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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 183141 times)

Funt Solo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1110 on: 31 March, 2021, 09:36:46 PM »
Necropolis does have a sense of having lost something after the great build-up. And the Sisters are a bit vaudevillian. On the other hand, the Enceladus arc has some great scenes but suffers from that that trope from movies where the hero is captured and has some body-horror torture done to 'em. I hear that bit from Austin Powers "why not just kill them?" Also, Aimee is now just a ranting loon. I don't like the ranting loons much. See also: ST Nemesis.
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1111 on: 01 April, 2021, 09:54:41 AM »
Aimee is now just a ranting loon. I don't like the ranting loons much. See also: ST Nemesis.

I kinda like that aspect.We've seen the steady decline of Aimee from her introduction and this is the final phase of that. First raving loon and then finally undead ice spider monster - like all the best villains - its a dramatic step in her decent, but one that follows the trajectory I'd suggest.



I've been remiss in the run up to Prog 1950 - its one of those phases were stories move in and out but no line-up takes hold and shapes this phase of Progs and so I've found my comments drifting. I then get to a natural break point - flick back and by GOD a lot of great stuff has passed by.

So for the first time in a long time I'm going to do one of those numbered short comment threads I used to do to cover this sort of stuff. Buckle up buttercup we got 26 Progs to cover...

1. In Prog 1924 with the shiney Bolland cover as well as three thrills I've referenced already we get two more that don't really grab me at all. Orlok just passes the time, which is arguably the worst thing any Thrill can do. And Slaine - Brutania Chronicles Book 2 - Primordial has more letters in its title than I can be bothered to type about its content...

2. Well that's not true I should say it alas shows that even a great, GREAT artist, perfect for what I want for this strip, can only give it a temporary up lift.

3. Breaking Bud steps into Dredd in Prog 1929 and aside from one of the great titles of our time is a curious mix of downtrodden citizen and sci-fi caper. I'm not sure it quite works, but by george I love the way it goes for it.

4. There's been some fantastic 3rillers since their introduction but I have to say the couple that pop up during this phase just aren't that successful and fall into the camp of over extended Future Shock, or clear attempt (well to my eyes what do I actually know) to launch a series from it. 3rillers work best when they look at and embrace the form entirely I think.

5. Prog 1932 has a stunning Tharg cover by Alex Ronald and I love a stunning Tharg cover - I hope I voted for this in the Cover of the Year vote?

6. As this is a choppy run we get a number of Future Terror Shocking Tales as well... I have to be brutal none of them really grabbed me.

7. Prog 1934 is a mini relaunch Prog Dredd starts Blood of Emeralds and Absalom and Helium kick off.

8. And then Outlier jumps onboard next Prog as well. I'll say it now - and I know this isn't a popular view - I love Outlier. Even though I'm not a fan of Karl Richardson's art if I'm honest. Here his tight muscular art is perfect for the tight, muscular script. It completely lacks characters of charm and they should fall into that late 90s knob character mold. But again here they work perfectly. The concepts are fascinating, the action engaging and despite a host of things that mean it shouldn't work its a fine example of a thrill coming together perfectly and working as something greater than the sum of its parts. Just as some thrills can fail even though all its elements seeming to work, this one falls into the other end of the spectrum and is a visoral delight. I'm really looking forward to it concluding chapter.

9. Blood of Emeralds is only 6 parts which surprises me, as it reads as an exciting meaty thriller. Redressing the light hearted pomp of the Emerald Isle and investigating the hard and bloody relationship between the UK and Ireland far more effectively. Colin MacNeil's bold and contrast heavy art perfectly suits Mike Carroll's tale that reads like an 80s grim and disturbing BBC 2 drama. All dark corners and violence regret in the shadows.

10. Absalom - Under a False Flag continues to prove I much prefer Harry's tale on re-read having taken time to warm to this first time. I love the drive towards the single overarching story, even as the individual tales cut along their own dark path.

11. Jaegir's overarching drive might be less obvious, but as with the above Grennie forboding tale so with Jaegir. I'm loving it this time from the off. The end of Tartarus also underlines that her relationship with her father certainly shapes these early tales.

12. The Alienist then pops in. ANOTHER Grennie newbie. He's rattling them out at this time. This time ably assisted by Emma beeby. This one is fine, its just less gripping and engaging. The echos aren't as scary, the shadows not as forboding and if some of these posh, turn of the century types pop their cloggs I'm not really engaged enough to care.

