REVIEWS: End Of Month Reviews #98 - February 2012 [Spoilers]

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Sat Apr 14 00:23:21 PDT 2012

On Sat, 14 Apr 2012 00:41:50 +0000 (UTC), Saxon Brenton wrote:

> [REVIEWS] End Of Month Reviews #98 - February 2012 [Spoilers]

Oh, man.  I seriously need to step up my reviewing game.

>      [ Now, there had been a time when it would be locked to keep 
> Easily-Discovered Man Lite out.  Because it housed the Legion's 
> membership status board, you see, and after the continuity snarls 
> in the early issues of _The Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man_ there 
> was no freaking way they were going to let EDMLite anywhere near 
> something that told you exactly where every single LNH member was.

Heh heh heh.  Man, updating the LNH timeline, EDH was nothing compared to
some of the stuff (summarized at the end as "Where The Heck Does This Go").

>      [ He dismissed the thought; now was not the time for angst.  

It's interesting that he's not angsting at all about either the reasons
he's locked out of the Plot Device Room *or* the fact that people don't
trust him because of those actions.

> The discussion concludes with the pithy summary that   the forces 
> of comedy and drama are simultaneously making the world more random 
> and structured (drama to give the universe form, and comedy to 
> give it movement?  If so, then there's another idea from LNH 
> classic),

Ooooooh, I like that.

>      Actually, despite      that last line of mine and the misgivings 
> expressed by Adrian           in the end notes, the story isn't just 'a 
> big metafictional                infodump'.  Yes, it's overwhelmingly 
> an infodump.  How-                 ever it also weaves in bits of 
> characterisation and              descriptions of backhistory.  I liked 
> it, but then I would.

Me too! And I feel that, for what plot it has, it's a strong one, without
any holes. *rimshot*

> That   makes   it   more   like   the   character   introduction   posts 
> that   dominated   the   original   LNH   waaay   back   when   it   was 
> starting   out   on   the   newsgroup   rec. arts. comics   in   the   
> early   1990s .

It does!  Which is neat.

>      Of   course,   chaotic   add- on   cascades   and   one- shot   
> stories   posted   as   random   inspiration   struck   someone   never 
> really   went   away .    Nevertheless,   I'm   wondering   if   the   
> current   state   of   effective   near  blank   slate   of   the   LNH20
> setting   makes   it   particularly   amenable   to   this   type   of 
> introductory   post .

I think so - I think it's the next step after the idea threads.

>      Is   it   the   case   that  -  whether   consciously   or   not  - 
> the   LNH20   writers   are   ( or   should   be )  searching   for  the 
> iconic   character   of   the   next   Cheesecake- Eater   Lad?

Unconsciously, probably - as well as the next Dr. Stomper, Multi-Tasking
Man, and other "roles that need to be filled in stories".  I've been trying
to make a conscious effort to create characters to fill such roles, and I
think that, of them, Kindle has hit it off the best.

>      [ However, he landed hard, leaving impact prints and cracking the 
> text. ]

I'm really enjoying the playing-with-the-medium, BTW. XD

> But anyway, I enjoy this 
> series for the      characteris-     ion.  Indeed, I'm almost jealous of 
> the  seemingly      effortless       way that Andy handles his character-
> isation.  Which     is kind of       belabouring the point, because in 
> the unlikely   event  that any long-  time readers haven't consciously 
> noticed it    yet, characterisation     is the main point to this series.

It is!  It is, and that's so great.

>      However  the flip side of  this that   it does make me wonder how 
> Andy would   handle the plotting  of an ext-   ended sequence or even a 
> storyline.  A pity that _The Reverse Engineers_  series hasn't progressed,
> since it  seemed to configured for that type of    storytelling, whereas
> _LL&DD_   seems to be vignettes.

Indeed.  Of course, that may well be the problem.

>      In part 12 the p ## ower put  ## out by the Spoon of Destiny and 
> the Retcon Ball causes ## the city  ## of Net.ropolis to float into the 
> air, as well as being  ##  revealed  ## as what's causing Doc Nostalgia 
> to be in two places at  ## once.

