Monday, October 25, 2010

Gunnerkrigg Court #3, 200-300 [SEEN IT]

Oh my god, you guys, my reviews of these comics really cannot go fast enough. I feel like we’re hardly into the story at all! Well, it’s time to fix that by digging deeper into the gorgeous mythos that is Gunnerkrigg Court.

When we last left our heroine, many of the threads of what would become her story were just being revealed. She was finding out more about Zimmy and Gamma, the two strange girls, about her own past, about Gunnerkrigg’s secrets, about the many ways to defeat an Enigmaron…you know, important stuff like that! So now, with no idea where the story will take us (unless you read ahead), we will start at and not ask questions until we reach the end, right? Right.

201. This is the comic I was talking about before, the second bonus comic that got awkwardly cut off. As Tom says in his Tomments, this was done for an anthology to be distributed at a webcomic convention in the UK. Thank you, Tom, for putting it up to be available to us! 8D

Anyway, this comic takes things in a bit of a different direction than we are used, taking us into Kat’s inner life. I would say it’s odd that Annie does not know about video games, except it isn’t. But you’d think they had something for the child patients to do…anyway, poor Annie in Panel 3, thinking that the RULES apply in Grand Theft Auto! Did you not notice the THEFT in the title? Poor dear. Let’s hope she realizes this is escapism for Kat.

Chapter 12
Mainly Involves Robots

202. Oh my goodness, I haven’t read this chapter in ages! I can’t wait I can’t wait

203. Oooh, a comic of exposition and enrichment! For not paying attention to Shadow 2 for 10-odd chapters, it’s time to catch up. We find out a little more about his species, who you will later find are called the glass-eyed men. Layer of dark, hm? Kat, does Shadow 2 mind that you are stepping on him?

That thing about vibrating surfaces is neat. And the noises he makes are really cute. Bwaah! Fnar! C:

204. Wow, what? What exactly is Kat speaking into? A device specially made for making glass-eyed-men talk? How weirdly convenient. If anyone could tell me what that is, do elaborate. Either way, that’s so cute! He can talk now! Shadow 2 becomes cuter and cuter the more he makes noise (I wonder if he can still communicate like he did in Chapter 1, by reforming himself). I suppose they’ll be teaching him with that teachy-do, making him vibrate and then memorize the sounds. Maybe?

205. Huh, in all that hubbub, I (and I bet the rest of the audience) forgot that Annie was rushing in.

Annie: On my way over I saw…ROBOTS!

Oh my god this is going to be the best chapter ever. I love the drama, though Kat does seem unfazed, perhaps because she grew up here. A robot over there, you sa-

Oh my god, what a terrible creature! Anyway, on with the plot, Annie? Robot, you say?

206. Annie seems to believe that she has a way with robots, other etheric creatures aside. I love the noises these guys make – the fact that one can talk and one cannot. It’s super cute. We don’t see too many S-models around after this. I’m not even sure what they do. Just hang I guess.

S-model: Scarper, Montgomery!

I don’t know why, but that’s one of my favorite lines in the whole series. But poor Annie. She does not get her answer.

207. Boring door, eh? How ~boring~ Annie’s curiosity will never be satisfied, however! Oooh, a robot bouncer that does not speak the good English! It’s like a speakeasy. What a mean robot, by the way! Why won’t he let Annie into their little clubhouse?

Also, congrats to Tom for the award he won three years ago!

208. Kat does not seem to think very highly of the robots, perhaps because she knows how they work. But Annie is not as experienced, so she feels sorry for poor Robot, and thinks of him as a person. That and he was one of her first friends. ;___; Let’s just be happy Kat realizes this.

And also Shadow 2. <3 you Shadow 2

209. Annie looks veeerrryy devious in Panel 1! But that sounds like a plan to me! Kat’s hair also looks longer in Panel 2. Goodness me oh my that’s a messy lab. What have you been doing in there, Kat? Flinging things with your antigrav like Gordon Freeman? Door-bot, is that what it’s called. And as Annie looks even MORE devious, you should definitely be excited.

210. Reynardine! I don’t think we’ve seen him in several chapters! But certainly it is nice to have his smart mouth back :3 I wonder and wonder, again and again, how I ever could have missed that Annie’s lockpicks became one with the Rey. Rey still seems determined to insu – wait a minute what is Annie putting on her head

Doorbot is a meanie. Wait… :3

211. Wait, no, this is ACTUALLY hilarious. Annie, I don’t know if you knew that robots are easily fooled, but you fooled this one cold in the best way ever. Also, the fact that door-bot is attached to the door always gives me an extra chuckle for some reason.

Annie, I don’t think you need to keep up the façade, he already thinks you are a robot! And finally, I think that’s the first non-sarcastic thing Rey’s said to her in a long time. He sounds very…paternal here, I believe. (Do not ship him with Annie.)

212. Well would you look at that! It’s bigger on the inside! And also very chrome and mysterious and nondescript! Maybe it looks more complex to a robot. Annie is very polite. I like the administrator-bot – he is cute for a robot. All robots are cute but he is also cute. I have to facepalm at Annie for thinking that this robot would recognize a robot she named Robot. But that is a better second guess. Robots, you just gotta plug in commands.

