Friday, June 20, 2014

The Standard: The Bowelless One

So this week will basically wrap up Sluggy Freelance's Mohkadun story.  Oh, I'm sure there are some little things left (I am writing this Sunday, so I know there's some things going on this week).  How was it in the end?

EDIT:  And of course, because I wrote that. . .  My thoughts on that will follow the rest of the article.

Pretty damn good.  More than that, really.  Even El Santo from the Webcomic Overlook, and now Robot 6, enjoyed it, and he gave up on Sluggy back during (wait for it) Oceans Unmoving.  Surprising since Mohkadun shares a lot, and I do mean A LOT, with Oceans Unmoving.  The same basic set up (one member of the Sluggy main cast is sent to a place with a new group of people), lots of things needed to be explained, it lasted well over a year (it started March 2013) and of course Timeless Space itself is involved.  So why the difference?

Well it resolved the two key issues that plagued Oceans Unmoving:  It kept moving (hardly any delays in production) and the rest of the main Sluggy cast had something to do besides being off screen.  In fact, they were actively looking for Gwynn through their part of the story.  Both elements kept the main cast involved, didn't let the new group of characters take a dominate role, and kept the ball moving without feeling like a great weight had been tied to the story.  The result was a great story, one that easily fits in with the great Sluggy stories of the past.

That said, was it really necessary?  K'Z'K was effectively done at the end of the Bug, the Witch and the Robot, and that was back in 2001, more than 13 years ago.  Sure, there were elements of his cult still running around, but the Vowelless One was gone.  Readers barely remembered him, so much so that Abrams had to link back to specific moments in Sluggy's past (a feature that proved very handy, and won even El Santo's approval).

I will argue that a story LIKE Mohkadun was necessary, but not necessarily Mohkadun.  Sluggy needed a really good story to draw back people like El Santo who had dropped the comic so long ago, a story that reminded people that Abrams was fully capable of writing really good stories.  It needed the entire Sluggy main cast (Gwynn had been more an afterthought for most of bROKEN onward), it needed to be funny, and serious, and be part of the new direction for the comic:  Ending.

Crafting a story around K'Z'K, linking in all the origins of things like Torg's Sword, Timeless Space and that silly necklace fit nicely into that form.  It also made almost no references to the lull after Oceans Unmoving, so fans of the earlier comic who left wouldn't feel that left out.  While I don't think Mohkadun was necessary in and of itself, it was a resounding success.

Not that it wasn't predictable.  I guessed easily that Gwynn would lose her magic when the Bug was extracted from her, that the eggs that had been hidden in the temple would be a major part of K'Z'K's undoing (not as major as it turned out, but still), and, more importantly, that K'Z'K would last maybe a week (one Monday was resurrection, the next he was being sucked back into the book).  Being predictable is not a bad thing, especially in this case since I was right (yay me), because really the rest of the story was strong enough that it didn't hurt, and really the wrap up is more a formality than anything else.

Still, I did not see K'Z'K being renamed Poopy Pants the Destroyer, or the Bowelless One.  Nice ending to a silly villain (and pretty much removes him from the Presence thing I did a while ago, ah well).  But while Poopy Pants is now pretty much gone from Sluggy, it doesn't mean Sluggy is over, far from it.  There's still the matter of Oasis to attend to, and given that Abrams is looking to take a bit of a comedy break after Mohkadun, we've got a few years ahead of us.  I'm still betting on 4 more years, but we'll see.


And then Gwynn got shot.  She's fine, but I had to delay posting this article to see what was done with this event.  Thinking on it throughout the day, I had one thought:  He might have actually killed Gwynn.  I know I said he couldn't kill Zoe back at the end of 4UCity because it would cause a fan revolt, but Gwynn is actually fair game.  Her role in Sluggy has been seriously diminished over the years, pretty much since the Bug, the Witch and the Robot, and she's been more or less absent since bROKEN began until this story.  Killing her was actually possible, I gave it 1 in 3 odds.  Mostly because Pete is ready for "fun" stories rather than the more serious one that is Mohkadun, and a dead Gwynn would not lead to that.  Still, it was possible, so I had to see what was going to happen.  Now that I know, I can post this thing.

Next week, probably Touching Base.  Until then kiddies.

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