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Author Topic: Thrill-Coma 2010  (Read 8354 times)

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #30 on: 28 July, 2018, 06:46:03 pm »
2012, 1st Quarter

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


Judge Dredd: Day of Chaos - The Assassination List
This section of the Day of Chaos arc plays on multiple themes (itself a theme of the entire arc).  We follow the development of the Chaos Bug by the dissident Sov cell run by Yevgeny, the continuing predictions of Cadet Psi-Judge Hennessy and the general chaos of Mega-City One.  As Dredd's investigation moves forward, Judge Wilde (a Sov agent) is key in disturbing their progress.

Climactically, Hennessy (and her empath sister) are assassinated by Wilde (in his final suicide mission) and we learn that the Chaos Bug has been successfully developed.  What's shocking about this is that we have to get to grips with the idea that nobody is safe.  Hennessy was a representation of hope and innocence, and she's been destroyed.  This does not bode well for Mega-City One:




Nikolai Dante: The Wedding of Jena Makarov
Dmitri Romanov sets to wed Jena Makarov, confident that he can defeat the rebel army opposing him.  His over-confidence turns out to be his greatest weakness.  He should perhaps have killed Dante when he had the chance, but then where would we be?

Dr. Evil: Scott, I want you to meet daddy’s nemesis, Austin Powers.
Scott Evil: What? Are you feeding him? Why don’t you just kill him?
Dr. Evil: I have an even better idea. I’m going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.

So, Dante escapes imprisonment and literally crashes the wedding by smashing Dmitri's second greatest weapon (the Imperial Palace) into the Romanov's Eagle's Nest.  It's high adventure, with Lulu Romanov trying to outdo Blackblood for most double-double-crossing character in 2000AD.  It ends in both triumph (Dmitri seems defeated) and tragedy (the death of a loved one), and is suitably epic:



Slightly annoying was the pun-naming of one of the side characters, which just lifted me out of the adventure and reminded me I was reading a comic. Why did the cosmetic surgeon who was about to castrate Dante have to be named Dr. Igor Skrotumski?  When he's doing a boob job, does he change his name to Dr. Igor Breastlargi?  Or Niptuckski?  Facelifstski?  Boo!  Get off!  Etc.


Strontium Dog: The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha, Chapter Two - The Project
Attempting the record for most convoluted story title ever, and possibly winning.  Man, those muties can't catch a break.  In this arc, we learn that an evil corporation has been secretly sterilizing the mutie population.  They see Alpha as a threat so are trying to kill him.  It's sort of odd, thematically.  The Doghouse has turned into a sort of Bounty Hunters' Celebrity Game-show, and Alpha has a mischievous imp living in his mind that can see into the future.

I always preferred Strontium Dog when it was more gritty, and less comedic.  This version seems like an uncomfortable mash-up of themes.  I miss Wulf.  Oh, and why are the only women at the Doghouse mostly nude "comfort women"?  2000AD's sexual politics aren't winning any awards here.




Absalom: Ghosts of London
A big stone is being used to attempt to change the past so that fascists can take over Britain.  Absalom and his team stop that from happening.  Absalom himself continues to irritate me by being completely unsympathetic, this time demonstrating the character's xenophobia towards Scottish people.  (I'm aware the writer is Scottish: but open, unchallenged xenophobia just makes my skin crawl.)

The art is great, but there's nobody in this strip to care for and the lead character, well, if he's not going to be nice to anyone he can just... 




Grey Area: [Series One]
Series one is split into several smaller stories: Meet & Greet, Feel The Noise, The Do, Personal Space and Xenophobia.

Basically, we're following a riot squad policing an alien immigration internment compound.  It's difficult to like anyone here, as they're busy hitting aliens in the face with truncheons most of the time.  A lot is asked of us as readers, as one of the plots involves people's heads exploding due to excessively loud music.  That seems a little bit stupid.  In Personal Space, we spend several pages with the female character (who's been all doe-eyed over a hunky dude on her team) being nude, which seems a bit exploitative.  Narratively, it's really not necessary.

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TordelBack

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #31 on: 28 July, 2018, 07:22:06 pm »
In Personal Space, we spend several pages with the female character (who's been all doe-eyed over a hunky dude on her team) being nude, which seems a bit exploitative.  Narratively, it's really not necessary.

Personal Space is the low point of the series for me, gratuitous hardly covers it - I thought I was done with Grey Area after that. But take heart!  The, errr, strip actually gets better and better from here.  Although you'd probably better get used to the shower scenes...

