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Author Topic: Thrill-Coma 2010  (Read 3327 times)

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #45 on: 15 August, 2018, 06:16:40 pm »
2012: 4th Quarter

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


Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds (1800-1811)
Script: Ian Edginton
Art: I.N.J. Culbard
Letters: Ellie De Ville

In a seemingly impossible clockwork solar system, we find ourselves in the dark ages: the occupants of the planets are ignorant of the technology that built their worlds, and the brass sun is slowing down, so that outliers are freezing over and entropy threatens all.  Wren, our protagonist, holds the clues that might repair the slowing sun, but faces ignorance, prejudice and evil in her quest.

Beauty. Wonder. Terror. Humanity. Hope.  I'm not sure if I've been this excited, intrigued and awe-struck about a new story in 2000AD since The Ballad of Halo Jones.  It's got a female protagonist who isn't defined by her looks and solves problems with brain rather than brawn: so it easily passes the test as a comic I wouldn't be embarrassed for my daughter to read.




The Trifecta Arc
The Simping Detective: Jokers to the Right (1804-1811)
Script: Simon Spurrier
Art: Simon Coleby
Letters: Simon Bowland

Low Life: Saudade (1805-1811)
Script: Rob Williams
Art: D'Israeli
Letters: Ellie De Ville

Judge Dredd: The Cold Deck (1806-1811)
Script: Al Ewing
Art: Henry Flint
Colours: Chris Blythe
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Judge Dredd / The Simping Detective / Low Life: Trifecta (1812)
Script: Al Ewing, Simon Spurrier, Rob Williams
Art: Carl Critchlow
Letters: Simon Bowland

Something unique in 2000AD, a three-thrill (three-writer) crossover piece that brought together Judge Dredd, Jack Point and Dirty Frank so that their disparate investigations all conclude in the 28-page Trifecta. 

The first few panels of The Cold Deck neatly summarize the plot. In the aftermath of Chaos Day the city is reeling from the worst disaster of its history and the Justice Department is unsure if Mega-City One can survive at all.  The extremists of a shadow organization see this as their chance to neatly take over: with a plan to brainwash the populace and instigate a police state that makes the Judges look like liberal-minded push-overs.

The experiment has to be applauded, and the various threads are compelling. Jack Point hadn't been in the comic since 2007, Low Life looked like it had ended and Judge Dredd had been suffering from some fairly lackluster post-Chaos Day offerings.  So: it was thrilling and exciting to have something vibrant to follow, and with top notch art from everyone on show this was all something of a treat.

On the down side, the end of the story is very Michael Bay, or Marvel.  Giant unlikely thing threatens Earth and is neatly defeated in short order (after lots of collateral damage).  Dirty Frank and Jack Point both suffer from a lot of self-awareness: we're too often reminded that there's a clever author between us and the character.  Jack's more obvious than Frank in this regard - with panels missing where the prose needs to push through.  Of course, Deadpool does this as well (and is popular, and funny), but it's difficult to immerse oneself in the story when the author is shouting "look at my amazing word-play" every second frame.  That's Point as in "I think I've made my", and "Don't belabor the".

Overall, a bravura experiment of the fun you can have when you give Wagner's toys to the newer generation; with the downside that the reader is being pulled out of the flotation tank and given a shake every few minutes, like with this Judgement Day reference:




The A.B.C. Warriors: Return to Earth (1800-1811)
Story: Pat Mills
Art: Clint Langley
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Beautiful art accompanies us on a Pat Mills diatribe of a plot.  That really sums it up perfectly.  What we appear to be watching is a fantasy where a heavily armed robot guns down a corrupt world leader.   The fact that the robot is Hammerstein is incidental: he's just a vehicle for the author's fantasy rather than a character in a story. 

Apparently, the evil machinations of a shadowy elite can be defeated through targeted assassination.  Frankly, that seems a little too neat and smacks of overly simplistic conspiracy theorizing.  Couldn't Mills just have a blog where he trots out his manic ideas, and 2000AD could be for actual stories?  People who want over-simplified solutions to the world's problems (based on the ideas of a comic writer and not, say, an economist, or a historian, or a sociologist) could go read his blog, and the rest of us could be left in peace to read exciting sci-fi and fantasy.

