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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 139502 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #900 on: 15 March, 2020, 08:25:09 AM »
I seem to remember reading somewhere that that might have contributed to him quitting Dredd?

Oh that would make sense and be a bit annoying. I seem to remember he went to video games for a period, as many did. Its a shame as he's definately amongst the best none Wagners.

Anyway just a quickly this morning me dear to start the endings. As Samantha Slade - Stim is the first of the post 1450 stories to wrap in Prog 1456 and its been a delight. Fast, funny and in so many ways the true continuation of the old series. All helped by the fact that Ian Gibson seem to up his game and produce his best work on the series since its return. Maybe the story is elevated by his exceptional art, maybe he elevated this art for the exceptional story. Who aside from Ian Gibson knows? But then who cares if it makes for great thrills.


TordelBack

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #901 on: 15 March, 2020, 08:35:46 AM »
I have a lot of time for Rennie's Dredd, my only objection being that he stopped when his long-running threads were getting good. Even back then he was a craftsman of structure, pacing and dislogue. But even I thought Blood Trails was pretty poor fare.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #902 on: 15 March, 2020, 09:01:12 AM »
But even I thought Blood Trails was pretty poor fare.

Oh what so is 'Blood Trails' poorly regarded? I thought it was pretty great.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #903 on: 15 March, 2020, 05:31:49 PM »


A post of two six parts

Part 6

Well you'll have to excuse me as I'm back already. Mainly cos this is such a rich period for 2000ad, bit I'll cram two posts into one to save you coming back twice.

Firstly so Grennie gives us a masterclass as to what you can do in 6 pages of Dredd and Wagner of course strikes back to show you quite what you can do with 6 episodes in the first half of Mandroid. So what does he do I hear you cry, why he sets up a new aspect of the MC1 military systems and sets up our leds. He then drops them back in MC1 and sets up what a cruel city it is, even for war hardened folks. He makes these war hardened folks both bleak and harsh yet sympathetic and rounded. You care about them... a lot... but as said Wagner has set up the brutality of MC1 and so he also has space and time to make that pay... twice... in frankly emotionally draining ways. You feel the pain, you live the grim reality. Oh man do you feel it.

But he's not done, on no. So having done all this he turns the story down a new path and it naturally migrates into a bitter, thrilling vigilante action piece.

And in all this I've not mentioned Dredd, but needless to say Wagner hasn't and while all that is going on he's been providing some wonderful character work on Dredd. In a back drop so terrible he manages to make Dredd the figure of compassion to so yet more sides to our often mischaracterised one dimensional law machine. The story has some of the finest Dredd character moments I can remember, Joe that ol' softy!

All of this is rendered quite superbly by Kev Walker. Who someone completely captures the dark reality we are being presented, the vicisous cutting tale, yet making it feel effortlessly easy on the eye. Its an absolute masterclass.

Part 2

While Dredd is in rich form we have two other thrills finishing. Firstly the decent 'Breathing Space' its a tight, engaging thriller by Rob Williams before the was Rob Williams I guess. Only slightly let down by the dark art by Laurence Campbell and L (?) Townsend with colours by Peter Doherty. It all looks great but at time the storytelling gets a little to up close and personal and it can lose its clarity. Still this tale of a good cop trying to break shake the broken system has a brilliant sting in the tale (deliberate for once) and is gripping.

Secondly the brilliant Savage Book 2 - Out of order quite wonderful fleshes out a Britain post Invasion and the actions of our terriorist hero, the authorities he rallys against, the brutality of a people and indeed family, under this rule and the madness it takes to fight it. Never has Bill Savage looked so broken and unbreakable. Its gripping, thrilling and while Uncle Pat does fill it with his 'typical' political dogma (well it is dogma by this point) he shows when he does it with guile and not at the expense of story it has far more impact than when its hammered home. Brilliant story.

So with all these good stories falling away we're in trouble right, well no that couldn't be more wrong as Sinister Dexter '...And Death shall have no dumb minions' and one of the best Red Seas stories 'Underworld' fill the gaps. Well 2005 really is a time of riches and more than the sum of its magnificent parts.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #904 on: 19 March, 2020, 09:08:09 PM »
And Mandroid finishes with a blast as well doesn't it. A dark and emotional blast but a blast all the same.

