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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 152754 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #870 on: 14 December, 2019, 09:30:43 PM »


BITCH!

What else can be said about Dead Men Walking other than its Bitchin', its not totally bitchin' I mean 'shiv' it has some 'vuckin'' annoying future swearing. Our lead (and others) shout BITCH a lot. But you know what while I don't think this is a particularly well remember thrill its one I enjoyed when I first read it and have enjoyed again on re-read. Its curious blend of prison zombie horror and prison drama really works for me.

The led Jude represents a fine example of a common 2000ad mistake. The idea that by having a female led who simply acts like one of its more cliched male leads is made more interesting by the addition of female gentialur. Of course it doesn't, but I guess we should salute the introduction of more felmale leds in this run and expect therefore that some of them won't quite work. To be fair Jude just about survives the worst of the hard, bitter cliched protagonist... but not by much.

However in the context of this story, more about the mash-up and ideas than the strength of the characters, she workd fine. She serves the story if the story doesn't serve her. The same could be said for the villians, particularly the prison governor and most the supporting cast...

...okay I'm not selling this am I. BUT for all that it works and while I'm not Boo Cooks biggest fan here his art works just fine (also see Blunt). So yeah this story is far from totally bitchin', there its bitch of a problem working out why I enjoy it so much. I guess its just like a bad B Movie that just works for you.

Elsewhere the final line-up isn't without its problem either.

John Smith shows that however good he is his stylings don't always work on Dredd with 'Meat Monger' and throwing in a load of past Dredd Alien's isn't even cute.

Durham Red suffers from the same art issues as previous stories in this series. Maybe not as bad but the storytelling still gets masked.

Synnamon is a pretty dull standard, even though its trying so hard not to be. Its Sub-Smithian hyperbole just doesn't really work.

They and in this re-read I was pleasently surprised that Vector 13 didn't last as long as I remembered but Tales of Telguuth is STILL going. Really, its long past its sell by date.

So some wonderful Caballistics Inc shorts are a welcome repreieve in an end of year line-up that doesn't do the year it been part of justice... still more of that next time...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #871 on: 15 December, 2019, 08:04:17 AM »


The thrills of a settled life - 2003

By 2003 I'd taken stock of my life a bit. I was settling down. I was kinda learning who I was, for good and bad and not just that, but accepting who I was as well. Old friends were moving away, but new friends were coming in. Life didn't have quite, quite the cut and thrust of before. I was doing things that I wanted to do, not that tried to avoid who I was and my fears that that might be all there was.

Oh I still had my crazy moments, some I'd regret, some I wouldn't, but I was certainly becoming much more settled in myself.

So therefore I was also becoming quite 'dull'... and so we get to the year in Prog review. Lets be clear the Prog in 2003 was not dull, far, far from it. Talking about the Prog in 2003 however can be becoming a bit dull*. I'm beginning to suspect these years in review will become simply a list of what happened rather than a reflection of the changing state of the Prog. All the elements that will take the Prog to its current state are in play. Matt Smith is fairly embedded, Rebellion own the Prog. I think they are settled in the Oxford offices. The Prog feels likes its safe.... not in its content but in its future.

So with all that said lets reflect back on what I said this time last 'year'

Quote
As for a look ahead. Well I'm expecting 2003 to be much of the same. The thrills of the future of late emphasis that. VCs (with Anthony Williams as expected in my mind!) alongside Callabistics Inc. We'll still have limited Dante (I think) but Sinister Dexter will do a stirling shift. There's a few multi-part one offs I think are coming, so I fully expect the same exciting energetic mix, peppered with missteps it will be easy to forgive.

Yep this gets it.

Dredd however does find itself in an interesting place. As Wagner starts to move away from his ever presence new writers of the strip are flexing their muscles. And of course flexing your muscles can look a little silly. Grennie however really starts to find his Dredd voice and enters the time when he became the front runner in folks mind (I think???) to replace John W. I'm excited to see how this develops in 2004.

Elsewhere as you settle in life you start to build new foundations. And 2004 does just that. Red Seas, Lobster Random and Caballistics Inc (which okay started at the end if last year) all debut or settle in and all are superb.

