[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #29 - May 2006 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 11 08:55:50 PDT 2006

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #29 - May 2006 [spoilers]

Reviewed This Issue:
      Academy of Super Heroes #68  [ASH]
      Easily-Discovered Man #46  [LNH]
      Killfile Wars #1-3  [LNH]
      Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #14  [LNH]
      Looniverse Y #6  [LNHY]
      The Nostalgics #1  [8Fold]
      An Obnoxious Guy In Spandex Fighting Guys In Trenchcoats
           Fighting Ninjas #1  [LNH/NTB]
      President Evil #5  [LNH]
      Super Stomach Girl #1-4  [Misc]
      Vel #15  [LNH]
      Web of Mainstream Man #6  [LNH]

Also posted:
      Adventures Beyond Comprehension #1-4  [LNH]
      Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 Annual #1  [LNH]
      Onion Lad #7  [LNH]
      Pigs In Time #2  [LNH]
      Unfinished Sentence Verse #1-7  [usVerse]

     Ah, the fickle winds of fan interest.  Last month we had a notable
number of stories about Master Blaster.  This month the theme seems to
be cascades: not only did Adrian post a new _President Evil_, but we
also have not one, but two new cascades being started: Arthur's
_Unfinished Sentence Verse_ and Tom's _An Obnoxious Guy In Spandex
Fighting Guys In Trenchcoats Fighting Ninjas_.  It suddenly occurs to
me, this may be why RACC is having such a high turnover of posts
recently despite it modest population of active participants: lacking
any sort of discipline, we get random bouts of enthusiasm and post
whatever comes into our heads.
     No, it's not a particularly ennobling thought.  I didn't say it
would be.
     Spoilers below.


Academy of Super-Heroes #68
'Legion'   (Manifest Destiny  part 4)
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelon

     You know, reflecting on comments by Dave in another discussion
thread (on the differences between the 8Fold universe and other
imprints) it occurs to me that the situation on Venus is the latest
reoccurrence of a plotting element that happens from time-to-time in
this, the 'always-a-bigger-fish' verse (my phrasing, not Dave's).  Once
again I will roll out the standard description that the staple of this
series is typically its mixture of international politics (doubling as
world building for its alternate future setting) with superhero action-
adventure and a bit of superhero melodrama.  However, occasionally
growing out of that international politics are situations where some
huge new factor looms out of left field and throws the status quo into
disarray; and the Academy are expected to try and keep things from
spiralling totally out of control.  I'd never looked at it quite that
way before, even though it's an obvious corollary of the fact that ASH
is an alt.future setting and therefore doesn't need to exactly parallel
real-world society and politics in the way that settings like Marvel
or DC do.  It isn't enough for the Academy and its allies to defeat a
problem and then ignore it the way that the Avengers or the Justice
League would; it's necessary for them to find a way to manage it in the
long term, perhaps even integrating it into a new status quo, because
it will come back to bite them otherwise.
     Anyway, the fights between the monsters are starting to break out
(for which purpose we can probably include Q'Nos in that group, even
if he's not a classic daikaiju like his kinfolk), and of course the
political fighting over Venus steps up a notch.  Meanwhile the revelation
that that Arin's been spreading Lysistratan scrolls among the Moselm
Confederation was a cute touch. And after Peregrun's tentative prognosis
that Geod has a type of energy sympathy with the Leviathan and is being
drawn towards uniting with her, I find myself wondering if Peregryn
will have to make a deal with the Venus-Mother to keep Geod as sundered
from the Leviathan as, say, Bronzewing.

Easily-Discovered Man #46
'Mood Indigo'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Rob Rogers