213. Woah, I never noticed he had a giant ADMIN on his desk! That’s awesome. And why would the admin say that if he knew, for sure, that Annie was a robot? He’d say Seraph model, wouldn’t he no wait I’m getting ahead of myself. How much trouble does Robot cause, I wonder? And why was he sitting disassembled in a storage closet?

Also, I believe the admin has a very warped sense of humour. Paperclips.

214. Now, whenever you use a paperclip, you will cry bitter tears! But all is not lost – his brain is still around! (If you ask me, I think Tom was just tired of drawing the Seraph model and wanted some more streamlined-looking robots such as Admin here). I like how he clangs his own head. Annie’s head is looking handegg-like again in Panel 6.

*giggle* Poor Admin-bot. He just wants someone to love.

215. Goodness that is a long and featureless corridor. It’s enough to give you highway hypnosis just by looking at it. Anyway, running!

Tom: A disappointingly short time later

YAY! Annie can’t run either! She and I are FRIENDS. And Reynardine is a butt. I like the detail in Annie’s exhaustion in the last panel in which she appears. And is it just me (so note those who have read the rest of the series) that Reynardine is reacting a little to how Annie says he does not have lungs?

216. Wait why is Reynardine expecting Annie to get on his HOMG. Yup, Reynardine can do that! And I don’t know if you’ll notice, but this is one of the first times he actually helps her of his own volition! Not that he’ll ever want to acknowledge it again, but still! Also, his wolf form is quite lovely, isn’t it? Anyway, RUNNING. THE RUNNING LOOKS AWESOME.

Also, a quick link back to Chapter 3, page 23 for the curious -

217. I find myself wondering how long they were running before they got to the hallway’s end here. That is the COOLEST door I have ever seen. And a very odd place to see an alchemical triangle. Woah, that IS a lot of CPUs. But I imagine there’s a lot of room for error in computing.

218. I love the detail here, with Annie’s wispy hairs. This room is very mysterious, with all the CPUs hidden away. And Robot’s looks so small and fragile. ;__;

Um, wow, Reynardine, that’s pretty awesome. I’m not sure if that’s what he intended to do as a way to follow Annie’s orders, or if he’s just proving to her that smashing is more super awesomer. Either way I love the way the metal comes out of his hand.

219. Annie picks up the chip…and an alarm sounds. Once again, this place has pretty wack alarm systems. I mean, shouldn’t the CPU be password protected or something? But I agree with Annie, alarms are dislikeable, especially by now. And once again, the robots are hilariously ineffective! Or just hilariously stupid. Man do I ever love the robots.

220. THE RUSHING HERE. IS SO AWESOME. Do I find it funny that the sound effects are “Gompa Stomp”, which sound like Goomba Stomp? x3 You have to wonder how the Court affords all this ineffective robotics.

Especially here with the admin. He is wonderfully uncurious but still gives an impression of humanity.

221. And now time for Annie to make the grandest exit since that one guy grabbed two beers and opened the emergency chute to get off a plane! The security bots continue to be fantastic and also ineffective. The long view of the outside door is also now gorgeous. And Annie sounds so confident ordering him around.

And then they fly out and it is SO AWESOME.

222. Oh, but the chapter is not over, because the tables are about to turn! Extra part? Huh, that’s…intriguing. I’d guess it’s a blockage of sorts, but I would be wrong most likely. Annie’s hair is still disheveled, which is awesome if not as awesome as it was on the last page.

A docking station, how convenient! HI, ROBOT! This sounds more like the Robot we know and love! He’s so sad! Can I hug him?

223. Robot: Am I in heaven? I see an angel before me!

WHY ARE THESE SIDE CHARACTERS SO CUTE. Only the first of many instances where the robots think Kat is an angel. And the two friends reunite! Except that Robot is still sad. You’re not in heaven, Robot! You will probably go there, though :3 And that is indeed pretty optimistic, almost sadly so. I like the docking station, it has a lot of personality.

224. So now our flashback to Chapter 1 has Reynardine ~intrigued~, does it? Time to look at some pretty art!

Aren’t the tree-shaped panel dividers awesome? Anyway, let’s get a better look at Gillitie Wood! Poor Robot, he’s so unfortunate. A man, eh? A man in a hood? I hope those of you that have read ahead recognize him. Or why Rey is so angry at him. It’s really not that far ahead though; as in we’ll get to it in this review when things REALLY change.

225. This is so creepy. Just a word of warning – if you wake up after a long time and your chassis is battered, you might want to be suspicious of your new arm. I wonder just how long Annie’s been at the court, how long “several months” is. What a mean little shadow man! Why is only Shadow 2 nice?

So Robot could still see while he was possessed? Quelle horreur!

226. And things are about to go crazy.

Reynardine: Argh! Child, you have no idea what you’ve started!

Remember when I told you Chapter 1’s events weren’t important? Yeah, you can forget all about that. Annie look what you’ve done, you’ve made Rey stompy stomp stomp. And in the last two panels, Reynardine sums up in the most vague way the entire reason for the Court’s existence.

