REVIEW: A Comparision of Superfreaks Season 2 # 6 and Encyclopedia Brown

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Mon Aug 13 17:57:47 PDT 2007

On Aug 10, 11:18 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> > I didn't want to bring it up again but, to be fair, you've
> > been criticising Superfreaks Season 2 #6 for being weak as a mystery
> > and I honestly and truly don't think it was a good idea for you to go
> > there because that's not where your talent lies.
> No, it's not where my talent lies, and I'll admit that freely.  But I
> think it's a common fallacy that if you can't do something, it
> precludes you from commenting on it.  I can't draw worth a lick, but
> that doesn't make Rob Liefeld's anatomy any better, nor does it make
> him exempt from my criticism.  Or, if one was given a blowjob of poor
> quality, just because one couldn't do it any better doesn't mean they
> just have to grin and bear it. :-)

I disagree with your point of view.  I can state an opinion of Rob
Liefeld's art but I feel less qualified to criticise him than a fellow
comic book artist would.  No comment about blow jobs.

> I understand that your tastes edge more towards CSI, which I
> admittedly haven't seen.  And I mentioned as much in my review that
> started this thread.  I'm sure for that type of story, it's very
> good.  Perhaps I shouldn't judge it on the criteria of puzzle-based
> mysteries, just as I earlier claimed that one shouldn't judge Jolt
> City, which is a superhero story, as a police procedural.

None of the characters on Law and Order are forensic experts but
almost all the characters on CSI are.  CSI actually places more
emphasis on the mystery, although I admit I've only seen episodes from
the first eight seasons of Law and Order.  (Law and Order Season 8 is
now being shown on the Hallmark Channel but things have been a bit
hectic lately.)  TV mysteries in general, I've noticed, tend to focus
on no more than three suspects at a time: modern forensic methods can
usually eliminate most suspects pretty quickly so you don't have the
classic case of "Somebody in this room is a killer" and a dozen
suspects to choose from.  In general you have three possibilities

1) The evidence leads the police to a killer very quickly.  This
usually happens more on Law and Order than CSI because the second half
of the show has to be devoted to the trial.  If there is a puzzle to
be solved it may have to do with motive, which is an important thing
to establish in trial.  Sometimes the police on Law and Order identify
the wrong killer and the real killer is discovered as the evidence is
examined by the lawyers but you can't have that happen all the time
without making the police look incompetent.

2) No killer is discovered.  This only happens on CSI because no
killer means no trial.  This happens in episodes in which three (or
more) cases are being considered.  Sometimes the case is solved in a
subsequent episode.  There was one case in the latest season of CSI
which was spread over seven episodes and, while the killer was finally
identified during the season finale, the episode had a cliff hanger
ending which means the case still isn't completely resolved.

3) The evidence leads the police to a suspect but the police soon
realise that they have the wrong guy and they move to somebody else.
This can happen a few times in one episode.  The suspects are always
cleared by evidence that they didn't find or notice right away and the
final killer is identified similarly.  I never consider it a cheat
when this happens: I can usually tell by looking at my watch that they
haven't got the right guy yet.  In contrast, on Law and Order they
usually do find the right killer at the half way point and it is a
genuine surprise if the killer is somebody else.

Given that these are the only possibilities (other than the cliche
"room of suspects") I find it annoying that you've criticized me not
only for "cheating" but also for finding suspects too quickly or (in
one case) not at all.

> One problem you've pointed out is that, because the series unfolds
> from Martin's point of view, we only see the other characters as he
> sees them.  One reason for this is that it's very much Martin's story,
> despite the title.  But here is a case where your taste leans more
> towards an ensemble, and multiple points of view.

The other possibility is that, as Martin Rock is attracted to both of
them, it makes sense that they would have similar personalities.  If
you don't mind, I think I could summarize Pam's character as "Dani on
a good day" or vice versa.  I can't believe, for example, how
insenstive Dani was when Martin got sexually assaulted.

> I can't promise that my reviews will always be positive, and I can't
> promise that you'll never be offended by them.

I don't know why you devoted an entire post to reviewing an issue you
didn't like.  I stand by the reaction to your review.  I think that a
person needs to show a bit of humility when reviewing another person's
work and be careful to present opinions as personal opinions as
opposed to expert opinions.  Even expert opinions are still opinions:
they aren't the "word of God".


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