2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Prog 489

After what must be about a year after we first saw his norm partner Wulf killed by Max Bubba and his gang, Johnny Alpha at last catches up with the skin faced mutie and dishes him his just deserts. Shooting Bubba in the head isn't enough it turns out. In a particularly inspired act of revenge, Alpha leaves Bubba for dead who then, after a call from an anonymous bounty hunter, is taken to hospital where, weeks later, he gets as well as he going to in the circumstances, so that, on the day of his release, Wulf’s surviving partner is waiting for him. This time, Alpha gets to see Bubba beg for his life before killing him properly. At the end of the story, Alpha admits to Wulf's ghostly apparition that the revenge isn't enough. It's a refreshingly mature conclusion after a year of single bloody mindedness.

In the Nerve Centre, Tharg prepares us for the conclusion by declaring that there is no chance that Wulf will be returning. He is dead. It's over. He is a deceased Viking. First time around, I was convinced by this and reading it now a second time, I am again. 2000 AD is different to American comics like, say, The Uncanny X-Men, where major characters like, say, Phoenix, get killed off amidst a frenzy of reader grief and publicity only for them to return to life a few months later. Death over here is final. Unless you're Judge Death, of course... or Mean Machine Angel... Or Wulf Sternhammer.

Fourteen years later, Wulf returns in a re-launch of Strontium Dog by the original creative team of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. I've not got to read any of these new stories yet but, to me, this is acceptable in principle. I imagine, Wulf's return is down to the creator robots reappraising the strip and deciding that its success is due, in part, to the dynamic between the two characters and not down to witless commercial pressures.

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  • I'm still waiting for MACH 1's return. And Dan Dare (with the space claw or whatever it was).

    By Blogger Stavros, at 6:46 pm  

  • I don't think Wulf's return counts as a resurrection as such; it's more that Wagner decided to tell some tales using the character without worrying about continuity.

    See also Rogue Trooper, who ends up back on Nu Earth many, many years down the line.

    I'm looking forward to your opinions on that character's tortured future..

    By Blogger alexf, at 12:45 pm  

  • Stavros, fingers crossed for MACH 1. I don't Dare can happen now thanks to Virgin :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:26 pm  

  • Alex, I don't know anything about Wulf's current incarnation really but I like the idea of him being back. Rogue Trooper's return is what they might describe these days as a "re-invention".

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:28 pm  

  • Thanks for the summary of the killing of Bubba, Paul. I'm re-reading my collection roughly in sync with you and after all the build up, imagine my anguish when i discovered i was missing the Prog with Bubba's death! i had so been looking forward to him getting what he deserves.

    By Blogger Simon C, at 7:31 am  

  • Blimey I'd forgotten about the sheer sadism surrounding Max Bubba's death. I remember at the time the 'Rage' storyline being somewhat hardgoing and humourless thanks to Johnny's mood. But that ending... sheesh!

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 3:59 pm  

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