Reviews for Skin Deep
Sentimental Semantics chapter 2 . 4/11/2010
Mkay. Well first of all sorry it took me so damn long to review. There was some...business. You know how it is. Sorry though.

OKAY. In reading this I see a lot of development with outside characters, such as Nick-047, Mongrel, Wolvy (...development may not be the right word), and Iza. I also see some equally-kickass action sequences with lotsa gore, and the Olifant-in-the-water scene(s) just provide a horrific touch that reminded me distinctly of Dawn of the Dead-which in a way I think you were aiming for (when I saw Dawn of the Dead for the first time, when all the characters get into armored trucks, its easy to notice there are two trucks; inevitably, without knowing the plot, its easy to guess one of the trucks doesn't escape the zombie horde. In reading this I had a bad feeling about one of the Olifants in a similar way, and although the outcome was in that way to be expected, it also set up some great stuff I'll talk about later which makes the Olifant-fate-predictability well worth it). There's also a degree of humor in the dialogue (some of which I will get to later) like Iza's "snarkiness" (EXCELLENT USE OF SNARKINESS BTW. Snarky is the new sassy). The thing I really want to focus on though is the character development within Jordan's character.

From the beginning of Jordan's inward-looking narratives, whether it be during the Covenant-Human War or after it, you follow the same formula of monologue, action, and summation-based conclusive monologue. It continues here (though notably this isn't a oneshot), and thankfully, because of the excellent way it is carried out and delivered, it really doesn't get old.

In past things involving Jordan there's been a pretty direct division in between Jordan's character and Jordan-in-Big-Daddy's character-that is to say, Jordan philosiphizing, and Jordan killing things. One thing I really, REALLY liked about this chapter, is that even during the combat-and perhaps BECAUSE of the combat-Jordan's personality is really fleshed out.

Firstly there is the great way that Jordan plays off the other aforementioned characters. Whether its the back-and-forth with Nick regarding orders, or the snappy commentary of Iza, it plays into your descriptive talent as a writer, and plays very well into painting Jordan's feelings.

Second there's the humor I mentioned earlier. I wouldn't exactly call it 'humor' because its so grim, but there's a kind of twisted air to it. I found myself shaking my head slightly and repressing a smile on lines like "Walking through the Flood was like a swamp, or apple sauce" and "God damn Spartans think they know everything". When you hear these lines you realize they are inherently expletive'd-up, because, for example, Jordan is likening his wading to making his way through goddamn-applesauce. It gives you a key aspect of Jordan, and the sort of sickeningly-cynical, but amusing, musings and grumblings of the man in Big Daddy's cockpit, separated from the blood and gore by a glass panel. It really shows how Jordan feels-and I really mean to say that it SHOWS. Jordan doesn't say "I feel sad" and "I feel angry", but you know from his commentary he is at fitting times. He doesn't describe Wolvy's remains as 'disgusting'-well he does, but he doesn't actually say that, he just comments on the grizzly details in a way that MORE THAN EXEMPLIFIES his feelings to the reader. Its quality stuff.

And the best aspect of Jordan in this narrative (forgive me if this sounds stupid) is, simply put, the inherent and unadulterated Jordan-ness of it. I like this story because it shows Jordan's isolation and the sort of neurotic-madness he is enduring simultaneously, while also maintaining its quippy, cynicism-bleeding demeanor. It shows that Jordan isn't just some angsty anti-hero, sighing dramatically and combing his hair at the helm of his mech; it shows he's reasonable, but that he's also an asshole. The decision to just abandon the people in the Olifant-leaving, breathing people-for a hunk-a-junk piece of machinery seems instantaneously despicable and cruel to the reader, and that isn't hidden. Jordan isn't apologizing for his actions, and that makes sense-in his mind he's doing the right thing. Would anything have been different if he had attempted to save the civilians? Maybe they would have died anyway an he and Big Daddy would have been overwhelmed. You get the sense that its a risk, and is arrogant and downright-douche-y of a move the abandonment is, its REASONED douchebaggery. And in a way that's how Jordan might potentially be described-he might seem like a really despicable character initially, but he brings a sense of needed realism to the ensemble of present characters. He's no hero-he's not going to hurl himself (or Big Daddy) at a pointless cause for the good of the mission. He's going to live to carry out more missions after all the craziness of the present on is over. At least in theory. He may be a S.O.B., but you can't exactly doubt him. In general he's a deep, layered character that makes some other original characters on the site (let's be honest, almost ALL of them, considering their two-dimensional Sue/Stu-ness) pale in comparison.

