8FOLD/ACRA: Jolt City # 2, There Was a Crooked Man!

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 12 09:32:03 PDT 2006



First, the good stuff.  The scene in the warehouse was very well
described: I could see how it all played out as if I'd seen it in a
movie or on TV.

Now for the rest of the review.  Yes, I know, I'm an asshole. :)

If it were up to me, I would have made issue 2 issues 2-4 instead.
Issue 2 could have ended with "That's when Martin passed out" and issue
3 could have ended with "If he had the energy, he'd smile."  Issue 4
would have had more set up would not have ended with "You start on
Monday" because there were some unanswered questions.  Was Martin still
in the doghouse? Was Derek going to testify?  As it turned out, The
Green Knight wasn't bound by his promise because, for all anybody knew,
he didn't stop The Crooked Man, Martin did.

Right.  Martin really should have known better.  If only he had watched
some TV detective shows.  Like Columbo.

"We found your finger prints on the weapon."
"That's not possible."
"Why not?"
"Because I was wearing gloves!"
"You're under arrest."


"We know you shot her."
"That's ridiculous!"
"Because she wasn't shot!  She was stabbed."
"How do you know that?"
"Because... um... I..."
"You're under arrest."

The point is that Martin should learn the difference between
interrogating a suspect and testifying in court.  As much as he might
feel guilty about lying to Snapp, he should feel more guilty about
wanting to prevent Derek from testifying.  And how was he supposed to
do this anyway?  Did Snapp mistakenly assume that The Green Knight's
secret identity was that of Jolt City's District Attorney?

Another thing.

>    Martin patrols Joey's territory, and is disturbed
> but not surprised to see that other dealers are
> already taking his place, staking their claims.  In an
> alleyway, he finds a fresh splattering of blood.  This
> is the place, then.
>    The blood forms a rough delta shape; Joey must have
> been standing near the base of the delta, facing the
> direction that the blood fans outwards.  But this
> doesn't make any sense.  A punch hard enough to break
> Joey's neck and open up his gizzard wouldn't have left
> him standing.  There's no way Joey could have landed
> on his feet.
>    Martin looks forwards and sees deep dark streaks in
> the pavement, stretching some fifteen feet into the
> alley.  Tennis shoes, leading up to the delta.
>    Was Joey dragged?  Or pushed?  That wouldn't be
> consistent with the neck injury, or with the coroner's
> assessment.
>    If it is a punch, there's no way the assailant
> could have kept the force and the momentum behind it
> going long enough and fast enough to cover the fifteen
> feet and leave those streaks.  And yet, there's no
> indication that Joey ever left the ground.
>    "We're looking for a guy with fifteen-foot arms,"

WTF?  Isn't that a big leap in judgement?  Wouldn't it have been more
logical for him to assume he was dealing with a speedster?  A speedster
could have covered fifteen feet in an instant, grabbed Joey with one
arm and hit him with the other with enough force to take his head off.
It would have been fun for Martin to have been wrong and then the
assailant turned out to be not a speedster but a fifteen foot armed
guy.  Martin would have thought "Okay, that would have been my other
guess."  Nothing wrong with inserting a bit of humour, Tom. :)

But, Tom, try an experiment for me.  Stretch out your arms.  Okay?  Now
raise them above your head and hold it there for a second.  Hurt much?
Now imagine your arms are fifteen feet long.  The Crooked Man would not
have been able to lift his arms: it's hard enough when you stretch your
arms out to three feet and try to move them around.

Anyway, physics and biology aside, I liked the bit with Roy Riddle
about penance because it then make sense when Martin made the
connection later with The Crooked Man taking a drug that would be

What made less sense was Martin's line "We live in a phallocentric
patriarchial society".  Now, Tom, I consider myself a well educated
person but I don't talk like that first thing in the morning and
especially not if I had a severe headache to boot. :)

I have expected Pamela to deny Martin the job because he had just
checked her out.  In my experience, women with "long silken black hair
and delicious chocolate complexion" do not appreciate being stared at
as much as I may personally think of it as a kind of compliment. :)

I do appreciate the fact that the solution to Martin's problems, as it
turned out, depended more on his fighting skills than on some cheat
that the lab guy came up with.  It did however, come across as a "Star
Trek ending": with only a few paragraphs left, we knew that Martin was
going to defeat The Crooked Man right there and then and this spoiled
the surprise.  It would have been better if this story had been broken
up into a three parter with half the issue left to go and Martin could
have commented on the irony of The Crooked Man falling in his lap.
Hmm.  What exactly was the Crooked Man's beef with Pamela anyway?  The
Crooked Man said "something about the scum going free, and that it's
Pam's fault".  Is Pamela dirty?  And I mean in the criminal sense, not
in the not clean sense or in the sense of liking kinky sex.  Hmm.  Long
silken black hair.  Delicious chocolate complexion.  Ahem.  Sorry.
Must... concentrate... on... review.

Anyway, Tom, work on the pacing.  You can put cliffhangers in a story
and not disappoint readers if the story is long enough to justify being
broken up.  Not every issue needs to be a trade etherback in itself. :)

And about Danielle Handler.  Is she a red head like Tyra Banks?  A
dirty blonde like Jessica Simpson?  Or does she have long silke black
hair and a delicious chocolate complexion like Aishwarya Rai?  Oh God.
I can't that image out of my mind now: it's like it's burned in there.


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