Superguy Reviews, July 7 - July 13, 1996

WARNING! Contains spoilers for posts from %N #2 to Team Mecha #88.

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?"

%N #2 -- Crash Mallory
Gina continues to entertain with the second, and more solid, episode of her series. Crash and friends arrive in 000SUPERGUY, but scattered over who-knows-how-large-an-are. Crash and her Authorial self split off into two entities, CCrash and ACrash, and the Author gleefully gets out of the series after giving Crash a bit of advice. Crash learns that she doesn't have and *new* powers, per se, nor do the others, but they have what abilities they already had, "magnified...oh, to about the Nth power." In Crash's case, this is the ability to disrupt mechanical and electronic equipment, though--and this is the important part--it isn't exactly in her control, as we learn when a man holds a gun at her back, getting a missfire.

Better characterization in this episode, though we still know *very* little about Crash's companions. I expect this will change as the series continues, however, as Gina has shown an ability with characterization in the past (in That Other Superhero Group).

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

Total: 6.1 -- "Point: Do -not- ever piss off Admiral Morgan. It is a Bad Idea (TM)."

Team Formerly Known As The Hero Patrol #43 -- Mike Escutia
What happens in this episode? Lots. Ohhhh, yes. The 000PRECOGS Keepers and Guardsmen, as well as the Hero Patrol and their assorted counterparts and the LNHers all attack Lord D'Terminant's robotic minions in a two-pronged assault both on the 000PRECOGS Control Room and on D'Terminant's ship. A Big Fight Sequence(tm) ensues -- the Normalguys and the group of Keepers and Guardsmen heading for the Control Room meet stiff resistance from the robotic forces, but D'Terminant and his main henchies are on the ship, which the Superguys and the rest of the Guardsmen succesfully infiltrate.

Well, perhaps infiltrate is a strong word, given that they essentially charge in shooting. But it's the thought that counts.

D'Terminant decides to kill Starwave to prevent her from being rescued and used against him. This... rather understandably upsets her, and she decides to really cut loose, which overloads the equipment he was using to siphon off her energy, and frees her. D'Terminant bugs out as the heroes finally break through to Starwave. The group heads for the bridge and a showdown with D'Termy, while Jon heads off to his own destination.

Meanwhile, down on the ground, the Normalguys and Keepers finally break through to the Control Room, where they hole up -- and rescue Drs Claremont and Davis, too.

Jon meets a Mysterious Stranger. I know we use SpoilerNotice(tm) on these Reviews, but I really can't bring myself to give this one away. You'll have to find out for yourselves. ;)

Everyone meets at the bridge for the final showdown and the obligatory Revealing What-All's Been Really Going On Here. D'Terminant does the typical villain exit while the heroes are distracted by... um... I can't spoil it, sorry. See last paragraph. The ship gets rigged to go boomski and take the altiverse with it -- and jumps to 000SUPERGUY after the Guardsmen and Normalguys disembark, with the Superguys and LNHers staying behind to try and stop the boom. They succeed in making it a smaller boom, and tucking it away in the space between altiverses (or one of the spaces between altiverses, anyway) after they all get off... D'Terminant goes with it. We don't see a body, so we can assume he'll be back again. ;)


This was a big post, although you probably figured that one out already. Lots and lots of stuff happens. We get some hints that Starwave is going to be Really Horkin' Powerful, if she isn't already. (As if the fact that she's Altiversally unique wasn't enough of a hint.) We get some wonky multiverse stuff. And, despite the large scale of this plotline, there's the (perhaps to be expected) hints that this is only the start of something even bigger.

There was a lot of buildup to this post, and Mike definitely follows through on it. Most definitely recommended.

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

Total: 7.2

Adjusted League Unimpeachable #106 -- Eric A. Burns
In the aftermath of last issue, the Masked Bruce now has Ultimate Power (patent pending) of the Oanthat and the obligatory subtle signs that he's slipping into power-madness which goes with it. Spandex Babe is convinced to bend the regulations of her punishment, which is sure to sit poorly with Trashman. Unorthodox Girl... okay, seems safe to continue...


...*sigh* whatever... looks for the fun that only a celebrated superguy on an alien planet can have. Meanwhile, the machinations of Ricardo Montelbon (Coincidence) are brought a hair closer to the surface, while the Magistrix prepares to kill two birds with one stone... seemingly literally.

As usual, ALU maintains its high quality of plot mixed with the occasional bit of humour. This issue is a welcome break from the exhausting buildup and climax to date, and it concentrates upon character and foreshadowing. ALU #106 is well worth a read, if only to get you wondering what's to come.

