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

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Fri Nov 5 14:08:56 PST 2004

[REV] End of Month Reviews - October 2004 [spoilers]
Reviewed this issue:
      Academy of Super-Heroes #52 [ASH]
      The Alt.Riders #29 [LNH]
      The Daily Super Short-Short Story #24-50 [LNHY/ACRA]
      Exarchs #30 [SG/LNH]
      Full Moon #1-3 [FM]
      LNH Comics Presents Special #10 parts 1 and 2 [LNH]
      Mysteria #10 [AC]
      No-Point Lad and Dismal-Hope Kid #5-6 [BP]
      What If... Jesus Had Been A Scientist [LNH/ACRA]
    Oh, look! A whole slather of non-LNH postings. I guess these things 
go in cycles, huh?
    As stated in another [Admin] posting, this is late because my home 
PC died after 8 years of faithful service.
    Spoilers below.
Academy of Super-Heroes #52
'Journey To The East'
An Academy of Super Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelen (Dvandom)
     The main thrust of the plot continues to be the United World 
diplomatic mission to the Cental Asian Confederation and the politics 
- both internal and external - that relates to it. As anticipated by 
Grind, there are attacks, probably by agents of the People's Republic of 
China seeking to express the ProC's displeasure.
     There's also a sprinkling of other vignettes, including a moderately 
clever classroom discussion about how Mill's Utilitarianism can be bent, 
folded, spindled and mutilated with the application of superpowers; and 
an initial debriefing session that shows the Base of the Pillar (now 
Geod) was intent on finding the Academy all along. In the latter case 
Dvandom forwent the traditional fight scene where, due to a misunder-
standing and Geod's comparatively poor English, she and Beacon have a 
brief tussle. Depending on whether you approve of that sort of cliched 
plot construction, this may or may not be viewed as a lost opportunity 
to intersperse some more action among the dialogue. (Especially if Dave 
hadn't seem that final cliffhanger sneaking up and neeeming at him.)
The Alt.Riders #29 [LNH]
'In God We Trust'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jamas Enright
     Mouse is feeling rather trapped and alone amongst two teams of mind 
controlled superheroes until she finds that the Marsha half of Dva is 
also free, and together they set about freeing other members of the 
Alt.Riders (well, it is their series) and securing the help of the 
Conspiracy Corporation to bring down Mandrake. This was a fun episode; 
as Mouse notes, the Alt.Riders really have serious anger management 
The Daily Super Short-Short Story #24-50
'A Devil Came Down To Georgia' 6-32
A Legion of Net.Heroes Y [LNHY/ACRA] series
by Saxon Brenton
     A Catholic seminary student, Martin Wryce, develops techno-organic 
superpowers, which almost get the better of him. He is warned by Saint 
Christopher that his powers come from two dichotomous sources, one divine 
and the other infernal, and that this means he will be a target for 
diabolic interference - which duly turns up when Damian the evil sock 
teams up with Lisa the Nephalim, Kien the Tulpa and Tsurlich the succubus 
made of patchwork bits and they begin laying traps for him.
     Normally I don't bother reviewing my own work. Modesty (false or 
otherwise) may have something to do with that, but for the most part 
there's not much point within the context of these reviews. After all, 
the stated reason I'm doing these things is so that I'm forced to read 
(and COMPREHEND) the posts to rec.arts.comics.creative - and if I can't 
even comprehend my own stories then I may as well give up now and check 
into a Home For The Perpetually Bewildered, right?
     That aside, there are a couple of observations (other than the 
obvious, 'Crikey, have I really been doing this for more than a month!?') 
that I'd like to make. The first is that it's truly *amazing* how much 
you can write when you set yourself a deadline and stick to it more-or-
less. I guess this is what Douglas Adams was talking about when he 
described writing as staring at the typewriter until your forehead 
bleeds. Even with a story that has turned out to be as heavily emotion-
based as this one, that's a lot of text coming out quite fast.
     The counterpoint to that is that there's almost no time for sitting 
back and editing on reflection - just one or two quick read-throughs 
before posting, and even that won't always catch the spelling, grammar, 
or as Obscure Trivia Lad pointed out, factual errors. This affects the 
flow of the story overall, I think. Each post has it's moments of 
characterisation, background, and what-have-you, but when I go back 
and re-read a printed collection in order to keep certain plot points 
straight, I'm struck by how 'episodic' they feel when juxtaposed 
together. There seems to be a quite different type of pacing between a 
lot of small daily posts and larger stories, and I think that if these 
things were to be edited together into bigger segments for a hypothetical 
Trade Etherback, then large chunks of them would need to be revised.
Exarchs #30
'The Long Night'
A Superguy/Legion of Net.Heroes [SG/LNH] series
by Dvandroid (Dave Van Domelen)
     The Exarchs defeat (or at least chase off) the White-Bone Demon and 
her illusionary ogres, and some more details are unearthed about what 
forces Erlang has for use against Jack and his teammates.
     Here's another point at which I think metatextual comment is 
appropriate, but to do so I'll need to make a comparison. There was a 
period when I was writing _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ that I was highlighting 
comic book time distortion by having regular Christmas issues for several 
years, but nevertheless had the entire history of the series happen since 
'last year'. Unfortunately my writing was slowing down at this time, and 