Times are so good that once we end some thrills as 'filler' we get decent Rogue Trooper and chuffin' excellent 'Tales of the Leviathan'.

Tharg is smearing us all over with the lovely juice of his organ here he really is.

broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #905 on: 20 March, 2020, 03:40:35 AM »
Mandroid is one of my favorite Dredd stories of all time.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #906 on: 20 March, 2020, 09:27:43 PM »


Alls well that ends well

I've reviewed Leatherjack before on this good ol' board and when I did it was as much a conversation about John Smith as the story itself. No shame in that but this really is a brilliant peice of work. Paul Marshal is on top form and some of his designs are exquiste and hideous in equal appropriate measure.

Mr Smith is on the finest of forms as he explores story and words and identity and all sorts. But for all that, all the ideas and concepts John Smith wordsmiths his way into, for all the themes and illusions he crafts with letters that I know are that I glimpse out the corner of my eye, half realising before I move on to the next bit of genius. For all that what I don't think I say often enough is that John Smith rights a bloody cracking yarn.

Strip away the word play, strip away the high concept, strip away the compelling themes and metaphor and you still have a blistering thrill ride. A tale of fascinating characters, brutal hideous villians, alien worlds that feel real as hyper-real combat, bombast, dialogue. Yeah strip away all the good stuff and you are left with, well all the other good stuff.

And so Leatherjack marks a real highpoint in 2005... but its surrounded by other greats 'And Death shall have no dumb minions' is absolutely fantastic Sinister Dexter, just fantastic. Ray and Finny once again fall to their lows when they seperate and here the cost are dear and the stakes once again feel high. The consequences real and the drama (mela) just wonderfully timed again as a perfect build to a truly thrilling conclusion is weaved and then blown open.

Another great story in a much loved (by me) ongoing series is Red Seas 'Underworld'. The story itself lacks some of the punch of previous tales of Jack and crew, but what it does so well is open the story up and make you realise this will be more than a series of loosely connected tales. Or at least it adds real emphasis to this and for that makes the story as a whole really grow.

So 2005 end... except we have a Special again... one that's not so special but then we'll look back on 2005 and I think we have a decision on just how special a year in thrill power this has been...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #907 on: 22 March, 2020, 09:30:39 PM »


2005

So 2005 was an interesting year. I'm not dating my wife and she's already asked me to marry her, what can I say I'm a keeper. Okay so I've not get cuddled back into Tharg's arms again but I'm reading comics again in a big way, but drinking and smoking less (I actually quit smoking in 2005 yah me). I'm still a dunderhead, but I'm started to fill the voids in my life with positive things and soon that biggest void will be filled. And no I'm not talking about marriage and kids that's for sure.

In the Prog we have an important question to answer and I'll tell you why I'll not answer it at then end of this post. As ever lets start with what I saw was coming at the end of 2004.

Quote
So all that's left is predictions for 2005 and frankly things will slowly and steady get better as will life. We'll have some of the best Sinister Dexter and Sweden, we have our last Glastonbury and Caballistics Inc (I think), we'll be in full ATP swing and we'll have Red Seas and Leatherjacks. It will be a good year and I'm looking forward to reliving it.

And rather than answer it now noticed the other day - when wondering what I'd said about Leatherjack in the past - I stumbled across a review of this year I wrote back in 2010 when I first(ish) joined this forum and had read these issues for the first time. As I was pretty on the nose back then.

Quote
I normally review individual stories or a couple grouped together [Now Mr YNWA here - I did back then I joined the forum while doing a Prog slog in 2008 and by this stage I was catching up with the Progs I'd missed during my wilderness years] but I think 2005 deserves a bit of a special review as its quite possibly one of the best years in Thrill-Power's history. I've enjoyed these progs (2005 and 1420 - 1468) so much and they've been up there for me with the Progs of the last couple of years.

They've been so damned consistant. Sure there's been a few things I've not enjoyed but you can count them literally on the fingers of one hand. I think the thing that's really made this year work is that a lot of the regulars have been on fire and Tharg now has so many of them in the pot that even if strips like Sinister Dexter (which will get a special mention elsewhere) and Dante don't get as big a showing as they have in previous years there's enough other stories now strong enough to keep the comic going at an absolute amazing standard.

