Cirsova 8’s “Party Crashers” by Ken McGrath

 The cover story for Cirsova 8 brings us a near future, superhero tale dressed up in tech-noir trappings.  The two heroes of the piece, Haywire and Scramble, are hired guns ready to engage in a little corporate espionage or black-op counter-terrorism if the price is right.  The name of their little enterprise, Party Crashers, lends itself to the name of the story, which clips along at a nice pace.  Hired to protect a shady CEO from his eco-terrorist son, they have the advantage of bionic upgrades, called ‘augments’ in the story, that allow them to act in superhuman fashion.

As with the previous story in the issue, Only a Coward, the story suffers a bit for insufficient world building – or at least insufficient explanations of how the world works.  It’s not clear until late in the game that augments are common enough to elicit disdain from some seedy types, but rare enough to be a surprise when they pop up later.  It’s also not clear what the limitations on the technology are, leaving the world a little vague.  It might be a world just like ours, but with a light patina of high-tech, or it might be a full-on Blade Runner or Shadowrun sci-fantasy.  Were this story plugged into a longer tale, or just one of many adventures of Haywire and Scramble, that might hamper the visual appeal of the tale, but as a stand-alone meant that the movie in my own head lacked real substance or form.