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Thrill-Coma 2010

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Funt Solo:
2011: 2nd Quarter

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

Dandridge: The House That Dripped Devilry
Dandridge is tasked with anchoring his house before it leaks away or is consumed by uncanny forces, whilst also attempting to save a young couple from a malevolent spirit.  This all occurs with a beautiful mixture of humor, terror and style, with the only rather clunky note being the cameo from Postman Pat.  The art is amazing: 


The Memoirs of Nikolai Dante & Nikolai Dante: Bad Blood
The memoirs are something I've been wanting for ages: a recap of the saga so far.  In twelve pages we get a recap of the previous fourteen years (or 1638 pages)!  Impressive.  Bad Blood moves things forward as the story tries to come to terms with Dante minus crest attempting to outmaneuver Dmitri/Arkady Romanov.  In a surprise twist it turns out that Viktor Romanov is still alive - when I thought he'd been crest-zapped into oblivion back in Heroes Be Damned. 

With the requisite amount of bravado from the heroes, horrific cruelty from the bad guys and back-stabbing galore, the only minor complaint is that it's perhaps a bit repetitive.  Like, sheesh: can't Nikolai catch a break?  Never mind that, though: sit back and feast on the show:


Cadet Anderson:Teenage Kyx
I thought this was an interesting idea when it turned up in Prog 2011 (aka prog 1714.5).  Thanks for that numbering system, Tharg ... it makes things really interesting.  So, for Teenage Kyx, Anderson's been aged forward to where she's close to graduating, and she goes undercover to take on a psi-fogging perp.  We get a set up for a potential follow up story, which would be good to see.

Going back to Anderson's formative years really freshens things up for me.  You can compare this to The House of Vyle in the Megazine, where it's a haunted house yarn not dissimilar to The Possessed from 1986: even to the extent of retreading the "ghostly hands grope Anderson" quip.  So: this ain't that.

Here, Cassandra (Caz, on the right) faces down her adversary (Melinda Kyx):


Judge Dredd
We get a variety of short Dredds: Persistent Vegetative State, What The Hitler Saw, Caterpillars, California Babylon, How To Get Out Of Debt, The Pusher & Scream.  Dredd seems like a showcase for a variety of talent, and in some ways is treading water until the next epic.  It's difficult to maintain a coherent feel with four writers and seven artists all providing their own vision. 

Standing out from the crowd are What The Hitler Saw, with some truly disturbing art, and Caterpillars, which brought some surprise pathos.  Persistent Vegetative State takes the crazy too far, with a literal walking potato man that talks in television quotes. California Babylon is a bit of a mess, with Dredd doing stupid things in the ruins of Mega-City 2.  I know he's tough, but in this and in Scream he just seems like an idiot.  His compatriots say something like "Shouldn't we call in back-up?" and he says something like "I'm too cool tough to kill", and then gets in totally over his head and manages to win out through sheer luck.  I know he's tough, but why write him as pathologically idiotic?

Of all the amazing art on offer, the most beautiful is by Bryan & Alwyn Talbot in Caterpillars:


The Red Seas: Gods And Monsters
This is definitely now a part of an ongoing epic, rather than a standalone yarn.  We learn that Jack Dancer is immortal (but not invulnerable), and is up against Satan.  There's a hint that in the next part that God might also have a bone to pick with him.  It's all a far cry from dinosaurs in a hollow earth (The Hollow Land), which I really enjoyed back in 2006.

Consistently great art from Yeowell, good writing and big themes are becoming a bit hollow for me, though.  I don't see Jack Dancer as anything other than a maguffin to move the plot along.  There's so much magic that deus ex machina happens in nearly every episode: death doesn't mean death, defeat doesn't mean defeat, humans are outnumbered by faceless demons and automatons.  It's dragging a bit, basically: like Ace Trucking did when it got boring.  Didn't like Strike at 64pp, how about The Doppelgarp at 84pp?  No?  Perhaps I can tempt you with The Garpetbaggers at 94pp?  NO!  STOP!


Absalom: Noblesse Oblige
Absalom takes on a new recruit and they become a useful conduit for quite a bit of Basil Exposition, as we learn that the British aristocracy is somewhat demonic.  I was really hoping to like this because I'm a big Caballistics, Inc. fan, and this is a spin-off.

Unfortunately, the lead characters isn't at all sympathetic, which is a flaw that seems to pervade quite a few 2000AD thrills of this era.  Absalom (like Defoe, Sinister, Dexter, everyone in Necrophim, Ichabod Izrael, everyone in Damnation Station, Zombo and Stickleback) is basically a shit-heel.  He's devoid of conscience: ordering an underling to murder a defeated opponent (with no explanation given beyond that he feels like it) and then later bartering the lives of his underlings seemingly without care.  Why are we on his side? 

