Tuesday, March 08, 2011

SGR: Short Man Idly Fingering Bowler Hat etc.

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

Chapter 6: Romania

Click on the chapter title above to read this chapter; when you get to a page declaring a new Tessa and Rachel adventure with a picture of the giant black beetle Krakkagar 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

It's the sexy super spy, fan favourite Fallon Young ladies and gentlemen. Fallon has been transplanted from John Allison's previous webcomic Bobbins. Following her we find out Romania has the same elements of strangeness as the Tackleford of Scary Go Round.

That Fallon lives in a crazy spy world is not unexpected (see her origin story). I'm not sure she actually completes her mission (did we ever find out what happened to the previous agent?) but this is in the fine tradition of Bond - send him out to keep an eye on something unusual and he comes back a few weeks later with a suntan and a new girlfriend and leaves behind a ruined base that was probably being used for something bad.

The bad guy has a face for a skull and a base full of monkeys who decide Tim is Primate Prime. But that's not what the story is about. Fallon is in charge, but Tim takes no orders from no man, or woman. They wrangle over details and compete over Scrabble. Meanwhile they dance to a romantical song, Tim takes risks to rescue her and they have clear affection for each other. At the end Fallon decides it's not going to work, but lets him down gently with the old "If I weren't an international super spy it could be different line". How many times have we heard that one gents?

It's the back-and-forths rather than the one liners or sight gags that stand out here. Ryan exaggerates the pathos of his life but it's clear that he's pretty low (although he may yet go lower). His lack of common sense after Shelley's warnings is a bit too much; he's gone beyond adorable child-man to dangerous idiot.

It's clear that Tackleford is not the only place that strange things happen. I note that Fallon counts 1 British agent and 7 other people gone missing, so I'm adding 8 to the bodycount, which is now 25 for the run so far.

Finally Guest Comics! They range from Meh, to Exactly Right, to If Only to Wowie Zowie.

After the Guest Comics Allison promises us a new Rachel and Tessa adventure. Compared to the rest of the cast those two have seemed a little cartoony, a little flat. Perhaps in this story they will show some additional Dimensionality.



Best Lines/ Alternative Titles

... So from what I can work out, the moon is an optical illusion caused by the sun reflecting off a bald guy's head. But I can't prove it too good.

Ryan that be fascinating but who is that lady, she moves like a panther or other big cat.

What if, just as she was leaving the pub, I jumped over 5 parked cars on my scooter and didn't die?

If The Man holds a party, I don't go and I sure as hell don't help him put up the balloons.

Tim, we need someone who understands science but doesn't understand fear.

It's more a scalpels-and-death kind of mess.

Airports are sad because Tim, who you secretly have mad crushes on, flies out of them probably to die or make kisses with sexy Fallon.

Just keep an eye out for the classics. Man in Fez and Dark Glasses. Short man idly fingering bowler hat etc.

Have you ever tried to jump in front of a bullet? They move pretty fast, you know, like a bullet does.

Bucharest will form your beautiful, picturesque grave, imbecile English!

No! Spiderous Treachery!

Maybe his mother just loved a monkey.

Coach trips are traditionally associated with nice souvenirs, not ugly death.

This is the sort of news that requires a special dance.

Everything is half eaten. You're quite a bad wife, I think.

Let's form a plan by going to a local bistro, drinking red wine and dancing. Basically this is how 75% of military juntas are deposed.

When moon rises over peasant farmstead
Gypsy Girl dances with shy Stable-Lad
She waggles her hips and whispers in his ear
He offers silver in exchange for touching her bottom

Qakki. Mexican canoe piloted by Polar Bear. 43 points.

Fallon, not only is Qakki not a word, it is an insult to the proud traditions of scrabble.

Polar bears are holy in Mexico. They're allowed to drive cars. And vote.

Sausages... Nothin' but flying rats.

Look, right, I have to organise my petrol collection and my matches collection, so I might as well do both at the same time.

