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Messages - Funt Solo

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1
Prog / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« on: Today at 12:29:42 am »
2011: 2nd Quarter

In order of most favorite to least favorite thrills...

Dandridge: The House That Dripped Devilry
Dandridge is tasked with anchoring his house before it leaks away or is consumed by uncanny forces, whilst also attempting to save a young couple from a malevolent spirit.  This all occurs with a beautiful mixture of humor, terror and style, with the only rather clunky note being the cameo from Postman Pat.  The art is amazing: 


The Memoirs of Nikolai Dante & Nikolai Dante: Bad Blood
The memoirs are something I've been wanting for ages: a recap of the saga so far.  In twelve pages we get a recap of the previous fourteen years (or 1638 pages)!  Impressive.  Bad Blood moves things forward as the story tries to come to terms with Dante minus crest attempting to outmaneuver Dmitri/Arkady Romanov.  In a surprise twist it turns out that Viktor Romanov is still alive - when I thought he'd been crest-zapped into oblivion back in Heroes Be Damned

With the requisite amount of bravado from the heroes, horrific cruelty from the bad guys and back-stabbing galore, the only minor complaint is that it's perhaps a bit repetitive.  Like, sheesh: can't Nikolai catch a break?  Never mind that, though: sit back and feast on the show:


Cadet Anderson:Teenage Kyx
I thought this was an interesting idea when it turned up in Prog 2011 (aka prog 1714.5).  Thanks for that numbering system, Tharg ... it makes things really interesting.  So, for Teenage Kyx, Anderson's been aged forward to where she's close to graduating, and she goes undercover to take on a psi-fogging perp.  We get a set up for a potential follow up story, which would be good to see.

Going back to Anderson's formative years really freshens things up for me.  You can compare this to The House of Vyle in the Megazine, where it's a haunted house yarn not dissimilar to The Possessed from 1986: even to the extent of retreading the "ghostly hands grope Anderson" quip.  So: this ain't that.

Here, Cassandra (Caz, on the right) faces down her adversary (Melinda Kyx):


Judge Dredd
We get a variety of short Dredds: Persistent Vegetative State, What The Hitler Saw, Caterpillars, California Babylon, How To Get Out Of Debt, The Pusher & Scream.  Dredd seems like a showcase for a variety of talent, and in some ways is treading water until the next epic.  It's difficult to maintain a coherent feel with four writers and seven artists all providing their own vision. 

Standing out from the crowd are What The Hitler Saw, with some truly disturbing art, and Caterpillars, which brought some surprise pathos.  Persistent Vegetative State takes the crazy too far, with a literal walking potato man that talks in television quotes. California Babylon is a bit of a mess, with Dredd doing stupid things in the ruins of Mega-City 2.  I know he's tough, but in this and in Scream he just seems like an idiot.  His compatriots say something like "Shouldn't we call in back-up?" and he says something like "I'm too cool tough to kill", and then gets in totally over his head and manages to win out through sheer luck.  I know he's tough, but why write him as pathologically idiotic?

Of all the amazing art on offer, the most beautiful is by Bryan & Alwyn Talbot in Caterpillars:


The Red Seas: Gods And Monsters
This is definitely now a part of an ongoing epic, rather than a standalone yarn.  We learn that Jack Dancer is immortal (but not invulnerable), and is up against Satan.  There's a hint that in the next part that God might also have a bone to pick with him.  It's all a far cry from dinosaurs in a hollow earth (The Hollow Land), which I really enjoyed back in 2006.

Consistently great art from Yeowell, good writing and big themes are becoming a bit hollow for me, though.  I don't see Jack Dancer as anything other than a maguffin to move the plot along.  There's so much magic that deus ex machina happens in nearly every episode: death doesn't mean death, defeat doesn't mean defeat, humans are outnumbered by faceless demons and automatons.  It's dragging a bit, basically: like Ace Trucking did when it got boring.  Didn't like Strike at 64pp, how about The Doppelgarp at 84pp?  No?  Perhaps I can tempt you with The Garpetbaggers at 94pp?  NO!  STOP!


Absalom: Noblesse Oblige
Absalom takes on a new recruit and they become a useful conduit for quite a bit of Basil Exposition, as we learn that the British aristocracy is somewhat demonic.  I was really hoping to like this because I'm a big Caballistics, Inc. fan, and this is a spin-off.

