Arc 5 has been a fun ride, featuring a council of villains, a cathartic punch, a courtroom drama, cool new characters (Newter’s my favorite), a mini-boss, round two against the main boss, and finally some insight into Rachel’s mind.
This was an excellent Arc. I didn’t find it quite as consistently great as the last half of Shell, but it had some fantastic moments and scenes throughout the Arc.
In 5.1, we met lots of new characters. Some of these characters, notably Newter, Sundancer and Labyrinth, would later come back and be relevant later in the Arc. The early introduction was well executed. It probably helped that the characters were neatly divided into groups we were for the most part already familiar with. 5.1 also showcased exactly the kind of behavior Tattletale pointed to in 3.6, with the villains banding together to take down the ABB, or in Tattle’s words, “the fucker”.
5.2 showed some tension between the Undersiders. At the time, I thought this would be a major part of the overall plot for the Arc, but in retrospect, it seems it was mainly setting up the thread of Taylor trying to understand Rachel.
This arc is the first one not to open with the Harpy subplot. That, instead, came into play in 5.3 and 5.4, before a frustrated Taylor escaped back into the parahuman world for the rest of the Arc. These chapters featured Taylor finally opening up to her dad and letting him try to help her, and he did a damn good job trying in 5.4.
5.5 felt a bit empty, but furthered the “what is Rachel’s deal” thread. 5.6 and 5.7, on the other hand, were far from empty, as we got to know Newter in 5.6 and witness an excellent fight against Oni Lee in 5.7.
5.6-5.8 overall had Taylor getting thrust into a position of leadership. Sure, Bitch sort of took that from Kaiser in 5.5, but in 5.6 it was promptly given to Taylor by among others Newter. And, fortunately, Taylor is good at being a leader, something these chapters helped to showcase.
5.9 was epic. It featured essentially three or four fights against Lung, and they were all fantastic, and the whole thing culminated in Taylor knocking Lung out in a particularly clever fashion and then carving his eyes out. Man, Lung’s gonna get tired of losing body parts to this girl soon.
And then there’s 5.10, the culmination of “what is Rachel’s deal”. I’m a bit on the fence about whether I like the deal that was revealed, but I can’t deny that the execution of the reveal was good.
The Arc title
Hive? Interesting. I guess this Arc will deal significantly with the idea of “home”. Worth noting that Taylor is supposed to stay at her hive and rest for a while to get over the concussion, though I still don’t know whether or not it’s getting covered or we’ll do a time skip. I’m strongly leaning towards the former, though, since Wildbow so far has tended towards starting where he left off or at most a couple days later.
However, I think the idea of “home” will be explored more thoroughly than that – for instance, this might involve Taylor realizing how much she feels at home among the Undersiders. Hell, maybe she’ll even find out who the boss is and have to make her decision to stay or betray? Considering the Interludes acting as bridges between the Arcs and the scentless man, who I’m assuming is the boss until indicated otherwise, appearing in Interlude 4, it’s not far-fetched that he’ll be somewhat relevant in this Arc.
Yeah, no. Pretty much every single thing I said about the title back at the beginning of the Arc turned out wrong.
I still don’t really know what to think of the title. Maybe that the warehouse was a hive of scum and villainy, and the union of villains sought out the fuckers on their home turf?
Well, Lung has quite possibly been arrested again, but Oni Lee is still out there, as is Bakuda. The troubles with the ABB are far from over. In the next Arc, maybe the ABB strikes back? I don’t know.
I do have a strong feeling that Alec will get some spotlight next Arc. The end of Agitation was Tattletale’s time to shine, Shell was Grue’s time to shine, Hive was Bitch’s… well, maybe not time to shine, but time to show a little more of herself. It’s Alec’s turn next, probably.
Before that, though, we have Interlude 5. Maybe we’re going to learn more about what happened to the other two groups then. Hell, if Alec’s getting the spotlight of the next Arc, it would be a fitting bridge to have the Interlude from his perspective.
All I can do is read on and find out. See you there!