Saturday, January 06, 2007

Everything except Ro-Busters

Starlord wasn't long enough to have many strips in it. So, it shouldn't take to long to break it all down, right? Without further ado,

One of my favourite logos ever. I've been impressed by nearly every logo in the 2000 AD staple, but this one stands out if for no other reason than it's a great title. This is exactly the sort of story I wanted to read as an 8 year-old, so it's a shame I read it as a 26-year old, and noticed that it was quite bad. Still, all the ingredients are there - a plane full of people goes through a dimension warp (could it have been the actual goddamn Bermuda Triangle?) and end up in a hellworld. Plenty of nasties await the crew, including crazed humans from previous accidents in history. I think that's where the plotting starts to go a bit haywire. Turns out the strip was written by P. Mills, which explains the fun ideas and weak plotting. Still, lots of people die in inventive ways, and folks who think they're better than everyone soon get their comeuppance, which is classic Mills and always good.

The art team rotated a bit too often, meaning that main man Azpiri was not always to be seen. Shame, since he's awesome. No-one draws the eyes of a loon quite like he can...

Mind Wars! Hurrah - a full-length epic with a coherent plot, plenty of twists and drama, and the mighty Redondo at the helm. Hebden was a great 2000 AD writer, but whose stories somehow never quite became recurring classics. Maybe he just liked the self-contained stuff more than creating enduring characters. Anyway, I liked Mind Wars. But, it was damned silly. The whole story revolves around this: The evil Jugla warlord imbues two humans with virtually limitless power, with the intention of then finding them and harnessing them to help fight against humans in a galactic war. A) Why not imbue Jugla with the power? B) why not catch the humans first, and C) what the hell??? Still, it was fun. Especially because the twin heroes were well scary.

Hebden also came up trumps (but still not a full-on classic) with Holocaust. I've talked about this a couple of months ago, but to recap, it's great 'cos it's non-stop action. A bit like 'Project Overkill', although that's more conspiracy and less aliens, and also had better artists.

Another strip I've already given time to is of course Strontium Dog. By far the best thing in the comic, it sets up the characters and concepts for many more adventures to come. The Starlord stories were almost all not as good as what would come in 2000 AD, but there still fun. Of course, squaxx all over the world can read them in the soon-to-be-published Agency Files.

The mighty Ezquerra was on good form, but he was still finding his feet somewhat. Here's an odd picture of Wulf looking like he still recovering from Shingles...

Perhaps because it was so much better than the other strips, SD wasn't in every issue. Instead, we got to enjoy the odd Wagner-scripted Future Shock type tale. He's no master of the style, but he's dependable (like Abnett and Tomlinson on Vector 13), and he's great at presenting us a total dick to enjoy watching get stuffed.

Moving on, Timequake. My least favourite. Sure, some episodes were fun, but the whole thing was a bit of a mess. Nevertheless, it has all the ingredients of a classic 2000 AD serial, that deserved its tiny foray into the big boy mag, even if it died a natural death at that point. The story? A violent loner gets press-ganged into working for a timetravel police force. He also gets to flirt with a colleague, and have issues with his new boss. Simple but effective stuff, really. Blocker's tirades and the accompanying violence were fun. The Nazis were fun, as they nearly always are in comics, but the Aztecs with their aliens were annoying. Even if they did provide this choice panel:

I've not given much thought or time to the StarLord extra features, such as the long-running cut-out and keep boardgame, which looks nice but might be unplayable. StarLord himself, a benevolent warrior designed by Ian Gibson, who is frankly far too straight-laced and military-minded for my tastes. The best feature for me is the 'next week' captions, which invariably take a line of dialogue from the forthcoming episode, and as a result supply some great out-of-context chuckles.


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