So basically, epic work. Damn, that's a lot of writing. Uhm...steel rain? *coolface*

-I.H.
Gex1539 chapter 2 . 4/9/2010
From the last line I'm gonna assume one or two more chapters to go? I know I'm really looking forwards to it.

The chapter, as well as the whole story thus far, has a really great sense of desperation and fear, and it goes well to show character's colours in a real emergency situation. Iza gets serious, a rather noticable change from his normal snarky self. From reading Cheating at Solitare, Mongel does show some real passion and fear and emotion in such a situation. And Jordan... heh, he's a hard one to place. A lot of things going through his mind. From thinking about horror movies and comparing them to the current situation, to his views on saving the civvies. He's a man of many layers and a very interesting character.

Things are getting desperate, and though it's probably a bit bad of me, I'm really enjoying this desperate story. I really like Jordan, which is one reason yes, but your skill in telling stories which have a really human aspect to them like this and your previous short stories is so good.

I can't wait for what will hopefully soon follow.
Exilo chapter 2 . 4/7/2010
Well, congrats on writing this without a beta reader. The only problem that I would have had to pick up was some of your grammar. The biggest problem is quotation construction. Quotes read like this: “Speech speech speech,” the person said. You don’t end the quote with a period, and the next letter after the quotation marks is lowercase, unless overridden with another rule, “I” for example.

Alright, now for the story: Starting out with the death toll is important. In two hours, only two hours, the Flood’s numbers have doubled. I mean, that really illustrates not only how hopeless the situation is, but how rabid and voracious the Flood is, without slowing the speed and flow of the story. Good way to set the stage for what is happening. And what’s more, I can almost imagine the countdown timer as one of the screens in Big Daddy’s cockpit. A very morbid reminder of what is happening, that is always in Jordan’s face.

This chapter is mostly concerned with the three way interaction of Iza, Mongrel, and Big Daddy/Jordan of course. There were little things, like Jordan musing that Mongrel is a foot shorter when he’s OUTSIDE Big Daddy, that I snickered at. Iza is always a lot of fun to write and read. When Jordan goes to reach for him, I can visualize Iza’s expression: a look of total fear at the ten foot tall, ten foot wide robot reaching for him. Then Mongrel going all ninja and getting up on her own. Poor Jordan. He has to polish the boot marks off Big Daddy’s hull. Also: Iza calling Jordan “Mr. Pilot”, for whatever reason, I like. It gives some sort of feeling to it. I cannot explain it, if I ever think of it I’ll tell you.

When you mention the system, it makes me think of a really good amount of balance to the characters. At times, Jordan seems a little overpowered. He’s like a two legged Elephant tank. But then it strikes me, that he has absolutely nothing to do against enemies if they aren’t standing three feet away. Big Daddy is a powerhouse, but he wouldn’t be that effective if not for Iza and Mongrel, who can clear the excess while Big Daddy takes whoever is in front. I suggested that you add a minigun to Big Daddy, but this portrayal is much better, and gives to a lot of balance to the character.

