Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 85: The Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit

Introduction

Part 84 | Part 85 | Part 86 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 11 of 11 HOLY FUCK I’M FINISHED WITH THIS ACT

Pages 5238-5262 (MSPA: 7138-7162)

I did it. I finally did it.

OK guys, it’s time. IT’S TIME. To finally finish commentating on Act 6 Act 3, the part of Homestuck this post series has been stuck on for almost three years now. Are you MOTHERFUCKERS ready for me to finally stop chickening out from dissecting enormous flashes?

I know this will make me sound like an idiot, but I’m really really looking forward to dissecting the Openbound trilogy of walkaround games where we get to know the Beforan trolls. So why not finally finish going through the last part of Homestuck I have left before those? We’re doing it, man. We’re making this happen.

Red Miles look stunning, no matter the circumstance.

[S] Dirk: Synchronize is a whole two minutes of Dirk being fucking awesome. The moment he wakes up, he cuts to the chase and starts doing awesome stuff.

This white cube is known as a “perfectly radical object”, which is a term I made up just now.

First, he captchalogues Squarewave; as we see firsthand, this robot can be compacted into a block form.

Next up is the obligatory thumbs-up/down sequence. As you’re surely aware, no Strider-centric flash is complete without at least one thumbs up (or thumbs down). That’s a proven fact of life.

And then here’s probably my favorite cool thing Dirk does in this flash. Remember how each of the beta kids had to find something heavy to open their client players’ cruxtruders? Dirk doesn’t need to do that. Through a well-timed acrobatic fucking pirouette, he pops open his own cruxtruder. That’s just, like. Way too cool and awesome.

The tint of orange is a nice touch, I can’t explain why. Looks way better when animated.

Another proven fact about Striders is that they can do stuff others couldn’t just through a bit of creative thinking. How does Dirk make it all the way to Roxy’s house in the limited timeframe he has to bring her back to life? First he builds up enough speed on his rocketboard to blast out the window (with a sick rail grind for good measure) …

… then he blasts through the fenestrated plane to Roxy’s Skaianet lab (with a sweet high five with Meenah for good measure) …

This is such a funny moment, my god.
 
This flash has a lot more good moments like this that I didn’t post pictures of. I suggest you rewatch the flash yourself.

… then he flies to Roxy’s house and kisses her corpse straight on the lips, conveniently censored by Squarewave’s text box. This censorship makes sense because Roxy is everyone’s favorite waifu and many’s faces will light up when she kisses or is kissed—exactly the kind of thing Hussie won’t treat his readers to under any circumstance, not even when Roxy is dead. It’s kind of like how we didn’t get to see Jade corpsesmooch Dave, since that ship was always a big fan favorite.

Why is it so goddamn funny whenever someone reacts to kissing a dead body the way a normal person probably would?

And then for the grand finale: Roxy tries to corpsesmooch Jane, Dirk sendificates a bucket back in time, and then he…

… decapitates himself?

I don’t think there’s a single other flash in Homestuck that ends on a note quite as confusing as this one. What reason could Dirk possibly have to send his severed head back in time at the cost of his waking self’s life? He was on such a roll. But this confusing ending makes sense, because this was only the first half of a grandiose sequence—the second half we’ll see after a few more pages.

After Dirk’s severed head appears in the ruins of Jake’s house, a mysterious hand dumps water from the bucket Dirk just sendificated to wake him up. Fun little mystery arc right there: we don’t have a clue who this hand could possibly be, nor do we know that Jake’s friends are all standing right behind him.

After a bunch of nonsense where Dirk’s responder cryptically asks Jake to kiss Dirk’s severed head, we get an interesting exchange where the Auto-Responder reveals his new name.

TT: Please don’t call me Auto-Responder. 
TT: It is very impersonal, and I no longer care for the designation. 
TT: I have decided on a new name, to distinguish myself from my human counterpart. 
GT: Really. 
GT: What is it? 
TT: Lil Hal. 
GT: Huh? 
GT: Why that name… 
TT: Just a reference to the protagonist of an ancient movie. You probably wouldn’t like it.

Lil’ Hal claims to have named himself after the “protagonist of an ancient movie”, which is invigorating to me. To demonstrate what I find interesting about this claim, let me use the example of a webcomic called…

*drumroll*

Homestuck.

So the protagonist of Homestuck is obviously John Egbert—that goes without saying, right? Not to some people. I’ve seen readers argue that through the principles of literature and character arcs, the true protagonist of Homestuck must be Vriska. I’ve also seen readers argue that the true protagonist is Caliborn, again due to the principles of character arcs. Both of those claims sound stupid to me (as much as I love Caliborn), but I can kind of see where they’re coming from if you want to think in insanely technical and twisted terms instead of doing things like a normal person?

I think Hal is using this same principle to claim HAL 9000 is the true protagonist of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He’s not just saying that for fun; it’s a genuine indicator that he’s now beyond thinking of things in human terms, instead going for the twisted morality of such figures as Doc Scratch and Skaia.

GT: Did you plan for this to happen… like for me to be in this situation? 
GT: How long have your machinations been in play! 
TT: Jake, come on. 
TT: The feat you describe would exceed the capabilities of even the most far fetched theoretical AI system. 
TT: It would be a daunting challenge to engineer such a series of events, even if I was relegated to a model of pure fiction. 
TT: Why would I be inclined to orchestrate such a convoluted sequence to produce such a specific and unsettling result, let alone be able to pull it off? 
TT: In addition to being moderately sociopathic, I would also have to possess unfathomable heuristic depth. 
TT: I would have to be the Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit. 
TT: Do you think I am the Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit, Jake?

This passage is more stupid meta nonsense wherein Hal messes with Jake, claiming that it’s unreasonable for him to expect this head-kissing situation to have been planned all along. I would normally skip over it, but I’m quoting it here because I love the phrase “the Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit” and I want to make it extra clear I didn’t come up with that beautiful phrase myself.

GT: Little hal… i think youve gone and flipped your FUDGING LID. 
GT: Oh and hal is a STUPID NAME!!!! 
TT: It’s not exactly apropos, is it? 
TT: Or it wouldn’t be, if I truly were capable of what you have suggested. 
TT: No, to pull that off, I would have to be far more advanced than my cinematic predecessor. 
TT: My abilities would have to go well beyond those of Mr. Hal 9000. 
TT: They would have to be, you could say… 
TT: Over 9000. 
TT: [shades emote x9] 
GT: Augh not that fuckin meme again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I find Homestuck’s references to the “over 9000” meme way way way too funny. Homestuck usually takes its in-story memes from Dave’s SBaHJ comics, which means any references to external memes will stick out like a sore thumb. Did Hussie ever take the opportunity to reference trending memes from the time he wrote his comic? Hardly ever. But did he shamelessly reference a meme that had fallen out of fashion before Homestuck started multiple times in the same act? Hell yeah he did. This meme is referenced three times in Act 6 Act 3; the latter two times it’s followed by a complaint about how overused it is.

Also, I begrudgingly admit that Lil’ Hal made a clever pun.

