REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #54 - June 2008 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at
Thu Jul 3 22:46:46 PDT 2008

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #54 - June 2008 [spoilers]
     58.5 #44  [LNH] 
     Academy of Super-Heroes #90  [ASH] 
     Chessmen: Foundations #1  [AC] 
     Guardian Sentai RoboMan #1-5  [PSP] 
     Jolt City # 14  [8Fold] 
     The Reverse Engineers #2  [ASH] 
     Extreme #1-3  [Superfreaks] 
Also posted:
     Anthology 2: Seraphim Wing  [AC] 
     Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #27  [LNH] 
     Mister Blister and Sister State-the-Obvious #1  [LNH] 
     Apropos of nothing to do with amateur fiction:
     One of the people in one of my role-playing gaming groups recently 
decided to record and podcast some of out sessions.  The first 
opportunity came a few weeks ago, when the rotating gamesmaster's 
position moved on to the next person.  Now, keeping in mind that this 
group has been playing approximately fortnightly for just over ten years 
and hasn't had a name, I was mildly bemused to discover that we are now 
The Future Guys From The Past.  Anyway.  The 2 hour session from mid June 
is up, in five parts, at:
     So if you have a hankering to waste some time listening the gaming 
antics of some Australian guys in their late 30s playing a Star Wars 
adventure, recorded with bad sound that those who have mechanical 
aptitude in these things swear they'll be able to fix next session... 
well, this might be worth your attention. 
     Spoilers below...
58.5 #44 
'Only Waiting For This Moment To Arise'
A Legion of Net.Heroes [LNH] series
by Lalo Martins
     The story starts with a brief vignette of Cannon Fodder continuing 
his search across various worlds for the Xinerama Brothers.  And maybe 
he found them.  Certainly he found something, since he returns at the 
end to get assistance from the New Misfits.
     However, in the meantime the bulk of the story is the concluding 
half of the fight between the New Misfits and their Evilverse counter-
parts, Acla Fright - which is short but full of incident.  After having 
killed Blackbird as part of their infiltration efforts, the Acla 
Frighters are surprised when Blackbird's powers recreate his body, 
reveals himself as one of the family of Wicked (cf Ben Rawluk's _Teens 
In Trenchcoats_ series) and proceeds to beat the crap out of them.  
Regrettably for the villains: they are stupid.  They make the mistake 
of confusing the fact that the heroes don't kill their opponents with 
the notion that they don't have the wherewithal to kill them, and thus 
even when captured they cannot help but taunt the heroes.  This sets off 
Smoke Ring Girl, who kills them and herself with her powers.
Academy of Super-Heroes #90
'Kheper's Path Part II: Jaws of Apophis'
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelen
     The investigation into the murder of Devlin Marx continues.  Details 
gathered by the police lead Contact to conclude that the person who 
purchased the antimatter bombs was wearing armour of extraterrestrial 
Santari make - and that narrows the leads to only a few people who have 
access to technology that has been interdicted for sale on Earth.  Along 
the way Contact also has a chat with Doctor Developer, and then finally 
gets the go-ahead to interview the Catholic Pope.  The plot thread with 
Kim Bell proceeds, as it's implied that the 'help' she is currently 
receiving is at least partly a scheme by Marx.
Chessmen: Foundations #1 
'Sales Pitch' 
An Artifice Comics [AC] series 
by Aaron Baugh 
     This is a fairly straightforward 'introduce the concept and 
characters to the audience' episode.  Industrialist Nicholas Castle has 
put together a team of superhumans named the Chessmen and spends this 
story selling them to a general as replacements for the Seven team.  Now, 
some of the origins and powers are fairly straightforward, even mundane 
as far as four-colour heroes go, while others (such as that of Adam 
Lazarus, the Bishop) are more idiosyncratic and interesting.  I suspect 
that it will be the personalities of the individuals that make or break 
them as characters.  However, for now it's enough that Castle is 
presented as outgoing - even arrogant and abrasive - and with just a 
hint at the conclusion that his self-confidence might cover something 
underhanded.  Is he another example of an 'evil corporate boss'?  Or 
does the fact that he himself is part of the team hint at a more 
complicated motivation?  We shall have to wait and see.
Guardian Sentai RoboMan #1-5
'Attack on Blizzard Base Zero'    Component 01.1  ; 
'Attack on Blizzard Base Zero'    Component 01.2  ; 
'Attack on Blizzard Base Zero'    Component 01.3  ;
'Phase Three! Go Robo Vehicles!'  Component 02.1  and 
'Phase Three! Go Robo Vehicles!'  Component 02.2
A PSP [PSP] series
by Adrian J. Watts
     Okay, I'll admit that the visuals of the opening scene are 
impressive.  When I got to the end of the second paragraph I thought, 
"How can you not love a setting that has people living in a giant 
robot head buried under the snow in Antarctica?"
