In order, since I never got my comments for the start of Cracked Foundations posted...
(I am afraid there will be a lot of these...)
(Also, responses on spec/plot to other commenters are in here for a couple issues, but probably buried pretty deep; sorry about that, comment threads are closed so I figured it'd do no harm to respond here.)
Cracked Foundations: Part One
“but if Robert Thorpe says its” This should be it's, it is.
“Jenny had actually met David Bernard once or twice at police functions, and he’d always looked crisply military—like a hotshot pilot in a war movie.” Should this be has met/he's, since it's a past attached to the present tense you're writing in instead of to another past?
“A moment later she added a second question.” Shouldn't this be adds, present tense?
“Should it?” I'm not sure I understand that in context. “It's Greek to me; I can't make heads or tails of it” “Should it?” Should it what? It being comprehensible wasn't the topic before – them comprehending or not comprehending it was.
““The world’s most dangerous supervillain doesn’t want to go to the cops.”" Loved this line.
.. also I admit to being severely concerned.
Cracked Foundations: Part Two
"even now, after all his years on the job, Jason still expects to see a 40-foot-tall view screen" I think of viewscreen as one word - should it be?
"Instead, it looks like a board room, which is what it had been originally," Should this be was?
"the 40-foot-tall view screen seems unnecessary" if you change the first one, change this too.
"with the drawstring pulled so far that only her eyes and the tip of her nose is visible." Are. Eyes + tip of nose is two things.
"Jason had difficulty believing that—he’d met Jenny before, and he was pretty sure she wasn’t a metahuman—but it was possible." Did he have trouble believing it at the time, or does he still have trouble believing it? If the latter, you may want to put this in present tense - has difficulty, he's met Jenny, he is pretty sure, it's possible.
"Jason leans forward, interested to see where this was going." Is going?
"Billy and Phyllis made an unusual team, but they were incredibly effective." You mention that what seems like every time they show up. The first few made sense as reminders, but do you still need this?
"and apparently he left his home about a week and half" A week and a half.
"A week and half before that fight" Again, a half.
"Billy shrugs. “With billionaires it’s almost always an island.”" I really like this line.
Cracked Foundations: Part Three
" and walks toward the elevator on other side of the roof." The other side.
"But… today out of the blue my Captain tells me we’re on a new task force, the meeting’s today, and that’s all I get?”" Usually my captain is not capitalized. Captain as a form of address is, or accompanied by a name. My or the is not.
"Collins stands at six-foot one" I recommend either six foot one, or six-foot-one; either hyphenate the whole phrase, or none at all. My sources are unclear on which to pick, so pick whichever you prefer.
"They all choose seats at the front row" Not in?
"Operation Bad Seed is a deep cover operation we’ve been running for the last six years, in an attempt to uncover some deep-rooted and widespread corruption that may have been connected to the, ah PRODIGY debacle.”" Do you want a comma after that ah? I'm having a bit of trouble reading it as broken on only one side.
"We did not know who we could trust" Technically whom if he's stuffy enough to use it. >.>
That last line is chilling. Isn't that supposed to be impossible?
Cracked Foundations: Part Four
"causing CB to wrap his trenchcoat around him more tightly." Himself, otherwise it kinda sounds as if he's wrapping the trenchcoat around Roger.
Truth and Lies: Part One
"The badge settles gently on the table, almost exactly where it started. Alishia moves the badge into her handbag—it did what she needed it to do." Minor stylistic note - you don't need to repeat "the badge" here, you could just use it. It's obvious what you're talking about.
"Alishia nodded" should be nods, present tense.
"He’s doesn’t sound dismissive, just thoughtful." He's should be he.
Truth and Lies: Part Two
"“Even if he did,” LaFleur said, smiling slightly," Said should be says.
"LaFleur’s right eyebrow raises slightly." I believe this should be rises; something rises, but you raise a thing. He raises his right eyebrow, but his right eyebrow rises.
"LaFleur’s right eyebrow raises higher." Same comment as above.
"and absent thumping it against the palm of his left hand" should be absently, I think? Or absent-mindedly? Not just absent, at any rate.
