I mostly have nothing to add to this section, it’s basically the same deal as the other Q&As. Female characters are sexualised in various ways, details are added to the magic rules and a few details are cleared up.
But I’m disappointed but not surprised that the Khan whitewashing in Star Trek Into Darkness is brushed over by Justin as ‘controversy and stuff’. So yeah… <obligatory Boneduct Crumberpatch guillotine comment>. Anyway…
I’m hoping this title means Tedd’s going to finally specifically IDing as trans…
Elliot and Susan’s movie review show has about a thousand subscribers. As they say, not huge by internet standards, but a pretty big following. That’s about 150 more than I have on my main blog @canonicalmomentum.
So this arc is about: reactions after Sarah appears on an episode to announce her breakup with Elliot with a little joke performance, resulting mostly in men hitting on her left right and centre. I guess it’s a storyline about celebrity and stuff like that?
So… developments develop. Someone left a really pretentious long and formally worded comment saying Elliot’s gay and now everyone believes that. In the comic they act like pretentious, overly formal writing is rare on an internet comment section - I guess this predates the unfortunate develop of the Redditor.
So pretentious I’m-going-to-out-Elliot-if-he’s-really-gay wanker goes by the handle of ‘Ronin’. Diane is picking a fight to argue that Elliot’s straight.
Feeling guilty about potentially spreading a lie/outing him, Catalina tries to counteract the rumour by running up and very publicly kissing Elliot in the middle of the corridor.
Catalina can be impulsive but that’s… really not cool? For a lot of reasons?
Which is acknowledged in the subsequent strips, and thankfully the very awkward situation does not last very long or seem likely to lead to any long-lasting storyline in itself outside of the mystery of who’s spreading rumours about Elliot.
Not long after, more new characters show up. Someone approaches Susan when she’s processing feelings about the whole Catalina thing, whose name is apparently Tom. He’s got long hair and likes Star Trek and he and Susan agree to talk again. An as-yet-unnamed girl who we’ve seen a few times in this storyline, mostly in terms of having a crush on Elliot, glares at him.
Elliot, meanwhile, is still burning off excess magical energy by transforming a lot. At least, that’s his excuse. He seems to quite like transforming though. I didn’t really have a trans headcanon for Elliot originally, but I could see one forming.
Grace’s naivete is being used as a reason to get a Homophobia Is Bad rant - like no shit, but it seems surprising ground to go back over. I suppose the point is the amount of anger Elliot displays. Indeed, it’s leading up to a reveal that Elliot once had an asshole friend who was a homophobe.
Susan is struggling with the fact that she found it sexy when Catalina kissed Elliot. Justin has solid advice, but Dan Shive comments on his own use of Justin as ‘advice friend’ and how that ties into shitty TV/movie tropes about gay men. Good self-awareness Dan Shive.
Anyway, Tom is fancying himself as some kind of ‘master manipulator’ working Susan to make her attracted to him, but following Justin’s advice, Susan has basically stopped worrying in a suitably melodramatic way, ruled out dating, forgotten about Tom, and ended up roleplaying a Pokémon/Star Trek crossover with Justin. You go, Susan :D
Ahaha. (This is from a conversation in a dream sequence where Tedd slowly gets more normatively-sexy and ends up making out with Elliot.)
Susan trying to get more comfortable with gestures of affection is cute. Catalina being extremely lesbians about it is also cute.
Now for an uh-oh: after some recklessness, Elliot has to transform to burn off magical energy - and the as-yet unnamed female character who has a crush on him is there to see it.
But she’s read Ranma ½ so she’s cool about it? So… OK. We finally learn her name: Ashley.
Apparently Tom’s her ‘manipulative ex-boyfriend’ and she’s worried he’s about to pull the same shit on Susan. Well, Susan’s way ahead of you, Ashley.
So this whole arc was actually building into setting up Elliot/Ashley, not Elliot/Susan. I didn’t see that coming!
And Susan goes to shut down Tom quite handily with perfectly gentle honesty. In the process, she quickly draws out all his nice-guy shit and breaks down his shitty manipulations. And then destroys him. *wipes tear from eye* beautiful
Given the tendency of characters in this comic to stick around, Tom’s probably coming back, but I rather hope he does not.
Susan, meanwhile? Is having some really excellent character development and I’ve come to really like her now. It’s incredible that she started out as just a shitty straw-feminist character. I have numerous frustrations with Dan Shive, but he can do a really solid storyline every so often.
In any case, Ashley comes to talk to Susan to warn her about Tom. Which is a good a pretext as any for inducting Ashley into the cast.
Elliot’s friends have concerns about him and Ashley, not knowing they’ve all already been addressed. I admit I outright laughed out loud at this bit.
I like this strip. It works nicely by copying but subverting the format of the previous comics, it jokes around with sexuality without being creepy, and casually increases the amount of gay characters in the comic.
And finally we learn the identity of ‘Ronin’. It is, in fact, someone we’ve never even heard of. Which seems fitting. Ronin’s role in the plot is done.
We end with a Susan feelings jam. Also good. And finally, the stinger for the next storyline: Susan has finally unwittingly contacted Diana, her almost-certain-twin, under her pseudonym… and Diana finally accepts that Susan’s her sister.
Good storyline, all round, I think.
To wrap up the Summer arc (which in large part tok place in winter), a montage of single-panel strips of Stuff That Happened Over The Summer. Generally cute.
So while it’s not without flaws, I think Summer was a great arc. On some level it’s hard to believe this is the same comic as we started with, and it speaks very well of Dan Shive that he’s been able to both improve his work this much and evidently significantly mature as a person (even if, in many ways, he’s still frustratingly liberal [in the ‘thing communists don’t like’ not ‘thing conservatives don’t like’ sense!]). In any case, I genuinely had fun reading this, and I’m looking forward to where it goes next!