
by Martin Phipps
     It seems that the Lan.darin has been holding Master Roster Man for 
ransom for the past twenty years, but thanks to incompetence on the part 
of the Lan.darin and/or the LNH (both are equally plausible) the issue 
has not be resolved. Then N and Deja Dude II of LNH Asia arrive and rescue 
him, and setting up some foreshadowing for a confrontation with the 
Lan.darin's beautiful and mysterious partner. Along the way Nimbo and 
Intuition girl get menaced by hulking, stinky Mo.gosub.lian goat herders 
until Utraman rescues them.
     You know, I really felt sorry for the plight of those Mo.gosub.lian 
goat herders.
Vel #-1, 0, 1/2 and 1 - 2
'The Man I Never Was' parts 5-7 (of 6) and
'Mitochondrial Mayhem' parts 1-2
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
By Jesse Willey
     I'm not sure if the pacing of the story got away from Jesse, or 
whether the issue 1/2 epilogue was planned from the start as a satirical 
new twist on his penchant for numbering some of his (mini)series backwards 
from a negative number. 
     'The Man I Never Was' continues and concludes as LNH2 version of 
Johnny Stomper rescues/'deports' Jailbait and Vel back from ancient 
Dofia, followed by a further jump back to the LNH period LNHHQ to thwart 
the machinations of Screw You Over Lad, the Evil Twin Vel, and ultimately 
Doctor Killfile's attempt to gain power by inserting himself into the 
Dorfian legend of the Prophet. Thanks to foreshadowing the audience should 
not be too surprised to discover that the Evil Twin Vel had to take the 
role of the Prophet instead.
     There are a whole bunch of little things that I could alternately 
praise or rant about, but at the time I'm putting the final touches to 
this post I've had a hard weekend of goofing off for my birthday, and I 
just don't feel up to it. So instead I'll briefly note (or at least try 
to briefly note) some of the standout points. I liked the framing sequence 
with Dr Freud; it allowed for some interesting introspection on Vel's 
feelings. I had trouble keeping track of which version of Johnny Stomper 
was appearing in #0 - at first I thought it was the LNH version, but then 
the revelation of time paradox altered memories made me doubt this. Also, 
in the end we also get something of an explanation as to why people were 
overreacting so much in the first few issues (the influence of Screw You 
Over Lad); mind you, Dr Stomper's admission that jealousy may have been 
involved in his case felt a lot more natural and less plot-devicey than 
the bald after-the-fact-revelation-with-no-personal-recriminations that 
Ultimate Ninja received.
     Issues 1 and 2 are set back prior to Vel's departure from the Legion, 
and indeed before the events of the first story arc. Vel, Master Blaster 
and Deja Dude embark on a 'Fantastic Voyage' style miniaturised adventure 
within a body to remove a brain cancer, only to discover that the cancer 
is the regenerating form of the alien troll OMAR, who of course gets loose 
and has to be dealt with. Along the way there's some scenes of Vel ribbing 
Deja Dude, which is perfectly plausible. Naturally Vel, with his warrior 
code of honour, is going to side with Master Blaster. Deja Dude, by both 
personality and nature/limitations of his powers, is more given to 
thoughtful solutions to problems.
Saxon Brenton    University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au 
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