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Author Topic: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order  (Read 729 times)

Funt Solo

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Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« on: 31 July, 2021, 05:33:04 PM »
Do I know what character I'm looking at in each panel?
Do I know what their motivations are?
Do I know where they are?
Is there a plot and can I identify and follow it?
Do I require to do any research in a library?
Can I count how many Ritterstahls are currently extant?
Has a steam train just teleported into frame to save the day?

So, you see, I think we can all agree: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order.
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

Mister Pops

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #1 on: 31 July, 2021, 06:12:12 PM »
Sorry, but no. I can't get behind any of this. These sort of disputes are settled on this here forum using convoluted rules from obscure sports tournaments that everyone votes on.
You may quote me on that.

Funt Solo

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #2 on: 31 July, 2021, 06:46:04 PM »
*waves hands mystically* There's already been a vote, Mister Pops. These aren't the droids you're looking for.
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MumboJimbo

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #3 on: 31 July, 2021, 10:54:36 PM »
Nah. Nigel does seem to go out of his way to alienate the more casual reader (kind of a love child product of The Wire’s David Simon and our very own John Smith) but if you put in the effort (which usually entails re-reading the entire story from scratch, whether Fall of Deadworld, The Order or his spiritual dad’s bequeathed Indigo Prime, in order to have any hope of understanding a new instalment of the aforementioned series) there’s shiny gold nuggets to found. And sometimes those nuggets take the form of convenient trains that blink into existence at opportune moments.

Peaty on the other hand, reminds me of the production values of those straight-to-video movies Central TV used to buy in bulk from America in the late-80s which were heavily promoted between programmes with a sub-par Orson Wells-esque voice over trumpeting, “starring Tyne Daly” or “Dwight Shultz is…”.

SmallBlueThing(Reborn)

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #4 on: 31 July, 2021, 11:16:47 PM »
Despite Skip Tracer being not my favourite thing in any given prog (except recently, when it had suddenly got good- note: I've still not bought this week's yet), I find myself being a lot more fond of it than The Order.

I think it's because I tend to buy and read 2000AD fairly rapidly these days, and don't spend an awful lot of time poring over it. It gets read, and filed away. The Order is obviously, obviously, a strip into which a lot of thought and effort has gone (as is Skip, just not in the same way), and requires a substantial amount of close reading.

And probably a series of charts, post-it notes stuck to folders, and reminders written on the back of your hand.

It's the strip I imagine people who haven't read 2000AD in decades get most scared of, and give up a couple of pages in, concluding the comic isn't for them. The people who belive that if one strip isn't to their taste, then the whole thing is soured and £3.10 a week is too high a price to pay.

The rest of us just mutter "c'est le guerre" and move past it, as we have always done. And then periodically try the fabled "complete reread because I won't let the bastard thing beat me" and then, in my case, fail.

But what do I know? I skipped Skizz originally in the prog, because it wasn't my thing. I skipped the first series of Brink, and all of Brass Sun. And Helium- because I "didn't like Culbard's art". It took a while, but I got them in the end.

SBT


IndigoPrime

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #5 on: 31 July, 2021, 11:34:08 PM »
I’d argue they are both poor from a storytelling perspective, but for different reasons. Skip Tracer has to date primarily been boring, and although there was a lift in the current season, it then doubled down on cliche in the most terrible ways.

The Order is, frankly, just a mess. Or at least it comes across as one. I’m also finding tiresome Kek-W’s ongoing fascination with welding older 2000 AD characters to his stories. I don’t think it really benefits anyone when Revere rocks up in Indigo Prime or when Armoured Gideon becomes a badly-illustrated version of the original mechanical demon killer in The Order. Heck, Deadworld took a bit of a dive for me when it went much heavier on the Dreddworld crossovers.

But. There’s imagination. There’s spark. I get the feeling if I take the time to re-read The Order, I might find something that’s fun and interesting. (See also: Red Seas, which I’m looking forward to digging into once all four Hachette volumes are with me.) Deadworld certainly reads very nicely when collected (although mostly holds up in episodic form).

I am planning to re-read Skip Tracer too at some point, to see if I’ve missed anything. But too much of it is beige. And that fridging thing recently, followed by the ‘dream of your dead woman’ thing where she asks if you don’t love me anymore. FFS. That was hackneyed when Grant Morrison did it in a children’s Zoids comic in the mid-1980s.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #6 on: 31 July, 2021, 11:36:56 PM »
A vintage prog of 2000 AD, in my view, is a bit like a delicious bowl of ramen. Some elements of it, are like the noodle and the broth in that they pass through the gullet quite readily and effortlessly. I’m thinking here of maybe the recent Hershey strip or The Returners. Then you have the more fibrous vegetables like Dredd, Aquila and Grey Area. Finally you have the chewy hunks of beef. Since John Smith has sadly stopped contributing to the prog, Kek-W (the name always evokes for me the Y-fronts of an alien with two penises, but that’s by-the-by) is one of the very few contributors that provide something that requires a dedicated amount of mastication, and I, for one, salute him for that.

