Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 7: Land of Swords and Smuppets

Introduction

< Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 >

Pages 562-665 (MSPA: 2462-2565)

Act 2, Part 4 of 5

NEW: Link to rewritten version (I recommend you read it instead of this post)

NOTE: Posted this one early because I’m gone for the weekend.

Just another title picture I guess. All of said pictures were added when I was on post 30-some.

A bit of a stretch to call this a “kitchen”.

Last time, we focused mainly on John as he sees the mess that was made of his house, and Dave as we get a glimpse of his brother’s stuff. Now, Dave examines the rest of his living room, which has, well, a lot of things in it. Swords, turntables, Game Bro magazines, Xbox equipment, nunchucks, skateboards, baseball caps, power cords, creepy comics, shurikens, fireworks, and most prominently, those fucking puppets. His brother flash-steps around the room and moves objects at a whim, in a way that’s more than a little unsettling. And then we go to the kitchen which is filled with dangerous stuff, and no actual food anywhere—something that’s played for laughs at this point, but much later what TV Tropes calls “Cerebus syndrome” kicks in and Dave portrays his old home life as legitimately unsettling when he vents out all his frustration about his upbringing. One thing of note is that Dave seems to know the Scrabble letter point values by heart—why is that? He isn’t portrayed as a nerd who would know that kind of stuff like John is (though he does have a nerdy side). Maybe his brother would challenge him to intense Scrabble competitions every week? Maybe those Scrabble competitions were intended to train Dave to be an expert at his fetch modus, which would make sense given the other insane training his brother is known to do, like sword fighting. It’s pretty amusing to imagine Dave playing Scrabble against his brother, who I like to think is nightmarishly adept at that game. Maybe the guy slaps his tiles onto the board at his ultra ninja speed and kicks little Dave’s ass every time they play with his obscure words calibrated to get the best possible combinations of triple score squares. That might make sense given that Dirk has a florid vocabulary, like Rose. Anyway, maybe it isn’t too far-fetched to know all the Scrabble point values; I only play Scrabble once every few months or so, but I could probably list out all the letter values with at most two or three mistakes. Then again I’m into memorizing stuff.

Dave unwittingly stars in one of his brother’s puppet movies when he blends a puppet with fake blood inside and accidentally decapitates a Saw puppet (definitely not something referenced heavily in Homestuck). The Saw puppet’s head comes back in the sink, which is kind of creepy. Dave’s brother then appears as a full silhouette, and moves Lil’ Cal again. Dave freaks out for a second, but then realizes it’s just Cal. It’s almost robotic how Dave has it in his mind that Lil’ Cal is the shit. To demonstrate the freakiness of Dave’s upbringing in full view, get this: his fridge is filled with swords, and he has to stash his food in the closet. What the fuck kind of household life is this?! He falls for his brother’s puppet trap, becomes buried in a pile of puppet ass, and talks to Rose about it in a conversation we’ve already read. He reads his brother’s note which tells him to go to the roof and bring Cal, and slices all those puppets with his sword.

Dave then bees the other guy, finally snapping us out of the disturbing puppet shit and getting back to our protagonist. John uses his bedsheets and cruxite dowels to make a tent. This could have moved the plot in all kinds of awesome directions if Rose didn’t decide to throw that thing out the window. What a shame.

The Pogo Hammer in action.

Inspired by a magic trick in his Wise Guy book, John figures out how to combine two items he owns to combine them into one new cool object, the Pogo Hammer. This is the very first time items are alchemized together, something that is done again and again throughout Homestuck. It’s pretty appreciable how John figures out such an extensively featured game mechanic on his own. Rose even appreciates his work, and when John bounces into the sky, she moves his bed just in time for him to land on it, leading to an instance of the recurring Sweet Catch. John and Rose working together like this is one of the most appealing things about the early acts in Homestuck.

After he lands in his bed, John pesters Rose, and asks if she can carry the bed with him on it up to his first gate (she can’t). That made me laugh pretty hard actually, the idea of Rose carrying a drowsy John in his bed from afar, all the way up to that gate. It’s like he’s on a magic invisible elevator with bedding and everything, powered by the forces of his own friend in a computer interface. Do I even need to say which song should play as he does that? Oh, and then John falls asleep.

Rose goes on to deduce that with captcha codes, people can send any objects to each other. She tries to do it with the Sburb server disc to send it to John, but she can’t because the code is unreadable. Then the generator shuts off, leading to the comic’s first ever FACEPALM x2 COMBO. John then wakes up, and in a dream sequence, he sees clouds shaped like things such as his father, a cake, and a clown, and we glimpse a silhouette of Jade (our thus far mysterious fourth kid) the moment before he wakes up. What’s the deal with that? We don’t know yet, though one thing of note is the shaped clouds. Those would in fact be clouds in Prospit’s sky, and if I’m not mistaken (EDIT: I was mistaken), the only other time such clouds appear is in the end of the flash Jade: Pester John in which we see the aforementioned sequence from Jade’s perspective; aside from that, the clouds Prospit dreamers see are just shaped like regular clouds and show visions of the future. Early installment weirdness, I’m telling you.

Then, John talks to Jade again. Jade nearly lets it slip that she knows things she shouldn’t, but she always denies to him that she has any such foreseeing ability. This really seems like a dickish thing to do—why tell two friends a crazy fact about you that can be proven in action, but hide that fact from another friend? She apparently needs to wait until some moment to tell him that, which is pretty confusing. Like it’s so damn hard to just tell him. John says that Dave and Rose always try to tell him the truth about Jade, which says something about their friendships: they both clearly want to let John in the loop on the deal with Jade because they know that frankly, Jade’s being kind of a douche by being so obnoxiously cagey. The weird thing about me calling Jade a douche is that no reasonable reader would put Jade in the bin of characters who would qualify as douchebags. It’s probably the coy and blue-and-orange moraled ways of all of Sburb’s forces (denizens, Skaia’s clouds, the Horrorterrors) rubbing the hell off on Jade. Did I mention that this is Homestuck’s recurring theme of withholding information, in action?

John then looks around, and sees a giant ogre that dwarfs those imps around his house. He prepares for a boss battle …

bro.
roof. now.
bring cal.

… just before Dave stops being the other guy. The narration even lampshades how much the story shifts focus at cliffhangers. In an animation with rather dramatic music, Dave grabs his gear and goes to the top of the building, but before he and his brother showdown, we get a psycheout and see Jade in full view for a few seconds before we get a x2 psycheout combo, and the narration switches to the Wayward Vagabond. Another natural stopping point, especially given that there’s another approximately 100 pages left in act 2.

So what do we get out of this portion of act 2? We get to know how creepy everything regarding Dave’s brother is, John brings about the system of punch card alchemy, and the twice-glimpsed Jade inexplicably withholds her knowledge of the future from John.

See you next time as we round out Act 2 of Homestuck by delving into a realm of weird plot shit and foreshadowing with our new friend, the Mayor.

>> Part 8: Mayorly Foreshadowification Station

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