227. See? Now my calling them glass-eyed men is not a spoiler anymore. And oh animals those crazy creatur- Princess Kat? xDD Awwwww.

And, oho, cousin? What is this? Could it be…MORE PLOT? Wait, no, Reynardine, don’t become a toy! GIVE US ALL OF TOM’S SECRETS, REYNARDINE

228. Still, Annie seems to find that to be second banana to Robot’s problems. (She should think that way while she still can.) I’m not sure whether Kat is doing this for Robot, for her own interest, or for Annie’s happiness. Probably the last. :3

Annie: I should have told you to come back after you crossed the bridge.

Yay, Annie’s grown some compassion! And the chapter ends on an emosweet note.

229. Oh goodness, THIS bonus page. I must say he looks very cute in Panel 3, but Panel 4…huh. My reaction is about the same as Annie’s. But maybe that’s because I regard beefcakes as ridiculous looking. Still, I wonder if that form actually has any strength or if it’s just for show. I wonder why Rey would do this. Probably just to mess with her again.

Annie is a strangely non-romantic and non-sexual creature. Granted, she’s twelve, but on the other hand, she’s twelve.

Chapter 13
A Week For Kat

230. Oh no, oh no no no. Saddest chapter ever. ;__;

231. Woah, huh, how many chapters has it been since we were in the classroom? Several, I believe, whether you count Dr. Disaster or not. Anyway, who’s this handsome young lad that isn’t in the uniform? Kat certainly would like to know.

Wait a minute, I thought Winsbury was DONE being a tosser! Perhaps Janet is absent today. This boy is being very cool in response, though. It’s awesome. Winsbury’s joke isn’t that great, either. But he is looking far better, art-wise. Not up to current standards, of course, but still far better.

232. Kid: Gee, I must be in the wrong place.
Winsbury: Yup.
Kid: I didn’t realize this was some sort of fashion advice seminar.
Winsbury: Yup.

LOL, Winsbury. And this kid is sharp! Yay Kat for defending him and being a nice person – or, you know, trying to get his attention *wink* But you’d better go back to cootie mode fast, because here comes your mum!

233. Alistair! That’s a pretty intense name for such a small kid. But why only a week, you wonder? You’ll see. Lookit Kat all smiling and ignoring the morning bulletin…

So of course she goes right over and introduces herself, none of this dancing around her feelings! I wonder why Annie only introduces herself as Antimony. I guess because she isn’t familiar with this boy. Aly. Why do people with that name keep popping up in my life?

234. Aww! Alistair fell for the new-kid gambit hook, line, and sinker. There’s no way he’ll be able to escape Kat’s charms now, will he? ;] In Panel 3, Kat establishes herself as all-knowing, and Alistair is trapped.

Winsbury. I’m pretty sure Janet was absent that day.          

235. BONDING THROUGH POP CULTURE REFERENCES! The best kind of bonding there is, if frustrating because we don’t know exactly what they’re talking about!

How cute this all is. Aly’s artistic quality is not very consistent.

236. And now, romantic talk ensues! (For those of you current with the comic, how can Annie see this so clearly here when…) Just nice, Kat? I think you think he’s a little more than JUST nice. I like her hair in Panel 4, it’s lovely and disheveled. Also, Kat has MAD INDIE CRED. Especially with Annie. I like how she looks in Panel 6 for some reason. I also realized I totally forgot what happens in this chapter mostly. For instance, I forgot Winsbury was an asshole in it.

237. Aww, Aly’s making a popsicle stick house! And that’s quite the scarf and sleeves he’s now sporting. Makes him look very artsy, doesn’t it? I wish I could go somewhere for a week and not have to do work. And, yeah, they’re totally flirting. And his expression in Panel 6 is funny. But also worrying.

I don’t know why Tom points out that he’s building a house. Seriously, if you can figure out what’s going on at THIS point, I’ll be really impressed. (Tell me when you figured it out, by the way).

238. The next day. And now Aly is sporting even more covering clothing and is looking at Kat’s lack of it. How unusual. We haven’t seen games classes in a while…they’ve all grown a bit since then, haven’t they? xD

Willie? Since when do we call him that, Kat? Anyway, more of Winsbury being an asshole. With people actually laughing with him. Geez, where’s Janet when you need her?


I have nothing more here to say except SLAM DUNKIN’.

240. *giggle* Now he’s stuck. But a far-better-drawn my we haven’t seen him in a while Mr. Eglamore comes to save the day! Read the Tomments for Panel 3, they explain everything. Kershaw, I knew his last name came from somewhere. Oooh, Annie and Eglamore are still pissy at each other. How terrible.

241. Aly: I’m not supposed to be doing anything where I could get hurt.

How very super-unusual. Have you figured it out yet? I think Annie has, because there’s no other reason she’d be lifting him like that. And I think Kat’s just jealous that Annie’s touching him and she is not.