At one point, Mills goes so far as to stop providing a comic at all, and just throwing up some highly questionable statistics: he states (as if fact) that 3-8 million Germans were "killed through allies ethnic cleansing of germany post-1945".  That's a bold (and highly contentious) statement to make without any data reference, and I don't understand why Rebellion allowed it.  Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.  For shame, Pat.

The author's allegorical solution to the world's problems:




Grey Area: This Island Earth (1800-1804)
Script: Dan Abnett
Art: Lee Carter
Letters: Ellie De Ville

An untrustworthy violent sadistic alien gets summarily executed by a decent white human.  Another pile of questionable politics on show here.  I'm glad these are short: because they're difficult to stomach.

(Also, having cups of tea and standing around in board rooms is not exciting.)

How should we deal with immigrants (the strip asks)?

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IndigoPrime

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #46 on: 15 August, 2018, 07:12:16 pm »
It's curious to see your responses to Grey Area. I've not read it from the beginning in ages, but it's a really solid strip now. I'm intrigued to see what you think of it over the coming (Prog) years.

I, Cosh

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #47 on: 16 August, 2018, 08:47:17 am »
Really enjoying these posts. It's definitely the way I approach the Progs myself nowadays rather than as individual issues.

Like IP, I haven't reread the early stories but that's definitely not the direction or tone which Grey Area has now or in my mind.

By the way, I think it was you who used to have an Excel style Prog story index on your own website. I've been keeping that alive in my own offline version since you left. Maybe I'll make it available to the people again one day.
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sheridan

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #48 on: 16 August, 2018, 01:05:39 pm »
The author's allegorical solution to the world's problems:




What's that a picture of?

TordelBack

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #49 on: 16 August, 2018, 01:27:35 pm »
The body of assassinated POTUS Dick Quartz.

TordelBack

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #50 on: 16 August, 2018, 01:33:55 pm »
Just realised that when we meet Hammerstein 'again' in Nemesis Book IV he's being used by Torquemada to do much the same thing as the UN has him do in Return to Earth - to assassinate the Gothic versions of Vicky & Bert. Interesting.

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #51 on: 16 August, 2018, 04:39:09 pm »
an Excel style Prog story index on your own website.

Yep: that was me.  My website has gone the way of the dodo, and I'm currently six years behind (due to my thrill-coma) on my indexing, but I keep track in two ways.

First, I like to map out prog structure, so I do stuff like this:




And I wanted something that filled in the few gaps (the amazing) Barney has, so I also do stuff like this:




I also have a column (not shown) for localized (prog, meg, annual) reprints, and have started to add in creator data: but that will take a while.  I've started to review my collection to add in peripherals such as text stories, star scans, collectible pamphlets and so on.

It has occurred to me that a database would (ultimately) be more efficient but my spreadsheet is easier for me to work with at the moment.  I like the overview I get that it's difficult to achieve from the other sources that exist.

I cross-reference with my own collection, Barney & Touched By The Hand of Tharg.
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Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #52 on: 16 August, 2018, 07:45:03 pm »
Like IP, I haven't reread the early stories but that's definitely not the direction or tone which Grey Area has now or in my mind.

It'd be great (from my perspective) if I could enjoy Grey Area more.  I just can't seem to escape the allegory, and it's an unsettling one.  Replace "alien" with "immigrant" and "Earth" with "Britain" (or Europe or the US) and it all seems a bit suspect.

The immigration police in the story are at least all non-black and at most all-white.  The aliens are all dark-skinned and aggressive and need to be beaten up.  Why, they're more like wild animals than sentient species!

1st: "Grawlix": hyper-aggressive dark-skinned alien
2nd: Nivopantamians: "hyper-aggressive" dark-skinned aliens
3rd: Swirk: untrustworthy, uncaring dark-skinned aliens
4th: "The Do" insect species: rioting hyper-aggressive dark-skinned aliens
5th: "Doog": child-like, aggressive, invasive force
6th: Farhoomi: first peaceful race - seeking asylum
7th: Ambassador Uuveth: sadistic serial killer.  Black.

And the cops regularly overstep their bounds.  In one episode they joke around about the use of excessive force (whilst using excessive force) and in the last episode of "This Island Earth", Bulliet summarily executes a suspect in a murder investigation (Ambassador Uuveth) and then faces no negative consequences.

I think the Xenophobia story (prog 1774), which suggests that what we're seeing isn't extremism, is just clouding the fact that what we're seeing is a support of dangerous right-wing views on immigration: painting all immigrants as dangerous, sub-human criminals who need to be violently put down.

