[Rev] End of Month Reviews - Jan 2004

Time Warrior lord_soldeed at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 20 19:39:46 PST 2004

saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au (Saxon Brenton) wrote in message
news:<15f3bff1.0401310210.77c8b91b at posting.google.com>...
> Ultimate Mercenary #3
> 'The Genetically Engineered Vegetables of Wrath' part 3
> A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
> By Adrian McClure
>      This is the only LNH story for January 2004.

Wow.  I don't know whether to feel pleased or disappointed.  You know,
wasn't there a time when three days without an LNH story being posted
was enough of an anomaly to inspire a cascade story?

>      As it notes in its own introduction this is a belated tie-in with 
> Martin Phipps and Jesse Wiley's _Flame Wars 6_ miniseries from last year. 
> It's actually only a tangential tie-in so far. For this reason it's kind 
> of hard to judge it as a tie-in, simply because there are so few points 
> of commonality, although that may change.

It will.  The next story arc will delve heavily into the effects of
Flame Wars VI on the LNH universe.  (Not just the Earth, the entire
universe.  Well, not all of it of course, but more than you'd think.)

>      There are some nice moments of humour, both conventional situational 
> (Ultimate Mercenary has to address a group of tribesmen and finds himself 
> tongue-tied, so he follows the old piece of advice to imagine them all 
> dressed in an embarrassing way, ends up laughing at them, and only some 
> fast talking prevents a potential lynching) to the metatextual that's a 
> frequent element of an LNH story (Varda argues with the Writer about 
> being forced to be UM's love interest and gets deleted from the story).

I'm rather surprised that you liked my humor, to be honest.  My
attempts at humor always seem like the weakest parts of my stories to

>      I found the brief bit of character development that Varda got 
> interesting: Ultimate Mercenary is better than the brutes of her tribe, 
> and obviously a source of hope for her people, but she still finds him 
> annoying. A nice rounded reaction. And then the fully silly reaction when 
> she refuses to be pushed into being Ultimate Mercenary's love interest, 
> causing her to be deleted from the story and causing the whole thing to 
> have to start from scratch.

Varda's involvement in this story surprised even me.  She started out
as a deliberately one-note character and then unexpectedly developed
some depth.  Her being removed from the story and shunted elsewhere
was partially a device to get the series involved with the larger
ramifications of FWVI.  You'll see how next issue.

>      This actually has ramifications later in the story (despite the 
> claims of the characters that the Adrian doesn't plan things in advance) 

Usually, I do plan my stories in advance, but the plans completely
fall apart, leaving me to either abandon the story or struggle
desperately to find somewhere else for them to go.  That's pretty much
how this entire series came to be.  I reserved Ultimate Mercenary in
2001 to be a supporting character in a series featuring a character
I'd created.  It was fairly ambitious and would have established
important elements of the history of the LNH and made major changes to
the status quo.  Then, I reached complete and utter writer's block
with my original series, Sentry, and gave up on this series.  I
decided that my LNH project was too ambitious and wouuld have also
gone nowhere.  Also, I was a novice LNH writer at the time (I still
kind of am, even though I've been lurking around for three years), so
I decided that it would probably be best to introduce the
status-quo-changing elements later, if at all.  Life happened, and the
series I originally intended to write never got written.  Then, I took
a look at LNH again, and realized that I had a character reserved that
I hadn't done anything with.  I decided to write a story using this
character, and I was somewhat inclined at that point, I think, to
unreserve him once I was done and leave LNH.  So I sat down to write a
quick, fun miniseries which wouldn't be too ambitious.  LIttle did I
know what I was getting into...  I have a pretty clear idea of where
I'm going now, though.

>      In fact the only substantive problem I have with this series is the 
> numerous Mysterious Strangers with conflicting goals. I've found myself 
> having to go back with each new episoe to keep them straight. The 
> introduction to part 3 highlights their presence and confusion, attempting 
> to turn a drawback into a highlight. Hopefully further episodes will 
> resolve their seemingly mutually contradictory plans into a clever plot 
> point rather than a laboured joke.

That was actually a very useful criticism.  One of the Mysterious
Strangers is going to be more or less sidelined for the next story
arc, and the motives of the other ones will be made clearer next

Thanks for the review.  It helped motivate me to get off my butt
(actually get on my butt, since I had to sit down at the computer to
write it, but you know what I mean) and start worked on the next
issue.  I'll start work once I email another writer requesting to use
one of his locations.  I'm glad you're doing these end-of-the-month
reviews, since that will help promote interaction and help improve all
our writing.  I hope in the future to do some reviews myself, but
there's little here right now apart from the Artifice Comics stuff,
and I don't really read that much either.  (Although I do like Bush43

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