     I begin to see Rob's technique, and am impressed by it.  Clearly
the trick is to write so slowly that his series falls of the readers'
radar altogether, and thus he doesn't get nominated for the Image
Memorial Timepiece Award in the RACCies.  <end facetiousness>
     At this late stage of the trying to put the last touches on this
EoMR before posting it this evening, I'll state bluntly that I've
written and rewritten this review about three or four times over the
past two-and-a-half weeks in order to try and express an extremely
minor but niggling dissatisfaction - and that necessity is beginning
to annoy me.
     Easily-Discovered Man, Easily-Discovered Man Lite and Cynical Lass
finish defeating G.L.U.R.G.E., the sentient syrup monster from last
issue, which was originally posted in September 2004.  Along the way EDM
bawls Lite out (in his inimicable way) over Lite's suggestion of perhaps
killing (by eating the monster).  Later, wondering where his life is
going Lite wanders off and is eventually being met and threatened
by Professor Perhap.
     This issue was lots of fun, but for reasons that took me a long
time to identify also left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied.  Part of
it is probably the emotional downer of Lite's bout of teenaged angst,
but the themes raised lead me to think that Lite might (or at least
should be) more broadly concerned about EDM's superheroing style.  Allow
me to explain the significance of this.
     One of the strongest sources of humour for this series is the
contrast and conflict between two completely different worldviews:
between 'real life' situations and attitudes (as narrated by Lite) and
the ludicrous situations and attitudes of superhero comics (as espoused
by EDM). Of course, the inability and/or unwillingness to cope with the
world around you, including the consensual set of rules that make up
the society that you live in, is also one way of defining insanity.
Lite is a character who can cope with both worldviews (albeit with
occasional ill grace), while EDM isn't.  It's a setup that also works
very well over in the also extremely-slow-posting _Writers Block Woman
(and Mouse)_.  Both of the title characters are pretty much completely
insane, but because their insanity conforms to the stylised public
personas of the costume champions of capes-and-tights subculture,
they're allowed to get away with it.
     So, during the fight with G.L.U.R.G.E. Easily-Discovered Man gives
Lite an admonitory speech about being a hero.  It's a wonderful speech;
put in a slightly less over-the-top context I think it would make a fine
bit of dialogue for the likes of Captain America.  Unfortunately the
context *is* slightly over-the-top, since it's clear in that scene that
(a) on at least one level EDM is treating the fight as a stylised ritual,
possibly even a game, and (b) he's not paying proper attention to his
foe, lecturing Lite on the proper etiquette/rules to follow, and Lite
has to rescue him.  (As an aside, that rescue affirmed Lite's competence
and reminded me why I chose him as one of the team sent against the
plane highjackers in _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #55; it wasn't *just* to
belittle Islamist terrorists by having them be taken out by a teenager
armed only with a spatula.)
     Anyway, when Lite wanders off, he's worrying about the way people
keep talking about him having choices but not explaining what those
choices are.  Meanwhile I'm thinking that while those concerns are
valid, they're nowhere near wide ranging enough, and are perhaps a
little too coherent.  Because of EDM's rather narrow take on the world,
I'm wondering if perhaps Lite should have an emotional burden of rather
vaguely interrelated concerns about how he's a square peg being fit into
a round hole: not just worrying about how he's not being told what his
options are, but that his mentor EDM might be unable to recognise and
articulate a sensible range of options (as opposed to what EDM /thinks/
are a sensible range of options).  As I've stated above, I think Lite
makes a perfectly capable if non-powered hero, but if the disagreement
between the two of them over whether to kill G.L.U.R.G.E. has any
validity, then perhaps Lite should be expressing some teenaged-style
resentment about it.  And because teenaged angst isn't coherent, Lite
could be resenting EDM for trying to mould him into something he's not,
and then berating himself for turning against the man who gave him his
start in net.heroing in the first place.

Killfile Wars #1-3
'Peaceful Days'  ;  'A Tom Sawyer Eulogy' (with Saxon Brenton)
  and  'Triumph'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jesse Willey

