The New Review Crew is Jesse Taylor, James Rinehart, 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.)|
|(Little White Dojo. 'nuff said.)|
3: Very Poor
|(Better than Tales, but not by much.)|
|(I liked it. It was better than Cats.)|
|("Eh." Okay, not bad, but not good either.)|
|(Genuinely good read. Basic Superguyage.)|
7: Very Good
|(High basic Superguyage. The difference between 6 and 7 is fairly slim.)|
|(Very high quality writing.)|
|(Really excellent, even for Superguy. Can have no serious flaws.)|
|(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?"|
|Stirge: Abst.||Mason: Abst.||Jesse: Abst.||James: Abst.||Chris: 6|
This series has the same sort of appeal that the companion series (ManMan Returns) has. Namely, it's weird, and we have no idea *why* we like it, but we do, dogonne it!
|Stirge: 7||Mason: 7.5||Jesse: 7||James: 6||Chris: 7|
The insanity looks like it's building to a rather bizarre, yet smashin conclusion. (Yah, as in Urban Renewal.) Still, hilarious ep.
|Stirge: 9||Mason: 8||Jesse: 8||James: 7||Chris: 8|
Total: 8 -- "We're four members of the Association of People Who Take Out Incredibly Huge Insurance Policies and Then Go Put Themselves In Incredibly Dangerous Situations," Tony explained. "Needless to say, when one of your producers, Mr. Grey, asked us to be on the show yesterday, we all phoned Lloyds of London and went hog wild."
Although this episode does not advance the plot a great deal, it really doesn't have to. MC #6 is a very 'sudden' issue, taking a very few moments and exploring them quite well with a series of shifting viewpoints. Wally's confrontation with The Voice of the Revolution at story's end is especially good, nicely demonstrating his utter frustration with the events which for so long have not seemed to be under his control. This issue also tantalises the reader with the promise that they'll finally be let into the know, story-wise, which will be a big payoff.
|Stirge: 8||Mason: 7||Jesse: 7.5||James: 7||Chris: 7|
Total: 7.3 -- "Look, would you mind just shooting us? I don't think I can cope with any more uncertainty. There's no adrenaline left, man."
The showdown is still building. That much is easy to see. However, by focussing on Ana's plight, Jesse gives us something to do while he starts laying the primacord. Looking forward to the next ep.
|Stirge: Abst.||Mason: 7||Jesse: Abst.||James: 6.5||Chris: 7|
Total: 6.8 -- "In the washroom... fortunately, the amazing fabric known as DENIM!!! is remarkably easy to clean and maintain!"
Gina does a good job of moving each of the snippets along. However, simmply because of the current distances invovled, there is very little cohesion to the post. Hopefully, as the connecting factor (CCrash, in all likeliness) is brought in, this problem will go away. The other probelm is a little more stylistic. I found it took two diffrent readings to figure out who precisely was who at spots. Especially in series that episodes do not come regualarly or aren't fully established, connecting nicknames with real names helps extremely. For an example, I almost mistook "Stinky" and "Brian" to be two different people.
Overall, nice ep, and I'm looking forward to the further (mis)adventures of this crew.
|Stirge: 7||Mason: 6.5||Jesse: Abst.||James: 6||Chris: 6|
Yes, that was a short summary, but this episode is hard to summarize, because it does not contain a great deal of action per se, but rather a great deal of characterization and background. This post apparently ties into two of Chris's previous stories relating to the shards, and the plane they come from... which leads one to wonder if this isn't all part of some subtle uberplot that Chris is building towards. Hmmm...
One of Chris's most impressive abilities as a writer is the way he can create characters who are real and believable in such a very short span of time, and this post is an excellent example of that. He manages to introduce five very detailed characters in less time than it takes most Authors just to lay the groundwork for one. This is done, however, without sacrificing the flow of the story or by wandering off into irrelevant digressions. And, to top it all, the story blends both deadly serious and rather silly moods in, without seeming to jar in transition between the two.
