REVIEW: AC: Bush43 # 21-23

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Fri Jun 9 08:08:46 PDT 2006


When last we left our hero, the not-so-nut-kicktastic Jeffery Carter,
he was stuck in a job he didn't want as a Scott McClellan for Pacific
City's corrupt psychopath of a mayor, Romanov/a.  Well, three issues
later, he's still in that position and, if anything, things are getting
worse.  The mayor is on his back, smoking so many cigarettes that I'm
anticipating a plot twist where he/she seeks treatment for lung cancer.
 The police are still unhappy, and the moral implications of Jeffery's
position-- having to defend the mayor's position to police officer Self
as Self uses the very same arguments Jeffery used *against* the mayor--
are starting to get to him.

Kenney does this pretty subtlely; during the Self-Jeffery conversation,
the narration part of the scene is kept to a minimum.  He doesn't
rattle on for paragraphs about Jeffery's discomfort and ruin the pace
of the position: he just lets it sink in, and lets the mood of other
scenes inform this one.

It's a definite noir kind of mood, and luckily, Kenney understands what
_every_ noir needs: wimmins! :-P

A supervillainess named Typhoid Mary, who shares the seductive, sleazy
femme fatale personality of Marvel's Typhoid Mary, wants Our Hero to
escort her to a big fancy society event.  The mayor thinks this is a
good idea.  Jeffery's not so enthused, says more than once that he's
tired of being used by people, and Kenney gets a fair amount of soap
opera angst out of this.

In fact, I think the one benefit of the daily format (besides the fact
that the issues are _fairly_ short) is that it allows Kenney to milk
his plots for all they've got in true, GENERAL HOSPITAL fashion.  But,
you know.  With capes.

[Which reminds me: what is Scorpio's relationship with Dr. Noah Drake?
I know Noah raised Scorpio's daughter, but is that because of any
familial relationship between the two?]

If the format wasn't daily, but rather weekly or monthly, the
individual issues would be a bit disappointing; all that wait, and the
plot's moved just an inch.  But with a day's wait between issues, it's
quite gripping.

I do wonder, though, if the daily pace isn't effecting the quality of
the writing.  Don't get me wrong: for the most part, it's good, precise
writing and it is wonderfully utilitarian, dedicated to the character
and the themes instead of literary show-off-iness.  But sometimes it's
not quite as precise as it could be.

Take, for example, the scene in which Typhoid Mary shows up to ask
Jeffery, Sadie Hawkins-like, to escort her.  When Jeffery turns around
and spots her, the narration doesn't identify her until several lines
down.  Jeffery obviously recognizes her from the start, but her
identity is withheld from us for no in-story reason: it's just an
attempt to drum up suspense, and in this case, it doesn't work.  If
there was something obscuring her identity, that would be different.
But as it is, this scene (and the later scene in which the equally and
delightfully female Eldritch is introduced) doesn't work.

Also in the Typhoid Mary scene, the sentence describing her face is too
long.  It's quite a mouthful, and the images aren't particularly
concrete or telling.  Which is unusual for this series and this writer.

In the very same scene, Kenney gives a wonderfully sensuous image--
Typhoid Mary pulling a few strands of loose hair and tucking them
behind her ear-- as well as Jeffery Carter's wonderfully noirish
reaction to it-- it gets him every time.  Women!

If the introduction of Typhoid Mary had not been so deliberately obtuse
and had included a couple more images like this-- memorable, effective,
sexy-- then it really would have worked wonders.

Generally, though, the prose is fairly precise.  I especially like this

> "You have a briefing to give, Mister Carter," he said, as he crisply
> turned from me.

Just take a moment to think about that: the mayor CRISPLY turns away
from him.  What an unusual word choice, and what a perfect one: I've
never thought of anyone moving _crisply_ before but now that it's out
there, I can see it, and I can add that use of the word to my every-day

You might even see it pop up a few times (like "secret ninja business")
in some of my writing.  Which reminds me: in the pages of THE
NOSTALGICS # 2, you will meet a character with powers somewhat similiar
to Typhoid Mary...

... that's all I'm going to say about that...

... anyway, I can't wait to see what happens at this big society event,
and I hope if the noir vibe is going to stay for awhile, that Jason
Kenney turns up the erotic sweatiness up to eleven.

BTW: remember that there's a huge chunk of BUSH43 I haven't read, and
that was a while ago: has Carter ever found _himself_ kicked in the
nuts?... because that'd be pretty funny. :-P


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