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Author Topic: Prog 1835: Backblast!  (Read 12403 times)

TordelBack

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #60 on: 11 June, 2013, 04:15:19 PM »
Haven't had a chance to set out my thoughts on 1835 yet, 'cos I've alot of them:

Cover:  Stonking, but a bit similar to the 1829.  Not that I mind, that was lovely too.

Dredd:  I know I'm a bad squaxx, but despite this story's many strengths and sustained atmosphere, I didn't really get along with it, and the conclusion didn't help.

ART: PJ's artwork was superb throughout, keeping each cadet visually distinctive, coming up with a new and scary goblin-market version of the Troggies and the Undercity, and maintaining a dense claustrophobic vision of a city burning and falling apart that has few peers.  His craggy Dredd was excellent value as ever.  Interestingly, this week's episode set in the open and snowy Uranium City appropriately conveyed a wholly different feel, and I confess that I preferred what Blythe's lighter more restrained pallette does to PJ's inks to the darker look employed on earlier episodes, even though the latter was effective.

Also, either PJ takes requests for free, or I need to check if my receding hairline has exposed a hitherto unsuspected eagle mark.  Here's a younger thinner me commenting on Part 1:

While I love PJ's action-packed art here, I still don't like the bland beardy design for Dolman - he looks like he needs an eye-patch, or at the very least an Arctic Explorer parka

 :o

STORY: Mike's Joe Dredd was pitch-perfect as usual, that hardest of tricks clearly mastered.  I thought the device of cadet-an-episode was good, and the exploration of the effect of the disaster on a reasonable disparate group was well handled.  The grimness of DoC's aftermath was as well-conveyed as anyone so far has managed, tieing with Rennie & Beeby's Hamida story.  However, that's probably where my positive comments end, so those of a sensitive disposition may want to look away now.

Some of my complaints are nerdishly nitpicky, and reflect poorly on me, dealing as they do with the story's chronology, and the nature of Chaos Day:
 
The cadets are sent out to Sector 53 on Chaos Day/Election Day itself.  The Academy was attacked and destroyed in the first few minutes of Chaos Day (Chaos Day, Part 1), so presumably this was immediately after a midnight departure, but if so maybe such a huge event/narrow escape should have been referred to?  Or to be fair, these are older cadets, maybe they had already been dispersed to undermanned posts, which would fit with an overwhelmed Judge force as described in 'Eve of Destruction'.  But after the Academy's destruction would Dredd have risked and then abandoned these 'precious commodities', 9 of only 600 survivors that represent the Department's future?

'On the streets at least, Chaos Day is turning out to be surprisingly unchaotic' (Chaos Day, Part 2).  Much of what 'The Forsaken' describes seems to be more in keeping with the events running up to Election Day, rather than Chaos Day and its aftermath.  In the original story, the streets were largely deserted, the horror confined to the Blocks as the virus takes hold, the population driven indoors, with only a handful of rioters and refugees amongst the corpses. Dredd and Beeny's nightmare slog through block after block  takes place in the early part of the  timeframe of 'The Forsaken', but paints a very different picture.

The riots were a (partly stage-managed by subversive groups) reaction to the belief the Judges were indiscriminately killing the population, a fear that must be ingrained in a citizenry that survived Cal's reign and Necropolis, where the (brainwashed) Judges did exactly this. This breakdown in trust is what allows the virus to spread, the breaking of curfew and the rioting are the means to this end - the 'Chaos riots' precede the Day of Chaos,  and even Total War, Rage Against the Megs and Tox-9 have largely made their final plays by then. 

By the time the cadets are sent out, it's the virus and the infected that constitute the threat, not rioters themselves. Despite this, the cadets are sent out without any obvious biohazard protection at all, and don't seem concerned.  In this context the 'futsie' Judge Struthers encountered back in Part 3 was surely more likely to have been a virus victim, bloodshot eyes and all, a diagnosis that no-one seems to have thought of, and Tanuma doesn't seem worried about infection afterwards. 
Basically, I feel that the story misrepresents the sequence of events, and the nature of the threat, which is unfortunate in a story that so explicitly deals with this setup. 

I already moaned in a previous thread about how unlikely it was that Dolman's resignation in 2126 could have influenced policy re: not telling Paris about her origins after her 'birth' at apparent-age 5 in 2122, so I'll leave the chronological whining there, except to note that the poor thing appears to be pregnant at 12. 

My second problem with the story is perhaps more serious than this fanboy thread-tugging.  The story is 6 parts long, a goodly length for a Dredd tale, and yet has no real conclusion and no real information about Ms. McGuffin (McDredd?) herself: instead we get some technofudge about not-really-a-clone-actually and now as a second less-obvious twist, the prospect of Dredd's... (second?) great-nephew-or-niece? 

