Sunday, August 4, 2019

Episode 389 - Shadow of a Phoenix

Episode 389: Shadow of a Phoenix

Memory loss could lead to your not remembering things.

An amnesiac woman wakes up in a mysterious room with no idea where she is or how she got there. No, it’s not the pitch for yet another action TV series, but rather the opening of our newest fictive odyssey. Having learned that she’s one of the world’s deadliest fighters, our heroine takes advantage of her skills by basically letting people lead her around simply because they grabbed her arm. Then again, given that her name is Midnight’s Shadow, I suppose a certain level of drippiness is expected. Throw in a Korean Ninja and a steampunk cosplayer and you have the first chunk of Shadow of a Phoenix, a fic that was six years in the making. Let that last part sink in, because you’re here for the long haul.


Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Episode 388 - Fallout South Carolina

Episode 388: Fallout South Carolina

We are reading a fanfic where mind control smoothies are a key plot point. I cannot imagine that we have seen anything stupider, nor can I imagine that we ever will

Welcome to post-apocalyptic South Carolina, home of the almighty John. After his home was destroyed by raiders (a fact that he’ll remind you of every few minutes) he has set out to… wander aimlessly across the landscape, really. Mostly he goes around stumbling from one situation to the next, but that’s okay because everyone around him will basically go out of their way to reward him for simply existing. So what else is there in this fic? Um, that’s a good question, really. Mostly there’s stew, haggling for prices and various local mayors who own powerful firearms. So sit back and have a smoothie as you pretend to read Fallout South Carolina.

No really. Have a smoothie.

It’s the law.


Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Episode 387 - The Death Games, chapters 20-22

Episode 387: The Death Games, chapters 20-22

Awww, it’s so sweet. [Pause] I tried to kill him many times.


Well, this is it. The final showdown you’ve all been waiting for. It’s been a long road here, what with all the lounging around, the talking about people hooking up and the almost-but-not-quite life-threatening peril. With the fa├žade of the games torn down in a vague semblance of a reveal, our hero is up against the vilest creature in, well, maybe in this particular neighbourhood. That’s right, Ki makes his dramatic move! His past with one particular guy we’ve heard of a couple of times is revealed! Of course, this shapes the entire situation in ways that haven’t even been hinted at before, but that’s The Death Games, baby. Facing down the vile soul-sucker alone, unaided, and with nobody but the entire assembled Justice League to call on, we can only wait to see what becomes of our hero: Eggs-Over-Easy boy.


Riffers: Dan, Maya Gold, Celena Harte and Tsuneo Tateo
Written by: Zogster

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Episode 386: Storm Force - The man who stole Polaris, parts 5-9

Episode 386: Storm Force: The man who stole Polaris, parts 5-9

Listen to the one-armed man with the sword telling you to shoot the zombie’s computer. He’s talking sense.

When you think about it, zombie hitman Alexander Kruise is just living the dream of every American. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to blow up the president with a nuclear bomb delivered in a shark-shaped, laser armed battle car? (Don’t answer that). And so, once again, it falls to our designated protagonists in Storm Force to save the day from his poorly defined evil plan to do something bad for some reason that really escapes us. So once again grab your razor disc, your exo-skeleton and your rocket propelled sheep scarers and be prepared to be shocked as Mikron actually does something in this gripping tale torn from the pages of Battle the inevitable grip of entropy!


Riffers: Rebecca Bartley, Natasha Isavia, Matt Simmons and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Rick R.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Episode 385 - Old Knights, chapters 5-8

Episode 385: Old Knights, chapters 5-8

If only they hadn’t spent all their money on a superfluous Phoenix Hawk. Then they’d have the money to repair the superfluous Phoenix Hawk.

Upon discovering that one of your men is a traitor who was in league with pirates, there is only one logical course of action. That’s right, sit on the information and not tell anyone because it might cause a fuss. And if this plan seems sensible to you, then a senior position in Knight’s Knights Chevaliers is yours for the asking. In the meantime, the technical crew ignore dangerous unexploded ordinance for months at an end, the commander goes on a rage-fuelled bender because the woman he stalked then ignored is going out with somebody else and it’s revealed that the main qualification the unit’s staff possess is that they were all friends once. That’s right, it’s a festival of fun-filled self-destructive ineptitude at all levels in this the second portion of Old Knights.


Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Episode 384 - Old Knights, chapters 1-4

Episode 384: Old Knights, chapters 1-4

Remember to pillage locally and support your local pirate organisation.

After five years of walking his giant war robot around the block and stalking the local doctor, retired designated protagonist Carter Knight goes back into the saddle one last time. And by that, we mean his former unit basically kidnapped him and forced him into the role, as they were too inept to do it themselves. Naturally he unquestionably accepts having this role thrust upon himself and immediately rewards their faith in him by injuring himself in highly unlikely ways. So thrill as the cast struggle to define themselves as individual people and pirates attack an elaborate underground base that apparently only exists for pirates to attack in the first portion of Old Knights, a fic by a guy called Knight about a unit called the Knights. You might notice a pattern there.


Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Monday, April 22, 2019

Rebuild of Elmer Studios, year seven

In reaching the end of our seventh year of the Rebuild of Elmer Studios, we passed another important milestone. At this stage we have outlasted our original incarnation in terms of lifespan, even if we also passed the first incarnation’s episode count some time before that. (Some disclaimers apply). And at this stage, we have enough material to likely see us through our eighth year as well.

