[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #32 - August 2006 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sat Sep 2 13:36:08 PDT 2006

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #32 - August 2006 [spoilers]

Reviewed This Issue:
      Academy of Super Heroes #70 & 71  [ASH]
      Adventures Beyond Comprehension #  [LNH]
      Easily-Discovered Man #47  [LNH]
      Haiku Gorilla #127-172  [LNH]
      Godling #8  [Misc]
      Jolt City #1  [8Fold]
      Master Blaster Special #7  [LNH]

Also posted:
      Fuschia Grabbag Surprise #2  [8Fold]
      Nostalgics #3  [8Fold]

     Before we start I'd like to talk briefly about appreciating
volunteer services.  This will probably not be pleasant, but I think
needs to be done.  Please feel free to kick me in the head if you
disagree with my assessment of the necessity.
     To put the story as briefly as possible: _Academy of Super Heroes_
#70 was posted back in mid July, but didn't initially make it to
newsgroup distribution.  Apparently a new system of digitally signing
the DNS record of the newsfeed was implemented up the line from
eyrie.org, and this bamboozled and confoozled the eyrie.org local news
server.  Dvandom thought it was a propagation glitch, tried to repost,
and after that had no effect, mailed a pointer to the Yahoo group that
included a mildly testy explanation of the situation.  Eagle identified
the problem, corrected it, and posted a note on the proper netiquette
for situations like that.
     It is not for me to condemn Dave's actions, since that would be
hypocrisy on my part: less than a moment's reflection leads me to
conclude that in the same circumstances that I would have done exactly
the same thing.  Which, I think, points to the nub of the problem.
     Bluntly, people tend to take for granted an otherwise invisible
service that 'works too well'.  Now, rec.arts.comics.creative is a
small, quite close knit and for the most part very civil community.
Under normal circumstances this sort of should not be a particularly
big deal, and in this case I don't think it is.  Mild chidings between
friends happen from time to time.  But in other circumstances it could be.
     I draw attention of everyone (both those old enough to remember it
and the bad taste it left in our mouths, and those who weren't around
at the time) to a worst case scenario that we've already been through:
back in October 1995 Cat Yronwood took the use of the University of
Texas news-to-mail gateway for granted, and kicked up a public stink
which, combined with a number of similar behind the scenes problems,
ultimately caused Fletcher Mattox to throw up his hands and say "F*ck
this", and close the useful public service that he had been
maintaining.  Indeed, it was this incident that was the direct
progenitor of the Eyrie's alt.comics.lnh and rec.arts.comics.creative
specific mail-to-news gateway.
     Am I making too big a deal over this?  Eh, maybe.  But I think
it's important to remember that this group is a collaborative effort
on multiple levels.
     Spoilers below...


Academy of Super Heroes #70 & 71  [ASH]
'Morning Star'  (Manifest Destiny Part 6)   and
'Journey to the Lost City'  (Metropolis I)
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelen

     As already mentioned, issue 70 came out on the ASH yahoo group in
mid July but not on RACC.  And nobody noticed until I failed to even
mention it in EoMR #31.  Which suggests that perhaps there isn't much
Boolean overlap between the readers of those two groups.
     So, anyway, Heraclius wanders over to visit the settlement at
Falcon Bay because of the attraction he feels to the spirit of TerraStar
inhabiting Geode.  And because he speaks sooo slooowwwly, he's unable
to communicate his friendly intentions ("Um, excuse me?  Stop that!").
Cue big fight scene as the Academy members on the ground on Venus try
to drive off Heraclius and his children/animates.  Then a type of
sideways complication occurs as TerraStar's spirit decides to join up
with Heraclius and they go on their way, leaving the Academy to worry
about what will happen next.  Well, I suppose that's an unwritten part
of their job description, but it makes me wonder how Infernion and
perhaps even Isharta will react if/when it comes back to bite them.
     In issue 71 the primary focus shifts to Manhattan, for the upcoming
wedding of Rex Umbrae.  Of course, the Academy has been excluded from
Manhattan since pretty much the start of the series by either official
agreements or realpolitik (the summaries of the why's behind the
situation can be found back in ASH #14 & 19), so a lot of the people we
see are 'new' characters in the sense that they're preexisting cast
from other ASH imprint series rather than _Academy of Super Heroes_.
This makes for a stronger than normal setting up feel to the issue, but
fortunately there's the ongoing appearances by Julie Silvestri to bridge
the gap into the new story arc (which is balanced out by the feeling of
epilogue that I got from the debriefing scene of the Academy members on
Venus).  And an action sequence/fight scene like the in media res bike
race/attack by Hellhound is always good for getting the audience involved.

Adventures Beyond Comprehension #5
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Jesse Willey

     This story ties-in with (and in fact has it's non-flashback events
running concurrently with) the start of the sixth and final part of the
_Killfile Wars_ miniseries.  Electra reminisces in the lead up to the
climactic fight with Dr Killfile.

