[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #21 - September 2005 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 7 17:49:48 PDT 2005

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #21 - September 2005 [spoilers]

Reviewed This Issue:
      The Alt.Riders #40 [LNH]
      Carolyn Ampersand Rick [LNH]
      Godling #3 [Misc]
      The House Of Fiction #3 [8FOLD]
      Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #10 [LNH]
      The Road To Killfile Wars #1-3 [LNH]
      Teenfactor #131 [LNH]

     Been kinda busy, and in particular the last week of househunting
has been mentally exhausting. In practice this means that, having
procrastinated for the first full week of a new month, I now automatically
default to just doing brief plot summaries.  Any deep insights (real or
just purported) that may appear in the text below are therefore purely
the work of the infinite number of monkeys that you can see typing away
in the room next door.
     Spoilers below.


The Alt.Riders #40
'What I Did On My Holidays: The Net.Elementalist: Come Undone'  and
'What I Did On My Holidays: Missy: Fear for the Future'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jamas Enright

     The theme of the Alt.Rider's membership being screwed about with
by persons unknown continues as the Net.Elementalist relates how he was
having lunch at a food mall with his wife when his powers went haywire,
and he was forced to retreat, ultimately ending up in other dimensions.
After some wandering around as he tries to get things under control he
arrives back in the Looniverse; on Pluto.
     Missy's story comes to a climax as she gives birth and is replaced
by her daughter Lillie. Yes, the same Lillie who we have seen previously
in the twenty-years-into-the-future vignette. The exact mechanics of this
transposition aren't given. On the one hand, Lillie's description of
herself as a co-spatial-temporal para-reality creature bonded with an
entity from this quantum state sounds vaguely like Captain Marvel-and-Rick
Jones swapping of positions between dimensions. On the other, Rotanna's
warning that the creature was a parasite (plus the fact that this is one
of Jamas' stories) should perhaps be pointing our imaginations in the
direction of parasitic insect grubs eating their host alive from the
inside outwards. In any case, whatever Lillie's underlying physical nature,
she is not without morality. Already intelligent and aware of her surrounds
within seconds of her birth, she shows Kula Bocca the (probable?) outcomes
of his planned revolution, and the graphic display of fighting shocks him
into rethinking his methods.

Carolyn Ampersand Rick
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] one-shot
by Tom Russell and Jesse Willey

     The first of two tie-ins with the Road To Killfile Wars miniseries,
this one-shot is a character piece. The first half focuses on Carolyn
Forge, the second half on Ricker Henkerton, and in both half the
characters have a discussion with their writers, that explicates
-- among other things -- how these two were favoured creations of their
writers who, received `happy endings' and now are weighed down with
survivor's guilt. Like Teenfactor #131 it goes a long way to fleshing
out the background of people appearing in RTKW, but it also combines
it with the characters' growing realisation of how much they hate
their writers.

Godling #3
'No Good Deed'
A Miscellaneous [Misc] series
by Jochem Vandersteen

     Master Destiny sends a trio of assassins, the Airsharks, to police
headquarters kill his captured minions Icepick and Panzerman - and their
murder spree gives Wade another reason to be ticked off about superhumans.
Then they're sent after Godling. Meanwhile, in the main plot Godling sets
about Doing Good by healing people at a hospital. This, unfortunately, is
not what the Olympian gods had in mind when then empowered him, so they
have Circe haul him in so that they can explain operating policy to him.
For a start, trying to save every person directly stretches the energies/
life force/what-have-you of the gods very thin indeed; by healing so many
sick people Godling has almost totally enfeebled Asclepius. Then there's
the issue of how pointless human life will seem to become if everyone lives
in perfect health forever without fear of death, which is the lesson that
Thanatos insists on trying to get across. In the end Godling agrees to as
a champion and source of inspiration rather than as a panacea and general
crutch, and then goes after the Airsharks.

