1594: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Nine, Part Two

Title: Heroes and Villains
Author: Horrible’s Igor
Media: Television / Movies
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer / Kitchen Sink
Genre: Supernatural/Drama
URL: Heroes and Villains (Now Defunct)
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza

“Hi, patrons!  It’s just me this week since Taco is busy, as he puts it, ‘dying of the consumption.’  It’s his llama ddrama way of saying he’s got a bad cold.  The Darkwraiths are loading the chicken soup cannon to help him out, so we can expect a full recovery in short order.  Anywho, I don’t think we’ll need the quotes this week, so let’s just take them off and put them in the drawer.”

Much better!

In the first half of the chapter we saw Elsa wander around the empty, more so than usual, base, then go find Willow, who once again has a migraine.  They talk a bit in vague terms about obtaining wonderflonium, then the scene cuts over to Dr. Horrible, who ruminates on the potential for transfer.

Igor has an interesting writing style.  Things happen off page and we get to see the chracters reflect on these happenings after the fact without actually getting to witness them ourselves.  I suppose most people would call it plain uninteresting, but those people don’t have vision that Igor has of being purposefully and artistically uninteresting!

This week, we start off back with Jimmy.

The hour approached 5 A.M., and inside the heroes’ cell, spirits were at an all-time low.

The last bottle of tequila was consumed hours ago and they were down to only a single bottle of Jeppson’s Malört.

The Queen kept watch, sitting pensively in her chair as she toyed with a paper clip, while Marlowe fiddled absent-mindedly with the buttons on the cuffs of his jacket and Buffy idly turned a small rock in her hand.

You know, it’s not even five in the morning.  Maybe some of you should try sleeping instead of just sitting awkwardly fiddling with tiny objects.

Or maybe break out the DSs and have a quick Pokemon tournament.

“Where do you think Olaf is?” asked Buffy quietly, looking to Marlowe and Elsa with the ghost of a sad confusion in her eyes.

“Wherever it is, it has to be better than here,” the Queen replied bitterly. “It’ll do him well to stay away from us.”

While I’m hopeful, I don’t think he managed to escape the fic that easily.

“His innocence is shattered enough already,” Marlowe responded. “It wouldn’t be able to affect him any worse now.”

That is true.  Olaf’s characterization has already been destroyed in this fic, can’t really make it any worse if he sticks around, right?

A cold smirk tugged at the sorceress’ lips. “Not true- he’s never seen me kill someone.”

BAAAAAAA?

Sorry, I don’t have any money on me.  Here, I have a coupon for a free scone with purchase of a pumpkin spike latte.

BA?

I dunno, it’s either a typo or some kind of vampire joke.

“You’ve never killed, though,” Buffy pointed out.

While true, there’s no way for Buffy to know this for sure unless-

*Eliza presses the button*

Adam West says so: 7

“It’ll happen one day- it’s inevitable,” the cryomancer answered.

Author, one must master the normal words before trying to use portmanteaus.

“It doesn’t have to be,” Buffy pressed. “You’re not inherently bad.”

“I’ve made my choice,” the Queen replied firmly. “I’m adamant.”

For a time the silence returned.

An awkward situation that could have been avoided with Pokemon.

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The room felt chilly, but in reality it was 23°C, like always.

That is not how you setting.

If it had been the Snow Queen, there would have been at the very least little wisps of cold water vapor curling out from her hands, but her powers were under control.

Which happily removes those troublesome whiffs of tension created earlier in the fic when it was implied that she might not have control of her powers.  We can check that off the list of subplots that go nowhere.

No, this was a chill that was originating from within themselves, akin to the frigid aura of dementors.

Oh, we might have forgotten to mention, this chapter is where Igor starts to go all-in on the references.  He’s gotta earn that kitchen sink tag somehow, right?

Complex thoughts and emotions faded into vague intentions

I think the fic just tried to summarize itself!

directions like sad and cold and lonely- the nether-space of the conscious mind.

Stand back, everyone, the author is trying to be edgy.  Once he calms down we’ll give him an ice-cream cone and a hug and it’ll all be fine.

If they were to remain undisturbed for half an hour or so, it’s possible they would’ve fallen asleep.

Definitely something that’s easy to do while wallowing in the number-space of couscous.   Or whatever it was that they were doing.

The door opened, a whisper of air hushing past as it was displaced.

*Eliza adds “hush” to the list*

Carry on.

Willow stepped in, her footsteps soft enough to preserve the permeating quiet. Her scowl, however, was pronounced enough to bring Elsa back to reality.