242. Panel 1 here makes me giggle and I do not know why. Is it because Aly has monster feet and Annie has tiny feet? Is it because Annie appears to wear Mary Janes to Games class? Probably the latter. And Panels 2 and 3 clarify everything. Annie is completely hopeless when it comes to other peoples’ relationships. So Kat freaks out. Crushes leave people prone to freaking out, don’t they?

243. And doesn’t it look like a lovely Thursday morning! That ladder still gives me the chills. CREEPY DORM. But what’s this? Kat is tapping. And now crying! (Annie’s hair got a lot thinner in Panel 4…how odd) Kat turns around…

Tom buried a jellyfish once.

244. I don’t think Annie is helping Kat’s self esteem much at all. D8 Kat looks a bit like Snow White, and not in a good way. (For some reason, Kat seems to have a lot of fanboys, including my own boyfriend. I wonder if this makeup makes her look worse to them.) Also, if you are a girl and you can do makeup, all the uncool girls will love you forever. (Case in point, me!) And yes, Annie, she looks ten times better!

Tom is awesome if he can write this scene with a straight face.

245. For some reason, the top three panels cement for me how far the comic has gone art-wise. It’s just improved so much from Annie’s handegg days. Also I like Kat’s expression in Panel 1. When Annie can see relationships, she’s good at commenting on them! And Panel 4 is so sweet, even if the shippers were taking it the wrong way! And aww, they made up.

Tom is awesomer if he’s making you feel like less of a man for reading this.

246. Kat asks the question that’s been on our minds since the beginning of the comic…but of course it will never be answered. (Any Brits have any idea what Registration is? Is it like homeroom?)

Annie’s so very formal with strangers. She needn’t be, as Aly (who now sports a hat and gloves?) demonstrates. Study. Huh. (Forgive this, but is it just me, or is Annie hitting puberty? Her breast growth’s consistent between panels so I think she is.)

247. Are they in the old library? It certainly looks it. I wonder if they paid Basil a visit. (HEY TOM, IF YOU’RE READING THIS, BASIL NEEDS TO COME BACK). Annie is both excellent and awful at leaving two people alone to make out in a library. 83 Aly and Kat see right through her. Oh my.

248. To answer the Tomments, I’d think she thought he was hotter when he was wearing a little less, yes? And let’s just pretend that Aly’s completely upset to leave Kat…at least for those of you who have not figured it out yet. Awkward Panel 5. And then cuteness at the bottom of the page as they both blush! Ah, young love.

249. Friday. Aly’s not looking well at all! He’s catching Zimmy Eye Disease! And Zimmy Side of Face disease? How odd. Kat’s desperate to keep the first flame she’s ever had, but…no cell phone or email address? What kind of hick place is Aly going?

I can feel the pain in all of these panels. Except from Annie, who doesn’t notice that she was not noticed.

250. But Kat doesn’t just care that he’s leaving, but that he didn’t just make out with her right then and there! Poor Annie, she doesn’t understand a BIT of what Kat’s going through. And the day gets worse and worse. I guess Annie only cares about romantic entanglements if they involve Kat.

Oh shove off, Kat. Aly is much more important than karmatron dynamics! Whatever those are! Things are shaping up for a reveal, clearly…

251. A tower! I’m getting some Harry Potter flashbacks regarding the Astronomy tower :P Panel 3 looks very beautiful, with the shading on Kat’s face and all. And, oh, what’s under the blanket? Why’s Aly under there? Is he really sick? I’m not explaining until it’s revealed! Also, Annie had the best idea ever.

252. Aly looks kind of like a pale glass-eyed man in Panel 1, and also so sad and lonely! Kat, cheer him up with kisses!

Or…not? Goodness, his face looks a mess! So, to finally clarify everything, he stands up… I’m going to get it out of the way that he looks beautiful artistically, and then get out of the way that Tom’s Tomment is quite right, and now I’m going to start bawling.

253. Annie is a sneaky watcher! Then two very pretty birds fly over. I dunno…I like these birds, they are beautiful. I’m going to guess that the balding one was his father, and the curly-plumed one was his mother. Aly looks like he’s about to lose his mind (which he is, in a sense – according to Tom, he’s also slowly getting a bird’s mental capacity).

Ah, a test! I think this is the first inclination that the test goes the other way around, that humans can become other creatures for…some reason or another.

254. I suppose it works, that you can bring along others who have not taken the test? Or did Aly have to take the test too? Not important HE’S TURNING INTO A BIRD YOU GUYS.

According to Tom, Panel 3 IS actually how it went down, but that his parents would have made him become a bird anyway. (I wonder why they became birds in the first place…) I love Kat’s serious face. I love less that her crush is leaving her like this.

255. So this must be the most awkward silence ever invented by God. And the most awkward awkward silence breaker invented by God. (Why are his parents doing this if he’s clearly upset about it? D8) SADDEST HUGGING SCENE EVER. But also hot enough to give Kat a new fetish. I mean, shirtless guy…winged arms…could inflict some interesting damage on a young girl’s psyche… Oh, wait, that’s why his feet were huge! Bird feets!