Easily-Discovered Man #47
'The Life You Wreck May Be Your Own'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Rob Rogers

     Okay, that was a twist that I hadn't been expecting.  Professor
Perhaps takes Easily-Discovered Man Lite on a subway journey into
various possible futures, showing him that, no matter what decisions
Lite makes, he always ends up overweight, rundown and watching
television.  I had thought that this was because the Professor was
trying to crush Lite's spirit, and to this end may even have been
selective in which futures he exposed Lite to.  Actually, it turns out
that he was testing Lite's mettle in preparation for shipping Lite off
to a cosmic crisis.  Although come to think of it that doesn't prevent
Professor Perhaps from still being selective about which futures he
     Meanwhile there's little gems of insight into the superhero
business, like the secret to Lite's success in fight scenes (maintain
control of the situation by telling lots of jokes and keep your
opponents off balance).

Haiku Gorilla #127 to 172
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Tom Russell

     It probably bears repeating: I don't normally get poetry without
putting some effort into it.  With that in mind, once I got my
headspace onto the proper wavelength, the haikus that make up this
series are quite evocative of both plot and mood.  In this story arc
Haiku Gorilla runs for the Usenetted States senate and campaigns well.
So well, in fact, that the administration of President Hexadecimal
Luthor starts a smear campaign against Haiku Gorilla as a deadbeat
husband, which gets him expelled from the Legion of Net.Heroes.  Haiku
Gorilla leaves to talk with the one female he did love, Jane, but she
isn't home and he has talks with her husband instead.

Godling #8
`Ballad Of Loneliness'
A Miscellaneous [Misc] series
by Jochem Vandersteen

     A wind down story after last issue's conclusion to the threat by
Captain Wrakk.  Godling is feeling rather empty after his victory and
talks with Aphrodite about his relationship (or lack thereof) with
Monica.  Then Ares turns up, and after some yelling gives some advice
of his own.  Meanwhile Marcus Walker has been inspired by the actions
of Godling in opposing Captain Wrakk and takes up the costumed identity
of Safari, and fights a street gang.

Jolt City #1
'The Paradise Snake'
An Eightfold [8Fold] series
by Tim Russell

     Hmmm.  This one's a lot like ASH #71 in that it has a strong
setting up shop vibe to it.  Martin has reestablished the Green Knight
as a superhero in Jolt City, with a good contacts in the police,
working to eliminate illicit drugs.  Which is fair enough: when he's
not being troubled with his personal hang-ups the Green Knight is a
perfectly competent street level four colour -- and as noted, he tends
to keep the two parts of his lifestyle compartmentalised.
     In this story the Green Knight has made enough of a pain of
himself to local drug lord Samson Snapp that Snap hires a professional
superhuman assassin, Paradise Snake, to kill the hero.  Paradise Snake
seems to be more of a fruitloop than normal for a costumed superhuman
(something that vexes Snapp), with a quite stylised sense of honour.
Green Knight gets the snot beaten out of him several times before being
able to manipulate that sense of honour to his advantage.

Killfile Wars #6
'For Evil To Triumph'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jesse Willey

     The concluding issue of this miniseries and the _Road To Killfile
Wars_ twelve parter that preceded it last year.  So, in the end it
comes down to this: Dr Killfile methodically stalking and killing the
members of the coalition if his relatives, with the heroes of Teenfactor
getting in the way.  Dr Killfile has anticipated the latter and used
nanotech to take control of Electra (or perhaps simply had a generic
contingency plan in place) in order to keep the heroes out of his way.
Fortunately Dalton intercedes to block Dr Killfile's control of
Electra, and rather than face an ignominious defeat Dr Killfile flees
into hyperspace.
     This creates an interesting structural dichotomy.  On the one
hand it makes a lot of what has preceded it - with the Killfile Family
rampaging around and causing mayhem and destruction, and in the end
being justifiably terrified of the return of Dr Killfile himself -
basically being a build up to justify and illustrate the fearsome
reputation of Dr Killfile as a truly major villain.
     On the other, the RTKW and KW miniseries have been structured
more like an ongoing comic series rather than miniseries.  That is,
not everything presented in those two miniseries has related directly
to the aforementioned buildup or culminates in a neatly tied up package
of plot resolution and thematic relevance.  There's been a lot of stuff
that has been about other characters getting on with their lives, only
indirectly affected by these goings on: Vel's departure to get medical
aid for his son, or the resolutions of the Ultimate Ninja triplets
situation for example.

Master Blaster Special #7
'The Return Of Ven-Dorr'  part 3
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Tom Russell

     The concluding chapter of the 'Return of Ven-Dorr' arc.  Bearing
in mind the twist ending that the events have all been dramatised, we
shall need to take the description of events with perhaps just a pinch
of salt.  Nevertheless, Ven-Dorr reveals his revenge driven scheme
against Master Blaster, which is planned to culminate with the
destruction of the universe when somebody drinks the unique can of
Oreo Oblivion Pap drink.  With the aid of WikiBoy (who Master Blaster
continues to taunt with his juvenile sense of humour) and Mr Ellison,
Ven-Dorr's plan is defeated although Ven-Dorr himself escapes.  Along
the way various sillinesses occur (I particularly like the VeMites) but
of note is the fact that, IMNSHO, when Master Blaster utters the line
"Violence isn't inherently cool, man." He adds hypocrisy to all his
other character flaws.

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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