Date: 05/22/15 07:13 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
In the interests of fairness and good times for all, I will be CinemaSinning BNW. I will be leaving ratings every other chapter, because I don't want to mess with the rating on the story (or screw up my carefully cultivated average rating score).
That being said, this is a joke review. Do not take it seriously.
Let's get going:
'And so, one day, I woke up to find myself smack dab in the middle of a comic book.' comma splice and the phrase 'smack dab' (who even says that??) We're off to a good start. (+2)
'waking to find something that obviously wasn't human' Okay, fair enough, but: It looked human, sounded human, but very clearly wasn't human. The creature was a young woman, looking to be about twenty-six or twenty-seven.' Sooo...how isn't it human again? I swear this is a trope.... (+1)
'she said, her voice almost like music' and 'her voice resonated throughout my bedroom.' Bass drum voice. Very sexy. (+1)
'A pink and green mist began to fill my room.' Horrible color combo. C'mon people, really? (+1)
'I was suckin' that mist in something fierce.' Blaze It sin! Also, odd apostrophe usage. Does anybody shorten 'sucking'? Also, also, what on earth is this phrasing? I feel like I've hopped into the DeLorean.... (+2)
'She dropped the lamp she was holding and fainted.' Fragile Feminine Sensibilities sin. I'll bet she swooned with her hand on her forehead too. Also, why on earth is she carrying a lamp? Just for it to break when she drops it? Because it didn't. Not-Having-The-Lamp-Break sin. (+2)
'"Charlie?" he said, though I heard nothing. It was almost like he was mouthing the word.' Stress-Induced Deafness sin! (+1)
'I fainted, too.' Our protagonist is a lemming! (I'll refer back to Charlie's mother.) Also, comma splice. (+2)
'I awoke a couple hours later' how do you know this? I don't know to the hour how long I've slept. This is why we have the 'I Didn't Realize How Late It Was' trope. Perfect Internal Clock sin! (+1)
'The cobwebs and my concern for my mom made me numb to the differences in my body, for the time being.' If you're numb, how-do-you-know-your-body-is-different? Obvious foreshadowing sin! (+1)
'I scratched at my throat, because my voice sounded different.' Because, when my voice sounds different, I scratch at it. Yes. This. Doing Something Dumb For The Purposes Of Plot sin! (+1)
'"Looks like a spider went overboard!"' Needless exclamation point sin. Do people just go around yelling at the tops of their voices all the time? (+1)
'"Sit down, Charlie, you've got something to take in."' Besides the obvious foreshadowing, the spider webs, and your mother who was apparently raised in the 50s? And a comma splice! Sin, sin, sin, sin! (+4)
'I stood back up and rubbed at my ass ' Rump rub! I would take a sin off, but... 'not even considering the embarrassment of rubbing my own ass in front of my father' Embarrassing Moment sin! (+0)
'"What's going on?" I asked again.' Yer' a Wizard Harry...no. You have an inflated badonkadonk and you're asking what's going on? The Genre Blindness is crippling. Sin! (+1)
'"There's no easy way to tell you this, Charlie."' WEEEOOO!!! WEEEOOO!!! IMPORTANT MESSAGE INCOMING! Sin. (+1)
'"And why do you keep saying my name after almost every sentence? I think I figured out my name was 'Charlie' when I was two."' I just noticed this, but if our character was a boy before the story started (and we do), why are we using the feminine spelling??? Sin, sin, sin! (+3)
'I looked downward and saw that my shirt was pushed out by the breasts that were now underneath it. I fainted again.' Perfectly logical reaction...*sigh*...Fragile Feminine Sensibilities sin...again.... (+2)
'I hadn't had any food the whole morning (actually, it had become afternoon by the time I'd awoken from the second fainting), so I figured it would be a good idea to chow down then.' How Do I Words? This sentence is so weird.... Sin. (+1)
'I stumbled a few times, thanks to my new way of moving, but I got the hang of it after a few minutes.' I promise that boobs will not upset your sense of balance that much. Boobs Make Me Top-Heavy sin! (+1)
'The bouncing boobs was still weird, though.' How Do I Words? Plus a Comma Splice! (yes, I'm capitalizing it now) (+2)
'and looked at myself in the mirror that hung on the backside of the door.' Why hello there, Mr. Exposition, how are you? Oh you're good? That's nice. Sin! (+1)
'How do girls deal with wearing guy clothes all the time?' Belts and elastic waistbands. (+1)
'I crawled out my window and rushed down the fire escape.' Spider Man reference! (+1)
'I felt something.' Ah! It's the Curse of the Mysterious Something! Also, NANANANANANANANANANANA SPIDER SENSE! (+2)
'"Hey, chickie,"' ... '"Never seen you 'round here before." He grabbed me by the chin and pulled me closer to him. "You real pretty."' And now we're back in the Seventies. Do they have afros? I hope they do. (+2)
'"Get offa me!"' And so it continues.... (+1)
'He hit the wall of the closest building and groaned in pain, as if I'd broken something in him.' His dignity. I think you messed up his afro. (+1)
'I felt that weird sensation again and, somehow, did a cartwheel out of the way.' Spahderr Sense, Needless Acrobatics sin, and...wait for it...Comma Splice! This one gets five for sheer audacity. (+5)
'"Get that bitch!" the leader spat at his thugs.' Cliched Villain Line sin! (+1)
'They ran at me, and those weird sensations guided my movements. I jumped clear over their heads, then knelt down and did a leg sweep, knocking those two on their asses. As one of them fell, his knife went skyward, and I grabbed it just before it landed in the other thug's right eye. Those two got up really quick, the one grabbed his knife, and then they bolted. Behind me, the leader reached out to grab me, but I rolled out of the way just a second before he reached me.' Badass Fight Scene! (-3)
'"Bitch!"' Again with the needless insults! Sin, sin, sin! (+3)
'"Hey, you came up on me! Probably wanted to rape me, or something!"' First chapter rape reference! Sin. (+1)
'He ran at me with his own knife, but just ducked to the side and clotheslined him, knocking him flat on his back.' This sentence makes a lot more sense if you add an 'I' between 'but', and 'just'. Sin. (+1)
'I grabbed his knife and, with strength I didn't know I had, broke the blade off of it and tossed the two pieces into the nearest dumpster.' Without cutting her hands too! (+1)
'"Holy crap, I'm Spider-Man!"' This line...I shake my head.... (+1)
'Something landed to my left.' Ah! The Curse is back! (+1)
'"Nah, you're not Spider-Man, on account of he's a dude. You were pretty good at makin' them piss their pants, though."' Again with the unnecessary shortening of words! (+1)
'made me want to facepalm right after I did it.' Facepalm. No. We don't use that term. Sin. (+1)
'"Whoa!' Needless exclamation. Sin. (+1)
'Now, granted, I'm from Luther, and people think I'm ghetto all the time, but the way I see it, aren't you supposed to tell me your name before you scream at me for mine?"' Wow, did you breathe at all, or did you just blurt it all out? Also, hello there Mr. Exposition. And remind me why he's just giving out personal information? Sin, sin, sin. (+3)
'Again, I wanted to facepalm.' Why are we still using this word??? Sin! Sin! Sin! Sin! Sin! (+5)
'I folded my arms under my breasts.' Heh. Boobies. (+1)
'"Short for Charlotte, I bet, right? I've got a cousin named Charlotte. That's actually where she's from, too. North Carolina."' Oh. My. God. We. Don't. Care. Sin, sin, sin. (+3)
'She didn't change him, and when he saw me with a dick, he stormed out.' Finally! Some realistic (ish) dialogue! I would take sins off for this, but the phrasing is so weird. (+0)
'Francine - or Frank, as he chose his new male name to be - and I talked for awhile. He came from a not-exactly-poor/not-exactly-rich family that had lived in Luther for generations. I described what I'd looked like before to him and he told me he'd seen me at school a few times, thought I was 'cute for a white boy'. He laughed at my surprised reaction. He wasn't one to draw race into any situation and knew I was the same. He told me what he'd looked like when he was female, and I vaguely remembered seeing a pretty black girl like that, but we'd had few classes together.' Mister Exposition, I missed you! Repeat after me, kids: "Show don't tell! Show don't tell! Show don't tell!" Sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin! (+9)
'"I don't read comic books, I just watch 'em on TV."' Okay, if you're going to shorten 'them' to ''em', you can't have a space in between ''em' and the preceding word. It looks dumb. Sin. (+1)
'"Firm handshake you've got there," Dad said.' Oh my god this fucking line. Could we be more cliched? Sin. (+1)
'Dad looked at me with a critical, but loving, eye. I looked away in embarrassment. Thanks, Frank. "It wasn't like that... Well, I mean, it was. I did beat the crap out of them, but... well..."' There are a couple things wrong here. First: why is her dad not ripping her a new one? Sin, sin, sin. Second: why is she talking like an idiot? Sin. (+4)
'Despite my best efforts, I giggled. "Sorry, I forgot to tell you that my dad's a cop. Wait, what are you doing here if you got called in on your day off?"' I see a trope incoming.... Giggling is a sin. Read the book. (+1)
'Dad sighed. "Okay, I guess." Just before turning around and leading us to the car, he asked, "I'm gonna regret this, aren't I?"