Of course Dan Abnett periodically punctuates his series the occasion talking-heads episodes that are both riveting on their own terms but also provide a handy synopsis of where things currently stand in the story. Which makes him the fillet steak of 2000 AD. But Kek-W remains for me a welcome cut of rump.

broodblik

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #7 on: 01 August, 2021, 05:39:01 AM »
I am a big fan of The Order I like the helter-skelter time bending twisting storyline. The main problem with The Order is more to do with scheduling whereas Skip Tracer it is more related to the plot which is a more like the generic 80s sci-fi action movies.

So maybe The Order has too much plot and Skip too little plot. The main character in Skip is also written in away where the author believe we should not like the character.  The first few series Nolan came across as an angry person – which in my books never works. Whereas The Order might get a series once every 18 months Skip gets all the real estate and gets time to build a “following” (very much how the 80s classics)
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Sean SD

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #8 on: 01 August, 2021, 10:19:51 AM »
as I type I am 7 progs behind but based upon what I have read up to and including Prog 2235, I much prefer Skip Tracer.

The most recent series of The Order was a bit more understandable so the gap was closed a smidge but its Skip Tracer for me out of these two thrills

Goosegash

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #9 on: 01 August, 2021, 11:55:28 AM »
Any notion that Skip Tracer being easy to understand makes it objectively "better" is so preposterous I can't believe I'm genuinely hearing it from people on here.

"Ooh, Ulysses is a bit too hard to understand. I'd better stick to reading these Famous Five books instead, because at least I can follow what's going on."

Not that I'm putting the Order on the level of James Joyce, it obviously has it's flaws, and the erratic scheduling doesn't help keep track of everything that's going on. It should also probably have stuck to having self-contained stories rather than spreading an ongoing story over multiple volumes, as the last couple of runs have felt decidedly unsatisfying due to abruptly finishing on cliffhangers.

But regardless of all that, there's absolutely no contest between the two. The Order is full of the imaginative scope and wild ideas that make the best 2000AD strips. What does Skip Tracer have? It's not offensively bad, it's just bland. Utterly boilerplate. If it wasn't for Paul Marshall's art doing all the heavy lifting I'm sure this would be ranked with some of the most forgettable material the comic has ever run.

The Order clearly bears re-reading to make sense of the tangle of plot threads, but could you honestly say the same of Skip Tracer? There's so little going on it that I have never once thought, "Hmm, I'll probably do a full re-read of this at some point," because why would you ever? Like Chibnall's Dr Who, the writing is all surface, no thematic depth to it whatsoever, nothing you'd think about afterwards. You just look at it and go "Oh," and move on.

Given the choice I'd take something that's a bit overly-ambitious and needs a bit of effort to follow over something that's simplistic and mediocre.

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #10 on: 01 August, 2021, 12:51:47 PM »
Any notion that Skip Tracer being easy to understand makes it objectively "better" is so preposterous I can't believe I'm genuinely hearing it from people on here.

Yep. No question it's more legibile... is that the same thing as better?

Colin YNWA

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #11 on: 01 August, 2021, 01:13:31 PM »
I suspect Funt is playing with us to spark debate...maybe... the issue for me is that The Order is perfectly clear, its just it might take a little more effort. A story that requires a bit of effort isn't weak by definition. What you value in a story can have many forms and is defined by the needs you bring to your reading. So its perfectly cool to desire simple clarity as what defines what makes a great story and if so then Funt is probably right.

The Order has many other qualities that make it 'better'*. Imagination, flare, originality and most significently** characters I engage with that make me care.

Most folks won't just a story by a single 'metric', but if you do its absolutely valid to think Skip Tracer is better, heck you can have a number of things you look for and prefer it. For me however The Order is head and shoulders above Skip Tracer and is perfectly okay to follow, just takes a bit of effort.

Good discussion point though, but if Mr Pops wants me too I can rustle up some... sport... so we can decide!

*i.e. I prefer it
**for me

IndigoPrime

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #12 on: 01 August, 2021, 01:18:56 PM »
What does Skip Tracer have? It's not offensively bad
I would have agreed until the last two episodes. The fridging followed by the dream sequence in which the dead ex-lover crumbles into the ground while saying DON’T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE?—or similar—really did push me over the edge into “offensively bad” territory.

The strip must have its fans, because it keeps getting commissioned. But it does feel very weak link much of the time, and those two recent episodes left a very bad taste.

Richard

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #13 on: 01 August, 2021, 02:12:27 PM »
I don't disagree with Goosegash... but nevertheless, who has ever, ever, read anything by John Wagner and thought "this is a bit hard to follow, I'd better re-read the whole thing in one go when it's finished, just to figure out what actually happened."

Clarity is certainly not the only factor that determines the quality of a story or of writing, but it's not unimportant either.

For me, the question posed in this thread is akin to would I rather eat a dog turd or a cat turd? I don't really have a preference.

The Enigmatic Dr X

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Re: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order
« Reply #14 on: 01 August, 2021, 02:25:13 PM »
Do I know what character I'm looking at in each panel?
Do I know what their motivations are?
Do I know where they are?
Is there a plot and can I identify and follow it?
Do I require to do any research in a library?
Can I count how many Ritterstahls are currently extant?
Has a steam train just teleported into frame to save the day?

So, you see, I think we can all agree: Skip Tracer is strictly better than The Order.

Agreed.
Lock up your spoons!