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

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Fri Jul 4 13:55:08 PDT 2008

On Jul 4, 1:46 am, Saxon Brenton <saxonbren... at> wrote:
> [REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #54 - June 2008 [spoilers]

> 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).

Looking at it now, her little monologue would probably play better/be
more effective in a film or a play than in prose.

>      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.

Often times in serial storytelling, when a character is about to die,
there's usually some kind or sense of closure-- some truth is
illuminated, something meaningful is communicated, et cetera.  I tried
my best to leave Moses's story "unfinished"-- after all, we just met
the guy a couple of issues ago, and he seemed (or at least I hope he
seemed) like he was going to be a regular supporting cast character.
In his last scene-- perhaps the last time that he and Derek speak to
one another-- Moses doesn't say anything *particularly* meaningful
and, in fact, jokes about Erika's breasts. (Hardly a graceful send-

I think there's a higher degree of versimilitude, and I'm glad you
were surprised by it.  And while it's not until the next issue that I
explicitely connect the serial killer to Moses's death, I'm glad you
made that connection and that the twist didn't seem to come completely
out of left field-- that it felt in some way organic.

And, yes, in one way that scene between Martin and Derek re: Moses and
Derek's secret is meant as a bait-and-switch, but if that was its only
purpose, I probably wouldn't have used it; I think it also manages to
highlight some of the tensions/differences in Martin and Derek's
relationship, some of Derek's maturity (wanting to tell his father)
and some of his immaturity regarding his rushed feelings for Erika--
if only in a somewhat oblique way.


I've been a little worried about this story (the whole thing, all five
parts) because it's different than most of those before it.  There's
not really much by way of external conflict-- i.e., heroes versus
villains, saving the city, et cetera-- and the structure is one of a
slow build, details and small events (with a couple of big ones)
piling on top of each other.  I've got a good feeling that in the
conclusion, everything will pay off-- that everything will come
together and the ultimate over-riding structure across the five parts
will become apparent.

But I'm wondering, dear readers and reviewers out there in RACC-land--
is the pace too slow?  Is the lack of super-conflict making you feel
good, bad, or indifferent?  Is the structure too eccentric or oblique
at this point in the game?

I'll probably return to more stand-aloneish stories with villains and
death-traps and crazy-ass ideas with # 17, but I just wanted to know
what general feelings, if any, pervade about the current story.


More information about the racc mailing list