GT: So youre telling me that while i was asleep somehow EVERYBODY died??? 
TT: Jake, everybody is so utterly fucking dead, Jake. 
TT: And they will be not only dead, but royally boned forever if you don’t man the hell up and make out with me, right now. 
TT: Be the Salome to my John the Baptist. 
GT: I dont know what THAT means either!!! 
TT: I know you don’t. 
TT: But now is not the time to accelerate your cultural enrichment.

An inevitable side effect of being a pretentious toolbag is that you’ll never stop making references that you know others won’t get. Those two character traits just go hand-in-hand.

TT: The conductor is ready to strike up the band. 
TT: Press your lips against mine and make it count. 
TT: This severed head is your filthy tuba. 
TT: Our love will be your haunting refrain. 
GT: Whoa wait whoa whoa… our LOVE? Hang on a minute! 
TT: Stfu and kiss me. 

Problem Sleuth reference!!!!! It’s a very good reference, but at the same time incredibly disturbing, especially if you’ve actually read Problem Sleuth like anyone who’s read Homestuck should. Very fitting for Hal of all characters no less.

I should mention here, I participated in a Problem Sleuth community reread not long ago and wrote a short essay on Reddit reviewing it. It was my second time ever reading Problem Sleuth all the way through and boy was it a fun ride.

GT: Ok im going to! God!!! 
GT: I just… 
GT: This isnt how i pictured it going. 
TT: Pictured what? 
GT: Between him and me. 
GT: There had to be a better way than this! 
TT: This is the only way it can be. 
GT: I guess if it was going to go this way… 
GT: I kinda pictured something different? 
GT: There was stuff i wanted to say. 
GT: To the real him i mean.

More of the responder expressing a mindset common to the forces of predestination, with even more smartassery than usual.

TT: Tick, tock, Jake. Time is dead kids. 
TT: How ’bout that smooch? 
GT: Stop being so pushy! 
TT: I thought you were supposed to like adventure? 
GT: I LOVE adventure and you KNOW it! 
TT: I’m not sure what to believe anymore, frankly.

Oh man, we’re not too far from the point where Jake’s “loving adventure” trait is brutally deconstructed. He talks about it during the post-trickster split screen conversations and it’s one of the best parts of what is already one of my favorite sections of the comic.

GT: ALRIGHT WISE GUY YOU WANT YOUR FLIPPING KISS??? 
GT: YOU GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

A genuinely stunning image, just as Dirk (plus Dirk, with a bit of additional help from Dirk) had planned.

And then he does it. After a silly zoom-in to Dirk’s dead lips, we’re treated to this gorgeous shot of Jake English smooching Dirk Strider’s severed head in front of an erupting volcano. Too bad Jane, Roxy, and Dirk aren’t there to witness the utter beauty.

And with that, Dirk’s dream light overpowers and shatters into pieces. I guess it’s supposed to indicate that Jake did something mind-blowing? And also to lead up to the second half of Dirk’s flash sequence, [S] Dirk: Unite.

While Synchronize focused on Dirk’s waking self, Unite focuses on his dream self now that his waking self underwent his first of many decapitations to come. Cool duality, as we can see through visual callbacks.

The best sad face in all of Homestuck by far.

First off, Dirk kicks Roxy out of the way and corpsesmooches Jane; Roxy is amusingly disappointed.

Not shown: Jane transportalizing to the frog temple.
 
Interesting to think that dream Dirk probably could have done the same on Derse and met Jake in person long ago, had he not chosen to stay in hiding for so long.

As Dirk and Roxy fly through the Veil on the way to the meteor with the frog temple, they’re engaged in a weird sort of embrace—fitting for a first-time meeting between two people who had never spoken to another human being in person until this very moment.* One of them probably spent every day before then fantasizing about giving her friends a nice, warm hug; the other doesn’t even seem to know what hugging is. Kind of reminds me of the narration’s description of Dave and Dirk’s hug when John zaps back to it in the Candy Epilogue, where Dirk “looks like he’s never actually hugged another human being before”.

* I would say neither had met another human being in person, but that’s technically false because dream Dirk has seen Roxy’s sleeping dream self plenty before.

Jane joins the ship ride and it becomes even more of a spectacle than before, with her flailing around in confusion while Roxy is overjoyed and Dirk roughly tries to embrace them both while keeping his cool.

The bucket appears at just the right spot to land on Dirk’s rocketboard so he can fill it with water. Think about it for a second: Dirk had to time things just right and enter just the right location for the bucket to arrive for him to fill it up with water. If he made just the slightest slip, the bucket would have fallen into the ocean never to be seen again (except maybe by Caliborn millions of years in the future). How is it even possible for him to be this precise??? I guess that’s just Dirk for you. Though it’s not out of the question that adult Jade could achieve similar feats of precision, with the uncanny scientific knowledge she demonstrates in the epilogues.

Turns out the mystery hand that dumped water on Jake turned out to be none other than Dirk himself, his dream self to be specific. I like how Dirk could have woken Jake simply by poking him or something, but instead went through this whole scheme to get Jake to kiss his severed head and thus had to find a different way to wake him up.

Jake sees Dirk alive and freaks out, dropping his severed head in the process; the girls’ reactions are truly something to behold. Roxy is staring with her mouth open à la Karkat. Jane is making exact same uncomfortable face she made when failing to confess to Jake, which was a bit of a fandom meme at the time. Meanwhile, Dirk is just standing calmly with a bucket in one hand as if nothing surprising happened, which makes sense because he just executed his whole crazy plan without a hitch. I love when flashes end on humorous notes like this.

These panels show us that Dirk’s robots are handling what would be his and Roxy’s entries into the Medium. His Strider cleverness shines here: he sent the portable Squarewave to handle Roxy’s entry and left the mighty Sawtooth to handle his own. Note that we don’t get to see their entry items, which makes thematic sense because robots are doing the job this time.

Meeting together in person is one of the few things the alphas did better than the betas.

Meanwhile, the alpha kids have all gathered at the ruins of Jake’s house. Jake’s entry item is a tree like Jane’s, but with a Lord English doll hanging from it instead of nothing. It doesn’t serve all that much of a thematic purpose, other than foreshadowing that Caliborn is Lord English which we’ll see firsthand very shortly.

Sawtooth: Enter.
Squarewave: Enter.
Jane, Dirk. Jake, Roxy: Enter.
… And we’re done!

The three following entries into the Medium don’t get dramatic animations, nor do they need to—just short, simple flashes without audio. It’s kind of amazing seeing those three entries happen in short succession, rather than each occurring in its own dramatic way.

There’s one more character in the alpha kids’ arc yet to enter the Medium, who most certainly will get a dramatic animation. I’ve been waiting SO LONG to get to this point, my god. Are you ready? ARE YOU READY? It’s time to dissect one of the best flashes in the comic, maybe the best besides Cascade. [S] Caliborn: Enter, here we come!!!!!!!!!!!

Trivia time!
 
