REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #97 - January 2012 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at
Wed Feb 29 13:44:04 PST 2012

[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #97 - January 2012
Reviewed This issue:
   Generation 2.0 #6  [LNH20]
   Spellbinder #5  [StarFall]
   The Super Wizard From Space #27  [MV]
Also Posted:
   Affiliated  [ASH]
   Clueless Lad Team-Up #2  [LNH20]
   The Great Catastrophe #2-3  [LNH20]
   In The Cards  [ASH]
   Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #46  [LNH]  {HCC26}
   LNH20 Comics Presents #6-9  [LNH20]
   SW10: Powernaut 1954 #1-5  [SW10]
   Sous Generis  [LNH20]
   Tales of the LNH Volume 20 #1  [LNH20]
   Team Xero #15  [MISC]  {HCC26}
   Tribulations of Kid Review #7  [LNH/REVIEW]
     The 26th High Concept Challenge was a 24 minute comic, beginning 
with the sentence "I knew things were going wrong when..."
     Meanwhile, the ongoing struggle to get the EoMR out on time is made 
     [- The Apathy Beast stalked the lines of text.  Its muzzle 
wrinkled in revulsion at the sour taste of stubborn persistence.  Flecks 
of foul and slightly acidic drool dribbled from its lips. -]
     Spoilers below:
Generation 2.0 #6
A Legion of Net.Heroes 20 [LNH20] series
by Martin Phipps
     For writers who have been around on rec.arts.comics.creative for a 
long time, certain themes and styles tend to repeat.  For better or for 
worse.  For example, I've got a suspicion that my own frequent use of 
metafiction and fourth wall breaking have reached the point of 
     One of Martin's repeating tropes is ensemble cast stories (and 
here I would refer you in particular to his CSI pastiche _Superfreaks_) 
and its subset, the teenage superteam stories.  _Generation 2.0_ is 
merely the most recent expression of this, with past examples including 
Generation Y, or the legacy team of LNH Asia for the LNH2 imprint. (And 
you know, speaking of LNH Asia, I've occasionally wondered why the 
character of Deja Dude II  hasn't made more appearances over the years, 
considering that DD2 is based on his real life son Michael.  In 
retrospect I would have expected Martin to have more emotional 
investment in the character for exactly that reason - although it's also 
possible that this falls in one of those 'It seemed like a good idea at 
the time, but I've since reconsidered and/or lost interest' situations. 
Goodness knows I've had more than a few of those myself.  But I 
     From a superhero genre perspective there seem to be two main 
types of teenage superteams.  A prominent example of the first is the 
New Mutants, which in turn derives from the X-Men.  This type of teen 
superteam is best exemplified by the notion of gathering together of 
young superhumans to either train them in the use of their powers, or 
to protect them from the world that proverbially fears and hates them. 
Often but not always they are made up of new characters.  For example, 
the revived line up of the X-Men created by Wein and Cockrum were 
essentially new, with the holdover of Cyclops and the ring in of 
Wolverine.  Similarly the original New Mutants had the ring in of Karma.
     The other type of teen superteam is in many ways the inverse of the 
first.  It's an extrapolation of the varsity league model, exemplified 
by the Justice League of America or the Avengers.  To wit: gather your 
most popular characters together into a team and thereby increase 
your sales.  The Teen Titans (especially in its original incarnation by 
Haney and Kashdan) is a refinement of this, in that it's a teamup book 
featuring the established sidekicks of A-list characters.  Another 
variation is the legacy book, best exemplified by the Johns era version 
of the Justice Society of America.  I find it interesting that the 
easiest way for me to differentiate these two models is to define one 
in terms of its in-universe raison d'etre for forming the team, and the 
other in terms of its external-to-universe reason for publishing a 
comic about the team.  Hmmm.
     Overall _Generation 2.0_ falls into the former category.  On one 
level this is obvious and could not be otherwise: the series is set in 
a newly rebooted LNH setting, and in practice even the established 
characters ported over from classic LNH continuity are parallel 
universe counterparts of the originals.  On this level there are 
literally no established characters to be sidekicks to.  However, take 
note of what Martin does with the character of Google Lad.  In addition 
to the other young characters who have joined the LNH (plus May and 
Jay, who are with the LNH for their protection during the investigation 
of General Tran; there's a parallel to the 'world that fears and hates 
them' theme), Google Lad's back history is that he was the sidekick of 
the now deceased Google Man.  In other words, there's a mixture of 
characters here, with Google Lad being used as the legacy character.