Truth and Lies: Part Three
"He suddenly feels very awkward being there" There, not here? Why?
"“So it’s catching up to you now?” Jenny frowned." Frowns.
Truth and Lies: Part Four
"Based on some of our initial tests using his samples, it looks like he will react to the virus.”" Grammatically as if, if Robert would use formal grammar. I only mention it because he's Robert. >.>
Truth and Lies: Part Five
"if he was suddenly transferred into a top secret task force." Minor hyphenation quibble: I would probably hyphenate top-secret, because it could also be read as a top (that is, the best of the) secret task force(s). The natural reading is the one you want, but a valid alternate reading is where hyphenating compound adjectives like that is most likely to be a good idea.
"but it’s not as easy to do to as it was" Should "to do to" have a him attached, or is the second to a typo?
"where something metahuman related clearly happened." If possible and only if possible with your style, I would lean towards hyphenating metahuman-related? I read "something metahuman" and stumbled over "wait what is that related doing there" before realizing that "metahuman" hadn't been independent in the first place.
"And now all of a sudden we’ve been ordered on to a task force" I think this one should be onto. "Ordered on to" would make sense in a phrase like "ordered on to glory" but this one isn't "ordered on" with a directional preposition attached.
"He reaches for a phone setting at the head of the table," Should setting be sitting?
"I used my position to make it easier for Andrew’s people to get away with whatever it is they were doing" Shouldn't it be whatever it was, to match they were doing?
"I saw a few things that makes me think" Should be either make or made, depending on whether now or in the past.
"He doesn’t break his gaze with the Captain until he puts them on." Captain shouldn't be capitalized. Also, something about the "break his gaze with" phrasing feels weird to me - one breaks a gaze, sure, but a gaze is usually one-way - but I can't put my finger on it. Maybe look at it again though?
"“I hate to be abrupt, it’s time to go.”" No but?
"He looks like he might be in pain." Grammatically as if, but lovely informal style, etc. ^^ Your call.
"“I know that,” Agent Henry tries to keep the frustration out of his voice. " Trying to keep the frustration out of one's voice is not a speech tag! It's something one is doing tangential to speech. So that first comma should be a period.
"“There were only four people in that room: you, Frank, Malloy, Nozzo. There was no Clive Darius. Whatever you were talking to in there, it wasn’t Clive Darius. Maybe it was his body, but it wasn’t his mind. Agent Henry… that thing didn’t have a mind.”" ... Well that's suitably creepy.
A Price Collected, Part One
"The larger man’s heavy-lidded eyes are now fully open, he sits straight in his chair, fists clenched, as he stares at the two tiny blocks with intense, undisguised interest." I recommend turning the first comma into a semicolon, or adding an and, but the former would be more elegant.
"“I do not know how to open a door into the True Realm,” The Chairman says." The should not be capitalized.
"“Have I?” The Chairman asks, sounding genuinely surprised." The should not be capitalized.
Re: the comment on what form Artemis's magic/Evil Twin is taking: Artemis's powers explicitly involve shapeshifting or else some sort of illusion - at any rate, he can clearly wear a variety of appearances, likely whatever ones he pleases. There's no reason to assume his magic can't do the same. The cheekbones feel like him, stylistically, but early descriptions of what form he prefers to take indicate that aside from his sense of style, "like him" is not really a meaningful statement. I'm not sure it's known what his true appearance is; Scrapper Jack clearly doesn't know, and he's known him a long time. So I'm not sure we can actually judge that much from the hints of appearance.
I think the "LaFleur's magic" theory is pretty confirmed by now, though. At least, he believes it, and references to the Chairman being a Thing That Should Not Be don't exactly hurt the theory either. It also makes the Esperanza segment more immediately relevant, so I'm pretty sure it's right.
That said, I'm worried about a fifth of what...
... especially since they have just described magic usually working in flesh.
A Price Collected, Part Two
"(bleached even lighter from years out on the sun and surf)" Can one be "on" the sun? Well, yes, but without burning up?
"He’ll want to keep all his communication in house." Shouldn't in-house be hyphenated?
"I am idiot." Is there supposed to be an an, or is she trying to sound Zen?
