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Author Topic: Thrill-Coma 2010  (Read 8353 times)

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #15 on: 25 July, 2018, 08:54:12 pm »
2011: 4th Quarter

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

Judge Dredd: Day of Chaos (The Fourth Faction, Downtime & Elusive)
The Day of Chaos theme knits itself into all of the stories so that as we follow PJ Maybe's murderous tendencies through Elusive, we also meet up with Cadet Hennessey reporting that Elmore Yurges is still alive (when Justice Department thought they'd eliminated the threat in The Fourth Faction). 

Woven through all is a focus on Dredd's recovery (from being stabbed through the neck) and age, with Downtime discussing the idea of his eventual retirement.  Dredd tells us "I know that I'm going to die out there ... on the streets".

The sequence climaxes with PJ Maybe creating literal hot-seats for a panel of political caricatures:



Ampney Crucis Investigates ... The English Assassin
Given the subject matter of earth being invaded by inter-dimensional dark gods (oh, Peter St. John, where are you when we need you?), there's a wonderful lightness of touch, humor and daring-do that buoys us through.  Ampney himself often seems as if he's not really in control and it's more his attitude than his aptitude that gets him through.  Lucky bugger!  The painted art is beautiful, and Larry Niven turns up briefly as a fighter pilot:



Low Life: The Deal
More laugh out loud adventures with the Deadpool-ish Dirty Frank.  You'd be forgiven for feeling a bit lost at sea as a new reader, with several oddities to contend with.  First, there's Dirty Frank's weirdness, then you might wonder at Aimee Nixon's motivations, references to "The Big Man", the title of the strip being "Low Life", which is referenced as a place but we never visit it because we're going to Hondo: plus there's an apparition of an SJS Judge that's a manifestation of Dirty Frank's ego.

All that to one side, it's a pretty deep tale (and perhaps it's meant to be read in the context of all that's come before), and it's got funny bits (like an enemy being deliberately shoved up the rectum of a giant ooze-zilla, and this):



Indigo Prime: Everything and More; Anthropocalypse
Strap in!  It may help for context if you were reading 2000AD from 1989 through 1991, because that's where all the Indigo Prime stories were prior to this (mostly).  That series had a large, convoluted cast of characters and some crossover with Tyranny Rex ('88-'94 plus a brief comeback in 2004).  Oh, and Dead Eyes (2008) was a stealth-thrill that had an Indigo Prime reveal in the final episode.

Going back and reading all of that won't help, though: because understanding what's going on is not really the point.  Like in Star Trek when they start to talk about quantum flux capacitors, a lot of what the characters say is just techno-babble.  It's like Star Trek meets E.R: everything is turned up to 11, it's an emergency on top of a disaster twisted around impending doom, and the multiverse is at stake. You're on a trip.  Strap in.  Try to enjoy the ride:



Angel Zero
A brand new standalone thrill with a beginning, a middle and an end.  It's like The Bourne Identity meets Maze Dumoir, sort of.  Follow our bio-weaponized heroine as she flits across the galaxy to escape the evil machinations of some rent-a-baddies and get back to a quiet life in a clone of some quiet corner of 50s USA.  Well, I'll be a...




Review notes:
I'm limiting the review space to five thrills, so some things fall off the edge of that (like Bob Byrne's Twisted Tales or Future Shocks).  Also, some thrills didn't feel complete enough to review: like The Assassination List (JD - Day of Chaos), because it continues in 2012 or Dirty Deeds Done Cheap (Sin Dex) because it climaxes in the festive prog 2012 (aka prog 1763.5), which I'll review in the next seat-wetting episode of ... Thrill-Coma 2010!
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Colin YNWA

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #16 on: 25 July, 2018, 09:23:53 pm »

Angel Zero
A brand new standalone thrill with a beginning, a middle and an end.  It's like The Bourne Identity meets Maze Dumoir, sort of.  Follow our bio-weaponized heroine as she flits across the galaxy to escape the evil machinations of some rent-a-baddies and get back to a quiet life in a clone of some quiet corner of 50s USA.  Well, I'll be a..


I really liked this thrill, it was a quietly done been and gone that was immensely enjoyable. Of course John Burns was a signifient part in this being wonderful BUT its possibly more of note for quietly reintroducing Kek-W who - the also under-rated - Second City Blues aside - hadn't been in the Prog for 10-15 years I don't think. After this he's become a welcome mainstay.

