2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, October 15, 2007

Prog 253

Prior to The Apocalypse War, Judge Dredd epics were altogether more accessible. Although they averaged about twenty five parts in length, they were usually subdivided into shorter manageable story chunks. For example, The Judge Child Quest has a simple premise; find the Judge Child to save Mega City One from destruction. This was then split down into shorter units, such as Dredd’s first encounter with The Angel Gang in Texas City, all of which pieced together into one hell of a whole. It meant that any new reader didn’t have to wait long before encountering a point in the overall saga that they could pick it up from. In The Apocalypse War, the story is continuous and feels open ended which is great from an engaging point of view but means that any new readers won’t have a clue what is going on. It’s made even more difficult if you consider that this epic spins out of the Block Mania story which, itself, was nine parts long.

Another observation is the pacing. Since The Judge Child, John Wagner and Alan Grant have become an effective writing unit whose story pacing is more airy and considered. It means that often, an episode of The Apocalypse War can feel as if little has happened in comparison to an episode of The Judge Child but is satisfying nonetheless. The writing style seems like it might be an ancestor to modern mainstream comics’ preoccupation with story padding for the book collection that will be published later.

The transition to the change in mood is helped significantly by art robot Carlos Ezquerra who draws every episode giving The Apocalypse War epic a consistency of look. Ezquerra’s art is great but there is one obvious drawback; you know that there are going to be no new Strontium Dog stories for at least six months. Damn!

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  • Actually, you may have just articulated why I didn't like the Apocalypse War as much as other multi-parters. The one narrative took precedence over character, nuance and detail, we had no Spikes, no Angel Gang, no Fergie or Cal; just one big helluva mess. Dredd felt more like the reporting of a campaign (which, okay, is appropriate in a war setting) without much space for interactions between individuals on the ground.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 4:32 pm  

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