Jon: 7.5 Stirge: 7.5 Mason: Abst. Jesse: 7.5 James: 7 Chris: 8

Total: 7.5

Manman Returns #15 -- Dirk Meyers
Much, I'm sure, to everyone's surprise, Manman Returns has acquired a plot -- and a quite engrossing political satire at that -- without disrupting the essential bizzare randomness that makes the series what it is. In this episode, several building plotlines come to a head, as Manman is finally named (to no one's surprise) as Senator F. Ron Trumner's running mate, and is then (to only slightly more surprise) assassinated by Ed the Insurance Guy. Meanwhile, the other Manman is restored to life (as his death was insufficiently mediocre), and various other people scheme over borscht, or at least eat it.

As I mentioned, the brilliance of Manman is the way it manages to combine totally hilarious random events in a way that leaves you saying "wait, how did we end up here" when you realize that you've all of a sudden had major plot development. Because of this, however, actually *reviewing* Manman is incredibly difficult, other than to say...I like it. Keep it up.

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

Total: 7.5 -- "Excuse me, actuarial emergency. Client moving into a higher risk profession, excuse me."

Bob City Chronicles #24 -- Ben Brown
We open our stirring saga with Lampshade Man skulking about on the rooftops of Bob - the lower rooftops, mind you - waiting for some evil deed to reveal itself, when Maxine Destruction and her fanatically loyal henchman Alvin show up. Maxine shows off her new henchman to Lampshade Man, and they discuss him for a moment, each from their own perspective as each other's 'opposition'. Maxine and Alvie leave for a training mission, and Bert shows up on the rooftop, which happens to be the roof of the building where he lives. They discuss Maxine, and in a hillarious turn, superheroic protocol for rooftops. Then they go for ice cream.

What can be said about Bob City Chronicals that hasn't already been said before? Ben plays the superheroic genre like a well-tuned piano, poking fun at its absurdities and conventions with his sharp wit. Written by almost any other author, this episode would seem inconsiquential or dull. But in the Bob City Chronicals format, it is just as riviting as the latest alien invasion or plot to destroy the universe. The characters are tight, the issue refuses to be led astray from its tight focus, and the humour is always there.

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

Total: 7.2

Crazy Guy #7
First off, don't worry if the number throws you. This is still the same series Dave Van Domelen started as _36 Crazy Plots_. We start off with a father-son interlude where the change in title is explained. Apparently (storywise, anyway) the "final" Crazy Plot is one that is impossible for Jack to complete before facing the Celestrial Court, so therefore he ditches that route. He'll find another way to stop the Court.

Of course that doesn't mean that the current arc Goes Away. And in this case, the next complication is apparently a fight with a martial artist called Vector. What _precisely_ constitutes Vector's "chi power" is unclear, but the result is somehow that he leave afterimages that can interact with the present. I could be easily incorrect, since the mechanics are noty given; indeed the only direct description of this was the name of the technique, which Jack blurts out. In a turn of thinking that fits his genre, Jack decides now may be the time to develop some control over his own chi through some combat meditation. Apparently, in this case, it results in some form of combat awareness, wich enables him to throw Vector over a cliff. As Vector hangs on to the cliff for dear life, our hero takes his car and leaves after *ahem* returning Vector's civilian clothes to him.

Though the writing was technically fine, and a lot of humor _was_ in the post (especially in the silliness of the pre-title stuff), I kept feeling like I was getting lost in the post. Not only was Vector not really explained, but Jack's current focus (or lack of it) showed tremensely. Hopefully, taking into account the Author's note, this is about to change. Not a bad read, but I'm looking forward to better from Dvandroid.

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

Total: 6.25 -- "Hey, this is a superhero world. Something's bound to come up. You could always get a hero team together, I hear superteams have a pretty good record against extradimensional mythical or iconic entities."

As Yet Unnamed Ottowa Team #9/Winner Take All #2 -- Chris Angelini
Fight scene. Big fight scene. Eight part episode fight scene. Fifty-two page fight scene. This, folks, was a fight scene.

Angelini is insane. How he managed to convince this many Authors to do this crossover, and how he's managed to keep it under control, and how he's managed to keep it *interesting*, is a mystery. Very solid, practically seamless episode. Here's hoping the next, final episode, doesn't take as long to produce.

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

Total: 7.6 -- "*GIRL*!" "*BOY*!" "Cootie-infected *GIRL*!" "Ooooooh! They're *NOT* cooties, you, you... *BOY*!"

Blorg Trek II #11 -- Jesse Taylor
It hasn't *really* been a year since Blorg Trek II last came out, but a wait from December to July is certainly long enough to wait. Fortunately, this episode gets us nicely back into things.

As is appropriate for a "revival" episode, not too much of immediate importance happens in this episode -- we re-meet the cast, with some nice characterization of our crew so we remember what-all is going on. And then The Blorg Star II docks at Strategic Outpost 42, and we establish the current political/military situation with the Nintans.

