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2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Prog 822 13/02/93

Another short run Robo-Hunter story, Serial Stunners, comes to an end this prog. In it, a group of robots go on a rampage of humiliating public figures because they want their murder chips reinstated. Of course, this being written by Mark Millar, even when they’re not murdering, the robots are still managing to be sadistic. In episode two, Sam Slade visits a terminally ill boy in hospital. The entire episode seems dedicated to establishing a bond between the two characters but ends with the chair bound boy being kicked by one of the robots down a flight of stairs and out an eightieth story window.

I mention this now and not yesterday when I reviewed the prog that this incident occurred because I fully expected to see episode three begin with the boy being saved. Actually, what happened is that he wasn’t referred to again and we are left to believe that he died in the fall. I’m not sure that having a terminally ill boy kicked out of a window is very funny or that Millar exercised good judgement here. Of course, this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a character in a wheelchair booted from a great height; remember that episode of Strontium Dog when Johnny Alpha kicks a disabled guy backwards through a wall and off a cliff? This was an over the top act of revenge against a very bad man enacted by Alpha over the death of his partner, Wulf. You could argue that the ill shouldn’t be spared the humiliating deaths that the able bodied, guilty and innocent, encounter regularly in 2000 AD but it was Millar going to such trouble to establish the situation and seemingly relishing this character’s murder that makes it disconcerting to read.

I could go further. I could argue that portraying the boy murdered by a robot who has been expressly programmed not to kill humans is dehumanising the terminally ill and the disabled but I won’t. The truth is I suspect that this was an error in judgement and I would fully expect 2009 Millar to be ashamed of this scene, if he remembers it at all.

(Scan of image nabbed from the excellent Thrillpowered Thursday)

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