     I allowed myself a few seconds worth of grim amusement when I
realised that after last year's 12 part _Road To Killfile Wars_, that
the _Killfile Wars_ miniseries was being billed as only a 6 parter.  I
have to agree with Tom Russell's analysis that Jesse has been tending
to throw in too many subplots.  Now, Jesse has said that those subplots
are all leading somewhere.  I am prepared to take that assertion at face
value.  I'm also willing to accept that with a title like _Road To
Killfile Wars_ that it was always meant to be about setting things up
for its sequel.
     However, I am also mindful that just as RTKW only hinted at what
the Killfile Family's master plan was, so too we have only had hints in
KF as well - and we're already halfway through the damn thing.  I would
suggest that in addition to the subplot's all being ultimately tied
together, that given a periodic update/recap of how those subplots that
have been shown to fit together do so, such as with the heroes reviewing
the situation, the villains musing how well their plans are going, or
simply a third-person-omniscient-but-not-complete narration.
     Or to put it another way: Last year we got to see that the Killfile
Family, acting as a type of revenge squad against Dr Killfile, had quite
a number of plans.  The one that we became most familiar with was their
obsessive attempt to recruit every single relative of Dr Killfile that
they could contact.  Other plans were seen but sometimes explained only
obliquely in relation to the events they related to (Project: Modred's
intent to kill Terrence was pretty clear in its mechanics but I still
contend that doing so in order for Modred to assume his birthright to
the Killfile name is a bit loopy, even for the thematically obsessed
Killfiles; I'm still not sure what the ultimate purpose of Operation
Payload's otherwise successful bombing of the Dorfan homeworld was; and
Operation Milk Carton I didn't get at all until Jesse explained in reply
to the review for #4-8).  But we never got to see the big picture behind
what they were up to; even if it was simply 'create a lot of random
violence so that people will stay too scared to get in our way'.  Now,
from the hints I'm assuming that they're planning to find that device
that Crompton was so intent on keeping out of their hands and using it
to dump on Dr Killfile, big time, with a clever master scheme that will
otherwise weave together all the individual plans.  However, at this
late stage of this miniseries we haven't even had direct confirmation
that the Killfile Family is after Dr Killfile at all - just Dr Killfile's
quick and ambiguous disparagement of Deliah's 'hair brained revenge
scheme', which could theoretically refer to any revenge against anyone
rather than as a sign of mutual antipathy that his family shares.  We
haven't even seen things that would act as thematic support for the idea
that things will ultimately all make sense, such as the full compliment
of the Killfile Family after all the recruitment that's been going on.
With all the disparate elements that were thrown into RTKW, some of
which seem to be being followed up here (such as Screw-You-Over Lad's
harassment of Dalton) while others aren't (like the Arthurian sword and
the machinations of the Grim Seeder) a reader could be forgiven for
seeing the tiles that make up the mosaic without being able to see the
picture the mosaic makes.
     Taken on an issue by issue basic things seem to be proceeding on a
hit or miss basis.  Delilah (Lady Killfile) invades the Legion head-
quarters with the ultimate intent to gaining access to a portal in one
of the sub-basements, purportedly the one storing a Dorf transport
device.  Along the way she kills one of the Ultimate Ninja triplets for
no reason that I can discern, except perhaps personal malice; if it was
other than that, then I can't think why she'd kill only one of them and
not the other two.  It does, however, lead to the rather nice scene
where Ultimate Ninja's made plans to have a farewell roast for himself
on the principle that he knew his underlings would do something silly
anyway, so he's going to beat them to the punch.  However, there's a
rather long lapse of time between her first actions and her arrival at
the door; long enough for a memorial roast to be staged, Vel and Deja
Dude to review the security tapes, and a second Ultimate Ninja to track
her down.  Either Deliah assassinated Ultimate Ninja (in the process
drawing attention (back) to herself) and then left, or it took her an
awful long time to reach her objective.  If the former, then she would
need a good reason to kill Ultimate Ninja, but we get no hint of what.
     Meanwhile, Dalton is still being stalked by Screw-You-Over Lad, and
it looks like this *isn't* simple malice on the part.  He's following
Dalton in an attempt to track down and claim some nanotechnology, while
for his part Dalton discovers evidence that Weinstein Technologies may
be using nanotech for mind control purposes.  This also suggests that
Electra's reactivation of her sense of touch when she's with Dalton may
be related to the 'modified external input', which in turn suggests that
Dalton may have had more than just tracking chips planted into him
against his will.

Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #14
'The Trouble with Recreated Dream Girls'  and 'Cat-girl of My Dreams!'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Arthur Spitzer  and  Tom Russell