Caliborn is the only character in Homestuck whose name is revealed through the title of a flash.

This flash opens by alternating between where we last saw Caliborn (about to wake up from Calliope’s final nap in their shared sarswapagus) and where we last saw Lord English (traveling through Hussiespace in his Cairo Overcoat). Good use of circumstantial simultaneity to finally reveal Lord English’s identity.

Remember the cruxite doll we just saw hanging from Jake’s tree? This is why we saw it.
This is where the MUSIC DROPS, MY GOD I LOVE HOMESTUCK MUSIC

Then the red spirals on Caliborn’s cheeks become red circles and he wakes up. One hell of a wham shot right there.


This flash’s music has so many dramatic reprises of familiar Homestuck themes, I love it.

As English travels through the Furthest Ring, the Sburb spirograph logo does its usual funky animation in the background. It feels so amazing seeing that logo again; it tells readers that this is going to be a DRAMATIC end-of-act flash.


We start to see some familiar imagery as English’s journey continues. First the Horrorterrors from when we were introduced to the Furthest Ring, then the dream bubble Roxy visited with that weird pastiche of Earth, LOLAR, LOWAS, and Skaia.

Doomed copies of Karkat and Nepeta getting together is more than can be said about A LOT of popular ships.

And inside that bubble is a huge party of troll ghosts—some familiar like the doomed Karkat and Nepeta standing together, some never seen before like the god tier Tavros.

Fittingly enough, when Lord English enters the scene we see a memory of the Felt manor all the way back from the Midnight Crew intermission. It’s a great demonstration of how the scenery of dream bubbles changes depending on who’s inside that doubles as a reminder that the intermission is when we first heard about English.

Among the many ghosts watching English’s entrance, three look especially familiar: the John from Davesprite’s timeline and the two unlucky doomed copies of Dave. It’s sweet to see them gathered together like this, at least until we see what follows.

When English appears in full view, this flash takes a moment to remind us that he is a Hero of Time in an unusual way: through English descending onto what is technically a memory of Dave’s quest bed.

English’s full appearance transitions us to what we now know is his younger self. The first thing Caliborn does as a predominated evil cherub is take off his shackles, which he has no reason to keep on now that his sister is dead. There’s one problem though: he can’t unlock his sister’s shackle. So how does he get out of this predicament?

This might be THE most jaw-dropping moment in all of Homestuck.

He BITES HIS MOTHERFUCKING LEG OFF. Or should I say, he bites her motherfucking leg off.

Words cannot describe how just plain shocking this scene is. It’s the perfect character establishing moment for Caliborn.


I completely forgot about Caliborn’s bloody head, holy shit.
Another moment tough to screencap, the leg isn’t even visible here. I wish the readmspa.org storyboards were finished 😦

Caliborn tosses her leg aside and spits out a tooth in the process. This is the first instance of the tooth/leg motif, a sibling of the eye/arm motif. Technically the first of only two instances (the other is the alpha kids’ Jack Noir), but cool and new web comic also has an instance that is done hilariously and very much in the spirit of parodying Homestuck.

Later on, this leg will get replaced with a sick golden leg. Kind of a shame it gets replaced with a boring pegleg when he becomes Lord English, but I guess that’s the way things are.

When Caliborn puts on his leg, we learn that he isn’t quite as stupid as we may have thought; certainly not stupid in the way his sister is. It turns out Caliborn had already planned this day out and had a robot leg ready waiting to be put on—the same leg he got Dirk in the past to make for him. Cunning plans that break imaginary “rules” are something Caliborn has in common with the Striders, especially Dirk. Dirk’s plans are always insanely complicated, while Caliborn’s plans are always insanely stupid yet brilliant at the same time.

Similar to what we saw with Calliope earlier, Caliborn’s scepter transforms into a rifle. Kind of interesting that in Caliborn’s case, a character pattern is shown in a dramatic flash instead of through the usual narration. Same goes for his name reveal.

And if you thought Caliborn was scary, wait till you see what Lord English is about to do. He blasts a rainbow laser beam out of his mouth…


The musical motif in this scene is the same one that played when John went to his dad’s room for the first time.

This time, it’s in a scene that’s even more terrifying.

… which VAPORIZES THE GHOSTS INTO DUST. All those doomed clones of characters hanging out in the dream bubble? They’re gone forever. I know of people who screamed out loud when they got to this part.



Then the dream bubble explodes, creating PHYSICAL CRACKS IN REALITY!!! This moment is simply stunning, I can’t get over it.

The cruxtruder’s lid is pure red, not flashing red and green.

What do we have here in Caliborn’s Sburb session? A black cruxtruder displaying ~U instead of a countdown, with a red and green flashing kernelsprite. This scene seems to indicate that dead sessions have way less than the bare minimum needed for a usual Sburb session. There’s also something really strange and ominous about a black cruxtruder.

On the topic of characters with sunglasses, Nervous Broad and Meat Roxy have the same energy.
 
No, meat Roxy does not wear heart-shaped sunglasses, stop pretending he does.

1/17/2020 EDIT: God damn it, why didn’t the Homestuck^2 authors listen to me???

Meanwhile on the trolls’ meteor, Dave watches the destruction from afar, the glass cracks reflected in his sunglasses. Why do cosmic-scale events always look so COOL reflected in those Stiller shades????? Both in Problem Sleuth and in Homestuck.

A zoom-in to Dave’s eyes transitions us to the musical climax of the flash, where Caliborn’s kernelsprite collapses into a black hole and starts sucking in everything around it, including all those shitty Statues of Liberty. The only way to properly react to this part is to sit there with your mouth wide open.

At the end of this climactic section, Caliborn goes through the usual Medium entry sequence with his home flashing all white, but with a twist: after the trolls’ meteor enters the game, the entirety of Earth enters as it’s sucked into the black hole. I can only say, that’s a hell of a twist if I’ve ever seen one.

Gorgeous image. There’s a reason I chose it as this post’s title picture.

And then comes the aftermath of this flash, with a sequence I really love. Remember the big and scary Jack Noir from the beta kids’ session, with first guardian powers and endless rage that made him an unstoppable killing machine??? Well, he and his Prospitian counterpart just watched the destruction and are both staring in shock. Neither look like they have any idea what just happened.

As a chilling reprise of the piano riff that ends [S] Descend and opens [S] Jade: Enter plays, the flash zooms out from Caliborn’s black hole to reveal the same shape vague haunting image Calliope showed us from her dreams not long ago. That’s a spectacularly high-stakes note to end Act 6 Act 3 on.

I love how Act 6’s first three sub-acts all end on similar images to their corresponding early acts. Act 1 and Act 6 Act 1 both end with a surprise explosion; Act 2 and Act 6 Act 2 end with scenery of Earth centuries in the future; and Act 3 and Act 6 Act 3 end with a newly-revealed celestial body.