You also build the traditions of your past and Strontium Dog, Sinister Dexter what little Dante we get all have great years. You'll return to things you may have missed from your past with a fresh look and gain a new perspective and NuTrooper, NuVCs are both so much better than the strips that originated them.

Likewise some firm favourites of your youth will no longer work for you as well. Slaine and ABC Warriors represent here.

Of course you will also expose yourself to new experiences, some good some bad. The Good this time include Interceptor, Dead Men Walking, From Grace and the exceptional Leviathan. The bad I've mentioned already.

Overall though while you may not have quite the same rollercoaster ride as before things haven't really evened out. The good bits are still there but the lows, well generally they aren't quite so low and overall life is getting better.

And so we head to 2004 and what can I say I'm looking forward to pulling the Progs from my nerdcave and seeing what will be there I strongly suspect it will be much the same. The misfires will still be there, but slowly getting fewer as we continue to realise what works and are able to find that more often. The balance will slowly shift and only in good ways as we continue to settle and become comfortable with who we are and like it.

Onwards and upwards...

*[Normalsizedfont]And you can hush your mouth that it always has been since I've been doing it![Normalsizedfont]**

**Do I need to do that anymore?

Colin YNWA

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« Reply #872 on: 22 December, 2019, 08:01:36 PM »
Size matters

2003 has already disappointed. When digging them out the nerdcave I fully expected them to have swelled to full and proper size. Sure maybe a little shorter but it the width that makes them feel so much more substancial when in hand. Alas Tharg's Organ 2003 continues to be slighty disappointing in size. Still its want you do with it I guess.

Wayhey  - finally a nicely proportioned Prog. Feels so good in the hand.

Anyway one of my favourite moments in this 'prog slog' is the when I get the next years isssues out of the nerd cave and then 'reverse' the order - they are selved left to right in storage but reversed for reading order - if that makes sense. Anyway as I'm trying not to peak ahead this is my old insight into what's coming in the next year... well aside from my shoddy memory that is... which given I've read these issues at least twice in some form or other should provide more insight! Anyway all that preamble was meant to be a quick note to say 2004 is looking particularly fine.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #873 on: 22 December, 2019, 09:10:55 PM »


Prog 2004

So if the 'flick' through the covers bode well for 2004 the launch Prog (all be it from end 2003 in reality) backs that up. Its a beaut and very much the first of these issues to truly be the launch of the first thrills of the year to come and hints of what's to follow that*.

Its a bloomin' lovely thing. Okay we have more Slaine and I think I've said quite enough about that AND the Sinister Dexter is a text story, all be it with lush Simon Davis illustrations.

Two other thrills Caballistics Inc and Nikolai Dante wonderfully set up what's to come in their future stories. Cabs does this particularly strongly with a flash bang whollop of an episode that's really absolutely thrilling in ever way.

We get some really fun one page Henry Flint masterpieces and a pretty fun if slight adultscent sequel to Reefer Madness with absolutely glorious art from Fraser Irving. The Dredd is also a mini masterpiece as John Wagner and Jim Murray bring a heart warming tale of Dredd meeting a reformed man in the Cursed Earth, a genuinely good man supporting those less fortunate than himself selflessly and thus being fogiven his past crimes... oh yeah hold on no this is a wonderfully typically brutal Dredd, its a delight.

Three other thrill charge forward with Slaine and Dredd into the the new year and all have fantastic openings. VC's is grim and hard as can be expected. Robo-Hunter as well as having possibly the worst logo ever in 2000ad history, one of those early computer graphic nightmares is a delightfully comedic romp as Samatha, who yes some of us like - is introduced to Hoagy, Stogie and us. Red Seas sits somewhere inbetween. Its a classic fun high seas hijinks with a sharp edge.

So yeah 2004 gets its size right and so much else besides.

*See comments on Prog 2003 where I mention that not all the new thrills for the first line-up actually launch from that Prog

Dark Jimbo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #874 on: 23 December, 2019, 12:46:27 PM »
The Dredd is also a mini masterpiece as John Wagner and Jim Murray bring a heart warming tale of Dredd meeting a reformed man in the Cursed Earth, a genuinely good man supporting those less fortunate than himself selflessly and thus being fogiven his past crimes... oh yeah hold on no this is a wonderfully typically brutal Dredd, its a delight.

Love that one. 'Is this the end of Ratarse...?'

