[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #23 - November 2005 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 4 19:15:34 PST 2005

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #23 - November 2005 [spoilers]

Reviewed This Issue:
      Academy Of Super Heroes #61-62  [ASH]
      Alt.Riders #42  [LNH]
      C.O.S.T. (Covert Operations Strike Team) #1  [Misc]
      Deja Dude / Master Blaster Special #6-7  [LNH]
      Green Knight #1-2  [8FOLD]
      The Last Night Show With Peelix The Cat #1-4  [LNH]
      Legion of Net.Heroes, Vol. 2 #11  [LNH]
      Road To Killfile Wars #9-11  [LNH]
      Scenes In The Life Of Possible Man #1-2  [BP]
      War Without Worlds #2  [LNH]

     The nomination ballot for the 2005 RACCies was posted yesterday. You
have until the end of January 2006 to email in your nominations. Refresh
your memory by checking out the self-promotional binge posts that have
started coming out, or google through the year's posts, or even skim
through old issues of the End Of Month Reviews (see, this series does
actually have a useful purpose for people other than myself).
     Thanks to Jamas for pointing out my mislabelling of the _War Without
Worlds_ series in the last issue and why. Not the first time I've made a
mistake like that, of course, but considering that (a) I've been
co-working on the damn story for the better part of the last half year
and (b) I actually had the printout right in front of me while I was
typing, it really was very careless.
     Spoilers below.


Academy Of Super-Heroes #61-62
'Genesis Climber'  and  'Serpents In Eden'
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelon

     You see, I toldja lizard men on Venus would be too cool an idea to
pass up.
     ahem.  Anyway, the story focus continues to be on Venus, as various
interested parties learn about and then begin to take steps to reach and
exploit the newly terraformed planet: the Academy and the world in
general are told by NASA, while Q'Nos' Olympians are making transit by
supernatural means, and the Khadamese (Conflicto and support troops,
including a contingent of cyborg gorillas) arrive via spacecraft. Along
the way Simon Smith learns his past identity - and it's thematically
appropriate that Doublecross should by working behind the back of his
putative liege in this version of his life too.
     However, the A-plot is Peregryn as he works to sort out his
situation. At first glance Peregryn's quest for atonement for bringing
Photosynth (one of the photonic beings created by and in service to
Doublecross) to Venus and being indirectly responsible for the Viau
siblings binding Photosynth to the plant life of Venus seems far removed
from the political repercussions and machination on and about the planet.
That first impression is deceptive. If nothing else Peregryn was also
responsible for shunting the Viaus and all of Montreal to Venus as well,
and Peregryn will feel obliged to eventually become involved in that
situation too - assuming that he hasn't already got a plan in mind to
kill several birds with one stone.
     In any case, for practical purposes Peregryn is already closer to
the main 'dieties' of Venus, such as they are, than any other faction.
The hostile plant life turned out to be not related to the Leviathan,
but to Photsynth, who Peregryn has since awoken and bargained with. The
Leviathan is present to some extent and seems to be behind the dispatching
of the aforementioned lizard men - and while Q'Nos and Simon are probably
wrong about the Leviathan being 'the spirit of Venus', I'm still hanging
out for some variation on a 'serpentine corruptor with pretensions to
the position of Rex Mundi'. Finally, with Photosynth's grudging help
Peregryn is trying to reach the Viaus, who are probably key to resolving
a number of the metaphysical problems extant on Venus. The exact extent
and interaction of these three powers, old and new, is unclear, but
Peregryn's sense of obligation will clearly drive him to at least try to
settle accounts to the benefit of the most number of people. All that
remains to be seen is how it plays out and to what extent it spills over
into the more mundane aspects of the situation.
     Among the subplots, things continue. We're still waiting to see what
Timeslip's mission is. More amusingly, it occurred to me just as I was
preparing this writeup that the scene with Beacon and Geode in #62 is the
first time I can recall that we've seen a couple having sex on screen in
the ASH series. Dvandom's quipped before that because of their powers
that the Academy members tend to have kinky sex lives, but the scenes has
always stopped short of actually showing anything. This time however the
nature of Beacon and Geode's post-human condition (a man of light and a
woman of crystal) means that the nature of their intimate physical contact
is so different to conventional human intercourse that it almost slips
past unrecognised. Still, the bit about them being in ecstasy is a good
indication that this is fornication rather than the equivalent of a tongue
kiss. I wonder if Beacon and Geode realise this?

