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Author Topic: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back  (Read 1720 times)

IndigoPrime

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #30 on: 18 August, 2017, 01:18:36 pm »
Agreed on the recap pages. Not necessary for all strips, but very useful for continuity heavy ones, and those with relatively complex scripts.

TordelBack

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #31 on: 18 August, 2017, 08:21:35 pm »
I think it's unfair to say that the post-DoC writers didn't capitalise on the situation that Wagner handed them: when 2000AD's golden goose is Judge Dredd, a fascist icon with a niggling conscience, judge, jury and executioner of an oppressive regime in a vast glittering city of 400 million potential criminals/actual crazies, itself described as the star of the show, and the strip's creator turns all that into a broken man from a failed regime who lives in a vast decaying graveyard with a traumatised population smaller than the UK, writing that would be writing an entirely different strip.

As it was writers like Carroll tried a half-dozen approaches to the fallout, but usually with the apparent goal of getting the city back on its feet. Which the readers knew wasn't really possible.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #32 on: 18 August, 2017, 08:40:04 pm »
I think it's unfair to say that the post-DoC writers didn't capitalise on the situation that Wagner handed them

I think we're over-looking the obvious, though, which is that DoC snowballed as John was writing it. It wasn't planned to wind up with destruction on this scale, but John warmed to his theme and the story ended up in a place unplanned and unanticipated by either John or Matt, leaving Matt with a pile of commissioned scripts and art to follow that he could either write off at massive expense and send all the droids scrambling to play catch-up, or try to modify so that they sort of fitted if you squinted a bit and didn't look too hard.

If John had been scheduled to write six months of Apocalypse War style follow-up to DoC then maybe it would have worked but, through no one's particular fault, the storyline handed the entire milieu back to the other writers in a considerably different shape to the one they were expecting.
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Richard

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #33 on: 18 August, 2017, 10:24:29 pm »
That's not really an excuse five years later though.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #34 on: 18 August, 2017, 10:48:38 pm »
That's not really an excuse five years later though.

Yeah. It kind of is. The status quo was reset, apparently too quickly for the taste of many readers, because none of the planned follow-up stories were designed to follow up what John actually wrote.

So… we could have had about six months of mis-matched stories, and then, suddenly, 'Whoa! The city is fucked!' … or we could get what we got, which is more or less a return to the status quo, with writers referring to the events of DoC when they find an interesting angle on it.

Which is more or less where we ended up a year after the Apocalypse War, and after Necropolis. The only difference is people weren't still banging on about it five years after Apocalypse or Necropolis.
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TordelBack

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #35 on: 19 August, 2017, 06:10:38 am »
Spot on there, Jim.  But I'd go back to the sheer scale of the changes in comparison to this stories: MC-1 is effectively dead ("the main character"), Dredd and Justice Dept has finally failed at the one thing that possibly justified their brutal regime - if the follow-up stories had acknowledged that, the Dredd strip would have been almost unrecognisably different, and I don't see how that would have worked from a valuable-IP point of view. 

It'd be as if DKR had been an in-continuity bat-book (and yearly reboots didn't exist), and all subsequent DC comics had to take those changes on board. Fun, but catastrophic from a licensing PoV.

So despite the great effort writers (especially Carroll) went to to address post-Doc issues in the longer term (sourcing new judges without the Academy, resources, internal and international backlash, psychological trauma etc) it always felt a bit inadequate and critics never seemed satisfied. The new stories avoided the elephant in the room: the MC-1 that they were set in didn't, couldn't, exist any more.

I, Cosh

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #36 on: 19 August, 2017, 08:08:36 am »
Some good observations there chaps. I've never been in the No Wagner, No Way camp but it's  certainoh interesting to consider DoC in terms of John killing off Mega City One if he can't kill Dredd himself.
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jabish

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #37 on: 19 August, 2017, 10:04:56 am »
...Dredd and Justice Dept has finally failed at the one thing that possibly justified their brutal regime - if the follow-up stories had acknowledged that, the Dredd strip would have been almost unrecognisably different, and I don't see how that would have worked from a valuable-IP point of view. 

And therein for me lies the problem. Dredd has always been about the character and his world aging in real time and events having consequences. It feels like now, with things like the total re-juve and big stories having no bearing on each other, we have a US style house character. Dredd now feels indestructible and ageless when he never felt like that before. The stakes have dropped. And I'm sorry we didn’t see Mega City One on its knees in a way we never saw before, I think that immense change in status quo would have been really interesting. I get why of course, why kill your golden goose? It’s a business. I just think it’s a pity. Hey ho. I'm glad we have Day of Chaos though because holy shit what a read.

