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

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Wed Jan 5 23:58:44 PST 2005

End of Month Reviews - December 2004 [spoilers]
Reviewed this issue:
      Academy of Super-Heroes #54 [ASH]
      The Alt.Riders #31 [LNH]
      Bush43 # [AC]
      Cauliflower the Christmas Miracle Pooch #1-3 [LNH]
      Daily Super Short-Short Story #64  and  Google.mesh #1-7 [LNHY]
      Teen Fascists #7 [LNHY]
      Time Capsules#6 [ASH]
Also posted:
      Limp-Asparagus Lad #54 [LNH]
     These are a bit late for no other reason than that I had trouble 
forcing myself away from all the writing that I was steeped in over my 
summer break. Unfortunately not much of it was writing for RACC. Still, 
of the stuff that I did do for RACC, I've discovered that the LNH has a 
2 metre tall porcelain statue of Tototro in their Plot Device Room, and 
I've figured out a semi-plausible reason for having the panty theft 
scene in the story about the Mongolian exchange student. The practical 
upshot is that these may be a bit terse, again.
     On more serious topics, if by some chance anybody is using these 
reviews as a guide for nominating or voting in the RACCies Awards, be 
aware that all stories listed here came before the cut-off date of 
December 24, and are therefore eligible.
     Spoilers below.
Academy of Super-Heroes #54
'Going To Kathmandu'
An Academy of Super Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelon (Dvandom)
     The attempts against the Western Dragon continue, more subtly this 
time as an Anchor is infiltrated into a crowd to disrupt her psionically 
boosted speaking skills, but he's captured relatively easily compared 
to all the explosions and expendable minions dying that we've have 
previously. Actually, the main plot is a little light on action in that 
regard, and if your taste does not run towards geopolitical thrillers 
then the sight of Grind continuing to ruminate on what the exact 
motivations behind all this are might begin to be wearing. Still, the 
subplots are coming along, as Simon Smith's astronomy, combined with 
interlude with Peregryn last issue, strongly hint that Something Big 
with be happening on Venus soon. Meanwhile, Geod is introduced to the 
media as a new Academy member under the pretence of a secret identity 
of an Egyptian diaspora member.
The Alt.Riders #31
`Future Lives'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series, possibly with a [LNH2] placement
by Jamas Enright
     The series jumps forward 20 years, as the former Queen Bee returns 
to Earth top seek help in getting information about a curse that conceals 
details about a threat, destroying a city with a meteor strike in the 
process. Former Alt.Riders members Rick (Morph) and Marsha (Marshmallow 
Lass/Dva) are convinced to help her, calling upon the surreal Lillie (a 
hitherto unseen future team member replacement for Missy) to help. After 
identifying the curse and how to get rid of it, they begin wondering how 
deal with the complications that doing so would entail.
     Well, Lilly was lots of fun -- although I'm not sure I'd want to meet 
her in person. There's irony in the fact that Marsha has inherited the 
Burgenstock title considering how she and her mother didn't get on. And 
somehow I can't find it in myself to be surprised at how Rick's life has 
fallen to pieces -- although I say this less from any identifiable flaw in 
him and more because we all know how Jamas loves to torture his characters.
Bush43 #18
`Hide and Seek'
An Artifice Comics [AC] series
by Jason S. Kenney
     Running parallel with the events of Mysteria #10, Layla Burke, the 
mother of Victoria Burke (Mysteria) is found dead in the Burke Manor. 
(Hmm. A nice bit of misdirection in #17; I summarised that issue as 
saying it was Victoria.)
     Anyhow, Bush43 saw who did it, but his presence would cause 
complications to protecting both of their secret identities. Not that 
complications don't arise anyhow, and the second half of the story is 
taken up with Bush43 trying to find the distraught Mysteria.
Cauliflower the Christmas Miracle Pooch #1-3 [LNH]
`The Dog That Barked, Christmas'  ;  `The Wonders of Cauliflower'  and  
`Cauliflower's Inferno'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Arthur Spitzer
     The first three issues of this four part miniseries. A dog appears 
in the LNH-HQ, and after Ultimate Ninja uses his phenomenal ninja skills 
of almost-being-able-to-put-up-with-this-nonsense, is allowed to stay 
and eventually become a member on the grounds of having the power to 
chronically distract others with thoughts of Christmas cheer. In the 
second part Cauliflower goes on to become one of the most popular LNHers 
because of his skill, wisdom, charm and general good looks in what looks 
suspiciously like a satire of Mary-Sue characters. But eventually, as a 
conseqeunce of healing a little girl of cancer Cauliflower apparently 
absorbs the disease and starts dying. The LNH tries to save him, both by 
calling in the help of Vapid Veterinarian on the one hand and sending 
off a team led by Occultism Kid to Hell to retrieve a healing pinecone 
from the One True Christmas Tree on the other.
