Spoilers > Prog

Thrill-Coma 2010

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Funt Solo:
So I stopped reading 2000AD at prog 1683, back in 2010 (due to a temporary lack of funds).  Fast forward eight years, and I was waxing lyrical nostalgia to her indoors (who spends more time out of doors than me by a large margin) about Tooth when she suggested I revisit it.  And lo and behold, what was once a nachtmare (expensive mail-subs from overseas, or online systems that didn't accept $$$) is now as smooth as finely-ground extra-smooth peanut butter.  Thanks, 2000AD shop.

So, when I left - Judge Dredd was on his Tour of Duty and Mayor Ambrose had just sent his Hershey-headed love droid to assassinate CJ Sinfield.  Damnation Station was looking great but not really thrilling me.  Zombo was trying to be funny, but not tickling me.  Ichabod Azrael was confusing me and making me think I would benefit from a classical education.  And Nikolai Dante was losing the war.

And now I've decided to get caught up, by reading eight years worth of missing progs.  The only spoiler I know about is that something called the Day of Chaos happened to MC-1 and did some serious damage.  I've been at it a couple of weeks and am up to prog 1708. It's a bit weird to realize that's what brand new for me is 8 years old for everyone else.   

In Dredd: Sinfield deposed!  Ambrose/Maybe locked up!  Dredd on the Council of 5!  And a couple of corking horror/procedurals in the form of The Skinning Room (progs 1700-1704) and Skull Sessions (1706-1707).  Tour of Duty had run for 45 progs: does it count as a mega-epic?  I'm assuming that Dredd won't last long on the Council.

In Strontium Dog (The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha) : Johnny's alive!  Okay, I didn't see that coming.  Mostly because I saw him die way back when.  I guess this is a bit of a Dallas maneuver, but done more subtly than "Feral dreamt it in the shower".  And what about Feral's fate - fattened up and then burnt to death?  Was this some kind of a punishment from the writer?  Also, it's not clear exactly how well Johnny is going to be, or what's happened to Middenface (who offered himself in a life-exchange).

In Nikolai Dante: no crest!  No way!  This reminds me of Friday (aka Rogue without the biochips).  I wonder if it's permanent, and I wonder why the writer chose to do it.  Is it for vulnerability, or were they just sick of writing disembodied dialogue?  Is the crest dead?  The stories City of the Damned and The Master of Kronstadt deal with the immediate aftermath.  I feel like this would benefit from a family tree diagram of some sort.  So many characters, and at this point spanning a story that's run for 13 years (with me 8 years beyond that). I'm a bit like "who-they?" everytime someone new comes into frame.   

Low Life (Hostile Takeover) is great - Dirty Frank is perhaps my favorite comedy 2000AD character ever because he makes me laugh out loud.  Like with this exchange from 1704:   

Dirty Frank: "Truly, you have an impressive and capacious weapon, Corrupt Judge Stewart."
Corrupt Judge Stewart: "You don't have to broadcast the 'corrupt' thing, y'know, turdboy."
Dirty Frank: "Who revealed Dirty Frank's secret middle name?"

Sinister Dexter, The Red Seas, Savage and Defoe are all in there: well produced but not my favorite thrills. 

The big new thrill is Age of the Wolf - which blew my mind with the double page spread of the hero being torn apart in the penultimate episode.  I assume this returns for new stories, because it's so good and really serves as just an opener for a larger tale.

Colin YNWA:
Oh cool so is this going to be an ongoing feature, until you catch up? Nice to see a reading report starting in modern times.
...though Age of the Wolf, interesting!

Funt Solo:
I've just finished up the last chunk of 2010: progs 1709-1714, prog 2011 (aka prog 1714.5) and megs 300-305.

In summary: new thrills best, old thrills worst.

There's a lot of comedy around - mostly in Dredd (20 Years to Midnight), but also in Armitage.  For some reason, cooking shows feature back to back in Dredd's "Come Die With Me" and a Future Shock titled "Universal Masterchef".

Al Ewing does a great job on the comedy Dredds: remembering to play Dredd straight against a backdrop of lunacy.  "20 Years to Midnight" stands out as it features a brief glimpse at a middle-aged Chopper, and the return (after what seems like a long time) of Walter and Mrs Gunderson (replete with three fanny jokes).  On the other hand, "Bald Ambition" from meg 304 is played too broadly and winks too knowingly at the reader with "gaze into the head of bald".  Cat Sullivan is doing it better with a series of "gaze into" puns quietly rocking Droid Life.

