06/09/2020 The Out
The Out is a strip that has been running in 2000AD since Prog2187 June 24th.
Written by Dan Abnett, illustrated by Mark Harrison, lettered by Annie Parkhouse. And all doing a grand job I hope Annie Whitehouse is being paid an above normal page rate for what is a very wordy script. Very wordy in this case not a complaint since the words, like the art, are charming. If charming seems like an unusual word to use for a space opera this is an unusual space opera
The Out relates the exploits of Cyd Finlea, a human photo-journalist way, way, way out in space. So far out she has not seen another human for ten years and has lost track of where, or even if, Earth is. Much of Annie’s work is taken up with a first-person narrative from Cyd but there is also a good deal of conversation with the many and various aliens she meets.
Inexplicable things and unexplained objects are a feature of Mark Harrisons depiction of the worlds Cyd experiences as seems quite right and natural though I did recognise the Meanie from Yellow Submarine and a reference to a cubist portrait by Picasso. The characters are largely line work but colouring, backgrounds and lighting effects are computer generated in an app I can’t identify and whose effect is soft and fluid.
The work put me in mind of free Jazz. One musician starts something and another riffs on it, each doing their own thing at the same time making the others contribution something a bit different and a little more than they had each imagined. That was an impression formed before reading that the work was a long and close collaboration between the two creators with a shared interest in in Golden Age Sci fi pulps. This is a Space Opera albeit one of the less violent kind. There is a war and destruction but the emphasis is on Cyd, her mental and emotional state. Although adaptable she is a stranger in a strange land still carrying hurts from an earlier time. It seemed fitting that in the last episode I was able to read Cyd is with a therapist. The therapist is helpful despite being an alien and seemingly preoccupied. Here the story takes on a new direction. Cyd’s aimless wanderings now have purpose. Now she will search for her long-lost daughter. A plot twist that I hope signifies the The Out has a long run ahead.
Interview with Dan and Mark about The Out at - https://2000ad.com/news/interview-dan-abnett-mark-harrison-take-us-to-the-out/
14/09/2020 Spoiler. Since posting the above two more episodes have appeared. The last one being the final one in this series. Cyd about to journey on.