13. In 1945 Grey Area pops back in - its just as good. It seems to fill the role of Dabnett end of run filler that Sinister Dexter was reduced to. It does it better, but this has become such a top thrill as discussed below that I feel it deserves a solid run as this tale as real momentum and a singular focus.

14. THEN in 1946 we get the introduction of Dreams of Deadworld - that foreshadows Tales of Deadworld with four shorts each focusing on one each of the Dark Judges. Kek-W and Dave Kendall do a simply wonderful, bleakly wonderful, job of immediately adding the horrific edge that the 4 DJs had lost since Necropolis and show quite clearly there's life in the old corpsemaking corpses yet. Brilliant.

15, And so Helium ends, that's okay, its okay it'll be back. I mean they're not going to abandon a thrill this immediately engaging. A thrill that quickly crafts a sense of world inhabited by fantastic characters before thrusting you into high octane action, aeronautics and thrills. A thrill that is such a success that they are bold enough to leave us, even in the first book, on a cliffhanger of devilish proportions... they can't leave us hangin' for long with something this good... they couldn't, could they... hello... hello... HELLO...

16. You can tell you've at a choppy and changy phase when you start to get fairly random feeling double part stories filling pages as we head towards a launch Prog. Its not that Dredd tale Ghost Town isn't good, it pretty fine with lush art by David Taylor perfectly crafting a good tale by Ian Edginton. Its just not double length episode special. Still it gets us across the line and into 1950 perfectly well.

17. There's been a LOT going on in this phase of 26 Progs and looking at what's coming in Prog 1950 it won't be keeping Bad Company either...

18.... but you'll be glad to hear that's for later!

broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1112 on: 01 April, 2021, 10:06:19 AM »
What is wrong with Outlier? For me it is everything a like  about sci-fi.  It might not be the most dynamic strip ever but the artwork were truly wonderful and it had a interesting premises.
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

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Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1113 on: 08 April, 2021, 09:16:49 PM »
What is wrong with Outlier? For me it is everything a like  about sci-fi.  It might not be the most dynamic strip ever but the artwork were truly wonderful and it had a interesting premises.

Oh gosh nothing - I just get the impression its not liked much at all. I think on paper it has issues - particularly on its hard nosed characters. I think its great.



Ending and endings

There's a very interesting line-up at the end of 2015. I'll talk about some really good comics at the end of the year before we get there however there's some noteworthy comics to discuss. Firstly there's a great Dredd in Serial Killer with Wagner and MacNeil introducing PJ Maybe ... kinda as Dredd's arch(ish) enemy directs him to track down another serial killer. We then get two fantastic one off Dredds by Mike Carroll in 'Islands' where a young boy witnesses a shooting, followed by the gloriously amusing 'Sleeping Duty' where by a desperate gang of raiders stumble across Dredd asleep in a waystation in the Cursed Earth and have some difficult decisions to make with a brilliant punchline.

Sinister Dexter - The Taking of the Michael  comes to an end of a very long running storyline as they track down Moses and go down guns blazing. Its curiously straight edge and edgy. Its dramatic and exciting, but someone doesn't feel grand enough to finally cap off the Moses Wars. Its feels a little like the end of an old story from the 70s and early 80s where folks are told to wrap things up and so do as quickly as possible. Sure this takes 6 parts, which is pretty long for S&D but we're reaching the end of a storyline the first strands of which appeared 13 years ago.

You'd never say a story like this is going out with a wimper not a bang, it is fun and full of vim, and Dabnett won't - I assume - have been told what to do. I just feel he might have run out of steam. Written himself into a corner and just decided to pull and move on as quickly and cleanly as possible. His ending certainly allows that, but feels a cop out. I really enjoyed the Mose Wars and the tales that span out of that. I just think it needed an ending to celebrate that, rather than draw a veil over it.

A missed opportunity, but a very enjoyable one on its own level.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1114 on: 10 April, 2021, 08:15:21 AM »


Questing on a smaller scale

Brass Sun - Motor Head does a very smart thing. This series has always been brilliant, but in Motor Head it makes clear - or at least reminds us - that its more than it seems. Up to this point the series has been expansive, a world building, world trotting quest cast large. The relationships Wren builds have always at its very heart, but its been driven across the exploration of ever more fascinating worlds that Ian Edginton and INJ Culbard seem to create with effortless ease - I'm sure its far from easy, but they make it seem.

