Crisis (phase IV)
Issues 39-49: 1990
The fourth phase of Crisis sees the page count go up from 32pp to 36pp, and Third World War remains the signature strip, with a main supporting act and regular one-offs.
The spin-off from Troubled Souls (For A Few Troubles More...) lands, but is a lighter, frothier beast. It's replaced in that slot by the ennui-inducing (but provocatively titled) New Adventures of Hitler.
The first issue of this phase (#39) is an Amnesty International special, with true life tales of human rights violations from across the globe. Continuing the contemporary social commentary, issues #42 and #45 present "China in Crisis", which depicts the build-up to and events of The Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989.
About half way through this phase, the 2000 AD stable seems to launch its own rival to Crisis in the form of the 52pp monthly Revolver.
[The one-off slot(s)]
Although these often feature strong messages of social justice, in this phase we start to see a move into more art house fare, which can have the drawback of leaving the reader nonplussed.
- The Death Factory - a black inmate waits on death row, in apartheid era South Africa, and ruminates on how he got there. This is based on the true story of the Upington 14.
- A Kind of Madness - a Palestinian walks into a doctor's office and explains his desperation at the plight of his people under the oppressive heel of Israel. This is exploring the "Intifada" (uprising) of 1987, which is now known as the "First Intifada", as a second broke out in the year 2000.
- Murky Waters - an Alaskan hunts a killer, but really that just serves as a structure to tell us about the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
- Brighton Gas - a homeless young man in Brighton, whose name is Gas, hangs around the town filled with ennui. It's possible that at the end he's insane and thinks he's an astronaut.
- Passion and Fire - perhaps about heroin addiction.
- Faceless - a woman starts getting wrong number calls for a sex line, and eventually confronts the owner (an anthropomorphic razorback).
- Try a Little Tenderness - A man hunts down and kills Hammond organs. True.
- The Soldier and the Farmer - Khmer Rouge guerillas massacre a farmer and his family when they discover that he used to be a teacher.
- Felicity - a young man signs on for his dole, and later he witnesses an older man having a heart attack in the pub. It's possible they're the same person.
- The Soldier and the Painter - an American G.I. (born into a Jewish family) meets a Jewish painter in Salzburg during the allied defeat of Germany in 1945.
- Chicken Run - a young man is depressed and feeling melodramatic because his girlfriend left him.
More of these in the next phase...
Third World War: Book III, The Big Heat
Paul/Finn flashbacks to his time in the army, stationed in Northern Ireland, then flashbacks to some eco-terrorism actions he's taken. He delivers some guns to BADS, then murders a cat, and some humans.
Finn's presented as a serial killer who justifies his murders as revenge for attacks against planet Earth. That he's supposed to be a hero is ... odd. There's dodgy sexual politics on offer as well, as Finn persuades almost every female character he meets to copulate regardless of their prior characterizations, and then dumps them because ... paganism. This sort of male-dominated free love rhetoric is a cornerstone issue of feminism, where sexual freedom shouldn't mean that there's a compulsion to say "yes" to men.
Continues into the next phase (briefly) as Book IV...
For a Few Troubles More…
In this shaggy dog story, a couple of the supporting characters from Troubled Souls try to organize a wedding.
Ends in this phase.
In each one-page piece, one or two images are accompanied by a short text piece, and provide some social commentary.
Continues into the next phase...
China in Crisis
Presented in two parts, with a two-issue gap, the first is clearly labeled "Events that led to the Tiananmen Square Massacre", and does what it says on the tin. There's an unusual artistic choice to present China's ruling elite as slightly demonic (as in the first frame they're shown with ridiculously long pointy fingernails, a bit like Edward Scissorhands), but otherwise it's a solid visual history that's still relevant today given the Chinese government's tendency to disavow the events.
The second part presents what is known of the massacre itself, which killed at least 10,000 civilians (against the 200 claimed by the Chinese government). If Crisis were still running, it would perhaps run a special on the current persecution of the Uyghers, which involves mass incarceration, breaking up families, mass surveillance, indentured servitude, forced sterilization and the removal and sale of their hair.
Ends in this phase.
The New Adventures of Hitler
This has Adolf Hitler in Liverpool in 1912, which is based on a myth propogated by his sister-in-law after he'd become infamous. Beyond that, this is mostly an overly indulgent Dadaist farrago of themes and styles, but does carry some compelling scenes.
Ends in this phase.
|Crisis #39 by Sean Phillips||Crisis #45 by David Hine||Crisis #48 by Steve Yeowell|