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.
Crash! Bang! Wallop! What a cover by Ben Willsher for Prog 1877. Inside the Prog, Dredd continues to lead the cover up operation for the mysterious Section 7, the hunter becomes the hunted in Outlier, Slaine battles the fearsome gloops, Sinister Dexter find themselves in the middle of a turf war between the bikers and the cultists and Jaegir shelters Grigoru’s family from the beast he has become!
Meanwhile, behind this terrifying cover by Steve Yeowell, the Megazine features ‘Rad to the Bone’ which sees Joe become the target of a savage killer, DeMarco tracks the Whisper, a dangerous new craze takes hold of Megacity One in ‘The Irrational Lottery‘ and Anderson looks for answers in ‘Dead End.’ There are interviews with Mike Dowling & Declan Shalvey, a Godzilla feature and a text story. Also included is like. a wholly floppy collection of Judge Janus sories by Grant Morrison, his mate Mark Millar and Maggie Knight.
Review by Eamonn Clarke.
Can the Prog keep the momentum going from 1874 and start to compete with the Meg for quality?
Cover is by Karl Richardson and I like it. Dark and creepy. If I saw that on the shelf I’d buy it but I still might be unsure as to which publication this is. At least leave one of the logos clear, Tharg, or has someone already said that?
Judge Dredd: Mega-City Confidential part 2 by John Wagner, Colin MacNeil, Chris Blythe and Annie Parkhouse
The plot thickens as Erika goes on the run with whatever piece of evidence she has stolen from the mysterious Section 7. Wagner plays the slow build cards with his usual skill. Tapping away at us with suggestions of what is to come.
MacNeil produces some lovely artistic touches, particularly Dredd reflected in the Section chief’s glasses. The panel layouts, the bike headlights, and the silhouette of Dredd parked on the bridge in the last panel are all great stuff.
Personally I suspect that either the Mega-City Confidential host or the old geezer are going to turn out to be undercover Wallly squad but I’m probably wrong.
Outlier part 2 by T.C.Eglington, Karl Richardson and Annie Parkhouse.
This is excellent. I love a bit of science fiction detective work and this feels like something by the late lamented Iain M Banks. While Wagner keeps his cards hidden Eglington is showing us a lot quite quickly so there must be loads to come as we learn more about the Hurde.
Slaine The Brutania Chronicles part 2 by Pat Mills, Simon Davis and Ellie De Ville
A man walks intro a bar and hears a tall tale and then he’s off on a D&D style quest. I don’t know if Slaine’s stream of consciousness narration had been a feature before but I quite like it here. And the Davis artwork is still lovely to behold.
Sinister Dexter: The Generican Dream part 2 by Dan Abnett, Smudge and Ellie De Ville.
There must be Sinister Dexter fans out there and it’s time for them to do some reviews and tell us what we’re missing. I’ll tell you one thing, I bet S&D end up playing one side off against the other in classic Fistful of Dollars style.
Jaegir: Strigoi part 2 by Gordon Rennie, Simon Coleby, Len O’Grady and Simon Bowland
The Nazi Fatherland parallel is pushed even further as we learn about a thinly disguised version of Zyklon B which killed Jaegir’s mother. Then she learns more about her mission and teams up with a Human League tribute act.
I’m a bit confused as to when and why the troops need to wear the chem masks, and why some veterans have various physical modifications and other don’t. But the story still has me on board and the art is great.
Another four solid stories and one duffer in this issue. Pick of the Prog is still Dredd but I’m hooked on Outlier and Jaegir as well. The weekly is back in the groove.
Defoe : Queen of Zombies
Pat Mills & Leigh Gallagher
Review by Seth
Volume 2 of the series, collecting “Queen of the Zombies” and “A Murder of Angels”, dropping us right in the middle of an intensifying reek (zombie) war. Titus Defoe and his “Dirty Dozenne” are up against it. On the trail of “Mene Tekel” and the titular “Queen of the Zombies “ La Voison.
La Voison is traced to Nonsuch House, home to the British Secret Service and the headquarters of the Royal Resurrection Company, at a gathering for the gentry and the British Secret Service. With “Damned” Jones in tow, Defoe crashes the party but reckons without the power of La Voison to control the part-reek clockpunk servants of the house. Defoe and crew have a battle on their hands, and not without loss, as one of their number turns reek, and there’s discord and division in the ranks. Soon the action moves to the Tower of London, under siege from an army of Reeks, there is a traitor in our heroes’ midst, heavenly forces take an interest and the identity of Mene Tekel is revealed.
And there’s a massive crocodile.
Leigh Gallagher is the punk rock Bernie Wrightson. Unfashionable with the number of panels per page, dripping in atmosphere, black and white, with an emphasis on the black, shading applied via pepper pot, intricate, gory, grotesque, a master class in cross hatching. Backgrounds, character and weapon design out of the sketch book of Bosch (Hieronymous, not power tools). Mills introduces the concept of “clockpunk” as a precursor to steampunk, which means Gallagher has a whale of a time designing bizarre and outlandish weapons and vehicles. The clockpunks created by Robert Hooke draw inspiration from JF Sebasatian’s android companions in Blade Runner, and in turn Hans Christian Andersen. Unnatural, eerie and sinister. Absolute genius.
Mills’s script occasionally stalls as he stands on his soapbox, but this is witty, very funny in places. It does tend to jump around a bit but there are ideas a plenty. With each page Mills comes up with something inventive or outlandish, he’s having a ball, more so than any of his other recent work.
There are the usual Mills targets: “the Vizards” the superheroes of the 17th century are treated contemptuously by our hero and the customary class commentary and savaging of the upper classes. He deploys historical figures inventively and creates imaginative alternative technologies . The action doesn’t let up from page 1, with the pulpy feel of a puritan “From Dusk Till Dawn”.
In short, it’s fab’. Buy it.
Following all taken from the news page of the Turmoil Colour website > http://www.turmoilcolour.com
Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo – April 24-27
Sally and I have designed and illustrated a second Twist Bitch poster (below) specially for our Calgary appearance. This one is called Twist Bitch Braide. If you do not yet know what these creatures are…
1. Why have you not bought the Titan Collected Edition of Razorjack?
2. The Twist Bitches are modified super warriors, part female and part other things – animal, insect and alien. Stolen or harvested from their birth mothers at three years of age, and changed by Razorjack – twisting and blending their basic DNA into something more than human. And after a decade of training in all forms of martial arts they are turned into implacable killing automatons, bred for one thing only: to do Razorjack’s bidding, which is “KILL!” Faces of angels and black hearts of demons.
Braide’s sharp teeth indicate her predeliction for…? Ask me at Calgary!