Thursday, October 16, 2008

71. Eurocrash

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.

March 1999: Prog 1138 marks the third and final time that the entire comic was given over to a single episode from one of 2000 AD's series, which doesn't do you much good if you're not a fan of the feature. In early 1998, there was an all-Judge Dredd issue, followed by prog 1100's feature-length episode of Slaine, and now episode twelve of the Sinister Dexter epic "Eurocrash."

I realize that very few of my readers are interested in this sort of trivia, but from the production / editorial side, "Eurocrash" is a very odd storyline. Had it run one five-page episode a week, then it could have been a 17-part epic, but it was apparently decided early on to compact its climactic episodes into one mammoth-sized part, like an omnibus edition, instead. I don't know that it is a tactic that should be employed ever again, but the sequence of spiralling, escalating drama that has fueled "Eurocrash" for the last three months deserves an epic climax which this issue provides. Dan Abnett and Simon Davis don't disappoint; it's a terrific story with more than one shocking moment in this issue.

"Eurocrash" begins with the confirmation that Downlode's queenpin, Demi Octavo, does not have as firm a power base as she had suspected. Her decisions have led the criminal underworld to mistrust her enough to begin consolidating power against her. Add to this the revelation that one of the city's principal sources for black market weapons has a mole in his office allowing long-illegal neural control units into play, and a confrontation with several gun sharks at the formerly neutral territory of their favorite diner, and the sprawling city has become a powder keg.

When it ends, it really does feel like the grand finale. There's an argument to be made - I've made it - that Sinister Dexter should have concluded here. Of course, there are still some fantastic moments to come down the line. "I Say Hello," which surely must be the best episode of the series, is about three years after this episode. And then there's "...and death shall have no dumb minions," which features at least two of the most heartbreaking scenes of the whole series, and that was just a couple of years ago, I think.

But there's also a lot of padding and failed humor to come. And had "Eurocrash" been the series finale, it would probably be better remembered, and its reputation would not have been tarnished by what will be shown to not work very well.

When DC and Rebellion had that ill-fated alliance three-and-a-bit years back, they released three collections of Sinister Dexter, right up to the point before "Eurocrash," leading fans to suspect Rebellion would soon continue with a fourth book compiling this story. Well, they took their time, but "Eurocrash" is finally on the schedule for March of next year. The book is tentatively listed as 160 pages, but I'm not sure how much additional material that will contain. Prog 1139's conclusion to "Eurocrash" (part 13) appeared to be the final episode of the series, with the protagonists going their separate ways into another series, Downlode Tales, that deals with this epic's aftermath, before reuniting in December '99. I imagine that at least a good chunk of Downlode Tales will make it into the book, but I don't know that 160 pages will be enough to cover it all.

Next time, we'll pop back to the Megazine for the first time in a while, to see how these Dredd subplots have been shaping up, and to see whether I can tie Thrillpowered Thursday into Reprint This! successfully...

Sinister Dexter Bullet Count: Finnigan gets his ninth hit of the series in this prog, a bullet to the left shoulder. It doesn't slow him down much, but there's a lot of blood.

See you in seven days!

(Originally posted Oct. 16 2008 at hipsterdad's LiveJournal.)

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