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #875 on: 01 January, 2020, 09:34:46 PM »


Short, sure, but still at the head of its game

The best Sam Slade has always been short pithy Sam Slade. After the wonderful epic length Verdus the longer stories went from bad to worse in my eyes. The really classic Sam Slade is those first 4-6 six parters when Sam first went to Brit-Cit. Even with the addition of an 'antha' this still seems to remain true.

As I recall Samantha Slade wasn't too well received, but I enjoyed this story once again. Short, silly nonsense. With the perfect tone and cheek to be funny and a worthwhile return to the classic Robo-Hunter team.

That logo though - OUCH! (Sorry can't find an image online and too lazy to take a photo.)

On a side note I didn't remember the first Dredd of 2004 proper 'Cincinnati' by Wagner and the wonderfully energetic Carl Critchlow. The tale sees Dredd set the various lawless fractions of the eponymous location against ech other to reveal a Prep who has committed the sin of staining the City's leader. Its fun and while a little dispensible I can't think why its slipped my memory entirely.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #876 on: 03 January, 2020, 07:10:35 AM »


Well I did not realise that Arthur Wyatt came to the Prog this early with one of the few good Part Imperfects, a great tale of the impact of the Russia space race and its cosmonauts of all kinds. Superb one off with art by Laurence Campbell that seems to me to draw very heavily from Keith Giffen.

Elsewhere Slaine ends which is good, until I realise there is more than the three books to the 'Book of Invasion' I was expecting. The trouble is its replaced by Valkyries and its double length episodes as it started (I've read the first two parts) do nothing to help matters.There's so much that can be said about this series and quite what it was trying to do. Alas the most signficent thing is much like Slaine of late its just not very good. An over egged mash of shiny things.

Luckily the rest of the Prog is on sparkling form. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed Alan Grant and John Burn's Crystal Skull story all be it pretty short lived and then to move into Brothers in Blood is sure sign that Dredd is in very good health at the moment.

All this is wrapped up with two absolute gems. Both at different ends of the spectrum the joyous high advernture of Red Seas as the Colassus of Rhodes fights a giant squid... just roll that phrase around your head and try not to be entoxicated. And VCs are hard bitten war epic. Both showing the craft and skill of the Prog at its best, but showing the wonderful diversity on Tharg's given thrill spectrum.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #877 on: 03 January, 2020, 08:59:52 PM »
Forgot to mention that Droid life starts at the beginning of 2004. Its a lot of fun in these old days.

Also what happened to John Lucas. While Valkyries doesn't offer much the art is pretty good and he could have developed into something quite good. Don't remember him turning up after this?

Oh and Prog 1380 Apellido pots up for the first time (I think).So we have Moses and Apellido in place by 2004 and these pieces will be moving things for some time.

Both Red Seas and VCs end very well, but I've stated by love of these strips clearly enough already so I've leave it there for now.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #878 on: 03 January, 2020, 09:34:11 PM »
Also what happened to John Lucas. While Valkyries doesn't offer much the art is pretty good and he could have developed into something quite good. Don't remember him turning up after this?

Seems to have kept busy…
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Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #879 on: 03 January, 2020, 09:46:21 PM »
Also what happened to John Lucas. While Valkyries doesn't offer much the art is pretty good and he could have developed into something quite good. Don't remember him turning up after this?

Seems to have kept busy…

Well yes I could have Googled him I suspose... whoops sorry Jim - just assumed he'd moved on since I didn't recognise the name at all. Lazy AND arrogant me!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #880 on: 06 January, 2020, 09:23:27 PM »


The more you change the more you thrill the same

So we reach the end of the first run of thrills - and some - before out first relaunch of 2004, almost into May as well.

Its been a bumpy ride getting here. There's been some top stuff and some duff stuff. All discussed below for those that fancy. As we head to relaunch there's a few things things worth noting.

Firstly we get that Shaun of the Dead prologue in Prog 1384. Nice art but I'm not quite sure what its trying to do. It cute nothing more.

Valkyries finishes and we get Bec and Kawl, different strips but I get as much from one as the other.

Slaine finished and we get Durham Red and both suffer from shiny, shiny art detracting from story.

