Archive for October, 2009

Update on the Move

Posted: October 27, 2009 in Musings

Just giving you a quick update on how things are going.

We’ve moved house but currently have no internet. We’re about a good week or so away from contact with the outside world and it’s genuinely scary how much we’ve all come to rely on the net in our everyday lives.

As I write this, I’m sat in a car park of the pub down the road from us, using my laptop on a pulic bench. Yes, really. We’ll be back, hopefully with quite a lot of new stuff, sometime in the next week or so. I’m working on new comics that are being made in a whole new way, so that should be interesting, and hopefully I’ll have some other things worth posting by then.

Providing, you know, we have a working shower.


404 – Hysterical Blindness

A comparatively busy episode by this season’s standards, one that flips between being smack-your-head-on-a-table middle of the road and genuinely interesting, though still lacking in the pizzazz we’ve come to expect from Heroes.

The most boring part of the episode is Claire’s ongoing romantic saga with Gretchen. As the two bond while living together, Claire is tempted into the world of irritatingly smiley sorority sisters, dragging Gretchen’s weirdly long face with her. As the story unfolds, Claire begins to doubt Gretchen and starts to believe that her new roommate murdered her old one, but all that gets blown away when Gretchen finally does what we all knew was coming from day one and kisses her.

Elsewhere, Peter Petrelli accidentally absorbs the ability of Emma, the deaf mute who sees sounds as colours and the two begin to get to know each other. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple and before you can say ‘murky past’, hints about Emma accidentally killing someone named Christopher six years ago are thrown up. It also turns out that, when Emma plays music angrily, the colours turn dangerous and lash out at bits of dry wall.

Linking the episode together is Samuel’s circus and his promise that, by the episode’s end, they will have a new member in their family. It’s just tantalising enough to keep you guessing – who is it, Sylar, Peter or Claire?

The best parts of the episode are completely owned by Sylar. No longer bound by the ridiculous conceit that he believes he’s Nathan, everyone’s favourite superpowered murderer is finally free… except he’s got no memory because his mind is busy dicking about with Matt Parkman. Zachary Quinto steals the show here with a phenomenal demonstration of a broken man, aided by some great editing and fairly decent side characters. While the idea that a psycho-analyst would be willing to help an escaped murderer is laughable, it’s all forgiven by the fact that the ball finally starts rolling on whatever Samuel is planning.

Yes, it is light on people being extraordinary or even getting that plot arc moving, but there is a genuine sense that now the pieces are in place and the answers are about to start coming. If it wasn’t for Zachary Quinto, this would be disastrous. As it stands, it’s a marked improvement. If only it would hurry the hell up and get to where it’s going, already.

3 stars.

Hold it… Little More…

Posted: October 14, 2009 in Musings
Tags: , ,

GUMO is going to be put on hold for at least two weeks. We’re moving house and all the stuff is getting packed away. We’ll return as soon as we, a) unpack, and b) have internet.

And, c) draw something.

