Thursday, July 19, 2007

16. Crusading Nowhere

The reread brings us to another relaunch period for new readers to jump on. This is prog 929 in February 1995, but this is not a case of 2000 AD putting its best feet forward. A 20-part Finn series by Pat Mills and Paul Staples is the main attraction. Other entertaining thrills include Armoured Gideon by new editor John Tomlinson and Simon Jacob and Rogue Trooper by Steve White and Henry Flint. There's a long-shelved Harlem Heroes 12-parter by Michael Fleisher and Kev Hopgood finally making its appearance after years in the drawer. My fellow blogger AlexF has recently been dissecting this monstrosity over at Meanwhile, on the Dark Side of the Moon, so I'll not bother trying to add to his words at this time.

Alex did mention "Crusade," a ten-part Dredd adventure by Mark Millar, Grant Morrison and Mick Austin back in April, but this thing's so absurd that it demands further discussion. Except, no sooner did I begin the intended discussion before every notion of continuing was drained right out of my body by the unbelievable shittiness of the story. Crusade is a bizarre amalgamation of two previous entries in this series: the stereotypes of the world judges and the phenomenal awfulness of Mark Millar.

Urg. It hurts to look at.

In 1982, Marvel Comics had made a three-issue comic series called Contest of Champions, in which a whole bunch of superheroes are directed by cosmic players to fight each other on an around-the-world quest for various talismans. This is Mark Millar's Dreddworld version. Each of the major mega-cities sends one of their judges to a remote Antarctic outpost after a lost-in-space tek judge named Eckhart says he's found God or something and is returning to Earth.

I mean, it really doesn't matter. It's a fragile, stupid, two-dimensional nothing of a premise which serves no purpose whatsoever except to get a bunch of world judges in one place, refuse to cooperate with each other, and have a big stupid fight. Or maybe it's like Marvel's Civil War or whatever the hell they're selling this year.

Oh, and there's a really, really tough judge, too. His name is Cesare and he's from Vatican-City, and he'll be fighting Judge Dredd on a conveyor belt before this story's finished. I think they probably fall from a great height as well.

I dunno, you'd like to say that Grant Morrison had little-to-nothing to do with this, and that might be the case. It's got practically every last Mark Millar trope of the period all lined up, plus that love of superhero beat-em-ups is pretty blatant in every page. On the other hand, I think there's a silly robot mine car later on in the story which feels more like an old-school Pat Mills idea than anything else, and I can imagine Morrison cherry-picking that more easily than Millar.

This low point is as good a place as any to say that Thrillpowered Thursday is taking a short vacation. I'm rereading the issues along with my son, who came on board with prog 800 and is reading them for the first time, along with selected classic thrills. But he's going to be out of town with his mother, in Kentucky, for a few weeks. I don't want to leave the kid with too teetering a stack to tackle when he gets home, so I'll pause and start reading my pile of Battle Picture Weekly while he's gone. Normal service will be resumed August 16. Credo!

(Originally published 7/19/07 at LiveJournal.)

No comments: