Rising tension, from Starslip Crisis.
Let me preface this post by mentioning that the website I use for tracking my webcomics, Piperka, lost track of Starslip Crisis after Kris Straub redesigned the website, and since I pretty much rely solely on Piperka for my comics browsing, I lost track of Starslip for a few weeks, which means that I actually read the last twelve or so strips as a block rather than in their usual daily format, and that might be coloring my viewpoint somewhat. But still...
Am I the only one who thinks Straub is building to something huge here? I mean, over the course of the strip we've seen the introduction of a number of characters who have been at best indirectly related to the main plot: Zillion, The Chronomantic, and let's not forget Lord Katarikis. They've popped in and out of the strip in a somewhat episodic manner, but if I know Kris Straub (and I don't), he's not writing Starslip in sitcom format, where each storyline is entirely separate from the last. These guys are all going to show up again. And they're going to show up in more direct contact with the crew of the Fuseli.
And now we have the latest storyline. The Fuseli is throwing a party. A big party. A party for the largest manufacturer of starslip drives in the universe. And we've been introduced to Archcount Obdrath von Lucifuge, a man who manages to be both good and evil at the same time. Other attendees at the event include Jovia and her father, and a member of the ever-ominous Directorate.
Is Kris Straub going to let all the most important people in the universe gather on the Fuseli and not have something extreme happen? Not a chance. This isn't just an opportunity to make some riffs on high society and ambiguously evil CEOs. Something's about to go down. Something major. You can almost taste it, as each strip adds another layer of setup. Straub took pains to make sure we understood that Mr. Jinx and Plox were on security. That Jovia's father was there, and does not like Vanderbeam. That Obdrath can't seem to help being evil. The pieces are being carefully arranged. And I would not be surprised at all if suddenly we see the reintroduction of one of those old fringe characters and the whole thing explodes.
Will it be Zillion and Vore, come to rob all the high society folks blind? Will it be the Chronomantic, come to seduce Jovia? Will it be Lord Katarikis, come to exact vengeance on Mr. Jinx? Your guess is as good as mine. This plot could literally go anywhere, and that's what's so good about it.
This is an example of trying to build tension by running an extremely long and elaborate setup, a technique which is often attempted but only occasionally pulled off well. And Kris Straub is pulling it off well. He's got me waiting on the edge of my seat, and maybe after reading this post he'll have you on the edge of yours, too.