Darkwraiths?  Would you be dears and check on the stock of purple-prose glasses?  We may be needing them before too much longer.

“What is it?” she asked softly.

“I need you to do something for me,” Willow whispered into her ear. “A little road trip.”

“Road trip?” Elsa repeated quietly, confused.

Constantly using colloquialisms that the time-travelers don’t know and then stopping everything to explain them is one of my favorite tropes!  It helps keep the plot from gaining any kind of meaningful momentum.

“Come with me. I’ll explain on the way out,” Willow replied, pulling at Elsa’s hand lightly. Elsa acquiesced and stood, following the woman apprehensively to the big double doors.

So, they’re just leaving the prisoners unguarded?  I’m sure it’ll be fine.

The first thing that she noticed was the smell of something burning a little ways off. A faint smoke seemed to be blowing in from the south, making her eyes burn slightly.

Of course the smoke was actually coming from Willow’s bad case of sudden onset spontaneous combustion, but it certainly seemed like it was coming form the south.

She was slightly happy to see that Willow was also curling her lip in distaste at the smell.

That’s not very nice.  Don’t make me give you a time-out, Elsa.

“Where am I going?” Elsa asked.

Based on what we’ve seen of the plot, nowhere.  And it’s going to take you quite a while to get there.  Might want to load Plants vs. Zombies on your phone or something.

“I need you to go to the E.L.E.’s headquarters for me,” Willow answered, looking like she was resisting the urge to cough. “You need to talk to Bad Horse about negotiating for a more reasonable deadline so that we’re not running such a high risk. If you can, see if you can corner our transfer too.”

Meanwhile Willow will be here in the board room, staring at the ceiling.

“Y-you’re sure you want me to do this?” Elsa stuttered, uneasy.

“Hey, I have faith in you,” Willow responded soothingly, taking the girl’s hand. “And you can always just call if something goes wrong. There’s nothing that we can’t work out.”

I’m sure Bad Horse will be totally fine with you whipping out a phone during a critical negotiation and calling for advice!

“I’m sorry,” Elsa apologized. “I’m not good with talking to people. It seems to always end badly.”

This is true.

Actually, come to think of it, why did Elsa, a self-proclaimed horrible queen who ran away from power, accept a job to be a co-president?

“You’ll be okay, Elsa,” Willow replied, squeezing her hand reassuringly. “Just relax, and you’ll be fine.”

“Right,” Elsa nodded anxiously. “Relax.”

Which is definitely enough to stand toe-to-toe with a shrewd and evil tactician like Bad Horse.

Though, I suppose if Willow was just trying to distract him, then she could do worse than sending Elsa in to do it.

“Don’t worry,” Willow smiled, letting go of Elsa’s hand and gesturing towards the car. “Good luck.”

“I’ll definitely need it,” Elsa chuckled nervously, and shut the door.

As soon as the car was out of her sight, Willow burst into a coughing fit, rushing to the door.

I suppose the whole forest fire thing in this scene can get checked off our subplots that go nowhere list.  Three more and I get a free stake and shake from Lina’s!

I don’t think I get vampire humor.

“Come on…” Horrible muttered, delicately turning the knob on the wonderflonium intake valve as he held the Freeze Ray 3.0 up to the pipe. “Just a tiny bit more and we can move on…”

Seems like there should be a better way of transferring a rare, expensive, highly volatile substance from one vessel to another, but maybe I’m just being silly.

A knock came at the doorway of the laboratory suddenly, making him jump.

I bet that door was behind him!

He nearly made the fatal error of dropping the Freeze Ray, which would’ve meant that it would’ve bounced on the floor- and he was not about to have that happen.

Not the fatal bounce!

That sounds like a Pokemon move, actually.

“You idiot!” he exclaimed, whirling around to face the door, where he saw Dead Bowie standing, along with someone he’d never seen before. “You almost made me drop the Freeze Ray!”

Maybe Crunchy’s claim that villains don’t knock has some credence to it.   I wonder if they would have gotten yelled at if they had just burst into the room instead.

“But I understand it is not yet operational,” Dead Bowie replied, putting on his “serious” voice.

Uh, oh.  Somebody made daddy angry and he’s put on the big voice!

“It’s got wonderflonium in it,” Horrible replied angrily.

Which is totally the same as it working!

“Wouldn’t want it to, say, bounce, would we?”

And that’s a straight up evasion of the question.  You’re not going to stand for that, are you Bows?  Make him answer the question!

“My apologies,” Dead Bowie responded stiffly. “…You have a visitor.”

