With the texts by Roberto Recchioni, the drawings by Angelo Stano and Corrado Roi and the colors by Giovanna Niro, DYLAN DOG reaches the milestone of the number 400.
AND NOW, THE APOCALYPSE! it is not only important for the achievement of a new round figure, it is also the final episode of the Cycle of the Meteor and a watershed chapter between the old and a "new" Old Boy. If you haven't read the 399 review, you can find it Thu.
All the events, the plots and the miniseries have ended, the party is over and now we can make some cold considerations.

Dylan Dog

A NIGHTMARE SEA

As Angelo Stano himself also summarizes (taking up his metaphysical role as the Draftsman), John Ghost's plan failed in the previous issue, although Dylan's latest gesture managed to partially save the Earth from the impact with the Meteor, dragging her into a timeless dimension where he and Groucho are alive but without memory, in the role of captain and hub of an Unnamed vessel, sailors in a sea of ​​adventures, looking for a mission and a purpose.
In this context, which deliberately follows Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the narrative life that the Tenant of Craven Road has had so far is told with a metaphor: an infinite sail from island to island, from threat to threat, until you lose so the very meaning of travel and adventure. The numerous metanarrative curtains explain the cause of this empty wandering, the fault lies with the one who created the same Nightmare Investigator: Tiziano Sclavi.
So here is Dylan's goal: to get out of this frustrating cycle you need a confrontation with your father.
Here too, out of metaphor, the speech is clear: The following slavishly a Sclavian canon, as if it were carved on stone, led to the crystallization and self-aping of a character born to be subversive and outside the box. With the reference to the highlight scene, always from the Heart of Darkness, we finally have the catharsis, the liberation and the promise of a new Dylan Dog, anticipated by the last two plates designed by Corrado Roi (who will fully illustrate the next book).

PROMISES AND RAYS

Il December 28 2019 the authors and cover artists of this 400th issue (in fact you can find it with 4 variants on newsstands, designed by Claudio Villa, Angelo Stano, Corrado Roi and Gigi Cavenago) held a meeting to present and celebrate the release of the book.
There have been numerous controversies that have arisen in recent months due to this episode, the previous one and in view of the announcement of the new editorial phase of DYLAN DOG, all stories that bear the signature of the series's curator, Roberto Recchioni.
The Roman author himself responded to these controversies with a sentence (here I admit, a little paraphrased) that immediately hit my head and that I find emblematic also to describe AND NOW, THE APOCALYPSE !: “Every criticism received , even the most ferocious, is actually an act of love towards Dylan. "

DYLAN DOG 400 is in fact a love letter to the Old Boy, a promise for readers and an ambitious declaration for the entire team of authors and for the editorial staff.
It is a solid celebratory number, which in its dreamlike and provocative absurdity in some sequences ("How?! ... A cut and pretend nothing happened? Readers will hate us for this ... Luckily they are all dead!"), Pays a genuine tribute (and sometimes a little pimp) to DYLAN DOG, all with the designs of a particularly inspired and enterprising Angelo Stano, properly enhanced by Giovanna Niro's colors.
The figure of Dylan Dog was celebrated in a complete and romantic way, and he took advantage of the opportunity to relaunch himself in a way that I found intelligent and appropriate to what the spirit of the series is.

Doubts arise when I think about this whole operation.
As said at the beginning, AND NOW THE APOCALYPSE! it is in fact the last chapter of the Meteora cycle, twelve consecutive stories in more or less narrow continuity, connected by the event of the arrival of the Meteora.
At the end of the operation I cannot be satisfied with how the horizontal plot between the books was built. It is true that connection tables have been inserted at the beginning and end of each register to connect to the previous and following number, and it is also true that in all the registers of the Cycle what happens is justified as a consequence of the Meteora but at the end of this path I do not see a single cohesive plot, I see a queuing of events to get to 399 and 400.
I try to explain myself by going into more detail.

dylan dog

Starting from the most obvious problem, you can only read DYD (DYLAN DOG) # 387: WHAT REALLY CHAOS! and DYD # 399: WEDDING TODAY! and the story of the Meteor rolls almost quietly for the reader, in the end only the recovery of DYD # 396: HIS NAME WAS WAR and the first 4 plates of DYD # 394: ETERNAL SEASONS.
It means that 10 out of 13 volumes contain events, yes, but that do not impact the ending.
Furthermore, only DYD # 390: THE FALL OF THE GODS, DYD # 392: THE PRIMORDIO, DYD # 394 and DYD # 397: MORBO M have textures that are real consequence of the effects of the Meteor, for the other 6 stories the Meteor is a pretext like another to contextualize the plot (with this viewpoint you can insert almost every DYLAN DOG in a "Then it's the effect of a Meteor", and if this trick applies to everyone, it's as if it didn't apply to anyone).
These two issues therefore made me resize the Meteora discourse from "horizontal plot" to "frame story", which is not bad at all, of course, but narratively they are two different things.
Going further into detail, I also found the rhythm of this Cycle problematic (problems that I had already underlined in the review of the last issue) with a brusque, too abrupt accelerated on the end (In the numbers DYD # 398: WHO DIES DIES YOU SEE AND DYD # 399 the subplots of the various enemies and villains are closed in a few tables because they are all conveniently gathered in one place: they are blown up in # 398 or eliminated with shootings and deus ex machina in # 399. The question of the particularity of Dylan's house is liquidated in the only issue DYD # 393, without mentioning it before or mentioning it in part after) which did not allow me to understand or empathize with certain characters (Rania and Carter had a surge in development only in DYD # 396 and DYD # 399).
Finally, there are some pieces that are missing. DYD # 387 closes with the beautiful, very current and successful social criticism issue of Ammazzamostri, which are taken up again at the beginning of DYD # 390 and then never appear again and no longer be named, as well as the Lovecraftian origins of the Queen d 'England that have been revealed to us, but have not had any impact or response in history (it did not even appear in # 399, while fulfilling the plan of John Ghost).
Meteora itself remains an inexplicable mystery, presented as a cyclical entity with its own will which, apart from triggering unrelated events as seen in these 13 books, in reality then does little if not impact on Earth (which its origins and others details about his real powers are explained to us by DYD # 401?).
Since its origins, the series has always included dreamlike, absurd elements, open and left ends or simply "strange to be strange" things, but the context was different and above all there was no mention of continuity, horizontal plot and sagas. I find it normal to want to have answers or conclusions to some "abstractions".

These problems, the lack of rhythm and organicity I admit, made me get to # 400, very tired and off, addicted even by tight and repeated twists that did not move me even in sensationalism (Groucho is killed for two episodes consecutive).

OH BOY, OLD BOY

Was it all a fiasco then? Absolutely not. Assuming that the focus of this review is AND NOW THE APOCALYPSE !, and I insist that it is an excellent number, the rest of the Meteor Cycle operation is also something very interesting, don't get me wrong.
Although I have not been as enthusiastic as I would have hoped, this 13-month long journey cannot help but appreciate it at least for the experiment that has been done, try to give DYLAN DOG a different look, a different way and a little more current to tell.
As an experiment, conclusions can only be drawn at the end both as a publisher, who must understand what worked or not and adjust the shot accordingly, and as a reader, who will evaluate how much (or not) it is worth continuing to follow the series, or the initiative in general.
It is precisely on the wave of experiment and observation that I will observe the relaunch of DYLAN DOG starting from # 401, trying to understand if the new type of seriality announced can work and if, above all, it will be able to tell something new and valid. of the Nightmare Investigator.