But there are real positive. Grennie is at the height of his powers and as VCs  finishes we get Rogue Trooper - Real Politik which is just different level Rogue. I've whinned so much about oldRogue but NuRogue shows that there is potential in the character. Though it is the world and machinations around ol Blue that give the story any interest.

As Wagner leaves a hole in Dredd after some wonderful stuff. Grennie is bold enough to fill it with some wonderful stuff as Dredd shouts down Hershey and is left in the cold hunting down shadows of Mega City war prisoners.

So much change with little overall impact - for the good and the ill. But something don't need to change. I thought Sinister Dexter had lost Andy Clarke, but I'd forgotten how much of the Kal Cutter stuff he did and its bloody good stuff, S&D at its finest and the art is just sublime as our young gun shadows our Sharks, falls for a girl to only have to... well we'll see won't we... and then goes on his own hit as we get a cute tribute to the finest Sopranos episode of them all as well. Its just superb stuff. Nothing about this strip needs to change and we've got some good stuff coming to prove that as I recall.

No change in the debut of Al Ewing as of course he's been here before, though not for a while its been a good number of prog but he hits with another fine Terror Tale.

Also want to note how funny these early Droid Lifes are. Some absolute rip snorters.

So there we have and of course there's big change coming with a relaunch Prog  for the run into Prog 1400. And man looking at the advert its a line up change to be excited about... at least for 3 out of 5 thrills... oh hold on what change will that be?

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #881 on: 11 January, 2020, 09:49:27 PM »


Prog 1387 - The tale Wagnering the Prog

I think I might have wasted that wonderfully terrible pun on this post but what they heck I'd have forgotten by the time it was used on a post that worked.

Anyway 'A tale of two Wagners' was even less worthwhile though as Prog 1387 was actually a bit of a surprise. I was expecting it to be a sure 3 for 5 with that rarest of things a Wagner tale at the rear. As it happens not so. A.H.A.B. by Nigel Kitching and the wonderful Richard Elson makes a pretty good, in fact very good start as the Moby Dick is laid on a little thick but its such a solid basis for a story it works.

Also Chopper -The Big Meg which I remember as an utter damp squib of a story is a pretty damned fine read so far. With Jugs passing and its impact on Marlon played well if low key way while the action is keep buzzing. Patrick Goddard and Dylan Teague do a great job on the art too. So this is far from a weak Wagner as I was expecting.

The three bankers all pay out. A fantastic Wagner Dredd giving the bird to my nonsense opinion to this other thrill in this Prog. Savage bringing Bill Savage back with a bang and Aimee Nixon wonderfully reminding us why Dirty Frank was only needed as a supporting character in the early Low Life stories.

So yeah this is a really, really solid relaunch all the more admirable by having 2 1/2 new thrills included in it. The next couple of issues do nothing to erode my positivity either.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #882 on: 14 January, 2020, 09:36:45 PM »


Well its not Shakespeare is it.

So there it was. There was that sinking feeling I was expecting with Chopper - The Big Meg. Its not that its a bad thrill. In fact its very well executed. Its a nice heist caper. With a very effective femme fatale and smooth clean art... its just... why? What does it add to Chopper. What purpose does it serve. I wonder who originated the creation of the tale?

I find it hard to imagine John Wagner woke up one morning an thought that having Chopper fall for a dame and jump on his surfer board to nick the coke formula was a story we needed? Its not as if he 'dialed it in' as the appalling cliche would have it. It feels like effort and love has gone into this new turn. Its just it feels so utterly superfluicous I'm not sure why its there. In my head Matt Smith saw heist movies were a thing - where they a thing in 2004? I think they were again, Ocean's Eleven remake wasn't too old by this point. So maybe he thought he'd ask Mr W for one of those. Maybe he asked for a new Chopper story and Mr W saw the heist boom and gave it a whirl... whatever its not a bad story... its just a story with no real reason to be.

One thing about the issue the story finishes in 1394 is the wonderful art. I mentioned in the regular Prog review how fantastic the diversity of art was in a recent issue. Its not far off here. Sure its different. It maybe lacks the completely off the lease work of McCarthy and Flint (on Vex) but get this:

Colin MacNeil with is solid earthy full colours on Dredd
Charlie Adlard's 'simple' stark monochrome on Savage. That madness in the eyes!
Richard Elson with that smooth line and soft edges capturing the scale of space opera quite wonderfully
Henry Flint in sharper more jagged and piercing mold on Low Life
and the afore mentioned clean easy chillout work of Patrick Goddard (and Dylan Teague) on Chopper.

