Friday, March 11, 2011

SGR: Officer... sniff ... Is It Wrong To Report A Crime?

(I'm writing about the webcomic Scary Go Round. My introduction is here.)

Chapter 7: Dimensionality

Click on the chapter title above to read this chapter; when you get to a blue page with Tessa, the words Cha Cha Cha and the small and faint title Where the Dumb Things Are you have reached the next chapter which is beyond the scope of this post. If for some reason, rather than reading the comic you want to stay here, at the bottom of this post is the plot synopsis and character list I made to keep everything straight in my head.

Review

My, how unpleasant Rachel and Tessa have become. Their self-centredness comes to the fore in this story - they don't care if Len is guilty or innocent or what happened to Amy. Their motivations are money, curiosity and bitchiness. Their interest in men in solely in what they can get from them and their interest in women is limited to being rude to Shelley.

Of course, this makes them all the more effective. While Shelley pursues mundane methods - missing posters for Amy - it's Rachel who confronts the mystery of Amy's disappearance in genre terms: Look for clues, add in your intuition, research your hypothesis, then jump in, head first.

This is a classic genre hook - ordinary people try to solve their mundane problem and running into an extraordinary mystery. Frankly the first part with the bickering girls worried about money is a slow start, but once they get into needling Shelley, coercing William and talking smack about the Fourth dimension it takes off. Although our protagonists aren't especially likable, they're still fun and they're doing good, even for the wrong reasons.

The sidelining of the regular cast is done very smoothly - Tim ill with the pox at the start, Amy missing is where it kicks off, they're not going to work with Shelley because the just don't like her, and they've forgotten about Ryan because he's just some crazy talking drunk.

The police are good here - funny, more interested in their personal problems, ignoring the troubling aspects of the case. I was arguably wrong when I said there are only two Hitler jokes in Scary Go Round. One appears here. One is in Meddling. And one is in a guest comic between this story and the previous one. The stuff about the 4th Dimension is funny, although I'm coming to the conclusion that science in the Scary Go Round world isn't done in quite the same way as in our world.

I run into trouble with my bodycount here. Having not literally counted bodies before, does the open murder investigation into Amy count? We don't count Rachel and Tessa dead, and I'm ignoring how things turn out, so I'm scoring 0 for this one.

We've finished with Amy missing, Len and William in police custody and Rachel and Tessa in the fourth dimension. We'd have to be stupid to miss the next chapter. Like really stupid. Like the dumbest things to ever come from Where The Dumb Things Are. Only Dumber.


Best Lines/ Alternative Titles


Now I have to spend the summer in indentured booze servitude

We can spend our summer days earning, while laughing at their misfortune.

Unfortunate yogurt pot lid/petri dish licking confusion incident.

I want a "Sopranos" lunchbox, black as night with Uncle Junior's face on it.

No G-Man's takin' my cream cheese.

My crustacean-like metabolism is an asset in a nuclear winter!

A mild case of rabies contracted in El Salvador and suddenly painting's too hard.

The man must be feeble-minded like a garden bird.

Move "being surrogate mothers" down to #2 on the summer jobs list.

Could it be a gateway to the dimension of sexy boys?

I've got so little money in my account that other peoples' overdrafts are being drawn into it via osmosis.

"College professor murders daughter - probably". Is that non-committal enough?

Once we get the cheque we'll frame him for something else.

I ate pie that night until I went into a coma.

Story checks out. We found this dish and napkin.

I still like him for it. Guy looks like he can hold his pie.

It could signify the passage of some kind of giant, cuboid worm.

Can I remind you that no one ever made their escape under the cover of stupidity.

Yeah I just used my nose to detect pheromones. Could be he and the scrappy little brunette hooked up a couple'a times.

I have always filed talk of dimensions under "Scuttlebutt" or "Hooey".

If my friends are less boring in other dimensions, I 100% support this theory!

So 4D glasses are red and yellow instead of red and green?

Officer... sniff... is it wrong to report a crime?

Ooh! The Fourth Dimension is WOMBLIKE.

Fact: Murderers are 75% worse at lies than ordinary people. That's why they kill.

Rachel, was it your idea or mine to go through a hole in space-time in order to make sure we get paid for painting someone's house?


Characters

Rachel - student, barmaid, lunchbox inventor
Tessa - her friend
William - librarian, friend of Rachel and Tessa, in police custody. This is not a coincidence.
Amy - Missing in action
Tim - Sick with the pox
Len - Professor in Police Custody
Shelley - friend of Amy. Enemy of Rachel.
2 Policemen, one of whom is named Randall
A mysterious monster- woooooooo


Plot

Opens with Rachel and Tessa having lunch then going to lectures. Rachel has come up with a lunchbox with cooler and internet on the lid. She thinks this invention will stop them having to work over the summer. They try to get Tim interested but he has the pox. Then disaster strikes as a truck has obliterated the pub they work at.

While trying to figure out how to earn money to eat over the summer, they overhear Professor Len telling Hugo that his decorator has stopped painting due to a mild case of Rabies. They offer to do the painting for him for £850, bamboozling him with talk of mob-controlled unions.

They discover a strange black square on the wall behind a wardrobe. Tessa wanders if it could be a gateway to the dimension of sexy boys. Rachel thinks it more likely to be a giant tribute to Hitler's moustache, and if it is a gateway it's to a dimension of big cumbersome monsters who ate the sexy boys.

As they finish painting, Amy announces to Len, her father, that she is dropping out of Art School to concentrate on her poetry. As Len is in a rage, Tessa decides to drop in the next day for the cheque.

That night, at 13 o'clock, Len gets up to eat pie. Meanwhile a monster enters the house and kidnaps Amy.

On their way to get the check, Tessa and Rachel meet Shelley and tease her about Angela Lansbury. Arriving at the house they are surprised to find Len being arrested. To get their cheque, they decide to prove him innocent, and if he turns out to be guilty frame him for something else when they have the money.

Len protests his innocence, but the police like him for it. Rachel and Tessa recruit William from the library to help. They break into Len's house that night, and leave cards that show that Len and Amy love each other to throw off the profiler. They also look for clues. The police turn up but let them go after they claim they're holding a vigil.

William finds Shelley putting up missing posters for Amy. it becomes clear that Rachel and Tessa's antipathy for her is mutual. Rachel claims she's toughening Shelley up with her lies and swears.

Back at the police station, the police are more interested in whether any of the kids have hooked up rather than why they broke in. Meanwhile Rachel Tessa and William do some research on alternate dimensions. William has called in favours to get the only copy of Hans Klinker's Visiting Dimensions in the British Library System. It turns out it's so rare because it has 4D glasses in the back. They head off back to Len's house, but Rachel insults Shelley on the way.

With the 4D specs the black square is a chute leading... somewhere. However Shelley has reported them to the police who arrive to arrest them. They arrest William but Rachel and Tessa have vanished into the 4th dimension.

No comments: