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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 93680 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #750 on: 20 May, 2019, 06:22:22 am »
Downlobe Tales

Came to an end in Prog 1168 with an amusing, and important, epilogue. The tale of our gunshark duo, torn apart and made enemies by the events at the end of 'Eurocrash' still hold up wonderfully. I looked back at my thought from 7ish years ago when I last read this and they still hold.

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...Anyway all that said ‘Downlode Tales’ is many things, but what it is first and foremost is damned fine comics, crafted perfectly in the 2000ad mold. The art across the piece, from the likes of Greg Staples, Chris Weston (doing some of my favourite work of his, as it goes), Paul Johnson and of course the ever wonderful Simon Davis, is uniformly excellent. The story, as mentioned is crammed full, high energy and engaging. Its seat of the pants stuff and utterly enjoyable.

It also marks the start of what is arguably the ‘Golden Age’ of Sinister Dexter. Those Golden times are to be discussed over the next few posts.

There more if you need it from those old writes I did back in the day.

https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/sinister-dexter-split-the-difference/

 Or spare yourself the time and come back next time as Nemesis has joined us as 1999 comes to a spectacular end.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #751 on: 20 May, 2019, 09:06:55 pm »
Cover of 1165

Meant to say.

So this is a panel from a little later repurposed right. I mean gosh its bloomin' magnificent and all. Its just goes to show the frankly eye wateringly beautiful power of the art that Flint, Henry produces in Nemesis Book 10. Though a panel it works perfectly as a cover.

Unlike the curious choice for Prog 1076, a blown up panel of Anderson that to my eye wasn't a great panel and suffered further for being blown up to fit the cover. To my mind probably the only other time this has happened (I'm probably wrong there aren't I).

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #752 on: 20 May, 2019, 09:07:59 pm »
Damned that edit goes fast these days!

Anyway Prog 3 shows me to be wrong doesn't it!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #753 on: 21 May, 2019, 09:36:35 pm »
Progs 1172||3

So we get to the end of 1999 (well almost I'll come back to that) and three big stories finish (well almost I'll come back to that). 1999 has been a year of epics and so it seems fitting to end (almost I'll... you get it right) talking about three more.

The only one that disappoints is Nemesis Book 10. Checked back to the (first and) last time (I think) I read this about 9 years ago and was surprised my opinion hadn't changed. I felt it looked great, but the story flip flapped a little. But since I agree with what I said in the past and I'm very lazy here comes an arrogant self quote.

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Well if you’re going to wrap up a series known for its striking art throughout you might as well do it with the beautiful work of Henry Flint. Nemesis Book X has so many things going for it but the art is truly the star of the show. Ok there are a few too many panels directly honouring Kevin O’Neil’s work but that’s nit picking. It’s a testament to how fantastic the art is that in the final part Kevin O’Neil’s more recent looser style is a disappointment, compared to what has gone before. I particularly liked the way he threw in some tiny action panels in one episode to allow room for a grotesque massive splash which I took to be a hats off to John Hicklenton 

As for the story... well I just can’t make my mind up. When thinking about it, it had everything the final book of Nemesis should have. It felt epic in scale, the two central characters were as beautifully hideous as they ever are, everything was wrapped up after appropriate amounts of anarchy, mayhem and violence and the ending was fittingly horrendous. Yet somehow it didn’t quite do it, it didn’t quite manage to be the sum of its parts.  Maybe it felt a little like Mills was going through the motions and wrapping up everything that had gone before by going back to how it was at the beginning. The trouble for me is the great thing about Nemesis is that it’d always moved on and tried different things. Still that said it certainly wasn’t bad and by the end I was satisfied if not quite as elated as I’d hoped.

If my opinion of Nemesis Book 10 hasn't changed then neither has my opinion of Nikolai Dante's Courtship of Jena Makarov and Devlin Waugh - Chasing Herod / Reign of Frogs / Sirius Rising both are just wonderful epics and the very best example of the series / creators.

Courtship shows that even though Dante started pretty fantastically, seemingly perfectly formed, it still had room to grow and develop and Courtship marks the end of that. Its a wonderful testament to the brilliant series that's gone before and a perfect signpost to the even better to come. Courtship is transition, a statement. Dante is ready for Tsar Wars and the shift that will bring. Its brilliant in its own right, but all the more so as a curtain to what's been and a herald for what's to come.