256. Panel 1 is seriously super-beautiful. I would make an avatar of it if it wasn’t a major spoiler. But now things get shocking as he DOES, INDEED, TURN INTO A BIRD. The process is communicated entirely through Kat’s facial expressions, see. And now Aly is a bird. Chapter over. ;__;

For the record, I would love if Gunnerkrigg Court got any sort of film or TV adaptation. Like, I’m going into media studies for reasons other than making Gunnerkrigg Court, but it’s a big factor.

257. I wonder what Aly’s song sounds like. Probably very sweet. And Kat gets her first kiss from a bird, another way to damage a girl’s psyche. Actually, this is more than she ever touched him as a human. So, he flies off to Gillitie.

Tom: And she never saw him again.

That, in my opinion, is one of the saddest lines in the whole comic. Especially because it flat-out cancels the possibility of a comeback. Even if this is the saddest part of the comic, or at least this chapter, I always love explaining it to people. “Yes, Kat had a boyfriend. Then he turned into a bird.”

258. Huh, the chapter isn’t over. Kat looks pretty in Panel 1. Annie was pretty tactful, staying out of the room like that. But also amazingly emotionally connected, comforting Kat like that! I have a feeling she would only do this for her.

And the chapter ends on an amazingly uplifting note. I’d forgotten that! So please all walk away smiling. 8] Beautiful scenery here. But also foreboding, as you can see both the Court and the Wood, and be vaguely reminded of what Reynardine said at the end of Chapter 12 and which you all forgot until now in the Aly fiasco…

259. Bonus page! HAH, I WAS RIGHT. Kat’s sense of attractive things is forever damaged by her early experiences with birds. That sounds so much more wronger than it actually is, I’m sorry. D8 But you have to admit. First much older men, now birds?

That is a hell of a fancy painting, by the way. Just saying.

Chapter 14
The Fangs of Summertime

260. Omnomnom. And so a new chapter begins. Annie looks beautiful here. You are required to agree.

261. This looks like a bit of a foreboding introduction…silhouettes of the Court are never very good news. Actually, let’s compare the good and bad news here.

Good news: School is out! Paper is flying everywhere, people are rejoicing, and Janet is back so Winsbury will stop being an asshole. Bad news: OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT. It looks like the man from scene 24 chapter 12! And why does he have a doggy behind him? (In all my readthroughs I have never noticed him before…) Wait, aww, why do we have to wait for the second? NO MORE CHILDREN, CARTHY WANT PLOT

262. Okay, all is forgiven, because here we are at the Donlan residence! They have a very fancy front porch, I am impressed. All covered in alchemical symbols and all. Anja is looking pretty with her hair down, and also being the nicest lady ever! 8D I am both uplifted and saddened that Annie has so much faith in her father, though. (Anyone notice what Kat is wearing? C8)

Huh, what’s Anja looking at…?

263. Kat’s wearing of that outfit still makes me giggle like mad. But that must go to the side, for the plot is calling! We head upstairs…ooh, it looks like they have a sunroom of sorts. But that’s not the point. The point is THIS.

It’s clearly a floaty sky thing, Kat.

264. And if you remember anything that Rey said in Chapter 12, shit should be hitting the fan in Panel 1. And the process should continue for Panel 2. For the rest of the panels, just look at the pretty artwork of Anja slinging the stone about. Makes you wonder why she can use them, eh? And – WOW! As you can see, that’s the Court symbol that was on the shirt. As you can also see, we’re getting in a little deeper than we have previously…oh my garsh

265. Looking mighty fine awkward in Panel 1 there, Annie! Kat looks okay even if she’s a pinkish tint. And in one word Anja establishes herself as a woman of many secrets. Perhaps she knows why Annie’s head is suddenly a handegg again after all these years.

I find myself wondering what Tom used to draw the Court symbol (beautiful) and the blinker stone (gorgeous). Also, notice, before the comic points it out, that the Court symbol, and indeed all over the court, contains the alchemical symbol for bismuth (the circle with horns). And here comes Eglamore! Just fallin’ out of the sky like that, what a cool guy.

266. Hopped on over, eh? As in, hopped onto the roof? Huh. So Anja once had a blinker stone…makes sense. But why the odd look on his face when Anja mentions it’s Annie’s? (People who’ve read ahead should know. If you haven’t, HAH! I’m not telling you.)

People of the forest requesting a visit?! ASGKAJSFLJS COOLEST CHAPTER EVER. And LOL, it’s all Annie’s fault. And here I find myself wondering what caused the delay in their reaction…

267. Eglamore continues to be mysterious, telling Anja that he’ll gather “the usual people” in “the greeting hall.” Huh. And Annie is allowed in, too? Is this punishment? But Kat is not allowed? But she’s practically half of Annie!

And what are a Parley and a Smith? And what would these “forest people” ever want with Reynardine? What? What? What? (I know the answers and y’all don’t~)

268. So then Eglamore hops away. I wonder why he can do that. Does the Dragon Slayer title of the Court automatically give you super jumping skills? Or does he just have super jumping skills to begin with?

Kat: I keep being surprised like every five minutes today!