And don't get me started on the dodgy sexual politics of Personal Space (1771-1773): that's another kettle of ideologically unsound fish.
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Frank

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #53 on: 16 August, 2018, 08:24:36 pm »
I think the Xenophobia story (prog 1774), which suggests that what we're seeing isn't extremism, is just clouding the fact that what we're seeing is a support of dangerous right-wing views on immigration

Bulliet Affleck spends two pages calling the assembled Nazis fascist, xenophobic bastards who are guilty of hate crimes!

If the writer who gave us the Trump-like baddie Grell and his BEMtard catchphrase is a closet Right Hounourable Member For South Thanet, he's going the wrong way about it.

Did you catch the last few weeks of collective grief at the (apparent) death of Resting Bitch Face? *


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I, Cosh

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #54 on: 16 August, 2018, 08:49:42 pm »
Short response. Think you've got the allegory right but it's direction completely wrong.
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Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #55 on: 16 August, 2018, 08:54:42 pm »
Bulliet Affleck spends two pages calling the assembled Nazis fascist, xenophobic bastards who are guilty of hate crimes!

And then (appears to) join them.  As a standalone story, it appears to sympathize.  Anyway, actions speak louder than words and a few episodes later Bulliet summarily executes a suspect.

If the writer ... is a closet Right Hounourable Member For South Thanet, he's going the wrong way about it.

I don't think (and haven't said) that the writer is deliberately creating an ideologically unsound story: only that the story seems ideologically unsound.  (This could be accidental, and my reading of it may be over-sensitive to issues I focus on.) 

Did you catch the last few weeks of collective grief at the (apparent) death of Resting Bitch Face?

I haven't read any 2000AD beyond 2012 (but am trying to catch up) so I don't know about current plot threads.  As other posters have indicated, I may need to wait until the arc plays out over time to be able to appreciate where its heart ultimately lies.
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Frank

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #56 on: 16 August, 2018, 09:24:11 pm »
... I may need to wait until the arc plays out over time to be able to appreciate where its heart ultimately lies.

Try reading Grey Area in the same frame of mind you'd use watching Starship Troopers.



Tjm86

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #57 on: 17 August, 2018, 09:04:30 am »
I haven't read any 2000AD beyond 2012 (but am trying to catch up) so I don't know about current plot threads.  As other posters have indicated, I may need to wait until the arc plays out over time to be able to appreciate where its heart ultimately lies.

IIRC it elicited some similar feelings when it first came out.  The fact that it has solidly given you such uncomfortable feelings suggests to me that it has been effectively written. 

Plus, what Frank said ....

Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #58 on: 19 August, 2018, 02:41:10 am »
Top Five Covers of 2012

Age of the Wolf (1772)
John Davis-Hunt
   

Nikolai Dante (1773)
Neil Roberts


Judge Dredd (1776)
Chris Weston


Ichabod Azrael (1795)
Clint Langley
   
Trifecta (1812)
Cliff Robinson & Dylan Teague
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Funt Solo

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Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« Reply #59 on: 24 August, 2018, 09:55:50 pm »
2013: 1st Quarter

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


Savage (1812.5-1823)
Script: Pat Mills
Art: Patrick Goddard
Letters: Ellie De Ville

The allies are advancing to liberate London, and urge the resistance groups to rise up against the Volg occupiers.  Savage's group are tasked with taking and holding the last bridge across the Thames but become increasingly embattled as the allied push stalls.

The analogy with the Warsaw Uprising of World War II is clear and name-checked in the strip.  Here, the Americans play the part of the Russians, with the suggestion being that the push is being deliberately stalled in order to have the resistance groups eliminated prior to the end of the war.

What this does well is present a squad-level view of the combat, where each side demonizes the other in order to make the killing easier:



Gritty and unforgiving, the only downside is some heavy-handed conspiracy-theorizing from the author, where it is suggested that some shadowy global organization invents wars for continuing profit.  The war robots checking house prices before causing collateral damage is an amusing conceit but jars in an otherwise believable depiction of brutal urban combat.


Judge Dredd (1813-1823)

Heller's Last Stand (1813-1815)
Chaos Day Rating: 0 [it's as if it never happened]
Script: Robbie Morrison
Art: Peter Doherty
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Judge Heller (a senior Judge of Dredd's vintage) is under investigation by Dredd.  A good story, well told.

