LNH/REVIEW: The Tribulations of Kid Review #4

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu Dec 9 20:45:25 PST 2010




The Tribulations of KID REVIEW, Issue #4

Featuring reviews of:
[MISC] Godling #18: "Defeated"
[STARFALL] Silver Arrow #1-3: "The Hornet's Nest"/"Descent"/
    "Observatory of Danger"
[WriMo/ACRA] Maximum Frame Purge RACCWriMO Special: Dream Obliteration 

Written by Andrew Perron



Kid Review leapt out of the way before the mysterious robot that called 
itself Cardoid could detect him.

Crap.  Have to get away.  But how?  Feedback.  It wanted to destroy 
feedback.  Idea.  Distraction.

Kid Review climbed back into the tube and activated an emergency 
maintenance bot.  He uploaded the text of his latest review, and set it 
to run down the hall.  The bot broadcasted as it ran...


[MISC] Godling #18: "Defeated"

"In the spirit of 'Every issue is someone’s first', the latest issue of 
a series I’ve never read - but one that’s gotten quite a few positive 
reviews in the past.  We’ll see how this issue stacks up, both in and 
of itself and as a jumping-on point."

"The first paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the issue:"

    Godling is hit in the face by a man with a face that’s a mix of an 
    alligator and a human face, Mr. Gator. WHAM!

"It continues on in this vein, barreling cheerfully along from fight 
scene to fight scene until the cliffhanger ending."

"First of all, as an intro for new readers, there were no problems 
getting into this; everything that might possibly need to be explained 
is, through narration or dialogue."

"Now, as a story... The style Godling #18 is written in laughs 
gleefully at the concerns of syntax and formatting.  It's told as if 
the writer is writing down each word as it comes to them, making it up 
off the top of their head.  Is this good?  Bad?  Irrelevant?  Awesome?"

"Well, I will say that, once I got into the feel of the story, I quite 
enjoyed it!  Fast-paced and entertaining, and as I mentioned, not 
difficult to understand."

"However... would more technical proficiency make this story better?  
It's a difficult question to ask.  I certainly don't think that taking 
a story like this and doing an editing run on it would have a negative 
effect.  But would it bring more of the author's vision to the page 
than the quick and chaotic method we see here?"

"These questions themselves may be beside the point.  Godling is energy 
barely contained by letters and words, and each time I read it, it 
feels more right.  KAPOW!"


In the distance, Kid Review could hear the sounds of violence being 
done to the maintenance bot.  He slid across the floor, rushing back to 
the RACComputer. "Sylvia, information search Cardoid!"

There was a bleep, and his eyes blazed with blue-white energy.  No 
records of this character in any RACC post (except for Kid Review #3, 
naturally).  He extended it to a non-trademarked Googol search, and 
explored the results.  But he could feel his power ebbing away at the 
edges; to keep it refreshed, he opened a new window and began typing a 


[STARFALL] Silver Arrow #1-3: "The Hornet's Nest"/"Descent"/
    "Observatory of Danger"

"The return of the StarFall imprint to RACC!  It has history stretching 
back to the very early days, when Omegas and Patrols walked the land 
like gods.  But after a period of dormancy, lo! it has returned with a 
new series.  Now, I've never read any StarFall, so as above, we'll be 
checking to see if anything pings the I-don't-know-this-backstory-

"There's a boxing glove arrow on the cover, so you know what you're 
getting into right away.  It starts with a classic Batman Cold Open: 
drug deal going on at the docks, criminal mastermind overseeing it, 
hero watching and busting in while displaying powers and attitude.  The 
little fish are rounded up and the big one gets away."

"Straight superheroics are good, but this might be *too* straight if 
you're going to have a hero so explicitly based on another.  I kept 
waiting for a twist that never came."