Newer regulars (or semi regulars, or regulars in waiting whatever) like Red Seas (I loved Underworld and learnt more about Jack's crew in this story than I have in everything I've read before and since), VCs, Invasion, Robo-Hunter, Shakara, Low Life, Atavar, Caballistics Inc. carry the Prog up to heights its not been at for a while, not because its been bad the last few years, far from it in fact, just that's it was all so good in 2005, so very good.

The new stuff while not always perfect has added a lot of difference styles and story types to the mix as well, while all being very much in the 2000ad mold, American Gothic, Breathing Space, Second City Blue, Tiger Sun, Dragon Moon had verying degrees of success but all added something to the Galaxie's Greatest. You also get your stone wall classic in the shape of Leatherjack too.

Finally Dredd has been on top form. Some of the best none Wagner Dredd's I can remember, ones that hold their heads high in the company of Dredd's best, the Wagner's speak for themselves of course.

2005ad The Galaxies Greatest Comic.

See nailed it - 2010 Mr YNWA rocked and knew his stuff (nah still a dunderhead but less so). Now Mr YNWA doesn't have much to add to that at all fair to say.... well except one thing 2005 was such a good year it leaves a awkward question. If 1986 and 1999 are competing for best year in thrillpower does 2005 join in that conversation. I do have an answer to that and its yes. 1999 was a glorious anomaly in that it sprang fully formed from some rough (if slowly improving) times and while the Prog was good since a year hasn't got close to it. 1986 is the very Zenith of the comics growth and development the perfect counterpoint between what the Prog was coming from and what it was going to. 2005 is the first year when it feels like the modern Prog is absolutely in place. So completely. And that one reason why it so good.

The answer I won't give however is whether its the best yet and the reason its getting to hard to call and always the one you've just read will get it. There's no need for a definative list of the best years - in order - its pointless and fliud - won't say that'll stop me doing it, but anyhoo its pointless defo. But the mere fact that I'm talking about this year in that company says so much.

So we're left with my traditional look ahead. I doubt 2006 will be this good, in fact I'm pretty confident it won't be. I'm also pretty confident it will be bloody good though. I suspect I'll be saying this most year and I fear for poor old 2006 it will become one of the first in a number of years which don't get the attention they more fully deserve as they are surrounded by so many other great years.


Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #908 on: 23 March, 2020, 09:12:00 PM »


Winter Special with a chill not a thrill

Well the Specials have increasingly become about giving new talent a break... or had they have of course disappeared for a few years now, in Selfabsorbed land. The 2005 Winter Special , the first special in 9 years at least has the honestly to but that remit front and centre. Alas it takes things a little too far. Not only does each strip have at least one new creator most of them are new concepts to and its all a little too much. I guess testiment to the problems is the fact that none of these stories and not many of the creators have come back to the Prog and certainly not to any great degree.

Even John Wagner's scripts for some competition winners aren't... well winners.

We do get a Rogue Trooper story by Grennie and Richard Elson to tie into the recently released (or was it soon to be) Rogue Trooper game, but its nowt outstanding.

The writers and artists guides are fun mind.

Alas while the sentiment is to be applauded the reality is a little to raw.

So with that done at least we can go to pastures new with 2006.


Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #909 on: 28 March, 2020, 09:34:15 PM »


The shadows cast by the brightest of lights - Early 2016

So 2005 was a real high in thrillpower. The problem is with such highs is of course they are very hard to maintain. Or more accurately while they are hard to maintain the main issues is they set the bar so high that otherwise fine Progs don't seem so good and such is the case with the start of 2006. So notes on that time to illuminate (as we'll see not enough) the point.

1. Prog 2006 is fine. Another start of year Prog rather than end of year special.

2. Though there's a fantastic epilogue to one of 2005's many highlights in Sinister Dexter - Festive Spirits, which some seem to feel would have left the strip in a good place to wrap up. As I've discussed before poppycock.

3. Lovely art by MIke Avon Oeming on a not brilliant second Dredd in the issue by Robbie Morriosn

4. But again the strip may be harder looked on after the first, quite exceptional Dredd Class of '79 by John Wagner.

5. The new year starts with what could be a superb line-up Dredd by Wagner (and Goddard), Ten Seconders by WIlliams and Harrison, Caballistics Inc, Slaine and Strontium Dog.

