REVIEW: LNH Comics Presents # 91 (ILC 56)

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Mon Jun 25 21:20:41 PDT 2007

Near as I can tell, this is the first time I've reviewed a story by
your friend and mine, Lalo Martins.

Now, it's not the first time I've read one of his stories-- I remember
thoroughly; I read ACRA.FLIGHT and enjoyed it less so-- but a quick
google search reveals no actual reviews for this increasingly prolific

So, I better get started, and what better place than LNH Comics
Presents # 91, which re-introduces a number of his characters, such as
Weirdness Magnet and Acra.Flight?  New beginnings!  Hurrah!

The story begins with Weirdness Magnet quizzing a ship's captain about
possible catastrophes and, well, weirdness.  He frets quite a bit,
especially in the face of the apparent calm of the situation, and this
reminds me of another great LNH character, Lawrence from Kieran
O'Callaghan's FISH Force.  That perennially unlucky fellow suddenly
finds himself protected by luck, and rather than celebrate it, he
worries and frets, waiting ominously for the other shoe to drop.

This uneasiness is, in its way, immensely appealing in a character.
Characters who are relaxed all the time can be awe-inspiring-- the
Ultimate Ninja, for one; James Bond, for another-- but when a
character is uneasy, we can, for lack of a better word, identify with
them.  At the same time, Weirdness Magnet doesn't overdo it-- it
doesn't degenerate into a tic or tip over into Woody Allen-style

It gets us on his side right away, and the relatively short exchange
in this cold open-- amounting to a mere fifteen different lines of
dialogue-- is marvelously expressive and efficient.  It communicates
who Weirdness Magnet is, it's evocative of mood, and it reminds us
that this is one April that has overstayed its welcome.  It's not
obscure in any way-- very new reader friendly, stressing clarity.

In fact, most of the issue is just that-- new reader friendly, and
stressing clarity.  There are a couple moments where an oddly-
constructed sentence makes things a big muddy.  For example:

"To Weirdness Magnet's relief, none of them wear uniforms; although
one of them is using a trenchcoat, which is never good news.  He
thinks that while he quickly runs to the nearest seats, picking up a
few life vests."

The first time I read this, I thought I missed the last part of that
second sentence.  Instead of reading it as "He thinks THAT"-- "that"
referring to the previous thought, "that" serving as a noun-- I read
it as a conjunction-- i.e., "Tom thinks that the closure of all Farmer
Jack grocery stores is very sad".

Perhaps if that second sentence began as "This last thought occurs to
him while he quickly runs" or, for that matter, "as he quickly runs",
it wouldn't have tripped me up.  Otherwise, though, the prose is a joy
to read.

The plot isn't the greatest for an ILC story, nor is it the worst;  I
think I would have preferred a story that focused more on Weirdness
Magnet _personally_ and what situations his special personality and
powers were either well- or ill-equipped to handle.

Or, to put it another way-- what I really love in an ILC story is one
that delivers on the promise of the premise: "What if _____ was leader
of the LNH for the day?"  What crazy ideas would they implement, which
personal prejudices would affect their decision-making, what threats
would they face and how would they face them?  Ideally, the way Irony
Man deals with a problem and the way that, say, Special Bonding Boy
deals with it should be vastly different, and each amusing in their
own right.

Some authors are very good at always delivering on that essential
premise-- Saxon, Rob, and Jamas are quite masterful at it.  Mitchell
was really able to deliver with the PC Person story-- less-so with the
Bad Timing Boy one.  (And that's not to slight any of the other
authors, who all did an excellent job.)

I personally felt that this story didn't deliver on that premise as
much as I would have liked.  It really served as more of a platform to
reintroduce the Acra.Flight characters and get them set up in the main
LNH reality.  I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing-- that's
more-or-less what I'm doing with my second ILC story, so I'm not one
to talk.

I think that the beginning of the story got me so interested in
Weirdness Magnet, however, that I was disappointed at the way the
story shifted, giving different members of Acra.Flight the spotlight
and explaining a few points of continuity in Lalo's previous works.

Now, I did like the story as a whole.  Some moments were wonderful--
I liked Weirdness Magnet's decision to implement Tsk. Forces, and the
fact that he threw himself a sort of going-away party.

And while I'm going to sit on the fence awhile about Wannabe's
transformation into "Pantra", I _did_ like the scene itself: the
nature of personal identity is one of my own pet themes, and thus
intensely interesting to me.

At any rate, I'm glad that Lalo's back, and that he had this
opportunity to put his characters where they need to be; and I'm
looking forward to see what he does next.

Or, rather, I'm looking forward to reading the next story he's posted
as soon as I do some other reviews for other people. :-)


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