I think I'll just keep this as one long post and update it each day. So what do we have in the first installment:
So basically this comic has no humor besides the anticipatory humor of wondering what crazy thing Mr. Hat will do to unclog the internet! Will he tell people when their heroes will die? Will he complain about music services he doesn't understand? WILL HE STAND SILENTLY NEAR LINES???
Most importantly, will he be more than just a sad shell of his former self?
All this and more could be possible in this, the most exciting of all weeks! Keep checkin' religiously, gang!
I guess the only even mildly amusing moment is seeing that Mr. Hat has a moat outside his apartment. I guess. The rest of it is just the usual xkcd repeating other people's memes. Yes, Randall, we know you read 4chan. We know.
see any of these, meaning that Mr. Munroe has done basically no more work than just....coming up with a list of Wacky Antics. With some Supreme Court and Constitutional Amendment name dropping thrown in. Heck, if all we're going to do is ask questions about stuff Mr. Hat has done, hell, any of us can do that.
"You set up ten thousand laser pointers to draw your name on a cloud?"
"You replaced your arch-enemies houses with realistic cardboard cutouts?"
"You somehow managed to make sending dollar bills to your house the most popular meme on the internet?"
"You tricked an audience of webcomic fans into thinking you weren't a washed up hack?"
"You disguised yourself as a nun for four years to embezzle from a church?"
But I digress.
Why does Ron Paul have a cane? He's a pretty sprightly fellow. He doesn't need a cane.
Anyway, the comic is like what the rest of the week has been - Excuses for Mr. Hat to showcase his usual wackiness. It just feels...forced to me. Too much of just a list of Wacky Things, desperately seeking the love this comic used to feel.
You'll all be glad to know that I am CLEARLY in the minority as there is no one more excited about this comic than its own author! Mr. Munroe writes on the forums: "Oh man I'm excited about the rest of this arc. I'm tempted to scan and post them right now."
Also, goddamn forumites- they have declared that this comic is "So much awesome" [honestly, you'd think a fan of a webcomic ostensibly about language would know a noun from an adjective], that is contains "like, 5 types of epic in it" , "made of awesome" "so much win" and "made of roflsauce." what the fuck, people. Try to have some independent thought, ok?
As I said in a comment below, it's really weird to read that "bloggers" watch out for their own - no blogger ever agrees with another so it's weird to think of them teaming up for anything. I guess the idea is that it's so preposterous it's funny? But it seems a little too crazy, even given that you have a blimp fighting a balloon.
It is not cool to make a high point of your story arc Cory Doctorow in a balloon if you were the one who invented that idea and are the only one promoting it. Look Randall, you have to wait for the meme to be accepted by the world and then mock it.
When did Mr. Hat become a blogger?
Now a note on the series as a whole - this is hard to phrase but the pacing feels wrong. For a five part series, it doesn't feel 4/5 over. The first panel made it seem like unclogging the tubes would be the focus of the arc, and Mr. Hat's KRAZY ways of fixing the problem. Now it feels like it's shifted to DR. R0|\| P4VL!!1 and his KRAZY adventures up in the air. So in theory, tomorrow, for the arc to feel completed, Ron Paul has to get to Washington and do whatever it is he's going to do and we have to see Mr. Hat get confirmed and solve all the internet problems. Now this is possible - these comics have been longer than usual anyway so maybe we'll have a comic that is actually epic and is way super long.
OR MAYBE THERE IS A MORE SINISTER EXPLANATION.
Here's what I think - I think it's a longer than 5 day story. I think it's going to end with a cliffhanger tomorrow, be continued on monday, and end with some massive 500th comic post-election insanity or something. Maybe he even has two different comics ready, based on which person wins the election.
And then Friday's is "Well, that's enough for me!" and he quits the webcomic business....
OMGZ it has been MORE THAN ONE HOUR PAST MIDNIGHT and the new comic is not up! oh me oh my whatever is happening? Maybe Randall was kidnapped by PIRATES oh no! All we have is a message saying "The comic will be up shortly! (within the hour)" better see how the forumites are handling it!
"I want my... I want my...I want XKCD"
"Me Want Part 5 Comic!!!1!"
bah, humbug. I'd say they were being ironic...but then, they are the ones checking xkcd at midnight...and commenting on it...of course, I'm in that camp too so I guess I'm a hypocrite. Except I don't really care when the comic comes out 'cause I won't write about it till tomorrow anyway.
I guess with a story that was chock full of masturbatory references to his own HILARIOUS earlier jokes (Cory Doctorow in a balloon! Mr. Hat is just so UNPREDICTABLE!) I should have assumed the climax would be another one - in this case, a ball pit in the Capitol.
Yes, dear readers, it appears that the ultimate lesson of all this is that all that stupid fighting in Washington can be solved if we would just follow Randall's advice and put ball pits everywhere. I mean, do we really care that the original ball pit comic was all sweet and cutesy and here's it's being done by a dude who is essentially a terrorist? Of course we don't! It's just one of those crazy xkcd ideas that will always be funny and never be old!
As to the story as a whole, I think the biggest problem with the story arc is that the first four panels set up a whole bunch of stories and didn't go nearly far enough in terms of advancing a 5-part story. So the last installment is super-rushed. We have Ron Paul - who took up a full 1.5 comics and a little bit of another - basically serving only to accidentally help Mr. Hat escape. We have Cory Doctorow basically dropping out of the story in the middle of his plot, and the whole "oh noes the internet is clogged" turning into "ha ha, but we aren't going to do anything about it because Mr. Hat doesn't care."
So much for my brilliant theory about the story extending a few more days. I really shouldn't have been surprised, I suppose. Had the story gone towards "vigilante Mr. Hat is given free reign to do anything he wants to internet trolls" it may have been fun. As it is, we might as well just hit "random comic" a few times and enjoy some of these ideas the way they were first presented.