The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    Uuplechs are significantly shorter than F'bottr. We would mostly see the taller species. Alternatively, whoever is running the media campaign decided to include footage of the Toughs freeing people from their wrappings as they spontaneously awoke and said it was the toughs freeing slaves on Schlemiel 5.

    Edit: new comic is up. Question that arises (though not related to the plot): when did Elf cut her hair? I remember her having long, flowing locks. Also, I thought she was blonde (though I am probably confusing her with Kathryn).
    RE: haircut. About a year and a half ago. Just after Tagon II came back at the start of book 17 as part of showing things have changed while Tagon was being restored. Also worth noting is the the marriage also mentioned in that comic.
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Okay, so I found an early appearance of Elf, and she has reddish hair then, so I must have made up the blonde bit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    Okay, so I found an early appearance of Elf, and she has reddish hair then, so I must have made up the blonde bit.
    Not entirely. It's significantly more blonde here and here. It's bounced between blonde and red/orange-ish over the course of the strip.

    Does anyone else find the current run a bit ... cheap? Sunday's in particular. I compare it to the hot chainsaw through butter arc, but I can't help but feel I had more fun with that one. Both feature blindingly stupid enemies getting stomped but apparently the current set is so useless that Elf can singlehandedly destroy the fleet by herself with No less ammo. It just feels ... for lack of a better term... pointless? Tension-less?

    Or maybe it's just the ex post facto reveal, we're told she did something after the fact instead of seeing any of it. It would be one thing if we'd seen her deliberately store them or if the question of limited ammo had been raised at all during the fight. Instead, the tlumphs just appeared in the saddlebags when she got back to town. And by the way, I did it all without ammo because I'm awesome.
    Last edited by Thomas Cardew; 2018-07-15 at 06:13 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Its just a lot more.... talking recently. Less action, more politiking
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  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    I think the writer isn't into drawing long fight scenes anymore or something but many conflicts in the comic are still handled via violence it just mostly happens off screen now, which is a bit of a weird mix and considering it is a comic about a merc company a shift in focus. We just had someone solo several ships but how much of that did we actually see?
    Last edited by Ibrinar; 2018-07-15 at 08:22 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    We already knew the Toughs massively outclassed the Uuplechan Patriot Armada when they took down Shiplord Srabben and his crew, so it's not really a surprise Elf did the job so quickly.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Their ships outclassed but were still threatened by the militia, at least that's what I take real damage to mean. Then Maxim 39 gets blown up by long gun fire and Breath Weapon leaves to deal with the crazy AI. Which leaves the Toughs with inferior firepower which apparently means a single hard suit can board and destroy the enemy fleet. With no ammo. Like I said it feels unearned, either it was threat inflation before or it's overly effective plot armor now.

    Edit: I think this strip illustrates my point a little better. The UPA fleet is supposed to be more than match for just Cynthetic Certianity but it's overwhelmed by single soldier? Where's the internal gravy? If they want her alive, which they didn't. She's still a single soldier, with a few micro annie plants, well within range of overwhelming force.
    Last edited by Thomas Cardew; 2018-07-16 at 05:11 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Elf is a highly trained and experienced soldier who is very well equipped and the UPA didn't know about her. If the UPA fleet had known about her they would have killed her (after loosing a *lot* of people). But the UPA didn't know about her. The UPA are more or less pirates pretending to be soldiers. They ignore things they shouldn't. They make simple mistakes. They are arrogant and stupid. Also there s Schlock. An angry Schlock who is able to produce a never agent that disables/kills on contact. And the UPA didn't know about him either.
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  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Cardew View Post
    Like I said it feels unearned, either it was threat inflation before or it's overly effective plot armor now.
    You are not wrong, but that is undoubtedly deliberate. This is basically a Die Hard plot--instead of 'an army of trained and well-equipped cops are useless, but single cop John McClane will succeed because of his manly grit' it is 'a bunch of well-equipped Toughs with (at the beginning of the situation) superior firepower and tactically brilliant AIs and officers are useless, but one grieving Elf and Schlock will succeed (without ammo) because reasons.'

