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Messages - Funt Solo

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Off Topic / Re: Day of Chaos 2: a.Covid-19 thread.
« on: 27 March, 2020, 08:27:38 PM »
Wondered how long it would take someone to have to bring politics into this

It's right there in Page 1, Post 1 (cos politics is life, man):

Who'd have thought hardline communist dictatorships were ahead of the game after all?

Off Topic / Re: Day of Chaos 2: a.Covid-19 thread.
« on: 26 March, 2020, 07:14:40 PM »

Megazine / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« on: 25 March, 2020, 08:50:44 PM »

The first half of 2016: one of the key events during this period was the crossover with Michael Carrol's epic Dredd tale, which here in the Meg consisted of Dust to Dust (not to be confused with Dust - see below) and From the Ashes. I reviewed those over in my prog thread, so they don't get further mention here. 

Without time to cover all the varied content, here we focus on the best of the Meg: so if I haven't covered something from this period, well, it was either text content or it just didn't stand out.

In order of publication:

Dredd: Dust
(megs 367-371)
Script: Arthur Wyatt, Art: Ben Willsher, Colours: Chris Blythe, Letters: Simon Bowland

Dust was a five-parter whose last episode coincided with the first episode of Dust to Dust: which is enough repetitions to award the Megazine the Eagle Award for Best Homage to Spam, 2016.

The Dredd series that's a spin-off of the 2012 Dredd movie has managed a neat trick in being a compelling version of Dredd: free to reinvent the setting to some degree (lawmaster quad bikes, for example), even though there's a danger that this Dredd has no soul, but rather just an attitude. Does this Dredd wear tight boots? Where does he stand on the mutie question?

The focus here, then, is wisely on the threat: and it plays out as a mix of horror movie and revenge thriller. First, a dust storm sweeps into the city, bringing with it (as with The Fog) a preternatural foe, and then Dredd sweeps back out into the Cursed Earth in an attempt to solve the mystery.

Realm of the Damned: Tenebris Dios
(megs 369-376)
Script: Alec Worley, Art & Letters: Pye Parr

This is a Black Metal wet dream combined with Hammer House of Horror tropes and the same amount of blood, violence and attitude that made Blade such a kick in the ass back in the day. Now: if all of that sounds like a turn-off, then perhaps this isn't the Marmite sandwich for you.

There's a troubling start where it seems almost as if we're supposed to be siding with the Metalheads and their complete disregard for things like, oh, the lives of their best friends, but then Van Helsing grimaces into frame (in the Blade roll) and proceeds to take names.

You have to wallow in the tropes, to some extent, but if you can get over the vampiric cliches and go with the flow then the action takes over and then it's just pages and pages of gore-ridden action. Segues into lycanthropy are almost predictable (although I hadn't seen the transforming howl before), but the mummy stuff was really unexpected and fun.

Lawless: Of Munce & Men
(megs 371-376)
Script: Dan Abnett, Art: Phil Winslade, Letters: Ellie De Ville

Lawless has quickly become the best thing in the Meg, with its absences sorely noted. This series starts of strong with Nerys Pettifer left in the uncomfortable position of acting Marshal as Lawson is missing, presumed dead. The first act of this series explores how she rises to a challenge which she never wanted.

The action dials up in stages until there's a train set-piece that threatens to jump the shark, but manages to land well.

Judge Dredd: The Carousel
(megs 375)
Script: Michael Carroll, Art: Ben Willsher, Colours: Chris Blythe, Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Here's one that's noteworthy as it directly addresses Dredd's age, and how he can keep going after all this time.





General / Re: Carlos tribute video
« on: 25 March, 2020, 03:58:20 AM »
Thank you - that was really interesting.

I've been enjoying Ezquerra's art since I was a boy - to the extent that in some ways I'd started to take it for granted - but of course his ability to create such well fleshed out characters (and background characters) is something else. Fascinating to hear him chat about it.

