Superguy Reviews, July 21 - July 28, 1996

WARNING! Contains spoilers for posts from Crazy Guy #8 to Remains #3.

The New Review Crew is Jesse Taylor, James Rinehart, Jon Lennox, Eric Sturgeon, Chris Angelini, *THE* Mason Kramer and for a limited time only, Special Guest Reviewer Rob Furr!

0: Abysmal (I've seen Power Rangers fanfic better than this.)

1: Very Bad

(Ooog. Give me Tales to SMURFIFY any day.)

2: Bad

(Little White Dojo. 'nuff said.)

3: Very Poor

(Better than Tales, but not by much.)

4: Poor

(I liked it. It was better than Cats.)

5: Mediocre

("Eh." Okay, not bad, but not good either.)

6: Good

(Genuinely good read. Basic Superguyage.)

7: Very Good

(High basic Superguyage. The difference between 6 and 7 is fairly slim.)

8: Excellent

(Very high quality writing.)

9: Exceptional

(Really excellent, even for Superguy. Can have no serious flaws.)

10: Perfect

(The kind of thing that leaves you sitting there in front of the screen going "whoa...." for a while. These are VERY, VERY RARE.) Also known as "What's this guy doing slumming with us hacks?"

Analogs #18 -- Nopporn Wongrassamee
[Capsule not available.]
Jon: Abst. Stirge: Abst. Mason: Abst. Jesse: Abst. James: 3.5 Chris: 3

Total: 3.25

Crazy Guy #8 -- Dave Van Domelen
From the outset, this episode is in left field, beginning with a piece of Babylon 5 filk. Afterwards, Jack struggles to figure out who is trying to kill him, only to wish for something to take his mind off of his mental gymnastics. He is immediately obliged by motorcycle sorta-ninja. We then visit Vector, as he phones his mysterious boss to demand more money for fighting Jack and spill his guts about the man's power levels. By spying on this conversation, the reader learns that Jack's staff might be a legendary divine artifact. We then return to the ninja fight, not-quite-in-progress, which reaches high levels of kookie martial arts absurdity. Through events better left for the story to relate, Jack's car ends up being jumped onto the back of a train. And you guessed it... the fight resumes on the top of the train, stealing - er parodying - a Jackie Chan film, 'Supercop'. Jack wins, and the episode ends.

Crazy Guy #8 seems to follow the tradition of most of the films which it parodies: include just enough plot to give structure to the story, and then have the hero fight his or her way through it to the end. While effective - the fight scenes being at times rather engaging - this tactic is a bit jarring, given that the narration offers explanation through interior monologue with one hand, and takes it away with the other.

Crazy Guy is a promising series. It has maintained a mature level of authorship, and contains many clever references and jokes. However, its reliance upon parody and the martial arts genre might turn off a reader or two. Hopefully, a bit of plot will attract those who have been turned off back to the series.

Jon: 6.5 Stirge: 6.5 Mason: 6 Jesse: Abst. James: 5.5 Chris: 5

Total: 5.9 -- "No! He's speeding up! He's jumping the car ONTO THE BACK OF THE TRAIN! What kind of suspension does that car have, suspension of disbelief?"

Team Mate #13 -- Keiran McManus
The adventures of Australia's only Superguy team continue as they perform the sorts of actions you need while setting up a team: investigating government conspiracies, acquiring costumes, and of course fighting the bad guys. We begin with the police demolishing a convenience store to get its security tape out; we then have a nicely-done piece of exposition explaining how Australia's anti-Superguy laws came about; the Switch acquires a new costume (with "NO SPANDEX!"); and then Team Mate has their first battle as a team, encounters and fighting a villain named The Gunslinger who seems to have the ability to shoot people with toy guns.

"Team Mate" is a nicely solid piece of Superguyage -- in an era of cosmic plots and huge degrees of angst, we have here a low-to-medium-powered team smoothly mixing superheroics with humor. As well, we have a very clean interconnection with the shared universe -- the Austrialian anti-Superguy government conspiracies are linked to the American ones from early in Superguy history. In general, this is an enjoyable, non-pretentious, entertaining series, and I'm looking forward to more of it.

Jon: 7.5 Stirge: 6.5 Mason: 6 Jesse: 6.5 James: 6 Chris: 6

Total: 6.4 -- NO SPANDEX!

Teen Hero a-Go Go #2 -- John Bankert
The origin story for the teenagers who will presumably become the Teen Heroes of the title continues, as we get an interesting combination of the Freak Scientific Accident and Government Conspiracy standard origins, while the presumptive eventual antagonist gets a Mysterious Alien Artifact origin, turning him into some variant of the Criminal Mastermind as he recruits his wrong-side-of-the-tracks high school friends as henchpeople. Not that these origins being "old standards" is a criticism, of course -- they're handled quite cleanly with nice characterization, and combined to good effect.

As a returning Senior Author, John Bankert has the advantage of having created a lot of the Superguy common elements (the reporter Mark Kent is secretly Superm00se, who actually pre-dates Superguy by about a year), allowing him to follow up on the aftermath of his old "Pizza Wars" series, for instance. The newer material is moving forward somewhat more slowly, but I feel certain that this will become remedied soon enough. The formatting is marred by continuing MIME-encrustations -- John needs to figure out a better way to get his files into is posts -- but other than that this series is shaping up into solid Superguy.

Jon: 7 Stirge: 6 Mason: 6 Jesse: 6.5 James: 6 Chris: 6

Total: 6.2 -- "Amoral and unethical? Please Miles. We work for the government."

