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Messages - norton canes

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Prog / Re: Prog 2122 - Your Planet Needs Thrills!
« on: 15 March, 2019, 02:28:19 pm »
One other thing about the denouement to Machine Law...

I presume it isn't routine for a Judge droid to carry massive amounts of hi-ex in its casing? So Harvey must've known there was going to be a bomber at the protest march?

Prog / Re: Prog 2122 - Your Planet Needs Thrills!
« on: 14 March, 2019, 11:02:52 am »
I thought that was artistic licence, and he didn't really change his appearance, but only for our benefit. But maybe he did and he's some sort of shape-shifter

Hopefully future installments will shed some light...

Anyway away from Tooth and Nail, this was a really interesting prog. First of all, that's a cover and a half from the Ronald droid. He drew the cover for prog 2016, my 'return to the fold' prog, so I guess he should take the credit for enticing me back to 2000 AD after 27 years!   

Machine Law concluded smoothly, with a poignant twist. I didn't have a problem with Dredd's action on the second page but the phrase 'gang of losers' did grate a bit, yes. And I'm sure Harvey's memories and personality algorithm could be downloaded into a new body but I guess it's the symbolism of his sacrifice that counts.

So was that the last Skip Tracer ever? I wonder if time will be kind to this rather maligned strip. For my part I've always thought it's been full of great ideas, and the art of Marshall and MacNeil has never been less then stunning. As others have said, the biggest let-down has been the lack of charactersiation for the protagonist.

Have people really been giving Dan Abnett stick for including a talking heads interlude? Merciless! All I'll say is that it's perfectly placed after the hectic action of the last few progs - and even if dialogue-heavy strips aren't your thing then surely it's worth it for the gorgeous amber colour palette alone.

Finally, the only problem with Jaegir is we don't get enough of it! 

I see Kingmaker and Survival Geeks are back next week. I love Survival Geeks and can't wait. Ian Edgington isn't one of my absolute favourite script droids - both Brass Sun and Scarlet Traces have nice concepts but kind of drift vaguely on - but Kingmaker has a more solid background and I'm looking forward to it. It says in the Nerve Centre that the upcoming SG story has a 'dungeon crawler' theme - should be interesting, given that Kingmaker is also basically a slanted look at the D&D genre.

Prog / Re: Prog 2122 - Your Planet Needs Thrills!
« on: 13 March, 2019, 08:12:23 pm »
In Tooth and Nail, every scene that wasn't of the guy who was tied to a chair and being interrogated was only a depiction of the story that guy was telling his interrogators. He was an "unreliable narrator." He told them he was some harmless guy who met Nail, but he was lying; he himself was Nail all along

I get this, but... the interrogee does actually change appearance, doesn't he? From page 5, he's suddenly not the kid from the rest of the story. Has Staz Johnson just drawn him more 'macho'? No, the face is different, and he's bigger. Am I imagining this?! If not, then either the child in the chair is as imaginary as the flashback sequence, or he's actually got shape-changing powers.

Confused. Please help.

Anyway on the subject of whether this belongs on 2000 AD - don't forget Invasion, another non-SF prog classic.

General / Re: Forthcoming Thrills - 2019
« on: 08 March, 2019, 02:22:13 pm »
As long as he's writing more Kingdom too...

Prog / Re: Prog 2121 - One Man's Stand
« on: 07 March, 2019, 10:11:57 am »
Good cover.

As mentioned, Machine Law was a bit faster-paced than usual so missing a little subtlety, but the sequence with Beeny and the kid was a delight, as was the expansive opening image. Disappointed that Jaegir is again only a six-episode run - the stories need longer to bed in, it seems like they're over before they've properly begun. Good conclusion to the Grey Area chapter and Skip Tracer is holding my attention. Nicest surprise though was Tooth And Nail - I'm really getting into it! I like the fact that it's told with economy, as opposed to some recent 3rillers and F-Shocks which have tried to pack way too much into their short running time. It's not overstretching itself. And the artwork is just great, especially the checkerboard page. Excellent stuff!

Prog / Re: Prog 2120 - Tankbuster!
« on: 28 February, 2019, 10:10:11 am »
Yeah, it's emotionally charged stuff. I wonder if there's any of John Wagner's last exchanges with Carlos Ezquerra in there. Heartbreaking.

Again, it's a rollicking good prog (I think that's the first time I've described an issue of 2000 AD as 'rollicking') throughout. I get the point about the C5's actions being a bit sudden but as has been mentioned upthread, I guess Wagner didn't want to hold up the main narrative any. (Love the numeronym 'C5' by the way. Hey, another new word!)

Skip Tracer works better when the action is cranked up so this installment is a better read. I should say, that with all the questions people are posing about the scripts, Paul Marshall is doing an absolutely stunning job on art duties. The strip isn't always the most satisfying read and if it wasn't for the Marshall/Teague combo I think i'd be giving it a whole lot less attention.

Grey Area perhaps just pips Dredd for TOP THRILL this week, Dan Abnett bringing some of his SinDex comedy skills to the fore and Mark Harrison making his detailed style more dense now we're in the heart of the EI zone.

The 3riller is enjoyably stripped-back, which is a relief after some of the recent ones have tried to cram too much into their short runs. After that first page I did think 'Tooth and Nail' might refer to some of the torture methods that could be used... we'll see!

Jaegir continues to provide top-notch thrills, Gordon Rennie proving he's a match for John Wagner when it comes to skillfully incorporating large chunks of dialogue into action scenes. I have to say, though, that my criticisms of last week's cover pretty much apply to this week too. It's decent enough, but, it's Simon Coleby's strip, and I want to see more of Simon Coleby's art. His cover for In the Realm Of Pyrrhus was voted one of the best of the year and it's a real shame we're not treated to another (coincidentally he almost replicates that cover on page four of this prog's installment).

