[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #22 - October 2005 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 2 21:05:34 PST 2005

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #22 - October 2005 [spoilers]

Reviewed This Issue:
      Alt.Riders Fox.Net Special  and  #41 [LNH]
      The House Of Fiction #4-5 [8FOLD]
      Our War Without Worlds #1 [LNH]
      Road To Killfile Wars #4-8 [LNH]
      Teenfactor #132 [LNH]

     This month featuring a writing trifecta by Jamas Enright, Jesse
Willey and Tom Russell, and only a token effort by me. <Must finish off
Limp-Asparagus Lad #55 before end of year... Another talking ape story
would be nice too...>
     Spoilers below.


The Alt.Riders: Fox.Net Special
'The Alt.Riders Exposed'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jamas Enright, with guest cameos

The Alt.Riders #41
'What I Did On My Holidays: The Alt.Riders: Keep It Together
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jamas Enright

     The first story is a look at the Alt.Riders from the public's point
of view, and filtered through a tabloid television program. It's a hatchet
job, of course. However, considering that an underlying motif of this
series is the way that the Alt.Riders have a shaky public image despite
all the good work that they do, it's not as though the program needed to
do much work at being 'unfair and unbalanced' to tarnish their reputation.
Of course, the program is hosted by symbolically plastic people and knows
nothing of subtly, so they go over the top with their distortions anyway,
but it's probably not necessary. The inclusion of Publicity Kid for the
LNH is an interesting nod in the direction of the notion that Legion
itself is far more popular than the affiliated Alt.Riders group. Moreover,
considering the revelations about who has been behind the (attempted)
bumping off of the Alt.Riders over in their current main story arc, it's
tempting to wonder whether the production of this program may have been
instigated by outside forces - but sometimes an act of small-minded
pettiness is just an act of small-minded pettiness.
     Which brings us to the conclusion of the 'What I Did On My Holidays'
arc in #41. First up there's a failed preliminary escape attempt by Dva
which nevertheless keeps Silence from death at the electric chair as well
as making extremely creative and high-powered use of Silence's abilities.
Thereafter Dva escapes again, and the various other Alt.Riders are
rescued. As the team reaccumulates its membership they set about finding
out what's been going on and putting a stop to it, and simply bulldoze
their way through any opposition. Considering that at this point even
Silence is feeling cranky and ill-diposed towards restraint, their work
does not take very long. Turns out that the governement faction that had
brainwashed the Alt.Riders into trying to assassinate President Luthor
were simply trying to tie up loose ends. A classic case of 'the enemy of
my enemy is not necessarily my friend' - or perhaps that two warring
factions don't care about the collateral damage caused in their power
struggles. Then the group returns home, to discover the missing
Net.Elementalist and Lily waiting to lead them into the 'Our War Without
Worlds' crossover.

The House Of Fiction #4-5
An Eightfold [8FOLD] series
by Tom Russell

     Issue 4 consists of a digression into the narrator's teenaged
obsession with pornography, including his resolution to become a
pornographic movie maker. There are several amusingly ironic
juxtapositions as he brings a pornographic actress to his high school
career day, and a surprisingly mature concluding reflection on the nature
of obsession from the narrator which circles back to his opening remarks
on the nature of identity. With this issue we also return to the idea of
how aware the narrator is that he hasn't grown up nearly as much as he
would like, since his cold turkey abstinence from pornography seems to me
to be more the result of fear of losing his wife than of actual personal
fortitude to avoid something he finds both attractive and repulsive. This
theme becomes important as a form of contrast in issue 5, when it becomes
apparent that the story of his father's return from the dead is more of a
form is displacement of hostility about his father. It would seem that
the narrator is nowhere near as introspective and self-aware as the story-
thus-far implied.

