|Reviews for The Measure of a Titan|
| The shadows only want to play chapter 38 . 7/15
| Sandshrew777 chapter 38 . 4/25
I will, as always, look forward to the next installment.
Until then, know that you have paced this brilliantly into the final showdown, and although I know there will be some kinks in David's plan, I await reading them, whenever it will be.
You always say that you're honored that we read your words.
Way I see it? It's always been the reverse.
Good luck, old friend. :)
| Sandshrew777 chapter 37 . 4/25
And the payoff comes at last! Some success for the Titans. The plot here is so well-designed; we knew before the characters knew, about a lot of their troubles. We can divine that Raven is warring with herself thanks to the episode, but also to your hinting: "Nobody could deceive you except yourself." David and Devastator were locked in a contest of wills, and when David finally exerted all of his, both in intelligence and skill, it finally allowed him victory. And of course Starfire was never in any danger. Her pure rage carries her through the nightmare, and Robin, in a sense, helps her rescue herself. That she decimates Warp is the most satisfying bit of the entire chapter, as we've been waiting desperately for someone to succeed. Now, it seems, they all have. It's just down to coming to Cyborg's aid/banding together at last, and Raven's final spell.
I hope that's where we get to next, and I hope that the story does end in the next chapter, but as reviewers have pointed out before me, it seems as if it does not. I hope it ends on some kind of finality, though, because you've earned it with this one.
| Sandshrew777 chapter 36 . 4/25
Will takes everything, seems to be the moral of the story. I agree. I enjoyed the existential fights each of them are going through, and the revelation of non-destiny being most supremely interesting to a cosmic being (which I buy, via your explanation).
Good to see Jinx showing up (I knew it!) and BB, Star, and Cyborg finally engaging their most powerful moves. With enough will they win. Not love or destiny or any of it.
I'm in for the last two runs of this.
| Sandshrew777 chapter 35 . 4/25
More and more surprises, indeed. I find myself most interested in the showdowns between Starfire and Nega-Robin and BB and Nega-Terra (as I must assume she's been killed by Devastator and thus able to be called upon? Or even if not, her Nega self would be likely available...). I'm a sucker for the easy blow-for-blow conflicts. I'm also intrigued to see how David and this other Devastator form at the end are going to be combined, as I assume they must be.
You put forth some rhetorical debates in here about blame and fault and will, to which I respond well even if the arguments seem to go in circles after a while. It's ironic that Warp blames others for his actions and Slade intimates the same, as does Devastator. But the whole concept of this is the Titans' insistence on personal destiny, of making one's own life path. And as much as I think that will win the day, Devastator's not wrong to say that will is vital. I guess most of all, there are some logical retorts to these arguments that even Starfire and David could lob at them, but they walk right past the opportunity. I might be interested in a debate that's a bit fairer on both sides, as right now it seems like the villains always have the right answer (and of course, because the tension is ratcheting up as we move into the concluding chapters).
All told, it still keeps up the interest, so forging on...
| Sandshrew777 chapter 34 . 4/25
It's good to see the Nega-Titans in full force here, or at least two of them, as well as the inevitable fleshing out of Terra's guilt and shame, as she and David exchange emotions. It's making lots of sense on the whole here and I appreciate each of the parts divvying up the action at just the right moments.
I'll say that I was surprised by Devastator's appearance. I wasn't surprised that he was here, because of course there is going to be some kind of iteration of Devastator that is destructive, we know. But that it coincided with Warp's time now finally lets the details congeal. I think you're also wise to be shoving blame on the Titans as you have in this story: they're to blame for just locking criminals up or forcing them onto others. It's irresponsible. Raven came to task when facing the marines and now Starfire gets some of her own medicine (though, admittedly, she did think she was leaving them with the future Titans...it still doesn't excuse her for taking the burden on herself, as her actions have consequences). Rather, I was just surprised by the very film noir version of Devastator we get. It wasn't what I was expecting to see, but I guess it makes sense that he would want to portray himself in that manner, given that it's an exact opposite of his teenage self here.
And don't think I didn't catch that David looks like a Nega-Titan himself, here...I see you!
