[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #27 - March 2006 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 2 21:42:28 PDT 2006

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #27 - March 2006 [spoilers]

Reviewed This Issue:
      Green Knight #7  [8FOLD]
      Haiku Gorilla #1-12, Annual, 13-50  [LNH]
      Matthew Almighty #2  [LNHY]
      Swamp Patrol #24  [Starfall]
      Template #3  [8FOLD]

Also posted:
      Academy of Super-Heroes #66  [ASH]
      Just Imagine Saxon Brenton Presents The RACCies... Again! #3-5
      RACCQuest parts 1, 1.000001, 2-3, [4-6]  [RACCCafe]
      RACCCAfe: Talking Gorilla Smackdown 2006  [and follow-ups]  [RACCCafe]
      Ultimate Mercenary #5  [LNH]
      The Way-Cool Adventures of Dr. Cool J. Dog! #1  [LNHY]

     Apes!  Apes everywhere this month!  (Well, okay, gorillas everywhere
actually.)  I'm not quite sure what to make of it to tell the truth,
which is strange considering that I've been listed as one of the people
who's responsible for it  (Honestly, I was just taking an idea from Paul
O'Brien's 'Artilce 10' columns and running with it, and now everyone else
seems to be running with it too).  In any case, this is beginning to look
like RACC's new favourite obsession.  Will it last for the long haul?
Dunno.  Both Gothic Gorilla and Gorilla Grad (and the very concept of
_Challengers of the Abominable_) are old character concepts; not to
mention the Infra Humanite.  But what I do know is that this unhealthy
obsession with gorillas at the expense of all other types of apes means
that the next time Ape Month comes around (thank you Jamie, for pouring
that extra gasoline on the fire) I'll have to skip the 'Tel-ape-pathic
Super-Gorilla Krodd' story I've been toying with and instead feature
something like 'Bicycle-Repair Lad Vs The Funky Gibbon'.
     On more serious subjects, best thoughts to Adrian McClure over the
sickness of his Aunt.  The most relevant thing I can say is to agree with
Tim: post or don't as the mood takes you.  Myself, I started writing a
W.I.L.B.U.R. story about loss and grief when my Mom died back in 2000,
and it's only because I write so slow that it never got finished.  These
things will take their own time and their own way to work their way
through the system.  And don't trust any flat statements about having to
follow the five stages of grief exactingly.
     Right.  It's the start of first semester for me, and past experience
indicates that the insane rush here at the library won't even peak until
the Easter long weekend.  Therefore, only a few highlighted reviews.
     Spoilers below.


Green Knight #7
An Eightfold [8FOLD] series
By Tom Russell

     Ray tries to heal old wounds before he passes away and gives his
forgiveness to someone who he mistakenly thinks is Martin.  Anders
finally finds his love for his father, and then when he discovers that
his father left a very large bequest to Martin to continue the crime
fighting efforts, threatens to reveal Martin's identity if it isn't given to 
     Can't say I wasn't expecting something *like* that.  My gut feeling
was that somewhere along the line poor Anders would stuff up.  Okay, I
had quarter expected his love/hate relationship with his father to cause
him to fall in with and be manipulated into doing something stupid by the
Psychopomp, from which he would need to be rescued.  I hadn't expected
him to find his feelings for his father and *then* go and do something
jealous, stupid and petty.  But I guess it fits.  He finally finds that
he loves his father, and then rather than loose any of it he jealously
tries to take back what Ray bequests to Martin.

Haiku Gorilla #1-12, Annual #1, 13-50
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Tom Russell

     In brief: After his introductory appearance and death in _Just
Imagine Saxon Brenton Presents The RACCies Again #2_, Haiku Gorilla
returns for his origin story.  Written in haiku.  One haiku per issue,
with occasional multiple haiku issues for special events.  Now, this
raises a topic that most people may not be aware of: do you know how
long it takes to copy'n'paste together that many issues of a series for
easy rereading for review purposes?  Answer, considerably longer than
it takes to actually read them.  And this is taking into consideration
that I have to read poetry of almost any type rather slowly since I,
unfortunately, tend not to 'get' the imagery quickly or easily.  Tom?
Seriously: Trade Etherback edition(s) for completed storyline(s).  It'll
probably make things easier for Eagle somewhere down the road when it
comes time to update the archives.
     Anyway.  Haiku Gorilla's origin story is a poignant tale of being a
research subject in a project to teach gorillas sign language.  Haiku
Gorilla is at first considered a failure because of his inability in
this area, and his close relationship with Jane is sundered when she is
dismissed.  Then everything - and nothing - changes when Haiku Gorilla
begins speaking (in haiku, of course).  Disappointed with still being
treated as a caged research animal, Haiku Gorilla escapes and starts
searching for Jane.  While he searches the operative Briefcase-Eater Lad
is employed to retrieve him, and they meet and fight at Jane's house.
Of course, I expect that the revelation that Jane is married will throw
a bit of a curve into Haiku and Jane's relationship.

