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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 189129 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1050 on: 31 December, 2020, 02:36:48 PM »


Prog 2013ad

So I've just read the end of year Prog from 2012 - which has never felt more like the start of year Prog for 2013. I mean they always do, as they set things up for the opening line-up of the New Year - hence I include them in my thoughts for the year they lead into, rather than the year being left - but for some reason 2013ad felt so normal?

Now important to say that isn't a bad thing in and of itself. As brookblik says 2012 was a good year, so more thrills of that standard is no bad thing - at all. Its just when compared to this year's blockbuster, and having only recently read that one its very much on my mind I guess, it just doesn't feel that special.

Both have the opening episodes of first line up of the coming year. So let's put them aside for now shall we. The rest of the content is good, but the episodes of Absalom and Aquila set things up for thrills to come, Ack-Ack Macaque and The Visible Man feel like stories pulling you to other material, pretty much like those tht don't work so well in the current specials. They set things going and often that doesn't actually lead anywhere, though you know it should. So in the case of Ack-Ack Macaque if you didn't buy the novel this was nothing but a slight distraction. In the case of Visible Man it all but disappears - one more Special / end of year Prog aside, I think???

Compare that to Prog 2212. Strontium Dog is a solid, but feels entirely self contained, The Time Twister was fantastic, entirely self contained and felt extra fun for all the past Thrills and Tharg references. Similarly Visions of Deadworld are designed to be self contained and this one was a complete success and curiously upbeat for a story dealing with the death of a world. Finally the utterly atypically feel good Survival Geeks epilogue was a sign-off not a story openner and that felt so right in this type of issue.

Add to that some nice back matter... not in the back, but scattered through the comic this time round all it feels all in all much more substancial in and of itself.

Now I entirely agree that these Progs are designed to open the year, to be the ultimate jump on progs. And with great new line-ups both do that BUT this year's end of year issue shows that this can be done and still feel like a fun annual of old at the same time.

The comparision makes Prog 2013ad feel utterly functional. I mean bloody good comic functional, but functional all the same.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1051 on: 03 January, 2021, 01:04:58 PM »


Ending on a HIGH ... and  low

Its often said that sticking the landing on any thrill is the hardest trick of them all. Never is that more evident than the mixed bag of endings we get early 2013.

Let's get the lows out the way shall we.

Firstly Ampney Crucis ends on a really bum note. Now fair to say this might not be the intended end, though it does get a very definitive THE END as the last story to date 'Entropy Tango' clangs to its conclusion. Its just drops Crucis' dad in to drop some exposition on us, in whats been a blistering story to that point. This example of tell not show wraps some bits up from this story and seems to open the world up for more... then... nowt... we've not seen it since (I don't think) Its a weak ending to an otherwise great story and possible to the series.

After this Simon Davis moves relatively soon to Slaine I think, so maybe more was planned but both creators have been distracted. Ian Edginton has said this does happen to him a lot and I mentioned recently the constant invention we get during this NuGolden Age (still ongoing TM) is its main blessing, but comes at a cost. This appears - I clearly don't know - as a prime example of that cost. Stories seemingly dropped out of being as so much is coming up OR wrapped up to quickly for the same reason. Shame as Crucis was really coming into form.

Dredd - Wolves there a fantastic Prog review thread discussing the ending to this story

https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=38082.0

In which writer Mike Carroll is very generous with his time explaining some of the factors that lead to this being a pretty unsatisfying ending. Many folks misintrepeted the end, which involved citizens with Sov roots being shipped out of Mega City One to protect them for the post Day of Chaos angry towards them from other MC1 citizens. However where they are taken is unclear. I'll put my hand up and say I actually called the ending right - BUT still think it struggled as it wrapped up some really interesting ideas too quickly needed further development - that may come down the line...? Either way to me it shows that a real trick in a comic as condensed as 2000ad is to keep the momentum up right to the death, to maintain tension and thrill power BUT still, in as little as a page provide a satisfying ending.