     The story for this issue is a tie-in/exploration of consequence 
from the introduction of the reporter Louis Allen in _Tales of the LNH 
v20_ #1.  Mr Allen is gathering information on the Legion, and Flashback 
is assigned to help him by using her powers to make peoples' memories 
visible to all.  This is then used to explore some of the back histories 
of the characters - at least those who don't have pressing reasons to 
keep their Secret Origins private.
     [- The Apathy Beast growled.  Legacy characters.  Rebooted imprints. 
Reuse of themes over extended periods of time.  Foul.  Hateful.  
Deserving of nothing but contempt and merciless destruction. -]
Spellbinder #5
'Hit Me With Your Best Shot'
A StarFall [StarFall] series
by Robin Strickland
     The major plot development of this episode is the culmination of a 
number of subplots introduced in issue 4: the confrontation with the 
anti-hero Tank, who's being empowered by the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca.  
Actually, issue 4 caused comment on RACC because of the sheer number of 
apparently unrelated subplots that were introduced (in addition to the 
ongoing subplots about the various members of various pantheons taking 
an interest in Spellbinder's remodelling of the Mystic Defender 
program).  However in issue 5 Robin has made the big reveal that these 
seemingly unrelated incidents were all part of the story planned for 
issue 5, whether that be in the cause or the resolution.
     This issue also has a variation on the format of 'mystic problem 
appears, and then the mystic defender naturally turns up to deal with 
it.'  By rights Tank is the type of mystically empowered problem that 
Spellbinder should be dealing with as a default of her job description. 
However the exact source of Tank's power has been cloaked, and instead 
Spellbinder is called in for a teamup with other heroes in what is  
basically the superhero community self-policing itself.  This may seem 
overly serendipitous.  Perhaps it is, in the sense that superheroes 
typically have outrageous co-incidences happening to them all the 
time, and therefore it's just part of the way the genre works. But... 
also possible, if less likely, is that Spellbinder may have some sort 
of serendipity power built into her own abilities by the gods who set 
up the position in the first place.
     Whatever the case, Spellbinder spent most of issue 4 travelling 
about and making contacts with various costumed heroes as a form of 
professional networking.  In this issue that pays off, as she is one 
of several heroes contacted by the Knight of Cydonia to help contain 
the apparently well-nigh unstoppable Tank.  The fact that Spellbinder 
is a newbie to the hero community is used as a springboard for an 
explanation about how the superheroes in the StarFall need to self-
police in order to maintain public and law enforcement goodwill, and 
is prefaced with the delightful comment:
| Superheroes seem to have a strange talent for civics lectures.  
     Which, yes, reminds me of the metatextual commentary that I like 
to indulge in with the LNH imprint, but here it's just straightforward 
explanation, albeit presented with the title character's wry humour.
Nor can it *just* be considered world building, since it's not just 
presented as an explanation of the way that the world works.  Last 
issue Tezcatlipoca identified public goodwill towards the heroes as a 
conditional circumstance and therefore a potential weakness for them, 
and chose to exploit this with his plan to create Tank as a way to 
undermine the heroes in order to advance his own plans for conquest. 
In other words, the socio-political structure of the setting is used to 
create conflict to drive the plot.  
     The plot in brief can be summarised as heroes decide to unite to 
take down Tank, heroes stake out the area, heroes confront Tank only 
to discover that he's more powerful than they thought.  Spellbinder 
recognises that Tank is getting godly empowerment, and makes a plan to 
bring down wrath of the Wild Hunt upon Tezcatlipoca as a way of killing 
the Aztec god permanently.  However when she visits the Butler of Loud 
Sorrows to have a Hunt called down upon the god, he devises another plan. 
The Butler tells her... something... that upset her, and which upsets 
Tank when she passed it on to him, and combined with various spells 
caused Tezcatlipoca to manifest on Earth, be weakened and be vulnerable 
to being pinned down under a superheroic dog pile.  Then Spellbinder 
banishes him, permanently.  It was a quite satisfying fight scene.