Oh poo.

“Who?” Horrible asked shortly.

“A representative of our trade partner,” Dead Bowie revealed, gesturing towards the woman he’d never seen before. “She wishes to speak with you.”

I guess that means Dr. Horrible somehow managed to live through the Frozen era of media hype without being exposed to Elsa.  How he accomplished that while still running a vlog is beyond me.  Maybe he’s just recording himself to tape and mailed it to a blogging agency or something.

Horrible raised his eyebrows in surprise. “You mean the guys who’re bargaining for me?”

“Yeah,” Dead Bowie nodded.

It was very nice of Bows not to add the “well duh!” that everyone else was thinking.

“Okay…” Horrible replied, uncertain of what to think. “Could you leave alone for a moment?”

It’s odd that this sentence still mostly means the same thing with or without the missing word.  Though it’s less nice that you’re asking Bows to leave by himself.

“Very well,” Dead Bowie allowed, quietly leaving.

Igor, type it with me now: Said.  I know you do use it occasionally, but you could stand to use it a bit more in situations where avoiding it makes your prose ridiculous.

Horrible looked at the woman curiously. She was wearing a black dress made out of some sort of reflective fabric, with an off-the-shoulder neckline and floor-length skirt with a slit reaching just above her right knee.

That’s close to a “Like X but Y” but, in this case, you actually went to the trouble of trying to describe a black version of her Frozen dress without referencing it.  Not really imaginative or worthy of a cookie, but at least you tried describing it rather than referencing it.

When he saw her face and hair, though, it suddenly clicked. This was Queen Elsa.

Poor guy.  Either Dr. Horrible is extremely near-sighted in this fic, or his brain was accidentally replaced with a rutabaga.

What. The. Heck.

See, even the narrator is taken aback by Dr. Horrible’s slow pickup!

He had never been so happy to have his goggles over his eyes in all his life. He was certain that if he hadn’t, he would look much less unperturbed than he wanted.

Woof!

I don’t see what the big deal is, the barking is pretty fun!

“So…” he began, trying to look at things objectively, “you’re one of the people who’s trying to pull me out of the E.L.E.”

*Pats Dr. Horrible on the head*

Yes, dear, that’s been established.  Several times, actually.  Try not to bake the rutabaga.

He turned around, getting back to work on the Freeze Ray.

Rude!

Yes, she is. Forget the fact she doesn’t exist, focus on the fact that she’s working for them. “How’s that going for you?”

The progress of her new organization has been glacial.

“We’re- we’re working hard to get Bad Horse what he wants,” Queen Elsa stuttered, trying to sound regally aloof despite her obvious anxiety.

Whew, glad we have the narrator here to tell us how to interpret the scene.  Otherwise we’d really have nothing to go on.  I’d end up just pretending they were all singing unicorns, and that only works out most of the time.

“I didn’t have anything to do with the terms, but I am invested in this.”

Come to think of it, why is she talking to Dr. Horrible?  He’s the only one on the League who isn’t involved in defining the terms of the deal.

“That’s nice…” he replied, trying to sound nasty “So- whose brilliant idea was it? Take Doc away from his only real goal.”

*Eliza tilts her head*

You feeling okay, Doc?  You’re starting to make less sense.

“It wasn’t mine…” Elsa replied. “She’s the head of our company… I don’t know exactly why, but she’s interested in you.”

We’re also not sure why she’s head of the company.  Or what she does, actually.

Horrible let out a harsh laugh. “So she goes up to Bad Horse and says ‘Hey, I give you some supplies for one attack and you give me one of your main men, sound good?’ Ha! That’s a laugh.”

Hey now, no need to be snide to Elsa.  She wasn’t the one who came up with the plot!

Though you would think, as an author, you would start to reconsider your plot when the characters start actively mocking it.

“Look, she wanted me to talk to you about it,” Elsa responded, a little irritated. “She knows you haven’t heard much.”

*Eliza tilts her head in the other direction*

Wow, that’s a much different take on “Go talk to Bad Horse about the terms of our agreement” than I would have come up with!

Horrible stopped cold. “Are you serious?” he growled quietly. “Haven’t heard much?” He turned around slowly, moving towards the woman menacingly.

Whoa there, just because the truth hurts, doesn’t mean you get to go all Dr. Grumpy on her

“I just got a call from Bad Horse this morning telling me that if we get our stuff on time, I’m leaving. I ask Professor Normal about it- he knows nothing. Dead Bowie: Nothing. Bad Horse: Won’t say a damn thing.”