Onward we go, to gobble up what is left...
| Sandshrew777 chapter 33 . 4/25
A surprising chapter here for one that is bridging the gap to action, in that the information revealed is very meta. I enjoy your engagement with the very idea of OC as a kind of AU largely because it makes so much logical sense. Of course David's made an "alternate" timeline from the show, because he of course was not in the show. As a result, his inclusion makes this all AU, and I appreciated the "villain's monologue" from Slade as a sort of authorial intent peeking through, a kind of apologia for the piece in total. It was rewarding to read how you'd imagined and envisioned the plot here, and although I still don't trust that Warp is Warp per se-there's something off about him-I still enjoy the ideas set forth.
I will say that Slade comes off very one-sided in this chapter. He feels very arrogant to me. Of course, Slade IS arrogant. It is his arrogance that permits him to be defeated or at least checked by the Titans time and time again. He underestimates their values just as they don't respect his pragmatism. But I do feel as if there is room for him to be a bit dynamic here. To be constantly putting forth this nigh-nihilistic point of view in that there's nothing that can happen to change the current state just doesn't seem like Slade. He's lost some of his fire (ha, ha). I don't expect him to be galvanized by the Titans' plan, but I do always expect him to have something in mind to do. He's never at a loss. What could be happening here is that he is of course playing them; he knows that BB will step up into Robin's place if Raven is so much as even whispered...and that Star's desire for vengeance allows her to go for Warp. Perhaps he is playing the strings here and you're hiding it from us. But I do find him oddly passive here.
That Terra arises from the depths is a twist I was waiting for, and I'm pleased to see you move that into play. David's resurrection, as it were, is also no surprise, but I'm happy to see the two of them move forward. I presume Jinx went down with the rest of the city, since she didn't receive Raven's blessing? I just find it odd that she wasn't even hardly mentioned in here save for a side bit of guilt from Cyborg in a dialogue line. Perhaps I missed it? I'm sure I did. It's just: why's she get to come along with all of them? Why does she alone survive, if she does not contribute anything aside from firepower against the demons? Maybe you have a plan or I missed something. But Jinx is oddly silent, and it seemed like there was an opportunity to develop something there.
I'm still enthralled, though.
Onward and onward we go!
| Sandshrew777 chapter 32 . 4/25
I think this chapter does what it needs to do, in terms of moving the story forward. We of course know that we're heading into Trigon's takeover and that's what you give us. Furthermore, we get the moments of the Titans dealing with the aftermath of war, as well as Jinx, in her own shellshocked way. All of it makes sense and stays true to character.
I admit that I'm surprised and confused as to what Warp is doing here-but of course I knew he was coming to do something-and that Devastator has other siblings (did we know that before? Have I forgotten after all this time?). I'm curious to see how Devastator and David play out, as we know that they're not done quite yet.
Onward, we go.
| Sandshrew777 chapter 31 . 4/25
There's not much here to say other than: let's get into this saga. The showdown with Trigon is looming and I'm curious to see how you've adapted it. A few potshots while I've got it fresh, before I eagerly click the Next button:
1) David's characterization seems absolutely on-point here. He's wary, he's anxious, and finally he busts and goes off to do something about it. He won't sit back any longer, and I think we've wanted that. That he dominates most of the battle (that we see, anyway) helps us realize how far he's come.
2) The action moves quickly in this chapter despite its length, which I think is a testament to of course your ability to write it and also your well-spotted thought that we've seen this scene already in the show (and remember it well because it was one of the bigger showdowns). So reiterating it doesn't add much to it, except of course to show us David and the HIVE, which you do admirably and just enough to assert their presence and then move on with the plot.
3) The Jinx/David moment was one of the best written dialogues so far, largely because the two characters kept battling with that infamous tension of trying to connect to one another without really wanting to do so. Everything in their natures screams that they are so similar-I'd argue that he's closer to Jinx than he is to Terra, but that's another argument for another day-and the quiet moment of two Venn diagrams connecting but simultaneously trying to pull away was a nice touch just before the shit hit the fan.
