Readers: Luzula, Crinklysolution, Helens78
Fandom: Due South -- mostly gen with implied RayK/Fraser
The original story is written in documentary style -- letters and interview clips mixed with traditional narrative and sprinkled with historical photographs. It's very well suited to podfic and the unconventional style was embelished by including several well-chosen selections of historical audio. With three readers, it's easy to follow the quickly shifting points of view. Omphale builds the canon alienation of all three main male characters, in their very different ways, into the World War II setting. Fraser's ghosts, Vecchio's restlessness, and Kowalski's anger all fit well with their experiences first as soldiers and then as veterans trying to find their footing after the war. The result is a fascinating way to spend two and a half hours.
Summary: Steve gets a lesson in pop psychology, drives a roadster, fends off an aspiring killer robot, conquers Tetris, wins a quarter, buys pants, battles the undead, and falls hard for Tony Stark and Pepper Potts.
Steve's at the center of Come at Me, as the summary indicates. In many ways, it's as much about Steve learning to love the twenty-first century as Tony and Pepper. Closer keeps the story firmly rooted in New York and the details of dining, driving, and shopping give it an almost 1920s feel -- further evoked by Steve's reference to the Great Gatsby. She does a great job of illustrating Steve and Tony's cultural gap of time, experience, and economic background in this early conversation about their early goals:
The differences between them make their connections and shared loneliness stand out even more.
I also like Closer's portrayal of Pepper, who is a hard-working corporate tycoon in this story, and Tony's adoration of her which doesn't conflict with his growing fascination with Steve. Pepper and Steve build an independent connection apart from Tony which gives the eventual threesome additional versilmitude.
Susan_voight reads the story clearly and engagingly. Technically, it's flawless. This is a great way to spend three hours. The reader's suggested that she might eventually do the next story in the trilogy (Bruce and Natasha) which would be a great addition.
"I truly have a very noble and impressive reason for missing our date," Charles remembers saying, looking up at Erik's too-tight expression and Moira's worried face, "but mostly I hope that you won't be so mad at me you won't give me another chance because I've been practicing with Raven and I can talk about normal things not including genetics and I was planning on being incredibly charming and sexually permissive."
The story is an ensemble piece, shifting points of view from Alex to Erik to Charles to Angel and so on through whole gang. The different stories open up this alternative universe to the reader where mutations are known but mutants are more tolerated than accepted. Erik leads the special mutant FBI task force, including Angel, Armando, Raven, and Shawn. Charles is a geneticist, mutant integration activist, and Erik's partner. Alex is a hapless criminal, desperately searching for his missing brother, Scott, with Hank's help.
It's an excellent story but I have a particular love for it because it takes Charles seriously as a disabled person (partially paralyzed in a failed assassination attempt) without making the story be about his disability. (Charles had always thought sex could be funny on top of being fun, but he had never really anticipated being over thirty and snapping a cock ring into Erik's eye by accident.) Limited Release was the first XMFC story I read that did that (though I've read several others since then) and it cemented my love not just for this story but for the pairing.
I Don't Believe in Fairy Tales by TatyanaOracle (HD available):
This is a Natasha/Clint vid. I like the choice of music -- "I don't believe in fairy tales but I believe in you and me" is a good motto for them. I also like how the vidder made a virtue of necessity in dealing with the imbalance of clips available between Natasha and Clint: Natasha is almost always in motion while Clint is mostly stationary which works with him as a sniper and as the one in need of rescue.
Settle Down by almostgaby -- the vid seems to have been removed from youtube but you can still download it from mediafire
The vid is very technically well done with a great choice of clips. (At least to my uneducated eye.) The great part is watching Natasha "trying to get a hold on this" as people keep doing stupid things all around her. I hadn't realized how many great "you idiot" facial expressions she made until I watched this vid.
So What by kaydeefalls
The last isn't really strictly a Natasha vid. The vidder describes it as "A tribute to the kickass ladies of the Avengers cinematic universe" and that's just what it is. The song is a lot of fun and the clips are great -- not just the expected Natasha ones but others like Peggy Carter punching a GI and shooting Steve. (I'd forgotten how much I liked Peggy and Steve.)
I tend to think of the Compressor as the magic tool but there's a good, brief explanation in the "Audacity Tutorial - Mixing a Narration with Background Music" (http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/Tutorial_-_Mixing_a_Narration_With_Background_Music).