In part the confusion mentioned earlier, seems to be due to some lack of communication between writer and artist - and maybe therefore lack of input from Matt Smith as editor. A hands off approach that's really appreciated by many creators from what you read and therefore reaps great reward. However in this case it shows one of the issues this creates. Where an editor maybe should have looked at the art and stepped in and asked for some improved clarity in what was being shown.

This demos another trick of a good ending, all parties need to be coordinated and singing together in harmony. If the ending in a 2000ad can be tight and quick everyone has to be on their game and know what the game plan is to land it so precisely.

So lets look at some examples of when that's done well, really well.

Savage - Rise Like Lions is possibly my favourite book of the saga to date. Its a tight lean war story as the Battle of London begins and Bill and a bunch of rebels fight a hard and determined reguard action to defend the last bridge remaining across the Thames.

The story as a whole does a delightful thing and brings the story in Savage into, sharp, close focus as it draws into a few combatants, on both sides, and brings them to vivid life. Patrick Goddard as much a part of doing this as writer Pat Mills. The genius by both here is by bringing the focus in and tighter they are actually able to widen the scope as well. Developing the tensions amongst the rebels and their confliciting fractions. By making us see the Volgs as so much more human than the mustache twiddling villains they can become. Its also broadens Savages understanding of what has been a simple battle for him for much of the series. KILL THE VOLGS has been his simple mantra. Here he begins to unpick this and realise that the powers driving the recapture of Britain are as bad, or worse, as the current capture and Howard Quartz personifies the less than altrustic motives in helping free Britain.

Its heady stuff wonderfully released. I always think Bill Savage forces Pat Mills to be far more interesting and creative in how he delievers his political dogma.

To the end though. There are so many ways this could have been done. The Bridge is blown, the bridge is saved, the Battle of London this and that. BUT Mills' masterstroke here is he take the tight focus and uses that to drive the ending. Rather than a big bombastic end, that has served Savage so well before, he again draws close and the end focuses on taking out a snipper who has dogged the rugged rebels. In doing, in the 2 pages Uncles Pat uses he throws in a twist right at the end to give this all the impact it needs. Provides a really satisfying conclusion in a very tight space and perfectly sums up the themes this story has dealt with.

Masterful and Uncle Pat and Cousin Pat(rick Goddard) at their very best, which we don't get often enough in Uncle P's case these (self absorbed) days.

The other superb ending at this time is for Red Seas... but that is the end of the series as a whole and as such fully desereves a post of its own - plus I've gone on quite enough for now so I'll come back later to... you guess it.... end this!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1052 on: 04 January, 2021, 03:52:21 PM »

Ending on a high seas

Oh that title just doesn't work does it - unlike the end to Red Seas which is delightful. It works in ways almost entirely different to the Savage story discussed last time. The only thing they have in common is they are entirely appropriate for the story they conclude.

In the case of Red Seas we are given a final story that explodes the scope of the piece open. Red Seas has always been bold, bombastic and centred on fun, so its entirely fitting that the series ends this way. The entire last story 'Fire across the deep' - damn one thing that Red Seas does so well is have cracking storyline titles! - is almost entirely the climatic battle between the goodies and the baddies. Its just what this series needs. It riffs so much of Harryhausen action films of old that a big ol' clash of the titans at the end is just right.

Our galliant heroes at first face off against a giant sea beast - just to set the tone. Quickly they dispense with that and then its off to the land of the dead to face the devil himself and his army of the undead. It feels shallow and light - and to be honest it is - its just bloody thrilling as well. The odds against our heroes continue to mount, a few die, Gods arrive, the devil grows into a towering mega-beast. You know all the rip snorting stuff you expect really.

Smartly though Ian Edginton brings things back to the start(ish) as the escapades end up boiling down to Erebus having to sort it all out by reminding the devil that actually if he thinks he's a big deal, he should remember that our favourite two headed dog had for millenia without number kept the vast armies of the damned in good order and frankly the Morningstar's upstart antics aren't too troubling.