In other words, in the words of Susan Ivanova, "boom tomorrow." There're clearly going to be some Big Space Battles(tm) soon, and some major ShadowyPlot action. Plus, of course, a little dropped hint for those people who remember 2035 (and if you don't, well, that's what the Autocollector is for) -- I think we can rest assured that colony world currently being dominated by the Nintans isn't going to stay dominated too much longer...

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

Total: 7 -- "Our intelligence report on the area indicated the planet's going to be toast in not too much longer, anyway, what with the Nintans stripping it of everything. Tough luck for the...Hoardax, I think the natives are called."

AA: Random Noise -- Keiran McManus
This foray into the Author's Altiverse is fairly solid AA material, containing a clueless Author, pesky characters acting as foils for him, reckless use of power for self-gratification and Alicia Silverstone. While the AA is fairly pointless - which, of course, is the point of AAs - it is also a fun read, and at no point degenerates into a vicarious power fantasy which typifies the lesser AAs.

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

Total: 5.8

Team M.E.C.H.A. #88 -- Chris Meadows
Angst! But well-done angst, and in the wake of Summer's apparent death, only appropriate. Especially appealing is the way we see that the after-effects of the previous episode are *not* just affecting the Team M.E.C.H.A. members per se, but also the large and varied associated cast that the book has picked up over its lifespan, especially the excellent Scholarman scene with which the episode begins.

Team M.E.C.H.A. does rely too much on its characters' misery in general, but refreshingly, here it feels both justified and well-paced. I hope the rest of the arc can continue this.

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

Total: 6.625 -- "She was my sister," Mike whispered back. "And I miss her so much."

Jackson Six/COGD -- Roger Christman
There are a few collaborations on this list that right now live in a state of minor infamy. Not necessarily because of content itself, but in the length until completion. Or non-completion. Unfortunately, Caverns of Gratuitous Death is probably the current leader in the catergory, since a LOT of things that take place afterwards depend on the events within. But due to circumstances beyond the control of most of the authors involved (the editor was taking double bar exams and is still recovering, not to mention his other projects), a lot of those events are still in limbo. Roger Christman, the Mad Planarian, apparently decided that his portion was needed before he tried to continue with his series.

This is understandable, and really, considering that half his current series run has been hampered by CoGD, Roger has been patient about it. However, the sad fact is, a lot of this post was a bit cryptic. Caverns was meant to be a multi-author mosaic, and these snapshots of the Jackson Six contigent's role show it. While it does lead in some insights into the characters, but things don't quite fit. Unless you have outside knowledge of the CoGD, there's a lot of guesswork involved as the plot continues. And when you hit the last section, prepare to be totally baffled, since the scenes WILL be contradictory, in line with the nature of the Caverns.

Overall, we see Jackson's paranoia, Ichii's general thugishness, and Mary's, well, unique problem of being in touch with TOO many realities. However, in all seriousness, I'd more recommend using this post as a reference if the Planarian's next few posts require it. Otherwise, the plot may do nothing more than confuse, since the points of reference are simply missing.

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

Total: 5.6 -- "Now, Mary. Hold very *very* still."

The Switch #12 -- Keiran McManus
The episode focuses on the training of the group calling itself "Team Mate", specifically on the first few missions of his title character, Switch. Apart from a little foreshadowing of the team's probable next opponent, the episode stays pretty tightly centered on the team, and the conflicts of personality between the members.

Keiran's series is a fairly standard superhero story -- but as such, it's quite good, and a nice break from the much more common Stories of Vast Cosmic/Altiversal/Occult/Wossname Importance. The prose is clean, and the characters and action believable and well-written. Definitely a worthwhile read.

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

Total: 6.4

Mr. Morbid #3 -- Don Cook, Jr.
This episode takes place after the Winner Take All crossover, and does contain some minor spoilers for it (like any of us actually thought Bonehead was going to die in the crossover -- he's way too cool a character to kill). Mr. Morbid, Bonehead and Amber return to KILL Radio -- or try to return, anyway. Their way is blocked by lots and lots of protesters who're protesting Bonehead, Tina, Morbid, or just plain protesting for the heck of it. Spotting someone who is encouraging yet more people to protest, Morbid and Co set off in pursuit, and after a truly gut-wrenching car chase (*snrk*) trail their target to rival KBUM Radio. Morbid, ever a kind, forgiving type, makes it pretty clear that KBUM is going to get stomped real, real soon. Meanwhile, a vampire and his henchies seek to ressurect the Tejanomancer.

Hmm... filler. This is clearly a set-up episode to get a clean transition from WTA back into the flow of the series. Nothing much happens of great import, but several subplots are there, waiting to come to the fore. Despite the fact that it's a filler episode, it's a -good- filler episode, and definitely worth reading.

Jon: 6.5 Stirge: 7 Mason: 6 Jesse: 6 James: 5.5 Chris: 7

Total: 6.3 -- "Gee, Jay, slow down. If you keep this speed up you might accidentally get closer to the other van."