I thought it was also implied that Mother Time had something to do with

>      It's all perfectly dement ## ed stuff, but I'll just make quick 
> note on the need to explain th ## ings.  Much of the story is depicted 
> in conventional show-don't-tell ## form.  However, in a cascade you get 
> a proliferation of plot threads ## and sometimes you need info dumps to 
> explain what's going on. This is ## particularly the case when you get a 
> continuity ## snarl, as happened ## here with Doc Nostalgia being in two 
> places at  ## once.

And Adrian is excellent at infodumping!

>      Actua ## lly, the Doc Nostalgia situation highlights another 
> interestin ## g aspect of this.  It's becoming almost a default situation
> for the LNH ## leadership trio to be discussing some matter.  It doesn't 
> happen all  ## the time, but many, perhaps even most, of their appear-
> ances in bo ## th this series and elsewhere have been in this format.  
> Now, there's ## nothing wrong with this, but I find it telling and 
> amusing that ## when Doc Nostalgia has already been said to be off 
> leading the  ## team at the museum, that the... cliche of the leadership 
> discussing ma ## tters is so strong that the various Writers automatic-
> ally assume t ## hat Doc Nostalgia  must be present for those discussions
> as well.

Indeed. XD It seems to be a central LNH20 trope, and frankly, that makes me
happy.  I mean, we need *some* recurring patterns to subvert!

>      [ Anal-Retentive Archive Kid looks up from where he has the Apathy 
> Beast by the throat and is  punching it repeatedly in the face, while 
> it tries to snap at his hands with its blood flecked jaws.  "No.  
> Despite the phenomenon of both ghost-writing by subcontractors and of 
> rewriting by editors, the rules covering the 'Best New Writer' award 
> indicate that the author named in the indicia of the story will be 
> deemed wholly responsible for a specific work of fiction, although they 
> may, at their discretion, nominate a second for the purposes of any 
> duels of honour that may result...  Arghhh!!!

Heeheeheehee <3 But that's good! Yay for May!

> It's set early on, during the 
> invasion by the alien tomatoes known as the Lycopersions (up until 
>                                                            now this 
>                                                           invasion 
>                                                          has so far 
>                                                         only been 
>                                                        mentioned
>                                                       as tantalising 
>                                                      backhistory 
>                                                     over in the 
>                                                   'Spoon of 
>                                                  Destiny' 
>                                                 cascade in 
>                                               _LNH20 Comics 
>                                              Presents_).

And I really love that they were willing to jump into that period!  It
makes the world feel more alive.

>      And the people she's hunting down are...  Well, they seem to be 
> some of Lalo's New Misfits characters from his LNH classic maxiseries 
> _58.5_ in the late noughties.  On a purely technical level I find this 
> interesting, since pretty much all of the major characters are imports 
> from the LNH classic setting - but I haven't been paying enough 
> attention to the backhistory discussions on the lnh-authors mailing 
> list to know which ones (if any) have been transported across from the 
> original setting, and which ones are their LNH20 counterparts.

I believe they're all LNH20 counterparts; Lalo seems very much into
Adaptation Distilling them down to their basic concepts, and importing the
classic versions would run counter to that - especially as we still haven't
found out what happens to them in the end.

> universe as... say... Ultimate Mercenary has been in his story episodes.  
> It could involve people having some or even most of their back history 
> being copy'n'pasted, meaning that they have retroactively always been 
> there - something that off the top of my head has been done at least 
> three times before in various old LNH series.

Including by you with Retcon Lad.

> This creates an interesting question.  Is Pantra's playfulness (and, yes,
> cruelty) an innate and standalone personality trait, or an act to cover 
> her inability to focus?

I would say: both.  I'm not quite as forgetful as I sometimes act... but
I'm still pretty dang forgetful, and the honestly of the one helps cover
over the occasional duplicity of the other.

> Nudist Man: Ori.i  ;  ~     .
>   :   .      ..      .               ..    
>  '        .                      ;
>                              *
>                        .
>    .                                        .

You know, I wondered how you were getting to so many reviews in one post.
XD (But scrolling down, I see this is the only time you use this cheat,
which is still impressive!)

> It was the Apathy Beast.  It damped down energy, usually creative 
> energy in others.  But it made sense that it would be resistant to 
> energy attacks.  That was why the disintegrator and the laser cannon 
> had done less damage that physical damage.

Ooooooh. Yes.

