DC Solicitation: This elite trouble-shooting organization cleans up the mess left by time travelers, meddlers and monsters…for a price! Join Prime Agents Winwood and Cord, Almaranda, Fegredo and Brecht and more in this amazing collection of hallucinatory adventures!
On sale June 22  o 7.375" x 10.1875" o 192 pg, FC [& B&W], $19.99 US
This volume reprints:
Fervent & Lobe: The Issigri Variations, 8 episodes, progs 642-649 (Sept. to Oct. 1989). Story by "The Grim Brothers" (Smith), art by Mike Hadley.
Indigo Prime, prog 678 (May 1990). Story by Smith, art by Chris Weston.
Winwood & Cord: Downtime, 2 episodes, progs 680-681 (May 1990). Story by Smith, art by Weston.
Fegredo & Brecht: How the Land Lied, 2 episodes, both in prog 682 (June 1990). Story by Smith, art by Weston.
Fervent & Lobe: Holiday on Ice, Winter Special 3 (Dec. 1990). Story by Smith, art by Mike Hadley.
Almaranda: Solstice, 2 episodes, progs 720-721 (Mar. 1991). Story by Smith, art by Mike Hadley.
Killing Time, 10 episodes, progs 735-744 (June to Aug. 1991). Story by Smith, art by Chris Weston.
Commentary: The execution of Indigo Prime revealed a mini-universe in 2000 AD which wormed its way through several short stories, one-shots and another John Smith-scripted series, Tyranny Rex. For ease of reference, all of the non-Tyranny episodes are grouped together here as Indigo Prime, the name under which a few of them appeared. Indigo Prime is an organization which works to protect reality from incursions outside our understanding, but is also willing to manipulate time and space in the services of very rich clients. Its agents, under the jurisdiction of Major Arcana, tend to be almost shockingly amoral, but those characters which we do meet are incredibly interesting eccentrics, and the constant feel that there is so much more we could know is one reason the strip evokes such strong memories in its fans.
The first Indigo Prime agents we meet are Basalt and Foundation, in the 1986 Future Shock "A Change of Scenery," where the operation was called Void Indiga (TM). This operation is seen again briefly in “Woody Allen,” a Tyranny Rex story from the 1988 Sci-Fi Special which introduces Major Arcana. Two disgraced former agents named Fervent and Lobe were introduced in another Tyranny story called "Soft Bodies." These two psychic cowboys got their own series, “The Issigri Variations,” in 1989, which also features Major Arcana and the originally-introduced Basalt and Foundation, along with Lobe’s former girlfriend Almaranda, an overweight fortune teller. Five additional episodes, with splendid art by Chris Weston, appeared under the Indigo Prime logo (used for the first time) in 1990 and fleshed out the grand concept, introducing us, at least briefly, to four other agents. (Some others make very curious cameo appearances.) After that, there was an Almaranda two-parter, and then there was the blood and thunder of “Killing Time,” easily one of the greatest things to ever appear in 2000 AD. This was a truly shocking ten-part story in which agents Max Winwood and Ishmael Cord allow Jack the Ripper to complete his last murder in order for them to battle the Iscariot, a creature outside time and space who was using the Ripper to ensure its own freedom. Smith’s scripting on this beast is a masterwork of horror - each episode builds upon the previous with some absolutely stunning moments and horrendous imagery. 2000 AD should always be dangerous and unconventional - it’s what makes it better than any other comic - but heroes in adventure series just don’t meet the sort of fate which awaits Winwood and Cord and the supporting characters.
The cruelty of “Killing Time” was followed by a worse fate for its readers: after spending five years building up and finally letting rip on a fantastic storyline like that, Smith says he became bored of the concept and dropped it. For years, Tharg featured color pinups of Winwood and Cord (Weston must have prepped dozens as possible front covers in 1991), but the incredible tapestry and background of Indigo Prime has been sadly abandoned. One of the most unique and truly thrilling strips to ever appear in 2000 AD rests in comparative peace.
On the other hand, all times and places are relative to Indigo Prime; they could end up returning for a 13-week run when nobody suspects...
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