Isn't there a problem if I'd rather the protagonist got defeated by the villains than otherwise?


Flesh: Texas
This presents itself as a proper sequel to the Flesh stories from early progs: sort of a Book 3.  To summarize the plot: a bunch of drugged up cowboys take absolutely insane risks around giant carnivorous reptiles with predictable consequences.  There's a sub-plot involving a misogynistic preacher.  There is also a magic T-Rex with 666 branded onto its nose.

I don't know how people reacted to this when it was first published in 2011, but I was finding it difficult to comprehend how awful it is.  I mean: why would anyone expect any of the employees to survive when they're all so stupid?  It just comes across as terrible writing.

This is a line of dialog: "This 'Gorehead' will lead us down the steep hillside of depravity, degradation and self-defilement!  Turning us into vile speedos with the stamp of our secret vices on our faces".  Nobody speaks like that.  Nobody would stand still to listen to it.

There's one episode where a female character persuades a male character to go skinny-dipping in a (dinosaur-infested) swamp, whereupon the male is impaled on the beak of a giant dino-heron.  As he is consumed, screaming in bloody terror, she watches on casually (rather than, say, running away for the sake of self-preservation), tells him he deserves it and cracks a joke.  It's unbelievably stupid, for 62 pages.  And it ends on a cliffhanger, which means that there will be more of it.

Trying to find the positive, this wraparound cover is great:


Special Mention: the Kleggs try to sell us t-shirts in prog 1739

Dark Jimbo:

--- Quote from: Funt Solo on 18 July, 2018, 12:29:42 AM ---Dandridge: The House That Dripped Devilry
Dandridge is tasked with anchoring his house before it leaks away or is consumed by uncanny forces, whilst also attempting to save a young couple from a malevolent spirit.  This all occurs with a beautiful mixture of humor, terror and style...
--- End quote ---

I loved Dandridge. You've only got one more story, though, and that's your lot - a crying shame if you ask me.


--- Quote from: Funt Solo on 18 July, 2018, 12:29:42 AM ---Absalom: Noblesse Oblige
Unfortunately, the lead characters isn't at all sympathetic, which is a flaw that seems to pervade quite a few 2000AD thrills of this era.  Absalom... is basically a shit-heel.  He's devoid of conscience: ordering an underling to murder a defeated opponent (with no explanation given beyond that he feels like it) and then later bartering the lives of his underlings seemingly without care.  Why are we on his side?
--- End quote ---

You're maybe the first person to articulate how I feel about Absalom - adore the strip, but Harry himself's a right sanctimonious prick - and not in the 'loveable old Harry' way that the other characters seem to think.


--- Quote from: Funt Solo on 18 July, 2018, 12:29:42 AM ---Flesh: Texas
I don't know how people reacted to this when it was first published in 2011, but I was finding it difficult to comprehend how awful it is...   It's unbelievably stupid, for 62 pages.  And it ends on a cliffhanger, which means that there will be more of it.
--- End quote ---

Unbelievably, Flesh somehow gets worse each and every time it shows up.

Taryn Tailz:
I remember Flesh, of this period, being a very rare example of a 2000AD strip which I gave up on. I usually read the prog cover to cover, even strips I don't particularly enjoy, but I found Flesh so bad that I couldn't bring myself to read it every week.

TordelBack:

--- Quote from: Taryn Tailz on 21 July, 2018, 12:42:50 PM ---I remember Flesh, of this period, being a very rare example of a 2000AD strip which I gave up on. I usually read the prog cover to cover, even strips I don't particularly enjoy, but I found Flesh so bad that I couldn't bring myself to read it every week.

--- End quote ---

Heh, I loved it!  Just accept that everyone in it is on sanity-blocking drugs (Smileez) and just look at the gloriously drawn dinos munching on cowboys.  That's what it says on the tin after all.

Colin YNWA:

--- Quote from: TordelBack on 21 July, 2018, 01:04:01 PM ---
--- Quote from: Taryn Tailz on 21 July, 2018, 12:42:50 PM ---I remember Flesh, of this period, being a very rare example of a 2000AD strip which I gave up on. I usually read the prog cover to cover, even strips I don't particularly enjoy, but I found Flesh so bad that I couldn't bring myself to read it every week.

--- End quote ---

Heh, I loved it!  Just accept that everyone in it is on sanity-blocking drugs (Smileez) and just look at the gloriously drawn dinos munching on cowboys.  That's what it says on the tin after all.

--- End quote ---

I'm with you there. I know it wasn't a popular strip but I really enjoyed it and was sad when it left the Prog... though it had gone down the 7 villianous warriors route by then. Spoilers just in-case Funt Solo is trying to stay unspoiled.

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