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The Secret Return of Alex Mack

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Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from Maetch
Review:
I never liked Charlene and I will withhold my actual thoughts about her demise, but I hope this little incident FINALLY gives Alex the push she needs to stop goofing around like a childish dolt and actually take the fight to Maggie and her psychos.

And there's still Atron to deal with, too. I'm still waiting for her to make her big play and possibly usurp Maggie and the Collective.
Comments from author:
Back when you were lobbying for her immediate and horrible death, I was just sitting there, wondering if you would still be reading when this story arc got published. Maybe I was smiling too.
Review By [Maetch] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from fpb
Review:
I have been thinking. Some people seem to feel that Alex might go meshuggah from the grief of this loss. I don't think so. This is Saint Alex we are talking about, the ever-responsible, ever-concerned. I think her temporary unreasoning fury at Action Girl is as mad as she is going to get, and that in six hours from now - i mean the historic now of the story - she will be regretting that and trying to ring Hanna to apologize. Appalling though the tragedy is, this is one person who has long learned to put others before herself and to control her emotions when she is needed.

Villains however might have another reason to regret Shar's death. From now, Terawatt is likely to redouble her efforts. Any menace will get her immediate and intense attention. Anyone who threatens civilians will never have a hope to get away. And if she was focused before, she will be unstoppable now. I reckon that Danielle Atron, in particular, is in for a very thin time.
Comments from author:
Yes. This could have impacts on Alex.
Review By [fpb] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from batzulger
Review:
A nuclear event is a hell of a casus belli.
Comments from author:
But not the first extreme event that has been used to justify launching a war. Humans have a history of seeking out potential casus belli (I'm using the plural here).
Review By [batzulger] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from Starfox
Review:
Damn, that was a punch in the gut. From happy road trip to tragedy. Though maybe Shar can take over the nanobots, and pull herself together like the iron giant...
Comments from author:
No, Shar won't be able to pull an 'Iron Giant'.

And how did the iron giant just get blasted into tiny pieces, none of which took any damage from the blast or the re-entry? Inquiring minds want to know!
Review By [Starfox] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from Tabercil
Review:
Woof... well-written chapter. And I find this exchange you made in an earlier review interesting:

Laith: I get that sometimes good chars have to die to move the story. Just don't quite see why it _had_ to be Shar and now.
Diane: Hopefully, over the next dozen chapters, you'll see why.

Hmmm... sounds to me like you're going to use Shar's death as a pivot point in the story. Question is - what would it be? Hmm, possibilities, possibilities... so far the SRI have been largely reactive. Maybe the SRI now goes active & aggressive against the various Orphans that are clearly not on the side of the angels??? You have a known "nuclear" event (at least that seems to be how it's going to be spun according to batzulger's story) on American soil as a pretext.
Comments from author:
Everything in my stories is a potential Chekov's Gun. Sometimes it's a Chekov's Boomerang.
Review By [Tabercil] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Return" from batzulger
Review:
re: "Maybe not. But I had a wonderful two-hour phone conversation with my lifelong best friend, of the kind that had brightened our lives since I was eighteen, and four days later I was told he had died of cancer. I think that is quite sudden enough."

Of course it is. Sudden surprising unstoppable death. I was just using an example from my frame of reference that involved a battlefield. I am in no way suggesting that there are not other forms.
Comments from author:
Now that we can be in touch with friends and loved ones all over the world, death in all of its forms is only a phone or a computer away.
Review By [batzulger] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from Hecatonchires
Review:
Shar ;_;
Comments from author:
Sorry. Just remember: I'm a horrible person.
Review By [Hecatonchires] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from DieselDriver
Review:
That was sad. You couldn't see a way to have Shar's power level out? I suppose this leaves some really hard soul searching for Alex & her extended family, even to the question of what about her own kids. With her and Ray both being changed what will her kids be like? Will they opt not to take a chance or will love overcome the fear?

Alex sure has sucky vacations.

Edit after reading many of the other reviews: I have to wonder what it would have been like if Shar had been able (mature enough at the time) to be part of the "Extraordinary League". All they would have needed to do would be to evacuate all the other characters and make sure all the gates were closed and the fight would have been on. Da'Laza might not have survived as much as she did. I can picture in my head theater the people outside the closed gates having to evacuate from the vicinity of the gates due to the sheer violence of the leakage through the closed gates.

Oh yeah, that wouldn't have left much of a story, would it? Maybe a show to watch from the vicinity of an Alpha Centauri analog.
Comments from author:
Exactly. If you make your hero powerful, you need a more powerful threat. Your only other choices are a really boring story ('ho hum, this week he fights the The Paperclip Wrangler') or a story focused on other things or an origin story where the powers don't come in until late in the story and you get to enjoy it as jerkheads get their comeuppance. King went with the third option in both 'Carrie' and 'Firestarter' and by the time we get to the big power eruption we're eager to see as much damage as the author can manage.
Review By [DieselDriver] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from MarcusRowland
Review:
Just realised that there have to be Shar-analogues in the Buffyverse, Hermione's world, DC, etc. etc., in the same way that Batman exists in multiple universes - she's an embodiment of The Plot, and way too important not to have some role in every story. Maybe she's going to turn up as an exceptionally powerful young witch in the Potterverse, or a metahuman in the DC verse. Her part in this story is over, but every universe needs a child to sacrifice to The Plot.

If you're wondering why I capitalise The Plot, this article may help

http://news.ansible.co.uk/plotdev.html
Comments from author:
No, I knew why you were capitalizing. It's more or less the same reason I capitalize when I cite the TV Tropes website.
Review By [MarcusRowland] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from (Current Donor)Speakertocustomers
Review:
Author: "Also, when I chose Charlie McGee, I knew I was going to have to nerf her, sideline her, or get rid of her. She is too powerful for the Alexverse."