"Still, we get into more unexpected territory as Silver Arrow talks to 
the police chief and goes home; his secret identity (Hugh Knight) seems 
to be completely public, or at least known to every other character he 
speaks to this issue.  As well, he's in college but living with his 
parents; his father rags on him about the superhero thing, but not in a 
'60s Aunt May "Oh, that terrible Spider-Man!" kind of way.  More like 
he wants to be a professional sportsguy and Dad wants him to inherit 
the family business."

"Afterwards, we cut to Hugh talking to his college friends, Jeff Hawkin 
and Jade Wong. (The setting is surprisingly specific; a real city (Los 
Angeles), but also a real college (UCLA).) They discuss the drug deal 
and provide exposition.  Hugh asks Jade to "get close enough to 
confirm"; she isn't sure, but decides to do it - even though she'll 
need to do something horrible."

"Several days later, we see Jade with the criminal mastermind (Sun Li) 
in a corporate office.  Jade tells Sun Li that someone's going to 
testify against her, and they decide that it will be Jade that kills 
him.  Cut to one of the men from the drug deal entering the courthouse, 
and Jade taking aim with a sniper rifle..."

"This scene aims for intriguing mystery, but, I think, overreaches 
itself.  The reveal of Jade working for Sun Li should be enough of a 
cliffhanger, enough of a question - how do this Jade and the college-
student friend-to-superheroes Jade fit together? - without adding the 
whole sniper situation."

"In the second issue, the sniper situation is resolved, and 
surprisingly, she actually blows the guy’s head apart.  Huh.  Really 
expected her to try to trick the bad guys, but nope, she straight-up 
assassinates the witness.  Interesting."

"Arrow and the police chief discuss the situation, and Jade gets 
promoted within Sun Li’s organization.  Silver Arrow fights a members 
of Los Gatos Negros, a local gang, in the issue’s action scene, and 
defeats two superpowered members with quick thinking and clever quips."

"Afterwards, he meets with Jade and Jeff in the library.  Jeff’s 
infiltrated Los Gatos Negros, and it turns out Arrow has a price on his 
head from both organizations.  Another student, Fran (AKA, it seems, 
the superpowered Doorway) runs up and tells Hugh that there’s 
superpowered trouble at the Griffith Observatory (another LA 
landmark!). When they arrive, it’s covered in ice and vines, with a 
pair of costumed types who are obviously responsible standing atop the 

"The cover of the third issue identifies these as Frostbite and Venus 
Flytrap... and the first paragraph reveals that Arrow charged in 
without backup, getting himself caught, frozen, and dangled off a 
cliff.  Oh Hugh, you’re such a dork."

"He berates himself with the classic 'What would Batman do?'/'That’s 
fiction, this is real life' combo and analyzes the situation; all seems 
hopeless until Big G, one of the superpowered gang members from last 
issue, shows up and frees him, explaining that he got out on bail and 
that his sister’s one of the hostages. (This seems just a touch
 convenient, especially as that fight scene was Big G’s only other 
 appearance.) (Also, would he really call the ice guy 'Blizzard'?  I’d 
 go for Captain Cold or Mr. Freeze, myself.)"

"Doorway shows up; it’s revealed that Big G knows her and that she’s a 
'street thief' and her brother has a 'reputation' that she doesn’t want 
brought up, but nevertheless, they team up.  They sneakily observe the 
villains, who are teleconferencing with a Mysterious Figure, but said 
figure points them out and it’s time for a fight.  The bad guys are 
beaten by the three, with boxing glove arrows providing the KO."

"They deliver the baddies to the authorities, and it turns out Big G 
broke out.  He turns himself in once he sees his sister safe, and 
Doorway comments on Silver Arrow’s propensity for villain reformation."