     Lots and lots of silly stuff here, in the classic LNH manner. Among 
all the cameos and guest appearances, there's also a rather deft 
supporting cast role for the Incredible-Man-With-No-Life, who gets an 
Origin Story en passant.
[Daily Super Short-Short Story #64]  and  Google.mesh #1-7
`A Devil Came Down To Georgia 46: Epilogue 3'  and  
`The Nephalim'  ;  `The Epic of Google.mesh' part 1-2  ;  
`Sins of the Father'  ;  `Introducing Van Hel.sig'  and
`Crossover, part 2'
A Legion of Net.Heroes Y [LNHY] series
by Martin Phipps
     Related to, and carrying on from, the `A Devil Came Down To Georgia' 
arc, this series starts with the legendary/mythological hero Google.mesh 
turning up on Martin Wryce's doorstep claiming to be his long lost 
     Thereafter are narrated various parts of Google.mesh's backhistory. 
The first issue has a rather explicit summary of how God created all his 
angels as males and forbade them to have sex -- but of course it turns 
out that the angels were no better at not opening the metaphorical 
Pandora's box than humans were. This has various consequences, ranging 
from the exile of the rebellious Satan to the sending of a Looniverse Y's 
version of the Flood to wipe out the Nephalim dominated civilisation 
of Sci.maria, and Googlemesh's descent from Jupishur, the only of the 
Nephalim to survive. The second covers Google.mesh's reign and his 
friendship with the angel Enkiben. The third covers events that see 
Google.mesh basically be the source of Greek and Norse mythology, but 
meanwhile the diabolicals Lisa, I.sig and Beel.gzip.bub begin to plot.
     The fourth issue narrates Googlemesh's involvement in Norse 
mythology in more detail, with an explanation of Ragan.org, and the 
diabolicals attack, including the revived and mind-controlled Thur. In 
issue five Van Hel.sig of the Legion of Net.Heroes arrives to help.
     The seventh issue is the second and concluding part of a crossover 
stared in Teen Fascists #7. The hellhound Fen.rec (who conflates with 
Cerberus as part of Google.mesh's Labours as He.rec.les) arrives and the 
two groups team up to kill it.
     Okay, after all that, the only substantive comments I can make is 
to compare and contrast the two different styles of using mythology in a 
superhero setting. During the `A Devil Came Down To Georgia' arc I tended 
towards assuming that there were lots of groups of mythologies, all more 
or less independent albeit with interactions with each other, while 
Martin has taken a more unified overview that ties them together as a 
one super-mythology that's simply become fractured and distorted between 
different cultures. Of course, from a comics story telling point of view, 
both are as good (or as bad) as one another, since they both cheerfully 
shred the original mythologies and rearrange them into pretty patterns 
for your reading pleasure. And for another comparison, Googel.mesh's 
interactions with other gods, and the monotheist deity God, is in marked 
contrast to the vagaries narrated by another immortal, Bragi the Norse 
god of poetry, in the ASH universe based Time Capsules #6, below.
Teen Fascists #7
`Crossover, Part 1'
A Legion of Net.Heroes Y [LNHY] series
by Martin Phipps
     The team goes in search of Google.mesh, who has been under an old 
identity was He.rec.les, from over in the Google.mesh series. After going 
to the Legion of Net.Heroes and talking with Van Hel.sig, they track him 
down, just in time for a crisis to arise, which concludes in Google.mesh #7.
Time Capsules #6
`Interview With A God'
An Academy of Super Heroes [ASH] anthology series
by Dave Van Domelon (Dvandom)
     A student examines a 140 year old archival transcript of an 
interview of Bragi the Norse god of poetry on the Charlie Rose show. 
Time, as perhaps should have been expected, has dulled the collective 
shock over tragedies (in the case of the ASH universe, July 6) and the 
student's main interest seems to be in tracking down `god sightings' for 
his collection.
     I was moderately intrigued by Bragi's forthrightness on the issue 
of uncertainty over the gods' place in the universe (both of their 
origins and of their relative position of the cosmic hierarchy) -- but 
then such as position makes practical sense in story (it would only take 
one renegade god to wreck a cover-up if it had been tried) as well as 
being in line with the start concept for writing the story. That being 
the case, it's far more telling for the reader that Bragi doesn't let on 
about how gods are empowered by human belief, let alone what some of the 
consequences of it is, since it would go beyond a disastrous public 
image of maltheism and out into more Lovercraftian `there are beings 
higher up the food chain than you, and you're lunch' modes of horror.
Saxon Brenton    University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au 
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