Monday, May 7, 2007

The light at the end of the world

The year was 1986. The comic was 2000AD. More specifically, Nemesis The Warlock, Book 6. Presented over the course of around 8 issues, was one of the most chilling things I've seen. The end of the world. It was only recently that I got hold of the missing issues (and the ones I used to have, my ones long since thrown out. Mothers *sigh*). The arc still rings my bell. Written by Pat Mills, art by Bryan Talbot, the end of the world:

On a quest to find his son, Nemesis and his cohorts travel the time wastes, gateway to numerous timelines. They end up at 10,000,000,000A.D. That opening scene with them standing on a beach, watching the sun, now a Red Giant, go down is really striking. It seems so peaceful, for something that really should be quite horrifying.

We learn that the sea is partly covered in a red slime, which as it turns out, is humanity, regressed to their primordial state.

More on that leading last statement in a while.
So humanity, having reached it's peak, decided to return to the sea, forsaking their bodies to become a mass of psychically charged goo. Some of the travelling party find themselves susceptible to the psychic energy, and this is the part that really struck me when I first read it.

Haunting art, combined with the chilling prospect of Candy seeking oblivion. That goblet is filled with the same stuff in the sea, and anyone drinking it will be reduced to that state.
Candy is stopped before she can drink it, but then the crew find they are not alone.

Another striking scene, this time suits of armour, filled with the stuff of humanity, rising from the sea. Their demeanour is non-threatening, purely beings of wisdom. They were forced to take the form years earlier, which ties back in to what Nemesis was leading to before, and is one of the most evil acts you'll see in comics, or anywhere really.

Being dragged along with Nemesis, is a character called Torquemada, and though he believes his motives to be pure, he is utterly evil. He was once ruler of Earth, and came here from the timewastes with a huge army. They made a discovery about the red goo- it was an excellent fuel for their war machines. Having no scruples, Torquemada decided to harvest it, despite knowing of it's origin.

With the last remnants of their bodies destroyed, the tortured souls were cast out. Eventually humanity figure out it could animate the dive suits of the aggressors, and drove them out, mostly by making everyone alive drink from that cup. But the damage done was huge. The twisted souls ended up becoming an entity themselves, called the Monad, evil and horrifying in it's own right.

The monad comes along and basically kicks everyone's asses, but I'll leave it there.

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