And you have to wait for Annie to explain what happens next, Kat! Also, older readers, note that Annie says that she didn’t see Anja retrieve the blinker stone. (Also note that Annie looks pretty in that panel. Her eyeshadow doesn’t look as…blocky.) And now we fade to mystery, looking out at the court. Tom’s Tomment makes me giggle.

269. This, as you may have guessed, is the greeting hall. I like how old and austere it looks compared to all the people in suits, as if it’s the new generations going through the motions of the old. Also, note the hydrogen symbol on the flag. Anyway, Annie looks to her right and sees…

Oh my. I completely forgot she was in this chapter! That, and how much she’s evolved artwise. I’d tell you all about her but there’s nothing about her that I can really say for certain. The decrepit-looking fellow to her right is the school headmaster. He is not the leader of the Court.

Desperate for normalcy, Annie looks to her left and sees – older students! It’s Parley! And I figure you figured the guy was Smith, so I shall call him Smith. Oh my god, I love these guys. They are, basically, Those Two Guys. Smith looks kinda…different here. I’ll point out why once he changes. Parley, however, looks as pretty and short-tempered as always.

270. Parley: Eya, what year you in, bab?

Woah, where did Parley acquire that sort of an accent? Anyway, yes, she has noticed the little rosebud by her side. And I think, for the first time since Zimmy and Gamma (where are they?), we see kids from other houses. Well, just Parley. She’s really all we see of Thornhill. (You’ve got a pretty good impression of Chester from Zimmy and Gamma. And Foley…they come up next chapter) And now for Smit, who she seems to like climbing all over.

Woah, woah, how does Parley know Annie’s mother but not Annie – not to mention know what Annie DID and not know Annie? Smit is very disappoint.

271. Annie’s just as curious as I am (her hair is looking especially bulbous today), and just as Parley first drops the word “medium” and begins to explain the plot, Eglamore serves as the doorman for…the man from the forest. Looks like we’re to that second thing Annie said about Gillitie…

272. Oh, and what’s this? This hooded man made of wood has a multicolored doggie with him! This is such a strange forest. He keeps walking on. His incredibly well-drawn hands are creaking. I didn’t even notice Anja and Donald were here, though in retrospect I should not have forgotten. He lifts his hood and…oh my god.

Gillitie is a weird wood indeed.

273. So, yep, this “general” is a wolf tree! I don’t know whether he made himself a wolf when he was a tree, or a tree when he was a wolf…well actually I do, these are rhetorical questions because I want to make conversation. Parley and Smit looked scared…but the General and the goggie can smell fear, so the General comes and scares them by asking for their medium.

Anja mentions she has “passed on”. So, Surma was a medium, was she? You can probably figure out her job description. General is not convinced. He seems quite the temperamental person, unconcerned with Court conventions. How awesome.

274. But…goggie seems to see a little better than General can. He looks a lot more low-key here than he does in later strips, I must say! Though I do find it odd that he mistook Annie for her mother…then again, Rey did too. Maybe it’s a dog thing.

In this turn of events, Woman and Headmaster turn their heads. This is about their equivalent of going insane at the sight of such an event. So, they all force Annie to approach the dog. I guess because they’re too scared of him. But Annie doesn’t seem to be, even as he sniffs her and fails basic logic. (By the way, he is SO cool-looking.)

275. Annie calmly explains…and the dog GRINS. Oh my god we’re about to get something great.

Dog: Eglamore, you HOUND!

What are you insinuating, dude? Eglamore explains…

Dog: Oh! In that case, how awkward! Hahahaha!

DON’T YOU JUST LOVE HIM IMMEDIATELY? As Annie figures out, this fellow is named Coyote. Not just a coyote, mind. THE Coyote, as Annie says. Brush up on your Native American mythology before you come in next time. So now Coyote should be ten times the character he was before. Yes, he is a god of sorts. This world is heavily unusual.

Also, if you had any illusions that the General or any of the humans were running the show, you may now discard them.

276. Annie’s looking very artistically sharp in Panel 1. Really, compare her to Chapter 1, you will be appalled at the older work. But that is nothing, nothing, NOTHING compared to the brilliance and amazingness of what Tom gives us here, with this piece of mythological art. I’m not going to explain it; you find your own meaning. Except that the part with Coyote laughing is hilarious. And now you know where the glass-eyed men came from! I looked it up, and I don’t think this is an actual myth – “glass-eyed men” only returns GC-related items.

And finally, we can call wolf tree Ysengrin! As you can see, he is very impatient.

277. The Headmaster looks bored. The death of one of our men? Oh, the meanie glass-eyed man! Well, I don’t feel sorry for him. Annie totally ignores all this stilted political talk (one wonders why it is so!) so that Annie can totally be familiar with these creatures. And now you know why Muut was there – he’s the Native American psychopomp. Hell of a poker face, lol. Woman goes insane again with the information she sees.

278. It looks like the animals of this forest have an interesting moral code. Even though Annie didn’t actually die. Also Ysengrin is a meanie. But oh, what’s in the bag?

