REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #55 - July 2008 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at
Wed Aug 13 17:27:26 PDT 2008

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #55 - July 2008 [spoilers]
     Academy of Super-Heroes #91  [ASH] 
     Anthology 2 #56  [AC]
     Mading Mysteries #1-2  [Superfreaks]
Also posted:
     Extreme #4  [Superfreaks]
     Guardian Sentai Roboman #6-11  [PSP]
     Jolt City #15  [8Fold]
     Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #28  [LNH]
     I'm running hideously late (on a number of writing projects) and 
I've been procrastinating on this issue of EoMR - despite the fact that 
there was not, comparatively speaking, that many posts in July.  What 
this means in practise is that there's one review written early in the 
month, and two written *much* later that are chosen on the grounds of 
some uniqueness factor of either series content or new writer.
     Segueing onto other matters, I turned forty in the 1st, so I am 
now a C.O.O.F. (Comic Owner Over Forty) rather than a C.O.O.T. (Comic 
Owner Over Thirty).  Of course, the ageing of the comic book demographic 
and shrinking of print runs for US-style comic books indicates that my 
situation is pretty much standard.  That said, there was an interesting 
observation made on Jim Henley at that this ongoing downturn 
applies *only as far as the print medium is concerned*.  The continuing 
trend for television shows and big budget movies featuring four-colour 
superheroes suggests that this may be a function of a decline of reading 
in the print medium rather than of any waning in the genre of four-colour 
heroes.  In one way this is heartening (and in another, for the print 
industry as a whole, downright depressing) - but it occurs to me that we 
may want more information on the reading-in-print vs reading-in-electronic-
format numbers.  Just a random thought.
     For those of you who may be even vaguely interested: the
subsequent RPG podcasts for the Future Guys From The Past 
( ) turned out to have much 
better sound quality.  It seems that the personal computer being used 
in the first session suffers from electro-magnetic interference when 
it's running off the mains power supply, so in the second session it was 
left unplugged and run off batteries and our group took a 15 minute 
break at half time for it to be recharged, and in the third session we 
used a different PC altogether.
     Spoilers below...
Academy of Super-Heroes #91
'Kheper's Path Part III: Midnight Crossing'
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelen
     Interesting.  At this point it *seems* as if most of the false 
trails in the murder mystery have been winnowed away and it's simply a 
matter of Contact doggedly following the final substantive lead through 
to its tortuous conclusion.  Of course, we the audience know that this 
is wrong, since if nothing else there's still the Gimble subplot, which 
Contact as yet has no idea about, ticking away in the background.  
Moreover, as the events of this issue indicate: simply because Contact 
now has a small number of solid leads to follow up on rather than a 
welter of possibilities to choose from, it doesn't mean that those solid 
leads aren't capable of throwing curveballs.  I remember the scenes 
where the Roman Catholic Pope, just prior to his elevation, first 
started hearing voices.  While I had always entertained the possibility 
that the person doing the talking might have sinister intentions, it 
never occurred to me that it might be Mr Strings.
     That's something that I cannot say about the possibility of a 
romance between Contact and Gene.  They've been having personal 
interactions of varying levels of hostility and cordiality for, well, 
literally most of the run of the _ASH_ series.  After Gene developed a 
bit more maturity, and after Contact recovered enough from his grief 
over the death of Paul to notice that she had developed a bit more 
maturity, then it seemed increasingly likely to me that they would at 
least have sex, if not romance.  Of far more interest to me is what will 
happen once Contact tries to use the High Throne of Odin to scry out the 
information he needs.
Anthology 2 #56
'Mysteria: More Than Another Pretty Face'
An Artifice Comics [AC] series
by John LoCasto
     Okay, yes, another new writer on rec.arts.comics.creative from 
being cross posted from the AC website.  I'm only noting this stuff 
because it helps keep track of the running tally of eligible writers for 
the door prize of the newbie award at the next RACCies.
     More important is the story, which opens in media res with a 
particularly vicious fight between Mysteria and some burglars, before 
flashing back to show the leadup.  In typical Artifice Comics style of 
writing is well polished towards noir sensibilities.   This almost 
managed to allow me to ignore the unfortunate inclusion of the large 
number of substitute characters that worked their way into the text.  
Indeed, it was only about midway, when there was a particularly large 
number of speech and contractions being used, that I was unable to 
quickly decipher what had actually been written.  However, while that 
is an annoying problem of the text it is not a problem with the story.
     Now, given that this is a short story in an anthology series the 
format cannot support a particularly long or sophisticated narrative.  
In summary, Mysteria has been active as a superhero for three months, 
and this adventure has a brutal fight with a group and manages to 
overcome them.  I was initially wondering whether the main villain's 
characteristic of sexism was supposed to be more relevant to the story's 
theme until I realised that it worked best as shorthand for how much of 
a thug he was.  More important to the story is the notion that as a hero 
Mysteria has a never-ending slog in fighting crime, not all of which is 
high profile and glamorous save-the-world adventures: sometimes it's 
just slugging it out with thugs.
Mading Mysteries #1-2 
A Superfreaks [Superfreaks] series
by Martin Phipps
     What, more stories with Deja Dude/Martin Phipps as a self-insert 
character, in *yet another* universe?  Honestly Martin, you're almost as 
bad as Dvandom is for writing up stories for rec.arts.comics.creative 
based on his role-playing games :-P
     Okay, enough flippancy.  Issue 1 has a group of three stories, of 
which only the first really earns the description 'mystery'.  It's a 
short but tight murder mystery wherein time travel reveals/compels the 
murderer to have been/to become from one of the police investigating the 
crime.  The second story features Mading literally putting his enormous 
libido in a bottle, only to have it escape and take the form of a 
'rampaging monster'.  This story was noteworthy for one short but tense 
moment of will-he or won't-he when Mading's preteen son goes to the 
refrigerator looking for something to drink and takes out the bottle.  
For one amusing/appalling second I wondered if the boy was going to 
drink it, and the point of the story turning out to be the ramifications 
of an over-sexed boy macking on every woman in sight, but this was not 
to be.  The final story has Mading introducing a magic girl hero team to 
the younger of the students from the Javier Institute (from the main 
_Superfreaks_ series) for no other reason for a bit of token conflict 
and a pose for the comic cover.  This aspect of the last story made it, 
to my mind, the weakest of the three, since it stylistically resembled 
Martin's Legion of Net.Heroes stories rather his Superfreaks writing.
     By contrast issue 2 is one issue-long story featuring Mading teaming 
up with the James Bond facsimile Brad James to go after the criminal 
mastermind Blowhard.  Kind of.  After an opening where Mr James mistakes 
Mading for Blowhard and does some property damage (in the process poking 
fun at the purported uber-competence of intelligence agencies), Mading 
and family are left with a credit card to pay for repairs - but it turns 
out the stores won't accept it unless Brad James is there to sign for 
the purchase.  Thereafter follows Mading's attempts to find and bring 
back Mr James, almost fatally interrupting James' attempts to thwart 
Blowhard's over-the-top and yet strangely-typical plans at world blackmail.
Saxon Brenton   University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at
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