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #32 on: 01 August, 2018, 08:45:58 pm »
2012, 2nd Quarter

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


Judge Dredd: Day of Chaos
We begin with the core 20-episode section of the Day of Chaos arc: Eve of Destruction.  Throughout this story, what can go wrong does go wrong for the Judges of Mega-City One.  Although they capture their enemy (Yevgeny), it's too late as he's already sown the seeds of their destruction.  Disaster is layered upon disaster: terrorist insurgents take down the Statue of Judgement (and with it, PSU), agents distribute the Chaos Bug, turned Judges betray the city (causing a total breakdown of law and order) and (to add insult to injury) three of the dark judges are released.  The city burns.

The fight-back consists of maintaining a few hard-won safe blocks within the sea of chaos.  Just as the disaster reaches a crescendo, we get a couple of interlude one-offs: Tea For Two (in which Dredd and his niece Vienna fight their way to safety) and Wot I Did During The Worst Disaster In Mega-City History (in which PJ Maybe bottles Fear, Fire & Mortis).

This last highlights the one nit pick we might have with this highly charged page turner of a Dredd epic.  It does start to seem a little bit like all the mega-epics that have gone before rolled into one: especially when the dark judges are added to the mix.  At least the robots didn't revolt.

The completion of the arc is the strong two-part Chaos Day, in which the Academy of Law is destroyed, and most of the city lies in ruins.  Dredd feels very much as if he's failed: and the bookend tale The Days After outlines the cost of that failure:  350 million dead (88% of the city) and 60% of the Judge force gone.




The Zaucer of Zilk
I bet this one was a bit marmite for folks.  The cover of prog 1775 made me think I was going to hate this beyond reason, but it ended up being highly enjoyable.  The writers were clearly having fun, but they were also doing it really well.  Episode 4 sold me completely as the Zaucer has to stalk and hunt his fancy pants, which then have pocket handlebars so you can drive them around.

Also, despite the entirely surreal nature of the worlds we travel through, the story maintains its own internal logic and doesn't ask us to suspend our disbelief.  I wonder if it has any intention of returning: it strikes me that it would be difficult to maintain over time.




Nikolai Dante: The Dante Gambit
With Dmitri dead, John Burns paints us beautifully through the tail end of the battle to tie up some loose ends.  The key event is the funeral of Katarina Dante and a duel between Nikolai and Konstantin Romanov.  The big surprise at the end is that the next adventure is slated as being the final story of the epic: which seems odd: I though it would go on and on (mostly because it has).   A happy ending?




Age of the Wolf II: She Is Legend
The first series of this just blew me away: it had an original premise, stupendous art and a strong female lead.  This second series is more of a struggle as I'm not clear on what our heroin is trying to achieve (long term), and she seems to lurch from disaster to disaster.  It's not awful: still has great art and great potential: but I'd like to see Rowan more in charge of her own destiny, and to know more about how the setting works.

Harry (and his sister and his gran) are good villains: his racial purity notions are horrific.  His vision of a hyper-sexualized Rowan was a bit much.  I know it was part of his insanity, but it would be nice to have a female lead character who isn't hyper-sexualized (even when it is an apparition that another character is having).

Granny turning wolf was pretty cool, and perhaps I should have seen it coming (what with Little Red Riding Hood and all).  In summary:

More of this, please:Less of this, please:


Flesh: Midnight Cowboys
So: willing suspension of disbelief can only handle so much before it caves in under enormous pressure.  I can handle time traveling dinosaur wranglers: no problem, but episode four just went bat-shit bananas. 

Let me take you through the challenges to my willing suspension of disbelief:
  • A man on a horse is trying to coral a herd of Triceratops
  • At being bitten in half by a dinosaur he says "I think something's got me."
  • A man fights off a shoal of giant piranhas in knee-deep water using two pistols.
  • He climbs on top of a Triceratops and uses an electric goad to ride it (bareback).
 
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the writer that the main female character goes on to seduce and betray a male character.

The best thing about this thrill is the art: it's drawn really well.  The story, though: it just asks too much of our credulity, again and again (and has dodgy sexual politics front and center).  Unfortunately, another series is promised that resurrects the villain from the first series.  Let him rest!

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Taryn Tailz

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #33 on: 01 August, 2018, 09:29:31 pm »
At the time, I remember I had much the same reaction to Zaucer of Zilk as you did reading it now. I fully expected to hate it based on that cover image - which was also used to advertise the series in advance - but I ended up loving it.

