META/POLL: The Purpose of Criticism

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Thu Feb 21 06:39:45 PST 2008

On Feb 21, 3:10 am, Martin Phipps <martinphip... at> wrote:

> Okay, fair question, Tom, do you speak any foreign languages?

I speak some admittedly rusty Esperanto.

> Because, in all fairness, Martin WOULD NOT have had time to learn
> foreign languages if he and Ray were going out on patrols every
> night.

I disagree quite strongly, and I guess we'll just have to agree to
disagree on this point.

It's a little like saying that Moe Berg couldn't learn to speak and
read the eighteen languages he knew because being a baseball player
and spy wouldn't leave him enough time.  A highly disciplined person
_can_ learn an awful lot of things, and can retain that knowledge.

> Any scene where Martin is seen examining a crime scene is a bit off in
> my opinion.

I see your point about that trope, and I think it's more than just a
pet peeve; you have legitimate reasons behind it and I respect that.
That's why when I've used the trope, I try to make it as reasonable as
possible.  For example, in the Willis case, they've set the
superheroes on the case because of its seriousness (a little like
calling in the Feds, maybe?).  The only other crime scene
investigation scene I remember is in the Trapper story, and in that
case Dani has to sneak on-- and she was the one doing the

My memory must be a bit rusty, because those are the only two I can
come up with.  And I understand that in the Willis case you don't
think that was a particularly strong reason.

> > 2. What instances do you remember Martin displays too much knowledge
> > of an area in which you feel he shouldn't have knowledge?
> It's more of a question of you failing to take advantage of an
> opportunity: Martin was out of touch for ten years and his expertise
> should not be in the area of examining crime scenes but rather in
> knowing the city and being able to question old contacts that he knew
> from his days as the Mask with No Name.

But he would have examined crime scenes-- unseen by the police-- in
that identity.

> There was one scene that struck me as a bit off though: Martin told
> Darkhorse that he could be able to use his superspeed to follow
> Willis' car, that Darkhorse's superspeed somehow made him more
> observant that ordinary people.  How does that work and how did Martin
> know that Darkhorse's powers would work that way?

You got me there.

Well, I think the idea is that they need to follow tire tracks, and
they don't have much time, and so Darkhorse can follow them much
faster than Martin can.  Which is why, when they notice the tire
tracks, Martin asks Darkhorse about his eye-sight.

But, yeah, it's a bit silly and you got me on that point.


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