I smiled. "You'll never know until we get to the precinct."' FINALLY! Dialogue I like! (-10)
'Dad raised an eyebrow, then lowered it. "Oh, yeah, Charlie told me you'd been a girl." He looked over at me. "Speaking of my lovely young daughter, are you gonna keep going by 'Charlie'?"
"It's a girl's name," I said, defending my name.' Especially spelled like that. (+1)
'I pulled a chair up beside Dad and told him the whole story.' Yay! You didn't have Frank recount the whole thing in mind-numbing detail! (-1)
'down the stairs, back into his laboratory.' Oh boy! This is gonna have mad scientists! (+1)
'Everything is going according to plan.' Not since you said that. Sin, sin, sin! (+3)
'He smiled, a thin, hope-stealing smile' I swear I've read this somewhere else...oh wait! I have! Everywhere! Overused Imagery sin! (+1)
'31 people with above human abilities.' Alright, in the above paragraph, you wrote out every number, but here you use numerals. Inconsistency sin! (+1)
'Once he found them, he would eliminate them, just as he had for centuries.' EXPOSITION! Also, you used the word 'eliminate'. That's racist. (+5)
Sin Tally: 78
Verdict: Hanged With Exposition
Author's Response: Only 78? You can do better.
Date: 01/30/15 09:10 am Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Congratulations on finishing the story. It was quite a ride. Looking forward to the next one.
Now brace for giant wall of text consisting of random thoughts I had while reading this. Most of it is criticism, but don't get me wrong, it is still one of the best stories of this site. It's just that the stuff that needs to be improved tends to stick out more in my memory.
Oh, and comic books and movies exist in the Heroes universe. And yet comic book tropes still appear in this universe. Some of my early reviewers complained about this very thing happening with Brave New World, despite the fact that this show did it eight freaking years ago!
And I still stand by that.
1. Something else having done it doesn't absolve anything of criticism. I can point to a billion TV shows with bad writing, and I'd still criticise bad writing.
2. Heroes knew which comic book tropes to not implement. For one thing, people tried to keep their abilities a secret from the general population. All the superhero tropes came in gradually. Not everyone instantly gave themselves Codenames, nor did everyone else go along with it as something that was normal and accepted convention. There were no colorful costumes, or superpowered teenagers taken seriously as law enforcement, or even superheroes/supervillain battles out in the open. Or a photographer who's secretly a spiderhero. These things don't work in a setting that starts out with a setting that is supposed to be "our" world, because you'd need a population of people who act nothing like real people to make that work.
If you want a well-done comic book that explores just this theme, I recommend "Superman: Secret Identities". It's about a boy in the real world named Clark Kent - who gets made fun of for that name - and who then in a fit of irony develops Superman's powers, becomes a superhero and a reporter, and falls in love with a woman named Lois Lane.
So why am I praising that story when I criticized yours? Because that story thought things through. The characters are aware of the ridiculousness of their situation, and society doesn't suddenly change to accomodate them. The characters play with people's assumptions - for example, the main character starts dressing up as Superman to rescue people specifically because no one is going to believe someone who claims to have been rescued by a flying Superman. The evolution of society to the point of accepting supers - even believing that they exist - takes decades. Your story starts out with one world, supposedly like the real world, and a handful of days later it's a different world where everyone operates by comic book logic and the police doesn't burst out laughing when someone introduces themselves with a silly codename. Still could work if this was meant to be a parody, but it's not - you clearly want us to take the battles and the emotional stakes seriously.
My point, it is this:
If you're not interested in exploring the transition of a real world into a superhero world, you would have been far, far better off starting off with just a superhero world. As it is, your story starts off with a massive break in reality and suspension of disbelief.
That is, imho, the biggest flaw in your writing. You have a lot of imagination, a lot of ideas, and throw a lot of stuff against the wall to see what sticks, but you don't really think through the implications, or sweep them aside when they're inconvenient to deal with. Like, ironically enough on a TG site, the TG. What was the point of flipping everyone's gender as they get their powers if you're going to handwave it with instant magical acceptance and then not have their background influence their behaviour?
The scene of Chosen hanging out together and playing basketball gives us this:
Brandon got out of the pool next, stood beside Colin. "I'm thinkin' we need to teach this girl a lesson, bro."
Monica got out of the pool and stood next to me. "Boys versus girls? Pete as the referee?"
I caught the ball as Monica passed it to me just as Brandon tried to take it out of her hands. I dribbled it for a second, trying to fake out Colin, but that didn't work. Then he decided to use his powers to lift me into the air. "That's cheating!" I screamed. I then smirked, used the situation to my advantage, and took my shot, landing it in the net. "For our side!"
Brandon smacked Colin on the back of the head, making him drop me. I managed to keep myself upright and gave Monica a high-five as I landed. She dribbled the ball a little and then we were back at it, her passing it to me while the guys tried to get it. The rest of the game went like that, with the guys getting not one point.
"See, told you, you guys suck," Monica said, a smirk on her face. Colin just flipped her the bird while Brandon simply fell over out of exhaustion. Monica looked tired, but I wasn't. I don't know why, either. Maybe it was just an effect of my powers.
Brandon coughed out a laugh. "Two out of three, c'mon." He fell over after that.
Colin just shook his head. "Screw that, I don't need to get my ass handed to me by a couple girls again. It's bad enough one of 'em's my girlfriend."
Do I really need to point out that these guys used to be girls? Literally just a few months ago? Yeah, yeah, they've accepted their new gender - but they were still raised as the opposite gender, and remember what it was like. One would think there'd be some sympathy/fondness/loyalty for their original gender. Girls do not have it drilled into them that it's shameful to be beaten by a girl. In fact, most girls find the notion insulting, and the more competitive a girl is, the more I found this to be true. Especially in Colin's case as a former tomboy, wouldn't she have been really proud of holding her own with the guys? And yet she turns around and starts using the same shitty sentiments she probably resented hearing as a girl?
I find it weird that they're so willing to make it a boy vs. girl thing in the first place. One would expect that topic to be just a little bit of a sore spot for at least one of them, but no.
In general, I find your Chosen guys to be problematically written. I never, ever got the sense that these are former girls. None of them retain feminine interests - and why not? Acceptance of their new gender shouldn't give them an allergy to everything girly. You could have genuine conflict in them trying to continue their feminine hobbies only to suddenly meet shame and ridicule.
Being turned into a guy seems to come with a personality transplant, something that is not true for the boys-turned-into-girls, who all skew more tomboyish than not.
On the note of not thinking through implications...
Age: 192,403,085,030,424,905,202,490,582,457,087,240,570,024,088,570,209,457,089 (Yup)
This is a big number for the sake of being a big number with no regard with what such a huge age would mean. The benefactor doesn't talk like he's that old. He doesn't act like he's that old. Someone that old would likely have a mind beyond human comprehension, if it wasn't torn apart by dementia and madness.
The universe is estimated to be 13 billion years old. If you lived through the entire history of the universe 13 billion times, you'd be 169,000,000,000,000,000,000 years old.
And that number still has considerably less digits than the one you gave the Benefactor.
And you want me to believe that after all this time, the Benefactor is still obsessed with a girl he dated back in High School? Someone he knew and loved for literally a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a millionth of his lifespan? Never got over her, never loved anyone else, never learned to cope with grief?