    In both cases, there is a 'unknown quantity' factor working in their favor, as HandofShadows points out. It is still highly unrealistic, but the comic isn't wholly realistic. The comic always has played the line between the genre motif's of war movies style 'the best army is one where soldiers are good soldiers and will succeed through AmericanTagon's Tough's superior tactics, equipment, and grit,' and action movies style 'individual heroism and self-reliance wins the day.'
    Last edited by Willie the Duck; 2018-07-17 at 10:05 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Back when the action first started, Kevyn said "any of our Heavies could clear that ship". I think the biggest obstacle was always getting the heavy on the ship, not clearing it once aboard. Schlock mostly cleared the first ship by eating the kittenoids and then developing a neural poison when that was taking too long. Elf cleared it the rest of the way after getting her frag-suit aboard. The second ship she captured by hacking and arming their missiles.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    We now have parts 1, 2, and 3 marked.

    Part 2 started with the AI avatars considering hte exploding ships.

    Part 3 started with the oddball colorings in the insane membrane. Mainframe.
    So you'll insert the horse into the Large Hadron Collider next?
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  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by keybounce View Post
    We now have parts 1, 2, and 3 marked.

    Part 2 started with the AI avatars considering hte exploding ships.

    Part 3 started with the oddball colorings in the insane membrane. Mainframe.
    And I saw Howard mention writing the prologue of the next book. Do you think we are going to get another action sequence in this one? While I approve of the action sequences with Elf clearing the ships and the ripping off of pirate arms, I think we need another sequence to finish out the book.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
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  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Doesn't look like it. I'm quoting his blog post in the spoiler but basically 1 week left in this book.

    Spoiler: Blog Post
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    I began creating Schlock Mercenary in March of 2000. That’s 18.25 years ago. It’s 91% of two decades. It’s longer than half my children have been alive. It’s longer than a lot of things.

    Book 18, Mandatory Failure, is wrapping up. A week from today we’ll see the first panels of Book 19, A Function of Firepower, and as currently outlined that book should run for about as long as this one did. Sometime in or about the early summer of 2019, Book 20 will begin. That book, which will run for about the length of a book, is outlined in a manner that should wrap things up satisfactorily. The twenty-year-long (by then, anyway) Schlock Mercenary mega-arc will draw to a close.

    It might be useful to consider books 18, 19, and 20 as a trilogy, especially in light of the fact that trilogy-style is the way I’m writing them. Book 18 will end with some unresolved threads, which Book 19 will pick up. Book 19 will will also end with some unresolved threads, which Book 20 will pick up.

    As to what comes after Book 20, I remain firm in my twin commitments to 1) keep making Schlock Mercenary and 2) not launch another twenty-year story arc. We can talk about those plans in a couple of years. For now I have some comics to ink.


    Spoiler: Thoughts
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    While I'm excited to see the end of dark matter saga, I'm a little worried about it being satisfactory as he says due to the last two books in particular. I've enjoyed them far less than the earlier entries in the series. And story arc wise they seem to be... not quite repeating but maybe retreading... the role of those books in establishing the threat/role of the dark matter beasties. I'll wait till the end to judge but I'm far less optimistic about the end of the story now than I was at say Delegates and Delegation or Big Dumb Objects.

  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Snip

    1) keep making Schlock Mercenary and

    /Snip

    I was looking forward for some closure, actually. Some of the best authors know when to leave a story behind.

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by Onyavar View Post
    Snip

    1) keep making Schlock Mercenary and

    /Snip

    I was looking forward for some closure, actually. Some of the best authors know when to leave a story behind.
    It's possible he'll be done with Schlock and the Toughs; he's left all kinds of threads hanging around that could make for adventures that don't need to involve inter-galactic cosmopolitics and ruminations about what it means to be an immortal sentient. We could see stories about Shep and his mob-boss mom or Shaefer's Shifters (sp) or maybe find out what Lunesby got up to, just to name a few.

  16. - Top - End - #106
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    I think Gugro is acing this exam, guys. Tagon senior is going to need to keep this guy in the officer payroll for real this time.

  17. - Top - End - #107
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    You sure? It seems like he's going to be another Sammy (Tagony?) that splits off from the main watch to do his own thing.
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  18. - Top - End - #108
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    I think Gugro will decline that offer for now until her clan is in savety. She doesn't strike me as the person who will leap at that opportunity right away. And the greatmother strikes me as the person who will expect that reluctancy from her successor.

