Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 10: Scene Hops and Father Revelations

Introduction

< Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 >

Pages 836-951 (MSPA: 2736-2851)

Act 3, Part 2 of 4

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

Pictured above: why Dave is so damn angsty about his upbringing.

Last time we got a partial tour of Jade’s bizarre house. This time, we switch perspective to Dave battling his brother. I practically lost my breath watching that flash in which Dave strifes his brother, this time around. The guy teleports around at lightning speed like a ninja using Lil’ Cal to fuck with Dave, and the flash ends with a loop of Lil’ Cal slobbering over Dave while his guardian’s elusive silhouette flashes around. In my first two reads through I didn’t have this reaction. Maybe it had to do with the recent update in which Dave vented out all his frustration to Dirk about his upbringing? But yeah. Dave has pretty much the most fucked up guardian ever.

Then we switch back to Jade. She talks to Rose in a conversation we haven’t seen previously, which takes place before Rose connects to John and starts Sburb. Jade pretty much assures Rose that today will be an important day. I’ll take note of Jade’s quote at the end of the conversation:

GG: i dont really know what to tell you other than its not going to be what you think it is 
GG: and most importantly you will have your questions answered, but they will be the ones you havent thought to ask yet! 
GG: just be patient and be brave youll see 
GG: it will be fun!!!!!! 

What’s remarkable about this quote is that it’s been cited as a quote that essentially tells new readers what reading Homestuck will be like. Also, Rose is practically used to Jade giving her own weird advice, as shown by her line, “I require a font of frighteningly accurate yet infuriatingly nonspecific information. Do you know where I can find a wellspring of this sort?”

Then we switch to a bunch of different characters, taking a page or two for each. Rose goes down the passage in the mausoleum her mother opened, but as usual, before we find out what’s down there other than a green light we switch again, to Jade briefly and then to John. He is getting his ass kicked by a bunch of ogres, and Nannasprite’s bed conjuration and healing abilities are both demonstrated. THEN, we briefly switch to the Peregrine Mendicant who enters her apple command station and pulls out her sword, establishing that she is a deadly lady.

And then we see something worth discussing in a bit more depth: John contributed to Rose’s walkthrough by writing about punch card alchemy. It’s admirable how John figured out how punch cards work through his knowledge of computers alone, showing that he does indeed have a smart side. It’s also amusing how John talks about his “amazing hacker skillz” [sic] and “leet haxxor cred” [sic] while he’s been established to be god awful at programming, and merely idolizes hackers from watching all those movies where they’re portrayed as badass dudes (he says at one point that hackers are always the best). John’s lack of skill in programming is brought up when Dave talks to Roxy and suggests that she teaches him how to be better at programming, though I wonder, did John spend time programming during the three-year battleship journey? Did he become actually good at programming? Did he and Davesprite trade viruses? Or will his prospective girlfriend teach him the ways of the hacker and only then will he be any good? So many questions.

Jade’s grandfather is SO FUCKING WEIRD.

We’re not quite done with rapid scene switching. We take a look at the lab Rose entered, then switch back to Jade. She gives us a tour of all the weird things her grandpa collects: big game trophies (weird), valiant knights (eh), decrepit mummies (eww), blue ladies (what the hell), before she gets to the bottom floor to see a Typheus minion. It’s never explained what exactly that thing is as far as I know. Here’s another pattern Jade breaks: (10) while the other kids’ guardians each have one particular prominent interest (clowns, wizards, puppets), Jade’s grandpa has many, as evidenced by his various collections of objects in his house.

Then, for the first time in Homestuck, we get dialogue from one of the gray zodiac aliens everyone cosplays as, without necessarily knowing it’s one of them. The trolls are probably what Homestuck is best known for. They are what gave me the impression that Homestuck is really weird before I read it, because I found it strange that a work with such a mundane name would feature such weird zodiac aliens with those candy corn horns, not to mention that such aliens would exist. Anyway, the first troll were hear from is Karkat trolling Jade. The conversation between them is brief because Jade promptly blocks him, but from it we gather that the troll talking to Jade is incredibly rude, might have some knowledge of the future (SO I GUESS TODAY IS FINALLY THE DAY YOU FUCK EVERYTHING UP.), can talk to people even when they logged off, and can somehow evade being blocked from talking to her. Way to make a great first impression, Mr. Vantas. Weird how this guy is presented as flat out asshole but would eventually become one of the comic’s most loved characters. Also, what’s interesting about this conversation is that it’s the only seen exchange between Karkat and John or Jade of this kind. All seen conversations between Karkat and John, during Karkat’s backwards trolling march and afterwards, are at a point where at least one of them has warmed up to the other. And all other seen conversations between Karkat and Jade are at a point where Karkat actually tries to be constructive with her instead of just yelling at her.

For a slightly longer stretch of pages, Rose explores the Skaianet lab. She loses Jaspers when she ejects everything from her sylladex, grabs a hub for computer power, and there’s yet another countdown to the lab being “unestablished”, whatever that means. Then, PM gets into her command station and it flies away from the tree it came from.

Dave has his second round of battle against his brother. He has a crazy swordfight with him again, and it’s pretty obvious why he likes the idea of having a mother so much instead of this lunatic, who grabs his limp, flailing body, flash-steps to the right, and bounces the poor kid off him so that he lands falling down a flight of stairs. I remember that there was always some debate as to whether Dave’s brother was actually abusive, but I feel that it’s made pretty obvious at this point that he is.

The meteor impact map.