There is the great “Oh shit” moment towards the middle. There’s the brief calm before the storm, with them mentioning the death trap condos. Then the analogy that I like (as well as Jordan being an avid TV watcher. I can imagine him in Big Daddy with a mini TV during downtime). I’ll admit, up to that point, it was a little slow moving as a fic, and even a little boring. But it has a rather drastic turn around after that. There’s suddenly a lot of action, and it still moving at a good pace. The Flood “learning” how to deal with something shows that they are learning. I don’t know, forming a Gravemind somewhere? Jordan assumes that the Exploding form just got there by accident I reckon. Maybe they realized how to stop the vehicle, and purposely threw themselves under the treads. The infection forms could even muck up the treads and gears I suppose, not crippling it but surely slowing it down too much to be of use.

Then there’s Jordan’s true colors. I mean, you know that Jordan isn’t going to die because he has a character shield. That’s nothing against you, that’s just a part of writing. But the thing is, to make a character good and real, you need to make the reader believe that the character, despite the character shield, can be in real danger. You get the sense that Jordan is in real danger here. Despite the juggernaut qualities of Big Daddy, Big Daddy has his limits, same as anyone else. The Tank forms, if they were to gang up and constantly beat him down, he would eventually break. The Flood have the chance to try again and again cause they have near infinite numbers. Jordan, if he slips up once and somehow Big Daddy tips over onto his back, there is nothing he could do and he’s dead.

So anyway, Jordan fleeing the sinking ship. One, that gives the story a sense of realism. We always say how the lore pisses us off that everyone is saved, civies don’t die in real numbers. This is them dying. This is Jordan failing in his mission. He loses the battle. All of them. Two, Jordan’s rational. He doesn’t want to die with the civilian. In the prior chapter, he had the disdain for the yuppies. This is him not wanting to die for them. Would he die for someone else, someone that he respects more? Perhaps. But not for these people. Three, and yet he seeks to save Feral squad and Iza. I mean, they are mostly dead weight, so why does he tell them at all? Instead of just turning and pounding through the Flood and leaving them to die with the civies. Once you get to the end of the story, you really wonder about Jordan. That wonder and amazement really shows how good a character he is. He’s a real character. So, why does he save Feral Squad and Iza, but not bother with the civilians? Some measure of respect? Even a level of liking: given “iggle” and “Wrath’s First Christmas”, Jordan has spent some time aboard the ship, with the others. So he’s not completely heartless: perhaps deep down he really cares about people. And Mongrel and Iza can fight. They are here, same position as Jordan: not because they want to be, but because it’s their duty. The tourists and colonists on the other hand, are just dead weight, really doing nothing.

The only thing I think is really missing is some view of Olifant’s insides. Like, Jordan looking in the Olifant, seeing a number of civilians, describing them. That would have given more weight to the civies getting killed later in the chapter.

All things considered, this was a great work of literature, and something that you are right to be proud of. There’s a real sense of loss and pain in the story, good writing, great action, etc. Very good, as always.
Victor Weiss chapter 2 . 4/6/2010
Good chapter, B, very good.

Hmm, the flood are troublesome huh? haha.

till next chapter than, and good work.
PrettyChief chapter 1 . 4/1/2010
ah, I'm not terribly good at reviews but I hear there greatly appreciated. So I'm going to try!

I really like your writing style. I think the little blerb at the top really serves to set the theme for the chapter as well as bring you into the character's mindset before setting the story events into motion.

I got a little confused around the part the flood showed up. Though I was reading this in chunks and I get easily confused anyway so I'm not sure if this is relevant. Also saw what I think is a missing word in the last sentance of the sixth paragraph up.

Otherwise this is a really awesome peice. And I'm really looking forward to more from you.
Sentimental Semantics chapter 1 . 4/1/2010
A'ight, battle brutha. Lemme see where I begin.

Oh, the beginning. Awesometown. Mkay.

You continue the trend of connecting a common saying or phrase in the English language with Jordan's thoughts on said saying. In this case it works extremely well, delving into the connection between B.D. and Jordan even more thoroughly (also, skin deep and the more-than-skin-deep infection forms; lawl, i c wat u did thar). The quick transition from monologue to combat-staying in the first person throughout, is interesting. Its also interesting to note that, through the entire Reconstruction franchise, I actually think that Jordan may be the only character that delivers his stories in the first person. Considering he is in Big Daddy (Juggernaut, *? *coolface*) that makes for interesting stuffz during combat...

