[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #38 - February 2007 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 17 21:31:54 PDT 2007

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #38 - February 2007 [spoilers]

Reviewed This Issue:
      Alt.stralian Yarns #6-7  [LNH]
      Bob And Charlie #1 [BP]
      Conclave of Super Villains #28  [ASH]
      Drabble Girl: Drabble #40-52  [LNH]
      Jolt City #6  [8Fold]
      Silver Age Superfreaks #1-4  [Superfreaks]

Also posted:
      Academy of Super-Heroes #78  [ASH]
      Possum Man: Relinquished #1  [LNH]

     I'm honestly wondering how I got my act together last year to post
both the February 2006 EoMR and RACCies within the first week of March.
     Anyway, the RACCies votes have being tallied, and hopefully the
awards ceremony will be out by the end of March.  Then I want to get
stuck into reading or rereading the back issues of _Conclave of Super
Villains_ and some writing.  Well, okay, lots of writing, but that's a
motherhood statement.
     Anyway, having reached the midpoint of the month and not finished
the reviews yet (and most especially since I want to finish the 'LNH
Leader For A day' episodes I've started) I invoke my 'Dump' policy and
will simply do plot summaries rather than reviews on anything that still
hasn't been written up yet.
     Spoilers below:


Alt.stralian Yarns #6-7
'Screwed'  and  'Whack Whack Ka-Boom Ahoy'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Mitchell Crouch

     Things turn slightly darker as various subplots come together.
That said, there's a lot of deft juggling back and forth between the
darkness of the plot material and the silliness of both the LNH-setting
plot elements (hulkhens and the like) and those parts of Tarq's writing
style which draw attention to the fact that this is a humour series
(stream-of-consciousness gibberings about what items are being used as
props in a given scene).
     Having run out of places to search for City Slicker Gent's wife,
everyone is tired and irritated.  After one fight with Been-Out-Bush-For-
Way-Too-Long Man, Possum Man simply leaves that evening.  The next
morning City Slicker Gent puts forward a worrying theory that his wife
has in fact been kidnapped by the Screwball.  It seems that SCGent was
a solicitor for hardware store owner Steve Spingles, whose business
went broke, who blames CSGent for this, and who went of the deep end and
became the supervillain the Screwball.  Been-Out-Bush Man incredulously
surmises that hiding from the Screwball is the reason why City Slicker
Gent and his wife arrived on his farm in the first place, and furiously
chases him off with a gun.  Then, alone, the angstful despair sets in,
especially when it seems that his dog Bingo has gone missing as well.
     Issue 7 has Been-Out-Bush-For-Way-Too-Long Man investigating an
abandoned Castle Hardware store for clues, discovering one that was
deliberately left by the Screwball for City Slicker Gent, prompting Been-
Out-Bush to head to Syd.net.  Fortunately the Screwball's sabotage of his
truck means Been-Out-Bush has to ride a hulkhen to get to the city, which
means he beats the Screwball (and his kidnapped victims City Slicker Gent
and Bibgo) back to Screwball's lair in Pitt Street.  A confrontation
ensues and the Screwball escapes.  Then Bingo wanders into Pitt Street
and gets run over by, er... gets repeatedly run over by a variety of
vehicles.  (Actually, it occurs to me that an abandoned hardware store
is more likely to be at the southern end of Pitt Street near Central
Station, so Bingo could conceivably be run over by a tram as well.
Possibly even a Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras float if one rolled downhill
from Oxford Street and somehow managed a hard left turn into Pitt.)

Bob And Charlie #1
A Boring Publications [BP] story
by Tim Munn
     As far as plot is concerned: a far-gone soldier in the Vietnam War
who's more dedicated to killing rather than fighting for his army takes
out an enemy village, and does it with gusto.
     But as other commentators have pointed out, this feels something
like a vignette -- as if it's one scene that would normally be one incident
in a larger story arc.  Of course, this might be a misreading of the
point of the story, by imposing a more conventional story structure.
I can see a hypothetical case where BAC #1, being a war story, has an
underlying theme of the pointlessness of war, in which Bob killing people
because he enjoys it and gets the opportunity to do so under the cover
of fighting the enemy may be the whole point of the exercise.  I dunno,
maybe I'm over analysing this.

