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2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, June 08, 2007

Prog 118

Another interesting thing about The Slog is that I am currently reading some strips for the first time alongside others that I am very familiar with thanks to reprints published during the eighties. For example, I may be reading Verdus or The Cursed Earth for a third, fourth or even fifth time. This means that when I come to comment on them here, I am instinctively looking for something new to me to say about them. This is why, I think, that I might have given the impression that I was insinuating something negative about script robot John Wagner's writing during my comments at the end of Robo-Hunter and The Day The Law Died recently.

In this prog, the John Wagner penned (using the designation of T B Grover) Strontium Dog epic Journey To Hell comes to an utterly satisfying conclusion. In it, Johnny Alpha, Wulf Sternhammer and The Gronk find themselves trapped in another dimension that resembles hell itself with their bounty, Fly's Eyes Wagner. The characters walk from one side to the other in an attempt to find their way home, their journey obviously obstructed by various demons and torments.

This is the first time that I have read this strip and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the low-key start and the gradual increase in intensity as it went along. I loved the dynamic between the three main characters. I loved seeing Alpha determined to bring his bounty to justice despite hell literally breaking out around him. I loved reading Wulf using the word 'cucumber' as a substitute for any English words he didn't know. I loved the characters that accompanied them on their journey, especially the CB radio enthusiast Don Trucker (a predecessor to Ace Trucking Co, I guess).

Reading Journey Into Hell wasn't just enjoyable in and of itself, it also reminded me how much reading those stories that I am familiar with, like Verdus and The Day The Law Died, for the first time were like as well. To my mind, Wagner is such a great mainstream comic writer that it's nice to be able to read something by him from this period and not be looking for flaws, like I have done on occasion, because I know it so well.

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