Then we have Chasing frogs rising a John Smith classic. Its not typical Smith, yet it is. Its not a superhero epic, yet its one of two great superhero epics 2000ad has done. Smith is rarely typical 2000ad, but this proves just how typical 2000ad he is. John Smith is a much missed genius in our pages and here he shows that he can sustain that wonder, excitment, tension without pretension (whatever some say) over a 6 month, yes 6 month continous stretch... and in that its remiss not to hail Steve Yeowell for not dropping a beat from his normally 2000ad majesty during that time ... By golly gosh I do love this one and have to say both Courtship and Herod reign Sirius absolutely nail their respective landings.

As for Nemesis Book 10... well I can't tell ya yet cos I'm about to read Prog 2000ad.... which frankly is going to start a trend in me being a grumpy chuff for no real good reason. Cos of course these end of year Progs fall firmly in the year before YET not only end the year gone but also and increasingly start the year to come. For a man doing a year  by year re-read that's a bit annoying.

I thought I'd get my childish quibble out the way before talking about this lovely next time. See ya tomorrow...

DrJomster

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #754 on: 21 May, 2019, 09:41:16 pm »
That run of Devlin Waugh is amazing work, I have to agree. Well worth picking up the collected editions if you don’t have them already, good people!
The hippo has wisdom, respect the hippo.

Fungus

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #755 on: 21 May, 2019, 10:40:28 pm »
Nemesis book X is a disappointment? Ach. I'm sure that's relative, but I had been looking forward to the later Nemesis. If Flint does his part but the tale falls short, that's no great surprise.
Still, got the Hicklenton stuff to reread before that - in the UC - and at the time I LOVED that...

Greg M.

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #756 on: 22 May, 2019, 07:24:53 am »
There are some great moments in Bk X - Pat is always careful to give Torquemada as many triumphs as humiliations - but Torque's final 'ultimate weapon' seems totally at odds with the character. Torquemada can be monstrously hypocritical, but he genuinely and completely believes aliens are the enemy - to suggest it's just a means to gain or keep power puts him on the same level as someone like Mazarin or the Arch-Bigot, and makes him a lot duller.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #757 on: 22 May, 2019, 07:42:01 am »
Self absorbed re-evaluation 01

I pause my normal ramblings to start a series of ... well probably one... as I look back at things I said here with fresh eyes given fresh information. And this mornings topics is Shadows and Richard Elson.

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All this a beautiful language to do it with and art from Richard Elson that ... well is most notable for being UN(added cos I can't type to save my life!)recognisable as Richard Elson as we'll come to know him

I've been listening to the Thrillcast with Richard Elson this morning on the way to work and now having listened to Mr Elson (what a lovely sounding chap) talk about the problems he had producing this - the colour being added at the last minute etc etc and the grief he got from it I'd just like to say its now apparent why this looks the way its does and I'm sorry the not understanding the challenge and why it looks the way it does.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #758 on: 22 May, 2019, 09:47:10 pm »
That run of Devlin Waugh is amazing work, I have to agree. Well worth picking up the collected editions if you don’t have them already, good people!

Yes - this, buy it.

Nemesis book X is a disappointment? Ach. I'm sure that's relative, ...

Well yes it is and without spoiling tomorrow's post I really like the actual ending, except...

...Torque's final 'ultimate weapon' seems totally at odds with the character. Torquemada can be monstrously hypocritical, but he genuinely and completely believes aliens are the enemy - to suggest it's just a means to gain or keep power puts him on the same level as someone like Mazarin or the Arch-Bigot, and makes him a lot duller.

Its more his reason for not using it... but I can ahnd way that.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #759 on: 23 May, 2019, 09:55:16 pm »
Prog 2000ad

So I've whined below about how inconvenient these end of year Progs are going to be when it comes to my yearly read... but its interesting to note how little Prog 2000ad actually does interfere. Its such a celebration that very little of the content rolls inwards from the previous runs, or outwards to 2000's Progs. To be honest this is almost a problem as it means that just about all the stories are sharp little done in one tributes and in theory they don't get much traction.

However this does only kinda holds when you look at them one at a time.

Dredd 1: Wagner and McMahon a decent done in one with superb art.

Rogue Trooper: Tomlinson and Gibbons hint at ties to come (though these might be best ignored) its a decent little recap.

ABC Warriors: Mills and Walker a fun little violent burst, but not much substance.

Nikolai Dante: Morrison and Fraser in a stunning prologue to Tsar Wars, tight, emotional and bitter. Just superb.

