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RUMOR'S BLOCK

Be careful when co-opting existing phrases!

By Oniwasabi, author of The Monster They Deserve

Jun 27, 2014: Alright, there are only 9 chapters of this story as of this review, so things may change drastically from their currently observed state; fair warning for a few months from now when (hopefully) the story will have progressed well past here ^_^

This one is a very different take on superpower fiction, in so far that I don’t think I can recall ever having seen the exact premise before (and only a few gag-a-day type webcomics have put up anything close that I’ve encountered) and I find myself liking it. The primary focus so far is a kind of support group for people who have decided to become superheroes, and are reconsidering that choice. Sort of a group therapy/<x> anonymous program to let people know it is, in fact, okay to hang up the cape before they get themselves killed or worse. We get to meet the characters that make up the current support group and they all seem to be very well fleshed out (even as we’ve only just finished the ‘origin story’ portion of the groups sessions) although the title character, Rumor, has divulged almost nothing of himself at this point. We know that he was a hero (a relatively famous one), that he retired a few years ago, and that he runs this support group because he wants others to realize there’s a way out other than the glorious funeral. I think the lack of detail on our main character is entirely intentional, as thus far we have been getting bits and pieces of the man that make me think there is a very complete picture, but the development of that picture is part of the plot.

Now on to a couple negatives: There are some REALLY jarring scene transitions. It’s kind of expected when talking about hero origins that we go abruptly from people talking to adventure happening, but when someone is going around town to run errands and we’re bouncing between that and some kind of mad science project from 60 years ago . . . it’s a little hard to follow (major plus side, the transitions are VERY clearly marked, not just an extra line break and hope people realize that the focus has completely changed since the last paragraph). The second one brought me the title of this review! I can completely understand that desire to have any kind of unique (or even just less mainstream) name for heroes, super powers, and what-have-you in this genre. As such people with superpowers in this setting are referred to colloquially as ‘Walkers.’ This of course makes me think briefly of that tv show where people are apparently too stupid to call zombies ‘zombies,’ but it’s not a huge speedbump for me. I actually found the slang term ‘Strollers’ to be somewhat funny and fitting as a natural progression (as far as I can tell a Stroller is a Walker that isn’t actively using their powers for anything, i.e. heroing or villainy). The one that keeps tripping me up and completely breaking suspension of disbelief is the term for working heroes, "Street Walkers."

In case anyone hasn’t previously been subjected to that euphemism in the past, it means prostitutes (aka hookers, whores, etc etc)

So to the author, I humbly bessech thee: please consider a different term for your supers? Pretty please?

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