Indiana Elliot and the TOSF
so the next section opens with Tedd and Elliot experimenting with Elliot’s transformations, and discovering that if Elliot removes clothing before changing back, that clothing does not change back at the same time - there is some kind of limited range to the reverse transformation.
Dan Shive sure likes working out all the consequences of his magic, huh.
Tedd is showing some signs of growing up a bit and losing their creepy side, which is played for laughs, but is hopefully a good sign.
While we’re keeping track of new magical developments: Ellen can instantly clone someone’s appearance and add it to her repertoire of forms. Including a cat.
Once these details are out of the way, an off-brand Ikea storyline kicks off. It features Noah (per commentary) and Elliot competing for a TV stand. I believe Noah is a friend of Justin’s stalker, Melissa. Helpfully Dan Shive fills us in in the commentary:
*Sigh* Well, so long as he’s here, I may as well talk about Noah. Noah was first introduced in an EGS:NP storyline that is considered canon. He has subsequently appeared in I think one story comic and a few sketchbook entries.
I believe it to be a virtual unanimous opinion that he was introduced too soon. Considering he was introduced in 2004 and is only just now in 2010 doing more than acting as a background character, I would say that’s fair.
Fortunately we’re marathoning EGS so it doesn’t feel quite six years since we first heard of Noah, but the recap is helpful!
After the race they get lunch and Noah really overshares, which is I suppose a fast way to flesh out a character. His parents are dead, and he and Melissa consider themselves to be kind of in a relationship, even though she’s “in love with” Justin - he says they “provide comfort and pleasure” to each other. (Hey, Noah, have you heard of something called… quadrants? Admittedly this comic was published in March 2010, and Hussie’s (in)famous explanation of Troll Romance was in August 2010, but both comics feature time travel!)
We learn Noah’s dad is in fact Raven, who featured so much in the last storyline. dun dun dun etc.
T-minus: The Demon Ally
so uh thingy… Magus, that’s it, survived the beatdown at the hands of chaos/pandora. swears bloody revenge. etc. apparently he still needs ellen to zap elliot for whatever reason?
meanwhile some kinda demon whatsit is possessing an old guy.
Hammerchlorians part 1
ok so we’re coming back to the whole hammer thing. reminder: recurring joke is that female characters (determined by body shape) have the power to summon a large hammer to harmlessly smack men who make sexist comments, as a form of mild censure.
anyway 1. earthquake 2. catalina and susan go to visit justin’s comic shop
we have another round of Dan Shive Does Lesbian Feminism. which is to say Catalina is really gay and can’t stand men (nice) but makes a fatphobic comment (not cool at all).
when some guys make longwinded misogynist comments, Susan tries to summon the hammer to beat the well-deserved shit out of them, but can’t summon her hammer, oh no!
she phones up Sarah during a shippy scene with Elliot. Meanwhile, Justin is suffering some nerd whining about midichlorians. (so the arc title is in fact very literal huh.) apparently the hammers aren’t just a joke, but actually powered by a literal artefact to ‘explain’ them, an urge which Dan Shive is at least lampshading with this midichlorians thing…
sarah talks to susan about her feelings around Elliot transforming and wham transmisogynist rhetoric out of nowhere, fucking great
Susan says she doesn’t like The Princess Bride. do you know: I also don’t like that film. It has some great lines, sure, but the whole fucking ending sequence where the heroes get revenge on the baddies and there’s that fucking grim speech about how whatshisface is going to mutilate the main baddie in just about every way but not blind him so he can see when he’s going to be stared at in horror by everyone? and how geek culture treats that as like, ‘cool’ and ‘badass’ and not absolutely fucking horrifying? and yeah the heterosexual romance as all-conquering force, the incredibly gendered roles of the hero and heroine, the massive discomfort i have over the way the central relationship is developed like the ‘as you wish’ thing just comes across as creepy to me… the emphasis on this ‘deformity’ of the ‘six-fingered man’ who’s the villain…
basically, despite its many quotable lines, the princess bride creeps me the fuck out thoroughly, Susan is right imo.
apart from that they figure the dislodging of the artefact couldn’t be caused by the earthquake so.