The House Of Fiction #3
An Eightfold [8FOLD] series
by Tom Russell

     The rambling account of the return of the narrator's father from the
dead continues. Various reminiscences about the minute of the life his
family are given, and the one real time event that happens is that the
father walks off and looks for the drug addicted younger brother Kevin.
If the reader is looking for parallelisms with the superhero genre, then
this is it, because the father uses a metaphorical detection instinct to
find and retrieve Kevin from the home of Kevin's dealer, who insists on
calling himself the Bigamist and who wears a kabuki mask.

Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #10
'An Investigation of Masculinity in the Medium of Comics and Comics-
Related Prose Fiction, Specifically the Superhero or Tights-and-Capes
Genre, Taking the Form of a Humorous Tale of the Legion of the Net.Heroes'
   or   'Omen of the Flopping Fish'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Tom Russell

     The main plot of this is simple enough: Mr Mamet seals off Isle of
Man under a forcefield of testosterone, aggression, and profanity, and
Master Blaster, Frat Boy, Kid Poetry and Joyce Carol Oates Lass are sent
to put a stop to it. But that's not the important bit. The important bit
is the character based situation comedy deriving from that fact that Frat
Boy, acting like a frat boy, has been experimenting with some gay sex.
Unfortunately, Master Blaster, who sometimes hangs around with Frat Boy
and has shared juvenile pranks with him, has trouble coping with the
idea, and in fact goes into denial.
     Both points are perfectly valid extrapolations of the characters
involved, and afterwards (after I'd finished my half-amused half-
embarrassed giggling at the masochistic behaviour of newcomer Joyce Carol
Oates Lass) I thought, 'Oh yeah. It's so obvious. Why didn't I think of
that before?'.  In fact, I'm surprised that, at the very least, we haven't
had more references to drug use by Frat Boy. There are also other comedy
elements filling out the story, such as the `that's good'/'that's bad'
vaudeville routine, or Kid Poetry teaching Hamlet to farmers. However, if
as Frat Boy asserts we should indeed posit that the author was trying to
score points by bringing up real-world issues while at the same time
retreating from actually making controversial changes to a character,
then it's also possible to interpret Tom's self-mockery of his previous
writing nicknames early in the story as code for his intention not to
have the story or its outcomes taken seriously.

The Road To Killfile Wars #1-3
'Following the Bouncing Ball'   ;   'The Sand or The Sea'   and
'Making Mordred'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jesse Willey, with plot assistance by Tom Russell

     Here's a 12 part miniseries based on the premise that various
relatives of Dr Killfile (Screw-You-Over Lad, Doctor I-Can't-Believe-It's-
Not-Butter, Lady Killfile) have formed a supervillain team. The lead-in
for this has been brewing in Jesse's Vel and Onion Lad series over the
past few months. Of course, having already gathered together the criminal
family members (ie, the ones who are likely to be actually interested in
participating in this type of scheme) this group then hares off into the
type of thematic fetishism that you get from classic Batman villains as
they try to gather together all of Dr Killfile's relatives (ie, including
the ones who aren't villainous and who you just know are going to take
great pleasure in throwing a wrench into their scheme) as well as make
some more.
     In any case, while the Killfile family is proceeding with its plans
things begin to get complicated elsewhere. For instance, in issue one they
try to recruit or kidnap Electra (daughter of an other-dimensional Dr
Killfile), and although she escapes she falls into the clutches of the
Regal 13 group, who are taking an interest in proceedings. Along the way
the Legion of Net.Heroes notices the escape of these villains and begins
to investigate (not that the posturing between LNH and former The Team
members helps very much), and the Grim Seeder is wandering around playing
Mysterious Stranger and making his own arrangements in anticipation of
helping out people's destinies.

Teenfactor #131
'Make Way For The Genius!'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Tom Russell

     A tie-in with Road To Killfile Wars, this story recaps the origin of
Electra, the other-dimensional counterpart of the mainstream Looniverse's
Carolyn Forge, both of them the offspring of their respective universe's
Dr Killfile.  Quite a good character study, and along the way some
convoluted continuity is marked as unsafe and scheduled for demolition.
Take note that this is billed as being a new start for the series (which
ended with #130 in October 2000).

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
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