So both in terms of the delivery of the storytelling, including the general description and character behind Jordan, the combat with the Flood, and the Iza-Jordan dialogue, this story is, on all fronts, awesometown. Well done, my good sir.

yo' spehss mahreehn buddeh,

Insidious "Noomerus Beekins" Harbinger
Gex1539 chapter 1 . 4/1/2010
Is it wrong that I enjoyed a fic which involved the gruesome death of human-beings?

As always, I really enjoy Jordan's musings at the beginning of the fics. To see him on and off the battlefield, to see all his colours and such, is a really nice touch, something I'm pleased you stuck with, and something that adds a lot of character to your chracter.

As a reader before me has said in their review, I really like the idea of bringing along a Cyclops to the mission. I bet after all this, there'll be some people kicking themselves for the lack of Cyclops(es? Plural?) in the future. I also really like the idea of Resort. From the description, I wouldn't mind staying there... ya know, if there weren't Flood infesting the place.

Jordan is such a great character. A very good example of a human being. He is, if you'll forgive my French, an asshole and yet a man with a heart at almost the same time. Jordan's got that side to him that says gruff, fighting man who's seen a lot, has been scarred by a lot, and lives with a chip on his shoulder, and yet beneath his grizzly surface he's a person I as a fellow human being (would you have guessed? Heh.) can relate to.

I'll not talk too much about 'myself', considering this is a review for you, but I also think you did a darn good job of Iza. You nailed his personality with a human to a tee, and you barely needed to ask me about anything. You got that snarky, sly side of him nailed down very well, and I'm proud that you wanted to use him in one of your works.

Hm... the ending is a little ambigious... can we expect to see a follow-up?

Either way, great fic, and a great end to my April Fool's day.
Exilo chapter 1 . 4/1/2010
Alright, firstly: the idea of it being a journal in the begining i like a lot. It works well with Jordan's mindset, but what's more, i feel like in the future it can some sort of plot device. I don't know, maybe Jordan takes notes of something he shouldn't, and the journal is stolen. Which is bad. I don't know, a thought that i had when you mentioned that this was a journal. Just random gibberish from me.

Alright, going down the list, the Population count thing reminds me of all the zombie movies i love so much. I shudder to think what the pop count will be after the end of the fic.

I've mentioned i like Jordan. He acts cruel, callous, anti-social, but he does have a heart. Even him saving the marines, risking Big Daddy, but then when Iza is up on his shoulders he doesn't throw him aside. I mean, at first Iza isn't doing anything of use. But he doesn't throw him aside. And sometimes i think Jordan is just a prick, but deep down he's not. Bad with words today but i like Jordan, as i always have.

You came up with a good point: Cyclops are probably immune to any damage from the Flood, like the human's version of Hunters as anti-Flood measures. I'm surprised i've never seen that explored before, but it really gives a reason for Jordan to be on the mission at all.

I'm surprised, and immensely happy, that Jordan has good interactions with Iza. I was waiting for Iza to heel Big Daddy and shout "Onward to victory, noble steed!" You always say that Jordan won't work with other people's characters, but he really does work well with Iza. He has great lines, classic comedy lines that make him a fun character to read.

Civilian Elephants? Jesus, are those the future of Hummers and SUVs? And yet i'm sure they would be on the resort planet. I imagine the men would want to play soldier while their wives sunbathe, or the other way around.

Excellent fic, good sir. You should be proud of this one.
KBones chapter 1 . 4/1/2010
A very good story, as always Misterr B. Are you going to write some more on this fic? If you are i can't wait to read the next installment. Keep up the good work!

Nia.
Victor Weiss chapter 1 . 4/1/2010
I like Iza, he wins.

Also, very good story ya got here, very good indeed.

The end had my Lol'ing for a bit.

All in all, 5 out of 5 stars.