REVIEW: Russell's Reviews Volume One # 1

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Sat Jan 5 17:41:45 PST 2008

On Jan 5, 10:57 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> About mid-way through this issue, Professor
> Stomper observes a suspect and realizes that he is "a
> natural magi.  Untrained.  He's not even aware of his
> power."  The suspect has killed at least two people
> without ever realizing it.
>    Stomper uses a voodoo doll (or, ahem, action
> figure) to suppress the suspect's magical abilities,
> preventing him from doing further harm.  Stomper says
> that the police can now let him go.  "Good," says a
> very relieved Phelps.  "I don't think we would have
> been able to hold him much longer."
>    And that's the last we hear of it in this issue.
> Now, my question is this: is that story over, or will
> it be continued along with the other two?  Martin does
> not say anything that gives it a true sense of
> closure, nor does he give it anything that implies it
> will be continued.

A better example of this would be the story back in season one in
which the two girls used magic to kill a boy in their class.  We never
saw that case resolved but as I hadn't introduced the Professor
Stomper character at that point there was no way to resolve it.
Instead, we have Professor Stomper refering back to it here saying "I
used two Barbie dolls".

>    Now, generally, I would say that if a man has
> accidentally killed at least two people, chances are
> he's not going to simply be released as Stomper seems
> to be suggesting.  So that would mean that the story
> will be continued.
>    At the same time, it is implied that he is
> released.  Which might imply that the story is over.

He had to be released.  They couldn't prove anything.  Professor
Stomper's opinion would not have been enough for them to be able to
legally hold him let alone bring him to trial.  As Saxon pointed out
in the case of an earlier story, Professor Stomper's opinions
regarding magic should be considered with extreme apprehension: at
least in that case they had plenty of physical evidence to support
their claim; here all they had was his coincidental appearance in two

What happened here was that the story I plotted didn't fill the entire
issue.  Even with the two extra plots, the issue was surprisingly
short.  (It seemed full length when I typed it so perhaps it seems
full length when people read it but it only comes to 18k as a file.)
If the A plot wasn't satisfying in itself then perhaps it is good that
I introduced a couple of B plots.  I thought the double cliffhanger
was a good way to end the issue.  Your mileage obviously varies.  I
honestly don't know where those stories are going which is why I said
they would probably be continued in March.  It's getting harder and
harder to come up with ideas for this series, as I have noted before.

As for passage of time, note that Edward and Mary started dating, got
engaged, got married and had a baby over the course of the first two
seasons.  Michael and Lana also met in season one, got married in
season two and will presumably have a baby this season.  Extreme and
Amazing Woman became an item in season one and are presumably having
marital problems now.  (We don't know the extent of their problems as
what we saw was the equivalent of a Saturday Night Live skit.)  I'm
sorry I haven't been able to make a case go for a whole season: I've
thought about doing a story with a serial killer like they've done a
couple of times on CSI but there's the danger of making the detectives
look incompetant if they can't figure out who did it right away.  And
as you said it's unsatisfying if they can't find the killer by the end
of the issue.

I've also toyed with the idea of doing a 24 style season in which each
issue covers a single hour.  Thing is, I don't watch 24.  (Here it's
on at the same time as America's Next Top Model.)  I don't know how
they do it.  If Jack Bauer gets a bad case of diahrea, does he spend
an entire episode in the bathroom?


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