REV: End of Month Reviews #59 - November 2008 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at
Mon Dec 8 02:00:52 PST 2008

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #59 - November 2008 [spoilers]
     Academy of Super-Heroes #94  [ASH]
     Enforcers #4  [Misc]
     Lady Lawful And Doctor Developer Christmas Special #1  [ASH]
Also posted:
     The Unfinished Sentence-Verse #11 and [12]  [usVerse]
     It's a quiet evening on the desk shift right now, so I'll finish off 
this month's EoMR - not that there's much in this months issue in any case.
     Spoilers below:
Academy of Super-Heroes #94
'Billions Served II: Counterparts'
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelen
     The Freedom Alliance makes its debut, and as a result the villain team  
Rush gets hammered from all sides.  There's not much that I want to babble  
at length about here, so I'll restrict myself to two points.  There first  
is to savour the obvious implication that the mysterious backer of Sam  
Walters and his Freedom Alliance is one of the Impossible Five, setting up  
the Alliance as a slightly different ally group this time (dupes rather than  
knowing franchise partners).  Whether this is misdirection or not remains to  
be seen, but the fact remains that the simple notion of it and of Walters  
beginning to worry that he's being had is brimming with schadenfeude.
     Secondly, where did the Freedom Alliance get the intel on where Rush  
was?  This may be a minor or even irrelevant point, but on the other hand  
it may be a complication that could seriously weaken the Alliance (if, for  
example, the info was forwarded as part of an Impossible Five doublecross;  
or if it could be traced back to a mole in the Combine's law enforcement  
Enforcers #4
'Pairs, Part 2'
A Miscellaneous [Misc] series
by Frumpy
     My first reaction to presence of the aliens was: 'That's pretty neat'.   
My second reaction was: 'Where the heck did that plot element come from,  
anyway?' because it kind of zooms in from left field.  In fact, looking back  
on part 1, I would have guessed that we would have seen more on Graybeard's  
antics, and considering that the anticipated theft by Graybeard of the  
Neptune 3000 submarine had been the cliffhanger for last episode I also  
would have expected Graybeard's antic this issue to be the lead-in rather  
than the conclusion.  In that regard the pacing seems a bit odd.  Ah well,  
I guess Graybeard can wait, since he seems to have all the markings of a  
long term villain who'll be getting up to long term plots.  Those aliens,  
     Well, I'd better describe the situation.  An extraterrestrial  
bureaucrat named Plon gets back from a mission, only to discover that  
one of the planets under his care - the Earth - has had its number of  
superhumans drop below its threshold of 40 down to 36 while he was away.   
He and a companion are duly dispatched to Earth to rectify this.  Now, this  
in itself would be interesting enough if Plon and Slad had some sort of  
purely practical purpose - and it seems they do, since their supervisor  
voices the hope that "the enemy" hasn't found out and taken advantage of  
the situation.  However, in addition to this, in the next scene Plon  
expresses distaste for empowering a criminal, to which Slad responds that  
they both know there has to be a mix of moral and immoral to maintain a  
proper balance.  Now, that sounds almost mystical.  But then again, the  
setting that Frumpy has been writing about contains the standard 'kitchen  
sink' mix of super science and magic that is typical of four colour  
superhero universes, so it shouldn't be too surprising.
Lady Lawful And Doctor Developer Christmas Special #1
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Andrew Burton
     I had some comments that I wanted to make here, but quickly reviewing  
past EoMRs I see that it was basically a repeat of what I wrote about in  
the _Lady Lawful And Doctor Developer Valentine's Day Special_ in February  
of this year.  So I'll briefly summarise what I had in mind and then just  
do a plot summary. 
     As normal for this series, the stories tend to take the form more of  
character-based vignettes than of an ongoing adventure serial.  In  
particular this story, being a special, comes across as the sort of self-
contained narrative that could be published in an anthology series.
     The plot in brief is a string of scenes from Christmases across  
several years, 1994-1997 and 2016.  Anybody familiar with the LL & DD  
stories will not be surprised by the premise for the first scene: that  
Doctor D steals cast-off toys, repairs them, and then ships them off to  
needy children.  Lady Lawful, not fully aware of what his nefarious  
scheme is,  has come after him, been captured, and worst of all righteously  
berated.  And that's about as close as things get to active, on-screen  
superhero action adventure - although the background details of the  
superhero lifestyle affect much of the family activities of Cameron,  
Jennifer, and Jennifer's parents June and Wilson.  Of particular note  
is Cameron's reaction to the notion that the secret ingredient to making  
Christmas cookies is love, which is simply delightful.  The final scene,  
like the first, should contain no surprises for long time readers: 
Doctor D bonds with his adopted family as a way of abating his grief over  
his departed wife.
Saxon Brenton   University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at
The Eyrie Archives of Russ Allbery which collect the online superhero 
fiction of the rec.arts.comics.creative newsgroup and its sibling group 
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