I've tried to learn something about Paris and her character by re-reading the whole thing, but all I see is someone restating the party line, and then going along with arch-knob baby-papa Falcon anyway.  What were Justice Dept playing at cloning Dredd (again) and then changing the sequence in such a drastic way?  What was the point?  If you wanted a great female judge with (better yet) no history of going of the rails, then why not clone Hershey, or Dekker or Garcia?  Wouldn't they already have had Nimrod as cautionary example of mucking about with the Fargo bloodline?  We don't find out. We don't find out what happens to Falcon, and we don't find out anything much about Paris as an experiment or as a person.  All still to be resolved for sure, but wouldn't it have been better to do this in the story itself?  At 36 pages it seems like there was room to do so, but the necessity of concealing the double-twist until the end prevented it, and defering resolution to a later date frustrates and diminishes.

Worse, we never find out what Dredd himself is actually doing in this strip, when it's really Dolman's show - except that Dolman himself doesn't really do much more than be Mr. Sensitive, which used to be Rico II's job.  As a result, the two-headed family-tree road-trip makes one think all these Dredd clones are pretty redundant in the first place.  If Dredd's purpose was recovering lost cadets, then why this bullying nonsense of threatening to send children to Titan?

I'm left with the feeling that setting up Fargo: Generation 4(?) was the ultimate point of all this, but that's yet another dangling thread that surely can't deliver for many years yet.  Which all leaves me unsatisfied with what we did get. 

Apologies for being so harsh chaps, if you care at all about whiny fanboy entitlement (and why would you) take comfort from the fact that this story was complex and interesting enough that I've spent a lot of time thinking about it.  It certainly didn't elicit a fatal 'meh'.

Cadet Anderson: Meh.

Sinister Dexter:  Phew, I get to gush about something, rounding out the stereotype I've become.  Lovely, lovely stuff: great art, brilliant pun, a clever resolution to the stand-off, and a nice set-up for a road trip.  What will the rest of Generica look like?

Stickleback:  A quick glance at my icon and username will show that I'm far from a neutral observer when it comes to this strip, but even allowing for that bias I thought this double-helping was yummy.  Especially liked the overhead image of Stickleback and Bob surrounded by dinoi-warriors, beautiful stuff.  I didn't expect the Saurian sidekick, or the return of Inspector Bey, so that's two good surprises in what has been a pretty satisfying getting-the-gang-back-together caper.  Maybe the dinoserfs went down a little too easily, given their supposedly global scope, but it was a neat resolution and in character for Sticklaback himself.  Interesting to see the skellies of Gog and Magog again so soon after their compu-versions in Ampney Crucis, keen to see how Stickleback's son and the powers under London figure into that other story.

Cadet Anderson Reconsidered: Oh alright, I like Cass' shorts.  That's as constructive as I can manage.

Spikes

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #61 on: 11 June, 2013, 07:35:45 PM »
Another good 'n' solid prog.
Dredd come to a conclusion, and i have to say ive really enjoyed this current tale, and though i was maybe expecting a bigger ending - im happy to see how this tale develops in later progs.
Good stuff!
Cadet Anderson carries on in fine form. Like the previous young Anderson tale (or young Durham Red) iTs quite lightweight-ish, but its a solid enough read, and im liking it. And its got King Carlos on art duties. Thats always a big plus.
Thought Sin-Dex was slightly below par, this week. Even John's normally superb art was a bit off, but overall im digging this strip. And Stickleback ends this week with a 'to be continued'. Ive really enjoyed this strip, and im looking forward to more. Ill agree that sometimes the art is hard to follow, but that only means i get to re-read it and pore over it some more.


TordelBack

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #63 on: 15 June, 2013, 06:49:41 PM »
A bit late but:
http://eamonn1961.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/2000ad-prog-1835-medical-review.html

Interesting stuff, and thanks for the link to Orlok's review on ECBT2KAD, makes me feel like slightly less of a frothing loon (and slightly more like part of an angry mob).

Steve Green

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #64 on: 15 June, 2013, 07:07:10 PM »
OK... leaving aside the technical practicalities of it being possible - this is future world tech where they're using cockroach DNA...

The main beef seems to be why would they bother?

Maybe Hershey or even Francisco era politics decided that it would be more humane to not deprive someone of a life outside of the Academy if they don't make the grade - relaxation of the regs seemed to be a likelihood even prior to DoC.

I don't have a problem with it being Dredd rather than a female judge, that was the story that was being told - who's to say there isn't a young Hershey or someone else out there?

TordelBack

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #65 on: 15 June, 2013, 07:38:29 PM »
The main beef seems to be why would they bother?

This would be my problem.  I'd reconciled myself to a female Dredd 'clone' after the first episode, and as you say, futurotech: this is the city that brought you Armon Gill and Nimrod after all.  I just don't get the point in this instance (and the dates suggest it was under Hershey, assuming accelerated growth to Age 5 in the Dredd model).  Or why there was no development of Paris herself as a character in this story: this is the first time we've been introduced to a Dredd family member without learning anything significant about them, and I'm including Randy in this.

Steve Green

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #66 on: 15 June, 2013, 07:51:19 PM »
I'd say it was more of a setup rather than answering all the questions - as to why they'd do it - who knows?