Prog / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« on: 24 March, 2020, 11:25:39 PM »

2016 (Autumnal Adventures)

A bit of masterful shuffling from the Thargmeister provides us with five vari-length thrills that all reach their respective conclusions just in time for the two thousandth prog. In order of most to least thrilling...

Scarlet Traces: Cold War
Script: Ian Edginton, Art: D'Israeli, Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Scarlet Traces has been interesting to follow: the entire first series first showed up in the Meg in 2002 (after what turned out to be an abortive online launch), and then there was a follow up series (The Great Game) in 2006 (published by Dark Horse). Both of those were fascinating sequels to H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, and Cold War is a very welcome third outing with the same creative team.

In this reality, Venus isn't quite as inhospitable as physics would suggest, and has been invaded by the martians (who aren't actually native martians anyway). The locals, consisting of a couple of different sentient races, have been subjugated: with many of the dominant species having escaped to Earth as refugees, where they live as second class citizens and are frowned upon by the white majority.

Questions of race are threaded throughout the series - with the martians themselves having a caste system that seems to demonize their humanoid form brethren in favor of the pure caste. That all of these broad questions of racial and economic inequality don't overburden what's also an inter-planetary ripping yarn is testament to the prowess and depth of Edginton's script, well supported by some crackingly dynamic art from D'Israeli.

Altogether now...

Judge Dredd: Ladykiller
Script: John Wagner, Art: Carlos Ezquerra, Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Wagner and Ezquerra on a PJ Maybe eight-parter seems like an automatic goal, and this doesn't disappoint, with Carlos providing seemingly effortless visions of the crazy citizenry of the Mega-City.

There's a sense early on that Maybe's getting close to the edge, with information that he's had so many face changes that his skin won't take another: and so he's resorted to disguises - most of which involve crossdressing. I can't tell if that's supposed to be telling us something about his fracturing character (as he's never shown any sign of either crossdressing or bisexuality before now) or if it was just an excuse to draw lots of sexy women.

The fracturing continues as he starts to argue with his inner self (going full Gollum) and things spiral out of control: a dance of death between Maybe and his nemesis Dredd.

It seems as if this is the very final chapter for Maybe as he ends up a gooey stain in an explosive finale, but it's testament to his character that I suspect he's somehow gotten out of it. Of course: there's always the character he hypnotized into believing he was also Maybe (at the end of Serial Serial) to carry on the intermittent saga in some fashion.

Jaegir: Warchild
Script: Gordon Rennie, Art: Simon Coleby, Colours: Len O'Grady, Letters: Simon Bowland

Jaegir's atmosphere is like a hopeless, waking nightmare: but, y'know, in a good way. There's a sense of brooding despair oozing from the page as Natalia wrestles with dredging up a way of caring about the father she hates, even as her every waking moment is consumed by the need to hunt down and kill representations of her last vestiges of hope. So bleak. So good.

Outlier: Survivor Guilt
Script: T.C. Eglington, Art: Karl Richardson, Letters: Ellie deVille

This third book is an odd fish: presenting what were the male heroes of parts one and two as pointless dreamers (or cogs). It's the betrayed female commander and the rescued wife (both from the second book) that are the only drivers of sanity here: but their attempts to steer a path of logic are but motes in the eye of the macho military machine that brings down the wrath of the Hurde on humanity.

Certainly, this feels like a final chapter.


Anderson Psi-Division: The Candidate
Script: Emma Beeby, Art: Nick Dyer, Colours: Richard Elson, Letters: Ellie deVille

Quite a compelling puzzle box of a story: I'd be interested to see how well I'd like it with a different artist. I was confused at times what the drama was trying to convey: and I'm not sure who to blame - maybe it's me.





Off Topic / Re: Day of Chaos 2: a.Covid-19 thread.
« on: 24 March, 2020, 02:36:36 PM »
In this time of almost constant stress you can mitigate feelings of helplessness by setting yourself achievable goals. Also, it may be wise to limit your time spent on news stories (or other information - perhaps including this thread) related to the outbreak.

