As I was working on my posts for Act 3, my youngest daughter came up to me and said “Did you know you’re on the Homestuck Wiki?” I responded with a no, and asked how she knew. She said her sister told her. So I asked my oldest daughter how she found out. She told me she had been streaming online with her friends when a couple of them told her, rather excitedly, about the entries. I guess I’ve finally got my 15 minutes (seconds?) of internet fame.
Act 4: The Story So Far…
Act 4 picks up the story with John jumping through the first gate to arrive in the Land of Wind and Shade (LOWAS). The first page of the act is also a flash mini game that allows you to control John and explore LOWAS, talk to the salamander inhabitants, and defeat enemy imps. Playing the mini game is optional, since several pages in you will go through it again as part of the story, but it’s still fun, and makes more sense in the context of the story. Now that so many characters have been introduced, there will be a lot of jumping around between them. Rose arrives in the Medium in the Land of Light and Rain (LOLAR), and begins searching for her kernalsprite Jaspersprite. Jade, who has Dave’s beta of Sburb, installs it and starts him on his way to the Medium, deploying all the items to get his kernalspite up and prototyped. Both Rose and Dave go on alchemizing binges, creating all kinds of items and weapons. In the future, the Wayward Vagabond, Peregrine Mendicant and Aimless Renegade come to an understanding over beans and Tab, and are then joined by the Wandering Questant, another female. It is revealed that they are known as Exiles, and are meant to help the players through the game.
The trolls, whom we’ve been seeing more of, take a much more active role in this Act. They stop trolling so much and start giving the kids more information about the game. gallowsCalibrator, carcinoGeneticist, grimAuxiliatrix, and adiosToreador are the four that interact with the kids the most. When they start pestering the kids, they show up first as horoscope signs, but soon we see them at their own keyboards. They are grey-skinned, with black hair and candy corn-colored horns of different shapes and sizes. Their shirts also have horoscope signs on them. The trolls’ interactions with the kids continue to be timey-wimey, but they also start to be helpful as they explain things in the game, such who the voices they keep hearing are, and what the Reckoning is. Sometimes they aren’t so helpful though, such as when gallowsCalibrator convinces John to jump straight to the last gate to take on the big bad there. Of course, if John wasn’t so gullible, it wouldn’t be a problem. He wouldn’t get himself killed and create an alternate timeline that would cause Future Dave to have to go back in time so he and Past Dave can convince John not to be so gullible. This does end well for Dave, as Future Dave prototypes with his sprite, creating Davesprite with more knowledge of the future and the game.
Through the course of these conversations, we learn that the kids’ game goes horribly wrong because of their Jack Noir. Something happens with him, which causes their Reckoning to happen faster, which is shown in two longer flash animations. John, with what should be ill advised help from GC, finds the gate to LOLAR and after some exploring ends up in the Veil, where he creates paradox clones of himself, his friends, and their guardians just as the Reckoning starts. The act gets a false end with a disturbing tribute to Con Air as John reenacts the ending. For the true end, we are shown how all of the four Exiles we know now became who they are, and how Dave arrived in the Medium. One of the consequences of Jack Noir’s actions comes back to affect the kids in a way that just made me go, “What? WHAT?!”
I definitely got my wish for more story in this act. A lot of information get thrown out. Each of the kids not only has their own land to explore in the Medium, but they also have titles. John is the Heir of Breath. Rose is the Seer of Light, and Dave is the Knight of Time. We don’t know about Jade since she still isn’t even there yet! We get to see the Exiles in their lives on Prospect and Derse and how they relate to who they become in the future. We also get to see the origins of John and Jade’s respective grandparents, Bec, and how all four kids came to Earth.
What I’m finding I enjoyed the most about this act were the trolls. Not so much when they were trying to troll the kids, though GC does get some good jabs at Dave, but when they are actually talking to them. CG and John start to get along pretty well, to the point that poor CG gets dragged into John’s Con Air tribute, and GA and Rose start to come to an understanding as well. But it’s Jade’s conversation with AT that really got to me. It’s a short conversation where AT is open with Jade, and the page that comes right after ends up being rather poignant. Reading the trolls text can be a little daunting at times, mostly the ones that use leetspeak. I was able to figure out GC, but when a new troll was introduced, twinArmaggedon, I had a hard time figuring out his pattern. Once I realized it was related to his horoscope sign, I could make sense of it.
Even though the story is starting to get darker, there is still plenty of the humor I’ve enjoyed since the beginning. I loved GA trying to get TA, the trolls IT guy, to help her with her computer, which results in TA getting a F1 key thrown at him, and then hassled by GA. I laughed when Dave launched GristTorrent, a program which allowed him to leech grist from John. This is a riff on a popular file-sharing format Bittorrent. CG’s frustration at dealing with John leads to a very funny “Facepalm x2 Combo.” Hussie shows some nice literary humor too when we are introduced to the man who found the babies who would become John’s grandmother and Jade’s grandfather. He is a “southern gentleman and humorist.” One would think rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated, and he has a dog named Halley.
One of the highlights of this act is a recap that we are treated to by Hussie himself, as a “highly indulgent self-insertion into the story.” He takes the time to recap the first three and a half acts complete with links to the pertinent pages. If you didn’t get a lot of the story before, this recap not only explains it all, it does it in chronological order, saving you from the timey-wimey-ness of the story. This really helped me. He recaps the end of Act 4 as well just before the beginning of Act 5. His use of the fourth wall, and where it came from, is actually quite humorous, which is saying something since I don’t usually care for such breaks.
There was a lot of information given out in Act 4, but still not a lot of answers. This has whetted my appetite for the trolls. I know everyone says they are the best part of Homestuck, and this small taste does sort of reinforce that. But I can’t help liking John for all his dorkiness. I can’t wait now to get into Act 5 and hopefully, finally see Jade join her friends.
Images © Andrew Hussie/MSPaintadventures