"After Hugh gets home, his father comes in, admits he was scared for 
him, and asks why Hugh does it. There’s a flashback to ten years ago, 
during a big earthquake-slash-reality-storm, when Hugh was rescued by a 
Heroic Mysterious Figure, who told him that 'One person can make a 

"Meanwhile, Jade and Sun Li watch a report on Silver Arrow’s heroics. 
(At some point, Los Gatos Negros became Gatos del Rio.) Turns out 
Doorway’s brother was the Time-Twister, and they were once partners in 
crime.  She changed sides, but he didn’t, and Sun Li tells Jade to 
release him from prison and watch what they do."

"We often talk about series like Godling being 'straight' superhero 
series.  In a way, I think, Silver Arrow is even straighter; it’s not 
just in the superhero genre, it’s also very in-tune with the way your 
standard Marvel or DC series would be written nowadays.  Thus, the plot 
tends towards the predictable... but I’d also say it’s well-written 
enough to pass muster with those professional companies.  There are 
technical problems - most notably, it sometimes feels like you should 
know exposition that hasn't been given yet - but they're minor."

"Overall, it's good, but with a bit of polishing and a bit of spice, it 
could be something that would make people stand up and take notice even 
if it *were* published on the spinner racks."


Most of the results Kid Review was getting seemed to be on cardoid 
microphones.  He was fairly sure he hadn't annoyed any music-themed 
villains lately - well, other than the Anarchists Capella, whose goal 
of replacing slickly-produced studio music with unenhanced vocals 
didn't really fit.  

Could it be the creation of some audiophile alien species?  He 
shuddered to think of the disco damage a servant of the New Mods could 
do just by its very presence.

Wait.  Audiophile...  He opened up the wiki article and re-read the 
description of what cardoid microphones did.  Of *course*!  Now he knew 
the one item he would need to stop the robot...


[WriMo/ACRA] Maximum Frame Purge RACCWriMO Special: Dream Obliteration 

"This is - or, rather, seems to be - a stream-of-consciousness story 
based around a man's... stroke?  It's never made exactly clear, but 
it's either a man suffering some sort of brain attack, or an actual 
incursion by time loops and a grand conspiracy headed by Santa Claus."

"The pitfall to avoid with this kind of story is assuming that just 
because you're writing from a damaged, nonlinear, stream-of-
consciousness viewpoint, you can throw any random thing up there, 
without concern for plot, theme, or consistency.  Tim doesn’t fall into 
this trap; though his character’s maybe-delusions are random on the 
surface, looking a bit deeper, they achieve the logic of madness, 
elements of past tragedies smashed together and drawn out into a false 
string of cause and effect."

"Well-done, especially for something that took three and a half hours 
to write."


Cardoid stalked down the empty corridor, bits of bot falling from its 
hinged metal jaws, its claws flexing as it looked left and right.  Its 
olfactory sensors twitched, analyzing the molecules that floated by.  
It stepped into the bridge, and its crosshairs immediately focused on 
the single figure there.

Kid Review held up one hand and waved, the other holding a hefty tome, 
and Cardoid roared its rage.  He grimaced, but remained calm. "Cardoid!  
Before you utterly destroy me, I have a message to convey!"

Cardoid tilted its head.  It nodded warily.

Kid Review placed the heavy book on the floor and carefully kicked it 
across the room.  It slid to a stop about a foot in front of Cardoid. 
"Page 482, about halfway down, definition five."

Cardoid picked up the dictionary and carefully thumbed through it. 
"Information in response to an inquiry, experiment, et cetera..." Its 
metal eyelids blinked. "Ohhhh!  Like, *that* kind of feedback!"

"Right, right, and you're supposed to destroy *audio* feedback..."

"Yeah!  Oh, I feel so *stupid*!"

"Oh, don't worry, anyone could have made the same mistake..."

"Ha ha, yeah, I suppose..."

And, laughing, the two of them went off to have lunch.



Author's Note: My first sustained story arc.  I'm still groping about 
for things that go well with the review format, but I think this was a 
fairly successful attempt.

Definition of feedback taken from the Collins English Dictionary, 
Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition, via dictionary.com.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, keep taping the circs!

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