Maybe it was an attempt to see whether a female Dredd clone would offer something else? To see if the flawed bloodline is more noticeable in the male.

Out of the Bloodline - Fargo attempted suicide, Rico went bad, Kraken was corrupted, Nimrod was a failure, Dolman quit.

It's not a great track record.

or


TordelBack

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #67 on: 15 June, 2013, 08:21:07 PM »
Out of the Bloodline - Fargo attempted suicide, Rico went bad, Kraken was corrupted, Nimrod was a failure, Dolman quit.

It's not a great track record.

You can look at it another way: never having been to the Academy Fargo doesn't count (or why are they bothering to clone him at all?), similarly Kraken is a product of a completely different environment, and arguably a hugely successful one, Nimrod is a product of tinkering with the DNA.  Of the four known unaltered clones who had Academy training, Dredd and Rico II are exemplary judges (despite the former's endless resignations), Dolman's resignation is a product of being a clone and unwillingness to embrace this fixed destiny, and the source of Rico I's corruption is as yet unknown, but from Joe's perspective at least seems to have been environmental. 

So environment seems to have been the important factor in determining whether a Fargo will go good or bad, and the only genetic tinkering done has been disastrous.

Steve Green

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #68 on: 15 June, 2013, 08:37:23 PM »
Just because it's been disastrous before doesn't stop scientists trying again repeatedly.

TordelBack

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #69 on: 15 June, 2013, 09:15:46 PM »
Just because it's been disastrous before doesn't stop scientists trying again repeatedly.

Heh, touche!  It may not be what Mike intended me to take away, but my real objection to convoluted-not-Clone Paris is that as things stand she only exists to be a chase McGuffin and then be pregnant, and that disappoints me, given how interesting the other clones have been as representing facets/variations/alternatives to Dredd. I don't doubt that Mike has plans, but after 6 episodes I find myself making judgements about what we got, and not what we might get in the future.


Hawkmumbler

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #70 on: 15 June, 2013, 09:23:44 PM »
How long did it take to build Rico II, Dolman and Nimrod up as characters? Well beyond there introductory serial I seem to remember, and even then, different methods. Bit premature (sorry!) to make judgements of such nature surely?

Steve Green

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #71 on: 15 June, 2013, 09:26:34 PM »
I can see the argument that we didn't find out much about Paris in relation to the other cadets - but I don't have a problem with it being a setup story for something more substantial.

TordelBack

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #72 on: 15 June, 2013, 09:32:55 PM »
How long did it take to build Rico II, Dolman and Nimrod up as characters? Well beyond there introductory serial I seem to remember, and even then, different methods. Bit premature (sorry!) to make judgements of such nature surely?

All were crisply defined (and in one case nuked and euthanased too) in their introductory stories. Rico I fits that model too, so perhaps its only Kraken that was wheeled on in a very vague manner - but that was a single episode.  However, I agree, it's a matter of personal taste, for which there's no accounting.  So I'll shut up. 

Now, about that mischaracterisation of Chaos Day.... I kid, I kid, I kid because I love.

TordelBack

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #73 on: 15 June, 2013, 09:34:21 PM »
How long did it take to build Rico II, Dolman and Nimrod up as characters? Well beyond there introductory serial I seem to remember, and even then, different methods. Bit premature (sorry!) to make judgements of such nature surely?

All were crisply defined (and in one case nuked and euthanased too) in their introductory stories. Rico I fits that model too, so perhaps its only Kraken that was wheeled on in a very vague manner - but that was in a single episode. 

However, I agree with you both, it's a matter of personal taste, for which there's no accounting.  So I'll shut up. 

Now, about that mischaracterisation of Chaos Day.... I kid, I kid, I kid because I love.

a chosen rider

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Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« Reply #74 on: 16 June, 2013, 02:29:10 AM »
Just because it's been disastrous before doesn't stop scientists trying again repeatedly.

Heh, touche!  It may not be what Mike intended me to take away, but my real objection to convoluted-not-Clone Paris is that as things stand she only exists to be a chase McGuffin and then be pregnant, and that disappoints me, given how interesting the other clones have been as representing facets/variations/alternatives to Dredd. I don't doubt that Mike has plans, but after 6 episodes I find myself making judgements about what we got, and not what we might get in the future.

Yeah, I really do hope this is setup for something interesting coming soon, because honestly, it's a little bit unfortunate to have the very first thing a female version of Dredd does be to run away from her responsibilities and get knocked up.  :-\  I know there's precedent for Dredd clones going off the rails - and reproducing! - but as the first and so far only representation of "what Dredd would be like if he was a girl", the implications are really a tad dodgy.  Hopefully now that the twist reveal is out of the way there'll be a chance to show some more of her personality so we can see some of the family traits coming through.

Because really, a pregnant/mother character with Dredd's personality would be all kinds of fascinating.  :D  (I can't quite decide whether this would be in the "hyper-efficient overprotective parent" way or the "total emotional trainwreck" way, but either way, definitely fascinating.)
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