BANG

Cosmic upheaval sorted - quick explainations, nicely delivered all round and off to the pub to a glorious final page salute to our cast and the readers.

Wonderful, wonderful stuff. Quite in keeping with the series as a whole. Perfectly timed and executed. All parties seem to have knowed this would be the end from the get go and all roads in the series have lead here. It feels tight and cohesive.

Then we get to the Might Yeowell himself and damn he's on fire here. He got some flack towards the end of the series from some quarters. Flack I spent some time beating off - I remember breaking down why one post page really worked over at ECBT 2000ad Blog for all the accusations of lack of detail. As if the amount of ink defines the quality of art. Alas that seems to be long gone and I'll spare the detail here (if anyone really wants to I have my original Google Docbut there's no need.

In summary Steve 'The Might' Yeowell is superb. Uses white space to open the world and scope. Makes monsters, bronze warriors, Gods, The Devil, Two Headed Dogs (earthly), Two Headed Dogs (unearthly), an army of the dead, spring to life of the page. But he's also a master of breathing character and feeling into even the most apparently mundane of folks.

He's perfect for this series and this ending is to.

So there we have it Red Seas finished. Somewhat in the shadow of Dante's also excellent ending. In the past I've oft used this as a marker to end the NuGolden Age. Saying it ran from 1634 to 1823 almost 200 neigh perfect issues. But you know what let's put a flag in that and mark it with a big question mark. Having looked at the comics to come as I put 2013's Progs in order I seriously doubt that this is the case. We'll see. Looking at the quality of the Prog in recently memory can we draw a line through and say the NuGolden age never ended, or will there be a significent, sustained dip in quality. Its possible the NuGolden age has reached a zenith, but is it really over?

Well if it is it ended well.



AlexF

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1053 on: 05 January, 2021, 02:31:10 PM »
Obviously we can debate the rnage of excellent to merely very good strips over the last decade or so, but really I don't think we can mark an end to the nuGolden Age until something palpably different in tone hits the Prog. I guess if the Regened era ever creeps up from more than 4 progs per year that'd be a big marker of change. But frankly the tone and scope of 2000AD is stunningly consistent. I suppose the golden ages have largely been marked by the Tharg incumbent, where the first is from whe Mac-1 hits his stride up to, roughly, the point where he takes a sabbatical to the states, and nuGold picks up once Matt Smothhad hit his own stride, which took a few years longer, and involved the likes of Edgington and Abnett stepping up from good writers to insanely good writers.

Oh, and that BRASS SUN acrostic you did - more of that sort of thing, please, Colin! Don't think we didn't notice...  :D

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1054 on: 10 January, 2021, 09:19:14 PM »
Oh, and that BRASS SUN acrostic you did - more of that sort of thing, please, Colin! Don't think we didn't notice...  :D

Never happening again if I can help it... mind you did ask nicely... trouble its next strip I love is (I'll use spoiler tags for those reading along) Ghostship Mathamtica and there's no way I'm doing that one!



Starting small

Well the second wave of thrills in 2013 contained a couple of surprises to me. I mean its long been noted that there is NO WAY Day of Chaos finished almost 10 years ago now and so therefore you can imagine my surprise when Survival Geeks appeared as a 3riller at the beginning(ish) of 2013 almost 8 bloody years ago.

The thing is it makes perfect sense as a 3riller. Its perfect for that format. A cheeky fun little piece that while the concept is pretty open ended and allows for wide exploration and potential there's not much in the theme of 'nerds huh - they're a bit daft aren't they' to really back that potential up. I think that's why I've always struggled with the series in the almost 8 years (stop it already) of its existance.

Trouble is I bloody loved the end and so while both self absorbed and nuYNWAa have enjoyed the 3riller, self absored YNWA sees absolutely no reason for it to come back BUT NuYNWA is actually really intrigued to see what it actually does and how it stands up on re-read.