Our War Without Worlds #1
'Opening Salvo'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jamas Enright and Saxon Brenton

     Yuck. Where did all that mime formatting come from?
     The Net.Elementalist arrives on Pluto just in time to see it be
consumed by a mysterious rogue planet that has entered the Looniearth's
solar system. He and the newly arrived Lily return to Earth to warn the
Legion, but they're a bit distracted by the arrival of seven purple
giants who have appeared on each continent. Various fight scenes occur.
Then a space borne contingent of heroes reports back that Neptune is
being consumed as well.

Road To Killfile Wars #4-8
'Finding Percival'  ;  'Faith'  ;  'Pride Goeth'  ;  'Before The Fall'
  and  'Ten Minutes'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jesse Willey

     One of the things I've found interesting about this story is the fact
that the villains' main plot seems to be being held in reserve. Okay, yes,
issue 3 did end with the revelation that the cloning for Project Modred
would take several more months to incubate properly. But the same scene
had Lady Killfile stepping up the timetables on three other projects of
theirs (out of how many?) as a direct result, which suggests to me that
in the meantime they've been doing lots of other things behind the scenes
which the heroes have no idea about. Possibly the villainous schemes will
be revealed and dealt with in the closing third of the miniseries, but
I'm thinking it more likely that things will simply be revealed (to some
extent or other) and then dealt with in the forthcoming Killfile Wars
mini. We shall see.
     Anyway, in the ensuing months the heroes have been doing... stuff. A
lot of it involves questing and visions and generally following obscure
hints, which is appropriate enough given the Arthurian theme of the story.
That said, some of their activities seem more plausible than others: I
can see Rick methodically working for months to try and track down the
Killfile relatives' headquarters, but I would have thought Electra's
patience would have worn out long before then, especially considering
that -- despite Dalton's protestations that he wasn't just a random loony --
there was no immediately apparent use for him in her opposition to Regal 13.
     Summarising considerably: The Dorfian emperor was killed, and Vel
went off into space with one of the Ultimate Ninja triplets to find a way
to prevent civil war. He gets hints from drug induced visions engineered
by an ancient Dorf called Moakonzi, who - depending on your take on
duplication - may be either the historical Emperor Moakonzi or the
legendary Moakonzi.
     Tyler followed the trail of the Sword to Arlington cemetery and
thence to a Cracker Jack warehouse in Sparta, accompanied by Speed. There
they met Electra and Dalton, both of whom were being trailed by Regal 13.
In the confrontation with Regal 13 operatives that ensued the Sword was
discovered and taken by Electra, who used it to give Regal 13 a more
emphatic version of the 'no' answer than she did previously.
     Subsequently Electra, Tyler and Speed all headed for the Legion of
Net.Heroes HQ. Dalton refrained from travelling with them because of his
distrust of net.heroes, which will probably be inconvenient to Tyler in
the long tun since Dalton seems to be the Percival whom he has been told
to seek. At the LNH-HQ they ran into Rick, who had tracked down the
villains' lair to being in an other dimensional space congruent to the
LNH-HQ and indeed was under attack by them; and Appleseed, who has brought
along Electra's counterpart in this universe Carolyn and gives the latter
the Sword. In the middle of battle with the Killfile globes everyone was
updated (as much as cryptic entities like Appleseed care to explain
themselves), Terrence was kidnapped by the villains, and the heroes
prepare to take the battle to the bad guys.

Teenfactor #132
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Tom Russell

     The backhistory of Electra continues. With Mable having forwarded
from Terrence the hint that Electra is the key to unearthing how the world
could end, Electra duly acts on an intuitive hunch that the current US
President is the causal factor. She sneaks off to Washington on her own
and confronts him, and he exposits a villainous monologue at her to try
and win her over to his plan. Bad move. If President Gas had really known
as much as he claimed, then he should have realised how little she likes
being coerced -- directly as with being kidnapped by her father or
indirectly into a fait accompli by a President who's engineering a war --
into something that she's not interested in. And as she's not a character
given to introspection, she acts on her impulse and kills him. I wonder
if that act may end up destroying the world anyway - just because the
putative cause has been removed doesn't mean that the situation doesn't
include the equivalent of a deadman switch.

Saxon Brenton   University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
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