Conclave of Super-Villains #28
'Four To Never: Lap 4 - Time Flies'
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Tony Pi

     <facetious> Oh, so they were the Junior Conclave of Super Villains
all along.  Well, no *wonder* the wanted to change their name to the
Impossible Five </facetious>
     So, what can we say about this?  That it presents a darker back
history for Timeslip than I had anticipated?  Well, yes, and I look
forward to that being explored.  That this emphasises that the ASH
universe is a superhero class universes because of the way that its
history is so intrinsically metastable?  We already knew that from the
references back to Causality Wars of prehistory.  Actually, the thing
that intrigues me is: the fact that the CSV 2052 are all 'bad legacies'
without 'socially unconnected' members (say, someone up and coming out
of the New York paragangs) is further oblique evidence for the 'super-
human aristocracy' that characters have been worrying about over in _ASH_
over the past few years.
     So, plot summary: Separate scenes showing the interrogation of
Timeslip and the reunion of the CSV 2052 turned Impossible Five
indicate that they are bad guys from a future version of the Conclave
who have divorced their origins from causality.  (The bait-and-switch as
to who the `Four' of `Four To Never' were was quite clever.  And it's
nice to see that their plot actually makes sense, even it its immediate
tactical concerns are subordinate to a longer term strategic desire to
promote terrorism as part of a recruiting drive.)  Meanwhile Aegis,
Kleinvogle, Solar Max and Triton start working on ways to return to the
present - and we shall have to wait and see whether Aegis is really
stupid enough to trust Triton or whether he's stringing Triton along.

Drabble Girl #40-52
'Adrift!' ;  'Attention!' ;  'Diatribe!' ;  'Guard!' ;  'All Out!' ;
'Alone!' ;  'Break Out!' ;  'On The Way!' ;  'Takedown!' ;  'Draug!' ;
'The Invasion Redux!' ;  'Big Gun!'  and  'The End!'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] miniseries
by Jamas Enright

     Drabble Girl finds herself back in the Wordinator's dimension.  The
Wordinator puts her under guard while it leaves to start consuming the
Looniverse, and Drabble Girl has to try a number of different tactics
against the guard before she can overcome and turn him to her ally (by
reversing the letters of 'guard' into 'draug', which also reverses the
identity of the being it labels).  As she reaches the core of the
Wordinator the Legion arrives, including Dr Stomper with a h4ck0r virus
that reduces the Wordinator to a single character.  Then during mopping
up operations back in Net.ropolis, there's an almighty KAWOOSH! and
Drabble Girl has to go and see what crisis has arisen this time...
     This conclusion of the story arc has the type of clever uses of
words (in much the way that other LNH series play with superhero
cliches).  The subversion of the Guard is one, while the use of the
adverb in #46 to form a mass large enough to use as a stepping stone
is another.
     Now, for a while there was something that left me dissatisfied with
the end of the story, but I couldn't figure out what it was.  Was it,
perhaps, the fact that it was leading into another (albeit never seen)
story that was implied to be 'more of the same'?  No, the arrival of the
KAWOOSH! nicely emphasised Drabble Girls' heroic commitment.  It was only
a few days ago that I figured out what was causing me dissatisfaction
with the conclusion of this miniseries.  It was that we didn't get to
see the Wordinator being overcome by the h4ck0r virus.  Yeah, that's
all.  Rather petty that my whole appreciation of the end of the arc can
be soured because I don't get a vengeance-rush from actually seeing the
bad guy go 'squa-WISH', but there you go.

Jolt City #6
'To Tango With The Trapper'
An Eightfold [8Fold] series
by Tom Russell

     The Trapper Saga blows out from 2 to 3 parts ( <nods>  I know
that feeling.)  The Green Knights rescues Roger Costello from the death
trap that carried over from the end of last issue.  Further investigation
by Detective Danielle Handler reveals that Costello's wife Marita wanted
her husband killed, and as part of payment for services rendered for
crime lord Samson Snapp she is put in touch with the Trapper.  The
rest of the issue features Green Knight and Danielle chasing down the
Trapper in order to build a watertight court case against Snapp (who
you will remember has slithered out prosecution in the past), but
unfortunately the Trapper has lived up to his name and set a death trap.

Silver Age Superfreaks #1-4
'Dawn'  ;  'Morning'  ;  'High Noon'  and  'Dusk'
A Superfreaks [Superfreaks] miniseries
by Martin Phipps

     This is basically an exercise in Secret Origins and not-so Secret
Origins, with two main lines of development (and several substrands) of
the Superfreaks setting in the 1980s and how it got the way it was at
the start of the _Superfreaks_ series posted in 2006.  On the one hand
we have events relating essentially to costumed superhumans, such as the
actions of Night Man in forming the Extreme Force Six team (and as a
knock-on effect, also the Electric Youth, made of the sidekicks of the
Extreme Force members).  On the other hand we have developments relating
to the mundane police work of the Pepperton police department up and the
implementation of more forensics personnel.  Along the way there are
subplots which straddle the two: Detective McKenzie helps Bruce Blake
realise and come to grips with the fact that his mysterious blackouts
are because his presence on Earth is occasionally swapped with that of
the superhero Colonel Wonder; and undercover cop Craig Franklin has his
family killed by the mob, leading to him becoming the vengeance-obsessed
vigilante the Exterminator that we saw in _Superfreaks_#3.

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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