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #34 on: 03 August, 2018, 04:59:06 pm »
2012, Mid-Year Mini-Series

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


Nikolai Dante: Sympathy for the Devil
Billed as the final part of the saga, this tale asks the question of what Nikolai does with victory: the path to ultimate power lies before him.  His love, Jena Makarov, stands ready to marry him and aims to co-lead the empire.  The outstanding loose end is that Jena's estranged father, former Tsar Vladimir Makarov, remains at large: and was responsible for murdering Nikolai's mother Katarina.

The climax involves an unusual confrontation between Nikolai and Vladimir and a poignant, bittersweet end to an amazing saga: The Adventures of Nikolai Dante (1997-2012).




Tharg's 3rillers: 1947
On the one hand, an extended Past Imperfect: this is raised above the bar by a compelling premise.  The British have been elevated to the dominant world power during and immediately following World War II by dint of their alliance with a mysterious extra-terrestrial power, known as The Allies.  In an Orwellian vibe, the alliance with the aliens has brought with it a police state, and a rebel movement is being led by Alan Turing.

Whilst there is a slightly weak "Oh my god: the aliens are yucky to look at!" (as if that should come as a surprise), the stronger threat is that their ultimate aim is to consume Earth's resources.  This could've been done in four pages, but on the other hand it could expand out into a much longer series (as it's quite a similar premise to Savage).




Cadet Anderson: Algol
Doing a character's early years has the problem of negating life or death situations.  We know they grow older, so where's the threat?  In Portrait of a Mutant, this was countered by a fascinating insight into the world of Johnny Alpha: answering the dramatic question of how he became a Strontium Dog.  Cadet Anderson doesn't have that same punch, and so feels a bit hum-drum. 

As the character moves between plot beats, it seems as if dramatic situations are shoe-horned in: robot attack dogs and bizarre Lawmaster stunts, to keep what's really quite a low-key story a bit more upbeat.




Durham Red: The 'Nobody Wants This Job' Job
Following the theme of visiting characters' early years, we get Durham Red's first job as a Strontium Dog, which is a lark.  Oddly, the core premise betrays itself in the final episode.  The man she's hunting returns with Red to the Doghouse because things are getting too hot for him back on the planet Rann.  We are then told that he's escaped and gone back to Rann.  Huh?

There's something of a template for (scantily-clad) female characters in 2000AD stories, where they have to endure a scene in which they prove their metal to a lumbering male bully:

Durham Red:Cadet Anderson:


Grey Area: One of Our Own
This follows on from a previous tale where one of the xeno-cops (Bulliet) is revealed as a militant xenophobe, with the agenda of betraying his team in support of a humans-only agenda.  This is made all the more tense by the fact that he's started a relationship with new recruit Birdy.

Things kick off when some aliens and Kymn (team translator) get kidnapped by the terrorist cell Bulliet is a member of (without his having been warned in advance).  Oddly, this exciting premise is quickly sewn up in four episodes: turns out Bulliet is actually a double double agent and still really a good guy.

This is probably the best of this thrill so far, but it's really not my cup of tea.  I end up inserting my own dialog to stay amused:


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Tiplodocus

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #35 on: 09 August, 2018, 10:20:26 am »
This thread has made me go back and reread Grey Area from the start. I actually appreciate more now the characters are more recogniseable to me in the earlyvepisodes (often the case with people in uniform with guns; my second pass at BAND OF BROTHERS which I thought was pretty darned good first time round was improved by identifying some of the lesser characters better)
Be excellent to each other. And party on!

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #36 on: 11 August, 2018, 10:14:26 pm »
2012: 3rd Quarter

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


Aquila: Blood of the Iceni (1792-1799)
Script: Gordon Rennie
Art: Leigh Gallagher
Colours: Gary Caldwell
Letters: Simon Bowland

Aquila, the immortal and seemingly invulnerable titular warrior, slave to a death goddess, takes part in the Iceni revolt against the occupying Romans in ancient Britain.  This is epic storytelling, gory and ultra-violent, that drags you kicking and screaming through the horrors of ancient warfare.  With Aquila realizing he's not the only immortal running around, a quest is borne where he seeks to find a way to confront his mistress and seek his freedom.

