Two new series in the Prog's pages this week: one looks really promising, the other is sort of a mess. I'll get it out of the way now: The Order rocked this week. I'll self-impose a gag order about Burns' artwork until the next time I almost fall out of my chair looking at it, but the story this week really came through strong with a twist that I didn't see coming. Maybe I should have seen it coming--hell, maybe everyone saw it coming but me--but it was a great payoff regardless, and I can't wait to see this world continue to fill with characters and history.
With the obligatory fawning out of the way, we can take a look at two new series this week: Survival Geeks: "Steampunk'd" and one of Tharg's 3rillers, "Station to Station." Survival Geeks is a former 3riller itself, and "Steampunk'd" is going to be its first serialized arc. I haven't read Survival Geeks before but I am already looking forward to reading more. As Part One's go, this was fantastic: Googe has a knack for detail and, more impressively, is really great at timing his sequences for humor. Though I'm sure Rennie and Beeby's script helped out on that front, sometimes you can't beat someone's wordless facial expression as a response to something absurd happening.
I was not so "3rilled" with "Station to Station." It seems like Douglas did the best he could with what he was given. The layout of the fourth page of this story is really thoughtful in its symmetrical depiction of the discord that occurs. A special shout-out is due to Ellie De Ville on the lettering, which easily could have cluttered this page but instead flowed smooth and accented the symmetry. Unfortunately, where the artistic decisions excel, the story crams a lot of ideas into a lot of confusing imagery and then abruptly throws it all away. Where first we see the charity-giver and the woman to whom he gave charity spout coins, we then see everyone else who touches the coins become incorporeal, and then see a woman get turned into a few ink splotches (a visual effect I liked a lot).
What at first seems like some kind of symbolism regarding charity or greed increasingly spirals into a mess of hive-mindedness, which is abruptly ended because the crotchety old white guy doesn't like the Muslim woman. Of course, it's fine to incorporate real social issues into any genre of comic, but they lack impact when they stick out like a sore thumb as much as what happened here. Am I really supposed to believe that after witnessing all the crazy shit that just went down, this old codger is capable of having a single thought other than "SHIT SHIT SHIT I CAN BARELY CONTROL MY BODY BUT ALL THAT MONEY IS OVER THERE AND PEOPLE ARE TURNING INTO INK SPLOTCHES AND SHIT SHIT SHIT IS THIS BLUE LIGHTNING AM I GOING TO GET HIT BY A TRAIN--" Maybe there's some room for a statement about how bigotry is so deep-rooted in some people that they can actually have bigoted thoughts during seemingly apocalyptic moments. Sounds like a really fun study that would have to be conducted empirically, so I can't say it's impossible, but it was sort of odd to make that the climax of this issue. Even stranger is the choice to follow that with casting the main character back into a world that we don't understand yet: the ending feels like a cliffhanger just because the word "run!" is there, since we haven't had a chance to internalize the weight of the situation.
It's rough rushing to judgment on a series like this after only five pages, but "Station to Station" began as such confusing collage of ideas and imagery it was sort of hard to see how I am supposed to fit the pieces together and be satisfied as a reader. Maybe future installments will help out with this.
2000 AD - Prog 1918 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: 2000 AD Price: £1.99 (Digital) £2.49 (UK) Release Date: 2/18/15 Format: Print/Digital Anthology