Slaine: Mills and Staples... well it looks great...

Sinister Dexter: Dabnett and Davis a fantastic epilogue to Downlode Tales.

Dredd 2: Grant and Kennedy in a really fun tribute to one Mr J Wagner.

Stuff coming in from before is the final part to Nemesis and as discussed below I can forgive it a couple of things as its very ending is so perfectly grotesque and fitting for this great amongst the greats.

Glimmer Rats is a dud for me as frankly it suffers significently from Mark Harrison's issues with story clarity, that do hamper his work of this period.

Strontium Dog sees two masters at the peak of their craft. The narrative trick at the start are relating what we are to see as the truth behind the previous mythical telling of Johnny's life is just stone cold brilliant. Means we get a reboot without a reboot. Everything can stay the same, just we get enough of a door open to allow us to be free from assumptions or trapped by whats gone before. Adore this one.

So yeah its not quite the glorious uber Prog I remember, but with so much good stuff, some lovely filler and such a sense of celebration it is a thing of wonder... just I seem to recall its gets done a little better a few times in the future... we'll see.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #760 on: 24 May, 2019, 03:00:34 pm »
Tharg is going to Thrill you like its 1999.

I think I'm going to have a tough decision to make by the end of this post, lets see... Before we get to that lets see how my predictions for 1999 after reading 1998 hold up.

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...1998. The year that Tharg really started to get his act together again. It won't be plain sailing from here I suspect, but we're well past the worse. Bishop has a firm grip on the tiller and seems to know what course to steer through any choppy patches. it all looks good for 1999 and by the end I expect to be in for a bumper treat with some real highs on the way.

Well that definity holds true and then some. 1999 is a magnificent year and see David Bishop now armed with Sinister Dexter and Nikolai Dante on full power being able to produce the comic as it needs to be. Its a different beast from what it was, but its got through those uncomfortable changes and just as I start my professional career in Librarianship and start to settle my life down, so 2000ad realises what it needed to become and starts to get on with being itself for the next 20ish years. Sure its a different self to what it was, but by George its fitter healthier and happier than its been in years*

The only real question I have is one I didn't think I'd be asking again this soon. Is this the best year in thrillpower to date? And you know what I think I'm going to surprise myself with the answer. Prior to this I had 1986 crowned, with indecision being the only thing stopping 1987 taking that crown. And I will say I think Dredd, great as it is in 1999 - I do like Doomsday - isn't as good as the glory days of 1986, possibly on a par with 1987... yeah that might be about right.

Anyway so if the year isn't picked up by Dredd alone what backs him up. Well just take a gander at this list.

Sinister Dexter - Eurocrash
Nikolai Dante - Hunting Party**
Downlode Tales
Devlin Waugh - Chasing Froggie Sirius
Nikolai Dante - Courtship of Jena Makarov

Each one of those is a stonecold classic in my eyes, Absolutely top thrillage. Okay there's some stinkers - Mercy Heights is very poor, Rose O'Rion sub-Smithsian poppycock and Pulp Sci-Fi if not absolutely rubbish rarely lives up to its billing. BUT there is strong middle ground, if not much of it, with Mazeworld and Nemesis Book X are both great, if not quite in the class as those listed above and Dredd.

All topped off with a bumper-sized end of year Prog worthy of the old annuals at their best.

So yeah I'm going to call it now and regret at my leisure 1999 has been the best year in thrillpower to date. I'll repeat that in case you don't believe the words I'm saying. 1999 is Tharg's finest to date.

Now I'm a little concerned 2000 won't quite sustain these levels. Andy D sends his letter, soon as he steps up to the plate and I have significent issues with his tenor. I don't think he takes over officially until 1/2 through next year, but from putting the Progs in order ahead of reading them I see the marks of his philosophy write large. It wouldn't be bad, but it certainly won't be the saving of the Prog David Bishop has done that already.

*Here I should say this bares no relationship with my life in 1999 I'm still into a lot of things and far from healthy, but I am getting back on track at least! - FONT-SIZE = normal

** Indicative - I could have selected any number of the Dante shorts from this time, this one just happens to be my favourite - FONT-SIZE = normal

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #761 on: 28 May, 2019, 09:08:21 pm »
So we enter 2000ad with 2000ad and its still called 2000ad so we have that old gem of a question answered.

