PROG: 31 – A PROMISED LAND!
Art: Horacio Lalia
Letters: Peter Knight
Plot: On an over-crowded future earth the authorities announce they are giving away free tickets to a new paradise planet. Jed Orville, thoroughly sick of earth, beats his way to the front of the queue, having learnt from his thuggish friends that is how they got their tickets and having seen the rich buy their way on to the flight passenger manifest. Two weeks later Orville and his pals are on their way to paradise.
Shock: The ship beams down the passengers to ‘a frozen hell’ where they will have to learn to cooperate or die. Everyone on the flight was a bully or a cheat just like Jed.
Thoughts: A Promised Land, with its dystopian world view, nasty central characters, highly individual dynamic art and thoroughly mean conclusion could probably claim to be the first Future Shock to represent the elements 2000AD was to become famous for. Jed Orville is an excellently unpleasant lead and his dialogue if full of great phrases, ‘Man, am I sick o’ dis place‘, which instantly lifts the story away from the more Golden Era’ Sci-Fi of previous Shocks. Lalia’s artwork is simply wonderful with scores of detail on the poor saps around Jed – women and babies get pushed out-of-the-way, brides cry about their misfortune and brutish men with muscles or money parade around with smug contentment. There is a slight continuity error whereby Jed’s friends claim to be booked on a flight ‘tomorrow‘ but end up on the plane with him ‘two weeks later‘ but that’s forgivable.. maybe Virgin ran the flights. Listed as ‘unknown’ it seems likely that Peter Harris is on scripting duties as Jed’s dialogue is strongly reminiscent of that of the time travellers in the Future Shock he is credited for in the very next issue. The characters in both strips share a 70’s American street vernacular written with an ear for the phrasing and slang of the times. Whoever the author of A Promised Land! is they deserves praise for a classic Future Shock.
Shock’d? Not overly as just how mean everyone on the flight is has been blatantly telegraphed; however the joy in the script and art is the meanness of all the characters and their eventual fate – especially as they are teleported right beside a very hungry looking sabre-toothed tiger-creature.