Tim's and Charlie's relationship was nice for what it was: teenagers dating each other. I believed they were in love, but I didn't see them as necessarily getting married and growing old together, what with people rarely ending up with their high school sweethearts. But if you want it to be true epic love that lasts a gazillion years? Then it was underwritten.
Seriously, that age needs to be reduced. By a lot. I'd say even 10 thousand years would be pushing it, what with that being the entire length of known human civilization.
Copy-pasting foreign language dialogue from Google Translate is a terrible idea. Those who can't speak the language will be frustrated with not understanding the exchange, making pretty much all the lines concerning it wasted space. Those who can speak the language are going to be even more frustrated, because Google Translate cannot properly translate grammar and syntax, only vocabulary. Your Japanese was probably the equivalent of Jar Jar Binks speak. Never, ever write things in another language unless you speak that language yourself or have someone fluent translate it for you.
Just to prove my point, I pasted this sentence into Google Translate, translated it into Japanese, and then back into its original language.
Just I, and translate it to the pasted Japanese this statement to the Google translation, then, in the original language, to prove my point .
Anyways, this has gone on long enough, I hope you find at least some of my ramblings constructive.
Author's Response: Ah, walls of text... my mortal enemy... Anyway, with the Heroes example, I was just pointing out the humor of the fact that they did it first. I'm not saying that just because they did it, it's okay for me, just pointing out something that seemed pretty damned hilarious to me. As far as the TG goes, the Choosing helps some people overcome their new gender, and not others. In the upcoming Volume Two, there will be at least one major character and one minor character who are very against what's happened to them. As for Monica and the team there, they were a group that, luckily, got instant acceptance. I'd say Steven (introduced in that chapter) probably DOESN'T accept it, because as soon as he's possessing Korra, he goes right back to his original persona of Stephanie. And most of the dialogue in that scene is simply them playing around, they're just using terms that they heard in their former lives for those situations. There's also the fact that, in universe, the common man doesn't know that the Chosen have been gender swapped. While they are parading around in costumes and fighting crimes, their personal lives are reserved for hiding, and if there's suddenly a number of super heroes and suddenly a number of people complaining about their new genders, people are gonna put 2 and 2 together very quickly, and then MORE problems jump out. Also, none of the girls are really tomboys, they just pretend like they are. I don't know why, they just do. Charlie's answer would probably be because she did it for her dad. Yes, the Benefactor's age is completely big for the sake of big. I pressed random number keys and inserted commas every three numbers because I really didn't WANT to do the math there. I wanted his age to seem astronomically crazy, and I think that did the job. And the only reason I wanted it to look astronomically crazy is because I didn't want to slap "Unknown" beside Age. Wow, this is turning into a wall of text, too. To understand why the Benefactor is still obsessed with Charlie, you have to look at something I only hinted at (for reasons of I didn't want to show roughly the same origin story twice): When Tim comes back from the alternate realities, he's slightly mentally broken. The one thing he wants to latch onto IS Charlie, because that's the one constant in his life at the moment. This same thing happened to the Benefactor in a slightly different way. I don't know how he obtained his powers to begin with, and that's not a question that will likely be answered, but the one thing that the Benefactor COULD latch onto was the Charlie of his time, and so when she died, something very important happened to him. It's one of the two main things that he can still hold onto after all this time (the other being his original past), and it's one that he WILL NOT let go. Since the age is a b******* number, it's not changing. Just read it as a b******* number. Maybe the Benefactor made it up himself. Yeah... the Japanese was a little bit of a problem. First, I should have posted the actual Japanese writing of the sentences, and I should have posted their translations. In my eagerness to just keep writing, I forgot pretty much everything about, save for the gist of the later conversations. The one big moment is when Smoke calls Knight "Mr. Brand", suggesting that Smoke knows who Knight really is, and this confuses Knight. But each sentence was written, then translated, then rewritten and retranslated until each actually made sense when you retranslate them, I just should have actually posted the translations and the Japanese writing, that's entirely my fault, and I didn't even think about it until after I finished writing, and I can't translate the phonetic Japanese back into English, because it translates it as Swahili into English. Your ramblings were not so much ramblings as clear concise thoughts, and they were very constructive. You enjoyed the story, and I'm very pleased about that. I'm pleased about ANYBODY enjoying the story, because I worked quite hard for quite awhile on it. As long as people enjoy the story in spite of the flaws, as far as I'm concerned, I've done my job.
Date: 01/29/15 01:31 pm Title: Notes on the Story II
I don't like the preview, because that reveals that I'm going to have to wait for another entire story to finish. You're mean, doing that to me.
Author's Response: You didn't really think I'd let these characters go, did you?
Date: 01/15/15 02:09 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Well even putting the gist of the translations, post-final chapter in the end notes or something would help immensely. It would also further explain why Knight was so flabberghasted after Smoke showed up to get Conjurer.
Author's Response: Indeed. But maybe it's a plot point that they're not translated yet.
Date: 01/15/15 01:58 pm Title: Issue #38: The Big Fight, Part Five
In order of noticing:
You should have left Smoke and Knight's exchange in English (people will actually get what was said, and why it's important)(or throw translations later).
Nice Halo reference with Tim's energy swords.
I'm glad to see that Angel's sight isn't completely wonky.
I wonder what Maria's gonna do to the Benefactor, and how it will change her.
I don't recognize who took out Monic and Colin's robots, at first I thought it was Smoke, but then I realized that he's not in the fight anymore. I'm missing something.
Oh no! Spider-girl killed someone!
CSM gtfo. I know who you are, and I don't like you >->
I think that's it. Can't wait til next week.
Author's Response: Hey, thanks a lot, Steph! I didn't translate it because... well... about five minutes after I copied and pasted it out of Google Translate, I COMPLETELY forgot what it was, aside from the gist of it. The Halo reference was completely unintentional. I mean, seriously, unintentional. Oh, you'll see on both the Angel and Maria fronts next week. The mysterious person who helped Monica and Colin is going to remain mysterious until they're formerly introduced in Volume Two. Yeah, Charlie killed a woman. She was PISSED. Next week's the biggest chapter of this final arc, so you better be excited!
Date: 01/08/15 07:48 pm Title: Issue #37: The Big Fight, Part Four
Wow. Harmony really sucks at one-liners and insults. She should go to The Joker's school of laughs....
On second thought, that's a really bad idea....
Author's Response: She's already nuts, what the f*** more do you want?!
Date: 01/06/15 03:36 pm Title: Issue #14: The Gathering, Conclusion
I'm sure if this was a mistake it would have been fixed by now but I figured I would ask anyways since it's bothered me ever since I read this chapter. After the fight, Blackhole and Guardian are tossing robots into a black hole, but after that you write that a whole lot of destroyed robots are tossed Into a garbage truck. Didn't Blackhole and Guardian already get rid of them? Or did I miss something?
Author's Response: Some were tossed into the black holes, others were stuffed onto trucks for study and alternate forms of disposal.
Date: 10/28/14 03:17 am Title: Issue #33: A Strange & Different World, Conclusion
I think this in half the comics and books out there, and you brought it up many times near the start of this story; but why cant anyone put two and two together and come to even a theory that Timmy and the Benefactor are the same person? Come on! Charlie basically said it in this chapter! "Anything is possible." Yah, I know I am just a semi-omniscient reader that can see many sides; and I know its a plot device to build suspense. I just want to see one story some day where the characters make the connection.
Still great story, I am going to have to read the others in this series someday, I feel like I am missing a few bits.
Author's Response: Because... Well... No one besides the Benefactor's people have seen them side by side. Charlie's just now making the connection between the picture she saw several chapters ago and Tim's new powers.
Date: 10/28/14 02:01 am Title: Issue #33: A Strange & Different World, Conclusion
Now that's just mean. Why would you destroy the imaginary agricultural industry by pooling all the steel into one place? How are farmers going to hold crops?!!? You've doomed this human race.
Author's Response: There was a steel mill hidden underneath the warehouse. Prior to the Benefactor taking it over, it was used to produce farming equipment.
Date: 10/26/14 05:17 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Oh, I am enjoying the story. But normal reviews... eh. Other people can leave those. I don't always like to leave that sort of review.
