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WIP Here Comes The New Boss (Nothing Like The Old Boss) by HowlingGuardian - M - Worm

Discussion in 'Other Fandoms Review Board' started by TheWiseTomato, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Title: Here Comes The New Boss (Nothing Like The Old Boss)
    Author: HowlingGuardian
    Rating: M
    Genre: Action/Drama
    Status: WIP
    Fandom: Worm
    Pairings: N/A
    Summary: Taylor Hebert has some big, horrible boots to fill. But she's going to walk her own way.
    (Butcher Taylor AU)
    Link: Spacebattles

    I've been following this for a short while and so far it's been pretty enjoyable. The premise is that the Teeth make a play at returning to Brockton around the start of canon, only for Butcher to fall afoul of some bug controlling cape and die, around the same time that Taylor was forced into her locker. Probably a coincidence or something, I dunno. The spin here is that Taylor has the ability to temporarily suppress the personalities of the previous Butchers, so it's more like a group of unwanted life narrators rather than a gibbering descent into insanity. The story is about Taylor doing what she thinks is right - that is, becoming a hero - while having some fairly distinctive baggage.

    The writing is competent and solidly done; the characters feel real and distinct. The plotlines are engaging, nothing feels like an asspull and the stations of canon don't appear to be on this line. It has a respectable update rate without making me think the author is going to burn out. Even when it deals with things that always seem to be cringe in other stories (Taylor 'dealing' with the bullies now that she has powers) it does so in a way that makes sense and doesn't feel like a cathartic power fantasy.

    Overall, I'll call this a good example of a well written Wormfic that doesn't fall into any of the normal pitfalls and even does some new and interesting things, which is a breath of fresh air in a fandom that can be as stagnant as this one. 4/5 at the moment, and if it continues at this quality I'll change that to 5/5 upon completion.
     
  2. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Dark Lord

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    This sounds incredibly familiar - I'm sure I've read it before, but I'm not currently following on SB or Ao3, so I must have either dropped it, or forgot to watch.

    I'll give it another go, see if I've actually read it. What I remember, it was definitely a stand-out in terms of plot, but I think it still hit some of the more normal problems with Wormfics. I'll retry, and provide an actual review.
     
  3. Anarchy

    Anarchy Half-Blood Prince DLP Supporter

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    I don't really have anything good to say about this story. Sure, people can say that I'm seeing what I want to see, so whatever. Here's the review I wrote a month ago when I read it:

    Here Comes the New Boss (Same as the Old Boss). Honestly, this story might as well be named Here Comes the New Story (Same as the Old Story). I don’t think there was a single innovative thought in the entire story. Like, if one of the story’s only redeeming features is something that it *doesn’t* do, then there’s a problem (fwiw, there’s no PHO scenes, and no interludes existing just to react to Taylor doing something. There are plenty of pointless interludes though).

    There’s the usual Wharf fight. Instead of Lung or whatever Empire cape is the flavor of the month, there’s the flavor of the year Mush fight. I’ve seen this guy in this role way too often. He’s always just a sack of hit points that takes multiple people to take town, and often successfully fights off a team for multiple minutes. It’s dumb. Here I guess we at least see Shielder get more than a second of screen time (though he has yet to appear again), and there’s Glorygirl.

    Uhg. Is there a single person who actually likes this kind of Glorygirl characterization? It’s the usual BS of being overbearing and aggressively confrontational. I was hoping we wouldn’t have to see her much after the Mush fight, but after her literally random appearance at Parian’s shop, that hope was dashed.

    And again, is there anyone who likes this Panacea? I guess people must because she inevitably ends up on screen far too often. Right now the most recent scene was the whole cliche “heal Taylor and discover her secret.” Yawn.

    Spitfire is the sidekick of choice. I guess she’s somewhat underused in fanon, but there’s still been nothing of interest involving her. Maybe eventually, but right now her involvement just feels contrived.

    The Butcher stuff… I kinda wish it was better executed. Right now there’s just a bunch of voices talking to her. How can someone write that many voices without devolving them into their most basic components? I don’t think you can, and as a result, I have no attachment or interest in any of them. It’s also quite jarring, to the point where it’s mentioned in story. Like, when they all start talking with Taylor, she’s literally just standing there in story, staring off into space while others around her are waiting. There’s got to be a better way to handle that.

    On that note, what is up with her Tinker power? How does someone assemble a car in 20 minutes, or build an actual functional weapon in the middle of a battle in seconds? I get the whole Tinkers are BS thing, but usually the main downside is that it takes a ton of time to actually build their stuff. One of the exceptions is Simurgh, and that’s not a good comparison.

