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New Sentinels by Rachel Evil McCall

 

The Bronze City Sentinels, champions of their eponymous city, have gone missing, and four new heroes have been chosen to take their place.

New Sentinels is an ongoing superhero story told through (primarily) five Twitter accounts: One for each of the heroes, sharing their thoughts and feelings, and one “official” account, run by interns, which relates the details of their adventures and battles.

The heroes are:

Collider: Beleaguered atomic powerhouse. She tends to be diplomatic and reasonable, making her the leader by default. Mechanica: Awkward robot. Prefers to be called “artificially sentient. She’s nearly always upbeat and peppy, but gets confused about some aspects of humanity. Doctor Mayhem: Jerkass scientist. Sarcastic, irritable, and abrasive. She tends to conflict with the rest of the group fairly often. Pact: Hipster Wizard. The group’s latest addition, she’s trying to fit in as best she can. Tries to be nice, but doesn’t take Mayhem’s crap.

It’s a quirky, semi-humorous take on superheroes, showing us their story through what the things they choose to tell us.


An ongoing blogfic, with new posts sporadically

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Listed: Sep 23, 2014

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By Wildbow, author of Ward

Oct 12, 2014: It’s a safe bet that a five second look at The New Sentinels will allow you to pass a verdict. To date, the story is consistent in being what it is.

What is it? New Sentinels is a rather campy take on superheroes, almost more campy than the old Adam West batman series. There’s a twist though.

It’s told via. tweets.

Rather than be a blogfic, a story that’s told as if it were being blogged from an alternate universe where a story was underway, the New Sentinels is a tweetfic. Now, I’ve yet to see a good tweetfic, but I imagine it follows the same rule as a blogfic – you need verisimilitude. The reader needs to be able to believe it could be real.

The New Sentinels doesn’t feel real. The characters don’t come through, and the existing characterization is sacrificed in favor of fairly shallow snark and one-liners. Disregarding the fact that these are professional heroes working for an organization, they natter and snipe at each other while ostensibly in the public eye. The tweets don’t feel like tweets. The new Sentinels feels like story cut down to 140 character chunks, and it’s not better off for it.

In talking with other authors, I know the reactions to the story’s humor vary wildly. I had a hard time finding any enjoyment in it, but that’s my taste and preference, and that’s the barometer I’m going to use to rate the story, and I hope the story’s advocates can step in and review it to balance out my opinion.

The New Sentinels is fairly shallow in character and narrative, and if it were translated to a webcomic, comic, or simple prose, I feel it would remain so. Character interaction is limited to insults and . . .  @colliderbc: Mechanica is nice. I like Mechanica. @Mechanica: 🙂 You seem nice too.

 . . . The fight scenes especially, a key aspect of any superhero fiction, break the verisimilitude of the tweets even further and become especially difficult to follow.

I commend the author for taking a stab at the twitterfic medium, which isn’t an easy task, but when it comes to recommendations, I can’t give mine.

5 of 5 members found this review helpful.
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