Author's Response: I see. Like I said, though, I'm still enjoying our funny conversations.
Date: 10/26/14 01:50 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Author's Response: As much as I do love our humorous conversations, I do have to ask why you don't leave normal reviews? I assume you're still enjoying the story, am I right?
Date: 10/26/14 01:57 am Title: Issue #32: A Strange & Different World, Part Five
Not sure I like all the media tie ins, but seeing Micka had me laughing out loud for a solid minute. That has to go into my own story at some point in the near future.
Also thanks for not making Thought evil.
Author's Response: She was a whole chapter ago, y'know.
Date: 10/24/14 12:32 am Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Hmm... I wonder if there's an in between Tim and Benefactor? It's like a point in time before his mindset completely changes to what it is now.. Could he be a playable third party to the story? It'd be quite interesting to see.. and maybe a little confusing..
Also.. "Spawn from Hellgate" ;) I saw what you did there..
Author's Response: What drove Tim into the Benefactor will be explored. And yes, Spawn. I tried coming up with an adequate Spawn-inspired character earlier, but it didn't end up happening. One tear.
Date: 10/24/14 12:17 am Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Hang on a minute, I just thought of something.. If there can only be ONE Benefactor.. How would Tim still exists, since he's /technically/ the Benefactor as well..
So if we accept that Tim does exist along with the Benefactor, then there's no reason to believe that there aren't multiple.. or even an infinite number of versions of Tim Sauls popping up from different times, right? I could expand on this theory.. but I'm afraid I my mind might snap if I go on :P
Author's Response: Well, the Benefactor's obviously lying about that part, but Tim Saul himself is an enigmatic figure. There exist only two, young Tim and Benefactor Tim. Or, you could look at it this way: Young Tim has yet to grow up into the Benefactor, thus, only one.
Date: 10/23/14 09:14 pm Title: Issue #31: A Strange & Different World, Part Four
Whoa... you... you know where to find Letters? But... but that's impossible!
You know, why do I even bother reading the story with the reviews I leave? I could just leave a completely random review each time you update the story and you would never notice the difference.
Author's Response: I notice. And you read the story because (I hope) you enjoy it. Besides, I enjoy our dialogues.
Date: 10/22/14 01:57 am Title: Issue #30: A Strange & Different World, Part Three
Oh, if it's the one editor I have one thing to say. I'm still going to be very, VERY angry if this section or arc or whatever you like to call it ends like inFamous. With that type of thing happening...
Author's Response: And what type of ending would that be?
Date: 10/22/14 12:27 am Title: Issue #30: A Strange & Different World, Part Three
oh my this was an incredibility amusing and fun chapter! .
Can't wait toread more on this and will raven come back??
Author's Response: Sorry, no more Raven. I tried to find a way to bring her back, but that didn't happen.
Date: 10/21/14 05:47 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Joker in control of Chosen? :O That's a dangerous combination... It's a good thing Tim has EVERY super power imaginable! xD also, cryokenesis and shapeshifting made an appearance in my story so I'm thinking maybe we'll see Tim play around with those next? xD
Author's Response: He has both, it could happen. I played around with using shape-shifting a in the first chapter of this arc, but it ended up being more trouble than it was worth at the time.
Date: 10/20/14 09:53 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Once again, you astound me with your writing skills and imaginative prowess :D I love everything that's been going on (well... except for Alternate Penelope's death :P) and I can't wait to see what kind of crazy world Tim jumps into next~! :D
Author's Response: Yeah, sorry about Alternate Penelope's death. Take solace in this: Up until then... She was alive. Yup. There may be another Alternate Penelope in the next chapter.
Date: 10/20/14 09:51 pm Title: Issue #29: A Strange & Different World, Part Two
Incredible new chapter, the action, drama,suspense and the shock of seeing someone kinda like kora in this reality... simply superb...
Author's Response: Who? Who was kind of like Korra? Tim's a thousand percent different, aside from the multiple powers thing.
Date: 10/20/14 09:21 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
I blame your subconscious. It wants to eat up everything and puke it out in different words on the page. At least I think so. Maybe it just likes references? Even unintentional ones.
Author's Response: Well... The reference thing could be it... After all... The time travel DOES involve a telephone booth, a guy named Rufus and two stoners...
Date: 10/19/14 06:30 am Title: Issue #28: A Strange & Different World, Part One
Oh, no. O-oh-ho-ho-oh, no. I just realized something. I am going to be really, extremely f***ing angry if you make this section one of those stupid time travel paradox things like in the end of inFamous!
Author's Response: :)
Date: 10/09/14 01:54 pm Title: Issue #14: The Gathering, Conclusion
I love your story. I just started reading them yesterday. I got a lot to read. Dont know why it took me a while to read your story. I wish I could write a spin off like the others that have, but I am not that good of a writer yet. Maybe some day I can.
Author's Response: There will always be time.
Date: 10/08/14 02:09 pm Title: Issue #27: Genesis
Ok, after rereading I realize that I skipped over a few parts, specifically where Tim is kidnapped, which suddenly make the chapter make a lot more sense.
Note to self, don't read and review after midnight.
Author's Response: Smart idea.
Date: 10/08/14 02:08 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Everything about this chapter is so perfect, I can't even breathe properly because I've been gasping, ooh and ahhing, and holding my breath at every corner :D it's amazing! And you definitely did Penelope justice.. Don't know what I was worried about xD let's see how Charlie's going to take to Tim's kidnapping xP
Also! Polaroid camera :D
Author's Response: I'm glad you noticed the camera. It was the clue that Tim was the Benefactor, as he and Charlie were the only ones to actually see their photo.
Date: 09/29/14 11:06 pm Title: Issue #26: The Big Talk
Hm. Interesting... very interesting. You got the President mixed into this. Oh, great. Now I'm hoping for him to go DEFCON 1 on someplace. Quite interesting indeed.
Can't wait to see... I don't know. I'll just go back to the roleplayer series when I have a minute or three.
Author's Response: You have your minutes.
Date: 09/25/14 11:32 am Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Tim = Time traveller? Or immortal being?
Or maybe being a parody of Superman's pal gave him some of Jimmy Olsen's unfashionable ability to get into all kinds of crazy situations xD maybe the Lex Luthor of this world sent him back in time by accident? Who knows? xD
Keep writing so we can find out!!!
Author's Response: Oh, there's a reason. It'll happen.
Date: 09/23/14 09:12 pm Title: Issue #25: The After Party
This chapter was great, the puns the fights..
The why does tim look the same and the return of the robots.. yay!!!
Author's Response: There's a very special answer to the mystery of why Tim was in those photos. Needless to say, he doesn't know why yet.
Date: 09/23/14 11:32 am Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Harpies! xD I like how you kept pushing that term every chance you got~ And yay! More Charlie!
Author's Response: I wanted to turn the fact that you and A_Kent were using it before me into a running gag. Hence why Charlie learns about it on the internet and nobody knows what it means.
Date: 09/23/14 04:11 am Title: Issue #25: The After Party
Does the "Editor" (And why is that capitalized? You a religious figure now?) need letters to answer? You should know by now that the drama and semi-Infamous-ripoffs you use do make me want to read the next chapter.
Author's Response: Editor is capitalized because, well, I want to. And yes, he needs Letters.
Date: 09/13/14 11:49 am Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
And you're doing a wonderful part.. I'm on edge always waiting to see what happens next..
Truly shrouded at how Charlie was so mature..I know I wouldn't have been..least not right away..
Now i'm curious of what angel said... Though you already Said no venom like being won't show up..
Oh question will a robot show up anymore?
Author's Response: There's a robot in the next chapter, as a matter of fact.
Date: 09/11/14 11:44 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Oh my gawd oh my gawd oh my gawd! Such a bitter sweet conclusion, but awww Charlie's don all grown up! :D I'm curious to know how the Joker managed to trick Angel's sights though... I might have to change my second chapter a little to fit her mood in this one xD I'm not complaining though :)
Author's Response: I considered asking you to do that, but I felt it better that she pretend everything's alright when meeting Penelope.
Date: 09/11/14 11:17 pm Title: Issue #24: Across the River, Conclusion
Well I have my work cut out for me to even reach this level. I'm really curious how the joker can work outside of fate. And what does Charlie plan for the future? Can't wait to read it.
