REVIEW/LNH: The Tribulations of Kid Review #2

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Fri Nov 27 11:23:41 PST 2009




The Tribulations of KID REVIEW, Issue #2

Featuring reviews of:
[LNH] Classic LNH Review: F.I.S.H. Force
[LNH] Mister Blister and Sister State-the-Obvious #2: Dangling Chads
[8FOLD] Jolt City #18: War of the Balloonists!
[ASH] A Singular Fire
[LNH] Beige Countdown

Written by Andrew Perron



Kid Review stood on the deck of the RACCelestial Examination,
Verification and Imagination Elliptical Wrangling Satellite. "Wow,
Amanda, it sure is great that we resolved all difficulties in
contacting you, having you move up here, and giving you powers
inbetween issues!  Also we got a puppy."

"Arf!" said C&C the Reviewdog.

"Indeed!" said Amanda, dressed in an orange-and-silver version of a
Napoleonic soldier's uniform.  "And since I, your fiancee and now-
partner Lady Review have joined you, you can finally do some more

"...more what now?"

Ding! went Sylvia, the machine intelligence within the REVIEWSat.  Kid
Review said "Oh, right!" and sat down at the RACComputer.

"All righty, got a lot of backlog here... how about a bit of oldschool
flavah?" His eyes blazed with blue-white energy.

"Never say that again, please."


[LNH] Classic LNH Review: F.I.S.H. Force

"Look, check this out, from the first paragraph of the first issue:
'But this is the Looniverse, where physical laws are as mutable as the
human imagination. And, in a reality like this one, unobserved events
across the whole of time and space exist in an infinite number of
states. Got that? It means you have to pay attention or you'll miss
it. Events are about to unfold before you; it falls to you to make
them real.'"

"This.  This is what an LNH story should be."

"Written by Kieran M. O'Callaghan, F.I.S.H. Force was an unfortunately
short-lived LNH series from way back in 1997."

"F.I.S.H. Force doesn't seem sophisticated on its face.  It has typos
and odd grammatical choices; it was obviously written then immediately
posted, where an editing pass or two would have smoothed things out.
But lying underneath that rough surface is an ocean of story, filled
with multicolored zebra-striped ideas and deep, strong currents of

"The first issue begins with a group of mysterious robed men invoking
an ancient ritual to... call tech support.  Universal tech support, to
be precise.  We then cut between this scene and two others, featuring
our protagonists, Lawrence Twain and Allison Brady."

"The scenes with Lawrence and Allison use parallel storytelling and
characterization by contrast.  They hammer in two main themes:
Lawrence is resigned to having cosmically bad luck, and Allison has a
pleasant, normal suburban life.  However, there are smaller points
sprinkled about, like the gentle rivalry between Allison and her
brother (and his complete addiction to TV).  These add texture to the
humor and serve to humanize the characters."

"Lawrence and Allison are sucked through a psychedelic void and meet
the mysterious robed figures (who are actually called the Mysterious
Robed Figures).  Turns out that the tech support call reached a
disembodied and more than slightly loopy being known as the Cosmic
Whim, who brought our main characters to serve as freelance
consultants using the superpowers he gave them in hyperspace; it's
eventually shown that Allison got strength and durability, while
Lawrence got cosmically *good* luck. After this, the plot of the first
arc *really* gets going."

"There are a lot of good moments that don't have to do with this plot,
though.  The reveal that they inhabitants of the planet are actually
*alien*; the running gag of Tim invoking Monty Python and Lawrence
subverting it; the introduction of the irradiated fish from Allison's
pocket, who remains mostly in the background until later issues; not
to mention lines like 'Even if I do die helping you, it'll be an
improvement in my quality of life.' and 'Sky down?! What happen here?!
GROUND!?! WHERE GROUND?!?!'  Again, these take a funny story and add

"I also notice that Kieran pays a lot of attention to the little
details.  For instance, in one of Lawrence's runs of luck, a soldier
chasing him runs into a mirror.  Kieran points out that it was put in
the hallway to provide an illusion of depth.  This makes the world
feel more real (though explicitly stating such things too often can
have the opposite effect, breaking the suspension of disbelief)."

