We start up with Max sitting in her “dog crate” wondering if she’s going to save the world or get killed. Whoa, Jimmy. Way to ramp that tension up to eleven and never look back. Maybe the next big arc can be Fang questioning whether or not he should open his mouth and breathe or fall over unconscious from lack of oxygen. Oh wait, even that would be too much for you Jimbo because Fang would have to do one or the other eventually. He couldn’t keep putting the decision off until you decide it’s time to try and shake the audience up.
Though, as always, Jimmy keeps the jokes coming at a mile a minute. This is the punch line to Max wondering.
If you can think of anything more nerve-racking, more guaranteed to whip every fiber in your body up in a knot, you let me know.
Yes, yes I can. Waiting for the biopsy results from that lump they found in your colon. Sitting around at home and waiting for an interview call or even dropping off your completed tax forms into the nearest mailbox and wondering if two stamps is enough to ensure its prompt delivery.
You see Jimmy, the audience can’t care about things they don’t understand or don’t believe. In this case, Max keeps telling us how her life’s in jeopardy but we have no reason to believe it. Every one of the kids has been captured alive and brought in relatively unharmed. Even Angel, who’s actually undergone “testing” by the “scientists”, is only suffering because she refuses the extra goodies Jeb offers. Thus proving that the kids are more dangerous to themselves that anyone else in the book.
Max whines about not being able to plan because she doesn’t trust the room not to be bugged. This is probably the first semi-intelligent thing she’s said ever. She immediately counters this by being so stupid she could go head to head with Eragon in the Retarded Protagonist Finals. Angel asks where Iggy and Gasman are, Max thinks it at her.
Right, that’s brilliant Max. I’m sure that Ari didn’t notice either of those two flying off and not getting captured. At the very least the villains will have noticed that your group is two short and be able to surmise that Iggy and Gasman are still out there.
Someone then dumps off an “experiment” in the cell/crate/whatever the hell it is next to Max. It looks like a kid but more like a fungus and dies which makes Max sad and Angel cry. Why did they do that, Jimmy? It wasn’t because you needed to show that the “scientists” are evil and you made them do something so polarizing that Max and the rest appear to be good. It’s a pretty cheap tactic and only works on people to lazy to engage their brains. So congratulations on knowing your audience.
Then some more “scientists” show up along with some of the wolfmen. Ari is there, of course, having received the powers of Omnipresent Man on the condition that he only use it to be a complete douche. They load the cages of the kids onto some flatbed carts and tease the kids which is at least enjoyable. Then Jimmy tries to make the story seem deep while simultaneously covering up a plot hole.
First, an unnamed grunt in a lab coat asks if the “Director”—ooohhhh, very mysterious!—is sure about this. Ari says yes because they’re not worth the hassle of experimentation. Then she says that there are two missing which prompted the duh heard ‘round the world. Ari says those two got blown up in Colorado.
Sure, I could see that. Except that Iggy has to have at least the same size wingspan as Max and a winged kid that size would be pretty obvious and even more so in the middle of the day. And for an enhanced wolfman like Ari, the oversized pheasants that are Iggy and Gasman flying overhead would probably stand out like a skyscraper in Death Valley.
Anywho, they wheel the kids out to some yard that Max knows about. She gets scared, again, because this yard was the one where they taught the wolfmen to kill things. Again, that makes perfect sense.
Is this what happens to henchmen after Bond activates the self destruct mechanism? They go and work for other villains like evil corporations, dark shadow governments and Otis. ‘So we need to kill the kids.’ ‘Oh good. I know how we should go about it. I’ve been planning for just such an occasion’ ‘Really? You needed to plan it out? Because I was kind of thinking we should just load up a couple of guns and shoot them while they’re trapped in their little cages.’ ‘No, my idea is better still. We take them outside and release them so the Erasers can get practice killing flying targets.’ ‘You want to take the flying kids outside and release them in the one place where they’d have an advantage over the Erasers?’ ‘Yes. I’m so confident that they’ll take care of this that I’ll be leaving so their deaths can occur sigh unseen while I’m en route to my Rotary Club meeting.’
The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.
The really funny thing about imminent death is that you’ve never faced it Max. Your author couldn’t write tension if he was in charge of adapting ‘The Wonderful World of Steel and Tensile Strength’ to film.
Ari asks if they want to play, Max comments oh so subtly about a shadow blotting out the sun, she also thinks about fighting. Then she gives us the most casual display of resistance I’ve ever seen.
I grinned evilly. Then I leaned over and chomped hard on Ari’s fingers. He sucked in a deep breath, then yelled in awful pain. I gathered my strength and bit down harder, until I actually felt my teeth break his skin, tasted his horrible blood. But you know what? I didn’t care. Seeing Ari hurt was worth it.
So, you stop to smile, lean forward and bit him. Then Ari waits to scream until he’s taken a deep breath. How about something that has a little bite to it. Something like ‘Ari’s grin was wiped off of his face when I leapt forward and bit him, hard. His scream was sweet enough to overcome the bitter taste of blood and sweat’, That tells us everything we need to know and makes it sound like they happened quickly. But then again, the people reading this for fun need easy and clearly defined lists so they can picture it in their head.
Max keeps biting Ari which makes the “scientists” yell at her. Then Ari kicks the cage and knocks it over. It lands close to Angel’s cage and then the funniest part of the book occurs.
I landed upside down, right next to Angel’s crate door. Being smarter than the average bear, it took me only a few seconds to unlatch it.
“Go!” I ordered. “Go! Don’t argue!”
Remember how I kept calling these Pet Taxi’s? I was engaging in hyperbole because I wanted to poke at the sheer ludicrous premise. Apparently that’s what they really are except that these crates have bars spaced so that Max can poke her hands through. I’m guessing the latches are the spring loaded kind which you squeeze before opening the door. Why Max and them didn’t let themselves out and escape earlier remains unanswered.
Ari attacks Max’s cage and starts tearing it apart. But then, all of a sudden, she looks up and sees a living storm cloud up above. Could it be a thunderhead ready to throw down lighting and cook Max to a crisp? Of course not.
They were hawks—led by Iggy and the Gasman, who else? And they were storming the School to save us.
Wait, how did Iggy and Gasman fly directly to the “school”? I thought even Max didn’t know exactly where it is and that’s why they took the van and started driving around. I assume that means Max lied to us and her friends. She was probably hoping if she just drove around aimlessly that the other kids would get bored and assume Angel was as good as dead so they could go home.
Huh. So they have funding for a electrified razor maze, but not for cages that can’t be opened from the inside? The theatre-major-dropout theory is getting stronger all the time.
It’s those damn budget cuts coming down from Washington. Apparently some nosy politician thought they shouldn’t be wasting a whole bunch of money on randomly splicing genes into kids in the hopes that it’ll give them surperpowers.
Jimmy could have said Ari kicked the cage so hard, Max’s cage knocked into Angel’s and managed to break the latch–or something like that. Still pretty weak, but better than just reaching through and unhooking the latch. I think Max owes bears an apology.
I think Jimmy should have skipped the dog crates entirely and had them kept in cells instead. And, to make things interesting, he could have had the “scientists” clip their wings while they were unconscious. That would have made the following fight and subsequent escape a little more tense.