Yes, that is what “haven’t heard much” means.  Gold star!

He was toe-to-toe with the sorceress now, towering over her by a head. “Yeah- I haven’t heard much.”

Dr. Grumpy is going to get a bad case of frozen head if he doesn’t back off the Ice Queen a little.

He felt a surge of malicious delight as he stared her down, her eyes ever so slightly widened with fright and her hands shaking violently.

Apparently Elsa forgot that she’s way more powerful than most squishy humans.  Dr. Horrible’s powers come from his brain, not his physical presence, and his brain won’t help him too much when it’s encased in a few inches of ice.

At least he was able to make his feelings clear.

Yup!  You’re grumpy and need a nap.

“O-obviously they didn’t want that,” she managed to get out. “The original d-deadline was Friday.”

Can I get a wah-wah!?

*A Darkwraith rushes in with a trumpet*

Thanks!

“Oh?” Horrible replied.

“She really needs you, though,” she continued, taking a small step back. “She’s been trying for months now.”

Oh, well, in that case, a unilateral transfer is totally called for!

“I’m not interested,” he hissed.

“She won’t take no for an answer,” Elsa shook her head. “She’ll do anything.”

“I refuse,” he responded firmly.

This probably would have gone a touch better if Elsa had remembered to talk to Bad Horse and not Dr. Horrible.  Understandable mistake, though, they look almost identical.

“Hey, do you know why Bad Horse changed the deadline?” Elsa asked suddenly.

Because he’s evil and likes to toy with people and get his way without paying for it?

“It’s because he’s afraid. Bad Horse fears this woman.

No, pretty sure my version was the correct one.

He’s scared enough that he’s deliberately sabotaging the deal so that he won’t lose you, because he knows what she could do with you at her side!”

She could double, no, TRIPLE the amount of nothing she does every day!

“At her side, too?” Horrible repeated incredulously. “This just gets better and better.”

Look, you get the plot you’re dealt.  Sometimes it’s terrible and the best you can do is try to warn everyone else in the fic about the Mary Sue, even if they won’t listen.

What I’m trying to say is, this isn’t ‘it’,” Elsa replied.

It?  You mean the thing?

“The E.L.E. is certainly evil, but she is on a much higher level than they could ever be- and she wants you. She knows you’re better than this.”

Oh yeah?  I have an epic-plus-ten level barbarian pixie that says Willow’s druid needs to go on a few more adventures.

“Well, you can tell her I’m happy just where I am,” Horrible snarled, going back to the Freeze Ray. “I paid a lot to get here- I’m not gonna pay any more for some promotion. I’ve spent literal decades fighting for this- I’m not tossing it away because someone ‘eviler’ is calling for me.”

And if we look at who double-crossed the deal, you shouldn’t really believe Willow is the eviler one anyway.

“…I see,” Elsa eventually replied, her voice quiet. “…If it makes any difference, she likes your blog.”

If this is the thing that changes Dr. Grumpy’s mind, I know a fic that’s going to spend some time in the spanking machine.

He paused a moment, thrown off by the comment. “Why would she watch my blog?”

Plot!

“I don’t know,” Elsa admitted. “…Maybe it’s because you can see a little bit of the man behind the goggles there- a little humanity for her to get in touch with when she needs it.”

That’s definitely the way to woo a super-villain!  Like how I’m always telling Crunchy how good with children he is.

“LIES!”

The man was quiet for a long time, then replied somberly, “I think whatever humanity I had died a long time ago.”

*Eliza flips open the script*

“The part of Dr. Horrible to be played by Christian Bale.”  Ahhhh.

They stayed still for a little while, the silence stretching. Finally, Elsa said nervously, “I’ll go.”

Hopefully you’re going to go do the thing you were actually sent to do.  That would be nice.

“Sounds good,” Doc replied quietly.

“But she won’t stop trying, you know,” she reminded him.

Who are you kidding, Elsa?  Willow really isn’t about trying.

“And I won’t go down without a fight,” he affirmed.

The best kinds of evil employees are the ones who don’t want to be working for you!  They tend to be the hardest and most conscientious of workers!

“I’ll tell her that,” Elsa smiled sadly, and closed the door behind her with a gentle *click*.

And he was alone once more.

Whew, and with that, chapter 9 comes to a close!  There’s a little snippet of lyrics from Dr. Horrible’s final refrain from the show after a line break, but we’ll just skip that and let you all go about your busin-

*KABLORT!*

*Sigh* I told them not to go with the double-charge when serving the soup.  I better go round up Markus and get him mopping.  Until next week, patrons!

