Some of you out there may be wondering why Homestuck should get so much attention. It’s just a webcomic some kids read, right? Let me put it this way. In September, creator Andrew Hussie created a Kickstarter project, a crowd-sourcing funding site, to make a video game of Homestuck. He wanted to get $700,000 in 30 days. The project reached its goal in just a few days. It hit $1 million in just about a week. At the end of the 30 days, it had hit just shy of $2.5 million and became the 6th highest funded project on site. Ever. Most of the funding came from individuals pledging $15-$25. Yes, there were people who pledged more, but it was the small pledges that made it happen, pledges from those same kids.
Act 3: Devildogs, dreamscapes, and pumpkins, Oh–! What pumpkin?
If Act 2 seemed a little “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey,” then Act 3 takes it to the next level. It starts by introducing the last of the friends, Jade Harley. She lives on a Pacific island with her grandpa and her dog, Becquerel. She grows flowers and pumpkins (which keep disappearing for some reason) and likes anthropomorphics (furries), Squiddles, and the mystic arts. She tends to fall asleep at random times and dreams of strange worlds, while a robotic version of herself mimics her dream journey in the real world. She also has knowledge that the others don’t. In her pesterchum chats with John, Rose and Dave, she is always referencing things that haven’t happened yet. The other kids just think she’s odd, but she seems to know what is going on with the rest of the gang and how it will turn out. There is no explanation as to how or why she might know these things, but a clue comes when her birthday present from John arrives. She doesn’t open it but instead sends it to the future and sets things up for the wanderers to find it and send it back to a past birthday of hers when she was young and hadn’t met anyone yet. Jade doesn’t see time in the same way as everyone else.
And what about John and his friends? When last we left them, John was facing a couple of giant imps, Rose was trapped in Mr. Jasper’s mausoleum, and Dave was fighting his Big Bro and Lil Cal. John defeats the giant imps with the help of Nanasprite and his pogo hammer. Rose finds a staircase under Mr. Jasper’s casket that leads her to the lab across the forest and Dave keeps fighting Big Bro. In the lab, Rose is able to recharge her laptop, and while she is there she discovers a mutant kitten with four eyes she names Vodka Mutini and an appearifier that leads back to her house. With power and access, Rose helps John build a path to the portal. While waiting for Rose, John has created a bevy of weapons to use against the imps trying to stop him from reaching the portal. Big Bro takes off suddenly and leaves Dave his Sburb beta discs, so Dave can install them and help Rose.
But what about John’s Dad? Last we saw him, he was trying to escape from the imps. It seems he is still giving them, and their commander, Jack Noir, a hard time. Jack is an Archagent that works for the Dark Kingdom, and he hates his harlequin-esqe hat. Along with Jack, we are also introduced to two new wanderers in the future. The Peregrine Mendicant is a female and obsessed with the mail. She pushes a cart filled with mail boxes around and considers delivering the mail a sacred duty. She meets up with the Wayward Vagabond and they both meet the Aimless Renegade. He is well armed and considers himself The Law in this wasteland, and even though he finds Peregrine Mendicant nice looking, his duty to uphold the law is more important.
Act 3 ends with another flash animation. Dave installs the Sburb beta and starts getting Rose set up. She prototypes her sprite with Mr. Jaspers, and Dave adds a doll that Rose knitted tentacles for. Jade waits in the ancient temple by a huge lotus flower on a transportalizer, where Dave’s Sburb beta discs, the ones that he dropped out the window in Act 2, appear. John uses all of his weapons to move up the platforms Rose built to reach the portal and goes through it. The end of the act shows off Hussie’s storytelling skills, as there is so much excitement and tension created not just by the animation but also by the music. He knows how to use them to their maximum effect, which may be why the story has become so addicting.
There’s a lot of action in this act, but not a lot happens story-wise. The new character introductions took precedence, as did some development of the core characters, specifically John. The revelations about his dad did seem to shake him up. Rose does a good job of helping him through some of it. I also really enjoyed John’s Dad escape. It was obvious what was going to happen, but it was hilarious anyway! There are also a couple of things that don’t seem important now but could be important later. First, watch the kids’ shirts. When we first meet Jade, the design on her shirt keeps changing. We soon learn that it’s because she has a machine that can randomize and change her designs, but then Dave, after this battle with Big Bro, has a new design on his shirt. It was a record, and now it’s a broken record.
Then there is the Trollslum in Pesterchum. Rose, Jade and Dave have conversations with these characters who are trolling the kids by calling them stupid and such. They each have a distinct way of talking/typing, i.e., one capitalizes the first letter of every word, one capitalizes every letter except the first letter of the first word of sentence, and one types in all caps. Their names have a familiar sound to them too. I think we will be seeing more of these guys later. I kind of feel sorry for the troll who tries to pick on Dave after his battle with Big Bro. Dave just rips into him so much that the troll ends up blocking him!
Sadly, there is no print book of this Act yet, so you will have to read it the way it was intended, on the computer. But as convenient as books are, watching this story on the computer has its advantages, namely the music. I’ve been enjoying it a lot and will now have to pester my kids for their copies of the soundtracks. There are something like six albums that are written by a team specifically for the webcomic and several more put together by fans. They are all available for digital download and priced from $3.95-14.13, depending on the length of the album. I’m looking forward to Act 4. Now that we’ve been introduced to all four kids, I’m hoping for more story development. The last three acts have been filled with hints and teasers, and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.
Images © Andrew Hussie