     A new member, the very sexy Ripping Dancer, joins the Legion.  The
male members are almost all infatuated with her.  The females are able
to remain civil for the most part.  But Ripping Dancer has a Dark
Secret.  She's in reality a plain woman who's been given powers and
beauty as part of a plot to infiltrate the Legion by a mystery villain
(who, in all probability is Manga Man) who says that he is motivated to
destroy the LNH from within, but whether he realises it or not seems
equally motivated to replace the currently missing cat girl Panta.
     Okay, a quick explanation.  It's unlikely that anyone who's reading
this isn't aware of who Panta is and why her currently-missing-from-
continuity presence nevertheless still looms large in the LNH imprint;
but I'll recap the situation anyway.  Hurbert Bartel's popular character,
the cat-girl Panta, had a long run of stories in _Tales of the LNH_,
before being removed from continuity (we think) by being 'tenchified'
in her last story when Hurbert departed.  Now, the LNH Writers aren't
completely sure what tenchified means, but the current consensus about
the practical implications is to build on the effects of her being
forgotten at the end of _Tales of the LNH_ #370 and assume that people
who knew her have, at best, only vague memories of her.  This isn't the
only way that it could be handled, but it does allow for the maximum
number of jokes.  And so it is here.  Kid Anarky's cameo gives a lovely
moment of wistful regret that he doesn't really understand, but it's the
reactions of Self-Righteous Preacher and (the probable) Manga Man - the
two characters who have traditionally had well-nigh-frothing obsessions
over Panta - that are the most hilarious.
     With all that said, is Ripping Dancer a substitute for Panta?
Depends on whether you're a reader of stories or a character in them.
As a character, no, of course not.  Panta's unattainability came from
her innocence (although I guess some would say cluelessness) - a factor
that was revealed and emphasised during the furor around the 'Woody
Scandal'.  Ripping Dancer's unattainability comes from her orders to
*seem* innocent (plus, possibly, the need to push away anybody lest they
discover her secret, I suppose...).  Still, Arthur presents in Ripping
Dancer not just a Legion Traitor but also a likeable and rather
vulnerable young woman.
     As a member of the Legion, maybe.  She's been deliberately created
by Manga Man to be evocative of Panta, or more realistically what the
obsessed mind of Manga Man can grok about Panta, but even then he gets
it wrong.  Even as he obsesses about Panta, his lust for power distorts
his perceptions of her and her place in the Legion further from what it
was and more towards what he can use.  Throw in Ripping Dancer's doubts
about her mission, and it's pretty clear that his plan is already doomed.
And that's before we even get to genre conventions about the good guys
always winning.
     Along the way the story has all sorts of scenes with details
from LNH stories meant to tickle the sweet spots of longtime LNH
fans and just plain ludicrous situations, as well as more recent gags
like trenchcoaters fighting ninja.
     Meanwhile, in the backup story, Tom has a slightly different take
on the absence of Panta, telling a joke where she is literally removed
from history and Pants Rabbit Lad suffers from a fall as a direct result.

Looniverse Y #6
A Legion of Net.Heroes Y [LNHY] series
by Martin Phipps, assisted by Tom and Mary Russell

     Kick Kicked Out - who you will recall was turned into a female last
issue by the LNH Member Detector in the name of affirmative action -
implements on a cunning plan in order to become a man again.  He decides
to hold an audition for a new LNHY member who both fits the LNHY's
membership criteria of being created by an otherwise unrepresented
author, as well as Kid Kicked Out's requirements for being female.
Various applicants are interviewed, and Trophy Wife, created by Tom
Russell, is accepted.

The Nostalgics #1
`And I Spoke For All Things'
An Eightfold [8Fold] miniseries
by Tom Russell

     Straight off then: yes, I tried to find the Superman reference
for the contest; no, I didn't get it.  My Superman knowledge skills are
basically at trivia rather than scholarly settings, and so while I have
a lot of it, it doesn't cover everything.  Looking at the answer, I
don't think that was even something I once knew and subsequently forgot.
And, no, I won't be taking part in the second contest because I helped
Tom with some of the worldbuilding behind it, and read the name of the
mystery character in the excerpt draft of the story he sent me.
     So.  The story starts with the intriguing setup of Jason Righteous
introducing himself, telling us bluntly that he's the one who betrayed
the Nostalgics, but that he doesn't know why.  Then things jump back as
Jason narrates his origin story, which basically means how his childhood
was messed up by his powerful but esoteric ability to talk with non-human
life forms which has the serious limitation of being pretty much
uncontrollable.  He also tells of how he persisted in his attempts to
be a superhero named Connection and help people, despite his sometimes
crippling powers.  It's a pretty heroic attitude, if you think about
it -- exposing yourself to physical danger with powers that aren't just
non-versatile and not useful in a fight, but can actually heighten the
amount of danger he could be in.
     Jason seems to be a rather balanced character.  Practical in his
attempts to deal with his disabling aspects of his power while at the
same time being human enough to feel occasional anger about his
situation.  I particularly liked the comment about not wanted to get a
dog companion in case he was perceived as the pooch's sidekick.

An Obnoxious Guy in Spandex Fighting Guys in Trenchcoats Fighting Ninjas #1
A Legion of Net.Heroes and Net.Trenchcoat Brigade [LNH/NTB] cascade
by Tom Russell

     Following on from the burst of enthusiasm last month for the idea
of trenchcoaters fighting ninjas, Tom presents this cascade.  Grammar
Lad tries to explain that the plural of ninja in ninja rather than
ninjas, but is rudely interrupted by a fight scene between trenchcoaters
and ninja.  Then we cut to the return of a young man who takes the
position of Kanas - Dark Lord of the Ninjas from his father, and
prepares to destroy the clan's enemies, the Net.Trenchcoat Brigade and
the Sans S Grammatically-Correct Ninja.