"He has low and mid-orbit satellites out there too.”" If low is really low-orbit, then it should be low- and mid-orbit satellites, to signal that. If not, ignore this.
"rely on the low orbit satellites as much as possible." Low-orbit should be hyphenated, mid-orbit was earlier.
"Other than the hairpins, the only jewelry she wears are a pair of large silver earrings," I think are should be is. "the only jewelry she wears" is singular. Compare "the only jewelry she wears is/are a ring and a necklace." I would use is, even though that is two items and thus plural.
"For all the director’s insistence of informality," Should of be on?
"Something cold settles at the pit of Jason’s stomach." Shouldn't at be in?
Yeah this is... alarming. Kinda scared they might not all come back, although of course that's simply the direct reading. She could also be taking a fifth of... something... from each...
A Price Collected, Part Three
"but the room, and all the others like it in this building, is silent and dark." A hissing, spitting radiator doesn't sound silent.
"Special Agent Oliver Nuzzo steps into to the room, "Extra to.
"dressed in a cheap two piece suit, " I would hyphenate two-piece.
Trenchcoat vs. trench coat: which did you decide on again? I'm seeing quite a lot of both in the recent issues. I recommend standardizing. *ducks*
"Nuzzo pulls the curtain away from the edge of window," Of the window.
... oh. They picked Plague's old apartment building.
"“This… bullshit… body…” he repeats the words a few times," He should be capitalized. Normally repeats would be a perfectly good speech tag, but the dialog must be the object of the speech tag and repeats already has an object: the words. So he should be capitalized; it's starting a new sentence.
"Then Nuzzo stirs, and he stares down at the tiny stone pyramid in contempt." You don't need the he.
Re: Unmaker: LaFleur was clearly willing to accept some degree of nasty in return for obtaining his goals. The end justifies the means (in his case, to limited but extant degrees of means) - and he had a very noble end, at least from his perspective. If you are used to using unpleasant means for a noble end, it might reasonably take some time to figure out when your means can't be anything but nasty - especially when that corrupting-everything-it-touches effect is thoroughly alien to the means he's used to working with. That's my guess, anyway.
A Price Collected, Part Four
Oh, right away this does not sound good.
"He groans, forces himself to sit up, and tried to figure out who would be ringing his doorbell at..." Tries should be tries.
"It's the least favorite part of his exit strategy so far" His least favorite?
"in his neighbor’s back yard." It's backyard in the next sentence. Pick either but be consistent.
"He ducks down an alley the first chance he gets, dredging up in his mind the many maps he’d memorized" Shouldn't he'd be he's? Past of present, no intervening past to trigger a had?
"is the most excruciating twenty five minutes of his life." I think twenty-five is usually hyphenated.
" The grip holding him place doesn’t tighten" This should be in place.
"pin stripe suit, bowler hat" Pinstripe has usually been one word.
"He straightens, then beings to clap his hands vigorously, beaming at him." Beings should be begins. Beaming at him is grammatically confused; you may want to specify Billy, or some descriptive tag for Billy.
"“Change,” The smaller man says." The should not be capitalized. I really don't like where this is going!
"trying to figure out how this scenario fit into everything going on in his life." Fits, present.
... I knew I didn't like where it was going.
In a sense, this is a classic villain's tragedy though - they just took half the team that's Jason's most effective person, which means his efficiency will be significantly reduced, which may well hurt his side in the long run. And it was allowed to happen because the villain is a villain - I think even real Artemis would draw the line here, though we've seen him as a villain so little I find it hard to be sure, and certainly the heroes would. The interesting thing is that this usually happens because the villain doesn't care about his staff; here he cares, but more important concerns override that. He's making a calculated sacrifice, despite really not wanting to. He's still sacrificing a fifth of his people, though - and it's still going to bite him.
(And yes, you can argue that he's doing that to avoid a war in which he'd lose more. Except he provoked said war and explicitly has no regrets, so it all goes back to him.)
A Trumpet Sounds, Part One
"The Haruspex Analytics boardroom is emptier than it was the day before." I believe you've mostly done board room as two words? Either way it should be consistent.