    Escalation. It’s inevitable, and this story is no exception. It’s what's going to happen when you take a city that already has like 60+ capes in canon, and then add a few dozen more. The problem is the fight scenes quickly turn into a drag. The words just start blending together and my eyes start to glaze over multiple paragraphs and not miss out on anything. It’s like half the story is fight scenes. It’s too much.

    Onto the writing. I’m sure some people will say that the writing quality is one of the story's redeeming features. It’s not bad, but it can definitely use some work. Specifically, the dialogue. There’s more characters sneering, snarling, grunting and growling than a zoo. Gotta tone it down with the dialogue tags.

    If I had to give it a rating, I'd have to give it a 2/5. It's competent enough, but there's nothing going on in this story that makes me want to read the next chapter (and I'm assuming there's been a handful of new chapters release for this since I read it last month).
     
  4. Erandil

    Erandil Minister of Magic

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    I am a bit surprised that you would classify this as a boring rehash of canon/fanon since in my opinion one of the positives of the story is that largely avoids doing precisely that. We don't have a locker scene, we don't have the conflict with Lung, we don't have pages upon pages of cringy content with her father/Winslow, both Undersiders and Wards have had practically zero screentime and practically none of the other common events of early Worm like the various heists or direct jumps into all the late-Worm powerescalation/conspiracy stuff.

    To me this is in my many ways exactly the kind of Worm fanfiction I like, focused on Brokton bay and gang related stuff, not tied to closely to canon, utilising rarely used characters and the conflict being relatively low intensity compared to the world ending events and capes so common with the Butcher stuff adding an interesting twist to it.

    And I get that GG and Panacea can be problematic, especially with that interpretation, but they had a rather limited presence so far and I far prefer them over yet another rendition of OP Tattletale or Coil. And the same is true of the portrayal of her tinker powers, I will take unreasonably quickness over pages upon pages of boring design and resource gathering or Op weaponry any day of the week.

    So I will give this 3,5/5 for being one of the few Worm story I have read in the last year+ that I did not quit after five minutes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
  5. Anarchy

    Anarchy Half-Blood Prince DLP Supporter

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    It's like I said, I'm not going to rate a story positively because of what it *doesn't* do. You have to look at what the story is actually doing, and when I consider that, it's not really that impressive. That it doesn't have a locker scene or bullying lawsuit BS doesn't automatically make it a good story, or that that is the only thing my enjoyment of a story is predicated by. It's just a single hurdle, and it does mean that there is a much higher chance of me actually being able to finish the story, which I managed. What of the other hurdles? Things such as worldbuilding, an interesting plot, well-developed characters? As I sit here in retrospect, I have to ask myself a few questions - Did I enjoy the story? Was it entertaining? Was it interesting? Does it do enough for me to want to follow it week by week? The answers to all of those, for me, is a resounding no.
     
  6. dudeler

    dudeler Fifth Year

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    I really like this one. I think it's one of the best active worm fics. It avoids most of the bad worm tropes, is competently written, no Mary Sue Taylor. The plot moves a bit slowly and feels a bit directionless.
    At the moment I would give it a 4/5, might go down if there isn't some actual plot progress in the foreseeable future or characters devolve into bad caricatures of the canon versions.
     
  7. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Dark Lord

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    Okay, so blasted back through this in a day or two.

    So far as Worm fics go, this isn't bad. I've not seen a Butcher!Taylor fic manage to actually get going for quite a while, they often seem limited to the first few chapters, and then run out of steam. Here, the author's managed to keep it going quite nicely, and avoid the majority of the canon rails, which is excellent.

    For the most part, the writing is good enough? No major SPG breaks, or weird word choices to pull me out of reading, although there's a lot of talking, so there's a lot of line breaks. It makes the text look weird when you're not reading it.

    Talking of the talking, the individual butchers are almost done amazingly. They each have different voices, they each want different things, but there's 14 of them, and they're not all major players, so some of them kind of drop into obscurity until they come back up again. Those of those that come up repeatedly (Rotter and Anchorage come to mind) are great, especially for OCs.

    Panacea is not a hopeless woobie who needs saving; interludes aren't PHO segments, or used to jerk off how amazing Taylor is; and nobody shits on canon.

    Like Anarchy, I wonder about the Tinker thing, but I kind of just skipped over those in text. For making the car, I assumed it was something along the lines of finishing off Squealer's half-finished job, and the weapon is more pulling out a shaped piece of metal, but looking back on it definitely leaves an area that could be improved.

    3.5, rounding up to a 4/5