"Anyway, an unknown force of barbarians has locked the robed figures
out of their tower, where they need to do a ritual every three days to
keep the world from being destroyed.  Lawrence and Alison use their
powers to fight off the invaders, who, as it turns out, are time
travelers from a thousand years in the future, come back on an
entirely pointless mission.  The figures complete the ritual (pushing
a button), the world is saved, and Lawrence and Allison return home.
This takes us through the end of the third issue."

"The fourth issue is a letter from Allison to her mother as she comes
to Net.ropolis and joins the LNH.  We get a lot of insight into
Allison here (as well as secondhand insight into Lawrence).  They come
to the LNHHQ and take Peril Room tests against Ultimate Ninja.  Both
become members, but there are two pieces of bad news: they're only
probationary members of a subgroup where, yes, the irradiated fish,
now called the Flying Indestructible Super Herring, is the leader, and
Lawrence doesn't want to join."

"The fifth issue has two main plots plus several different subplots
(sadly never resolved), with Allison experiencing the LNH (and leading
a tour group through the HQ) and Lawrence considering a job at a
hilarious satire of corporate America. (Naturally, he decides to join
the LNH in the end.) The FISH calls himself the Red Herring, the
heroic banker John Johnson III is awesome and needs to show up more (I
think Saxon used him recently), and the Ultimate Ninja has Plans for
FISH Force. (And why isn't Ultimate Mercenary used like that

"Here, Kieran shows off how much he *gets* the essence of the LNH.
Multi-Tasking Man, the Peril Room, the confusion over the structure of
the LNHHQ... spot-on.  And I *loved* the paleontology rant.  As a kid,
Jurassic Park was my favorite movie, but these were the exact same
things that bothered me over the years."

"The sixth and last issue is a crossover with Teenfactor. (Remember
Teenfactor? Ah, '90s nostalgia.) One of issue five's subplots involved
the League of Disgruntled Post Office Workers breaking out one of
their own, who had been arrested way back in issue one. (There is a
lot of detail in these, you notice?) In this issue, Lawrence and Aero
Lass of Teenfactor, who were on a date without each knowing the other
was a net.hero, run into them.  Meanwhile, Allison leads another tour
group around and they run into a naked Bad-Timing Boy, the ultracute
Society of Pool Heroes, Invisible Incendiary, and a ridiculous 'lost
tour group'.  Our heroes manage to stop the LODPOW, despite the Red
Herring trying and failing to get into a Hero Misunderstanding Fight
with Aero Lass."

"And then... it's over.  I don't know what happened to Kieran, or if
he ever came back to RACC and wrote more, but if he did, I'd love to
read it.  Having what we have feels like having the first half-hour of
Star Wars on tape.  You've got the rising action, the characters and
ideas, and you can tell it's building up to something even better...
and then..."

"As Tom Russell said, 'It's got everything you could ever want in a
series, with the exception of just one thing: more of it.'  My
recommendation?  Run don't walk to the Eyrie archives and pick up a
six-pack.  Um, of fish.  It's a pretty gross metaphor, but a pretty
awesome series!"


Kid Review wiped his brow. "*That* took a while.  Hey, Amanda, I...
eh?" He looked around, but she was nowhere to be found.  Suddenly,
there was a crash, and C&C came flying through a window.  Sirens
screamed and the hull repaired itself, but not before the Reviewdog
shook itself and flew back out.

Lady Review flew in. "By Lansbury and Welles! The Apathy Beast is

"Gasp!" Kid Review replied. "How can we stop such a menace?"

"There's only one thing that can beat back apathy among the authors:
feedback!  Quick, write more reviews!"

"Got it!" Kid Review leapt to his terminal.


[LNH] Mister Blister and Sister State-the-Obvious #2: Dangling Chads

"Dangit, Tom, stop being so funny."

[8FOLD] Jolt City #18: War of the Balloonists!

"Okay, okay, I suppose I should give him a real review.  Let's look at
the latest issue of Jolt City, a series I've reviewed before."