Starcruiser Anonymous #0 -- David Menendez
This episode is, as one might expect from a #0, is background. As in, it's a big chunk o' exposition, it is. Amazingly, it manages to be funny, or at least interestingly weird, throughout the entirety. The writing is quite well done, for exposition. Probably the best feature of this episode was the fact that it clearly showed that the Author has read the background of SFStory, or at least _Renegade Anarchists_. Looking forward to the start of this storyline.

Jon: 6 Stirge: 6 Mason: 6 Jesse: 6 James: 6 Chris: 6

Total: 6 -- SFSTORY: Still Not Dead Yet

TFKATHP #44 -- Mike Escutia
The epilog to "Altiversal Theory" is a nice, quiet piece tying up some of the loose ends and leaving the rest for when the series picks back up after the Series Hiatus. The team returns, goodbyes are said, and the team officially unofficially disbands. The ex-LNHers learn that one of their members can't travel to other universes for the immediate future, and the other two elect to remain in 000SUPERGUY with him. Marc (Magnetic Personality) reveals his secret identity to the former HP-ers. And we learn that Jon Perceptor (the filthy traitor) has a brother that knows a lot about what's going on, apparently...

After the frantic pace of the last several episodes, this was a much-needed breather between episodes. Unfortunately, it'll be awhile before the next one.

Jon: 7 Stirge: 6 Mason: 7 Jesse: 7 James: Abst. Chris: 7

Total: 6.8 -- So that's everything in a nutshell. It's a cracked nutshell, though.

GOMI #8 -- Randall Milholland
With Gomi #8 and it's preceding episode, Randal Milholland have crafted a beautiful piece of suspense and mystery that sheds another side to the series, a much quieter and intense deeing than the sometimes off-color comedy of the previous episodes. As the pieces of Irene's identity come together, we find out more about Betty, and especially the undead guardian, Skinnybutt. Eventually, the mystery unfolds like an origami flower and Yeh and crew confront Bakker's plans.

Now, this is not much in a summary, but that's because in all honesty, I don't want to spoil any of the mystery involved within. But I will comment that the scenes that comprise the whole of this felt a lot like master woodwork. One could almost feel the crafting that Nee! put into this work. Maybe this ep will be on the ballot this year, maybe not. But I thouroughly recommend it.

Jon: 7 Stirge: 7 Mason: 7 Jesse: Abst. James: 8 Chris: 7

Total: 7.2 -- "Don't worry, Iris," the doctor said. "I'm not just going to kill you - that would be ungrateful. You're the next step in my experiment. I'm going to convert your spirit into raw energy."

Force Ten #59 -- Jesse Taylor
Okay, in Force Ten #59, the title says it all; We're setting up for a Confrontation. We start off with a peek into Irene's BIC "indoctrination". Jesse's narrator explains that the ShadowyWriter has an ego the size of Cleveland. Roger and Floyd discuss Roger's return. Shannon tries to help ground Chris by binding her. Apparently sucessful, but there's a bit of doubt lingering about side effects. Denim Warrior proves that power ain't everything while John and Roger have a talk that seems familiar to Roger, considering he just had that talk with Floyd. And our foes at BIC get a status report and consummate an evil chuckle on their plan to destroy the F10'ers.

Considering this ep's setup for an arc I'm guessing may not complete itself before #75 (You think this is odd? Recall how many issues it took for Knight* to end? Anything's possible.), setup should be expected as the order of the day, I guess. However, too many setup eps may make it annoying. Hopefully, a minor plot arc will cut the forshadowing percentage down as the pieces come together. Besides, one expects a _little_ slight of hand yet. This IS the Author of Blorg Trek after all.

Jon: 7 Stirge: 7 Mason: 7 Jesse: Abst. James: 6.5 Chris: 7

Total: 6.9 -- "Another victory for the power of the Denim!!"

Remains #3 -- Jon Robertson
This issue opens on a rather surprising note, as Grant is ambushed by Anthony and sent into the land of Nod. In another part of continuity, Ben and Chris try to figure out who Chris is, why he resembles Vanguard so much, and why he's there. Van Rice seems to have some idea as to who Chris is, however, and makes plans to use him to replace Vanguard in his long range plans. Chris throws a rather... spectacular tantrum when Ben tries to send him back to his home altiverse, allowing him to stay at the mansion. This may not be the best thing for him, however, as many present can't accept him, due to his similarity to Vanguard.

Elsewhere and when, Ben and Robyn infiltrate a building in which a Mysterious Meeting (tm) is taking place. In a seemingly unrelated series of events, Grant's powers are given the work-over by Doctor Farmer, to further his usefulness to Van Rice.

Things seem to be heating up in the Sentries' corner of the universe. This episode is clearly a set-up issue, but it avoids the trap that most such issues fall into, by focusing much of its time upon character development. Chris, despite his temper, is almost immediately a sympathetic character because of his alienation; Kim's talk with Chris reveals a bit more about the woman's mind; and Ben's discussion of powers and family with Robyn is very nice.

The only real flaw in this issue is its sudden six day time-jump. This is most noticeable with Ben, who jumps from working with Chris to staking out the rooftops with Robyn. However, this drawback is easily ignored, leave Remains 3 a very nicely told story.

Jon: 7 Stirge: 7 Mason: 7 Jesse: 7 James: 6.5 Chris: 7

Total: 6.9 -- "Ah, okay. I'm high. Hey everybody, I'm high!" "Scans indicate a definite lack of any drugs in your bloodstream." SARA paused. "You are not high!"

Book of Superguys #2 -- Ben Rawluk
Rawluk shows his affection for the old JSA/All-Star Squadron comics in this episode, which shows his taste, if not his ability.

Jon: 4 Stirge: 4.5 Mason: Abst. Jesse: Abst. James: 4.5 Chris: 4

Total: 4.2