When I told my daughters I was going to read Homestuck, they both gave me this look and asked “Why?” Being used to my unusual reading habits, they just shrugged and moved on. When my oldest daughter told her friends I was reading Homestuck, they gave her that same look and asked “Why?” Apparently Homestuck is a mostly parent-free zone. But I’m not letting that slow me down as I move into the next act.
Act Two: Thank you Nannasprite-Exposition-Thingy…
When last we left John, a meteor was hurdling straight for his house. Through a stroke of luck, John’s quick thinking, or a miracle (or maybe just a little of all them), John’s house is teleported out of danger and into another dimension called The Medium. After experimenting with the game some more, Rose and John prototype the kernelsprite with the ashes of John’s Nanna and she explains some of what is going on, where they are, and what they must do. In the meantime, on Earth, the fire is coming closer to Rose’s house, and another of John’s friends, Dave, is dragged into the chaos.
The action ramps up in the second act, and more characters are introduced. We get to see more of Rose’s house and the passive-aggressive battle mother and daughter are having. It’s a never ending battle of one-upsmanship between the two. We also meet Dave. He is one of John’s Pesterchum friends. We saw a few of his chat sessions with John in act one, and now we get to see what he was doing while John and Rose was starting up Sburb, and after. Dave likes to think he’s cool, trying to be a DJ and come up with raps about his friends. He really looks up to his older brother Bro, and is in a competition with him for who can be the most ironic, though I don’t think it means what they think it means.
The story is in this act is very “wibbily-wobbily, timey-whimey,” as the 10th Doctor would say. The story is constantly jumping back and forth in time, with the Pesterchum logs being the only way to tell where in the story you are. Another character is also introduced, thanks to the time jumping, the Wayward Vagabond, also known as the Mayor. He is from the far future and is somehow able to influence John at the beginning of the story, though we don’t actually formally meet him until near the end. This act is also much more interactive, as there are mini flash game-like pages that allow the reader to help John fight an imp and Rose fend off her mother.
It wasn’t as apparent in the first act, but Homestuck would get an older teen rating with all the expletives used in this act. They aren’t used gratuitously, usually in the heat of battle, though I think Dave likes to “spice” up his raps with them as well. There was a lot of humor in this act. The imps that are attacking John look funny in their jester hats. And seeing the different objects that Rose grabs to drop on them to help John, such as a piano and a safe, made for some good laughs. John’s experimenting with the punch cards and the designix creates a pogo hammer for some hilarious bouncing attacks. I also laughed when the Wayward Vagabond pressed the Tab key on his keyboard to be rewarded with Tab soda.
Act Two ends on another cliffhanger. John has to go up against a giant imp. Rose is in her cat’s mausoleum with the fire right at the door, and Dave is in a death match with Bro on the roof while meteors rain down on the city around them. And the Wayward Vagabond goes on an unexpected trip. This act did explain a lot. Rose’s game FAQ of Sburb helped to explain the devices introduced in the first act as well as summarize some of Nannaquin’s explanations. The kids now have a quest as well, to solve The Ultimate Riddle.
While some answers have been provided, this act brings up a lot more questions. According to my daughters, it’s going to be a while longer before a lot of these questions will be answered. But I’m in it for the long haul now. I have to know what happens to the kids, who the new kid that was teased for a moment is, and where is the Wayward Vagabond going? I was able to read through this act in almost one night, while I was reinstalling Windows 7. If you don’t have a couple of hours like I did, Act Two just came out in print and debuted this at this spring’s TCAF. You can find a copy here.
Images © Andrew Hussie