Author's Response: Well, there's gonna be a little detour first.
Date: 09/09/14 12:44 am Title: Issue #23: Absorbtion, Conclusion
Interesting chapter! Just wish I had the time to check out the other two, but no time to start new material. And I'm venting here. Wrong place.
A-hem. A nice chapter, but I can't help but think of InFamous every time. But you did do a very nice twist on the bio leech, which is actually really interesting. And the end? I'm very interested.
Author's Response: I'm sure there's a reason you're thinking of InFamous, but I'm contractually obligated to say nothing about it.
Date: 09/08/14 10:45 am Title: Issue #22: Across the River, Part Three
Holy thunders batman.. um knight.. um..everyone . ^^
Super intense chapter the drama, the action, the dang he got the jokers correct acting...
I feel bad for frank.. but is he truly gone ? And poor charlie i think she'll turn.. only thing missing is the symbiote to change her into a venom version ??
Author's Response: NO VENOM! Yes, Frank is dead. I don't intend on bringing anyone back from the dead. Well, in a manner of speaking... Ah, I'll let you read that part when I post it. It'll be interesting. NO VENOM!
Date: 09/07/14 03:28 pm Title: Issue #22: Across the River, Part Three
You've definitely hit the mark with the Joker. Chaotic, insane, cruel and just wanting to laugh. Fantastic work. But I feel really bad for poor Frank.
Author's Response: Every bit of that was the intention.
Date: 09/03/14 03:40 pm Title: Issue #21: Across the River, Part Two & Absorbtion, Part One
An intense new chaptee, the outcome of just this character the way the joker acts, moves his actions...
And poor Charlie exposed herself by accident..but who's is this guys from healal? Government or worse a crazy mad scientist..
And what's going to happen to korra?
Author's Response: I like to think I excel at intense chapters (joke at your expense, sorry). Mr. Kennedy, from HealAll originates from A_kent's spin off. Give it read, too.
Date: 08/30/14 12:04 am Title: Issue #21: Across the River, Part Two & Absorbtion, Part One
Well these are interesting developments. Korra's descent into insanity is really good. And the joker just keeps getting worse, in an evil way. When's the next chapter coming?
Author's Response: I've already started on it, but, as I'm a slow writer, it could take as much as a week. Some interesting things will be happening to Korra soon, just you wait.
Date: 08/29/14 10:01 pm Title: Issue #21: Across the River, Part Two & Absorbtion, Part One
Ha. Red glow. So unique. I mean... well I would have done the same thing. Congratulations. I currently like Korra better than Charlie. But only because Charlie isn't interesting at this very chapter, and Korra is.
Author's Response: So, Charlie's being run through the ringer and outed as a super hero, and that's NOT interesting? I don't get it. How? You confuse me.
Date: 08/27/14 03:00 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
"Plus, despite this arc being a Knight/Seeker team-up, it puts Arachnya in the public spotlight, because of what's happened in the hospital."
That is something I utterly and totally respect. Too many superhero stories don't seem to realize that getting badly hurt should out the hero unless they're very lucky or have a private doctor on their payroll.
It was stuff like this that made me want to join in.
Author's Response: It was too good a story thread to pass up.
Date: 08/27/14 02:25 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Since I am doing a spin off I guess I should finally leave a review of this great story.
As a longtime joker fan, I love what you're doing with this guy. He's got the right amount of viciousness and craziness, and I really want to see what he does next.
And despite being a fan of Arachnya, you did the right thing, this guy needed a big entrance.
Author's Response: Heath Ledger's Joker was the perfect inspiration. Plus, despite this arc being a Knight/Seeker team-up, it puts Arachnya in the public spotlight, because of what's happened in the hospital.
Date: 08/27/14 01:12 am Title: Issue #20: Across the River, Part One
I... hum. You've given me a lot to think about with this one. The hospital incident, the absolute Joker ripoff...
I really do hate when you all leave me to think until your next chapter. Makes me anxious. 'Course, that's what you probably want to hear. Why wouldn't you? Anyways, keep it up. Really enjoying the story.
Author's Response: You seem to be the only person(42) I know who hates to think between chapters. It's kinda funny, actually.
Date: 08/26/14 10:17 am Title: Issue #19: The Punchline
And in comes the joker and it's the correct style joker...
Now what will happen will knight show up??
Author's Response: I stopped just short of making him say "why so serious". Knight shows up in the next arc, so don't worry about waiting too long.
Date: 08/25/14 02:20 am Title: Issue #19: The Punchline
Uh-huh. "Friendly" Neighborhood Editor. Let me just say: There was nothing "Friendly" in this chapter. I would have rather watched Korra deal with her issues that that.
Still glad I read this, though.
Author's Response: Well, the stakes had to be Charlie, otherwise people might not have hated the villain appropriately.
Date: 08/19/14 02:38 am Title: Issue #18: Flying Sparks
Now that's a new chapter...
But now I'm afraid for or cute web slinger...
And korra can absorb powers? Like rogue in the xmen??
The suspense on what will happen next
Author's Response: A little like Rogue. More like Sylar on "Heroes", though.
Date: 08/18/14 04:37 am Title: Issue #18: Flying Sparks
Hm. I can't get over this one thing. Call it déjà vu but I seem to remember playing the game Infamous a while back, and Spark's powers seem a lot like Cole MacGrath's... and they seem to be named similarly...
Author's Response: Spark's powers ARE Cole's powers, same names and all. I just gave the 'bio leech' the added ability of stealing memories and abilities. I was replaying Infamous at the time I created Spark, so I gave her Cole's powers. Her clothing a few chapters ago was also a direct rip-off of Cole's.
Date: 08/01/14 07:53 am Title: Issue #17: Mother and Daughter
Wow - what a great read! I love me some superhero TG stories and this had so much fun and comic-booky goodness in it I was very happy to see and read it. I'm not going to review each chapter - there's too much content for that. I do love the fact you've populated your world with a large number of heroes - many with interesting backgrounds and concepts - but I'm a little dissappointed that you seem to have slacked off on the villains too... I mean this mysterious benefactor is cool I guess, and Gustav is okay - but where are the Other bad guys? It seems 90% of the chosen are heroes - but we've seen very few of the "Not interested in using powers to fight crime" bunch or the "Lets get rich using our powers" bunch. Maybe they don't make for as interesting a story - but using the same villains over and over again gets boring - and is an easy cop-out. I know its probable that it was done to prevent the story from spilling into too many directions, but it might be nice to see more variety. Maybe a group of bad guys who doesn't care for - or even works against - this benefactor, for their own reasons? Either way, the story was frikking awesome and if it sounded like i was dissing it, NOPE. I really liked it. Top Notch - and very fast paced.
Author's Response: I'm going to address your concerns over the villains. The reason most of the Chosen that we see are heroes is because Cloak and his Benefactor are killing Chosen, sometimes using them, but mostly killing them. HARP has nothing to do with the Benefactor, save for Harmony (who isn't a Chosen) being experimented on by them. Gustav, despite working with the Benefactor, actually has ulterior motives that will be explored in the next chapter. And the next arc will have a villain with nothing to do with the Benefactor, in any way. There ARE bad guys who don't revolve around the Benefactor, it's just that he's the main villain.
Date: 07/24/14 09:55 am Title: Issue #17: Mother and Daughter
Wow definedly a lot of twist and turns, mix some puns and you got an incredible chapter that resolves most questions of our favorite and cute web swinger.
Can't wait for the next one
Author's Response: That was the intention. I'm glad you're still enjoying the story.
Date: 07/24/14 12:27 am Title: Issue #17: Mother and Daughter
Well I've read the eighteen chapters you have here so far, though it took me a couple of days to get it all done. What I really wanted to do was read all of it in one sitting, though as you know, life kind of interrupts want to's all the time. Have to tell you I really enjoyed it so far.
Author's Response: I'm glad, very glad. I'm not entirely sure you could read it in one sitting, but I read slow, so that could be me.
Date: 07/23/14 04:08 am Title: Issue #17: Mother and Daughter
Ah, good. Things are at a rest, Arachnya is in the clear again... I like Arachnya too much to see her hurt. I can't wait to see what's next, and amazing writing! I don't mind the delay as long as you keep this length and writing style constant!