Stories that in reality just give you a hint of each new 'planet' that Wren explores, are made to feel like you see much more. They give you a real sense of the new territory, push the over-arching plot on and then whip you away to the next while you still want to learn more.

In Motor Head that feels like it changes and we are very brutally reminded that its Wren's story and the exploration is just a back drop. Motor Head feels far tighter and closer. Its starts and end in Wren's head after all. In our lastest world Wren is held prisoner and therefore the focus is less on exploration and expanse and rather escape - it almost feels claustrophobic. The stakes feel really high and its tense.

Wren and Septimus and there relationship and bond are very much the focus as they struggle with terrifying captors, metallic pursuers and things weighing heavy in the mind. We might have lost the wonderful Ramkin but we gain new cast members (almost) as engaging. The stories real genius however is while giving us this tighter focus, making it more bound - as is fitting given Wren's plight for most of the story - its still generates enough wonders and majesty to remind you we might be in a smaller world but its still magnificent and new and INJ Culbard is still allowed to use his astonishing design to create wonders and glories to behold, as well as his fantastic 'character' acting. In that it almost feels like a warm up for Brink!

Its quite, quite brilliant and by the end Wren and Septimus have escaped, 'Kurt Vonnegut' has a new home, the terrifying Arthur is defeated, but on the last page we are again reminded of the wider world and new perils are presented to cast the story back out onto its globe trotting stage.

This really is one of the great 2000ad stories - and we bloody well need it back Edginton, Culbard and Tharg - I think I'll whine about that more in a couple of Self absorbed years when this one pops up again...

broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1115 on: 10 April, 2021, 08:42:46 AM »
Brass Sun is one of the modern classics. The biggest gripe for me  is that we are not getting more of this.
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1116 on: 11 April, 2021, 08:04:05 AM »


So I was hangin' fire waiting for Bad Company to end before [spoilers] singing its praises [spoilers off] but it does that most curious of things. The story doesn't end in 2015... well it does of course, but not 2015 as I record it. It ends in the big end of year / start of year Prog. Which I treat as the first Prog of the new year, rather than the last Prog of the current year as its primary function, aside from giving Tharg's minions a break and giving us all a treat over the holidays and enough thrillpower to tide us through FAMILY... shudder is to set up the first line up of the incoming year.

Bad Company - First Casulties
breaks that, as a couple of strips have and charges full on into that Prog - we'll discuss its numbering when we get to it. It breaks my preconcieved ideas on how Tharg's years should be treated. I will however discuss it here before a short holiday and getting the next batch of Progs out (thus putting away this years Progs) mean I forget everything that's happened before ... which is of course apt.

See many folks don't like this strip as it clearly dismisses the past, or at least seems to. Characters we know are dead are back to life, are running around blasting guns and snarling at each other and folks seemed to think that wasn't planned and central to the story.... even though the characters all acknowledge the fact they've died and discuss changes AND KANO HAS A BLOODY GREAT HOLE IN HIS HEAD!!!! We don't get a definitive explanation as to why folks are back - we are left with that dangling - but Jez are we given options to choose from;

1. Danny Franks from the very start is clearly labelled as coming from the Krool Heart with the whole madness circle around the eye thing that the Krool have.

2. Its made clear from the very start that any characters have been on meds and coming off those meds is impacting on character and perceptions - was the original Bad Company just a fantasy?

3. The characters enter a hallucination inducing Gologotha Ghetto - similar to the Gologotha Plains of the first story - is all this a fever dream?

There's probably more.

We might be meant to understand the specifics of why all this is happening - if we are I miss it and prefer it that way. After all the idea that there might be several explanations and we need to select our own truth, or indeed choose the one we want to make the story we desire is surely the point. For me the clue is of course in the title 'First Casulties' - the first casulty of any war as we know is truth. This speaks directly to the fact the story peels away the lies that start the Ararat War - it is revealed that the war was started by humans for their own purposes and that induced the Krool into their frenzied brutal state from the calm, peaceful race they had been. We learn that Kano and Bad Company were not tortured by Krool to become the monsters they are, rather where transformed by their commanders to hide the brutal acts they commited to start that war.