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #17 on: 25 July, 2018, 09:36:07 pm »
I did enjoy Angel Zero: like you say it quietly told its story.  It's good to have a thrill where there isn't a tangled web of plot going back several years.

The prog had a really strong line-up this quarter with no duff thrills.
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broodblik

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #18 on: 26 July, 2018, 05:58:04 am »
Angel Zero was one off the first new series I read when I returned from my hiatus. As you said this had a beginning, middle and an end. This was a hugely entertaining series. I would like more of this type of once-off series.


TordelBack

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #19 on: 26 July, 2018, 08:52:55 am »
Angel Zero was one I completely missed during a break in purchasing power in 2011, and on acquiring the backprogs a couple of years back I enjoyed it greatly.  Not exactly a beacon of originality, but a satisfying tale with some great art. 

I suppose it's easy to ask for more of these kinds of complete stories (which I often do), but you have to wonder about the long-term return for Tharg: it fills pages for a few months, then it's gone, with limited potential for future content or revenue.  Even the best of these (Cradlegrave, Shadows, Zaucer of Zilk etc) seem to struggle to find reprint space, and when they do it's often in a grab-bag of themes which don't necessarily add value to each other (bundling Colony Earth and Family, anyone?). Doubt the potential licencees are lining up either: better to give Uncle Pat another 60-page run of Anti-Hero Lineup#17 versus Mirrored Villain Lineup#43, keep that IP in circulation.

broodblik

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #20 on: 26 July, 2018, 09:24:24 am »
I suppose it's easy to ask for more of these kinds of complete stories (which I often do), but you have to wonder about the long-term return for Tharg: it fills pages for a few months, then it's gone, with limited potential for future content or revenue.  Even the best of these (Cradlegrave, Shadows, Zaucer of Zilk etc) seem to struggle to find reprint space, and when they do it's often in a grab-bag of themes which don't necessarily add value to each other (bundling Colony Earth and Family, anyone?). Doubt the potential licencees are lining up either: better to give Uncle Pat another 60-page run of Anti-Hero Lineup#17 versus Mirrored Villain Lineup#43, keep that IP in circulation.

I agree with what you are saying but in many cases not all stories require a sequel or a multiple series. I rather have less ABC Warriors (and few other Mills stories) than a retelling of the same story. Leatherjacket, was a great story on its own (this at least was collected). This is the type of alone standing stories I would like to see more off. 

Fungus

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #21 on: 26 July, 2018, 10:57:19 am »
In this era of collected editions the viability of one-off tales is a problem. When jumping-on progs roll around, they usually trumpet the Return Of X ! Return of Y ! It's not really a selling point...

Skip Tracer is quite odd, here. Readily welcomed as a Brand New Thrill, it's highly generic (but does at least look... nice). Not distinctive in the least. Maybe The Return ! of Skip Tracer will build into something more focussed.

(Because posts that get tied in knots and contradict themselves are the BEST kind 😀)

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #22 on: 26 July, 2018, 05:56:52 pm »
Prog 2012 (aka prog 1763.5) Festive Prog

Only reviewing the standalone stories from this 104-page special.

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


Dandridge: A Christmas Ghost Story
Dandridge recounts a festive ghost story about a disembodied hand (reminiscent of a segment of the horror movie Dr. Terror's House of Horrors).  A great one-off by Alex Worley with beautifully evocative art by Jon Davis-Hunt.  More of this sort of thing, please.  It's like one of those old Tales of the Unexpected in comic form, even throwing in a jump-scare:

 


Aquila: Prologue
Jostling for position at the top spot is new thrill Aquila: a sort of mash-up of Assassin's Creed, Blackhawk and Slaine (as a super-powered gladiator goes on assassination missions for a death goddess). 

It's ultra-violent, it's sweeping, it's epic and it's just getting started:




Sinister Dexter: Now & Again
Sinister & Dexter chase the nefarious Ms. Step through various alternate realities until eventually tracking her to the edge of forever: which turns out to be a blank canvas.  She is abandoned in nowhere land and then Vladimir and Estragon wander off into the white-set.  It's almost as if the writer is admitting that the strip has nowhere left to go, and has decided to end it here, which would be fine.  It's had a good innings.

To get to nowhere land, we have some fun along the way: visiting the worlds of Judge Dredd, Flesh, Rogue Trooper, Nikolai Dante, Strontium Dog and Kingdom.  The most interesting of these is the meeting with Johnny Alpha and Wulf, in which there's a suggestion that they are mirror characters.   Whilst both sets are hired killers, I have more sympathy for Alpha - he's taken up bounty hunting reluctantly and hunts criminals.  Sinister and Dexter are just assassins with no morals.  They leave Ms. Laid to slowly die of thirst (one assumes) in a land devoid of any form that might sustain her. 