"It starts off well, with one of the traditional Silver Age-style
covers of the series, and a scene from the perspective of Derek Mason,
who has recently become the Blue Boxer, sidekick to the Green Knight.
Just then--"

"Wow.  That metaphor went to a weird place."

"Anyway.  Just then, a supervillain explodes out of an abandoned
building, and we're off to the races."

"This is an issue filled with both subtle interest, like the casual
use of the term 'first-app' for 'first appearance' (apparently?), and
explicit hilarity, like the many and varied reactions to Derek's
misadventure.  The characterization, too, comes in both quiet and
loud; it's sometimes so awkward it's painful, but it always pulls you
in. Tom's command of phrase and description is such that even someone
saying something dirty can sound gawky and almost cute. (And things
that are already cute become *adorable*.)"

"Not that the plot isn't wonderful as well. Derek gets lots of meaty,
crunchy conflict (both internal and external), and the situation on
the cover is resolved in an unexpected way."

"Okay, okay, moving on to actual criticism.  While Tom's good at
coming up with descriptive phrases that are beautiful in ways you
didn't expect, sometimes he overreaches himself and the line falls
flat.  (Uterus of fire?  Seriously?)  And... um... Oh!  It felt like
there should have been *some* conflict between Balloonist One and
Balloonist Two.  I mean, I know it was a red herring, but..."

"Anyway, overall, yet another solid entry in a series full of them.

"(Oh, and I *love* that homage line, and the way it goes beyond its
inspiration.  Ooooh, and 'Kid, everything is a moral thing.'  And 'You
never genocided any monsters.' And...)"


In the background, there were explosions, roars, and the sounds of
combat.  Kid Review frantically hit "random" and started typing, eyes


[ASH] A Singular Fire

"This story is set in... well, anything involving the Purebloods is
temporally unstable, but let's say the distant past of the ASH
setting.  Said Purebloods are whose early humans who had the pure form
of the Magene (whose diluted form gives superpowers in the modern
day), making them effectively godlike - and, indeed, making them the
Gods of many of the early mythologies.  This, then, is the tale of how
the secret of fire was taken from the gods and given to humanity."

"Epimetheus, one of the Greek Titans, is visited by Prometheus, his
brother, with dire tidings: Time is ending, and it's the Purebloods'
fault.  It seems that strong leadership has lead to an era of peace,
which has lead to advances that will soon lead to the Purebloods
ascending to the next level of existence... a side affect of which
will be the destruction of *this* level of existence.  They hatch a
desperate plan to give the universe a spark of hope..."

"It's very good.  It manages to take an epic event and bring it down
to a human level while retaining the sense of scale.  As well, it's of
interest, not only as a self-contained story, but in terms of the
wider significance to the ASH universe.  It provides backstory to the
Causality Wars and, more importantly, shows us that not all Purebloods
are bastards.  That said, you don't actually need to know anything
about the ASHniverse to read it."


"It's not enough!" shouted Lady Review, holding apart the slavering
jaws of the Apathy Beast while C&C nipped at it. "You have to review
something that's got a lot of apathy attached to it - something that's
been going slowly and isn't that well-liked!"

"Of course!  There's only one answer!"


[LNH] Beige Countdown

"This is the first half of the mega-event.  Since these tend to jump
about, and since there are several holes yet to be filled in, I'm
going to take these one at a time and give a summation at the end."

"#12 (written by Arthur Spitzer): A strong start.  I love the pure
atmosphere of the scene in 1945, and the over-the-top good cop/bad cop

"#11 (written by Arthur Spitzer): ...okay, the idea of a fictional LNH-
equivalent *within* the Looniverse is awesome, and naturally, Arthur
takes it completely over the top (with a fictional equivalent of
*that*!).  Why hasn't anyone done this before, is my question.  I now
want to write back issues of the Teenage Disco Vampire Barbershop
Quartet Net.Force titles.

"'I just thought that, you know, this might be the sort of thing we
might discuss as a couple.' 'Isn't that what we just did?' Heh heh
heh.  ...who is he talking to?"

"(Bonus 58.5 tie-in!)"