Unfortunately, the lead characters isn't at all sympathetic, which is a flaw that seems to pervade quite a few 2000AD thrills of this era.  Absalom (like Defoe, Sinister, Dexter, everyone in Necrophim, Ichabod Izrael, everyone in Damnation Station, Zombo and Stickleback) is basically a shit-heel.  He's devoid of conscience: ordering an underling to murder a defeated opponent (with no explanation given beyond that he feels like it) and then later bartering the lives of his underlings seemingly without care.  Why are we on his side? 

Isn't there a problem if I'd rather the protagonist got defeated by the villains than otherwise?


Flesh: Texas
This presents itself as a proper sequel to the Flesh stories from early progs: sort of a Book 3.  To summarize the plot: a bunch of drugged up cowboys take absolutely insane risks around giant carnivorous reptiles with predictable consequences.  There's a sub-plot involving a misogynistic preacher.  There is also a magic T-Rex with 666 branded onto its nose.

I don't know how people reacted to this when it was first published in 2011, but I was finding it difficult to comprehend how awful it is.  I mean: why would anyone expect any of the employees to survive when they're all so stupid?  It just comes across as terrible writing.

This is a line of dialog: "This 'Gorehead' will lead us down the steep hillside of depravity, degradation and self-defilement!  Turning us into vile speedos with the stamp of our secret vices on our faces".  Nobody speaks like that.  Nobody would stand still to listen to it.

There's one episode where a female character persuades a male character to go skinny-dipping in a (dinosaur-infested) swamp, whereupon the male is impaled on the beak of a giant dino-heron.  As he is consumed, screaming in bloody terror, she watches on casually (rather than, say, running away for the sake of self-preservation), tells him he deserves it and cracks a joke.  It's unbelievably stupid, for 62 pages.  And it ends on a cliffhanger, which means that there will be more of it.

Trying to find the positive, this wraparound cover is great:


Special Mention: the Kleggs try to sell us t-shirts in prog 1739

2
Break a leg!

3
Prog / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« on: 10 July, 2018, 06:55:40 pm »
Early 2011

In order of most favorite to least favorite thrills...

Kingdom: His Master's Voice
Series four continues the adventures of Gene the Hackman, a bio-engineered humanoid canine battling against the giant insectoid Them who appear to be the dominant species on this future Earth. We don't get a major loose end tied up from the previous series, instead focusing on some backstory.  Richard Elson's art is a joy, and Gene's cadence has always been compelling.  I didn't get the "Surfeater Roberts" pun, though: maybe someone can help me out.

Shakara: Avenger
This seemingly simple premise (of a vengeful alien super-being) has stretched itself into a fifth series and remains compelling: although there is a strong implication that it could end here.  Eva Procopio provides some much-needed additional dialog options for the mostly holophrastic main character, as explored in this self-referential aside:



Ampney Crucis Investigates ... The List of Ten
What starts out as Murder on the Orient Express (set aboard a giant zeppelin) twists into something more sinister (somewhat reminiscent of  Leviathan).  Rather than a completely standalone tales, it ties back to previous series and then ends on a cliffhanger.  I enjoyed the beautifully rendered humorous expressions, like here:



Judge Dredd: In Control
There are lots of JD stories in this part of 2011 (including the eight episode Served Cold), but In Control stands out, as it opens a lid on part of the Dreddverse that's not often fleshed out: what's it like to be one of the Judges at Control?

Necrophim: Civil Warlord
This third series appears to be the last, with a war fought in Hell between Satan and the other denizens.  This has always had a very strong art style and interesting design aesthetic, with Satan presented as an egotistical, unbalanced rock-goth lothario suffering from chronic ennui.

Special Mention: The ABC Warriors Star Scan series by Liam Sharp
I always enjoyed character posters in the prog, and they became super-rare, so this lot was a pleasure:


4
Off Topic / Re: Threadjacking!
« on: 08 July, 2018, 07:17:31 pm »
Quote
George Lucas famously based R2-D2 and C3PO on characters from Akira Kurosawa's "The Hidden Fortress"


5
Off Topic / Re: I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Prog
« on: 08 July, 2018, 06:40:47 am »

6
Help! / Re: NAME THAT SHOCK!
« on: 04 July, 2018, 09:49:39 pm »
The Machine, prog 224

7
Prog / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« on: 04 July, 2018, 05:56:19 am »
I've just finished up the last chunk of 2010: progs 1709-1714, prog 2011 (aka prog 1714.5) and megs 300-305.