There's a poorly played homage to Life of Brian's "What did the Romans ever do for us?" scene, but it's just a blip in an otherwise fascinating tale of gruesome violence.  This is definitely the most fun a history lesson can be:




The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael (and the Dead left in his Wake): Manhunt (1789-1799)
Script: Rob Williams
Art: Dom Reardon
Colours: Peter Doherty
Letters: Ellie De Ville

Ichabod Azrael skips forward through time, manifesting as different people in each era and regaining more of his sense of self has each skip occurs.  He continues to be hunted by an unstoppable foe, assisted by his companions from the first series and in an odd twist, Charon (the ferryman of the river Styx), causes the idea of Ichabod's true love to also manifest (giving him something to yearn for).

It's really weird and entirely compelling: epic poetry in comic form.  It's also very funny in places, as folk from the wild west try to come to terms with piloting a WW2 era bomber, and Charon decides to party like there's no tomorrow:




The Red Seas: Beautiful Freak (1792-1796)
Script: Ian Edginton
Art: Steve Yeowell
Letters: Ellie De Ville


Any new readers would struggle to decipher what's going on here,
as we're tying together various strands of a plot that mostly takes
place in an era of cannons on the high seas.  Here we're placed in
the modern day where various villains from previous arcs try to send
themselves back in time to upset the plans of characters who we
don't get to see.

Still, it's a well told race-against-the-clock yarn as our heroes (and
their magical tortoise) try to stop The Master (*cough*) from
enacting his nefarious scheme.


Lenny Zero: Zero's 7 (1792-1799)
Script: Andy Diggle
Art: Ben Willsher
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Lenny Zero gets together a gang of misfits to plan the heist of a lifetime.  One thing this does is borrow heavily from the back catalogue: we get Satelat (Orlok's robotic assistant from Block Mania) and Max Normal (early era Dredd's informer) as part of the gang.  It's well told as a heist, has some good humor with a gas that makes Judges shag each other with gay abandon but ultimately fails to hold together as a serious premise.

Why are we asked to swallow the idea of a suddenly rich ATM machine that gets carved out of a wall and then somehow gets itself to a beach where it drinks cocktails.  I mean: that's just stupid and makes me feel as if the writer either gave up or despises the readers.  The bad Robo-Hunter wasn't as bad as this ending.




Judge Dredd: Debris (1792-1796)
Script: Michael Carroll
Art: PJ Holden
Colours: Chris Blythe
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

This is a poorly told post-Chaos Day tale that has an interesting premise but clunkingly poor execution.  A block wants to declare independance from the city and has engineered a mass driver cannon to disuade Justice Department interference.  Dredd and some space-Judges reckon otherwise.  Guess what happens? 

The leader of the block shows no foresight: why would the Judges every give up?  How could she ever hope to defeat them over time?
And the space Judges are played as gung-ho morons with big guns that get triggered by minor slights.  It's just awful.  Lots of big explosions and shouting but hardly any logic.

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IndigoPrime

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #37 on: 11 August, 2018, 10:41:58 pm »
“has some good humor with a gas that makes Judges shag each other with gay abandon“

I recall it looking on that favourably at the time, given that it was basically “rape LOL”. An astonishingly tone deaf bit of writing in 2000 AD.

Frank

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #38 on: 11 August, 2018, 11:02:51 pm »
Lenny Zero: Zero's 7 (1792-1799)
Script: Andy Diggle
Art: Ben Willsher
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Lenny Zero gets together a gang of misfits to plan the heist of a lifetime.  One thing this does is borrow heavily from the back catalogue: we get Satelat (Orlok's robotic assistant from Block Mania) and Max Normal (early era Dredd's informer) as part of the gang.  It's well told as a heist, has some good humor with a gas that makes Judges shag each other with gay abandon but ultimately fails to hold together as a serious premise.

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TordelBack

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #39 on: 11 August, 2018, 11:45:57 pm »
Lenny Zero: Zero's 7 (1792-1799)
Script: Andy Diggle
Art: Ben Willsher
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Lenny Zero gets together a gang of misfits to plan the heist of a lifetime.  One thing this does is borrow heavily from the back catalogue: we get Satelat (Orlok's robotic assistant from Block Mania) and Max Normal (early era Dredd's informer) as part of the gang.  It's well told as a heist, has some good humor with a gas that makes Judges shag each other with gay abandon but ultimately fails to hold together as a serious premise.

This forum's finest hour.

Ohhh boys,  I did not need to read that again. No doubt I'll next see it at my eventual trial.

Fungus

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #40 on: 12 August, 2018, 01:32:35 am »
I'd go along with those top 2, Funt. Or at least, I picked up the US format mini-series for both Aquila & Ichabod and was very impressed - just missed these progs myself.