President Evil: A-Pack-o-Lies #5
'Irrelevant Fight Scenes Ahoy!'
{er, darn, it doesn't say what imprint this is supposed to be on the
post.  Hmm, #4 was [Misc], #1-3 was [LNH]  Okay then, I guess it's...}
...a Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] cascade!
by Adrian McClure

     The Random Heroes get a temporary reprieve from the attacks by
zombie senior citizens when they are rescued by Forgotten Gal, who's
been in limbo since 1946.  Then, since it's been a year since the last
post in this cascade, then do an introductory scene before going back
to fighting zombies before the dramatic arrival of the Random Villains
complicates things even more.  Meanwhile President Hexadecimal Luthor
sends in atomic biker zombies to try a save the day.

Super Stomach Girl #1-4
'Alien Abduction"  ;  'Transformation'  ;  'I Like To Watch'
  and  'You Knew The Job Was Dangerous'
A Miscellaneous [Misc] series
by Jerry Shaw

     Let's get the administrivia out of the way.  Jerry hasn't posted a
story on RACC before, which means we actually have an eligible candidate
for the Newbie Award for this year in the RACCie Awards.  Of course, no
doubt it would be even better if we had several eligibles, so that it's
actually a contest rather than a door prize, but at this point I think
we can't afford to be choosy.  Anyway, I add my welcome to the group
on to of Tom's more timely response.
     The plot in brief: Roz wakes up in the desert after, what we learn
in flashback, was a near death experience where she was attacked by a
gang and dumped in the desert. A partial explanation for her situation
after that attack is given by an apparent alien, who reveals that she's
been healed and empowered.  Thereafter Roz faces down her attackers after
accidentally meeting them again, decides to become a superhero called
Super Stomach Girl after she discovers that her empowerment involves
having an invulnerable stomach (but only activated after being hit
repeatedly in the stomach) and super strength (but only when hitting
other people's stomaches) and gets help from the voyeuristic Kara in
training to be a superhero.
     Now, in and a of itself I didn't find the idea of Roz being
empowered with a super stomach the most confronting idea in these
stories.  This is the comic books superhero genre, after all, and you
have to expect otherwise bizarre ideas being manifest as concrete
examples.  Come to think of it, we've probably been spoilt by Grant
Morrison's overt use of that trick in his Doom Patrol run, and less over-
the-top in Justice League and X-Men.  Also, I recall from the 1970s a
skit or two on the Paul Hogan Show comedy television show (back when he
was simply a national rather than international celebrity) featuring
Detective Donger, a cop whose huge beer gut had been injured in an
elevator accident and been replaced with a bionic stomach.
     But Super Stomach Girl isn't about satire or the potential humour
of the otherwise unusual concept itself.  It plays it serious.  Serious
enough that when it turns out that Kara has a serious fetish for flat
stomaches and punching those stomaches, the reader can understand her
interest, or at least not wonder 'what the hell is this freak on about?'
In fact a number of storytelling elements, such a Kara's repeated
focusing on 'flat, hard stomaches' would otherwise become repetitive if
they weren't being used in the context of emphasise her fetishistic
     My main interest came from the complications and ambiguity about
Kara's character.  Roz herself is interesting enough as a superhero
lead, but once you get past the rather unique limitations on her
powers she's also a bit generic.  She's smart and tough and brave (I
particularly liked Kara's realisation during training that Roz was
tougher than she, Kara, had expected).  But it was Kara that caught my
attention.  I tend to agree with Martin Phipps' comment: in addition to
the 'wait a moment, wouldn't that mean that...?' implication that Kara
was watching and enjoying the sight of the attacks on Roz when Kara
should have been calling the police and/or an ambulance, there's the
slightest hint that perhaps Roz organised the attacks.  Certainly Kara's
contacts with both the senator and the mob suggest a probable darker side
to her voyeurism.  Jerry has replied to Tom that Kara was meant to be
something of an Oracle character, but since I don't read any of DC's
Bat-books these days I have no idea how Barbara Gordon's information
brokering operations compares with Kara's.
     What I do know is that as early as the putative explanation
in issue 1, that the appearance, partial explanation and sudden
disappearance by the alien 'because he'd been discovered' seemed a
little too contrived to me.  Perhaps the alien's situation was as it
really claimed, or perhaps that was simply a sudden cut-off contrived
to give the minimal of information without allowing the possibility of
Roz being able to ask further questions.  And then in issue 3 Kara makes
contact with a individual with a lilting mechanical-voice - just like
the same lilting mechanical voice of the alien.  Uh-huh.  Well, at this
point I'm prepared to say that I don't think Kara *organised* Roz's
empowerment, since it would take greater resources than she's been shown
to have so far.  However, it's becoming pretty clear that she's involved
with whoever did organise it, and moreover I'm prepared to guess that
maybe Kara had some input into the form that Roz's empowerment would
take.  Say, if it was organised in advance, perhaps Kara influenced who-
ever gave Roz her powers to give her those powers in a form that would
play on Kara's fetishes as part of the payment to train and monitor Roz 
     My, what a nasty suspicious mind I'm displaying in the above
paragraph.  But despite it all I find that I rather like Kara.  After
all that, I'll conclude by saying that I'm intrigued enough by the
series that I'll definitely be reading more when it comes out.