4) I like the quieter take on Raven's cheery attitude in the chapter. The show posited it as "just a weird day with Raven" but there's less humor here because Robin's gone (and for that matter, so is Star). As a result, the same kitsch can't go on, and I appreciate that it's just David and BB who get drawn into the Raven-has-a-weirdly-cheery-attitude motif. That it draws Raven into confessing her true feelings about her friendship with BB (and it really does seem just like mutual respect and friendship on her end, but of course that's a good foundation for anything relationshippy) makes so much sense here. It's that trope of "what would you do if it was your last day" played out perfectly. Instead of comic, you go for the feels. Her kiss makes more sense than BB's does because it's a summation of all that she's trying to say, whereas BB's felt like a way out of the scene or out of tension. It really works, is what I mean to say.
5) I confess that I didn't expect Gizmo and See-More to randomly bite the dust here, but I assume, as I will with Robin, that all of this will be undone when Raven pushes her reset button as White!Raven. If it doesn't, I'm curious to see what happens (and my most logical assumption is that without a big baddie to focus on, the Titans would naturally splinter, despite your arguments that they stick together because they've got nowhere else to go). I wonder if Jinx and Mammoth could've gotten just a bit more time there. I liked the interaction but I think we could've landed there for longer and really milked that pain.
A solid chapter all around. Moving on!
| Sandshrew777 chapter 30 . 4/25
The way you opened this chapter, I swore you were making a Solomon Grundy reference. It wasn't, but oh well. Zombie!Robin wouldn't quite fit the story, I guess. :p
I think the fallout of Robin's passing is well-shown throughout each of the characters here, largely because you can draw from Starfire's "passing" in the Warp episode to show what's happened to them. Cyborg's resolute manner and Raven's withdrawal are to be expected, as is Beast Boy's pluck (although I might've expected him to be a bit more affected, I think reasoning it as him trying to "keep up a happy face" for the team makes sense when you think about his affection for Raven...it is cliche that BB is always trying to stay happy even when he isn't, but it doesn't mean that doesn't also make sense as a character choice). Star's rage and David's depression surprise me the most in here, largely because of how long they last. Star seems locked in a loop-the only way she can process Robin's passing is through Tameranean massive emotion, and the only massive emotion she has is anger (toward Warp, the HIVE, herself, Robin even) and that just won't abate because she keeps getting reminded of it. That makes sense, too, but of course I'm expecting her to snap out of it at some point...and she doesn't. I like that.
David's depression is, I admit, more of the same emotion we've been getting from him in the story. He's out of place and feels out of place and now that the one that was largely responsible for giving him a place is gone, that feeling naturally returns. It's not that I want David to make a heel-face-turn and suddenly be this confident defender of Jump. That's not him. And I do admit that David's encounter with See-More and Gizmo gives him some level of badassery that overcomes or overshadows his mood swings at the beginning and ends of this chapter. It's just that I think I've been waiting for David to overcome himself for a long time now, and every time he seems to have done that, he settles right back down into the trenches again. I know that that is his flaw and that we're working on it, but it feels like already trodden ground. Perhaps only one scene of David wresting with his emotion is what we need-the bit with Starfire, I think, has as much payoff as the others in this chapter. The reflection at the church is a nice one and allows for great rumination, but I don't know if we even needed it given how effective the scene with Starfire is.
On a lighter note, there's this odd quirk that's been happening in the dialogue. Search your document for "way I see it." It's used quite often by many characters and it's amusing because that's a very particular phrase and yet it's making its way into all of their mouths! I think you can balance it out a bit more, of course, should you choose. The way I see it, I just wanted to point it out to you. ;)
I'm in for the long haul of these chapters, so I'll keep going! It's good to get immersed in this world again (and it didn't long at all).
| Sandshrew777 chapter 29 . 4/25
As this is an action chapter, for the most part, much of my review would be focused on that action. And I would say much about it, except it's pretty much the same feedback every time: well done! The action is as much of your action is: coordinated and choreographed to a T(itan) [ha, ha]. It's in the action scenes that your attention to every minute detail is most appreciated, and because I only have one thing on my mind in an action scene-what's going on?-you fill in my brain with exquisite detail.
I will say that, of course, none of us expected Robin to go down-and stay down. And of course I'm waiting for the bait-and-switch, the gotcha! moment...which I'm sure is coming any time now, and you've planned a kind of reveal. Or maybe you're not, but you've put the bait out a bit and I think we'll take it. I have. I assume he'll be back when we get to Hell.