Muon

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #38 on: 19 August, 2017, 10:30:35 am »
My take is that I'm pretty chill whatever happens in the strip. It's a bit of entertainment that puts a smile in my face every week and I can understand how difficult it is to write.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #39 on: 19 August, 2017, 11:06:33 am »
big stories having no bearing on each other

Other than the fact that they are referred to, what lasting impact did the Apocalypse War or Necropolis have on the strip? We had a few months of aftermath stories and it was pretty much business as usual within the year.
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Richard

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #40 on: 19 August, 2017, 11:31:20 am »
That is a fair point, but this time around we didn't even get the few months of aftermath stories, not really.

And Day of Chaos was more devastating than either the war or Necropolis. Granted they were massive disasters, but in the long term the city was able to pick itself up and carry on as before, still with a population of around 400 million. This time, the city is a shadow of its former self, and there's no Academy of Law any more. In the long term, where are the new generation of judges going to come from? That is only starting to be addressed now, in the new Mechanismo story, but only after five years.

I do take your point about how abrupt it would have looked if the aftermath stories had suddenly ramped up six months after DoC ended, and I don't have an answer to that. But it seems just as bad to simply gloss over the whole thing instead.

BPP

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #41 on: 19 August, 2017, 12:17:21 pm »
Weirdly I don't really think of MC1 as 'dead' at all. Just smaller. Like has happened to it before. If a story deals with the aftermath of DoC then fine, if its just a regular Perp/Cit of the week tale then fine too - life goes on in areas left untarnished or rebuilt by the DoC.

Certainly the post DoC implications weren't thought through enough - Carroll has looked at the diplomatic / geo-political consequences but DoC certainly could have been a time to move major new intra-MC1 players on to the board (corporations, politicians, populists, intra-department judges) but that hasn't happened so much. But I don't let it trouble my enjoyment of Dredd week-to-week.

One thing I thing weakened the strip was the loss of Bachmann in Trifecta. She had the potential to be a fascinating character to weave through many stories and while Trifecta was great (really really great) I thought her sacrifice was a shame.
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Frank

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #42 on: 19 August, 2017, 02:45:56 pm »
... interesting to consider DoC in terms of John killing off Mega City One if he can't kill Dredd himself.

Give that man a degree in Psychology. We've covered Chaos Day and its aftermath in great detail before - it was only mentioned in this conversation as a synonym for the post-Wagner era.

To be honest, I was much less interested in seeing the ramifications of Chaos Day explored than I was in seeing the groundwork laid by Fargo's last words, Beeny's ascent, and Dredd's limited lifespan* built upon.

I'm not going to see any of that pay off, because - by his own choice - John Wagner isn't writing the stories that determine the direction of the strip anymore.

Post-Wagner, talented creators have produced stories that have been greatly enjoyed by the majority of readers. The only difference between the last 5 years and the previous 18 is the sense of direction; the way apparently disparate stories and themes would coalesce in some kind of dramatic catharsis. **

Ways of addressing this range from Wagner's suggestion that a show runner *** oversee the broad direction of the strip, to the Ennis stratagem, where a single writer is charged with shaping the strip in their own image. Neither's ideal.

And neither would get me my Wagner epic, where Dredd sacrifices his life so Beeny can institute the reform he knows is necessary but can never (consciously) bring himself to instigate****. Sad face.


* I'm not going to see Dredd's ageing pay off because Tharg and Mike Carroll came up with Carousel (Meg 375).

** Sometimes an epic, sometimes just a significant story that (retrospectively) defines a particular phase of Wagner's work. It's important not to misconstrue that as the result of Alan Moore-style precision engineering and forward planning - Wagner says he never even plotted out individual stories beyond a very rough idea, preferring to see where the process of writing would take him.

*** presumably himself

**** A tearful Beeny giving the order to execute Dredd on the steps of the statues of Liberty and Justice, in a mirror image of him killing her Ma. I'd pay Wagner to write that and MacNeil to paint it myself.

Tiplodocus

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #43 on: 20 August, 2017, 09:04:18 am »
I enjoyed nearly all of that prog.

Oddly, for Me, Dredd Dress was the weakest with too much hand-waving "How does she do that?" but as others have said, imagining the story as a much more jokey romp makes that work.

Kudos to Tharg and droids for, yet again, delivering such a diverse set of equally brilliant art and scripts. Surely *everybody* found something to enthuse over in this prog.

Be excellent to each other. And party on!

TordelBack

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Re: Prog 2044 - The Magic is back
« Reply #44 on: 22 August, 2017, 09:48:53 pm »
So I'm going to be that vilest of creatures, the back-seat writer. 

While I ended up enjoying Ouroboros*, not least because Mike gives Marshall some great action scenes to draw and he really rises to the challenge, I did hit on one tiny thing that would have sold the Vega/Dredd double-act to me: where Vega says the powerboard can't keep up the necessary speed with both of them on it, Dredd responds: "Then set me down - let it go!". 

Had Dredd instead said "Then you get off!", I think I'd have bought the whole relationship.   


*Not a bloody clue. I tried to find something circular and self-consuming in the spike/node/earwax plot, but failed: it's not like this particular strain of mutant are bleaching their earwax, is it?