Tansy Rayner Roberts

Musketeer Space Part 60: Judge, Jury and Executioner

July 15th, 2015

duchy-of-anjou-shield-of-fleur-de-lysTHANK YOU FOR READING AND SUPPORTING MUSKETEER SPACE!

It’s Musketeer Day! This is I think the longest chapter of the longest novel I have ever written. In my defence, I still have fewer chapters than Dumas did. Slightly. Thanks so much to my weekly readers, it’s been lovely to know this hasn’t just been spinning out into a void.

Still two chapters to go after this but… they are quite small. This is the big one.


Start reading Musketeer Space from Part 1
Missed the last installment? Track back to Part 59
Read a festive Musketeer Space prequel, “Seven Days of Joyeux.”
Main Page & Table of Contents


Stuff happened.


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Musketeers Brooding in Shirts (2015)

July 13th, 2015

first-musketeer-adThere are three essential aspects to a good Musketeer story: friendship, swordplay, and attractive men in diaphanous shirts. The new web series “The First Musketeer” hits all three notes, though it is a little heavy on the atmosphere (and light on humour) for my own personal tastes.

The first series is 6 episodes, each somewhere around 9-13 minutes long, and three quarters of each episode is Athos brooding in a diaphanous shirt, which… is not a poorly chosen aspect of the story to focus on.

Athos is the First Musketeer of the title, and this prequel to the classic story sets up an origin for how he came to Paris and became friends with Aramis and Porthos. But mostly Porthos and some other blokes.

The first few episodes are very heavy on the gothic shadows and Byronic mournfulness, but I quite like this version of Athos even if the show feels like the set up for a vampire romance rather than a cheerful tale of bros with swords. This is one of the most ambitious web series I’ve seen, with location filming, special effects and proper fencing choreography. Some of the acting is a little of the ‘slightly stilted, I went to stage school’ variety, and the pacing is slooooow at times, but the whole piece hangs together well.

four musks

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Robotech Rewatch 57: Aliens Cloned My Girlfriend

July 11th, 2015

Original Recipe Marlene

Original Recipe Marlene

Keep your scanner tuned to this station. Robotech is back!

Episode 70 – Enter Marlene

Finally after all that running around in circles (cough, padding, cough, dinosaurs), actual plot development!

The Invid Regent has finally realised that Scott and his team are a serious threat after that time they sort of accidentally blew up her Genesis Pit. So she’s going to get a secret agent to infiltrate their little bikie gang. Via glowing egg.

Scott leads his friends to a rally point set up previously by Admiral Hunter, where he expects to meet up with other REF (Robotech Expeditionary Force) units before heading to Reflex Point and kicking Invid butt. Instead, he finds a mecha graveyard of destroyed ships and corpses, and is absolutely devastated with grief and loss of hope.

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Issue #1: Fresh Romance

July 10th, 2015

freshTitle: Fresh Romance #1

Writers: Kate Leth, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Kuhn

Artist: Arielle Jovellanos, Sarah Winifred Searle, Sally Jane Thompson (cover: Kevin Wada)

The Buzz: I supported this project on Kickstarter – it aims to bring back the tradition of Romance comics, with a 21st century sensibility. It’s pretty exciting to see so many women involved in creating, producing and publishing this title (so many female names in the credits!) and nice to see something a bit different.

All You Need To Know: Comics weren’t always about superheroes! Fresh Romance offers three ongoing serials hitting different romance genres: one contemporary YA, one Regency, and one paranormal comedy (or what we used to call chick lit with magic, I guess?).

Story: In School Spirit, two teen couples are pretending not to be dating (it’s not explicit yet but the surface implication is it’s because one pair are lesbians and the other are an interracial couple) and covering for each other at school via fake relationships. In Ruined, a very unhappy young Regency miss is being married to a very unhappy looking gentleman after some kind of scandal involving another man. In the Ruby Equation (my favourite of the three) a magical barista is on a matchmaking mission – she just has to bring one more cute couple together and she’ll be allowed to go home… right?

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Issue #1: Loki, Agent of Asgard (2014)

July 9th, 2015

Loki_Agent_of_Asgard_Vol_1_1_TextlessTitle: Loki: Agent of Asgard #1 (2014)

Writer: Al Ewing

Artist: Lee Garbett, Jenny Frison (cover)

The Buzz: Some great covers, but I hadn’t heard much about this except that it follows teenage Loki after the Young Avengers series, and there’s a cool chick called Verity in it that the fanfic writers seem fond of. This was one of the first comics I tried out with my Marvel Unlimited subscription!

All You Need To Know: Loki is the god of mischief from Norse mythology, and has been a villain in the Marvel Universe for decades. Previously, Loki died, then came back as a kid, then another version of his kid self killed his kid self, then he joined the Young Avengers, aged up to late teens to get a handle on his magic, and learned to love bacon.

Story: I love the premise for this so much, I can’t even tell you. Loki is trying to control his destiny despite his long history as a villain, and is performing missions as an ‘Agent of Asgard’, working for the three goddesses currently ruling their world as the All Mother. His payment is that for every successful mission, they will destroy one of their cultures many stories about what a dick he used to be. This particular issue brings Loki back in conflict with his estranged brother Thor and the Avengers – and, for once, he’s not trying to be the bad guy. BUT THEY DON’T KNOW THAT. There’s also a gorgeous page of Hawkeye and Natasha hanging out which is one of my favourite sequences of them of all time (sometimes things just happen, Nat!)