Author's Response: You didn't think she was gonna be a fugitive for long, did you? As far as the length of the chapters goes, anything over 3000 words is fair game, I think. I've dipped below that a few times on this story, but in general, that's what I'm accidentally keeping to.
Date: 07/20/14 02:54 am Title: Issue #16: Just a Cop
Well my jaw dropped to the floor.. that was the most intense chapter yet.. not to mention most heartbreaking one...
Really and truly can't wait to read the next on to see the outcome and resolution
Author's Response: Hopefully not too heartbreaking. The next chapter is already underway, so it should be within the week.
Date: 07/14/14 06:17 am Title: Issue #15: Movie Magic
Such a sad ending! Loved how it was all about Arachnya, though. Eh, I'm biased. She's my favorite. And seemingly everybody else's, too...
Loving the story. Much more of this and I'm going to end up faveing(spelling?) this.
Author's Response: That was the reaction I was hoping for.
Date: 07/14/14 03:02 am Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Enjoyable as always Hikaro. Glad to see someone isn't a complete idiot when it comes to the super hero tropes (and the fact that a mask isn't the most foolproof way to conceal an identity). On the downside, sad to have her mom just up and leave. I'd like a bit more exploration of why. I know she doesn't like the crime fighting shenanigans, but nothing from the character till now suggests that she'd abandon her family because they aren't listening to her. Of course it's also a possible setup in which case you won't answer that part at all. :)
Author's Response: Don't worry about the explanation, this is simply one of three consecutive chapters that deals with the Harkins family, almost like a mini arc.
Date: 07/09/14 02:00 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
A bit belated (because I just thought it, Josh), but I agree about Penny (Kaley Cuoco). She makes the show worth watching. And now a bit of trivia, and my favorite line. Who said, ". . . You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."
Author's Response: Obi-Wan Kenobi is the obvious answer. Anybody else, I don't know.
Date: 07/09/14 12:45 am Title: Notes on the Story
Interesting background stuff! I could suggest checking out the Whateley Academy stuff at Crystal Hall and most of all Morphues's Legacy stories at Fictionmania. As far as TG superhero stories go those are very good.
I've really enjoyed your take and the mixing you did here. It was very good!
Date: 07/08/14 08:25 pm Title: Notes on the Story
Okay, Josh, I read yours. Interesting, it's a fact sheet. The last time I read one of these was ages ago when I read Anthony Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange." The book came with a glossary of gangspeak"" phrases like droogie and "applepolologies" (my apologies). This chapter is definitely useful to the point that it might not be a bad idea to hard copy print it out to refer to while reading the rest of your story.
And now a few non-related questions. When are they going to cancel Supernatural? I bailed on that thing years ago, around the time the guardian angel (can't remember his name) wanted to take over for God.
If Sheldon Cooper (from The Big Bang Theory) were real, you and he would probably be best buds. Man, a lifetime of reading comic books? Wow. You must have cried in the last episode of TBBT (Big Bang Theory) when Stewart's comic book shop burned down. A friend of mine from my Salem Power Plant days was like you, and also a collector. I remember once I went with him to Camden, NJ to a specific comic shop (so eerily reminiscent of Stewart's in TBBT). I was bored. Out of my element, picked up a comic or magazine and the dorky owner glared over at me and said that if I wasn't going to buy it, put it back. I might reduce it's collector value just by touching it. I did, and I think I told my friend, I'll be waiting outside on the stoop for him to be done. Comic books are not me.
But I do like your story and appreciate all the outlining work you've put into it.
Author's Response: Hopefully, after this upcoming (tenth) season. I want it gone, too. The last two seasons have been 90% filler, 10% plot, and no show can survive on that, save a sitcom. I'm more Leonard than Sheldon, though I lack the nasally voice. And Penny. I haven't actually seen that episode, since I mainly catch the show in TBS reruns every other fourth week when I'm actually watching TBS. I DID watch the recent Star Wars themed episode, because I'm a far bigger Star Wars fan than a comic fan.
Date: 07/08/14 01:40 am Title: Notes on the Story
It's always interesting to see how the author writes and keeps notes on his/her story. I skimmed the initial information (I can figure out what I want to know, or always come back) and read the rest, and I must say, I didn't expect to like this chapter. It wasn't all that bad, to be honest. I'll keep reading this story as long as you keep writing it, then maybe once or twice after you finish. Keep up the good work!
And I didn't even notice the continuity errors. That's the great thing about delayed releases!
Author's Response: Thank God, somebody didn't notice the errors!
Date: 07/06/14 12:00 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Hey, Josh, if she's still scanning your review responses, pass this one along to Minikisa for me, will you? I like MJ, and her interaction with Tobey Maguire, probably because I think Kirsten Dunst is adorable. I've been a fan of hers since Jumanji. I mean Robin Williams is a joy to watch perform, but even as a kid she was cute and well worth enduring the silly movie. As for Kate Capshaw, it's a toss who was more annoying, her, Shortround or the whole damn movie. You start ripping people's hearts out, and I'm heading for the Eject button on the blu-ray player. But remember, Min, Spielberg dumped the gorgeous Amy Irving for her, and he's been happily married to her ever since. What's that got to do with the price of apples? Nothing, I suppose. But there are some people out there who just love casting cute blond girls just for the eye-candy value.
Author's Response: Explain to me why I have to be the intermediary between you and Minikisa. You're posting a public review, on a public site. She's gonna see it, man. And "Temple of Doom" sucked, save for that heart-ripping moment. "Last Crusade" is 2000% better. (Hell, "Kingdom of the Plastic Skull" is at least 40% better.) Oh, and I was always a fan of the Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy relationship.
Date: 07/06/14 07:04 am Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
No, there's absolutely nothing wrong with giving her a non-powered love interest. But it's all in the execution and I guess I am more apprehensive about it because of the responses you've given - specifically, that he was created to be a Damsel-in-Distress and for plot reasons, and that's why Frank, with whom Charlie has genuine chemistry, is getting pushed aside. The vast majority of people dislike characters who exist to get Damsel-in-Distress'd. Case in point: MJ in the Spiderman movies. Or That Woman in the Indiana Jones movies. INDYYYYYY
Now if he were an interesting normal dude who still has meaningful contributions to make, that'd be another thing. So far, it could go either way, hence I'm watching this one with apprehension.
As for getting away with murder... yeah, even in Comic Book Logic, that's stretching it a lot. They were cops. Cop murders don't get brushed aside. Somebody getting away with murder due to fame, fortune and connections is something else entirely than an absolute nobody getting away with it because... they look cute?
I would strongly recommend writing those murders out, not only to have it make sense that she'd get away with probation, but because it also casts a serious shadow on Monica's character. Murder is srs bsnss, and she is showing not nearly enough remorse for it. I've been reading while pretending it never happened and have had a much easier time sympathizing with her because of it.
Anywho, just my 2 cents. Still enjoying it though, it really does have that comic book feel to it.
Author's Response: Well, Timmy was only partially created for damsel-in-distress reasons. He was also created to be the Jimmy Olsen type guy, but I wanted to give him a little more, so I gave him a super hero girlfriend. Here's an idea, would it be better if I made the two cop's deaths more accidental (and thus involuntary manslaughter with nothing concrete to tie it to Monica)?
Date: 07/06/14 01:09 am Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Yeah, you're right about Empire Strikes Back, Josh. They got away with their lives at least. That's something. Live to fight another day? Or more colorfully: Any landing you can walk away from is a good one? Don't ask me. I must be tired. I guess what really got me about chapter 14 was the "It isn't over, not by a long shot ambiance. The heroes. Do they suspect this?
Author's Response: Well, few of them, save Angel and Knight, really have a sense of the ongoing war. The rest see it almost exclusively as one in a series of battles that they need to survive.
Date: 07/05/14 11:39 pm Title: Issue #14: The Gathering, Conclusion
Somehow this once again reminds me of the ending to The Empire Strikes Back. The heroes won the battle, but the war is far from over. And that Benefactor guy, sounds worse than Randall Flagg. Sounds like it would take an entire arm of archangels to defeat him, and only after the Supreme Being himself gets down off his cloud and says; "Back to Hell with you. Humans are their own worst enemy. They need no help from you." Anyway, a good read. Stephen King's got a new book out, "Mr. Mercedes." I need to take a break from this site for awhile. Thanks again, Josh. It was fun.
