Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 

Author Topic: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg  (Read 1331 times)

Funt Solo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 5748
    • View Profile
Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« on: 09 August, 2018, 07:18:26 pm »
In attempting to get caught up on 8 years worth of back issues I wanted to comment on some of the best stories in the Megazine.

Best of the Meg from 298 to 323

In order of publication...


Lilly Mackenzie And The Mines of Charybdis (2010: 298-305)
Script & art: Simon Fraser
Colours: Gary Caldwell
Lettering: Simon Bowland

A space opera that focusses strongly on the relationship between the title character and her best friend Cosmo Judd (who has dwarfism).  Whilst we follow Lilly on a quest that ties back to her adventurous past, at the heart of the story is Cosmo's unrequited love for Lilly: whilst he seems destined to remain in the friend zone, Lilly clearly cares deeply for him.  There is a set up for a sequel, and so I'm hopeful there'll be more of this tale.




Hondo City Justice (2010: 300-303)
Script: Robbie Morrison
Art: Neil Googe
Colours: Gary Caldwell
Letters: Ellie De Ville

This stars Inspector Inaba, who started as a supporting character in Shimura and had a couple of titled series (Babes With Big Bazookas and Big Lix & Flying Kicks) from 1996-1998.  In this tale, she is teamed with Cadet Judge Junko Asahara: a sort of super-powered psi.  Glorious art with a manga bent, kick-ass female leads that aren't visually exploited, a plot that wouldn't blush as a powerful screenplay and a good mix of action and humour all tie together to leave me wanting a lot more.




Insurrection II (2011: 305-310)
Script: Dan Abnett
Art: Colin MacNeil
Letters: Simon Bowland

The first Insurrection (2008-2009: 279-284) proved that dressing Warhammer 40K's Space Marines up as Judges was a great idea.  With such a powerful first tale, the danger here is that we might get a tricky second album, but it holds together really well as a sequel: very much presenting itself as the middle tale of a trilogy.  Much more than the first act, this leaves us well and truly on a cliffhanger (which is a slight weakness).  In terms of growth, the characters' core dilemma is brought to the fore: can you fight effectively for freedom without hurting the master you once held dear?




American Reaper (2011-2012: 316-321)
Story: Pat Mills
Art: Clint Langley
Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Pat Mills & Clint Langley collaborated for years on Slaine with The Books of Invasion (2002-2006) and Slaine the Wanderer (2009-2010) arcs.  One of the key aspects of Clint Langley's work on Slaine was a unique blend of photography and art: something that is also used here, and has a tendency to marmite the audience (as the blend of forms sometimes leaves us in the uncanny valley).  What's on offer here is just so fascinating, though: not just an art style, but an entire design aesthetic - a USA that's not only modern but also harks back to Happy Days or Grease.

Rather than just present the tale in comic strip form, there's also a supporting structure of adverts and wanted posters that provide depth to a world in which young people have become a commodity to be consumed by the old and rich.  The tale ends on a cliffhanger, promising a return in the fall of 2012.

If these are photographed people appearing in the strip, how come they don't get credit?  Are they pals, or hired actors?  Has there ever been a piece on how Clint Langley achieves this sort of thing?




Strange & Darke: New Blood (2012: 319-323)
Script: John Smith
Art: Colin MacNeil
Colours: Len O'Grady & Dee Cunniffe
Letters: Ellie De Ville

Somehow, this manages to normalize an animal-skull-headed Brit-Cit occult detective (Inspector J. Strange) and teams him up with new recruit Bekky Darke (Psi Division).  The tale is self aware enough to voice its own similarity to The Wicker Man, as Strange & Darke investigate the odd goings on in a remote Welsh village.  The art manages to masterfully blend beauty with disturbing horror and the tension throughout ramps up to an unusual climax and a denouement that's difficult to predict.

fate amenable to change

PsychoGoatee

  • Member
  • Prog Stacking Droid
  • ***
  • Posts: 950
  • Drokk it!!
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #1 on: 10 August, 2018, 06:26:15 am »
Quality reviewery! I thought American Reaper looked kind of promising, haven't read that yet myself.

IndigoPrime

  • Administrator
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 7670
    • View Profile
    • http://www.craiggrannell.com
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #2 on: 10 August, 2018, 09:03:06 am »
American Reaper must be one of the most divisive things The Meg has ever run. Personally, I soon got fed up with it. The strip moved at a snail’s face, took up an absurd amount of each issue, and had art that just got boring despite its clear technical mastery.

TordelBack

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 24465
  • Thunder Chops is dragged off, gnashing...
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #3 on: 10 August, 2018, 09:24:07 am »
American Reaper must be one of the most divisive things The Meg has ever run. Personally, I soon got fed up with it. The strip moved at a snail’s face, took up an absurd amount of each issue, and had art that just got boring despite its clear technical mastery.

I had only ever seen the odd episode of AR before reading the latter 'books' in a big Meg catch-up. Having read the complaints in the review threads, and not being a fan of Langley's fumetti style, I was expecting an insta-skip, but it was actually a really good read: one of their best collaborations. 

Another case of slower pacing running afoul of a monthly schedule, I think.

Woolly

  • Member
  • Battle Hardened War Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 3927
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #4 on: 10 August, 2018, 10:10:24 am »
I think IP hit the nail on the head: American Reaper just took up too much space for not enough storytelling.

