The end of Mann’s World is pretty much what I’d figured it be, complete with the compressed second-to-third act transition and an elongated epilogue. The third act itself gets short-changed, but it’d just be more peculiar action, which never engages—less Nico Walter’s wanting art, more writer Victor Gischler being out of set piece ideas. Possibly because Walter can’t handle them but possibly because it’s just time for the comic to be over.
All the character drama—“all” is doing a lot of work there—hinges on the remaining heroes being shitty men. The almost cannibal rabble chasing them (seriously, just let Gischler do 2000 AD, it feels like Mann’s World should be in there but with a bunch more chapters) are wild beasts without interiority, but when Gischler lets the heroes have their big blowout about truth and responsibility and accountability… I mean, there’s no difference if Gischler were actively being misandrist. The characters are so blandly macho it feels like they’re on the loose from the WALL·E cruise ship; they’re profoundly incapable of critical thought.
Though, I get it, not easy to do far-flung future with humans in 2021. Like, intergalactic travel? Obviously never happening.
It boils down to Burt Reynolds guy thinking he’s the alpha and not realizing he’s not, which gets them in trouble with the locals—something the narrator argues with him about at least two times in the issue and it’s forced every time—and then the narrator having to man up in the end. Get it, man up?
They bring up his recent divorce and it’s like… if the ex-wife had just killed him, he couldn’t be in this comic and maybe I wouldn’t have had to read it and be this combination of exasperated and disappointed.
Maybe if Walter’s art were good, he’d be able to do the talking heads with enough competence to get over the thin characterizations, but it’s a big maybe. The problem with Mann’s World—outside the art and this issue in general—is the plot breakdown. It’s too rushed for what it’s doing, for what Walter’s bringing to it….
Still, as a 2000 AD serial it’d be great.