Oh and while we're at it Intestinauts started as a Future Shock - which I'd also completely forgotten about - I had them down as starting in that FCBD Regened Special a few years back... but then that might have been after the short series they had? Oh NuYNWA is pretty mixed up about it all. Either way its another example of a small, but cheeky thrill - but this one has slowly, over time, build up and I believe is getting a new series (did I imagine that???) soon.

From tiny acorns hey!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1055 on: 11 January, 2021, 09:06:43 PM »


3riller is the magic number - The Ghostship Mathematica

I love The Ghostship Mathematica by David Baille and Inake Miranda - I've mentioned it before and I'm damned sure I'll mention it again. I love it so much at the 40th bash amongst the select issues and treats I took I took this strip all three parts - to get it signed by David Baille.  Its a 3riller. For those that don't remember it its a tale in three parts - which I know is obvious it being a 3riller but by which I mean its told in three very distinct parts. Each episode is its own tale which comes together to tell a complete story.

First off we get the young boy desperate for adventure running from 'home' and excepted aboard a pirateship

Second we jump forward years to learn of  the ship mets its demise just as learn the ships secrets and its quest.

Third we get the boy's escape from his desert island (or planet) and the plot he launches to get to the ships treasure island (or planet)

The joy of this is that structure gives this tale an epic scope in just 15 pages. I mean really it tells a tale of a life, the ghosts of the human race, pirate plot and hijinks, life shipwrecked, treasure hunt and more. In 15 beautiful pages. The design world and storytelling by Miranda is just sublime.

I understand why others may not remember this strip ahead of others. It may not standout to many. And I've mentioned before sometimes you can't quite put your finger on why you like stuff - you just do, In this case I know exactly why I like it so much. I like it so much cos its a god damned masterpiece. Was then and is now and will be again.

AlexF

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1056 on: 14 January, 2021, 01:37:27 PM »
I love Miranda's art but he's on that awkward cusp of being just a little bit too child-friendly to fit into 2000AD, despite his effortless way with action and weird-looking designs. He's kinda perfect for Regened - and in fact Ghostship-type material would be an ideal fit for that, wouldn't it?

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1057 on: 14 January, 2021, 04:32:39 PM »
I love Miranda's art but he's on that awkward cusp of being just a little bit too child-friendly to fit into 2000AD, despite his effortless way with action and weird-looking designs. He's kinda perfect for Regened - and in fact Ghostship-type material would be an ideal fit for that, wouldn't it?

Yeah that's actually a really good point. Something like Ghostship m would be an absolutely perfect fit for the Regened Progs. That really episodic build is just what's needed.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1058 on: 15 January, 2021, 09:30:07 PM »


Ending on an all to open seas

Firstly I've lost all my Imgur images - but I've copied my banner URL in case it get fixed. Or I realise my problem. If you see them cool. If not I hope normal service will be resumed soon?

In recent comments I seem to be talking a lot about endings. The good and the bad. But mainly the good. In Progs 1834 and 1835 we get two endings that demonstrate some problems with 2000ad.

In Prog 1834 we get to the end of 'Planet Zombo'. The story to that point is dense, rich crazy fun. Zombo is what Zombo is meant to be and not influenced by the brain in his bum. Hank Epsilon is a planet hurtling towards Earth to reap havoc. Four is most certianly not the magic number - our indeed Fab or fantastic for The Beatles(ish) and The FF(ish) as they get merrily pulled apart. Its magical nonsense of the finest order and there is so much more packed in and NO way any other comic could have a story summarised like that.

In the end Zombo is chopped in half. His bottom half with the striper brain escaping back to Earth. This top half trapped on Planet Epsilon sent hurtling back into space by the moon used as projectile. We are promised a return - we so desperately need in 'Viva Zombo' ... and then...

Al Ewing makes a damned fine success of his US career and until this years sublime Sci-Fi Special we never se him again. 8 years and nothing. I mean Al Ewing deserves all his success - but 2000ad, with these open ending will always be at risk to its stars moving on and leaving us all dangling. I mean sure we've not been severed in half and our disperate parts cast into different parts of space BUT it feels like it if your a fan of Zombo.

