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for Tales of the Cosmic Wars Vol 2: A Star's Twilight

6/18/2021 c2 13Ganheim
I can see the fort! Oh? Looks like someone is trying to get hurt."
What Ben is referring to is
[If you’re going to introduce a new element, it’s best to describe it as they enter the scene. A new actor is a distinct new thing and forcing your audience to backpedal disrupts the flow of the narrative]

From this look back I can see the improvement in your writing, especially the weird formatting where you separate dialog from its sources and have the quote marks in the wrong places, making it very hard to read.

due to her detached eyes being glued to the floor
[If her eyes are detached they’re not in her head. An unfocused gaze might be staring down, but that’s not detached. This story might not be Cyberpunk setting, but it still includes cybertech and magic so your descriptions need to be clear and careful because in a mega-mashup a lot of things are possible]

will history just remember another kind person? I, I don't want to be just, someone that no one will remember
[This is a very impersonal, possibly vain take. A very human direction to take an ambitious, morally grey character. Reminds me of Bakugo from My Hero Academy]

Xehamaru made the mistake of underestimating me, and that was his final mistake
[Jumping right to threatening death? Interesting take that’s in perfect line with his personal ambition to be the number one hero above. A hero who has darkness inside to fight against is an excellent archetype because it reflects all of humanity: everybody has internal conflict about something, and a hero fighting through that gives the audience a commonality to latch onto. A hero lacking that can work too, but those archetypes usually show up as what Joseph Campbell called The Mentor who is a static character who brings change in others and is rarely the focal character]

Your spelling could use some work but shows noticeable improvement from the first volume so it's clearly a style in progress. The only issue I have is that the "power level" and therefore conflict swiftly leaves the human realm and that takes away from the human conflict and humanity of the characters. Even though he's not fighting anything on equal terms here yet, Ben's still clearly human and therefore has personal stakes and very real risks by getting involved in the conflict.
6/18/2021 c1 Ganheim
To Ben's horror the girl he always had strong feelings for is in love with the biggest jerk of all
[There are two ways I’ve seen this idea work: the first is Galavant where her priorities changed and she rejected the protag in order to pursue a rich jerk. The other is the viewpoint being an unreliable narrative that isn’t (initially) capable of recognizing the qualities the ex-girl would’ve sought (sometimes the same as the protag). The other possibilities aren’t internally consistent (why would a good person seek out a bad one?). This is complicated by the fact that Ben already has a girlfriend in someone else, which makes some great conflict but requires resolution and introspection]

I don't normally like prologues, but this does a good job of being very concise and swiftly wrapping up the "need to know" before moving into the next chapters. That's especially helpful for as long as your stories are (in the millions of words). The other characters aren't described very thoroughly, but that's generally better done as they are (re)introduced to the story and this gives the gist of who they are in relation to Ben. Even better is that the narrative is delivered in a slight tone as if from Ben himself.
6/12/2020 c10 15Allfather-Ford
And oh boy, we get to see the in-depths of Ben's hellish training.

First we got to see Ben standing around spikes for hours that gives immense pains. Then with the insults and criticism of being the chosen wielder of the Star Sword.

Ben is angry at Kira being too hard on him without a shed of remorse, though there's one thing that Ben's power aura escalates from Ben's anger, which makes Kira realizes that he underestimates him and decides he'll give the proper in-depth training he deserves.
6/12/2020 c9 Allfather-Ford
Oh shit. Kira's training with Ben is clearly hard as fuck. He is not fucking around of showing Ben the harsh truths and realities of being a protagonist. This personal training is hell without breaks enough to push the limits. This is the burden of seeing Ben's training.
6/12/2020 c8 Allfather-Ford
Giga Bowser and Night-Terror appear in raising the stakes for the heroes battle against the two villains. Of course that Giga Bowser is still defeated, just like we remember beating his ass back in Smash Brothers and can even use him as a playable character in Final Smash.

Oh, Ben is going to have some training time with Kira.
6/12/2020 c7 Allfather-Ford
Bowser likes to boast himself that he's the iconic villain who likes to take over the world. Oh yes, next chapter will show our Koopa king becoming Giga Bowser.
6/12/2020 c6 Allfather-Ford
Oh, so I see that the Koopalings are taking notes from Power Rangers in using Zords and even a Megazord to fight out heroes. Bowser and his forces have their fight with Mario and the heroes.
6/12/2020 c5 Allfather-Ford
Oh boy, Bowser is going to get his revenge. Yeah right. :P And look, the Koopalings make their appearances.
6/8/2020 c4 Allfather-Ford
Ben and Lacus fight Larxene as the sadistic woman loves to tease and hurt Ben's feelings. This make Ben so mad that he's clearly not going to forgive this villainess. Then, Marluxia arrives as both Organization members retreat.

