2000ad Prog 1876
The revitalisation of 2000ad continues, shifting further and further away from the pre Christmas doldrums that we encountered. 2 issues into another jumping on point and things are looking good. Fantastic cover by Alex Ronald (it should please Burdis, the logo is almost 100% visible). Pity it’s Sinister Dexter, but more on that later. I can understand the necessity of relaunch issues, but I do miss the time when strips would stay in the prog’ until they had run their course. Now they are being written for a potential collected edition in 10-12 episode chunks. Again, I guess this is economic necessity, but I just think it is such a shame.
“Droid Life” is back, though this is more miss than hit. Joke is a bit flat. “Flesh” seems such a great target but this was not that funny – shame as Droid Life is rarely disappointing (I accept I maybe in a minority on this one).
Wagner is back on “Dredd”, always welcome and aided and abetted by the ever capable Colin MacNeil. Wagner explores the insidious and oppressive side of Justice Department as a JD civvy auxillary has a crisis of conscience about her role and goes to the press, this isn’t going to go well. Macneil employs a thicker line, using lots of blacks and shading to reflect the repressive atmosphere of the story. Wagner draws you in with a taut script, Dredd and Justice Department are definitely the baddies here (unless of course authoritarian regimes are your thang). Classic Dredd.
The plot of “Outlier” is hardly original. Survivor of betrayal seeks revenge against his former comrades, bloodily offing them one by one. Eglington keeps the interest up, and takes time out to fill in some of the gaps in the wronged party’s back story. Richardson’s detailed, fine lined and muscular art tells the story well. Not a classic, but good stuff all the same and definitely a grower. I’m liking Eglington’s work more and more.
After my initial scepticism on the news that Simon Davis was the new “Slaine” artist, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. His style is refreshingly different from all the Bisley clones that came before. Clear storytelling, something that has been lacking in “Slaine” over the years. Expressive and bold art work. Mills also seems revitalised, scripting a tale set after the great flood and the woad warrior coming back into conflict with the Drune Lords. Good stuff.
“Sinister Dexter” is back. Again. This plot seems to have been going on for eons, to the point that to me, it has lost purpose, meaning and relevance. In one of the recent ECBT pod casts Flint and Luke worked out that this sequence has its origins in events that started 10 years ago. I think you can get away with that in “Dredd”, but that deviates and you return to it occasionally. The downside is that this becomes confusing for new readers. The upside is that it can be a slow build of tension, sowing seeds for future development. But here this is the same plotline that has been running since the late 1300s (which, yes, makes me a hypocrite considering what I wrote above), I can’t even remember why they are on Generica. Worse still, I don’t care. Dan Abnett is a great writer, but it is time that this was wrapped up, and should spend more time on “Grey Area”. Nor is this Smudge’s greatest work, sketchy and stiff characters, not reflective of the talent seen in “Chiaroscuro” from a few years ago. This has had its’ day.
“Jaegir” by Rennie and Coleby, follows the titular member of the Nordland State Security Police on a mission to save the family of a former colleague who suffers from a genetic abnormality which not only leaves the victim horribly disfigured, but also turns them into a savage murdering maniac. Here, we are introduced to Jaegir’s investigation team. Rennie has a great handle on all things “Rogue Trooper” related and this is no exception. The interesting twist is the Nort perspective,it’s refreshing and reminds me of the war strips of the 70s and 80s which took the German perspective (“Kampfgruppe Falken” being a personal favourite). Simon Coleby was born to draw future war. One to watch.
The prog’ maintains its’ current excellent form, but the clear winner is Dredd.