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13 Comments on “1594: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Nine, Part Two”

  1. BatJamags says:

    directions like sad and cold and lonely- the nether-space of the conscious mind.

    Careful with all that edge! Someone could lose an arm!

  2. BatJamags says:

    “Road trip?” Elsa repeated quietly, confused.

    ROAD TRIP!

    *Runs off and almost immediately shows up again with a packed suitcase*

    Say, are there even any cars in the LIbrary?

    Large Warship the Owl: Hoo.

    Level 34b? Why is it different from 34a?

    Large Warship the Owl: Hoo.

    Oh, I see.

  3. BatJamags says:

    It’s actually impressive how slow this fic is. I wouldn’t be able to make a story do nothing for this long.

  4. andiliteman says:

    “The Queen kept watch, sitting pensively in her chair as she toyed with a paper clip, while Marlowe fiddled absent-mindedly with the buttons on the cuffs of his jacket and Buffy idly turned a small rock in her hand.”

    Is it really appropriate for Elsa to be relegated to guard duty? I mean, Willow doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of manpower as is, but come on. Elsa’s a freaking queen.

    • GhostCat says:

      They don’t really seem to need a guard; just leave the contents of the kitchen junk drawer in the cell and they can entertain themselves for hours, like toddlers.

  5. andiliteman says:

    “Igor, type it with me now: Said. I know you do use it occasionally, but you could stand to use it a bit more in situations where avoiding it makes your prose ridiculous.”

    One thing you have to give this author, though, is that they try. I see a lot of typical English-class rules being followed here, such as this trying not to repeat a word to many times (though it’s a lesson in itself that readers don’t pay too much attention to the word “Said.”) Igor really does make an effort to write interesting settings and engaging grammar. Their biggest issue, though, is application. While Igor follows all the rules, they just don’t make very good use of them.
    That, and the pacing is nonexistent and the crossover is absurd, but that’s its own category of issues. But I really think that, with a little practice, Igor could become a decent writer.

    • TacoMagic says:

      “Said” is a difficult one in a lot of ways. Used too much, and it’s repetitive, avoided too much and your prose becomes unwieldy and is every bit as bad as if you’d just used “said” for every exchange.

      In this case, Igor dodges it more than he should. You can tell because he uses a lot of emotional and action words to tell character reactions/feelings rather than showing those in a more engaging way.

      And I agree; Igor has the seeds of decent writing, but there’s a lot of work that needs done. Mechanically he’s decent, though he could do more proof reading and he could stand to spend a little more time looking up definitions to the words he uses rather than just hoping bigger words will be impressive.

      The worst part of the fic remains that the token positive reviews he received made him ignore his writers instinct that there was something desperately wrong with the writing.

  6. andiliteman says:

    “When he saw her face and hair, though, it suddenly clicked. This was Queen Elsa.”

    Uh… So she still has giant Disney Eyes in the real world, too? Because I don’t think she’d be super recognizable as Elsa otherwise.

    Also, how come he assumes it’s the real Elsa, as well? He’s in the room with a David Bowie impersonator, for crying out loud! Given how weird some of the ELE villains are, this very well could just be some woman who modeled her look after Elsa’s.

    • TacoMagic says:

      It’s one of the inconsistencies of the fic. Olaf was earlier described as looking exactly like he does in the movie (IE just an animated CG Snowman).

      However, it’s never really addressed beyond that. Given that singular reference, the reader would have to assume that Elsa looks exactly as she did in the show, CG and all.

      It’s one of the things that got glazed over which really needed a lot more thought put into.

      • andiliteman says:

        That actually sounds incredibly creepy.

      • andiliteman says:

        Also, do we explain why Elsa is no longer in the movie? Or anyone else for that matter? The ‘fic is making it sound like Arendelle is actually up in the real Scandinavia, yet everybody knows about the movie and stuff, and Arendelle itself seems to still be back in whatever year the movie takes place.

        And why isn’t it mentioned anyone else is out of their original works? I wouldn’t be surprised if Doctor Horrible had at least passing knowledge of the Buffyverse, and yet…

        Ugh. With crossovers, you can have world-hoppers OR coexisters to set up the story. Igor seems to have done BOTH at the same time and failed to handle any of the issues that come with either of them.

      • TacoMagic says:

        A lot of the ramifications of the cross aren’t dealt with in any meaningful way throughout any of the fic.

        At this point, I’ve decided not to think too much about the problems with Igor’s canon mesh. I could get caught up in the minutia far too easily. More so than I already am.


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