Thursday, July 17, 2008

60. Lady in Black

Thrillpowered Thursday is a weekly look at the world of 2000 AD. I'm rereading my collection of 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine, one issue an evening, and once each week for the foreseeable future, I'll see what I'm inspired to write.

April 1998: Well, normally I like to make these entries a little meaty, but I suppose I'm still recovering from the twin duds of the low-thrilled spring '08 lineup (only the first issue of the far better summer lineup has arrived in the US) and the disappointment of some of the more recent collections going missing again, and not arriving at my local shop. So while I'm rereading a pretty good period from ten years ago, and enjoying it a great deal, there's a certain spark missing. It's a good lineup, with Judge Dredd by John Wagner, Alex Ronald and Gary Caldwell, Slaine by Pat Mills and Steve Tappin, Missionary Man by Gordon Rennie and Simon Davis, and finally Sinister Dexter by Dan Abnett and Greg Staples - every strip a winner.

The Dredd story sees the second appearance of the Euthanasia Killer, Oola Blint. This serial killing "lady in black," under the guise of doing the Lord's work, goes door-to-door offering the personal touch as she sees citizens into the next life. Oola's husband Homer is a Justice Department auxiliary who spends evenings working as a licensed peeping tom looking at neighboring city blocks. In this story, Homer learns Oola's awful secret.

I can't claim to be a huge fan of Alex Ronald's artwork, but it is still quite good. I like the way he draws people to look very ordinary, with most of the civilian characters packing a few extra pounds they could stand to exercise off. What I like most of all about this story is that Wagner continues to script his best villains as being very intelligent, and able to work around the realities of the constant surveillance of Mega-City One and the always observant detectives in the judge system. Of course, some blind luck comes into it as well, but as Homer and Oola Blint make more appearances over the next few years, it is always done very believably.

Probably the biggest news from this prog is the first 2000 AD appearance of Missionary Man, who has been moved to the weekly since Preacher took up residence at the Megazine and squeezed everybody else out of town. Alex Ronald's going to handle the story that begins in the next episode. The one-off in this issue is designed to introduce the character to the weekly's audience. Simon Davis painted it, and it looks wonderful. Greg Staples' art on "Drop Dead Gorgeous" is also fantastic. This is a four-part story compacted into two issues and introduces Finnigan's estranged wife, Carrie Hosanna, who will make a couple more appearances a few years down the road.

Only the Sinister Dexter story has been reprinted at this time, in the book Slay Per View. I'm optimistic that we'll see Missionary Man collected some time in 2009 (see my Reprint This! feature on it here), but that's just speculation.

At any rate, I'm continuing a little vacation from this while my kids are in Louisville, Kentucky with their mom. Thrillpowered Thursday will resume in August with the debut of Pulp Sci-Fi. See you then!