Old Thrills
Defoe has no heart.  It's beautifully rendered, but it's just endless waves of zombies being gunned down in an oddly unfamiliar history.  Steampunk zombies sounds good on the tin, but the protagonist is completely unlikable, and is surrounded by unlikable allies and enemies.

Sinister Dexter has no heroes.  There are laughs to be had (mostly from Charon going nuts whenever anyone say "change") but there's a sense of repetition built into a story that has had to resurrect all of its threats by hauling them in from another dimension.

Armitage starts out gritty but descends into farce.  I've never really liked this story.  Another unsympathetic character.

Anderson doesn't seem to be doing anything new in House of Vyle.  Assuming she was 20 when we first met her, she should be about 50 in this story, but she looks much younger.  Shouldn't she be aging, like Dredd?  It's all tits and ass from an ever-young Anderson.  (The Cadet Anderson story in p2011 worked better.)

New Thrills
Age of the Wolf was just a stunning opener for a new thrill: I hope it returns.   Great art, a horrific penultimate episode, and mad ideas.

Dandridge was quite good fun, and seems to follow in a line of sort-of posh eccentric Englishmen.  One I've hated (Bix Barton), most of them seem like curios (Ampney Crucis, Harry Kipling), but this one seems fresh.  I had to look up Barney to see why it was the "Return of the Chap", and found that he'd first surfaced in prog 1631's Past Imperfect.

Lilly MacKenzie (and the mines of Charybdis) was a wild ride: I really like that you feel like the characters have made a new connection by the end of the story.

Samizdat Squad had a first episode and looks intriguing.  East-Meg stories haven't had much succesful longevity (The Inspectre, Red Razors), so it would be nice for this to work well.

Hondo City Justice had great art and and it was good to get a follow up on Inaba (and mentions of Shimura).

Coming up...
Lots to look forward to:

* Shakara: Avenger
* Kingdom: His Master's Voice
* Numbercruncher
* Flesh [?]
* Cursed Earth Koburn

Funt Solo:
Early 2011

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

Kingdom: His Master's Voice
Series four continues the adventures of Gene the Hackman, a bio-engineered humanoid canine battling against the giant insectoid Them who appear to be the dominant species on this future Earth. We don't get a major loose end tied up from the previous series, instead focusing on some backstory.  Richard Elson's art is a joy, and Gene's cadence has always been compelling.  I didn't get the "Surfeater Roberts" pun, though: maybe someone can help me out.

Shakara: Avenger
This seemingly simple premise (of a vengeful alien super-being) has stretched itself into a fifth series and remains compelling: although there is a strong implication that it could end here.  Eva Procopio provides some much-needed additional dialog options for the mostly holophrastic main character, as explored in this self-referential aside:

Ampney Crucis Investigates ... The List of Ten
What starts out as Murder on the Orient Express (set aboard a giant zeppelin) twists into something more sinister (somewhat reminiscent of  Leviathan).  Rather than a completely standalone tales, it ties back to previous series and then ends on a cliffhanger.  I enjoyed the beautifully rendered humorous expressions, like here:

Judge Dredd: In Control
There are lots of JD stories in this part of 2011 (including the eight episode Served Cold), but In Control stands out, as it opens a lid on part of the Dreddverse that's not often fleshed out: what's it like to be one of the Judges at Control?

Necrophim: Civil Warlord
This third series appears to be the last, with a war fought in Hell between Satan and the other denizens.  This has always had a very strong art style and interesting design aesthetic, with Satan presented as an egotistical, unbalanced rock-goth lothario suffering from chronic ennui.

Special Mention: The ABC Warriors Star Scan series by Liam Sharp
I always enjoyed character posters in the prog, and they became super-rare, so this lot was a pleasure:

Dark Jimbo:

--- Quote from: Funt Solo on 10 July, 2018, 06:55:40 PM ---Kingdom: His Master's Voice
I didn't get the "Surfeater Roberts" pun, though: maybe someone can help me out.

--- End quote ---

Servitor Robots!


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