[REVIEW/ACRA] End of Month Reviews #41 - May 2007 [spoilers]

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 13 11:33:54 PDT 2007

On Jun 13, 10:03 am, "Saxon Brenton" <saxonbren... at hotmail.com> wrote:
> [REVIEW/ACRA] End of Month Reviews #41 - May 2007 [spoilers]
> Reviewed This Issue:
>       Alt.stralian Yarns #11-12  [LNH]
>       Bob And Charlie #2  [BP]
>       Coherent Super Stories #1-2  [ASH]
>       Jolt City #8  [8Fold]
>       Lady Lawful And Doctor Developer #2-3  [ASH]
>       Superfreaks Season 2 #11-12  [Superfreaks]
> Also posted:
>       Academy Of Super-Heroes #83  [ASH]

If I'm not mistaken, Superfreaks #'s 9-10 were actually posted in May
albeit perhaps on May 1st and 2nd.

> Jolt City #8
> 'Panic In A Pretty Box'
> An Eightfold [8Fold] series
> by Tom Russell

> on a visceral level
> I found myself cruising through, wondering if there was some way to
> heighten the effect - perhaps by differentiated the consensual sex scene
> from the rape scene by choosing different words (a formal 'penis' as
> opposed to a slangy 'cock' or euphemistic 'male member', for example).

I thought the same thing.  The more vulgar language may have been
appropriate here.  One could even go farther and have the Contessa use
words to objectify Martin, the way a male rapist would do likewise to
dehumanize his victim.  It's all a question of whose point of view one
wants to emphasize I suppose.

> Superfreaks Season 2 #11-12
> `Genesis'  and  `Apocalypse'
> A Superfreaks [Superfeaks] series
> by Martin Phipps
>      Superfreaks continues apace.  There are a few incidents from the
> April issues that stick in my mind, such as the way that Super Soldier's
> indestructible shield protected his torso from the attack by Fusion but
> allowed the rest of him to be disintegrated.  <chuckle>  Not something
> that you're ever likely to see happen with Super Soldier's counterpart
> Captain America of course, but that simply highlights a fundamental
> difference between Martin's _Superfreaks_ series and most other
> superhero settings: it's science fiction to their fantasy.
>      Allow to explain.  There are a number of definitions that
> differentiate science fiction and fantasy.  Recently when I was browsing
> the web (on the TV Tropes Wiki pages) I stumbled across this one: that
> science fiction is about the social consequences of improbable new
> events or technologies, while fanatasy is simply about telling a good
> story.  By that definition _Superfreaks_, is science fiction - even more
> so the Academy of Super-Heroes universe, which has traditionally been
> RACC's front runner in that regard.  It is primarily about the
> consequences, usually in legalistic terms, of superhero tropes.

I agree with your analysis.  My background makes it difficult to write
about talking gorillas outside of farce so I compromised and wrote
about a chimp who could sign.  I'm afraid I posted way too late for
apes month.  (Tom seems to think I write these and post them right
away.  I don't.  Not really anyway: I probably won't post a
Superfreaks story again until September but I will be trying to come
up with ideas in the meantime, if only to finish the season. :))  It
is similarly difficult for me to deal with time travel or other
dimensions because I feel I have to do it right and have the science
make sense: real comics (and TV!) doesn't seem to care so much about

>      Another thing that stuck in my mind from April is that, during the
> kerfuffle over the use of an extradimensional prison by Extreme Force
> Six, that they could have made things so much easier for themselves if
> they had just made their processes transparent.  As in, sure, lock up
> the supervillains in a uber-secure prison, but make sure that justice
> is not only done, but is seen to be done.  This, of course, is a been
> an important Real Life concern for quite some time now, but the theme
> is so obviously intrinsic to the premise of this series.

As Tom pointed out, it is also something done recently in the comics.
(The designer of this prison was Richard Reed though and not Reed

>      But enough with the waffle predicated on the fact that I couldn't
> get around to writing a review of _Superfreaks_ last month.  In issue 11
> daemon hunter Ethan Boyle falls afoul of a frame up, as the possessing
> entity that he's pursuing kills the child that it had been inhabiting.
> You can imagine what sort of complications that attacks on intangible
> creatures that possess people and cause changes in personality would
> cause for psychiatric, religious and law enforcement agencies, but
> somewhat disappointingly this conundrum is bypassed because the
> Pepperton police have contact with an occult expert (Professor Stomper)
> who is able to vouch for the Boyle's activities, and the story turns
> into an occult chase story.

Yes, well, incredulity is an ongoing theme in this series and it can
be overdone.  I know Tom would prefer if Superfreaks had more
suspects, for example, so that the evidence would eliminate them one
by one as opposed to just having the evidence lead directly to the
killer(s) right away.  To me, though, having watched six seasons of
CSI recently on DVD... trust me... the whole process of eliminating
suspects can get a bit cliche.  So my detectives get to the truth
sooner then theirs.  They are that good. :)

>      But then in issue 12 Edward Goodhead Jr puts into motion a plan
> against superheroes.  His father was killed by Arrow Boy, and with the
> resources of the partially criminal organisation that he's inherited
> Goodhead arranges for an experimental formula to give him powers.  After
> a short fight with Extreme, Goodhead is in turn possessed by the daemon
> from issue 11, and goes on another rampage before (apparently) getting
> both itself and Goodhead destroyed.  Ouch.  Now that's a complicated
> Origin to get bitten by.

One flaw of the genre is the need to kill people off in order to have
an investigation afterwards.  Anyway, it is cool to have an inquest
rather than a trial.  It's different.

>      In any case, it's only then that we see an inquest that could pass
> judgement on the plausibility of daemons and of hunting them for the
> public good.  However, the legal system seems rather blase in this case,
> and sticks to whether or not Goodhead was indeed possessed and thus
> whether Extreme was justified in destroying the man.  This is especially
> so when we compare it to the way the clone rights subject was dealt with
> in the first _Superfreaks_ series.  After all, cloning was something
> that society could see happening right under its nose, whereas the
> existence of deamons and the people who hunt them would be expected
> to be treated as a myth or urban legend or possibly even extremist
> religious dogmatism.  I would have expected a bit more comment along
> the lines of "You must be joking" during the inquest.

Luckily for the Extreme Force Six, there was no need to establish that
Goodhead Junior was indeed possessed by a daemon but only that he
represented a real threat to the members of the Extreme Force Six and,
by extension, society at large and that, further, there was no way to
stop him short of killing him.  I suspect there would have been plenty
of physical evidence (surveillance footage, property damage, personal
injuries) to support the testimony given.  You're right though: I
could have had someone from the hury ask a question; in an inquest,
jury members would be able to do that (in the state of Nevada anyway -
or at least in the fictional Nevada of CSI).

As for religious implication, uh uh, I didn't want to go there.  I
want to keep Superfreaks separate from LNHY or even the LNH (with the
Church of the Fourth Wall).  I did touch on the idea of religion in #8
with a group that worshipped Extreme.  I might want to return to that
theme: perhaps some zealots will feel betrayed now that Extreme has
come out and publicly revealed himself to be an alien and not a god.
Again, this is something that Marvel and DC don't deal with either
with their heroes, namely the extent to which the general public may
come to worship them religiously, although the subjecy was touched on
in Ultimates for a while (specifically with regards to Thor).


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