[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #24 - December 2005 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 3 18:44:41 PST 2006

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #24 - December 2005 [spoilers]

Reviewed This Issue:
      Academy Of Super Heroes #63-64  [ASH]
      Alt.Riders #43  [LNH]
      Godling #4  [Misc]
      Green Knight #3  [8FOLD]
      Road To Killfile Wars #12  [LNH]
      Scenes In The Life Of Possible Man #3-4  [BP]
      War Without Worlds #3  [LNH]

Also posted:
      The Collected Speak! Trade Etherback  vol.1  [8FOLD]
      Limp-Asparagus Lad #55  [LNH]
      From the Files of Doctor Stomper #6   [LNH]

     A combination of factors have conspired to make the writing of this
issue a bit of a last minute rush: getting Limp-Asparagus Lad #55 out,
the fact that the settlement for the apartment that I've purchased
finally came through just before Christmas so that I've been busy
cleaning house in preparation for renovations and moving, and of course
the deluge of posts in the last week. The heat wave that the east coast
of Australia had New Year's day also made me disinclined to do much work.
In any case I'm going to make these reviews quick, as in quickly typing
up whatever comes to my mind at the time.
     Two administrivial reminders. RACCies nominations will continue to
be open until the end of January 2006. The eligible period is from 24
December 2004 until 23 December 2005, so the stories that that have come
out in the last week won't count. And remember that January 2006 is
Ape Month on RACC, so get ready with your stories starring - or even just
featuring - hairy anthropoids.
     Spoilers below.


Academy Of Super-Heroes #63-64
'The Land Of Nod'  and  'Years End'
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelon

     In issue 63 the North American Combine finally made arrangements
to investigate the situation on Venus, which contrasts ironically with
the fact that various other groups have already arrived and are either
setting up camp or - in the case of the Galactic Warrior corps observer -
sending reports back to their superiors. Meanwhile Peregryn had a run in
with the serpent men worshippers of the Leviathan and soundly thrashed
them before continuing on his journey.
     In issue 64 Timeslip's mission came to a climax. He is a future
version of Chris Kelsey and had come to prevent the infant's powers from
wrenching Milwaulkee out of time. Timeslip did this by taking Chris out
of time and arranging a substitution with one of the mentally more
developed versions of him/themselves who he met there, and in the
process acknowledged the implicit paradox of what he's attempting. On
Venus Lightfoot helped the NAC Marshall's set up camp, while Peregryn
met up with escapees from Sans Rogue controlled Montreal who pointed him
onto the final leg of his trek. In the end Peregryn performed a relatively
fast procedure (but I suspect one with considerable preparation) to enact
the complicated task of sundering the dome surrounding Montreal, (trying
to) wake the Viaus, and untangling Photosynth from the plant life of
Venus by turning her back to human and displacing her power the Spirit
of Venus so that the planet's nightside ecology doesn't fail.
     Despite the rhetoric at the end of issue 62, I didn't find
Timeslip's mission to be particularly surprising, although the venue and
especially his methodology were intriguing. We had already been told that
Timeslip's mission was to prevent the impending time storm, and already
had sufficient information to guess his identity. Actually, Timeslip's
mission is simply another confirmation that, although the current super-
humans aren't as powerful as the pre Causality War gods, they do have
the ability to seriously damage the fabric of reality. When Beacon (nee
Channel) messed with zero point energy back in issue 15 he literally
destroyed the universe, and the temporal intervention by Baal Samin only
preserved a divergent timeline. Now Timeslip has gone back and altered
his own history to do much the same with regards to Milwaulkee. The thing
to worry about is that if Thom O'Ryan's predictions from issue 56 hold
true, in the near future there are going to be an increasing number of
increasingly powerful superhumans, an unknown number of whom could
instigate similar catastrophes. So, how to police the problem? The Academy
can't; or at least, not by itself, we already saw that in issue 15.
Relying on enlightened self-interest from gods like Baal Samin? Possible,
but the gods as a group have their own agendas and live outside the space-
time continuum, and eventually someone's going to use the end of the
world as a bargaining chip. Having the now freelance Timeslip wandering
about, unearthing problems and if necessary referring them to the likes
of the Academy seems a better solution, but that raises the question
(which in the interests of full disclosure I'll say runs off on a tangent
from an email discussion I had with Dave a few months back): isn't that
supposed to be the Stranger's/Dvandom Stranger's/whatever-he's-called-in-
this-universe's job?

The Alt.Riders #43
'Nothing Is Sure In A Sea Fight'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jamas Enright

     The nominal fifth part of the War Without Worlds crossover. Agent
has a plan involving finding where Asteroid L is resting in the In.dir.an
Ocean, using a warp field generated by a flight.thingee to reduce its
inertial potential, and then flying the Asteroid to intercept the
Inhilator world and thereby deliver a poison to stop the alien marauders.
This issue involves finding the Asteroid and getting it out of the ocean.
Along the way the Marsha gets to be cranky over various things, and the
team and guest star Deja Dude are attacked by aquatic monsters.