Are fire and petrol friends? I mean like scientifically speakin'.

There's something about you, Fallon, encourages a man to behave like logic's most hated enemy.

They'll either form a primitive agrarian society or eat each other.

Life takes his lunch money every day. And makes him eat it. For lunch.


Characters

Tim Jones, Scientist and Alpha Primate
Fallon Young, Super Spy
Amy, revealed to be in love with Tim
Shelley, housesitting for Tim
Ryan, also housesitting but with notably less common sense
Hugo, now buddies with Ryan
Thug, with gorilla arms
Dr Petrescu, Skull-faced and Monkey Mad
Dr Petrescu Jr, Evil Geneticist
Rachel and Tessa, who microwave lasagna like only barmaids can


Plot


Fallon meets Tim in the pub. Despite his dislike of "The Man" she recruits him for her government-backed superspy mission to bring back suspected war-criminal Dr Daniel Petrescu.

Amy, who may or may not have a mad crush on Tim, is unhappy about him going off on an extremely dangerous mission with the sexy, sexy Fallon. Fallon explains she's in charge, so Tim talks a lot of nonsense about being a free thinker who can't be reigned(sic) in. It's almost as though he's flirting with her. Fallon warns Tim of the chance of being assassinated at the airport and, indeed, a man there is being attacked by ninjas.

At their hotel they are ambushed by a bald man with gorilla arms. Tim sees him off by putting a spider down his trousers. As he flees, he drops a brochure for "Coach tours in beautiful picturesque Romania". Tim notes that the agent and seven other people have disappeared at points on and around the "old Romania" coach trip.

They go undercover on the coach trip. Fallon is unamused by Tim's enthusiastic pretence that they are newlyweds. Arriving at the castle where the agent vanished, they go to a nearby bistro for red wine and dancing.

Later they play Scrabble. Due to a dispute over the word "Qakki" Tim leaves to look for a dictionary. While looking, Fallon is kidnapped, depriving Tim of his lapdance forfeit. At this point Ryan and Sheeley call to find out if this "secret mission" has lead to Tim and Fallon gettinf it on.

Fallon is in a cell, being held by Dr Petrescu who has a skull for a face and talks about improving the human race in unusual metaphors. Tim, using advice from a drunk Ryan, gets a Romanian dog to sniff Fallon's shirt in the hope that it will track her. Rining off, back in Tackleford, it seems Shelley, Ryan and Hugo are housesitting. Unfortunately Ryan is drunk and organising his petrol collection and his matches collection at the same time.

Meanwhile Dr Petrescu lets Fallon out. His base is full of monkeys. It seems that at the age of six, a monkey clawed off his face at Tirgu Mures zoo. His experiments consist of dressing monkeys in human clothes and wigs. Petrescue is distracted by a call on the monkeyphone, so Fallon hides by putting on a wig and joining a monkey tea party.

At this moment the dog leads Tim to the underground base, where he enters and unties Fallon. The monkeys seem to like Tim and build an effigy of him out of cardboard boxes. He sets them on Dr Petrescu.

As they leave Romania, Tim wonders about the logical flaws; if there's someone doing genetic experiments, but Dr Petrescu just dressed up monkeys, could there be more than one Dr Petrescu? Perhaps the geneticist was the son of the monkey dresser? We flash back to the base and discover Dr Pertrescu telling Dr Petrescu Jr and the thug with gorilla arms to avenge him.

Tim returns home to discover that Ryan has destroyed his truck. Ryan mostly gets out of being beaten soundly for it due to his patheticness. Tim asks Fallon out for pie, but she has to go undercover at the women's beach volleyball tournament in Brazil. She says they can't have a thing, because she's always risking her life on the other side of the world. They have a goodbye kiss. Tim takes in stoicly by going to the pub for lunch and bantering with Rachel and Tessa.

Finally we get guest comics.

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