Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Prog 6 - Harlem Heroes

The Heroes make their way through the transatlantic tunnel. After beating the Bulls, their next opponents are the Soviet Unions 'Siberian Wolves'.

The idea of a tunnel connecting continents is not a new idea but with Gibbons art we get to see what something like that would look like. Probably the closest thing to the Transatlantic Tunnel in the strip is the Channel Tunnel that opened in 1994 connecting Britain to France and the rest of Europe. For more info click the link...Channel Tunnel

The Heroes road liner driver Artie puts Giants mind at ease just in case there's a disaster in the tunnel. Artie tells him that the liner converts into an air tight super sub for such an emergency.

Giant, satisfied, takes the team to the onboard gym and goes over tactics.
Giant tells them that they don't know much about their opponents because the Russians have only been part of the World Aeroball Association for the last five years.

Later after the team talk, Giant and Slim go pay Louis Mayer a visit in the liners medic room. Giant asks Louis again if he's sure that it's sabotage that caused the last road liner to crash. Louis says that he's never been more sure of anything and that they'd better watch their backs or they'll end up like him...a floating brain in a jar!

The liner speeds across Europe to Moscow. The Harlem Heroes are the first foreign team ever to enter the Soviet Union. The Heroes transfer from their road liner to a smaller satellite vehicle. The liner is so big that it could damage and knock down a lot of the Soviet monuments.

They arrive to a rousing Russian welcome at the Soviet 'Palace of Aeroball'.
They are greeted at the steps of the stadium by the Soviet Minister of Sport. Giant asks the Minister why none of the Soviet players took part in the parade. The Minister responds that the players are not encouraged to seek public applause but rather their desire should be to serve Mother Russia in the arena of Aeroball combat!

The game is about to begin. The Heroes walk out into the arena are are surprised to see the size of the russian 'pits'. The Russians must have a whole army of substitutes. The Wolves make their entrance...
and there are a lot of them. There must be fielding at least thirty men.
The amount of players confuses the American commentator...
The game begins and the Russians are really hell bent on winning, so much so, that one player is going so fast to hit Giant from the blast-off that Giant manages to roll him. The player can't stop and smashes into a rebound pad.
The injured player is removed from the field. Giant is concerned. The Russians are going all out and they don't care how many players they sacrifice as long as they beat the Heroes.
Interesting episode because of the time period. In this future, the Soviet Union didn't fall but carried on and the Cold War is alive and well. I suppose when the script was written in the 70's there was no way anyone could predict the fall of the USSR.

As a result, it's great that 2000ad now has an alternate timeline that stretches into Dredds world. In Dredds world the Soviet Union is still alive and kicking and the tie that binds both strips is 'Giant'.

One thing that's not made clear in the strip, maybe it will be made clear later, is that we don't know how many subsitutes are allowed on one team. My impression from reading this episode is that there is no limit. Which is unusual because all sports have a limit to the amount of subs a team can use.

I find the commentator to be hilarious. He can't figure out who's who so he calls the Russian players Boris 1, Boris 2 etc. Funny when I read it now, but he has to be the worst commentator ever! He'd never get a job on ESPN!

The scene with Louis telling Giant he's sure that the liner crash was sabotage is pure padding. It's totally unnecessary as it doesn't advance the story at all...then again, if your reading the strip from week to week...it does act as a recap.

And we end with the, now standard, Harlem Heroes next prog rhyme...
"2000ad - it's thrilling and new
Big- picture power - programmed for you.'

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