He was the best part of Future Shock all right, although I did quite like how they dealt with the Bishop years too.
Yeah judging by every interview I’ve heard with Mills in the last few years he’s as passionate about writing and politics as he was 40 years ago. He strikes me as the kind of guy that will retire only when he drops dead.
John Wagner on the other hand sound like he his halfway there and happy to spend his days in the pub.
Both still putting out highlights of the book though. I can’t really think, on the writing side, in US comics of similar authors who started back in the 60s or 70s with the same impact now. I know Jerry Conway is writing some Marvel stuff but I haven’t read it yet.
It’s a chicken and egg kind of thing but Mills did put out his worst work in those years. Whether that was justification for Bishop messing with him or a result of Bishop messing with him we’ll likely never know.
Chopper: Soul on Fire 594-597 & Song of the Surfer 654-665 - The first tale shows a dejected Chop slumming it in the outback and after a thoughtful conversation with Smokie he decides that he may have one more race left in him. He finds Jug McKenzie and challenges him to a one on one rematch but questions whether Jug’s heart is in it. Song of the Surfer sees a renewed Supersurf event but with an added twist. Snipers, missile launchers and deadly traps all await the contenders. There are great character moments like Brit-Cit teen Sonny Williams taking a stand and Jug showing his true colours. Alongside this is some cracking action all rendered majestically by Colin MacNeil.
Rogue Trooper (Friday): The War Machine 650-653, 667-671, 683-687 - Dave Gibbons and Will Simpson take on RT in perhaps 2000 ad’s only ever character reboot. It’s a military heavy take and it’s stressed early on that the G.I.s are not human but the ultimate driven soldier with a mantra of fight, obey, die. Helm, Bagman and Gunnar are gone and replaced with Top, Lucky and Eightball. I really liked this reinvention and although the themes are familiar and there isn’t too much new ground covered, the writing is smart and the painted art is lush. We also get a origin of the name ‘Rogue’.
Medivac 318 619-640 - Hilary Robinson wrote three separate series’ for the Prog with mixed results. One was okay, one was turd and one was a cracker. This was the latter and it only ran for two stories. It focuses on an emergency service team that is operating in the middle of a brutal space war. These first responders are supposed to have been given immunity from the conflict but they get sucked into the action. Characters are built up well and have good believable arcs, art is nice and there’s some world building in there as well.
Medivac 318: Arcturus 683-694 – More political than the first tale as a terrorist element rises up and creates tension amongst old friends. Robinson weaves an intricate plot that feels like it would make a great film adaptation and even though there were clearly more stories to be told, the whole thing is wrapped up nicely. Recommended.
Zippy Couriers various progs between 610-669 – Nice art that’s kind of a mix between BWS and Terry Moore. These tales of a delivery service start off well but soon descend into boredom.
Armoured Gideon 671-681 – Frank, the lead, begins life as an almost carbon copy of Everett K Ross from Chris Priest’s Black Panther but soon morphs into a generic face. The plot has to do with something about the lands of the dead and demon souls and the red dawn, whatever that is. AG is an other dimensional guardian but is he a good guy? Not sure. He wants Frank’s camera, that’s for sure. I was intrigued at the beginning but quickly lost interest.
Bix Barton 663-668 – Best tongue in cheek strip by far. Some great laugh out load moments as Bix, who is a master of the rum and uncanny, battles his arch nemesis Steve Ditto, the astral man. It’s bonkers stuff by Milligan.
Harlem Heroes 671-705 – The Heroes take part in a jail break and what follows is a violent tale of framed good guys who are trying to stick it to the man whilst being strong armed into working for the man. Dillon and Walker make a great art team although there are clumsy steps along the way, it was an enjoyable read.
Shadows 672-681 – This is Milligan doing Counterfit Girl (current prog series) some 25 years earlier. In a future where the rich and privileged take no notice of the rest of society (not too different to now then) a young successful girl is thrown into a nightmare as her identity is seemingly erased and she ends up in the underground. It’s good stuff that’s a little bit Matrixy and has a surprisingly upbeat ending.