Rose goes on to see a map of all the meteor collisions around the world, imminent, passed, or otherwise, each tied to a Sburb session. There’s a few things of note about the map seen above: first off, it serves to convey just how many people are playing that game. The area around New York City and Massachusetts and whatnot has an unsurprisingly large amount of meteors shown, but the area around Rose’s house does as well. This likely ties in to her mother’s involvement with Skaianet; maybe people around that area are her mother’s associates and were thus allowed to test the game early or something? She zooms further out to see the second largest meteor headed for Dave’s location, and the largest headed for Jade’s location. Rose gets on her computer to transition us to John who, with the help of Nannasprite’s sprite powers and Rose moving objects way up, successfully kills the two ogres. John consults with Nannasprite, then we see what his father is up to. He’s on Derse, fighting a bunch of imps with shaving cream. Some guy there (later revealed to be Jack Noir) watches it, but before we find out what his deal is we switch over to the Mendicant.

After we establish PM’s obsession with mail, she contacts Jade, who is holding a gun in some kind of snowy land with much weird green interference. She recognizes Jade and tries to contact her, but then the command station, situated inside the flying spherical base, blows up. At first it seems like contacting a player before he or she enters the game causes it to malfunction, but later it’s revealed that the explosion was the protective Becsprite pulling a long distance NOPE on the prospect of Jade having an exile command her. Rose, meanwhile, comes across a little girl’s room in the lab (probably has to do with her mother), and then she is accosted by a friendly mutant kitten.

John then enters his father’s bedroom, but before we find out what’s in it, we switch to Jade. We see that her grandpa somehow has the heads of Sburb creatures on his wall, an odd fireplace with what looks to be a memorial to Jade (???), and he appears as a silhouette. Jade strifes him, and only then we learn that he’s actually a stuffed body mounted in front of the fireplace. WHO THE HELL STUFFS DEAD PEOPLE, LET ALONE THEIR OWN GRANDPARENTS, IN FRONT OF THE FIREPLACE??? Where are her parents for that matter?! Worse yet, given that she lives on an island in the middle of nowhere, it stands to reason that Jade stuffed her own grandpa after he died! Jade pretends to argue with her grandpa, and leaves the house, saying that he was so much easier to deal with when he was alive. That’s three patterns Jade breaks: (11) Jade doesn’t actually have a proper battle with her supposed guardian because (12) he is dead (just like how she can’t actually play the flute, and both the flute game and the strife with grandpa are keyboard-mashing games), and (13) she makes it outside without a misattributed quote coming to mind (though a misattributed quote appears later when her planet is introduced).

PM survives the explosion and the sentry worm in the command station retrieves her mail. Rose fails to refuse to acknowledge the mutant kitten, because you can’t say no to cats. She views her young self having a psychoanalysis session with her cat. As Dave puts it: “[psychoanalysis has] been like her EXACT top preoccupation since she was a fuckin baby.” The cat told Rose a secret, then vanished to show up dead two weeks later. Rose fast forwards through Jaspers’ timeline in a gloomy animation, showing that her mother held a dramatic funeral for the cat and that it ended up in a whole different room. It’s hinted that her mother tried and failed to make a new clone of the cat. Rose appearifies the cat again and gets the hell out of here. Jade’s dog Becquerel is glimpsed, and it’s stated that he somehow manages to elude her base of knowledge. What’s the deal with that dog? Before we find out, we have to see what’s in John’s dad’s room. Are you ready for a room full of …

Kind of a boring room.

… ties, pipes, and… business documents? This revelation is portrayed as horrific with dramatic music and everything. It was foreshadowed when we saw that John’s father’s PDA has only a pipe as its wallpaper and has people talking about tie stains, but still comes as a shock to readers. Interestingly, the music used in the flash in which John realizes what his father is really like is one of many songs mixed into the music used in the flash [S] Caliborn: Enter, which is legitimately horrific. Those revelations transition us back what John’s father is up to. He broke out of his cell yet again, showing that heavy objects are futile to stopping this mundane but legitimately badass man. This serves as an easy transition to the introduction of the comic’s first villain character, Jack Noir. This means that I’m at a good stopping point, also about halfway through act 3 making this an extra good stopping point.

Before I conclude this post, I’d like to note just how much this stretch of pages switches back and forth between a bunch of different characters. While the previous post was mostly 76 pages of Jade, this post is as follows:

  • 1 page of Dave*
  • 2 pages of Jade
  • 2 pages of Rose
  • 3 pages of Jade
  • 1 page of John and Nannasprite*
  • 1 page of PM
  • 1 page of John contributing to Rose’s walkthrough
  • 5 pages of Rose
  • 9 pages of Jade and Karkat
  • 10 pages of Rose
  • 1 page of PM
  • 1 page of Dave*
  • 7 pages of Rose
  • 6 pages of John and Nannasprite
  • 6 pages of John’s dad and Jack Noir
  • 11 pages of PM
  • 5 pages of Rose
  • 3 pages of John
  • 3 pages of Jade
  • 5 pages of PM
  • 16 pages of Rose
  • 4 pages of Jade
  • 4 pages of John
  • 2 pages of John’s dad and Jack Noir

* Flash pages

This contrasts pretty heavily with acts 1 and 2, where for the most part there are long stretches of pages focusing on a single character. I’m not sure what I think of the whole thing of constantly flipping between characters. Many readers complain about how often we switch to a different character right when we’re about to have an astounding revelation. Then again, a lot of people get used to that because Homestuck always does it. I guess it’s a weird thing about Homestuck which you eventually get used to.

I think that’s enough for today. See you next time as we get a tour of Jade’s weird dream world and Rose holds a therapy session with John in which we have his father’s motives spelled out.

>> Part 11: Magical Dreams and Clown Therapy

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