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

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Sat Oct 2 23:00:13 PDT 2004

[REV] End of Month Reviews - September 2004
Reviewed this issue:
      Academy of Super-Heroes #51 [ASH]
      The Alt.Riders #28 [LNH]
      The Daily Super Short-Short Story #12-18 [LNHY/Acra]
      Easily-Discovered Man #45 [LNH]
      No-Point Lad and Dismal-Hope Kid #1-4 [BP]
Also posted:
      The Daily Super Short-Short Story #19-22 [LNHY/Acra]
     One quick administrative note. Last issue I made mislabelled two 
series: The first was _Looniverse Y_ (called _LNHY_ instead), and _The 
Daily Super Short-Short Story_ (which lost one of its 'Shorts').
     Spoilers below.
Academy of Super-Heroes #51
'From Serpent to Dragon'
An Academy of Super Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelen (Dvandom)
     This is an issue probably best described as 'a transition story 
between arcs' (to use a Dave Sim-ism), both by content and by title. 
There's no actual combat (the closest to that is the words between 
Lightfoot and Coulter). Instead there are a lot of character pieces as 
various people either sort out the consequences of the events of last 
issue, or plan for the future, or a combination of the two. (In role 
playing games terms I can just visualise the players of Beacon and 
Contact spending experience points and using the downtime between 
adventures to built up their stats :-)  However, most of the screen time 
is given over to Breaker and her preparations for a diplomatic visit to 
the Central Asian Confederation, and the politics involved in such a 
visit, in the next arc.
The Alt.Riders #28
'LNH to the Rescue'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jamas Enright
     The Legion of Net.Heroes (or a small subset thereof) arrive at 
Got.ham city and are informed by civic leaders and the Agent that Drake 
has mind controlled most of the citizens. This is a lie. Actually Drake 
has all of them under control, and one by one the Alt.Riders lead the 
Legionnaires into Drake's traps.
     Since this issue focuses primarily on the interactions between and 
with the LNHers, there's a somewhat lighter tone to it than most other 
Alt.Riders stories. Now, I rather liked it because my tastes in LNH 
comedy include slightly demented characters, each with their own personal 
insanity, only barely coping with each other - but other fans of the 
series might find it to be lacking an edge that they might otherwise be 
The Daily Super-Short Story # 12-18
A Legion of Net.Heroes Y [LNHY/Acra] series
by Arthur Spitzer
     Arthur finishes off his experiment in daily net.comics for now. 
Wondersock successfully Tempts Knows-How-To-Please-Her-Man Girl into 
eating of the Vending Machine Of No-Free-Lunches. God returns from his 
crossover against the Banjo Duelling Kangaroos to discover this, and then 
interviews the various participants about to why this happened, before 
making judgement and exiling almost everyone involved from the Garden Of 
Party Time.
     In the wrap-up notes Arthur says that it proved to be very hard to 
be able to put out even a shortened piece of story each day, and I don't 
doubt that for a moment. It makes me stand in awe of who are able to put 
out daily illustrated net.comics (especially those who don't have the 
incentive of getting paid for it the way syndicated cartoonists would). 
That said, it didn't stop me from trying it out for myself.
Easily-Discovered Man #45
'Last Fall in the House of Usher'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Rob Rogers
     As memory serves, I did the it's-been-so-long-since-I-saw-an-issue-
of-this-series-that-I'd-better-check-to-make-sure-it's-not-a-trap joke 
when the most recent Exarchs was posted, so I'll forgo it here.
     Easily-Discovered Man, Easily-Discovered Man Lite, and Cynical Lass 
are invited to be part of a focus group, only to discover that it's a trap 
by the Waffle Queen. Or at least, Uma Thurman, who's been given the part 
of the Waffle Queen in the 'LNH: The Movie' and is doing method acting 
training for the part by assisting the real Waffle Queen with an Evil 
Plot to mind control the heroes with a monster made of sentient syrup 
called GLURGE.
     In any case, this has all the classic elements of an Easily-
Discovered Man story: absurd plot, absurd trappings to the plot, lots of 
witty banter which in the case of Lite borders on the surreal, and pointed 
satire at Real World situations. (Indeed, the interesting notion occurs 
to me that perhaps the *only* reason that Rob was able to rouse himself 
from writers block to finish and post this issue was so that he would 
have a forum to make snarky comments on the purported War on Terror. If 
true, then our course is clear: everybody go out and create as many Real 
World crises as they can so that he'll continue to feel motivated.)
No-Point Lad and Dismal-Hope Kid #1-4
A Boring Publications [BP] series
by Tim Munn
     Newcomer Tim Munn brings us some episodes of superhero absurdity 
combined with existentialism. No-Point Lad and Dismal-Hope Kid are two 
superheroes encumbered by powers (and possibly personalities as well) 
that make them seem rather ineffectual at their roles. No-Point Lad is 
the stoic of the two, seeing no point to doing anything, including 
complaining. Dismal-Hope Kid's motivation wavers between more traditional 
superheroic ideals and apathy brought on by a lack of hope.
     The first issue introduces the pair, recaps their previous defeat by 
the Bored Enigma, and introduces the idea that No-Point Lad may have a 
point. The second issue suggests that this may just be No-Point Lad's 
powers going haywire rather than an actual improvement in his personality 
(I was amused by the running gag of possession by point demons, but it 
seems to be a paradox inherent in the nature of his powers from a response 
that Tim made to Rob), and sees the return of the Bored Enigma, who in #3 
beats Dismal-Hope Lad up before fleeing the arrival of Steve the 
mysterious floating object. The fourth issue sees Steve cajole the two 
heroes into trying to save Steve's home.
     In the wake of issue one Martin gave Tim some suggestions on grammar 
and spelling, and I pretty much concur with what Martin wrote. That said, 
I personally would rank the placing of grammar so that the sentences flow 
in an easy-to-read manner to be of higher priority than spelling. Spelling 
can be a niggling distraction (especially swapped homonyms like 'your' and 
'you're' ('you are')) - but the phenomenon of the human mind being able to 
comprehend most misspellings for what they really are makes it, IMO, less 
of an imperative than wrestling to comprehend the entire sentence. Not 
that we shouldn't try for both, of course.
     The uptake of that advice are somewhat mixed. Whereas in earlier 
issues sentences, especially involving speech, could seem almost totally 
disassociated from their component pieces:
  > "Get up and get us something to eat." He managed.
by issue four we at least get the initial word after the speech in lower 
case rather than capitalised, so to a causal glance it's got a good 
chance of reading smoothly:
  > "My home is in trouble." said a now crying Steve.
and intermittently there'll be a comma to link the speech and the 
identification of the speaker:
  > "No," said Steve
     To end on a lighter note though, Martin was right about everybody 
making occasional mistakes, even when not writing free form. He does it. 
I do it. (And just between you and me and your computer screen, I even 
caught a mistake in Dvandom's _ASH_ #50. Scary, ain't it?)
Saxon Brenton    University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au 
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