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” - Bruce Lee

Off Topic / Re: Day of Chaos 2: a.Covid-19 thread.
« on: 23 March, 2020, 07:02:34 PM »
The Tories, all the time: "Being selfish is good!"
The Tories, now: "Why is everyone being so selfish?"

* perhaps belongs on the political thread

Off Topic / Re: Day of Chaos 2: a.Covid-19 thread.
« on: 22 March, 2020, 02:36:15 AM »

Off Topic / Re: Day of Chaos 2: a.Covid-19 thread.
« on: 21 March, 2020, 08:06:51 PM »
Vital Facts About Covid-19.

I do wonder about your motivations, Shark. I assume you've heard of Occam's Razor. If you apply that idea here you just have to ask the simple question of what's more likely?

A. The WHO and plenty of other reputable scientific sources, plus evidence from Italy and China are persuading governments around the world to put their entire economies on hold in order to try and halt the spread of a virus which probably has about a 1% mortality rate and is threatening to overwhelm health service infrastructures on a global scale - which would push that death rate MUCH HIGHER.

B. They're all wrong, but you found the truth on a shit website.

Prog / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« on: 21 March, 2020, 04:06:20 PM »
Does anyone know how to pronounce 'Bulliet'?

I do it like the French (*cough*). Bool-ee-A. It could be Bool-ee-ette, but he's too macho to have an ette, I figure.

Prog / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« on: 20 March, 2020, 05:28:51 PM »

2016 (Summer Sagas)

The major event here is a bravura prog/meg crossover that started with The Grindstone Cowboys (see last post) then winds its way into the Megazine and back into the prog covering an eighteen week stretch and weighing in at 148 pages with four different artists (and two colourists). Added to that we get three follow-up thrills (of unfortunately fairly low wattage) and one new space saga. In order of most to least thrilling...


Judge Dredd
Script: Michael Carrol, Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Dust to Dust (M371-M373), Art: Henry Flint
The Lion's Den (1978-1985), Art: PJ Holden, Colours: Adam Brown
Reclamation (1986-1990), Art: Colin MacNeil, Colours: Len O'Grady
From the Ashes (M374), Art: Carlos Ezquerra

In the opening salvo of The Grindstone Cowboys, Dredd & Rico tracked a group of marauders who were threatening MC-1's Cursed Earth supply lines, but the leader (the protagonist from 80s arcade classic Splatterhouse) kept evading them. At the climax Dredd is first badly wounded and then his medivac shuttle mysteriously explodes! All the squaxx are like "Michael! You can't kill the title character!"

Publishing order, by the way, goes like this:

The meg's Dust to Dust sees Rico join up with Major Eazy Judge Koburn and some stereotypical native americans (feathers, savage nobility, mystic powers: check!) to track Splatterhouse: only to find that he's a pawn of ... but wait!

In The Lion's Den, Judge Joyce is handed over to Brit-Cit to stand trial for the Murphyville Spaceport massacre (clue: he's innocent) and finds himself a target of some shady undercover types. Turns out Brit-Cit has a rogue high level cadre bent on the destruction of MC-1. Oh, and Dredd's alive! He was teleported out of the med shuttle! Armitage gets roped in on the goodies side while in MC-1 Hershey does a deal with Texas City to bring some of their Judges in to shore up their strength. She's like Lando in The Empire Strikes Back, because the deal keeps getting worse. Turns out that Brit-Cit are just acting as the pawns of ... but wait!

In Reclamation it's revealed that Texas City has planned the entire debacle in an attempt to run a quiet coup on MC-1 and commit mutie genocide (and beat up on Judge Giant). He's having none of that, and (see title) the fight back begins:

Finally, From the Ashes provides an interesting denouement to the saga, where *new psi-Judge I don't recognize* is going to get installed as the new CJ of TC. It's been a grand old saga with some impeccable timing, but this part seems weak: just because their coup fails I don't see why they're going to accept Hershey installing a new CJ in TC (from MC-1). I mean: why?