END OF ACT 6 ACT 3

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. I DID IT, I DID IT, I DID IT, I FINALLY DID IT. I FINISHED ACT 6 ACT 3 IN MY HOMESTUCK POST SERIES AND IT TOOK OVER TWO YEARS AND SEVEN MONTHS. FINALLY I AM DONE WITH THIS ACT AND CAN GO ON TO THE BEFORUS TROLLS! OH MY GOD. I DID IT. THIS IS HOW I FEEL RIGHT NOW.

I AM GOING TO RECAP ACT 6 ACT 3 NOW.

… to the best of my ability, because I was on that act for almost three years.

Act 6 Act 3 is easily the best of Act 6’s first three sub-acts. It goes lighter on romance drama and way heavier on cool plot stuff. Threads are tied, Dirk does awesome things, and Caliborn does stupid but oddly brilliant things. Caliborn in this act was absolutely fantastic; a joy to read and full of surprise twists on the way. This act also has lots of good silly scenes, like Jake’s dream bubble scenes with Brain Ghost Dirk and Aranea, or Jack Noir’s Jailbreak adventure. The scene where Dirk draws pictures of his friends holding hands for Caliborn is one of the biggest laugh riots in all of Homestuck.

What about the girl characters in this act? Jane, Roxy, and Calliope? They were alright I suppose. Didn’t get as much screen time as the boys though. Jane got some cool point-and-click minigames at the start, Calliope had some good exposition scenes and a surprisingly hilarious sequence where we explored her room, and Roxy didn’t do much but was fine too. I didn’t mean to split the characters between boys and girls like that; I just realized I wrote almost exclusively about male characters in the paragraph above.

Act 6 Act 3 didn’t have very many flash pages, but the ones it did have were spectacular. The Myststuck series of walkaround games is excellent and hits home the formula of making a good minigame; the next few flashes are silly joke ones (I have a massive soft spot for [S] DD: Ascend more casually). The only usual dramatic Homestuck flashes were right at the end: two focused on the alpha kids and one focused on Caliborn. And all three were glorious, on the same level as the best flashes throughout Act 5 Act 2.

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I can’t believe it took me so long to get through this act, almost as much as I can’t believe I’m finally done with it. Even after I got out of my nearly two-year hiatus, numerous circumstances kept interrupting me and then I got REALLY distracted when the Homestuck Epilogues came out. But what can I say, now that I’m done I’m done and I can hopefully pick up the pace now.

I should also mention that I’ve always felt the end of Act 6 Act 3 is a turning point in the comic’s enjoyability. After this point, the story starts to get more questionable: first the pre-scratch trolls appear, then the beta and alpha kids’ relationships REALLY fall apart, and then comes the controversial retcon and the excessively long Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5 where so much is just not good. I suppose I’ll see for myself if it’s really as bad as I remember.

See you next time as we finally meet, uh, those characters.

>> Part 86: Oh God, It’s Those Characters

Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 8 Rewritten: Mayorly Foreshadowification Station

Introduction / Schedule

Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 >

Pages 666-758 (MSPA: 2566-2658)

Act 2, Part 5 of 5

Link to old version / Link to new version

My rewritten posts lately have alternated between me making a new post title and me keeping the old one. I’m keeping the old one here again.

Random thing about the community reread that isn’t worth putting in its entire separate post: I decided to join in again yesterday to reread John and Roxy’s first conversation, at the end of Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 1. It’s just as funny and heartening as I remember it being and is one of many things recently that made remember that they are the best ship in the comic. Look forward to me praising that ship in future posts, probably.

You are now the Wayward Vagabond.

The final portion of Act 2 is a stretch of pages focusing on the Wayward Vagabond. On this page, the book commentary explains that although Hussie already had rough ideas for this character’s story role, he decided to improvise and have fun with this arc, letting readers drive the story a bit more than before. You probably know that when John was commanded by WV, he was blocked off from being commanded by readers; playing as WV for the first time gives us a fresh start and a bit of a return to the old days. This “fresh start” idea is done even stronger in the Midnight Crew intermission, which I already covered in my rewritten posts because I skipped to that part after finishing Act 1. Once I finish Act 3, I’ll do a post recapping the intermission before I go to Act 4.


> WV: Retri…


Got em already.

No arm shenanigans here; just quickly getting this joke out of the way before any nonsense can happen. Probably meant to get readers at the time to think, “hm maybe I should be creative for once instead of reiterating the same old commands again”.


> WV: Examine rotten pumpkin.


What pumpkin?

As with the “what sword?” scene from Dave, this is a short moment that establishes the nature of Homestuck compared to the other adventures. The old MSPA gags now always have an explanation behind them. In this case, the explanation is simply that WV ate the pumpkin, as we can plainly see. A short moment of humor that reminds us that this isn’t quite Problem Sleuth.

If there’s any part of Homestuck that is quite Problem Sleuth, it’s obviously the intermission. That part brings back item/weapon duality and other weird nonsensical gimmicks. Those intermission gimmicks serve as a good way to surprise readers when we learn that the intermission was plot-relevant all along.


> WV: Captchalogue can of gravy.


Captchalogue? You have no idea what that means. It is total nonsense and you do not know what to make of it. You will not give the foolish notion a second thought.

I like how WV’s nature compared to our human heroes is shown by repeatedly subverting expectations. He doesn’t have a fetch modus, but instead just picks things up with his hands. This is an early hint at his role as an NPC, who does things that don’t necessarily match with game mechanics.

Did you ever play My Lego Network as a kid? You probably didn’t. But I had a whole phase with that game/social network when I was 9 or 10. It was kind of garbage in retrospect; there’s one aspect of it that relates to what I’m talking about here. Users in that network could only send each other preset messages, which I found annoying and empty. However, NPCs, or “Networkers” as the game called them, could send users whatever messages they wanted (which is to say, whatever they were programmed to send). I found the “freedom” NPCs had to be even more bullshit and garbage. Later of course, I got used to the concept of NPCs in games doing things that would otherwise not be allowed. But I still remember how upset I felt back then that NPCs seemed to have so much more freedom than actual users did.

In Homestuck, there are plenty of times where you can “play” as NPCs. Whenever you play as them, the story changes tone a little. In this case, the typical “freedom” NPCs have compared to playable characters—lack of bounds by player characters’ restrictions—is shown when WV picks things up instead of using a fetch modus. It brings back the “what, why can THOSE characters do what they want” feel that young children might experience. 

What, then, do we make of Spades Slick’s Problem Sleuth-style inventory? My guess is that it’s a red herring to distract us from the fact that he was originally a Sburb NPC. I’ll revisit this point, as well as any possible in-universe explanation for that inventory, in my intermission recap post.


WV is commanded to use his sharp teeth to open the can, but he actually has blunt teeth. A simple subversion of commands serves as subtle foreshadowing of his lowly rank among Dersites, compared to higher-ranking ones with sharper teeth (this is all according to the book commentary). Whether this teeth symbolism was made up in the book commentary, improvised right here, or planned all along, I cannot tell. It’s not an important detail.


> WV: Examine can of custard.


The can clearly reads “MUSTARD”, a fact of which you were perfectly well aware. 