6. Slaine, with the otherwise glorious Clint Langley has gone from being too shiny to being too dark in Carnival. It glows still with the campfires and torches of Ukko's show but this story isn't the return to form I remember it being. Its loose and yet pointed  and jarring at times. The characters seem to fulfil function and purpose rather than be natural.

7. Ten-seconders is better, the end produce of years of stories pointing out that superheroes would do terrible things in 'reality' as a motly crew and mysterious Reedy scientisit try to fight back. Much like Clint Langley's art on Slaine this is a change from the shiny art he provided in Durham Red but has become dark and bitter on the eye. It suits the atmophere of the story perfectly but alas muddies the storytelling.

8. Strontium Dog - A shaggy dogs tale - feels slight after 2004's fantastic Traitor to his kind. Its a fun breather with a fantastically surprise at the end but little more.

9. But there's a second Wagner so one solid one isn't a problem, except Your Breaking Heart is strangely uninspiring... quite why escapes me its an interesting idea, with an intriguing twist... but for some reason it just doesn't quite gell for me. Especially after some brilliant Dredd in 2005, again maybe it just suffers a little in comparison.

10. When Strontium Dog falls away after 4 issues we get more Synnamon... who knew there was more Synamon, I'd completely forgotten this one and alas on re-read I know why...

11. Caballistics Inc continues to be superb.

12. And Slaine gives way to ABC Warriors, we get some slight filler and the curiously short introduction to Harry Kipling which doesn't give enough to judge just yet.

So while there is little to complain about here, unlike 2005 there is also little to shout about, or not as much at least. Its mainly fine and solid but that makes for poor comparison after previous heights.


Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #910 on: 29 March, 2020, 09:20:56 PM »


Nothing tooth meaty

Early 2006 is frustrating. As said last time there's nothing wrong with much, but there's nothing to really get you teeth into. It all rolls along with verying degrees of impact and impression but nothing grabs you.

After the strips discussed last time, of which Ten Seconders ends pretty well, we get a dabble of Rogue Trooper, ABC Warriors is frustrating as its fascinating and I think I'll say more about that when it finishes up next time. Then Bec and Kawl has by far its most enjoyable story - for reasons I'm not enthused enough to think about. Then 86ers drifts in all fire and bluster but no real impact. There a nice John Smith and Steve Parkhouse Future Shock (Terror Tale?). Harry Kipling shines its way in, all ethereal flare and then out.

Even the Mighty Yeowell's art on a two part Dredd story lacks a certain punch and I think it part that as he seems to be trying to self computer colour and that lacks bite. In fact the Dredd's as a whole seem to demonstrate the myth if its not Wagner its not Dredd as we get a slue of different folks popping in. Spurrioso does an okay job, Edginton does an okay job, even Grennie's aren't his best, with a story with the 'child' of Chopper I'd completely forgotten about and seems to suggest its coming back... but I can't remember it doing so...

...so yeah there's just nothing in early 2006 (aside from Caballistics Inc) to get your teeth into... mind then Lobster Random pops up to give us something to get our claws into (or pinchers) and Low Life is heading our way so fingers crossed... as I'm chumping at the bit.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #911 on: 31 March, 2020, 10:03:01 PM »


A plot of ideas leaves Warriors a shadow of their former selves.

ABC Warriors - Shadow Warriors Book 3 demonstrates a trait that happening more and more in Uncle Pat's work over the last few years (self absorbed time). I've mentioned it before, but as I mentioned I find this story both frustrating and fascinating as so I'll try to explain the point.

The story is a 10 part battle between the ABCs and eponymous Shadow Warriors. The ABCs newer, cooler, more deadly counterparts and its all gloriously rendered by Henry Flint. The trouble is it is essentually a ten part battle. Yet it fills all ten parts quite easily, why, well with all things Uncle Pat its filled with amazing, imaginative ideas.

So what the problem???

Well its filled with amazing, imaginative ideas and at times, as so often, Uncle Pat seems so beguiled by those ideas that he loses sight of the story and the fact they need to be driven by characters, not just the ideas be they political polemic, scientific denial or flights of glorious fancy. Now don't get me wrong some of them are so good that I happily roll with them. I mean Blackblood being turned inside out is just fantastical and what turns you on or off will always be subjective with these daliances. There just feels like there's too many of them driving the story*, not enhancing the story.

