|Reviews for SWAT Kats: Closing Report|
| MoDaD chapter 1 . 2/14
The amount of mental gymnastics required to justify the repercussions (or lack thereof) regarding the situation with Professor Hackle and the Metallikats that the show has always asked of its viewers always stuck out to me as some kind of borderline lunacy, particularly as the show wasn’t content to just let Hackle disappear after one episode.
Fortunately, you’ve taken that hand wave and used it as a very thoughtful means to further build the world that Megakat City resides in, craftily creating depth from something shallow.
Regarding Hackle, you’ve taken surface-level traits and used those to create a complex and conflicted character whose actions and intentions, while still ambiguous, don’t seem so out-of-place.
Though, the most interesting part of this story is its central character, Commander Feral. Being able to step inside that internal conflict and see things unfold from his perspective as he travels from beginning-to-end to arrive at his ultimate decision/actions was a great narrative device. I’m not entirely sure if I personally think his level of patience and contemplativeness regarding this incident would have played out this way…but because of the backstory and greater implications you inserted I think it works perfectly in this story.
I know that some might point out what would be considered to be “holes” about what appear to be HUGE gaps in criminal/procedural oversight and the likelihood of secrets being able to be kept…but after some thought, in a world where giant robots are developed in secret, stolen, destroy a large portion of the city, and the company in question also escapes culpability… those “holes” seems more like expected elements of a broken world (one that shares a few parallels with our own, as this story doesn’t shy away from alluding).
There was one exchange early-on that kind of seemed to step outside of credulity for me:
“It would have been better to let them die.” Feral agreed quickly, and with a bit more heat than he should have used. “How did you not know who they were? They were in prison uniforms!”
“She was wearing heels, Commander. And prison uniforms are either black and white striped, or solid orange.” Hackle pointed out.
Except for Alkatraz...which uses gray only, Feral recalled bitterly. Another oversight to correct.
Not so much that I think Hackle’s reasoning was out of character, but rather Feral’s acceptance of his answer seemed a bit too quick and too forgiving. I know it’s supposed to be a way to cover for a shortcoming of the source material, but I think drawing attention to it just made me furrow my brow in Jim Stenstrum’s direction. Also, when Hackle said…
…they washed up on shore and Feral immediately said “they were in prison uniforms,”… how would he know that? While it may be a little macabre to think about, bodies lost at sea and the clothing worn by them don’t always survive fully intact. Maybe something along the lines of their clothing being too damaged for Hackle to recognize immediately… maybe not seeing a MADE IN PRISON tag on the tatters of their clothes until after the procedure was completed….or even something really bold like him not caring they were prisoners and doing the procedure anyway, because he was a prisoner once himself (though I realize this last one would change the overall tone probably a bit too much…and would also make Feral’s decision not to pursue prosecution probably too big of a leap).
But otherwise, that’s a minor thing, and entirely subjective. The rest of the story quickly and more than adequately moves past that.
The tone is a fun one, not unlike a police procedural, and is a lot more reserved and contemplative than a lot of works related to SWAT Kats.
And, the real world allusions are a nice touch. Hackle’s Von Braun/Oppenheimer-esque elements (though with a much different childhood), along with the historical parallels of the post-WWII space race / Cold War era arms race were good inferences, and I think were present just enough to aid in the reader’s immersion while never straying too far into something tasteless or inappropriate.
It was a great read, and if I may say, it'd make for a good "missing scene" from your ongoing series.
| T-65X chapter 1 . 1/10