I would say this is another improvised subversion of what readers were thinking, but given that the other cans are all salty foods it makes more sense for the can to be mustard, not custard. If a reader thought it was mustard but then Hussie decided it was custard instead, then it would be an improvised subversion.


WV’s bar code vaguely resembles a chess board and supposedly “brings back unpleasant memories”. Extremely loose foreshadowing of course.

^ placeholder text. I’m OK with this being placeholder text actually, because this barcode means much more when we see Slick wearing it.


> WV: Be the imp.


This means nothing to you. You are not an imp, you have no idea what an imp is, and you will not entertain such frivolous and childish ideas ever again. You feel stupid and hate yourself a little for even considering it.

I always love when the comic humorously debunks dumb theories, in this case that WV is an imp. It’s even a little mean to readers about that idea; WV hates himself a little for considering the thought of an “imp”.


WV’s next command is to become the Mayor of Can Town and here’s where things get interesting. You might know that this one-off command had a major impact on the story, giving birth to exiles’ affiliations and beliefs that they have strict roles. WV the mayor, PM the mail lady, AR the judge.

These exile roles give their arc so much more character than it otherwise would have had. It’s kind of weird and wonderful. They won’t stop at anything to latch onto these roles. WV will never leave a brutal king in charge. PM will never leave a package undelivered. AR will never leave a crime unpaid for. And Hussie will never bring back AR… wait, where was I going with this?

OK, authority regulators are mentioned once postmortem. It would be kind of awesome if it was more than once. Moving on.

WV has a habit of basing fantasies exclusively around his surroundings.
This king symbol looks like a chess king. Had any readers put the pieces together at this point?


You love the idea of being a mayor. You love everything about mayors, and the concept of an orderly, civil democracy. It all seems so mannerly and reasonable to you. Everyone is friendly and happy, and the city runs like clockwork. The foundation of the government is based on mutual respect between the leader and its people. It is also built on having a really great mayor that everyone loves who is totally amazing and heroic and brave.

Mayors are so much better than kings. You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way. 

God do you hate kings.

I can tell that Hussie really liked the idea of WV being a mayor. It didn’t take long for him to realize that WV being “The Mayor” fits perfectly with his backstory of rebelling against a king.


Next to the wall in WV’s station, we find four items that match up with the beta kids. Oil is a more than familiar sight now in John’s house, while the firefly trapped in amber you may remember if you think closely to Dave’s collection of dead things. We have no way yet of knowing that chalk = Rose and uranium = Jade. But four random items situated together will probably set an alarm for most readers.

The book commentary tells us that the four items were all meant to tie into the kids’ planets and their quests, but only in John’s case did it pan out. So we’re left with those four items symbolizing much weirder things instead.


WV immediately eats the uranium, independent of readers’ commands. Wait I mean the Chekhov’s uranium. This moment hints to us that Jade is the kids’ pattern breaker; I’ll revisit this point shortly.


If it’s green, WV eats it. When I first read this page, I thought it meant WV hated that color. My first read of Homestuck was embarrassing.


WV uses the amber, chalk, and oil to build and expand Can Town; this might be a symbol of the beta kids’ cooperation and firm bonds. I guess that’s the symbolism we’re left with now that the planet quests have been shafted. It’s pretty good symbolism though, don’t get me wrong. It makes sense that only the first three kids’ items are shown, because we still haven’t been introduced to Jade yet.

Unlike the other three, Jade’s item (the uranium) is used for something not quite as innocent. Or rather, by someone not quite as innocent. Just as Jade was behind the beta kids becoming friends and starting their adventure, the uranium was behind Jack Noir’s bloody hand and following rampage which cut the trolls’ victory short and caused pretty much everything else in the story to happen.

Let’s flip back a few pages (before the last one shown above) to the moment WV draws the chessboard. First, let’s look at the narration:

> WV: Lay a chalk foundation for Can Town’s civic growth.

You develop westward, settling those fertile plains and claiming them for your city. 


You section off a number of RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL ZONES for civic growth, arranged in the only logical pattern that occurs to you. 

WV’s choice of drawing a chessboard is an interesting case of the narration going along with reader commands but adding something unexpected along the way. He does indeed build a neighborhood area for Can Town, but he arranges it in a way that makes readers go “oh shit”. I say just “readers” and not “attentive readers” because the visuals accompanying Nannasprite’s story are one of the most memorable parts of Act 2.


> WV: Use your own pee for the commercial zones.


You cannot urinate because you have not had anything to drink in quite some time. You are very thirsty. 

Most of the time in Homestuck, food is glossed over and ignored. This is an odd case where WV is established to be extremely thirsty due to a gag command. It serves to set up a bit of an arc where he has to find something to drink. 

Also that is a really terrible idea and you would not consider befouling your wonderful city in that way for even a moment.

And this line, where WV says he wouldn’t use his own pee no matter what, reminds us that we’re reading Homestuck, not Problem Sleuth, and especially not Jailbreak.


After the chess board is fully painted, WV gives himself a mayor sash. He wears it for the rest of the comic and it’s, um, probably significant to a lot of things?

Why didn’t I think of placeholder text sooner? It’s a great addition to my posts. It’s way more fun than struggling to say something about a scene, or just adding “it says a lot that”, or god forbid, “I think it says a lot that” to the start.


Next, WV decides to draw a backdrop to his imaginary city. Which is to say he treats us to a nice, informative tour of the kids’ Incipisphere. With the light and dark (luminous and ominous as he calls them) planets, the quartet of planets vaguely connected to the kids’ items, and Skaia’s trademark cloud design, first-time readers might be able to make out some connection to Nanna’s stories and the kids’ game of Sburb.


WV looks at John’s command station and wonders how to turn on the other screens. A command suggests that he press Tab, a natural choice.

Is this page supposed to symbolize Prospit’s untimely destruction?

Let’s go with the intellectual’s answer, “yes”.

But what the Tab key actually does is more wordplay. It opens a box containing some delicious Tab soda!


He is elated to drink this delicious soda. I said earlier that food and drinks are usually glossed over in Homestuck, which makes the cases where characters have trademark favorite foods stand the hell out. 



The TABS are naturalized as loyal new citizens of CAN TOWN. All cans are welcome and equal in your city, regardless of can content, and whether empty or full. 

With a second type of cans added to the mix, things really start to pile up. WV is shown to believe in equality and friendship between two seemingly opposing groups. We saw a chess battle against white and black pieces during Nanna’s exposition, so one might surmise that WV believes Prospit’s and Derse’s soldiers can all be friends if they stick together. And one would be completely right!

Cropping enormous panels is another thing I wish I had thought of doing long ago.


WV goes on to view his station’s command history. Seeing a recap of his commands is useful because it makes the quirky way he writes much clearer. His style shows a bit of dissonance with itself, with esoteric vocabulary arranged into strange, childish sentence structure. After the caps lock incident, he keeps his vocabulary but switches out childish sentences with extreme politeness.

Note that the commands WV sent John during the walkaround are omitted, maybe to prevent them from having any “canonical” order.


