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2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Prog 852 11/09/93

There’s nothing quite like a re-launch prog. The Summer Offensive is over; it’s now time for The Autumn Attack. Coming up next there’s The Winter Warmer followed by The Spring Surprise. Whereas the thrills that appeared during The Offensive where linked creatively and tonally, those in The Attack just have the commonality of appearing in 2000 AD. It feels a little disappointing for that, as if an important lesson hasn’t been learned.

It’s not a complete re-launch prog as the tail end of Judge Dredd micro-epic, Inferno, continues. Following on from the Mark Millar penned Purgatory, all of the escaped convicts make it back to Earth, crash their space ships into major Mega City One buildings like real villains do and release a virus to which only they have the antidote. The Judges are driven out of the city to regroup in The Cursed Earth. Although other Judge’s appear in the story, including Hershy and new Psi-Judge Janus, Dredd’s retake of The Big Meg seems to almost be a solo effort driven by his good old fashioned sheer bloody mindedness.

Inferno isn’t the best thing written by Grant Morrison for 2000 AD and neither is it Dredd’s best epic but after a run of sagas that seemed overly grim in tone and focused on body counts it feels almost refreshing. Great spectacles of destruction, mad bad guys motivated exclusively by hate and the protagonist retaliating just to get in everyone’s face is sometimes all you want from a Dredd story. Fun cameos (Walter the Wobot pops up briefly at one point), great one liners and Carlos Ezquerra art; Inferno feels almost like a visit to home base and a reminder of what, through osmosis, we all know Judge Dredd to be at its core.

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8 Comments:

  • 2000ad is all about diversity for me and so I don't worry to much about Prog's having different stories with varied tones, for me 2000ad thrives off it.

    The other thing about that diversity means that readers will likewise look for different things from a 2000ad story, or interrupt the strengths and weaknesses of the different strips in very different, equally valid, ways. So I always find it fascinating when people have a take on a strip, good or bad, that I feel passionate about. Its all good as its all about the diversity that makes 2000ad so unique.

    Having said that its therefore probably no surprise then that I have a completely different opinion on Inferno. Here's some thoughts I shared over at the 2000ad forums not too long ago.

    "Well being a massive Morrison fan its been bugging me quite how wrong he got Dredd (I'll be reading Book of the Dead today so maybe he'll get better?). I can imagine him and Millar sitting there trying to work out what the basics of Dredd were and how to renew those essences AND how wrong did they get it!

    For me this is summed up best by the scene were Grice (how did he manage to become a worse character in Inferno than he was in Purgatory????) blows up the Statue of Justice. Now in Wagner's hands, or any number of other writers, Morrison if his heart was in it in fact, this would have been one of two things. Either a very moving symbolic representation of the fall of justice and law, or a wicked piece of satire. Most likely both. In Inferno its an over the top piece of melodrama that loses all its potential impact. The statue is ludicously large, the damage its fall does excessive and over the top, the consequences a convenient plot device further eroding any sense in the story, its realisation cheap and dismissive. Most criminally of all, due to these factors it had absolutely no emotional impact at all.

    There for me Inferno condensed to one scene. Morrison is so much better than this."

    By Blogger Colin, at 9:50 pm  

  • Four words are all that's necessary here I feel...
    Brian Bolland Dredd Cover.

    By Blogger Kevin Levell, at 2:00 pm  

  • Inferno is probably the nadir of all dredd stories.

    It tipped 2000ad into the "why the hell am I buying this" category when booze, birds and other things were coming more to the fore in my life

    By Blogger Derek, at 6:09 am  

  • Hi Colin. I don't think my appreciation of tonal consistancy means that I don't like diversity. I think Inferno is Dredd done as pop so it isn't a surprise that there are people that don't like it. Personally, i think this is exactly what the character needed at this time. Thanks for the comment.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:34 pm  

  • Kevin, that cover is from an earlier prog which is why I didn't make a big deal out of it. i ran it for this prog because it is good and appropriate.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:35 pm  

  • Hi Derek. Like I say, it's not the best Dredd or Morrison but, for me, the timing for it was right.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:36 pm  

  • "Inferno is probably the nadir of all dredd stories. "

    I've not reread it since it was originally printed but I don't remember thinking it was that bad. On the other hand, I've always thought the upcoming Book of the Dead was the not just the worst Dredd story ever, but one of the worst things that's ever been in the comic.

    By Blogger Peter, at 10:49 am  

  • Peter, i thought Book of the Dead was pretty forgetable, which is surprising considering who it's created by.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:30 pm  

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