…THAT HORRIBLE BIRD. Huh, they’re all in nice green suits. “Those birds”, eh? Woah, why did the bird do all THAT? I didn’t think there was enough room in the bird for all that…there’s some problems with this story. I mean other than the tubes hanging out of the bird.

279. Ysengrin is very quick to blame humans – a testament to relations indeed. Wait, not even the COURT knows where these birds come from? I’m not sure if this is a lie or a lie hidden under the truth hidden under a lie ISN’T THIS STORY GREAT YOU GUYS. Anja, I don’t think Ysengrin is in the mood for relations like that. Yup, that is what he just said. So he crushes the bird. Aww, that bird saved Annie’s life! Don’t hurt it.

280. At first I read that first panel and I was like “huh”, then I read it again and I was like “woah Ysengrin has a long finger” and then I read it again and I was like “WAIT, THAT SAYS ANTHONY.” So of course people have a lot more shock than they should. And now two more things. One, Ysengrin has the biggest bag ever, two, how’s that for a brick joke? It’s been more than 150 pages, and now we remember that Annie’s dirty old sweater was left behind!

And wow, Annie’s brave. She stands up to Ysengrin when he’s about ready to murder everyone in the room. How awesome is that?

281. Annie is quick to put these animals in their places, or rather to put everyone in their place. And yes, jumper = sweater, if you forgot. Not good with human clothing, coyote? Ysengrin’s wearing that cape pretty well. Ysengrin is quick to accuse, and Annie is quick to correct. (Parley and Smith must be freaking out). The headmaster just seems faintly amused. Ysengrin gets angry, and…

Wolf Reynardine? Woah, was this planned? I just remembered we hadn’t seen him yet…Also, I think this is the only time in the comic where swearing is uncensored. Unless he’s calling him a donkey.

282. Reynardine seems to know Coyote a little too well! COUSIN, indeed! (Tom has said that this is in the animal-kingdom sense of cousin, that a coyote is a cousin to the wolf fox). Also, if you’ve read ahead, you know how Coyote’s “you look so well” will be received by everyone except the humans. Ysengrin is just offended by everyone today isn’t he?

Oh, so Ysengrin is a wolf made tree. Also he’s kind of crazy. BURN, REYNARDINE. That guy giggling? That’s Bob the Gardener again! See? Gardening? C:

283. And now the humans are WAY out of the picture, it’s forest-politics time! Coyote is totally running the show. What are these mysteries Rey is introducing? Broken laws? Rey came from the forest? This doesn’t sound like the wisecracking toy we know…

And now the bit with the glass-eyes stealing Rey makes sense! Coyote just wanted his cousin back…right? I’m really very confused with all these events. I guess the forest was just doing what it would. But now Coyote just has to be an ass…I really don’t like what he’s implying about Annie. But I do like the insane length of his neck in the last panel. So awesome.

284. Coyote’s looking devious in Panel 1- OH NO YOU DI’INT. First you insinuate that about Rey’s ‘ship with Annie, then you –

You don’t know how hard it was to pick a picture here. On the one hand Annie’s face when Coyote lifts her skirt is hilarious, but this one has SPANKIES. Annie is tough as balls, she is! It’s awesome. And Ysengrin goes even crazier, as Annie appears to have invaded his territory. NEGOTIATIONS ARE OVER, TIME TO SKEWER PEOPLE. OMG

285. The barb flies at Annie, who is defended by Rey (!) who is defended by WHAT IS THAT. When I first read this I thought it was a shield of Rey’s, but look at Donald in that next panel…SUPER MYSTERIOUS. Annie, too, seems to think it’s a Reypower. And their relationship turns! Could Rey actually care for her in a non-romantic sense!

That aside, SWORDFIGHTING. Or sword vs. tree fighting.

286. I reiterate. No one can even be pretending to run the show except Coyote. Because you are an ant under his foot. Ysengrin crashes into a pole…woah, that’s a lot of blood! (I love the detail in all these scenes…) I wonder why Grinny still loves his master so much when he treats him like this.

287. Abalone? Odd name for her. And I guess he knew full well he’d rile her. He was testing her. (LOL, Rey. “This is true.”) But oh, what’s this, more secret politics! And promises of mysteries to come! Though Annie appears to see right through it…though she does not directly refuse. Oooooh. So then things get more confusing as he proclaims it a misunderstanding. So, what just happened? Annie sent Robot into the forest, Ysengrin sent Robot to attack Rey, Annie got pushed off the bridge…uh…

Yeah, it’s over.

288. And now everyone is in awe. And they’re in awe at you, Annie. Because you kick ass. Wait, what is this mysterious woman’s saying? A ruse? And what are these seeds for? I don’t remember if we ever see them again. But the Court is mysterious indeed, that goes without saying. And, yes, Jones is this woman’s name! And that’s really all I can tell for sure. She looks a little more refined in design here. And also she’s just throwing out conclusions that everyone will take as truth.

Clearly the headmaster is catatonic with horror.

289. And now we get to calmer affairs. So this is Janet’s dad? She must really take after her mother. And all of a sudden Annie is subservient to him, when she could slap Coyote’s ass. Huh. Which is exactly what he points out! What a funny man. Smit is impressed, Parley is not.