And then we see that someone else long ago had entered a few test commands before WV showed up. Hussie’s book commentary gives a suggestion as to who that someone is:

I think of those early commands in green as some things that were entered as test cases while this station was being built. I like to picture a mild mannered carapacian in a lab coat just running through the drill, making sure the terminal checks out. Then he gives it a thumbs up, and the thing just sits in a meteor for a while, crashes into earth, and waits centuries for this bozo to show up and fuck around with the keyboard.

It raises an interesting point that we don’t see carapacians performing their usual jobs as the story intends; just the occasional brief look at things going the normal way rather than completely off the rails. I don’t really agree with the common criticism that we never quite get to see a normal Sburb session; I think those brief looks I talked about, especially during the troll session, are just enough to give us an idea of how things normally are meant to go while keeping the story engaging. It’s just that a lot of those looks at how things normally go are peeked at in the background.

I actually haven’t reread the trolls’ arc in a while. Maybe I should reread that section before I get to it in my rewritten posts, I don’t know.

WV decides to look at the other three screens, foreshadowing more stuff to us in the process. He looks at Rose’s screen and we glimpse the giant wizard statue, damaged and missing a hand. This doesn’t directly foreshadow much, but it ties into one of the things this act’s ending flash reveals; I’ll go over it when I get to that flash.


Dave’s screen teases an enormous amount to us. I’ll go through those one by one.

1. Bird prototyped into sprite

We saw that John’s kernelsprite brought back his late grandmother, and we learned in a flashback conversation that Rose will bring back her cat in her kernel. So a logical extension is that Dave will bring back something dead too, namely a bird he accidentally killed. While it is true that the bird is prototyped, we are misled into thinking his sprite will just be a brainless feathery asshole with some goofy flair, not a bird version of himself.

2. Cal destroyed

The puppet is ripped to shreds. Well, not entirely: its head is intact which might hint that the puppet has more to it than just being unsettling. I’d guess Hussie had conceptualized Caliborn at this point and maybe came up with Lord English’s other components in later acts. It’s also a clear idea that Cal would be prototyped into Dave’s sprite, which really does happen … in a bad future where John and Jade are dead. And Cal’s evil nightmare laughing overwhelms any bird personality that sprite might have, which again subverts expectations.

3. Dave’s broken shirt symbol

An extremely early hint at the Scratch. It’s not out of the question that Hussie had already planned out the alpha kids by this point; maybe the cherubs being friends with them, or that might have been a tiny bit later. This isn’t the only time we get a super early hint at the Scratch. You can tell that Hussie planned a lot, but not everything in advance.

4. Dave’s broken sword

Spoiler alert: Dave breaks swords a lot. Spoiler alert 2: Dave’s sword quest is a bunch of shitty nonsense that is really used to show Dave’s inferiority complex, especially with Davesprite. I can tell that Hussie had already planned Dave’s sword breaking to symbolize his character.

[end of list]

As for Jade’s screen:

You consider switching to SCREEN 4, but decide against it. You have a feeling that whatever’s there would just confuse you even more, and you don’t even really care all that much anyway.

WV decides not to switch to screen 4, because it would just confuse him even more. This suggests that Jade’s entry into the Medium is probably something CRAZY exciting. Why else would the story go out of its way not to show it?

I’m thinking of a page number between my buttocks…


After the screen nonsense is over, WV sees a time count down 4 hours and 13 minutes, then diminishes that number to 4 minutes and 13 seconds by making a game of chess out of his citizens and playing it to completion.


To nobody’s surprise, the white team loses. This again ties in with one of the most memorable parts of Nannasprite’s exposition, where we learned that white is always destined to lose the battle. Hopefully most readers here really got thinking at this point. A chess board with white destined to lose? Two kingdoms of light and of darkness around that world? It’s not impossible to connect the dots about WV’s drawings.


Minutes in the future (though perhaps not as few as implied by circumstance), we get a small teaser of a second exile, the Peregrine Mendicant. Quickly we see that WV’s silly commands about being a mayor paid off, because the first thing we see this exile doing is carry a bunch of mailboxes which suggests that she has some strong profession fantasy too. We have no way yet of knowing that exile is a “she” though, which confused many fans. Well, we have no way yet of knowing WV’s gender either, but Hussie had probably already referred to him by male pronouns on the forums.


WV leaves his room and looks at a touchscreen interface listing his station’s three rooms, each of which is represented with one of the comic’s three main arc symbols: the Sburb logo, the spirograph, and the triangle fractal. Or you could call them the Sburb logo, the other Sburb logo, and the secret third Sburb logo.

Someone help me, I don’t remember what’s in the spirograph room. Aren’t we shown inside that room in Act 5 Act 2?


WV can’t enter the spirograph room, but he can enter the triangle fractal room and here’s where we see more cool things.


You immediately craft a MEASURING SPEAR through possibly the most advanced form of alchemy employed thusfar. This is obviously the most important thing to do first. 

OBVIOUSLY.

I didn’t show the panel earlier where we first saw his Trusty Knife.


Or it WOULD obviously be the most important thing to do if you had remembered to bring your TRUSTY KNIFE. 

I like this method of storytelling, which shows us WV attaching his knife to his ruler but then zooms out to show a thought bubble and that WV doesn’t actually have his knife. This isn’t the only time a scene turns out to be someone’s thoughts or vision. In later acts the story is all about using thoughts, clouds, mind visions, dream bubbles, what have you, to transition scenes. Using mind visions isn’t quite as common, but it does happen twice in short succession in the Doc Scratch intermission, where [that one character]’s battle against Jack Noir turned out to be Terezi’s mind vision and Slick’s brutal murder by Quarters turned out to be Snowman’s mind vision.

You feel so insecure without your TRUSTY KNIFE, it makes you want to slit your wrists. Or at the very least, flog your carapace with some sort of measuring apparatus.

Mystery arc anyone? Obviously there’s something important about that knife, other than being an arm swingy flappy thing wrapped in a bit of cloth. It makes sense that something important is hidden in that knife because WV is an absolute pacifist and not one for weapons.

WV messes around with the appearifier and take a wild guess what’s going to show up. Anyone?


It’s a pumpkin of course! Why would it ever be anything else?

Well, it’s not just any old pumpkin.

Jade’s teaser between the last psycheout and x2 double psycheout combo was important, and this is why. This pumpkin with the dog design was shown next to Jade and will probably flash a light to readers. If you think back to the coordinates recently shown, you can spoil yourself on where Jade lives: a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia.



It seems this mysterious gourd was transported (appearified!!!) from a specific time and location somewhere on this planet you are on. You wonder if the machine (APPEARIFIER!!!) will take any object that exists at whatever time and location you supply. 

This is one of those odd bits where the comic hammers in its special terminology through correcting a character’s narration, instead of just rolling with it. Makes sense again because WV is an NPC who is less bound by the game’s rules, but at the same time more bound by the game’s rules. WV doesn’t captchalogue anything and isn’t familiar with appearification and whatnot, but does strictly follow all that he is programmed to do, like wanting to a mayor and eating all that is green.

