2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Prog 1041 06/05/97

Mercy Heights reaches part 9 this prog. Set aboard a space hospital in a galaxy on the brink of war, Mercy Heights is like a soap opera in a comic where characters are more traditionally inspired by cop dramas, westerns and sword and sorcery. John Tomlinson’s plotting is tight and because there’s only one six paged episode an issue (the standard soap opera rate at this time is four 30 minute episodes a week) the pace is fast.

There’s no time for character subtlety. Lilla Ferro is an abrupt, out spoken woman on who the slightly naïve Leo Kintry has a crush but she’s already dating Stig Lydecker, who is arrogant and obnoxious and also, frustratingly, an exceptional surgeon. Each episode is prefaced by a page long roll call so readers are reacquainted with the cast that they might have forgotten about over the last seven days. Only the character Tor Cyan seems understated but he can afford to be. He’s a blue skinned, Mohawk wearing, grizzly war vet who looks to me like he might be the long, lost Rogue Trooper, if you consider just a few progs of absence long. He’s Rogue Trooper, isn’t he? Go on; tell us he’s Rogue Trooper. It’s been nine weeks now; you must be confirming he’s Rogue Trooper soon. The problem with Tor Cyan is that his very presence undermines the rest of the thrill. I’m waiting for his character to swell and take over the strip and for the rest of the cast to become his support and I’m getting slightly frustrated that it hasn’t happened yet.

Artist Kevin Walker co-created Mercy Heights and drew the first few episodes in his pencil and ink style which I much prefer. I think he’s a great comic artist when he draws this way. Andrew Currie replaced him after only a few weeks and is also doing a strong job. Taking over a strip with a large cast from another artist must be difficult but Currie’s done an excellent job of capturing the character likenesses without missing a step.

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  • Yeah, he's Rogue Trooper. What about it?

    By Blogger Mark, at 8:34 pm  

  • I can't wait for you to say 'there's nothing quite like a relaunch prog' again

    By Blogger Victor Resistor, at 1:22 pm  

  • Again, Mercy Heights is a series that passed me by.

    I remember thinking, "hey there's Rogue!", but I can't remember if it did turn out to be him and even if it was his comeback, it must have been a bit of a damp squib.

    Actually, if the chap wasn't an Genetically Engineered Trooper of similar a ilk to Rogue, then it's very lazy character development.

    I wonder if I just grew up out of 2000ad or whether it changed to much over time?

    If there was a timewarp which ment that early scripts from progs 1-100 appeared nowadays, I wonder what we would make of them?

    Im sure the original issue 2 Dredd strip wouldn't have stood up so well today in the context of a modern prog.

    Or was it a case of the right Prog at the right time in OUR development?

    There are gems though, an IMHO "America" is one of the best Graphic Novels of all time. But I'm biased.

    i'm rambling a bit today, apologies.



    By Blogger OrLoK, at 7:32 pm  

  • Yeah, but, Mark, have they actually said that?

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 8:42 pm  

  • Victor, that's one of my catch phrases.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 8:43 pm  

  • LoK, I'm like you. First time around, Mercy heights totally passed me by. For The Slog however, well, you know...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 8:44 pm  

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