Superguy Reviews, July 28 - August, 1996

WARNING! Contains spoilers for posts from Teen Team 2001 #36 to Team Mate #14.

The New Review Crew is Jesse Taylor, James Rinehart, Jon Lennox, Eric Sturgeon, Chris Angelini and *THE* Mason Kramer.

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?"

Teen Team 2001 #36 -- Greg Fishbone
In the final episode of "Teen Team 2001", Greg Fishbone brings this divergent future to the final, fateful end. Loves are lost, the battle turns bloody as the Team is the final defense against the grinding machinery of the overmind. And what final cost it is. Those of you who are looking foor bright and light comedy? It ain't here. The morbid humor and sheer shock of this piece is finely turned to horrify and bombard you with a sense of loss as might-hav-beens and final declarations abound. There are more twist and turns than a roller coaster as each member makes their own personal stand. And in the end, only two are left. NOT the two you'd expect, really. (Okay, if anyone is surprised by one of them, then they don't know Greg too well.)

Oddly, this rather phyrric victory ends on a ray of hope and promise in a slightly confusing manner. And at this point, I'd say I don't WANT it to be explained.

Characterization throughout this thing has been dead-on, and the concept of this alternate history has been chilling, to say the least. Which, I think, probably was the point. A beautiful piece of alternate fiction, and where will Greg go from here.

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

Total: 8

Starcruiser Anonymous #1 -- David Menendez
The _Anonymous_ continues to orbit Saturn, as its inhabitants have yet to get the motivation to, well, actually go anywhere. But they still get cable, so everything's okay. Meanwhile, the Zakavian Eight Fleet wanders towards Earth by way of Saturn, which, as we just mentioned, is where our heroes are.

Meanwhile, on Aurora, the commander of the occupying forces tries to foment unrest to keep her troops from being reassigned elsewhere. Not a -lot- of unrest, mind you, just a little bit. As her attempt (from her perspective) fails, she decides to try something else. Little does she know, her attempt actually succeeded, and Princess Elim (the person the commander was attempting to foment with) decides to go ahead and contact the few people rebelling against the occupation force.

Cut back to the _Anonymous_, where we get a little bit more exposition on its capabilities, including the Pentadinally Designated Fighter Squadrons. The Blue squadron, as we come up to the present, is testing a new Weapon Of Mass Destruction by blowing up random space debris. This, unfortunately for them, attracts the attention of the Zakavians, and their Generic Alien Unconsiousness Ray, which proceeds to, well, make the Blue Squadron unconsious (shock! surprise!).

My assessment of the series: Hmmm. It has a lot of promise, is well written, and is definitely funny if not full-tilt wacky like a lot of SfStory. Definitely worth reading if you're an SfStory fan.

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

Total: 6.7 -- Elim stared for half a second. "So if the people were -more- rebellious, they'd get -better- treatment?"

Fabric Follies -- Ben Rawluk
Er, There's an AA here? Why do I have this? Wait a sec I don't have a Muse, so I'm talking to myself.

"Sure you do."

Who are you?

"Lethe, temping Muse."

Who sent you?

"I forget."

Er, right. Well, I'll say this for it; It's short. That's about all I can say in the positive for this AA. Ben Rawluk, Plaid Author, apparently hadn't QUITE got the idea of AA yet. So instead we have a paragraph or three toting the Awesome Power of Authorhood. A plug for upcoming eps takes up a bit more, then a rather gratuitous attack by his Muse. Oh, wait, this takes place in 233DON'TTRYTHISAUTHORSONLY? That explains it, it must be the Commercial AA altiverse. Well, since I have this muse for this segment to keep up the running gag, I might as well ask her opinion. What do you recommend about this episode?

"I forget."

....... By any chance do you have a sister in the Galaxy Police?

Jon: 3.5 Stirge: Abst. Mason: Abst. Jesse: Abst. James: 4.5 Chris: 5

Total: 4.3

Team M.E.C.H.A. #92 -- Chris Meadows
This issue is a collage of going ons. Several of the world's top Machine Intelligences are sulking because one of their number - Jenny - has died. Roger Nobody and Adam Douglas finally discuss their differences as of the Industrial Revolution, only to have Phobos walk in on them and try to break up a nonexistent fight. Link gets drunk over the women in his life who are missing, and is shut down by Mental, who must think about Link's reproach as to use of mental powers. Mike reflects upon the past, losing and regaining his sister, and his lack of appreciation for Jenny. He and Summer then philosophise about life, the universe and everything. Doctor Science broods about the dichotomy between Jenny's wish not to have a backup run and his scientific desire to do so. He further broods about his daughter's disappearance. Odd comes to some fascinating conclusion, but the scene changes before he can share it with the reader. Mercer and Zenger notice that something is up with Penumbral Person. They do not brood, angst, pout, whine or drink to excess, making them quite unique in this issue. Finally, Eris trudges towards Hammons Tower, as clue less as the reader as to why she exists.