Its really an artist masterclass with a real lack of house style, yet each style so very 2000ad!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #883 on: 17 January, 2020, 09:44:04 PM »


Low Life, Savage, Terror and its all good

Well never have so many negatives been the subject of such high times. Boy of boy as we enter mid 2004 we hit some real highs. The last run of the 1300s is some of the best times in thrill power I can remember. The low point is the very good, but sadly redundent Chopper story I mentioned last time. The rest is all wonderful stuff.

A.H.A.B. Could be victim of retreading Moby Dick but manages to launch from that tome to give us... ready for it... you can see it coming can't you... brace yourself... a WHALE of a time. ..ahem, sorry... It takes the central concept, toys with the themes but mainly gives us a fun, solid thrill pumped to the max.

Savage Is a smart, abusive reinvention of Invasion, yet manages to feel like a sequel at the same time. I do wonder sometimes at quite how ... unsubtle Bill is for a man who has gone to such lengths to hide his identity but damnit Savage and Invasion isn't about the subtle is it. Its simple stomping action and Patsical is at his best when he's writing folks who don't act as a mirror chamber to his world view and I love the way he plays Bill S. And and Charlie Adlard and those mad eyes, what a punching thrill.

When these thrill start to tale off (pun fully intended) they get replaced with some super filler. A great Sinister Dexter about ghosts Mov'er'ing in next door. We get some great Future Shock, one in particular by Andy Diggle and Kev Walker about the extreme things one marooned space pilot does to cope is just fantastic. Even the Tyranny Rex 'Redux' I've always felt was a little unnecessary and a little weight is actually really good and I now think its a real shame we never got to the warzone in Lokkkh/Ikoshki space so John\Smith!

I wish I could say that Low Life was the best thing in this spell, cos its really, really good. The brutal, hard introduction of Aimee Nixon is the very definition of hard-boiled street level drama. Its so grim and gritty it hurts... but man it hurts so good. What's so great looking back from this perspective to see everything that we see happen to Aimee Nixon laid out for us here. Everything is here, all we'll see unfold so perfectedly set up in the opening story 'Paranoia'. I don't know and doubt that Rob Williams had a plan to start with but the foundations he lays for Nixon are so strong that it feels like he did.

Tell you what you know how great Low Life is at the start that you barely notice bog ol' Dirty Frank. He's just a glorious bit of background and you don't miss him, even knowing what he's about to become. No this story is Aimee's and I'm very glad it is... well Aimee's and Henry Flint's but ya know.

I'd actually forgotten we got a second short story after Paranoia. Its a full fat fun short demonstrating how flexible and rich a world Rob Williams has penned for Flint to realise.

Yeah so I do wish I could say this was the best thing here, but I can't.

Cos there's a reason Judge Dredd - Terror is leading off the soon to be launched 'Best of 2000ad' cos it very nearly is. I know I overlook this story somewhat. I also don't hear it reference anywhere near as much as America, Mandroid, Total War etc etc but you know what its should be its really that good and having just re-read it I'm so pleased its getting it just deserts headlining the new series.

John Wagner and Colin MacNeil craft a tight, tense thrill. Full of blood, action and foolish romance. Its precedural, love story, prime commentry and action piece in just 48 pages. Wow how do they do it. Why by being the very Best of 2000ad in this best of 2000ad times.

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #884 on: 17 January, 2020, 10:42:07 PM »
Cos there's a reason Judge Dredd - Terror is leading off the soon to be launched 'Best of 2000ad' cos it very nearly is. I know I overlook this story somewhat. I also don't hear it reference anywhere near as much as America, Mandroid, Total War etc etc but you know what its should be its really that good and having just re-read it I'm so pleased its getting it just deserts headlining the new series.

Weirdly, I have literally no recollection of this story. I’m going to have to pick up a copy of the new ‘Best of’ simply because I’m so lazy that I can’t be arsed rummaging through the back issue boxes in the garage to find the progs, but I’m keen to read a Wagner/MacNeil Dredd that’s (apparently!) new to me…
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