The firstline up of the new millenium*

The main problem as we enter this bold new age is we're 25% down on thrills. 2000 starts with a solid 4 thrill line up, but alas that's a shame. 2000ad's greatest strength will always be its variety and scope. The very best Progs have great breadth as well as depth. Having the odd prog have a double length story is fine and fun, but to open up after what I guess will have been a crowd pulling bumper Prog 2000ad with a thrill short doesn't show the Galaxy's greatest at its greatest.

Made worse by the fact that Glimmer Rats has its story mared by Mark Harrison's poor storytelling. He's developed into a great artist, but by this stage he's not at his best and I really struggle to know whose doing what to whom. There's very possibly a great story under it all, by Gordon Rennie, though it may be a bit to grim dark and intense to work.

The rest of the Prog is pretty decent. While Alan Grant might not be on top form with his Dredd's there his run of one parters into 2000 are an interesting contrast to the Wagner stories we're had of late. A sharper, harder take, though all have a decent sting in the tale.

Grennie (who has 3/5s of the Prog its worth noting) and Alex Ronald's Missionary Man is the story that covers the gap in the thrillage and I do love it. Its another journey through The Cursed Earth, however it makes for such a rich source of story there's nothing wrong with that.

The highlight of the Prog though is Wagner and Ezquerra back on Strontium Dog, so fresh and so familar. Just fantastic stuff.

So its a solid line-up as we burst forth into the new millenium (*pedants few free to question that, but I think we're moved on?) just not quite as wonderful as we might have hoped.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #762 on: 30 May, 2019, 09:17:15 pm »
Prog 1181

By 1181 things are already looking up. Alan Grant continues to write great Dredd with some interesting art. Missionary Man is back to normal size and is great and I really enjoy Badlands. Now since I last discussed that strip a good few years ago and learnt of its origin and therefore odd size I'm still inclined to say its a shame there wasn't more of it. Even if I now know why.

Okay so Glimmer Rats still has the same problems.

The reason I've picked this issue is that it has a lovely Sinister Dexter. A fantastic one parter that uses that tried and true Sinister Dexter format of fixed view point, in this case on a stake out in a high rise, and its all about simple interaction. Just a delight. Was this the first time they did this? I means I should know I've just read them all recently but head like a sieve me. I can think of a similar story with them sat in the Edsel but was that before or after? Oh well either way this was a wonderful strip.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #763 on: 30 May, 2019, 09:18:46 pm »
Oh and meant to add the next prog box in Prog 1182 made clear this like purple patch might not last and we could be back to a mixed bag soon. Some great stuff, and I do mean great stuff, coming but some stinkers on the way too... lets see...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #764 on: 10 June, 2019, 09:19:03 pm »
Prog 1183 - Secret War

Now of course I could have gone Tsar Commonwealth - it would have meant as much but this way I can pretend I'm going for some kinda super smart comparison to various Marvel event nonsense... I'm not I'm just mushing too titles I'm comparing together... still we can pretend there more to it if we like huh.

Anyway Prog 1183 has two stories return with 'big' storylines and they couldn't be more different. Secret Commonwealth sees Slaine return to Ireland and its not very good. It might not be as bad a it first appears but frankly David Bircham's art is all its remembered for. Murky and unclear, both in style and stroytelling. Its hard in the eye to be honest. Its doesn't however mask a good story. Slaine re-introduction lacks any real power or impact. Uncle Pats story doesn't do much and lacks in any real character, guile or wit.

Nikolai Dante's return in Tsar Wars is also everything its remembered for, but for all the right reasons. John Burns art is viseral, clear and gritty. Its ugly and power as needed and carries the emotion of Robbie Morrison story just perfectly. The story is injected with all the things that Uncle Pat's lacks. In just six pages, two a double page spread, and what a classic double page spread, achieves so much. The battle of Tolsburg is brilliantly and brutally realised. It doesn't stop there. We see the change in Dante after recent (in re-read time) events we meet Dmitri and Dante and his dad's relationship is perfectly presented, all be it with more deferance in our changed lead. Morrison and Burn set up the situation and even raise the stakes and give use an ending that is so much more than 'I'll give ya a scrap for this dwarf you don't even know' as we get in Slaine.

Oh and in barely 7 or so panels the character introduced here to demonstrate Dante in the way the dwarf (not Ukko) is used to show Slaine's is given so much and serves the presentation if Dante so well. This is comics perfection.

So yeah two hyped returns and so very very different.