Were I an alien making a discreet survey of Earth, and had I chosen Team M.E.C.H.A. as a representative sample of what the Earthers were like, I would report back 'wait five years to invade... they'll all be dead of slit wrists by then'. This is a transition issue which seems to be setting up for the main denouement which is sure to come. And despite being filled with well written scenes of people dealing with their angst and thus developing as characters, I can't help but wonder if perhaps the angst is dragging on a little bit too much. The atmosphere in this part of the arc is a bit oppressive, lightened only by a very nice scene between Roger and Adam which finally deals with their strange and (at one point) mortal relationship. Team M.E.C.H.A. #92 has a lot to recommend it, but hopefully it will be the last 'all the angst you can eat buffet' issue in the 'A Summer To Remember' arc.

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

Total: 6.8 -- "Okay, Roger, just put the gun down, nice and easy..."

Manman Returns #16 -- Dirk Myers
So. Ed does some jail time for the crime of shooting a Manman, and seems to be on the verge of a discovery when he plays with the sink. The Manman that got shot leaves the hospital. The other Manman is moved from his present location by Dadaman, Andy the coffeeburro, and Jane not-so-Plain-anymore, who destroys the building they'd been using with a ball bearing. Martha, Mindy and Fabulo travel to LargeImportant City while scheming. Slash prepares for the climactic moment when he can open a connection to the Kitsch Dimension. Meanwhile, at the Pink Iguana Tavern, Manman and Juan Valdez prepare to leave.

Uhm... the NRC has run out of ways to say "We don't have a clue what's going on, or why we like this, but we do, so read it." So, we're just going to say that and be done with it.

Jon: 7 Stirge: 8 Mason: 8 Jesse: 7.5 James: 6.5 Chris: 8

Total: 7.5 -- "If I am dead, then it will not matter if my clothes, Excellente as they are, become soiled."

Series With No Name #11 -- Jon Robertson
In this issue, we are treated to a look at the past of one of Jon Robeterson's most endearing characters: Robyn, when she was an infant in the sleepy little town of *snrk* Lobdell Falls. The tale concentrates on her father's - Hector's - reluctant reunion with Penrhya, his fey teacher of the mystical arts and their attempts to free Robyn from the clutches of his jealous brother Foster. It seems as though Robyn has the potential in her to allow Foster to summon a rather nasty demon into the world, something which he was prevented from doing years earlier by Penrhya and Hector. A desperate battle ensues, which ends in Pyhrric victory for the 'good guys', who stand with Penrhya and Robyn both on death's door. In an interesting turn of events, a compromise is worked out, and both are salvaged.

This issue represents another jump in quality for Jon's work, being engrossing and maintaining drama throughout. Everything is 'properly' foreshadowed, and the ending - while possible to predict - still hits like a brick wall falling on you. The characters are highly sympathetic and manage to come alive in just one two part story. This episode is very welcome back history for _Sentries_ and _Remains_.

Jon: Abst. Stirge: 7.5 Mason: 8 Jesse: 8 James: 6.5 Chris: 8

Total: 7.6 -- "That's cheating! You're not supposed to throw punches, you're supposed to use mystical forces!"

Force Ten #60 -- Jesse Taylor
Irene starts meeting her new teammates at the ol' BIC factory, which includes a few faces from previous episodes as well as some new ones, and we see that the brainwashing from last time was rather effective. Back at F10HQ, a practice session shows the team that they suck, and it becomes learned that Chris has a skill that makes her an essential part of the team (she can cook). Nariko tries to figure out what's wrong with her, and why John seems so... so... so. The brave forces of the Rutabaga Liberation Front take over Panama. Yes, you read that right.

Jesse is high, folks, not that this is news. This episode contains examples of both his serious style (the first scene) and his silly style (the rest of the episode). A must read for ShadowyPlot conspiracy buffs.

Jon: 7 Stirge: 7.5 Mason: 7.5 Jesse: Abst. James: 6.5 Chris: 7

Total: 7.1 -- "Well, we went to all the trouble of conquering this place, we might as well stick around and oppress the inhabitants a bit."

Rialto #12 -- Gary Olsen
Jon: Abst. Stirge: Abst. Mason: 8 Jesse: Abst. James: Abst. Chris: 8

Total: 8

Team Mate #14 -- Keiran McManus
As the Switch recovers from his injuries of last issue in a rather unusual style -- emulating a PC Clone -- his Team Mate teammates (as it were) face off a gang of Australian Ninjas who do not, despite the episode's title, explode. A reporter from the Irrational Inquirerer is told to spice up the truth a bit for sales purposes, and Dennis, after the Dill informs him that the Gunslinger seems to be a Superguy, considers offering him a membership on the team.

This episode seems a bit filler-ish...the fight scene was self-admittedly gratuitous, the links to established Superguy continuity (a mention of Figuremaster in a comparison with the Gunslinger) were not as smooth as last issue's, and we seem to be doing setup for upcoming issues more than anything else. However, the bits with "The Switch as PC" were very amusing, and the general tone of the series is still as solid as ever. Hopefully the next issue will get things moving again.

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

Total: 7.3 -- "I want your *full* attention, got it?" Dennis nodded again and the Dill said three words. "Ctrl-Alt-Del"