We learn very literally in the story that the 'truth' as we understand it from the previous Bad Company stories is as much a fabrication as anything. We are presented clues to allow us to make our own truth from that... and yet Kano runs around with a bloody great hole in his head... so is the past story the truth, or is this story the truth.. its story and we are allowed to decide.

None of this robs us of the previous tales, they exist, always will and if we want them to be out truth then they still are. If we like the layers and mystery that this story provides we can live in the glorious hinterland of possiblity and explore all the options. Or we can take this story as truth and unrevel what has gone before... except Kano has a whole running through his head...

We need to look at what we are presented and make our own truth, whether that be in stories like this, or in 'factual' reports of war and conflicit when those reporting, or providing the story have a truth they want us to see.

Frankly (pun utterly intended and not apologised for) this is fantastic stuff and builds perfectly on what has gone before. Kano remains at his core a metaphor for the brutality and dehumanising effects of war whatever truth you choose to believe.

The art may not be as strong as in early tales (up to 'Kano' for me which I love) but that's this tales only weak spot. I'm very happy this story exists, it only adds to what's gone before and takes nothing away. And truth be told its brilliant.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1117 on: 11 April, 2021, 09:17:45 PM »


2015 Specials

So we get a couple this year and they are similar to the ones we've had in recent years - that I reviewed in bulk cos cos I missed them - FCBD is arguibly better than than the Sci-Fi special - well if it was new content. But a bit of the shine has worn off.

The FCBD comic has another fantastic Henry Flint cover. Behind that we get good Dredd (new) by Matt Smith and Mike Hawthorne as some citizens just try to get entry into their block. Death Rock does that trick of introducing a long lost character, that was rather the style of the time. There's a new Doctor Sin story by Rob Williams (well I think its new). There's a decent selection of reprint, Dan Dare (early Dave Gibbons era, modern Slaine and Torq The god as well as some good shorts.

The real interest if a Mike McMahon story 'The Traveller' from 3000ad - its from the Dan Dare Annual 1980 - but it took me a while to dig that out. I do own that annual but I've not read it often and its not very good. For that reason when I first read this I thought I'd stumble across some new (to me) Mike McMahon and it was a thrill - the story is okay the art lovely. Anyway this gave me a bit of an insight into that a delight this comic must be for the none embedded 2000ad fan - wow new Dave Gibbons, who new Kev O'Neill, whose this Simon Davis fella.

Man these are handsome, well produced items and I really hope they hit the audience they deserved to.

The Sci-Fi special is a bit more run of the mill with a loose theme around movies. There's a decent Dredd by Mike Carroll and Jake Lynch - almost Jake fuckin' LYNCH. A fun Survival Geeks - I'm warming much more to this strip omn re-read. Some great art on most the rest of the strips but overall these stories are all pretty MUH... its so okay.

And there we are 2015 is over... come back in the morning - I hope and we can talk about it...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1118 on: 15 April, 2021, 09:31:34 AM »


2015

I'm getting remiss at doing these annual round-ups. I guess finding new ways to do various shades of - its all good - is pretty hard. Also discussing whether this is still to be consider a Golden Age - or has the lull gone on long enough to call time on it is getting pretty dull and of course needs more time, thought and definition than I can be arsed to do (form a man typing on the 75th page of a thread all about his re-read!). So shall we have a sneaky look back at my thoughts from 'last year' about what this year would hold, well since we always do...

Quote
Next year 2015, though looks to be able [about] this level, some great stuff but steady rather than golden. The Order kicks off, but not sure what new stuff we get aside from that. There will certainly be nothing wrong but the dulling of the gold might well continue.

I think what marks this period as not quite as good as the Golden Golden is that lack of utter invention. The NuGolden Age kicked off so many wonderful series and here while new stuff is still on a steady stream its not quite as rapid and invigourating. Now having said that The Order starts and that's bloody wonderful. I really like nuBad Company and only really Orlok mis-fires for the new stuff.

The other problem we have is Self Absorbed YNWA is really butting against NuYNWA and there's little to report there. One major change coming next year and that's it really. YNWAs new and old are pretty much of a like mind. There's not so much space between them. At this point the re-read is more a reminder rather than a recap. Almost all the strip now this is my first time of re-read. I've been looking forward to reading them again but don't really have the space and shift in perspective in my noggin to shape new views. Come back in 10 years when I'm doing this again (probably - you have been warned!) and I'm sure I'll be firing off even more thoughts and opinion as I think about retiring - hey that's the plan anyway!

