This is the eighth of ten parts of Chapter Five of The Last War in Albion, covering Alan Moore’s work on Future Shocks for 2000 AD from 1980 to 1983. An ebook omnibus of all ten parts, sans images, is available in ebook form from Amazon, Amazon UK, and Smashwords for $2.99. If you enjoy the project, please consider buying a copy of the omnibus to help ensure its continuation.
Most of the comics discussed in this chapter are collected in The Complete Alan Moore Future Shocks.
Previously in The Last War in Albion: After an initial period of promise and originality, Moore’s future shocks began to fade into repetitiveness as the limits of the format became increasingly and painfully clear…
“We have camera eyes that speed up, slow down, and even reverse the flow of time, allowing us to see what no one prior to the twentieth century had ever seen — the thermodynamic miracle of broken shards and a puddle gathering themselves up from the floor to assemble a half-full wineglass.” -Grant Morrison
|Figure 242: “The Wages of Sin” even recycles the final|
joke of “They Sweep the Spaceways,” with the major
difference being that Talbot arranged his panels
vertically and Leach horizontally. (c.f. Figure 235)
(From “The Wages of Sin,” written by Alan Moore, art
by Bryan Talbot, in 2000 AD #257, 1982)
But many other stories in the period are flatter at best. “A Second Chance,” a two-pager in which the last man on Earth finds a woman, is utterly devoid of any point. “All of Them Were Empty,” in which a siege on a American truck stop is revealed to be conducted by sentient cars wanting a fill-up, is similarly uninspiring, as is “No Picnic,” in which a man is buried alive on Easter Island to become one of the famed heads. And when Moore did hit gold, it was often by rehashing his own previous work. One of his best stories of 1982, “The Wages of Sin,” is a redo of “They Sweep the Spaceways,” this time focusing on the training that would-be galactic conquerers go through. It’s not that it is a pale imitation of “They Sweep the Spaceways.” In fact, its jokes are a step sharper, and the art by Bryan Talbot is superlative. But it’s still just a refinement of an earlier strip.
For the most part this stretch of Moore’s work is characterized by a heavy reliance on straightforward twist endings. Some of these are reasonably clever – “The Beastly Beliefs of Benjamin Blint”,” for instance, uses the basic twist of the classic Twilight Zone episode “The Eye of the Beholder,” whereby the eponymous Benjamin Blint tells his therapist about the horrible creature that periodically appears to him. The strip shows several such encounters, between a typically square-jawed man and a suitably horrible looking creature. The final panel reveals that Blint is in fact the monstrous creature, haunted by the “hideous” ordinary human, who Blint finally admits can’t possibly be real, because there just isn’t room in the real world for creatures as stomach-turning and loathsome as that.”