Superguy Reviews, August 6 - August 13, 1996

WARNING! Contains spoilers for posts from Starcruiser Anonymous #2 to Crazy Guy #10.

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?"

AA: Plaid, Death and Rebirth -- Ben Rawluk
[No capsule available.]
Jon: Abst. Stirge: Abst. Mason: Abst. Jesse: Abst. James: 5 Chris: 4

Total: 4.5

Starcruiser Anonymous #2 -- David Menendez
Starcruiser Anonymous's various and sundry scattered plots continue on their merry way, as the Aroruan rebellion sponsored by its own opposition prepares to get underway; a young man returns home from Interstellar University to a semester break which he expected to be rather dull (hello, Murphy!); the _Anonymous_'s Green Squadron is taken captive by the _IZS Absurd Physical Harm_, whose captain then decides (for no particularly good reason) that their Captain-General is plotting to overthrow the emperor; and the rest of the crew of the _Anonymous_ begins to realize that the Green Squadron really ought to have reported back by now...

Starcruiser Anonymous operates on a somewhat smaller scale than Sfstory has previously been wont to -- it is parodying a somewhat more limited scale of science fiction than the grand space opera of Eric Burns or Gary Olson. Nevertheless, it is still very much in the spirit of the subtopic with some hilarious material well-integrated into the science-fictional genre. The profusion of multiple plot threads is beginning to get slightly overwhelming, but that's also not unusual for the subtopic, and I'm looking forward to their inevitable convergence in upcoming

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

Total: 6.8 -- "Not... Planet Gloom!" Dfale gasped. "Yes, Planet Gloom," Mselt replied. "Where else would I go to find the Emperor? Arorua?"

Synapse #21 -- Louise Freeman
Our Heroes finally track down the Garcias and learn a few things about the custody hearing for Mary Agnes, and find evidence that her mother could well be Cory's mother, too. Cory and Mary Ag--excuse me--Grey Leopard and Synapse go on a road trip, where the conversation ranges from "Are we there yet?" to parents to nicknames.

Yes, that's a short synopsis. Well, not much happened this issue, so it has to be. This was a character piece, and the characters shined nicely. Louise's strong point in storytelling has always been characterization, and this episode is no exception. The next episode should, from all indications, get us to Winona Falls where Fred waits with a mystery.

Sadly, it's tricky to say when that will be, as Louise is currently taking care of her newborn (Hi, Amanda!) But we eagerly await the day when Amanda lets her have enough rest to work on the next episode.

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

Total: 7.3 -- "Well, nicknames are okay, as long as there aren't any reporters around. That's how I got stuck with 'Cubby!'"

WeaselForce #2 -- Ben Brown

And I mean that most seriously. Um.

The WeaselForce, having somehow recovered from their unfortunate case of death in the last episode, goes to the Olympics to stop the Blue Otter from not killing their sidekick, Snippy the Boy Weasel. On the way, they suffer a jet malfuction do to the fact that none of them are trying to steer, and even if they were, they had no idea whatsoever where they were going. After tossing half of WeaselForce out of the WeaselJet, the rest of WeaselForce eventually ends up at the Olympics, where they all die due to impacting at high velocities, and then being blasted to small bits by the bad guys.

As I said, um.

This is one of those "I have absolutely no idea why I like this, but I do" things. It's violent, strange and silly, but also funny as heck. It... just is. I don't know how I can sum up the essence of weaselness in this post better than that. Ben's high. Way high. As are the rest of "We're Still Bored Productions". They're -way- high.

But it's a good kind of high.

In summation: There is no blue key.

Jon: Abst. Stirge: 8 Mason: 7 Jesse: 6.5 James: 5.5 Chris: 6

Total: 6.6

Slackers Anonymous #16 -- Amy Borden
Much to everyone's surprise (including, I'm sure, its Author), a series which, previously, seemed to consist of a bunch of characters bumming around and not doing anything, has suddenly completed (except for mop-up) a major story arc. In a major, Champaign-Urbaba-spanning fight scene (whose details will not be summarized here) the previously uncombat-tested Slackers manage to defeat, hold off, or otherwise convince the Bedlamite invaders, Mindburner, and Wayne to (temporarily, at least) stop making trouble.

