[REVIEW] The Tribulations of Kid Review #1

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Sun Mar 1 09:05:59 PST 2009

All was dark, and the young man blinked awake. "Mmmmf. Hey, move 
over... bwah?"

A light switched on above his head.  A booming voice spoke. "Andrew 
Perron of Looniverse-A, you have been chosen to aid the RACCelestials
in their ongoing judgment of rec.arts.comics.creative."

"Um, okay, but I kind of need to go to work tomorrow--" He was 
suddenly engulfed in a beam of energy, and gasped, rising into the 
air.  His clothes fuzzed out, replaced with a loose-fitting orange 
tunic and medieval breeches in silver.

"Once a generation, a human is imbued with the Review Force, allowing 
then to read, understand and comment upon the stories posted in 
rec.arts.comics.creative.  You are that human.  Speak your name!"

"I am... KID REVIEW!"






The Tribulations of KID REVIEW, Issue #1

Featuring reviews of:
  58.5 #1-46 [LNH] (Lalo Martins)
  Jolt City #1-8 [8Fold] (Tom Russell)

Written by Andrew Perron



Kid Review landed at the RACComputer. "It seems I have much work to 
do. Sylvia, bring up all currently-posted issues of the LNH series 
58.5, by Lalo Martins."

The intelligence within the RACCcomputer beeped, and scrolled the 
stories.  Kid Review browsed, his eyes crackling with blue-white 
energy as the Review Force provided the greater context into which the
stories fit.

Finally, he was finished.  He paused for a moment, in thought, then 
came to a decision.  "Sylvia, open an editing window."


"All right. 58.5 is a series that takes place 'in the background' of 
the Infinite Leadership Crisis storyline in LNH Comics Presents, 
mostly during the issues that were skipped.  Its main characters seem 
to be the New Misfits, a revamped version of Lalo's eariler Acra 
Flight, and Cannon Fodder, that perpetually-regenerating hard luck 

"This is a generally entertaining series, and the writing improves as 
it goes on.  The decision to limit each issue to a certain number of 
words is an interesting one. However, there were a couple of points 
that I wanted to zoom in on."

"First is the fact that the author leaves out quite a bit of 
information, often requiring you to have read both previous issues of 
the series and other LNH series that came before.  Thankfully, this 
lessened after Lalo introduced cast lists for each issue, 'how to 
write' guides, recap boxes. In the end, a huge recap in issue #39, not
just for 58.5 but the whole LNH imprint, cleared up most of it."

"Second, the author likes killing off characters.  Now, this isn't 
itself bad or good; what matters is the way it's handled, the dramatic
impact and the characters' reactions to it.  This varies; Locked 
Room's death in issue #26 was dramatically-appropriate, and she was 
thoroughly mourned, while Smiley seemed to die just for a random joke 
and hardly got any reaction at all."

"Somewhere in the middle is Ultra-Mobile Dawg.  I never really 'got'  
the character, and this kinda detracts from his death; while he nobly 
sacrificed himself, I had no idea what his powers could do, so the 
fact that he absorbed the Xinerama Brother's size but spread himself 
too thin in the process came out of left field.  Smoke-Ring Girl's 
decision to kill Acla Fright is similar; she was introduced during an
issue-skip, and hardly gets any characterization before the deed is 
done and she's gone."

"One extra note on this: All these deaths made the fake-out of 
Blackbird's death in issue #43 much more believable.  Well-done."

"A few other comments and complains: Blur has recieved next to no 
characterization, and I'm still not quite sure what his deal is. 
Also, the Xinerama Brotherhood plot was introduced in the first issue,
but took a long time (issue #40) to actually go anywhere.  In and of
itself, I don't really mind, but I wish we'd have had a bit more 
reminder of it in the meantime."

"Oh, and speaking of Ultra-Mobile Dawg... seriously, what was with the
way he talked?"


Kid Review cracked his knuckles, on a roll. .o(Hmmmm,) he thought. 
(RACC stretches far beyond the LNH... I wonder, what other worlds are 
at my fingertips?)

"Sylvia, bring up the list of currently-active imprints." He stroked 
his goatee. "Show... any series within non-LNH imprints that are up 
for a RACCie."

He pondered. "For the greatest level of indie cred, I should review 
the newest, least-talked-about of these.  8Fold, eh?  Hmmmmm..."