In summary: new thrills best, old thrills worst.

Comedy
There's a lot of comedy around - mostly in Dredd (20 Years to Midnight), but also in Armitage.  For some reason, cooking shows feature back to back in Dredd's "Come Die With Me" and a Future Shock titled "Universal Masterchef".

Al Ewing does a great job on the comedy Dredds: remembering to play Dredd straight against a backdrop of lunacy.  "20 Years to Midnight" stands out as it features a brief glimpse at a middle-aged Chopper, and the return (after what seems like a long time) of Walter and Mrs Gunderson (replete with three fanny jokes).  On the other hand, "Bald Ambition" from meg 304 is played too broadly and winks too knowingly at the reader with "gaze into the head of bald".  Cat Sullivan is doing it better with a series of "gaze into" puns quietly rocking Droid Life.

Old Thrills
Defoe has no heart.  It's beautifully rendered, but it's just endless waves of zombies being gunned down in an oddly unfamiliar history.  Steampunk zombies sounds good on the tin, but the protagonist is completely unlikable, and is surrounded by unlikable allies and enemies.

Sinister Dexter has no heroes.  There are laughs to be had (mostly from Charon going nuts whenever anyone say "change") but there's a sense of repetition built into a story that has had to resurrect all of its threats by hauling them in from another dimension.

Armitage starts out gritty but descends into farce.  I've never really liked this story.  Another unsympathetic character.

Anderson doesn't seem to be doing anything new in House of Vyle.  Assuming she was 20 when we first met her, she should be about 50 in this story, but she looks much younger.  Shouldn't she be aging, like Dredd?  It's all tits and ass from an ever-young Anderson.  (The Cadet Anderson story in p2011 worked better.)

New Thrills
Age of the Wolf was just a stunning opener for a new thrill: I hope it returns.   Great art, a horrific penultimate episode, and mad ideas.

Dandridge was quite good fun, and seems to follow in a line of sort-of posh eccentric Englishmen.  One I've hated (Bix Barton), most of them seem like curios (Ampney Crucis, Harry Kipling), but this one seems fresh.  I had to look up Barney to see why it was the "Return of the Chap", and found that he'd first surfaced in prog 1631's Past Imperfect.

Lilly MacKenzie (and the mines of Charybdis) was a wild ride: I really like that you feel like the characters have made a new connection by the end of the story.

Samizdat Squad had a first episode and looks intriguing.  East-Meg stories haven't had much succesful longevity (The Inspectre, Red Razors), so it would be nice for this to work well.

Hondo City Justice had great art and and it was good to get a follow up on Inaba (and mentions of Shimura).

Coming up...
Lots to look forward to:
  • Shakara: Avenger
  • Kingdom: His Master's Voice
  • Numbercruncher
  • Flesh [?]
  • Cursed Earth Koburn



8
Off Topic / Re: I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Prog
« on: 03 July, 2018, 08:21:21 pm »
Psichosis: the illusory belief that you're a psi-judge

9
Off Topic / Re: I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Prog
« on: 03 July, 2018, 08:18:17 pm »
Schicklgruber cell anemia.

10
Off Topic / Re: I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Prog
« on: 03 July, 2018, 06:30:00 pm »
Dryrunoea: a particularly painful 12-week illness

11
Help! / Re: Lawgiver ammunition types
« on: 03 July, 2018, 06:13:42 pm »



12
Off Topic / Re: I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Prog
« on: 02 July, 2018, 09:52:26 pm »
Dante Look Now
Nikolai's Wide Shut

13
Off Topic / Re: I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Prog
« on: 02 July, 2018, 08:11:45 pm »
I Heartses Huckabees
Stickleback to the Future

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Off Topic / Re: I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Prog
« on: 02 July, 2018, 08:03:42 pm »
Dances With Wulfs

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Off Topic / Re: I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Prog
« on: 02 July, 2018, 06:59:29 pm »
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Tyranny Rex But Were Afraid To Ask

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