Its evident in the very first part of the strip. The Shadow Warriors and their ABC Warriors counterparts are cleverly introduced by the villian's weapons of choice, fired towards their 'goodie' opposite. They are fun, but seven of them, half utterly silly in quick succession, turns them from a tool of clever expoistion avoidance into over egged nonsense. Made worse by the fact that the nonsense seems to stem from the fact that Uncle Pat had a list of bullet ideas and some worked, some didn't, but he hammered ahead 'cos it was a good idea.*

Possibly the greatest example of Uncle Pat's folly is the dastardly fate that awaits Hammerstein as captured by the dread enemies, who are in the ascendancy (until the end when they are not for ... mainly as the ABCs aren't as defeated as they seemed, but that's not the point I'm trying make here... although maybe it is...) and the evil Doctor Maniacus  implants two nanobot (quite big nano but again I digress) parasite robosnakes that eat robot brain, one a day, and turn Hammerstein into a trojan horse sent back to the Warriors - our giant metallic titans - who have survived so much - seemingly doomed by two robot brain eating snakes... no really all of that is in there. Now fair to say so much of 2000ad requires you to suspend belief, or more likely get sweep along with the raw thrillpower of the story so you don't even notice what you are reading is utter pockycock and so often it does that so well.
So often Uncle Pat does that so well.

But really this idea so enthralls Uncle Pat that he runs with it for 3 or 4 episodes and gets utterly diluted and looses all impact. And in the end it turns out the snakes hate their master a lot, more than they hate Hammerstein, so they'll just eat Doctor Maniacus robobrain instead... or something...

Its just nonsense and doesn't serve the story, or characters at all, drags on for 3 plus episodes and then just ends, cos Uncle Pat loved the idea, but seemed to have no idea what to do with it, so again he just slammed it in*.

Its at times like this I wish Uncle Pat wasn't so fearsome and terrifying to editors* as I feel a braver editor could have taken this story and hammered it down into a 7 or 8 part Mills classic. But we know one of Matt Smith's great strenghts is his light touch editorship, that allows he creators to run free and produce their best, unfettered by editorial edict*. Its so often works and creates such good will from creators to the title* but sometimes, and so often to Uncle Pat, its a good stories downfall.

The frustrating part is we know when Uncle Pat - who has given us so much and to whom I'm so grateful for some of the best comics I've ever read - lets the story be driven by character and is attentive to plot and pacing he is still brilliant. Recent (in self absorbed time) Savage has more than shown that. He can still fire in ideas by the dozen, but they don't drive the story into corners, nor drown out character, or hammer home theme, they can, when he's being deft of touch, enhance and elevate in the way he's so often done in the past.

Uncle Pat is a genius and he is welcome in the Prog whenever he desires, he's earnt it... I just wish if he can't edit himself Tharg could find the courage to control his father.

*I, of course have no idea if that true?

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #912 on: 01 April, 2020, 09:16:47 PM »


     Small things done well

Well having chatted about the failing of a long form story last time I want to quickly mention a couple of shorter tales done so well.

Firstly Prog 1484 see Judge Dredd - Fitness Test a story we've seen before, an older Judge (though still Dredd's junior) being tested to see if he still fit for duty... he's not... and so he opts for the Long Walk. That's it, that's all and yet with so little, with such a simple single idea Grennie and Anthony Williams get so much out of it. Its so powerful and wonderfully excecuted. The final page of Dredd watching overMegway 38 in the place of Murdoch says so much about the impact this simple, undramatic passing has on Dredd. A simple idea, driven by character is so much more effective that 100 ideas swamping character.

Secondly a three part Dante - Usurper. Again a simple, if more dramatic idea. A showdown between pirates to establish control of the seven seas. And for all the drama and the shark pirates and burning zombies these 18 or so pages are simply about the corrosive nature of Dante's relationship with his mother and the apparent need to overthrow her to save children Dante won't abandon in the way his mother did him. Just superb and again the final page, as Morrison and co so often do in these series hits home perfectly. In this instance the idea is there but secondly to the character driven elements of this wonderful story.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #913 on: 02 April, 2020, 09:21:57 PM »


First mini-break in this 'years' run comes from with one strip still carrying on VCs blasting on through... but weird I'm up to Prog 1490 last in May so nearly half the year through with no natural break yet... mind Prog 1500 just around the corner I guess.