But for now. Well for now this is another fantastic year in thrillpower - its not as good as the absolute Zenith of 2009 - 2013 but its not like we've fallen to far and 2000ad is still astonishingly good comics.

As for looking ahead, well next year, 2016, could actually be very interesting. We enter a period of extended celebration as we hit issue 2000 and head toward the 40th. There are a couple of key events I'm looking ahead to that could mark this as being a time that the Prog gets right back up to its very, very best. That we all stop, take stock and reflect on the fact of what makes The Galaxy's Greatest just that and the comic responds by upping its game just the little bit more to push it from 10 to 11. Let's find out shall we...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1119 on: 24 April, 2021, 09:20:51 PM »


Last big change - early 2016

Well its not that big. but it works better for my tale. In early 2016 Self-Absorbed YNWA got a new job. Leaving his previous on after 17 years at the same insitution. It was a new lease and a much needed change. In 2000ad Tharg realised that he was rapidly catching up with the year numbering on his annual end of year festive Progs and as they are really just lovely jumbo jumping on Progs he decided to keep the Prog numbers running too... so yeah not a big change but an important one as we charge towards a moment year or so.

Tharg starts the year well. Prog 1961 - the one with the change in end of year numbering wraps up Bad Company promising a second part that will come soon I think. Aside from a some one-off treats a nice Absolam, Future Shock and Sinister Dexter ringing in the changes and saying goodbye to Simin Davis (I think) we basically get the new line-up and its a doozy.

Kingdom gives use Beast of Eden as it goes full on Mad Max in typically magnificent, definitive 2000ad style. ABC Warriors might continue to whallow in the past, but the past is very good so we shouldn't complain too much. The Order comes back to set up this series structure, shaking the time stream and keeping you on your toes. After a first enjoyable series this is the one that really takes those foundations and makes clear that the tales has legs, will take a bit of effort but will be well worth it. Strontium Dog starts a great caper, that neatly calls back on the recent past very neatly.

Dredd though arguably does as much to mark it changes. We know John Wagner is winding down but early 2016 we see some great examples of the talents that have been set up cover his moving on. Rob Williams give a nice coda to Titan / Enceladus, followed by a witty one part by Mike Carroll (with Paul Marshal) in 'Street Cred' as a juve shots Dredd and feels earns the consequence of that. He turn turns in an utterly different type of Dredd with a 6 part Ghosts a tight and enthralling thriller with Mark Sexton. Sure it involves an underground cabel of almost Judges which will become a bit of a trope but its an exceelent story. Then Rob Williams (with D'Israeli) steps back in with a straight out comedy Undercover Klegg returning the playful Sensitive Klegg while keeping the action. Sure it might take two writers to (almost) replace Wagner on Dredd, but between them they really nicely play the field of the gamut of Dredd and show that we'll be okay even without him.

Change can be difficult - but if you embrace it it can give you great things.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1120 on: 03 May, 2021, 08:59:34 PM »


If you pay attention you'll see its all in good Order

The opening line-up of 2016 ends in good order in Prog 1972. We've discussed Dredd already, its as good as its always been for all the changes. ABC Warriors as mentioned doesn't really offer anything new. Strontium Dog is a magnificent crime caper, but we've seen magnificent crime capers before. Kingdom is of course the definition action, adventure 2000ad story, powerful, energetic, enthralling and superb. The very fact that its definitive however means while it feels fresh its not innovating.

So that leaves us The Order - In the Court of the Wyrmqueen to really shake things up... except does it? Its a wonderful strip. Its dense and tight. So many ideas, character, events rattle along. You have to pay attention, which is no bad thing. Even when it throws so much at you a few things fly over your head, its so gripping and beautifully realised I'm pulled along and engaged enough to go back and pick up those things.

For all the screams of complex and hard to penetrate though it pulls that smart trick that John Smith has mastered. It may layer things, it may wrap things up in sharp, imaginative ideas, its may require the reader to work at time for the details but its still built on the same 2000ad chassis engine as them all. Just with sharper lines and a body shape that is different and striking. Under all that its just good, engaging characters, dark rich humour and lots of chopping things up and explosions. You can pour over the outer shell and diverting lines, or you can just enjoy the ride.