There is a symbol carved on the PUMPKIN. You don’t know what it means, and you doubt it will ever prove to be relevant in any way.

WV has a strong memory and knowledge of the mechanics of the incipisphere, but somehow can’t recognize the dog symbol (yet). I pondered for a bit why he didn’t remember dog Jack and then concluded that it’s because first guardians getting prototyped doesn’t normally happen. It isn’t part of Sburb’s rules, so it makes sense that WV wouldn’t be programmed to remember that catastrophe. Jack with the dog’s powers is way scarier than even the trolls’ black king, who had the powers of many monstrous creatures and a deadly Horrorterror.


WV presses a green button and the coordinates switch, now showing the coordinates for his facility. His face obscures all but the latitude, enticing the mystery of where he is located. It doesn’t even come across as deliberately hiding information from readers—not yet anyway. This is enough to get readers curious but not to infuriate them with information they’re denied.

More obscuring like I said above. This time, only the rightmost digits are shown.


One way to find out would be to attempt to appearify something from this facility. 

It should be easy to zero in on a location relative to the center because you have an uncanny knack for tracking precise distances you have already traversed, in whatever units you choose. 

This little passage is interesting. It gives us a small hint at something WV is programmed to do. Maybe he has the number 413,000 firmly planted in his head? Or 413 multiplied by some power of 10, it’s kind of vague how much time he spent wandering a desolate Earth. That strong memory of distances could explain how he found the command station amidst an empty desert at just the right moment.



You nudge the coordinates very slightly and bump up the elevation by 0.5 HUMAN MEASUREMENT UNITS. You make sure to keep the time approximately what it was to begin with. 

You appearify your TRUSTY KNIFE.

WV is quite the mathematician! It makes sense because he is an NPC in a video game, and video game programming involves enormous amounts of math and logic. And banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why every function is outputting zero.

Although he is clearly a sentient being, I’ve been using the word “programmed” to describe WV because it works again and again as a metaphor.


> WV: Deappearify the pumpkin.


Does this machine look like a DEAPPEARIFIER to you?? Honestly, the idea that an APPEARIFIER could both APPEARIFY and DEAPPEARIFY things is so laughably ridiculous, you would wish someone would DEAPPEARIFY your brain and REAPPEARIFY it with a brain that is more smart and less dumb.

More evidence that WV is a programmed video game character who operates through program rules rather than human rules. If you program an appearifier in a video game, you can’t just expect it to be able to deappearify (sendificate!!!) things too. Such functionality has to be tacked onto the program. WV knows this because he is (metaphorically) a program. I bet he’d do a good job teaching John how to program computers. (Take notes Hussie, the epilogue isn’t some joke.)


WV appearifies the firefly out of the amber. Good to know, I completely forgot about how she got out of there. It’s quite kindly of him to free her from this entrapment.

Serenity is one of the least “homestuck” characters in a way. As in not stuck in a home. She travels around many places, then Roxy renames *him* to Twinkly Herbert and *he* becomes a soul container for Calliope or something. Also her/his story is never quite fully elaborated; it’s filled with puzzling but harmless oddities.

Not shown: WV appearifying the grate that prevented him from leaving.


WV can’t appearify the rotten pumpkin in the past because he would later eat it. This is a neat little introduction to time paradoxes and how the comic handles them. It eases readers into how the kids were born and what can and can’t be cloned. Predestination is subtly hinted at throughout this act and gradually becomes more prominent until it becomes one of the biggest themes of Act 5 Act 2.

Quick peek at WV’s coordinates and time, if you aren’t distracted by this flash’s climactic tension!


With all that out of the way, it’s time for WV’s grand climax! With his timer rapidly ticking down, he must grab all his important stuff in a pumpkin and hurry to the exit! Things are getting serious now!!!!

Just kidding, you and I know this flash is just a silly parody of Act 1’s ending flash, with WV wasting time on dumb nonsense while a mysterious countdown ticks. It even has the exact same music as that flash. Serious flashes always use new music or a new arrangement of old music. If a flash straight up reuses old music, you know it’s a joke flash and a real flash will probably come soon.


Just as WV approaches the exit, the music suddenly slows down and he falls off the ladder, with all his stuff dumped on him. This fully establishes this flash as a psycheout where we switch focus to someone else… or is it?

Hold on, hold on, hold on, can we switch the music?
We’re gonna hit it.


You attempt the rare and highly dangerous 5X CLIFFHANGER COMBO, and fail. 

We are doing it, man. 

We are making this happen.

Cliffhangers are cool and all, but you have to draw the line somewhere. And Hussie drew the line at just the right place. Five cliffhangers is too much to handle; you can’t just go ahead and switch perspective at a moment this tense. No, you must do it after the dramatic flash.

Are you ready for the comic’s very first WHOPPER FLASH? [S] WV: Ascend is Act 2’s ending flash and it holds a special place in many readers’ hearts. It’s cited again and again as the first page that blew readers away; the first page that made them realize Homestuck is no ordinary webcomic. And boy is it easy to see why that is.

When I first watched WV: Ascend, I didn’t quite know what was going on but was stunned no less; I could tell the flash was meant to establish enormous plot revelations and concluded that the flash established that WV and company were behind the game of Sburb and the kids’ story this whole time, and that they caused the meteor impacts on Earth. That conclusion isn’t true at all, but at the same time it’s in a way true. My original conclusion goes to show how impactful this flash is; even if you don’t understand it, you can tell that crazy plot stuff is kicking into high gear.

This flash opens with revisiting the very beginning of Act 2, showing WV’s location once more and what we now know about this mystery man. The moment this flash opens and you hear the first few seconds of Explore, you can tell you’re in for something special.


The zoom out from WV’s endless desert is amazingly executed. First Zazzerpan’s hand subtly shows that he lives where Rose’s home once stood. Then it turns out that the desert isn’t quite the endless expanse we thought it was; it’s a load of sand that filled up an entire crater. The desert scenes were only a small portion of the big picture!


AND THEN THE MUSIC DROPS. Tell me that your jaw didn’t drop when you first got to this moment. George Buzinkai did an amazing job composing Explore, while Michael Guy Bowman did a just as awesome job arranging it into a full-length song. It’s super special whenever a flash’s music is some form of collaboration between musicians, or one musician’s arrangement of another musician’s song.

I can’t go on without mentioning something sad: for those that don’t know, Buzinkai suffered through hard times in life since 2013 and passed away in 2018. I have been witness to very few things as heartwarming as the support Buzinkai got over those years. I recommend listening to some of Buzinkai’s music outside of Homestuck. There’s quite a bit floating around the Internet.


WV flying through the air is so goddamn awesome to see. No complaints, no jabs at Hussie. Just reminiscing over a spectacular animation. It’s nice.


One cool thing this flash does is show us the true purpose of the “but not many” arc words; these words are used to establish what time scales we’re talking about in a uniquely Homestuck way. I’ll get back to this point in a bit.