ANYWAY that's not really the point the point this time is to salute two strip ending, not that I've got much to say about them. Firstly Low Life - Con Artist wraps up after seven issues as Aimee's tale enters a Hitman's Conversion with the greatest hitman of them all Blackbird not observing the truce this is meant to bring. BUT as before those hi-jinks and they are very good fun hi-jinks are secondary to the darkening slope we see Nixon continue to slide down.

It's easy to forget that Aimee Nixon had this consistent decent soe wonderfully drawn out in Low Life before it became Dirty Frank's turn fully in the spotlight.

Secondly after 10 episodes Lobster Random's The Agony and the Ecstacy  come to an end. And this books the trend I've been observing of late as much like the recently discussed ABC Warriors this tale is chocker block with ideas and they rattle off ten to the dozen. Its rich, intricate and twisty as we get villains cram full of ingenuity and concept, heck the big bad has a T-Rex stuck to his head... or is he stuck to a T-Rex's chin and its scheme upon scheme, upon scheme. Yet for all that it still feels like its driven by Lobster R as a character the finely craved dressing, so full of hi-falutin' word play and plotting never feels is brilliant window dressing, never overwhelming story or character but lifting them.

Sorry I'm harpin' on and when I come back I'll find a new axe to grind I'm sure...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #914 on: 09 April, 2020, 12:01:02 PM »


Victorious Conclusions

So Prog 1495 sees the end of nuVCs and it ends as well as its been throughout. Now I'll get this out the way before I go on, and suspect I've said it a few times before but I'm no fan of the original VCs. It looked great with some wonderful art throughout, but like much of GFD's stuff the concept and art isn't backed up by coherant plot or dialogue and the characters are largely flat.

With NuVCs we once again get wonderful art, starting with the glory that is Henry Flint and then backed up by Anthony Williams at the peak of his powers. Most significently we have Dabnett in what I assume is his absolute wheelhouse.

I say assume as I'm aware that he has written countless Warhammer 3K books and they seem to be very well regarded, but not having read any I don't feel I can be sure. But VCs seems to fall into that area, tough warrior types in far flung future war in a grim and griity tale. Much like Insurrection, Dabnett shows his gift of laying out the scale and grandeur of the conflicit he's using as his setting, but crafts the detail, in a small squad of rich and interesting characters to ramp up the emotional connection and impact.

He's also not afraid of letting characters go, as all good war tales do, as alas we need to feel the lose and grief inherant in conflicit. His troops feel real, in so far as similar fiction has crafted my view of what is real in war. He's not portraying real war, he's portraying really good war fiction, but plays so well with the tropes that you lose sight of the fact you've probably read and seen this a hundred times before. And that's the real skill. Of course in keeping with comments of late one of the key elements of doing this is great characters.

Now like many (most) war heroes in fiction Colonel Smith and his troop are gruff, folks surrounded by grim circumstance and awash with 80s action hero talk. What Dabnett, supported by his wonderful artists bring these characters to life, does is expand them beyond this, giving them another level, not necessarily massively deep or original, but with enough spark and vitality to make you care about them and feel the peril they are in with them. Some tales seem to skip this and leave only the bearest trace of this extra that we need to connect. Storys that fail in this department don't create the illusion of characters with depth, the way Dabnett is able to and thus equally thrilling scenarios lack the same impact.

VCs also manages to pull off the ending, though for the life of me until about 2 or 3 pages to go I saw no way it could possilby do so. The final episode sees characters that have been central to the series met a fitting end for that emotional punch, has action and violence a plenty for prerequiste thrills BUT also manages a neat trick at the end with a false ending. Selecting to finish at a point in the story that gives just enough of a close to allow us to 'know' where the end is going, without having to take us there in detail now all the flash - bang - whollop is over. We are lead to our own ending, without needing to drag things out. It leaves things open, but allows us to close things off ourselves. Very neatly done.

This final preProg 1500 lineup has some decent stuff in Dredd, a strangely out of focus London Falling by Spurrioso and Lee Garbett - is it relatively early computer art that makes this look a bit blurry and undefined? and a lot of bits and bats of varying quality filling corners here and there. Thank heavens then for 'Red Seas - The Hollow Land' so Harryhausenly giving full life to a very animated and wonderful story.