Wednesday 2 June 2010

The List! And Apocalypse War Revisited

Aaaaaand we're back. Not a great week for new comics this week. There's only one definite for me, which is this:

Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis' Avengers Prime #1. This will apparently send Captain America, Iron Man and Thor off on a multidimensional adventure during which the rift between the characters will be healed, a kind of deck-clearing exercise so that the recently launched Avengers #1 doesn't have to deal with all the emotional baggage. What baggage? What rift? Well, the fact that Cap and Iron Man were on opposing sides during Civil War, and that Iron Man and Mister Fantastic (from the Fantastic Four) created a clone of the at-the-time MIA Thor which then killed Giant Man. Like that. Then again, Iron Man wouldn't remember any of that because his mind was subsequently wiped (by, er, himself) and the memory reinstall conveniently only went up to just prior to Civil War. Good lord, comics are complicated. Anyway, it's Alan Davis drawing it, so it'll look gorgeous.

Other than that, I might give these a look:

#2. I quite enjoyed the first issue of this – wherein gravedigger Gwen is actually dead herself, and has to snack on the occasional brain – so let's give the second one a go, shall we?

Red Hood Lost Days
#1. This one's much less certain a buy. Judd Winick, who wroted this, also wrote the run of Batman where former Robin Jason Todd came back from the dead and made Batman's life a misery, which I liked at the time. Since then the character's been completely mishandled (typical for DC Comics these days really), but I'm still intrigued to see what Winick does with Jason/Red Hood.

Superman Batman Annual
#4. I don't know why I'm interested in this. Paul Levitz is a dated writer, I was never into Batman Beyond... and yet... no, no idea why I want to check this one out. So I probably won't. Apologies for wasting your time there, but evidently I needed to work through that one.

In other news, I went up in my ma and pa's loft at the weekend and dug a bunch of stuff out, including this:

The complete collection of the Judge Dredd story The Apocalypse War, which originally ran in 2000 AD in the early '80s. It also includes the preceding story Block Mania, which sets up the events of the Apocalypse War.

Mick McMahon artwork there. These were the golden years for 2000 AD, stories like this and Cursed Earth and Necropolis (I also retrieved my collections of Necropolis – and the Dead Man collection which precedes it – from the loft). I was reading 2000 AD at the time, and have fond memories of this stuff, most of which was written by Alan Grant and John Wagner (with some by Pat Mills). I remember this scene being quite shocking at the time:

That's the death of Judge Giant, as depicted by Steve Dillon. Giant was a regular supporting character in the Dredd stories, so to see him offed like this was jarring. Reading the comics again, the manic energy that informed them is still apparent, with death and destruction on an awesome scale. I've just got to this part of the Apocalypse War storyline:

where East-Meg One has unleashed its nuclear arsenal on Mega-City One, wiping out a third of the sprawling metropolis, and the invasion is about to begin. It's fantastic stuff, the whole thing drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, full of mayhem and black comedy, utterly unlike American comics, where this kind of gleeful demolition and giggling mass-murder was unheard of (although less so these days). (Oddly, there's a switch in tense in the captions from Block Mania to Apocalypse War, from past to present, which makes Apocalypse War seem more vital and urgent somehow. Tenses in comics are a bit of a bugbear of mine, and I probably wouldn't have noticed at the time, but it makes quite a difference now.)

Anyway, I'm thoroughly enjoying this at the moment. Necropolis next...?

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