No, really. They did. Impressive, huh?

Slackers 16 manages a really impressive thing -- a thousand-line fight scene which manages to give good characterization to participants on all sides, while still keeping the battles convincing and gripping. This issue also sees Marv's coming of age, transcending carcature and becoming a real character, whose motiviations grab our sympathy. Finally, Mindburner's transformation is a thing of beauty. She literally becomes a person before our eyes. In all, an excellent issue, one of the Author's best.

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

Total: 7.75 -- "We *could* ask some of the NSCA personnel over here to recite C++ programming at them."

Crazy Guy #9 -- Dave Van Domelen
In this instalment of Crazy Guy Hans 'Potatohead' Kartoffelkopf, a straight shooting, no nonsense, hard boiled private dick is hired by a rather familiar Irish woman to follow Jack and keep a discreet eye on him. The narrator makes excuses for the Author's having blown up just a _little_ too much of the city and then time slips forward a month or two after the next scene, in which Jack and Shen have a phone conversation. They discuss who hired Vector to put paid to Jack and come to the conclusion that he has a new enemy - quite possibly a very affluent one. There's a musical number while those tricky two months rush past, and 'Crazy Guy' has a gala opening, while the narrator foreshadows the meeting of altiversal duplicates.

This is a typical issue of Crazy Guy: well written and humorous. Unfortunately, a few of the conventions of the title seem to be wearing thin. The digressions make up far too much of the story, and in the case of the lecture on altiversal theory, are almost laborious to read. On the other hand, the plot itself is good enough that it demands more text devoted to it. We know that Something Is Up but not exactly what. And finally, the song is quite funny, especially if you can find the original source tune.

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

Total: 6.125 -- "If some demon sucks my brains out through a straw or this Jack guy drops a burning building on me, I want there ta be an estate for my wives to fight over."

Beatlemania -- Rob Furr
We open this very special issue on the Royal Verdun Invasion Force engaging in a rather unique debate about the merits of Terran and Verdun literature. Jutland, Potsdam and Somme, through serendipity and the kindness of a stranger, manage to make their way out of Manchu Towers, prompting Metz to follow. Naturally, he manages to fail this simple test of agility quite spectacularly and falls through the floor, where he meets up with a group of Witnesses who seem to have a fondness for alien food. Fortunately, he is mistaken for Ringo Starr, which prompts a theological debate about whether or not he's edible. Meanwhile, alien minds review buses, trash and dairy products on their way to the library. Metz runs like hell(tm) from his dinner companions, which can be a tricky proposition in the n-dimensional housing complex. He manages to find his way back to the den of indigestion and recovers his arquebus, only to have the group realise that he'd probably make good afters. An explosion occurs, and more innocent floors are the victim of this cruel narrative. Outside, Potsdam is run down by a bus and Somme is run down by the enraged bus driver. They're carted off in an ambulance to further science because their insurance won't help them further medicine. Jutland discovers art and high voltage fences. Metz indulges in some gratuitous violence as he falls through the missing floors, and somehow survives, although his shoes have a close encounter with an acidic Jello. Jutland's back meets the ambulance that's carrying his friends, who wake up and all make their escape in the now-stolen vehicle. They make their way into the subway, only to discover that the track is occupied. Metz crawls through the darkness of Manchu Towers, only too aware of the parallels between his situation and such cinematic greats as 'Aliens'. The scene plays out according to script as alien attempts to destroy terrestrial, in this case a sewer 'gator. Metz finds himself outside after an explosive encounter, and heads off for the library. Coincidentally, the three ambulance abductees arrive at the library as well. They return their book, reunite, and suddenly and without warning, have a surprise ending.

Rob is high. That's really all I can say. Read this post. It gets a bit long towards the middle, but overall, the payoff is worth it.

Jon: Abst. Stirge: 9 Mason: 7 Jesse: 7 James: 7 Chris: 7

Total: 7.4 -- "We'd like a book. This one wasn't any good. It didn't have any trucks in it."