Vel #15
'Kicks'   (Like Father, Like Son   Part One of Three)
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jesse Willey

     Jen (Seductress) begins to have complications of uncontrolled
levitation from the birth of Vel's child, and Vel's longtime physician
Doctor Ja'Khallem is brought in. Vel, however, is too busy with Deja
Dude dealing with events from the Killfile Wars (the assassination of
one of the Ultimate Ninja triplets) to be with her. Vel and Deja Dude
do, however, take enough time during their work to discuss the latter's
division of time between superheroing and raising a superpowered child.
This discussion, although short, works quiet well.  It doesn't have
Jesse's tendency to have his characters (presumably because they're
feeling stressed) shouting at each other, even though the two
characters haven't gotten on very well in the past.

Web of Mainstream Man #6 and 6.1
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Tom Russell

     The concluding part(s) of the WoMM mini. As I mentioned about #1,
most of this series has been 'amusing' because of the interaction of
slightly maniacal Legionnaires as they go about their regular super-
heroing business - in these cases solving the mysteries of who put the
indie comic in Mainstream Man's comic order and then the disappearance
of Pocket Man.  This issue actually jumps into 'downright intriguing'
for me because Tom indulges in some comic book style cosmological
metaphysics, which is a soft spot for me.
     It turns out that the Purple Crayon is in fact the alternate
version of Tom Russell from Real Life -1 who was murdered by the
Mechanical Author in _Saviours of the Net_ #17, and when given the
opportunity to take on the mantle of a LNH imprint character decided
on the Purple Crayon because of the character's reality manipulating
powers.  Although it's a conceit of the LNH that the Writers sometimes
take on cosmic identities when interacting with the Looniverse, this
is actually only the second time I can think of with a Writer-one-step-
removed taking up residence in the Looniverse as a character (the other
being the Dvandom Stranger, back in the conclusion to the Bellerophon
     But whereas the Dvandom Stranger fits into the archetype of
'Traveller In Black' (mysterious individual who arrives and generally
acting as a plot facilitator, doing and/or saying cryptic things to get
the story's protagonists to take part in the story), the Purple Crayon
acts as a demiurge creator figure. He creates his own dimension, and
then because the Purpleverse has the same theoretical problem as the
Oddball Looniverse (it needs readers and writers to be interested in
it) he hijacks Mainstream Man to become resident in his Purpleverse in
order to anchor it to the Looniverse proper.
     The problem with this is that although Mainstream Man is, for the
most part, passive, the above-mentioned bit about being slightly maniacal
is also in play.  He can't help but think in comic book cliches about
Good versus Evil, and almost any attempt by the Purple Crayon to satisfy
his wants and needs is going to fall afoul of his suspicions that this
is all too good to be true.  In the end Mainstream Man summons WikiBoy
and uses his wikipowers to destroy the Purpleverse.
     The add-on episode involves WikiBoy continuing to angst about the
misuse of his abilities as a deus ex machina by other Legionnaires.
Namedropper Lad takes offence and edits away the ability of WikiBoy to
be used in this manner, before Haiku Gorilla trips up Namedropper Lad
with a banana peel.  It's a nice piece of emotional closure, but
ultimately only temporary.  Do you really think Namedropper Lad's edit
will last in the long run any more than anyone else's?  No, I don't either.

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
fiction of the rec.arts.comics.creative newsgroup can be found at:

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