Prog / Re: Prog 2119 - Cops and Robos
« on: 21 February, 2019, 10:42:13 am »
Can't say much more about Dredd than I said a couple of weeks ago - this is one of the best comic stories I've ever read, simple as.

(Did anyone else read the line-up of strips and do a double-take? I counted five and thought no surely it's six and then slowly realised... Brink wasn't there :) )

By coincidence the other three regular strips were a bit slow-burn, with more exposition than usual. Good reads though. The F-Shock was a bit too verbose and overly intricately plotted I thought, could have been stripped back a bit and might have been more effective as a result.

And the cover... as I do occasionally mention I'm not a massive fan of guest cover artists. I know it's great for upcoming droids to get some exposure and variety is fantastic and all that but I just find that nine out of ten guest-drawn covers don't really work. I mean this one is fine and I'm honestly not denigrating the efforts or abilities of Luke Preece (give him a strip, Tharg!) but I'm guessing he didn't get the correct reference material 'cause that's clearly nothing like a Judge droid on that bike. Sorry but I'd rather have seen a MacNeil cover complementing the story </rant>.

Prog / Re: Prog 2118 - Enemies of the State
« on: 16 February, 2019, 09:32:37 pm »
Ha, the right/left page thing gets me too sometimes. If I'm readin any story and I think there might be a shock reveal coming up, I'll carefully turn the page so that the right-hand side is folded under.

Prog / Re: Prog 2118 - Enemies of the State
« on: 13 February, 2019, 10:37:42 pm »
Epic stuff from cover to cover, not much more to add really.

Prog / Re: Prog 2117 - Hotzone!
« on: 07 February, 2019, 10:35:38 am »
Yeah, I'd say that on balance the cover works really well. OK the illustration within the insignia is a little nondescript but the design and colouring are really eye-catching - I love the black/red/yellow palette and the incoming missiles make the whole thing look like a big naval mine. From a distance.

Anyway even up against the strongest of competition the star of the prog is once again Dredd - in fact I'd go so far as to say this installment is one of the most perfectly scripted six pages of comics storytelling I've ever read. It absolutely sings, from the exchange between Dredd and Logan, then Dredd and Harvey, to the painfully funny page of supermarket jokes and the masterful reveal, and the poignant denouement with the brilliantly conceived device of Dredd simply show more compassion than the newly empathic robots. Masterful stuff.

I said the competition was strong, and Jaegir blasts back with, well, another masterclass, this time in how to open a new chapter in a war strip. If Duncan Jones' forthcoming Rogue Trooper movie captures an ounce of this tension and excitement then it'll be a great watch. In fact if he's after pointers on what kind of tone to go for, he should be reading this rather than the original Rogue stories. Brink slips effortlessly back into dialogue-heavy mode without losing a scintilla of interest (the 'weird life' concept is great, looking forward to seeing how that develops) and how about this, even Skip Tracer pulls one of its unfortunately too infrequent killer episodes out the bag - I liked the little bit of misdirection with the bodyguards. And the 3hriller concludes with a satisfyingly grisly twist, although overall it's been a bit erratic.

All in all, a well above-average prog.

General / Re: This week's thrillmail
« on: 07 February, 2019, 09:59:16 am »
Just seen it in the news section too (can't really miss it, obviously). Surely must have been put there in error. Has to be taken down.

Prog / Re: Prog 2116 - Freak Out
« on: 31 January, 2019, 10:27:48 am »
Holy shiatsu, Brink really goes for the jugular this week. Eleven pages, including the cover, of utter sublimity. And what Dan Abnett does for nightmarish horror in his story, John Wagner matches with wit and subtlety in Dredd. Truly, two strips that stand with the very best the prog has ever offered.

Actually, just a couple of points about Brink: do we reckon it was written as a 10-page installment, or is it two episodes shunted together? The 5th page ends with the large image of Brinkmann, which seems like the perfect cliffhanger; but the next page is a nine-frame montage, which doesn't look like the layout of an opening page. Also - and it seems phenomenally churlish to point this out in such a brilliantly realised installment - but is the INJ-C droid perhaps just putting a tiny bit less detail into his work..? Just thought a few of the background figures looked a bit under-drawn. Sorry. I realise the punishing deadlines that must be involved in creating such a long strip.

General / Re: Things that went over your head...
« on: 29 January, 2019, 01:51:12 pm »

Is supposed to say ... 'Computee'?

Hmm. Maybe not.

Prog / Re: Prog 2115. Next-Gen Policing.
« on: 25 January, 2019, 04:54:06 pm »
The most infuriating thing about Skip Tracer (apart from its title...) is that it seems to be perpetually on the brink (sorry) of being a pretty good strip, but it can never make that critical push. It's doing most things right but it needs to pull one more trick out the hat to win me over, and that might be a shocking twist, or an engaging new character, or an intriguing sub-plot; or it might just have to veer resolutely in a less vague direction, introducing more humour or horror or weirdness. Some pleasing idiosyncrasy. 

Prog / Re: Prog 2115. Next-Gen Policing.
« on: 24 January, 2019, 09:57:38 am »
Not much to add except to say that when it comes to writing Dredd, Wagner is simply the original and best. 

No great change in the amount of enjoyment derived from the other continuing strips - Brink (a lot), Skip Tracer (a bit) and Fiends (in between). The 3riller looks promising and if anything has packed too much into its first installment, but let's see how it pans out.

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