Universal Soldier II 672-682 - The first one was pretty bad and this not much better.
Chronos Carnival 676-681 & 695-699 – What a waste of Ron Smith art. Lizard creatures come through a portal that is being guarded by space time agents in a circus. Of course. Terrible.
Dry Run 688-699– Oh dear. I’m a big fan of Kev Hopgood but in this strip the addition of colour didn’t suit his work. It’s a story set in a futuristic desert land where water is at a premium. My overriding thought is how bad the writing by Tise Vahimagi is.
As I don’t read 2000AD regularly, I’m wondering was this before or after Mercy Heights?
Mercy Heights first appeared in Prog 1033 which was in 1997.
I remember people criticising it as being Babylon 5, but in a hospital at a time, but it’s interesting to see they did a similar idea previously.
Just so you know, I always read your reviews, Bobby.
Time Flies 700-711 – Garth Ennis + War. This should have been great. Oh, wait a minute, it’s not. It’s a comedy tale that is low on laughs and devoid of anything interesting happening.
Hewligan’s Haircut 700-707 – I tired, I really did. Just not for me.
Silo 706-711 – Trapped in a missile silo, two comrades start to go stir crazy. Millar’s first extended strip is a mixed bag. I have to hold my hand up and say that I’m not really a fan of much that Millar has done (including outside of 2000 ad) but this is a neat little tale that is scary and atmospheric. Ok, so he blatantly ripped off scenes from certain movies and Dave D’Antiques art does make the strip but for what it was, I enjoyed it. Shame I didn’t really understand the ending or the what the hell the demon type thing was.
Junker 708-716 & 724-730 – This sci-fi tale of a space garbage man features a lead character who is boring and generic but it does feature amazingly vibrant art by John Ridgeway that is a real treat. The story has a proper old school Flash Gordon type feel and I thought it bounded along with a good pace moving from location to location well and even produced some good twists and character moments.
Rogue Trooper (Friday): Golden Fox Rebellion 712-723 – Rogue’s reinvention continues under new writer Michael Fleisher and what we get is a super violent strip, perhaps the most violent featured in the prog so far, with visceral blood splattering, head exploding fully coloured Ron Smith art. The bad guy is Darth Vader-like and some of the plotting is a bit hazy but it was a fairly good action romp.
Brigand Doom 717-722 - Dave D’Antique’s art is not too dissimilar to current fan faves Paul Azaceta and Michael Lark and here he draws a particularly creepy undead crime fighter who is out for justice. This first chapter doesn’t explain why he dresses like a highway man, who he was, or why he’s doing what he’s doing and I can’t remember future chapters so don’t know if these questions ever get answered. However, I liked it.
Ha,good spot. If I’m honest it was probably both
I bought the collection a few months ago. Not my cup of tea either. It was a bit too “too cool for school” for me if you get what I mean.
Some of 2017’s trade releases: http://www.2000adonline.com/post/1036
Dredd Case Files are a no brainier and looking forward to reading the original Scarlet Traces. Absalom and Lawless will most likely be purchased too.
On the fence about the Micheal Carrol Dredd collection - I found it to be pretty weak reading it weekly.
The Order can jog right on though. No interest in rereading that mess.
Nemesis/Deadlock: Enigmass Variations 723-729 - This is a neat little whodunnit murder mystery as members of the Khaos magic circle get bumped off one by one. The down spot is the murky Carl Critchlow art which is just a bit too dark in places.
Bix Barton: Carry on Barton 723-728 & Lovesick World 737-741 - Not as good as the first Barton tale but still a madcap off the wall romp with bizarre characters and even zanier plot points. Worth a look.
Robo-Hunter 723-734 - Millar gets his first crack at a classic 2000 ad character and it’s…erm…not great. The art by Casanova is good but the reintroduction of Cutie and a villain who is part terminator/part Dredd just doesn’t work.