You do introduce Warp as "the Man in Gold" and that gives me a slight bit of pause. Given that we've just met a Gold in the mindspace of David, I can't help but wonder if there's something going on that I'm not understanding. That in all the action and fracas a clue has gone astray. I believe I've missed it, but having two Gold characters back to back doesn't seem a coincidence. Nothing, with you, seems a coincidence! And that's a good thing, because it keeps us invested in the puzzle of the plot.
The only thing that seems to stick out to me in here is BB's forward kiss, which you explain well as a kind of blurting, something he did because he didn't know what else to do. I appreciate that move and I think it satisfies our BB/Raven urges, but I just don't know if it necessarily fits right here. BB has had the guts to say things before that he hasn't wanted to say, and although these certainly mean more-and love always undermines our best attempts to do anything, really-it just seemed like he hadn't tried enough in the scene to get his words out. I wanted more tension there, so that the payoff was even bigger. I wanted him to be trying and trying and failing and failing, for Raven to be struggling to understand what he meant...and perhaps that's just too much sitcom talking. It just felt too easy, in a sense, for him to just plunge in. Then again, he's the most in touch with his instincts of all of them, so...I don't know. I can't say I didn't like it-I gave a cheer!-but I just wish I'd been strung along even a bit more, because tension is so delicious when it resolves.
All told: beautiful work.
| Sandshrew777 chapter 28 . 4/24
It's been a very, very long time since I read this piece, so my knowledge of what's come before-although I've refreshed it-is a bit hazy. As such, I can't really comment on how this chapter fits in with what's come before. But it does seem to keep your tone and pacing, just as I remember them. It's those two things that I find most admirable in this chapter, even as I wonder if they might get in the way of each other at times.
What I mean by this is that the interruption of Raven/David's mindspace with Terra's showdown is a timely one. We, like Raven, can only sit in the highly symbolic headspace for so long. It's a weighty place to be largely because we keep looking for foreshadowing-because, as Gold says, we/Raven want to find one-to-one ratios, parts of this that match up with that thing over there. We want to figure out the story that's to come. And as such, we want to try to piece together what it means when Water does this or Smoke does that. Your attention to all of the action there makes me believe that every action is important. Is it? I don't know. Perhaps you're just rendering space to the reader, and I'm overinterpreting it. It's likely, actually, that I'm doing that. But all the same, the pacing is slow in the mental sections and as a result we want to consider each word more carefully than the fast-paced dialogue war between David and Terra, or the blow-for-blow battle that results (especially since we're more familiar with the church scene thanks to the episode).
I'll say that having my brain on overdrive for so long does, like it does for Raven, tire me out a bit. I'm so obsessed with trying to tie this to that. In that process, the pace seems as if it is dragging. Is it? I don't really know. I feel as if I must pay attention to so much largely because you show me so, so much. That's not a bad thing. I just want to say that it takes some mental calisthenics, and perhaps I'm not as up to that as I once was.
There are some payoffs in the tone that work well against that pacing, although I urge you to keep up the contrast across your writing. For example, Gold has a very "I know what you don't" sort of feel to his lines-they all feel as if he is a step ahead of Raven. But then it drops and he says things like, "Hey, you wanna look at this?" or some such-and it's very much like David, seeking approval or wanting noticed (despite him often wanting to shirk away from notice). It's nice to have that contrast-a so-sure character sometimes unsure. He does this again with the "we get sound in here" jibe, which is a really fun poke at the whole idea of "being in someone's head," as it were. The stark honesty between the characters pays off, too, with the final line (as you planned, of course) but also when Beast Boy comes across as largely unaffected by the whole church saga. He's still himself-and for characters who have been put through huge shifts in the way they are to think, that surprise for both Raven and us is a good move.
All told, the chapter is a blast, the dialogue realistic and motivated, and the description tight. It's a joy to read this quality again.
| Moderation chapter 38 . 4/5
Hope you finish the story soon.
| Ahardie chapter 38 . 1/6
This story is an absolute work of art. I have never once more wanted to see a work update, and I hope that even if I have to wait years, I might see it finished.
| David chapter 38 . 11/2/2015
I have been checking back for the next chapter for over two years now, you suck and i hate you