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Author Topic: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg  (Read 393 times)

Funt Solo

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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.


PsychoGoatee

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!
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