Stickleback 'Number of the Beast' has a similar ending. In that it leaves us hanging after another very satisfying story, with plots openned, antigonists revealed and generally the 'To be continued' meaning this feels less a satisfying story as a bridge between two parts. Now fair to say we'll get an even more tantalising dangling ending next year (I think) when we get our next story. An ending even more frustrating than Zombo's - redemned only by the fact we now have it back. made all the more frustrating in the 6 or 7 years we had to wait to get to the continuation by the regular presence of both creators...

...anyway I'm getting ahead of myself. From Self Absorbed YNWA's perspective the ending of 'Number of the Beast' still annoys a little. Its a good story... or part of a story, its not a complete story. It has some plot threads end but it doesn't satisfy. The modern multiple part, larger scope nature of the stories in ongoing series. These individual books need to be better designed to satisfy on their own and this one fails to do that.

We don't need absolute conclusions. In fact an open ending can work just fine to draw us in but it has to feel more satisfying and that's 'Number of the Beast''s failing it feels like it only purpuse is to serve the wider story and that frustrates.

Still there is much to love to replace things. But again I'm getting ahead of myself and will leave you dangling... when will I return, well you'll have to wait and see...

mind you can probably guess it won't be that long I'm unlikely to shut up am I !


Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1059 on: 16 January, 2021, 09:26:17 AM »


Told you I wouldn't keep you hangin' long! And I'll persist with the image drop in the hope my issues are my own and Imgurs,

Good things in small packages

So while some big stories are coming to clumsy endings there some lovely examples of small form storytelling popping up during this period. I've already given Ghostship Mathematica its moment to shine and its followed by another storming 3riller in Gunheadz. A examination of fandom, story creation - with a wonderful answer to the question 'Where do your ideas come from?' - and anthapomorhic weaponry.

This is joined by some fantastic Terror Tales / Future Shock. David Baille of aforementioned Mathematica fame shows why its such a same he seems to have moved on from Tharg early with The Death Magnetic about a cassette tape that brings terrible fates with it. This one has art by Will Morris who I don't remember seeing again? He also writes 'Time is the only Enemy' with Graeme Neil Reid a gloriouisiy meta tale of the cost of writing tales and the struggles with finding an original Future Shock. Finally Monty Nero joins in with a fun tale 'Rattle' about snakes attacking a town, this one reading like the bastard child of an old Annual story.

Its not just the one shots either. Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra give us a moving and effective Cadet Anderson story 'One in Ten' which while a 6 parter breezes along and feels much shorter - in an efffective way that means it doesn't feel dragged out. It a chilling examination of the close of having a closer link to Mega City One. I have to say I'm enjoying Grant's Cadet Anderson stories far more than I remember doing at the time.

Its not all about the short form as we get some fantastic longer stories starting - Witless Protection is a great Sinister Dexter story and Ten Seconders pops back and I'm sure I'll talk about these in due course. But for now I want to rejoice in the shorter stories that are such a staple in Tharg's plans. I can dismiss and undervalue them but when you get a run of winners like this you appreciate how they really add something different to the Prog. Particular a nice antidote to the problem I've just prattled about of open ended ending to longer for 'books' of ongoing series. Its great to have a small, sharp shot of thrillpower as a palette cleanser.

Dark Jimbo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1060 on: 16 January, 2021, 12:37:19 PM »
It really is about time we get some of the 3rillers collected, isn't it?

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1061 on: 16 January, 2021, 01:12:32 PM »
It really is about time we get some of the 3rillers collected, isn't it?

Did I dream that had happened? Was it in one of the floppies?

sintec

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1062 on: 16 January, 2021, 01:24:37 PM »
It really is about time we get some of the 3rillers collected, isn't it?

Did I dream that had happened? Was it in one of the floppies?