this meant a run of several years with what seemed like *only* Christmas 
issues. The realisation of the corner I had painted myself into ticked 
me off considerably, and I have since changed tack on that front. So here 
I see Dave, for the second issue running, having to introduce an issue of 
_Exarchs_ with a bit of fourth wall breaking that explains exactly why 
continuity isn't working for him *this time*. Perhaps I'm reading too 
much into it, but I sympathise with the frustration that I think he's 
feeling. Yes, Dave, when you get right down to it, the minute doesn't 
REALLY matter; we're not getting paid for any of this, and if it stops 
being fun to do, then there's a problem somewhere along the line.
Full Moon #1-3
'A Girl, A Cat, A Plant, And A Mage' #1-3
A Full Moon [FM] story
by Vash The Wanderer
     This is a nice little anime inspired story about a girl, Samantha, 
who is transported into the past, ends up with the possession of a mystic 
gem, and as a result has to defend herself against attacks of various 
magical creatures.
     There are some formatting problems; for some reason the full text 
of #2 is included at the end of the #1, with full header details, and 
there's about 40 lines worth of story towards the end of #2 (just after 
Sonna gets herself back together) that stand out because they lack 
paragraph indentation. There is also a pacing problem in that #3 is 
incredibly short compared to #2.
     In fact, there is in general a sense of speeding up as the story 
progresses - and that's not necessarily a good thing. The initial part 
of the story where Samatha arrives in the past, meets, frees and gains a 
measure of control over the weretiger Jager is lovingly detailed. It 
covers two days worth of interaction between Samantha and Jager, and it 
doesn't feel forced to watch their relationship evolve to the point where 
Jager doesn't automatically want to eat her.
     Then there's a fight which introduces the divided plant elemental 
Sonna, which is fine by itself, but after being reintegrated Sonna simply 
decides to join up with Samantha for the reason of, as far as I can tell, 
lusting after a weretiger's butt. This despite the fact that there's an 
obvious alternate rationale: that whoever divided Sonna almost certainly 
did so to regain the gems, and might well be responsible for the 
hellhounds, meaning she has common cause with Samantha and Jager.
     Finally, the introduction of the Mitimaru is the most rushed at all. 
Apparently Sonna's lusting after his butt as well, and kidnaps him, and 
he agrees to join the group after Samantha and Jager rescue him. This is 
not to say that Mitimaru's first appearance isn't without merit: the 
dialogue when Jager and Mitimaru argue about whether the lightning mage 
can act as the party's thief sparkles with the type of offbeat witticisms 
that marked the initial part of Samantha and Jager's relationship. I just 
wish the plot hadn't speeded up to such an arbitrary pace; if nothing 
else there might be more opportunity for more characterisation like that.
LNH Comics Presents Special #10 part 1 and 2
'Live From Net.York, It's Saturday.Net'  and  'The Bridge'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Martin Phipps
     This is a bunch of skits which, from context, seem to be some very 
bizarre television viewing that Deja Dude is having to put up with. Or 
at least, I hope they're television viewing, otherwise Ultimate Ninja 
has gone off the deep end again and Master Blaster is going to have to 
raise his child on his own, and I'm not sure I want to see the outcome 
of that.
Mysteria #10
'A Death In The Family'
An Artifice Comics [AC] series
by Robert Flynn and Jason Kenney
     The body of Victoria Burke's mother is found at Victoria's home. 
Meanwhile various bits of evidence of industrial espionage over the 
designs for the Seige Engine begin to come together. A particularly nice 
touch was the way that Commissioner Jordan knows about Victoria's 
vigilante activities, is not unsympathetic, and would like to help - but 
is blocked by Victoria and Alfonse's not knowing his intentions and being 
unable to bring themselves to trust him.
No-Point Land and Dismal-Hope Kid #5 and 6
'The Cosmic Drive-In Saga' parts 1 and 2
A Boring Publications [BP] series
by Tim Munn
     Steve carries No-Point Land and Dismal-Hope Kid to an alternate 
version of Earth, albeit one that's almost totally deserted, and to the 
badly damaged Cosmic Drive-In. There they discover from Steve's allies 
Wes and Alan the importance of the Drive-In: it's the hub of the universe, 
where everything meets up. Apparently the events shown on the Main Screen 
of the Drive-In have a combination of predictive and causal power: saying 
what will happen in the future, as well as being the cause of it. This 
upsets Dismal-Hope Kid greatly, since it's hinted that he has a really 
unpleasant Secret Origin.
What If... Jesus Had Been A Scientist?
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH/ACRA] story
by Martin Phipps
     This is a pointed story wherein Jesus has the ability to both see and 
understand future events, as well as a habit of explaining these future 
events and interpretations even as he's perceiving them. This leads to 
all sorts of complications as he confuses he fellows with anachronistic 
details and thought processes, culminating in his crucifixion.
     I will admit to being confused about Poncius Pilot's similar future 
knowledge; dunno whether he was simply breaking the fourth wall from 
dramatic purposes, or was a devil symbol.
Saxon Brenton    University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au 
The Eyrie Archives of Russ Allbery which collect the online superhero 
fiction of the rec.arts.comics.creative newsgroup can be found at:

More information about the racc mailing list