     Meanwhile, other machinations are happening in the background.  
The kibitzing of Loki and Hermes have been amusing, and in this issue 
ramps up as Hermes seems intent on tricking Athena into taking over 
leadership of the Olympian pantheon.  The antics of Coyote initially 
looked like it was on much the same level, but in the conclusion of 
issue 5 is revealed as part of a larger plan by good aligned gods 
against the forces of a Dark Lord who is reminiscent of the DC evil god 
Darkseid.  The latter two scenes also build on the implication that 
Spellbinder is in some way amnesiac with a dark and dangerous past.
     And while we're talking about interesting spins on things, I was 
amused by the idea of the Greek goddess Athena taking over the Olympian 
pantheon, overextending herself through micromanagement, and having 
to step down from burnout.  Okay, so at this point this is only 
scheming on the part of Hermes, and by rights Athena should be wise 
enough to foresee such a possibility.  But then we're also talking about 
one of the Olympian gods and therefore there's always the chance of her 
ego getting in the way of her common sense.  We'll have to wait and see 
how that one pans out.  I'll also back up a bit to issue 4 and note 
that I rather like the idea of Mexican drug wars being instituted by 
Tezcatlipoca as a form of proxy human sacrifice.
     [- Large posts planned out with forethought.  Horrible. -]
The Super Wizard From Space #27
'To Hell And Hell And Hell And Hell And Hell And Back Again, Part 3'
A Marlo Vivo [MV] series
by Wil Alambre
     Let's look in on how _The Super Wizard From Space_ is doing.  My 
goodness, up to issue 27 since it's inaugural issue in March last year.
     From the author's notes this is indeterminately somewhere in the 
middle of the current arc, while also reaching the end of the 
'tournament crown' mega-arc.  It started with the Devil initiating a 
dangerous game by confronting the Secret Living Language in its lair, 
calculating that before the Secret Living Language would have time to 
kill him to preserve the secret of its hiding place, that the Super 
Wizard would detect the Devil's presence in the mortal world and arrive 
to confront him.  Then in part two the Devil needed to fast talk the 
Super Wizard into returning to the Quinto-Hells in order to grab the 
Super Devil's crown, thereby benefitting both the Super Wizard as 
part of his tournament challenge and also freeing up the tangle of 
contractual double-crossing that have trapped the various lords of the 
underworld in their realms.
     This third part sees the Super Wizard, the Devil, and the Secret 
Living Language (as witness) ride an infernal taxi cab down into Hell. 
Unfortunately to cross over into the second realm of Double-Hell, they 
need to kill an inhabitant of Hell to condemn that individual to 
Double-Hell (and so on for all five underworlds) as a form of bridge 
toll.  Unfortunately for the Devil, that is, since as soon as he tells 
this to the Super Wizard, the Super Wizard promptly makes good his 
previous threat to incinerate the Devil.  Oops.  I imagine the Devil 
wasn't expecting a murder attempt against him, or at least not so soon. 
On the other hand, the Devil was a little bit too chatty about how 
their cab driver could drive them the full distance as long as their 
were regular murders to open up the way, so I'm not fully convinced 
that the devious fellow hadn't anticipated something like this and 
planned accordingly.  After all, a brief bout of being dead would be a 
minor price to pay if the confrontation between the Super Wizard and the 
Super Devil were to untangle the contracts, and allow him to slip free 
in the confused aftermath of the fight, yes?
     [- The Apathy Beast roars in frustration and rage.  Lengthy stories 
with carefully thought out plots are bad enough.  Lengthy sequences of 
stories made up as the author goes along are even worse.  Spitefully it 
marks its territory all over TSWFS#27. -]
     And at the Legion of Net.Heroes HQ on Looniearth-A, Anal-Retentive 
Archive Kid glances over as a new posting arrives from the RACC mailing 
list.  He notes another issue of the _End of Month Reviews_ has arrived 
(nearly chronically late, again) and scans through the contents page.
     Then, in his best David-Tennant-playing-the-part-of-the-Tenth-
Doctor impersonation, he utters a flat, "What?"
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 
Superguy can be found at:     or /


More information about the racc mailing list