Hammerchlorians part 2
Time for a summary of what happened in Susan and Nanase’s fateful trip to France.
- they were the youngest members on the trip to France for various reasons
- Susan got attacked by a monster
- It’s a human who turned themselves into an immortal ‘parasite’. basically a vampire, Susan says.
- it attacked her because her magic revolves around summoning weapons and it was paranoid she would use it. Susan points out this was strategically very silly, since they wouldn’t have known to fight it at all if not for it attacking them in the first place.
- the two immortals showed up (as we knew before) and said the vampire would go on to ‘molest and kill’ (was that really necessary) countless women if they didn’t go kill it
- Susan’s magic lets her summon duplicates of weapons that she keeps around. it requires her to have a nonspecific marking - she chose to have the Venus symbol - and she must refresh it periodically. these summoned weapons are single-use and the weapons she has on hand include a sword.
- the hammers are separate from this ability.
- they went after the vampires. Nanase hammered it and it started looking much more like some dude, Susan hesitated to kill it but when it started to get up again, she summoned an axe and beheaded it.
- she’s still pretty chewed up about this whole affair
Susan demonstrates her object-summoning ability, and summons one of Nanase’s fairy dolls; unexpectedly, it is animated, and appears to be executing clone-form logic, but controlled by Susan’s subconscious rather than Nanase’s. It betrays Susan’s oh-so-cool-and-logical exterior and hugs people a lot. Aw.
Grace is having guilt over not being any good against Abe Beardy.
Hammerchlorians part 3
They get to the cave and a passing male jogger reveals the cave is working as intended (since he can’t see it).
An immortal called Jerry turns out to be in charge of the artefact. But he’s going to ‘reset’ and dump the last 200 years of memories in a standard immortal pattern to avoid becoming overly powerful and less ‘sane’.
The fact that the hammers act as a meaningless form of mild censure is spelled out in-comic: Jerry reveals he made the hammers to actually encourage creepy comments. While in-universe, his reasoning doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, it does make sense on a meta level: an author is willing to ‘get away with’ more if the ‘offensiveness’ of a comment can be brushed off with an exaggerated but ultimately harmless reaction.
Susan is, reasonably, absolutely furious - for this and other reasons, referred to simply as ‘angst’ in the comic - and goes all super saiyan. (I’ve never actually watched a Dragon Ball show so I’m not certain that’s correct but w/e). Rather than take the beatdown he deserves, Jerry shuts her down with a ‘serenity spell’. At least Sarah gets to hit him.
Dan Shive says:
Okay, I know I shouldn’t approve of Sarah hitting Jerry. It’s needless violence, potentially antagonizing a being of far greater power than her own, etc, but I can’t help but be proud of her. Don’t mess with my friends, punk! *SMACK*
Obligatory note: Violence is bad and should only be used as a last resort unless you’re kickboxing or something. Then it should probably be a first resort.
blah blah something about liberalism (2017 note: I’m actually feeling this a lot more tbh. leftists should be prepared to finish a fight, but we shouldn’t be too eager to start one.)
As a result of Awakening properly, Susan gets the hammers back, but they still have only the mild-censure effect that they did earlier?
Jerry reveals he’s not a total jerk by acknowleding that making Susan and Nanase murder a vampire was kind of a dick move, which is good…
I’m not sure I have anything to say about Sarah potentially getting magic but actually not? but that’s a thing that happens. Dan Shive discusses her development and how it would be affected by gaining magic a bit in the commentary. awkward cissexism.
Nice lampshade of the general zaniness of this comic.
Nice ending with Susan and Nanase.
T-minus: Dark Allegiance
old-man-possessor is called Sirleck. Magus is an ‘abberation’ aka vampire i.e. human-turned-immortal. They were working together in the past. Magus cajoles Sirleck into helping him and we learn some stuff about Sirleck.
Next up: five-part sub-arc New and Old Flames