Not a dream, the floppy with Meg 403 collected:
  • In Seconds Flat
  • Station To Station
  • Apocalypse Anonymous
  • Mindmines

I keep wondering if a book of these in the Ultimate Collection might be a thing. They seem like a perfect candidate.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1063 on: 16 January, 2021, 05:48:16 PM »
Arh thank you - still plenty moer that could be run I see. Yeah a collection of 3rillers would make for very interesting reading - While I rarely look on Barney for things relating to this thread I though this won't matter given the nature of 3rillers and there been arouind 30 of them - 28 listed up to Prog 2148, I can think of at least 1 more since then, maybe more. So what at around 90 x 5 pages so 450 - that would be a nice collection, or two... or three!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1064 on: 16 January, 2021, 06:21:58 PM »


So this is what a pun of Sinister Dexter should be like - Witless Protection

Saying Sinister Dexter has had its day is like being one of those folks on Facebook who say 2000ad has been any good since [insert date], or the Prog has been on a steady decline since [insert Prog #]. Now I accept that's a little provocative as many hold the former view, while being nothing like those that hold the latter*. The think is I loves ya BUT YOU ARE WRONG.

Oh you think I need to make a balance arguement do you rather than simply typing in all caps? How long you been on the Internet. Okay, okay how about this.

Sinister. Dexter. Is. Still. Great.

What so a full stop after each word doesn't convince you.... it adds emphasis... to push my view over your... you... you still need a reasoned argument... Jez you haven't accept how the Internet works have you.

Okay now Self Absorbed YNWA is perfectly armed with 'Witless Protection' - NuYNWA has a host of others - well pretty much everything since then (or whatever point you happened to stop liking Sinister Dexter.) but lets stick with the theme of the thread and go with ol' Self Absorbed has shall we.

Witless Protection picks up the tale as Sinister, once again as Malone is on Generica, this time under witness protection. He of course can't keep out of trouble. Eventually he is forced to track down Ray and Tracey, happy living the suberban dream that you strongly suspect Ray has alway dreamt off, to recapture the happiness of his family upbringing. It of course all goes horribly wrong.

Witless Protection is exactly what the stumbling Bulletopia should be - all be it its only 12 issues. The story - like its modern cousin is broken into solid short story chunks. But they run back to back so there is absolutely no lose of momentum. Each episode is expertly crafted by Dabnett in the way he does in his more heralded tales.

The final part of 'In Plain Shite' is a prime example. A simple face off between Finny and a mob of 6, with 3 bullets in his gun. Dabnett weaves a glorious short, self contained, detailed, sharply constructed piece of combat, In doing so he shows quite why Ray and Finny are so good, something taken for granted fo so long to give fresh view of these long lived stars of 2000ad. He then rolls the main over arching plot on and thrusts us forward, closing off the 5 part 'In Plain Shite' and without missing a beat setting up the next story 'Last Rights'. In five pages its the perfect self contained story. The perfect end to a story. The perfect bridging episode to a new story. The perfect continuation of the of the ongoing story.

We then move without missing a beat into that next story. A scene shift. A fresh take and yet a conhesive whole.

The whole thing has a beautifully cohesive art style, even though duties are shared between John Burns and Simon Davis - the new setting of 'Last Rights' a story that I think is his last work on the characters (???). Just as Steve Yeowell brings the same to Bulletopia. Yet there seems to be something dragging the latters artistic genius back on the new story. Especially when you compare it to the brilliant work he did on all his early Sinister Dexter work.

As Self Absorbed YNWA gets closer to NuYNWA there is always this danger of comparing between the two. In this instance I shouldn't. It under plays what a fantasticly structured, brilliantly executed tale Witless Protection is, in its own right. Self Absorbed loved it for it own sake. NuYNWA loved it for its own sake and both invite you to re-read it an reevaluate your wrong headed views that Sinister Dexter should be assigned to the past.

Far from it, its still bang on target.


* I'm sure many who hold these 2000ad is rubbish these days are lovely in so many ways... they probably just bumped their head at some point and think modern long form telly isn't as good as when like [insert time when they were 18]