"Each man and woman sitting patiently for the Chairman to arrive" Is there an and waiting missing after sitting or something?
"See to it that families of those employees receive full bereavement benefits" Did you mean the families, or is this deliberate? I could see it either way, hence why I'm checking.
"They speak in a single voice, their assent rings in Jasons ears as he struggles not to flush." A) Jason's. B) I would replace the comma after voice with a semicolon or, failing that, a period. It isn't a comma situation.
Yeah, that's... going to leave echoes. They're taking it well... but still.
Wonder how Phyllis will take it.
A Trumpet Sounds, Part Two
... annnnd here's how Phyllis is taking it!
"Simon Yin sits in front of his laptop set up at the long table running down the middle of the Situation Room," Are you sure you don't want a comma after laptop?
"Michelle plays with the drawstring on her sweatshirt, pulling first one end and then the other down as far as it will go before the other end disappears entirely." This feels like a very humanizing and believable gesture.
"There was no getting around it, their effectiveness was going to suffer from this." Was or is? This feels like past tense, but you've moved away from past events.
Well. The Chairman is good at this. Still.
Kind of worried they found the island, even though it was clearly coming... Robert really doesn't need an attack right now.
A Trumpet Sounds, Part Three
... He's using magic. Oh that is so much worse than I expected.
Oh blast oh blast oh blast oh blast he's using that magic.
"very carefully buttoning the shirt over it and re-adjusting his tie." I don't believe readjusting needs to be hyphenated.
"He nods absently, as if agreeing to the voice on the other line." With. One agrees to something, but with someone.
Oh yeah, it's LaFleur all right - and this is sounding like all sorts of trap. Drat drat drat. I am now fretting, good job.
A Trumpet Sounds, Part Four
"until it’s little more than the barest hint of suffuse luminescence." Is suffuse quite correct? Should there be a d?
"like he slept on it and hasn’t bothered fixing it yet" Grammatically as if but normal caveats.
"the tone of a man trying to keep an angry crowd at bay while he slowly inches to the exit." Is to rather than toward deliberate?
"The orb flickers as the presence fades from consciousness" Should this be his consciousness, or is that deliberate? Ditto for the other half of the sentence, faintest vs. the faintest. To be clear I can see either reading as valid - that's why I want to check.
"some of his memories are very specific to the transactional nature of acquiring power. " Is this meant to be specific as to - that is, given specific information about/to the effect that - or is it actually that the memories are specific to said nature, that is, relevant only/primarily with respect to it?
"“Oh,” CB says, “the interesting part hasn’t happened yet. Good to know.”" Love this line.
"There are aspects of this reality they don’t understand." They don't? Not it doesn't?
“Maybe. Probably… yes. I’m almost sure. Where is Artemis?” “LaFleur is probably with Robert, in his office. Anything I should know?” I enjoy this exchange.
"running full-tilt down the length of the peer."" Pier.
A Trumpet Sounds, Part Five
"He forces himself to move, to run, but all he can manage is to stagger forward a few steps." Is this actually forcing, or trying to force? It doesn't seem to be working.
"It’s only then that he suspects there may be more going on than simply exhaustion." ... Nice! I didn't realize either.
"The woman who helped him, explaining what she could," What she can?
"Jack nods, and carries David over to one of the chairs near Dr. Thorpe’s desk." Um, does carrying someone by the arms actually work? It sounds painful.
"a thin, dark, radiance covering his entire body." No comma after dark.
"David shakes his head, takes two deep breathes" Breaths.
"“I guess it was sort like allergies." Sort of.
"He had to erase an entire island out of existence to undo the spell." Usually one erases things from existance.
"A woman’s comes through the speakers." A woman's voice.
"They emerge from the water on to land" Onto.
"He looks gaunt, his eyes seem empty, peering inward." I recommend turning the comma after gaunt into a semicolon, or some similar fix, as before - same issue I pointed out before.
"All eyes on the room are on him," All eyes in the room.
... Well. I never dreamed from the name it would be that trumpet. Very well done.
Also, miss me? ^^ I should be back more reliably now; it was just that that was a four-hour-plus backlog right there, and it took a while for me to have four hours. Totally worth it, though.