LNH/Review: The Tribulations of Kid Review #8

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu Jun 27 01:16:07 PDT 2013

Kid Review squinted. The arrow showing the direction he was supposed to 
go hovered in the air. He fancied, every so often, that he could see 
the castle as a spot in the difference. He had tried to stay on the 
red, blue, green, black, purple, white, orange, brown, and indigo brick 
road, but he had taken a wrong turn at some point, and every time he 
saw it in the distance, some barrier got in his way - an impassible 
cliff, or an enormous lake, or a deep chasm, some kind of *thing* that 
he had to take forever going around.

He wasn't sure, at this point, how much time he'd spent on this - how 
much of it was awake, and how much in dream. But he knew that the 
danger grew with every moment he spent backtracking. The arrow was 
helpful, but he was going to need a map.



The Tribulations of KID REVIEW, Issue #8

Reviewing: The Super Wizard From Space #43:
           "The Secret History of the Seven Cosmic Crowns, Part 2"
           by Wil Alambre

Written by Andrew Perron


The city was a fantasia of sparkling stone and glittering jewelry. The 
bazaar at its center was a whirlwind of color and shape. The roads 
through it were long and winding, with great sandstone buildings 
towering above the street.

Kid Review had a hard time telling whether he was coming or going. He 
wasn't sure whether anyone was selling maps, or, indeed, selling 
anything at all. He just needed to sit down for a moment...

He ducked into a dark doorway and leaned against it. Whew.

"Have you lost your way?"

He nearly jumped out of his boots. "Uh! I uh dah flabbl!" He flailed 
around for a moment before getting ahold of himself and squinting into 
the shadows around him. He was in some kind of store, with illuminated 
scrolls on plastic spinner racks. There was a desk at the end, with a 
sign above it that said "GUIDES". And there was a young lady, rather 
pale for such a sun-drenched place and with dark hair that stuck out 
every which way, sitting underneath it.

She smiled, widely and genuinely. "I'm sorry, you just looked lost."

He composed himself, straightening a nonexistent tie. "Haha, sorry 
about that. I was just looking to buy a map."

She stood up, omega-shaped necklace glimmering in the light from the 
doorway. "A map to where?"

"Well," he said, watching her face, "to the castle."

She hmmm'ed at that, and looked him up and down, taking his measure. It 
wasn't uncomfortable, but it *was* thorough. "I see."

"I've got a job I need to do there... well, I heard there was a job 
there I could help with." He shifted a bit on his feet. She had an aura 
around her - a really familiar one, actually.

"Well, we do carry a few that go out that far..." She took out a 
rolled-up piece of parchment and spread it out on the counter. It 
seemed to have been drawn by an impossibly tiny hand, fine details 
sketched out in multicolored ink. He wondered whether it had been 
printed, but no - no laser nor inkjet he'd seen could capture such 
minute detail.

"Wow..." he breathed. "But that must be incredibly expensive."

She shrugged. "Hard to say. It costs precisely one story."

Well, that was officially a Thing - why not try the same tactic? "How 
about a story about a story?"

"Hmm!" She leaned on her elbows, listening.

"For your enjoyment and edification, a review of The Super Wizard From 
Space, issue number forty-three."


"Issue #43 is the second part of an arc about the origins of the Cosmic 
Crowns, the mysterious objects of power which have been driving the 
storylines of the series so far. There's more worldbuilding and more 
backstory for our famed Super Wizard, his allies and his enemies."

"There's an interesting contrast to be made between Super Wizard and 
the Golden Age stories it draws inspiration from. The biggest contrast 
isn't in style, but in the existence of a greater world, with 
consequences *in* that world from one's actions, and one's backstory 
positioned as consequences *from* that world. Of course, the existence 
of a wider world is a fairly standard thing in the superhero genre, but 
the existence of consequences is more often claimed than seen. Wil 
works these things in well, positioning each obstacle that the Super 
Wizard faces in terms of his own effect on the world or the world's 
effect on itself."

"In this issue, we see a lot of bad consequences come out of a good 
decision. The sharing of the Crowns is, in-story, an excellent 
compromise - and yet, we see what it comes to, especially for poor 
Sharkasaurus Rex, the first to take a crown. To be a bit pretentious, 
it shows well how power is not itself war's beginning, nor its end."

"In the author's note, Wil worries about overdoing the expositional 
flashback, but what I find more telling what he doesn't say. He sets 
the situation up so that we can see the chains of cause and effect that 
lead from this situation to the present-day of the series, while 
leaving lacunae open as tantalizing mysteries. (I have to wonder where 
the rules of the crowns themselves come from.) And despite the 
"prequel" status of this issue, I was surprised multiple times. (For 
instance, I under the impression from last arc that Genovefa Buzzz was 
the first monarch of the Monster Bees, but one previous is shown here, 
and another yet before is alluded to.)"

"(Also, on whether or not to split it: I think it works best as a 
single scene, so that each character/group can play off the others.)"

"This is an issue that both works in and of itself and makes the rest 
of the series stronger for its existence. I would put a pun about 
'crowning glory' here, but that wouldn't make sense."


"...so, how was that?" said Kid Review.

The woman considered. She seemed to have understood the context of the 
review innately, and was weighing his opinions and analysis thoroughly. 
He had a slow, creeping feeling that she was a thousand times more 
experienced in everything he was doing right now - reading, writing, 
speaking, *breathing*...

"Yeah, that'll work." She flipped the map and rolled it up, then 
presented it to him. "You have enough attention to detail to see the 
map for what it is."

"Thank you." Though he wasn't sure that wasn't just the writer 
flattering himself. "I... I'm sorry, have we met before?"

"Why, yes we have! A long time ago."

"Ahhhh..." Fairy Rules, Fairy Rules, Fairy Rules... "I see." He 
straightened up and bowed. "Well, thank you very much!"

"Certainly so. Have a good trip, and remember - every road has its 

"Will do." He tipped an imaginary hat to her and walked out into the 


Author's Note: And we're back! I'm going to yet another mode of 
reviewing, picking out specific bits and offering analysis and talking 
about interestingness. Should be fun!

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, going for the overall!

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