This year we produced a total of twenty-two episodes. While I would like to say that it was a slow year, the truth is that it’s become the new standard. I did try to set a goal of two new episodes per month, but the simple fact is that real life is more important. However, I feel that this year we were truly blessed with an exceptional crop of fics (even accounting for the last part of Coalition War Story, which was a holdover from the previous year). There was nothing that was truly bad or awful, and instead what we had was entertaining in its own right.

Episode 383 - Transformers Earth's Mightiest Heroes, chapters 16-19

Episode 383: Transformers Earth's Mightiest Heroes, chapters 16-19

Derek’s main role here seems to be “Wikipedia.”

The tension ramps up as forces that include superhumans, gods and alien robots clash in an epic battle for control of one abandoned school in Iowa. Will Derek’s beloved childhood memories survive? Can Derek spend more time expositing at Captain America? Will Black Widow get out of the funk she’s been in since Derek got lightly hurt? Will Hawkeye actually ever do anything? And are there any actual Transformers in this Transformers/Avengers crossover? You may well ponder these questions (well, you probably won’t) but fear not, for the fic won’t give you any sort of answer and instead just gives up the will to live. Throw in ‘sad Loki in prison’ scene #4,691, a completely stupid plot twist and a bit more about Derek (of course!) and you’ll be finally done with Transformers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!


Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Friday, April 5, 2019

Episode 382 - Transformers Earth's Mightiest Heroes, chapters 11-15

Episode 382: Transformers Earth's Mightiest Heroes, chapters 11-15

It’s like if a Bill Bryson travelogue accidentally crashed into an action movie.

Have you ever found yourself needing to know the layout of an abandoned high school in the middle of Iowa? Well fret not, because Derek is here to save your one very specific problem! What does he do besides having that one talent that is largely redundant in the modern age of instantly available information? Very little. But everyone seems to make him the centre of attention anyway, so clearly there’s something important about him. It’s almost like he’s the author’s OC or something. Meanwhile in non-Derek related matters, people get off planes, park cars and drive slowly across the countryside! So strap in for the third part of this wild, thrill-a-minute ride! (Plus there’s the outside chance that there might be some giant alien shapechanging robots).


Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Episode 381 - Transformers Earth's Mightiest Heroes, chapters 6-10

Episode 381: Transformers Earth's Mightiest Heroes, chapters 6-10

Rhodes and Epps work under so many levels of operational secrecy that they have to get presidential clearance to go to each others’ birthday parties.

Gigantic shape-changing alien robots at war for millions of years! Beings with powers far beyond those of mere mortals who fight to protect the earth! Together, these two groups will attend meetings! Are you thrilled yet, because I know I am! That’s right, having spent half a dozen chapters introducing characters, we get to see them stand around and talk to each other, exposit their backstories and teleconference! I can tell you’re as excited as I am for these developments, but that’s not all that happens in this action-packed chunk of fic. We’re introduced to a new character who has a skill that will be vital to the action to come: he knows about one small town in Iowa! Are you excited, because I know I’m not!


Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Episode 380 - Transformers Earth's Mightiest Heroes, chapters 1-5

Episode 380: Transformers Earth's Mightiest Heroes, chapters 1-5

It was a normal sort of day on the flying invisible aircraft carrier.

Giant robots have invaded the Earth, going to war with each other! Super-powered beings clash for control of mankind while repelling alien invasions! And yet, somehow these two groups are completely unaware of each other’s existence despite several cities blowing up and a massive alien planet hanging over them for some time. However, if you can put that minor plot hole aside, you might just have a rollicking good time with Transformers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, a fic which basically has its entire premise right there in the title. So sit back while Optimus Prime tells Captain America about how the evil infiltrator Bob fought Nick Fury, two identical guys with near identical names fight and the fact that cars are a rare sight in Germany in this crossover fic thingamajig. Warning: contains evil scary faces!


Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Episode 379 - The Death Games, chapters 20-22

Episode 379: The Death Games, chapters 20-22

He paused for a smooch in the middle of a minefield while facing a gun-toting killer. I’ve seen better plans.


The Death Games has been a long road, but by now it’s approaching its dramatic conclusion. And with that comes startling revelations about the nature of the contest… Startling mostly because of just how little sense they make. We’ll find out why Ki, head monochrome bad guy and robe enthusiast decided to subjugate whole planets just to take off with one teenager at a time. We discover just what he fears – not really why, or how it impacts him, or quite how his plan to deal with it makes sense, but hey, he’s afraid of it anyway. And we learn the shocking true nature of the contest itself, in a flurry of exposition that manages to make less sense with each passing line. Secrets are revealed in the penultimate chapter of The Death Games – Tune in, and don’t find out!


Riffers: Dan, Maya Gold, Celena Harte and Tsuneo Tateo
Written by: Zogster

Monday, January 7, 2019

Episode 378 - Storm Force: The man who stole Polaris, parts 1-4

Episode 378: Storm Force: The man who stole Polaris, parts 1-4

Status: In the middle of exploding.


Imagine that you are the editor of Battle, a comic founded on the ideals of subverting authority through war stories that were gritty and heroic, but not romantic. Now imagine that the newest story has crossed your desk. It’s about a zombie stealing nuclear missiles to take over the world, and the only people who can stop him are a group of gun-toting maniacs who drive around in a shark-shaped car shooting lasers at people. And now imagine that you’re accepting this, because you know it lets the hollow shell of your once-proud comic can stave off succumbing to the inevitable for another two months. That’s right, dear readers, we have hit peak Storm Force. It doesn’t get too much better – and worse – than this.


Riffers: Rebecca Bartley, Natasha Isavia, Matt Simmons and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Rick R.