     Anyway.  Adrian Watts has posted (or had posted for him) an 
Artifice Comics story to RACC before, but _Guardian Sentai RoboMan_ 
is a separate setting and imprint (although I have yet to figure 
out what PSP actually stands for).  Adrian's webpage at:   contains an eclectic collection of 
amateur fiction and fanfiction, including several dozen episodes of 
this series.  As the name indicates, it's an adventure story 
featuring the elements of sentai teams and transforming robots 
(although not of piloting shapechanging mecha).
     Kiko Sato is brought to the Blizzard Base Zero in Antarctica to 
participate in the Project: Roboman being run by Dr Nagura and 
Dr Smith.  She meets these two, as well as Dr Nagura's son/ward Ian/Ikku, 
and Sei - the latter two being trained in the powers granted by the 
roboman costumes.  However, she is also just in time for an attack on 
Blizzard Base Zero organised by the Sorceress Miko and Jinsei (a shape-
shifter who has been masquerading as Dr Smith).  The Sorceress Miko has 
used her pixie related powers to take control of soldiers of the Black 
Battalion (and the revelation of precisely how she tricked them into 
being unwittingly covered with her pixie dust, under the cover of 
plaster dust from a damaged wall, was impressive).
     The compromised soldiers attack Blizzard Base Zero, giving Jinsei 
the opportunity to use the pixies to kidnap Dr Nagura, as well as 
prompting Kiko to don the third roboman costume and join with Sei and 
Ian to ward off the assault.  The three then take refuge at a Black 
Battalion safe house to await debriefing on the disaster, but 
unfortunately the administrators of Science Island (the supervisors of 
both the Black Battalion and Blizzard Base Zero) have to sort out which 
of their soldiers have been taken over first.  The implusive Ian goes 
off to find answers rather than continue to wait, and then gets attacked 
by a humanoid turtle called Shellshock who was sent by Jinsei to kill him.
Jolt City # 14
'The Sensational Character-Find of 2007, Pt. 3: The Secrets of the Contessa!'
An Eightfold [8Fold] series
by Tom Russell
     Well, that's a nasty surprise ending.
     Derek's training with Martin continues, and Derek also develops a 
friendship with Erika, an older woman Who just happens to be the Clockwork 
Contessa and whose sexual obsession with the Green Knight incited her to 
kidnap and rape him back in #8.  She is seriously emotionally unbalanced, 
and to be honest I can't tell whether she is sexually obsessed with the 
Green Knight and feels genuine guilt for her obsession, or has a guilt-
and-punishment fetish with her harassment of the Green Knight as its focus 
(her hysterical self-condemnation put me in mind of the 'naughty nun 
sketch' from Monty Python And The Holy Grail, which I'm pretty sure will 
loose me some cred as a reviewer).
     Meanwhile there's a serial killer on the loose, and this plot thread 
gets various scenes.  Despite this I was faked out by the discussion 
between Derek and Martin over the practicalities and obligations of Derek 
telling his father, Moses,  about his superhero training (That discussion 
it looked like foreshadowing, something that was almost certainly 
deliberate on Tom's part).  In nay case, because of this near bit of bait-
and-switch I didn't anticipate that Moses Mason would be revealed in the 
last line as one of those people who had been murdered.
The Reverse Engineers #2 
'Forbidden Foo' 
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series 
by Andy Burton 
     It seems that one of the ways that Dr Developer chose to protect 
Detroit was to enlist the help of Spaz in erecting a magical barrier 
around the city that made it 'functionally invisible': people simply 
tend to ignore the place.  As seen over in the _Academy Of Super-Heroes_ 
over the past two issues, this not only tends to affect people who are 
immediately physically present, but also the national administration 
which has apparently been made to 'forget' to rescind its contract 
town status.  The other method of defence is to have a team of 
superhumans on hand to handle attacks, which is what happens in the 
present when the Tinker Team somehow gets in and starts causing havoc.
Extreme #1-3 
A Superfreaks [Superfreaks] series
by Martin Phipps 
     This series picks up where _Superfreaks Season 3_ left off, with 
Extreme having just returned from a sojourn in space.  His team leader, 
Waterlord, suggests getting his newborn son Tyk-El tagged with a tracking 
device, which is just as well since the kid soon wanders off to China.  
After being recovered Tyk-El is enrolled at Javier's in issue 2.  
Meanwhile the clone rights agenda continues to bubble away.
     Issue 2 is also interesting in that it shows Extreme, in his secret 
identity, being slightly ethically underhanded in using his powers to 
spy on the police for the purpose of gaining a news scoop.  This 
contrasts his ethical dilemmas in issue 3, when fanatics from the 
'Extreme Is God' fan organization cause trouble, ranging from 
suicide through to execution style murders.
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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