[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #28 - April 2006 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sat May 6 23:14:23 PDT 2006

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #28 - April 2006 [spoilers]

Reviewed This Issue:
      Anthology Two: Villains  [AC]
      Academy of Super-Heroes #67  [ASH]
      A Guy In A Trenchcoat Fighting Ninjas  [NTB]
      Eggplant The Easter Miracle Komodo Dragon  [LNH]
      Incarnate #1  [8Fold]
      Journey Into... #2  [8Fold]
      Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #12  [LNH]
      Limerick Lemur #1  [LNH]
      Master Blaster: Insufficient Postage  [LNH]
      Master Blaster In 'Insufficient Postage' [LNH]
      Pigs In Time #1  [LNH]

Also Posted:
      Haiku Gorilla #51-65, 67-123  [LNH]
      Master Blaster: Insufficient Postage add-ons #3.1 and 3.2  [LNH]
      Simon Velcro: Revised Edition  [LNH/NTB]
      Web Of Mainstream Man #4-5  [LNH]

     Sigh.  A strong Master Blaster theme this month, and because I'm
trying to get a spread of authors (as well as imprints and other
factors) this means a lot of attention on him.
     I've decided that as a matter of policy that I'll only review
somewhere about three-quarters of the posts in any one month, modified
by how enthusiastic or apathetic I'm feeling.  Since this is what I
tend to fall back to when I'm feeling rushed it won't make much
difference to what I'm already doing, but it'll make me feel less
guilty when I do it.
     Spoilers below.


Anthology Two: Villains
'Organizational Skills'
An Artifice Comics [AC] series
by Jason S. Kenney

     Hmm.  An Artifice Comics title.  Been a long time since one of
those was posted here.  For any newcomers, Artifice Comics has it's
own webpage (http://www.artificecomics.com) and only occasional stories
get posted here on rec.arts.comics.creative for promotional purposes.
The AC site is much like RACC in that although it has a primary focus
on superheroics it also includes other styles; in their case a fair
amount of pulp and noir material.
     This is a quite nice little story about supercrook Simon Cooper as
he organises a gang to take on the New Mages, the pre-eminent superhero
team in Pacific City.  The opening scene in the diner has a format of
his ally Tracy questioning Simon's intentions and methods while he's
being cagey, thereby allowing enough story details to be recapped for
the audience while still leaving the impression that there's more to
discovered, and what is revealed not coming out as an info dump.  Later
Simon demonstrates considerable forethought and charisma as he tries to
both install teamwork in his group as well as coaching them to think
innovatively about how to use their powers both individually and in
conjunction with each other.  His interaction with Teacup is one of my
favourite parts, indicating both how charismatic and manipulative he is.

Academy of Super-Heroes #67
'Monstrous'   (Manifest Destiny  part 3)
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelon

     This issue the main focus is on the various giant monsters which
have been born from the earth of Venus, all of whom were either sundered
off from the godhead of the also newly reincarnated Leviathan by Venus,
or who is (because of retention of primary aspect of identity) the
Leviathan.  Cue various scenes of introspection as the daikaiju muse
on their existence.  Also cue a scene with Delta Rose wondering how she
can keep things under control if said monsters start to get frisky.
Delta Rose, of course, is in the unenviable position of being both the
ambassador to and 'babysitter' for Earth for the Planetary Confederation.
Longtime readers will recall that the payoff of the first mega-arc was
that Delta had been manipulating the Academy in order fast track them
into readiness for fighting off the world destroying Arcanvore, but that
the formation of teams of superhumans later came back to bite her when
they successfully fended off the artificial coronal mass ejection that
was the Confederation's attempt to destroy Rebus (and, incidentally,
the Earth) during the Pyramid Scheme crossover.  She's right to wonder
whether anything the Confederation may try will be allowed to carry
through.  Up until now the Confederation's interest in Venus has been
represented by the point-of-view of the scout Veturna Severa, but the
symbolism of including Delta Rose and her burden makes me wonder if
this may be foreshadowing rather than Dvandom's more usual writing
style of casting a wide net of points of view from many different
people with different viewpoints.  We'll have to wait and see.
     Meanwhile, in the subplots, Scorch breaks up with Julie, unsure
as he is as to whether he love for her was romantic or filial from the
time he had her brother Beacon sharing his headspace; Essay and Peregryn
are making preparations for their wedding on Venus.