No love for Lenny Zero? I have the Undercover Brothers MC volume on the basis of good reports here... not worth the punt, Funt?

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #41 on: 12 August, 2018, 12:47:44 pm »
No love for Lenny Zero? I have the Undercover Brothers MC volume on the basis of good reports here... not worth the punt, Funt?

I love it - proper good twisty caper/heist stories, by someone very much versed in Mega-City history packing the stories full of little easter eggs, and splendiferous Jock artwork on the first three tales. More exciting than Armitage, less smug than Simping Detective, funnier than Demarco P.I. That last story was my least favourite of the bunch, but at least it was a proper post-DoC story at a time when there wasn't enough of those.

It's about personal mileage, but personally I thought the audacity of a sentient cash machine robbing the gang blind then jaunting to the Bahamas for sun and sangria was hilarious - exactly the sort of old-school Wagner-Grant Meg madness that's missing from most Dreddworld spinoffs.

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #42 on: 12 August, 2018, 04:21:36 pm »
No love for Lenny Zero?

I actually enjoyed it quite a lot.  The art was very good: although I was initially confused by the faded out technique used in the scene where we are outside the cockpit bubble looking in.  The plot moved fairly fast and the actual heist (especially the part with the stub gun) was exciting.

I did think there was a bit of over-egging in terms of utilizing bits of MC-1 history.  Make a list: shuggy, Max Normal, Satelat and stub guns.  One reader's Easter egg is another's fan-wank.  Still: that would be a minor complaint given the strength of the strip.

No: the only thing I felt let down by was an ATM drinking a cocktail.  Where does the liquid go?  You can argue that the final frame of a 48-page comic can't define one's enjoyment of the whole - and that's probably true to an extent.  But it was disappointing.

As regards the historical debate over the "love gas", that's quite an interesting conversation.  Surely the death of the judges blasted apart by the stub gun is a greater crime, though?  There's a lot of death in 2000AD.  Another thing that occurred to me was Willow: Madmartigan consumes the love potion and then is entranced by Sorsha.  I didn't notice anyone walking out of the cinema in disgust.

It is distasteful, what Lenny does to get revenge: but then he loses out in the end.  So: his behavior is not rewarded.

Summary: quite a good thrill, but ATMs don't have the capacity to consume liquids.
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Colin YNWA

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #43 on: 12 August, 2018, 06:14:46 pm »
Lenny Zero was a pretty weak series and while the love gas caused quite a fuss I was always happy with the removal of inhibitions leaving Judges particularly open exercising years of sexual frustration hence the consentual (with the stimuli) sex.

Anyway of more note to me the end game Red Seas is really played well.

Frank

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #44 on: 12 August, 2018, 07:14:42 pm »
Willow: Madmartigan consumes the love potion and then is entranced by Sorsha.

Ghostbusters: Zuul and Vinz Clortho use Dana and Louis as prophylactics; played for sexy laughs.

Big: Elizabeth Perkins's character is tricked into raping or being raped by a ten-year-old boy; played as wish-fulfilment.

All About Eve, Breakfast At Tiffany's, Something Wild, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, Mr & Mrs Smith, Knocked Up, Gone Girl & too many others to list: the right of characters (male & female) to provide or withhold informed consent is violated by characters misrepresenting their identity or through intoxication. Presented as romantic and exciting.


If anyone wants (many) more examples, listen to the very funny Bechdelcast, which points out how messed-up all your favourite films are* when viewed from a 2018 perspective.

I agree  Lenny Zero leaned too heavily into the references. I can see why writers do it - in a world where everything's made-up, the only way to invoke authenticity is referencing things someone else has made-up **. The cash machine's fun and silly, like the polar bear.



* My take on it is that most fantasy stories are about transgression - somebody gaining access to something to which they would normally be denied. When that something is a lightsaber, superpowers, or a magic kingdom, it's enchanting. When that something is between another character's legs, someone will get upset.

In the specific case of Lenny Zero, the problem seemed to be that: 1/ the proxy-rapist*** was the narrative's focal character, through whom readers experience events and whose motivations and objectives readers might reasonably expect to share; 2/ the event was depicted as titillation, and 3/ the sex was presented as an act of revenge, rather than the liberation of desires.

** Maybe if the references were to something more recent than the usual touchstone era of Kleggs and Kazan, it would have felt less weary.

*** I don't really buy that interpretation, but that's based on my reading of the nature of the drug, rather than the presentation of the act.