The Alt.Riders #42
'Behind Enemy Lines'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jamas Enright

     The crossover with _War Without Worlds_ continues in what is
effectively part 2 of the overall storyline. The Net.Elementalist and
Lillie return to Looniearth and warn the rest of the Alt.Riders about
the alien planet that's snorted up Pluto, since (as you'll remember from
WWW#1) the Legion themselves are a busy fending off those giant probes
that are causing havoc. Lillie teleports the group to the alien howeworld
so that they can scout around, and they split up (although the
Net.Elementalist, not having any mental protection against the psychic
power that saturates the place, takes the Hotel California route and
joins the proletariat class of the aliens in being a drooling basket
case). Morph and Lillie discover that the world is hollow with a planet-
sized energy source in the middle, while Agent and Dva are captured
by the planetary rulers and then given to their children to be
telekinetically tortured. The latter four are rescued when Agent is able
to rig an emergency beacon to call a space.thingee sent by the Legion to

C.O.S.T. (Covert Operations Strike Team) #1
A Miscellaneous [Misc] series
by Rick Hindle

     Essentially a 'gathering of members' opening issue, as various
individuals are introduced to a greater or lesser extent. Hargrave and
Ramsey get the most detail - Hargrave getting a family scene, while
Ramsey has a discussion about how he can and has come back from the dead.
We'll have to wait and see what Sam and Jack are about.
     Their antagonist is called Raymont Tarver and the engine of story
is driven by his release from his imprisonment in a cave after several
years. Like Ramsey his scene is intriguingly cryptic. Apparently he's a
criminal sociopath, and certainly Hargrave thinks him dangerous enough
to start organising a response.

Deja Dude / Master Blaster Special #6-7
'Deja Dude And Master Blaster Go Hollywood' #6 and 7
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Martin Phipps

     Normally I don't go over the Deja Dude/Master Blaster Specials
because they usually have film reviews, characterisation and comedy skits
but dispense with any storyline, and therefore fall outside of the EoMR
brief of me needing to comprehend the plot. That might be an oversight,
because sometimes characterisation is just as important to understanding
what's going on as the plot is. Case in point: issue 7 has Master Blaster
angsting over accusations of being disrespectful and immature made by
WikiBoy in _LNHv2_ #11, and then wandering around to include Master
Blaster's continuing disquiet over the idea of Frat Boy having outed
himself as gay, or at least bi, in a plot that started out in _LNHv2_ #10,
and making en passant references to robotic duplicates from the _Just
Imagine..._ cascade.
     Now, okay, I understand that Martin is addressing topics in a
comedic manner that relies more on character interaction and metatextual
references than on conventional superhero story telling techniques that
require costumed do-gooders pounding the snot out of a malcontent and
his army of cyborg gerbil supersoldiers. But considering that the LNH
imprint is essentially based on storytelling in a comedic manner with
metatextual references, that's not a reason for Master Blaster's
discussion with Deja Dude not be relevant to any future appearances if
writers decide to use or not use it.

The Green Knight #1-2
An Eightfold [8FOLD] series
by Tom Russell

     Ray Cradle is a superhero called the Green Knight. And in a
fundamental way that's all that he is. He's obsessed with the sanctity
of his mask, both in the sense of protecting his secret identity and of
the mystique of the Green Knight's reputation. Obsessive to the point of
sociopathy, in fact. He's never told his wife about his double life,
even up to the point when she recently died of cancer. He's never told
his son, even though he knows that this makes the teenager distant from
him and contemptuous of his eccentricities. (Or thinks he knows, given
the rather skewed, paranoid, and self-martyring worldview that he shows
about various matters.)
     At the start of issue 1 he's diagnosed with cancer, and because Ray
Cradle *is* only a mask for the Green Knight he can't simply retire
during the course of the chemotherapy. It's what he is, not an occupation
or a hobby. And as he tells himself, "The Green Knight is an archetype,
and infallible." Unfortunately no amount of applied superhuman willpower/
butt-headed stubbornness can force his weakening body to operate to the
perfection that he's accustomed to. Only the intervention of his former
kid sidekick Martin Rock - formerly the Acro-Bat and now a vigilante
answering to no codename - saves him during those times when he collapses.
And because Martin is more of a son to him than his biological offspring
is - in the sense that he raised him and taught him about life (the Green
Knight's real life, not the mask he wears) - it is Martin who can at
least try to give him the emotional support he needs to come to terms
with his predicament.

