2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, August 25, 2008

Prog 608

From the point of view of The Slog, not all thrills are created equally. Therefore I should make clear that although I enjoyed the recent run of Moon Runners, compared to Zenith Phase II, which I was critical of here, it was not very good. There is a hierarchy of strips in 2000 AD from which more is expected at the top which includes Judge Dredd (obviously), Zenith and Nemesis.

In Nemesis Deathbringer, the characters arrive through the time wastes to modern day (1988) Britain (alternative Earth). There, Torqumada seems to be both in charge of a particularly bullying section of the police force and a property landlord. Nemesis, perhaps pissed off at the murder by Torquemada of his son but perhaps not, is closing in on him. At the same time, Purity’s memory has returned and it looks like she might actually switch sides.

Writer Pat Mills has succeeded in giving the Nemesis stories a mythic quality thanks, in part, to having the characters racing through history but, unfortunately, there is also often a really annoying element to them as well. Deathbringer, for example, has the relationships of a group of young characters weaved throughout. These self obsessed, time consuming little bastards (or “dastards” as someone from a Nemesis book now might say) are made all the more objectionable thanks to them being Goths. Surely it’s a failing if when reading Deathbringer the reader is aching for the obviously despicable Torquamada to take his chainsaw to each of the down to earth, working class, Goth cast.

John Hicklenton’s art style is undeniably memorable but his story telling, although improved, has a long way to go. I still have to work hard at deciphering what visually is going on. For example, one of the Goth characters, Jennifer, plays an important role in Deathbringer and yet she is drawn to look exactly like the other major human character, Purity.

So, in summary; Nemesis Deathbringer is mythic, annoying and difficult to follow but better than Moon Runners.

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  • I don't remember that aspect of Deathbringer at all, but this week's Prog has the ABC Warrior's engaged in a riveting two-page discussion about their favourite heavy metal bands that would have made Roxilla blush.

    By Blogger Peter, at 11:03 pm  

  • Just bought the Rebellion collected Nemesis and it reminded my how much I hated Hickleton's art then, and dislike it now. While he loves to work on the single splash-page images, notice how all the actual the narrative is advanced via tiny little sketch boxes; compare that to old skool talent like Ezquerra or Kennedy and you'll see what is good and what is bad comic book story telling.

    Same objection for Simon Harrison on SD. If you can't tell each character apart and the same character changes facial features from page to page then how are you supposed to follow the story anyway? At least with Bisley's ABC each robot HAS to look different from the other....

    By Blogger Amanda, at 3:20 pm  

  • Regarding Moonrunners, I think it was an attempt to set up a new franchise for Belardinelli since Ace Trucking had finished. The art for Moonrunners is still good as ever but not being by Wagner/Grant the writing is poor and has nil sense of humour in it.

    As for Deathbringer I share the same confusion now as everyone else seems to, its very hard to tell the characters apart, especially Jenny and Purity. I must say though that weird as Hickletons art is he's very good at drawing breasts...they look much more natural than the typical marvel comics type women...perhaps I shouldn't have said that out loud lol.

    Its amazing to think though that it would be more than 10 years before book 10 of Nemesis would come out after parts 7/8/9 had come out in rapid succession

    By Blogger Derek, at 3:52 pm  

  • Peter, oh dear :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:50 pm  

  • Amanda, I think you're right, certainly at this stage of The Slog.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:51 pm  

  • Derek, ten years?! even in Slog time that's ages!

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:52 pm  

  • Indeed Paul. I must get TPO to see if Pat Mills mentions why he dropped Nemesis...I wonder was he burnt out after knocking out so many books of it in quick succession?

    Oh and regarding prog 608 I think it was the first appearance of art robot Dave D'antiquis ( currently residing in the 'where are they now' part of thargs vault) and Richard Elson who is still producing sterling work for twoth 19 years later. A very long time for an art robot to stay with the comic.

    By Blogger Derek, at 6:12 pm  

  • Cheers, Derek

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 10:04 am  

  • forgot to mention 608's great brendan mccarthy cover, if only the current issues of twoth had covers this good

    By Blogger Derek, at 3:39 pm  

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