Author's Response: I'm a little confused at how you can say the heroes won at the end of "Empire". I'd say your main character losing a hand, your secondary getting frozen and shipped off to a giant melted potato and the bad guys still having a planet-destroying ace up their cloak doesn't mean "winning".
Date: 07/05/14 10:45 pm Title: Issue #13: The Gathering, Part Six
Finished thirteen. Easier now, much. Just need to get back into the story. I'm one of those who when I pick up a book have to read it straight to not lose the thread. Been away from this awhile as you know. Getting easier now. Can't wait to see where it's going.
Author's Response: By the way, my response to your review for twelve is actually for fourteen. Chalk that one up to me not paying attention to what chapter you were reviewing.
Date: 07/05/14 09:28 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Woo, superhero TG stories! To the surprise of absolutely no one, I love them, so it was really only a matter of time until I gave my 2 cents on this one *grins*
First of all, you have a wonderful writing style, just great. The dialogue sounds natural, the descriptions are vivid and I'm enjoying the wry tone. You also have some very tight plotting going on, kudos, and I'm curious to see where this goes.
However, I do feel compelled to mirror criticisms already voiced by others.
First of all, pacing: This story reads like a comic book. As in, it's insanely fast-paced. This makes sense considering its source material, but be aware of and adapt to the medium you write in - it's okay to take a breath and slow down. You're not delivering 24 pages a month, you're writing and publishing at your own pace. It doesn't have to be constant action and plot-advancement, you can take the time to have introspection, little character beats and to show us more of their daily lives. You gloss over a lot of potentially interesting stuff - for example, Charlie just shows up at Frank's doorstep and casually mentioned she got there via webslinging. Her first time webslinging and we don't see it? Boo, I say. Boo.
The webslinging and the actual physical impossibility thereof brings me to my second critcism, and I find myself at a bit of a loss for words as to how to explain it. I guess one could call it the tone of your world. It's... the world starts off very much like our own, and a point is made that the comics, movies, everything exists in this world. And then it abruptly becomes a world filled with Comic Book Logic, where everyone just shrugs off people with powers as if they were commonplace instead of, you know, a completely mindblowing thing that's never been witnessed before.
It is, at once, too meta and not meta enough. You're writing a more or less serious story, not a parody, and having comic books itself as we know them exist within that world detracts from the experience. It keeps pulling me out of the story, since a lot of comic book tropes rely on lack of self-awareness. The characters discuss superhero tropes, but they don't go that step in realizing that many of these conventions are goddamn insane and should be avoided, if not outright subverted. Coming from a more or less 'real' world, this makes certain characters look dumb or worse.
Case in point, over in Real World Land, a cop letting their underage daughter risk her life fighting crime in a colorful costume would be a horrific case of negligence. In Comic Book World, it's fine. These two levels of reality keep clashing in your story. No, making fun of nobody thinking to suspect the news reporter of being Superman(-ish) doesn't really solve the underlying problem.
I'm a little disappointed that Charlie is apparently romancing Soon-To-Be-Dude-In-Distress and not Frank. I've always preferred the badass battle couple dynamic like Black Canary/Green Arrow to the supportive-but-mostly-boring Peter Parker/MJ one, but it can be done well. We'll see.
I appear to be the only one who doesn't mind the perspective switch *laughs* I could even see myself liking Monica, if I could forget what happened early in the story. But...
Then came her attempted murder of the Spider-Girl, and then her actual murder of those two cops. She was probably looking at life in prison, probably being tried as an adult, as well.
"Look, baby, a judge who wouldn't believe in the Guardian if he showed up got you off with community service and an aunt with a watchful eye, you need to keep your nose clean if you don't want to end up in jail for robbery."
Dude. Community service for two murders? Of cops even? What?!
Anyway. All my criticism aside, this is unquestionably a story of quality and stands head and shoulders above most stories published here. As such, I cannot in good conscience give it any less than 5 stars. Keep up the good work!
Author's Response: First of all, I'm deeply honored that you read, reviewed, AND enjoyed my story. I'm going to let you in on a little secret: the problem with the pacing lies in my own weakness. I've had this tendency my entire life that if I don't write fast and hard, I won't finish it, thus my stories tend to be fast-paced and short, as opposed to slower and in-depth. This story has helped break a few of those problems, but overall, they haven't gone away, and I don't know if they will any time soon. On a small note, Charlie's first web-slinging experience was cut out because it read too much like the one in the first Spider-Man movie. I actually used the same dialogue, too, and I felt it was too much. When it comes to the average, everyday people and how they feel about super heroes, that hasn't been ignored, it's been saved. It's coming up in a chapter soon, actually (just not the next one). I'm a little confused by how the story's not meta enough, however. I did kind of just assume that Captain Harkins' little explanation after the bank thing was enough to explain why he was alright with Charlie's super hero gig, though. Sorry 'bout that. And again, I'm catching flak for sticking Charlie with Timmy... I've got enough super hero pairings already and going forward, why can't Charlie just get a normal guy? Is that too much to ask for her? Yeah, the judge didn't buy that an innocent looking girl could be guilty of murder. I seem to remember a football player who got away with it twenty years ago... Still, I understand every criticism I've gotten, and I wish I could explain them all in the manner everyone wants, but some things were tossed aside because they didn't fit, and others are being saved for later. It's my attemp to tell a longer, more fulfilling story than I usually do.
Date: 07/05/14 08:38 pm Title: Issue #12: The Gathering, Part Five & Crawlin' on the Walls, Part Two
Josh (the real one, not the cute chick in the story), you're giving me a fricken headache with this thing. Maybe if you wrote it as a screenplay and gave it to a director of note to put it on celluloid it might not be so hard to keep track of everything. Pictures are always easier to digest than text, and the way this thing moves-- It's got to be leaving you with a slitting headache every night. I mean, damnit Jim, have a heart I just came off a lengthy upload of my own. (Take all the preceding with a grain of salt. It's a great read. Thanks for writing it. I just hope your hair isn't prematurely turning gray.)
Author's Response: It IS prematurely going gray. Family history of it, I'm afraid. Yeah, that big battle scene at the end was pretty tough to choreograph, as I needed to give everyone a moment. Spark was the easiest, as I was playing the video game she's inspired from at the time I was writing the chapter. Ending the arc in this chapter was tough, but I knew that if I didn't, it would probably go on forever.
Date: 07/04/14 04:23 am Title: Issue #14: The Gathering, Conclusion
I try. I really do. But I just can't get myself to care about many others besides Charlie. I sort of care for Angel, I guess. That's about it. I just can't do it.
Author's Response: I'm sorry about that. She was never meant to be the main character, though. She WILL be back, however.
Date: 06/29/14 12:16 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
(Once again annoyed that I can't add a comment to your comment but rather make a new review to discuss :()
I know. It's that unfortunate thing of doing too well. You've made a character that the audience relates to and adores. This leads to us wanting more so when she's absent we feel let down. I'm sure that as other characters develop following them will be important and interesting (the Knight and Guardian story line is interesting to me). I'm just having a harder time sympathizing and enjoying Monica because of the personality. I like my TGs happy and spunky not brooding and rebellious. Again though, that's me not a criticism or critique of you or the story.
Always take the story where you want to take it. It is your art after all. I'll follow it where ever it leads. ^.^
Author's Response: Well, this whole arc is about getting Monica from that borderline terrorist that she was when we first met her to the potential hero that she can be. After this arc is over, I'm going to post some notes that I had. Some things ended up COMPLETELY opposite what they were planned as.
Date: 06/29/14 12:02 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Still enjoying the story, although this chapter seems to be a bit slower. I know narratively you're setting things up for future conflict and interest though. I'm probably just missing the spunky wall crawler.
Author's Response: You're not the only one, and that was never the intention. Charlie was never meant to be the uber-important character that she seems to have become, she was just the first arc's main character, because I wanted a girl with spider powers. I'd always intended to have a different main character for each arc.
Date: 06/28/14 11:47 pm Title: Issue #13: The Gathering, Part Six
*Sighs* I care about Charlie the most, so this wasn't the most exciting of chapters. I know it's probably important for later, though.
Author's Response: Yeah, Charlie IS kinda the defacto main character of the story, but the rest are important, too. She'll show up again in the next (predominantly comedic) single chapter story. But, this story was never created to have only one main character.