The Last Night Show With Peelix The Cat #1-4
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jesse Willey, with Dane Martin, Martin Phipps, Saxon Brenton and
   Tom Russell

     Peelix the Cat hosts his own television talk show and interviews
(well, actually goes out of his way to abuse) various LNH Writers. The
text of the questions *were* solicited blind by the way, so while knowing
what they were to be used for might have prompted some more coherent
answers interesting to a wider audience (I know it would have in my case)
this method did gather some more directly pertinent information. Oh, and
Martin and myself want to kill the same person? Hmm, that's an intriguing
contrast to Tom's laudatory reaction to that person.
     And I will get an issue of _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ out this year and
eventually catch up with continuity. I will I will I will.  <stomps foot
and pouts>

Legion of Net.Heroes, Vol. 2 #11
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Tom Russell

     Oo. Icky. Budgetary cutbacks causing the closure of the library
section. How traumatic. Personally, my take on the LNH-HQ library is
that, since the building is a superhero headquarters and is therefore
always being restored as good as new after each disaster, it is in fact
one of the safest possible places for rare or important collections, and
so it's probably a deposit library funded by some group like the Library
of Congress, the Smithsonian, or perhaps a large university. But this is
just me be meta with comic book cliches again. In any case, this is the
unstated rationale between all the cataloguing that Anal-Retentive Archive
Kid does, since the place probably has miles upon miles of tesseracted
storage space devoted to archival storage.
     But I'm blathering. After the cutbacks are announced it is discovered
that the magical Phipps Atlas has been stolen from the LNH library after
the building itself begins to fold and concertina (although even after
rereading I'm still not clear on whether it's an inadvertent result of
the unleashing of mystical forces the likes of which humanity is not
meant to wot of, or whether it's a deliberate arcane attack). In response
Ultimate Ninja picks a team to go and retrieve the map, and the rest of
the story depicts how they fail to do so, instead spending most of their
time molesting (and I use that word deliberately) WikiBoy. My only
substantive complaint about this rather surreal tale is that if I recall
correctly Kid Citrus is currently off in the Superguy Altiverse.

Road To Killfile Wars #9-11
'Blood In The Water'  ;  'Jump The Shark'  and  'And In The End'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jesse Willey

     Okay, so for the most part the villains' master plots have been only
hinted at. As previously noted I had been coming to expect that, and
presumably most if not all will be revealed in the subsequent _Killfile
Wars_ mini. What actions the villains are seen to perform (both by the
audience and by the heroes) act as catalysts for the heroes' actions,
although they aren't the only ones. There's still Appleseed wandering
around doing the Mysterious Traveller In Black type act as well. It means
that overall the _Road To Killfile Wars_ has been mainly about
characterisation and settling up new status quos for the heroes.
     In summary: The Killfiles had fast bred an offspring of Terrence
called Modred in order to kill Terrence and takeover his birthright to
the Killfile name. Meanwhile the Killfiles had also kidnapped Dalton and
extracted information from him, but were then forced to flee and self-
destruct their headquarters when the LNH turned up. Tyler and Speed were
recruited to the afterlife police by Patient Zero and Absurd Lass.
Appleseed was accused/revealed to be Merlin (or perhaps *a* Merlin,
considering the theme of recreating mythic patterns) and tricked Carloyn
into accepting the sword and the loss of her immortality that goes with
it. Off panel Vel had been helping with the Dorfan civil war and was
subsequently assigned as a diplomatic aide to aid his father -- a fact
which will probably be part of what leads/led him to become the Dorfan
ambassador in the various LNH2 future stories published over the past few

Scenes In The Life Of Possible Man #1-2
'Scene In A Kitchen'  and  'Scene Around A Theatre'
A Boring Publications [BP] series
by Tim Munn

     You know, reading through these, I was reminded of some the
background superheroes from _The Tick_ who are superheroes because they
dress up in costumes and say they're superheroes. We'll have to wait and
see if Possible Man actually does anything other than be an alpha male in
a costume.
     Anyway, in the first issue Possible Man hangs out with his friend
Sam. In the second he meets Not-Rudolph-Valentino Man, who has the
lamentable power of looking like a sex symbol and attracting crowds of

War Without Worlds #2
'Unto The Breach'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jamas Enright and Saxon Brenton

     Part three of the crossover. The Af.rec.an probe is taken out by
another LNH team, which knocks the comatose. One of the members is Sister-
State-The-Obvious, which in turn gets the knickers of her husband Master
Blaster in a twist. He prepares a Star Trek style Thollian Web to destroy
the alien planet, who have by now been identified as the Inhilators.
Intel is co-ordinated (including the fact that the energy source of the
aliens is a planet-sized plot device), various plans are prepared, and a
fleet of space.thingees is dispatched to deal with the Inhilators. A pity
the Inhilators decide to do an end run and teleport their planet straight
to the Looniearth.

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:

View 1000s of pictures, profiles and more now at Lavalife 

More information about the racc mailing list