Sealed (1816)
Chaos Day Rating: 5 [it's an intrinsic part of the story]
Script: Michael Carroll
Art: John Burns
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

A kind Dredd saves a child from (posthumous) domestic abuse whilst dealing carefully with trigger-happy looters.  I really liked this: it's one of the key reasons that this Dredd arc is getting second place ranking in the thrill-list.

Closet (1817)
Chaos Day Rating: 5 [it's an intrinsic part of the story]
Script: Rob Williams
Art: Michael Dowling
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

A young man comes out as gay whilst telling his story of familial prejudice.  It was nice to see this, as the last story I'd seen that mentioned LGBT issues was the terrible The Guile Show in the Megazine (321-322), which presented transgender issues as exploitative comedy fodder.

Witch's Promise (1818)
Chaos Day Rating: 0 [it's as if it never happened]
Script: Alan Grant
Art: David Roach
Colours: James Offredi
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Easily winning first place for Most Convenient Placement of a Cat, this quick thrill follows the ongoing misadventures of Toots Milloy, and also neatly sets up a future Tales From the Black Museum with the apprehension of a dragon's foot.  Clearly, it's sorely missed:



Save Him (1819)
Chaos Day Rating: 3 [it's part of the text, but the city looks fine]
Script: Rob Williams
Art:Simon Davis
Letters: Ellie De Ville

A crazy psi tries to murder Dredd as revenge for causing Chaos Day.

Wolves (1820-1822)
Chaos Day Rating: 4 [city in ruins, but family unaffected]
Script: Michael Carroll
Art: Andrew Currie
Colours: Chris Blythe
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Chief Judge Hershey has been replaced by an 18-year old Jimp, but nobody notices.  The Jimp then orders all citizens of previous Sov nationality to be repatriated in exchange for food aid.

Apart from the depiction of Hershey as just having left school, this is a good story, but seems to be setting something up for the future.  Dredd makes a mysterious statement at the end.

Black Kisses (1823)
Chaos Day Rating: 1 [it gets hinted at in a text box]
Script: T.C. Eglington
Art: Karl Richardson
Letters: Annie Parkhoused

The worst of this set: a self-replicating kissing tattoo is killing cits!


Ampney Crucis Investigates The Entropy Tango (1812.5-1822)
Script: Ian Edginton
Art: Simon Davis
Letters: Ellie De Ville

We're well and truly down the rabbit hole now.  Ampney is perhaps in an alternative reality, but possibly it's just an altered reality where he hasn't altered.  There are friendly martians (like from War of the Worlds, but passive), cyborg cultists and assassins, and possessed relatives attempting to resurrect a long-dead god-race. 

It's a lot of fun, a little confusing, and opens up more threads than it closes.  It doesn't have an ending, which is a downside in a story.  Ampney, perhaps quite sensibly, forgets all about it.  As always, beautifully painted:




The Red Seas: Fire Across the Deep (1812.5-1823)
Script: Ian Edginton
Art: Steve Yeowell
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Philosophically quite fascinating, this (apparently) final tale in the saga openly asks the question of how all the different mythologies (Satan, the Norse pantheon et al) can all coexist in one universe.

Story-wise: Jack and his crew (and various allies) go up against Satan and his army of all the dead, in an attempt to reunite Cerberus with his body. 

It's not bad: but there's no jeopardy as we don't know the rules here.  Anyone who dies that we care about is immediately resurrected.  Fitting then, that it should end.  Perhaps it was all just a tale told in a tavern over a few mugs of ale.




Strontium Dog: The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha, Chapter Three - Mutant Spring (1812.5-1821)
Script: John Wagner
Art: Carlos Ezquerra
Letters: Simon Bowland

Having discovered that the mutant population of Britain has been stealthily sterilized by norm supremacists, Johnny starts a (second? third?) mutant rebellion.  The norms react by sending in the military, who aim to eliminate all mutants.   

Another story that ticks a lot of boxes (great art, good storytelling, lots of action, betrayals) but lacks something.  I don't know if it's just more difficult for me to take seriously something where someone has a face on their knee.  Or is it that we already did the rebellion back in Portrait of a Mutant?  Or that the norms already tried to wipe out the mutants (again) in The Final Solution?  Or that Johnny died.  Or that I miss Wulf.  I don't know: it's good, but not great.  Oh my poor heartses, I just don't know what to think.  Maybe I have a problem with Alpha being too militant:

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