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Issue #1: Runaways (2015)

July 9th, 2015

Runaways-1-Cover-260b7Title: Runaways #1 (2015)

Writer: Noelle Stevenson

Artist: Sanford Greene

The Buzz: Noelle Stevenson is a rising It-person in comics, from her own webcomic/graphic novel Nimona and her creation of the Tumblr-based Hawkeye Initiative, to her writing work on the celebrated girl’s own adventure story Lumberjanes.

All You Need To Know: The best and brightest kids from the various baronies on Battleworld have all been clipped out of their zones and sent to the same boarding school, run by a mysterious super villain (probably), so they can be trained up to be effective battle teams. The characters and their places of origin are all introduced here, and while you might recognise many of them, you won’t have necessarily seen these versions in other Battleworld comics so far. Because, you know, they were at school.

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Musketeer Space Part 59: The House of Athos

July 8th, 2015

knockerIt’s Musketeer Day!

This is the last Musketeer month, so of course it has 5 Wednesdays in it. It may also have more than one Musketeer Media Monday – I put up a new essay this week on the Big Finish Audio “The Church and the Crown,” AKA Listening To Random Musketeers (2002) (featuring a whole lot of Chevreuse but no actual Dumas Musketeers) but I still have some other media Musketeers I’ve been wanting to review, so you may get some bonus essays this month.

Remember that if you want to receive an ebook of the entire book (slightly revised), you will need to sign up to be a Patreon supporter before the end of this month. If you sign up at the $2 level you will also receive a collection of the essays and supporting material I’ve been working on while writing this, not all of which has appeared on the blog.


Start reading Musketeer Space from Part 1
Missed the last installment? Track back to Part 58
Read a festive Musketeer Space prequel, “Seven Days of Joyeux.”
Main Page & Table of Contents


Milord has done a lot of bad things. Time for a reckoning.


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Issue #1: Giant-Sized Little Marvels: AvX (2015)

July 7th, 2015

little marvelsTitle: Giant-Sized Little Marvels: AvX #1 (2015)

Writer: Skottie Young

Artist: Skottie Young

The Buzz: the buzz for this has been three years in the making – for ages now, the wonderfully quirky kids comic artist Skottie Young has been providing baby-faced ‘Little Marvels’ variant covers for many of the publisher’s most popular books – more than 100 in all. There was a great one-shot last year, A-Babies vs X-Babies which was crazy adorable, and now thanks to the excuse of Secret Wars (not sure why they needed this excuse honestly) it’s a real series!

All You Need To Know: The X-Men and Avengers are basically reimagined as pre-schoolers: they all live on the same street, and they fight each other a LOT. The cute… it… kind of hurts… awwwwwww.

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Listening To Random Musketeers (2002)

July 6th, 2015

marie-de-rohan-duchesse-de-5One of my favourite, more obscure characters from the original The Three Musketeers novel is Madame de Chevreuse – AKA Marie de Rohan AKA Mademoiselle Monbazon AKA the Duchesse de Chevreuse.

She’s the queen’s friend, the cardinal’s enemy, the Duke of Buckingham’s co-conspirator and romantic enabler and oh yes, she has romantic/sexual ties to two of the Three Musketeers. Fair enough that most movies don’t include her in the adaptation since Dumas never let her appear in person in the novel. But she’s SO IMPORTANT.

Ahem. My point is, she’s not commonly found in Musketeer adaptations. So imagine my surprise on relistening to Big Finish’s Doctor Who/Musketeer adventure, “The Church and the Crown,” to discover that this particular story features Chevreuse, but none of the actual named Musketeers from Dumas’ story.

It’s not an adaptation of The Three Musketeers at all, in other words, but a Doctor Who story set in the time period that inspired the book. The main historical characters from Real History™ – King Louis, Queen Anne of Austria, Madame de Chevreuse, the Duke of Buckingham and Cardinal Richelieu – are all in play, but even the real life Musketeers who supposedly inspired our boys: Auteville, Aramitz & Du Vallon, are absent.

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July 4th, 2015

annie dinosaurI’m pretty sure I never saw this one back in the day, even though I was still watching obsessively in the hope of catching some snippets of news about the Admirals Hunter, or whatever happened to Dana Sterling.

I would have remembered the dinosaurs, right?

Episode 69: The Genesis Pit

The narrator explains the complex relationship between the Invid and protoculture. It sounds a lot like they travel from planet to planet, eating stuff and talking about how it advances science, like intergalactic stoners with pretentions to academia.

Scott, Rand and Annie park the Veritech and hunt the woods for a good camping spot while waiting for the others to catch up. Within two seconds, they fall into a massive pit, Alice in Wonderland style, and fall through an energy field into some kind of distant underground lake. Honestly, you can’t take them anywhere.

At this point I was idly musing thoughts like: Are there gonna be dinosaurs? They fell pretty far under the Earth. I’m hoping for some Lost World business. Oooh there is a horde of giant dragonflies and some alien-looking plants…


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