Teen Hero a-Go Go #3 -- John Bankert
John Bankert's third installment of Team Hero a-Go-Go lives up to his former Authorial Appelation of CHAOS Engineer, as he takes us on a three ring circus of mayhem and parody. From the Superfriends to Voltron, X-men to X-files (okay, so it's more like generic secret agents, give me some poetic liscence) Bankert ties together the two main threads of the previous episodes, pitting Stinky and his new cronies against the HOG-enhanced teen heros. With a bit of Miss-tifying foreshadowing in front, and interspersed with comedy beats delivered by the extradimensional Xing and Xang, the humor flows a bit in this piece.

The only problem is one of the pluses, in a sense. Bankert, who created Bunzai in Pizza Wars and left a grand tradition in it and other factors, seems to toot his horn about it a great deal, in a rather throwaway manner. While it's amusing in the short term, by the third ep now, it's starting to get to be a a bit long in the tooth. Perhaps when the elements hinted to in the foreshadowing hit, the joke will be laid to rest.

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

Total: 6.6 -- "Bondo Twin Powers, activate!"

Spotlight On... #23 -- Chris Angelini
*Yawn*. Another Alien Invasion... Oh, wait. All of the Superguys are currently busy with the Winner Take All crossover? The best that Task Force Aurora can scrape together is... Doug and Tonk?

We're in trouble.

But seriously, folks... This is one of those episodes that's hard to synopsise, not because nothing happened, but because so much happened, and it was so hilarious, that this reviewer can't pick up the printout without laughing hysterically.

Chris is at his funniest with this one, as you may have guessed from the tone of the review so far. The aliens are funny, the heroes are funny, even the bit parts are funny. I've long thought that there were actually two people writing under the name Frobozz, working together in collaboration, as it's the only way to explain how he can do comedy and drama so well, usually in the same episode. Well, this time, the one that does the comedy bits has the whole episode. Fun.

Jon: Abst. Stirge: 7 Mason: 9 Jesse: 7.5 James: Abst. Chris: Abst.

Total: 7.8 -- To be frank, you have to be a damned idiot to try to invade the planet Earth.

Starcruiser Anonymous #3 -- David Menendez
In a distant planet in a distant system, the leader of the Zakavian Imperial Military Aggregate (dowh!) talks about how well the EDIT project he's been checking up on is doing, and subjects the listening devices in his room to pre-recorded diabolical laughter. Meanwhile, the Blue Squadron wakes up, finds themselves, to no-one's surprise, unarmed, and upon meeting a guard, has a short discussion on what, in fact, they are, eventually settling on 'Terran'. In ANOTHER system, Horlun, Orliss and Anme borrow their father's Finstar ship to try and make it to Barbados, Planet of Physical Delights. Meanwhile, in (yes, another different star system) the People's League of Arorua/the Aroruan People's League recruits a new member and discovers the risks of low floor maintence. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Green Squadron boards their assigned ship, the _Futility_, and launches out to look for Blue Squadron.

This series looks to be shaping up quite nicely. It suffers some from the scads o' subplots problem, but this isn't a major headache as yet. The humor is well-done, and the story itself is well-written. A worthwhile read.

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

Total: 6.8 -- "Soon it will be complete, and then nothing will stand before Zakav!" He pressed a button on his computer terminal and pre-recorded diabolical laughter filled the room.

Crazy Guy #10 -- Dave Van Domelen
Hmm. Crazy Guy#10. Movie ep. With.... Jackie Chan at the opening? Gee, I wonder if something's about to happen. Dave Van Domelan's next story in his plotline continues the almost madcap antics of Jack our Crazy Guy. And, considering Jackie Chan's RL ep, this little cameo is a pretty good clue things are going to hit the fan at the showing. Again, Dvandroid continues with the light plot / high action motif as Jack deals with terrorists and Demons trying to ressurect a major demon from beyond. though there _are_ strands to tie this into the rest of the plot (The detective giving first person commentary), the ep seems to suffer a lot from "Why?", as the entire thing is one big reaction, again. Now, actually, this probably the point, but especially with Jack's previous focus gone, it makes thie feel probably more aimless than it already was. The ending of the episode, however, intimates that a bit more structure and events are coming though.

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

Total: 6