A Guy In a Trenchcoat Fighting Ninjas
A Net.Trenchcoat Brigade [NTB] series(?) (miniseries?)
by Arthur Spitzer

     As I examine the differing timestamps on this post I see that it's
a bit tight as to whether this belongs in really late April or really
early May, so I'll simply slip in here.  (Same with the revised edition
of Simon Velcro, by-the-way.)  Anyway, as a result of Eagle updating
various administration lists, the Net.Trenchcaot Brigade was going to
be removed from rec.arts.comics.creative's current imprints FAQ, which
prompted Arthur to forestall this by writing a NTB story.  Yes, it's
another round of the old favourite, 'disinter the corpse of the
Net.Trenchacoat Brigade, hoist it up on a stick like a macabre
scarecrow, and pretend that its movements as it sways in the breeze is
a sign of life'.
     So.  There's this guy.  When he was fifteen his grandmother gave
him a cool looking trenchcoat.  As soon as he put it on the ninjas
attacked, killing his family and trying to kill him.  He killed them
instead.  Twenty years later they're still attacking and he's still
killing them.
     It's intriguing how this manages to be both understated and over-
the-top at the same time.  And as far as getting the NTB back on it's
feet if not necessarily breathing, it prompted Dave to post a Dvandom
Stranger vignette with GIANT TALKING MONKEY ROBOT PIRATES, so clearly
it's not just an NTB story: it's a source of NTB in others.

Eggplant The Easter Miracle Komodo Dragon  [LNH]
'The Komodo Dragon That Barked -- Easter!'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] one-shot
by Arthur Spitzer

     Playing on the popularity of the _Cauliflower The Christmas Miracle
Pooch_ miniseries, Arthur presents this story.  It's a classic bait and
switch, with the names of both the 'series' and the 'first story', as
well as the opening with Ultimate Ninja mirroring the Cauliflower mini.
Alas, the Eggplant who's with the Legionnaires in the foyer of the
LNH-HQ is not the mainstream Looniverse version of Eggplant, but his
evil counterpart from another universe (complete with the 'mirror Mr
Spock' style beard) and kills Cannon Fodder before Ultimate Ninja can
stop him.

Incarnate #1
'Who Remembers The Rapture?'
An Eightfold [8Fold] series
by Jamie Rosen

     There's a greater than usual science fiction buzz to this story
than is typical for most RACC stories (ASH being the obvious exception).
Far into the future Incranate - the protagonist of this story - was made
as a type of legacy from the descendents of humanity.  During a scouting
mission she and her onboard AI advisor the Doctor were thrust back in
time and landed, to their wonderment, on what looks like the old Earth.
While the Doctor was trying to confirm their location, Incarnate spotted
a group of robots attacking an aeroplane, and flew up to stop them.

Journey Into... #2
An Eightfold [8Fold] anthology series
by Tom Russell

     This amused me greatly; the first part in particular.  Max Lang is
the normal husband of the superhero Julie Ann Justice, and he's getting
tired of continually being kidnapped by supervillains and then having
to listen to them monologue at him while awaiting rescue by his wife (or
worse, the family's superpowered cat).  On his birthday he receives an
anonymous gift that gives him superpowers as well.  There's quite a of
human drama here, but also a lot of silliness as well: witness the call
to arms of the Mammal Militia (a Legion of Super Pets analogue) as they
prepare to fight the reanimated canine villain Red Fido, plus some
combination of the two, such as the Cloning Contessa's morbidly
fascinating recitation of her attempts to create children for herself
involve adopting children, confiscating some genetic material from
them, and then murdering the originals.

Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #12
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Tom Russell

     A fourteenth anniversary story for the formation/first post of the
Legion of Net.Heroes.  The members of the Legion have been disappearing
(some of them in other stories) and been transported to an alternate
universe where none of their powers work and their memories of who they
are slowly being eroded away.  The perpetrator turns out to be the
Secretary of Reality who alone among the natives to this universe is
immune to its superpower-sapping effects, and who is arranging for all
the Legionnaires to be put in prison so that he can be in proximity to
many superhumans (power suppressed or otherwise) and by doing so he can
duplicate all of their abilities.
     But most of that's background information that's only revealed
during the climactic confrontation.  Most of the story is character
scenes as the Legionnaires wander around and be captured, all the while
trying to remember who they are, including a revisiting of the origin
of Cheesecake-Eater Lad.  Ultimately the Secretary is defeated by a
neat bit of trickery on the part of List Lad.  Overall it's a good
story, and even the deliberately schmaltzy elements used to raise
nostalgic fondness aren't allowed to become cliche, such as when
Ultimate Ninja rallies his team in a typically idiosyncratic combination
of appeals to team spirit and outright threats, or the way Slobberine
keeps interrupting the closing rallying cry.  And in the backup story,
Master Blaster turns WikiBoy into a cat girl to fill the place of the
gone and only-partly-remembered Panta - which makes me wonder if perhaps
Skunk Girl if would be an acceptable substitute until I recall that
Skunk Girl isn't quite as naively sweet as Panta was.

Limerick Lemur #1
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] one-shot(?)
by Martin Phipps

     Inspired by Tom Russell's _Haiku Gorlla_ series (I guess), this
story has a lemur who speaks in limericks.  He doesn't speak in English,
however, but this doesn't stop Linguist Lass from having him released
from the zoo and given membership of the Legion of Net.Heroes.  Hey,
the kiwi birds don't speak English either.

Master Blaster: Insufficient Postage
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] special
by Tom Russell

     Before anyone feel the need to nitpick that I'm listing this one
out of alphabetical title sequence, I'll explain that I'm arranging this
post and Jamas' post causally.  In any case, although it's not listed as
such this is the third Master Blaster Special, featuring Master Blaster
rampaging around and doing stuff and generally tormenting WikiBoy.  The
opening comment by guest appearing Deja Dude is diagnostic in that
regard: "Well, when you act this stupid and needlessly cruel, it can
only mean one thing: you got yourself another one of those Tom Russell
one-shot specials!"  Which, really, tells you what the structure of the
story will be like.
     Oh, you want to know what the actual plot is?  Tsk.  Thanks to
the past intervention by Idiotic Decision Boy, Master Blaster was given
the job of handling the Legion's taxes.  The resulting financial
catastrophe necessitates Master Blaster to try and find some money to
pay the tax bills.  But really it's just an excuse for Master Blaster to
torment WikiBoy.  In a thoroughly Acraphobic manner.  Trust me on this.

Master Blaster In 'Insufficient Postage'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] one-shot
by Jamas Enright

     This is a sequel of sorts to Tom's Master Blaster story, but
is an independently standing story rather than an add-on, and draws
inspiration equally from the previous Master Blaster one-shots and
Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel _Going Postal_.  It's also one of the
two stories that had me cackling with laughter the whole way through
while reading them.  Oh dear, I really shouldn't be so amused by Master
Blaster's antics - it only encourages him.
     Ultimate Ninja sends Master Blaster off to the post office to
collect a package and initially arranges for him to be accompanied by
Special Bonding Boy, both as a form of punishment (because, let's be
honest, left to his own initiate Master Blaster tends to do a lot of
things that need punishing).  However Special Bonding Boy doesn't
arrive, and Master Blaster gets saddled with Footnote Girl instead,
and vice versa.  They visit the post office, have to wait in line
interminably, and while doing so get caught in the middle of an attack
by the PANDA's and their outrageous dyslexic accent and the subsequent
fire fight with an impressive number of firearms.

Pigs in Time #1
'Big Mummy's House'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Tom Russell and Martin Phips

     Another sequel, this one back to the old _Pigs In Space_ story.
Doctor Stomper builds a motorcycle capable of time travel, and Ultimate
Ninja volunteers Master Blaster and Sarcastic Lad to test it.  True to
their essentially lustful and egocentric natures, the pair use the
opportunity to cruise through time looking for women to have sex with
on the spurious logic that there wasn't any STD's in the past.  First
up they go to ancient Egypt, but Master Blaster finds that carnal
knowledge with Cleopatra unsatisfying, so they return home, or at least
they try to; seems that Ultimate Ninja has thoughtfully siphoned the
gas tank, stranding them in early 17th century Mexico.

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