>      And speaking of cats, here's 
> another of James' cat themed series.  
> Okay, yes, it's got an ensemble cast, 
> but when the initial title gains a sub-
> title 'The Chronicles of Mike Kittyman' at 
> issue 19 then you can see which direction thi-
> ngs are heading.

To be fair, the subtitle is more "I named this series pretty much at
random, now that I'm sure I'm sticking with it let's find a name that sucks

> And of course 
> this continues to be suppl-
> emented by the creative use 
> of sound effects, as well 
> as the Announcer's continued 
> and only-mostly-successful 
> attempts to get on top of 
> his job.

I love how you put that.

>      In this issue the groups 
> drops off one villain at the police 
> station (Carlotta Zanzibar, captured 
> last issue), and is promptly confronted 
> by the return of 'that guy who tried to rob 
> that bank once' (Steve Henkelbert).

Names are, indeed, hard.

>  But the 
> newcomer that the group gets to boggle at is the 
> obsessive compulsive Sgt Charles T. Carver, who they 
> meet when the army arrives to take the miscreants into 
> custody.

He seems less "obsessive compulsive" and more "wack-a-doodle".

> However it does occur to me that 
> apart from some cursory characterisation of Gaio in the form of 
> his anticipatory gloating, that the story is very much in the form 
> of a prologue for future stories.  This, in turn, ties in with the 
> use of the 'The Element of Surprise' theme, as Gaio reviews the upsur-
> ge in volcanism and concludes that Ellipsis and his followers will be 
> caught off guard.

Makes sense.  Not much else to say here; it works well on that level.

> It's heavily metafictive.  

Mmm-mmm meta!

> And 
> tellingly, Adrian gives all these 
> characters valid points of view, which 
> makes the drama and tension of their 
> interaction all the more palpable.  

Yes. <3 He's very good at weighing all sides of an argument.

> (I have a half-baked but amusing 
> vision of Masterplan Lad roaming 
> around the LNH20 setting acting as an 
> antihero, trying to undermine the 
> setting purely because he sees it as 
> the product of a villainous scheme 
> and therefore illegitimate.)

See, I don't think something LNH20-style is what MPL's worried about.  He
seems more focused on a DC-style take-what-exists-apart than an Ultimate

>      The format   is the very specialised infodump   of the villainous 
> gloat.  Dr Sheng   is old school, you see.

Mmmm, yes. <3

>      From a techni-   cal standpoint Dvandom   uses the routine of 
> varying the text of    the infodump to keep it   interesting.  The 
> dialogue is intersper-   sed with descriptions of   physical actions, 
> emotional reactions, and   titbits of characteris-    ation.

He's up at a level that most of us can only dream of.

> The 
> difference being that an animal could be scared off in a territorial 
> duel, but a thinking being could withdraw with the specific intention of 
> returning at a better time.

Dun dun dunnnnn...

>      [ Twitter appeared, moving in with super speed.  "Hey wow.  Will you
> look at this mess," she said, gazing around the mess in a particularly 
> sightseer-ish way.

Oh my. <3 (Oh hey, I should put these appearances in the wiki...)

>      [ "There's never anyone around to call on," he explained in a 
> reasonable tone.  Or what he hoped was a reasonable tone.  He was feeling
> kind of woozy.  "The Writers always contrive for there to be only as many
> people as they need to drive the plot.  You know that."

Well jeez dude!  It could've just as easily been an epic team-up battle if
you weren't such a lone wolf! >:/

>      [ ARAK grinned.  "Cell samples.  DNA.  Dr Stomper will love this." 
> He realised that Twitter was staring at him.  "What?  If I can't kill 
> it, then I can at least help Dr Stomper find a cure.  If Dr Net.ropolis 
> can fiddle with it's DNA to increase the potence of its apathy powers 
> [_Saviours of the Net_ #9a 'What Do Deus Ex Machinas Dream Of?' - 
> Footnote Girl, then we can do something to fix it." ]

Ouch - I think their battle fractured the footnotes too.

>      The Apathy Beast identified (not created) by persons unknown, 
> and almost certainly Free For Use - if you're feeling brave enough to 
> try to handle it...

Dun dun dunnnn...

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, who will be writing something that ties
into this.  Eventually.  He hopes.

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