Highly, highly recommended.
|Stirge: 8||Mason: 7.5||Jesse: 9||James: Abst.||Chris: Abst.|
Whew. There's a Heck(sm) of a lot going on in this issue, and all of it is up to its usual ALU standards, which are Pretty Darned High. The Dianna/Spandex Babe scene is especially nice, avoiding pointless angst and going straight for a very affective mood. Also, it seems as though a great deal of this is going to be tied together eventually, though I'm certainly chomping at the bit for the author to weave it together soon. My only real nitpick with this issue is that it largely resembles an airplane by an airport in inclement weather: circling and waiting to land. There's obviously going to be a big payoff for our patience in this arc, and I hope that we get to see at least a glimpse of it sooner than later. Still, there are enough hints and teasings here to keep the reader busy for a while longer.
|Stirge: 8||Mason: Abst.||Jesse: 7||James: 6.5||Chris: 7|
Total: 7.125 -- "Because... I decided you didn't want to go. Right? I decided you love it here. And... I don't want to go without you."
Yes, *THAT* Murphy.
It starts out innocently enough, with them meeting at the tape store, with her looking over an Erasure CD and asking his opinion. It moves on to an ice cream parlor for breakfast (as an aside, I agree that a chocolate-chip sundae float is *the* breakfast of choice), then into traffic. It's after he mutters prayers to every deity, author, and cosmic power (including a few that he made up on the spot) and she responds that he starts to understand who he's with (not that she'd hidden the fact, of course). Naturally, he does what nearly anyone in his position would do, and starts railing against her...
...until he starts to understand why she does it, and why she can't apologize for it.
Christopher Angelini is, as has been reported in this column before, a god. He can take something ordinary and make it extraordinary, find a laugh in a bad situation... and make one of the most hated cosmic forces in the universe a sympathetic character.
|Stirge: 8||Mason: 9||Jesse: 7.5||James: 7.5||Chris: Abst.|
Total: 8 -- "When you're surrounded by crazed superbeings to the south ready to rip a magic weilder apart for being able to Abracadabra up a rabbit from a top hat and insane megalomaniacs in your own capitol trying to add you to a mass-mind, you give a lot of thought to what you'd do if you ran into a paranormal."
One thing that Menendez asked about via Author's note is his formatting. Overall, I think it works. If there's any complaint, it's that I'm still getting a grasp on the characters overall. This _is_ a sweeping epic, and probably will be enhanced whrn read in lump sums than the episodic style. But that's part of Space Opera's charm and bane. Hopefully, I'm in the minority, and others are enjoying the crafting that's been happening in this tale.
|Stirge: 7||Mason: Abst.||Jesse: 7||James: 6||Chris: 7|
Total: 6.75 -- "I'm wondering where you think this 'home' for the Zakavians is? Do you think there's some planet Zakav somwhere that we all came from?"
This is a fairly solid issue, well written and funny throughout. It suffers from one major and sadly unavoidable problem: after the previous excellent issue, this one almost feels routine, which is a disservice to it. Judged on its own, however, this is a good, Superguyish story which has a good series of antagonists and doesn't lag at any point.
|Stirge: 7||Mason: 7.5||Jesse: 7||James: 6.5||Chris: 7|
There's not a whole lot we can say about this episode that we didn't say about the last one (#24). The humor is a bit darker, but it's still present. Very, very nicely done, and still not done yet. Looking forward to the next episode.
|Stirge: 8||Mason: 7.5||Jesse: 7.5||James: Abst.||Chris: Abst.|
Starcruiser Anonymous continues to be an intelligent, witty and a fun tale. The cast is large, but this issue shows that Dave knows how to handle this issue, changing focus and giving the microphone to those who need it. SA #5 could easily have fallen into the trap of long, boring exposition but manages to avoid this neatly by having the characters summarise only that which is absolutely necessary and attending to moving along the plot after.
|Stirge: 7||Mason: Abst.||Jesse: 7||James: 6||Chris: 8|
Total: 7 -- "I'm a _prince_!" he shouted, waving an arm about. "I'll _harm_ you!"