Matthew Almighty II
A Legion of Net.Heroes Y [LNHY] one-shot(?)
by Martin Phipps

     It seems that Matthew Pauli, one of the wikicopies of Matthew
Petrie, had been visiting Mars when all the others gave their powers
back to God, and had therefore missed the big denouement of the first
_Matthew Almighty_.  Now he takes on a new mission and tries to bring
happiness to No-Joke City.  This turns out to be a bad move, as the
citizens of No-Joke City are disturbingly immune to humour.  Maybe it's
an environmental effect rather than cultural.  Whatever the case, they
quickly deduce a conspiracy against them and send for help, finally
getting it in the form of the Deadly Serious Squad.  To cover his tracks
Matthew first teleports in Swell Boy (who demonstrates his apparently
well practiced skills of fast-talking himself out of sticky situations)
and later creates the doomed Silly Man as a scapegoat, who literally
takes the bullet for him.  After this close call he decides to take a
slow, generational approach to subverting No-Joke City.

Swamp Patrol #24
'Not A Hoax, Not A Dream!'   (Continuity Breakdowns  part 7)
A Starfall [Starfall] series
by Jamie Rosen

     Ted is confronted by God/the Writer Goddess, who's been orchestrating
all the genre shifts of late.  She tries to play headgames with him,
denigrating him into thinking that he's a comic book character and
trapping him in the cliches thereof, but he turns the tables on her by
transcending those imposed limitations.  Then the issue closes with
someone reading a trade paperback of the Swamp Patrol's adventures and
the defeat of the Writer Goddess.
     Jamie winds up his participation in writing this series with this
issue.  To be honest this is the main reason that I picked out this issue
for a review at all, since in all the rush first semester I've been
picking and choosing what I babble about this month.  The issue itself
feels more like a penultimate issue, and I'd be inclined to scoot back
next time as see what's been happening - but of course there isn't
necessarily going to be a next time.  I think that feeling's an artefact
of the genre-chopping of this story arc combined with the fact that
Jamie is leaving the series open for another/a previous writer to take
up the reins again.
     Actually, back at the start of the month when I'd naively thought
that the recent staffing rearrangements at work would make things less
hectic than usual for this time of year rather than more so, I'd even
collected together all the issues of Swamp Patrol and was intending to
give a thematic overview of the series.  Because, like, it's so rare
that a series is actually *concluded* on RACC.  Most of them just stop.
But I barely got time to skim through the issues, let alone start making
notes for deep and meaningful evaluations.  Considering when a lot of it
was written (mid-to-late 1990s) plus the fact that I had limited internet
access then and was therefore focusing mostly on the LNH, it doesn't
surprise me that I have only a vague recollection of most of the series.
For instance, I had completely forgotten that Uplink had written/
co-written issues 4 through 9.
     Circling around in a great arc to the point, the main thing that
strikes me about issue 24 is how far Ted's come in growing up since his
early appearances, where he started as a rather insecure and angry young
man.  Now he's secure enough with himself that he's able to recognise
that his limitations aren't something that need to be covered over with
posturing and in doing so cut through God's dissemblings and attempts to
push his buttons.

Template #3
'I think in some ways he was at war with himself. But then, aren't we all?'
An Eightfold [8FOLD] series
by Jamie Rosen

     Okay, so it looks like there *won't* be a cancerous intrusion into
reality of a fictional actuality.  Or at least, not yet.  (Sorry Adrian,
I'm pretty sure that I was the first reader to start pushing that idea.
Hmm.  A meme taking over in defiance of reality and the facts of the
situation.  Ironic.  I wonder if Jamie planned it that way?)
     Actually, in the wake of the 'Philosophers of Uqbar' failing to be
anything other than a Borges references so far, I find that I'm still
waiting to see what direction this series is going - which in this case
is not necessarily a bad thing.  It depends on the execution of the
idea, after all.  Much of this issue is given over to Billy making more
discoveries about who and why his father's hero identity as Template was.
Much of the rest deals with Dorothy Willingham, the previous owner of
Myriad Books, explaining that the raving man from last issue was her
brother Grant, who is somewhat out of touch with reality, looking for her.

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