Yeah, this was written way before Larxene and Marluxia have their humanity in their final defeats in Kingdom Hearts 3 (alongside having human names and identities before becoming Nobodies).
6/8/2020 c3 Allfather-Ford
There is a breather episode of Ben's interactions with Lacus. And the Platinum Saucer does reminded of the Golden Saucer, such as the roller coaster and stuff.

But wait, Larxene makes an appearance. and she is as cute and sadistic as ever of Ben's first date. This was written way before Larxene is one of Xehanort's vessels.
6/8/2020 c2 Allfather-Ford
It's been a week since the defeat of Xehamaru. Or so it was as Xehamaru returns again, but this time, with the help of new villains: Ravxen, Necron, and Darth Damonus (the one who controls Xehamaru, even though we know that Xehamaru act on his own free will). This raises the stakes for Ben and his friends.
6/8/2020 c1 Allfather-Ford
And here I am properly reading the prologue of Volume 2. Yeah, this is the recap of the first arc of Ben's adventures with the crossover characters, meeting new friends and enemies (such as Xehamaru), and much more. So I wonder what Volume 2 will bring, let's find out.
2/13/2014 c57 37Piccolo Sky
Well...Max will go to Heaven unless Zannacross wins, at which point he'll simply destroy him along with Heaven. :/ And Cosmos...so long as you're being completely useless and asking everyone to do things they were doing already...I don't suppose you could use your omniscience to tell Ben where the last shard is? Or if there's any more "wolves in the fold"? Or who killed Max? No?

Sigh. Well, at least you...uh...um...swore you believed in us? That's gotta...er...count for something...right? I mean...a goddess who can pretty much only be a cheerleader is...uh...just what we needed... (You sure Cosmos' real name isn't 'Celestia'?)

"I will always be watching you...even if you're failing and dying, I'll continue to just keep watching you." She's even intimidated by Brad.

Worst. Goddess. EVER. The only problem is since Cosmos is so useless, it kind of gives Zannacross a "Dark Helmet" effect from "Spaceballs"...

"Now you see that evil will always triumph...because good is dumb."

Heh, Myers, I think it was pretty clear Kira was insane long before now. :P

All I can say about kicking Brad out...about bloody time. Now, hopefully they realize he's talking just like Kira so he's probably next to join the ranks of "people to kill". However...I still think Lacus will go running back to him. If for no other reason than real-life experience in similar situations... :(

Cough, cough...I'm choking on "smug". The majority of these bad guys will end up being side quests to be stepped on and probably are making the real villains roll their eyes.

Well, while it's nice to hear Lacus' mother apologize at last...that whole Idious thing is probably a legitimate reason to dislike him. :P

And I'm glad the big bad is finally becoming aware of his chronic failures to kill the protagonist. Although...if he thinks he's getting too powerful...why not just have Damonus pop in on him and kill him now or while he's on the can or something? Or just blow up the planet he's on? I think we've established the bad guys can go wherever, whenever they want at this point.

Uh, Nightmare...better watch your "I always get it done" boast. Yeah...except the two or three times now you were smacked aside... Your success record is far from spotless.

I think this scene was missing from the end of that little round of boasting...

ZANNACROSS: Now remember, everyone...don't any of you even think about just banding together and attacking Hollow Bastion right now. Or attacking Myers or Ben all together. You're only allowed to split up into individuals and move to separate worlds and never come to each others aid. You all are only allowed to fight ONE AT A TIME. The rest of you have to wait your turn. And none of you try to sneak up on anyone and kill them either. Lure them into a trap on a world where there'll be a dozen of them against you. And never kill them outright, either. Even if you say you're going to kill them now, never actually kill them. Drag it out and out and out to make sure they can't pull off any last minute moves.

Clearly, Zannacross never read Spider-Man Annual #1 where the Sinister Six tried the same thing. At the end, Spidey actually mocked them all for not just attacking him together as opposed to one at a time.

Well, things may look a bit on the up-and-up for Lacus, but...the fact that she's only tentatively suspecting Brad of not being who she thought he was as opposed to knowing it without a doubt makes me feel this isn't quite a turning point yet.

Ok...review of chapter over...now for the big 'un...

-
Looking over all of Volume Two...