If our heroes are evil, then they are not heroes.


 

Absalom: Sick Leave
Uhm...Attack the Block meets The Sweeney meets Hammer House of Horrors?  While most of the team take on some demonic hoodies in a council estate, Absalom (who is perhaps a zombie) has a long conversation with an even more zombified version of himself in a Doctor's office.  Perhaps the most interesting thing that happens is that we are told that Jack Regan (from The Sweeney) is not a fictional character in this world.  Well, either that or Absalom is insane.

Great art, but the story and the characters are just too cynical for me to enjoy. I mean, look, they're not enjoying it themselves:




Judge Dredd: Choose Your Own Xmas
This is a comedy festive Dredd  in which you the reader are Jackson Packard (a dweeb cit) and you get to choose which frames to go to in the comic, like those Choose Your Own Adventure books.  Of course, the most amusing thing about those is when the Interwebz decided to change the titles, like this:



But, those books were tame.  They weren't cool.  The cool ones were the Fighting Fantasy books, like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, or the frankly stupendous Lone Wolf series, or the time-traveling Falcon series, or the ninja-esque Way of the Tiger.  The popularity of those prompted the short-lived 2000AD experiment of Diceman (5 issues, 1986), in which you could play your way through a comic adventure as Judge Dredd, Hammerstein, Nemesis, Torquemada, Slaine, Rogue Trooper, the Dice Man (a supernatural private eye) or, uhm, President Ronald Reagan.  And in the prog, we had Slaine's Tomb of Terror, a game / comic that ran for 15 episodes.

Instead of all of that action (where you have life points and its a game, and you can win or lose, and you play an amazing character), you have Choose Your Own Xmas.  You get to be a dweeb.  Guys, that sucks!  And blows.  Both of those in a bad way.

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Pyroxian

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #23 on: 26 July, 2018, 06:07:51 pm »
The coolest thing about the Judge Dredd story is when you realise that you can also read it a linear comic...

TordelBack

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #24 on: 26 July, 2018, 06:27:42 pm »
The coolest thing about the Judge Dredd story is when you realise that you can also read it a linear comic...

Pretty much everything about that story is cool! I think it's expecting a little much to get an exciting Fighting Fantasy adventure in 10+ comic pages, so I'd have thought that an amusing tale(s) displaying an almost Eisner-level mastery of the possibilities of the comics form should be enough for anyone. Unless I'm wrong this and the contemporary Meg are the last of Ewing's wonderfully bleak Christmas Dredds (and very nearly his last Dredd work), and that's something to be disappointed about.

Great reviews here though Funt, and plenty of them: really enjoying your take, even (especially?) where we disagree.

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #25 on: 26 July, 2018, 06:38:06 pm »
I'm very opinionated. 

It clearly did take a lot of skill to put together that Dredd story: and I didn't pay it enough heed to realize that you could read it through straight and have a narrative.  So, I rather missed the point.

But, you can do something pretty cool in 10-ish pages:  there was "You are the A.B.C. Warrior vs. Volgo the Ultimate Death Machine" (Diceman 2, 11 pages).  That was the shortest one, mind you.

My rose-tinted memory specs has those down as being amazing.  But that was 32 years ago.
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Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #26 on: 26 July, 2018, 06:51:54 pm »
I always loved Steve Dillon's work:

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Tjm86

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #27 on: 26 July, 2018, 07:07:56 pm »
The coolest thing about the Judge Dredd story is when you realise that you can also read it a linear comic...

... and the biggest face palm moment is when you realise that you weren't supposed to.   :-[

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #28 on: 26 July, 2018, 07:37:14 pm »
The coolest thing about the Judge Dredd story is when you realise that you can also read it a linear comic...

... and the biggest face palm moment is when you realise that you weren't supposed to.   :-[

No, it's t'other way round - the dawning realisation, after trying umpteen times to get through the game and dying every single time, that the only way to make it to the end is read it as a straight narrative. One of the cleverest one-off Dredds ever!

Magnetica

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #29 on: 26 July, 2018, 08:16:43 pm »
“Indigo Prime: Everything and More; Anthropocalypse.... because understanding what's going on is not really the point”


And that is why I don’t like I Indigo Prime. Just having a lot of ideas isn’t enough for me, I want a narrative I can follow with out having to re-read something 5 times.