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DOWNLOAD TO VIEW (I'm guessing)! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Alright, so despite the fact that I am fucking jazzed to the point of overusing expletives and needlessly making run on sentences about how I finished this fucking chapter, I've got some severely mixed feelings about it. It's my longest chapter to date (so long I had to put it into PDF form just for DA to accept it - apparently they have a limit as to how much raw text you can cram into the "Add Text" button), but it also feels the most rushed (probably because it came out so damn quick). It's weird that I feel less confident with every chapter I finish - shouldn't the reverse be true? The first few chapters have been very well recieved, so I sorta feel like I've made a hard act to follow with each completed one.
The plot fucking thickens in this one, doesn't it? We learn a bit more about Phoebe (but not nearly enough for you guys I'm guessing), and get some more hints about the nefarious things working behind the scenes in the NWP, both in the government and the slowly growing criminal underworld. We also get the debut of both the superheroes, the leader of the NWP, Dr. Mendel Corbin (trust me, he's going to be important), and the often talked about Tall Man. Oh, and Wells! Can't forget him - I almost did, actually, but I ended up sneaking him in at the last minute. Wells will be important too, by the by - he just isn't yet.
Phoebe and Vassal really make this chapter for me, which is weird since they're also the parts I'm shakey about. For Vassal it's a worry of people taking her the wrong way - I worry that people will mistake her matronly, self sacrificing nature for some misogynistic message about women belonging in the kitchen, when that aspect of her character is actually derived from the fact that she's a fricking robot. I mean, think about it - if we made sentient robots, we'd make them to help ourselves. There isn't a single machine in existence that wasn't made to help a human forward his or her own cause. Hopefully that comes across. If not... well, then Vassal's going to make it come across in later chapters. Probably with some ass kicking.
... course, this problem could be solved by making her personality distinctly non-feminine, but what fun would that be?
As for Phoebe... well, on the one hand I think she shows a very broad range of emotions in this chapter. It gives her several opportunities to show that she's more than a one-note character. I'm just worried about whether that character is constant. I'm too close to the work now to tell on my own, so I'd really like to hear your opinions on the matter.
On a similar note, I'm also concerned about the show/tell ratio in this chapter. Sometimes it felt like I was making things too obvious, other times it felt like I was being to vague, and often it felt like I couldn't find a middle ground between the two. So if you guys could give me feedback on that as well I would be very, VERY appreciative.
Also, Straightjacket continues to be a hoot to write for. That is all.
Can you just make it readable through regular downlaoding?
Sure, there are typos (but I am not one to critique anybody about that), but your characters flow very well. The various tributes make it very fun, too.
Nice job, Will!
I've got to say, I am enjoying these immensely. The character development is just fantastic- all the main cast, and even the more minor characters like the Tall Man's chronies, are genuinely interesting. It's fun reading about any given one of them, and seeing the way they interact with new situations and each other is awesome. There's also plenty of cool science fiction stuff mixed into the fray to please my inner nerd, and I can't help but grin like a maniac every time Straightjacket does too. It's all great stuff, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next chapter!
Also, conveniently enough, you've mainly been uploading these on the same days that I have World Civ. After having to drive back to the campus at night for three hours of lecture and note taking, Fearsome Future is a very welcome change of pace.
As a whole though, I think it's very solid and well-put together.
I do feel that there are a couple of weak moments in it, but nothing that some editing couldn't fix.
Mainly, I think the unveiling of the superheroes was too sudden and not vivid enough.
The time and location of their unveiling is pretty good. I just think that it could use more detail, and more buildup to the fight. Making General Glory out to be a lot bigger and badder before killing him off could make the scene funnier. Generally, more detail could really benefit that scene.
I could say the same for the NWP attack on the dinner, though not as strongly there. It just feels like it could use more sensory details before it ends.
I don't see any character problems. The characters are extremely well-written. The Phoebe-centric point of view really helps solidify her character. It also does a good job of giving Straitjacket more of his elegant, Joker/V style charm. He's definitely solidifying as well.
I could totally see him hamming up the supervillain act next time he goes public. XP Making a big speech, randomly insulting bystanders or making ridiculous demands like a bowl full of nothing but purple M&Ms. Something to stress how much he enjoys the label.
Besides some imagery errors, I think it's a good, solid continuation of the storyline.
Glad that the characters were solid regardless! Straightjacket's going to have a lot more fun now that he realizes his occupation - I should probably start thinking up some ridiculous death traps/schemes for him to pull off, like flooding the streets with radioactive mutant hamsters to steal the NWP's supply of tricycles or something.
Now then, I think this developement between SJ and Phoebe is just dynamite. It makes me wonder how the whole Ren Harker issue will play out, I smell drama somewhere in our future. The first encounter with the 'super heroes' was pretty amusing. Nightwolf didn't get to show his stuff but maybe next time. General Glory...got pwned in epic fashion . Makes me wonder what 'glorious' method he'll be dispatched next.
Straightjacket is very much the gentlemen in this chapter and I enjoyed reading his parts as much as you probably enjoyed writing them. 'Dashingly Debonair' is what my impression comes to at the moment. Vassal was very much herself and watching the 'girl talk at breakfest' play out was great stuff. The only thing I find inconsistant is her choice of dialog, the use of 'kay' or short hand slang seems out of place for someone as straight forword and principled as she appears. Other than that her was also a great read and I'm happy to see a female character that poses a challenge to SJ's mentality and charm without being overtly hostile toward it. Really great developement there.
The Bogie is another fun character to read as is the finally unveiled Tall Man. I see you settled on the name 'Mr. Gadget' for their new addition as well. I was going to add my two cents on the manner but I figured I'd let you come up with something on your own. Personally I would have come up with 'Mr. Gear' but 'Mr. Gadget' has many funny connections that can be made and jives rather well with the deadly serious/whismical satire theme of the series. Looking forword to more .
Hmm... part of me wants to Hand Wave Vassal's dialogue inconsistencies as part of her programming's attempt to create a composite dialect out of all the people she's listened to and/or assimilated, but meh, I'll go back and fix it later on. At least Straightjacket always sounded like Straightjacket in this chapter, though. My only worry with him is that he may be too... nice, which means he's going to get a good kick the dog moment or two in an upcoming chapter.
The Bogie's evolution as a character is going to be fun to write, as will his eventual rivalry with the Tall Man (gotta pit the detective against the crime boss, after all). Mr. Gear probably would have worked for Dan Forth, but I like Mr. Gadget - it reminds me of the hilariously stupid Inspector Gadget, and it's practical because he makes Sci Fi gadgets.
Thanks for the critique as always, Ren!