Date: 06/24/14 08:37 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Thanks for the story! I'm really enjoying it as a light hearted super hero romp with subtle TG spin. It's been a lot of fun getting caught up and now I'm eagerly waiting for the next chapter.
Overall, it's hard not to compare this with Minikisa's Of Heoroes and Villians. I think you've both done amazing work. OHAV is my preferred but that's because of how closely I identified with the main character. Here Charlie is full of fun spunky feminity that makes me smile reading her parts. If I were to have been inexplicably turned in to a spider powered girl it's probably how I'd behave.
I do miss Frank though. I thought he and Charlie were headed towards sexy fun time. They played so well off of each other. Poor Timmy just doesn't seem as interesting a character. I assume though that he'll get to play damsel in distress at some point.
I like the amount of world building that you've got going on here too, but I would caution hewing too close to the source characters. There's a fine line between homage and a near copy. This far you've done admirably, but another unique hero that doesn't necessarily come from Marvel/Dc would be awesome.
Thanks again for sharing the story with us. I am eagerly looking forward to the next chapter. ^.^
Author's Response: I'm glad you've enjoyed the story thus far. It's been a fun time writing and exploring this world, discovering the story almost as much as my readers do (though if I don't like what I read, I can change it). I can understand comparing my story to Minikisa's, though I can honestly tell you, I've never read it. I've skimmed, and I know that it involves super heroes, but I've never actually read it. Maybe I will some day, when I've got time. I can see Charlie is probably your favorite character in the story, and I can understand that, too. I created a whole sub-arc just to get back to writing her (she's my favorite, too). I can tell you, I miss Frank as well, but I created Timmy so that I could give Charlie a non-Chosen love interest. That'll be a very important thing in a later arc that I'm mapping out in my head. Plus, I DID want Charlie to have a damsel-in-distress type character, since she doesn't have one. I also understand your feelings regarding my homages (or, in some cases, rip-offs), but, to my knowledge, I don't really know any comic book character that can be tied to Frank, Angel (yes, she has wings and is named Angel, like the Marvel character, but she's not exactly the same), or Monica/Quake. Plus, though Colin is a telekinetic, there's a thousand of those in comics. Interestingly, my inspiration for Charlie herself lies not in Spider-Man, but in the version of Spider-Woman used in Marvel's Ultimate imprint, a female clone of Peter Parker. Charlie's not a clone, but I imagine her looking exactly like that version of Spider-Woman. Plus, Spark is based on a video game character (who, coincidentally, would later become a comic character published by DC, but he was a video game character first). This is far more homage than copy, if I do say so myself. Plus, the mingling of DC and Marvel characters alone makes them all a little different from their bases.
Date: 06/24/14 07:05 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
I'm blown away by how you've successfully mixed elements of Marvel, DC and I'm sure others as well in this story. Spidey and Lois Lane competing for headlines against Clark and Jimmy? OMG! And it goes on and on ... And now we have a Professor like character as well. :)
I really like this!
Author's Response: Well, I'm primarily sticking to Marvel and DC. If I've gone outside those two, I'm completely unaware of it. A Spawn-like character may show up later, I'm not sure yet. My goal was to throw a minor TG spin on a giant homage to my favorite comic characters, and finding the right balance has been both fun and difficult. I'm glad you're liking the story, and I hope you continue to do so.
Date: 06/24/14 04:15 am Title: Issue #11: The Gathering, Part Four
I got to say, I'm in love with this story and from beginning to now completely awesome. I love the nerdy humor and the comic book references just make it even better. I would like to give you even more praise but I only read these stories on my phone so responding is a pain.5/5
Author's Response: Thank you for loving the story. Don't worry about not saying much, just a few word (in any direction) is enough.
Date: 06/23/14 08:33 pm Title: Issue #1: Secret Origins, Part One
Damn, this is getting good! More and more characters start turning up, the storylines get a bit deeper and more developed, it's brilliant! Love the characters, (especially all of the references), and the way you're writing the story always keeps me reading!
Keep it up!
Sorry I hadn't submitted a review before, I feel kinda selfish now, ('cause I faved the story.) Hopefully this review helps!
Author's Response: YES! My plan to guilt trip people into reviews is working! I'm glad you're enjoying the story, glad you faved it, and glad you finally reviewed. It's just gonna get better from here.
Date: 06/23/14 05:10 am Title: Issue #11: The Gathering, Part Four
And once again, Josh, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him write a review. Or did I deliberately just mangle that proverb?
Author's Response: I know that, but there's at least five people who faved the story, but haven't written a single review. It's annoying. I was hoping that by writing the chapter and end notes sections in the same friendly manner that Stan Lee used to do when he wrote comics, it would encourage more reviews. Alas, I was wrong.
Date: 06/23/14 05:04 am Title: Issue #11: The Gathering, Part Four
Boy, talk about a cast of characters! That's going to be one hell of a credit crawl at rhe end.
Author's Response: There's still at least one more to introduce, and a couple more to flesh out. Then comes the part where they become teams... Still more to go.
Date: 06/22/14 02:43 pm Title: Issue #10: The Gathering, Part Three & Crawlin' on the Walls, Part One
Hey, Josh, only because I'm in a mood, and strictly for your amusement: every time you mention Charlie's Spiderwoman name, I keep picturing Captain Janeway and Tom Paris in" Bride of Chaotica!" "The Adventures of Captain Proton." She played Queen Arachnia, Queen of the Spider People in a Tom Paris created black and white HoloDeck program rip off of Flash Gordon. That episode was a riot, especially Kate Mulgrew's hammy sendup of William Shanter's over the top-style method acting. Sorry. Just had to throw that in there. I'm still enjoying your tale and look forward to what happens next.
Author's Response: Hmmm.... I'll admit I've not seen as much of Voyager as I have EVERY OTHER STAR TREK, and that includes the animated one and some fan series. I was never a big Voyager fan, which I find amazing, because I always liked the Borg, and they play their biggest role in Voyager. Oh, well. Charlie's name is simply a derivative of arachnid, not a reference to a Voyager episode I've never seen. I'm glad you're still enjoying this, Paul, because I'm still enjoying it, too.
Date: 06/21/14 12:07 pm Title: Issue #10: The Gathering, Part Three & Crawlin' on the Walls, Part One
this keeps getting better and Better.
though I seem to remember in the Spiderman comics there was an old lady that was in a wheelchair that used to be like a sort of muse to Spiderman telling him about stuff that will or won't happen.. I always feel that character it should have been explored more, if this is what you doing I would highly appreciate it
Author's Response: The woman you refer to is named Madam Webb, and the woman in my story isn't like her save that she's in a wheelchair. She simply knows what's going to happen because she's making it happen. Thanks for enjoying, it should only get better from here.
Date: 06/17/14 04:23 am Title: Issue #9: The Gathering, Part Two
Finally got around to reading this, I've got to say, I'm impressed! Quite interesting, and the subtle (or not so subtle) humor really adds a kick to it. So far, this is quite the story. Looking forward to your next chapter!
Author's Response: Shouldn't take much longer. Thank you for enjoying.
Date: 06/16/14 08:23 pm Title: Issue #9: The Gathering, Part Two
Hey, Josh. Josh's parents are worse than McCauley Calkin's (KEVIN!!!) in Home Alone I & II. Someone ought to report them to child services. This just keeps getting more interesting and twisty.
Author's Response: Spark's parents are very much inspired by Carrie Kelley's parents in Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (great comic, great animated adaptation, as well). They pay no attention to their daughter, they simply sit on their couch and watch TV and complain that hippie ideals are dead. There's a great scene in The Dark Knight Returns where Carrie's put on a Robin costume and is ready to leap out a window to do some acrobatics, and one of her parents (off-screen) says "Hey, didn't we have a kid?" I can tell you right now that her parents probably aren't going to show up again (in THIS arc). As a matter of fact, the chapter I'm working on now doesn't even have Spark in it at all. I was looking at the notepad file that has my story and character notes in it (how did comic writers keep track of this s*** before computers?! It's f****** exhausting!) and I saw that I have at least ten new characters (if not more) to introduce in this arc, and so far I've only introduced three. This arc is going to be longer than I expected.