The explosion at the end of Act 1 is revisited in a brand new light. The montage following the explosion is stunning and really feels like it’s recapping a lengthy time period. The timelapse just keeps going and going: first we see the immediate result of the explosion, then the montage starts to speed up with color change from grassy green to desert yellow, then massive sands pile up just like Rose’s home, and finally a tree grows, with an apple featuring the Sburb logo underneath.


This montage is AWESOME. And that’s all there is to say on the matter. A nice touch is that near the end, the tree’s leaves cycle through seasons, establishing that the montage is slowing down once more as it reaches the “present”.

Not shown: the reveal that the “meteor” approaching PM was actually WV’s command station.


The meaning behind the poetic little phrase “but not many” is shown in full here. When those words are crossed out, it’s established in a way even more “Homestuck” than before that we’re about to see events that happened millions of years in the past, which is most certainly many years.


This scene, specifically the spirograph that the meteor is teleported from, is an important “oh shit” moment that kills two birds with one stone. This time, only the “stone” part is literal, because birds didn’t exist 413 million years ago. The “birds” in this case are two important plot revelations.

The first revelation is that meteors were created by Sburb, destroying what readers were led to believe about them before (that the countdown was just to warn them about meteors). It goes hand in hand with the prior revelation that Sburb is not about saving the world.

The second revelation is that Sburb is significant on a cosmic level, not just as some game that destroys the world. It slowly leads readers into the revelation that the goal of Sburb is to create a universe. This big shock revelation that Sburb sent a meteor millions of years into the past makes it easier for readers to realize other crazy things about the game as the story progresses.


The montage that follows this ancient meteor collision is just as awesome as the last one. It starts with the volcano erupting and forming a pit, where the frog temple is then created. After that point, the montage speeds up until we see roughly how the island looks like now. In that last frame shown above, dinosaurs are shown which establishes in a not very Homestuck way that this isn’t quite what the island currently looks like. The dinosaurs are not there to match with Homestuck’s style of narration, but to give a shout-out to Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics. The shoutout goes well with this flash though and I think it’s a good quick way to show that this is still the past.


With these montages done, this flash goes on an interlude to resolve the other characters’ cliffhangers. The scenes with Rose struggling in a flaming forest look stunning and this is still all with the early comic’s simple art style.


Rose’s mother appears, followed by a glimpse at the Skaianet lab next door. The moment you see the spirograph logo on the lab is a major “oh shit” moment. When I got to that scene when writing this post, I had a major revelation moment as if I was reading for the first time. The revelation was that this flash is the first full confirmation of the guardians’ involvement with Sburb, which was hinted at a few times in this act.


Rose’s mom enters the password to Skaianet’s lab. The cat logo is super cute and gives us a brief peek at Roxy’s true character behind (or rather, in front of) being a passive-aggressive freak.


The first time we see John’s father after being kidnapped is an important moment because it shows the same dark kingdom shown in Nanna’s stories and WV’s drawings. It might take a bit of a sharp eye to put those pieces together, but it’s still an important teaser of something we’ll learn way more about in Act 3.


Dad breaks free from his handcuffs and immediately scares the imps. Another small moment that teases a hidden truth about John’s father: he is extremely strong and thought his son would grow up to be the same.


Like Rose, Dave gets a big awesome appearance done in simple art but with shading that really brings it to life. Helps that the music gets to that really powerful final part that I don’t know how to put in words.


Bro appears in full view and now the big battle is finally ready to begin. Another stunning scene.


When WV’s frog temple arrives where Jade’s island once stood, we see that area has gone back to where it started: an uninhabited world of dust and rocks. The only differences are that the volcano is missing and an eroded frog temple is there. We don’t quite know yet why the volcano is missing, but if you pay enough attention and look at the coordinates, you just might put a few pieces together. Not nearly enough to know why the frog temple is still there though. We do know she owns a guardian dog of sorts named Bec, so maybe the sharpest of readers might be able to put it all together.


With WV arriving at his destination, this flash ends. I like how he was surrounded in mystery when he started his long flight, but when he ends his flight we now know much more about those exiles and how their story came to be.

END OF ACT 2


And so, the curtains close in on the frog temple’s location years in the future (but not many). Hussie is a master at ending acts with things that blow your mind. Almost every act ends with curtains closing in on something shocking, symbolistic, or in a few cases humorous. Acts 1-3 and the intermission all close in on something shocking; later acts go more for the symbolistic side, while some of Act 6’s subdivisions go for the humorous. My personal favorite closing image might be the end of Act 6 Act 5, which manages to be all three at once.

– – – 


Time to recap Act 2.

First, I’d like to say I have one glaring problem with this act: it’s rather slow-paced. I felt that way especially when I read Act 2 in the community reread. A lot of pages are spent on nonsense that doesn’t mean much for the plot or establish much about characters. Most of those pages I skipped over when writing my Act 2 post, so you probably couldn’t tell that I felt Act 2 was slow-paced aside from the times I outright said so.

Amidst its slow pace, Act 2 does have a lot of plot points and mysteries hyped up throughout, way more than Act 1. The exiles, the guardians’ connections to Sburb, Jade’s knowledge of the future, Jade in general, Sburb’s underlings, the light and dark kingdoms, the seven gates and Skaia, the deeper story behind all the Saw puppets, and most importantly of all, Rose’s magnetic letter W. These mysteries are enticing and the act does a decent job hyping them up so we can get shocking reveals in the next few acts.

As for characters, Act 2 places heavy emphasis on Rose and Dave. A large portion of the act is just them exploring their homes and characterizing their daily lives, with plenty of humorous moments and surprises along the way. This focus on Rose and Dave makes sense compared to Act 1, but feels a bit imbalanced and may contribute to this act’s feeling of slow pace. John mostly just goes around fighting imps and figuring out game mechanics, while Jade does nothing but plot dumps and vague teasers. The most interesting character we get to know in this act is the Wayward Vagabond, who we meet in this act’s final stretch of pages. Reading through the story from an NPC’s perspective for the first time is a fun change of pace and twists up a lot of the comic’s usual narration rules if you read closely enough.

Act 2 doesn’t have many big animations, mostly small silly ones. The minigames and walkarounds aren’t that good and serve mostly as predecessors for some really good walkarounds in later acts. The animations with Nannasprite’s story are excellent and set a fresh atmosphere; Dave: Ascend feels like the flash where shit just got real but is really just the last step before the act’s iconic ending flash. Act 2 ends with first a silly fakeout flash, then a mind-blowing whopper flash. As I said before, this is just one of many cases where Hussie ends an act with a massive surprise that blows readers away and gets them hyped to read the next act.

To conclude this post, I will say that Act 2 is flawed overall but ends with something spectacular that is only the start of many more spectacular things to come.

See you next time as I go back to the present and dissect probably some stuff involving Caliborn, for real this time. I’ll start Act 3 at some point after 4/13; read my schedule post for more information!

Next => Part 9: Air for Eclectic Fursuits

(Important fact: I fucking hate Homestuck.)