Godling #4
'...Goes Unpunished'
A Miscellaneous [Misc] series
by Jochem Vandersteen

     Issue 4 gets off with a bang with Godling in a mid-air fight with
the Airsharks. They get the upper hand, and only the intervention of Wade
in a police helicopter prevent them from killing Godling. After the fight
(and the property damage) Professor Alexander gets further confirmation
that he doesn't have chance at winning the affections of Monica Sawyer:
despite seeing him as a close enough friend to be a shoulder to cry on,
her attention is focused solely on Wade Hudson.
     We also get two subplots. One is a honest-to-goodness alien
extermination fleet, and the second is a lawyer with superpowers of
his own who looks like a potential ally.

Green Knight #3
An Eightfold [8FOLD] series
by Tom Russell

     Ray Cradle continues his treatment for cancer, and slowly
acknowledges that he's dying. He resents it, of course, but that
resentment is idiosyncratic: it's an intrusion of the mask he uses as
his secret identity into his real life as the Green Knight, since it's
the wrong type of death. Anders tries to play the part of the dutiful
son, but since he isn't privy to his father's secret it's Martin who's
able to give the emotional support. To be fair Ray tries to leaves Clues
to prompt Anders to ask the right questions, but since Anders isn't part
of the superhero world he doesn't even realise that there's a mystery to
be solved. That and that alone prevents me from throwing up my arms and
kvetching, 'Eh, ya schmuck, just go the whole ten yards with the Harry
Potter schtick and make him sleep in the cupboard under the stairs'.
     Meanwhile Martin is expecting his own problems arising from Ray's
death, since by preference he sticks to street level vigilantism rather
than gaudy high concept superheroics. He's anticipating with distaste
that he'll have to deal with the full blown supervillains once the Green
Knight is gone.
     I found the concept of the Mask Statement pretty cool (is this a
new concept, or simply something from somewhere else that I've missed?)
but as Ray says, it's only workable as long as everyone plays by the

Road To Killfile Wars #12  [LNH]
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jesse Willey and Tom Russell

     This acts as an epilogue to this miniseries and the bridge into
the _Killfile Wars_. The Killfile globes continue with their thematic
bloodymindedness in trying to recruit every relative of Dr Killfile that
they can identify in preparation for their vendetta with him, and in
the process it becomes clear to Regal 13 that the war that they've been
trying to prevent is now pretty much inevitable. Interestingly the
Killfile globes have common sense enough to realise that some potential
recruits (like Badass) can't be intimidated into working with them. Oh
yes, and it turns out that Electra does have a reason for hanging around
Dalton for so long: apparently contact with him stimulates her sense of
touch again. On learning this Dalton thinks he can call in a few favours
to investigate why.

Scenes In The Life Of Possible Man #3-4  [BP]
'Scene In A Grocery Store'  and
'Scene In And Around An Old Folks Home'
A Boring Productions [BP] series

     For some reason these two posts seemed more like part of an ongoing
life story for Possible Man than the previous two. Issue 1, as mentioned,
was just two guys sitting around, while issue 2's attempt to recruit
Not-Rudolph-Valentino Man felt surreal. However, in issue 3 PM, while
shopping, encounters not only the crotchety Elderly Woman but also the
potential love interest in Stop-Drop-And-Roll Lass. He'll have to woo
her, but unlike the way he was easily confused by Elderly Woman, he
seems to be able to at least make a stab at subtly for romance.
     However, it's in issue 4... Hold up a second, Possible Man can fly?
As in, he actually has superpowers? We're not talking about riding in an
aeroplane and his not being good at it being code for getting airsick? No?
Okay then, just checking. It's in issue 4 that we get a better sense of
Possible Man as a rounded person and not just a well meaning but slightly
scatterbrained man in a costume as he visits his grandfather. He's still
not the most competent hero in the world (not having paid sufficient
attention in his EMT course), but the care and attention he gives his
dying grandfather is a flip side to the slightly self-centred individual
of issue 1.

War Without Worlds #3
'Cry 'Havok' And Let Slip The Dogs Of War'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jamas Enright and Saxon Brenton

     A very long concluding chapter, thanks to the fact that Jamas and
myself couldn't restrain ourselves from throwing in neat looking stuff.
The Inhilators have taken mental control of the Net.Elementalist and
are using him as a herald of sorts, and after jerking the Looniearth's
defenders around he knocks them all unconscious with a blast of psychic
static. Meanhwile in space, between the joint actions of Master Blaster's
space fleet and the Alt.Riders arrival with Asteroid L, Retcon Lad and
Very Big Boy are able to sneak into the Inhilator world and take the out
of commission the giant Plot Device that powered that planet. The
Inhilator world then teleported away on preprogrammed instructions so
as not to damage 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
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