That's one reason why I hated her.

DavidEmpey: "I did notice that Alex is/was almost obsessively fond of Shar (Oh no, she'll have to call herself "O'Neill", boo hoo. "Just thinking about the name change made Alex want to cry." Seriously, Alex? Seriously? Get a grip, woman!)"

And that's the other. Charlene was *ruining* Alex's life. And I genuinely do believe that the little brat was psychically manipulating Alex, and Alex's parents, and others.
Comments from author:
I did go out of my way to limit what Alex could physically do. It's easier to write a villain for Batman than for Superman. By that, I mean that there are scads of Intergang and Lex Luthor stories in the Supes canon, but in how many of them did we ever feel that 'oh no he might die from this' tension? With Superman, they had to keep upping the threat level to the multiverse-destroying tiers.
Review By [(Current Donor)Speakertocustomers] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from asqwerth
Review:
Sad now.

And this is while already half expecting it after being partially spoilt by reading batzulger's last chapter and its reviews before reading this one (learnt my lesson! Always read the main material first, from now on!).

In hindsight, I suppose one could say it was inevitable. But still.
Comments from author:
Sorry. It was hard to write too.
Review By [asqwerth] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from fpb
Review:
I was about to comment when I saw the last comment. Well, my view is that if I were a villain wanting to do something unpleasant to a heroine who has never lost a fight (so far as the world knows), I would not only think about my plans over and over again, but I would look for a period of grief and unsettlement in her life. If I were Maggie or DAnielle Atron, I would start on my long-planned murder or subversion campaign right now.
EDITED IN: " Until that sudden bolt or bullet from the blue hits a guy you were just joking with fifteen seconds ago, you just can't understand." Maybe not. But I had a wonderful two-hour phone conversation with my lifelong best friend, of the kind that had brightened our lives since I was eighteen, and four days later I was told he had died of cancer. I think that is quite sudden enough.
Comments from author:
I'm sorry for your loss. In this day and age where we have so much contact with so many people, we can see both the sudden loss and the slow, drawn-out, agonizing death. I've certainly seen both. When my time comes, I would prefer Option A.
Review By [fpb] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from batzulger
Review:
re:"I REALLY feel bad for the next villain to cross Terawatt. :)"

'clink! clink! clink'

Maggie Wall-allsh come out and play-yay! Oh Maggie Walllllsh! Come out and Play-eeee!

'clink! clink! clink'

(apologies to Walter Hill, Sol Yurick, and David Patrick Kelley)


EDIT: I honestly don't know, people process grief differently. Alex has spent her life in a mostly protected bubble in some ways. She knows that the outside world is tough and can be cruel, but this is absolutely the first time it's hit home. The first time that all her powers and skills were completely useless. It happened so fast that she couldn't comprehend what was happening as it happened.

Jack and Willow both understand sudden loss happening out of the blue. So do Hermione, Harry, and Ron. So does Az actually. If Alex talks to any of them, maybe she won't slip off the precipice. I fought in Panama, Desert Storm, and Somalia. Until that sudden bolt or bullet from the blue hits a guy you were just joking with fifteen seconds ago, you just can't understand. You have absolutely nothing to compare it to and when people lack a frame of reference they make assumptions and second guess. That way leads to really big trouble.

Will Alex recover?

Yes, people do all the time from loss. Alex has an advantage on that since she does have friends and family that are all very concerned with her physical and mental well-being. 'Will she recover in time?' is the bigger question. Especially since with the American and Indian branches gone, the Collective has basically nothing to slow it down now...
Comments from author:
Is Alex going to be out superheroing any time soon?
Review By [batzulger] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from Greywizard
Review:
I'd been wondering over the course of the past few chapters, just exactly who was going to die, and when, in order to give Alex/Terawatt one of life's little 'backhand to the face when you least expect it' moments, which everyone receives sooner or later, and which is such a necessary step in attaining full adult maturity.

After all, pretty much every bad thing that affected Alex throughout the story, up to this point, ended up getting resolved in kind of a family hour TV-series kind of way, and all of the various important characters recovered, sooner or later, from whatever bad thing had happened to them in the whichever incident was being discussed.

As soon as I read the part where Shar had tried to perform CPR on the dead woman, my first thought was 'Oh, no - possible source of infection,' but I pushed that aside, since I didn't think that you'd actually sacrifice a little girl - who had become essentially Alex's surrogate daughter - in order to make Alex realize just how cruel, capricious and arbitrary life can be.

It's the mark of a great writer who can do things like this - introduce characters who are just so lifelike and appealing, while also being quite realistically annoying and irritating - and seamlessly merge them into the story, as part of the groundwork necessary to provide so much necessary emotional growth for other characters in the story, and you've proven yourself to be just such a writer.

Thanks for sharing this with us.
Comments from author:
Thanks! I'm glad you're still reading. And I'm glad my directions are clear to the reader. Also, this chapter was hard to write.
Review By [Greywizard] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Vegas Vacation" from DavidEmpey
Review:
Wow. What a gut-punch! I did NOT see that coming, although in retrospect, it seems I should have been expecting something like it.
I did notice that Alex is/was almost obsessively fond of Shar (Oh no, she'll have to call herself "O'Neill", boo hoo. "Just thinking about the name change made Alex want to cry." Seriously, Alex? Seriously? Get a grip, woman!)
I wonder if Batman will have to take down a berserk Terawatt? Guess we'll find out.
Comments from author:
Hey, the Batman is prepared for *anything*. Even Alex's Batman.
Review By [DavidEmpey] • Date [21 Sep 14] • Rating [10 out of 10]
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