As Tordels said, it's a surprisingly good read in one go though. Hope we get some more one day (albeit with tighter pacing!) Really won me over in the end.

broodblik

  • Member
  • Sentient Tea Bot
  • **
  • Posts: 312
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #5 on: 10 August, 2018, 10:40:07 am »
I liked American Reaper but IP is correct stating it took many pages to not really say anything.

Tiplodocus

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 6891
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #6 on: 15 August, 2018, 07:04:50 pm »
This will be interesting to read as this is where I gave up The Meg. Will these reviews convince me to buy the back issues?
Be excellent to each other. And party on!

I, Cosh

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 9095
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #7 on: 16 August, 2018, 08:40:30 am »
This will be interesting to read as this is where I gave up The Meg. Will these reviews convince me to buy the back issues?
You could've had them for free a couple of months ago so I hope not!
We never really die.

Funt Solo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 5748
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #8 on: 22 August, 2018, 05:20:32 pm »
This will be interesting to read as this is where I gave up The Meg. Will these reviews convince me to buy the back issues?

It's interesting.  One feeling I get on my mass-read is that the Megazine has to play an odd game.  It's the Judge Dredd Megazine, so nearly everything it does is set in the Dredd-verse.  But then it can't really change Mega-City One: it's more like it's the poor cousin that only gets scraps from the table.

Over in 2000AD, for example, we had the Chaos Day arc, which decimated the entire city.  In the Megazine at the same time: nothing happened.  As the city burns (say, around, prog 1784), in Megazine 324 we get The Adjudicators, a joke story by Simon Spurrier about a justice department PR wing.

So, the Megazine has a problem.  The MC-1 in 2000AD isn't the same MC-1 in the Megazine.  With so much Dredd content, and so many writers with so many angles: it's just impossible to hold it together as a believable, consistent fiction. 

When Tour of Duty was running in the prog, the Meg had stories with Dredd posted in The Cursed Earth.  So, there was an element of crossover.

Post Chaos Day, we have similar problems.  Some artists depict the city as it's always looked, but the dialog will indicate that it's after Chaos Day.  Some depict it as a steaming ruin.  I'm finding it difficult to follow what MC-1 is supposed to be like now.

(I currently haven't read beyond 2012, so I don't know how much this situation has altered over time.)
fate amenable to change

IndigoPrime

  • Administrator
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 7670
    • View Profile
    • http://www.craiggrannell.com
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #9 on: 22 August, 2018, 07:00:07 pm »
The problem is, writers only had an inkling of what Wagner was planning. So loads of stories were scripted and written prior to finding out that he'd wiped out most of the city. Even those written after the fact have rarely grappled with what that would mean. It feels like the comics wanted something like a return to something resembling the status quo, bar the odd mention that MC1 is weaker and more broke than it once was.

TordelBack

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 24465
  • Thunder Chops is dragged off, gnashing...
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #10 on: 22 August, 2018, 07:29:05 pm »
The rapidly-increasing population figures in the Nerve centre box also hint at the softest of soft retcons.  As we've noted here before, the city ought to be giant graveyard full of masterless robots, empty habs,  and pies of consumer goods for the taking, with disconnected pockets of blocks full of dislocated refugees, perhaps slowly expanding back into the devastation. There shouldn't be the deep histories of local gangs and established crime bosses and people living in the same block all their lives, there shouldn't even be extnded families, because almost everyone died, and the survivors were moved to 'safe' blocks that had been ruthlessly cleared: it was Year Zero for everyone. 

Aside from creating the stage for some genuinely good post-disaster storylines, I think there's a tacit consensus to just forget the fact that the city died.

Richard

  • Member
  • Posting Machine
  • ***
  • Posts: 1929
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #11 on: 22 August, 2018, 07:57:47 pm »
Those were acceptable excuses for the first 12 months, but it's now been six years. Not dealing with this issue is a failure of imagination.

Dark Jimbo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 6789
  • Grobbendonk spoke gibberish, a fringeworld dialect
    • View Profile
    • DarkJimbo on Deviantart
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #12 on: 23 August, 2018, 09:04:57 am »
Day of Chaos increasingly seems like the big missed oppurtunity of Dredd, all 40plus years of it.

jabish

  • Member
  • Page Numbering Droid
  • **
  • Posts: 237
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #13 on: 23 August, 2018, 09:58:28 am »
The idea of Dredd continuity seems to have ended with Day Of Chaos. Each writer now has their own Dredd world. The reason we talk of Dredd continuity in the first place is because it was handled for so many years basically by one writer. I read Dredd now like any other thrill not the must-read-first the minute it hits the mat on a Saturday morning (unless it’s a Wagner script of course). During Day of Chaos if I was away with work I would buy the digital version cos I needed to see what happened next. The best of times.

TordelBack

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 24465
  • Thunder Chops is dragged off, gnashing...
    • View Profile
Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« Reply #14 on: 23 August, 2018, 11:40:06 am »
That's pretty much my feeling too, Jabish. There are still perfectly enjoyable Dredd stories being produced,  but the excitement of reading Total War and Day of Chaos week to week,  thinking (however foolishly!) "This could be it!  This could be where Dredd finally loses!" is gone.  He did lose, his city was killed.  And it didn't really change anything. So why would anything else?