Thursday, May 20, 2010

135. Whenever I see the word "Valkyrie," I hear Steve Winwood singing "Valerie."

February 2004: I guess that this week's entry really is proof that I'm not the same gleefully malevolent critic that I was in the early '90s, writing for the university newspaper. Once upon a time, the prospect of writing an epic, pages-long takedown of a series as misbegotten and brainless as Valkyries would have been something to look forward to, but now it's just depressing and tedious. Life is too short to waste even reading garbage like this, let alone writing about the experience. The cover art pictured here is by Frazer Irving and it is, by leagues, the best thing about the series, about which the most interesting thing I can impart is that it is the worst 2000 AD series of the past ten years, and the only one about which I can't find a single redeeming thing to say. There have been other great big steaming disappointments in the prog over the last ten years - Bison, Detonator X and the second series of The Ten-Seconders come to mind - but only Valkyries stands up as a complete waste of paper, time and talent. It really does rank down there with the worst of the early '90s misfires. Think Wire Heads bad.

Okay, so it's the last series created for the comic by Steve Moore, and it's illustrated by American artist John Lucas. It reminds me of the old story of how Michael Fleisher was once headhunted by 2000 AD on the strength of his 1970s work on The Spectre and Jonah Hex, thinking him a good fit. I suspect that Lucas, who once did a really good frame story for a special issue of Starman, one of my favorite American comics of the '90s, might have been sought out on the strength of his work on the last three issues of Codename: Knockout, a Vertigo clone of the popular Danger Girl series. He's a really good artist, and based on what Tharg saw in Codename: Knockout, he seemed like a good choice for a series about sexy space babes romping around to save the universe from some humongous new threat. Lucas can draw sexy ladies...



...unfortunately, for this series, he chose to draw incredibly ugly ones.

I don't know what the hell happened here, but basically, in a series that was crying out for Frank Cho or J. Scott Campbell to draw it, we got somebody who wanted to draw characters with all the lumpy sex appeal of cardboard boxes, and half the curves. Not that Cho or Campbell could polish this script very much, as it's basically regurgitated plot beats from the failed Rose O'Rion series and the first run of Synnamon (which had only finished about ten weeks previously!), with comedy anal probes and sex-crazed berserker men thrown in for good measure, but at least they'd have made it easy on the eyes.

That is far more than anybody needs to say about Valkyries. I feel sorry for David Page when he gets to it in his prog slog.

Oh, yeah! David's doing the prog slog now! That's the big news in 2000 AD fandom this week. Paul Rainey, who kickstarted the whole "blog about your collection" deal with his 2000 AD Prog Slog Blog in 2006, inspiring the Thrillpowered Thursday that you've been reading, has finally reached the end of the 1188 issues that he bought from somebody on eBay and has brought his enterprise to an agreeable end. But reg'lar commenter and all-around great guy David "Monarch" Page hasn't wanted the story to end there, so he's carrying on over at his own blog, Dead'll Do. This certainly gives me the impetus to keep writing and not rest on my laurels, despite periodic, necessary recharge breaks - a short one's coming up in June - because the Monarch's fewer than 200 issues behind me, and it simply wouldn't do for him to catch me.

Speaking of which, next time, it's back to the good stuff, as The Red Seas wraps up its second adventure and we meet another member of Dredd's family. See you in seven!

3 comments:

David page said...

I think its gonna be a while before I catch up....

yeah I really...really don't like that story...

but its bison I'm really scared to get to...

Grant, the Hipster Dad said...

See, I figure that Bison at least had a decent idea at its core, it was just very badly executed by everybody involved, and the artists drew the last three episodes in a long afternoon. Valkyries lacks the decent idea. It really is the worst thing to appear in the comic since Mark Millar's last strip. Sez me, anyway.

Mike Gloady said...

Personally I think you're both insane. But thanks for doing what I just could never bring myself to do. Keep it up.

And for the first time, I'm really glad I missed Valkyries (and everything else between around 1250-1580)