Grey Area: End Game
Script: Dan Abnett, Art: Mark Harrison, Letters: Annie Parkhouse

The Homeworld saga has been my favorite part of Grey Area and here we get the climax (they don't all die) and the denouement (they get to go home) that we've been expecting (more or less). I've always detested Birdy's relegation from the first character we meet, to Bulliet's whimpering squeeze, so the focus on their wedding, and him being all macho and her being all girlie makes me get all triggered. And the Bitch joke, whilst on the one hand vaguely amusing the first time, now seems just like an excuse for the writer to call women bitches and get away with it - which is going to continue now that Resting Bitch Face is going back to Earth with them. It's all pretty misogynistic, but using humour as a blind.

Black Shuck: Sins of the Father
Script: Leah Moore, John Reppion, Art: Steve Yeowell, Colours: Chris Blythe, Letters: Ellie De Ville

An odd mixture of history, a Fortean Times article and an episode of Vikings. I feel like this should be much more exciting than it turns out to be. One of the storytelling issues I struggle with is the amount of folk with long dark hair that I can't tell apart: including the hero and the antagonist (which is problematic).

Slaine: The Brutania Chronicles, Book Three - Psychopomp
Script: Pat Mills, Art: Simon Davis, Letters: Ellie De Ville

We all celebrated when Nemesis and Torquemada fought their way across several pages of beautiful Kevin O'Neill illuminations back in the day. And here we have beautiful painted art by Simon Davis with amazing colour palettes.

But: the end of the previous book had a 2-episode confrontation which now continues with a further 4 episodes of the same confrontation. That's 36 pages of one fight - and most of it consists of Gododin blathering on and winding up Slaine as he gets beaten well beyond a pulp. What: is he trying to bore him to death? Beautiful art is one thing: but you can't polish a turd.

Thankfully, we do eventually get to see some other locations - and the Macha flashbacks are quite interesting - but overall this type of story where the bad guy just shouts at the hero for pages and pages and pages, even psychically when they're not actually in the same place (and often seemingly as an excuse to witness the author's extensive research) is boring. Beautiful to look at, but boring to read.

Script: Dan Abnett, Art: INJ Culbard, Letters: Simon Bowland

You know something's gone terribly wrong when the title character gets bludgeoned to death and nobody cares. I have no idea how this ended up as a comic, because it's clearly a book: way too much talking heads. Look at them sit around and talk - witness the extensive prose:

And you're supposed to show, not tell! It's a visual medium. Having little boxes (explaining your extensive world-building) subdues my willing suspension of disbelief. Out of the flow I am dragged, by the little yellow boxes:

It does pick up a bit in the second half, but it was a long road. On the positive: I think it's an interesting world, and the overarching plot is intriguing, but (as I've said) I struggled mightily with the chosen methods of storytelling.





Off Topic / Re: Day of Chaos 2: a.Covid-19 thread.
« on: 19 March, 2020, 06:07:26 PM »
Run oot o' bog roll? Dinnae fash: get yersel' an erse gadget like wan o' these!

Ra full title is a bit much, though (and missin' an apostrophe, so it is): "Portable Travel Bidet, Personal Bidet Sprayer for Kids Ass Washing,Pregnant Women Cleansing, Postpartum Clean, Handheld Travel Bidet with 450ML Water Capacity and Angled Nozzle Spray"

Yeah, but somewhere in that 17-page thread it segues into a discussion of Judge strength: at least, I think it does. It should, if it doesn't.

Off Topic / Re: Threadjacking!
« on: 18 March, 2020, 07:01:56 PM »
Tharg's Future Shocks and Tharg's Terror Tales both dropped the moniker to become just plain old Future Shocks (in 2000) and Terror Tales (in 2002), but Tharg's Time Twisters kept Tharg involved and never got purged.

Why the inconsistency? It's been diggling, sorry, niggling at me.

Off Topic / Re: Threadjacking!
« on: 18 March, 2020, 06:42:24 PM »

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