PROG: 54 – STASIS
Script: Charles Swift
Art: McCarthy – Ewins
Letters: Tony Jacob
Plot: A female scientist is showing her male colleague her latest work – a stasis machine. Ridiculing the notion he contemptuously flicks at the switches on the machine. Dismissively he decries ‘There! Nothing’s happened, has it?‘
Shock: ‘There! Nothing’s happened, has it?’ There! Nothing’s happened, has it?’ There! Nothing’s happened, has it?’ There! Nothing’s happened, has it?’ There! Nothing’s happened, has it?’
Thoughts: A joyous curio of a strip to round of the first 25 Future Shocks. Charles Swift is presumably a pseudonym, perhaps of one of the illustrators of the strip. Sadly his one and a half pages of 2000AD fame are marred by the repetition of a rather obvious grammar mistake (the direct quote above) but our presumably fictitious friend does leave us with a rather nice simple gag strip. The second page is composed entirely of repeated copies of the last panel from the first page as the two scientists are now trapped in stasis by the machine. Actually they appear to be trapped in a loop rather than stasis but we’ll indulge them that given the eternity of their fate. The art also proves a small conundrum with the familiar ‘which McCarthy Brother was it’ dilemma. The strip lists ‘McCarthy’, Barney lists Jim McCarthy whereas Brendan McCarthy claims it as his own on his website’s bibliography. Which ever way they divided up the chores, the art certainly is an improvement over their previous work and hopefully the young artists got a full-page rate for a cheeky ten minutes with a Xerox machine on the second page.
Shock’d? More of a Future Chuckle than a shock but the strip is definitely a successful one-note gag.
PROG: 37 & 38 – ROBOT REPAIRS
Script: Robert Flynn
Art: Brett Ewins & Jim McCarthy
Letters: John Aldrich
Plot: Daryl and Zac run ‘Robot Repairs’ – an ultra-efficient robot repair service which is in much demand in the highly robotised 2142. Faced with the creation of the self-repairing robot they decide to destroy the prototypes and its creator Dr Small. Breaking into the factory they succeed in their plans and return to base to celebrate
Shock: Daryl and Zac commend themselves on their success, not only for destroying the threat from self-repairing robots but also because they are, once again, the only existing self-repairing robots.
Thoughts: With The Ultimate Warrior (FS 10) Robert Flynn wrote a rather poor piece of ill-thought out nonsense, however at least it obeyed its own narrative consistency. Here he gives us an exciting enough tale, with a good deal more direct violence than has typified Future Shocks to date, but amazingly manages to make make the shock contradict itself in its own revelation. Daryl and Zac are said to be the only two ‘self-repairing’ robots left after their destruction of Dr Small’s robot but we see Zac repairing Daryl and ‘getting him some spare parts’. How this makes Daryl any different to any other robot is not really clear. It seems a quibble but when you spot the error it totally undermines the whole shock. Worse still it would have been perfectly easy to edit – showing Daryl repairing himself. The art marks the début of two names who would go on to contribute much to 2000AD’s next decade, Brett Ewins (Rouge Trooper, Judge Anderson, Bad Company) and Jim McCarthy (Bad Company, Bix Barton, The GrudgeFather) and is remarkable only for that fact. The standard is pretty poor and includes some oddities such as the colour of the repairmen’s overalls changing mid-strip. On the plus side you can distinctly see how their own individual styles would progress from this début and there are a few good in-jokes like a reference to Dredd on the back of a newspaper. The panel when Daryl’s face opens is a nice image and much the best drawn panel, it would immediately remind Golden-Era 2000AD readers of a similar moment in Robo-Hunter.
Shock’d? On an initial read the reveal that Zac and Daryl are self-repairing robots is a nice touch, although not needed or explanatory of anything additional as they would have had the motive to kill Dr Small and his inventions had they just been ordinary robot repair men, of a human or robotic nature. However when the flaw of Zac fixing Daryl while proclaiming themselves ‘self-repairing’ becomes noted the effect is to undermine any credibility in the story at all. So not a great shock nor even a shock that adds anything to the tale, simply a badly executed almost shock with fairly ugly art.