2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, February 09, 2009

Prog 757

ABC Warriors Khronicles of Khaos Book One finishes this prog. In it, Deadlock takes the team to the planet Hekate to enlighten them in the ways of chaos. This means killing over zealous priests and evil vivisectionists in what Deadlock thinks of as imaginative ways but I often feel to be sadistic and a bit tedious.

The good news for everyone is that, after a ridiculous period of time where he seemed to be just inking other artist’s pencils, Kevin Walker is painting the strip. His work is bold and colourful and loyal to the story and compensates for the failings in reproduction that has affected other recently fully painted work.

The bad news is that, for a story that’s supposed to be extolling the virtues of chaos, it feels a little obvious. Since the ABC Warriors returned to their own strip, the characters seem under utilised. It’s as if every time we encounter them now they neither develop nor shine. The fact that Ro-Jaws, a character who at one time was so popular that he occasionally sat in for Tharg in the Nerve Centre, is left to work in a bar to book end the story is amazing to me. Also, I’m slightly fed up with feeling that it’s not Deadlock tying to convert Hammerstein to the ways of Chaos (Or “Khaos”) that we’re reading about but writers Pat Mills and Tony Skinner trying to convert us.

It’s another example of the reality of producing a fully painted strip by a single artist balanced against expectations resulting in story that we feel we are being drip fed. Just as you think it is getting going it disappears off on a break for Grud knows how long leaving us feeling a little disappointed. Furthermore, perhaps Mills’ current workload, which includes work for America, means that this script written with Skinner reads less in shape than we’re used to from him. Instead their partnership being greater than the sum of its parts it feels like they bring out a cynical aspect in each other. The result isn’t a story that’s bad; it just doesn’t match up to what we know them to be capable of.

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  • If I'm honest Pat Mills is still guilty of slow-timing the ABC Warriors. 2008's output seemed to be a sparse vehicle to just fill up panel after panel of tedious photoshop artwork. The characters reduced to all that can be assumed from snippets of passing conversation. The art would look good as a SF novel cover, but it's not kinetic.

    It ain't comics: wallpaper perhaps?

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 6:23 pm  

  • Well this is as good a place as any. At works expense I printed out Prog Slog and have been reading it on bus journeys for the last couple of weeks. What a fine read and what a great way to waste some time.

    While I certainly don't agreed with everything you say (personnaly I'm a big fan of issues 500-700 and I have no love for Gerry Finley-Day's work at all) its been a very entertaining look back at a comic I have great affection for.


    By Blogger Colin, at 1:00 pm  

  • Ken, I've glanced at the artwork that you're refering to and it certainly looks impressive although I remember there being plenty of double paged spreads. Very photographic.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 9:04 pm  

  • Hi Colin. Welcome aboard. I'm aware that not everyone agrees with me. For example, I don't get as cross about Mark Millar's time on Robo-Hunter as other Squaxx Dek Thargo do, although I understand where they are coming from.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 9:07 pm  

  • Yes, it's impressive in a static way - in the way that I can admire a Chris Foss SF novel cover, but then not expect Mr Foss to be able to tell a good story.

    The later ABC stuff is a combination of painterly techniques and treated photographs, all comped together in photoshop.

    Anyway, back to the point: I'm fairly sure that Pat Mills's 'pacing' (for want of a better word!) drags ABC down to the level of page filler. Sorry Pat fan-boys!

    I'm on vol 5 of Charley's War at the moment. Mr Mills at his finest I'd say.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 9:09 pm  

  • Ken, Charley's War rocks. I'm hoping the slog sees Mills reclaims some of his former glory as it goes on.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 8:28 pm  

  • I DROKKING LOVED Khronicles of Khaos when it was being serialized... For real, I thought it was the height of human artistic achievement.

    Not read it since I was fourteen, mind, and that's probably for the best...

    By Blogger Joe, at 2:45 am  

  • Face the fourteen year old, Joe - Re-read it!

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:57 pm  

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