Negatives:

I've said these so many times that I'm not about to rehash things you already know. Just, in brief, I think the battles would flow better with less bantering and boasting. The list of "people to kill" only ever gets longer. And I'm not too much of a fan of character's personalities seeming to occasionally change to suit whatever is going on right now. It's not so much of an issue with the OCs...but the characters from other games and such is more overt. And I should warn you...I used to do that and was hated for it. I've told you horror stories of what I did with Yuffie back in my original version of what would be "The Aleron Saga". Basically, I changed her both to reflect my bias and suit the situation...and that created OOCs that I was never forgiven for. Hence...I'm kind of grimacing at Kuja in the end of this chapter. This is pretty much what my mind was thinking...

GENESIS: I thought you did a heel-turn-face?

KUJA: Eh, I decided I preferred being evil.

Now that we have that crud out of the way...

Positives:

Lots more original character action in this volume, which I appreciate a great deal. I said it before and I'll say it again...you do your best when you go original. It gives one more "freedom" to do as you like. More character development in this volume as opposed to the last one. Although both Ben and Lacus did things I have a hard time forgiving, enough to push me past my original comment of them being "flawed" to being "dislikeable", they are, in fact, finally showing some maturity that I hoped they would ever since Volume One. They still need to stay the course before I render a positive verdict on them, however.

Overall, the plotline in this one is more "connected" and intriguing as well. The previous volume was a great deal of "bring on the next world". This one had more of an "overarching" story to it. It helped maintain a higher interest level. Your writing style also improved more. I'm seeing better examples of appropriately using brevity in the right situations and I hope it keeps up.

(On a side note, while I think Seymour was obnoxious, he really was one of the best FF villains. Psychotic and originally motivated, extremely hard to kill, and his philosophy is pretty much in tune with Zannacross' already. I would have swapped Kuja for him.)

Overall conclusion: better written, more intriguing, and nicer plotline than Volume One. Hope it keeps improving.
2/4/2014 c56 Piccolo Sky
No offense, Squall and Zidane...but shouldn't Myers be one of the people who gets teleported? :P I guess there is something to say about "being the biggest guy in the room".

The end of the fight with Xiza...like I said, glad it wasn't a "Brolly Deal". It did seem a bit quicker compared to others, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

My one point of confusion...with all the energy these guys are throwing around, I'm surprised they couldn't just blow up the Halo themselves. It's only about the size of a planet in terms of diameter, right?

There's just one other thing. As a guy who made up plot items that came back to bite him in the rear before, I think the "anti-Enji" bullets are a good example. Basically, if you've come up with a weapon that can kill any protagonist, no matter how strong, in one shot, and apparently can be mass-produced, then why not just equip every basic trooper with them? Or even advanced troops? Technically, you said this one hit him in the heart, but that shouldn't have mattered because you said it turns magic energy into poison, so even if it hit him in the forearm it should have killed him. I'm also not sure if you're trying to imply that Brad was the guy who killed Max, but if you are...that's another big plot hole because they weren't able to sense anyone else, and it's been made clear up until now Brad doesn't hide his power. Of course, it could have just been a "red herring"...
1/29/2014 c55 Piccolo Sky
Ben makes a good point. Out of all of the bad guys thus far who tried to get a hero to "come to the dark side", Xiza's track record would make him the least desirable.

A nod to "Little Shop of Horrors"? Nice.

You told me earlier that people were a bit "disappointed" with this chapter compared to the last? Well...the fight was more "awkward". First, when Ben showed up, it resulted in a whole "Goku"-effect...which isn't a very easy feeling for a reader. Since this is a "KH"-type scenario, when everyone else fails completely only for Ben to show up and reveal in no uncertain terms he could beat them all by himself if he wanted, it might leave people wondering: "So...is everyone else the 'Kuririn' now? With a whole volume to go, is their only purpose now just to get kicked around until Ben shows up from now on?"

Granted, when the fight went into a later phase, they started joining again...but...there's definitely a "disconnect". It doesn't really seem to follow how Cloud couldn't even get Xiza dirty before and now suddenly he's able to cut him, for example. I mean, everyone was going all out before and it didn't seem to matter. That might have been what left people giving this fight a bit of an odd look.

Well...either that or the fact that Ben never really came even close to winning against Max if he's able to fight back now with ease. Max must have barely been trying the entire fight, going far below "easy" on Ben the whole time. It kind of means the entire last chapter was a fake out to the audience... :(

The fighting is still good, don't get me wrong. Plot is moving well even if there wasn't a whole lot of "new developments" this chapter. But how Xiza seems to go from being strong to weak and strong to weak again...that might have been an issue. If you're confused about what I mean, I can always do it in PMs.
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