Seriously, most of the episode seemed to be setting the stage for the future beyond the immediate crisis, or the next ep. Another set-up episode, but the breakwater finally gives way as the battle will inevitably commence next issue. The more I look over the ep, the more I'm sure that the next ep, while finishing this "arc" is merely the appetizer. I just hope the wait isn't too long.
|Stirge: 8||Mason: 7||Jesse: Abst.||James: 6.5||Chris: 7|
And then Peg Fisher brings it back with gusto. Eeksburg is a random rapid assault of references and silly reactions, opening commentary and dialogue. The plot can be covered in three lines: Jason finds out that the other alien is a SPAM harvester. Jason hands over SPAM at description of how long the world had to live otherwise. Jason finds out that he's contaminated himself with the spam and now must face that terrifying fate.... an origin as a superguy.
This seems pretty basic, but Peg's prose takes it at a rambling pace, going for syllable stressing and over the top antics, especially on the part of the alien to play it all for laughs. Now, the only minus to this is the same fact. this isn't a high "move plot forward" kind of work, and it's hard for me to grasp a bit in concentrated silliness. Considering the rapid attack format, I won't be surprised if the next ep will take us through the origin willy-nilly, commentary and dialog heavy. I'm looking forward to seeing just what they will SAY, because that's almost more important than what they do.
|Stirge: Abst.||Mason: 6.5||Jesse: 6||James: 6||Chris: 7|
Total: 6.375 -- "_I_ don't KNOW! What, you think I ever did a rogue _SPAM_ containment before?"
I can honestly say I don't know what the heck to make of this story. The writing is good, but the content is not at all clear, leaving it up to the reader to interpret. As was, perhaps, the point.
Perhaps most interesting is that James makes the storyline "public domain", in a sense, at the end of this episode, apparently laying the groundwork, and leaving it up to someone else to construct the rest of the series. This... should definitely be interesting.
|Stirge: 8||Mason: Abst.||Jesse: 7.5||James: Abst.||Chris: Abst.|
A little bit confusing and wacky, Dirk continues adding layers and herrings and whatnot, giving this series a very good chance for the "Most Confusing" Grunion. I have the distinct feeling no one will know what the "real deal" is before Dirk finishes the arc. But it's fun trying.
|Stirge: 8||Mason: 7||Jesse: 7||James: 7||Chris: 8|
Total: 7.4 -- Martha turned to Fabulo. Her eyes narrowed. "There is no Excellente way to die, Fabulo. However, there are many simple yet elegant ways to kill."
*sigh* Hold on. A mass driver seems to have been just aimed at my house. One moment...
...there. Back. You'll be happy to know that there were only minor casualties. And back to the capsule.
Morgan and Trea enrole in a rather familiar school in Dillweed City, with good old Ammy - from the Preteen Patrol series - teaching. They have an eye to capture Spoongirl, to use her to lure Spoonman to them. After a hilarious classroom scene, which really has to be read rather than summarised, Grounder and Zapper play 'tag' with Spoongirl. She proceeds to repay the favour with a quick game of 'kick the can'. Suitably annoyed, Morgan and Trea discover Astatine who admits that she was Spoongirl Prime the other day, and promptly kidnap her. Morgan makes her announcement to the world... and Dana Wader, whom we were supposed to have forgotten from last issue, prepares to join the fray.
As usual, excellent issue. MTE is shaping up to be better than its earlier incarnation as Wandering Morons. Very funny, kudos go to both authors for maintaining a high level of humour throughout. My only nitpick is with the meshing; I would have liked just a bit more bridging between last issue and this. However, this is a minor nitpick at best, and really doesn't detract much from the issue's fine points.
|Stirge: 8||Mason: 8.5||Jesse: Abst.||James: 7.5||Chris: 8|
Total: 8 -- "Shut up and let me talk, or I'll have to think of a painful way to kill you,"