What a cliché question, Headmaster. Truly, you are nothing like Dumbledore.

290. And now, we come back to a calmer situation! Apparently Kat has a room both at the Donlan house and in the dorms. I guess her family figured the dorms were better during the school year, but this is a FAR less creepy room than she had before, I’m thankful. But as you see, things are going to be a changing. Medium lessons, that’s neat! And we get to see more kids, even neater!

And, yes, she’s staying to try and get in touch with her father. How sad is that? And, yes, Kat may not have much confidence in Rey, but Annie I think does now.

291. Again, I am confused with events that happen later in the comic. Annie is easily able to joke about Mort’s thing to her here, but…ugh, it’s so hard not to slot in spoilers! I guess she is sort of brushing it off as a joke. Also, in panels 3 and 4, see that, Annie, that’s Kat BEGGING YOU to go with her. But…aww, the end of this page is so sweet.

292. And now, things get sadder. I wonder if Rey likes his wolf form. And here comes Annie. Why is it that Rey seems older and wiser in his wolf form, but silly in his toy form? Maybe he feels more confident in a wolf’s real body. Things are quite stony between them. Annie is friends with pretty much no one.

Oh, come on, Annie! Please ask him! We all want to know!

293. Ah, I forgot about this page. Annie pulls out her binder, the binder of a year passed and to be forgotten. I know how this feels. But here we have a picture, one not as well drawn as the rest of the page. James, Donald, Anthony, Surma, Anja, TGITP. All very mysterious figures indeed, a previous generation to be unraveled. And then Rey, who knew them all. Be quiet, Annie’s having Annie time.

294. Annie wiping off her makeup… I wonder if that means something, other than that, yes, it is not tattooed on her face. I have to say, though, she looks much prettier without it! (Also, note she’s wearing two necklaces – the antimony one, and the blinker stone.) And now for the saddest panel ever…

Annie: Thus ended my first year at Gunnerkrigg Court. And so did I wait for news from my father. Unaware that I would not hear from him for over two years.

Wow. How’s THAT for a sequel hook/incentive to punch Anthony in the face? End chapter. That was a long’un.

295. Bonus page! This is the Second Treatise, which you can find for sale in the shop. There is so much duality in this picture, it’s absolutely lovely! TicToc vs. Aly. (This is actually the last time we see him.) Coyote vs. Reynardine. Court vs. Wood. Work vs. Nature. Annie vs. Kat. They smile at each other now, but I predict a split in the future and it makes me sad.

Summer Holiday

296. In a sense, yes! The comic takes a break for a short period here, presumably so Tom can have a life, but as Tea lovingly explains, there will be “guest comics and other surprises”. Every day! Tom’s done two of these so far, and they’re all amazing. So, yeah, things will be a bit different from here until the end of the review (which awkwardly ends in the middle of the break, sorry!)

And yes, I do believe that boy is Tom.

297. The first of the guest comics! This feels so weird to see. I’m not telling you who did them, because I cannot beat Tom’s Tomments about their identities. The art style is weird, but clearly in control, except that Kat has boobs. Posh, special school from down south, eh? And poor Winsbury, now he has forever ingrained himself as an asshole in our souls. OH MY GOD, IT’S HARRY POTTER. WHY WAS I TOTALLY EXPECTING THAT. LOL, THEY DON’T TAKE HIS WAND SERIOUSLY.

I find myself wondering whether GC is in the HP-verse. No, definitely not. So, yeah, they don’t take him seriously at all. Have fun at the top of the flagpole, Harry!

298. This is not a guest comic, but a letter Kat wrote to Annie! Look at that handwriting, it is Tom’s most likely. He had to write a letter like a twelve year old girl. Aren’t you jealous? Poor Kat, so optimistic…but this does prove that a world exists outside the Court, and a pretty normal one at that. Cousins and all. Read the letter, I’ve never really read it before.

I love that Kat is trying to make her vacation come to life for her. I think inside she doubts her father contacted her… 8[

299. Another guest comic! Kat hungry! *giggle* I love how noodle-y she looks. WOAH, LOTS OF BLOOD. HI, MORT. HOW ARE YOU. And I don’t know about you guys, but Mort DID get pretty good at being scary! Bird = could have been Aly. Surprise = could have been murderous. And those beat panels are awesome. So, yeah, everyone agrees with me. Happy ending. I think Kat lost her appetite.

300. And we end, rather awkwardly, upon a page of sketches. Lots of Spacemonauts, some Kat, a Coyote, some very old-looking Parley and Smith, more Coyote, a Jones – I love seeing these because it shows me Tom cares for his art – a Ysengrin, a Dragon Slayer, a – AWW BITTY ANJA AND DONALD! And more Spacemonauts.

Thank you for reading this, and I’m sorry these have been so late as of late! I have a lot more time this week so I shall build up an archive or at least attempt to. Again, you should not only check out the snazzy donation page, but also the shop! And also the rest of the comic.

Wednesday shall take us back to Dinosaur Comics, which I see none of you are reading. How about we jazz that one up a little, hm?

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