REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #70 - October 2009 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at
Mon Nov 30 14:52:53 PST 2009

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #70 - October 2009 [spoilers]
Reviewed This Issue:
     Academy of Super-Heroes #101  [ASH]
     Superfreaks Season 3 #15  [Superfreaks]  {High Concept 4}     
Also posted:
     The Alt.Riders #32  [LNH/LNH2]  {repost}
     Putting together the publishing list for this month, I am bemused  
to realise that a seemingly random repost of _Alt.Riders_ #32 turned  
up in the Eyrie archives but not on Google groups.  I'm at a loss to  
explain this, especially considering that the tradiness of my postings  
means that practically two months have passed, and there has been no  
     Spoilers below...
Academy of Super-Heroes #101 
'Superpowers 101'  [Rival Schools Part 1]
An Academy of Super-Heroes [ASH] series
by Dave Van Domelen
     So, the _Academy of Super-Heroes_ title continues beyond its  
hundredth issue landmark.  After the teasers that Dvandom put out  
suggesting an ending at #100 (for which he should be punished by being  
forced to watch art house movies that literally watch paint dry, and  
subtitled in Norwegian) I hadn't been sure.  Oh, I *was* sure that more  
stories for this imprint would be forthcoming - but the possibility of a  
Marvel or DC style relaunch to boost sales was not implausible.  Whatever.  
As long as there's more ASH stuff, I'm happy.
     Anyway, after 'Rising Sun' - the previous big story arc about the  
apparent threat to snuff out the sun - the stated intention is to do a  
number of smaller stories under the theme of learning.  Some of the plot  
threads seen here carry on from last issue, others start off new plot  
directions, and some use the setup of last issue to launch new plot  
directions.  Most of them give the impression that they will lead  
somewhere, although the vignette with Rex Umbrae particularly sticks out  
by giving the impression of merely touching base.
     There's further variety in the sense that some of those subplots  
look interesting for their setup, regardless of whether the characters  
in them have proven interesting in the past, while others are interesting  
primarily for who's in them.  For example, Justice's continued heroic  
efforts continue to be seemingly endlessly complicated; Red Widow is  
revealed to have what is possibly an unhealthy obsession for  
respectability and adoration, and then there's Conflicto, who's almost  
always entertaining...
     Actually, a thought occurs about Conflicto.  Most of you will be  
familiar with the conceit from the Dark Age of comics in the late 1980s  
through the early 1990s that heroes who are pure and good are dull and that  
only by compromising their inherent morality would they gain any sort of  
interesting complexity.  Now, let's pretend for a moment that this is  
broadly - even if not universally - true.  As a character Conflicto seems  
to approach this from the opposite direction: being a criminally immoral  
goofball whose life is occasionally disrupted by the need to act seriously  
and responsibly.  It gives him some extra depth in that you can never be  
sure what's going on with him - as the twist this issue with him being  
given the position of teaching the new Understudies of Crime demonstrates.
Superfreaks Season 3 #15
A Superfreaks [Superfreaks] series   {high concept 4 contest}
by Martin Phipps
     This one is an entry in the 4th High Concept Contest, which is themed  
on the kitbashing hero: a character who absorbs the properties of other  
people or things into his- or herself.  In this instance Trevor Baldwin  
is a touch telepath who can absorb copies of people's memories at the  
moment of their death.  He'd also seem to have precognition as a power as  
well, simply as a prerequsite for the timing of his actions.
     That said, the set up of him going around touching people just before  
they die is at the very least suspicious.  It looks like some type of  
assault, with possibilities ranging from giving people heart attacks to  
having some type of death touch.  Then there's the possibility that we  
can't be sure whether he is absorbing only memories (ie, copies of the  
deceased) or part or all of the soul.  Since the _Superfreaks_ series is  
essentially about criminal investigation and prosecution, these  
possibilities are all explored to some extent or other.  It's appropriately  
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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