"#10 (written by Rob Rogers): ...seriously.  Girlwatcher.  A character
that's been used maybe twice in the last ten years, and Rob makes him
a serious candidate for RACC6.  Admittedly, he got some good
characterization back in his early appearances, but *this*... wow."

"And that's just a side-note to the main action.  This is *jam-packed*
with awesomeness.  Minority Miss trapped in the infinite depths!  The
Bronze-age Emotional Necessitator and Decompression Implementation
System!  The immature high-school might of the Power Kirby!"

" we just need Rob to come out with the next part!"

"#7 (written by Arthur Spitzer): This is the big Ripping Dancer issue,
the climax to her setup.  It's quite good, although I'm confused -
what was the deal with the cookies and the mind-control potion and the
people named after LNH authors?  And I thought Revamp Lass had become
Hell Catalyst."

"Also: 'Your powers won't work on me -- since I don't wear clothes!'

"#6 (written by Arthur Spitzer and Martin Phipps): ...yes, okay, I get
it, Irony Man is conflicted and Hex is manipulating his fears in order
to increase his own power.  It's possibly a more glaringly obvious
piece of social commentary than Civil War was. (Note: This is
impossible.) And, yes, Irony Man is being an overbearing jerk to
Fearless Leader to justify himself.  It's just completely lacking in

"*That* said, those scenes are followed up with much more subtle and
layered stuff, so much so that I'm wondering if I should be
complaining about the previous scenes at all... but considering how
many times these notes have been hit in previous issues, I'll leave it

"Also, the Ironic Woman is hilarious."

"#5 (written by Arthur Spitzer): Just one great psychological moment
between Bicycle Repair Lad and Hex Luthor.  Perfect."

"#1 (written by Arthur Spitzer): Ultimate Ninja in For The Man Who Has
Everything!  But that makes it sound like a lame ripoff, so instead,
I'll say this is Arthur's delve into the depths of the Ninja's mind.
It's quite good, although there are a few moments that don't ring
quite true.  Still, I enjoyed it."

"Obligatory Hilarious Line: 'Wow, so that's the end of Beige Midnight.
That was so totally worth the hype!' Sarcastic Lad said. 'What should
I wear to the Pulitzers?'"

"...Second Even-More-Hilarious Line: A bouquet of flowers flew through
the air, right into WikiBoy's hands. WikiBoy looked at the flowers and
then looked at Master Blaster with a horrified expression. 'No!
Please! Don't make me marry a badger again!'"

"#0 (written by Arthur Spitzer with one sentence by Dave Van Domelen):
Ooooooooh.  Man, all these bits of Looniverse history and old-new
characters... goodness slathered all over. Plus, an entertaining
interlude with two Goons!  And hey, the secret origin of Pulls-Paper-
Out-of-Hats Lad!  Oh, man, and the NTB!  So awesome!  Continuity Porn
Star!  Wooooo!"

"Yes, I'm exactly the kind of continuity-lover who loves these sort of
things. (Hey, I got into comics in 1993.  If I didn't love webs of
dense, unexplained references, I wouldn't be here.)"

"(Oh, and on a continuity level: According to old rosters, Romantic
Innuendo was originally a guy.  ...I know!  Someone needs to write the
Romantic Innuendo Transgender Tragic Love Story.)"

"Overall thoughts (totally by me): You know, when I finished Infinite
Leadership Crisis, the way the whole Bart and the Bryttle Brothers
thing was introduced was kind of dismaying; it clashed with the rest
of the event.  But the way Beige Countdown was done was far beyond my
expectation; no matter how it started, t'was a worthy series.  Sure,
sometimes the phrasing was awkward or something was pushed too hard,
but you can really feel the *effort*, the *love* oozing out of every
syllable.  Awesome."


Lady Review uppercutted the Apathy Beast into the portable wormhole
generator set to "random" and dusted her hands off. "Hope that does

Kid Review stood and stretched. "I think so.  Also, paczki sound
delicious.  Could you bake some?"

"Only if you make some pizza with chickpeas, nutritional yeast and
sesame oil!"

"Good deal, good deal."



Author's Note: Say, Arthur, if you're still looking for someone to
write Beige Midnight 4, 3, and 2...

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, just sayin'.

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