Tao De Moto: Forbidden Fruit 723-749 - Whilst David Hine is known as a (quality) writer, he is also an accomplished artist. This is a weird one though and not in a ‘weird’ way. It’s more that nothing really happens as this story of a young lady who is propositioned into being a surrogate mother, just goes nowhere and is incredibly bland. It featured as just two page strips across a six month period as well which made it tougher to consume. It’s not awful just not that engaging.
Rogue Trooper (Friday): Saharan Ice Belt 730-741 - American writer Mike Fleischer comes onboard and turns Rogue into a moaning, internal monologue spouting, noble soul. It didn’t fit at all. Simon Coleby, who is a fantastic artist now, was in his early career and his work isn’t that polished. He seemed to be copying the early 90’s Marvel style with muscle bound heroes and gritted teeth. The over coloured bright primary swatch was also a bad move. It sounds bad but again it’s a strip that only suffers due to being compared to previous great RT stories.
Beyond Zero 732-745 – Tanner returns and must go into a VR sim to help solve a murder case. The thing is, he’s shit at his job as clients keep dying right under his nose and he ends up looking like a chump. Then we find out about a double cross and things take a turn. However, whilst Kev Hopgood maintains great art throughout, the writing is sadly lacking.
Mean Machine: Travels with Muh Shrink 730-736 - A Mean comedy that is a little one note but still a fun little tale. Mean co-opts a time machine and with his shrink as a hostage he uses it to escape the authorities. Of course he was always going to go back in time and meet himself and the dial sure goes up to 4! The real star though is artist Richard Dolan who surprisingly never did anything else for the Prog outside of some covers. A real shame.
Indigo Prime: Killing Time 735-744 - When time travellers and space time dabblers muck things up, Indigo Prime move in and attempt to sort out the mess. As if time travel doesn’t feature enough in the Prog, we get a time travelling train that just so happens to feature Jack the Ripper. The mystery of the killer is revealed right at the beginning and so instead, the mystery becomes what the lead characters, Winwood and Cord, are doing on the train. Soon all is revealed and it goes the usual way of a John Smith script namely batshit crazy and off the wall. However, it’s likely his first story where he turned the corner form just being out there for the sake of it and actually had a good story to tell. Art by a young Chris Weston shows that he would become a great as well.
Dead Meat Book 1 742-748 - What a silly book. It’s the future and eating meat has been made illegal so of course there are an abundance of shady meat smugglers who are being tracked down by Inspector Raam, who just so happens to be an anthropomorphic Ram. Genius. It’s shallow and predictable but non offensive.
Harlem Heroes: Death Sport 745-749 - A Rarity here. Geoff Senior on art duties. Not quite up to his Action Force or Transformers work but still instantly recognisable, the art is good but the story not so much.
Revere: Finders Edge 744-749 - What the hell was that all about. More loopy John Smith shenanigans as a weird scavenging kid gets pulled into a crazy dream like state buy a witch…I think. Didn’t really enjoy it.
I liked the various potshots Mills took at mytholgy and Magick in this one. Especially the Crowley figure who hides the fact that he can’t do magic (and it’s mag-ick) behind the hierarchy of a thinly veiled O.T.O.
That’s a great cover.
How’s Wagner’s revamped Strontium Dog by the way? I read a few of the “alternate” histories in TPB a few years ago and found them lacking in comparison to Grant’s earlier stories - a little simplistic, and lacking the deeper social commentary. I’ve not read any of the latter stories, that re-wrote the ending of “Final Solution”. Curious if they are any better?
It was pretty dark and slow moving dealing with Johnny’s resurrection and then the new mutant civil war but now he’s back to the classic setup of a gang of bounty hunters going on adventures. I haven’t read the “alt history” books you mentioned so can’t compare but the new stories do seem to have been well received on various 2000AD Facebook groups / forums I follow.