Heart of Darkness

The rain comes down harsh and cold. It wakes me up, my tired eyes embracing the moisture as if it were a long-forgotten lover.
The scream comes again. Terrible, feminine, pained, far off.
My feet sink into the stinking swamp water. The thick, tar-like sludge fills my shoes and weighs my legs down, as though my feet were replaced by concrete blocks.
A rustling in the leaves above me. I stop and listen.
Hoot-hoot… Hoot-hoot…
An owl-like Pokémon is sitting right above me. I risk a look up. It looks around feverishly, like a sentry on guard.
I stay quiet, hidden.
I stick my hand into the cold, black mud of the swamp and drag the slime across my face. I need to get out of the tattered remains of the Mr Mime costume, but first…
I’m completely hidden from view by the undergrowth. I try to imitate the noise of the creature above me.
Hoot-hoot… Hoot-hoot…
I can hear it moving on the branch above, looking around to find its injured friend.
It takes off from the branch and flies low over the bushes.
It flies down lower, circling very nearly right above me.
I reach up and grab it firmly with both hands as it glides past me. I drag it into the bushes with me.
It starts screaming, loudly. I jam my fingers into its beak. It bites down. Hard.
Blood starts seeping through the stupid white gloves of the costume. I bite down on my lip to keep from screaming. With one hand in its beak and the other keeping it from flying away, I fall forwards, hoping to smash it on the floor.
Its wings flap everywhere, in my face, rustling leaves, making a huge noise. I can hear growling from deeper in the swamp.
We fall into the swamp water together, the disgusting water blinding us both. I manage to find my footing and stand up first, holding the little fucker under the muddy surface. Now it won’t let go of my fingers, trying as hard as it can to severe them completely.
I groan with the pain, desperately trying to keep as silent as possible. Over the thrashing water, I can hear bigger monsters approaching, trying to find the source of the noise.
The churning in the water subsides. The grip on my fingers relaxes. I lift my hand out of the water and take a look at the bite. It’s deep. The gore flows down my hand, soaking into the disgusting costume, mixing with the black water.
The owl lifts its head out of the water and screams into the night sky.
I grab it, both hands around its spindly little neck.
It stops screaming.
I move, quickly. The approaching monsters are getting louder, closer, more angered by the noise.
I wade through the mud as fast as I can, finding another spot to hide in the undergrowth.
I wait a moment.
In the spot where I murdered the owl just seconds before, the hulking brown hide of a Kangaskhan appears, the baby sleeping inside its pouch. A Quagsire and a Skorupi accompany the beast, examining the remains of the dead creature. The Kangaskhan roars into the night sky. They move on, wanting blood.
I take a moment to collect myself and start removing the horrible costume of a Pokémon I killed and skinned an eternity ago in a police station cell. I rip some cloth away from it, a makeshift bandage for my hand. Christ, I hope my fingers don’t get infected in this water.
I remove all the costume I can get to. I leave the enormous shoes on in case I stand on anything in the water. Then I cover my torso in mud, making my skin as invisible as possible in the murkiness of the swamp.
I start moving again, slowly, making as little noise as I can.
I move towards where I think the centre is; where that terrible scream came from.
Up ahead I see a clearing. Movement in it. Shadows dart back and forth.
In the centre I see a few Pokémon gathered around and in the centre-
A human-
A woman-
She lies on the ground, not moving, barely breathing, a gash on her head.
The creatures are rooting through her bag, tearing it apart.
A Quagsire pulls away from the bag with a bark of triumph.
It holds aloft the Pokédex.
The creatures let out their harsh, braying laughs.
I pull a fallen branch away from a nearby tree, the severed end sharpened to a fine point.
They think they’ve won.
Not yet they haven’t.

Mirror’s Edge 2: Faith’s Redemption


FAITH and her sister KATE are still hugging, behind them the helicopter spinning out of control, heading for the streets below.

I’m so glad I rescued you, my sister Kate.

Thank you Faith. You’ve shown me how evil and corrupt THE SYSTEM is. And together we can take it down.

Below them, the helicopter crashes into an orphanage.

Look at their disregard for human life. They make me sick.

Will it even make the news?

If you can hear it through all that EVIL ADVERTISING.

A COP runs up to them.

Excuse me, was it you who caused that helicopter accident?

My God, did I used to sound so misguided?

I’m going to have to arrest you, I’m afraid.

Faith attacks the Cop, beating him over the head with a bit of pipe repeatedly while he screams. The Cop’s wife and children watch, crying. Eventually the Cop stops moving.

THE SYSTEM is corrupt and we have to stop it. Come on, Kate. I’ll teach you how to Run. Because only by Running can we uncover the evil secrets behind those EVIL CORPORATIONS.

Show me.

They leap off the building together, into the first level.

403 – Acceptance

What the hell is going on? Every time Heroes seems to be finding its feet and preparing to sprint again, the pace slows down so much you can almost feel the writers stumbling on their shoelaces.

This week: Hiro gets trapped in a comedy subplot time paradox thing that sees him repeatedly trying to stop a man committing suicide for being fired. It’s all a smoke and mirrors illusion though – the real point is for Hiro to finally admit to Kimiko that he’s dying. This, unfortunately, takes far too goddamn long to get through and the payoff is something we already know – time itself is making Hiro its bitch, instead of the other way round.

The other major storylines include Tracey getting her old job back working for a governor (last seen briefly at the start of Volume Three) but finds that it’s lacking – before she’s even spent a full day on the job, she starts questioning her life choices.

Elsewhere, Claire – presumably, with very little time actually dedicated to being on campus – pays old man Bennett a visit and tries to help him find a job. Mercifully, he’s not interested and starts looking into the compass plot device, motivated by Peter’s discovery of the tattoo on his arm.

The main thrust of the plot is dedicated to the mind-bogglingly boring journey of Nathan as he learns he’s done terrible things in his past – namely, an accidental killing that was hushed up and forgotten by all involved.

It’s a duff episode, devoid of superheroics, nail-biting decisions or even humour, easily one of the worst in the show’s entire run and that’s saying something. The only saving grace is that the cliffhanger suggests things might finally be about to kick into high gear. Here’s hoping they don’t trip on those laces.

1 star

GUMO #123 - Supervisors

Thank you, Alex. It’s been a good run remembering all the strange times trapped in the world of computers. Next week: something different.