As Dez and Victor make their way deeper and deeper through the Long Con, we can only wonder, will they survive long enough to find out what is going on? The Long Con #9 is in stores now from Oni Press.
Writer: Dylan Meconis and Ben Coleman
Artist: E. A. Denich
Colorist: Fred C. Stresing
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Oni Press, Inc.
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 8, 2019
Previously in The Long Con: Flix and Dez find themselves in the Skylarks continuity court where Flix is put on trial to determine if he is the real Chip or not. Seems straightforward, but no, there was a new Skylarks first screened at the Long Con where the part of Chip was played by a different actor, Rex. He has minions/cultists too. Fortunately, the presiding judge is writer Flavia Happenstance, whom Dez knows from her books. Flix is recognized as the real thing; Rex shows up; single combat ensues. Flavia and Dez chat, and Flavia warns her that she will need to get past the Grand Gatekeeper. As Dez gets going, she runs back into Victor.
OFF TO SEE THE GRAND GATEKEEPER
The Long Con #9 opens as Dez and Victor make their way to the Tribunal Hall. Dez has some inside information – they need to fail enough to get thrown down the Shaft of Total Retcon. (I love these names; they’re so perfect.) Someone has been secretly padding it with cosplay armor. If they can get there, they may be able to sneak through the maintenance tunnels.
The Grand Gatekeeper is Lord Judge Declan, formerly a very opinionated podcaster. Here he has his little fiefdom where he can be the ultimate troll, and he relishes every minute of the job. And he’s been itching to take on Destiny for years. To show off his power, he flits about making judgments against people and sending them to the Reeducation Pit, or the Sphere of Rebuke. Destiny (without any hearing) gets sent to the Shaft of Total Retcon, reserved for the worst continuity threats (or anyone who really sasses Declan). With a fiendish grin, he mentions in passing that all the cushiony stuff has been removed from the Pit.
An irate Victor challenges him and flies through a series of Skylarks trivia questions. Pretty good for someone who’s never seen the show! But as he admits, he is a journalist and has apparently done his research. Then the red phone rings. They want Victor upstairs. Dez gets tossed down the Shaft. Victor gets knocked out, and after a little Skylarks dream sequence, he wakes up in apparent paradise. Actually, it the Writers’ Room. And some Writers’ Room! Tropical plants, interns galore, and adult beverages on demand. Not only that, but despite the depth of talent they have, they are short of documentarians, and Victor just fits the bill! They are on the brink of writing an all-new Skylarks pilot. I assure you, this is not part of the dream sequence.
Dez wakes at the bottom of the Shaft on a heap of padding. And who should find her but the ever-useful Anton. Everything from the shaft had been moved a few feet away; he merely moved it back. And he’s not just a simple janitor – he’s a simple janitor with a background in espionage. He was keeping an eye on some suspicious Cold War era activity in the convention center, and when that all ended, he stayed on. He knows that the world has not ended, but that the Special Guest wants this kept secret. He also has a shaft that leads to the outdoors.
It leads to other places, too. Dez climbs up and works her way into the air vents where, long story short, she falls into the Writers’ Room. (And did I mention that Loren the intern is here? She got a gig as an intern.) Victor causes a bit of chaos and then the doors to the Inner Sanctum open.
All of this, and sharp dialogue that is truly funny. The Long Con spares no one, and it is a true delight to read.
JUST WHEN YOU THINK IT COULDN’T GET ZANIER
You never know what’s around the next corner in The Long Con #9, and it is a joy to discover it. There are things that are visually goofy, but the characters treat them as though they are absolutely normal, and it just makes it funnier. Judge Declan has a throne that is on top of a telescoping rig (such as those used for hanging studio lights). This lets him tower over people ridiculously. Plus he’s in fancy robes. But then he telescopes it down and uses it to wheel around the Tribunal Hall. Can’t you just imagine a troll enjoying that? And the red phone signally from upstairs. Delightful!
And then there’s the Writers’ Room. I’ve mentioned the tropical plants, but there’s also natural sunlight. And a decorative waterfall. And everyone is dressed in simple outfits reminiscent of togas, but with leggings and little slippers. It’s like Shangri-La but with computers, fancy drinks, and dessert.
BOTTOM LINE: SO SHARP AND SO FUNNY
I’m glad that The Long Con #9 reminds us in passing about the destructive event that happened to kick this all off. I get so caught up in the crazy misadventures that I almost forget about the main plot. I love the coincidental reappearances of characters – they’re set up quite deftly that they’re humorous without interrupting the flow. I cannot believe the creative team hasn’t run out of things to satirize yet.
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The Long Con #9
The Long Con – an homage to a show and fandom that never, ever, ever end. Never.