    Howard described the situation as 'pope and italian grandma'
    But this is more like grandma is currently running a hospital right now and doesn't have any time for pope shenanigans, because look, these people here are sick or injured, so unless you have brought some medicine and bandaids, you're standing in the way.

  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    It's possible he'll be done with Schlock and the Toughs
    Yeah, I'm more thinking that he's going to continue to set stories in this universe rather than follow the same old characters.

  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Yeah, I'm more thinking that he's going to continue to set stories in this universe rather than follow the same old characters.
    They might even contain some of the current characters (like Schlock).
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    Rockphed said it well.
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  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomFox View Post
    You sure? It seems like he's going to be another Sammy (Tagony?) that splits off from the main watch to do his own thing.
    Well, I posted that yesterday. And hey, I was right that Gugro was acing the exam and thoroughly impressing Kathlumira. I just didn't realize acing the exam also came with a job offer.

  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    If anyone is interested in the meaning of the footnote of todays strip (2018-07-21), you should read the footnote of strip 2017-09-23 again.

    You will thus find out that it is not important .

  23. - Top - End - #113
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by Onyavar View Post
    If anyone is interested in the meaning of the footnote of todays strip (2018-07-21), you should read the footnote of strip 2017-09-23 again.

    You will thus find out that it is not important .
    I was wondering where the bullets had been mentioned. Thanks for pointing it out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    We should change the collective noun for crocodiles to "an abundance of crocodiles".
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  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by Onyavar View Post
    If anyone is interested in the meaning of the footnote of todays strip (2018-07-21), you should read the footnote of strip 2017-09-23 again.

    You will thus find out that it is not important .
    Yet. It could be a brick joke in progress.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

  25. - Top - End - #115
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Did he just wrap up the angry-gods plotline offscreen while we were focused on the Uplechan plot?
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    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  26. - Top - End - #116
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Did he just wrap up the angry-gods plotline offscreen while we were focused on the Uplechan plot?
    Apparently so, and it's beginning to become an annoying habit of his. How much of the original Eina-Afa arc was resolved offscreen and mentioned offhand in a panel? Also, it appears that the Putzho we saw on Eina-Afa was a copy of the original, who is apparently working for Petey...I don't think that was ever explained at any point!

    I'm beginning to wonder if Howard is just setting up these plots far too complicated in the first place, and is running out of space while trying to resolve them.

  27. - Top - End - #117
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I'm beginning to wonder if Howard is just setting up these plots far too complicated in the first place, and is running out of space while trying to resolve them.
    I think the reason is that he feels the need to make each plot bigger than the previous, but they have long since become way too big for the actual main characters of his comic, the Toughs, to resolve, so he sets them up and then has them be resolved by Petey while we get to see some minor d-level plot that is within the Tough's capabilities play out.

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  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    I think the reason is that he feels the need to make each plot bigger than the previous, but they have long since become way too big for the actual main characters of his comic, the Toughs, to resolve, so he sets them up and then has them be resolved by Petey while we get to see some minor d-level plot that is within the Tough's capabilities play out.

    GW
    What annoys me about this one is that, rather than showing what happened during the recap, we just get to see AI heads talking, which is nowhere near as fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    We should change the collective noun for crocodiles to "an abundance of crocodiles".
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  29. - Top - End - #119
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Apparently so, and it's beginning to become an annoying habit of his. How much of the original Eina-Afa arc was resolved offscreen and mentioned offhand in a panel? Also, it appears that the Putzho we saw on Eina-Afa was a copy of the original, who is apparently working for Petey...I don't think that was ever explained at any point!

    I'm beginning to wonder if Howard is just setting up these plots far too complicated in the first place, and is running out of space while trying to resolve them.
    It really hit the wall with this one -- WAY too much going on in WAY too many places. Even when we do see it all, it's often spread out across weeks or months apart with other things between.
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  30. - Top - End - #120
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    Default Re: Schlock Mercenary VIII: insAIne in the mAInfrAIme

    Th problem is that stuff icluding the AI doing hacking Ais hing is quite difficult to represent except trhough more dialogue. How exactly would you have shown t hapening except though the Ais talking betwen themsleves, ad tellin what they aredoig, which, is exactly whatthe current strip is.
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