"This is interesting.  Jolt City is about the Green Knight, AKA Martin
Rock, a legacy superhero who patrols the titular city.  He faces off 
with crazy, colorful supervillains like the Crooked Man and Dr. 
Metronome, alongside realistic problems like drugs and racism.  Note 
that this is a review of the first eight issues, rather than the 
entire series; see below for why."

The Green Knight is part of the characterization line of Marvel's 
heroes with problems. But unlike those characters, who all too often 
either have BIG problems or no problems at all, the Green Knight has 
both big, heroic problems - the futility of ending the drug trade one 
arrest at a time - and small, personal problems - he's not very good 
at public speaking."

"An important part of this is that Martin's problems aren't just the 
world dumping on him; sometimes, he causes them himself.  He makes 
dumb decisions on the spur of the moment, and is stubborn and 
muleheaded towards people he really shouldn't be.  This makes him a 
more interesting and realistic character, if a somewhat more painful 
one to read about."

"Jolt City actually reminds me of one of my favorite non-RACC 
superhero things, the Red Panda.  If I may be permitted the 
digression, the Red Panda (at http://www.decoderringtheater.com ) is 
an online radio show, a love poem to the radio shows of the '30s and 
the Golden Age of Superheroes.  The best part about it is that, for 
all that the characters follow certain hero tropes even closer than 
the Green Knight does, they feel like actual people, not just puppets 
acting out a story.  And that's how Martin feels; like someone who 
could exist out there, doing these things.  It's all in the details."

"And the details are what really make Jolt City.  Little things, like 
Martin remembering how Ray used to hire people to write one-liners for
them so they wouldn't have to think about it.  And note that, in so 
many stories, this would just be a joke, a parody of superhero banter.
Here, it's a point of characterization, how Ray made sure to be 
prepared for any situation - and how Martin isn't quite as good, at 
least in his own mind."

"Another way Jolt City reminds me of the Red Panda is that it's not 
afraid to have silly moments, even in the middle of dramatic events.  
Yet these don't feel like jokes; they feel natural, even if it's 
something like a hand-to-hand jousting match on unicycles."

"Of course, one thing about Jolt City is that, while it has silly 
moments, it's not, overall, light-hearted.  Indeed, there is more than
one dark night of the soul for Martin Rock.  Wether this is good, bad,
or indifferent is a matter of personal taste; I enjoyed it, but I 
wasn't able to rip through ten chapters at a sitting like I was with 
58.5.  This is the biggest reason I'm only covering the first eight 
issues, although given my word count so far, it's not the only one."

"I see from editorial notes that, apparently, there was a Green Knight
series before this - unless it's a 'referring to issues that don't 
exist' joke.  I haven't read it (though I definitely plan to, 
if it exists), but it doesn't matter, because all you need to start 
out with is in the opening story.  Martin and his situation are 
sketched out detail by detail.  I'm sure there are continuity nods I'm
missing (if not to Green Knight, to the greater 8Fold universe), but I
can enjoy the story without them; if they're there, they're easter 
eggs.  This, ladies and chaps, is how to do a first issue."

"Wow, I wrote a lot on this one.  Let's see, other notes... Calling 
metahumans 'four-colors' in this universe (I assume; this is my first 
8Fold title, other than a few issues of Speak back when the imprint 
was first starting up) is an interesting choice.  It's very evocative 
to the reader without copying anyone else ('metahumans' itself is DC's
word), and I wonder how it got started in-universe.  Presumably, it's 
explained in some other title that I'll be reading eventually."

"It's interesting that Martin's forty-five.  It's much older than most
active superheroes (barring JSA-types), but it makes sense with his 

"I didn't realize he was black 'til the fourth issue, when it actually
became important to the plot.  This is cool on an 'ability to write 
characters' level, but perhaps also indicates that Tom could find room
for a few more descriptions."

"Oh, and I love the splash pages, overwrought dialogue and all."


Kid Review bowed his head and exhaled, standing up from his chair and 
walking to the window.  The bright, shimmering power of the Review 
Force abated, the knowledge of stories and people beyond his world, 
and thoughts of his family and friends returned.

"I have to contact them," Andrew thought, as he looked down at the 
oceans, clouds and continents from above. "But how?"


Author's Note: Woot. What'cha think?

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, variable viridian!

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